A grimoire—textbook on magic—of medieval origin. It is
supposed to be the work of Solomon, but is manifestly of later
origin and was probably written in either the fourteenth or fifteenth
century. A number of manuscripts have survived. There
are stories of a book of magic spells ascribed to Solomon as
early as the first century C.E.; the historian Flavius Josephus
stated that Eleazar the Jew exorcised devils with Solomon’s
book. Stories of a ring of Solomon’s are also found in the Arabian
The Key is not an authentic Jewish work, since it contains ancient
concepts that may date from earlier semitic or Babylonian
times. It may have come to Europe through Gnostic channels
and mixed with later kabalistic notions.
In its popular form, its chief use appears to be in finding
treasure and performing magic rites with the purpose of interfering
with the free will of others. The power of the Divine
Name is much in evidence, but the work appears to combine
elements of both white and black magic.
The Lemegeton (Lesser Key of Solomon) is much more noteworthy.
Its earliest examples date from the seventeenth century,
and it invokes the hierarchies of the abyss by legions and
millions. It is divided into four parts that enable the operator
to control the offices of all spirits.
The first part, Göetia, contains forms of conjuration for 72
demons with an account of their powers and offices; the second,
Theurgia Göetia, deals with the spirits of the cardinal points,
which are of mixed nature; the third, the Pauline Art (the significance
of the name is unaccountable), deals with the angels of
the hours of the day and night and with the signs of the zodiac;
and the fourth, Almadel, enumerates four other choirs of spirits.
The operator is required to live a pure life, and none of the
conjurations may be applied to the injury of another.
The Greater Key of Solomon. Translated by S. L. MacGregor
Mathers. 1909. Reprint, Chicago De Laurence, 1914. Reprint,
London Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972.
The Lesser Key of SolomonGöetiaThe Book of Evil Spirits. Chicago
De Laurence, 1916.
Shah, Indres. The Secret Love of Magic. London Frederick
Muller, 1957. Reprint, London Abacus, 1972.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis)
Waite, Arthur E. The Book of Ceremonial Magic. New Hyde
Park, N.Y. University Books, 1961.

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