You, courageous seeker (if this applies to you), are merely pointed toward an entire genre of (extremely obscure) occult literature and told, “There lie the true secrets of magick. Good luck.” So, realizing you’re pretty much on your own, you take the most logical first step: look for a copy of the Key of Solomon in order to get an idea of what the system looks like and requires. But wait! Do you mean the “greater” or “lesser” Key of Solomon? Or did you mean the Hygromanteia (aka the Magical Treatise of Solomon)? Maybe you’d like the Key of Solomon the King published by Mathers, or do you prefer the Veritable Key of Solomon published by Skinner and Rankine? I could go on
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, February 16, 2016:
Those who take an interest in Solomonic and grimoire occultism face a rather unique dilemma. Anyone who undertakes a specific path/tradition—such as the Golden Dawn, Thelema, and even Wicca—generally has their work cut out for them. Literally. Someone before them has taken the time to design an entire course of work and study for the new student to follow. You will read this text and that one, you will perform these rituals and meditations, and you will pass this test before moving on to the next stage—there really isn’t any room for confusion on that point.
This, however, is not the case for the student hoping to learn the ways of Solomon or Enoch. You, courageous seeker (if this applies to you), are merely pointed toward an entire genre of (extremely obscure) occult literature and told, “There lie the true secrets of magick. Good luck.” So, realizing you’re pretty much on your own, you take the most logical first step: look for a copy of the Key of Solomon in order to get an idea of what the system looks like and requires. But wait! Do you mean the “greater” or “lesser” Key of Solomon? Or did you mean the Hygromanteia (aka the Magical Treatise of Solomon)? Maybe you’d like the Key of Solomon the King published by Mathers, or do you prefer the Veritable Key of Solomon published by Skinner and Rankine? I could go on, but you can see for yourself right here. And, mind you(!), these are only a few of the manuscripts attributed specifically to Solomon—so this doesn’t include the host of grimoires attributed to other authors. All of them purport to teach you how to summon the spirits and work the spells, and they are all certainly similar to one another, yet they are also very different.
But we’re not done confusing you yet! You see, we old-timers are going to give you a solid gem of advice before you even get started: Follow the damned instructions! Don’t skimp or take shortcuts, don’t alter things to the way you think they should be; trust that the author of the grimoire knew what he (or she) was doing and follow the instructions as given. Then, you’ll delve into your chosen grimoire(s) and discover the punchline: the instructions aren’t complete! At least, they aren’t in the greatest number of occult texts. Most of them were written as working notes for practicing magicians, and it was assumed a lot was already understood by the student before even picking up the book.
Now, here is where the student will encounter some real controversy. There are a few Solomonic practitioners out there who will insist “grimoire hopping”—that is, either switching between grimoires, or drawing material from one text to “fill out” another—is a bad idea. Instead, one should pick a text and dedicate to it. They will say there are differences between the instructions in different grimoires, and therefore we shouldn’t assume their procedures can be easily shared between them. Not to mention a great number of grimoires, themselves, claim to contain the real secrets of magick while other grimoires are vain foolish attempts at the same—so apparently even they didn’t want you to mix their systems together.
Except, they totally mixed the systems together themselves—a lot. They regularly borrowed conjurations, prayers, talismans, words of power, ritual tools, magick circles, and more from one another. In fact, they did so much appropriating it is often difficult to determine which book copied from another, or when they might both have been drawing from some as-yet-unknown older source. And they didn’t keep the things they borrowed pristine, either. They made aggressive changes—lengthening or shortening conjurations, changing names of God, altering spirit hierarchies, changing the required tools and furnishings, adding bits in, taking bits out, etc., etc.
So, I’ll understand if you find yourself confused and exasperated. You shouldn’t mix systems or deviate from the instructions, except you actually have to. Yet, trust me, there is no change, addition or subtraction you can make to your chosen system that will not result in someone, somewhere, telling you that you’ve done it wrong. I can’t entirely blame those of you who have decided the Solomonic mages can go to gehenna with their convoluted tradition. However, before you begin to wish the Roman Church had succeeded in burning all the blasted grimoires, let’s see if we can’t untangle this knot to some extent.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2016/02/grimoire-hopping/
Greetings festival goers!
It’s Samhain time again! (YAY!) And I’ll be appearing at the upcoming Florida Pagan Gathering during the first week of November:
November 4 – 8, 2015
Solomonic Ritual: Invocation of the Elementals
If you missed out the last time we performed this ritual, me and my wife Carrie will be performing a Solomonic invocation of the Elementals:
For the past one hundred years, the Solomonic grimoires have been conflated with later lodge systems like the Golden Dawn and Thelema, and are therefore often classified as “ceremonial magick.” However, as outlined in Aaron Leitch’s Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, the magick of the grimoires is much more akin to sorcery, shamanism or folk magick. If you are Pagan, you might be surprised by how familiar a Solomonic ritual will feel.And now you have a rare opportunity to witness (or participate in) such a ritual for yourself! FPG has invited grimoire masters Aaron Leitch and Carrie Mikell to perform a Solomonic Invocation of the Elementals.
This is a Goetic ritual: we will be invoking the presence of the four classes of Elemental spirits (Salamanders, Undines, Sylphs and Gnomes) through the authority of the four Kings of the compass points: Oriens, Paimon, Amaymon and Ariton. They will be invited to partake of four Elemental offerings and in return will be asked to protect the festival grounds and guide all attendees in their own personal spiritual journeys.
While this will not be a full “evocation to visible appearance”, the spirits very likely will make their presence known to those who are sensitive enough to see or hear them. Therefore we will be inviting any and all skryers to attend and participate in the invocations. Also, ALL who attend will be welcome to write their own private petitions to the spirits.
Lecture: The Lost Secrets of Western Magick Revealed
Have you ever noticed the distinct separation between modern Western occultism (i.e. Wicca, Thelema, Golden Dawn, Theosophy, the New Age, etc.) and the indigenous occultism practiced by the rest of the world? Our techniques are different in fundamental ways, and (historically) both sides have suffered from various amounts of disdain for one another. Non-Western conjurers and shamans often describe our magick as more fantasy than reality.
This is because, during the Renaissance and the following Age of Enlightenment, the West left “superstition” behind and decided that everything could be viewed through the lens of science and psychology. Consequently, that is what their magick became, and it is why to this very day Western systems are accused of being “purely mental.”
Of course, Western magick is hardly completely ineffective. That is merely a negative stereotype. But we can still learn new (or, better, re-learn very ancient) techniques to make our magick even stronger. So, if you are struggling with your magick and would like to know why you aren’t achieving the results you desire, or you simply want better results than you’ve attained in the past, or even if you are simply always seeking to expand your practice with powerful techniques that really work — then this is the lecture for you.
Bring your questions, as this will be an open discussion!
Lecture: Satan, Demons and Hell – Why Are They in the Grimoires?
For hundreds of years, the Western grimoires have been decried as evil texts full of appeals to Satanic entities, by which magicians sell their souls to the Great Enemy in return for temporary wealth or power here on Earth. In recent decades, these texts have re-emerged into our culture – this time viewed in a more egalitarian light. After all, there are grimoires full of angels and nature spirits who have no connection to the infernal realm. There is really nothing “Satanic” about these books. However…
While it is true most of this negative reputation is thanks to aggressive anti-occult propaganda from the Church, the grimoires themselves must bear some of the blame. While there are plenty of angelic grimoires out there, it cannot be denied there are countless examples of grimoires that really do call upon Satan, Lucifer, Leviathan, Belial, Asmodeus, Baal, Lilith and hundreds (maybe thousands) of other denizens of hell. This made it very easy for the Church to hold the texts up as proof that they are, in fact, devilish at heart.
Yet the European medieval/renaissance grimoires were primarily produced by devout Christians. The image of the de-frocked priest performing Satanic Masses behind closed doors is not only the stuff of urban legend, but nothing remotely like it appears in the grimoires. Even the spells that call exclusively upon the rulers of Hell still make prayers and appeals to the Highest God to accomplish their goals. So these people weren’t Satan worshippers or even demonolaters – but that leaves us to question: why in the world would devout Christian mystics even include Satan or anything hellish in their grimoires? And, of course, what does that mean for those of us using the same texts today?
You might find the answer surprising – but more importantly you will see how the answer is vital to the Western mysteries, and to all of us attempting to revive the Old Magick in the modern world. This lecture might just change how you think magick works!
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, October 5, 2015:
When the master of the art shall wish to perform his operations, having previously arranged all things which it is necessary to observe and practice; from the first day of the experiment, it is absolutely necessary to ordain and to prescribe care and observation, to abstain from all things unlawful, and from every kind of impiety, impurity, wickedness, or immodesty, as well of body as of soul; as, for example, eating and drinking superabundantly, and all sorts of vain words, buffooneries, slanders, calumnies, and other useless discourse; but instead to do good deeds, speak honestly, keep a strict decency in all things, never lose sight of modesty in walking, in conversation, in eating and drinking, and in all things; the which should be principally done and observed for nine days, before the commencement of the operation.
[Key of Solomon the King, Book II, Chapter 4: “Concerning the Fasting and Care and Things to be Observed”]
The above quote from the Key of Solomon is a fairly typical example of the grimoires‘ instructions concerning ritual purity. Given the Judeo-Christian nature of the texts, it is not surprising to see typical Christian rhetoric about “impiety, impurity, wickedness, or immodesty” and the general concept of “sin.” Taking these texts at face value, it would seem the angels and spirits simply won’t bother to respond if you are a “sinful” and “unclean” person:
Accustom yourself as much as possible to purity of body and cleanliness of raiment, seeing that this is very necessary; for the spirits, both good and evil alike, love purity.
[The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Book II, Chapter 20]
Most grimoires insist on this kind of spiritual cleanliness for, at the very least, the duration of the magical operation. Today, we are thankfully maturing past childish ideas such as “sin.” We no longer believe that a Big Voyeur in the Sky watches us all day waiting for us to break one of his silly little rules so he can torture us for eternity. We certainly don’t accept any Deities who would consider something like sex a “bad thing” (especially after creating it in the first place!). Therefore, it isn’t surprising to see many modern students attempting to work with the Old Magick, while just ignoring the fasting, seclusion, abstinence, and other aspects of ritual purification.
However, Christians and Jews did not invent ritual purity…
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/10/ritual-purity-vs-spiritual-coolness/
Greetings Solomonic Conjurors!
I am thrilled to announce the Grand Opening of our new online store:
We specialize in the creation of obscure and unique ritual tools and ingredients for traditional Solomonic and grimoire workings. We carry holy water, maiden-spun thread, hazel and oak wands, aspergillums, ritual knives, herbal-infused blood substitutes, talismans, parchment, beeswax and beeswax candles, holy oil, incense, and much more.
Everything we sell is made according to the exacting instructions required by the grimoires (Key of Solomon the King, the Book of Abramelin, etc) – all materials, timing, consecrations, ritual protocols and proscriptions are meticulously observed in the creation of our ritual items.
Hand-Crafted Ritual Tools and Items
The grimoires are infamous for requiring rare, obscure and hard to obtain items: such as thread hand-spun by a young maiden, ritual tools blessed by a priest, rare herbs and incenses, objects made from specific metals and other materials, rare virgin woods etc. They also require meticulous rituals and consecrations during the time of their making – extending from exactly how and when the materials are gathered to exactly how and when the tools are constructed. Some tools can only be made at certain times of the year, and others require rituals extending over several days or even weeks. We follow all of these requirements to the letter, and we provide a certificate of authenticity with every ritual tool.
Please Note: Some grimoiric tools require specific timing, rare materials, or lengthy rituals in their creation. In these cases, we do not carry a large stock of pre-made items. Instead, we make your ritual tool upon order. And, depending on your requirements and our resources, we will consider special orders upon request. Please be aware that there may be a waiting period while we do our work, though we will stay in touch with you throughout the process. Also, some especially rare items may result in limited availability of some tools.
All of our items are made, blessed and/or consecrated by Fr. Aaron Leitch, an ordained Gnostic priest of the Ecclesia Beatae Mariae Angelorum. Most of the fine art-work is done by Carrie Leitch, a Deacon of the same Church. Wood and metal-working done by Jon Zuilkowski
Father Aaron Leitch and Deacon Carrie Leitch
What is a Grimoire?
Grimoire is a French word meaning “grammar” or “basic instruction book.” It refers especially to a genre of occult texts and spellbooks from medieval and renaissance Europe that combined Church liturgy and ritual with exorcism, witchcraft and folk magick. A great number of them focus specifically upon the evocation of spiritual entities through whom spells can be cast and from whom magickal secrets can be learned. These books represent the culmination of the Western Occult Tradition up to that time, preserving the last remnants of the Old Magick before the rise of the quasi-Masonic Magickal Lodges of the nineteenth century.
What is Solomonic Magick?
Most of the old grimoires are attributed to Biblical heroes such as Moses, Noah, Enoch and King Solomon. (Though this is merely legend, as the grimoires were written thousands of years after these Biblical figures lived.) Without question, it is the Solomonic grimoires that have had the greatest impact on the Western Tradition. Today, even grimoires attributed to other figures are considered part of the overall “Solomonic” tradition. Books like the Key of Solomon the King, The Lemegeton (including The Goetia, Pauline Arts, The Almadel of Solomon and more), The Heptameron, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, Liber Juratis, John Dee’s Enochian Diaries, The Magus, The Grand Grimoire and Grimoirum Verum (to name only a few of hundreds of such texts) are all considered sub-sets of the Solomonic tradition.
Aaron and Carrie performing Solomonic Invocation
Carrie At Work
A.J. Spinning Thread
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, August 31, 2015:
The subject of the use of blood in magickal rituals arises every so often in modern occult discussions. And, as you might expect, it tends to be a rather polarizing force. Some are willing to use blood—either their own or that of an animal—in their sacred rituals, while others consider it animal cruelty and are vehemently against the practice. Sadly, these discussions usually get off on the wrong foot from the very beginning, thanks to a very distorted view of ritual sacrifice held by Western culture. Most often, I see the assertion that ritual sacrifice is a method of “powering your magick via the death of a living creature.” And, even more unfortunate, it is sometimes said the magick is powered specifically by the terror and pain suffered by the creature.
I have addressed the subject of ritual sacrifice in many places—see Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires chapter four (Llewellyn), my introduction to Ritual Offerings (Nephillim Press), and a few other places on blogs and forums. I will briefly summarize here what I had to say on the subject elsewhere:
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/08/ritual-use-of-blood-yesterday-and-today/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, August 4, 2015:
“All the books which treat of characters, extravagant figures, circles, convocations, conjurations, invocations, and other like matters, even although any one may see some effect thereby, should be rejected, being works full of diabolical inventions; and ye should know that the demon maketh use of an infinitude of methods to entrap and deceive mankind. This I have myself proved, because when I have operated with the veritable wisdom, all the other enchantments which I had learned have ceased, and I could no longer operate with them…” [Book the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Book II, Chapter 4: “That the greater number of magical books are false and vain.”]
The above quote from the Book of Abramelin has led some students to question how the Operation relates to other systems of magick, especially the Solomonic grimoires. There can be little doubt that Abraham the Jew is repudiating those very grimoires in his above diatribe—what with all of their characters and circles and conjurations. Of course, as I pointed out in my last blog, it is not unusual for a grimoire to declare itself pristine while decrying all other (largely similar) texts as false and diabolical. However, what makes Abraham’s above statement unique is that he claims the True and Sacred Magic will cause all of those other systems to stop working for you. Is that true?
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/08/abramelin-vs-the-grimoires-will-the-sacred-magic-replace-all-other-systems/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, June 22, 2015:
In the upcoming issue of Hermetic Tablet (Summer 2015), Jake Stratton-Kent has published an essay entitled, “The Other Magicians and the Goetia,” (adapted from an Internet post simply called, “The Other Magicians”), and I am about to spoil the hell out of it. It’s not that I want to steal Jake’s thunder, but I think this is a topic that needs discussion, and I’m not against shining my own spotlight upon it—especially since the subject matter has become rather important to my own path. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so let me begin with a bit of explanation.
When modern students look at the most popular texts of classical Western occultism—such as the Key of Solomon, Lemegeton, The Book of Abramelin, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, etc,—we often come away with the impression that they represent how magick was done at the time. However, we can easily forget a rather simple fact: the medieval/Renaissance European grimoires only reflect how one specific group of occultists did their work.
I talk about this at length in Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, where I discuss the origin of the Solomonic tradition among a class of clerical exorcists. Without a doubt, the methods of spirit conjuration outlined in the Solomonic texts reflect this origin: the view of all chthonic and nature spirits as “evil,” the imperious and arrogant manner in which the spirits are addressed, and the harsh methods used to force the spirits’ compliance—all of this arises from a culture of people who spent their days casting out truly demonic entities of sickness and ill-fortune from their clients.
Yet, the grimoires themselves have given us clues that this was not the only method of working with spirits—perhaps not even the predominant one.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/06/who-are-the-other-magicians/