Thoughts on the Stele of Jeu

As I mentioned in my previous post, the more I perform the Stele of Jeu rite, the more subtle the effects seem to be.  Given some of the more extravagant warnings I’ve heard regarding this ritual, this interests me a great deal, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the last couple days.

Image May Be Unrelated -- Stone carving of Nike and a warrior offering an egg to a snake.

Image May Be Unrelated (From Wikimedia Commons)

One of the first sources to warn me about the Stele of Jeu was, of all things, Crowley’s Goetia[1], which refers to the rite as the London Papyrus.  According to the editor, the rite (before Crowley made his changes that ultimately produced Liber Semekh) was passed around in Golden Dawn circles as a last-ditch banishing/exorcism rite, to be performed with utmost caution and formality lest one permanently haunt the place where it was performed.  The next was from the gentleman who was kind enough to work me up to my first experiment with the ritual.  His warning, in addition to the above should one go through with a clearly botched performance, related the possibility of one’s life getting broken apart in order to be put back together in a better shape.

My own experience with the ritual, while powerful and transformative, has never quite lived up to the earth-shattering hype.  A commenter on my early experiments reported even less dramatic results.

After some rumination, I’ve come up with a theory.  You see, I’ve actually heard very similar stories about other rituals: the Abramelin Operation, for example; most other methods of contacting one’s HGA/Supernal Assistant; the use of moldavite for the first time.  The common theme in many (though not all) of these stories is that when people whose lives are already fucked do major-fix-magic, their lives get more fucked before they get better.

The GD source who provided the initial warning—with no disrespect intended to modern initiates of those orders—was clearly terrified of dealing with the spirit world in any situation where they did not have absolute control of the circumstances and proceedings.  The source of the second warning tells stories about the Stele of Jeu in ways that sound a lot like it was a part of his formative experiences with magic—which is to say, probably before he got his life in order.

Meanwhile, my commenter complaining of insignificant results has (to the best of my ability to determine from the stories he tells; he may feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken) had his shit together for quite a while.  College done, good job, college loans in order, sophisticated magical practice, already talks with his HGA so often that he complains about not having much to talk about.  There’s nothing there for the Stele of Jeu to fix, let alone break.

When I first performed the Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist, my life was already largely in order.  I’ve already been through my Saturn Return.  I’ve already left the job I’d come to hate for higher education in order to pursue a new calling.  I have a regular magical practice that was pretty much at the top if its game.  My biggest problem is the psychic scars left over from all the shit I fucked up when I was a wee faun of a mage.  And, boy howdy, has it ever fixed that shit—but that deserves a post all on its own.

Now, all this evidence is anecdotal.  I’ve only been performing this ritual regularly for about four months now.  I’ve also been having a really hard time doing more than a preliminary study of its history, interpretations, and various effects.  I know that the Order of the Hollow Ones, Jason Miller, and probably countless other groups each have their own variations on the rite (to say nothing of Crowley’s, obviously).  But Jack Faust is one of the very few people I’ve seen talk about the ritual and its effects publically at all; one of the few others can be found at, but s/he appears to be defunct[2].  The silence of the scholastic community is even more deafening: I’ve only found one or two books which even refer to the rite, outside the PGM itself, and I have not had the opportunity to read them.


1 – As described by Hymanaeus Beta in his foreword and footnotes to the Illustrated Second Edition of The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King. Weiser: York Beach Main (1995).

2 – Discounting, for my purposes, allusions to the ritual solely as it relates to the Bornless Rite and attainment of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, which is clearly not what the PGM ritual is about.



Filed under scholarship, witchcraft

2 responses to “Thoughts on the Stele of Jeu

  1. Thanks for the link! We are most certainly not defunct. The Facebook page(s) feature more regular content than the blog for the time being. And I definitely will be revisiting the “headless ritual” soon, both in practical application and scholarly exegesis. Looking forward to reading more of your content. Cheers!

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