Grimoire Witchcraft and Giving the Devil his Due.


Two of my favorite books on magic were penned in the 1970’s: Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson and The Necronomicon by Simon. Though I don’t know if many people realize it today, both books were an attempt to make a Grimoire for Pagans that did not rely upon Christian elements for evocation and spellwork.

In Huson’s tome, still one of my favorites for young people that want to get their start in Sorcery, we have rituals for evoking both Vassago and Flauros (from the Lemegaton) by the power of the decans and whatever Witch Gods you are dedicated to (primarily Cernunnos and Habondia in the book). The triangle is not outside a circle distancing you from the spirit out of fear, but right on the altar in front of you. My first evocations were done this way, and after experimenting with Grimoire methods close to the books, I went back to this style pretty quickly.

Today there a lot of people trying to do the same thing, most notably of course is Jake Stratton Kent, whose approach to the “Trinity” in the Grimoire Verum, if I read him correctly, is not the Father Son and Holy Spirit; but Lucifer, Astaroth, and Baalzebub. This  is an approach that certainly gives the devil his due, which brings me round to my point.

There has been a stir recently caused by Pat Mosely’s excellent piece “A Case for Inviting Satan (Back) to Wicca“. Inspired by recent successes that the Satanic Temple has had in striking blows for religious freedom in the US, Mosely wonders if Satanists should not have a place at the Pagan table. Wicca did after all borrow much terminology from the Witch-hunt literature, and it is exactly those terms like Sabbat, Witch, and so on that helped make it more popular than say Druidry.

Those terms from the Witch Hunt era however are also what sometimes brings the eye of the public on Wicca. Sadly Wicca has been all-to-willing to unjustly accuse Satanists of sacrifice, malevolence, and crime as a tactic for deflecting attention from them.”Hey! Thats not us! Thats those Satanists over THERE!!”

Christopher DeGraffenreid makes an compelling case that Wicca is not rebelling against any god, so therefore the idea of Satan becomes superfluous and therefore is un-needed. Its a good case, but one I disagree with.

Many see the Devil as a mask of the Horned God. You can pretend that Christianity has zero impact on witchcraft but it is simply not true. It’s impact is unmistakable and there is no reason that Lucifer of Aradia cannot be seen as connected or identified with Lucifer the Rebel Angel. When you are living in a country with Churches in every town, and laws being passed with nothing but the Bible as support, I would say that Christian or not – Satan is a fine form for the Horned God to take!

I fail to see how Paganism can accept people claiming to worship or work with every Goddess, God and Thoughtform of nearly every culture on earth from every time-period of human history, yet exclude the Devil and Demons.

Certainly for magically inclined Witches, who would like to evoke Vassago, and who may or may not say the lords prayer backwards as an initiation rite, the Horned God does not exclude Old Scratch.

As an aside, the movie VVitch opened to critical praise this week. Those with any interest in traditional Witchcraft or in the roots of many Grimoires would do well to crack open one of the books the writer and director referenced when making the movie The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scott. Written in 1603 this one of THEE books that Grimoire writers refernced for spirit catalogs and information, as well as the best collection of WitchLore ever compiled. As they say: after you have seen the movie, read the book.

About Inominandum

Author. Sorcerer. Consultant. I have 30 plus years of experience making magic a reality for myself, my clients, and my students. For a complete background go to
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17 Responses to Grimoire Witchcraft and Giving the Devil his Due.

  1. Torin says:

    I am sorry, but why would a Wiccan or Pagan, unless they are Christo-Wiccan/Pagan, bring in the 4th god of Christianity. You might as well say, Hey! let’s bring Christ back to Wicca too.

    • Inominandum says:

      Because the Devil is often the embodiment of everything Pagan. Because in a view where every other god is aknowlged it seems silly not to. Because it is a meaningful guide for the Horned God to take. Because Wicca does not exist in a bubble that has never bee effected by Christianity.

      In real religion and folklore the lines are never clean and tidy. Indeed clean and Tidy is pretty much the way you know something is made up.

      • Muaddib says:

        Yes, it is a form by Christians and non Pagans, it was an external demonization. There is no reason or palace for the Devil in Wicca and Paganism, just solely on the belief that “oh they are scared and he’s a powerful image. We need to start using it since the Devil is derived from it”. The Devil was never in Wicca or Paganism, the pantheon or mythos, but would be an external change to fit him in based on the corrupted form of another faith. It’s the same as if the Catholic started using the images and myth of the Protestants.

        • Ian says:

          Never in paganism? So, Afro-carribian traditions that conceal their gods behind catholic saints and utililize devil imagery aren’t pagan?

  2. ArawnBel says:

    I have never understood the push to associate with the history of the Witch-Hunts and the image of that time while striving to disassociate with the devilish aspect of the Black Beast. It reeks of fear, terror even, of being perceived as lying outside the social norm – but is Witchcraft not centred on transgression? Historically it is almost entirely about taking power away from the systems and into the self, even if you choose to focus on ‘folk-magicians’ or cunning-folk rather than the purely christian reports of Witchcraft. Even stepping away from the trials and looking at works such as Leland’s ‘Gospel’ you can clearly see it is targeted at the underdogs and outsiders, seeking to bolster them in surviving and undermining their oppressors. In my opinion people should let the association with Old Nick empower them rather than descend into pointless defensive dialogue.

  3. Thanks for the shout out Jason, I appreciate that you recognize the strength of my argument in general if you don’t wholly agree with my point of view. I can admit that in my enthusiasm to engage the subject, I may have painted with my “Reject all things Satan” brush a bit too broadly.

    Above and beyond the relative strength of my argument, some of my rejection of Satan is admittedly emotional and visceral and powered by the same psychic forces that cause others to be drawn to the image and power of Satan on a deep, pre-conscious level.

    Curiously enough, I don’t feel the same way about The Devil as I do about Satan, and have included him in my rites, even though they are obviously intimately related. The Devil, for me, has a folkloric, even Pagan, resonance while Satan carries a different kind of resonance and seems, for me, to less have interoperability, from a Pagan point of view, than does The Devil.

    Maybe I’m splitting hairs, maybe not.

    Like you said above, real religion and folklore is never as neat and tidy as we can sometimes make it out to be.

  4. Muaddib says:

    Yes, it is a form by Christians and non Pagans, it was an external demonization. There is no reason or palace for the Devil in Wicca and Paganism, just solely on the belief that “oh they are scared and he’s a powerful image. We need to start using it since the Devil is derived from it”. The Devil was never in Wicca or Paganism, the pantheon or mythos, but would be an external change to fit him in based on the corrupted form of another faith. It’s the same as if the Catholic started using the images and myth of the Protestants. It’s redundant.

    I have a problem with this new trend of traditions who are turning Gods and Goddesses into demonic forms and saying it was always there as a part of the deity. These ideas are contemporary and not based in the myth. It’s fine, just say it’s contemporary and not claim it is old. And why so many want to work with beings of chaos I have no idea, or even qlipoth. It’s this whole romanticism around evil

    The reason why Pagans (except Left) don’t work with the Devil and Demons is because the Devil is a Christian Ungod, and demons are just too unpredictable or scary for most.

  5. Mo Batchelor says:

    excellent – and interesting, to see that the love of the Devil has not been completely lost. Thank you.

  6. Daniel English says:

    The Devil turns up in the spells of many cultures via folk magick due to the influence of Christianity. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t Wiccan approved. Because the people who go to those traditional witches get results. The sad thing is that Wiccans somehow believe themselves to be the total owners of the term “witch”. Just last night I spent time arguing with a man who basically operated under that mentality. I would just love it if Wiccans got the memo that for all of their cultural appropriation of gods and spirits they are not the only ones who own the term “witch”. Also as I pointed out time and again to said man the author of this piece is a magician or an Occultist. Not some Wiccan who is trying to totally tell others what they can’t be!

  7. Jordan Marshall says:

    This post is most intriguing. I’ve never thought of including Lucifer in ceremony, but have invoked Eve’s feminist rebellion. Thanks for the food for thought.

  8. Jonathan Sousa says:

    Outside of the Wiccan/Wican and Neo-Pagan sectors, many European and European-derived Traditional Witches are strangely comfortable with “the devil” and Lucifer. That said, to paraphrase from one of the (in)famous Traditional Witchcraft discussion forums from several years ago: “The Devil of the Craft and the Devil of the Christians are two separate things joined only by name. The former is an Initiator and Deity; the latter is a bogeyman for everything repressed and feared by humanity for reminding humanity of their humanity.”

    As an aside, I wrote a blog entry of my own about my own stance. The link follows and saves time/space here. Said entry can be found at:

    That said, you take your pick. Per how I was taught and how I teach, Witchcraft (even in its religious sense) is NOT the same thing as (Neo)Paganism. They two are certainly linked, and many Witches can and do self-identify as (Neo)Pagan. However, the Craft is a cultic sorcery. We command Spirits and work the Art because we are covenanted with the Old Powers, i.e. the Gods who made the Gods (to use a quote from Chumbley… quoting an English folklorist). It matters not if those eldritch (cool word – thank you Lovecraft) Powers are veiled in light or shadow.

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  12. Just Passing By says:

    Sorry, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. First of all, that classical ”Wicca works with all gods from all pantheons except for the Devil”, that is not true, Wicca works with all gods from *all pagan pantheons*, Wicca doesn’t work with the Devil, so doesn’t with Jesus, The Holy Trinity, Archangels and such. Also Wicca always boasted about being a ”guilt free” religion with no ”bad guy that will eat your face if you don’t believe the other guy”. Adding the christian god to Wicca and turning it to a pagan influenced form of Christianity *or* adding satan and turning it to a reversed Christianity/heresy religion is going to destroy it.

    And also the ”heresy religions” -such as modern satanism- are just a reversed form of another religion that has formed because of the growing reaction against a certain religion. When the main religion dies out, the heresy version of it also disappears. And very few people in pagan community actually wants to be a part of a religion of that kind.

    And next, if you consider Wicca to be mainly based on celtic and greco-roman paganism; These religions did not have a devil figure that you would recite holy scriptures of other gods to invoke him, that you could make pacts with etc. In fact, pretty much no pagan religion had those features.

    Also did Christianity had an impact on Witchcraft? Yep, but not like it’s practitioners ”turned to the devil” and performed sacrilegious rites. If you are talking about the devilish portrayal of witches that is probably made up by church, maybe yes but traditions like Stregonaria (literally Italian word for ”witch” and it originated from the place Leland wrote about), Hoodoo, Brujeria, so pretty much all folk magic traditions turned to a mish-mash of paganism and Christianity. They continued their pagan magic *in a christian framework, not anti-christian* so ”let’s make Wicca more alike older witchcraft traditions” would result in Christianized Wicca, not devilish.

    Oh but if you believe those Witches’ Sabbat witchcraft to be real and believe that Wicca should be like it by adding the Devil in their mix. Those were also alleged to kill unbaptized babies and create flying ointments from their rendered fat and engage in cannibalism fyi.

    Lastly, I do not really understand the new ”spooky = more authentic” trend. When you add the so-called ”blood magic”, the Devil, something dark, ”not for everyone” theme in practice, no matter how sophisticated (or not) it is, it becomes magically valid. I understand that people think those love-and-light types are stupid and want to do something to differentiate themselves from that group by adding horror themes to their practice but that is getting more and more ridiculous.

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