CEREMONIAL magic is the ancient art of invoking and controlling spirits by a following a specific set of RITUALS.
First, I want to clarify a few misconceptions about ceremonial magic, so you can decide if it FITS which the way you wish to practice magic.
- Ceremonial magic is NOT witchcraft
- Ceremonial magic is highly ritualistic
- Ceremonial magic is not black magick (by my definitions)
Follow the steps from the original Goetia to summon spirits!
CEREMONIAL magic is the ancient art of invoking and controlling spirits by a scientific application of certain formulæ. A magician, enveloped in sanctified vestments and carrying a wand inscribed with hieroglyphic figures, could by the power vested in certain words and symbols control the invisible inhabitants of the elements and of the astral world.
While the elaborate ceremonial magic of antiquity was not necessarily evil, there arose from its perversion several false schools of sorcery, or black magic.
Egypt, a great center of learning and the birthplace of many arts and sciences, furnished an ideal environment for transcendental experimentation. Here the black magicians of Atlantis continued to exercise their superhuman powers until they had completely undermined and corrupted the morals of the primitive Mysteries. By establishing a sacerdotal caste they usurped the position formerly occupied by the initiates, and seized the reins of spiritual government. Thus black magic dictated the state religion and paralyzed the intellectual and spiritual activities of the individual by demanding his complete and unhesitating acquiescence in the dogma formulated by the priestcraft. The Pharaoh became a puppet in the hands of the Scarlet Council–a committee of arch-sorcerers elevated to power by the priesthood.
These sorcerers then began the systematic destruction of all keys to the ancient wisdom, so that none might have access to the knowledge necessary to reach adeptship without first becoming one of their order. They mutilated the rituals of the Mysteries while professing to preserve them, so that even though the neophyte passed through the degrees he could not secure the knowledge to which he was entitled. Idolatry was introduced by encouraging the worship of the images which in the beginning the wise had erected solely as symbols for study and meditation. False interpretations were given to the emblems and figures of the Mysteries, and elaborate theologies were created to confuse the minds of their devotees. The masses, deprived of their birthright of understanding and groveling in ignorance, eventually became the abject slaves of the spiritual impostors. Superstition universally prevailed and the black magicians completely dominated national affairs, with the result that humanity still suffers from the sophistries of the priestcrafts of Atlantis and Egypt.
Fully convinced that their Scriptures sanctioned it, numerous mediæval Qabbalists devoted their lives to the practice of ceremonial magic. The transcendentalism of the Qabbalists is founded upon the ancient and magical formula of King Solomon, who has long been considered by the Jews as the prince of ceremonial magicians.
Among the Qabbalists of the Middle Ages were a great number of black magicians who strayed from the noble concepts of the Sepher Yetzirah and became enmeshed in demonism and witchcraft. They sought to substitute magic mirrors, consecrated daggers, and circles spread around posts of coffin nails, for the living of that virtuous life which, without the assistance of complicated rituals or submundane creatures, unfailingly brings man to the state of true individual completion.
Those who sought to control elemental spirits through ceremonial magic did so largely with the hope of securing from the invisible worlds either rare knowledge or supernatural power. The little red demon of Napoleon Bonaparte and the infamous oracular heads of de Medici are examples of the disastrous results of permitting elemental beings to dictate the course of human procedure. While the learned and godlike dæmon of Socrates seems to have been an exception, this really proves that the intellectual and moral status of the magician has much to do with the type of elemental he is capable of invoking. But even the dæmon of Socrates deserted the philosopher when the sentence of death was passed.
Transcendentalism and all forms of phenomenalistic magic are but blind alleys–outgrowths of Atlantean sorcery; and those who forsake the straight path of philosophy to wander therein almost invariably fall victims to their imprudence. Man, incapable of controlling his own appetites, is not equal to the task of governing the fiery and tempestuous elemental spirits.
Many a magician has lost his life as the result of opening a way whereby submundane creatures could become active participants in his affairs.
When Eliphas Levi invoked the spirit of Apollonius of Tyana, what did he hope to accomplish? Is the gratification of curiosity a motive sufficient to warrant the devotion of an entire lifetime to a dangerous and unprofitable pursuit? If the living Apollonius refused to divulge his secrets to the profane, is there any probability that after death he would disclose them to the curious-minded? Levi himself did not dare to assert that the specter which appeared to him was actually the great philosopher, for Levi realized only too well the proclivity of elementals to impersonate those who have passed on.
The majority of modern mediumistic apparitions are but elemental creatures masquerading through bodies composed of thought substance supplied by the very persons desiring to behold these wraiths of decarnate beings.
Source: Secret Teachings of All Ages
Recommended Reading and Resources:
The Book of Ceremonial Magic – Artur Edward Waite (in earlier editions also known as The Book of Black Magic and Ceremonial Magic)
| The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King: Lemegeton – Clavicula Salomonis Regis, Book 1
| Aleister Crowley’s Illustrated Goetia
| Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon: The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic
S.L. MacGregor Mathers
| The Goetia Workbook
| The Goetia of Dr. Rudd (Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic)
Dr Stephen Skinner
Highly Recommended! Find Poke’s Podcast on Ceremonial Magick. Poke is a wonderful teacher and practioner of traditional Ceremonial Magick.
The Book of Solomon’s Magick
| The Key of Solomon the King: Clavicula Salomonis
S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers
Learn The Seals of Solomon
Introduction to the Pentacles of the Solomon & the Greater Key of Solomon
Supreme or Grand Pentacle of Solomon
Pentacles of Saturn
Pentacles of Jupiter
Pentacles of Mars
Pentacles of the Sun
Pentacles of Venus
Pentacles of Mercury
Pentacles of the Moon