The Spirits of Solomon are seventy-two Demons or Djinncaptured by the legendary King Solomon, who imprisoned them in a brass vessel and cast it into the sea. The vessel was discovered by Babylonians, who believed it contained a great treasure. When they broke open the vessel, the demons and their legions were set free, and they returned to their home. One exception was Belial, who entered an image and delivered oracles in exchange for sacriﬁces and divine honors.
The Lemegeton, or Lesser Key of Solomon, is a grimoire that gives instructions for the evocation of the 72 spirits. They are also known as the Spirits of the Brazen Vessel and the False Monarchy of Demons. Combined, the spirits accomplish “all abominations.”
THE 72 SPIRITS ARE :
Solomon’s Seventy-Two Spirits
Ancient folklore describes how Solomon commanded Djinn. One legend describes how he sealed seventy-two particularly recalcitrant spirits in a brass vessel and flung it into the sea. The goal was to isolate these spirits and to prevent them from doing harm. Various sequel legends describe how the spirits were eventually liberated.
In medieval Europe, the legend evolved further: Solomon sealed these seventy-two dangerous spirits inside a brazen vessel so they were always available to labor for him. Medieval magicians cast themselves in the role of Solomon and sought to command and compel these seventy-two spirits.
Spirits identified as being among the seventy-two are the subject of the various books of the Lemegeton and other grimoires. Many of them are clearly distortions of ancient Pagan deities—like “Marquis” Ammon, “Duke” Ashtaroth, or King Baal, now redefined as demons. It is not always clear whether these distortions were deliberate, whether the authors were unfamiliar with the original spirits, or whether the spirits did indeed manifest in hostile fashion. Information is written from the perspective of Christian magicians who sought to command dangerous spirits but did not love or respect them (or at least did not wish to appear to love and respect them).
Many spirits reclassified as demons were originally very beloved; their original devoteeswould be shocked and dismayed at their portrayal. In some cases, as with Ashtaroth (formerly known as Astarte), even the original gender has been changed. Ranks given the spirits (marquis, duke, count, knight) are European and may not have existed in the spirits’ original home or heyday. It is probably fair to assume that all seventy-two spirits are victims of such distortions. Those who would like to attempt to command them will find lots of instruction in the Lesser Key of Solomon and other grimoires.
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.