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"?