The Way of the Craft and the need for an open mind

Given that my early training was in Ceremonial magick
it seems fitting to discuss the foremost of them all
Solomon and the effect of his writings, on current day practices
( Very basic information here and not to be considered a scholarly text on the matter
with a minor cravat at the end of the basics....)

The Pentagram from the Key of Solomon
Pentagram of Solomon
The words on the seal have the following meaning:

Abdia - I conjure thee in secret, O Spirit!
Ballaton - Come forth from thy abode and speak clearly in my speech.
Bellony - Put forth thy might and discover unto me the knowledge and power in thy keeping.
Halliy - Answer in the inward silence all of my questions without fail.
Halliza - Assume and show forth unto me thy form of divine perfection.
Soluzen - Open unto me thy secret door and fulfill me of my purpose!

Which as one could well imagine is a very powerful spell
for opening the way to knowledge ..a key that unlocks the door
of the mind and so thought King Solomon

There is a great deal more about this, but for this missive the basic info is enough


Which is perhaps why this rite is favorite of mine

I am the Key which opens many doors
I am the lock which yields to light alone
I am a candle burning in the dark
I am a twig for feeding the flame from spark
I am the light condensing from the stars,
which brims the silver bowl of consciousness
I am the vessel opening to my will
I turn the key .. torch the twig .. and fill
Katherine Kutuz

Now what does a modern day fiction writers rite of opening the mind
and King Solomon seal have in common ? They both understand
the need to open the mind in order to fill it with knowledge.

So where does the Craft come into this ?


The Key of Solomon was more than just a symbol, it is a book on magick
From which we gain a great deal of our current day symbols and practices
I get a bit long here but bear with me :)

For Example:

IN WHAT MANNER THE MASTER OF THE ART SHOULD KEEP,
RULE, AND GOVERN HIMSELF

"He who wisheth to apply himself unto so great and so difficult a Science should have his mind free from all business,
and from all extraneous ideas of whatever nature they may be."

That's pretty simple huh, you need an uncluttered focused mind to do Magick
...
"The which matters being prepared, it is necessary for thee to search out and arrange some fitting place
wherein the Magical Art and its Experiments can be put in practice."

Finding the right spot to practice ,this is a given with any witch.
...
"It will be necessary for thee to wait for the hour in which thou shouldest commence the Operation; but when once
it shall be commenced at this hour, thou shalt be able to continue it unto the end, seeing that it deriveth its force and virtue from its beginning, which extendeth to and spreadeth over the succeeding hours, so that the Master of the Art will be enabled to complete
his work so as to arrive at the desired result."

Waiting for the proper time and place to hold the rite, of course

On the Coven

"When the Master of the Art wisheth to put in practice any Operation or Experiment, especially one of importance,
he should first consider of what Companions he should avail himself. 
This is the reason why in every Operation whose Experience
should be carried out in the Circle"

With or without a Coven is the question here, solitary or ?
...
"But if it be absolutely necessary for him to have Companions, these Companions should be obligated and bound by oath to do
all that the Master shall order and prescribe them, and they should study, observe, and carefully retain, and be attentive unto all
which they shall hear. For those who shall act otherwise shall suffer and endure many pains and labors, and run into many dangers,
which the Spirits will cause and procure for them."

If you are coven leader, in perfect love and trust as the Wiccans say,
is how you must you hold your fellows, in order to do magick together
...
"But for the safety both of soul and of body, the Master and the Companions should have the Pentacles before their breasts,
consecrated, and covered with a silken veil, and perfumed with the proper fumigation's. By the which being assured and encouraged,
they may enter into the matter without fear or terror, and they shall be exempt and free from all perils and dangers, provided that
they obey the commands of the Master and do all that he ordain them. If they shall act thus,
all things shall go according unto their desires."

The pentagrams, the smudging and adherence to a code of honor and understanding

"All being thus arranged, the Master should take heed that His Disciples
are perfectly instructed in those things which they have to perform."

The year and a day of training for understanding
and a little practice before the rite wouldn't hurt a bit

"These Companions or Disciples should be three in number, without including the Master. 
They may also be of the number of five,
of seven, or of nine;
but so that they ever implicitly obey the orders of their Master; for thus only

shall all things come to a successful issue."
...
"When they shall have arrived at the place, and all things being disposed in their proper order, the Master
shall take the Knife or other convenient consecrated Magical implement of Steel, wherewith to form the Circle of Art
which he intends to construct. This being done, he must perfume it, and sprinkle it with water."

Casting the Circle
...
"Having entered into the Circle to perform the Experiment, he should sound this 
Trumpet towards the four quarters of the Universe,
first towards the East, then towards the South,
then towards the West, and lastly towards the North."

Calling the Elements
...
"In order to properly carry out the greatest and most important Operations of the Art, various Instruments are necessary,
as a Knife with a white hilt, another with a black hilt, a short Lance, wherewith to trace Circles, Characters, and other things"

Pure Wicca here
...
"Having chosen a place for preparing and constructing the Circle, and all things necessary being prepared for the perfection
of the Operations, take thou the Sickle or Scimitar of Art and stick it into the center of the place where the Circle is to be made;
then take a cord of nine feet in length, fasten one end thereof unto the Sickle and with the other end trace out the circumference
of the Circle, which may be marked either with the Sword or with the Knife with the Black hilt. Then within the Circle mark
out four regions, namely, towards the East, West, South, and North, wherein place Symbols; and beyond the limits of this Circle
describe with the Consecrated Knife or Sword another Circle, but leaving an open space therein towards the North whereby
thou mayest enter and depart beyond the Circle of Art"

This is almost Wicca to a T here
and just about any other current day Pagan rite
The bit about the nine foot circle etc., is pure Stregeria. off site link
...
"Make a small Book containing the Prayers for all the Operations, the Names of the Angels in the form of Litanies,
their Seals and Characters; the which being done thou shalt consecrate the same unto God and unto the pure
Spirits in the manner following:--"

Ye old book of shadows
...
"Thou shalt set in the destined place a small table covered with a white cloth, whereon thou shalt lay the
Book opened at the Great Pentacle which should be drawn on the first leaf of the said Book; and having
kindled a lamp which should be suspended above the center of the table."


Now this is of course by no means all the text there is very much more.

See link at page bottom, for out link to the complete works.

I present it here to make a point, that our ways are not new and we feel
like Solomon, that they are valid and important. And lest we forget, All the Gods
that Solomon called upon where the Old Gods of Christianity,
but Solomon was a Magician of the highest order.
He was also a necromancer. Which would seem to indicate that
the concept of magick and Christianity are Not antithetical to each other

The original texts were written in Hebrew and translated into Latin.
(Clavicula Salomonis)  First translated from ancient manuscripts currently in the British Museum
by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers 1889

Who was , the leader of the Golden Dawn at the time. off site link
Who better to translate texts of Magick ?
Just so you don't think I am overtly influenced by this do understand
Its been translated by others independently and
they have come up with pretty much the same thing as he did
As well as the Order of the Dawn was brand new at the time.
MacGregor just happened to be the foremost expert on Latin transcriptions of his day

(More on the Golden dawn some other time in the meantime please see the link if it interests you)


Now the point of all this is to draw attention to the fact that Solomon wrote these texts
over 3000 years ago. Some 10 centuries Before the recorded coming of the Christ.
It is said an Angel of God came to him to impart the knowledge of all the demons
and their binding. That gave to him the names of all the winged ones ,their orders and ranks etc..
Given that, at this time, the name of the Christ was completely unknown ,
what God names did he call upon to do this ?

ADONAI, 1 YAH, HOA, EL, ELOHA, ELOHINU, ELOHIM, EHEIEH, MARON, KAPHU, ESCH, INNON, AVEN, AGLA, HAZOR,
EMETH, YAII, ARARITHA, YOVA, HA-KABIR, MESSIACH, IONAH, MAL-KA, EREL, KUZU, MATZPATZ, EL SHADDAI
BARUC, 2 BACURABON, PATACEL, ALCHEEGHEL, AQUACHAI, HOMORION, EHEIEH, ABBATON, CHEVON, CEBON, OYZROYMAS,
CHAI, EHEIEH, ALBAMACHI, ORTAGU, NALE, ABELECH (or HELECH), YEZE (or SECHEZZE); EHEIEH ASHER EHEIEH YEEWE

And many many more, all names for the God. I may not have some of them right here but you get the idea.
Many of the texts have been translated as Christian in the current day sense
and changes these names, which is incorrect. There was no such thing AS Christianity at this time.

I do not dispute that these names are the old God names of Christianity, as were in use
at the time of Abraham, before the coming of the Christ.

Most of these names are antonyms for facets of the Godhead
the way of mercy, the way of Power, the way of Justice. In order to combat the "evils", which is almost always abuse of power
by men over other men, which are the often the "demons" one must bind. All evil done by man was considered to
be a demon ( greed, lust, etc. ) influencing the man ,so to combat the evil one must confront the "demon" responsible
(true Evil is quite another matter, I will get into some other time)

How are these names for the attributes of the Divine force, any different than the names of Quan Yin Mother of mercy, Freya the
Mother of Magick, Thor the god Of Justice for example ? Upon whom we call for the same reason, to aid us to combat the evils
of men over other men? We know, As I am sure Solomon knew, that none of these names is " persona" but is rather a part
of the Godhead that we frail humans can get our mind around and be able to relate to. Much the same as the antonyms above,
these names and many others, stand for a different aspect of the God force. The same God Force upon whom Solomon
called to do high Magick 3000 years ago.

Modern day Christianity by and large, knows not the names as were used for God from the days of Solomon,
having never been taught them, those ways are closed to most people unless they are a scholar. Also, they are often,
closed to the ways of mystical magick as was practiced by King Solomon. But it begs the question

How can many current Christian sects, decry the Craft as some black art, yet still revere the man as "Solomon the Wise"
when he was, by all accounts, magicks foremost practitioner ?

It's a question to consider, as it's not very rationally minded, to hold him in reverence as a wise man,
yet denounce the very art he practiced in the current day.

Almost to a word, forsaking his habit of animal rites, which were common
in his day and the practices of sowing discord among your enemies by magick, which was also considered a legitimate
practice at the time. Modern day Pagans have done away with these practices as being harmful to others,
which is against our most prime Laws.

With these changes in mind however, We do practice magick, much as the wise Solomon did,
With love, and a great desire for the Good.

If it was proper for Solomon to do these things, calling on Divine aid to do it,
why is it not considered proper for us ?

We believe that it is :)


Adding a small scholarly cravat here, as someone wrote me asking
How do we " know " Solomon wrote this ?
Here is my basic answer to that. From personal experience

The most commonly available text of the keys, are admittedly bastardized, but many many such translations have
been made, some less biased than others. Taken as a whole, it's reasonable to say that Solomon was its author,
poor translations not withstanding, but take a tour of some of those translations and you will see they all agree on some basic points.
There are still arguments being tossed about today, as the historic community cannot seem to settle down to a
definition they all agree on...:) Nothing unusual there.

The historic war of theology between scholars is however, mostly about what is said and the quality of the translation,
not..  over who wrote it...on this, they almost all attribute the work to Solomon...proof ?

We may never have any that we can agree on 100%, because we must depend on translations
and any translation is subject to error and one must keep that in mind.

Most of the old texts in question here were in Latin, which has only one saving grace, in that it's a dead language meaning
its semantics do not change, due to common and changing usage, which is why it's often used for such recording work.

Any living language, meaning one in current use,
is subject to semantic changes in what any given word means, but like all translations, Latin is subject to error and
bias on the part of the translator since no one DOES speak it anymore, it's a catch 22.

Such as with MacGregor, he was foremost person, in his day to translate Latin, he was also a magician ,
so any translations he made, are admittedly biased,
( there are many theological arguments based on what he left out of his translations,
mainly dealing with women ) but as I said above, others have found the same reasoning,
but often they translated it into a more modern Christian slant,
based on their own bias, which is also incorrect.

There are many wars of theology over this simply because
it challenges concepts many tend to hold about themselves,
so it will be denied as valid by those sectors for as long as said faiths
deny their own roots of magick, in my opinion.

But even most of the Hebrew scholars admit the Keys origins to be from Solomon,
even if the texts ( there are many others than the keys)
are in of themselves, translations of texts, often long gone to oblivion.
Again this is not absolute, as there are arguments on that too.

With the exception of the Essene Dead sea scrolls,
which are originals, that tend to back up the keys of Solomon regarding
the keys origins and validity, in many ways.

I personally studied the Dead sea scrolls with a gentleman who was there
when they were dug up and who helped to translate them.

He got special dispensation to teach this one and only class,
as he was way beyond retirement age at the time.
We had long conversations on just this issue and many others regarding the scrolls contents,
and I consider myself to be most fortunate to have had such first hand information.

While I do believe that the most popular version of the Keys,
is corrupted by other texts and ideas, the basic concepts
which I have laid out here, are agreed on by almost all persons who have translated it ,
to be the work of Solomon the wise, including my teacher of the Essence scrolls.

But make the study yourself and see what you think :)


HOME

Off site link
The full texts of the Keys of Solomon