Being: Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, Theurgia-Goetia, Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis, Liber Malorum Spirituum seu Goetia
(Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic III)

By Stephen Skinner & David Rankine

Golden Hoard Press, 2007

Reviewed by Soror Chamos

For me it was an honour to be asked to review this newly published Lemegeton, as this most famous of grimoires is a personal passion of mine. So what makes this book different?

Firstly, it contains a number of hitherto unpublished manuscripts, adding to the material available to the occult fraternity:

“a transcription of Dr Rudd’s ‘Liber Malorum Spirituum seu Goetia’ from Harley MS 6483, with other pertinent extracts from manuscripts Harley MS 6482, Sloane MS 3824 and Wellcome MS 3203”

Like the the other books in the Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic (SWCM) series by these authors, this book contains an excellent introduction to the manuscripts, which sets the context for the work presented therein. Herein we find information about what the Goetia is and also what sets this particular manuscript apart from those previously published. For one it stresses that Dr Rudd’s Lemegeton (which for those unfamiliar with the term is simply another name for the collection of books which makes up the “Goetia”) is one which shows the workings of this magician who worked this system during the 17th century. Effectively it contains working notes and developments – such as the excellent double seals for the 72 Goetic demons, not found elsewhere. Here we find that the Shem ha-Mephorash angels are called upon to help control the demons when they are evoked, something I would never have thought of but certainly plan on trying out in the coming months. It sounds so simple and logical, yet it is not something I have never heard modern Goetic magicians mention!

The SWCM books continue to show how interconnected the practice of angel magic was with the magic of the grimoires and as such has a wide appeal for magicians from both sides of the fence, a fence which, reading between the lines, Skinner and Rankine believes should not be there in the first place! They present the material as being part of the same corpus of material practiced, rather than distinct and separate entities which is so often the case today.

The seals presented within these manuscripts are better than those I have found in the other available editions of the Goetia, again this is of great benefit for those of us who use the system, giving clearer images which can be used for the seals, which seems to be far more carefully drawn. They are also unique because they show the Hebrew names of the demons, as used by Dr Rudd and each one as previously mentioned in this review also contains the corresponding angelic seal.

The authors go on to trace the material in the Lemegeton as far back as the thirteenth century, showing the connections between angel magicians and those working evocations within the grimoire traditions. They work towards diminishing the separation put onto these two systems by the church and use the term “spiritual creatures” which I really like, as a term to describe collectively angels, demons, spirits, elementals, fairies and other non-human entities. This really works well towards breaking down the false boundaries existing between the different systems today, uniting it into one corpus once more.

Not only would I go as far as to say that this book should be on the shelves of every modern day practising magician who works within the Solomonic, Grimoire, Goetic or Ceremonial systems – but also that those with an interest in angelic magic, witchcraft and occult history will also come to treasure and love this book. Like previous books in the series, the material is presented as a beautifully bound hardback, with dustjacket – a leather edition is also available.

No doubt it will bring out the green eyed monster in some contemporary occultists who would wish to dismiss it, but if that is the case it will only show how important the material in this book is, just because it challenges established thought based on the Goetia published by Aleister Crowley just over a hundred years ago, doesn’t make it wrong!

More information can be found on the publisher’s website: Golden Hoard Press