The Lesser Key of Solomon

The Lesser Key of Solomon or Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis (the Clavicula Salomonis, or Key of Solomon is an earlier book on the subject), is an anonymous 17th century grimoire, and one of the most popular books of demonology. It has also long been widely known as the Lemegeton, although that name is considered incorrect because it depends on faulty Latin.

It appeared in the 17th century, but much was taken from texts of the 16th century, including the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, by Johann Weyer, and late-medieval grimoires. It is likely that books by Jewish kabbalists and Muslim mystics were also inspirations. Some of the material in the first section, concerning the summoning of demons, dates to the 14th century or earlier.

The book claims that it was originally written by King Solomon, although this is certainly incorrect. The titles of nobility assigned to the demons were unknown in his time, as were the prayers to Jesus and the Christian Trinity included in the text.

The Lesser Key of Solomon contains detailed descriptions of spirits and the conjurations needed to invoke and oblige them to do the will of the conjurer (referred to as the "exorcist"). It details the protective signs and rituals to be performed, the actions necessary to prevent the spirits from gaining control, the preparations prior to the invocations, and instructions on how to make the necessary instruments for the execution of these rituals.

The several original copies extant vary considerably in detail and in the spellings of the spirits' names. Contemporary editions are widely available in print and on the Internet.

The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis Regis) is a 1904 translation of the text by Samuel Mathers and Aleister Crowley. It is essentially a manual that gives instructions for summoning 72 different spirits