Monday, 30 May 2016

Faustian Grimoire from the Bodmerian Library

This short Faustian grimoire is housed in the Bodmerian Library and is titled, as we might have guessed, The Threefold Coercion of Hell.

It is not a practical grimoire as the Key of Solomon, but rather a Liber Spirituum: it contains minimal ritualistic presciptions, but the bulk of the work would be the conjurations of demons along with their appearences and seals. We see full page drawings of seven antropomorphic demons, unnamed in Latin script except for Lucifer, which we might presume to be the seven demonic princes found throughout the Hoellenzwangs. Each demon has his own Citation or Calling (Citation) used to conjure him when needed, his Coercion or Binding (Zwang) used to make him obey the conjurer having appeared and his Dissmisal or Licence to Depart (Abdanckung) used to send him back peacefully. In many cases the symbols of the Dismissal are the ones of the Citation, in reverse order, showing that they are most likely words of power with no other etymollogy other than the one agreed upon by the hypotetic magician dealing with the hypotethic demon in an equally hypothetic interaction...

Another version of this work, from Prague, with colored plates, will be dealt with separately. 

The images, much like the ones in the Hebrew Sapientsia Salomonis, are full-figured and dressed according to the planet under which the prince resides and are very similar to the ones in Scheible s Kloster.

Very little is written in German, most is written in code. The code itself is alphabetical and semi-logographic, which I will deal with in another post altogether. Suffice to say it s written left to right when in rows and clockwise when in circular patterns. A point of beggining in it s decyphering is the names of the spirits spelled in this code within their seals.

Since the manuscript is 24 pages long and is mainly drawings and cryptograms, I will post it in it in it s entirety. The original color version can be found Here, below are my own black-and white, printer-friendly, graphically enhanced images. 

If you steal  them and use them commercially of course, prince Marbuel will do nasty things to you in your sleep ;)

Dochder Iohannes Favst III.fager Hollen.Zwank.Schwarze.Magie vnd Kvnstz vnd. Wvnder Bvch. Schribde Ciceron. Ge.Machd. In. Lieon. In. Iar.

Doctor Johannes Faust s Threefold Coercion of Hell, A book of black magic, arts and wonder. Written by Ciceron. Made in Lyon in the year (missing).

An alegorical image of the world: A crowned queen holding a wand and a ring, before a globe encircled by a crowned snake. The cross of the globe is mounted by three ravens, omniprezent in Faustian Hollenzangs, two holding rings in their beaks, the third holding a ring with a triangular lock by the mouth of the queen.

Noethige . Stvcke . Avs. Den. VI. Den Bvch. Mosis
Necessary parts out of the Sixth Book of Moses.
Criptogram 1 (69 signs)

Magical circle.
Outer section: Criptogram 2 (32 signs)
Mid section: Criptogram 3 (31 signs)
Inner section: + Achadorvm. +Raon. +Glama. +Dallora +.Aorboro. +.Acrioa. +.Ballor. +. Forrias.


Mid. Diesen. Kvnstz. Vnd. Wvnder. Bvch Sind Alle Vnder Irdische Geister In Der Erden. Cv. Ciddiren Vnd. Cv. Be. Schweren. Vnd. Alle.Vnder. Irdische. Schetze. Cv. Hewen.Zitire. Den. Orsted Geist. For. Marbo. Segne. Dich. Rechd. Ein. Vnd. Bede Dieses. Gebet. Wie. Folged
Cryptogram 4 (23 signs)
Drei . Mal.
Three times.

(German transcription and translation to be added shortly)

(German transcription and translation to be added shortly)
 Image of the wand, Cryptogram 5 (30 signs)

Cvdation (Citation): Cryptogram 6 (40 signs)
Zwanck (Coercion): Cryptogram 7 (45 signs)
Abdanckvng (Dismissal): Cryptogram 8 (27 signs)
These are presumably the conjurations for the first spirit.

Image of the first demon. A young man in noble clothes, holding a cane, piercing through a seal with a Cancer, sorrounded by a cryptogram (No.9) of 9 signs. I E L

Cvdation (Citation): Cryptogram 10 (28 signs)
Zwanck (Coercion): Cryptogram 11 (32 signs)
Abdanckvng (Dismissal): Cryptogram 12 (32 signs)
These are presumably the conjurations for the second spirit.

Image of the second demon. A young man in simple clothes, in front of a circle, holding a spike in his right hand while the left is grasping a large ring in which his seal can be seen. The seal is rurrounded by his name, Cryptogram 13 (6 signs).

Cvdation (Citation): Cryptogram 14 (46 signs)

Das. Heiliche. Christofflvs. Ge. Bebed. Das. Stet. Hin. Der. Der. Hand.
The Prayer of Saint Cristopher (..) back of the hand. 

Abdanckvng (Dismissal): Cryptogram 15 (36 signs)
These are presumably the conjurations for the third spirit.


Image of the third demon. A bearded man dressed like a soldier, with a helmet, kneals down, holding a spear in his left hand and a shield in his right. The shield has a cryptogram (no.16, 13 signs) and the phrase:
+ Chrisdoffllvs. In. Sigel. Schadz. Meister. Vwer. Alle. Schetze.
(Christopher in the seal, Tresurer over all the tresures)

Cvdation (Citation): Cryptogram 17 (27 signs)
Zwanck (Coercion): Cryptogram 18 (32 signs)
Abdanckvng (Dismissal): Cryptogram 19 (30 signs)
These are presumably the conjurations for the fourth spirit.

Image of the fourth demon. A young man with indistinguished clothes and covered head (perhaps clergy) holding a full cloth bag. His seal is partially absconded by the image of a raven or hawk, around which the name is writen in code (Cryptogram 20, 9 signs)

Cvdation (Citation): Cryptogram 20 (28 signs)
Zwanck (Coercion): Cryptogram 21 (34 signs)
Abdanckvng (Dismissal): Cryptogram 22 (32 signs)
These are presumably the conjurations for the fifth spirit.

Image of the fifth demon. A young cleric figure with winged back and winged feet, the left being a hoof, carries a large pot. To the left, his seal in the likeness of two crossed keys surrounded by it s name, cryptogram 23 (12 signs or 10).

Cvdation (Citation): Cryptogram 24 (28 signs)
Zwanck (Coercion): Cryptogram 25 (33 signs)
Abdanckvng (Dismissal): Cryptogram 26 (26 signs)
These are presumably the conjurations for the sixth spirit.

The image of the sixth demon. A curious, vaguely antropomorphic  creature, covered in dark fur, with gazelle horns, prolongued muzzle, human hands, avian legs and long winding tail, holding it s seal in the right hand, with it s name interspersed (Cryptogram 27, 5 signs)

Cvdation (Citation): Cryptogram 28 (28 signs)
Zwanck (Coercion): Cryptogram 29 (35 signs)
Abdanckvng (Dismissal): Cryptogram 30 (28 signs)
These are presumably the conjurations for the sixth spirit.

The image of the seventh demon, Lucifer himself, only one to have his name written plainly and only one without a conventional seal, if we do not count the flaming dark heart. A chained and shackled hairy humanoid, with hermaphrodite features (breasts and beard), four horns (a bovine set and a caprine set) amidst two donkey ears, horse tail, bear claws and hoofed legs.

An.foderung (Requirement)
Entiry coded, Cryptogram 31 (90 signs)

Circular diagram with the image of a severed right hand, holding a nail, inscribed with code (Cryptogram 32, 34 signs)

Noethige . Stvcke . Avs. Den VII. Den Bvch. Mosis
Necessary parts out of the Seventh Book of Moses.
Entiry coded, Cryptogram 33 (81 signs)


  1. Thanks for posting this fascinating content. Maybe you could enlighten me?
    I've studied this kind of literature briefly, because of my interest in the Voynich manuscript. What I never could find out - in serious historic studies - is how the authors of these works handled the cognitive dissonance caused by having powerful spells and - I assume - these spells having no effect.
    I know that modern magicians - which I'm definitely not - consider magic spells to be more a spiritual exercise aimed at transforming the magician rather than a tool to change the external world.
    But this is a modern idea. In their time the authors of these books must have believed in their craft, even though it never worked - unless you tell me otherwise :-)
    And this kind of magic is relatively easy to disprove by experiment - a daemon appears or not. This is different from folk-magic where the fact that a cow gets better (or not) does not directly disprove the effectiveness of the spell.
    Is it possible to shed light on this?

    1. My pleasure to do so. But please introduce yourself; i find it difficult to adress myself without knowing my audience :)

      1. You re asking how they deal with with their inevitable failure because you believe that success is impossible. That is your assertion and yours alone. Magic has been practiced continually from the dawn of history, with alterations, but never with abandonement. Usually, when a method fails, it is disregarded and left aside for something more effective. A knife made of dried leaves or an underwater cigarette would be quickly abandoned, and things that yield results, such as iron blades, gunpowder and aspirine, because they have palpable results, have a continued used. Since magic has a continued use, it is higly unlikely that it s practicioners lacked provable and palpable results.

      2. Yes, it is easy to prove or to disporove, by rectrrating the ritual to the precise recommendations and observing the result. Many modern methods alter methods without fully comprehending the sourse, and many of these methodological approaches meet with failure as I have observed from modern debates. If I say, for instance, that I m staying in room 203 in a hotel, a modern numerologist will go to rooms 23, 32, 302, 5 and finally 203, expecting to find me in either one, because 203 adds up to 5, numerologically. These replacive schemes often are causes for failure, and many historical records support such views.

      3. Only successes would be recorded in my oppinion, for the following reasons:
      a. failures are indeed lessons, but you would rather bother recording the one method that works rather then the 100 that did not.
      b. practicallity. People did not have cheap and bountiful materials to write upon, like these days. Even the most winded and detaileed writer that fills pages and pages of endless drivel on his daily blog about cats and videogames, hen gived a secluded location and two sheets of parchment that cost more than his food supply for a month, will choose his words wisely and write only what is necessary.

      And of course, I advise you to look in historical records, such as the magical diaries of John Dee, Gilbert Humphries or Friedrick Hockley, and modern reconstructionists as John R. King, Frater Ashen Chassan and Stephen Skinner, who deal primarily with their practicle experiences.

      A dose of neutrality is required, no study of any science works by fully denying the premises.

      As countless accounts of success in magical operations are recorded, I expect experts to dispove these practices by experiments, not by assumption.

      I could doubt the existance of protons or the Laniakea just based on my whim.

      Hope I could shed a bit of light on this subject

  2. Thanks for your comment! I'm just an amateur interested in general history, including magic. As a Catholic I'm not skeptical of spiritual ideas in general. I have sympathy for both mystical systems (like Catholic mysticism, Meister Eckhardt and even Kabbalah) and practical spirituality (like practiced by the Dominicans or Jesuits). I'm neutral with regards to magic, I find it culturally interesting (especially as practiced by Jung or Jodorowsky) but I do not find it attractive.

    But my question is purely historical / scientific. Let me see if I understand you correctly:
    1) The summoning of daemons has gone out of fashion because this type of magic proved to be ineffective in practice. But other branches of magic have survived to this day.
    2) Practitioners of magic (should) use experimental methods to verify the effectiveness of both their general branch of magic and the detailed procedures.
    3) The fact that someone used scarce resources (time, candles, ink, vellum) to record magical procedures could be interpreted as proof that this knowledge was valuable.

    1. False, at no point in history the summoning of spiritual creatures, be they demons, gaemons, gods, jinn, dead s souls , elementals, or angels, knew any decline. There is a continuity that other sciences, such as physics or chemistry, do not have.
      In the year 4 as well as in 1236 or 1872 or 2016, peole have summoned spiritual enities with similar methods and recorded their successes. Or failures.

  3. Great Blog and response Mihai.
    its interesting how you were misunderstood so many times..even though its quite clear what you are saying.. :)