Ritual Sword

I was hanging out with a friend and we were discussing the use of the black-handled knife from the Key of Solomon, to be used in drawing out circles and binding spirits with, if not outright having the capability of harming them.  She mentioned a specific symbol to be engraved on a blade used as a demon’s bane, something to harm or kill hostile spirits with.  This definitely perked my interest, though the concept of harming or killing a spirit is a little strange to me.  It makes more sense in a many-incarnation model of life and death, like Buddhism or Hermetic philosophy, than in a single-incarnation model of thought, but still.

The symbol is composed of four parts: a long seal-like symbol that goes on the blade, a symbol that looks like a very angular P on the quillons (the guard or protector of the sword), a circumscribed pentagram with crosses on four points for the grip, and a pair of outwardly-curved lines meeting at their vertex (like two parentheses put together or a symbol of Pisces without the crossbar) for the pommel (the butt of the hilt).  I replaced the circumscribed pentagram with three separate symbols for my own purposes: a hexagram, a pentagram, and a cross (the same symbols used on the triangle in the Table of Practice).  It was the main, long seal-like symbol that seemed to be the crucial glyph that gave the blade its ethereal oomph.

However, my friend couldn’t remember the origin of the symbol, but she did recall that it came from a text specifying its use to harm spirits.  I couldn’t find the symbol she gave me anywhere on the Internet or in my occult library.  It’s the same design used on an Alchemy Gothic pendant as a “Demon Killer Incant Sword”; cheesy though they may be, AG tends to source their designs with a respectable quality for pop-occult jewelry makers, so this is a pointer in the right direction.  I found a similar design in Waite’s Book of Ceremonial Magic (part II, chapter 1, section 5) as a symbol used as embroidery on ritual vestments, with a similar symbol in the Key of Solomon (book II, chapter 6).  I’m still curious about the use of this symbol on robes or blades, and whether one came before the other.  My friend has experience with this symbol and has tested its use against spirits (efficient and effective), and it would make sense that Solomonic gear is designed and enchanted for the defense of the magician against demons or harmful spirits.

Interested in making such a sword for myself (you never know when these things come in use, after all), I bought a cheap but decent-quality sword online.  The sword has roughly the size and thickness of a machete and the shape of a gently-curved scimitar, and came in a nylon sheath.  The only bad thing about the sword when I got it was the terrible, tacky grip: two pieces of shaped wood held on with electrical tape and nasty-feeling faux leather.  I took the grip apart and put it aside until after the engraving process was done, then I used masking tape to reassemble the grip and used a cord wrap around that for style and comfort.  That took far longer than expected, about two hours, but while I was doing it I was repeating a small chant to start the buildup of power in the sword.  May as well make good use of that time, after all.

Then, one Wednesday night, I was taking a nap and woke up when I was suddenly inspired to start the engraving immediately.  I got out my dremel, some masking tape, and a marker, as well as the symbol reference and my copy of the Key of Solomon for its inscription of the sword (book II, chapter 8).   It felt like it had to be done right there, right then, so I got to work.  This was the first time I engraved metal using the dremel, so I was somewhat apprehensive about using it without practice or guides first.  I used masking tape to help with an even baseline for the Hebrew and a straight middle line for the long seal, as well as alignment of the other symbols to make sure they were all even.  I quickly wrote out the Hebrew and drew out the sign on masking tape under the engraved area to help with spacing, and then free-handed the engraving using a dremel.  I also used the dremel to grind off the branding from both sides of the blade.  One hour and a fair bit of metal dust later, the sword was engraved.  For being free-handed out, the inscription turned out pretty good.

As it happened, the timing was completely fortuitous.  I woke up in the 15th hour of the day of Mercury, one of the times approved of in the Key of Solomon, and got to work just as it was coming to a close.  I somehow ended up following the directions more than I anticipated, at least for crafting the blade itself.   Given how I happened to wake up from a slightly-intoxicated nap and felt urged to work on this right then, I consider this to be one of those commandeered projects.

The inscriptions on the right side of the blade consisted of:

  • The demon’s bane symbol, a Maltese cross, and a variant of the “beneficial sign” from the Headless Rite from the PGM (V 96-172).
  • The quillons symbol described above.
  • A pentagram on the grip.
  • The pommel symbol described above.
Those on the left side:
  • The Hebrew godnames Tetragrammaton (יהוה), Adonai (אדני), Eheieh (אהיה), Yayai (ייאי), and Elohim Gibor (אלהים גבור) on the blade.  Technically, the last godname should be on the other side of the blade, but I joined it together with the others, separating them out using colons.
  • The Hebrew name Michael (מיכאל) on the quillons.
  • A hexagram on the grip.
  • The pommel symbol described above.

Although a consecration and simple charging of the sword could work well enough, the symbols engraved on the sword help empower it in different ways.  The godnames and name of Michael give the sword a definite fiery attacking quality.  The hexagram, pentagram, and cross combined form protective symbols that incorporate the elemental, celestial, and mundane worlds.  The “beneficial sign” (an innovation of my own for this project) has both defensive and offensive qualities related to solar and divine powers, emphasized by the use of the name of the angel Michael.  The demon’s bane symbol, seemingly linked to the ritual vestment symbol from the Key of Solomon, would give the sword a defensive-offensive  nature against demonic or spiritual entities.  If the symbol’s original purpose was to imbue ritual vestments with an anti-demonic power against any that might approach, then it could make sense to also use it on a weapon against demons.

The “barless Pisces” pommel symbol didn’t immediately look familiar to me.  According to my symbol dictionaries, the symbol is used as a symbol denoting cleaving or dividing in several varying cultures, and it’s also an alchemical sign used for the poisonous mineral realgar, a kind of ruby-like crystalline arsenic-sulfur compound, both of which are known for their banishing and noxious properties.  Based on these connotations alone, this symbol helps the sword build a strong destructive offense, powerful and permanent.  Likewise, I didn’t recognize the quillions “angular P” symbol.  It’s not one present in any of my symbol dictionaries, so it’s not commonly used in any context.  It bears similarities to Phoenician aleph, reversed or inverted; the Enochian printed Ceph (‘z’) in a highly angular form; and the Alphabet of the Magi qoph (‘q’, ‘k’), also in a highly angular form; these all have associations with “back of the head” (qoph, path 29 in Qabbalah, the Moon) or the tail end of things, things unseen or smoldering under the surface. According to my friend, it’s an alchemical symbol used for “rot” or “decay”, which has negative connotations but doesn’t quite mesh well with the other, fiery, calcifying natures of the sword.  Other alchemical symbols that are close to this include melt, fire, and Mars, so that might also be part of this symbol’s connotation set, but I’m still unsure.

The use of the sword, according to the Key of Solomon, is to serve as a “strength and defense in all magical operations, against all mine enemies, visible and invisible”, and is described in similar manner to the black-handled knife that “strike[s] terror and fear into the spirits”.  The Key of Solomon later specifies that the magical circles “may be marked either with the sword or with the knife with the black hilt”, defensive towards the magician and offensive towards spirits.  It would not, however, work on beneficial, friendly, or similar types of spirits, just as how gods and angels don’t have to be constrained by triangles or circles if they don’t deign to.

The Key of Solomon provides instructions on how to consecrate the sword, so I used that as the basis of my consecration ritual.  Since the ritual includes suffumigating the sword in incense, I went ahead and made a powerful Martian blend of incense from frankincense, sulfur, dragon’s blood, red pepper, black peppercorn, pine needles, myrrh, ginger root, and mullein, with a pinch of hoodoo-style Power incense for extra kick.  I used the consecration of incense of evil odors (since the smells are related to the malefic planet Mars) from book II, chapter 10 that had been made and consecrated in a day and hour of Mars.:

ADONAI, LAZAI, DALMAI, AIMA, SHADDAI, ELOHI, o holy Father, grant unto me succour, favour, and grace by the invocation of your Holy Name, so that this incense may serve me for aid in all that I wish to perform with them, that all deceit may quit them, and that they may be blessed and sanctified through your Name. Amen.

I prepared my working area and myself the following morning before dawn.  Then, at sunrise (the first hour of the day of Mercury), suitable for the consecration according to book II, chapter 8, I followed the procedure as below:

  1. Invoke and pray to the Almighty, and set up a ritual space for the consecration.
  2. Invoke the presence and aid of the archangel Michael.
  3. Sprinkle the sword with holy water to cleanse it.
  4. Anoint the sword with Abramelin oil to bless it.
  5. Perform the conjuration of the sword while suffumigating it in incense:

    I conjure you, o sword, by the names ABRAHACH, ABRACH, ABRACADABRA, YOD HE VAU HE, that you serve me for a strength and defense in all magical operations, against all my enemies, visible and invisible.

    I conjure you by the holy and indivisible name of EL strong and wonderful, by the name SHADDAI almighty, and by the names QADOSH QADOSH QADOSH ADONAI ELOHIM TZABAOTH, EMANUEL, the First and the Last, Wisdom, Way, Life, Truth, Chief, Speech, Word, Splendour, Light, Sun, Fountain, Glory, the Stone of the Wise, Virtue, Shepherd, Priest, Messiah immortal; I conjure you, o sword, that you serve me for a protection in all adversities.  Amen.

  6. Anoint the sword with Fiery Wall of Protection oil to give it an offensive and defensive strength against hostile enemies, as well as giving the sword a fiery charge.  Recite the Prayer of Saint Michael the Archangel over the sword:

    Holy Michael the archangel, defend me in the day of battle;
    be my safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, I humbly pray,
    and do thou, prince of the heavenly host,
    by the power of God thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits,
    who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

  7. Formally declare the sword consecrated and charged for my own ends.
  8. Thank Michael for his presence and aid.
  9. Thank and praise the Almighty, and close the ritual.

In addition to the sword itself, I also consecrated the sheath that came with the sword.  Being made of thick nylon, it was too thick for embroidery and I have doubts about painting it, so I used my woodburner to melt in the symbols and godnames from book II, chapter 20, which deals with the silken cloth used to cover the instruments of the Art.  However, the nylon weave was only pinned to the hard plastic sheath itself, and melting through the nylon detached it from the hard plastic.  Basically, I melted large but pretty rips into the nylon.  I ripped off the nylon to expose the hard plastic underneath and re-melted the symbols into that, which has proved sturdier if not a little uglier.

To consecrate the sheath, I sprinkled it with holy water to cleanse it, suffumigated it with cinnamon and frankincense incense, recited Psalms 8, 72, 134, and 65 over it, and put some “sweet spices” into the sheath for seven days before storing the sword in it.  I used dried orange peel, flakes of cinnamon, powdered cardamom, and powdered ginger, all of which have fiery or solar associations but of a softer or sweeter kind than those used in the incense.  Since the sword is made of steel and thus an iron instrument, I used the instructions from book II, chapter 19 for one more layer of consecration; I recited Psalms 3, 7, 9, 42, 60, 51, and 130, and conjured the angels that will guard the sword as I inserted it into its sheath:


With all that done, I just need the judgment and wisdom, not to mention the skill and ability, to make good and proper use of the thing, and I’ll be set.  All in all, the project took about a week’s time: one Wednesday to work on and consecrate the sheath as well as engrave the sword and fix the handle, then waiting until the next Wednesday to perform the consecration of the sword, making the incense and letting the sheath “cook” in the meantime.  The benefit of this project is massive compared to the cheap cost, especially with decent-quality swords sold for only a few dollars on the Internet; however, getting a sword made of good steel might be a preferred choice in the future.