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THE BOOK OF THE GOETIA or The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (1910) by Aleister Crowley & MacGregor Mathers (1st US Edition)


THE BOOK OF THE GOETIA or The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (1910) by Aleister Crowley & MacGregor Mathers (1st US Edition)


Crowley, Aleister (annotated and edited by), translated by S. L. MacGregor Mathers

The Book of the Goetia or The Lesser Key of Solomon the King, from Numerous Manuscripts in Hebrew, Latin, French and English by the Order of the Secret Chief of the Rosicrucian Order

Chicago: The Occult Publishing House, no date (circa 1910). First American Edition (precedes De Laurence's pirated edition). Hardcover. Octavo. Black cloth with gilt design and title to front. No lettering to spine. [ix], 82 pages plus 2-page publisher’s adverts at end of volume. OCLC lists only one copy of this particular edition. A very uncommon volume

Some rubbing and spotting to cloth. A bit of corner and edge wear. Former owner’s name to endpaper. Overall this remains a very good copy. 

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Though there is no mention of Mathers on the title page, these are most certainly his translations. In addition, it is evident that Crowley had quite a hand in annotating, editing, and contributing to this edition as well - one only need look at the prefatory note and especially the introductory essay: ‘The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic”, which was written at Boleskine House. It is also stated concerning the conjurations at the end of the volume that these have been “rendered into ye Magicall or Angelike Language by our Illustrious and ever-Glorious Frater, ye Wise Perdurabo” (Crowley’s magical motto). Crowley also added a magic square on the verso of the title page, one which was intended to prevent improper use of the book (De Laurence removed this magic square when he published his edition in 1916). Crowley also added a Greek invocation to Typhon. 

The Goetia contains descriptions and evocations of 72 demons. This version is based on manuscripts from the British Museum, with additions by Crowley, including a Preliminary Invocation drawn from Goodwin's Fragment of a Graeco-Egyptian Work upon Magic, and the essay ‘The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic.’ It is not a faithful edition of the source manuscripts but contains several innovations, including some evocations in Enochian written by Crowley. In his introduction, Crowley argues that the work of demonic evocation is merely a form of psychological self-exploration. Crowley states thus: “After returning from Edinburgh, I do not seem even to have kept a record and I remember nothing about my doings. July is however the date of an essay “The initiated interpretation of ceremonial magick” which I prefaced to my edition of The Goetia. I had employed Mathers to translate the text of The Lesser Key of Solomon the King of which The Goetia is the first section. He got no further; after the events of 1900, he had simply collapsed morally. I added a translation of the conjurations into the Enochian or Angelic language; edited and annotated the text, prefixed a “Preliminary Invocation”, added a prefatory note, a Magical Square (intended to prevent improper use of the book) and ultimately an Invocation of Typhon when the First Magical War of the Aeon of Horus was declared” — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 362.