You see a lot of blog posts by Wiccans on Witchvox about Christians Demonizing them and their gods. You see the occasional post from me and a few others about Wiccans and Pagans Unfairly Demonizing Christians. Recently there has been a lot of chatter about demonizing Haitian Vodou and the Loa by Protestants. These kinds of things happen all the time.
You know its a weird month however when a magician goes on a crusade to stop the demonization of, well, demons.
This however is the subject of the last 10 Posts over at Head for Red. I started to reply to lots of them, but because of time constraints and the need to keep focus, I thought I would post yet another Goetic post here. HBesides this all started with a post I made. All I wanted to do though, was defend my conjuration of Bune by pointing out that 1. I rely upon the realization and power of the magician more than ceremonial parameters and 2. though deceptively short, my conjuration contains very targeted constraints. This has turned into a discussion on the nature of the beings and now has spiraled into a full on crusade on the good Frater's part to defend the reputation of these spirits.
Leaving aside the fact that the magnitude and veracity of his demonic defending would itself be reason in the eyes of many magicians to think that the Goets had too much a hold on him ;) I must admit that he makes some excellent points. Among them:
1. People are quick to attribute their Goetic Successes with their own abilities but their failures on the evil nature of the spirits.
2. His own problems with Goetia stem not from the nature of the spirit, but from the manner in which he worded things and possibly the frantic mood he was in at the time.
3. You can get unwanted results from Angels as well as Demons.
4. Many Goetic spirits have their historical origins in Pagan deities, as do many Angels.
All excellent points. I would not dispute them directly, only point out that it should be kept in mind that:
As to point 1: Sometimes it is nothing more than the summoning that goes bad, not a result. When I conjured Asmodeus I did'nt even get to my requests because after reading the spirit psychically and making sure it was Asmodeus, I felt I had summoned a presence that was not just wrathful, but truly evil - a concept that I did'nt even believe in at the time. Now, I have used Goetia before that and after that, and never felt the same presence of evil, but when thinking of them as a group - it does force me to keep that in mind.
As to Point 2: It is true that giving any spirit too much latitude can cause problems, but man, there were a million and one ways for that to manifest. The way it did was pretty drastic. You can give the spirit too much of an opening, but it still takes that spirits nature to drive through that opening with sherman tank covered in napalm.
On Point 3: Yeah, maybe if you focus on the wrong thing. For instance if you focus too much on making money through your night job and only work with the Angels in that capacity, they may make more time for you by removing your day job. However, with Angels I have always seen an underlying wisdom in the end. They tend to work more in line with our intent than our wording, the Goetia's spirits seem to do the reverse.There is an ennobling factor to Angels that there that I just do not find with the Goetias Spirits. Its not even a matter of very Material spirits either. I have encountered this ennobling nature in Loa and in Saints. Lucifer himself has it, though not the being that I contacted under that name using the seals from the Verum. Of course this is just one Mages experience vs another.
Apart from the above, the possibility of Spirits acting in ways we dont anticipate is one of the reasons that I advocate any spirit magic at all to be done in support of other types of direct magic which in turn is in support of well defined goals. It is not their job to know exactly how you want your life to run.
As to Point 4. Here is a real can of worms. There are a number of points to make:
First of all, most of the Goetias Spirits do have older origins than the Lesser Key, but many of them have ALWAYS been considered evil. Asmodeus literally is Avestan for Wrathful Demon. Belial has always been translated as "without worth" and indicated an evil spirit.
In other cases like Bael, it is a Christian demonization of a Pagan Deity, Baal. Same with the Verums treatment of Astaroth who is a demonic development of Astarte. The problem is that if you are summoning them via the Lesser Key's Goetia, you are NOT approaching them as if they were a God or Goddess - you are approaching them as if they were a demon.
It is like someone in the Mafia. I have known a few people related to organized Crime. Some are very nice, some are bad all the time, just like Goetia's description of its spirits. If you approach them from the angle of someone who wants to hire them or do business, than they treat you one way. If however you are a cop and you are forcing them into service they treat you another way. Read the Goetia itself. Read the conjurations. The system is BASED on the legend of Solomon BINDING DEMONS into service. Some of them are easier to deal with than others, but they are still Bound Demons when you approach them from that angle. Whatever they were originally, the spirits that answer to those calls and those sigils are patterned by that approach and basically act as Demons.
Now, there has also been a few terms that have been thrown mixed in to the conversation. Goety and Qlippoth come to mind. Goety or Goeteia is basically just a term for Sorcery in Greece. It is distinct from Theurgia in aim. Pretty much any practical magic is Goeteia and so it bears little upon the specific Grimoire known as The Goetia.
I dont know why Frater RO Brought up the Qlippoth in one of his posts. They have little bearing on the spirits of the Goetia. There are different interpretations of what they are but none of them involve anything good other than the way that confronting the most unbalanced and fractured portions of yourself and your owld can be good. It IS good work, but hard. Whether the Qlippoth represent genuine Evil, the shells of a broken and unbalanced Geburah, or the "nightside" of the sephira and paths, they are distinct from the rest of the system for a reason.
Anyway, I know that I am not going to change Frater R.O.'s mind with this. He has his view, and has the experience to back it up. I respect him even when I disagree with him because he does the work and doesnt whine about the consequences. I hope he reads most of this e-mail knowing that I am smirking while writing, but also that the issue is serious enough that I wanted to provide a counter balance to his recent posts. Frankly it doesn't matter whether an individual sees Bune is a Money Machine a being primarily concerned with ferrying the dammed in Turkish mythology (remember that first bit in his description?). But the discussion is a good one.