The goetia

The¬†Goetia¬†was traditionally associated with black magic and medieval grimoires containing incantations and ceremonies specifically designated to invoke demons and/or their powers. The¬†Goetia¬†at one time has been closely associated with sorcery. The derivation of the word “goetia” is uncertain. One possibility takes it back to ancient Greece, Plato defined the term as designating a diviner, magician, seer, or healer. Another derivation possibly came from Latin,Ars Goetia meaning “The Howling Art.” Gradually The¬†Goetia¬†assumed more darker side becoming associated with demonology as it passed through the Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian and Persian heathen sources. Some of the demons named in the current version seem to share Biblical connections.

The Goetia is the initial and longest portion of the Lesser Key of Solomon, a major medieval grimoire. The Goetia discuses seventy-two demons that King Solomon is said to have evoked and confined in a bronze vessel sealed my magical symbols (see Goetia Spirits). He commanded these entities to obey him. First translated from Latin by Samuel Mathers in 1898, and published in 1903 by Aleister Crowley as his own work, with unrelated preliminary invocation ritual of the Bornless One. Other editions have been available. A.G.H.


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 117
Greer, John Michael. The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Publications. 2003. p. 202
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