Goetia: the Magic Way of Meeting the Devil

'Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 19:31

"Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land." 1 Sam. 28:3

A vast Philistine army had gathered together against King Saul and the Israelites.   And when Saul realized how ferocious the Philistines were he trembled in fear.   The elderly prophet Samuel had died and could be of no help, even though when he was alive Saul had stubbornly refused his instructions and God's will. (1 Sam. 15)  In desperation Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. (1 Sam.28:6)

In verse 7 Saul orders his servants to find for him a woman who is a medium, a channeler of spirits, despite having previously put mediums out of the land.  A few had nevertheless remained in hiding, and one of them was a witch who practiced the dark arts of goetia inside a cave at En Dor.  Disguising himself, Saul hastened to the medium during the dark of night.  Upon finding her he requested that she conduct a séance and bring up the prophet Samuel.   The fearful witch then reminded Saul of his own law (1 Sam. 28:3), but Saul assured her that no harm would befall her and requested she bring up the dead prophet.

At her summons a spirit appeared and right away the medium asked Saul why he had deceived her, for you she said "...are Saul."    

The medium had learned the identity of her visitor from the spirit that came upon her summons, said the respected Bible commentator Matthew Henry:

"The witch, upon sight of the apparition, was aware that her client was Saul, her familiar spirit, it is likely, informing her of it." (Encounters with Familiar Spirits, Steve Wohlberg, SCP Journal 2010, Vol. 33:4-34:1, p. 14)

Saul never saw the spirit conjured by the medium.  Only she did.  The same thing occurs when modern mediums such as Sylvia Browne provide channeled readings to their clients.  

The spirit that appeared to the witch at En Dor was not the prophet Samuel but an evil spirit.   Matthew Henry believes the evil spirit was none other than the devil-- Beelzebul, lord of demons: 

"God permitted the devil....to put on Samuel's shape, that those who would not recive the love of the truth might be given up to strong delusion and believe a lie.....That the devil, by divine permission, should be able to personate Samuel is not strange, since he can transform himself into an angel of light! nor is it strange that he should be permitted to do it upon this occasion, that Saul might be driven to despair, by enquiring of the devil, since he would not...enquire of the Lord, by which he might have had comfort." (ibid, pp. 14-15)

The witch of En Dor was a practitioner of the darks arts of goetia. The Ancient Greek γοητεία (goēteia) means charm, jugglery, mesmerize, hypnotize and entrance. It also means wizard, sorcerer and shaman.  The goal is to evoke evil spirits and demons, "bind them by conjurations, words of power, magical weapons and threats of damnation, and command them to do the magician's bidding." (Goetia and Theurgy, magic black and white?  Heterodoxology)

According to New Age historians, goetia was the royal art practiced by the initiates of the Mystery Religion of Atlantis that was preserved on the plains of Shinar and then dispersed throughout the world.  It includes the invocation of angels and evocation of demons for purposes of personal power such as healing power, the ability to see the future, transfiguration, translocation, aggressive magic, dematerialization,  levitation, defensive magic, apports (making objects appear),  deports (opposite of apport), spiritist miracles and spiritist appartions. (Occult ABC, Kurt Koch, pp. 223-236)

The occult explosion in the heart of Christendom during the time of the Renaissance resulted in an obsession with goetia resulting in the appearance of many grimoire such as The Lesser Key of Solomon, which features an Ars Goetia as its first section. It contains descriptions of the evocation of seventy-two demons, famously edited by Aleister Crowley in 1904 as The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King.     Goetic Theurgy, another practice described in the Lesser Key of Solomon, is similar to the book's description of Goetia, but is used to invoke aerial spirits.

 Goetia leads to the opening of the inner or mind's eye, described by practitioners of the occult as the third eye through which perception of the world is not limited to the physical senses.  This means that since the third eye of the witch of En Dor was opened she could 'see' and 'hear' the spirit but Saul could not. 

The third eye is known as the seat of illumination, intuition and cosmic consciousness, the 7th chakra, the All Seeing Eye of Horus and the Horn of the Unicorn:

" The Temple of Maat in early Egypt was dedicated to the process of opening the Third Eye. The Third Eye is an etheric, or fourth dimensional, eye. It acts as a sensitive receiver and transmitter, by which vibrations of many types can be translated, interpreted and dispersed into our third dimensional brains for gaining wisdom and illumination. Inner planes, thought forms, and higher entities are perceived through the 3rd eye. A clearer sense of cause and effect are acquired." (The Sixth Chakra and Opening the Third Eye, bethcoleman.net)

In Native American traditions, the third eye is associated with the ‘vision quest,’ the occult search for illumination that leads directly back to the esoteric Babylonian Kabbalah. 

Regarding the importance of the Babylonian Kabbalah to ancient Mystery Schools and Freemasonry in particular, Albert Pike, the most influential Freemason that has lived, has this to say in his Morals and Dogma:

"The Kabalah is the key to the occult sciences; and the Gnostics were born of the Kabalists. (Morals and Dogma, p. 626) 

The famous scientist, engineer, religious writer, and mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) claimed to have been instructed by beings on other planets as well as by angels during his astral plane travels.  By way of meditation and other magical operations, Swedenborg's inner eye was opened allowing him to see, hear, and interact with the demons he conjured.

Swedenborg influenced a variety of scientists, thinkers, modern science fiction writers and movie producers as well as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Joseph Smith.  In the book, "On Global Wizardry" James Herrick argues that Swedenborg was the first Western Shaman. 

A practitioner of the goetia of Kabbalah, Swedenborg described Masonry as a search after Light said Pike:

"That search leads us directly back, as you see, to the Kabbalah. In that ancient and little understood medley of absurdity and philosophy, the Initiate will find the source of many doctrines; and may in time come to understand the Hermetic philosophers, the Alchemists, all the Anti-papal Thinkers of the Middle Age, and Emanuel Swedenborg. (Morals and Dogma, p. 741)

 For the Mystery School initiate, the deeper meaning of the Kabbalah is the occult Tree of Life that symbolizes both the consubstantiality (monistic oneness) of the initiate's divine intellect with the Divine One Substance (Quantum Energy Field) above as well as the inward path in which the initiate discovers and experiences the "inner light" (also called the divine spark and inner Christ consciousness). It is a system of occult spiritual doctrines which opens up the mind and the soul to a new level of understanding—"salvation comes from within."

In his Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult, Nevill Drury writes that the Kabbalah's Cosmic Tree of Life consists of ten spheres,

"...or sephiroth, through which—according to mystical tradition—the creation of the world came about. The sephiroth are aligned in three columns headed by the supernals and together symbolize the process by which the Infinite Light…becomes manifest in the universe." (A Short Guide to Occult Symbols: The Tree of Life, Carl Teichrib)

Taken as a whole, the Kabbalah's Cosmic Tree of Life, which also symbolizes the archetypal androgyne, has a role resembling that of the chakras in yoga.

In other words, the sephiroth symbolize the monistic oneness of the initiate's intellect with the Divine Soul (One Substance, Brahman, Energy Field) while according to occult Eastern doctrine, chakras refer to psychic centers that lie along the spine of the etheric body that awaken by way of kundalini yoga.

When kundalini is struck, serpent power awakens, uncoils and begins to rise upwards like a fiery serpent, breaking upon each chakra as it ascends, until the Shakti merges with Shiva (Satan, Beelzebul) in sahasrara chakra.  With the awakening of kundalini, the third eye opens, and heretofore unseen and often terrifying visions are seen and experienced as a process of metamorphosis (complete transformation) takes place and the initiate evolves more and more until he realizes fusion with brahman---ultimate supreme power.  

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah said we must choose who we will seek and serve.  The options are plain.  We can either seek the living Triune God Creator of heaven and earth or seek after physic powers from Beelzebul, which is why the occult path is extremely dangerous and often fatal.

In "Warnings from Occult Practitioners," John Ankerberg and John Weldon provide warnings from practitioners of the magic way.   Though these warnings come from a flawed humanist perspective that neglects the warnings given by the Holy God they are nevertheless insightful.

Charles Tart, the editor of Transpersonal Psychologies, discusses numerous occult psycho-technologies, including those from the traditions of yoga, Taoism, alchemy, Kabbalism, Buddhism, and Sufism. In the chapter, "Patterns of Western Magic," Tart cites occultist William Gray who discusses some of the hazards along the Western magical path:

"There are many dangers on all [e.g., occult] Paths of Life, and the Western Magical Way is no exception. The worst danger is definitely imbalance in every imaginable direction.... It is a fact that frequently after initiation ceremonies there are sudden "flare-ups" of outrageous behavior in the subject; analogous to inoculation reactions. Also symptoms of paranoia may develop.... A chief hazard especially of the Magical Path is breakdown of mental and physical health if safeguards are ignored. Diseases are nonetheless real because of psychosomatic origins. Most of these troubles arise through misuse of Magic applied to mind or body, and are traceable to wrong intentions, disregard of calculable risks, carelessness, or just lack of common sense. Genuine accidents can occur as with everything else, but the majority of ills through Magic are invited ones. For example, those who poison themselves with chemical drug compounds and exhaust their physical energies while contorting their consciousness into painfully unnatural knots can scarcely complain when the account for all this has to be paid. Their mistreatment of Magic deserves small sympathy. Magic makes its own retribution on misusers." (johnankerberg.org)

Another warning comes from veteran psychic researcher Martin Ebon in an article in Psychic magazine. He admits that in the psychic world "there is much darkness and greed" and likens participation to a game of Russian roulette:

"A game in which the element of danger is ever present and must be acknowledged."

He lists representative case histories of the hazards:

 1) suicide (justified by the desire to experience the "wonders of the other world");

2) the destruction of families through adulterous liaisons or divorce among those who accept a belief in reincarnation (these were justified because psychic revelations indicated the new partner was one’s "soul mate" in a previous lifetime and hence the perfect "karmic partner" for this life),

3) major financial loss through the deception of fraudulent mediums, (justified by vital instructions from the "other side");

4) serious mental illness from various causes; and 5) bogus exorcists who financially prey on the gullible for "deliverance." (ibid, ankerberg.org)

The infernal cost of the magic way of meeting the devil is very high,

"The cost of indulging in magic is extremely high. Every example drawn from counselling work of Christians reveals the terrifying effects"  (Kurt Koch, Between Christ and Satan, p. 89)

 @Linda Kimball