Sunday, December 18, 2011

Did I Make Up the Idea of Lesser Seals?

I recently received a message which was not very coherent. The sender was upset about a couple things in my post about the Explanation of the Pentagram and Hexagram of Solomon. The first objection was my identification of the word Bellaton (from the Pentagram) with Beleth, the 13th spirit of the Goetia of Solomon. That's fine with me. I was just putting it out there.

The second objection was actually a statement. I'm not going to repeat it here because the rest of my audience is not playing the role of drunken sailor and also because I deleted the message faster than a cyberman. Basically, I was accused of making something up. In this day and age it is good to be skeptical, but it is still bad to be a blathering idiot. So, I have formed my accuser's statements into the question he should have asked: "Did you make up the idea of Greater and Lesser Seals?"

And now I will set myself to the task of answering that question.

I was first introduced to the idea of Lesser and Greater (or Noble) Seals at the same time I did my study of the Triangle of Solomon, back in the '90s.

I am not going to go into the way the Lesser and Greater Seals worked in 16th and 17th century magick, but I'll show you there was such a distinction.

In the Mathers/Crowley Goetia we see a type of spirit compass showing the directions to face when calling certain spirits.
This diagram actually belongs to the second book of the Lemegaton. These names can be found in many old books on magic.

In the book Elizabethan Magic by Robert Turner, there is something very interesting in the chapter on Simon Forman. Robert Turner reproduces a text, "typical in form and representative of Forman's Age." The text is called Operation by the Regal Spirit Usiel. It opens with "The Great Seal of King Usiel". This seal is almost identical to the seal of Usiel found in Theurgia Goetia.


Next to this Greater Seal we find another Seal titled "The Lesser Seal According to Trithemeus".

Where did that come from?

Well, let's dust off our Steganographia and take a look at page 6.

Do those names look familiar? That's right, they're the same names as on the spirit compass thingy above! And those squigglies next to the names? Those are Lesser Seals!

The text reproduced in Elizabethan Magic gives the names and seals of 14 diurnal dukes under Usiel and 14 nocturnal dukes. It also gives the number of attending spirits for each duke. These dukes and their seals can be found in Theurgia Goetia.
These Dukes and the numbers of attending spirits (and a few seals) can also be found in Steganographia.

The Operation used Seals from the Lemegeton and Trithemeus, referenced Dee's Liber Scientiae Terrestris, and used conjurations like those in The Key of Solomon. The magical synthesis is impressive.

But I've really gone off target. No, I did not make up the idea of Lesser and Greater Seals.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Salus/Hygiea Ring

Yesterday I was on Amazon when I noticed a recommendation for something free. Since ya don't see that every day, I clicked through. It was for an interesting looking Kindle book. I don't have a Kindle, but I noticed the Kindle software was a free download as well. A minute later I was reading The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems. It's a very interesting book packed with a lot of curious lore. My kind of book. The reader is very handy on my laptop and includes the ability to bookmark and make notes.

THE PENTAGRAM WITH THE WORD SALUS
While skimming I noticed a neat looking ring. It has a Pentagram inside an Ouroboros. Between the points of the Pentagram are the Roman letters SALVS (Latin for "Salvation"). This is the ring of the Roman Goddess Salus. Salus is a Roman form of the Greek Goddess Hygiea.

THE PENTAGRAM WITH THE NAME HYGIEA
The paragraph on page 85 reads:
"Salus Ring (Illustration No. 112, Plate VIII) was worn by the devotees of Salus, or Hygiea, daughter of Æsculapius, who was worshipped as the goddess of Health. Several holy days were appointed in her honour and worship, and she was publicly invoked for the welfare of the rulers and for the general peace and prosperity of the community; also for an abundant harvest. She is usually represented with a serpent as a tribute to her attainments in the art of medicine, and her symbol was worn for Health and Success in all undertakings, as well as for general Good Fortune."

Thomas, William; Kate Pavitt (2009-12-12). The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems (Kindle Locations 847-851). Evinity Publishing Inc. Kindle Edition.


If you actually go to the Wikipedia page for Salus you see the statement:
"She is sometimes erroneously associated with the Greek goddess Hygieia."

It's a good thing someone put that on Wikipedia because a lot of silly Romans seem to have made Salus' statues, Name/Pentagram, symbols and general attributes the same as Hygiea.

Roman Salus Coin

Roman Hygiea Statue

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Testament of Solomon (The Source Material)

One of the things I love about having blogger blogs is the "Stats" tab in the control panel. I get to see what sites link to what blog posts, what countries my blogs are popular in (Go, go, Germany!), and what search terms people use to get to my blogs.

Lately I have noticed people are coming to this blog in search of the Testament of Solomon and related material. Some include "Greek text" and "Greek codex" in their search string for the ToS. They have searched, found this blog and then gone away empty handed. Well, no more of that!

Here are some of my web links related to the Testament of Solomon. You're welcome ;)




McCown's English Translation of the Testament of Solomon
Includes texts with critical apparatus. Archeological finds since McCown's translation are against some of McCown's assumptions. Foremost for the readers of this blog? McCown assumes the pentagram on Solomon's ring to be a later addition to the text. As I wrote about previously, the pentagram seal on jars and other items was something the author of the Testament of Solomon probably saw with their own eyes. The magical nature of the jars is debatable, but their existence is not.

This having been said, McCown's is the most thorough and scholarly translation of the Testament of Solomon I have seen. More scholarly translations and updated critical devices may exist, but I cannot find them in google.
http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924028957400

The Testament of Solomon translated by F. C. Conybeare
The Jewish Quarterly Review volume 11 (1899)
This is the translation most readily available in a google search.
http://books.google.com/books?id=ylkpAAAAYAAJ&dq=jewish%20quarterly%20review%201899&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Fleck's Greek Testament of Solomon
Wissenschaftliche Reise dur Deutschland, Italien, &c. (1837)
http://books.google.com/books?id=31UvAAAAYAAJ&dq=Wissenschaftliche%20Reise%20durch%20das%20s%C3%BCdli%201837&pg=PA111#v=onepage&q&f=false

Zeitschrift für die historische Theologie, Volume 14
Doctor Friedrich August Bornemann's German translation of Fleck's Greek Testament of Solomon
Das Testament des Salomo (1844)
http://books.google.com/books?id=Z9UAAAAAcAAJ&dq=bornemann%20zeitschrift%20f%C3%BCr%20die%20histor%20theologie%201844&pg=RA2-PA9#v=onepage&q&f=false

Conjectanea in Salomonis Testamentum
A German essay on the Testament of Solomon. This essay is also by Doctor Bornemann.
http://books.google.com/books?id=h5RAAAAAcAAJ&dq=Studien%20von%20Geistlichen%20des%20Konigr.%20Sachsen%201843&pg=PA45#v=onepage&q&f=false

Harley MS 5596
15th century Greek manuscript at the British Library. Contains parts of the Testament of Solomon along with the Magical Treatise of Solomon (a work related to the Key of Solomon) .
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=harley_ms_5596_f007r

Anecdota Atheniensia
French book. Presents Herley MS 5596.
https://archive.org/stream/MN40020ucmf_0?ui=embed#page/n226/mode/1up


Friday, October 21, 2011

Explanation of the Pentagram and Hexagram of Solomon

I previously wrote about the "Explanation of Certain Names Used in this Book Lemegeton". I glossed over the portion of the "explanations" about the Hexagram and Pentagram of Solomon. After a forum thread at evocationmagic.com, I decided to look more closely at both the "explanation" and the Pentagram of Solomon.

In the following table you will see "The Explanation of the two triangles in the Parchment". The two "triangles" referred to are the Hexagram and Pentagram of Solomon. In the left column are the words from the Hexagram and Pentagram being "explained" by the words in the right column. Under the words as they appear in the manuscript I have included the words that appear in the Mathers/Crowley version. I have colored alternate rows for easier reading.

The Explanation of the two triangles in the Parchment

Alpha and Omega Thou O great God who art the beginning and the end who was before all Eternity and ever shall be


Mathers/Crowley version reads:
Thou, O great God, Who art the beginning and the end:
Tetragrammaton Thou God of mighty power be ever present with us to guard us and protect us and let thy holy presence be now and always with us

Mathers/Crowley:
Thou God of Almighty power, be ever present with us to guard and protect us, and let Thy Holy Spirit and presence be now and always with us:
Soluzen I command thou spirit of what Region soever thou art to come into this circle

Mathers/Crowley:
I command thee, thou Spirit, of whatsoever region thou art, to come unto this circle:
Halliza and Appear in human shape

Mathers/Crowley:
And appear in human shape:
Bellatar

M/C:
Bellator or Bellaton
and speak to us audably in our mother tongue

Mathers/Crowley:
And speak unto us audibly in our mother-tongue:
Bellonoy

M/C:
Bollonoy or Bellony
and shew and discover to us all treasures that thou knowest of or that is in thy keeping and deliver it to us quietly

Mathers/Crowley:
And show, and discover unto us all treasure that thou knowest of, or that is in they keeping, and deliver it unto us quietly:
Hallÿ Fra

M/C:
Halli. Hra.
and answer us all such questions as we shall demand without any defect now at this time

Mathers/Crowley:
And answer all such questions as we may demand without any defect now at this time.

Alpha and Omega

can be found in the Hexagram of Solomon. This is the Beginning and End of the Greek alphabet.

Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_and_omega

Tetragrammaton

is found in the Hexagram and Pentagram of Solomon. This is, as most people know, the unspeakable four-letter name of God.

Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton

Soluzen

In Folger Shakespeare manuscript V.b.26, this word appears as Soluze with a line above the last two letters. That line means there are missing letters.



Can be found with its sigil in the center of the Pentagram. This is possibly a corruption of the name of Solomon or Jerusalem. Here you see the seal of Jerusalem


(Image snagged from HERE)
Although the seal directly above is dated to the second century, it was in use for several hundred years, including the second temple period. That's the period we start seeing stories of exorcisms and rings handed down by Solomon.
Jerusalem and Solomon contain the same root word, SLM.

NOTE:
Although the word SHAMIR does not appear in this "explanation" or the pentagram in this grimoire, it should be noted that if you omit the Lamed from the seal of Jerusalem above and read from the letter Sin, you will see why this word became part of this legend.

Jerusalem:     Yud Resh Shin (Lamed) Mem
Shamir:          Shin Mem Yud Resh

Halliza

is in the Pentagram with its sigil.

Bellatar

is spelled Ballaton or Ballator in the Pentagram of Solomon. With the grimoiric obsession with creating words with the  "Aton" suffix, I am leaning in favor of Ballaton. Note the "name" begins with Bal or Bel, meaning "master". 

This "Aton" is likely Beleth, the 13th spirit of the Goetia of Solomon. Of Belleth (or Beleth or Bileth or Bilet or Ballat) the Goetia of Solomon Says:
The 13 spirit is called Beleth, he is a mighty king and terrable, ridding on a pale horse wth Trumpets and all other kinds of Musicall Instruments playing before him, he is very furious at his first apperance That is whilest ye Exorcist allay his Courage, for to doe that, he must hold a hazel stick in his hand, streched forth towards ye South & East quarters making a Triangle without ye Circle, commanding him into it by ye vertue of ye Bonds & chaines of spirits hereafter following, & if he doe not come into ye triangle by your Threats, rehearse ye Bounds & chaines before him, and then he will yeild obediance and come into it and do what he is commanded by ye Eorcist [Exorcist], yet he must receive him courteously, because he is a great king & doe homage to him, as the kings and princes doe that attend him, and you must [also] have allwayes a silver Ring on the middle finger of the left hand, held against your face as they do for Amaimon, This king Beleth causeth all ye love that possible may be, both of Men and women till ye Master Eorcist [Exorcist] hath had his mind fullfilled &c. he is of the order of Powers and governeth 85 Legions of [102v] spirits, his Noble seal is this wch is to be worne before you in the Time of working.
Balath's Noble or greater seal is given in the text and his lesser seal appears in the Pentagram of Solomon.

The Hebrew of Dr. Rudd has the name Beth-Lamed-Aleph-Tau.

Bellonoy

is in the Pentagram with its sigil. This name is spelled Bellonoy in the "explanation" and Bellony in the Pentagram of Solomon. Bellony is more likely. As with Bellatar, Bellany's name begins with Bel. I believe that in Hebrew his name may be spelled Beth-Lamed-Lamed-Vav-Nun-Yud. If you use these letters to trace a sigil over the kamea of Mercury (use the one with the Hebrew letters!), you will get something like this:
Most sigils these days begin with a circle and terminate with a little cross-line. As you can see from the image above, Agrippa (and the creators of the grimoires) had no such strict rules. Compare the sigil I have drawn above to the sigil of Bellony as it appears in the pentagram:
Like the Lesser Seal appearing in the Hexagram of Solomon, Bellony's sigil has been degraded and reversed. Compare these two versions of this sigil (1,2):
UPDATE: Find out more about this "sigil" here: http://brotherenochsgoetia.blogspot.com/2015/03/this-sigil-is-not-sigil.html


Another manuscript shows the sigil of Bellony more clearly:
The sigil seems to not include the final 'Y' or Yud. That leaves us Bal-LVN (Lord or master of the Levites), suggesting a Lord and possibly a connection to the Levites or priests of the Temple of Solomon.

Alternately, LVN could be Lamed-Beth-Nun, which means "white". 


Hallÿ Fra

is written (as Hally) in the Pentagram along with its sigil.

ABDIA

is written in the Pentagram along with its sigil. ABDIA does not appear in the "explanation". Abdia is another way of writing Obadiah. In V.b.26, the name is written Abdiah.


This post is more like notes for myself and I will probably return to it from time to time to see if I can make more progress.





Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Explanation of the Explanations of the Diagrams of Solomon

Within the Mathers/Crowley version of the Lesser Key of Solomon, titled "The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King" we find three "Explanations". These are actually more like prayers than explanations.

The first explanation is titled "Explanation of Certain Names Used In This Book Lemegeton". This title was made up by Mathers. This is like a prayer for the magic circle (figure 153).

The second explanation is titled "The Explanation of the Two Triangles in the Parchment". As the footnote points out, these words are in the Hexagram (figure 155) and Pentagram ( figure 156) of Solomon.

The third explanation is titled "An Explanation of Solomon's Triangle". As the title suggests, this explains the Triangle of Solomon.

These "explanations" only appear in Sloane 2731. Sloane 2731, like all the other manuscripts used by Mathers in this "translation", is in English. I know Crowley gives a list of languages, but it's just not true.  

Mathers' footnote to the first "explanation" reads:
This explanation, or rather paraphrased prayer, only exists in one codex as far as my knowledge goes. The Qabalist will remark that the orthography of several of the Qabalistical names is incorrect. I give it, however, as it stands.
To this Crowley ads:
In any case it is worthless; the names mean nothing of the sort.

For Mathers to criticize the orthography of the "explanations" is almost as appropriate as criticizing Mathers for spelling Cabalist with a "Q". Most of the words Mathers corrects were correct at the time of writing (as you will see in a little bit). And Crowley's dismissal shows he needed to look a little bit closer since the "explanations" have a source and are a key to understanding the tools used in the Goetia.

When dealing with grimoires you find many languages mixed together and you also find many strange spellings of Greek, Hebrew, and Latin words. It is obvious that most grimoires were composite works, built up over time by several people of varying knowledge of the languages and lore involved. I believe the Lesser Key of Solomon began its life as a catalog of demons. To the catalog conjurations were added. And sigils too. Elements were added layer on layer from other manuscripts. In time errors crept in and were embellished. It is only natural. Do you have a mastery of English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew as well as astrology, Cabala, correspondences, ritual procedures... If you think it's tough mastering all that in our time, just imagine you live in the 16th century. So we can forgive the author of the "explanations" for any corruptions and minor errors, right? As I have shown before, not even Agrippa is free of such errors.

Consider the word Tetragrammaton. It is a Greek word representing a Hebrew word written in Latin characters in an English manuscript. This is the nature of magic and old grimoires. Tetragrammaton has remained consistently spelled and defined in most books, but other words have not fared so well. You might find the word ANAPHAXETON spelled ANEPHEZETON, or ANAPHENETON.

So, can the words appearing in the "explanations" be traced to more definite sources? I believe they can. But before we get to the source, let's have a look at the first "explanation". The manuscript has planetary symbols and a formatting I will not try to emulate in this blog post. In place of the planetary symbol I will simply write the name of the planet. Also, I will place my comments in brackets [] and in red since there is no easy way to use footnotes on this blog. Numbers are placed for easier reference to the illustration appearing after the "explanation".

The Explanation of the Circle of Solomon


[1] Eheie [2] Kether
         
Almighty God whose dwelling is in the highest heavens
[3] Haioth

The great King of heaven and all the powers therein
[4] Metthraton
[Mathers gives Methratton. Agrippa has Metattron]

And of all the holy hosts of Angels and Archangels
[5] Reschith

Hear the prayers of thy servant who put his whole trust in thee
[6] Tagallalim
[Mathers gives Hagalgalim. Agrippa gives Hagallalim.]

Lett thy holy Angells command assist me at this time and at all times

P:[rimum] M:[obile]
[Note that this sub-heading and all other sub-headings appears at the end of the section. This matches the order given in Agrippa's table.]
[7] Jehovah
         
God Almighty God omnipotent hear my prayers
[8] Hadonath

Command thy holy Angels Above the fixed stars
[9] Ophamim

To be Assisting and Aiding of thy servants
[10] Jophiel

That I may command all spirits of the Air fire water earth and hell
[11] Masloth

Soe that it may tend to thy glory and Mans good

    1. Z
    [Sphera Zodiaci]

[12] Jehovah

God Almighty God omnipotent hear my prayers
[13] Elohim

God with us God be always present with us
[14] Binah

Strengthen us and support us both now and forever
[15] Aralim

In these our undertakings which I doe as an Instrument in thy hands
[16] Zabbathy
[Mathers gives Zabbathi and then adds the correction, "should be Shabbathii." Agrippa gives Sabbathai]

Of thee the great God of Sabaoth

    1. Saturn
    [Sphera Saturni]

[17] Hesel
[Mathers writes "should be Chesed". Agrippa gives Hesed]

Thou great god governour and creator of all the Planets and host of heaven
[18] Hasmalim
[Mathers "should be Chashmalim". Agrippa gives Hasmallim]

Command them by the Almighty Power
[19] Zedez
[Mathers gives Zelez then notes "should be Zedeq".  Agrippa gives Zedeck]

To be now present and assisting to us thy poor servants both now and forever

K: S. Jupiter
[Spera Iouis]

[20] Elohim Geber
[Mathers notes Geber "should be Gibor"]

Most Almighty eternal and everliving Lord God
[21] Seraphim

Command thy Seraphims
[22] Camael [23] Modim
[Mathers/Crowley edition correctly changes Modim to Madim without noting it]

To attend on us now at this time to assist us and defend us from all perils and dangers

    1. Mars
    [Sphera Martis]

[24] Eloha

O Almighty God be present with us both now and forever
[25] Tetragrammaton
[The author's copy of Agrippa was probably not as clear as mine. This should be Tiphareth.]

And let thy Almighty power and presence ever guard us and protect us at this present and forever
[26] Raphael

Lett thy holy Angell Raphael wait upon us at at this present and forever
[27] Schemes
[Mathers notes "or Shemesh".]

To Assist us in this our undertakings

    1. Sun
    [Sphera Solis]

[28] Jehovah

God Almighty God omnipotent hear my prayers
[29] Sabaoth

Thou great God of Sabaoths
[30] Vesah
[Mathers corrects Vesah to "Netzah (or Netzach)". ]

All seeing God
[31] Elohim

God be preset with us and let thy presence be now and always present with us
[32] Haniel

Let thy holy Angel Haniell come and minister unto us at this present

    1. Venus
    [Sphera Veneris]

[33] Elohim

God be present with us and let thy presence be now and always present wth us
[34] Sabaoth

O thou great god of Sabaoths be present with us at this time and forever
[35] Hodben
[Mathers writes, "should be Hod simply". I believe this is a result of the ink from the word Binah on the facing page along with the word bne (later prints of the table read ben) in the cell directly below it in Agrippa.]

Let thy Almighty power defend us and protect us both now and forever
[36] Michael

Let Michael who is under thee Generall of thy heavenly host
[37] Cockab

Come and expell all evil and danger from us both now and forever

S. Mercury
[Sphera Mercurii]

[38] Sadai

Thou great God of all wisdom and knowledge
[39] Jesal
[Mathers notes "should be Iesod"]

Instruct thy poor and most humble servant
[40] Cherubin
[Mathers has Cherubim]

By thy holy Cherubins
[41] Gabriel

By thy holy Angel Gabriel who is the Author and messenger of good tidings
[42] Zenanah
[Mathers corrects to Levanah without note]

Direct us and support us at this present and forever

S. Luna
[Sphera Luna]


In the first "explanation" we see many Hebrew words. These fit not only the order found in the grimoire's manuscripts, but can be found in Agrippa (De Occulta Philosophia,  Book II, chapter 13). The "explanations" were probably made while referencing a later version of Agrippa's table "The Scale of the Number Ten". Note that in the following illustration you can see where ink has bled from the other side of the paper and also transferred by way of contact from one page to another. This along with other characteristics of old books can explain the errors in the "explanations".


The second "explanation" lists the words found in the Hexagram and Pentagram of Solomon. These are spirit names and Greek terms which are known well enough not to mention. The variants listed are found in the pentagrams and hexagrams of several manuscripts.

I wrote briefly about the third "explanation" in the post Reconstructing Solomon's Triangle. I gave a theory on what Hebrew words I believed to be implied by the Greek words around the triangle and I gave my reasoning why. While working on the illustration above I noticed something interesting.




Although I'm still not 100% certain, I am now more convinced than ever that I have the meanings of the two mysterious words ANAPHAXETON and PRIMEUMATON. Did you notice there was another "ATON" born in the first "explanation"?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Die Karikatur und Satire in der Medizin: The Doctor's Cane and the Plague Doctor

I found this cool little book on archive.org. The book is called Die Karikatur und Satire in der Medizin. Even if your German is as poor as mine, you should understand this book is about caricature and satire in medicine.

There are many great pictures in the book. There is a picture in the gynecology section that shows bunnies all over the floor and toward the end of the book are a couple funny caricatures of Anton Mesmer, but that's not the topic of this post...

There are some pictures of doctors with canes to their noses. 



Imagine that the moment your doctor enters your home, he strikes his cane upon the floor and then holds the golden tip to his nose. The doctor keeps the cane to his nose, whenever possible, for the entire visit.

What's that about?

When he entered your home he struck his cane to disrupt the herbs and powders in the cane's tip. The effect of the herbs was twofold. First, the herbs probably smelled better than the patients. And second, the herbs were probably meant to keep the doctor from airborne infection.

The doctor's cane was probably an evolved form of the medicated rings of the ancient world.

The most extreme adaptation of this type of device was the mask worn by Plague Doctors. The plague doctors had a mask with a massive beak stuffed with herbs. I tell you what, if this was the only doctor that would come see me, I'd probably fling myself from a window.


But doctors were not the only people to get a cool cane. Whatever the patient had that killed them, it didn't get any better (or smell any better) once they were dead. Here is a picture called "The Company of Undertakers"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Ring of Eucrates

Earlier today I read Plutus by Aristophanes. A short while ago I found myself reading The Liar by Lucian.

Although I was amused by what appears to be the origin of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, that is not my main interest in this story.

The character Eucrates owns a very special ring:

'Do you suppose,' asked Eucrates, 'that he is the only man who has seen such things? Plenty of people besides Ion have met with spirits, by night and by day. As for me, if I have seen one apparition, I have seen a thousand. I used not to like them at first, but I am accustomed to them now, and think nothing of it; especially since the Arab gave me my ring of gallows-iron, and taught me the incantation with all those names in it.

These rings made of gallows-iron (nails or iron from a cross!), coffin nails, and other iron associated with the dead and graveyards gave the possessor the ability to command and dismiss spirits.

A little further in the story, Eucrates tells of a time he was confronted by a frightening entity (who he calls Hecate) three hundred feet high with the lower body of a dragon and the upper part and head of a Medusa! But, never fear! He's got a ring...

At the sight of her, I stood stock still, and turned the seal of my Arab's ring inwards; whereupon Hecate smote upon the ground with her dragon's foot, and caused a vast chasm to open, wide as the mouth of Hell. Into this she presently leaped, and was lost to sight.

The Ring of Eucrates, gotten from an Arab, was mighty enough to send Hecate straight to Hell!

Of course I know this is old Greek fiction, but the tall tales and ghost stories in The Liar were based on real stories and beliefs.

The Arab's ring was probably based on a ring or rings Lucian saw. The ring was made of gallows-iron, had a seal and was potent enough to send just about any kind of spirit down to Hades.

Later Arab stories attribute such a ring to King Solomon, but state that Solomon's ring was half brass and half iron with a seal on either side. You can see Lucian was aware of the power these metals have in the following quote:
apparitions, you tell me, take flight at the clash of brass or iron

King Solomon would never make his own ring of gallows-iron, but it is very likely he would have made it of iron. In an old book on rings (which I cannot find right now), I read about many such rings which were not just iron, but magnetized iron.

The Rings of Eudemus

INFORMER

You are laughing at me. Well, then I denounce you as their accomplice. Where did you steal that new cloak from? Yesterday I saw you with one utterly worn out.


JUST MAN

I fear you not, thanks to this ring, for which I paid Eudemus a drachma.


CARIO

Ah! there's no ring to preserve you from the informer's bite.

A short comedic intermission is inserted in today's quest for the Ring of Solomon. The quote above is from Plutus by Aristophanes. Eudemus was a physician who sold medicated rings to treat or prevent snake bites and other ailments.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rooting Out Demons With Baaras

People are often spoken of as if they were plants. I probably don't have to explain myself when I tell you "My family has its roots in this country". You just know what I mean.

My family once had an over-sized Bible. It was not the kind you would pick up and carry off to church on Sunday. In the front of the Bible was a line drawing of a tree. On the tree were names. These were names of people in my family going back generations. After the page with the picture of the tree were even more hand written pages. These pages recorded births, marriages, baptisms, and important events. This family tree are called my "roots".

This concept of laying down roots is also applied to religious groups, political movements, and spy networks.

At times people get the feeling they don't know who they are or who they should be. They say "I need to find my roots." Or, if they are speaking for a family or church, they might say "We need to go back to our roots."

The Bible is filled with horticultural references that are actually about people. Grape vines, olive trees, the grafting of gentiles into Israel.

When things go wrong and something has "taken root" that we do not like or that might be harmful, what do we do? We "root out the evil", whether it be dissenters or heretics. But have you ever stopped to look at the symbolism as it appears in the Bible?

Although there are many references to the uprooting of evil, there are a couple whose imagery I would call to your attention. The first is Malachi 4:1:

"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch." 

Here we have YHVH Sabaoth taking the evildoers and throwing them in a fire, leaving neither root nor branch.

And again in Isaiah 10:17:
The LORD, the Light of Israel, will be a fire; the Holy One will be a flame. He will devour the thorns and briers with fire, burning up the enemy in a single night.

In this imagery we find the evil weeds are rooted out and consumed entirely in flames. These are, of course, not references to weeds and trees, but men and demons and their eternal souls.

Compare this imagery with that given by Jesus in Luke 17:6:
And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you."

Here Jesus is also using the imagery of a tree being uprooted and cast in the see, but is actually talking about the casting of demons into the abyss. The imagery of the uprooting of plants and bitter roots applies to people, but it also applies to the spirits that are behind the evil actions of men.

With this in mind, read the description Josephus gives of the root baaras in The Wars of the Jews (7.6.3):
But still in that valley which encompasses the city on the north side there is a certain place called Baaras, which produces a root of the same name with itself its color is like to that of flame, and towards the evenings it sends out a certain ray like lightning. It is not easily taken by such as would do it, but recedes from their hands, nor will yield itself to be taken quietly, until either the urine of a woman, or her menstrual blood, be poured upon it; nay, even then it is certain death to those that touch it, unless any one take and hang the root itself down from his hand, and so carry it away. It may also be taken another way, without danger, which is this: they dig a trench quite round about it, till the hidden part of the root be very small, they then tie a dog to it, and when the dog tries hard to follow him that tied him, this root is easily plucked up, but the dog dies immediately, as if it were instead of the man that would take the plant away; nor after this need any one be afraid of taking it into their hands. Yet, after all this pains in getting, it is only valuable on account of one virtue it hath, that if it be only brought to sick persons, it quickly drives away those called demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men that are alive and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them. 

The name of this root is baaras, which probably comes from the Hebrew ba'ar which means "to burn". The root baaras is uprooted and burns with a ray "like lightning". Baaras "quickly drives away those called demons". This is probably the root applied to Eleazer's ring which, if held to the nose of the possessed, "roots out" the demon.

(Note: there is an archaic connection of the words 'root' and 'rout' which fits the lore of this plant well. Both root and demon need to be routed carefully and then plucked out whole so no portion remains below the surface.)

Many people have pointed out how much the lore behind this baaras root matches up with that of the mandrake. Others point out that the mandrake was a common plant in Palestine whereas baaras grew in just one small area. Being a common plant, Josephus was well aware of mandrake and elsewhere used its common name. Baaras may be the common mandrake, it may be a specific type of mandrake (this is what I believe), or it might be another plant entirely.

Eleazar's ring is the prototype of the ring found in the Goetia. Applying baaras or mandrake to the Ring of Solomon is a restoration of the original practice of exorcism handed down by Solomon. Use it on Beelzebub, Astaroth, your in-laws, or wherever you find evil that needs to be uprooted.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Coming Soon: Even More About the Ring of Solomon and Demons

That's right, I'm not done writing about the Ring of Solomon. There are more sources mentioning King Solomon and his magic Ring. I have not been able to get ahold of many sources, but still I have more information to write on the subject. Like the other articles, I will be writing things you might never see in those Amazon books.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wonderland Chess

As some of you may know, I have gone through some changes lately. A couple nights ago, while unpacking some boxes, I came across two little boxes of what look like small playing cards. They are actually chess pieces.

Each piece is made of four cards. They are four of the same card and they are taped together and cut in such a way that they can stand straight up and be seen from all angles as the same card. From the top each piece looks like an X.

There should be four boxes of pieces like this; one for each suit. I can only find two.

I know, this is supposed to be about chess and those look like cards. So let me explain.

Back in high school I had these dreams about Wonderland. Actually, the dreams continued for several years past high school. The most memorable Wonderland inspired dream starred the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter driving a Ford Model T through the streets of Lake Havasu City. Of course they were going way too fast and overturned the car. I tried to talk to the Rabbit, but he kept tapping his watch. The two used the hand crank so vigorously that they righted the car and sped off.

There was often a chess theme in these Wonderland dreams. Floors were black and white or black and red and the cards would move about in what I thought to be random directions. Or that is what I believed after the first two or three of these dreams. Upon further reflection and more dreams I realized the cards were moving about Wonderland using the movements of the Kings, Queens, Knights, and pawns of chess.

One day I was about to leave a store when I saw party favors on sale. I reached into the bin with the tiny bicycle decks, and pulled one deck out. There was a furious spinning in my mind and then I could see my red and black folding chess board with the cards moving on it in place of my usual chess pieces.

I did the quick math and threw the four tiny decks in my cart (how many kids would appreciate playing cards anyway?). About an hour later I had my chess board all set up with my new pieces. I made a special game of chess with four players. I modeled Wonderland Chess after Enochian Chess.

I had read about the symbolism of playing cards. The four suits are the four seasons (four Elements) and the 52 cards are the 52 weeks in the year, and this amazing surreal game made much more sense to me than that convoluted Golden Dawn creation.

What I didn't realize until years later... I had recreated Four Seasons Chess. Four Seasons Chess is, ironically, the game Enochian Chess was based upon.

Now I want to make a new set of pieces using a four-color deck.