Dealing with Demons

I recently had an experience in my grimoire work that I thought I’d share here. Ever since the rise of demonolatry publications in the 1990s—especially those of the prolific S. Connolly, whose approaches I happen to appreciate quite a bit even if I don’t always follow them—the trend in spirit work, particularly with demons, and especially with the demons of the Lesser Key of Solomon (the Goetia), has been non-coercive.

Jason Miller, on his Strategic Sorcery blog, calls this the “be nice” approach; though, I prefer to think of it as transactional. In other words, I’m not being nice to the demons, I’m being businesslike. They’re not my friends; they’re my partners in some project. And as with any business partners, it doesn’t pay to be hostile and nasty, nor does it pay to be fawning and gushy. Rather, the ideal is “fair and firm.”

When you’re entering a transactional relationship with someone, whether a spirit or a incarnate human, you want “consideration” on both sides, which can be defined as “the benefit that each party gets or expects to get from the contractual deal” ( If both parties are getting what they agree on, all that is required is performance, nothing more. This usually works very well. Still, just as in business, sometimes you get screwed. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

Everyone who runs a business of any kind knows that sometimes you will work with someone who either fails to perform or who misrepresents something. It’s part of life. In an ideal world, we’d all be honest and clear with each other about what we’ve done and what we’re able to do. But this world is far from ideal, and that includes the “spirit world,” which is also part of the world in which we live.

That said, especially when dealing with demons, you usually have to be strict about what you expect, even if the relationship is transactional. In my experience, the demons of the Goetia are largely reliable and, although they may act like you’re bothering them with your concerns, most of the time they actually enjoy working with magicians. A few, however, are nasty as hell, a few are pathological liars, and a few will only perform to the exact letter (and not the overall intent) of what you ask them to do, behaving more like stereotypical mischievous djinn.

Every magician will have a personal relationship with her spirits and so it’s hard to generalize about which ones will behave honorably and which will turn out to be screwballs and psychopaths. So it would be pointless for me to (further) blacken the reputation of certain demons who might turn out to be good partners for other practitioners.

But I will say this: identify and keep a list of the ones who do not perform, who seek to harm you in various ways, and who withhold information in bad faith. NEVER work with those spirits again. There are many others who can do future work. Much as with a human partner, they might fool you once and abuse your good nature. But if it happens a second time, the fault is yours for not learning your lesson.

Keep that list handy because sometimes, when a spirit thinks it’s clever, it will try to enter into another transaction with you, raising the stakes for another payoff not only from the agreed-upon exchange but also from the negative emotional fallout when you realize the same spirit screwed you over a second time. Avoid this.

I’m not saying not to work with demons. Sometimes, they are precisely the specialists you need for the problem you have. I’m saying do so carefully, wisely, and in a way informed by your own well-documented observations and experiences. Because anyone can be had. The point is to learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off, and become better.


An Evocation of and Dialogue with Camio, the 53rd Daemon of the Lesser Key of Solomon

Of this daemon, Mathers writes the following in his 1903 edition of the Lesser Key

CAMIO  or CAIM : The Fifty-third Spirit is Camio, or Caim. He is a Great President, and appeareth in the Form of the Bird called a Thrush at first, but afterwards he putteth on the Shape of a Man carrying in his Hand a Sharp Sword. He seemeth to answer in Burning Ashes, or in Coals of Fire. He is a Good Disputer. His Office is to give unto Men the Understanding of all Birds, Lowing of Bullocks, Barking of Dogs, and other Creatures; and also of the Voice of the Waters. He giveth True Answers of Things to Come. He was of the Order of Angels, but now ruleth over 30 Legions of Spirits Infernal.

Camio is an excellent spirit of divination, though his responses can be highly complex.  An evocation of the daemon was performed in the Camden district of London by me and a fellow magician acting as a scribe on 19 January 2018, commencing at 6:50 PM.  The purpose of the evocation was to learn about disturbing magical energies recently sensed in the city and also the nature of the impending super blood moon eclipse in Leo.  The following is an edited dialogue with the spirit, beginning after the opening ritual and associated mantras were performed to make contact.  Non-verbals appear in brackets.  Double-verbals are indicated with the “ / ” as words being heard simultaneously—something only possible when communicating with spirits.

Conversing with a spirit during an evocation can take place in many different ways—in the mind, partly in the mind and physically, or wholly physically.  A spirit will often (though not always or completely) draw on the language and vocabulary of the magician to build speech.  The information exchanged during an evocation is subjective and primarily of value to the summoner.  Nevertheless, I think it is important to sometimes share the less-private parts of spirit communications when they have not been done for a client.  I never reveal personal information about a client.  So it’s good to be able to share this with the readers of the blog as an example of this kind of spiritual work.

Keep in mind that spiritual evocation is one of the most difficult kinds of magic and so I am not divulging aspects of my art and methods publicly.  An important part of spiritual evocation that is often overlooked in the mania of immature practitioners seeking money, sex, status, and other forms of power is information.  Many of the daemons of the Goetia are excellent teachers—not only of the dark arts but also of a variety of mundane and obscure subjects.  A true practitioner of the art will summon them not just to get things but to learn the secrets of creation.  But remember also that information obtained from any spirit must be tested in the crucible of common sense and everyday objectivity.

Lastly, spirits will converse with strange syntax, can shift into languages the magicians do not know (which has happened to me in several evocations), and supplement their “speech” with images.  Most of the images conveyed by Camio during this evocation have not been included here.  But I think there is enough material here of interest to practicing or aspiring students of grimoire magic.

Q: What is the nature of the strange magical feelings we have had from shifting energetic currents?
A: [Regarding the “magical essence of the day and night”], there is nothing you can do to see / say anything different / to change this.  It is fated.

Q: But what is it?
A: It is the district of your desire.  It is what you get, ultimately.  [Your desire] grinds on / against the nature of things going their own way.  You feel strange because you are not flowing with [the flows of energy].  Rather, you are going your own way [as they are going theirs].  Let them be and do not worry that you are / feel strange.  Just settle back into yourself.

Q: How do I settle back into myself?
A: Begin and end with your own perceptions.  Instead of focusing on the contrast, focus on your own goals and inner [concerns].  Be self-contained.  For the alternative / rest is to waste yourself / throw yourself [your energy] away on that which doesn’t concern you.

Q: I understand.  But what is the nature of the way things are going right now, of this energetic moment in time?  Surely, understanding that is worthwhile.
A: The moon twists the waters of the earth.  [The] fire burns upwards to the sky. Within these [elemental] changes / transformations , spirit moves in currents over the earth [and through other planes].  There is no object to it other than the movement itself, just as the air moves over the plains or birds fall / dive from the sky.  It moves because it is fated to so move. And that is the unfolding of creation.

Q: Can I harness this movement as a way to achieve something?
A: Yes.  You can move with it.  But you have to then accept its conditions / rules / laws.  To move with something is to be part of it, to share with it.  Better to remain [within] in / of yourself.  You have enough power all on your own.

Q: You seem to be very familiar with me.  Are you always present?
A: I’m part of you, in your mind.  But [I am also] beyond you as a symbolic resonance that connects to the great machinery / mechanism of the universe.  I am eternal and necessary the way a color is or the image of a bird [seen through a high window] in flight.  And, as much as such things / images partake of the human mind and the human mind partakes of them, there is a fiery / glowing web of energy / power / meaning that surrounds, contains, and interpenetrates the human mind.  The human mind works within and through [this web] architectonically, holographically operating at the level of the whole as well as on that of each discrete part.  Thus, it is a symphony [within each cellular organism / life form].  Consequently, one does not do anything apart from the singularity of the whole.  Though it is [still] necessary to function within the fiction of cause and effect in order to isolate [holographic] aspects of the whole that correspond to various effects [/ manifestations]. 

Q: I think I understand.  But then why discuss movement and being self-contained if all is one?
A: Have I not said it?  Through isolation of perception, one shifts perspective / frame of reference and highlights aspects [of reality] that seem like results.  You have the right to [move with] the results that please you.  It is unwise to dwell in that which is unpleasing / miserable.

Q: So what does this mean about death?  If all is one, then what is death?
A: All is one.  But you are also an isolated result / aspect of the whole.  The whole is so vast that it encompasses all experience / movement in space and time.  Therefore, it encompasses you as a part, [yet] you are unique.  As am I. 

{At this point, the conversation turned to private matters of interest only to the practitioners.  These have been edited out.}

Q: Thank you for answering my questions.
A: You are surely welcome.


The sixty-fourth Spirit is Haures, or Hauras, or Havres, or Flauros. He is a Great Duke and appears at first like a leopard, mighty, terrible, and strong, but after a while, at the command of the Exorcist, he puts on human shape with eyes flaming and fiery, and a most terrible countenance. He gives true answers of all things, present, past, and to come. But if he is not commanded into a Triangle, he will lie in all these things, and deceive and beguile the Exorcist in these things. He will, lastly, talk of the creation of the world, and of Divinity, and of how he and other spirits fell. He destroys and burns up those who be the enemies of the Exorcist should he so desire it; also he will not suffer him to be tempted by any other Spirit or otherwise. He governs 36 Legions of Spirits.

* The artistic impression of Haures is by David P. Wilson in Aleister Crowley’s Illustrated Goetia by Lon Milo DuQuette and Christopher S. Hyatt

The Sigil of Orias


The Fifty-ninth Spirit is Oriax, or Orias. He is a Great Marquis, and appeareth in the Form of a Lion, riding upon a Horse Mighty and Strong, with a Serpent’s Tail; and he holdeth in his Right Hand two Great Serpents hissing. His Office is to teach the Virtues of the Stars, and to know the Mansions of the Planets, and how to understand their Virtues. He also transformeth Men, and he giveth Dignities, Prelacies, and Confirmation thereof; also Favour with Friends and with Foes. He doth govern 30 Legions of Spirits.