The Demon Ornias is one of the Fallen Angels, who is bested by King Solomon. According to the Testament of Solomon, Ornias is an annoying, vampirizing Demon who lives in the constellation Aquarius. He has shape-shifting ability: He strangles men born under the sign of Aquarius because they have passion for women born under the sign of Virgo; he becomes a man who likes boys and causes them pain when he touches them; he turns into a heavenly winged creature; and he can assume the form of a lion.
During the construction of Solomon’s Temple of Jerusalem, Ornias appears at sunset and takes half the wages and food of the master workman’s boy—Solomon’s favourite— and sucks out his soul through his right thumb. The boy grows thin. Solomon asks him why he is losing weight, and the boy tells him about Ornias. Incensed, Solomon begs God for help to have authority over the Demon. The archangel Michael gives him a magical ring with a seal engraved upon it that will bestow the power upon Solomon.
Michael tells Solomon, “You shall imprison all the Demons, male and female, and with their help you shall build Jerusalem when you bear this seal of God.” Solomon gives the ring to the boy and instructs him to fling it at the Demon’s chest when he next appears and order him to go to Solomon. When Ornias next appears, as a flaming fire, the boy does so and shouts, “Come! Solomon summons you!” Ornias screams and promises to give the boy all the gold and silver on Earth if he will give the ring back to Solomon. But the boy binds the Demon and delivers him to the king.
Solomon finds the Demon trembling at his gates and goes to interrogate him. Ornias says that he is descended from an archangel and is thwarted by the archangel Uriel (see THWARTING Angels). He says he resides in the constellation Aquarius, where he strangles “those who reside in Aquarius because of their passion for women whose zodiacal sign is Virgo.” Ornias says that while in trance, he undergoes three transformations: “Sometimes I am a man who craves the bodies of effeminate boys, and when I touch them, they suffer great pain. Sometimes I am a creature with wings (flying) up to the heavenly regions. Finally, I assume the appearance of a lion.” Solomon binds the Demon with his ring and sets him to work cutting stone from the quarry. Terrified by IRON, the Demon begs for a measure of freedom, promising to call up other Demons. Solomon summons Uriel, who forces Ornias to cut stones by terrorizing him. Uriel calls up sea monsters and withers them, casting them to the ground. When that work is done, Solomon orders Ornias to fetch the Prince of Demons. He gives Ornias the magical ring, and the Demon goes to Beelzebub. The Prince of Demons is unimpressed by the name of Solomon, so Ornias throws the ring at his chest and commands him to go to the king. Beelzebub cries out like one burned by fire and does as commanded.
Ornias has the gift of prophecy, explaining to Solomon that Demons fly up to heaven, where they overhear God’s plans. Those who are exhausted by doing so become FALLING STARS.
- The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Vols. 1 & 2. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. 1983. Reprint, New York: Doubleday, 1985.