Goetia: a liberal humanist perspective?
Over on Liminal Nation there’s an interesting discussion in progress on the subject of invocation and evocation, and various folk have opined that all this commanding and bullying of goetic spirits (threatening them with god-names and so forth) is kind of old hat nowadays, and that a bit of respect towards these much-maligned entities might work wonders. To my shame, I admit that when I dipped my toe into evoking the spirits of the Goetia back in the late 1980s, this approach never really occurred to me, so I thought I’d do my bit towards challenging these outmoded values with an attempt to rewrite the conjurations in Crowley’s Lesser Key of Solomon:
So instead of old style evocation:
“I DO invocate and conjure thee, O Spirit, N. 1; and being with power armed from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by BERALANENSIS, BALDACHIENSIS, PAUMACHIA, and APOLOGIAE SEDES; by the most Powerful Princes, Genii, Liachidæ, and Ministers of the Tartarean Abode; and by the Chief Prince of the Seat of Apologia in the Ninth Legion, I do invoke thee, and by invocating conjure thee. And being armed with power from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by Him Who spake and it was done, and unto whom all creatures be obedient. Also I, being made after the image of GOD, endued with power from GOD and created according unto His will, do exorcise thee by that most mighty and powerful name of GOD, EL, strong and wonderful; O thou Spirit N. And I command thee and Him who spake the Word and His FIAT was accomplished, and by all the names of God. Also by the names ADONAI, EL, ELOHIM, ELOHI, EHYEH, ASHER EHYEH, ZABAOTH, ELION, IAH, TETRAGRAMMATON, SHADDAI, LORD GOD MOST HIGH, I do exorcise thee and do powerfully command thee, O thou Spirit N., that thou dost forthwith appear unto me here before this Circle in a fair human shape, without any deformity or tortuosity. And by this ineffable name, TETRAGRAMMATON IEHOVAH, do I command thee, at the which being heard the elements are overthrown, the air is shaken, the sea runneth back, the fire is quenched, the earth trembleth, and all the hosts of the celestials, terrestrials, and infernals, do tremble together, and are troubled and confounded. Wherefore come thou, O Spirit N., forthwith, and without delay, from any or all parts of the world wherever thou mayest be, and make rational answers unto all things that I shall demand of thee. Come thou peaceably, visibly, and affably, now, and without delay, manifesting that which I shall desire. For thou art conjured by the name of the LIVING and TRUE GOD, HELIOREN, wherefore fulfil thou my commands, and persist thou therein unto the end, and according unto mine interest, visibly and affably speaking unto me with a voice clear and intelligible without any ambiguity.”
How about this instead?
“Hey, (insert name here) how would you like to come over to my place for a chat? If you want to, that is. If you’ve got things you’d rather be doing, that’s okay by me. No pressure. I’m not going to command you or anything like that, because that’s basically offensive, right? No one likes being ordered about, and I’m not going to assume I’m superior to you just ‘cos I’m a human being either. Obviously I’d prefer it if you came in “in a fair human shape, without any deformity or tortuosity” but hey, whatever you think best is fine by me. And besides, if you’re disabled in some way, you shouldn’t have to hide it just to conform with some normative expectation of physical beauty, yeah? I’d be just really happy to rap with you dude, ‘cos I really respect you and your posse (although I don’t think there’s actually room for all your mates to come as well, if that’s okay) and I think its really unfair how you guys have been portrayed in the old books as evil. That’s just Christian propoganda. Look, instead of a triangle with silly names around it, I’ve filled up the Jacuzzi for you. There’s chocolate Hob-Nobs too, or pistachio nuts if you’d prefer. Normally I wouldn’t want to hassle you or anything, but I’ve got a bit of a problem and I’d appreciate your input – but like I say, if you’ve got other demands on your time, that’s cool. I’ll do something else instead. Maybe you could leave me a text so’s I can call again when it’s more convenient for you? How’s about Tuesday?”
Okay, I admit, it doesn’t quite have the blood-and-thunder Moses-heaping-fire-on-the-infidels tone of the original, but that’s the point, yeah?