Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Seals of the Four Emperors (BUD256)

Manuscript  BUD 256 of the National Library of Israel is a wonderful example  of the Key of Solomon copied together with a plethora of magical experiments and related fragments. I have Daniel Clark and QiRui Huo to thank for bringing this to my attrention. 

One of the most curious elements (of the many) that drew me to it were the seals of the Four Emperors inscribed in the circle of practice, a feature I have not met in any other variations of the Clavicles. 

What`s even more interesting is that of the two circles described, the seals vary, sometimes slightly sometimes drastically. It`s fascinating to see how the same book employs two different sets of seals, albeit similar or related, and can only make us wonder of the reasons for this. 

Page 121: The circle inscribed with names and seals showing the place of the four burning pots, 11 magical tools and the magician, holding a wand in his right hand, white robe, white shoes, pentacle on his chest and wearing a crown. 

Page 150: The Outline of the same circle in simpler form, without the inner square. 

The options we have are the following:

1. The seals come from two different but related older sources.
2. The seals are simultaneous variations given in the same older work. 
3. The seals are scribal variants of the same, in different renditions by a second scribe (highly unlikely since the hand is consistent throughout the work).
4. One set of simpler seals are tachygraphic versions (shortened or simpler versions) of the more complex ones. 
5. We really don t know but we have to act like smartypants and guess complicated things...

The second striking thing about this arrangement is that the list differs from other sources. The Emperor of the East is not Oriens as expected, but Armodiel or Armadiel, a spirit ruling the direction of North-East according to the Theurgia-Goetia. 

I have done my best to extract the eight seals, and present them below: 

Seal of Armodiel (East)

Page 121

Page 150

Seal of Amaymon (South)

Page 121

Page 150

Seal of Paymon (West)

Page 121

Page 150

Seal of Egin (North)

Page 121

Page 150

It is to be added that these seals are different both from the ones in the Clavis Inferni, and from the Sapientsia Salomonis-Plutei Magical Handbook, the only similar one being that of Paymon. But about those... sometime later. 

And please do  not copy this without my knowledge and don`t make keychains and pendants for your Etsy shop. I`m not saying that the curse of the Four Emperors of hell might descend upon you and everyone you love... just saying it would be innappropiate. 

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