Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Key to Solomon's Key

The Key to Solomon's Key: Secrets of magic and masonry by Lon Milo Duquette, £12.99, isbn 1888729147

Now I have to say this isn't the sort of area I'm normally interested in at all but as soon as I started to read this book I just couldn't put it down. It is written with a clarity and intelligence one rarely encounters in books covering this subject area. Duquette uses archaeological evidence, reasonable and informed speculation in a manner rare indeed amongst semi-popular books dealing with controversial aspects of biblical history.

When was first asked to review this book I thought it might be yet another version of that well known magickal grimoire The Key of Solomon of which there appear to be so many of late. But to my delight and not a little relief I found this not to be the case.

The first chapter of the book is titled 'I confess, I'm a Freemason' and it is in many ways the mysteries of freemasonry and their connection, mythic or historic, with the Knights Templars that provides the central theme of the book.

In his youth the author was a member of the 'Order of DeMolay' a Masonic organisation for young men between the ages twelve and twenty one, a sort of youth section of freemasonry. It was while a member of this organisation that his interest in such matters was first sparked. DeMolay it should be noted was apparently the last Grand master of the Knights Templar.
One of the first questions addressed in the book is the supposed lie at the heart of the church's teachings. Did this goad the Masons to make the leap from religious to mystical point of view and so become an order with a mystery tradition at its heart? Did they possess a truth so dangerous that it could only be passed on in secret among themselves? Was it a secret that both liberated them from religious slavery and also gave them, for a time at least, some leverage over the Catholic Church?

So what was this secret I can almost hear you screaming out? Ha! well dear reader I wouldn't want to spoil that discovery and couldn't do it justice in such a short review, so you will just have to read the book!

Duquette points out how Freemasonry is full of clues to what the secret was/is, might have been. He suggests that it is this tradition of mystical liberation that Freemasons have inherited from the Templars even if they failed to preserved the secret itself. But then again maybe it is the effect of the discovery that is more important than the secret itself?

The final section of the book gives excerpts from The Goetia, The Lesser key of Solomon or Clavicula Solomonis Regis including the list of the seventy-two traditional spirits with their attributes and abilities together with their magickal seals. Here the author connects this liberation mysticism born or maybe rediscovered by the Knights Templar or Pauvres Chevaliers du Temple to the so-called Solomonic grimoires. Could the clue be in their name and or their foundation myths? Recommended - Jack Daw