Goetian magic is a form of magic that allows you to have an element of control over demons and to make them do your bidding – though perhaps at a price. The idea can be seen in a controversial text called The Testament of Solomon, the text, stating how God sent the Archangel Michael to give Solomon the gift of a ring that allowed him to control demons, aiding him to build the Temple. The ring, according to differing sources, is described as a pentagram or as the Seal of Solomon. The use of the term Goetian in English originates from the 17th century grimoire Lesser Key of Solomon, which features an Ars Goetia as its first section. It contains a descriptions of the evocation of 72 demons, and was translated from Latin into English by Freemason S.L. MacGregor Mathers and was published by Aleister Crowley in 1904 as The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King. Goetic Theurgy is another form of this magic, which is described in the Lesser Key of Solomon, though it is used to invoke aerial spirits.
There is another work called The Key of Solomon, which is a Renaissance work, probably dating from the 14th or 15th century, which may have inspired the Lesser Key of Solomon. The Key of Solomon is made up of two books, the first book containing invocations and curses, a guide to conjure demons and the spirits of the dead and to control them, and like a book of magic, reveals how to find lost items, love spells, protection and prosperity. Book two describes purifications the practitioner has to undergo, how to make the magical implements and what animal sacrifices need to be made for the spirits. The Key of Solomon had also been translated by S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1888 from the Latin manuscripts held in the British Library.
Some Freemasons during the Occult Revival of the later nineteenth century practiced a form of Goetian magic to summon demons, such as Frederick Hockley, who conjured up a horned creature from a bottle, which offered Hockley everything that he wished for in return for obedience. This is also reminiscent of Faust, who, according to legend, summoned up Mephistopheles, who made a bargain with Faust, with Faust being given magical powers for a set number of years, after which the Devil claimed his soul. These examples however reflect a bargaining that needs to be done with the demon or entity. So, Goetian magic gives the practitioner a measure of control over the demon they are summoning, a measure of control which is helped by the sigils given of each demon in the Lesser Key of Solomon.
Perhaps a modern day interpretation is that Goetian magic is a means to help control the demons within our subconscious, a form of psychological control of our fears and our desires. This is perhaps the real magic of King Solomon, something that was part of his deeper wisdom.