Dusty Digital Tomes Series: Ceremonial Magick and Exorcism
Article By: Michelle Belanger
The Heptameron is a book of ceremonial magick traditionally attributed to Peter de Abano, a famous physician who lived from 1250 until 1316 CE. The Heptameron itself, however, was not published until the late 1400s — or, at least, that is the earliest known publication of the work to date. Many scholars feel that the attribution of this work to Abano is spurious, but despite this, his reputation as a magician — deserved or not — began quite early and has been hard to expunge.
Whoever really wrote the Heptameron, it remains a seminal work of ceremonial magick. It served as an inspiration if not a direct framework for a number of other works on ceremonial magick, including the infamous Goetia. If this were not enough to establish its influence among practitioners of ceremonial magick, its fame as an occult work was almost certainly guaranteed by its inclusion in Henry Cornelius Agrippa’s influential opus on occult philisophy (widely printed these days under the title “Three Books of Occult Philosophy” and known in scholarly circles often simply as Agrippa’s “Opera” or “Work.”).
The name Heptameron means “Seven Days.” The name is derived from the work of the Heptameron itself: it details instructions for rituals intended to summon the angels for each of the seven days of the week.
Ceremonial magick, popular in both the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Western Europe, was widely viewed as a “black art.” Much of the criticism of the work was based on assertions that the spirits summoned through ceremonial work were not, as they often claimed, angels of any heavenly provenance but rather demons from the nether realms. Despite this, evidence from the grimoiric tradition itself suggests that the majority of practitioners of ceremonial magick were members of the clergy. They were some of the only individuals during the Middle Ages and Renaissance who were literate enough to make use of a magickal tradition founded almost entirely upon the magick of the written word, and the invocations themselves often bear a striking resemblance to orations and exorcisms at use within the Church at the time.
The portion excerpted here is an excellent example of how the lines between a holy and hellacious blur within the demense of ceremonial magick. With a few exceptions, the exorcism iterated below may just as easily come from the mouth of a Catholic priest as any practitioner of demonic magick.
The text below is my own translation of the Latin provided in Agrippa’s Opera from an edition published in 1565. Another translation of this work into English by Robert Turner (first published in 1655) is available on a number of Internet sites, including Joseph Peterson’s excellent EsotericArchi ves.com. One significant change I have made which deviates from the original text is to break up the lengthy invocation which starts at “We exorcise you [name]” — in the original, this comprises a massive, unbroken block of text that modern readers may find hard to work through, especially in an electronic format. The bracketed phrases that chain each broken section of this exhortation together are my insertions.
Exorcism of the Spirits of the Air
(from the Heptameron)
We who are made in the image of God, imbued with His power and made after His will, we do exorcise you (here name the spirit intended to appear) by the most mighty and powerful name of God, El, the strong and the wonderful, and we command you by Him who spoke the word and it was done, and by all the names of God, and by the name Adonai, El, Elohim, Elohe, Zebaoth [Sabaoth], Elion, Eserchie, Jah, Tetragrammaton, Sadai, Lord God Most High!
We exorcise you [name], and powerfully command you that you immediately appear before us in this circle, assuming a fair human shape, without any deformity or twisting; come, all ye beings, because we command you by the name Yaw and Vau, which Adam heard and spoke; and by the name of God, AGLA, which Lot heard, and was saved with his family; and by the name Joth which Jacob heard from the angel wrestling with him, and was delivered from the hand of his brother Esau.
[Further we exorcise you] by the name Anaphexeton, which Aaron heard and spoke, and was made wise; and by the name Zebaoth [Sabaoth], which Moses named, and all the rivers were turned to blood; and by the name Eserchie Oriston, which Moses named, and all the rivers brought forth frogs, and they ascended into the houses of the Egyptians, destroying all things; and by the name Elion, which Moses named, and there was great hail, such as had not been since the beginning of the world; and by the name Adonai, which Moses named, and there came up locusts, which appeared upon the whole land of Egypt, devouring all which the hail had left; and by the name Schema Amathia, which Joshua called upon, and the sun stayed his course; and by the name Alpha and Omega, which Daniel named, and destroyed Bel and slew the dragon;
[And you are exorcised] in the name Emmanuel, which the three children, Sidrach, Misach, and Abednego, sung in the midst of the fiery furnace, and were delivered; and by the name Hagios; and by the seal of Adonai; and by Ischyros, Athanatos, Paracletos; and by these three secret names, Agla + On + Tetragrammaton, I do adjure and contest you. And by these names, and by all the other names of the Omnipotent God, living and true, I exorcise and command you [name], who through your own fault was ejected from Heaven and cast into the place of hell.
I call you [name], by Him who spoke the word and it was done, to whom all creatures are obedient; and by the dreadful judgment of God; and by the uncertain sea of glass, which is before the majesty of God, great and potent; by the four beasts before the throne, which have eyes before and behind; and by the fire round about the throne; and by the holy angels of heaven; by the mighty wisdom of God, we do powerfully exorcise you [name], that you appear here before this circle, and willingly fulfill our desires.
By the seal of Baldachia, and by this name Primeumaton, which Moses named, and the earth opened and swallowed up Corah, Dathan, and Abiram: and in the power of that name Primeumaton, commanding the whole host of heaven, we curse you, and deprive you of your office, joy, and place, and we do bind you in the depth of the bottomless pit, there to remain until the dreadful day of the last judgment should you not come. And we bind you into eternal fire, and into the lake of fire and brimstone, unless you forthwith appear before this circle to do our will. Therefore, come ye, [name], by the names Adonai, Zebaoth [Sabaoth], Adonai, Amioram. Come ye! Come ye! Come ye! Adonai commandeth!
Saday [Sheddai?], the most mighty King of Kings, whose power no creature is able to resist, be unto you most dreadful. Unless you obey this call, and appear immediately in a pleasant form before this circle, let miserable ruin and fire unquenchable remain with you. Therefore come ye, in the name of Adonai, Zebaoth, Adonai, Amioram; come, come! Why stay you? Hasten! Adonai, Sadai, the King of Kings commands you: El, Aty, Titcip, Azia, Hin, Jen, Minosel, Achadan, Vay, Vaah, Ey, Exe, A, El, El, El, A, Hy, Hau, Hau, Hau, Vau, Vau, Vau, Vau.
Note to readers: the series of apparent nonsense syllables that conclude this exorcism are, in at least some cases, phonetic renderings of Hebrew letters and/or names. Many of these are distorted, such as “Sadai” (which almost certainly is intended to read “shaddai,” one of the names of God, typically presented as “El Shaddai.”) Many others have become so corrupt from whatever inspired them as to make it nigh impossible to determine or even conjecture the original word. But it is important to understand that these strings of syllables, repeated frequently in texts of ceremonial magick like magickal formulae or spells, did not originate as nonsense and frequently stemmed from something that held great meaning within the system that inspired Christian ceremonial magick such as is found within the Heptameron.