Rings are amulets of power, strength, divinity, sovereignty and protection. In legend, they are also Talismans of Magic, enabling their wearers to perform supernatural feats or become invisible. The origins of magic rings are not known, but they appear in ancient mythology. Marduk, the champion of the Babylonian gods, holds a ring in his portrayal as a warrior; in Greek myth, Jove released the Titan Prometheus from his chains but required him to wear one link on his finger.
The legendary King Solomon had a magic ring, etched with a hexagram and the real name of God, which enabled him to conjure the Djinn (Demons) and force them to work for him. One of Satan’s fiercest Demons, Asmodeus, craftily convinced Solomon to lend him the magic ring, whereupon Asmodeus threw Solomon out of Jerusalem and set himself up as king. He threw the ring into the sea. Solomon recovered it from a fish’s belly and restored himself to his throne. He imprisoned Asmodeus in a jar.
Ancient Egyptians and Hebrews used signet rings, which were inscribed with names or magic words or phrases (see Names of Power). The signet ring is still a symbol of authority in both church and state. In the middle Ages, rings inscribed with magic formulas were popular amulets to ward off illness. In England, from the early middle Ages to the 16th century, “cramp rings” were popular as cures for epilepsy and related disorders. Originally, the rings were fashioned from the coins given by the monarch in Good Friday devotions. Later, rings were simply made and then blessed and rubbed by the monarch. Some cramp rings were exported to Europe. In World War I, German soldiers wore rings inscribed with runes as protection against wounds and death.
Rings set with semiprecious and precious stones, cast in a precious metal, are amulets bearing the particular properties of the stone. red jasper, for example, is associated with blood, and soldiers in ancient times wore rings of red jasper to prevent bleeding to death from wounds. Amber is one of many stones that protect against the Evil Eye, while cat’s eye and ruby protect against witchcraft. many stones are medicinal amulets that protect against various diseases and disorders.
Many modern Witches wear silver rings bearing runic inscriptions, the names of deities, a pentacle, a crescent moon, images of Goddess or other representations of the Craft.
- Budge, E. A. Wallis. Amulets and Superstitions. New York: Dover Publications, 1978. First published 1930.
- de Givry, Emile Grillot. Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy. 1931. reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1971.