Saturday, 15 September 2012

Seals of the Archangels in Faust's Magia Naturalis

One of the most curious works of the Faustian cycle must be the five-volume Doktor Johannes Fausts Magia naturalis et innaturalis, oder dreifacher Höllenzwang, letztes Testament und Siegelkunst : nach einer kostbar ausgestatteten Handschrift in der Herzoglichen Bibliothek zu Koburg, 1849

The fifth volume of this work, very rich in pentacles and seals, contains a number of plates with pentacles ascribed to the seven planetary angels. 

I have a used the scanned copy hosted by the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar:

Plate 30 features he seal of Anael in a very distinctive fashion, perhaps tributary to a manuscript source, with the first mark containing a sort of heart-shape instead of a teardrop, and a snake-figure replacing the somewhat phallic mark of the Heptameron.

 Plate 38 features a distinctive version of the seal of Raphael, a sort of abbreviated version of the Heptameron.

The following plates are more systematic in their representation and feature the whole scale of the seven planetary angels.


 Plate 99, titled I. The Seal of St. Michael, abounds in seals that so far are unknown from other sources, but the seal in the enclosure certainly is extracted from the Heptameron. The perimeter has the names of the angels of the day of the Lord and the spirits of the air, king and ministers alike, which draw directly from the Heptameron. Not only that, but the order of the angels is the order of the days of the week, starting with Sunday, and the attribution is Michael-Sun, Raphael-Mercury. There is no doubt about it that the Heptameron is the source of the seals, one instance where the inspiration can be absolutely certain.

 Plate 100:  II. The Seal of St. Gabriel

  Plate 101:  III. The Seal of St. Raphael
note: this should have been Mars, and Samael. 

  Plate 102:  IV. The Seal of St.Samael
note: this should have been Raphael.

  Plate 103:  V. The Seal of St. Sachiel

  Plate 104:  VI. The Seal of St. Anael

  Plate 105:  VII. The Seal of St. Gabriel

I realize there is no point in analyzing the seals in comparison to the figures of the Heptameron to establish a link to them. However, I shall nonetheless proceed to note the differences recorded for two reasons. The first is for recording just how much a seal can be morphed and changed from one direct source to another document, that is, just how much a scribe, a compiler or a draftsman  can change the design of a seal. The second reason is establishing the peculiarities of the seals from this edition in order to ascertain what later documents had this version of the seals as a source, and not the Heptameron or another.
Mostly all the seals here are faithful replicas of the ones in the Heptameron, only of far better draftsmanship, so no notes will be mentioned, except in extraordinary cases. 

The seal of Michael

The seal of Gabriel


The seal of Raphael

 The seal of Samael

 The seal of Sachiel

Notes: to testify to the Heptameron as a direct source, this seal even keeps the lower left hook in the third mark.

 The seal of Anael
Notes: as in plate 30, we find a heart shape instead of the familiar teardrop from the Hept. seals, in the first mark. Also, the second mark is smaller, fainter and thinner than the first one, an uncommon occurrence when we consider the general aesthetic graphical balance of the lines that the artist so dearly cultivated. 

 The seal of Cassiel

Notes: The first sign begins with a sort of curl that is reminiscent of the slightly curved end line occurring in Hept.1.



  1. Re:seal of Anael, I believe the triangle and heart shape to be representing the union of male and female, with the shapes implying genitalia of both sexes. In this case the "heart" being the parts of the male genitalia that remain "outside" during union. IE: the balls :-)

  2. Dear sir, this is purely speculation, and it has no place in the academic analisys of these seals. We might as well assume, like the pseudo-scientists on Hystory channel, that the seal of Raphael is ”some kind” of machine meant to ”some how” lift off.

    1. I was not aware that sexual union was meant to be represented by the parts that remain outside.

    2. This is a very unique seal, evolved from other forms, that evolved from other forms that maybe evolved from yet other forms, that bear no resemblence to what you describe.

    3. Like Freud, we could see sexual meaning anywhere we choose to.

    Of course, the seal of Anael might be prone to that especially, i agree, but nevertheless we could not indulge in such symbolic deconstruction unless we have full data from it s creators.

    It s funny how all along history people always knew and thout others that the seal of Anael was a sketch of sexual content for sure, while the other seals were not even attempted at decypherement.

  3. Hi! Do you have anything in your research/ results or conclusions with the history of Barchiel/Bariel/Bachiel/Barbiel (had many names variations) angel/demon? Maybe something attributing him to an ancient Sumerian god? My email is manicprice at gmail dot com

  4. Mihai, this is all considered pseudo-science as far as the mainstream is concerned. Anael's seal evokes the mysteries of sexuality and tantra, but it also speaks to grace, fertility, and fecundity as general spiritual principles, manifesting particular through nature, the metal copper, the alchemic process of conjunction, etc.
    It doesn't have to be one or the other -- don't be afraid of sex but don't get hung up on it either.

  5. Love your work I had a dream of the sign of St. Michael. It has taken a long time to piece this past together again