The Lesser Key of Solomon
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The Lesser Key of Solomon or Clavicula Salomonis Regis (the Clavicula Salomonis, or Key of Solomon is an earlier text referring to different material), is an anonymous 17th-century grimoire, and one of the most popular books of demonology. It has also long been widely known as the Lemegeton.
The Latin translation appeared in the 17th century; much of the material from the text was previously written about in books from the 16th century, including the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, by Johann Weyer, and late-medieval grimoires. Some of the material in the first section, concerning the summoning of demons, dates to the 14th century or earlier.
The book claims that it was originally written by King Solomon, although this must be incorrect, since the titles of nobility (such as the French Marquis and Germanic Earl) assigned to the demons were not in use in his time, nor were the prayers to Jesus and the Christian Trinity included in the text in the absence of a supernatural explanation, because Solomon's birth predates Jesus Christ's birth by more than 900 years. Although the errors could also be attributed to the fact that the book has been translated and edited. much of the material in the book was passed down from the Jewish mystery teachings of Kabbalah.
The Lesser Key of Solomon contains detailed descriptions of spirits and the conjurations needed to evoke and oblige them to do the will of the conjurer (referred to as the "exorcist"). It details the protective signs and rituals to be performed, the actions necessary to prevent the spirits from gaining control, the preparations prior to the invocations, and instructions on how to make the necessary instruments for the execution of these rituals.
The several original copies extant vary considerably in detail and in the spellings of the spirits' names. Modern editions are widely available in print and on the Internet.
The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis Regis) is a 1904 translation of the text by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. It is essentially a manual that purports to give instructions for summoning 72 different spirits.
The Lesser Key of Solomon is divided into five parts.
The first section, called Ars Goetia, contains descriptions of the seventy-two demons that Solomon is said to have evoked and confined in a brass vessel sealed by magic symbols, and that he obliged to work for him. It gives instructions on constructing a similar brass vessel, and using the proper magic formulae to safely call up those demons.
It deals with the evocation of all classes of spirits, evil, indifferent and good; its opening Rites are those of Paimon, Orias, Astaroth and the whole cohort of Infernus. The second part, or Theurgia Goëtia, deals with the spirits of the cardinal points and their inferiors. These are mixed natures, some good and some evil.
The Ars Goetia assigns a rank and a title of nobility to each member of the infernal hierarchy, and gives the demons' "signs they have to pay allegiance to", or seals. The lists of entities in the Ars Goetia correspond (to high but varying degree, often according to edition) with those in Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, an appendix appearing in later editions of his De Praestigiis Daemonum, of 1563.
A revised English edition of the Ars Goetia was published in 1904 by magician Aleister Crowley, as The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King. It serves as a key component of his popular and highly influential system of magick.
The Seventy-Two Demons
The demons' names (given below) are taken from the Ars Goetia, which differs in terms of number and ranking from the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum of Weyer. As a result of multiple translations, there are multiple spellings for some of the names, which are given in the articles concerning them.
1. King Bael
25. Count/President Glasya-Labolas
49. Duke Crocell
Ars Theurgia Goetia
The Ars Theurgia Goetia ("the art of goetic theurgy") is the second section of The Lesser Key of Solomon. It explains the names, characteristics and seals of the 31 aerial spirits (called chiefs, emperors, kings and princes) that King Solomon invoked and confined. It also explains the protections against them, the names of their servant spirits, the conjurations to invoke them, and their nature, that is both good and evil. The spirits in this section and the next, Ars Paulina, correspond to the names given in Steganographia of Trithemius.
Their sole objective is to discover and show hidden things, the secrets of any person, and obtain, carry and do anything asked to them meanwhile they are contained in any of the four elements (Earth, Fire, Air and Water). These spirits are given in a complex order in the book, and some of them have spelling variations according to the different editions.
The Ars Paulina (The Art of Paul) is the third part of The Lesser Key of Solomon. According to the legend, this art was discovered by the Apostle Paul, but in the book is mentioned as the Pauline Art of King Solomon. The Ars Paulina was already known since the Middle Ages. It is divided in two chapters in this book.
The first chapter refers on how to deal with the angels of the several hours of the day (meaning day and night), to their seals, their nature, their servants (called Dukes), the relation of these angels with the seven planets known at that time, the proper astrological aspects to invoke them, their names (in a couple of cases coinciding with two of the seventy-two demons mentioned in the Ars Goetia), the conjuration and the invocation to call them, the Table [sic] of practice.
The second chapter concerns the angels that rule over the zodiacal signs and each degree of every sign, their relation with the four elements, Fire, Earth, Water and Air, their names, and their seals. These are called here the angels of men, because all persons are born under a zodiacal sign, with the Sun at a specific degree of it.
The Ars Almadel (The Art of the Almadel) is the fourth part of The Lesser Key of Solomon. It tells how to make the almadel, which is a wax tablet with protective symbols drawn on it. On it are placed four candles. This chapter has the instructions concerning the colours, materials and rituals necessary for the construction of the almadel and the candles.
The Ars Almadel also tells about the angels that are to be invoked, and explains that only reasonable and just things that are needed must be asked to them, and how the conjuration has to be made. It also mentions twelve princes ruling with them. The dates and astrological aspects that have to be considered most convenient to invoke the angels are detailed but briefly.
The author asserts to have experimented with what is explained in this chapter.
The Ars Notoria (The Notable Art) is the fifth and last part of The Lesser Key of Solomon.
It contains a collection of prayers (some of them divided in several parts) mixed with kabbalistic and magical words in several languages (i.e. Hebrew, Greek, etc.), how the prayers must be said, and the relation that these rituals have to the understanding of all sciences. It mentions the aspects of the Moon in relation with the prayers. It also says that the prayers act as an invocation to God's angels. According to the book, the correct spelling of the prayers gives the knowledge of the science related to each one and also a good memory, stability of mind, and eloquence. This chapter presents the precepts that have to be observed to obtain a good result.
Finally, it tells how King Solomon received the revelation from the angel.
- Mathers, S. L. MacGregor (trans.), Crowley, A. (ed.), The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (1904). 1995 reprint: ISBN 0-87728-847-X.
- de Laurence, L. W. (1916); 1942 reprint: ISBN 978-0-7661-0776-2; 2006 reprint: ISBN 978-1-59462-200-7
- Henson Mitch (1999), ISBN 978-0-9672797-0-1.
- Peterson, Joseph H. The Lesser Key of Solomon: Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis (2001), ISBN 978-1-57863-220-6.
- Skinner, Stephen & Rankine, David, The Goetia of Dr Rudd: The Angels and Demons of Liber Malorum Spirituum Seu Goetia (Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic). Golden Hoard Press, (2007). ISBN 978-0-9547639-2-3
- Arthur Edward Waite, Book of Ceremonial Magic (page 65)
- J. B. Hare, online edition (2002, sacred-texts.com)
- A correspondence chart of demons mentioned in the Key by rank, planet, etc.
- The Goetia at About.com
- Demon Sigils (Seals) from The Goetia at About.com