Greetings again, fellow Angel-workers!
Mars is certainly in the air. We just passed through a prime period for Martial magick – when Mars passed through Scorpio. (Apparently it is only in the first degree of Sagittarius as I write, which is hardly out of Scorpio at all, so it is still flush with Scorpio’s energy.) Plus we are fast approaching the period when Sol will go into Scorpio – which can be a major pain (ever notice how things tend to start to suck right before Halloween?), but is also a good time for Martial magick.
And so, with all of this in mind, this is a great time to make our yearly offerings to Samael, to both thank him for the protection he offers our house, and to empower him to protect it for another year. As house gods go, Samael is unique in my home. My relationship with him is fairly new (compared to Iophiel and Michael), and I approach him with quite a bit more caution. (I strongly urge you to do the same, if you have cause to work with him at all.)
Archangel Samael – the Adversary
Samael is the Archangel of Mars – prince of the fifth heaven, lord of war and pestilence, and angel of death and destruction. He is the Sathan (Adversary) who visited wrath upon Job, slew the firstborn in Egypt, and (as the Guardian Angel of Easu) wrestled with Jacob. As the Sathan he accuses men of their wrongdoings in the Divine Court. Samael should not be confused with the modern Christian concept of Lucifer or the Devil. Samael is not the source of all evil, nor did he ever wage war upon the Throne of God.
He was, however, cast down to Earth when he refused to bow to Adam as the Image of God. (He had previously sworn to never bow to anything less than God Himself.) Once here, he took Lilith as his wife and has acted as the Divine Accuser, Enforcer and Angel of Death ever since. While he is still very much in the employ of God, he persecutes and seduces mankind when he is ordered to do so.
(Some sources equate Samael with Shemyaza, the leader of the fallen Watchers from the Book of Enoch. This is likely due to both Samael and Shemyaza being punished for disobedience, yet each retaining their positions as celestial angels. However the angels share no other characteristics, and this similarity does not prove the two angels are one and the same.)
The ancient Gnostics elevated him to the position of Demiurgos (the Creator) and interpreted his name to mean “Blind God.” They also called him Ialdabaoth and Saklas. His form was described as a lion-headed serpent. He and his angels (called archons) had created the world as a prison where they could feed upon mankind’s suffering. Later forms of Gnosticism, however, did not equate Ialdabaoth with Samael.
Samael was at one point regarded as the Patron Angel of Rome – and it is likely in this aspect that we see him (as the Dragon with Seven Heads) engaging in single combat against Michael (the Patron Angel of Israel) in the Revelation of St. John.
More recent tradition has given him the name Khamael (Camael, Camuel, etc) – the result of mistranslating a Hebrew Samekh (S) as a Kaph (Kh). In this form he is regarded primarily as the Angel of War and Divine Severity.
Offering Ritual for Archangel Samael
It is best to choose a Tuesday when Mars is well aspected in the heavens, and he should be above the horizon at the time of working. Dawn is best. The most powerful times of year to do this ritual are when Mars resides in either the sign of Aries or Scorpio. The Moon should be in increase.
On Monday evening, cover a table or altar with a red or white cloth. Place a talisman and/or image of Archangel Samael upon the altar. (If it is a talisman, place it in the center. If an image, set it toward the east facing westward.) You will need a censor and an incense of Mars:
I use three ingredients: 1 part Pipe Tobacco, 1/2 part Cinnamon, 1/8 part Crushed Red Pepper.
WARNING!: Martian incense is one of the most dangerous substances I’ve worked with! It is, quite simply, tear gas. If you make this, do not add too much red pepper. And when you burn it, do it in small quantities. Never, for any reason, lean over the censor and inhale or draw in breath! Too much pepper or direct inhalation can burn your throat and lungs.
Also prepare all elements of the offering to Mars: Five red candles, five glasses of water, a bottle of whiskey, five pieces of bread covered with honey. Five hot red peppers. Five steel nails. Red meat (cooked well done, no blood!) – this latter is being offered only because this is a once-a-year offering. Animal flesh (especially red meat) is very very powerful, and shouldn’t be used for usual day-to-day needs.
The meat should be grilled over cherry- or bay tree-wood. Otherwise grill it over natural wood or wood charcoal, and add cinnamon, tobacco and red pepper to the fire. You can also season the meat with the cinnamon and the red pepper.
On Tuesday just before sunrise, wash yourself and don a white or red robe. At sunrise, set the offering to Mars upon the table. Place four of the red candles on the four corners, and one in the center – directly upon the talisman if there is one. Set a glass of water beside each candle. Around this arrange the food offerings. You may also add any gift offerings for Samael, or items you wish for him to touch – such as steel jewelery or trinkets, talismans, stones, oils, weapons, written prayers or petitions, etc.
Light the censor and candles with their proper exorcisms, and add fresh incense to the coal. Then exorcise and consecrate the offerings with holy water and the censor.
Then move to the eastern side of the working space, facing outward. If you have a consecrated bell or trumpet, sound it and recite the following call (or one similar to it):
In whatsoever place ye may be, ye spirit(s), who are invited to this feast, [NNN] come ye and be ready to receive our offerings, presents, and sacrifices!
Move to the south and repeat – first sounding the bell or trumpet, then the call. Do this again in the west and the north.
Finally, return to standing west of the altar facing eastward, and recite the following invocations:
Prayer to Elohim Gibor
Elohim Gibor, God of Severity and Might, who ruleth the heavens with a rod of iron, who shatters the enemy. Thou Lord who keepeth the city with the watchman. You shelter us beneath your mighty wings, and punish severely those who would harm your prophets! You visited the plagues upon Egypt, drown Pharaoh’s armies in the Sea, blasted the foundations of Sodom and Gommorah, cast down the Kings of Edom and protected Daniel in the lions’ den. You cast down those who would oppose you. Your name causes the spirits to quake with terror and give obedience. Thou art Gevurah, thou art Pachad. I ask that you bless and sanctify this offering, that it may be pleasing unto You and Your Angels.
I ask, also, that you send to me the holy Archangel Samael: who walkest to and fro upon the Earth. The Adversary, Angel of War and of Death, the bringer of your Wrath. May he look with favor upon me and my household. And, to that end, may he also enjoy these offerings, and be pleased with them, and bear our prayers of thanksgiving unto Thy Celestial Throne. Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen +
Five Martial Psalms
Psalm 3 (“Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.“)
Psalm 2 (“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?“)
Psalm 110 (“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.“)
Psalm 91 (“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.“)
Psalm 35 (“Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me, fight against those who fight against me.“)
Invitation to Samael
I invoke thee, Samael! Holy Archangel of the Martial sphere! I call upon thee within thy realm of Severity and Fear!
Samael, Powerful, Bloody, Sword-bearer, Bold, Untamed, Terrestrial Fire, against whom none can defend himself, thou who destroys the strong and powerful, Lord of fiery heat – and of the planet of blood!
Samael, who art the Adversary, accusing men of their wrongdoing. Fearsome warrior and divine enforcer! You who inflicted Job with sorrow, who slew the firstborn of Egypt, and wrestled with Jacob. It is you who bears the wrath of God unto the Earth! You who overthrow nations and cast kings down from their thrones!
O Samael, we have called upon you [here list the reasons you have called him in the past, if any, and the positive results that came from those workings]. For all of this we thank you!
Come thou forth and partake of these offerings, which we have prepared in thy honour and to the glory of Elohim Gibor. May you find them pleasing and empowering. I ask that you offer your blessings to my home and family, and bear our offerings and prayers of thanksgiving to the Divine Court. We petition thee for strength and protection in all of our undertakings, for defense of our home, and that the light of thy wisdom should guide and keep us at all times. In the name of Elohim Gibor. Amen.
Repeat the Invitation five times. Then, share in the feast you have offered to the Angel – taking bites of each food item, sips of the liquids including a sip (or shot) of the whiskey. Leave the offerings in place until the red candles burn completely away (and no less than five days). Place the remains in a natural place, into running water or at a crossroads.
- End -
Ritual of Samael Journal Entry
I wanted to perform this invocation a week earlier, while Mars was still firmly in Scorpio and the Moon was waxing, but it just wasn’t practical. And it is not possible to wait until the Sun goes into Scorpio either; it had to be done now (Tuesday, September 16, 2014). Perhaps next year we’ll time it better to take place when Mars is in Scorpio (or Aries might be even better) and the Moon is waxing.
I began by fasting from about 7pm on Monday evening (approximately 12 hours before dawn on Tuesday). We went out on that same evening and gathered all of the offerings for Samael (see the list above). Myself and a friend then started the grill with natural wood charcoal; adding cinnamon, tobacco and crushed red peppers to the fire. I seasoned the meat with salt, black pepper and garlic – then added more of the cinnamon and red pepper. We cooked the meat until it was entirely well done (no pink in the center), then covered it and set it aside for the next morning.
After taking a simple ritual bath, I cleaned and prepared our temple – re-consecrating it and everything in it with holy water and the recitation of King Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Holy Temple. I then erected the Samael altar. I used a new red altar cloth, placed three of my favorite classical images of Samael, his name and Heptameron sigil in the center, along with the candles, censor and dishes that would be used the next morning.
At dawn on Tuesday morning, I washed up, entered the temple and put on my white robe. I first approached my Guardian Angel’s altar (in the east) to pray for her help and guidance in the coming work. (I would never approach Samael without her at my side!) Then I laid out the food offerings on the Samael altar: the steak (freshly warmed and sizzling) cut into five pieces, five hot red peppers, bread, honey, five glasses of water and a small bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. To these I also added seven steel nails. (Note that five nails would be standard – but since this ritual is being done to empower the seven protective talismans buried around my property, I decided to include seven nails as I had done before.)
I followed the ritual mostly as I have it written above. I opened the blinds to let the morning sunlight into the room. I lit the censor with the proper Solomonic exorcism and used it and the holy water to consecrate everything on the altar. I then made the calls in the four quarters, then returned to the altar to light the candles with their proper exorcism. Then I performed the invocations, burning even more incense. (Maybe too much, in fact, as it became hard to continue the invocations. I slightly maced myself. But it is vital to never show weakness to the spirits – especially spirits of Mars! So I completed them without stopping.)
Due to Samael’s heavy chthonic associations, I considered not sharing in his feast. However, he is an archangel (a celestial being) and I felt during the ritual that he did want me to share. So, I decided to follow his lead and partook – wanting to avoid offending him in any case. I took a bite or sip of everything offered, making sure to bite off enough of the red pepper to burn my mouth, and to take a healthy swig of the whiskey (not something I normally drink!). I lit one of the cigars and blew five puffs onto the altar, then turned it around and “shotgunned” a large amount of smoke.
Samael indicated to me that he wants the offering left on the altar for five days, and/or until the candles burn out. Then the remains are to be taken outside and left where the last offering was left – on the ground directly over where the easternmost talisman is buried. There is no need to carry the leftovers to a river.
UPDATE: The candles lasted almost exactly five days. On Sunday we gathered the remains and took them out to our eastern property line. We prayed thanks to Samael and his Seraphim for protecting the boundaries, then arranged the items on the ground directly over the eastern talisman. The water and alcohol was poured out as a libation and the food items were arranged in a pentagram pattern on top of that. One of the cigars was re-lit and smoke was blown onto the offerings. Then the remaining cigars were also left in a pentagram pattern.
I was given special instructions for the seven nails. Taking a hammer, I was to drive each nail into the ground over one of the existing buried talismans, while reciting the phrase inscribed on the talisman: “The ungodly have pleasure from doing harm, but the seed of the righteous shall bear fruit.” I’m sure I didn’t get every nail exactly over its talisman, but they are close and are arranged in the same heptagonal pattern around the property line.
Samael’s Offerings After 5 Days
Interestingly, while standing up from driving in one nail, I slipped (just briefly!) and managed to bash my own lip with the handle of the hammer. It swelled up and bled, and seriously pissed me off. <SIGH> Martial spirits…
For those of you who would like to know what food items look like after they are left sitting on an altar, in the open air next to the heat of candles, in Florida, for five days – here is a pic taken the night we took the offerings outside. You’ll note that, as usual, the food looks pristine enough to eat. No rot, no bugs, no mold. The bread had hardened, and that was all. ;)
As many of you know, I recently published an essay entitled The Return of Psalm Magick and the Mixed Qabalah. (Find it in both Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly and Diamond Fire Magazine.) In that essay, I reviewed two books released by Avalonia Publishing, one of which was A Collection of Magical Secrets & a Treatise of Mixed Cabalah by Skinner and Rankine. This is two different pamphlets published together, and I found myself utterly captivated by A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah.
The Mixed Qabalah of Abramelin
Anyone who has read the Book of Abramelin (French or German) understands why that title would peak my interest. Within his autobiographical material, Abraham the Jew explains that there are only three types of true magick: The Qabalah, the True and Sacred Magick (i.e., of Abramelin) and the “Mixed Qabalah.” He goes on to elaborate the Mixed Qabalah by listing its different categories and types – but he really only succeeds in making the entire subject obscure. We are only left with the impression that the Mixed Qabalah is some kind of blending of Qabalistic wisdom and classical magickal arts such as alchemy, astrology, herbology and divination by visions.
Those who have only read the French (aka “Mathers”) version of Abramelin have missed an important part of the puzzle. Mathers decided to remove one of the Books of Abramelin from his publication of the grimoire – and that happened to be Book II, containing several chapters of folk magick-style spells. Not realizing that this book represented the Mixed Qabalah that Abraham described in the first book, Mathers assumed it was just a collection of low-magickal formulas that had been added to the text at a later date. He was obviously incorrect – and his deletion of that material made Abraham’s ramblings about Mixed Qabalah even harder to understand.
What we find in the restored Book II (see Georg Dehn’s Book of Abramelin) is fairly standard scriptural magick – like we would find in Use of the Psalms or Avalonia’s recent publication of The Book of Gold. The main difference is that those examples focus entirely on the Psalms, while Abramelin’s Book II makes use of scripture from various books of the Bible. Each chapter focuses upon a specific goal, most of which are fairly typical of grimoiric literature: healing, love, protection, warfare, birth, addressing nobility, etc, etc. In each case a prayer or scripture is given along with basic instructions on how to apply it. Here is a good example:
Chapter 5, Spell 1: Against Tempests, Ghosts and Visions Prepared by Evil People
Take flowing water, throw in some grains of salt. Then, with the blood of a wether or steer – into which has been mixed sulfur and gall – write the words below. Wash this off with the salt water. Sprinkle this water at the tempest or against the vision.
Adonai Zebaoth, threaten them, so that they will fly away. Haunt them like the wind puts dust upon the hills, and like the tempest comes before the whirlwind. [-adapted from Isaiah 17:13]
I would assume the prayer is written upon parchment. A dip-pen would be used to write the words, and then the salted water used to wash off the still-wet ink. (The parchment, pen, water and even the ink can all be consecrated beforehand.) The water/ink mixture is caught in a bowl, and it can then be used for the given purpose of the spell.
This is just the kind of magick I’m into, and as a devotee of the Abramelin system I was eager to try one of the formulas. I found a good reason when we moved into a new home just over a year ago. I wanted to use the following spell from chapter five to protect the property:
Chapter Five, Spell 3: That Evil People and Magic Cannot Damage Your House
Write on seven tablets of pure beeswax. Bury them in seven locations around your boundaries, or place them under the edges of the roof of your house. The house will be secure, evil will not be able to approach. The words:
The godless have pleasure from doing harm, but the seed of the righteous will bear fruit. [- adapted from Proverbs 11:21]
It seemed straightforward enough, with a kind of Hoodoo simplicity about it. No elaborate instructions, just inscribe the words on the proper material and bury them around the property. So we did just that. We cast seven beeswax disks, inscribed the words and buried them at seven points around the property (in the form of a giant heptagram). We even did the burial at midnight.
Our first try was not without its issues. First, the seventh wax disk had come out of its mold slightly deformed. I didn’t like it, but the text didn’t mention what shape the wax had to be, so I felt there was no harm in using it as-is. However, over several weeks after I buried that talisman, I noticed that grass was refusing to re-grow over the spot.
Another issue that nagged at me was the utter lack of any ritual in the preparation or burying of these talismans. Others in the house mentioned this same thing – but since I always support following a text’s instructions without addition or subtraction the first time out, I decided against adding consecrations or invocations of my own design. (We did add the burial of the talismans at midnight.) Still, even I felt like something was missing.
At first, the talismans seemed to work. Some neighborhood kids, more mischievous than anything, had stolen several items from our front porch. They were caught in the act, and between my wife and their parents we had every single item returned within minutes. So I decided not to worry about the deformed talisman, the barren spot over it or the fact that we had created and buried all seven of them without consecration or ritual.
And then some idiot decided to chuck a rock through the back windshield of our car. We were only away from the car for about an hour, and in that time one of the local kids who sometimes use our street as a shortcut must have vandalized our property to impress his friends. I was steaming mad (still am!), but I wasn’t shocked. You see, the car had been parked right next to that deformed talisman where the grass refused to grow. I could no longer fool myself into believing the talismans were “just fine” – they were in fact an utter failure. I made plans to remake the talismans, this time fully consecrating them before burying them – and put the project on my “important magickal projects to-do ASAP” list.
A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah
Skip forward a few weeks, and Avalonia sent me a copy of A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah: Which Comprises the Angelic Art taken from Hebrew Sages. This was the first indication I had ever seen that the “Mixed Qabalah” was anything more than an invention of Abraham the Jew. Here was a book, completely unrelated to Abramelin, written maybe as recently as the late eighteenth century. Its existence implies that the Mixed Qabalah was in fact an established tradition – very nearly lost to the history of Western occultism.
The pamphlet is divided into two parts. The first is a lengthy angelic invocation based upon older Jewish customs of invoking angels (often Metatron) to teach the mysteries of Torah. In A Treatise… the focus is upon the seven planetary archangels and having them teach one the mysteries of Qabalah. Quite fascinating (and something I must undertake someday!) – but it didn’t grab my attention quite as much as the second part. This was an eight-day ritual for the consecration and fashioning of talismans.
In just one simple (yet extended) ritual, this short text provided a nearly complete magickal art. It calls upon the same seven archangels as the previous part (Cassiel, Sachiel, Samael, Michael, Anael, Raphael and Gabriel) and the ritual comprises both the consecration of the talismata material (wax or metal) and the enlivening of the completed talisman at the same time. Right away, I knew this could be used to create insanely powerful talismans for any imaginable purpose. Not only that, but it solved the problem of what was “missing” from my first attempt to use the house-protection formula from Abramelin.
I gave an outline of the consecration ritual in my The Return of Psalm Magick and the Mixed Qabalah essay, so I won’t duplicate all of that here. I am going to outline the entire process I followed below, so you’ll get the same information. Plus I’m going to elaborate quite a bit, and give English translations for the Latin invocations given in the text. (Thanks to Carrie Mikell for her translation work.)
Enlivening the Wax Talismans of Abramelin
First, I want to state right away that I was unable to follow good magickal timing for this project. The given ritual does not mention timing – however the first half of the pamphlet insists upon a waxing moon, and I can only assume the same applies to the second half. Personally, I also try to generate astrological charts to find the best days to do the work. In this case, we were under pressure to get this work done as quickly as possible, so we can continue forward with bigger projects – some of which demand specific timing. Thus, I went forward without consideration of timing – though it’s not something I recommend in general (especially for beginners).
There was also one point in which I deviated from the Treatise…. The text states that you must live “without sin” for seven months before attempting the ritual. This raises all sorts of questions regarding what the author meant by “sin.” Likely sex outside of marriage should be prohibited, along with gambling, getting drunk, etc. And certainly one must keep the 10 commandments. If we look at the subject outside a purely Judeo-Christian context, we find that “sin” means any action taken or taboo broken that offends your Patron God. On most of these points I’m pretty cool, and if I really do something to piss off my God, my Guardian Angel lets me know. I certainly didn’t think I’d been living a life of ‘sin” by my understanding of the term.
Of course, as a Solomonic mage, I want to interpret “live free of sin for seven months” as an instruction to perform ritual purifications for seven months – similar to Abramelin. And this is where I feel I deviated from the text. Rather than spend seven months in preparation for the magick, I decided to substitute a seven-day Solomonic preparation. While I don’t feel this harmed the outcome of the magick at all, I will certainly admit that a seven-month purification would have been even more powerful. I could see doing this for operations of truly life-altering importance.
Meanwhile, here is how I prepared for the rite: It really began on the Wednesday before I started the purifications. Just before an hour of Mercury, I performed a full Solomonic Bath followed by the consecration of holy water. (The ritual in A Treatise… calls for holy water on the seventh day. In one place it refers to it as “rose water”, so I also added some dried rose petals to the water and let them soak for a couple of days.)
After I had made the holy water (before I threw in the rose petals, in fact), I got the sudden urge to use it to (re-)consecrate my temple-space. I just recently had a Bible returned to my possession that I had thought long-lost. It was a very important talisman to me, and I was ecstatic to have it to work with again. So I took up that Bible and read Solomon’s Dedication of the Temple (2 Chronicles 6:13-42) while I circumambulated the temple again and again, sprinkling everything in sight with the water and aspergillum.
The following Tuesday, I began the week of purification. Because the consecration ritual is itself a week of purification, I kept this preliminary week simple. I made sure I had no social engagements scheduled, cut back on sexual stimulation and began a vegetarian diet. Also, I would recite a pair of invocations from the Key of Solomon once in the morning and twice in the evening. (You can find them on p. 215-216 of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, or in the Key of Solomon, Book Two, Chapter 4).
On the following Tuesday, I began the ritual as outlined in A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah. The pamphlet instructs one to begin the work on the day of the angel you wish to invoke. In my case, I wished to invoke Samael (Mars) to create guardian talismans for the protection of my home. At dawn, I washed and entered the temple. According to my own habit, I put on the white robe and opened the blinds to let in the dawn light upon the altar. I lit a white candle in my Solomnic lantern, and kindled coals for my censor. A Treatise… says to use pleasant odors for good things and evil odors for bad things. I chose to use a Martian incense:
Pipe Tobacco, 1 pt
Cinnamon, 1/2 pt
Crushed Red Pepper, 1/8th pt
WARNING!: Martian incense is one of the most dangerous substances I’ve worked with! It is, quite simply, tear gas. If you make this, do not add too much red pepper. And when you burn it, do it in small quantities. Never, for any reason, lean over the censor and inhale or draw in breath! Too much pepper or direct inhalation can burn your throat and lungs.
I know it sounds horrible, and I did cough a bit the first couple of days I used it. But once you get used to it, it has a rather pleasant smell. (That is, beneath a powerful burning smell.)
I had the wax I was going to consecrate on the altar in a steel bowl. Facing East, I held my hand over the bowl and recited the following three invocations seven times:
Blessing Prayers (see A Treatise… p 103-104 for the Latin)
Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Many are they that rise up against me. Many say to my soul: there is no salvation for him in his God. But thou, O Lord, art my protector, my glory and the lifter up of my head. I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and He hath heard me from his holy hill. I have slept and taken my rest: and I have risen up because the Lord hath protected me. I will not fear thousands of the people surrounding me: Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God! For thou hast struck them all who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners. Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon this creature of [wax].
From Psalm 133:
Behold, now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord who stand in the House of the Lord. In the nights lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord. May the Lord out of Zion bless thee, thou creature of [wax]. he that made heaven and earth.
O Lord God, distribute the whole of thy knowledge and your every perfected virtue and kindness upon this creature of [wax]. Bless it, O Lord, and sanctify it so that you would drive away all our enemies who attack us within your sight, and stand victorious. Through thy holy Name which is exalted unto the ages. Amen.
It’s amazing how perfect these invocations were for my goal of protecting the house. (I’ll have further thoughts on this later.) After completing the invocations seven times, I took the wax, the book and the censor – leaving the candle burning in the lantern on the altar – and went out to the kitchen.
There, on the stove, I had a pot of water on to boil. (I turned it on before entering the temple, so it was just boiling when I came out.) I set the steel bowl full of wax onto the pot of water like a lid – thereby creating a double-boiler to safely melt the wax. As the wax melted, I put fresh incense on the censor and passed it around and around the steel bowl as I recited seven times the passage that would eventually be inscribed in the finished wax: “The godless have pleasure from doing harm, but the seed of the righteous shall bear fruit.” Then I recited the two following invocations:
Primary Invocations. (See A Treatise…, p 100 for the Latin)
Almighty and Everlasting God, who formed all of creation in thy praise and thy honour, and also in the service of Man. I pray unto thee to send forth and cause to appear before me the worthy spirit [ANGEL] to instruct me in the ways of equity and worth. Let me volunteer no truth, but through thy Holy Name. Thou art exalted through the ages.
Prayer to the Angel
I entreat you, o good angel [ANGEL], who is set in the day of [DAY], that the Lord, thy God and mine, who placed in thee power and strength above every intelligence and force, I beseech thee, that thou permit me to receive [_______] and that which will assist me and support me, and that you take this, my name [______] and make it strong beside you. And through this operation, I will be given light and instruction in this science. Amen Amen Amen. Fiat Fiat Fiat.
The Angel in question was, of course, Samael – the angel of Mars and Tuesday. (Some traditions call him Khamael – the result of mistaking a Hebrew Samekh for a Khaph.)
After making the invocations, I just had to wait for the wax to completely melt. A Treatise… is giving instructions for making one talisman at a time, but I was working with enough wax for seven! If I had been melting less wax, I’m sure it would have completely melted by the time I finished the invocations.
Finally, the melted wax had to be quenched in white wine purchased specifically for this purpose. (If I were making a metal talisman, I would have heated it until it was red and then quenched it.) Because I had never cast molten wax into cool liquid, I feared it might result in an explosion – akin to tossing water into hot grease. So, for the quenching I stepped out onto my back patio, with my wife attending to see the fireworks. I had to recite the scriptural phrase (“The godless have pleasure from doing harm…”) once again as I poured the wax into the pot of wine, and to our amazement no explosion resulted!
Interesting side note: as my wife and I peered into the rapidly cooling pot of wax and wine, we became aware of a rather large bumble bee buzzing around the pot. It paid no attention to us whatsoever, but was doubtlessly inspecting the familiar odors coming from the warm pot. I remembered in that instant that the bee is a classic symbol of the Goddess, and I took this as a very good omen for the work we were undertaking.
There was nothing left but to let the wax cool. I went back to the temple, burned some incense on the dying coal, said prayers of thanks to God and Samael and put out the candle. After the wax had plenty of time to cool, I removed it from the pot and returned it to the steel bowl. (While some liquid remained trapped in pockets in the wax, most of it had gathered beneath the cooled wax in the pot.)
The next six days were the same. I also continued my vegetarian diet, cut off all sexual stimulation and engaged in no social activities. Also, I did not call upon Samael on all seven days. While I did make use of the same Martian incense throughout the process, I actually called upon the angel who ruled the day in question. So Samael was followed by Raphael, then Sachiel, Anael, Cassiel, Michael and finally Gabriel. This way, the martial aspects of each of the seven archangels were invoked to add their blesing and power to the wax.
The only other thing to change during these seven days, was the use of holy rose-water instead of white wine to quench the melted wax on the seventh day. Of course, once I learned that quenching the wax would not result in an explosion, I performed the quenching in the kitchen from the second day forward.
During these seven days, my wife was performing her own ritual purifications. She started a vegetarian diet and cut off all sexual stimulation. She also prepared the mould we would use to cast the seven wax talismans:
A Treatise… gives the design for the talisman – a heptagram with a heptagon nested within it (likely inspired by the Sigillum Aemeth made famous by Dr. John Dee). In each angle of the heptagram is written a specific Hebrew Name of God, and in each corresponding side of the heptagon is the name of one of the seven archangels. The center is left blank for the inscription of a verse. (A Treatise… includes Psalm verses for many different uses, though I was of course using the verse taken from the Book of Abramelin.) You indicate which archangel you are invoking simply by orienting that name at the top of the talisman before you inscribe the verse in the center.
Since we had seven talismans to create, we decided to make a mould of the Treatise‘s heptacle – leaving the center blank so we could also use the mould for future purposes. This way, my wife only had to carve the heptacle design once, and then inscribe the verse upon each cast talisman.
Something else interesting happened during this week. I was sitting in the temple one evening, looking over the work my wife was doing on the mould. (At that time it was still a design on paper.) I wanted a better look at it, and reached up to turn on the lamp she keeps on a shelf just above her art table. I looked back down to get that closer look at the design – and the lamp came crashing down onto the desk! Objects went flying all over the place, including a glass vessel – after which I heard an incredible shattering sound on the floor beneath the table, right around my bare feet. A burst of anger flashed through me at the thought of the mess, and the small bits of glass we were sure to find with our naked feet for weeks. I looked down to see the extent of the damage – and found the vessel had not shattered at all. A small piece of it had broken off, but it was basically ok. The shattering sound had, in fact, been a container of nails that had been knocked down by the falling lamp, sending the nails scattering across the tile floor.
As the flash of anger subsided and I stooped down to gather up the nails, I considered why such a thing would have happened inside the temple. It hit me as I reached to scoop up yet another handful of nails… which are traditional symbols of martian magick. The sudden calamity, the scattered nails, the intense flash of anger – it was obvious I was getting Samael’s attention.
Finally, the seven days were over. The wax had been blessed, melted and quenched seven times, each time having the verse that would later be inscribed into it recited over it seven-plus-one times. On the eighth day, well before dawn, my wife took a full Solomonic Bath. I followed her with a very simple bath of my own – using just one set of Barbarous Names and a prayer or two from the Key. By the time I was done she was in her white robe and waiting in the kitchen.
I came in with the wax in the steel pot, the book, the Solomonic lantern and censor (both already lit). I turned on the stove to boil the water, and as it heated up, I recited the following consecration over the burner:
Blessing of the Fire (See A Treatise…, p 105 for the Latin)
Bless, O God, this creature of fire, so that it is strong and effective in my petition to your kindness and your almighty power. Through thy most holy name which is exalted through the ages. Amen.
I then repeated the same process as on the previous days: I melted the wax on the stove while I perfumed it and recited the verse (“The godless have pleasure from doing harm…”) seven times. Then I recited the prayer and invocation for the angel of the day once again, calling upon Samael with extra emphasis.
Once the wax had melted for the final time, we used Pam to lightly coat the mould and then poured in some of the wax. We placed it gently into the freezer to set for a few minutes, then gently removed it from the mould. My wife set about repairing any imperfections left by the mould and inscribing the verse (making sure Samael was at the top), while I re-coated the mould with Pam, poured in more wax and returned it to the freezer. I also made sure the candle stayed lit in the lantern (had to replace it once) and that perfumes were put on the censor every now and again.
Now this is interesting. This process worked as smooth as silk for the first five talismans. And that’s when Samael, the haSathan himself, began to make his presence known. Talismans six and seven began to fight our attempts to cast them. Number six was recast once or twice, but number seven took at least five (there’s that number again) attempts before it began to cooperate. There would either be bubbles in the final result, or impurities from the censor, or I would drop it trying to remove it from the mold, etc, etc. Just as I had experienced in the temple with the nails, I found myself getting angry – and more-so each time I had to re-cast. By the time it was over, I was absolutely livid – not ranting and raving like a madman, but certainly boiling like a pressure cooker inside. The lamp and censor had long since burned out.
My part mostly done, I went into the living room and sat to calm down for a bit. My wife inscribed the final disk, at last, and recited the following prayer over the seven completed talismans:
Prayer after inscribing the Heptacle (See A Treatise…, p 106 for the Latin)
I come to you, all-powerful and eternal God, and to all the Angels of God, be thou propitious unto me, [______], whose names are written by my hand in this [waxen] symbol. And be mine help in obtaining [_______], by thy most holy names, and by all the virtues of the Creator, the Lord our God, who is exalted through the Ages.
After this, I returned to the temple to recite prayers of thanks to the Highest and to Samael and close things down. Afterward, I was still irritable – so we went to lunch (where I had meat for the first time in two weeks!) and then I went to bed.
Later that night (still Tuesday), we buried the talismans. We decided to stick with midnight, just to add a Hoodoo flare to the burial, though we might have chosen an hour of Mars just as well. Starting in the East, we buried the talismans as we had before – in seven locations around the property, marking out a giant heptagon- walking clockwise the entire way. At each burial, I would recite the verse inscribed upon the talisman once again, then bless the ground with the recitation of the Qabalistic Cross. Once we returned to the Eastern point, I raised my hands and said a prayer of thanks to the Highest and Samael – invoking Samael to send his servient angels to patrol the borders of our land and protect our home from all harm and evil magick.
Results of the Operation
The next day, me and my wife (who also happens to be my skryer/medium) discussed the immediate results of the magick. I had received a strong impression that Samael wanted us to place an offering over the talisman we buried in the East. I was thinking about hot peppers, rum, cigars and I had a strong feeling about adding some of the nails from the earlier incident in the temple. My wife said she had received a similar message about leaving offerings – including nails as well as a gun and a machete(!).
I fully understand why the spirits involved would want those weapons. However, in order to do that we would have to bury them quite deep (and make sure the gun can’t be used if it were ever found). However, I dislike the idea of burying offerings intended for celestial entities. When we return next Tuesday to make the offerings, we will likely use a pendulum or another method to divine exactly how to properly and safely offer them the weapons.
The night we buried the talismans, my wife also had a dream/vision in which she saw the angels placed by Samael over the talismans. She described them as a very dark rust color, with large dark wings and faces that would otherwise seem demonic. They were, of course, carrying very large swords. Each one patrolled an area around his talisman, and all seven of them chattered back and forth in a language she could not understand. (It was likely Angelical, but not the dialect we know from the 48 Calls.) She was, however, told that each of these angels would like us to know its name – and if we wanted to work with them directly, they would like us to set up seven “Solomnic prendas” for them near our front door on the porch. We may just look into doing that.
Some Thoughts on Changes…
Now that I’ve been through this operation and have a good idea how it works, I have some ideas on changes I’ll make next time around. First, I noticed that the first Psalm used for the Blessing Prayers in A Treatise… (Psalm 3) was absolutely perfect for my intended goal – the protection of my home from any potential enemies or criminals. However, I have to question how appropriate that same Psalm would be for- say- a Talismans for prosperity, or for love, or for the success of a business enterprise, etc, etc. I believe that Psalm could be changed depending on your magickal goal, and I will likely do this in the future.
Secondly, the invocations given A Treatise… for God and the Angel of the day are actually taken from the operation in the first part of the pamphlet. The second part simply refers you to those prayers and says to use them. However, as you can see above, those two prayers are specifically geared toward having the Angel appear before you and teach you things. This is not the goal of the second part of the book. Therefore, I suggest these two prayers should be used as examples, but need to be slightly re-worded for use with the consecration rite. When I use this process in the future, I will make that small change.
And that concludes the write-up of my first experiment with A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah. We will be making the offerings next Tuesday at dawn, but I will not likely share the information we learn from that point. This has been an exhausting yet rewarding experience.
Update (4-10-11): The Offerings
The Tuesday following the above work, we did indeed return to make an offering to Samael and his Angels.
It partly consisted of the wax left over from making the seven talismans (which was well consecrated to Mars and Samael) with seven of the previously-mentioned nails thrust into it. (I chose seven so there would be one for each buried talisman.) It also included five pieces of bread covered with milk and honey, five hot peppers, five cigars and red wine. This was all arranged (or poured out) at the Eastern boundary of our property, over the spot where we had buried the first talisman. I repeated the two invocations (one to God, one to Samael) I had used throughout the consecration ritual, then stated that I had brought the offerings in thanksgiving, lit one of the cigars and blew five puffs of the smoke onto the offerings.
We attempted to perform divinations to ask about the gun and blade, and how we should offer them. However, we got little result – and my wife reported that Samael was claiming to be “busy with something elsewhere” and could not attend to our questions. We will probably re-visit this issue at a later date, but for now we’ve put it aside.
I recently had the unique opportunity to look into the subject of breaking pacts (contracts) made with spiritual entities. I was contacted by a friend who was doing her best to help a young man out of an unfortunate situation. He had joined a thestic Satanic group, who had him perform a dedication ceremony to Satan as the very first step of the path. He was led to believe he would receive the usual in exchange for his soul: money, women, power. He got none of these things, and soon found himself under spiritual attack and/or oppression.
I call this a unique situation, because it really isn’t something I encounter in my usual circles. I know of nothing in the Old Magick that parallels “selling your soul” to a spirit. At least not outside of the Faustian grimiores and the American crossroads tradition – both of which appear to be fairly isolated cases with no parallel in other traditions. (Nor, for that matter, any ideas on getting out of such a contract once you’re in it!)
There are, of course, plenty of examples of personal dedication to a deity or patron – which could be interpreted as giving oneself to the deity – but that becomes a religious thing. Much as it was for this theistic Satanic group…
Meanwhile, no tradition I know of – from the Sumerians to the Solomonic grimoires to Santeria – would allow such a thing as selling or giving oneself to a spirit. One can enter agreements – offering X, Y, and/or Z to the spirit in exchange for work done. One can even demand oaths of loyalty from the spirits who will serve you as familiars. But never do these things amount to trading your soul!
At no time are you to allow a spirit to gain control of you, and to allow it is to fail as a conjurer. Instead, across the board, spirits are fed so they will work for us. And, if a spirit fails to produce results, the conjurer simply dismisses it and refuses to feed it again. (And there are various ways of disposing of objects inhabited by familiar spirits.)
Taking all of this into account, I suspect the concept of “selling your soul” is entirely Christiain in origin – and likely caught up in anti-Pagan propoganda. The silly idea that a conjuror “worships” or gives himself over to the spirits he summons was propagated by early Church fathers, and is still held by many people today. The Faustian and “Man in Black” crossroads traditions probably followed naturually from there.
Since “selling your soul to Satan” appears to be a strictly Christian invention, then perhaps they know best how to break such a pact. In The Book of Black Magic (p. 262-264), A.E. Waite outlines a pact-breaking ceremony found in a Manual of Exorcisms published in 1678. It is intended for use by an exorcist, thereby suggesting that a pact with Satan can only be broken by an “official” representative of God:
The following formal process [is] for forcing the Demon to return any writing which constitutes an agreement with him:–
“O most merciful God, Whose Power hath no limit, Whose dominion is supreme over all beings, so that nothing can possibly be estreated from Thy rule by apostasy; behold, we have sinned against Thee, we have provoked Thy most just wrath, when we have failed to obey Thy commands, above all when., forsaking Thy rule and Thy friendship, we have abjured Thee and have consorted with the impious demons, nor yet contented with Thy denial, have bound ourselves in writing to those demons, surrendering the document of our voluntary obligation against Thee into their custody. But Thy mercies aye without number, O Lord of loving-kindness, and it is Thine to spare and to Pardon; look, therefore, with compassion upon this Thy creature, who, having formerly denied Thee and given himself in writing to the demons, but now, having returned to himself by the help of Thine infinite goodness, doth abhor his impiety, doth desire to be restored unto Thee his true Lord, and to be received with contrite heart into Thy favour. We know, O Lord, that a contrite and humble heart Thou wilt not despise, nor can any writing be an impediment in the way of Thy mercy; we beseech Thee, therefore, that, by the abundance of Thy clemency, not only may the heinousness of this sin be blotted out with the Blood of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, but that the demon, by the word of Thy Power, may be compelled to restore the deed and obligation and delivery, lest he glory in his tyranny and Pretend to any right over the man whom we pray to be delivered through Thy Son from his bonds. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, &c.”
The propitiation of offended Deity is followed by a citation of the demon who is required to disgorge his prey.
“I exorcise thee, O impious Satan, who, when thy power has passed away, dost still pretend to impose a tyrant yoke on man. I exorcise thee by Jesus Christ, Who came into this world for the salvation of sinners; I conjure thee to remove thy yoke immediately from this creature, who, deceived by thy wiles, formerly delivered himself unto thee. Abandoning thee henceforth, he commits himself to the Divine mercy, seeking His service unto Whom he alone is owing, Who also promises the reward of eternal life to those who follow Him. I exorcise thee by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ, by which the deed of judgment against us hath been blotted out, so that when Jesus receiveth the sinner into His favour, thou shalt dare not to advance anything against him, and shalt not fail to restore the deed by which this creature bound himself unto thee, the same being now cancelled by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Hear, therefore, accursed Satan, who art powerless over a servant of God, when, encouraged by his true Lord, he turneth unto another service; in vain dost thou boast of this deed; I command thee to restore it in the name of the Lord, as a Proof before the whole world that when God receiveth a sinner, thou hast no longer any Yule over his soul. I abjure thee, by Him who expelled thee from thy stronghold, bereft thee of the arms which thou didst trust in and distributed thy spoils. Return therefore this deed, whereby this creature of God foolishly bound himself to thy service; return it, I say, in His name by Whom thou art overcome; when thy Power has come to nothing, presume not longer to retain this useless document. By penitence already hath this creature of God restored himself to his true Lord, spurning thy yoke, hoping in the Divine mercy for defence against thine assaults, and assisted by the Most Holy and Glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, through whose intercession he shall obtain from Jesus Christ, His Son, that which he himself is not worthy to expect. Through the same Christ our Lord.”
Whether this process was supposed to insure the visible and material return of the incriminating document, or, failing this, was held to cancel it formally, does not certainly appear and will matter little…
In both parts of this rite, there seems to be an underlying concept that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross supersedes any contract the victim may have made with a demon. This makes sense to me if the victim really and truly believes/means what is being stated in the prayers. It also occurs to me that it would be just as good, or better, to seek out a Church (Orthodox or Catholic) and undertake their conversion process. It involves exorcism, baptism (cleansing) and the establishment of a new contract that would supercede any previous pacts.
All of that is fine for someone who has no problem with converting to Christianity. And that is probably not a far stretch for someone who believes in “selling your soul to Satan” in the first place. However, in our case of the young man seeking help, this was not the proper solution. Thus, I set out to discover how he could best dissolve his pact with Satan and move on.
As it turned out, he had several things working in his favour. First, the Satanic church he joined admitted in their writings that one could break the pact at any point one wishes. (It included ominous warnings that Satan would leave you to your enemies forever and you could never come back. But, even still, a way out was included right there in the fine print!)
Secondly, he never received the money, power and woman he expected – which means the pact was null and void in any case. Still, he did dedicate himself to a deity and that would have to be addressed.
Finally, this person had (for some reason) chosen to call upon Satan as “Samael.” This was good news because Samael can be approached through the Solomonic system as an Archangel rather than an Archdemon. And I knew just how to go about doing that. ;)
The following is the technique I prescribed for him to dissolve his pact. This is rather specific to Samael – using timing, incense, colors and offerings sacred to Mars – though it could be modified to work with any spirit. In fact, tt can be used to respecfully dissolve any agreement you’ve made with a spirit, even if you haven’t gone so far as to offer yourself in the deal:
- Set up an altar or table, facing east or facing Mars. A red cloth covering is preferable, but a white one will do and black will also work.
-On the altar, place a red seven-day candle, a coal-burning censer and incense made of tobacco (1 prt), cinnamon (1/4 prt) and crushed red pepper (1/8 prt). (Go light on the pepper! And be VERY sure to burn only a little at a time! DO NOT inhale it directly! In large quantity, or if you add too much red pepper, it is like tear gas!)
-Also on the altar, place the original contract along with a food offering. Foods sacred to Samael are called for: Fresh hot peppers of various kinds (especially red), red meat (fully cooked! – nothing rare, no blood left running!), rum and cigars. You can even put some iron on the altar – such as railroad spikes, nails, or an iron tool.
-He should also place a Talisman of Samael in the center of the altar. Use the sigil from the Heptameron (or Magical Calendar), and I’m sure you or ****** are more than capable of helping him make that. (At this point I wouldn’t have him attempt any complex consecrations.) [Author’s note: If you happen to know how to properly consecrate such a talisman, then by all means do so.]
-Finally, he must compose a prayer to Samael – worded however he wants. It should simply explain that he made the dedication without understanding all the facts, and that he feels it was disrespectful on HIS (not Samael’s!) part to make such a dedication without knowing more about the entity in question. Mention that nothing requested has been fulfilled, and thus he would like to respectfully terminate the pact and learn more before proceeding further. It should also mention that he has brought an offering as a show of respect.
-Set all of this up on a Monday night – making sure to clean the room or area the altar is set in.
-At dawn on Tuesday morning, wash up and approach the altar. Light the candle and incense – and set the candle directly on top of Samael’s talisman in the center. Surround this with the offerings.
-Now hold the old contract and call Samael by name and by virtue of the signed contract. Then read the prayer I outlined above, finishing with mention of the offerings made. At this point put more incense on the censer. Light the cigar, then draw smoke from it and blow it onto the altar five times. Then place what remains of the cigar on the plate with the other offerings.
-Finally, tear up the old contract and burn it in the censer. Once done, offer thanks to Samael and leave. The candle should be allowed to completely burn out (should take about five days), and the offerings should be left there about the same length of time. After the candle burns away, take all the offerings, the ashes from the censer and (if he wants) the talisman of Samael. These can be thrown and poured out into a running stream or river, or left at a crossroads.
If he does this and still suffers spiritual oppression or attacks, then we’ll have him do an Uncrossing to clear out any dreck he’s picked up along the way. I have instructions on my blog, so let me know if you need them, too. :)
A member of the Conjure Corner forums asked for some historical facts about the figure of Satan. The timing is interesting as I am currently doing some work with the Abramelin system of spirit magick. Thus, I decided to put several obscure bits of theological history into one post – and why not archive it here too? So if you’ve ever wondered about that Satan guy, here you go:
Here are some historical facts you will find very fascinating. :)
– The name Satan comes from the Hebrew Sathan - which means “accuser” or “adversary.” You see, the Israelite people adopted many aspects of Babylonian culture, both before and during the Captivity (about 600 BCE). The Babylonians, meanwhile, are the folks who created the system of law that we use to this very day – including the concept of the prosecuting attorney. This prosecutor’s job was (then, as it is now) to stand in the royal court and bring formal charges against those accused of crimes. And since Babylonian cosmology assumed the heavens worked just like earthly courts, they assumed the Gods sat around in the same kind of court setting – judging the fates of humans. You can see this in the first known record of “Satan” – the Book of Job. There, we meet haSathan (the accuser) hanging out in the Court of God, BS-ing back and forth with the Big Guy Himself. Not only that, but he is quite comfortable with contradicting God and placing bets with Him over the true faithfulness of a human being. What Job reveals is that Satan (or haSathan – his job title) is not in rebellion against God at all, but merely doing the job appointed to him.
-The Jews understood that haSathan was just a title. They believed the name of the entity depicted in the Book of Job was Samael – the poison of God. Samael was not in open rebellion against God, but still firmly in his employ. Most anciently, he seems to have been an Angel of Death (especially violent and untimely death). In the Qabalah and the grimoires that borrowed from it, Samael became the Angel of Mars and Gevurah – thus making him the Angel of War. There are Hebrew midrashim (legends) that suggest Samael once refused to bow down to Adam (the Image of God), and was thus punished. These legends were likely adopted from similar Arabic myths. For his refusal (which was based on his love for God and refusal to worship a mere image) he was cast down to earth and sentenced to serve the roles of Angel of Death and (thanks to his understandable beef with humans) as haSathan. He took his punishment, and does the jobs he was assigned. But he was still a big wig in God’s Court, as illustrated by the Book of Job.
-Lucifer was originally a Roman deity of Venus. Lucifer Morningstar was the herald of the light of dawn. Meanwhile, in ancient Canaan we find the God of Venus is named Helel Ben Shakhar (Helel, Son of the Dawn). Apparently, there is an obscure Canaanite myth wherein Helel attempts to rise up and take the Throne of the Rising Sun from his father Shakhar. He fails and is cast down. Basically, the entire tale is an embodiment of the fact that Venus is the brightest star in the night sky, rises in the East just before the Sun and is finally the *last* star in the sky to fade out in the dawn light. In this sense, the Sun must “defeat” Venus each morning in order to successfully rise. (Which reminds me of the Egyptian Apophis, a serpent-monster that had to be overthrown by Re’s army each and every morning in order for the sun to rise.)
In the book of Isaiah (chapter 14), the prophet makes a comparison between Helel and the king of Babylon, when he says of the Babylonian king, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Helel, Son of the Morning!” Later, the Bible was translated into Latin, and the translator merely looked for a Latin translation of the name “Helel.” He found “Lucifer”, and thus the Lucifer-as-Satan myth was born. The casting down of Helel by his father Shakhar was transformed into the famous tale of Michael (Archangel of the Sun) casting Lucifer down from heaven. Lucifer even takes the form of a dragon very similar to the Egyptian Apophis (which is interesting considering the Egyptian origins of early Christianity).
-The typical “horned and hoofed” image of Satan didn’t come along until the medieval era. The Catholic Church was by then a massive political force in hot competition with any other religion or Mystery Cult it encountered. The Greek and Roman Pagan Mysteries were certainly a target, and so the image of Pan was adopted and demonized as the image of “Satan.” Pan represented everything the Christian Priesthood stood against – sex, drugs, parties, hedonism and pleasure. Pan represents everything that is still animal about the human animal, and his cult encourages a proper ritualized indulgence in that part of ourselves. The Church surely had a hard time stealing members from that cult – so they demonized its followers and invented stories of witch gatherings who worship and have sex with a horrible goat-demon. The Devil was born – and over the years would become associated with all things vile and horrible about humans (violence, rape, torture, etc).
UPDATE: Unfortunately, I skipped a rather important aspect of Satan’s origin story when I first posted this blog. Several of you wrote to me and pointed that I had forgotten about the god Saturn in my analysis. Well, I can’t agree that Saturn – or Chronos in Greek – has much of anything to do with the figure of Satan. (He has more to do with the image of Thanatos, or Death.) However, I also suspect some confusion may have been made between Saturn – the god of Time – and the god Pluto (or Hades in Greek) – the Lord of the Underworld.
Much of the imagery we associate with Satan as the God of the Underworld comes to us from Hades. Take a look at this image of Hades, with his two-pronged pitchfork in hand and cerberus lying at his feet. That is the origin of the image of Satan as ruler of Hell. In Greek mythology, Hades is one of three brothers who possess the world: Zeus who rules the sky and carries a single-pointed spear or thunderbolt, Poseidon who rules the sea and carries a three-pronged harpoon, and Hades who rules the earth (up top and below) and carries the two-pronged pitchfork. Thus, Hades is intimately connected with nature and its seasonal cycles, as well as with underwold concepts such as the dead, treasure and occult initiation.
When we consider this, the Christian concept of Satan as “God of this world” begins to make more sense. He not only rules in Hell – but notice that the grimoires quite often invoke him as the ruler of the natural world as well. Such as we see in the Book of Abramelin – where all the lesser spirits of nature are classed under the authority of Lucifer, Leviathan, Satan and Belial. (This is likely a break-down into astrological triplicity – Fire, Water, Air and Earth respectively.)
Sadly, the Church tended to see anything associated with nature as evil – as evidenced by its demonization of Pan. The same happened with Hades/Pluto, so that the once-venerated Lord of the Underworld became the feared and despised demonic Satan. Still, the grimoires do seem to preserve some of the older concepts – focusing on Satan in his Hades/Pan aspect as ruler of nature.
-As for Satanists: The actual ‘Church of Satan’, founded by Anton LaVey, is strictly atheist. They view the Church (and in fact all religion and spirituality) as a major historical enemy of humankind. They also realize that Satan (as the Devil/Pan) embodies many things that are natural and beautiful to the human animal. Therefore, they elevate Satan as a fitting symbol of opposition to everything Christianity (as a political force of mass control) has done to the world. They do not believe in any actual entity by that name, nor in God, etc. Even their witchcraft is strictly of the psychological type.
There was once a sub-group of Satanists who believed in an actual entity named Satan. They assumed that Satan traces back to Egyptian concepts of the War God Set (which is only partially true), and thus began to worship Satan as the ancient Egyptian deity. This caused a row in the Church of Satan, as atheism is a strict rule of the Church. So the group broke away and established the Temple of Set. I think they draw a lot from Crowley’s Thelemic material.
-I assume there are also true “Satanists” – that is, those who worship the Christian Satan *as* the embodiment of evil and hatred, etc, etc – but I’m not personally aware of any official groups. To my knowledge, most of these types are teens (either alone or in small groups) looking to freak out their parents and teachers. lol
-Finally, there is also a Luciferian tradition – about which I know little. However, I’m fairly certain the tradition refers to the original Roman deity Lucifer Morningstar, the perfectly benevolent Herald of the Dawn. Someone else might correct me here, but I think they associate Lucifer with other figures like Prometheus (who brought fire to mankind from heaven).