Monday, November 30, 2009

New Solomonic Magic Revealation: The Grand Key of Solomon The King

Sitting here sipping my Latte, I was browsing through a gift from Ishtar Publishing. I received an advance copy of the Grand Key of Solomon the King. Solomonic Grimoires have a venerable tradition and no one has done more to popularize them in modern Western occultism than various members of the Golden Dawn. Even though they are not part of the official Golden Dawn corpus, they have had influence on part of that corpus and have been put to practical use by many a Golden Dawn Adept.
Most people are familiar with Golden Dawn founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers’ Translation of the Greater Key of Solomon. Even more well known is Mathers’ translation of The Goetia, falsely attributed to Aleister Crowley as is also the case of Liber 777, a table of correspondences actually compiled by Mathers. In neither of these publications, did Crowley bother to cite their origin, but merely “borrowed” Mathers’ work to boost his own reputation.
I have seen something similar happen in recent years when documents clearly stolen from my Stockholm apartment appeared on the Internet bearing the seal of an order newly created by one of my own former students. On a more humorous note, I have even been informed of Goetic demonic workings attacking me ordered by a Chief of a competing Golden Dawn style order - combined with watermelon-stabbing rituals :-)

In any case - for good or even for inept attempt at ill - Solomonic Grimoires are clearly part and parcel of classical Golden Dawn lore. What gives this particular new offering from Ishtar Publishing any merit that need concern a modern Golden Dawn practitioner?

First, I need to make it clear that the Key of Solomon is not really one manuscript or book. Mathers’ own edition consists of excerpts from seven different manuscripts of the Key of Solomon. Not only were they different manuscripts, but they were also in different languages, such as French, Italian, and Latin.

Actually, there are more than 122 different Key of Solomon manuscripts in various European languages, including Czech, (numerous unpublished versions of which we hold in the HOGD/AO archives). One reason for this is that libraries tend to label any manuscript with emphasis on Solomonic magic as a Key of Solomon. In this vein, this latest source from Ishtar Publishing is indeed a Key of Solomon. In his own research, David Rankine makes it clear that the Lemegeton (Goetia, Theurgia-Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel and Ars Notoria) are not the Key of Solomon, however.

The Grand Key of Solomon dates as much older than many of the recognized Key of Solomon manuscripts. This fact alone makes it interesting. Those familiar with my own book, the Ritual Magic Manual, are already aware of the great value I place on uncovering the earliest possible origins of hierarchies of magical entities, as these are frequently the least corrupted versions.

Moreover, the Grand Key of Solomon was written in Arabic, which is closer to Hebrew than many of the European languages. The incantations and words of power in this grimoire are clearly of Hebrew and Aramaic origin. They were written phonetically in Arabic, as it was the lingua franca of the day and, in the Middle Ages, Jews and Arabs inhabited the same geographical areas in Baghdad, Yemen, and Moorish Spain.

I have just begun studying this grimoire, so I am not yet in a position to do a full review. One thing I have already noticed, however, is the link between some of the names that appear in later Keys of Solomon and those in this much earlier edition. I can see how the names got permutated. One thing that amazed me was that even though we are familiar with demons like Amaymon (in Arabic Maymon) and Paimon, according to this Key of Solomon these are actually surnames. This indicates that for a long time evocations performed by European occultists summoned these beings using only their last names, while Arab magicians called them by their full names. Just wow!

I can’t wait to try out some of the evocations in this book, including these earlier elemental incantations and the various prayers to Metatron. I’ll update everyone with a more in-depth review later and the results of my experiments.

For those of you who, like myself, either have an interest in Solomonic magic, or who also collect grimiores, the Grand Key of Solomon the King is clearly a valuable addition to all of our magical libraries.

For Golden Dawn magicians new to magical Grimoires or to Solomonic magic, you can download copies of a vast number of magical Grimoires free in the Golden Dawn Library, which contains one of the most extensive collections of magical Grimoires on the entire Internet.
In the Golden Dawn Library, you will find available for download, for example, both Mathers'
translations of the Greater Keys of Solomon and Lesser Key of Solomon (or Lesser Key of Solomon containing the Goetia). And don't forget to check out the Grand Key of Solomon the King here.

Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua
David Griffin
G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis
Imperator Ordinis, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega

"Ex Deo Nascimur.
In Yeheshua Morimur.
Per Sanctum Spiritum Reviviscimus"