While the first conjuration of Goetia is noted to be suitable for all spirits, further conjurations are included in the work should the first not be successful after several recitations. While none of these conjurations are expressly titled, each has a somewhat specific function in escalating the urgency of the spirit’s arrival as well as the penalties for its refusal. In this article, I specifically want to discuss the second conjuration presented in Goetia and what makes it so interesting in the history of this work.
The format of this conjuration is different from the first in that, rather than supplying the typically tedious and near-endless recitation of divine names, it includes a number of Biblical personages and events in conjunction with those names.
Many of these are fairly obscure, but others are well known:
- Jacob and the Angel (Genesis 32)
- Jacob delivered from Esau (Genesis 32)
- Lot and the Strangers (Genesis 19)
- Joshua: The Sun Stands Still (Joshua 10)
- Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego (Daniel 3)
- Daniel, Bel, & the Dragon (Apocryphal)
- Moses and the Plagues (Exodus 7)
- Sea of Glass (Revelations 4)
- Chora, Dathan, & Abiram (Numbers 16)
Of these references, only the mention of the Sea of Glass is from the New Testament, and likely a later addition to a conjuration whose references are set squarely in the Torah with only one, albeit contemporary, exception. This is the apocryphal story of Daniel, the same Daniel of “…and the lion’s den” fame, who proves the idol of Bel (Baal) is not possessed of powers from that deity, and goes on to defeat a dragon – both in the city of the Persian King Cyrus. Specific, contextual detail on each of these references is given in Of the Arte Goetia.
A Latin version of this specific conjuration can be found in both Additional 110 and Codex Latinus Monacensis 849. I have included a transcription from Additional 110 in Of the Arte Goetia. Most interesting with respect to Goetia is that this conjuration bears the title Vinculum Salomonis, translated as The Bond of Solomon or The Chain of Solomon. Why is that interesting? I thought you’d never ask! It’s exciting for two reasons, especially in recognizing that this Vinculum Solomonis is likely a redaction of the original title (or vice versa) Vinculum Spirituum – Of the Bonds of Spirits.
First, it ties into internal references in the listing of spirits to a “Spirit’s Chain” used to compel the spirits into obedience. Thus, as I assert the contents of Goetia are in fact three works that were collected together from separate sources, one can see where the compiler would have wanted to bring in this external reference. However, none of the conjurations are expressly given under that title, so it remains speculative until the “Spirit’s Chain” can be positively identified as one or more of the conjurations. This can be done by virtue of its listing under that title in Additional MS 110.
Secondly, it allows us to tie at least the second conjuration of Goetia into Trithemius’s listing of necromantic works in his unpublished Antipalus Maleficiorum (Enemy of Witchcraft), which lists a Vinculum Spirituum that describes exactly the sort of conjurations given in Goetia. Trithemius lists an incipit, or beginning, of the work that matches Additional MS 110, so we are certain that the version in the manuscript matches what was published as a necromantic work in Antipalus Maleficiorum. I intend to follow this article with another – the last in the “Hell Week” series coinciding with the launch of Of the Arte Goetia – delineating the connection of Trithemius (and his library) with Goetia.
More details on the above are given in Of the Arte Goetia, as well as information on the other conjurations, observations, and the spirits themselves. Want to know more about the origins of what became Goetia? You know where to go!
Of the Arte Goetia can be published from Teitan Press, Weiser Antiquarian, and a number of specialty book stores around the world. The deluxe edition is now sold out, but a limited number of signed copies remain!