Johannes Trithemius: The art of drawing spirits into crystals

This electronic edition 1999 Apr 21, by Joseph H. Peterson, Footnotes and introduction copyright © 1999 Joseph H. Peterson.

Last updated 2021 Jul 5 JHP.

From Francis Barrett The Magus, Book II, London, 1801, pp. 135 ff. This text appeared as Part IV of Book 2, parts I-III being (I) a treatise on magnetism, (II) The Cabala, or Ceremonial Magic, plagiarized from pseudo-Agrippa's Fourth Book, (III) The Key to Ceremonial Magic, plagiarized from Peter de Abano's Heptameron.

Sources: As an example, the text uses the sigil of Michael as found specifically in pseudo-Peter of Abano's Heptameron. From my analysis of the geneology of that text, that seems to be an innovation introduced circa 1559 or slightly before — thus well after the death of the historical abbott Trithemius. [See Peterson, Elucidation of Necromancy (2021).] Although the present text doesn't include the rest of the seals, they were included earlier in Barrett's text:

There are several indications that the framework was also based more or less directly on Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, specifically, OP3.24. That chapter gives the names of "four Princes of the Angels, which are set over the four winds, and over the four parts of the world, whereof Michael is set over the Eastern wind; Raphael over the Western; Gabriel over the Northern; Nariel, who by some is called Uriel, is over the Southern." It also mentions the four "Kings" of spirits set over "the four parts of the world" and gives their names as "Urieus, King of the East; Amaymon, King of the South; Paymon, King of the West; Egyn, King of the North, which the Hebrew Doctors perhaps call more rightly thus, Samael, Azazel, Azael, Mahazael." Agrippa also cites Trithemius in the same chapter.

Barrett excerpts the same chapter at length in part I of The Magus, pages 55-57.

Magic and Philosophy of
containing his book of
With many curious and rare Secrets (hitherto not generally known;)


With many other Experiments in the Occult Sciences, never yet published in the English Language.
Translated from a valuable Latin manuscript,
By Francis Barrett,
Student of Chemistry, natural and and occult philosophy, the Cabala, &c.

Of the making of the Chrystal and the Form of Preparation for a Vision.

Procure of a lapidary good clear pellucid crystal, of the bigness of a small orange, i.e. about one inch and a half in diameter; let it be globular or round each way alike; then, when you have got this crystal, fair and clear, without any clouds or specks, get a small plate of pure gold to encompass the crystal round one half; let this be fitted on an ivory or ebony pedestal, as you may see more fully described in the drawing, [figure 1]. Let there be engraved a circle (A) round the crystal with these characters around inside the circle next the crystal [figure; afterwards the name "Tetragrammaton". On the other side of the plate let there be engraven "Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael;"1 which are the four principal angels ruling over the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury; but on the table on which the crystal stands the following names, characters, &c. must be drawn in order.

1. Cf. Agrippa, OP2.7 (scale of 4), where they are associated with the four elements. It is to the scale of 7 (OP2.10) that we must look to find planetary associations. The seal of Michael shown in the figure is from Heptameron. This fact would seem to tie the present text to the innovations in that text, and hence establish an earliest date (terminus post quem) of 1559 or so — much later than the life of the historical Trithemius. -JHP

First, The names of the seven planets and angels ruling them, with their seals or characters.2 The names of the four kings of the four corners of the earth.3 Let them be all written within a double circle, with a triangle on a table; on which place the crystal on its pedestal: this being done, thy table is complete (as in the Fig. D,) and fit for the calling of the spirits; after which thou shalt proceed to experiment, thus:

2. The names and seals of the seven angels are those found in Heptameron, as evident by the example shown in the accompanying plate. See introduction.

3. There is considerable variation in identification of the four kings of the cardinal directions:

In OP2.7, Agrippa lists "Oriens, Paymon, Egyn, Amaymon" (E, W, N, S respectively) as princesquatuor principes dæmoniorum super quatuor angulos orbis ("four princes of daemons over the four corners of the world"). However in OP3.24 he uses the word "kings," saying, "Urieus, King of the East; Amaymon, King of the South; Paymon, King of the West; Egyn, King of the North, which the Hebrew Doctors perhaps call more rightly thus, Samael, Azazel, Azael, Mahazael" This suggests that it was drawn from OP3.24 rather than OP2.7.

Trithemius himself, in Polygraphia lists Asmodae, Paymon, Egyn, and Amaymon in a list of demons. -JHP

In what time thou wouldest deal with the spirits by the table and crystal, thou must observe the planetary hour; and whatever planet rules in that hour,4 the angel governing the planet thou shalt call in the manner following; but first, say this short prayer:

4. Planetary hours: See below. These are from ps.-Peter of Abano's Heptameron.

"Oh, God! who art the author of all good things, strengthen, I beseech thee, thy poor servant, that he may stand fast, without fear, through this dealing and work; enlighten, I beseech thee, oh Lord! the dark understanding of thy creature, so that his spiritual eye may be opened to see and know thy angelic spirits descending here in this crystal: (then lay thy hand on the crystal saying,) and thou, oh inanimate creature of God, be sanctified and consecrated, and blessed to this purpose, that no evil phantasy may appear in thee; or, if they do gain ingress into this creature, they may be constrained to speak intelligibly, and truly, and without the least ambiguity, for Christ's sake. Amen. And forasmuch as thy servant here standing before thee, oh, Lord! desires neither evil treasures, nor injury to his neighbour, nor hurt to any living creature, grant him the power of descrying those celestial spirits or intelligences, that may appear in this crystal, and whatever good gifts (whether the power of healing infirmities, or of imbibing wisdom, or discovering any evil likely to afflict any person or family, or any other good gift thou mayest be pleased to bestow on me, enable me, by thy wisdom and mercy, to use whatever I may receive to the honour of thy holy name. Grant this for thy son Christ's sake. Amen."

Then taking your ring and pentacle, put the ring on the little finger of your right hand;5 hang the pentacle round thy neck; (Note, the pentacle may be either wrote on clean virgin parchment, or engraven on a square plate of silver and suspended from thy neck to the breast), then take your black ebony wand, with the gilt characters on it and trace the circle, (Fig. 7. C D E F,) saying,

5. Note this ring is not otherwise mentioned, but is perhaps the same illustrated on the plate following page B106, which shows a hexagram on the face. -JHP

"In the name of the blessed Trinity, I consecrate this piece of ground for our defence; so that no evil spirit may have power to break these bounds prescribed here, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.

Then place the vessel for the perfumes between thy circle and the holy table on which the crystal stands, and, having fire therein, cast in thy perfumes, saying,

"I conjure thee, oh thou creature of fire! by him who created all things both in heaven and earth, and in the sea, and in every other place whatever, that forthwith thou cast away every phantasm from thee, that no hurt whatsoever shall be done in any thing. Bless, oh Lord, this creature of fire, and sanctify it that it may be blessed, and that they may fill up the power and virtue of their odours; so neither the enemy, nor any false imagination, may enter into them; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

Now, this being done in the order prescribed, take out thy little book, which must be made about seven inches long, of pure white virgin vellum or paper, likewise pen and ink must be ready to write down the name, character, and office, likewise the seal or image of whatever spirit may appear (for this I must tell you that it does not happen that the same spirit you call will always appear, for you must try the spirit to know whether he be a pure or impure being, and this thou shalt easily know by a firm and undoubted faith in God.)

Now the most pure and simple way of calling the spirits or spirit is by a short oration to the spirit himself, which is more effectual and easy to perform than composing a table of letters; for all celestial operations, the more pure and unmixed they are, the more they are agreable to the celestial spirits: therefore, after the circle is drawn, the book, perfumes, rod, &c. in readiness, proceed as follows:

(After noticing the exact hour of the day, and what angel rules that hour, thou shalt say,)

"In the name of the blessed and holy Trinity, I do desire thee, thou strong mighty angel, Michael, [Or any other angel or spirit] that if it be the divine will of him who is called Tetragrammaton &c. the Holy God, the Father, that thou take upon thee some shape as best becometh thy celestial nature, and appear to us visibly here in this crystal, and answer our demands in as far as we shall not transgress the bounds of the divine mercy and goodness, by requesting unlawful knowledge; but that thou wilt graciously shew us what things are most profitable for us to know and do, to the glory and honour of his divine Majesty, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.

"Lord, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; -- make clean our hearts within us, and take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

"O Lord, by thy name, we have called him, suffer him to administer unto us. And that all things may work together for thy honour and glory, to whom with thee, the Son, and blessed Spirit, be ascribed all might, majesty and dominion. Amen"

Note, In these dealings, two should always be present; for often a spirit is manifest to one in the crystal when the other cannot perceive him; therefore if any spirit appear, as there most likely will, to one or both, say,

"Oh, Lord! we return thee our hearty and sincere thanks for the hearing of our prayer, and we thank thee for having permitted thy spirit to appear unto us which we, by thy mercy, will interrogate to our further instruction, through Christ. Amen."

Interrog. 1. In the name of the holy and undefiled Spirit, the Father, the begotten Son, and Holy Ghost, proceeding from both, what is thy true name?

If the spirit answers, Michael, then proceed.

Quest. 2. What is thy office? 3. What is thy true sign or character? 4. When are the times most agreeable to thy nature to hold conference with us?

Wilt thou swear by the blood and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou art truly Michael?

(Here let him swear, then write down his seal or character in thy book, and against it, his office and times to be called, through God's name; also write down any thing he may teach thee, or any responses he may make to thy questions or interrogations, concerning life or death, arts or sciences, or any other thing;) and then shalt thou say,

"Thou great and mighty spirit, inasmuch as thou camest in peace and in the name of the ever blessed and righteous Trinity, so in this name thou mayest depart, and return to us when we call thee in his name to whom every knee doth bow down. Fare thee well, Michael; peace be between us, through our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

Then will the spirit depart; then say,

"To God the Father, eternal Spirit, fountain of Light, the Son, and Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen."

Fig. 1. The form of the crystal for invocating spirits, with the plate of pure gold in which the crystal must be fastened, with the divine characters around. [Names read (top) Michael, (right) Gabriel, (bottom) Raphael, (left) Uriel).]

Fig 2. A magical circle (C D E F), of a simple construction, for the operator to stand or sit in when he calleth the spirits. [Names read "Tetragrammaton," "Elohim," and "ADONAI." Also includes the common symbol for the Sun . The sigil corresponds with that of the archangel Michael in Heptameron. (In The Magical Calendar it is associated with Raphael and Venus.)]

Fig. 3. The crystal (A), two silver or other candlesticks (G G,) with the wax tapers burning, and tripod or vessel for the odoriferous suffumigation.

Fig 4. A wand of black ebony with golden characters. The characters are explained. [The magic wand to be used in invocations by the crystal. Write or engrave on the other side: "Ego Alpha et Omega."]

[The lamin is also referred to in the text as "the pentacle." It has the name of the archangel Michael in Hebrew, plus the sigil. The names around the outside read "El, Elohim, Elohe, Zebaoth, Elion, Escherchie, Adonai, Jah, Jehovah, Tetragrammaton, Saday, Jod, Ehevi."]

I shall here set down the Table of the names of Spirits and Planets governing the Hours; so thou shalt easily know by inspection, what Spirit and Planet governs every Hour of the Day and Night in the Week.


Angels and Planets ruling Hours
Angels and Planets ruling
1 Michael 1 Sachael
2 Anael 2 Samiel
3 Raphael 3 Michael
4 Gabriel 4 Anael
5 Cassiel 5 Raphael
6 Sachiel 6 Gabriel
7 Samael 7 Cassiel
8 Michael 8 Sachiel
9 Anael 9 Samael
10 Raphael10 Michael
11 Gabriel11 Anael
12 Cassiel12 Raphael


Angels and Planets ruling Hours
Angels and Planets ruling
1 Gabriel 1 Anael
2 Cassiel 2 Raphael
3 Sachiel 3 Gabriel
4 Samael 4 Cassiel
5 Michael 5 Sachiel
6 Anael 6 Samael
7 Raphael 7 Michael
8 Gabriel 8 Anael
9 Cassiel 9 Raphael
10 Sachiel 10 Gabriel
11 Samael 11 Cassiel
12 Michael 12 Sachiel


Angels and Planets ruling Hours
Angels and Planets ruling
1 Samael 1 Cassiel
2 Michael 2 Sachiel
3 Anael 3 Samael
4 Raphael 4 Michael
5 Gabriel 5 Anael
6 Cassiel 6 Raphael
7 Sachiel 7 Gabriel
8 Samael 8 Cassiel
9 Michael 9 Sachiel
10 Anael 10 Samael
11 Raphael 11 Michael
12 Gabriel 12 Anael


Angels and Planets ruling Hours
Angels and Planets ruling
1 Raphael 1 Michael
2 Gabriel 2 Anael
3 Cassiel 3 Raphael
4 Sachael 4 Gabriel
5 Samael 5 Cassiel
6 Michael 6 Sachiel
7 Anael 7 Samael
8 Raphael 8 Michael
9 Gabriel 9 Anael
10 Cassiel 10 Raphael
11 Sachiel 11 Gabriel
12 Samael 12 Cassiel


Angels and Planets ruling Hours
Angels and Planets ruling
1 Sachiel 1 Gabriel
2 Samael 2 Cassiel
3 Michael 3 Sachiel
4 Anael 4 Samael
5 Raphael 5 Michael
6 Gabriel 6 Anael
7 Cassiel 7 Raphael
8 Sachiel 8 Gabriel
9 Samael 9 Cassiel
10 Michael 10 Sachiel
11 Anael 11 Samael
12 Raphael 12 Michael


Angels and Planets ruling Hours
Angels and Planets ruling
1 Anael 1 Samael
2 Raphael 2 Michael
3 Gabriel 3 Anael
4 Cassiel 4 Raphael
5 Sachiel 5 Gabriel
6 Samael 6 Cassiel
7 Michael 7 Sachiel
8 Anael 8 Samael
9 Raphael 9 Michael
10 Gabriel 10 Anael
11 Cassiel 11 Raphael
12 Sachiel 12 Gabriel


Angels and Planets ruling Hours
Angels and Planets ruling
1 Cassiel 1 Raphael
2 Sachiel 2 Gabriel
3 Samael 3 Cassiel
4 Michael 4 Sachiel
5 Anael 5 Samael
6 Raphael 6 Michael
7 Gabriel 7 Anael
8 Cassiel 8 Raphael
9 Sachiel 9 Gabriel
10 Samael 10 Cassiel
11 Michael 11 Sachiel
12 Anael 12 Samael

Note, The day is divided into twelve equal parts, called Planetary Hours, reckoning from sunrise to sunset, and, again, from the setting to the rising; and to find the planetary hour, you need but to divide the natural hours by twelve, and the quotient gives the length of the planetary hours and odd minutes, which shews you how long a spirit bears rule in that day; as Michael governs the first and the eighth hour on Sunday, as does the . After you have the length of the first hour, you have only to look in the Table, as if it be the fourth hour, on Sunday, you see in the Table that the and Gabriel rules; and so for the rest it being so plain and easy you cannot err.