Saturday, 3 August 2013

Seven Planetary Seals of King Solomon

A long time fascination of mine was Scheible's masterpiece of Faustiana called Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis

Published in Stuttgart in the year 1849, Scheible compiled an enormous compendium of magic rituals, diagrams, talismans, seals and characters.

I always wondrered what his manuscript sources were and if I would ever get the chance to consult them.

I ve had the rare opportunity to consult one version of a Faustian Hoellenzwang due to the kind and generous nature of James Banner from Trident Publishing, with whom I've had quite a few discussions ranging from occult manuscripts to bookbinding (a discipline I also indulge in) and I've seen one such manuscript and analyzed its seals and diagrams. 

But the Leipzig University Magical Collection far surpasses my expectations and I have found a great quantity of manuscripts that are in all possibility Scheible's sources or at least related to them. Why related? As you will notice from the examples below, the similarities definately point to direct inspiration, but there are differences that go far beyond the artistic freedoms the draughtsman took.

I submit for the public inquiry a set of seven seals dedicated to the planetary spirits as found also in the Arbatel.  The work is called Regis Salomonis Septem Sigilla Planetarum ( The Seven Planetary Seals of the King Solomon).

As we see from these examples, the Leipzig manuscript is all in black ink, carefully drawn but not particularly artistic. Scheible's illustrator, whose name eludes me for now, was an excellent draughtsman, standardized the forms of the letters and of the seals as well and used black only for the circles, making the seals and mottoes red. I did my best to remove the yellow tinge of the poor quality scans, the paper grain, the specks and blots that were scattered about, without damaging the images in the case of Scheible, and on the manuscripts I tried to lighten the picture up to clear white without suppressing the black ink.

The order of the talismans varies from the manuscript to Scheible, a thing that increases my suspicions of other versions. In the manuscript, the pentacles are ascribed to different spirits, while the so-called Olypic Spirits of the Arbatel are still mentioned. The first seal leads us to believe that they are just alternate names for the same spirits. Summarizing the two lists and comparing them to the Arbatel, we have the following discrepancies: 





Arbatel
1575

Regis Salomonis
1750


Scheible
1849
1
SATURN:

Aratron
SATURN:

Aratron
Archiatos
SUN:

Och
2
JUPITER:

Bethor
JUPITER:

(Bethor)
Nymphitros
JUPITER:

Bethor
3
MARS:

Paleg
MARS:

(Phaleg)
Aethnitros
MARS:

Palec
4
SUN:

Hoc
Och
MERCURY:

(Ophiel)
Nomifaremtros
SATURN:

Aratron
5
VENUS:

Hagith
MOON:

(Phul)
Flagatros
VENUS:

Hagith
6
MERCURY:

Ophiel
SUN:
(Och)
Xenirephitros
MERCURY:

Ophiel
7
MOON:

Phul
VENUS:

(Hagith)
Phantasmator
MOON:

Phul



In listing these seals I will follow the order employed by the manuscript, with the Scheible seal beneath for comparison.


SATURN
Salomonis,1750, f.2v:
1.ARATRON. The seal of the spirit ARCHIATOS, the governor of Saturn
Scheible,1849, plate 140: ARATRON






JUPITER
Salomonis,1750, f.3v:
2.  NYMPHITROS, the spirit of Jupiter. Seal.
Scheible,1849, plate 138:  BETHOR







MARS
Salomonis,1750, f.4v:
3.  AETHNITROS, the spirit of Mars. Seal.
Scheible,1849, plate 139: PHALEC








MERCURY
 
Salomonis,1750, f.5v:
4.  NOMIFAREMTROS, the spirit of Mercury. Seal.
Scheible,1849, plate 142:  OPHIEL








MOON
Salomonis,1750, f.6v:
5.  FLAGATROS, the spirit of the Moon. Seal.

Scheible,1849, plate 143: PHUL





SUN
Salomonis,1750, f.7v:
6.  XENIREPHITROS, the spirit of the Sun. Seal.

Scheible,1849, plate 137: OCH









 VENUS
Salomonis,1750, f.8v:
7.  PHANTASMATOR, the spirit of Venus. Seal.
 Scheible,1849, plate 141: HAGITH








 SOURCES:

Salomonis,1750:

Regis Salomonis septem sigilla planetarum - Cod.mag.38., 1750, Universitat Leipzig.

Scheible,1849:
 Faust, Johannes (ed. Scheible, Johann):  Doktor Johannes Fausts Magia naturalis et innaturalis, oder dreifacher Höllenzwang, letztes Testament und Siegelkunst nach einer kostbar ausgestatteten Handschrift in der Herzogl. Bibliothek zu Koburg vollständig und wortgetreu ; in fünf Abth. Bd.: 5, Stuttgart (1849). Munchener Digitalisierungs Zentru, Bayerische Staatsbiblithek.  




19 comments:

  1. Thank you Aaron! It s certainly good to know I m not posting this stuff just for my own amusement. And do not worry, this blog will never go offline as long as I can help it.

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  2. Thank you very much, Mihai, for making these comparative seals available. Unfortunately the Scheible seal of Phalec seems not to be complete, as the middle is blank - at least on my screen. Is it possible to do anything about this, perhaps?

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  3. Hello Anita, and thank you fr the comment. The seal of Phalec is blank in Scheible s rendition, it s not a mistake o glitch. That s why I thought I put both sets there, to compare them. I could draw in his seal, a smiley face or Darth Vader, but it would not be to scholarly of me.

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    1. LOL :-) Bless you for that information, Mihai - I am sure that, many years ago, somebody forgot to insert whatever should have been there in the Scheible version but it is very kind of you to explain.

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  4. It may well be that Scheible s illustrator worked from a manuscript similar to this one, but left incomplete. That s why I m reservedc to say that THIS is 100% sure the manuscript that the Kloster was copied after. It may well be that other manuscript existed. I do not know what the provenance of the Leipzig manuscripts are, but Scheible s sources are the manuscripts in the Ducal Library of Coburg.

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  5. I left a longer comment on Dan Harms Blog, so I won't repeat myself here. I would however like to add to it by way of your blog. I believe the mystery as to the source of the Leipzig mss can be found in a catalog of mostly mss (copies offered for sale) issued by Frideric(sic) Roth-Scholtz, the catalog I have was issued in 1732 (I believe he issued several more) and contains 142 items. Many if not most of the entries correspond with the Leipzig holdings. It appears offering copies of esoteric (or occult) material was a pervasive business from the end of the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. I have seen several catalogs and found references to several more. This business was rather like today's print on demand. Unfortunately, this aspect of the book business has been little studied. The catalogs I have seen offer mostly magic, alchemical, or hermetic works. The London book seller, John Denley and his scribe Frederick Hockly is perhaps one of the most recognized figures in this regard. If anyone is interested I can provide links to the catalog.

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    1. Might be too late to ask, but I'd be interested in that link.

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  6. Yes, I ve seen that. I wold like to see the catalogue, of course. What do we know about this individual?

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  7. Mihai,

    Regarding Roth-Scholtz's biograph, I think John Ferguson's Bibliotheca Chemica, v2 1906
    is the most accessible summary. He drew largely from George Andreas Will's
    Nurnbergisches gelehrten-lexicon, v3, 1757:402-410 & v6, 1806:323-325.
    Both are available in Google Books, unfortunately GB is not always up to the
    task of rendering fractur readable. Roth-Scholtz's catalogue is found in his edition of
    Trithemius, Veterum sophorum sigilla et imagines magicae, 1732.

    I found two sites for this: the Austrian National Library (servicable) and
    Gottinger Digitalisierungszentrum (GDZ) (better).
    You can down load a pdf from this link:


    Nauman's Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum, 1838 list the Leipzig mss
    with some additional annotations.

    Hope this helps,
    Josiah Bacon

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  8. Looks like the comment did not take the link as well as I thought. Let me know if there is another way. Sorry about that.

    Josiah Bacon

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  9. Thank you kindly. I plan to do so. Out of sheer curiosity, this sort of thing fascinates me, how did you end up here?

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  10. Terrific! Exactly what i was looking for half a day!^)

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  11. THank you so much, I am studying the 72 spirits of Solomon's sigil and planetary seals specifically to see a relation. I came to the right place. :-)

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    Replies
    1. They have no connection whatsoever between them.

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  12. Please can this seal be printed and use for their purpose

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