I’ve been asked about my opinion of E. A. Koetting on numerous occasions, but as far as I can tell, most people doubt his intellectual and spiritual credibility solely on the basis of the salesman techniques he uses. It seems to me that an actual review of his recorded gnosis (spiritually-derived knowledge) and a review of the efficacy of his magickal practices has hitherto been unattempted. This article will fill the vacuum, but first, let’s analyze his marketing praxis.
I’ve see all his salesman tricks used before in other industries– they’re formulaic; they’re clockwork. First, he has to muddy the waters with statements like “I spent YEARS reading every book I can find.” That kind of statement is useful in that it allows the advertiser to lower the perceived credibility of his or her competition without addressing specific texts or offering valid criticisms of them. Similarly, when Koetting was marketing his magickal circles, he says something to the effect of “Magick circles made by other vendors are always in such bad quality that they border on being useless,” making it seem like his product is an oasis in an arid desert. (Note: I cannot attest to the quality of the countless magick circles he has contraindicated the purchase of without evidence).
There are many components to this formula: talk about how deeply successful your latest projects have been. Create a consistently-released newsletter packed with free and informative essays– this gives people an incentive to keep getting advertisements from you.
Koetting is also criticized for his side-job: carpet cleaning. Perhaps it’s my Southern upbringing, but I personally do not have it in me to look down on someone for taking up a blue-collar occupation. Remember, E.A. Koetting was an orphan and his lifelong passions are writing and spirituality. An occuptation centering on physical labor is pretty much par for the course.
So, let’s talk Occultism. Are his spiritual formulas valid? Of his “Four Incantations to Conjure Limitless Power”, I have used his fill-in-the-name evocation formula countless times with success. The chant called the “song of Belial” which debuted in his literature is powerful as well. Similarly, a witch I knew frequently used Koetting’s chant calling on Azazel and got excellent results as well.
But we have to analyze the veracity of his demonology as well before we can give a full review. Being able to provide efficacious techniques is a completely separate specialty from the provision of accurate gnosis regarding divinity. First, Belial. Koetting has been criticized for his unorthodox delineation of Belial as “One of the Four Gatekeepers” rather than citing one of the ranks previously attributed to the spirit in demonology. Nonetheless, the literature of the Temple of the Ascending Flame has substantiated Koetting’s insight in their calling of Belial as an initiatior and psychopomp.
Koetting also mentioned that Belial “captivates” female operators in a uniquely potent way. I can attest to the accuracy of this in my own observations of sorceresses I’ve corresponded with who venerate Belial.
Koetting also cites Abaddon as being one of the four gatekeepers, which is substantiated by the gnosis of a friend of mine who works very closely with Abaddon, but does not follow Koetting’s literature.
Lastly, his information regarding Baphomet as the Bloodbath Enchantress of the Order of the Nine Angles. Koetting wrote that Baphomet as the Mother of Human Sacrifice is completely tied to the symbol of the averse pentagram, which has never been attested in O9A literature. During one of the first seances I sought knowledge of the O9A’s esotericism in I was told that in order to evoke the Blood Maiden I would need a pentagram of evocation rather than a triangle evocation– I had never used or even considered a pentagram of evocation until that night. I did not read any of Koetting’s books until months after this seance, so being able to personally verify his gnosis without reading it first surprised me. Nonetheless, it became a trend.
This trend was continued when I summoned Aosoth after reading Koetting’s description of her, and once again, he was totally accurate. I compared my notes on Aosoth (which lined up with Koetting’s description) with those of a more tried-and-true Niner and found further substantiation.
I am not calling him infallible: I do disagree with some points of his gnosis– what I’m saying is that I have seen a pattern of credibility established.
Tl;dr: Even though he is a salesman, Koetting is well worth the read.