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Goetia:  the Lesser Key of King Solomon


Upper Cover


Lower Cover




Title Page




Bound in black cloth.1

Upper cover lettered in gilt ‘GOETIA | THE LESSER KEY | OF KING SOLOMON | [ornament]2

Spine lettered in gilt vertically down the spine ‘[ornament] | GOETIA’2



Occult Publishing House.1





Published At:

Chicago, Illinois.1, 3



Undated, but thought to be about 1910.1



First U.S. Edition.



x +82 + ii advertisements.3






This is a pirated edition of the edition published by Aleister Crowley in 1904.1

















Goetia, Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth (S.P.R.T.), Boleskine, Inverness, Foyers, 1904.


Goetia, de Laurence, Chicago, 1916.





Gerald Yorke, A Bibliography of the Works of Aleister Crowley (Expanded and Corrected by Clive Harper from Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn and Buddhism:  Reminiscences and Writings of Gerald Yorke, Keith Richmond, editor, The Teitan Press, York Beach, ME, 2011, p. 50.  


Personal observation of the item.


Weiser Antiquarian Books, Catalog # 35, “Aleister Crowley:  Rarities.”


Comments by



     ... (There is always occult opposition to the publication of important documents. It took me over three years to get my The Goetia through the press, and over two years in the case of 777. This is one of the facts whose cumulative effect makes it impossible to doubt the existence of spiritual forces.) . . .

     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 176.



     The condition of my soul is clearly indicated by my output. The fount of lyric poetry had run completely dry. I had not touched the unfinished Orpheus; wrote nothing new. I no longer aspired to become the redeemer of humanity. I doubt whether I should have been able to attach any meaning to any such words. 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.



     My activities as a publisher were at this time remarkable. I had issued The God-Eater and The Star & the Garter through Charles Watts & Co. of the Rationalist Press Association, but there was still no such demand for my books as to indicate that I had touched the great heart of the British public. I decided that it would save trouble to publish them myself. I decided to call myself the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, and issued The Argonauts, The Sword of Song, the Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King, Why Jesus Wept, Oracles, Orpheus, Gargoyles and The Collected Works.

     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 406.



     I was still entirely “off” The Book of the Law. I had with me my unique vellum copy of The Goetia and I proposed to use the Preliminary Invocation. . . .
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 517.



      It is the prerogative of every critic of art, drama and literature either to approve or disapprove, agree or disagree; it is his or her duty to express an honest opinion and—to state facts, when possible, in support of the opinion.

     Some books reviewed have been approved, endorsed, recommended, in this magazine. Two were recommended in the last issue, and the recommendations have been appreciated by a great number—a host in fact—of our members and readers.

     Now two books are to be criticized and condemned. May the same wide and sincere attention be paid to this expression of opinion.

     Many books come to the office of the Imperator in the course of a month which fall under very close scrutiny. All are turned over to the Supreme Lodge Library for all to read, like and duplicate for their own private libraries if they wish. It is not the province nor the wish of the Imperator to forbid the reading of any book. Thus, some books pass by without comment.

     To be able to judge every book—even those on the varied subjects within the domain of our Order—is a task and requires such ability that not even the highest authority on Rosaecrucianism would claim to exercise. But what every Rosaecrucian can do, and should do, is to condemn pretence and fraud commercialized; and when books come under such classification, it is our duty to warn others.

     The foregoing is inspired by a careful study and examination of what seems to be a rather recent book (published without date) on the title page of which we read:

     “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. The best, simplest, most intelligible and most effective treatise extant on CEREMONIAL MAGIC. This book is very much easier to operate than the so-called ‘greater’ Key of Solomon. Now for the first time made accessible to English Adepts and students of the mysteries.”

     Naturally the title attracts attention. That is why it has so long a description and tale. The Bible, greatest selling book of all, is dignified with a short title. It needs no alluring promises of revelations to make its title appeal to seekers for truth. But this book is to attract the credulous seeker who believes and is always ready to demonstrate that belief, that the great secrets of God, nature and man are to be purchased for a few cents in book form.

     As a matter of fact this book, so far as misleading, false, deceptive title and inane, absurd and preposterous contents are concerned, should be classed with those other two obsequious monuments of fraudulent literature, namely, “Morgan’s Exposé of Freemasonry,” and “The Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses,” both of which nobody takes seriously before they are read but the purchaser, and after they are read, but by the seller who smilingly pockets the excellent profits.

     For brazen misrepresentation no claim can hardly equal that of “By the Order of the Secret Chief of the Rosicrucian Order.” It sounds alluring to the uninitiated, but let it be known now that there is no “Secret” head or “Chief” of the Rosicrucian Order. Nor would any executive or officer of the Rosicrucian or Rosaecrucian Order think of publishing SUCH a book or using such a title.

     As far as any Rosaecrucian matter is revealed, contained or even hinted at in the book, the closest scrutiny fails to make any revelation at all—ah, yes, except that in two or three of the 150 or more ridiculous scrolls and puzzle-pictures called “symbols” and “diagrams” there appears the Rosaecrucian symbol of the inverted triangle, seemingly put there merely by accident by the “artist” to fill blank spaces.

     The author not only assumes the alluring dignity of “Secret Chief,” etc., but appropriately hides his identity under various catches, but leaves several means open for the inquirer to get in touch with him through the always mysterious “Editor” of the book, in case the inquirer proves gullible enough to wish to spend more money and “get in touch” with the Rosicrucian Order.

     But, in the popular phrase of the day, one could safely say: “Come out into the light, Mr. Aleister Crowley—we recognize you and your black brotherhood.” Crowley, whose reputation in English circles, French and German Rosaecrucian Lodges, and Egyptian records is not enviable, admits having written some parts of the book, by discreet footnotes. But a careful comparison of the language and the illustrations in this book with those in the London publication Called “The Equinox” (bearing the design of the Rose and Cross), which are accorded certain space on our Library shelf, show that the same master hand was concerned with the writing, editing and illustrating of this book. For while the illustrations have the same frenzied, puzzle-diagrammatic scrolls and are meaningless, the language is just as unprintable in good literature and just as degrading as in those London publications which forever prevented Crowley from joining or having anything to do with the A.M.O.R.C. anywhere in the world.

     No true Rosaecrucian, no seeker for truth, no clean, moral minded person will read or encourage the sale of such a book.


     [ . . . ]


     But why do otherwise sensible and rational people buy books which claim to be the “Rites,” the “Mysteries” or the “Secrets” of a long established, well guarded, secret organization? Perhaps only men like Crowley, Jennings and Clymer, with their well-filled coffers can tell—but they will not!

—The American Rosae Crucis, October 1916.



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