Millennia ago, King Solomon bound 72 demons in a brass vessel and cast it into the sea. As the story goes, Solomon’s vessel was discovered by Babylonians, who believed that it contained treasure. However, when they feverishly broke open the brass vessel, the demons and their legions were set free. Then, the unleashed spirits returned to the underworld. One exception was the 68th demon, Belial, who entered an idol and delivered oracles in exchange for sacrifices and divine honors.
The thing is that many of the so-called “evil spirits” are actually deities that were demonized. That is to say that, some of the gods who were reclassified as demons were originally revered not reviled. For instance, the very first of the 72 demons subdued was Bael. He was the old Caananite god Baal, who had been denounced by Moses in antiquity. Much later, in medieval Europe, the demons were assigned titles and ranks. For instance, Bael is a king, while others are dukes or knights, and so on and so forth. Also, in the modern legend, Solomon sealed the demons in the vessel so they could be called upon to do his bidding, not to prevent them from doing harm.
As a result of this, Dark Age ceremonial magicians cast themselves in the role of Solomon and sought to command and compel the same recalcitrant spirits that he did. This is described in The Greater Key of Solomon, The Lesser Key of Solomon, The Testament of Solomon, and other grimoires. The problem is that a few things got lost in translation, or otherwise overlooked, thanks to occultists such as Samuel Mathers and Aleister Crowley, who wrote the English translations. With that being said, I would like to explain how a demonic ritual should be done based on a more complete understanding of the process.
In regards to this, I have chosen to focus on the fiftieth demon, Furcas, for a sample summoning. So, to get a better understanding of who Furcas is and what he does we can turn to the Goetia, which states that:
“The Fiftieth Spirit is Furcas. He is a Knight, and appeareth in the Form of a Cruel Old Man with a long Beard and a hoary Head, riding upon a pale-colored Horse, with a Sharp Weapon in his hand. His Office is to teach the Arts of Philosophy, Astrology, Rhetoric, Logic, Chiromancy, and Pyromancy, in all their parts, and perfectly. He hath under his Power 20 Legions of Spirits. His Seal, or Mark, is thus made, etc.”
Similarly, the False Monarchy of Demons also asserts that Furcas controls twenty-some hordes of malicious monsters. With that being said, when you summon Furcas, some or all of his retinue can join him. That is to say, during a conjuration, more than just one demon can appear, and this can easily become overwhelming. That’s why a great deal of preparation goes into calling forth the damned and bending them to your will. Plus, it’s critical to understand the ways in which a demon manifests, or not. This is really the key to the whole thing.
As a perfect example of what I mean by this, the world-renowned occultist Aleister Crowley went about it all wrong. Based on his incomplete knowledge of the process, Crowley attempted to make demons appear to him in the smoke from incense. However, after a great deal of effort, he had nothing to show for it, save for maybe the occasional moments of pareidolia, which could have easily been mistaken for glimpses of the forsaken gods and fallen angels that he was searching for.
The best way to make a demon appear is in a candlelit obsidian mirror, sometimes known as a “speculum”. This is to be placed in a magic triangle while the demonologist stands in a magic circle. The speculum should be two feet in front of the demonologist and three feet off the ground, on top of an altar. Then, by visualizing Furcas’ sigil while gazing at the black mirror, he can be made to manifest. First, your reflection fades away, and the speculum goes black. Then, Furcas’ fury face appears as his sigil fades from your mind’s eye.
After that, assuming all your other spells work properly, then the demon can be compelled to speak the truth in your native tongue. Otherwise, it will seem unintelligible and possibly become uncontrollable. To make matters worse, without all the appropriate safeguards in place, a conjuration can easily turn into a possession. This is why a demonologist is supposed to be positioned in a magic circle while a demon is to be kept within a magic triangle outside of the magic circle. These barriers are extensions of your will that keep evil spirits at bay, while simultaneously bringing them nearly within reach.
According to The New Encyclopedia of the Occult:
“Current magical traditions differ sharply on the nature of demons, to say nothing of the advisability of magical practices that call on them. Even those traditions that make use of goetic rituals for summoning demons, however, stress that this is not work for magical beginners, and carries very substantial risks.”
With that being said, when it’s done right, demonology can serve as an interesting, albeit highly questionable, epistemic tool. It allows a conjuror to invoke God and unveil the dark side of the spirit world, all at once. The trick is getting demons to be truthful, and not treacherous. After all, the Devil is the “Father of Lies”, but demons can be good to have around sometimes, all the same. Of course, not everyone should keep the company of lesser spirits. More importantly, this essay is just meant to be educational, not instructional, or even inspirational. So, please don’t dabble with the darkest of dark arts on my account. Like Pandora’s box, Solomon’s vessel isn’t to be trifled with.