Lesser Key of Solomon

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

The Lesser Key of Solomon, also known as the Clavicula Salomonis Regis[note 1] or Lemegeton, is an anonymous grimoire (or spell book) on demonology. It was compiled in the mid-17th century, mostly from materials a couple of centuries older.[1][2] It is divided into five books—the Ars Goetia, Ars Theurgia-Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria.[1][3]

Ars Goetia

The most obvious source for the Ars Goetia is Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum in his De praestigiis daemonum. Weyer does not cite, and is unaware of, any other books in the Lemegeton, indicating that the Lemegeton was derived from his work, not the other way around.[1][4] The order of the spirits was changed between the two, four additional spirits were added to the later work, and one spirit (Pruflas) was omitted. The omission of Pruflas, a mistake that also occurs in an edition of Pseudomonarchia Daemonum cited in Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft, indicates that the Ars Goetia could not have been compiled before 1570. Indeed, it appears that the Ars Goetia is more dependent upon Scot's translation of Weyer than Weyer's work in itself. Additionally, some material was used from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the Heptameron by pseudo-Pietro d'Abano,[note 2][1][5] and the Magical Calendar.[6]

Weyer's Officium Spirituum, which is likely related to a 1583 manuscript titled The Office of Spirits,[7] appears to have ultimately been an elaboration on a 15th-century manuscript titled Le Livre des Esperitz (of which 30 of its 47 spirits are nearly identical to spirits in the Ars Goetia).[2][5]

In a slightly later copy made by Thomas Rudd, this portion was labelled "Liber Malorum Spirituum seu Goetia", and the seals and demons were paired with those of the 72 angels of the Shemhamphorasch,[3] who were intended to protect the conjurer and control the demons he summoned.[8] The angelic names and seals were derived from a manuscript by Blaise de Vigenère, whose papers were also used by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers in his works for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.[5] Rudd may have derived his copy of Liber Malorum Spirituum from a now-lost work by Johannes Trithemius,[5] who taught Agrippa, who in turn taught Weyer.

This portion of the work was later translated by S. L. MacGregor Mathers and published by Aleister Crowley under the title The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King. Crowley added some additional invocations previously unrelated to the original work, as well as essays describing the rituals as psychological exploration instead of demon summoning.[9]

The Seventy-Two Demons

Buer, the tenth spirit, who teaches "Moral and Natural Philosophy" (from a 1995 Mathers edition. Illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).

The demons' names (given below) are taken from the Ars Goetia, which differs in terms of number and ranking from the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum of Weyer. As a result of multiple translations, there are multiple spellings for some of the names, which are given in the articles concerning them.

  1. King Bael
  2. Duke Agares
  3. Prince Vassago
  4. Marquis Samigina
  5. President Marbas
  6. Duke Valefor
  7. Marquis Amon
  8. Duke Barbatos
  9. King Paimon
  10. President Buer
  11. Duke Gusion
  12. Prince Sitri
  13. King Beleth
  14. Marquis Leraje
  15. Duke Eligos
  16. Duke Zepar
  17. Count/President Botis
  18. Duke Bathin
  19. Duke Sallos
  20. King Purson
  21. Count/President Marax
  22. Count/Prince Ipos
  23. Duke Aim
  24. Marquis Naberius
  25. Count/President Glasya-Labolas
  26. Duke Buné
  27. Marquis/Count Ronové
  28. Duke Berith
  29. Duke Astaroth
  30. Marquis Forneus
  31. President Foras
  32. King Asmoday
  33. Prince/President Gäap
  34. Count Furfur
  35. Marquis Marchosias
  36. Prince Stolas
  37. Marquis Phenex
  38. Count Halphas
  39. President Malphas
  40. Count Räum
  41. Duke Focalor
  42. Duke Vepar
  43. Marquis Sabnock
  44. Marquis Shax
  45. King/Count Viné
  46. Count Bifrons
  47. Duke Vual
  48. President Haagenti
  49. Duke Crocell
  50. Knight Furcas
  51. King Balam
  52. Duke Alloces
  53. President Caim
  54. Duke/Count Murmur
  55. Prince Orobas
  56. Duke Gremory
  57. President Ose
  58. President Amy
  59. Marquis Orias
  60. Duke Vapula
  61. King/President Zagan
  62. President Valac
  63. Marquis Andras
  64. Duke Flauros
  65. Marquis Andrealphus
  66. Marquis Cimeies
  67. Duke Amdusias
  68. King Belial
  69. Marquis Decarabia
  70. Prince Seere
  71. Duke Dantalion
  72. Count Andromalius

These 72 spirits are under the power of Amaymon (Moymon, Maimon), Corson, Ziminiar and Gaap, who are the four great kings ruling four cardinal points East, West, North and South; some translations list the four kings as Asmodai, Beleth, Belial and Gaap without giving directions. These four are usually called Oriens (Uriens, Urieus, Uricus) in the East, Paymon (Poymon, Paymonia) in the West, Egin (Ariton, Egyn, Aegym, Egion) in the North and Amaymon in the South; and frequently entitled by the Rabbins as Samael in the East, Azael in the West, Mahazael in the North and Azazel in the South.[10] There are two other lists provided for identities of four cardinal kings: Bael, Poymon, Egyn and Moymon; and Asmodel (Asmodeus, Amodeo) in the East, Paymon in the West, Aegym in the North and Maimon in the South.[11]

Ars Theurgia Goetia

The Ars Theurgia Goetia mostly derives from Trithemius's Steganographia, though the seals and order for the spirits are different due to corrupted transmission via manuscript.[5][12] Rituals not found in Steganographia were added, in some ways conflicting with similar rituals found in the Ars Goetia and Ars Paulina. Most of the spirits summoned are tied to points on a compass, four Emperors tied to the cardinal points (Carnesiel in the East, Amenadiel in the West, Demoriel in the North and Caspiel in the South), sixteen Dukes tied to cardinal points, inter-cardinal points, additional directions between those. There are an additional eleven Wandering Princes, totaling thirty one spirit leaders who each rule several to a few dozen spirits.[13]

Ars Paulina

Derived from book two of Trithemius's Steganographia and from portions of the Heptameron, but purportedly delivered by Paul the Apostle instead of (as claimed by Trithemius) Raziel. Elements from The Magical Calendar, astrological seals by Robert Turner's 1656 translation of Paracelsus's Archidoxes of Magic, and repeated mentions of guns and the year 1641 indicate that this portion was written in the later half of the seventeenth century.[14][15] Traditions of Paul communicating with heavenly powers are almost as old as Christianity itself, as seen in some interpretations of 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 and the apocryphal Apocalypse of Paul. The Ars Paulina is in turn divided into two books, the first detailing twenty-four angels aligned with the twenty-four hours of the day, the second (derived more from the Heptameron) detailing the 360 spirits of the degrees of the zodiac.[15]

Ars Almadel

Mentioned by Trithemius and Weyer, the latter of whom claimed an Arabic origin for the work. A 15th-century copy is attested to by Robert Turner, and Hebrew copies were discovered in the 20th century. The Ars Almadel instructs the magician on how to create a wax tablet with specific designs intended to contact angels via scrying.[16][17]

Ars Notoria

The oldest known portion of the Lemegeton, the Ars Notoria (or Notory Art) was first mentioned by Michael Scot in 1236 (and thus was written earlier). The Ars Notoria contains a series of prayers (related to those in The Sworn Book of Honorius) intended to grant eidetic memory and instantaneous learning to the magician. Some copies and editions of the Lemegeton omit this work entirely;[18][19] A. E. Waite ignores it completely when describing the Lemegeton.[4] It is also known as the Ars Nova.

Editions and translations

  • Arthur Edward Waite, The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts (1898). Later republished as The Secret Tradition in Goetia, includes large portions of the Lemegeton, particularly the Goetia.[9]
  • Mathers, S. L. MacGregor (trans.), Crowley, A. (ed.), The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (1904). 1995 reprint: ISBN 0-87728-847-X.
  • Shah, Idries, The Secret Lore of Magic, (1970). Contains portions of Ars Almandel and split sections the Ars Goetia, missing large portions of the rituals involved.[9]
  • de Laurence, L. W. (1916); 1942 reprint: ISBN 978-0-7661-0776-2; 2006 reprint: ISBN 978-1-59462-200-7. A plagiarism of the Mathers/Crowley edition.[20]
  • White, Nelson and Anne. Lemegeton; Clavicula Salomonis: or The Complete Lesser Key of Solomon The King, (1979). Noted by Peterson to be "almost totally unreadable".[9]
  • Henson, Mitch (1999), ISBN 978-0-9672797-0-1. Noted by Peterson to be "uncritical and indiscriminate in its use of source material".[9]
  • Runyon, Carroll, The Book of Solomon's Magick; (1996). Targeted more toward practicing magicians than academics, claims that the demons were originally derived from Mesopotamian mythology.[21]
  • Peterson, Joseph H. The Lesser Key of Solomon: Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis (2001), ISBN 978-1-57863-220-6. Considered "the definitive version"[22] and "the standard edition".[23]
  • Skinner, Stephen & Rankine, David, The Goetia of Dr Rudd: The Angels and Demons of Liber Malorum Spirituum Seu Goetia (Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic). Golden Hoard Press, (2007). ISBN 978-0-9547639-2-3


  1. The Clavicula Salomonis, or Key of Solomon is an earlier text referring to different material.
  2. The latter republished spuriously as a purported Fourth Book of Agrippa.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis: The Lesser Key of Solomon, Detailing the Ceremonial Art of Commanding Spirits Both Good and Evil; ed. Joseph H. Peterson; Weiser Books, Maine; 2001. p.xi-xvii
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Goetia of Dr Rudd; Thomas Rudd, Eds. Stephen Skinner & David Rankine; 2007, Golden Hoard Press. p. 399.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rudd, Ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.14-19
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Book of Ceremonial Magic, Part I, Chapter III, section 2: "The Lesser Key of Solomon"; Arthur Edward Waite; London, 1913; available online at The Internet Sacred Text Archive, (direct link to section).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Rudd, Ed. Skinner & Rankine; pp. 31-43
  6. Rudd, Ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.82
  7. A Book of the Office of Spirits; John Porter, Trans. Frederick Hockley, Ed. Colin D. Campbelll; Teitan Press, 2011. p. xiii-xvii
  8. Rudd, Ed. Skinner & Rankine; p. 71
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Peterson, p.xviii-xx
  10. Laurence, de, L.W., p. 58
  11. Barrett, Francis (1801). The Magus, pp.135. Cited by Joseph H. Peterson.
  12. Peterson, p.xv.
  13. Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.53-57
  14. Peterson, p. xv-xvi
  15. 15.0 15.1 Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; pp. 57-59
  16. Peterson, p. xvi
  17. Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.59-60
  18. Peterson, p. xvii
  19. Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.60-63.
  20. Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.50,
  21. Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.51-52
  22. Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.8
  23. Rudd, ed. Skinner & Rankine; p.52

External links