Going to go see Watain tomorrow night. I've seen them once before, so I know more or less what horrid sickness to expect going in. But they've also got new material released, and I'm very curious to see what some of it sounds like. The concert's at Emo's in downtown Austin, not too far away from my university.
So in honor of this most glorious event, I figured I'd post a bit about the Ars Goetia. When people think of the traditional image of Ceremonial Magick and ritual demon summoning, they are usually thinking of the process of the Goetia. It's become rather eponymous and one of the biggest influences in the Occult world. The Ars Goetia is the art of summoning and binding a demon from "Hell" into an earthen jar (clay and whatnot) to command. The Demons summoned are those with stately positions within the Hierarchy of Hell. They even have titles, such as "Archduke" and "Baron" and even a "President." Each demon that is summoned has behind it a legion of spirits to do that demon's bidding (and therefore, by extension, your bidding).
The Ars Goetia is got started with a book known as the "Lesser Keys of Solomon," which was attributed to King Solomon of the Bible. The story goes that one day, God decided to test the good king Solomon. He did so by sending forth a legion of demons to torment him. Solomon, using his great wisdom and wit, instead bound the demons in a jar and made them his servants. The Goetia has thus been extended to encompass the art of binding and compelling spirits to do one's bidding, rather than entering pacts or asking them for assistance. Of course, the actual King Solomon didn't write the Ars Goetia. Ancient Jewish kings didn't use titles like "President" and "Duke." But attributing it to Solomon is not completely inaccurate. Like most things within the occult, all is not as it seems.
The name "Solomon" means "peace," which is highly relevant to the practice of the Goetia. When Crowley re-introduced the Lesser Keys of Solomon with some new additions, Crowley also introduced a newer interpretation of the Goetia. Rather than a literal demon summoning from the "pits of Hell," the Ars Goetia was meant to represent common archetypes of the Self. The Ars Goetia is then intended to act as a sort of self-exploration exercise, where one confronts the inner "demons" of the Self and aligns them with their own True Will. Hence, the name "Solomon" being relevant as it infers a state of mental balance and tranquility that comes with a complete alignment of the Goetic forces.
This is much of the reason that the Tetragrammaton is used within the Goetic workings, and in many Ceremonial magicks. The Tetragrammaton, or the "Hidden Name of God," in this case represents the entirety of the "All." If the goal of the Thelemite is to discover one's own True Will and enact it, part of that True Will is understanding one's place within the greater workings of existence. Therefore, one aligns one's self with the All to learn the essence of the True Will and thus compel the self accordingly. In doing so, one evokes the demons of the Goetia into the world to enact said True Will. Thus, by working with the Goetic demons, one begins to understand what the True Will intends from the perspective of the Occultist in question. It acts as a process of self-discovery and a meeting place between the lower self, the True Will, and the All.
If you're interested in trying out the Goetia, I can recommend Crowley's version.
Give it a whirl. You might like what you find.
And as always, Love Under Will.