Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Goetic Ring of Solomon

After my recent post about the Triangle of Solomon, I remembered that there was another item in the Goetia that used the words Tetragrammaton and Anaphaxeton. That item is the Ring of Solomon.

The ring appears in the Mathers/Crowley edition of the Goetia. It is presented as a kind of disc with concentric rings.

Many people have used this design as a bezel on a ring or a disc that hangs as an amulet of sorts.

The illustrations of the ring which appear in the original manuscripts look like this:
I once saw a diagram like this used in a book describing finger rings. The diagram was laid out the same, but with different words. The description revealed that the diagram was of a plain band with writing on the outside and also the inside of the band. If we assume the Ring of Solomon shown here is a similar design, we see Tetragrammaton is engraved on the inside of the band and the words "Anapheneton (or Anaphaxeton) + Michael" are written on the outside of the band.

The Ring is to be made of Silver and worn on the middle finger of the left hand. It is to be held to the nose of the Master when confronted with the "stinking fumes of spirits".

Many people claiming to have great Goetic experience say the Ring is useless because the spirits have no odor. One could argue the spirits don't have bodies either. Yet we see them anyway.

Even if you are of the belief that spirits only affect the sense of sight, there is another, more practical use for the ring.

In The Key of Solomon, Book 2 Chapter 10, we read:
There are many kinds of Incense, Suffumigations, and Perfumes, which are made for and offered unto the Spirits; those which are of sweet odour are for the good, those which are of evil savour are for the evil.

The Key of Solomon and the Goetia of Solomon may be different, but they follow the same reasoning. In the GoS, when the spirit is being conjured, the exorcist goes through a series of appeals and threats. The exorcist starts with the first and second conjuration. If that fails, he reads a stern "constraint". If even that fails, the exorcist demands the spirit's boss (or King, as it were) send the spirit right away. If that fails, the exorcist recites the "Spirits Chaine" and threatens to send the spirit to the depths of hell bound "in chaines of fire and Brimstone unquenchable, unless you dost forthwith appear before this circle in This Triangle to doe my will..."

After the Spirit Chain the spirit had better be there with bells on. If the spirit still isn't there (or your scryer is no good), the GoS instructs the exorcist:
Then write his name and seal in [on] virgins parch [parchment] and put it into a black Box with Brimstone aquafateda [assafoetida] and such things that have a stincking strong smell and bind the Box round with a wire and hang it on ye swords point and hold it over the fire of Charcoles...
There follows "The Conjuration of the Fire". With the spirit's seal in a black box bound with chains along with "such things that have a stincking strong smell", the exorcist holds the spirit over hot coals and threatens it with eternal suffering starting right about now.

If even this threat and torture does not work, the exorcist recites "The Curse" and drops the black box into the hot coals. That's right, 'it just got real up in the chamber. The exorcist is now making good on his promise to send this rebellious spirit to the fiery pit of Hell! If the spirit does not appear, I suppose he gets sent to Hell forever and crossed out of everyone's grimoires.

Luckily, the GoS tells us:
Here the Exorcist must put the box into the fire and by and by he will come. But as soone as he is come quickly quench the fire that the Box is in and make a sweet perfume and give him a kind entertainment shewing him the pentacle that is at ye bottom of ye vesture covered with linnen cloath, saying. 

So, what does this have to do with the Ring of Solomon?

In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus writes:
God also enabled him (Solomon) to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a Root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon's abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters.  

As you can see, the exorcist's ring is treated with an herb (Root).  The herb and the ring work together with incantations handed down from Solomon in order to command the demon. In the Goetia of Solomon, the Exorcist is to hold the Ring to his own nose. The powerful herbs on the Ring counters not only the odor of demons, but also the odor of the foul smelling substances used while conjuring demons. The exact words in my GoS are "This Ring is to be held before the face of the Exorcist to preserve him from The stinking fumes of spirits &c." I think this includes sulfur, brimstone, and assafoetida.

I have heard of crime scene investigators rubbing different salves and creams with menthol and similar substances on their nose and upper lip when investigating foul crime scenes. The menthol makes the odor more bearable. The herbs used on the Exorcist's ring may have a similar effect.

Now, I'm not saying to use Vicks VapoRub in place of the Ring of Solomon. I'm just pointing out the fact that the Ring of Solomon may need to be treated with a powerful herbal concoction to render it useful against foul suffumigations.

In closing this post I give you my version of the Goetic Ring of Solomon:


  1. I just came across Donald Tyson's page on the Goetia on his website. Scroll all the way down and read the note about the Ring.

  2. Only two spirits in the lemegeton are said to have stinking, noxious breath. I have smelled odors myself during operations and while unpleasant they were not quite 'noxious' though I have heard on maybe two occcasions where someone encountered fumes that were noxious and in one case burned the evocator.

    The ring itself is perhaps a part of the sign and seal of the covenant that allows the magician to evoke the spirits to visible appearance. Making the ring and the neccisary equipment is a kind of initiation which is an important though neglected element of western goetia. In afro-carribian cults initiation is an essential preliminary before being able to see and communicate with the spirits.

  3. Thank you for your comment. I have continued my research into exorcist rings and the ring of Solomon. In Josephus the ring of Solomon is held to the nose of the possessed. In one Greek magical papyri, the ring of Solomon is placed in the mouth of the possessed. In these instances I believe the ring of Solomon is related to medicated rings and staffs. The description of the ring of Solomon with the pentagram and "Shamir" sound like it is the seal of Jerusalem. The letters of the seal of Jerusalem, read from shin, without the lamed is... Shamir. I believe the ring and its impression are the seal of Jerusalem. Anyone bearing the ring and able to impress its seal on vessels would have authority from Solomon and from God. Probably a priest. But that's just a theory.

  4. Great post. What is your source for saying that the ring needs to be worn on the left middle finger?

  5. It is in the description of Beleth (AKA Balaton... he's on the ring)

  6. When I say he's on the ring, I mean that he is in the pentacle of Solomon and if you place the pentagram onto the ring as it is in the Testament of Solomon, he would be mentioned on the ring.

  7. The ring does indeed work with a herb but not in the way that stops bad smells. As previously mentioned most reports state that the demons have no smell however to suggest that we are not affected by fumes of any sort because we cant smell them is wrong. i would like to point out that in Josephus the ring is used to "draw out the demon". this implies control by force and indeed Solomon goes on to force the spirit to knock over a vessel . Therefore could the ring be held before the magi not just to protect but also to command?

    1. The drawing out and commanding away go together in exorcism. The knocking over of a vessel is a sign.

      The ring is held in front of the nose of the exorcised in Josephus, but to the nose of Astaroth and also the exorcist in the Goetia of Solomon.