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A magical grimoire of sigils and rituals for summoning and mastering spirits, The Key of Solomon the King is the most infamous of all magick books. It has influenced everything from the revival of magick and the Western Mystery Traditions (tarot, alchemy, astrology, etc.) to fictional works such as Lovecraft’s The Necronomicon.
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The Key of Solomon the King
S. L. MacGregor Mathers
Published by Logos, 2018.
The Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis) by S. L. MacGregor Mathers. First published in 1889.
Illustrated edition published 2018 by Logos.
©Logos 2018. All rights reserved.
First printing 2018.
E-book ISBN: 978-1-387-61579-7.
I: Concerning the Divine Love Which Ought to Precede the Acquisition of this Knowledge
II: Of the Days, and Hours, and of the Virtues of the Planets
III: Concerning the Arts
IV: The Confession to be Made by the Exorcist
V: Prayers and Conjurations
VI: Stronger and More Potent Conjuration
VII: An Extremely Powerful Conjuration
VIII: Concerning the Medals Or Pentacles, And the Manner of Constructing Them
IX: Of the Experiment Concerning Things Stolen, and How it Should Be Performed
X: Of the Experiment of Invisibility, and How it Should Be Performed
XI: To Hinder a Sportsman from Killing Any Game
XII: How To Make the Magic Garters
XIII: How To Make the Magic Carpet Proper for Interrogating the Intelligences, So as to Obtain an Answer Regarding Whatsoever Matter One May Wish to Learn
XIV: How to Render Thyself Master of a Treasure Possessed by the Spirits
XV: Of the Experiment of Seeking Favor And Love
XVI: How Operations of Mockery, Invisibility, And Deceit Should Be Prepared
XVII: How Extraordinary Experiments and Operations Should Be Prepared
XVIII: Concerning the Holy Pentacles Or Medals
BOOK II | Prefatory Note
I: At What Hour After the Preparation of all Things Necessary, We Should Bring the Exercise of the Art to Perfection
II: In What Manner the Master of the Art Should Keep, Rule, And Govern Himself
III: How the Companions or Disciples of the Master of the Art Ought to Regulate and Govern Themselves
IV: Concerning the Fasting, Care and Things to be Observed
V: Concerning the Baths, and How They Are to be Arranged
VI: Of the Garments and Shoes of the Art
VII: Of Places Wherein We May Conveniently Execute the Experiments and Operations of the Art
VIII: Of the Knife, Sword, Sickle, Poniard, Dagger, Lance, Wand, Staff, and Other Instruments of Magical Art
IX: Of the Formation of the Circle
X: Concerning Incense, Suffumigations, Perfumes, Odors, and Similar Things Which are Used in Magical Arts
XI: Of the Water, and of the Hyssop
XII: Of the Light, And of the Fire
XIII: Concerning the Precepts of the Art
XIV: Of the Pen, Ink, and Colors
XV: Of the Pen of the Swallow and of the Crow
XVI: Of the Blood of the Bat, Pigeon, and Other Animals
XVII: Of Virgin Parchment, or Virgin Paper, and How it Should be Prepared
XVIII: Of Wax and Virgin Earth
XIX: Concerning the Needle and Other Iron Instruments
XX: Concerning the Silken Cloth
XXI: Concerning Characters, and the Consecration of the Magical Book
XXII: Concerning Sacrifices to the Spirits, and How They Should be Made
Ancient Fragment of the Key of Solomon
The Qabalistical Invocation of Solomon
Further Reading: Magick
IN PRESENTING THIS celebrated magical work to the student of occult science some few prefatory remarks are necessary. The Key of Solomon, save for a curtailed and incomplete copy published in France in the seventeenth century, has never yet been printed, but has for centuries remained in Manuscript form inaccessible to all but the few fortunate scholars to whom the inmost recesses of the great libraries were open. I therefore consider that I am highly honored in being the individual to whose lot it has fallen to usher it into the light of day.
The fountain-head and storehouse of Qabalistical Magic, and the origin of much of the Ceremonial Magic of mediaeval times, the 'Key' has been ever valued by occult writers as a work of the highest authority; and notably in our own day Eliphaz Lévi has taken it for the model on which his celebrated Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie was based. It must be evident to the initiated reader of Levi, that the Key of Solomon was his text book of study, and at the end of this volume I give a fragment of an ancient Hebrew manuscript of the 'Key of Solomon,' translated and published in the Philosophie Occulte, as well as an Invocation called the 'Qabalistical Invocation of Solomon,' which bears close analogy to one in the First Book, being constructed in the same manner on the scheme of the Sephiroth.
The history of the Hebrew original of the 'Key of Solomon' is given in the Introductions, but there is every reason to suppose that this has been entirely lost, and Christian, the pupil of Lévi, says as much in his Histoire de la Magie. I see no reason to doubt the tradition which assigns the authorship of the 'Key' to King Solomon, for among others Josephus, the Jewish historian, especially mentions the magical works attributed to that monarch; this is confirmed by many Eastern traditions, and his magical skill is frequently mentioned in the Arabian Nights.
There are, however, two works on Black Magic, the Grimorium Verum, and the Clavicola di Salomone ridolta, which have been attributed to Solomon, and which have been in some cases especially mixed up with the present work; but which have nothing really to do therewith; they are full of evil magic, and I cannot caution the practical student too strongly against them. There is also another work called Lemegeton or the Lesser Key of Solomon the King, which is full of seals of various Spirits, and is not the same as the present book, though extremely valuable in its own department.
In editing this volume I have omitted one or two experiments partaking largely of Black Magic, and which had evidently been derived from the two Goetic works mentioned above I must further caution the practical worker against the use of blood the prayer, the pentacle, and the perfumes, rightly used, are sufficient and the former verges dangerously on the evil path. Let him who, in spite of the warnings of this volume determines to work evil, be assured that that evil will recoil on himself and that he will be struck by the reflex current.
This work is edited from several ancient manuscripts in the British Museum, which all differ from each other in various points, some giving what is omitted by the others, but all unfortunately agreeing in one thing, which is the execrable mangling of the Hebrew words through the ignorance of the transcribers. But it is in the Pentacles that the Hebrew is worst, the letters being so vilely scribbled as to be actually undecipherable in some instances, and it has been part of my work for several years to correct and reinstate the proper Hebrew and Magical characters in the Pentacles. The student may therefore safely rely on their being now as nearly correct in their present reproduction as it is possible for them to be. I have therefore, wherever I could, corrected the Hebrew of the Magical Names in the Conjurations and Pentacles; and in the few instances where it was not possible to do so, I have put them in the most usual form; carefully collating throughout one MS. with another. The Chapters are a little differently classed in the various MSS., in some instances the matter contained in them being transposed, etc. I have added notes wherever necessary.
The MSS. from which this work is edited are:—Add. MSS., 10,862; Sloane MSS., 1307 and 3091; Harleian MSS., 3981; King's MSS., 288; and Lansdowne MSS., 1202 and 1203; seven codices in all. Of all these 10,862 Add. MSS. is the oldest, its date being about the end of the sixteenth century; 3981 Harleian is probably about the middle of the seventeenth century; the others of rather later date. Add. MSS. 10,862 is written in contracted Latin, and is hard to read, but it contains Chapters which are omitted in the others and also an important Introduction. It is more concise in its wording. Its title is short, being simply 'The Key of Solomon, translated from the Hebrew language into the Latin.' An exact copy of the signature of the writer of this MS. is given in Figure 93. The Pentacles are very badly drawn. 3981 Harleian MSS.; 288 King's MSS.; and 3091 Sloane MSS., are similar, and contain the same matter and nearly the same wording; but the latter MS. has many errors of transcription. They are all in French. The Conjurations and wording of these are much fuller than in 10,867 Add. MSS. and 1202 Lansdowne MSS. The title is 'The Key of Solomon King of the Hebrews, translated from the Hebrew Language into Italian by Abraham Colorno, by the order of his most Serene Highness of Mantua; and recently put into French.' The Pentacles are much better drawn, are in colored inks, and in the case of 3091 Sloane MSS., gold and silver are employed.
1307 Sloane MSS. is in Italian; its Title is 'La Clavicola di Salomone Redotta et epilogata nella nostra materna lingua del dottissimo Gio Peccatrix.' It is full of Black Magic, and is a jumble of the Key of Solomon proper, and the two Black Magic books before mentioned. The Pentacles are badly drawn. It, however, gives part of the Introduction to 10,862 Add. MSS., and is the only other MS. which does, save the beginning of another Italian version which is bound up with the former MS., and bears the title 'Zecorbenei.' 1202 Lansdowne MSS. is 'The True Keys of King Solomon, by Armadel.' It is beautifully written, with painted initial letters, and the Pentacles are carefully drawn in colored inks. It is more concise in style, but omits several Chapters. At the end are some short extracts from the Grimorium Verum with the Seals of evil spirits, which, as they do not belong to the 'Key of Solomon' proper, I have not given. For the evident classification of the 'Key' is in two books and no more.
1203 Lansdowne MSS. is 'The Veritable Keys of Solomon translated from the Hebrew into the Latin language by the Rabbin Abognazar (?Aben Ezra).' It is in French, exquisitely written in printing letters, and the Pentacles are carefully drawn in coloured inks. Though containing similar matter to the others, the arrangement is utterly different being all in one book, and not even divided into chapters.
The antiquity of the Planetary sigils is shown by the fact that, among the Gnostic talismans in the British Museum, there is a ring of copper with the sigils of Venus, which are exactly the same as those given by the mediaeval writers on Magic.
Where Psalms are referred to I have in all instances given the English and not the Hebrew numbering of them.
In some places I have substituted the word azoth for 'Alpha and Omega,' e.g., on the blade of the Knife with the Black Hilt, Figure 62. I may remark that the Magical Sword may, in many cases, be used instead of the Knife.
In conclusion I will only mention, for the benefit of non-Hebraists, that Hebrew is written from right to left, and that from the consonantal nature of the Hebrew Alphabet, it will require fewer letters than in English to express the same word.
I take this opportunity of expressing my obligations to Dr. Wynn Westcott for the valuable assistance he has given me in the reconstruction of the Hebrew of the Pentacles.
S. LIDDELL MACGREGOR MATHERS.
LONDON, October, 1888.
Additional images can be found in the plates gallery at the back of the book.
SOLOMON, THE SON OF David, King of Israel, hath said that the beginning of our Key is to fear God, to adore Him, to honor Him with contrition of heart, to invoke Him in all matters which we wish to undertake, and to operate with very great devotion, for thus God will lead us in the right way.
When, therefore, thou shalt wish to acquire the knowledge of Magical Arts and Sciences, it is necessary to have prepared the order of hours and of days, and of the position of the Moon, without the operation of which thou canst effect nothing; but if thou observest them with diligence thou mayest easily and thoroughly arrive at the effect and end which thou desirest to attain.
WHEN THOU WISHEST TO make any experiment or operation, thou must first prepare, beforehand, all the requisites which thou wilt find described in the following Chapters: observing the days, the hours, and the other effects of the Constellations which may be found in this Chapter.
It is, therefore, advisable to know that the hours of the day and of the night together, are twenty-four in number, and that each hour is governed by one of the Seven Planets in regular order, commencing at the highest and descending to the lowest. The order of the Planets is as follows: ShBThAI, Shabbathai, Saturn; beneath Saturn is TzDQ, Tzedeq, Jupiter; beneath Jupiter is MADIM, Madim, Mars; beneath Mars is ShMSh, Shemesh, the Sun; beneath the Sun is NVGH, Nogah, Venus; beneath Venus is KVKB, Kokav, Mercury; and beneath Mercury is LBNH, Levanah, the Moon, which is the lowest of all the Planets.
It must, therefore, be understood that the Planets have their dominion over the day which approacheth nearest unto the name which is given and attributed unto them-viz., over Saturday, Saturn; Thursday, Jupiter; Tuesday, Mars; Sunday, the Sun; Friday, Venus; Wednesday, Mercury; and Monday, the Moon.
The rule of the Planets over each hour begins from the dawn at the rising of the Sun on the day which takes its name from such Planet, and the Planet which follows it in order, succeeds to the rule over the next hour. Thus (on Saturday) Saturn rules the first hour, Jupiter the second, Mars the third, the Sun the fourth, Venus the fifth, Mercury the sixth, the Moon the seventh, and Saturn returns in the rule over the eighth, and the others in their turn, the Planets always keeping the same relative order.
Note that each experiment or magical operation should be performed under the Planet, and usually in the hour, which refers to the same. For example:—
In the Days and Hours of Saturn thou canst perform experiments to summon the Souls from Hades, but only of those who have died a natural death. Similarly on these days and hours thou canst operate to bring either good or bad fortune to buildings; to have familiar Spirits attend thee in sleep; to cause good or ill success to business, possessions, goods, seeds, fruits, and similar things, in order to acquire learning; to bring destruction and to give death, and to sow hatred and discord.
The Days and Hours of Jupiter are proper for obtaining honors, acquiring riches; contracting friendships, preserving health; and arriving at all that thou canst desire.
In the Days and Hours of Mars thou canst make experiments regarding War; to arrive at military honor; to acquire courage; to overthrow enemies; and further to cause ruin, slaughter, cruelty, discord; to wound and to give death.
The Days and Hours of the Sun are very good for perfecting experiments regarding temporal wealth, hope, gain, fortune, divination, the favor of princes, to dissolve hostile feeling, and to make friends.
The Days and Hours of Venus are good for forming friendships; for kindness and love; for joyous and pleasant undertakings, and for travelling.
The Days and Hours of Mercury are good to operate for eloquence and intelligence; promptitude in business; science and divination; wonders; apparitions; and answers regarding the future. Thou canst also operate under this Planet for thefts; writings; deceit; and merchandise.
The Days and Hours of the Moon are good for embassies; voyages envoys; messages; navigation; reconciliation; love; and the acquisition of merchandise by water.
Thou shouldest take care punctually to observe all the instructions contained in this chapter, if thou desirest to succeed, seeing that the truth of Magical Science dependeth thereon.
The Hours of Saturn, of Mars, and of the Moon are alike good for communicating and speaking with Spirits; as those of Mercury are for recovering thefts by the means of Spirits.
The Hours of Mars serve for summoning Souls from Hades, especially of those slain in battle.
The Hours of the Sun, of Jupiter, and of Venus, are adapted for preparing any operations whatsoever of love, of kindness, and of invisibility, as is hereafter more fully shown, to which must be added other things of a similar nature which are contained in our work.
The Hours of Saturn and Mars and also the days on which the Moon is conjunct with them, or when she receives their opposition or quartile aspect, are excellent for making experiments of hatred, enmity, quarrel, and discord; and other operations of the same kind which are given later on in this work.
The Hours of Mercury are good for undertaking experiments relating to games, raillery, jests, sports, and the like.
The Hours of the Sun, of Jupiter, and of Venus, particularly on the days which they rule, are good for all extraordinary, uncommon, and unknown operations.
The Hours of the Moon are proper for making trial of experiments relating to recovery of stolen property, for obtaining nocturnal visions, for summoning Spirits in sleep, and for preparing anything relating to Water.
The Hours of Venus are furthermore useful for lots, poisons, all things of the nature of Venus, for preparing powders provocative of madness and the like things.
But in order to thoroughly effect the operations of this Art, thou shouldest perform them not only on the Hours but on the Days of the Planets as well, because then the experiment will always succeed better, provided thou observest the rules laid down later on, for if thou omittest one single condition thou wilt never arrive at the accomplishment of the Art.
For those matters then which appertain unto the Moon, such as the Invocation of Spirits, the Works of Necromancy, and the recovery of stolen property, it is necessary that the Moon should be in a Terrestrial Sign, viz.:—Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn.
For love, grace, and invisibility, the Moon should be in a Fiery Sign, viz.:—Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius.
For hatred, discord, and destruction, the Moon should be in a Watery Sign, viz.:—Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces.
For experiments of a peculiar nature, which cannot be classed under any certain head, the Moon should be in an Airy Sign, viz.:—Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius.
But if these things seem unto thee difficult to accomplish, it will suffice thee merely to notice the Moon after her combustion, or conjunction with the Sun, especially just when she quits his beams and appeareth visible. For then it is good to make all experiments for the construction and operation of any matter. That is why the time from the New unto the Full Moon is proper for performing any of the experiments of which we have spoken above. But in her decrease or wane it is good for War, Disturbance, and Discord. Likewise the period when she is almost deprived of light, is proper for experiments of invisibility, and of Death.
But observe inviolably that thou commence nothing while the Moon is in conjunction with the Sun, seeing that this is extremely unfortunate, and that thou wilt then be able to effect nothing; but the Moon quitting his beams and increasing in Light, thou canst perform all that thou desirest, observing nevertheless the directions in this Chapter.
Furthermore, if thou wishest to converse with Spirits it should be especially on the day of Mercury and in his hour, and let the Moon be in an Airy Sign, as well as the Sun.
Retire thou then unto a secret place, where no one may be able to see thee or to hinder thee, before the completion of the experiment, whether thou shouldest wish to work by day or by night. But if thou shouldest wish to work by night, perfect thy work on the succeeding night; if by day, seeing that the day beginneth with the rising of the Sun (perfect thy work on) the succeeding day. But the Hour of Inception is the Hour of Mercury.
Verily, since no experiments for converse with Spirits can be done without a Circle being prepared, whatsoever experiments therefore thou wishest to undertake for conversing with Spirits, therein thou must learn to construct a certain particular Circle; that being done surround that Circle with a Circle of Art for better caution and efficacy.
IF THOU WISHEST TO succeed, it is necessary to make the following Experiments and Arts in the appropriate Days and Hours, with the requisite solemnities and ceremonies contained and laid down in the following Chapters.
Experiments, then, are of two kinds; the first is to make trial of what, as I have said, can be easily performed without a Circle, and in this case it is not necessary to observe anything but what thou wilt find in the proper Chapters. The second can in no way be brought to perfection without the Circle; and in order to accomplish this perfectly it is necessary to take note of all the preparations which the Master of the Art and his Disciples must undertake before constructing the Circle.
Before commencing operations both the Master and his Disciples must abstain with great and thorough continence during the space of nine days from sensual pleasures and from vain and foolish conversation; as plainly appeareth in the Second Book, Chapter 4. Six of these nine days having expired, he must recite frequently the Prayer and Confession as will be told him; and on the Seventh Day, the Master being alone, let him enter into a secret place, let him take off his clothes, and bathe himself from head to foot in consecrated and exorcised Water, saying devoutly and humbly the prayer, 'O Lord Adonai,' etc., as it is written in the Second Book, Chapter 2.
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