The Novice Arts
The idea that the 5th book of the Lemegeton is to be spoken as a consecration of the circle and ceremonial effects is not new. It appears explicitly in the text, in describing the prayers to be made upon entering the circle. There are ten such prayers for the circle itself, as well as others for the pentacles and triangle. The prayers of the circle are, I believe, of great importance to the ceremony as they contain the foundations of the system itself, the structure under which the whole idea of spirits and conjurations is expected to operate.
I am presenting these as photo-copies from my own working text, originally 14x22 inches, with the black text as the spoken portion, the red text as cipher for the Hebrew words in the circle, and the green as meditations on the themes indicated by these names.
It is certain that every person will come to a slightly different understanding of these terms, and that an individual will develop his own understanding as time passes. It is also irrelevant, in my opinion, whether or not one really considers these things a part of some absolute reality or truth, so long as they are understood as elements of the Lemegeton system. I do not believe that it is at all important to understand the cultural context of the rituals, whether they are 16th century or prehistoric or entirely modern, so long as one has a well-considered grasp of the major theoretical and practical points of the system.
The ceremonies operate far more like a subpoena than a phone-call, and this is an aspect of the work largely ignored in the literature of the subject. The reader of these texts is told to do and say various things which will, hopefully, contact a spirit. Contacting a spirit is a relatively small matter, with little difference to be made between requesting Captain Howdy on the Ouija board and evoking the infernal princes in elaborate regalia. The ceremony, with its obscure complexities, is intended to do more than merely attract attention or to assault spirits with holy names and dire incantations.
The ceremony of conjuration is designed to effect an environment similar to proceedings in a court of law, wherein both parties -the spirit and the magician - assent voluntarily into covenants with one another. A covenant is much that a bargain or contract is not, and lest there be some confusion of terms it should be understood that the conjuration is designed to express the will or testament of the magician. It must be entered with a clear mind, having the facts of the matter in view, or else it is invalidated. The oath and covenant made by the magician is not with the spirit, but with God who is supreme over men and spirits alike, and this is another point entirely lost in modern presentations of demonology despite it being on the first page of the most common grimoires.
In the case of the circle invocations, one must decide what it means to be a "Servant of the Most High" and to establish an understanding of his relationship with the spirits and their Creator. The circle itself is like the chariot of Ezekiel, a series of concentric rings surrounded by fire with a throne in the midst and six-angled figures on four sides, and for the ceremony it is the means by which the magician is figuratively exalted in divine power. There is perhaps not an absolutely correct way of understanding these things, but if one has no understanding of them or if they are denied, then the whole work is a sham and the oaths and conjurations are of no account.
I should mention also that this is not, in my opinion, a matter of generating "subjective synthesis" or any kind of fundamental agreement with the supposed grimoire paradigm. Rather, it is an understanding that the manner in which the grimoire is designed to operate is through the establishment of covenants, and that without acknowledgement of the terms of the covenants one proceeds in futility whether he is pious or perverse.