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Goetia thought for the day

The Hexagram of Solomon or
Solomons hexagonal ffigure

Part of my interest and practice has been in the creation of grimoric equipment. I strive to emulate each item to the dictates of the text as close as I am able.

It has been my experience that the ‘Hexagram of Solomon’ or holy seal has mostly been created on pieces of hide or leather. (Weather calf’s hide from the Goetia or kid’s skin from the Heptameron) Most magicians I’ve talked to or read about, have created their seal on these types of material. I did it this way myself at first. However, this is not the type of material the medieval grimories are actually describing.

From the Key of Solomon we have some mention on proper ‘parchment’ used for various magical equipment, and the process of making it. These types of seals are often used for in evocation of spirits to protect the magician and as a badge of authority (to compel the spirits into cooperation and to assume pleasant visible
There are detailed instructions for the creation of this parchment in the KoS as well as a few other select grimoires. Mg. Aaron Leitch goes into plentiful explanation and notation concerning these sections in his ‘Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires’ as I recall. As very few of us have direct experience and opportunity (not to mention a taste) for skinning animals, etc. parchment of this sort can be impractical to create. None the less, virgin parchment of THIS caliber is possible to obtain for a reasonable fee.

First, let’s take a look at the description given in the Lemegeton’s Goetia (as given on Joseph Peterson’s Esoteric Archives):
“This figure is to be made on parchment made of a calfes Skin and worne at the Skirtt of ye white vestment, and covered wth a lennen [linen] cloath to ye which is to be shewed to the spirits when they are appeared that they may be compelled to be obedient and take a humane shape &c.”

Wikipedia says this about Calfskin parchment:
“Calfskin is a leather or membrane produced from the hide of a calf. Calfskin is particularly valuable because of its softness, and non fine grain. It is commonly used for high-quality shoes, wallets and similar products, as well as traditional leather bookbindings. Fine calfskin is one of the skins used for vellum and parchment manuscripts.”

You may recall that VELLUM is the parchment required for the book of Spirits as describe in the Trithemius operation of ‘Drawing Spirits into Crystals’ in The MAGUS. I found a great website which seems to create high quality calfskin parchment. If you are interested in creating a seal using this traditional material, you can find them at: http://www.pergamena.net/products/parchment/. On their website they describe calfskin parchment as thus:
“Calfskins are thin but tough and flexible, hence they are the traditional choice for binding and manuscripts. Calfskins sometimes exhibit surface veining and often lack a discernable grain. This latter quality, along with a dense skin fiber weave, is ideal for text or calligraphy, as there is less visual competition from the parchment surface.”

About.com says:

“Parchment is a paper-like material made from sheep or goat skin. Very fine parchment is called Vellum and is made from calf skin. Parchment is not paper, as technically, paper is made from cellulose pulp.
The reverse side of parchment paper has a pitted texture from the hair follicles in the skin, but the drawing surface, on the carefully prepared underside of the skin, is extremely smooth. The flawless surface of parchment allows a very fine line, making it ideal for drawing and calligraphy.”

When studying the process of how parchment is made, even without the added complexities as the Key of Solomon describes, you can see an undergoing alchemical transformation. Although this type of parchment was more common during the times the versions of the grimories were recorded, the value placed on ‘virgin parchment’ is obviously apparent. From the young virgin animal, the skin becomes parchment only after a process of intense treatment and refinement. We can see shedding of the unneeded and “base” material in favor of the purified core or essence. We need not look much deeper to recognize the components of the Salt, Sulfur and Mercury.


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