Goetic Spirits are very easy to contact and work with. To any magician, this is a remarkable statement – it is not the universal experience. The Goetia are supposed to be contacted by only the most advanced magicians who are dedicating themselves to the Abramelin Ritual, or who are prepared to spend months getting ready for the arduous task of getting a tiny glimpse of a Goetic spirit outside their magical circle. Why do the Goetia have such a bad reputation? Has it occurred to anyone that we might be going about things the wrong way? Could we have an attitude that causes intense annoyance to the Spirits? I think so.
Personal Experiences of the Goetia Vepar
Here is one of my experiences. I was getting many psychic and spiritual experiences. By this time, in my avid search for answers, I had books on the Golden Dawn, and I had come across the Goetia. However, I was not a Golden Dawn Magician, nor had I done any of the pentagram or hexagram rituals, or any of the other practices expected. One morning while shaving, as I was looking into the mirror, I could see in my mind”s eye one of the Goetic spirits, exactly as described in the classic texts. She was Vepar, and she turned out to be very helpful in dealing with circumstances I was having issues with.
Now, the critical thing to note is that I had not invoked Vepar, I had not done any ritual, nor was I even expecting to see a spirit at that moment. You might think that my shaving mirror was acting as a magical mirror, and you might be right, but from that moment, Vepar would appear in other situations, such as walking down the road, or in the pub. Nobody would notice a thing — no change in atmosphere, or all the other signs that are supposed to happen. Seeing Vepar was the most natural experience in the world. I did not have to command her; she would appear to ask me to help her, or show me an issue that needed addressing. During this time, the natural thought is to find out if any of the other Goetia could be contacted, and they could, although after several “summons” (which meant thinking of them), I rarely bothered them, since there had to be a superior reason, and idle chit-chat is not advisable. I completely forgot about them for many years as so many other things spiritual were going on in my life. I was also getting more and more interested in the Tree of Life.
Are Goetia the Holy Guardian Angel?
Seeing a Goetic spirit was like a small image in my mind, nothing more, and the spirit seemed mute, more or less. I read up on the Holy Guardian Angel literature, which was interesting, but I concluded early on that there was not one Holy Guardian Angel. No, it was clear that a magician could have as many Guardian Angels as required, and furthermore, the HGAs would changed as required.
The real changes to my perception with the Goetia improved when I renounced the Tree of Life as a viable system, in particular while I was writing The Tarot and the Magus, when Gaap appeared to me after the Spirits of Liber 231 had arrived (they come to me first, unexpectedly, and not because I went out of my way to summon them). Writing The Tarot and the Magus forced me to look not only at an alternative and viable structure for the Major Arcana, but to consider what true cosmology the Tarot represents. The Minor Arcana took centre stage, and after much research, studying books, and being led by the spirits themselves, a vision of the Spiritual Worlds began to open up.
Dumping the Tree of Life is critical to understanding the Goetia. With the Tree, experiences will be exactly as illustrated in the occult literature. They are surly, reticent, unhelpful, and take an incredible amount of effort to get them to do anything. Magicians believe that after making the preparations, the circle, the instruments of torture if the Goetic Spirit does not comply, memorising the ritual, etc, if the Spirit does not appear, then the commands go to a higher plane, invoking greater and more powerful spirits until the Godnames are invoked. Now, the problem is that if the Goetia are indifferent at best to the Tree of Life why would they regard YHVH, or IAO or any other Name?
Force of Will to succeed
It is actually the force of Will of the Magician that makes the Goetia appear. Here is what Lon Milo DuQuette and Christopher Hyatt have to say:
It has been our experience that this simple threat is enough to make the most uncooperative Spirit ‘appear.’ Usually at this point the Spirit wants to appear, get it’s orders and get out of there.
Aleister Crowley’s Illustrated Goetia, New Falcon Publications
Why does the Spirit want to get out of ‘there’ so quick? We are imposing an artificial, unnatural environment based upon our faulty view of the universe. As I have already stated, and it is worth stating again, the Goetia are the friendliest, and the easiest Spirits to work with. The Goetia desire to work with us. They have no sinister intent.
Abandon the Tree of Life
Abandoning the Tree of Life means abandoning much of the angelology that surrounds it. My safety net has and is the fact that I did not go out with the intention of invoking spirits – they came to me. My difficulty was learning how to deal with them.
When the Tree of Life is abandoned, you will find the Goetia easy to work with, and they will help you in many situations. Who are they? They are Angels! They have not fallen, they were pushed out by a Judaeo-Christian agenda that wants to supplant ‘evil’ spirits with ‘good’ spirits. Unfortunately the spirits are rarely ‘evil’, and the new ‘good’ spirits are ineffectual at best.
Finding the True Path
So, how do you find and work with the Goetia? By following your true spiritual path. Be true to yourself, be honest and open. Do not impose false cosmologies onto your magical and spiritual worlds. The Goetia are indifferent to the God Names magicians use to control them; they are part of an ancient system that will be revealed. They can easily be contacted via the Tarot using card counting and Elemental Dignities. The Goetia are usually seen as illustrated in the books, since that is easiest for a magician to recognise them. The Goetic spirit may change appearance, or it may continue to keep the same look. Appearance of the Goetia is not threatening, and you may experience peace and exultation. Take your time – you will have to learn the signs, and realise that when they appear, your thoughts may be their thoughts. They have a great sense of humour, and they like to work reciprocally – you help them, and they will help you. What you get back is often more knowledge, or insight into a spiritual problem you have been having difficulties with. The titles of King, Duke, Earl or President, for example are worthwhile as they show respect, but do not place too much faith in them. The titles seem to be for our benefit. However, the Kings do command greater respect, and addressing them with their title is recommended.
Contact with the Goetia may well be far more common than is realised, particularly when it is understood that the classic Goetic invocations are useless and counter-productive (they just antagonise the spirits and alienate us from their worlds).