Experimenting with Angelic Lamens
April 23, 2012 4 Comments
After a lot of hemming and hawing, I’m finally taking my original lamen design seriously and going to experiment using them. My original lamen design was based off the one in Barrett’s the Magus to use with the Trithemius rite as well as from Fr. Rufus Opus’ Modern Angelic Grimoire, but altered to look a little cleaner and more magical; plus, the new style relies more on a circular format, similar to the seals given in Crowley/Mather’s Lemegeton. For comparison, here’s the standard lamen for the angel of Mars, Kammael:
And here’s my new, experimental design:
The differences between the two, in case you’d like a written description:
- The name of the spirit is written in another ring around a central circle.
- Always use six pentagrams around the arms of the hexagrams, points facing outward.
- No Romanization of the spirit’s name.
- Center hexagram is embiggened and centered in the central circle.
- Godnames rotated 90° so that El is aligned at the top.
I used this design for a temporary placeholder when testing out the look of some things, but went to the original format out of fear of fucking things up. However, the basis for the design of the lamen comes from Cornelius Agrippa (book IV, chapter 10):
Now the Lamen which is to be used to invoke any good spirit, you shall make after this maner; either in metal conformable, or in new wax, mixt with species and colours conformable: or it may be made in clean paper, with convenient colours: and and the outward form or figure thereof may be square, circular, or triangular, or of the like sort, according to the rule of the numbers: in which there must be written the divine names, as well the general names as the special. And in the centre of the Lamen, let there be drawn a character of six corners (Hexagonus); in the middle whereof, let there be written the name and character of the Star, or of the Spirit his governour, to whom the good spirit that is to be called is subject. And about this character, let there be placed so many characters of five corners (Pentagonus), as the spirits we would call together at once. And if we shall call onely one spirit, nevertheless there shall be made four Pentagones, wherein the name of the spirit or spirits, with their characters, is to be written. Now this table ought to be composed when the Moon in increasing, on those days and hours which then agree to the Spirit. And if we take a fortunate star herewith, it will be the better. Which Table being made in this manner, it is to be consecrated according to the rules above delivered.
In some ways, my design might be closer to the description Agrippa gives. Alternate designs could be drawn up that use, say, a pentagon for the shape of the lamen for Kammael (5 = Geburah = Mars). Although I didn’t color the lamen template, I do hand-color in the lamens after I print them out and cut them in an appropriate planetary day and hour. The rule about the number of pentagrams annoys me: four for conjuring four spirits and fewer, otherwise as many as the number of spirits being conjured? Yet Barrett shows six pentagrams for his lamen of Michael. How confusing! I may as well just stick with the number six to keep things balanced and even around the design of the lamen, I feel. Plus, if I do ever get around to using a single lamen for multiple spirits, this layout affords more space for the seals and names of the spirits to be conjured than the standard design.
Tyson, in his notes to his critical edition of Agrippa, notes that Barrett’s design strays from this by adding a Romanized version of the name inside the hexagram, as well as using six pentagrams around the lamen. However, Tyson also theorizes that the name of the angel (Michael, in Barrett’s example) is the ruling angel of the spirits to be conjured, with the individual spirit being written in the pentagrams around the hexagram. However, since the lamen is to be worn around the neck, it has to be an appropriate size for wearing, in which case the pentagrams are way too small for that. Because this can’t be done, I’m going with the interpretation that the name or seal of the spirit written on the lamen itself is the one to be conjured. However, Agrippa does say that “there be written the name and character of the Star, or of the Spirit his governour, to whom the good spirit that is to be called is subject”; this is why we can use a lamen of, say, the angelic elemental king Auriel to conjure Amaymon, since Amaymon is subject to Auriel. (That said, the way I’m taught and used to doing things is just conjure Auriel and ask him to bring Amaymon once he’s already there. YMMV.)
Since I’m scheduled to conjure Kammael this week, I’m going to try this lamen out tomorrow. I don’t expect too different a result; the spirit should be the same, the strength should be what I’m used to. If I get better results, I’ll finish off the rest of this lamen set and post them to the designs. If I get worse results, I’ll just stick to what I already have and use. Personally, I like my design better, but that’s because I’m biased and proud of my shit. If it works well enough for me to continue with these things, I may as well make a nice and purty set on strong parchment-like stock.