Leviathan: His name means “twisted” or “coiled” in the Hebrew language . He is mentioned five times in the Bible. Oddly, Psalm 104 implies that God made Leviathan to “sport with.” A description of this massive beast, given in chapter 41 of the Book of Job, suggests that it is a sea creature. Later Jewish myths directly identify Leviathan as a sea monster, a terrible being capable of devouring one whale a day. There is a legend tracing back to Rashi, a rabbi from eleventh-century France, who explains that God created both a male and a female leviathan, but killed the female shortly thereafter because, were these creatures to procreate, mankind could not stand against them. A further story in the Talmud suggests that on the Day of Judgment, God will slay the leviathan, using its meat to prepare a feast for the righteous and using its hide to create the tent wherein this feast will be laid
out. In many stories, Leviathan is pitted against the great beast Behemoth. In the trial of Urbain Grandier, a pact was produced, which was purported to be Grandier’s contract with Satan for his immortal soul. Grandier, a Jesuit-trained priest, was burned at the stake in 1634 in the French town of Loudun, after having allegedly orchestrated the possession of a number of nuns under his care.
Leviathan was one of several distinguished devils who supposedly signed his name to Grandier’s pact. Leviathan is also mentioned in the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, in connection with a spell. There is a high likelihood that Leviathan is a holdover from early Babylonian influences and is in fact a Jewish version of the Babylonian and Sumerian monster Tiamat, also connected with water.
In Mathers’ translation of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Leviathan is identified as one of the four principal spirits, ranked alongside Lucifer, Satan, and Belial.
The Dictionary of Demons written by Michelle Belanger.
Edited and revised for the Web by Occult Media, the 22nd of April 2021. We use British English spelling.