History of Demons in Magick
The demons of modern magick began with demonology classifications by Johann Wier in the mid-1500s, with Collin de Plancy’s illustrated Dictionnaire Infernal in 1863, and with a 17th century grimoire called the Goetia. Golden Dawn member, SL MacGregor Mathers, translated and compiled the list of Goetic demons in 1904. Below are four key books on demons and demonology from the late 16th century to 20th century.
Pseudomonarchia daemonum (1583) -Reginald Scot’s translation of Johann Wier’s text
Dictionnaire Infernal (1863) – Collin de Plancy’s book of demons & illustrations
Abramelin The Mage (1898) – 15th century Hebrew work offering a hierarchy of demons
Goetic Demons (1904) – Mather’s translation of the Lesser Key of Solomon the King
The Goetia of King Solomon
The Lesser Key of Solomon, also known as the Clavicula Salomonis Regis 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. It is divided into five books: the Ars Goetia, Ars Theurgia-Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria.
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. 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, theHeptameron by pseudo-Pietro d’Abano, and the Magical Calendar.
Weyer’s Officium Spirituum, which is likely related to a 1583 manuscript titled “The Office of Spirits”, 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).
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, who were intended to protect the conjurer and control the demons he summoned. 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. Rudd may have derived his copy of Liber Malorum Spirituum from a now-lost work by Johannes Trithemius, 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.
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. 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, 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.
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. 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.
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.
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; A. E. Waite ignores it completely when describing the Lemegeton. It is also known as the Ars Nova.
Wikipedia: Lesser Key of Solomon ]