Demon seals: signatures, grimoires and protections.
As seen in previous articles, seals or sigils are tools of the magician to represent a magical space in a controlled and closed environment. But they were also the signatures of the spiritual entities that practitioners try to contact and obtain favors. While general ritual magical seals can be created directly by the practitioner, through the fusion of letters or ideograms, symbols, etc., demonic seals have a long historical history. Although we can confirm that it was human beings - sorcerers, cabalists, scholars, theologians and ecclesiastics - who drew them, gathering symbols that they considered represented the characteristics of each demon, it was always considered that these seals or signatures were effective, and therefore This has been maintained in grimoires that have survived to this day.
What is a demon seal and what is not.
The first mistake when talking about seals, signatures or demonic symbols is the image that popular culture has given us. In some of the latest audiovisual productions, such as Hereditary (2018) or Marianne (2019), demonic sigils have appeared that may have created some surprise for the general viewer, as they are unaware of the real existence of said seals. However, for those who have read or studied something close to these seals, it is really gratifying to see that a director or screenwriter has decided to delve a little deeper into the research and not reuse either the pentagram or the upside-down cross.
And the fact is that these last two are not demonic seals, no matter how much audiovisual productions insist on presenting strange rituals with the pentagram to sacrifice victims, or that every time there is a demon in a room, the crucifixes on the wall turn upside down. lap. We have already talked about the pentagram and the inverted pentagram in other articles, and the elemental meaning they have, as well as that the inverted pentagram with the head of a goat is not an ancestral seal, but is the logo of the Church of Satan, founded by A. Lavey in 1966, reinterpreting its symbology in his interest, and later taken as a pagan symbol also in other areas.
On the other hand, the use of crosses has also become popular. The most popular case is that of the inverted cross, following the medieval idea that the demonic "turns everything Christian upside down" to boast, and forgetting, in fact, that the inverted cross is a symbol of Saint Peter, who, according to legend, was crucified upside down, because he did not consider himself worthy of dying like his master. In any case, the pentagram and the inverted cross will continue to be demonic symbols both culturally and aesthetically (fashion, tattoos, cinematography...)
On the other hand, we have the Leviathan Cross or Satanic Cross, which once again has been an adopted symbol on which new meanings have been established. The Leviathan Cross is the alchemical symbol of Black Sulfur (sulfur nigra), which symbolized fire and masculinity, something very appropriate for the image of the Western Devil. And we also have the Seal of Lucifer, whose origin seems to be in 19th century grimoires (as will be seen later), although it has become a frequently used symbol among Luciferians, Satanists and occultists who are related to these lines of thought of will, freedom and rebellion. These two symbols, in some way, could be considered demonic seals, because they evoke and promote, however, their magical-ritual use as such is very limited, precisely because of the intellectual and philosophical value they promote, becoming more of a ritual symbol than in the tool itself.
Certain pentacles that are associated with them can be considered demonic seals, either as "astrological spirits" or elementals. The confusion occurs due to the usual mixture of many elements in the magic of the 16th and 17th centuries, where the spirits invoked can be angels or demons, and where the magic has a curious Christian aspect in its background where Solomon was the first to the use of this power of domination.
The so-called signature or sigil of Lucifer comes from a grimoire, the so-called Grimorium Verum, a French grimoire from the 19th century, which claims to have its origin, like so many other grimoires, in a previous grimoire, supposedly from the 16th century, and which says follow a Solomonic tradition. It is one of the three signatures attributed to him, and that for their supposed effectiveness must be inscribed within a magic circle. Of all the ones we have seen so far, Lucifer's sigil could be considered a demonic seal.
The seals of the grimoires
Many demonic seals, however, do have stars and crosses, and this is due to the clear symbolism that carries over from Christianity, mixed with late medieval and Renaissance thought. The vast majority of demonic seals that have survived to this day come from Renaissance and later grimoires, in which different authors (kabbalists, theologians, scholars, esotericists...) created these seals with the symbols and messages that they considered best represented. the main characteristics of each entity. Some are alchemical symbols, others are religious names, Hebrew and Greek characters, and also, as in modern sigils, encrypted signs, created from a distorted message or image.
The best known are those included in the grimoire of the Key of Solomon, also called Key of Solomon, due to its translation, - although maintaining the Latin expression, key, has given a lot of play and mystery to the grimoires. The Key of Solomon is a grimoire from the 16th century. XVI, translated into European languages from a Hebrew work, the Maphteaḥ Shelomoh. In it we find multiple circles of invocation and protection, and angelic and demonic seals attributed to the tradition of King Solomon's dominion over them, who in addition to being wise, according to the apocryphal texts, possessed a ring with a divine seal with which he could conjure the demons, even going so far as to have them build their magnificent temple.
Some of these signatures are very similar to a drawn sigil, and other times it is a clear union of symbols:
As can be seen in the previous images, the pantacle-shaped sigils that we find in this work are varied and bring together the aforementioned elements (geometric shapes, Hebrew letters...) along with astrological relationships, since it should not be forgotten that for a long time time the minor divinities, the angels and demons, were identified with the stars and stars, consequently influencing human lives by the law of reflection. The best known and most widespread version is that of S.L. Mathers (20th century). But all these planetary seals are rather ritual pantacles that seek to attract spiritual entities to obtain a purpose, and not their signatures themselves, so depending on the tradition followed, these pantacles will be demonic sigils, or simply spiritual. Of course, due to their astrological relationship, they must be made with specific materials on specific days.
This distinction is especially noticeable when one goes to the Clavicles of Solomon, that is, "the little keys" (but which was misspelled in Latin due to ignorance of the correct diminutive). In this grimoire parts of the Key of Solomon grimoire are brought together, but also by the Ars Goetia, the Ars Theurgia, the Ars Paulina, the Ars Armadel and the Ars Notoria. The Ars Goetia is the famous list of 72 demonic princes, each with his signature sigil and a brief description of his appearance and characteristics. The most interesting thing about this list is that the majority of demons have beneficial abilities for human beings, although some could, in their time, be considered libertine or indecent, such as art, dance, cunning, creativity, ease. of word or calculation, sensuality... likewise, they dominate certain human areas, such as work, health, or the general environment, such as nature, time, luck...
The demonologist Johan Weyer (1515-1588) drank from the same source as this grimoire and there developed the Pseudomonarchia daemonium, "The false monarchy of demons" - false, because Weyer brought together these traditions as part of the folklore and popular beliefs that considered unscientific, or in any case, questions of a psychological nature -, in a more organized way, and which is what usually appears in current grimoires, although in this list only 69 demons appear and not 72. This list also appears in the Collin de Plancy's infernal dictionary (19th century).
In other grimoires we find repeated seals, but also new
seals and signatures, such as in the grimoire of Saint Cyprian, where demonic
portraits and signatures appear very different from these, sometimes almost
cartoonish. From the 19th century we have the Grimorium Verum, of disputed
Italian-French authorship, where the seal of Lucifer appears for the first time
as it is used today, along with other seals and demonic pantacles, and general
ritual sigils. Other grimoires, however, contain only those that interest them,
as is the case of Dogma and Ritual of High Magic by A. Levi, which includes
some references but also seals and pantacles extracted at random, or of their
Use of demonic seals
The use of demonic seals today is very varied. There are those who use it as part of their rituals, invoking its presence by drawing and affixing the seal of the demon that interests them, according to its characteristics, and requesting its help in their purposes. There are those who engrave the sigil on a wooden or wax plate, and there are those who draw it on paper: the support depends more on the ritual "performance" that the practitioner wants to perform. The important thing is that the demonic symbol is taken as a way for the spirit to come and be present in the ritual, almost in the same way that a sculpture of any divinity would function in a magical or religious ritual.
The main difference in these rituals is that those who perform them tend to create a sigil or seal of magical protection around themselves, considering that the entities can turn against the magician, the most common being the following:
But invocation in presence, despite what the movies sell, in practice is completely abandoned, with the exception of "sending" to another person the curses or abilities of the supposedly invoked entity.
Another use is simply aesthetic or bonding, that is, wearing the seal as a pendant or painted, considering that in this way the characteristics of that demon will influence the person or will be adopted and enhanced, in the same way that, in reality, they function. intentional sigils created from scratch by the magician with a specific magical intention, with the only difference that the power of this sigil would come from an external entity, not from the will of the practitioner himself.
Pietro Viktor Carracedo Ahumada - firstname.lastname@example.org
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-Koch, R. El libro de los signos. Asuntoimpreso ediciones. Buenos Aires, 2018
-Morales Estévez. Los grimorios y recetarios mágicos: Del mítico Salomón al clérigo nigromante. En Señales, Portentos y Demonios. La magia en la literatura y cultura españolas en el Renacimiento. SEMYR MMXIIII, 2014.
-Tausiet Carliés, M., El diablo en la Edad Moderna, Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia, 2004.
-Torijano, A. Solomon, the Esoteric King: From King to Magus, Development of a Tradition;, Brill, Jan 2002