The Lesser Key of Solomon, a Grimoire

The Lesser Key of Solomon, a Grimoire

Jeffers-TMDOMD
Although it has nothing to do with Halloween and the images of witches, demons and spirits, The Lesser Key of Solomon (or) Lemegeton does present a mystery of sorts. In researching my cozy, The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery, I sought out several sources that speak of The Lesser Key of Solomon. Although there is not much print space assigned to it, the Lemegeton plays a central role in this novel. Therefore, I thought it prudent to bring to light some of the beliefs and inaccuracies associated with this text. What is this manuscript and what is its significance?

The circle and triangle, used in the evocation of the seventy-two spirits of the Goetia. The magician would stand within the circle and the spirit was believed to appear within the triangle.

The circle and triangle, used in the evocation of the seventy-two spirits of the Goetia. The magician would stand within the circle and the spirit was believed to appear within the triangle.

The Lesser Key of Solomon or Clavicula Salomonis Regis is an anonymous 17th Century grimoire (textbook of magic). It is widely known as the Lemegeton. The Lesser Key took much of its text from several 16th century manuscripts, including Johann Wierus’s Pseudomonarchia Daemounum (a hierarchy of demons) and late-century grimoires. Some of the first section dates to the 14th Century. Claims that the book was originally written by King Solomon have easily been proven incorrect, but that particular fact has done little to dampen the documents popularity among those who practice demonology. For example, titles are given to many of the demons. These titles of the nobility were not in use in King Solomon’s time, nor were the prayers to Jesus (Solomon was born some 900 years before Jesus) and the Christian Trinity included in the text.

Reginald Scott, who has completed extensive research on magical texts, mentions Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria (three of the Lesser’s 5 books) and a text closely related to the Goetia. Several experts believe the text of the Lesser could have been collected by 1584.

Buer, the 10th spirit, who teaches “Moral and Natural Philosophy” (from a 1995 Mathers edition. Illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).

Buer, the 10th spirit, who teaches “Moral and Natural Philosophy” (from a 1995 Mathers edition. Illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).

The Lesser provides detailed description of spirits and conjurations of how to evoke their powers. The several original copies extant vary in detail and spellings. Modern editions are widely available in print and on the Internet.

The books of the Lesser Key of Solomon include:

Ars Goetia – list of 72 demons similar to that of Johann Wierus’s; no demonic seals are assigned to Wierus’s demons, nor are the rituals for conjuring the demons as elaborate as those found in the Lesser; deals with the evocation of different types of spirits

Theurgia Goetia – a system of angel magic; closely parallels Trithemius’ Steganographia (At esotericarchives.com there are some great comparison between the Trithemius’ manuscript and the Lesser.); deals with spirits of the cardinal points; explains the names, characteristics and seals of the 31 aerial spirits that King Solomon evoked

Ars Paulina – the spirits in this part of the Lesser coincide with those found in Trithemius’s Steganographia Book 2; supposedly the Apostle Paul discovered “The Pauline art”; experts have known of the Ars Paulina since the Middle Ages; it contains detailed descriptions on how to deal with the angels of me

Ars Almadel – explains how the almadel, or a wax tablet with protective symbols drawn upon it; has instructions concerning the colors, materials, and rituals necessary for the construction of the almadel

Ars Notoria – a collection of prayers, mixed with kabbalistic phrases and magical words from several languages

Note! As one can easily observe, researching the smallest details of a fictional novel are often time consuming and frustrating. Authors attempt to be accurate in the most minute details, but often they encounter conflicting information, as I have in researching The Lesser Key of Solomon. In my story, the archaeologist  character finds an original copy of this manuscript, and several devious elements wish to take it from him.

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About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
This entry was posted in British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, mystery, real life tales, Regency era, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Lesser Key of Solomon, a Grimoire

  1. Ron says:

    “What a spectre I’ve harboured thus !
    He resembles a hippopotamus,
    With fiery eyes, teeth terrible to see :
    O, now am I sure of thee !
    For all of thy half-hellish brood
    The Key of Solomon is good…”

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