On Gaap

As many will probably know, my dear friend and podcast co-host Jesse Hathaway Diaz is the goatish half of Wolf & Goat – ‘qualified purveyors of materia magica, occult art and esoterica’ - working with the incomparably wolfish Troy Chambers. W&G are perhaps best known for their incredibly complicated and potent magical oils. One such oil forms the inspiration for this post: their Goetic oil of the spirit Gaap.

Gaap, aliàs Tap, a great President and a Prince, he appeareth in a meridional sign, and when he taketh humane shape, he is the guide of the four principal Kings, as mighty as Bileth. There were certain Necromancers that offered sacrifices and burnt offerings unto him; and to call him up, they exercised an art, saying, that Solomon the wise made it, which is false: for it was rather Cham, the son of Noah, who after the flood began first to invocate wicked Spirits. He invocated Bileth, and made an Art in his name, and a book which is known to many Mathematitians. There were burnt offerings and sacrifices made, and gifts given, and much wickedness wrought by the Exorcist, who mingleth therewithal the holy Names of God, the which in that Art are everywhere expressed. Marry there is an Epistle of those names written by Solomon, as also write Helias Aierosolymitanus and Helisaeus. It is to be noted, that if any Exorcist have the Art of Bileth, and cannot make him stand before him, nor see him, I may not bewray how, and declare the means to contain him, because it is an abomination, and for that I have learned nothing from Solomon of his dignity and office. But yet I will not hide this, to wit, that he maketh a man wonderful in Philosophy and all the Liberal Sciences; he maketh love, hatred, insensibility, consecration, and consecration of those things that are belonging unto the domination of Amaymon, and delivereth familiars out of the possession of other Conjurors, answering truly and perfectly of things present, past, and to come; and transferreth men most speedily into other Nations; he ruleth Sixty six Legions, and was of the order of Potestates.
Reginald Scot, The Discovery of Witchcraft (London, 1584: 1665), 234.

Gaap is a spirit that bridges spirit catalogues. Not only a senior king in the Ars Goetia of the Lemegeton, but a particularly important spirit in the Grimorium Verum, who also makes significant appearances in the Munich manuscript, the Livre des Esprits and several others. The exact spelling of the name may change, shifting and shimmering like moonlight on rippling water, but the current is familiar. As should not surprise those conversant with Elelogaap’s duties in Verum, I have found this spirit to have an especially watery nature, instantiated in seas that drown but especially related to serpentine rivers that both refresh and carry away.

The spirit can be felt – in my experiences at least – in the barks of moonstruck hounds and winding willows alike. In the sands between tides, marked in the foottrack of gulls. In the glimmer of beads – lush amethyst, roughly hewn quartz chips, beautiful lapis, the heavy depths of obsidian, and of course sacred bloodstone. Gaap’s mysteries can be pulled from between the teeth of fish and the jaws of watercourses.

The peculiar enchantment of this spirit is present in the two main branches of their root attested in the grimoires. For Gaap is a prince who incites love; transforming ourselves and others in a persuasive dance of lap and ebb. This can certainly be thought of as akin to the transfiguring fertility of the flooding Nile, that gave the Black Lands their very name after all. It is also a fae-ish charisma that invites us into the depths. The world and its extended hand is washed clean, sweetened in waters that spiral like the hearts of roses.

In this persuasion, we begin to grasp and be grasped by the second fork of Gaap’s identified offices: to carry folk between kingdoms, upon the rolling, stirring charm of open waters that promise, of tributaries that beckon and wind into the sunset. It is in this swell and tide of motion that this spirit may also bring us the golds and silvers of wishing well pennies, sunbeam sea glitter, and the banks and beds of rivers.

These philosophies of water, these reflections off and upon splendour, depths and the translucent and rippling mysteries of invisibility, offers an optics of second sight glinting in an eye of calm and storm. Such is the phlegmatic work of the Chalice. Gaap is present riding both churning riptide and lily-pond stillness. In the zoning-out of trance and transfiguration, thought bubbles punctured by the creoles of sea dragons, leaking into the waters that cool and freeze, claim and erode, that sink us and swim us like so many ducked witches. In the shock of salt spray and the subterfuges of curling shells. In the spiralling eddies of whorling point and dissipating potency. In the undertow at the bottom of the glass.

Wolf & Goat's Gaap Oil, one of several in their Olea Inferni range.

Wolf & Goat's Gaap Oil, one of several in their Olea Inferni range.

As such, working with this spirit in and as an oil makes a great deal of magical sense. The assured presence as the oil allows one to dive into deeper ends and immediately begin the nurturing of contact. For those with extant relationships with this mighty King, be assured, this oil will flow across your tools and space, enriching, ennobling and entrapping. Many magicians who have worked with these spirits find that such entities are often only-too-eager to present lists of fabulous things they desire or require. The Goetic oils of Wolf & Goat offer opportunities for neophyte conjurors to be assured of what this spirit actually feels like. Importantly they also offer more experienced nigromancers rich opportunities to consolidate and build upon contact and communion.

There is an issue of professionalism here. It is of course possible, with proper spirit contact and divination to confirm, that anyone actually working with these spirits should be able to synthesise a basic formulary for at least one’s own workings. Homecooking and reliance upon one’s own wits and networks is of course essential. Make no mistake though: these oils are not fast-food shortcuts to instant Darque Occult Power. They are subtle, complex gourmet banquets with a depth of sophisticated flavours, requiring refinement of palate and protocol. If treated with care, respect and wisdom they can inspire, empower and even – to an extent – initiate.

Practically, how the bottled oleum itself might be “enthroned” in a spirit-house or fetish presents serious and rewarding work. How the throne and port of communion can be watered and fished, how the tools can be netted and embroidered, how the threads can be knotted, frayed and followed. Seating this King in one’s own practice presents various operations and experimentum: from finding a suitable vessel to providing tools and materia necessary to direct the flow of the spirit’s imbued virtue. Likewise, securing one’s pact with the spirit through the oil – exposing it to locales in private rituals of empowerment – also allows one to gather, say, sands scored with the spirit’s seal in especially propitious hours.

I would certainly not recommend Wolf & Goat’s Goetic oils to everyone. But I will say if you have already made pacts, or even if you already plan to make such pacts, these seats of power are potent facilitators.