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The Roots Of The Goetia


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#1 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 02:37 PM

From another thread:

View Postwren, on 15 March 2017 - 02:18 PM, said:

...It also seems more historically accurate if you go back to the roots of the goetia.

I'm interested in your take on that, if you care to elaborate.
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#2 wren

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 03:00 PM

It's a jumbled mess, that I'll do no justice. To keep it somewhat brief, I'll try to hit on what I think you are interested in about that subject.

Do to some textual artifacts, I think that the Goetia, as we have received it, should be considered "degraded" by Christianization. My view is that Greek "Witchcraft", Arabic-Sabean-Ethiopian "magic" and Phoenetian religion should be considered the "true" roots of the Goetia, and that the Christian gloss that holds the system together is otherwise counterproductive.

I'm not confident in giving a history of the Goetia, so please overlook that.

#3 violetstar

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 03:11 PM

This might be of interest if anyone has not seen it:

http://www.digital-b...karr/tssmie.pdf
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#4 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 03:31 PM

View Postwren, on 15 March 2017 - 03:00 PM, said:

Do to some textual artifacts, I think that the Goetia, as we have received it, should be considered "degraded" by Christianization. My view is that Greek "Witchcraft", Arabic-Sabean-Ethiopian "magic" and Phoenetian religion should be considered the "true" roots of the Goetia, and that the Christian gloss that holds the system together is otherwise counterproductive.

I see, you meant cultural roots perhaps more than textual, while, I assume, you grant that some disparate texts must exist and apply. Moreover, you imply that the most-circulated English translations of the Solomonic texts are crap. Is that about right?

Do you tend to see Christianity as an inherently corrupting influence? I'll share up front that I do, generally speaking, but I'm interested in your opinion and elaboration on the ramifications of the Christian gloss on relevant practices.

We can presume that any practice handing down from anytime, antiquity included, had precursors stretching back beyond imagining. Is there any reason, to your mind, to assume that older is better?

One last question for this round: to your mind, what is Goetia?
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#5 wren

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 04:29 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 15 March 2017 - 03:31 PM, said:

I see, you meant cultural roots perhaps more than textual, while, I assume, you grant that some disparate texts must exist and apply. Moreover, you imply that the most-circulated English translations of the Solomonic texts are crap. Is that about right?

That's about right. I'd be more diplomatic than to outright call them crap, though. I'd call them... "difficult." There's a lot that you need to add to make them work, and there's the whole lion-skin belt thing. I can't get behind increasing market demand for lion skin products.

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Do you tend to see Christianity as an inherently corrupting influence? I'll share up front that I do, generally speaking, but I'm interested in your opinion and elaboration on the ramifications of the Christian gloss on relevant practices.

Generally, yes, I view Christianity as a corrupting influence, but not an inherently corrupting influence. I think, like the Goetia, Christianity needs major revision to be acceptable. The problems start in the Old Testament and continue forward.

The big thing is the fear that gets stirred up in the operator because they think they are "trafficking with demons." Awe is more useful than fear. All the circles and purifications and whatnot are there to help calm the operator back down(among other things.) I'm reminded of the story of an evocation that was supposed to have taken place in the Coliseum. When the spirits came and beat about the circle, the operator was so scared he shit himself, and the smell drove off the spirits. It can't be a healthy part of spiritual practice if it literally scares the shit out of you.

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We can presume that any practice handing down from anytime, antiquity included, had precursors stretching back beyond imagining. Is there any reason, to your mind, to assume that older is better?


It's less weird to steal the cultural products of dead people than live people. Also, extremely old practices, probably stayed around the marketplace if ideas for a reason. If something has stuck around from the neolithic, there's probably something biologic behind it. FDR is a good example.

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One last question for this round: to your mind, what is Goetia?

I think that's a trick question. To my mind, Goetia isn't a "thing." Rather there's a nearly infinte set of practices that might be reasonably called "Goetia." The only real necessity is spirt-interaction with spirits somehow related to the 72, and a willingness to claim the name Goetia.

#6 wren

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 04:48 PM

Ah, I would also consider a reconstruction of Greek goes related practices, whether fundamentalist or liberal, that wanted to claim the name to be valid.

#7 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:12 PM

View Postwren, on 15 March 2017 - 04:29 PM, said:

I think that's a trick question. To my mind, Goetia isn't a "thing." Rather there's a nearly infinte set of practices that might be reasonably called "Goetia." The only real necessity is spirt-interaction with spirits somehow related to the 72, and a willingness to claim the name Goetia.

Not at all a trick question. I was asking for your personal definition. Many proponents of digging into the roots of the Lemegeton take the term from much older Greek literature to refer to sorcery more generally, which seemed to be the tack you were on. The 72-member pantheon, as near as I can tell, only goes back as far as the Renaissance, and so came into play more than a Millennium after the Christian influences came to dominate the landscape.
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#8 wren

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:48 PM

Any time you ask what something is, it is a bit of a trick question to someone like me.

I don't see the point of calling sorcery Goetia. Sorcery will do. They are just names in the end.

Also, for better or for worse, the archetypal Goetia for the vast majority is the Ars Goetia. It seems silly to completely ignore it when trying to define Goetia. Even if you come up with a personally satisfying definition, you'd need to constantly give your definition to avoid confusion.

And, for the record, I'm actually not a proponent of going back to the roots of the Lemegeton. I think you should find a personally empowering and fulfilling practice, and let your life be the testament to the worth of the practice. The specific history of the practice is irrelevant. It can be inspirational when trying to put your own spin on things, but needn't be slavishly adhered to.

#9 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 06:06 PM

View Postwren, on 15 March 2017 - 02:18 PM, said:

It also seems more historically accurate if you go back to the roots of the goetia.

View Postwren, on 15 March 2017 - 05:48 PM, said:

The specific history of the practice is irrelevant.

Huh.
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#10 wren

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 06:44 PM

Oh, I was using "historical accuracy" in a weird way.

I think of history as essentially stories we tell ourselves about the past, so when I say "historical accuracy" I'm trying to talk about how well something integrates into my understanding of the stories I tell myself about the processes that gave birth to the present. Or something even more confusing. That's off topic though. I can try to make sense out of it if you are interested, but I'd rather let that mess lie.

Though I don't think that historical accuracy has a direct influence on the utility of a practice, I have met a lot of people who are hung up on searching for ur-cultii(what is the plural for ur-cultus?) or otherwise drawing authority from the past in some shape or form. If it matters to you, it probably matters to your practice.

#11 violetstar

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 10:50 AM

Wren."Generally, yes, I view Christianity as a corrupting influence, but not an inherently corrupting influence. I think, like the Goetia, Christianity needs major revision to be acceptable. The problems start in the Old Testament and continue forward"

This is especially true concerning magical texts of the Goetic type.We should not lose sight of the fact that most were composed,collected and distributed during the Medieval period by Christian theologians and Monks.
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