Monday, July 2, 2012

Five Things Meme Pt 2: Putting Down the Goetia

The Goetia: Most Specifically the Goetia of Solomon the King. We all know the book. Lets not play with each other. The Mathers edition. The Crowley edition. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I have nothing against the book in general, but it's not the most important book on Magic ever written. I know now it's not treated like it was in the 90's where it was THE Grimiore. It is useful, to be sure, and effective! It wouldn't have lasted so long, and gained such popularity if it didn't do at least a version of what it promised.

There are some things that I dislike about it, on a personal level. The language of the conjurations, and treatment of the spirits generally is fairly hostile. No doubt because the spirits can be tricky, dangerous, or both. Once again see my feelings on investment vs return in Magic. If these are, as lore states, the 72 spirits Solomon bound because they were THAT dangerous, that is a risky investment. Like asking someone involved in organized crime for a favor. You will not see all the strings attached until they are around your throat like a garrot wire.

Right now my biggest gripe is the potential it has to overshadow other works. I am not going to pretend that I knew in advance that Goetia was a whole system of Magic before I read Jake Stratton-Kent's "Geosophia". After reading "Geosophia", I kinda love Goetia as a system, and the role of the Goen in the community. I think it is down right beautiful. It is service to the Dead and to the Land spirits as well as to the Gods. It is.. magnificent. The Goetia of Solomon, taken alone, is a fragmentary work in the tradition of Goetia. It is what it is, but it needs to be put on the back burner, because it is a popular, fragmentary work of a much larger and more sophisticated system than is presented in the text. It is an accurate representation of that tradition in history, but we need to move on from it, or see how it can be restored to a better and more whole place within the system. 

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