Friday, July 24, 2020

The Three Rings of Solomon

There are a variety of grimoires attributed to King Solomon from the middle ages onward. They may even have their origins in a genuine ancient source.

Such Solomonic grimoires have impacted hoodoo practice, partly through their dissemination into European magical traditions which were then absorbed into the American hoodoo tradition; and also through direct reprintings of the grimoires, such as those made by De Laurence, which were sold into the American hoodoo market. Even Lewis de Claremont, of Ancient's Book of Formulas fame and probable inventor of the 7 Holy Spirits Bath, composed his own guide to Solomonic conjuring called The Ancient's Book of Magic.

Many of the grimoires instruct the practitioner to wear a certain ring while conjuring, with the designs sometimes varying quite wildly from manuscript to manuscript. Some common basic designs include the three above, going from left to right.

Solomon's pentalpha. The version used in the oldest known Solomon text (The Testament of Solomon). This symbol was known in Sumeria and was formerly used as the city seal for Jerusalem.

Solomon's hexagram. This is the "Star of David" that most people would be familiar with as a traditional Jewish symbol, though it was not widely adopted for this purpose until the 19th century. Its use in kabbalist magic seems to date to around the 6th century AD, according to this history site.

Solomon's 8-pointed ring. A variation more common in Arabic manuscripts, this design is of overlapping squares with stylized looping of the corners. It has made its way into Indian and Thai magic, still known as King Solomon's Ring. (Read more at the British Library blog.)

Many grimoires give heavily embellished versions of these simple designs for their proposed "Solomon Rings." Naturally, it is impossible to know which, if any, is the "real" design.

If you cannot decide between them, there is always the Sigillum Dei Aemeth, also known as the Great Seal of Solomon or the Great Pentacle of Solomon, which appears to be some kind of attempt to combine all the designs into one:

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Book Tour and Interview - The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie III

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. is a depth psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico. He specializes in treating individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis. His novels, visionary thrillers, delve deep into archetypal realities as they play out dramatically in the lives of everyday people. Memberships include the Author’s Guild, Visionary Fiction Alliance, Depth Psychology Alliance, International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the International Association for Jungian Studies.


Q. Did you look to write a realistic portrayal of the magic in your book, or is it depicted in more of a fantasy style? 

A. Natural magic is my medium, the numinous charge from the deep recesses of the unconscious mind. It emerges, rages out, when perversions of magic intrude into everyday life especially in the realms of religion and ritual.

Q. What sort of medicine woman is your heroine, and did you do any studies into those traditions yourself? If so, what was your method of research?

A. I am New Mexican, bloodlines dating back hundreds of years into the mystic, healing arts both light and dark. The heroine of The Unholy, Claire Sanchez, struggles against the destructive pull of dark forces. I’ve lived out the dark magic and natural magic in my personal life and professional practice as a psychologist and writer. The research is in years of study, experience, and actual encounters with the psychic realm.


As she ran forward, out of nowhere the two crows flew at her, scraping the air near her face with their sharp talons. Fists clenched, she struck out at one and grabbed at the other. They flew up, circled overhead, then dove, talons flaring. Unmoving, Claire placed her hands by her side and held their gaze.
They fluttered above her head for a minute, then left. Claire turned and saw an eagle soaring—a healer’s spirit manifestation. Medicine women said it came only when needed, when danger lurked.
Frantically tugging away bush, bramble, and cacti, she uncovered the mouth of the seventh cave and stepped in. She had the feeling somebody was watching.
Her eyes adjusted and she made out the contour of something. Squinting, she stooped and touched what seemed to be a circle of stones and charred, cold logs. She stood up and pulled back. A bat flew at her. She waved it away.
She stopped, waited for her breathing to slow, and, stepping sideways, touched the walls of the cave. They were damp and the stink of blood and guts was everywhere. Using the hard surfaces as a guide, her fingertips suddenly brushed through a hollow space roughly the size of a human body. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie III 

GENRE: Thriller
BLURB: Winner of the International Book Award and Pinnacle Book Award for Visionary Fiction! The Unholy is a dramatic story of Claire Sanchez, a young medicine woman, intent on discovering the closely-guarded secrets of her past. Forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop, William Anarch, she confronts the dark side of religion and the horror of one man's will to power.

Paul DeBlassie III will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC - a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Evolution of a Talisman: Fifth Pentacle of Mars in Hoodoo and European Magic

Talismanic magic is used all over the world. In the hoodoo tradition, certain popular European grimoires of the 18th and 19th century made a big impact upon which talismans were favored by American practitioners.

The recognition that not everyone in the 18th or 19th century could read is an important consideration when relating how these talismans were used. Owen Davies in his history book Grimoires remarks that merely owning a grimoire was commonly believed to bestow special powers to the owner, even if he or she could not actually read its content. Even today, many magical talismans contain writing in languages that a practitioner might not be able to read or understand, yet they copy these foreign phrases to the best of their ability.

Above we have the Fifth Pentacle of Mars, as put in L.W. De Laurence's 1914 edition of The Key of Solomon the King. (I choose this edition for being a traditionally popular one amongst hoodoo practitioners, even if many people are horrified by De Laurence's plagiarism of the book which was originally assembled by S.L. MacGregor Mathers through his research.) In this edition it is said that the talisman "is terrible unto demons, and at its sight and aspect they will obey thee."

Here is the same talisman in a very corrupted form as presented in The Petit Albert. This book was assembled circa 1700 from pieces of earlier texts, and it remained popular amongst French-speakers for quite some time. The corruption of the Hebrew letters is very evident and interesting. In this grimoire, the seal is said to protect against being poisoned by venomous animals (a sensible assumption to be made by someone who puts the weight on the image of the vermin.) It is prepared, interestingly enough, as if it is a Sun talisman rather than a Mars talisman. 

This is from a text known as The Old Man of the Pyramids, which seems to be a variant on the Key of Solomon but somewhat rewritten to play into the early 19th century fad of Egyptology, sparked once Napoleon brought some Egyptian artifacts to Europe and caused the Rosetta Stone to be translated. In this instance the talisman is said to allow the user "to see everything that happens inside houses, without being obliged to enter, or to read the thoughts of all the people he will approach, or with whom he may be in contact, and be able to serve them or harm them at will." This text isn't as common amongst hoodoo practitioners, and is better known through a variant called The Black Pullet (La Poule Noire.) The version of the talisman in that grimoire, though ascribed with the same properties, is even less recognizable:

The Black Pullet talismans tend to have so little semblance to the Old Man talismans, that despite nearly identical text, it would appear the talismans were derived from an altogether other source, or perhaps came from a completely original design.