Now the parts of Ceremonial Magick are Goetia and Theurgia. Goetia is
unfortunate, by the commerce of unclean spirits made up of the rites of wicked
curiosities, unlawful charms, and deprecations, and is abandoned and execrated
by all laws. Of this kind are those which we nowadays call Necromancers, and
A people envy’d by the Gods, have skill,
Begot by th’ evil one, even at their will
The heavens for to blemish, and the things
Which are in heaven, and on earth to bring
Out of order, and the poles for to force,
And of the rivers for to turn the course,
The mountains level, and the sky to drive
Under the earth —–
These therefore are they which call upon the souls of the dead, and those which
the Ancients called Epodi, who enchant boys, and bring them out into the speech
of the Oracle, and which carry about them familiar spirits, as we read of
Socrates and such; as it is said, they fed in glasses, by which they feign
themselves to prophesy.
And all these proceed two ways. For some endeavor to call and compel evil
spirits, adjuring by a certain power, especially of divine names; for seeing
every creature fears, and reverences the name of him who made it, no marvel, if
Goeti, Infidels, Pagans, Jews, Saracens, and men of every profane sect and
society do bind Devils by invocating the divine name.
Now there are some that are most impiously wicked indeed, that submit themselves
to devils, sacrifice to, and adore them, and thereby become guilty of Idolatry,
and the basest abasement; to which crimes, if the former are not obnoxious, yet
they expose themselves to manifest dangers. For even compelled, devils always
deceive us whithersoever we go.
Now from the sect of the Goeti have proceeded all those books of Darkness, which
Vulpianus the Lawyer calls “books disallowed to be read”, and forthwith
appointed them to be destroyed; of which sort the first is Zabulus reported to
invent, who was given to unlawful arts; then Barnabas, a certain Cyprian; and
now in these days there are carried about books with feigned titles, under the
names of Adam, Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Solomon; also Paul, Honorius, Cyprian,
Albert, Thomas, Hierome, and of a certain man of York, who toys Alphonse King of
Castile, Robert – an English man, Bacon, and Apponus [i.e. Peter de Abano], and
many other men of a deplored wit have foolishly followed.
Moreover they have not made men only and Saints, and Patriarchs , and the angels
of God, the authors of such execrable opinions, but they boast also that those
books were delivered by Raziel and Raphael – the Angels of Adam and Tobias;
which books openly betray themselves to him that looks narrowly into them, to be
a rule, rite, and custom of their precepts; and a kind of words, and characters;
an order of extruction, an empty phrase, and to contain nothing but mere toys,
and impostures, and to be made in latter times by men ignorant of all ancient
Magick, and forlorn artists of pernicious art, of profane observations mixed
with the ceremonies of our religion; with many unknown names, and seals
intermixed, that thereby they may terrify and astonish the simple, and ignorant.
Moreover it doth not yet appear that these arts are fables: for unless there
were such indeed, and by them many wonderful and hurtful things done, there
would not be such strict divine, and humane laws made concerning them, for the
utter exterminating of them. And why do the Goeti use those evil spirits only,
but because good Angels will hardly appear, expecting the command of God, and
come not but to men pure in heart, and holy in life.
But the evil are easily called up, favoring him that is false, and
counterfeiting holiness are always ready to deceive with their craft, that they
may be worshiped, and adored. And because women are most desirous of secrets,
and less cautious, and prone to superstition, they are the more easily deceived,
and therefore give up themselves the more readily to them, and do great
The poets sing of Circe, Medea, and others of this sort; Cicero, Pliny, Seneca,
Austin, and many others as well Philosophers as Catholic Doctors, and
Historians; also the Scriptures testify the like.
For in the Books of the Kings we read that a woman who lived at En-dor called up
the soul of Samuel the Prophet (although many interpret it not to be the soul of
the Prophet, but an evil spirit which took upon him his shape).
Yet the Hebrew masters say, and Austin to Simplicianus do not deny, but it might
be the true spirit of Samuel, which might easily be called up from its body
before a complete year after his departure, as also the Goeti teach.
Also Magi Necromancers suppose that might be done by certain natural powers and
bonds, as we have said in our “Books of Occult Philosophy”.
Therefore the ancient Fathers, skillful of spiritual things, did not without
cause ordain that the bodies of the dead should he buried in a holy place, and
be accompanied with lights, and sprinkled with holy water, and be perfumed with
frankincense, and incense, and be expiated by prayers as long as they continued
For as the Masters of the Hebrews say, all our body and carnal Animal, and
whatsoever in us depends upon the matter of the Flesh, being ill disposed, is
left for Meat to the Serpent; and as they called it, to Azazel, who is the Lord
of the Flesh and Blood, and the Prince of this World; and is called in Leviticus
the “Prince of Deserts”, to whom it is said in Genesis, “You shalt eat dust all
the days of your life”.
And in Isaiah, “Dust your bread”, i.e. our body created of the dust of the
earth, so long as it shall not be sanctified, and turned into better, that it be
no longer an effect of the Serpent, but of God; viz. a spiritual made of carnal,
according to the word of Paul; saying, “that which is sowed a carnal, shall
arise a spiritual”; and elsewhere, “All indeed shall rise up, but shall not be
changed, because many shall remain forever as Meat of the Serpent”.
This filthy and horrid matter of the Flesh and Meat of the Serpent we therefore
cast off by death, changing it for a better [spirit], which shall be in the
Resurrection of the Dead. And it is already done in those, who have tasted of
the first fruits of the resurrection; and many have already attained to it, by
the virtue of the Divine Spirit, in this life; as Enoch, Elijah and Moses, whose
bodies were changed into a spiritual nature, and have not seen [corruption];
neither are their carcasses left to the Power of the Serpent.
And this was that dispute of the Devil with Michael the Archangel, concerning
the body of Moses, of which Jude makes mention in his Epistle.
But of Goetia, and Necromancy, let this suffice.
Henry Cornelius Agrippa — “On Goetia and Necromancy”
Posted in: Asharu Tradition