Lesser Key of Solomon: Book 4: Ars Almadel

This digital edition by Joseph H. Peterson, Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved. Updated Feb 21, 2019.

For a critical edition of the Latin versions, see the excellent new edition: Véronèse, Julien. L'Almandal et l'Almadel latins au Moyen Âge: introduction et éditions critiques. Firenze: SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo, 2012.

To this should be added the important new study by Damaris Gehr: «Gaudent brevitatem moderni»: Rielaborazioni della teoria magica nel tardo medioevo sull'esempio dell'Almandal di Salomone in Società e storia n.139, 2013.

The Almadel is a kind of portable altar. For an introduction, see 'the Holy Almandal' by Jan R. Veenstra in Bremmer, Jan N., and Jan R. Veenstra. The Metamorphosis of Magic from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period. Groningen studies in cultural change, v. 1. Leuven: Peeters, 2002, pp. 189 ff. According to Boudet, there are two different versions of Almadel (or Almandal), known from at least six Latin manuscripts and two German translations dating from the fifteenth century. [Jean-Patrice Boudet, Entre science et nigromancie, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2006, p. 149.] In the first version, which Véronèse designates "F" or "Almandal", the Almadel figure is constructed on a metal plate, and the littere written on the candles which are placed at the corners. It is fumigated and exorcised for a week, whereupon the spirits will obey you in everything.

A related version, designated F2, is related, but additional details are added: It specifies for example the size of the Almandal should be a square, one foot on each side, and a half-finger in height. It also specifies the day and the hour and a formula of consecration.

The second version, designated Almadel, is similar but structured differently, and the almadel is made of wax.

It was mentioned by William of Auvergne (1228-1249), and by the author of Speculum Astronomiae (1277) [Boudet, p. 145], also Trithemius, Agrippa, Johann Weyer, and Jacques Gohory. See also Solomon entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia for more information.

Compare with version in London, British Library, Add. 36674 fol, 152r:

A German manuscript in the BnF (Allemand 160) is titled Almandel Salomonis. It is dated Jan 2, 1500 (see fol. 245v), and includes two different drawings of the Almadel.

Compare this with the version found in Sepher Mafteah Shelomoh: ADNI ALHM RChMN (the last word means "merciful"; equivalent of Latin "pius"/compassionate) / Tetragrammaton ShDI IH / IVD BITh AGLA / OLIVN ALHI ALI; (inner) HVMAITAN / ANBN / IIR / PRIAAMRAVN.

Many of these names occur in a conjuration found in the Key of Solomon.

The Almadel, from Gollancz, Sepher Maphteah Shelomoh, 1914, fol 20b.

Note the drawing at the bottom showing how the candles are to be constructed with feet to support the Almadel.

"Picture of the Almadel", from Or. MS. 6360:


Almandal ("version F")
"F"Firenze, BNC, II.iii.214Latin15th ce

Almandal ("version F2")
"F2"Firenze, BML, Plut. 89 sup. 38Latin15th ce

Almadel/Liber Intelligentiarum
"W"Wien, ÖNB, cod. Vincob. 3400Latin1469
"A"Paris, Coxe 25Latinend of 15th ce
"H"Halle, U.L.S.A., 14.B.36Latinend of 15th ce
"V"Vatican, BA, lat. 3180 (47v-51r)Latinend of 15th ce

[Transcription from London, British Library manuscript Sloane 3825.]


Here beginneth the fourth part of this Booke which is called

Salomons Almadel Art


By this Rule [art] Salomon obtained great wisdom from the cheefe Angells that governe the 4 Altitudes of the world for you must observe [that] there be 4 Altitudes, representing the 4 corners of the world, East, West, North and South. The which are divided into 12 parts, that is, every part or Altitude into 3, and the Angells of every of these altitudes have their particulars vertues and powers, as shall be shewed in this following matter &c c c.

[The Making of the Almadel]

Make the Almadel of pure white wax, but colloured sutable to the altitude [as will be shown]; it is to be four squares [square], and six Inches [over] every way; and in every corner a hole and write betwixt every hole with a new pen, These words or names of god, following, but this is to be done in the day and hour of Sol.

Write upon the first part towards the East,

Adonai, Helomi, Pine,
and upon the second towards the south,
Helion, Heloi, Heli,
and upon the west part:
Jod, Hod, Agla:
and upon the fourth part which is the north write these names:
Tetragrammaton, Shadai, Jah,
and betwixt the first and the other quarters make The Pentacle of Salomon thus [pentacle], and betwixt the first and [the] other quarters write this word, Anabona and in the midle of the Almadel make a six angled figure and in the middest off it a Triangle wherin must be written these names of god,
Hel, Helion, Adoni [Adonai],
And this last name round in the 6 Angled figure, [as well,] as you may see in this figure, here made it being ffor an example &c.

In the critical edition of Véronèse, pp. 135-136, the words are as follows:

(In the first quadrant): Adonay, Alyas, Thelyon, Eloy, Pius.

(Second): Helyon, Heloim, Helym.

(Third): Yoth, Beth, agla

(Fourth): Thetagramathon, Saday, Ya

In the corners should be the seal of Solomon [according to editor it is a six angled star.] and between those signs should be written: Honoyteon, Pneumathon, Yatha, and Anabona.

The early 16th century example in Boudet has six-pointed stars in each of the 4 corners, and the following words: (outer-most border) adonay selem pius / elyon eloy ely / Ioth heth agla / tetragramathon saday ya; (inside border) henoytheon / primeuiuaton [=*primuematon?] / jatha / anabona ; (around inner hexagram) hel / hel / hel / hel / hel / hel.

ASV SU b.93b has: Adonay, Selem, Pius / Helyon, Eoly [*Eloy], Ely / Ioth, Agla, Beth / Tetagramaton [*Tetragrammuton], Saday, Ya; Oroytheon, Honoyteon, Vara, Anabona; Hel


And of the same wax there must be made four Candles, and they must be of the same collour as the Almadel is of. you must divide the wax into three parts, one part for to make the Almadel of, and the other 2 parts for to make the candles of, and let there come forth from every one of them a foot made of ye same wax, for to suporte ye Almadel with; This being done: in the next place you are to make a seal of pure gold or silver, but Gold is best wherein must be engraven these three names: Helion, Hellujon, Adonai; &c c.

[Of the First chora or Altitude (East)]

Nota The first Altitude is called Chora Orientis or the East Altitude and to make any experiment in this Chora, it is to be done in the day and houre of the Sun: and the power and office of those Angells is to make all things fruitfull & encrease, both Animals & vegetables, in creation & generation; advancing the Birth of [the] children & makeing barren women fruitfull, &c. Their names are those. vizt, Alimiel, Gabriel, Borachiel, Lebes & Hellison;

Note: you must not pray for any Angells but those that belong to the same Altitude, you have a desier to call forth. and when you operate, set the four candles upon 4 candle sticks, but be carefull you doe not light them before you begin to operate, then lay the Almadel between the four candles upon the waxen feet that cometh from the candles and lay the golden seal upon the Almadel, and and [sic] [Then] haveing the Invocation redy written on virgins Parchment: Light the Candles and read the Invocation as is set down at the latter end of this part &c c.

And when he appeareth, he appeareth in the form of an Angell carrying in his hand a fan or flagg, having the picture of a white cross upon it, his body is wrapped round about with a fair cloud, and his face very fair and bright, and a Crown of Rose flowers [is] upon his head: he descends first upon the superscription of ye Almadel as if it were a Mist or Fogg. Then must the exorcist have in readyness a vessell of Earth of ye same collour of [that] the Almadel is of, and the other of his furniture, it being in the form of a Basin, and put therein a few hot ashes or coales but not too much lest it should melt the wax of ye Almadel, & put therein 3 little grains of Masticke in powder, so that it fumeth and the smell may goe upwards threw the holes of the Almadel when it is under it, and as soon as the angell smells it he beginneth to speake with a low voice asking what your desier is and why you have called the princes and governers of his Altitude. then you must Answer him, saying,

I desire that all my requests may be granted, and what I pray for may be accomplished, for your office maketh appeare and declareth that such is to be fullfild by you if it pleases god, &c,
adding further the particulars of your Requests praying with sincerity [and] ^humility for what is lawfull and Just and that you shall indeed obtain from him:

But if he doth not appear presently, you must then take the golden seal, And make with it three or four marks upon the candles, by which means the angell will presently appeare as aforesaide: and when the Angell departeth he will fill the whole place with a sweet and pleasant smell which will be smelt a long time.

Nota. The golden seal will serve and is to be used in the operation of all the Altitudes. The Collour of the Almadel belonging to the first Chora is lilly [lily] white. To the second Chora a Perfect red Rose Collour; The 3d Chora is to be a green mixt with [a] white silver collour. The Fourth Chora is to be a black mixt with a little green of a sadd collour &c c c c c.

Of the second Chora or Altitude:

Note: all the other three Altitudes with their signes and princes have power over goods [146v] and riches, and can make any man Rich or poor, and as the first Chora giveth Encrease and maketh fruitfull, so these giveth decrease and Barrenness, &c c c c c.

And if any have a desire to operate in any of the other 3 Choras or Altitudes, they must doe it on Sundays in the manner as above is shewed; But doe not pray for anything that is contrary to the nature of their office, or against god and his laws, but what God giveth according to the course of nature, that you may desier and obtaine, and all the furniture that is to be used is to be of the same collour as the Almadel is of, and the princes of this second Chora are named as Followeth Vizt: Alphariza, Genon, Geron, Armon, Gereinon [Gereinin] &c.

and when you operate kneel before the Almadel with cloathes of ye same collour in a closet hung with the same collours allso, for the holy apparation will be of the same collour: and when he is appeared, put the earthen Bason under the Almadel with fire and hott ashes and 3 graines of Mastic in poweder to fume as above written, and when the Angell smelleth the perfume, he turneth his face towards you, asking the Exorcist with a low voyace why he called the princes of this Chora or Altitude, then you must answer as before; saying: I desire that my Request may be granted, and the contents thereof may be accomplished, for your offices maketh appear and declareth that such is to be done by you if it pleases god, &c: you must not be fearfull but speak humbly saying &c: I recomend my my [sic] selfe wholy into your office, and I pray unto your princes of this Altitude that I may enjoy [and obtain all things according to] my wishes and desiers, &c: you may further express your mind in all particulars in your prayer &c. doe the like in the 2 other Choras that follow &.c ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~.

The Angell of this second Altitude appears in the form of a young childe with clothes of sattin and of a Red Rose collour, haveing a crown of Red gilly flowers upon his head, his face looking upwards to heaven, and is of a Red Collour and is compassed round about with a Bright splendour, as the Beams of the Sunn; and before he departeth he speaks to the Exorcist, saying I am your friend and brother, and [he] Illuminateth the ayre round above with splendour, and [he leaveth a] pleasant smell, which lasteth a long time, &c c c c c.

of the Third Chora or Altitude

In this Chora you are to doe in all things as you are before directed in the other Two. The Angells of this Altitude are named as foll: vizt Eliphamasai, Gelomiros, Gedobonai, Saranana, & Elomnia; They appeare in the form of children or little women drest in green and silver collours, very delightfull to behold, and a crown of Bay leaves, beset with Flowers of white and green collours upon their heads and they seeme to look a little downwards with their faces, &c. They speak as the others doe to the Exorcist and leave a mighty, sweet perfume behind them, &c c c c c c.

Of the fourth Chora or Altitude

In this Chora you must doe as in the other [others], and the Angells of this Chora are called Barchiel, Gediel, Gabiel, Deliel, & Captiel. &c. These appeare in the forme of little men or Boys with cloathes of a Black collour, mixt with a darke green and in their hands they hold a Bird which is naked & their heads are Beare, only it is compassed round & [147r] Besett with Ivy [and] Berries. The [They] are all very beautifull and comely and are compassed round with a Bright shineing of diveres [divers] col;ours. They leave a sweet smell behinde them allso; but [it] differeth from the others something [somewhat] &c c c c c.

[Of the proper times for invoking these angells]

Nota: There are 12 princes rulling besides those in the 4 Altitudes, and they distribute their offices amongst themselves, every one rulling 30 dayes [or thereabouts,] every yeare, now it will be in vain to call any of those Angells unless it be those that then governeth, For every Chora or Altitude, hath its limited time according to the 12 signs of the Zodiack and in that [what] signe the Sunn is in. That Angell or those angells that belong to that signe have the government: as for Example; suppose I would call the 2 first of those 5 that belong to the first Chora, Then chuse the first Sunday on March: that is after the Sun is entred [Aries], and then I make my Experiment; and so doe the like if you will the next Sunday after againe; But if you will call the 2 second that belong to ye first Chora, Then you must take the Sundays that are in Aprill, after the [Sun] is entered [Taurus]. But if you call the last of the 5th [five] Then you must take those Sundays that are in May after the [Sun] is entered [Gemini]; to make your Experiment in; doe the like in the other Altitudes, for they have all one way of working: But the Altitudes have a Name formed severally in the substance of heaven even as a Character, for when the Angells hear the names of god that are attributed to them they hear it by the vertue of that carecter [character]. Therefore it is in vain to call any angell or spirit unless you knew [know] what names of god to call them by; Therefore observe the forme of this Following conjuration, or Invocation &c c c c c.

The Invocation [for to call forth any of the aforesaid angells]

O thou great mighty and blessed angell of god, N, who ruleth as the cheefe & first governing angell in the first Chora or Altitude in the East, under the great prince of the East whom you obey, and [who] is sett over you as king by the divine power of god, Adonai, Helomi, Pine; who is the distributter & disposer of all things, holly in heaven and Earth and hell; I the servant of that god Adonai, Helomi, Pine; which you obey, doe Invocate, Conjure & entreat thee N. that thou forthwith appeareth, & by the vertue & power of the same god, [Adonai, Helomi, Pine], I doe command thee forth [by him whom you do obey and who is set over you as king by the divine power of God, that you forthwith descend] ffrom thy order or please [place] of abode to come into me, and shew thy selfe plainly and visibly here before me in this Cristall stone, in thy owne [and] proper shape and glory speaking with a voice intelligible and to [unto] my understanding: O thou mighty and blessed angell N, who art by the power of god ordained to governe all vegetables and Animalls, and causeth them, and all other creatures of god to spring, encrease, and bring forth according to their kinds and natures; I the servant of the same your god I doe entreat and humbly beseech thee to come and shew unto me all things that I shall desiere of you, so farr as in office you can, or be capable to perform, if god permitt to the same; O thou servant of mercy N, I entreat thee, and humbly beseech thee, in and by these 3 names of your true god, Adonai, Helomi, Pine, And doe constraine you in and by this [powerful] name Anabona, That thou forthwith appeareth vissibly and plainely in thy own proper shape and glory in and throwgh this Cristall stone; That I may visibly see Thee, and audibly hear you speake unto me, That I may have thy blessed and [147v] Glorious angellicall assistance; familiar, friendship, and constant society, communication and Instruction, both now and at all other times, to Informe and rightly Instruct me in my Ignorant and depraved Intellect Judgement and understanding; and to assist me both herein, and in all other truths, else what the Almighty Adonai, the King of Kings, The giver of all good gifts, shall in his Bountifull, and Fatherly Mercy be graceously pleased to bestow upon me; Therefore O thou blessed angell N. be friendly unto me, and doe for me, so farr as god hath given you power in office to performe, whereunto I move you in power and presence to appeare That I may sing with his holy Angells, O Mappa-la-man! Hallelujah amen.1

1. John Dee's records of his scrying sessions (TFR), Apr 14, 1584, has this phrase. I haven't identified an earlier source.

[Note this invocation is to be altered according to the Altitude and angell you wish to call forth.]

When he is appeared, give him or them a kind entertainement, and then Aske what is Just and lawfull; and that which is proper and suetable to his office, and you shall Obtaine it.

So endeth the Booke Almadel of Solomon. &c.

[Ars Almadel Salomonis]