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The alchemy project is waiting for this Monday. In short, I screwed up calcination, and then my brother was in the area and my kids really wanted to see their Uncle. I decided family time was more important than saving the project.

I would be interested in engaging the readership more. Occasionally I get email asking me to clarify a particular point (which is fine) or offer up more detail on a vision. I publish what I’m comfortable publishing of those and frankly, sometimes it’s weeks before something happens and I have that ah-ha moment. The Vision of Syria? Part of the US budget pissing contest (aside of the Affordable Care Act) involves funding Middle East policy. Did that come up as something I realized at the time? It did not. On the other hand this does not satisfy me because the US has hands in almost every country in the world and it feels like a cheat since I had the specific intent of looking at Syria which is why I picked the spirit I picked and performed the ritual as I did. Overly broad success conditions are no conditions for success at all. Perhaps it was a reference to the recent infighting among Syrian rebel groups. Still, there is one Syria. On a map it still is one thing.

The particular question which piqued my interest towards the opportunity was fairly simple. It was from a Wiccan who was looking to move into Ceremonial Magic and after an exchange of emails they popped the question “Is it safe to contact the spirits in the Lesser Key even though I don’t have my HGA yet?”

Readers willing to engage in debate and discussion are welcomed to use the comments section. Well, is it?

I wrote back: Short answer – you can contact the Lesser Key spirits. Anyone can. If you read the JWMT article from Leitch, it would do you well to compare and contrast how Voodoo/Hoodoo uses them and the effects of their rituals versus how a ceremonial magician might employ them. Notice the lack of a triangle in hoodoo/voodoo. What are your thoughts on this?

The answer is – go try it and see what happens! This is a good place for you to employ skills you picked up in Wicca and act and observe magical effects. However since I wouldn’t hand you a gun and tell you to get on with it, please let me wax philosophy for a bit. If you gloss the rest of this, the only advice I would give is to it By The Book for your first operation.

The HGA-before-Goetia is a Mathers or Crowley-ism. Lon Milo DuQuettes “Revolt of the Magicians” gives a possible account of what happens when you do that in the wrong order. However I’m not particularly comfortable with the OTO/AA/GD HGA. I tried the operation and got Uriel. I’ve been working with him for quite awhile now and I’m quite happy with it, but that’s not what’s supposed to happen By The Book. Uriel shows up now occasionally when I’m about to do something exceedingly stupid and either guides the operation or provides a security net. It’s a good thing to have. It is not a requirement. I started out with Enochian and before I had the philosophy down I found it exceedingly hard to produce spirits and effects. The goetia is really low hanging fruit and I worked with a small portion of spirits (Agares, Bifrons) for years before trying the HGA operation. Why do you suppose that the Goetia are easy to contact? 

I directed you to the Peterson goetia because it’s truer to the original material. The Crowley one is incomplete at best and missing major parts of the preparatory ritual. It does have more spirits, but these are spirits which approached Crowley. The Peterson version will direct you to keep the appropriate purity and baths. It also has the missing paragraph in the conjurations which appears in a German(?) MSS but missing from the French MSS. I would advise you to read the ritual portion cover to cover before working with spirits.

Crowley flip-flopped between the Goetia being aspects of ourselves, and being independent spirits. Can you construct arguments affirming each point? Can you come up with a way to definitively prove one way or another?