Thursday, April 24th, 2014...3:31 pm

A Deal with the Devil

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

The book of ceremonial magic; the secret tradition in Goëtia, including the rites and mysteries of Goëtic theurgy, sorcery, and infernal necromancy was written by Arthur Wedward Waite and published in 1961.  Ceremonial magic includes material originally published in The book of black magic and of pacts in 1898 along with numerous additions.  In his preface Waite states that the majority of texts of magical literature are inaccessible because they are in rare manuscripts and books so he has created a “systematic account of magical procedure” for the masses.

Waite heavily references the texts of a man named Eliphas Levi, also known as Alphonse Louis Constant, who was born the son of a Paris shoemaker around 1810.  Levi was a deacon, but left the church after he developed strong convictions outside of his faith, which led him to join a socialistic religious sect.  Because of this sect he was eventually imprisioned for several months, and after that he then devoted himself to magical and mystical studies.  Widener has a number of Levi’s texts including Dogme et rituel de la haute magie, which features The Sabbatic Goat image whom Levi regards as a “pantheistic and magical figure of the absolute” and not connected to Black Magic. 

Waite’s text is a very systematic approach to how to perform ceremonial magic including the rites, incantations, and materials that are necessary to be successful.  For example this full page plate features the Goetic circle of black evocations and pacts, again according to Levi.  The text describes in detail that the circle is formed by human skin and the four necessary objects are the skull of a parricide (one who killed their parent), the horns of a goat, a male bat that has been drowned in blood, and a black cat that has fed on human flesh.

The operator and their assistants stand within the circles of the triangle when they summon a spirit in Lucifer’s employ to make a pact.  There is also a script as to how to address the spirit :
It is my wish to make a pact with thee, so as to obtain wealth at thy hands immediately, failing which I will torment thee by the potent words of the Clavicle.”

Helpfully included are instructions on how to prevent the loss of your soul when making this type of pact in a sort of magical legalese.  To learn about more pacts and incantations check out Waite’s The book of ceremonial magic; the secret tradition in Goëtia, including the rites and mysteries of Goëtic theurgy, sorcery, and infernal necromancy. New Hyde Park, N.Y., University Books [1961]. BF1611 .W3 1961.  which can be found in Widener’s collection.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

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