Advice on the Goetia?

by Mike Sententia on June 25, 2012

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I’m thinking about exploring the Goetia in the same way I explored Enochian: Connect to the ethereal software, talk to some spirits, see what they know. But, from what I’ve heard about the Goetia, they are “not to be trifled with.” Well, trifle I shall, partly because I’m pretty experienced in getting out of trouble. But before I do, I’m curious just what sort of trouble I’m likely to get into. Comments, anyone?

Also, if anyone has advice on who to contact first, I’m all ears.

Thanks!

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

ona June 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM

some classes of spirits dont give a shit about your wellbeing, and/or thrive on having access through you to attention/power/the body, and/or will be happy to manipulate you into setting things up to their own advantage. repercussions can include doubt, paranoia, fear, mistrust, lusts, bad decisions, messed up relationships, draining of your time and energy, complications, accidents, anxieties, illness, etc.

the more mature, balanced, and practiced a magician, the more he can navigate this stuff more ably, or cope with the collateral messes without spiraling down into the game the spirits would like to rope you into. traditional work with heavy or unreliable spirits includes protecting yourself and your personal space and controlling their arrival and especially departure. you may consider including all these elements in your work, even if you do it your own way. your statements of intention are like contracts with a guy whose always looking for a loophole. think through the contract and make sure there are no loopholes. do not negotiate on their terms. be specific and firm. set deadlines, require proof of things, etc.

thats my two cents.

Reply

Mike Sententia June 25, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Thanks Ona. That’s helpful.

What you highlight is actually the main reason I’m curious about these spirits: The whole interaction doesn’t add up for me. If they don’t care about people, why do they have procedures for us to contact them? If they want to break agreements, why don’t they just break agreements — why all the business about loopholes? What enforces your end of the agreement, if you decide to break it? It just doesn’t resemble any of my interactions with other spirits, where the intent and relationship are what matter, not the wording of an agreement. Have you worked with them before?

Reply

simon June 26, 2012 at 10:49 AM

“repercussions can include doubt, paranoia, fear, mistrust, lusts, bad decisions, messed up relationships, draining of your time and energy, complications, accidents, anxieties, illness, etc”

Sounds like an average day for many people in the west…and they don’t even practice invocation of demons (at least not consciously) !

Reply

ona June 26, 2012 at 11:53 PM

have you looked at the traditional rituals? the schema is not ‘hey, here’s how to contact me’, it’s the magician saying ‘by the power of god and under threat of torture i command you…’.

i have done a very brief few days of experimenting last year, to help a friend who wanted to play around. i dont enjoy having that kind of relationship and i dont want anything that requires coercion or doesnt have my back. my general precautions draw on broader experience with challenging, uncooperative, amoral, hot tempered or needy spirits.

as simon pointed out, my precautions sound like many people’s regular lives. horrifying thought. but could be true. ;)

Reply

Mike Sententia June 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

I am familiar with it, though I haven’t read the rituals myself. This is all part of what doesn’t add up: Every spirit I’ve ever worked with has signed up to work with their group, and the only threats they might respond to are direct threats — that I or my allies will attack them. So either something very different is going on (which makes me curious), or we have the same setup as we had with the Enochian angels, where the Goetia are projections of ethereal software, and the real spirits are behind the curtain. That’s my guess, and in particular, I’m curious why they set up this whole deal with cajoling demons, rather than just working with people more directly.

In other words, I think the phrase “by the power of god…” is a special command within the Goetia system, which the projections have been programmed to respond to, and there’s something else going on behind the scenes.

Reply

Crystal June 27, 2017 at 9:42 AM

There is a new book out by the Gallery of Magick called “The Demons of Magick” based on the Goetia. In the ritual to call on them, you first protect yourself with arch-angels, then call two Shem angels to also oversee the working. It doesn’t feel threatening to the demon at all. You make a promise of a reward (something as simple as eating an apple, a sensory experience you share with the spirit) if the spirit comes through for you. The whole ritual feels very safe and the relationship with the spirit is non-threatening. If the spirit gets you what you ask for, you reward it. If not, you don’t. Simple.

Reply

Mike Sententia June 27, 2017 at 12:41 PM

That’s interesting about the shared sensory experience. Some spirits I work with enjoy connecting to me while I listen to music. Very cool.

Reply

Dark Arckana June 28, 2012 at 1:35 AM

Troubles may include: Hauntings, Nightmares, Possessions, Personality Disintegration, You’re Magik being rendered inert for a while, Nightmares, Deep-rooted toxic in your psyche, having your loved ones possessed etc.

I suggest contacting Orobas first. He’s very helpful and can protect you against deception. Another good contact is Marchosias, but he’s hard to get ahold of.

Some people advocate summoning all of them at the same time.

I recommend that you stay away from these if you’re experimenting:

Bael — He absolutely will not show you homage if you do not have his seal drawn.

Andras — He’s not as evil as the book depicts, but he is as subtle and extremely hard to detect.

Malphas — This one is extremely powerful and will cause personality disintegration. Do not trifle with him, despite Christian drivel, this Demon is an extremely uber being called a “Tengu” in Japanese Mythology it’s well-versed in invading the mind and aura.

There is nothing to be gained by “trifling” with any spirit or any form of Magik. A better goal would be to work with that form of Magik or spirit in order to get something awesome out of it.

While you are well-versed in psychic combat, evidenced by your tutorials, speed won’t be enough to best these beings. You need to be more power-oriented, everything with either just bounce off or they’ll transmute it to something compatible to them and begin draining away, then use that as a link to get into your mind as a bonus. Even if you are able to fend them off, you have to sleep sometime and they don’t. I speak from experience.

Reply

ona June 28, 2012 at 9:33 AM

trust me, i’m not scared of much, i’ve had some hellacious spiritual experiences, and i think most ooohh scareeeee stories are bullshit. but boundaries are very important with some spirits, such as demons; initiations are very important with some spirits, such as in the african pantheons. i have a friend who’s an atheist who invoked an old Germanic goddess and ended up with her symbol scratched on his cornea in a freak accident. explore, but read the original rituals and understand the process so you can be sure you are covering your bases even in your own paradigm. if a spirit is always confined to a crystal, or the magician works in a protective circle, then include some equivalent. i’ve gotten nailed a couple times working without a circle. it makes a big difference. whatever your vocabulary or beliefs, the stuff functions as described, so take advantage of that to set yourself up for success and interesting results with minimal damage. keep in mind others nearby can be affected.

Reply

Mike Sententia June 28, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Thanks, Ona and Dark. It’s great to have the info, and to have you guys looking out for me. I’ll find out more about these guys before diving in. And I’ll discuss safety in my posts, since that sounds like a big topic with this type of magick. No immediate plans, so if anyone else has comments, feel free to chime in.

Reply

Simon June 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Nick Dutch has some videos on this topic which may or may not be of some use:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1tnZQn6boY&feature=relmfu

He’s someone who’s tone of voice and demeanor has something of the maniac about him but he also very often makes sense and shares your interest in applying scientific reasoning to magical experience.

I can’t bring myself to sit through them as the video quality is not great and I really have zero interest in the topic at present. Just thought they might help.

My real ‘advice’ on this would be- for now-to stop getting distracted by it and focus on getting your user friendly ethereal software tuned up and rolled out so some of us can start working with your approach and giving feedback.

But that’s just me….

Reply

Mike Sententia June 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Very cool. I like the guy, he explains this well, and I’ll probably watch some of the others in the sidebar. Never even thought to look on youtube for this.

By the way, don’t worry too much about distractions. The Goetia is a back burner project for when I need a change of pace. My main projects right now are the ethereal software for the book, and some of my own training. Today, I put in a request for the last few settings, like easier communication, an effect so non-mages will feel a tingle when it first connects, and a few other things. I’m going to test it with another friend this weekend, then put the sigil up next week and have you help me make sure it’s working for people I haven’t worked with personally. So, stay tuned, it’s all coming out soon.

Reply

Taylor Ellwood July 1, 2012 at 4:35 PM

I’ve never had any of the troubles with the goetia that your other commenters have had. Then again I’ve never approached them from a traditional I’m going to force you to do what I want approach. I get along with them swimmingly and they never try to mess with me. We come up with a mutual agreement of services rendered and everyone is happy.

Reply

Mike Sententia July 2, 2012 at 10:58 AM

That’s interesting. What you say in your post (http://www.magicalexperiments.com/respect-and-magical-entities/) makes sense: If you come into the encounter assuming the entity will be hostile, and you threaten it, of course it will react badly. But if you come in with respect, offering a mutually beneficial arrangement, then you have a good chance of working together equably. Which meshes with my general experiences with other spirits, and makes a lot of sense.

Reply

gunsho July 2, 2012 at 5:45 PM

I’m nearing halfway through illustrating the Goetia since 2006. I’d say that so far my experiences working on it has ranged from horrific to transcendent.

Reply

Mike Sententia July 2, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Very cool. For the illustrations, do you draw from published descriptions, your own magickal visions, your artistic imagination-type vision, or something else?

Reply

gunsho August 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

I’ve been working from various sources but mainly from the Mathers, MacGregor Liddel book.

Reply

Knarrnia August 20, 2012 at 7:38 AM

I realize I’m necro-ing a thread here just a bit…

I have never encountered a problem with the goetia so long as you’re using a spirit as a familiar. There’s several spirits who “giveth good familiars” and I personally read that as “these guys are the guys you call first”. Pick one you really like, get in with them, and they’ll be reasonably good at conducting you to other spirits. This also seems to jive with the solomonic lore where you work with spirits and “bind them to your control” until the kings of hell or somesuch.

Note that I haven’t bound the kings of hell.

What I typically do is read the prayer with the sense of “I’d like to work with you” and “I have the authority”. The spirits are not impressed by saber rattling and going full bore with it seems to get the operator nowhere. Once I was respectful but also assertive in my authority, the spirits were much more interested in working with me.

Reply

Mike Sententia August 20, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Interesting. That’s what Taylor said, too, and it’s nice to get a confirmation of it. I think I’ll take that respectful-networking approach if/when I try this, too. Thanks!

Reply

Sobekneferu December 30, 2014 at 2:48 AM

This thread is a million years old, but it turned up when I was searching for info about experiences with Goetia…

One thing with Goetia is there are quite a few variations on the practice, some so extreme I wouldn’t want to even call them the same practice. However, the Dr. Rudd Goetia as well as many other early books on the subject, do seem to stress being friendly and polite to the spirit once he arrives (though you may need to threaten him to provoke his arrival.) The Mathers/Crowley versions that most folks seem to use as their basis don’t appear to have this, so a lot of people do keep threatening and bossing the spirits in continuance of the summoning process. Seems that it’s not necessary nor even totally traditional, however.

Reply

Sobekneferu December 30, 2014 at 3:58 AM

Another thing I thought I should bring up — while many modern practitioners (especially Americans) are unused to the idea of having servants/slaves, these ideas would have been known to probably all the early practitioners who invented this system. The idea that someone HAS to work for you just because that’s their lot in life, as opposed to because they want to or get something out of it, is at work in this system. A lot of the Goetic setup stuff is just about proving that you outrank the demons.
I personally have no reason to think it’s necessary to abuse the demons anymore than one needs to abuse a slave, but you also don’t want them taking advantage of you. I get concerned with some stories I hear where it sounded like people are offering WAY too much back to the demon, like blood sacrifices — sometimes even in advance of the demon performing the work. While there’s no reason you shouldn’t be happy to develop a Bruce Wayne/Alfred relationship with your demon familiar if it’s possible, you probably should bear it in mind that he’s ultimately still your servant, and you ought not “bribe” him to keep doing his work.

Reply

Mike Sententia December 31, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Really interesting take on the Goetia. I like it. Demons as servants, and you need to demonstrate that you outrank them. Polite but firm. Thanks!

Reply

gunsho December 31, 2014 at 12:40 PM

It’s great to see this thread come alive again. I’m about halfway through the Goetia series of prints I’ve been working on and off on for 8 years. Here’s the current 26, the next 10 which I am currently will be printed in 2015 and I’m expecting to have the project done by 2017. Each demon is a limited-edition 5-color screen print in an edition of 150. http://gunsho.us/work/tag/demonology/

Reply

Joe November 12, 2015 at 10:55 AM

I’ve never had a negative experience with the Goetia before. Although I know that you shouldn’t waste their time just like you wouldn’t want someone to waste your time. Either you’ll get ignored if what your asking is not important to them or you might get scared or surprised by their reaction to you.

Reply

Mike Sententia November 12, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Thanks. “Don’t waste their time” seems like a good approach to a lot of relationships, both spirit and human. Well said.

Reply

Crystal June 27, 2017 at 9:49 AM

This thread is a few years old, but I’m curious if you had any success or if you have any stories to share in working with the Goetia?

Reply

Mike Sententia June 27, 2017 at 12:42 PM

I haven’t gone further with the Goetia since writing this post. It’s still something I’m curious about, but I just haven’t prioritized it over my other energy / magick work.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: