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§ 2. Concerning the Forms of Infernal Spirits in their Manifestations

Having regard to the nature and antecedents of the Intelligences with which Black Magic professes to be concerned, it must be highly important that the operator should know the kind of apparitions which may be expected, when, despite the incredulity of Horatio, the spirits from the vasty deep do

p. 194

respond to conjuration. The majority of the Grimoires leave it to be inferred from their silence that they come in human shape--possibly in "a neat surcoat and snow-white linen," like the Adonay of the sorcerer in the Thaumaturgic Experiences of Éliphas Lévi. With the Composite Rituals it is always a subject of apprehension, and a peaceable manifestation is earnestly bargained for.

According to the Grimorium Verum, the spirits do not invariably manifest under the same forms, and we have had some surprising specimens of their mutations in the earlier texts; being disengaged from all matter, they must of necessity borrow a body in order to appear before us, 1 and then they assume any shape and figure which seems good to them. Beware, however, lest they affright thee--is another pregnant warning. Lucifer appears under the form and figure of a comely boy; when angered, he is shewn with a ruddy countenance, but there is nothing monstrous in his shape. Beelzebuth appears occasionally under monstrous forms, such as the figure of a misshapen calf, or that of a goat having a long tail; at the same time he manifests most frequently under the semblance of an enormous fly. 2 When angered, he vomits floods of water and howls like a wolf. Astaroth appears of a black and white colour, usually under a human figure, but occasionally in the likeness of an ass.

The subject of Infernal Manifestations is, however, fully treated in the next chapter. The indications in the present section are merely the later variants.


194:1 A portion of this statement is derived from the Key of Solomon; but whereas it is put clearly in the Grimoire, it is incomplete and inconsequent in the original. It is the alternative aspect of the Kabalistic principle that the spirit clothes itself to come down and divests itself to return upward. When the abyss gives up forms its capacity of manifestation is Protean, but the most beloved tendency is monstrous. And the forms disrobe for the abyss to open and receive them when they go back to their cover.

194:2 A giant, a serpent, a woman, are also other modes of his manifestation, according to the discretion of demonologists.

Next: Section 1: Concerning the Spirits of the Brazen Vessel, otherwise called the False Monarchy of Demons (Introduction)