Reading my old 50s Arden The Tempest, edited by Frank Kermode (I thought he’d long ago shuffled off this mortal coil but I see he only died last year), and was suddenly pulled up by one of his notes.
I,ii,275 more potent ministers For the goety of Sycorax see Intro. p xl
Say what now? Arden is my workhorse Shakespeare so I’ve passed this way many times over the years but I’ve either skipped over this small annotation or completely forgotten it. Goety?
OED dispels the clouds.
Forms: Also 16 goetie, (15 erron. geocie, 17 geoty).
Etymology: < Greek γοητεία ( < γοητ-, γόης sorcerer, wizard, apparently < γοάειν to wail, cry, compare quot. 1610), through medieval Latin goetia or French goétie.
Obs. exc. arch.
Witchcraft or magic performed by the invocation and employment of evil spirits; necromancy. The erroneous forms geocie, geoticke, etc. in this word and its cognates either proceeded from or suggested a mistaken etymological association with geo- comb. form.
1569 J. Sanford tr. H. C. Agrippa Of Vanitie Artes & Sci. 57 b, The partes of ceremoniall Magicke be Geocie, and Theurgie.
1610 J. Healey tr. St. Augustine Citie of God (1620) 353 Goety worketh vpon the dead by inuocation, so called of the noyse that the practisers hereof make about graues.
1681 H. Hallywell Melampronoea vii. 51 Porphyry and some others did distinguish these two sorts [of magic arts], so as to condemn indeed the grosser, which they called Magic or Goety.
1736 N. Bailey et al. Dict. Britannicum (ed. 2) , Geoty, geotick magick.
1751 G. Lavington Enthusiasm Methodists & Papists (1754) ii. iii. 190 In the Academy of Salamanca they taught both Theurgy and Goety in the Publick Schools.
1855 E. Smedley Occult Sci. 237 All that is properly called ‘goety’ or the ‘black magic’ of the middle ages.
That erroneous form is interesting, doubtless influenced, as OED suggests, by terms like geomancy, and goety does look rather odd to the English-speaker’s eye (I certainly did a double-take).
BTW the image summoned up by that 1610 quote is exceptionally creepy: an Elizabethan graveyard at dead of night with a “sable-stoled sorceror” chanting and ululating over a sheeted corpse (there’s a contemporary illustration of Dr John Dee invoking the dead, that always gives me the shivers too).