Just in time for the Christmas rush, “…there be three Devils in the Art of Necromancy; viz: Lucipher, Beelzebub and Satan…”
I am very pleased to announce the release of “The Offices of Spirits”, a Hockley MS with a fascinating history to rival its content. I have edited and provided an introduction to this work, which is principally a listing of spirits with close ties to the infamous Goetia. It is originally from a 1583 MS “on magic and necromancy”, placing it in the same period as the aforementioned Goetia as well.
So, you ask, why should you care? What makes this meaningful in the grand scheme of Renaissance demonology? The fact that I like it and/or wrote about it isn’t enough? Preposterous! …but very well, I shall suffer the explanation.
German monk and magical apologist, tutor and influence on Agrippa, author of the crypto-magical work Steganographia, and all-around swell guy, Trithemius compiled a listing of demonological works – something he was dead-set against in his defense of both his own reputation and the proto-scientific magia naturalis – called Antipalus Maleficiorum. (This section is reproduced by Zambelli in “White Magic Black Magic in the European Renaissance”.) In this are two works, noted to be quite similar, whose titles translate to “The Offices of Spirits”.
This title, we recall, is also the source of Wier’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, included in later editions of his De Praestigiis Daemonum, a refutation of the witch hunter’s manual Malleus Maleficarum. It is there noted as “Officium Spirituum vel Liber officiorum spirituum seu Liber dictus Empto. Solomonis”. A translation of this appendix would then become a chapter in The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Scot, and some admixture of these two would result in the MS variants we now know under the name Goetia. (See Peterson’s The Lesser Key of Solomon for a much better analysis of the stemma than I shall afford here.)
In fact, for anyone interested in Goetia, this is a parallel listing of spirits whose descriptions match very closely to the spirits in that work. While I have resisted the temptation of including a full comparative analysis, cross-pollination between these two works is readily apparent – indicating a probable sourcework of even earlier origin. It also includes descriptive content for the four demon kings, something referred to but not elaborated on within the scope of Goetia. Furthermore, it provides equal treatment for the three infernal kings Lucipher (sic), Beelzebub, and Satan. These three were generally unmentionable even in the scope of demonology for fear of the Inquisition – there was no defense of their being “good” spirits!
For anyone insterested in the history or practice of goetic magic, this should make a great addition to the book shelf. (I was ecstatic when I finally came across a copy.) It’s also a black quarto hardcover with gilt front and spine, and you don’t get much cooler than that.
This book is available through Teitan Press at http://www.teitanpress.com and at fine occult bookstores everywhere!