Posts Tagged theurgy

What’s going on?

17 February 2016

This is like a Week in Review, except, well, it’s been more than a week, hasn’t it?

Hopefully, you’ve all bought Living Theurgy and enjoyed the heck out of it. Since then, a number of things have happened.

First, the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, which I started in 2001 or so, ceased publication last year. All good things, etc. The site and its complete archives are still online at http://www.jwmt.org

I’ve been busy writing, too. I contributed a paper to The Gnostic issues 5 and 6. The paper in issue 5 is on Neoplatonism, which is, I’m sure, shocking to you all. The second is on alchemy as a kind of theurgy. It is sort of a refutation of Agrippa’s views on alchemy. Here are the links:

The Gnostic #5

The Gnostic #6

I’ve also contributed a chapter on what, for the moment, can only be referred to as the Super Secret Project of Doom. More on that when I’m allowed. Related to this, I will likely be contributing a chapter to a book on the Greek Magical Papyri. That’s a bit in the future, though, so there isn’t a lot to say about it at the moment.

I’m working on books, too. The first, which I’ve mentioned before, is a Theurgist’s Book of Hours. I’m actually pretty much done with this. However, I’d like an illuminated version of it, so I’ve been very slowly working on that. I’ll have some more free time after the summer, so that should kick into higher gear, then. The second is High Magic in the Age of Steam. This is an introduction to important forms of Victorian esotericism and alternative spirituality for steampunks. I’m about 95% done with the academic bits and and am working on a chapter on persona building. After that comes interviews and photography. It should be done before the middle of the year. After these, and maybe some serious arting, I’ve a book on Neoplatonic Neopythagorean in mind. Think of it as a prequel to Living Theurgy.

I think that’s about it for now. Be seeing you.

The Anagogic Role of Sunthemata in Pseudo-Dionysius

20 February 2015

I know what you’re thinking: More Pseudo-Dionysius! The following comes from my paper on this given at the annual Conclave of the . The original paper is available on academia.edu.

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

On Books and Videos

27 August 2014

So . . . it’s been awhile. Its not you, its me. Honest.

Anywho, first, and probably most importantly, that Living Theurgy thing I’d been writing for three years or so? Yeah, that one. I’m done with that. Awhile ago. Also, it’s been published. By Avalonia Books. Which is, I must saw, awesome. You can get it either or . Your more awesome esoteric bookstores may carry it as well. If not, you could always ask them to, right?

Also, last year I gave a presentation at the Apostolic Johannite Church’s annual Conclave on ontology, good, and evil in pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. While the paper itself is available for download via academia.edu (https://www.academia.edu/3618989/The_Limits_of_Ontology_The_Good_to_Evil_in_Pseudo-Dionysius), the presentation was also video recorded. These videos are now in the process of being put on YouTube.

The first one is available here:

The second here:

When all five of them are available I will put them up in a single post.

Solomonic Demonology

14 February 2012

There is a class of ceremonial magic generally referred to as Solomonic magic. This is, of course, named for the famous King Solomon, son of David. The idea that Solomon was a magician is fairly old, as the second century Testament of Solomon, a sort of prototype for later Solomonic grimoires, attests. Though Solomonic magic is primarily Christian in origin, it is dependent upon both Jewish lore and Arabic magical practices.

The most famous of the Solomonic grimoires is perhaps the Lemegeton Clavicula Solomonis, the Lesser Key of Solomon. Mostly dating from the 14th century, the first book of the Lesser Key, called the Goetia, was made popular once again in the 19th century through the “translation” of S.L. MacGregor Mathers, one of the founders of the Order of the Golden Dawn. Though the second book of the Lesser Key, the Theurgia Goetia, is concerned with spirits which are both good and evil in nature, we will focus on the more well known Goetia, which deals with demons proper.

It is important to know that there is quite a debatable concerning whether or not the Goetia and Theurgia Goetia are about demons, i.e. fallen angels, or some other kind of spirit. Some of the demonic names found in the Goetia are clearly derived from the names of pagan deities. Astaroth, the 29th spirit, is an excellent example of this. The name “Astaroth,” who described as a mighty and strong duke, is understood to come from the Canannite goddess Ashtoreth, the consort of Ba’al, one of the Jewish God’s chief cultural rivals. However, not only are all 42 of the Goetic spirits considered diabolical, they are, generally, considered fallen angels, some of whom, we are told, hope to regain their place in heaven.

Each demon is given a rank: Marquis, Duke, Prelate, Knight, President and Count or Earl. In some Solomonic-derived systems, such as from the Grimoirium Verum, all of the demons are ruled over by one of three greater demons: Lucifer, Beelzebuth and Astaroth, though this is not part of the Lesser Key. Regardless, each demon listed is itself a greater spirit, ruling over a multitude of legions, a legion consisting of 6666 lesser demons. Further, each greater demon is associated with a certain power or ability. The aforementioned Astaroth, whose seal was featured on the “Malleus Maleficarum” episode of the WB’s Supernatural, can “make men wounderfull knowing in all Liberall siences.” The 40th spirit, the Earl Raum, is said to ‘steale Treasures out of kings houses, and to carry it where he is commanded, & to destroy Citties, and ye dignities of men; & to tell all Things past, & wt is, & wt will be; & to cause Love between friends & foes.”

The Goetia is not, however, simply a book about demons. It is a grimoire about how to summon, or evoke, the demons and bend them to servitude. The magic of the Lesser Key relies upon a number of physical implements, including magical seals, a large circle filled with divine names, a magical triangle, and a lamen, a sort of magical pendant, with the demon’s seal or signature on it. To these some include the vestments, magical sword and blasting rod found in the Greater Key of Solomon, which deals not with demonic evocation, but astrological talismans and other, similar, forms of magic.

The actual process of evocation is somewhat drawn out and makes use of lengthy prayers, conjurations and exhortations. Importantly, this is not a kind of demonolatry or diabolical worship. The magician does not even conjure the spirit through his or her own power, but through the holy power of God, who is called upon through various names, some Jewish, some akin to the voce mysteicae of Neoplatonic theurgy.

When next we meet, I’ll discuss, briefly, the Gnostic archons, before moving onto some examples of how classical demons have been incorporated into some well known, and maybe some not so well known, contemporary fantasy.