Why demons need to be controlled

I had some very interesting discussions around the fire over the weekend. With the friends who were visiting this was to be expected, but it is always interesting to see what particular flavour results from the synergy of people conversing. One topic of conversation was the Goetic spirits and the need for control of such beings.

Following a question about why can’t you just ask them to do things from someone with no experience of grimoires, the consensus between all of the practitioners of grimoire magic present (and there were several) was that this was really NOT a good idea! This type of magic works within a particular framework, and in that framework the sequence of conjurations and practices sets the parameters for safe and effective dealings with beings which are completely alien to humanity, inasmuch as they do not have our morality and have no real reason to be particularly friendly.

However, as I discussed in my essay The Fallen Angels and the Goetia in the anthology Both Sides of Heaven, there is another viewpoint to consider. This is that many of the demons in this grimoire are described as fallen angels who hope to return to heaven after a period of service. In this sense they can be seen as performing “angelic community service” as an act of humility and service to show they deserve to be restored to the positions they lost through their earlier misdeeds. So in this context it is beneficial to these fallen angels to help the conjuring magician as it will also help them!

Another part of the discussion focused on the idea that demons (as distinct from fallen angels) are by their nature chaotic, and the strict framework of conjurations and practices helps create a lens to direct that chaotic energy through, without any harm to the magician or the environment.

A similar purpose is achieved through using a controlling angel when working with a demon, a theme which I discussed at length with Stephen Skinner in our work The Goetia of Dr Rudd. At the end of the day, it is not a matter of being nice, it is a matter of being effective within the parameters of your work, and then you can be courteous!