It is usually supposed that the offering of a bloody sacrifice is an essential condition of success in Black Magic and that the embrutement of the operator is the chief purpose of the ordination. It is true that such an offering is in most cases enjoined, but its object is simple and commonplace rather than diabolical or recondite, and the practice itself is based on the so-called White Magic of the Key of Solomon. It offers
another instance that if this text be the head and fount of the Art, it is also the root of its diabolism. The Art--I should explain--has its victim, not because blood is required in the one case more than the other, but because it was customary for pacts and pentacles to be written on parchment or vellum, and, in view of that doctrine of personal consecration already explained, the Black Magician had, as far as possible, to dispense with outside labour, to be his own whitesmith, his own penmaker, and hence also his own tanner. Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest was the maxim of Paracelsus, and it was carried further in Goëtia than mere intellectual independence. Make yourself what you want; do not trust it to others; it will not only possess more of your personal virtue, but you will be sure of the article--such might be the commentary of the Grimoires upon the aphorism of the sage of Hohenheim, and there is the more reason in the counsel because even the accessible substances required by the operator had usually some awkward conditions attached to them, which might remain unfulfilled unless he himself was actively present in their preparation. A particular case in point is the parchment used in the Art. The magician was required to slay a lamb or kid with his own hands, not because there was any symbolical importance attached to the act of destruction--the Grimoires make no such ascription--not because the blood was used-for its use is seldom prescribed--but to insure that the animal was one from which virgin parchment or virgin vellum could be prepared.
That is called virgin, says the Book of True Black Magic, which is made from animals that have never engendered, males above all, 1--from which definition it is obvious that recourse
to the professional tanner might jeopardise the entire injunction. But seeing that every operation undertaken in the Art assumed a religious aspect, the slaughter of the animal became a sacrifice 1 and had its accompanying ceremonies, prayers and invocations, each ritual possessing its own variants.
The preparation of the virgin parchment is given as follows in the Grimorium Verum: 2--
CONCERNING THE VICTIM OF THE ART 3
Take your kid; place it on a block with the throat turned upward, so that it may be easier for you to cut it; be ready with your knife, and cut the throat at a single stroke, pronouncing the name of the Spirit whom you wish to invoke. For example, say: I slay thee, N, in the name and to the honour of N. . . . Have a care that two blows be not needed, but let it die at the first; then skin it with the knife, and while skinning it make the following
ADIRAM, DALMAY, LAUDAY, TETRAGRAMMATON, ANERETON, 4 and all ye holy angels of God, be ye here and deign to impart
virtue unto this skin, that it may be properly conserved, and that all things thereon written may attain their perfection.
After the skinning, take salt well pounded; stretch the skin; strew your salt upon it so as to cover the whole surface. But first let the salt be blest in the following manner:--
EXORCISM OF THE SALT
I exorcise thee, creature of salt, by the living, God, by the God of gods and the Lord of lords, that all illusions may depart from thee, and that so thou mayst serve to make the virgin chart.
BENEDICTION OF THE SALT
God of gods and Lord of lords, Who hast created all things out of nothing, and hast especially designed salt for human health, bless ✠ and sanctify this salt, and may I so use it that all things which are in this circle may receive the required virtue for that effect which we desire. Amen.
This ended, place your salted skin in the rays of the sun for the space of one day. Then prepare a vessel of glazed clay and write the characters of Guland and Surgat (Chap. III. Sec. 2) about it with the pen and ink of the Art. Set quicklime slaked with exorcised water in the pot, and while it is liquid place your skin therein, and so leave it till it peels of itself. When the hair is ready to fall at the touch of a finger, take it from the pot and peel it with a knife of hazel-wood, over which you have pronounced these words: Host Holy ABOEZRA, be pleased to impart such virtue unto this wood that I may cleanse this skin therewith, through Thy Holy Name AGASON. Amen.
This done, and the skin being also cleansed, stretch the same upon a board of new wood, and round about it set stones of the same length as the sides of the skin. But first say over them the prayer which here follows
O ADONAY, most strong and powerful God, grant that these stones may stretch this skin, and do Thou remove from them all illusion, so that by Thy power they may possess the virtue which we desire. Amen.
This done, the skin may be left to dry, but before quitting it recite the following
JE, AGLA, JOD, HOI, HE, EMMANUEL, be ye guardians of this parchment or skin, so that no phantoms may possess it.
This finished, leave it in the air until it be dried, 1 taking care that the place is clean and has been asperged while reciting the following holy words: In the name of the immortal God, may God asperge thee and cleanse thee from all delusion and from all wickedness; so shall thou be whiter than snow. Amen.
When the skin is dry, take it from the board, bless it with aspersion and fumigation, and preserve it for use. It must not be seen by women, especially in their times, for it will lose its virtue, and whosoever makes this parchment must be, in like manner, most pure and clean and chaste. Let him say a Mass of the Nativity, whether it be the day of the Feast or another
day, and note that all the instruments must be generally on the Altar. 1
The Book of True Black Magic reproduces with further variations the process of the genuine Clavicle:--Secure the animal which is to furnish the parchment in a secret place, where no one dwells or can behold it. Then take a virgin rod; shape it into the form of a knife with the white-handled Knife of the Art, paring it neatly of all branches. Over this say: I conjure thee, Rod, by the Creator of the Universe and the King of Angels, Whose name is HELSADAY! 2 Receive thou power and virtue to skin this animal for the making of the parchment, that so all things which I shall write thereon may prosper, by God Almighty, Who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen. When shaping this knife recite the Psalm Deus, judicium tuum Regi da. 3 Then write these words upon the Rod: AGLA, ADONAY, ELOE, 4 may the work of this wooden Knife be accomplished by you! Say also over it: CARA, CHERNA, SITO, CIRNA. 5 Next, skin the animal with the same wooden knife, saying: ADIRAM, DAHNAY, SADAY, TETRAGRAMMATON, ANERETON, ANERETON, CURETON, 6 Holy Angels of God, be ye present and give virtue to this parchment. May it be consecrated by you, and thus may all things which shall be written therein acquire the virtue needful for the attainment of the desired end. . . .
When you have skinned it, take salt and say over it: God of gods, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify this salt, so that it may cleanse the parchment which I am about to prepare therewith, and that both may obtain virtue, power and effect. . . . Salt the
skin and set it in the sun for fifteen days; next take a pot of glazed clay and write these characters about it; place a large
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piece of quicklime with some blessed water in this vessel, and when the lime is slaked, steep the skin for the space of nine whole days therein, after which it must be extracted and scraped with a wooden knife to remove the hair. Let it dry for eight days in the shade, but when setting it to dry, asperge it and say: In the Name of the Great Eternal God, I asperge thee. Be thou cleansed from all vice and iniquity! [When dry] perfume it with sweet-smelling herbs; wrap it in the silken cloth with the other instruments of the Art; and take notice that if it be seen by a woman in her times, it will lose all its virtue.
But if this kind of parchment be too difficult to prepare, 1 take virgin parchment of any animal; exorcise it as before; place lighted coal in a new glazed pot; mix good perfumes therewith; and hold your parchment above the vessel to receive them. Before all, however, write these characters about the pot 2
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with the instruments of the Art. So long as the fumigation goes on, say: Angels of God, be my help, and by you be my work accomplished! . . . When it is finished, say: LAZAY, SALMAY, DALMAY, ANEPATON, CENDRION, ANITOR, ENCHEION, 3 Holy Angels of God, be ye present and
give virtue to this parchment, so that it may in turn acquire that of all characters with which it shall be inscribed, by the help of the pious and merciful God. . . . Recite the Psalms Deus, judicium tuum Regi da and Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, adding the following
I conjure thee, creature of parchment, by all the names of God, that nothing which shall be written within thee may ever be blotted from truth.
Lastly, asperge it and place it in the silken cloth, as above.
The Grimorium Verum indulges the weak pupil by a further simplification, as follows:--If you are unable to prepare the parchment yourself, buy a new one and conjure it; asperge also and fumigate it three times. The sacrifice, with its delays and unpleasantness, is thus abrogated, and the operator can proceed at once to the practical mystery of the Sanctum Regnum. It would also appear that parchment or vellum proper may be dispensed with in favour of:--(a.) The skin of some other animal, which would, however, involve a like process; or (b.) the caul of a new-born child, which would, of course, possess the requisite virgin character, and was simply consecrated according to the following instructions, as found in True Black Magic. 1
When you have succeeded in obtaining the caul of a newborn child, perfume the same with sweet odours and sprinkle it, after which say the following Psalms: Domine, exaudi oratiomem meam, and Domine, Deus meus, respice in me, with the conjuration hereunto attached:--BOSMELETIC, JEYSMY, ETH,
HODOMOS, BELUREOS. O Lord, Who didst make all things in wisdom; Who didst choose Abraham, Thy first believer, and his seed hath multiplied like the stars of heaven; Who didst appear unto Moses, Thy servant, surrounded with flaming fire, and didst make known to him Thy names, which are HEIE, ACER, HEIE 1--that is to say, I am that I am; Who didst also lead forth Thy people dry-shod over the Red Sea; Who unto Moses, Thy servant, didst give the Law of Salvation on Mount Sinai; Who unto Solomon didst impart wisdom above the measure of men: I humbly adore Thy majesty and beseech Thy mercy, praying Thee to consecrate this skin by Thy virtue, O Most Holy ADONAY, Whose reign endureth for ever. Amen.
Asperge the caul with the blessed water of the Art, place it in the silken cloth, and when working the exorcisms, the requisitions made to the spirits must be written on this skin, which should be fumigated with stinking odours.
170:1 The Key of Solomon, Book ii. c. 17, distinguishes between virgin parchment and unborn parchment; the latter is obtained from an animal which has been taken before its time from the womb of its mother.
171:1 It is fair to state that there is a form of evocation given in the Vocabulaire Infernal in which a sacrifice per se is prescribed. The source from which it is derived is not cited. "Whosoever would evoke the devil must sacrifice to him a dog, a cat and a hen; these animals must be the property of the operator, who must also pledge himself to eternal fidelity and obedience, and must receive a special mark upon his body impressed by the devil himself. His recompense is an absolute control over three infernal spirits, respectively of earth, water and air." Some obscure demonologist is most likely the authority for this process, which is unknown to the Grimoires. It should be added that the Vocabulaire Infernal was compiled in the Catholic interest--though it looks as if that interest had been in traffic with Satan.
171:2 This preparation being one of the most important preliminaries of Goëtic Art, will be given with all its variations as they are found in the four chief Grimoires. For the sacrificial Portions of the Grand Grimoire and that of Honorius, see Chapters VI. and VII.
171:3 The process in the Grimorium Verum is an adaptation of that in the Key of Solomon.
171:4 The English edition of the Clavicle reads, Zohar, Zip, Talmaï, Adonai, Shaddai, Tetragrammaton.
173:1 Which should be in the space of three days, according to the Clavicle.
174:1 The Grimorium Verum exhibits the transition of the Rituals from the purely Jewish elements of the Key of Solomon to the purely Christian materials of the Grimoire of Honorius.
174:2 i.e., El Shaddai.
174:3 Psalm lxxi. of the Vulgate.
174:4 i.e., Elohim, or Eloah.
174:5 These words are peculiar to the Grimoire, and their significance is beyond conjecture.
174:6 See Note on p. 171.
175:1 The shorter process is not so good, says the Clavicle.
175:2 The Key of Salomon provides characters for the parchment but not for the pot. They are, moreover, entirely different.
175:3 The Key of Solomon reads: Zazaii, Zalmaii, Dalmaï, Adonai, Anaphaxeton, Cedrion, Cripon, Prion, Anaireton, Elion, Octinomon, Zevanion, Alazaion, Zideon, Agla, On, Yod Be Vau He, Artor, Dinotor.
176:1 The Key of Solomon merely observes that the cauls of newly-born children, duly consecrated, way be used instead of virgin parchment, and that paper, satin, or silk may also be employed in operations of less importance.