The tradition of ceremonial magick holds that the Key of Solomon
and the Goetia (the Lesser Key) recount a viable method for
evoking spirits, through the use of conjurations, symbols
(talismans or pentacles), prayers and action, under the auspices
of the Jewish deity. In the present age, many magickians are
dissuaded by the complexity of the method, and the attention to
detail which is reputed to be the only hope for a successful
evocation. Thus, while the Key of Solomon and the Goetia are
prized reference books, their actual usefulness is limited.
More than mere methodology lies behind the text of these books.
The long, drawn out prayers and conjurations are not a means to
evoke a spirit from the depths of hell, or wherever an individual
practitioner may believe these entities dwell. The pages upon
pages of supplications focus the magickian on a specific purpose.
This is why it is recommended, if the first version of the
evocation is not successful, a second is tried, and a third, and a
fourth. Each involves more detailed words and actions. For, if the
practitioner is not properly focused, no magickal operation will
The magickal operation to which we refer is that of
self-knowledge. The Key of Solomon and the Goetia are not methods
for evoking “external” entities; they are a means to bring
forth one own innermost aspects - to draw on one ultimate
potential to bring about, as Crowley wrote, change in accordance
The traits listed for each of the demons, described in the Key and
the Goetia, are traits of the deepest human self, all of which
must be explored by the magickal initiate, and all of which can be
used toward magickal ends. The proof of this fact is in the
knowledge that the original authors of the Key and the Goetia, and
similar tomes of that era, hadn't the slightest idea of the
workings of psychology, and accordingly attempted to explain
magickal or miraculous phenomena as the workings of external
As numerous writers on the subject of magick have since confirmed,
however, what the magickian evokes is a manifestation of his own
inner demons (or angels, or what-have-you).
He is trying to understand himself.
In this light, how better to use the Key of Solomon or the Goetia?
How to get past the obscure and lengthy diatribes to a deity which
few practitioners hold as valid?
Study and contemplation.
To take the Key of Solomon or the Goetia literally, much
preparation would precede any operation. A right state of mind is
necessary before a magickian can construct his circle.
To get at the spirit of the Key and the Lesser Key also requires
much work. Meditating on the traits of each entity will involve
locating (and admitting to) the corresponding traits in oneself.
This will not be easy and, at times, may be downright unpleasant.
But, as human beings, we all have the potential for every manner
of behavior - even though we may not engage in a majority of them.
Acknowledging these traits exist within, nonetheless, gives the
magickian power over them and makes them subject to one's Will.
And, as it is claimed that an improperly banished demon may
continue to cause trouble for a magickain after a working, so it
is a meditation improperly concluded may keep a specific trait
foremost in one's mind, prompting unwanted changes in behavior or
other alterations of consciousness. Returning a trait to its
rightful place - though it may be a mentally triple-locked closet
- is very important for one's psychological health. Always ground
the energies of a meditation at its conclusion.
Readers of the Key and the Goetia are warned that its wrongful use
can bring about madness. This is very true, as shown above.
Personal balance - mental/emotional, physical and spiritual - is
imperative before embarking upon this path. Any magickal system
worth its salt will verify this statement. One must have physical
health (or any health concerns under control), a grasp of personal
spirituality (a firm belief system), and - absolutely mandatory -
emotional stability and the intellectual capacity to grasp this
Contrary to claims in some modern publications on magick, it is
not possible to crack open a text, mumble a spell and instantly
achieve love, wealth or power. Endless study and constant effort
go into the making of a true and serious magickian.
Vigilance, awareness of one's actions and activities is part of
this training. Acceptance that magick is not an easy path and,
without knowledge of the basics and willingness to ever learn
more, there is no hope for progress.
With this balance, the practitioner may take the Key of Solomon
and the Goetia in hand and work through their pages, to discover
the hidden depths of magickal power which resides in his own soul.