The following is a text I translated in 2013 taken from the book “Hermes Trismegistus, Astrologia et divinatoria” (Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Medievalis 144C, Brepols: Turnhout, 2001). The following section is the 15th century text “the Book of Runes”, the Latin for which was taken from four manuscripts:
- Vaticano (Città del), Diblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1439, ff.346r-347v.
- Dresden, Sächsiche Landesbibliothek, N, 100, ff. 198r-200v.
- London, British Library, Sloane 3854, ff. 97rv, 101rv.
- Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 12834, ff. 1r-6r.
This translation describes a method of image magic, talismanic writing, or magical inscription using a variant of medieval runes ascribed to the signs of the Zodiac and the elements.
The Book of Runes
To possess the knowledge of experiments, the effects of which are caused from the influence of the sky or the planets, it is briefly to be known what the Zodiac, what a sign, what a degree, what a face, [and] what a triplicity may be, and because it is common among us; therefore I leave this to rest. And to what the order of the planets etc. may be, this I leave. But as it is necessary, I return to the having and thinking of that which is said above.
Now it must be spoken of the names of the parts of the signs from which the figures called the runes are extracted.
- And further it is to be known that the stars which are in the end of Aries and in the start and center of Taurus are called Salmadis.
- That it is true in the end of Taurus and in the start and center of Gemini are called Lathlim.
- The end of Gemini with the start and center of Cancer are called Celecht.
- Rohob are the stars in the end of Cancer and in the start and in the center of Leo.
- Ayleyl is called the end of Leo with the start and center of Virgo.
- Alyobe is the end of Virgo and the start and center of Libra.
- Truly the end of Libra with the start and center of Scorpio is called Affoguil.
- Baltarie however are the stars in the end of Scorpio and in the start and center of Sagittarius.
- Hanapel is the end of Sagittarius with the start and center of Capricorn.
- Balyoel is the end of Capricorn and the start and center of Aquarius.
- Cariophel is the end of Aquarius with the start and center of Pisces.
- Rynybel is the end of Pisces with the start and center of Aries.
With the names of the parts of the signs from which the runes are taken, it is to be considered of the abstractions and natures of them. And it is to be noted that Salmadis is distinguished in two parts, of which the first is the start of Aries, the second the start and center of Taurus. And thus similarly know [this] about Lathlaym: for the first of its parts is the end of Taurus, the second is the start and center of Gemini, and it is to be known thus in order of all the rest of the parts of the signs.
- From Samlandis therefore are extracted two figures, of which the first is called AR (A), the second BERKE (B). The first is abstracted from the first part of Salmandis and is fiery, the other from the second is earthy.
- From Lathlym two [are extracted]: KON (C) and YISTUNGIAN (D): the first from the first part of Lathlym and is earthy, the second from the second part and is airy.
- From Teleth two: known as ISTUNGENIS (E) and FOE (F): the first from the first part is aery, the second from the second part is watery. And thus in whatever part of the signs two figures are abstracted, except Rinibel, of which is as much taken up by ZAZU.
- From Rohob two figures are taken up, which are called KOEN (G) and HAGEL (H): the first is watery, the second fiery.
- From Ayleyl two, LYS (I) and BARKE (K) : the first is fiery, the second earthy.
- From Alyobe two, LAGER (L) and MATH (M): the first is earthy, the second airy.
- From Affoguil two, NOTHER (N) and OTHER (O): the first is airy, the second watery.
- From Baltharien two, BIERDE STUNGEN (P) and BIERDE BLESENA (Q): the first is watery, the second fiery.
- From Hanepel two, RETHER (R) and SOEL (S): the first is fiery, the second earthy.
- From Balyoel two, TIR (T) and UR (V): the first is earthy, the second airy.
- From Cariopel two, XERS (X) and YOS (Y): the first airy, the second watery.
- From Rinibel, which is the end of Pisces and the start and center of Aries, only one figure is abstracted, one may see as ZAZIR (Z), which is watery.
With the seen natures of the figures, it is to be seen in what way the figures themselves should be placed in the order of the names of the spirits of the planets, by means of which any such work of experimentation may be brought about. It will be thus, I say, as you should observe to know the influence of the supercelestial bodies suitable to such works. Therefore it is to be noted that these 23 figures abstracted from the stars in the place of the 23 figures which are according to the Latins placed in this manner, which of these are first placed for the first of those, and [placed] second for the second, and thus in order according to the order of the figures; this is, as it may be said as an example, AR for A, BERKE for B, and thus it is to be placed for each remaining one.
And it is to be noted that it is not appropriate for something that is worked through some planet except in the matter to which [the planet] pertains, for good or evil. We shall see, moreover, what may be worked according to whichever of the planets.
- Under the hour of Saturn and his sign, those [works] which are of Saturn may be worked, such as pain, perdition, witchcraft, and similar things.
- Under the hour of Jupiter and his sign, those [works] which are of Jupiter may be worked, such as wealth, reconciliation, and justice.
- Under the hour of Mars and his sign, those [works] which are of Mars may be worked, such as victory, sedition, envy, and battles.
- Under the hour of the Sun and his sign, those [works] which are of the Sun may worked, such as praise, domination, and power.
- Under the hour of Venus and her sign, those [works] which are of Venus may be worked, such as joy, pleasure, charm, and everything that [people] watch for fun.
- Under the hour of Mercury and his sign, those [works] which are of Mercury may be worked, such as that which is for wealth, such as business, accounting, and teaching.
- By the Moon you may work for whatever thing you wish, even though this operation may be seen to pertain as much to that which exists in the house of another planet.
Consequently it is to be considered of the angels of the planets. And it is to be known that any and all of the planets has an angel by means of whom flows and acts in lesser things that they receive in [the planet’s] impressions. And of these angels the names are these.
- The name of the angel of Saturn is Athelateyl.
- Truly the angel of Jupiter is called Lathleym.
- The angel of Mars Mamarayl.
- The angel of the Sun Mathmeyl.
- The angel of Venus Behonydiun.
- The angel of Mercury Antyim.
- The name of the angel of the Moon Lyeleyl.
With the names of the spirits of the planets had, it is to be seen in what way these names should be engraved on metals or stones attributed to the planets, indeed, that the natures of the figures may support themselves to one another just as both the signs and triplicities: this is to say that the fiery figures are placed before the earthy, and airy before watery in sequences and sculptures, just as Aries which is a fiery sign is placed before Taurus which is earthy, and Gemini which is airy placed before Cancer which is watery. And it is to be noted that two figures of one and the same nature will never stay in a sculpture at the same time, as one may know as well neither two nor more of the same triplicity will stay at the same time. It is to be started from any figure, of whatsoever nature or triplicity it will be, according to the need of the sculptures.
Now it is to be said about the changing of the figures abstracted from the stars according to the different parts of the signs, in the way that a figure entering under is put in the place of an opposing figure, and in this manner a change of the figures is made, which is nothing other than the removing of an opposing figure and a placing forth of another figure suitably entering under. So as to understand this change, moreover, the difference of the abstracted figures is to be noted by some standing alone, some obstructing, some entering under. Figures standing by themselves are those which do not need change but are suitably placed in a sculpture according to the need of a good combination. Figures entering under are those which are well-put in the place of opposition. It is also to be noted that the figures standing by themselves make opposing figures and vice versa, and similarly figures entering under make those standing by themselves and will oppose. However, of the figures standing by themselves it is to be known that they are unchanging and always placed in the sculpture without change and make the sculpture to ascend into the circle or the parts of the signs by which it had fallen, which are the figures that from the upper parts of the circle, or rather the Zodiac, [that] are taken with respect to the figures which are those placed in the sculpture.
But because this mode of sculpting may be seen as difficult by some listeners and readers, its form stands is seen in the names of the angels of the Moon and of Venus, which are thus inscribed so. It must be noted also that the figures entering under, which are set in the place of the opposition, will always be taken up by the inferior parts of the circle looking back on those parts from which the figure stands by itself.
Therefore, when it will have pleased you to work by some of the planets, write the name of the angel of the Moon and of the planet according to all that has been determined before. With these written you will invoke the nagels by their names: “O Lyeleyl and Behonidyn,” or Machmeyl or whichever angel it will be, “I invoke you by the virtue of the First Cause, influencing, leading everything to be, that you make such a thing for me” and the names of the thing which you wish, and you will gain it if you will have worked sensibly.
But since bodies of diverse kinds are the support of impressions or figures of this manner, for example plants, gems, and metals, it may be seen that they may in any case be attributed to the planets.
- And in saying so briefly, lead is of Saturn, and in it are made things and creations and images to become a recluse and for all evil and for no good.
- Tin is truly shared by Jupiter and the Moon, and in it are made things for benevolence and not for any evil.
- Copper is of Venus and is shared in it by Mars, with whose sigils tongues or rods may be bound, and of it images and things for malevolence and all evil are made.
- Iron and diamond are shared by Mars and Venus, and in it are made things for benevolence and favor.
- Gold is of the Sun, with it the hearts of men are softened and they are brought together willingly, and an image made of it is virtuous for much benevolence. If you will have made a bracelet of it and inscribed on it the name of the angel of the Sun as is proper, all who should see it will love and fear the one bearing it.
- Living silver is of Mercury, that enters in many good creations, yet this is not the place to speak of it, but if you were to scatter it in a bed where two lovers lie they will hate each other, and many alchemical things are worked in it.
- Silver is of the Moon, and in it images and sculptures for love and the safety of will are made.
Now it remains to give an example of sculptures from the foregoing, and I will not put forth but one, which may be seen as of Venus, according to which you will be able to work if you so wish by any of the planets, just as is said before. And this [example] is that you engrave the name of the angel of the Moon and of Venus and the name of a girl or woman in a plate of tin or silver, which is better, [and] with these written the plate is to be buried in a place of fire that it may be constantly warm, but that the heat of the fire may not destroy the sculpture. And while you do this, invoke the angels, just as said above, and say the following: “Now let the heart of so-and-so N.~burn in the fire of my love, just as this tablet is set aflame by fire”. Thus you will invoke seven times, and carry out your work, [and] if you will have labored well, you will obtain it. I will leave behind all that is left to the intellect, because to the intelligent enough is said, that I may not be seen to reveal philosophical secrets to the foolish. Of this art, therefore, let brief speech suffice, that sagacious memories may take hold of [these words] of operations.
And this is the end.
The Zodiac is an oblique circle divided into twelve equal parts, which are called the twelve signs by the philosophers. A sign is a proportion in a twelfth of the Zodiac. A degree is a thirtieth part of a sign. A face is a third part of a sign. Of the triplicities it is to be known that they are all three signs, which are seen to agree in one and the same nature, that make a single triplicity. Whence these three [signs] Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius make one triplicity, because a triplicity is three signs in a concordance of similar qualities, and so four triplicities are distinguished in the signs. Of which the first is fiery, which consists of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. The second is earthy, and consists of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. The third is airy, which consists of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. The fourth is watery, which consists of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
Similarly, the qualities of the signs and triplicities are held in these verses:
Est Leo sic Aries calidus siccusque Sagittarius
frigidus est siccus Thaurus Virgo Capricornus
nempe Libra calet Gemini et Aquarius humet
Scorpio cum Pisce Cancero frigescit et humet.
Leo, Aries, and Sagittarius are hot and warm
cold and dry are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn
truly Libra, Gemini, and Aquarius warm, wet be
Scorpio with Pisces and Cancer cool and humidify.
Similarly, the order and names of these signs truly lie open in these verses:
Est Aries Thaurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo
Libraque Scorpius Architenens Caper Anphora Pisces.
It is Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo
and Libra Scorpio Bow-holder Goat Amphora Pisces.
Now the order of the planets and their qualities are to be said. It is to be noted so as to examine of these that there are seven wandering stars, which are held as the masters and leaders of the superior and inferior orbs. For the superior change and alter the inferior, and they are said to be the planets as if [they were] wandering. For “planet” in Greek is “wanderer” in Latin, because they move sometimes in direct motion, sometimes in indirect against the course of the firmament. Of the seven planets are circles or spheres, which are said to be the heavens. In the supreme circle, which stands the greatest distance from the earth, is placed Saturn, whose nature is cold and dry intemperate. In the following circle is Jupiter placed, whose nature is warm and humid temperate. In the third circle descending is Mars set, in which is heat and dryness distemperate. In the fourth circle is placed the Sun, whose nature is hot and dry temperate. In the fifth sphere Lucifer is placed, who is called by the other name Venus and whose nature is cold and humid temperate. In the sixth circle is the star Mercury located, equal to the Sun in speed, mixed with the natures of the planets. In the seventh sphere, which is closer to the Earth, is placed the Moon, cold, moist, and swift.
Similarly, the qualities of the planets [are] in these verses:
Frigens Saturnus siccus distemperat ecce
temperat hic calidus at humet Iupiter astris
Mars calidus siccus distemperate agmina belli
Sol calidus siccus qui temperat et regem orbem
humida frigescens Venus, inquam, temperat artem
quodlibet ad signum vertit Mercurius orbem
humida dat ventum resplendens frigida Luna.
Behold, chilling Saturn, madly stark with dry
then mild star Jove, warm to humidify
Hot dry Mars, extreme troop of war
Hot dry Sun, the kind kingly star
Humid cooling Venus, with art so fair
though Mercury changes with sign’s orb so far,
resplendent sweet Moon gives humid cool air.
An example of Jupiter.
O Lyeleyl and Lathleym, I invoke you by the virtue of the First Cause influencing and leading everything to be so for me etc.
An example of Mercury.
O Lyeleyl and Antyym, I invoke you by the virtue of the First Cause etc. be you near to virtue and teach me one by one the illnesses and colors to realize of urines and to be able and willing in medicines.
…or in some other art you desire.
An example of the Sun.
O Lyeleym et Machymeyl, I invoke you by the virtue of the First Cause etc. that you make me powerful in gold or silver through some certain demonstration.
An example of Jupiter.
O Lyeleym et Lathleym, I invoke you by the virtue of the First Cause, influencing etc. that you reconcile John to me and that you make good peace between him and me.
Variant names of the signs:
- Salmadis: Salmandis, Salmadys, Salmalis
- Lathlym: Lathlim, Lathlaym, Lachlim, Lachlym
- Celecht: Teleth, Celcech, Scecelech, Celeth, Celech
- Rohob: Rohos, Rops
- Ayleyl: Eyleyl, Nyleyl, Ayeyl
- Alyobe: Alpos, Blyale, Alyabe
- Affoguil: Affoquil, Affoguyl
- Baltharie: Baltharien, Baltarie, Kalcharie, Balcharie
- Hanapel: Hanepel, Hanape
- Balyoel: Hahoel, Ballioel, Balyal
- Cariopel: Cariophel, Gariofel, Fariopel, Gariophel
- Rynybel: Rinibel, Nimbel, Kicubel, Rymbel, Kynybel, Kynibel
Variant names of the runes (the name in the text given first, followed by the actual runic name where possible):
- AR (ár): ay
- BERKE (bjarkan): bietke, byrzke, byrke
- KON (kaun): con
- YISTUNGIAN (tyr stungian): iystingen, iyistungien, gostarigen, tyr sinnigen, cystungen
- ISTUNGENIS (íss stungian): stungenis, ystingeren
- FOE (fé): for, forpa
- KOEN (kaun stunginn): keon, luen
- HAGEL (hagall): hahel
- LYS (íss): lis, ilys
- BARKE (kaun): karike, byarke, ilyarbe
- LAGER (logr): rager, lag
- MATH (maðr): mathiy, mag
- NOTHER (nauð): noch
- OTHER (óss): och, oos
- BIERDE STUNGEN (bjarkan stunginn): birbe stuncken, byerke stungin
- BIERDE BLESENA: berke blesent, bierde blesena, berke blessent, bierbe blesena, byerke blesend, byerke blosena
- RETHER (reið): raher
- SOEL (sól): sol, soel
- TIR (tyr): tyr
- UR (úr):
- XERS: yers, xere
- YOS: zyois, yois, ydis
- ZAZU: zazir
Variant names of the angels:
- Atelateyl: Athelateyl, Acelateyl, Acelaceyl, Acelayl
- Lathleym: Lachleym, Llachleym, Lachlym
- Mathmeyl: Machmeyl, Machymeyl, Machmereyl, Mathmereyl
- Behonydiun: Behonidyn, Behonydyn
- Antyim: Antyym, Ancytym
- Lyeleyl: Lyeleym, Llyeleyl
Correspondence of the signs of the Zodiac with the extracted signs:
|Zodiac Sign||Extracted Sign|
Correspondence of the runes with the elements and the signs:
|Zodiac Sign||Zodiac Element||Extracted Sign||Extracted Rune||Runic Element|
A fuller description of the method of writing names out in cipher is given in this post.