I can tell you are well read on the subject. So take this with grain of salt, just my $.02.
Re: demonology, yes I agree it was certainly around, but the 15th Century and earlier manuals deal with quite a range of entities and forces, some don’t deal with spirits at all, just natural forces. Some deal with Classical deities or spirits. Most of the rest focused on Celestial spirits including both angels and somewhat unaligned ones, the Deccans and so forth. In a particularly interesting passage on one of the spells in the CLM 849 mentions how to address certain intermediate spirits specifically. My point is that the focus on some of those spells in the earlier manual are on the elaborate ritual, some focus on demons or devils, others on faerie or angels or these other in between spirits.
The later grimoires, 17th 18thC, seem to focus much more on the Goetic spirits almost exclusively. Some of the later practitioners seem to have thought of them as stand-ins or archetypes representing various forces, some of them took them more literally. But as I’m sure you know, the later books give you the diagram, the names to use and maybe a prayer, and a list of purported abilities of the spirit in question, and sometimes the rest (i.e. what you can actually get them to do, in detail) is left to the imagination.
To me the Goetic manuals are both a little less scary and a little more transgressive than some of the earlier books. As in, the 13th-15thC ones make the spirits sound much scarier (even the angels are apparently dangerous), but take more pains not to cross certain lines (or anyway, they don’t blatantly get into the highly transgressive potentials as much). If it’s ‘fan fiction’ some of these are very well done and do give you a bit of a chill. Anyway I thought these earlier manuals, particularly the 15thC ones had RPG written all over them, I wish I could get hold of some more translations of them. There is an English and a Dutch one in the pipeline so to speak but I don’t know the people working them so no way to know when they will be released.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by Hans Hellinger.