The Book of Ceremonial Magic


The Preparation of the Operator

§ 1. Concerning the Love of God

THE rites of so-called Transcendental Magic are, ex hypothesi, divine and religious rites, and the counsels, spiritual and moral, which are found in its instructions are, in their meagre and puerile way, the vulgarised counsels of perfection, whatever element of sovereign contra-reason may obtain in its experiments. 1 The Composite Rituals, despite the result of their analysis, also partake largely of the nature of substituted religious observances, at times Judaistic, at times Christian. In both cases this fact is readily intelligible; to communicate with the fabled Spirits of the Firmament and to practise an art which offers to its adepts the regeneration of Enoch, King of the Inferior World, 2
"who was not, for God took him," may well demand a high degree of sanctity from its candidate, to whatever ends it may lead him; while to dominate the so-called Spirits of the Elements, the Kabalistic Kliphoth and the Evil Demons, it is reasonable to assume that the

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Magus must be free from common weakness, from common vice 1 and must be fortified by the grace and favour of the superior world. Given the magical standpoint in each case, the conditions essential to operation seem, in this respect, above challenge. Its recommendations, however, were more especially of times and seasons; they were for the work of the art in hand rather than for the high and transcendental art of holy life. But it will assuredly appear at first sight a bizarre anomaly that Black Magic should involve also religious observances and should exact similar conditions, both inward and outward, from those who would undertake its enterprises. It is not, as generally supposed, either Christianity à rebours or a reversed religion of Israel; it is not the intentional profanation of religious ritual and observance; it is something less outrageous but logically more insensate; so far as it has re. course to such ritual and such observance, it is not to do outrage to God in the interests of diabolism, but to derive power and virtue from above
for the more successful control of Evil Spirits, and this obtains indifferently whether the purpose of the operator be otherwise lawful or not.

The Divine Love, says the book of True Black Magic, 2 must precede the acquisition of the Science of Solomon, son of King David, who said: The beginning and Key of my Wisdom are the fear of God, to do Him honour, to adore Him with great contrition of heart, and to invoke His aid in all our intentions and aspirations; which fulfilling, God will lead us into the good way. 3

To account for this anomaly it is insufficient to say that

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the book of True Black Magic is simply the Key of Solomon adapted to Goëtic intentions.
In the first place, as already seen, it is impossible to read the Goëtic intention out of either of the Clavicles; and, in the second place, the same characteristics are found in the Grimoires which derive least of all from the Clavicles, namely, that of Honorius, and that called the Grand Grimoire. To meditate continually on the undertaking and to centre every hope in the infinite goodness of the Great Adonai, is the rule established by the latter as the first principle of success. 1

Nor does the insensate nature of the processes of Black Magic offer explanation by itself.
The attempt to propitiate the Deity by means of prayers, sacrifices and abstinence, and thus to obtain the Divine assistance for the successful consummation of hideous offences and preposterous or impossible undertakings, is, of course, madness; for the God acknowledged and invoked by Goëtic Magic is not the Principle of Evil, as the myth of
Modern Satanism supposes, 2 but the "terrible and venerable Deity" Who destroyed the power of the rebellious angels--alternatively the Jehovah of the Jewish rituals and the Trinity of the Christian magical cycle. The insane observance followed in reality from the interpretation placed by Goëtic Theurgy on the fundamental doctrine of Practical Magic, namely, the power of Divine words to compel the obedience of all spirits to those who could pronounce them. 3

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Collections of these words and names were recited as invoking and binding forms, and, incorporated into a suitable setting of official prayers, were used in all magical ceremonies. Black Magic was sometimes their application to more unlawful purposes and sometimes to the same purposes. The utterance of the Divine Name, which was supposed to make the devils tremble and place them at the will of the Magus, was at least equally powerful, it was argued, to enforce their obedience for a purpose in consonance with their own nature. Behind this there lay also the tacit assumption that it was easier to control demons than to persuade angels. Then seeing that prayer to God and the invocation of the Divine Names presuppose a proper spirit of reverence, devotion and love as the condition upon which prayer is heard, it became a condition in Goëtia. The first impossibility required of the adept in Black Magic is therefore that he should love God before he bewitches his neighbour; that he should put all his hopes in God before he makes pact with Satan; that, in a word, he should be good in order to do evil.


139:1 The analysis of the Arbatel of Magic in Part I. establishes this point, but the following passages may be cited in support of the statement. "In all things call upon the Name Of the Lord, and without prayer unto God, through His only-begotten Son, do not thou undertake to do or to think anything." Aph. 2. "Let the word of God never depart from thy mouth." Ib. Aph. 3. "Look unto God in all things." Ib. Aph. 4. "Desire from God alone." Ib. Aph. 11. "Before all things, be watchful in this, that your name be written in heaven." Ib.

139:2 The secret of this Regeneration is promised to the adept in Arbatel, Aph. 24.

140:1 "To overcome and subjugate the elementary spirits, we must never yield to their characteristic defects. . . . In a word, we must overcome them in their strength without ever being overcome by their weaknesses."--Éliphas Lévi, Rituel de la Haute Magie, c. 4.

140:2 Book I. c. 1.

140:3 An adapted rendering of The Key of Solomon, Book I. c. 1.

141:1 Grand Grimoire, Book I. c. i.

141:2 To do evil because it is pleasing to the Prince of Evil did not enter into the conception of Sorcery. Refinements of this kind are of late date, and mostly of French invention. The sorcerer who sought to do evil and had recourse for assistance to Satan was actuated by no recondite motive; he ministered merely to his own propensities for lust, wealth or revenge. He used Satan as an instrument, treated him and his inferiors as slaves, and always reckoned ultimately to elude the dangers of such dealings.

141:3 The doctrine is summarised in a sentence by Éliphas Lévi, when he declares that the virtue of things has created words. Cornelius Agrippa refers it to Platonic teaching, affirming that a certain power or life belonging to the idea underlies the "form of the signification," p. 142 that is, the voice or word, whence he also says that Magicians regard
words as the "rays of things." De Occulta Philosophia, Book I. c. 70. Compare also his rendering of the Platonic doctrine that the form comes first from the idea. Ibid., c. 13.

The Book of Ceremonial Magic

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