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The Goetia, discussion

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Forums -> Misc Topics -> The Goetia, discussion

The Goetia, discussion
By:
Post # 1
The Goetia is one of my favorite books involving magick and invocation, but when I read Crowley's "The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic" essay in the beginning of the edition of the Goetia I have, I was a bit confused by this:

"The spirits of the Goetia are portions of the human brain.

Their seals therefore represent methods of stimulating or regulating those particular spots (through the eye)."

What he means here is that the seals given are a type of visual trigger, meant to facilitate the traits of the corresponding spirit in your own mind.

He goes on to say: " "The Spirit Cimieries (66th spirit) teaches logic," what I mean is: "Those portions of my brain which subserve the logical faculty may be stimulated and developed by following out the processes called 'The Invocation of Cimieries.' "

I'm interested in the use of the term "invocation" here, because if the Spirits are meant to be metaphors for parts of the mind/brain, then why not evoke them instead? My theory is that by externalizing them in the form of a summoning, it makes them easier to comprehend with the more shallow portions of our consciousness, meaning their traits are able to be more easily used at will. What do you guys think?

He explains further: "Solomon promises us that we can (1) obtain information, (2) destroy our enemies, (3) understand the voices of nature, (4) obtain treasure, (5) heal diseases, etc. I have taken these five powers at random; considerations of space forbid me to explain all.

(1) Brings up facts from the sub-conscious.
(2) ... to realize the illusion of duality, to excite compassion... (... the world of Magic is a mirror, wherein who sees muck is muck.)
(3) A careful naturalist will understand much from the voices of the animals he has studied long. Even a child knows the difference of a cat's miauling and purring. The faculty may be greatly developed.
(4) Business capacity may be stimulated.
(5) Abnormal states of the body may be corrected, and the involved tissues brought back into tone, in obedience to currents started from the brain."

What do you guys think of this explanation? I'm on the fence because Crowley's work with the Goetia is a translation, and an interpretation somewhat. I do not know if the original literature says anything about the spirits being portions of the brain. How do you feel about his assessment that it's all psychological? Some practitioners of magick will tell you it's all psychological (subjective), but there are older beliefs which state that there is inherent (and separate, objective) consciousness/energy/whatever in natural materials and in realms apart from our own.

I did attempt the invocation of Agares (2nd spirit) because "He teaches all Languages or Tongues presently," and I was hoping to improve my language skills -- which I have to say I did notice an improvement in. From my experience I can agree that it was a subjective stimulation/opening of a portion of my brain. BUT, almost all of the descriptions of the spirits have details that seem to have absolutely no purpose if it's all in my head; like, physical descriptions, various mounts, shapeshifting, scents, voices, etc. The only reason I can think of at the moment is that these descriptions -- if it is all subjective -- are meant to improve and strengthen the Creative visualization during the ritual.

I know, a rather long post, but I'd appreciate any opinions and ideas. Basically, what I want to know: Are the spirits separate entities, or metaphors?
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Re: The Goetia, discussion
By:
Post # 2
The old thinkings are primitive and they used to explain phenomenas in nature who were unexplained. Let me get this simple.... it's all in your head. What you think it's good foor you, your brain will proces it as good thing. He may aplly it and even change your reality..cause your brain is your reality.
I'm really proud that you mension this, lack of ignorance will improve you very much at spiritual level.

People are so easy to read...like open book.
They always seek something beneath surface and hard ground, the fact is thay never find anything..Only they lustfull greed and stupidity.

One more thing...
There are things you can unlock, with certain amount of time and patience. But untill that it,s all in your head.
I think many of people here can be proud on their imagination.
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Re: The Goetia, discussion
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3
Like the guy before me said, much of it truly is born of the internal. Much of magic is manifesting will, or simply generating "mind over matter" results. This can readily be applied to goetic magick. To some degree, I very much believe that many invocations are more personal affirmation than true summoning. I mean, in this day and age how many people can have a specific entity truly bound to his or her servitude? Any number of folks can claim that a specific demon or spirit serves them and only them at any given time.

Why?

Much of it is simply a manifestation of their own will, taking shape and guided by the name they put it to and the will they attach to it through the elaborate process of ceremonial magick.

However, to also say there are no outside influences at all is to either turn a blind eye and is perhaps an arrogant statement all in itself. There are almost certainly spiritual forces out there that give rise to more "primitive" concepts of summoning, binding, servitors and constructs, etc. However, it is also my opinion that the name of a spirit is usually only given more as a description of its own nature than as its true specific name.

After all, names were originally no more than a description. It evolved to the modern naming practice where a name is frequently chosen more for sound and audio appeal than true meaning. If you look to the etymology of a spirit's name or at the very least its definition, you will likely see that it very much describes the nature of the spirit's energies. The name you use to invoke the spirit may therefore not even summon a particular entity, but a particular energy.

The sentience then, whether linked between like energies or not, then comes into question. Is it manifested through the goals and practices of the conjurer or is it already there? And is it a single sentience appearing in multiple instances, separate sentiences linked together with common purposes, or separate sentiences united only in the description provided by the name?

Whether you are simply manifesting personal change through an elaborate invocation of a metaphor or summoning, binding, and utilizing external spirits and forces generally depends on the practice of the person in question. In my opinion the same ritual can readily be used for both purposes while achieving similar aims, all depending entirely upon the practices, intentions, and views of the individual who works the invocation.

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Re: The Goetia, discussion
By:
Post # 4
Nicely said, I agree with you.
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Re: The Goetia, discussion
By:
Post # 5
Sorry, this forum doesn't have a quote function, so I put AwakeTooLong's text in [brackets]

[To some degree, I very much believe that many invocations are more personal affirmation than true summoning. I mean, in this day and age how many people can have a specific entity truly bound to his or her servitude? Any number of folks can claim that a specific demon or spirit serves them and only them at any given time. ...

Much of it is simply a manifestation of their own will, taking shape and guided by the name they put it to and the will they attach to it through the elaborate process of ceremonial magick.]

I agree. I think in many cases of trying to "bind" a specific spirit to oneself, what is actually happening is creating a strong thoughtform that serves as a link between the magician the the egregore-like existence of the particular spirit. If the spirit is a fully objective being, my idea is that it provides the grounds for human belief in it (however it gets its name out there), fueling its own image/human conception, without having to be bound to any one person. I think of it in this heirarchy: Human -- Thoughtform -- Egregore/energy pool -- Spirit.


[After all, names were originally no more than a description. It evolved to the modern naming practice where a name is frequently chosen more for sound and audio appeal than true meaning. If you look to the etymology of a spirit's name or at the very least its definition, you will likely see that it very much describes the nature of the spirit's energies. The name you use to invoke the spirit may therefore not even summon a particular entity, but a particular energy.]

This makes me think of Hindu and Buddhist deities, who both can have hundreds of different names -- one to go with each archetypal aspect and face. For example, Bishamonten (a Japanese god of warriors) is one of the 33 forms of Quan Yin/Kannon (the Bodhisattva of mercy and compassion). And I think it is Shiva of the Hindu pantheon who has at least 1,000 names which each resonate with some different aspect of Shiva?

In the case of the Goetic spirits, Crowley says that the names are meant as audio triggers to stimulate a particular section of the brain. There are also certain perfumes that can be made from the scents corresponding to the letters of the spirit's name in Hebrew -- essentially, spelling out its name with scents, again stimulating specific parts of the brain. In the part of his essay that I didn't quote, he explains that a function of ceremonial magick is a way, by stimulating the brain with specific, "unusual" acts coinciding with the 5 senses, to condition the brain the produce specific, "unusual" results (reflection in the 6th sense of the mind). I believe he means "unusual" in the more literal sense of not-usual; creating *seemingly* miraculous things in accordance with true will. I'm sorry if that was awkwardly verbose lol; I can see it in my head but have a hard time writing what I mean.


[Whether you are simply manifesting personal change through an elaborate invocation of a metaphor or summoning, binding, and utilizing external spirits and forces generally depends on the practice of the person in question. In my opinion the same ritual can readily be used for both purposes while achieving similar aims, all depending entirely upon the practices, intentions, and views of the individual who works the invocation.]

I think the reason summoning/invocation seems to go hand-in-hand with Ceremonial Magick (as opposed to more "freelance" magick?) is because of the nature of ceremony. I have no experience with Ceremonial Magick, but I do create my own ceremonies to stimulate my magickal ego and get myself in the right frame of mind to produce the desired results. Ceremony is an elaborate conditioning of the brain through acts carried out with the body and imagination, no? So trying to work with "separate" entities -- or perhaps, to try and make something internal, external -- can be difficult work. Ceremonial Magick isn't the only way to accomplish this, but it seems to be the most intimately calculated way of doing so.

Thank you guys for your input! Very stimulating! :D
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