“Inform, repleat, instruct, restore, correct, and refine me, that I may be made new in the understanding of thy Precepts, and in receiving the Sciences which are profitable for my Soul and Body, and for all faithful believers in the Name which is blessed forever, world without end.”
Edited by Joseph H. Peterson this particular edition, arrived at through no small amount of research, consists of five books. Some versions of the Lesser Key of Solomon contain only the first book, the Goetia:
Of the Arte Goetia (this is the book that scares everyone, and when anyone refers to The Lesser Key of Solomon they are undoubtedly referring to this book – command of the infernal)
The Art Theurgia Goetia (command of both good and evil spirits for informational / mobility purposes)
The Art Pauline of King Salomon (command of angels in relation to the planets / zodiac)
Salomon’s Almadel Art (command of angels in relation to material goods / riches / fertility)
Ars Notoria: The Notary Art of Salomon (arts of prayer relating to knowledge / memory)
Solomon, the biblical King Solomon, is supposedly the originator of the contents though not the author. Hundreds of years ago that idea was popularly debunked, and it was decided the text is far more recent than Solomon. The book may have originated in the 1700s or the 1400s (or also, from King Solomon ~1000 B.C.)
A quick story*: The beginning of Solomon’s powers came when his favored boy, possibly a student but more likely a lover, complained to Solomon that a demon was visiting him and slowly sucking his life force out through his thumb when he slept. Solomon watched the boy’s decline and eventually made an appeal to Heaven. The angel Michael appeared and gave Solomon a ring on which was engraved a symbol, later to be known as the Seal of Solomon. Michael instructed Solomon to wear the ring in the demon’s presence which would allow him to command the spirit.
Solomon gave the ring to the boy. When next the demon visited, the boy hurled the ring at the demon and Solomon’s seal was imprinted on the spirit. Solomon commanded the beholden demon to take the ring and imprint his master Beelzebub, sometimes referred to as Satan himself but other times as an overlord of Hell answerable to Satan. Either way, the demon was forced to obey; Beelzebub was imprinted and was henceforth answerable to Solomon who in effect now controlled all the demons under Beelzebub through the demon king.
*based on Testament of Solomon
Lemegeton Clavicula Salominus, or The Lesser Key of Solomon, is exactly what you’ve heard. This is the blackest, darkest of the grimoires in existence, as its study potentially bears out. Not because what you will read is so depraved, disgusting or inhuman, but because the proper performance of the rituals within taps that kind of power–demonic power. This book is all about the calling up and dominating of spirits, the most frightening being the infernal, though angels will kill you just as quickly. Properly summoned and controlled the practitioner may have his wishes fulfilled.
While it could be viewed as a kind of workbook, this is not an instruction manual. You cannot read step one, perform it, more to step two, perform and so on. Prior to performing any rituals a person would need to understand the work thoroughly and be familiar with and undaunted by constant flipping around referencing many parts at the same time. It would take a ton of painstaking preparation and is not something to try on a weekend with friends at the cabin.
Containing many seals and sigils, signs and portents, most of the book is lists of demons and other spirits, the realms over which these spirits have power, their corresponding marks, and verbiage with which to interact throughout a summoning. There are many warnings to do everything slowly and properly, at the correct time of day depending on who is being summoned and why, and what to wear, what to eat, which substances to make what props out of, etc. What is not present is what to do upon a successful summoning gone awry–that’s for horror writers and the damned.
Solomon’s Keys and other grimoires are important to our authors for at least a couple of reasons.
First, some of us have read them and can tell when things are being faked or falsely attributed. We see a lot of this in the Urban Fantasy genre, and it is a little disgusting when some authors try and meld historical data such as these grimoires with their stories, ignoring everything that’s contained within the books they’re currently misusing. That’s sometimes the case but to shout out an author here, Tom Piccirilli, you know your stuff. It shows, and we appreciate it. With great stories come great responsibilities.
Second, grimoires lend credence to an author’s voice. Not so much avoiding misuse of the works, but confidently speaking from a knowledgeable position lends that ring of truth to the words. We question less and can suspend disbelief much more easily when the author speaks confidently and with authority.
This book is as dry as a textbook because it basically is a textbook. It’s not recommend at all unless you are an author looking for authenticity, a serious horror fan who wants to dive into some of the origins of the great tales, or a true believer looking to further your study. For the readers, those who take a look at books such as these are in for some surprises which shouldn’t be spoiled.
One of four things can happen by reading and employing this work as it was meant:
2. You learn things
3. You are granted unlimited cosmic power
4. You’re ripped to shreds and dragged off to Hell
Because there is no Necronomicon, The Lesser Key of Solomon is, by far, referenced more than any other grimoire read about or seen in movies.
Rating depends entirely on what you’re reading it for.
*You may make fun of the beliefs surrounding the work, but you must recognize them for what they are: beliefs. Some people, somewhere along the line put stock in this, and anyone tempted to ridicule should first consider the modern, and proven, placebo effect. The human mind is not even close to understood and further complicating things, quantum mechanics reveals a surprising level of unpredictability in the physical building blocks of the universe. Judge not, lest ye be judged.