Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Ring of Solomon in The Testament of Solomon

So, lately I've taken to reading old books. Alright, I've always liked reading old books, but now I seem to be reading even more of them than usual. I'm mostly looking for magical lore. Right now I'm focusing on the magic of King Solomon. You know, the books, incantations, and magical artifacts attributed to Solomon.

I find myself reading giant collections of Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and the complete works of Josephus. Nobody reads Pseudepigrapha. I mean, it's so obscure a subject that it's not even in blogger's spell check.

I am wading through mountains of ancient lore for juicy morsels of magic. Right now I'm looking for an English translation of Codex pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti (1713) by Johann Albert Fabricius. Then I'll trace the sources listed in that work, and so on. You see what I do for you, my loyal readers? Actually google tells me I have no readers, but this is what I have decided to do and I hope the occasional reader finds this blog useful and interesting some day.

Anyway, yesterday I got to reading an interesting piece of  Pseudepigrapha called The Testament of Solomon. As the title suggests, it is attributed to King Solomon. You can find an English translation of the text at Esoteric Archives.

I believe I first encountered this text at Esoteric Archives a couple years ago, but didn't think much of it. Recently though, I became interested in Solomonic magic and The Testament of Solomon fits nicely into this tradition.

The Testament of Solomon, much like the Goetia, lists demons and Solomon's interactions with these demons. This Testament is a composite work of several authors and has elements of Christian, Jewish, Arab, Greek, and Roman lore.

Of special interest to me is the description of the Ring which King Solomon used to control the demons:
5. Now when I Solomon heard this, I entered the Temple of God, and prayed with all my soul, night and day, that the demon might be delivered into my hands, and that I might gain authority over him. And it came about through my prayer that grace was given to me from the Lord Sabaoth by Michael his archangel. [He brought me] a little ring, having a seal consisting of an engraved stone, and said to me: "Take, O Solomon, king, son of David, the gift which the Lord God has sent thee, the highest Sabaoth. With it thou shalt lock up all demons of the earth, male and female; and with their help thou shalt build up Jerusalem. [But] thou [must] wear this seal of God. And this engraving of the seal of the ring sent thee is a Pentalpha."

Here the text gives a pentagram to illustrate the pentalpha.

With this Ring Solomon commands demons and even Beelzeboul (Beelzebub), the Prince of all the demons.

This Ring has a stone engraved with a pentagram. Using this Ring, Solomon is told to "lock up all demons of the earth... and with their help... build up Jerusalem." Despite what you may have heard, the pentagram was a Holy symbol and used in the seal of Jerusalem. Here is a picture of the seal of Jerusalem on an ancient pitcher:

The vessels mentioned in the Testament of Solomon would have had such pentagrams marked on them or sealed using the stone on the Ring. This type of pentagram seal was used at least until the second century and would look like this:
(Image snagged from HERE)

The Testament of Solomon gives examples of how Solomon made use of demons to build up Jerusalem and also how he captured and contained demons in jars, vials, and wine skins. If you have not read it, you should.

Talmudic lore also gives Solomon a ring with a stone and the Name of God. The lore mentions the Ring of Solomon is set with a stone called Shamir. This stone called Shamir can cut stone and was used in the building of the Temple so that the mishna against using stone tools in the Temple would not be broken. I believe the Stone in Solomon's Seal (Ring) is based on the Seal of Jerusalem you see on the two items above. If you hold your thumb over the letter Lamed and then read around the pentagram starting with the letter Shin, you can plainly see the word Shamir (Shin Mem Yud Resh).

Note: While reading over the description of the ring I noticed something that may just be coincidental. Here I give part of the description of Solomon's ring again, highlighting what I am seeing:
And it came about through my prayer that grace was given to me from the Lord Sabaoth by Michael his archangel. [He brought me] a little ring...

And look again at the Ring of Solomon I devised previously from my contemplation of the Triangle of Solomon:

That's YHVH Sabaoth and Michael written in the same type of Hebrew script as the Seal of Jerusalem. Intresting... Very Interesting.

3 comments:

  1. i found it more than interesting, can you explain how you solve that? the last picture, are the names of go.d.s?

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  2. The names are YHVH TzaBAOTh (Lord Sabaoth) and Michael which appear in the description of Solomon's ring in the Testament of Solomon. The lettering is like what was used to write the word Jerusalem in the seal of Jerusalem (the pentagrams) above.

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  3. hey i found at the flea market a woman statue that has the seal on it. i found it interesting it looks really old and aged maybe even been in the sea.if you want to see the mark i can send a pic.

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