For the first time, the three great magical works of King Solomon are together in one volume. The Greater and Lesser Keys give a practical guide to the operation of his magic. The testament gives a historical account of its use by Solomon himself.
The Key of Solomon the King was originally researched and translated by S.L. MacGregor Mathers from ancient manuscripts in the British museums. Included by Mathers is the Order of the Pentacles of Solomon, the Ancient Fragment of the Key of Solomon, The Qabalistic Invocation of Solomon, and 15 plates full of figures, seals and charts, as well as the original text giving detailed instruction for spells and invocations.
The work is traditionally divided into two books detailing the Key of King Solomon. Book One explains the operation of conjurations, curses, spells and other magical works. Book Two instructs the practitioner on the proper attire, purification rituals and other means of obtaining the goals of the Goetia. Between these two books is the list of plates that contain numerous illustrations and secret seals of Solomon, including the Mystical Seal of Solomon, the Pentacles of Solomon, and the Mystical Alphabet, which impart the mechanisms and requirements for the invocation of spirits and demons.
The Lesser Key of Solomon, or the Clavicula Salomonis Regis, or Lemegeton, is a compilation of materials and writings from ancient sources making up a text book of magic or "grimoire." Portions of this book can be traced back to the mid-16th to 17th centuries, when occult researchers such as Cornelius Agrippa and Johannes Trithemisus assembled what they discovered during their investigations into their own great works.
As a modern grimoire, the Lesser Key of Solomon has seen several editions with various authors and editors taking liberty to edit and translate the ancient writings and source material. In 1898, Arthur Edward Waite published his The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, which contained large portions of the Lemegeton. He was followed by Mathers and Crowley in 1904 who published The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon.
In the preface to this edition, it is explained that a "Secret Chief" of the Rosicrucian Order directed the completion of the book. The original editor was a G. H. Fra. D.D.C.F. who translated ancient texts from French, Hebrew, and Latin, but was unable to complete his labors because of the martial assaults of the Four Great Princes. Crowley was then asked to step in and finish what the previous author had begun.
The Testament of Solomon is a pseudepigraphical work attributed to King Solomon the Wise of the Old Testament. Written in the first-person narrative, the book tells the story of the creation of the magical ring of King Solomon and how Solomon's ring was used to bind and control demons, including Beelzebub. In this book of King Solomon, the discourses between the King and the various spirits are told, and the story shows how Solomon uses his wisdom to withstand the demons' tricks and guile and enlist their aid in the building of his temple.
The manuscripts from which this work was discovered date from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. All were written in Greek. This dating makes most experts believe that the work is medieval. But some scholars, including D.C. Duling, argue that it is likely that the work comes from the 5th or 6th centuries.
No matter the date, the text provides an immensely interesting description of how King Solomon tamed various demons to build his temple. The text includes predictions of the coming of Christ, as one demon explains to Solomon that while he may be bound, the only thing that can truly take his power away is the man born from a virgin who will be crucified by the Jews.
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About the Author
Frederick Cornwallis Conybear was born in Coulsdon, Surrey, England, on September 14, 1856. Conybear attended university at Oxford where he studied the humanities, graduating with a BA, and then a MA in 1882.
After school, Conybear began the study of the Armenian and Georgian languages and translated various religious texts from those languages. The texts that occupied Conybear's efforts were mostly Christian in nature and subject, and, after some time, the works began asserting an influence on the scholar and he became interested in church history.
He died on January 9, 1924 and was buried in Brompton Cemetery alongside his father and grandfather. At the time of his death, he had a fortune in ancient Armenian and Georgian texts, which were donated to the London Library.
Aleister Crowley born Edward Alexander Crowley; 12 October 1875 - 1 December 1947, was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century.
After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kanchenjunga and a visit to India and China, Crowley returned to Britain, where he attracted attention as a prolific author of poetry, novels, and occult literature. In 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded a Thelemite order, the A.A., through which they propagated the religion. After spending time in Algeria, in 1912 he was initiated into another esoteric order, the German-based Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), rising to become the leader of its British branch.
Samuel Liddell (or Liddel) MacGregor Mathers, born Samuel Liddell Mathers, was a British occultist. He is primarily known as one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a ceremonial magic order of which offshoots still exist today.
Mathers was a polyglot; among the languages he had studied were English, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Coptic, though he had a greater command of some languages than of others. His translations of various ancient texts, while probably justly criticized with respect to quality, were responsible for making what had been obscure and inaccessible material widely available to the non-academic English speaking world.
Mathers died in November 1918 aged 64.