The Göetic Circle Appears in Calendrier Magique

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This image shows the Göetic Circle of Black Evocations and Pacts as depicted in colorful detail from the January page of the Calendrier Magique. The Calendrier was created by Austin de Croze and Manuel Orazi in 1896. Only 777 original editions of this calendar were published.

The circle icon as it is depicted here may be originally found in Éliphas Lévi’s 1856 second volume of Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (Dogma and Ritual of High Magick). An A.E. Waite Translation was also published by Rider & Company in England, 1896. The book was published as Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual.

In the 2018 book, Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition, William Kiesel describes the details of the circle:

“Eliphas Levi’s version of the Circle of Pacts as it appears in his book Transcendental Magic and labeled as the ‘Goetic Circle of Black Evocations and pacts’. Levi’s very atmospheric description includes the use of the skin of a sacrificial victim as the physical basis of the circle pinned to the ground by four coffin nails. The head of a black cat, a human skull, a bat and goat horns are placed near the nail- heads all together forming the precincts of the circle. The vessel of fire, two candlesticks and a different monogram of Christ are evident here showing an emblematic relationship with the previous circles just mentioned. As an aside the monogram of Christ has been discussed as a class of axial symbol and thus reflects the theme of center and orientation already discussed.” (pg. 60)

Lévi’s original circle

In the 1856 second volume of Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, Éliphas Lévi himself says:

“All these hideous objects – though scarcely possible to obtain – having been collected, they must be arranged as follows: a perfect circle is traced by the sword, leaving, however, a break, or point of issue, on one side; a triangle is drawn in the circle, and the Pantacle thus formed is coloured with blood; a chafing-dish is placed at one of its angles, and this should have been included among the indispensable objects already enumerated. At the opposite base of the triangle three little circles are described for the sorcerer and his two assistants; behind that of the first the sign of the Labarum or monogram of Constantine is drawn, not with the blood of the victim, but with the operator’s own blood. He and his assistants must have bare feet and covered heads. The skin of the immolated victim must be brought also to the spot and, being cut into strips, must be placed within the circle, thus forming a second and inner circle, fixed at four corners by four nails from the coffin mentioned already. Hard by the nails but outside the circle, must be placed the head of the cat, the human or rather inhuman skull, the horns of the goat, and the bat. They must be sprinkled with a branch of birch dipped in the blood of the victim, and then a fire of cypress and alderwood must be lighted, the two magical candles being placed on the right and left of the operator, encircled with the wreaths of vervain. The formulae of evocation can be pronounced now, as they are found in the Magical Elements of Peter of Apono, or in the Grimoires, whether printed or manuscript. That of the “Grand Grimoire”, reproduced in the vulgar Red Dragon, has been altered wilfully and should be read as follows: “By Adonai Eloim, Adonai Jehova, Adonai Sabaoth, Metraton On Agla Adonai Mathon, the Pythonic word, the Mystery of the Salamander, the Assembly of Sylphs, the Grotto of Gnomes, the demons of the heaven of Gad, Almousin, Gibor, Jehosua, Evam, Zariatbatmik: Come, Come, Come !”‘ (pgs. 88-89)

Full view of the January page from Calendrier Magique

These images are commonly called the “Circle of Pacts,” and similar images can be found in the Grand Grimoire and the Black Pullet. The first image contains text detailing the situation of practitioners, and contains the Greek-derived Christogram “JHS.” On the other hand, Levi’s circle is much more demonic, and contains no descriptive text other than the names Berkaial, Amasarac, Asaradec, & Akibeec.

Kiesel also notes that:

“The circles in Fig. 43 and 44 [showing the circle from the “Grand Grimoire and “Black Pullet” respectively] share several characteristics such as the central triangle flanked by candlesticks and a fire at the apex of the triangle. There are also designated places for the ‘Karcist’ and two Assistants. A possible speculative etymology of the word Karcist; ‘kar’ = cirque, or in the Latin; circ-us: circus = circle. Thus karcist would be one who employs circles. The circle from the Grand Grimoire also features a ‘Route du T’ or way to the treasure as well as containing the letters JHS, the first three in the Greek word for Jesus, employed here as a divine name intended for protection. The letters JHS are to be written along the base of the triangle so that, according to the Grand Grimoire, ‘the spirits cannot do you any harm.’ The other circle from the Black Pullet lacks the path to the treasure and is surrounded by sigils, astrological symbols and possibly corrupted Hebrew. These two circles are also referred to as ‘the Circle of Pacts’. In one of the most popular scenes in grimoire magic, the pact with Lucifuge Rofocale, the magician demands that the Spirit provide him riches and even threatens him with the divine names when he initially refuses. Once the spirit agrees to the request of the magician he makes demands of his own which constitutes the pact between them” (pg. 58)

The image below, for example, comes from from “Pseudo-Solomon” (Wellcome MS.4666). c.a. mid 18th century. French.

As for the calendar itself, Gallica BnF remarks that:

“The calendar was commissioned in 1895 from Manuel Orazi and Austin de Croze by Siegfried Bing for his gallery “L’art nouveau”. – Illustrated black background covers and 32 pp. : title, justification, frontispiece, phases of the moon, poem of the witch, as well as 24 pages corresponding to the 12 months of the calendar with lithographed text and illustration opposite, 2 planets table pages.”

The full version of Calendrier Magique can be found here.

Bibliography:

• Kiesel, William. Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition. Ouroboros Press. 2018. Digital edition. Pgs. 60.

• Lévi, Éliphas. Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie. Rider & Company. 1856. pgs. 88-89. (Transcribed and converted to Adobe Acrobat format by Benjamin Rowe, January, 2002.)


Image credits:

• de Croze, Austin & Orazi, Manuel. Calendrier Magique. 1896. Via Gallica BnF digital collections. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10544640k/f5.item#.

• Kiesel, William. Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition. Ouroboros Press. 2018. pgs. 58 & 60.

Pseudo-Solomon (MS.4666). Via Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark (PDM) terms and conditions https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0

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