I've long been interested in The Grimoire of Armadel in all its messy glory. Thought to have been written in the 17th Century, this grimoire was part of a British Library manuscript Lans. 1202 as “Clavicules du Roi Salomon, Par Armadel, Livre Quatrieme, Des Esprits qui gouvernent sous les Ordres du Souverain Createur” or “The Key of King Solomon, by Armadel; Book Four: The Spirits which govern under the Orders of the sovereign Creator”. The author S.L. MacGregor Mathers translated the manuscript, but it wasn't published until 1980 by Weiser under the title, “The Grimoire of Armadel”.
The reason I consider the Armadel messy, is that it seems to be missing key elements, instructions, and even a cohesive order. At times it seems like a chimera created from pieces of other grimoires and magical tomes including the Arbatel and Agrippa's books of Occult Philosophy. That being said, it created a spark of interest in me and a desire to try a ritual using its format. After reading through the grimoire a few times I put together the following ritual in an order that seemed to make sense. I would caution other practitioners to do the same as the chapter order is very confusing when one reads it through the first time.
Although it is a heavily Christian grimoire, its language is poetic and sets an earnest tone for conjuration.The tools needed are minimal: a circle, a lamen, the sigil of the spirit one is calling, and a voice for prayers.
I chose to call upon the spirit Betel. According to the grimoire, Betel “teacheth unto you the Sciences which God had revealed to Adam. He is a very docile Spirit who appeareth as soon as he is invoked. This should be either in a wood, or in a secluded garden, and one should be alone, whether it be by day or night.
In this there is taught in what way we can arrive at the possession of the virtues of all Creatures (or created things); there is (further) taught what and what kind be the virtues hereof, and what (virtues) be truly most powerful above all virtues of Creatures. There is also taught the reason of the laws of (such) virtues and their uses.”
I was at a stage in my life where I thought some insight would be very helpful. I was juggling too many things and felt as though my life was more chaotic than it should be. I believed some advice from a wise, yet docile, spirit would be most helpful.
Order of Operation
) Creating the Lamen: The First Characters: “The First Characters which should be made upon virgin parchment, on Sunday in the hour of the sun, The first letter of your name should be written in the semi-circle 'A', and that of your surname in the semi-circle 'B'. You should wear this upon your left side (near the heart) before you proceed to invoke the Spirits, in order to make them obey you, and to gain from them that which you shall desire.” (please refer to Figure 1: the green and red drawing above)
) The Preparation of the Soul: Make a Magic Circle: “Place thyself in the midst therof after having sprinkled same with Holy Water saying: ' In Nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus Sancti.'” (In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost) At each cross make the sign of the cross.
“Respice in me per Sanctissimos Angelos Tuos in Nomine Jeus de Maria Virgine semper immaculata Nati, et Vertitas Tua manet in aeternum-Amen.
Examine me thoroughly by Thy most Holy Angels, in the Name of Jesus, born of Mary, the ever Immaculate Virgin; and may Thy Truth endure for ever-Amen”
As there are no proper instructions for creating the circle within the grimoire itself, I just used a simple magical diagram. (See Figure 2 below)
3) Preparation of the Soul : The grimoire expresses the importance of preparing the Soul before Oration so that one can become as a child and see the wonders of God and progress in the Art. The second round of prayers resembles a request for protection, a confession and a regeneration of faith.
“Santi Andrea et Thoma circumvallate me.
O Saint Andrew and (Saint) Thomas, be a defence about me.
Sancte Michael auxiliate omnibus operationibus meis quoniam quis sicut Dominum Virtutum
et nullus certe ni ni solus deus meus magnus et terribile super omnes qui in exercitu ejus sunt ideo enim voto voverint domino Deo meo Jesu me possidents et circumvallante gratia sua et
dominus Deus Jesus imposita mihi Lege sua sit mihi semper a cuntis diebus et momentis
vitae meae in patrem et deum meum-et si vere Emmanuel amabilis.
O Saint Michael bring thine aid unto all mine Operations, for who is like unto the Lord of
Virtues; and assuredly there is none else but my Lord God, the only Great and terrible over all
who be in His Army, for hereunto by vow are they vowed unto my Lord God Jesus, Who
possesseth and defendeth me by His Grace. Also may the Lord God Jesus having imposed
upon me His Law, be ever mine in every Day and moment of my life as my Father and God,
and thus truly my beloved Emmanuel.
Sancte Petre ad glorium et utilitatem proximi ure in me omnes iniquitates meas.
O Saint Peter, unto the (Divine) Glory and the good of my neighbour, burn up in me all mine
Sante Paule obviam este deprecationis meae.
O Saint Paul, be though propitious unto my prayer.
Confitebor Jesu tibi Christi rex Aeternae gloriae verbum caro factum est, ex Maria de Spiritu
Sancte te humillime deprecor per vulnere tua sanctissima quae sunt fons regenerationis
mostrae in fide et charitate per delectissimam Marium Matrem tuam semper immaculatam
et omnes sanctes tuos ne impediar opere ad mortem justificari in fide et charitate quoniam
fides sine operibus mortua, non nobis domine non nobis sed nomini tuo, nequando dicant
gentes ubi est.
I will confess myself unto Thee, O Jesus Christ, King of Eternal Glory, the Word is made flesh
from Mary by the Holy Spirit; I pray Thee most humbly by Thy most holy wounds which are
the Foundation of our Regeneration in Faith and Charity; by Thy Most delightful Mother
Mary, ever Immaculate; and by all Thy Saints let me not be hindered in my work, unto death
be justified in Faith and in Charity, since Faith without Works is dead. Not unto us, O Lord,
not unto us, but unto thy Name; lest the heathen may say: Where is He!”
Oration Before Operation: After the Soul is prepared for the work, the oration can begin.
The oration is always made before the operation and must be performed with great humility.
“Deprecor Domine Deus Meus Omnipotens in conspectu Tuo Operatio mea et comittentier mihi et operatione mea sanctissimi. IHVH Elohim, Ab, Ben Ve-Ruach Haqodesh. Tetragrammaton Elohim, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Ad Majorem Nomini Tui gloriam, edificationem et utilitatem proximi mei. Amen.
In Thy Sight O Lord mine Omnipotent God, do I pray for mine Operation, and may these most Holy (Names) be in charge over me and my Operation, IHVH Elohim, Ab, Ben Ve-Ruach Haqodesh. Tetragrammaton Elohim, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, unto the Greater Glory of Thy Name, and the edification and profit of my neighbour. Amen”
Creation of the Character or Sigil of the Spirit: The Armadel is full of sigils for angels, demons, spirits, genii and the like. I made my sigil for the spirit Betel on a piece of parchment with an illustration from a vision I had to accompany his symbols. To balance his sigil I added protective names as I was holding the card in the circle with me. The Armadel itself simply asks for the spirit's sigil to be created and held in the circle. ( see Figure 3 below)
Recitation of Pater Noster, Ave, and Credo: Before the conjuration these prayers should be recited:
a) Pater Noster: (Also know as “The Lord's Prayer”)
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who
trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the
Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.-Amen
b) Ave: Hail Mary, full of grace, our Lord is with Thee, blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death.-Amen
c) Credo: (also known as The Apostles' Creed) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.-Amen
Conjuratio, Conjuration, and the License to Depart: The Conjurations and the License to Depart should be written out on virgin parchment. The second Conjuration is said only if the Conjuratio fails to work. The Conjurations are to be said three times in a row, for three successive days, in the same place, and at the same hour.
a) The Conjuratio: (the first conjuration): “Omnippotens Aeterne Deus, Qui totam Creaturam condidisti in laudem et honorem tuum, ac ministerium hominus, oro ut Spiritum (N.N.) de ( ) ordine mittas, qui me informat et doceat quo illum interrogavero,non mea voluntas fiat, sed Tua, per Jesum Christum Filium Unigenitum.- Amen
O Eternal Omnipotent God, Who has formed every creature unto Thy praise and honour, and for the Ministry of Man; I beseech Thee to send unto me the Spirit ( name of spirit) of the (name of class or Order of Spirits) Order, who may inform and teach me concerning those things which I shall demand of him, nevertheless not my Will, but Thine, be done, through Thine Only-begotton Son Jesus Christ.- Amen”
If the Conjuratio (the first conjuration) doesn't work then move on to the second Conjuration and follow the same pattern. If the first conjuration is successful and you get the information you need from the spirit, make sure you licence him to depart.
b) The Conjuration (the second conjuration): “I (N.N.) do Conjure thee (O Spirit N.N.) by the virtue of the Great and Holy Names of God, that immediately and without delay though art to appear unto me under an agreeable form, and without noise, nor injury unto my person, to make answer unto all that I shall command thee; and I do conjure thee herein by the Great Name of the Living God, and by these Holy Names: EL ELOHIM SEBAOTH ELION EIECH ADIER EIECH ADONAY JAH SADAY TETRAGRAMMATON SADAY AGIOS O THEOS ISCHIROS ATHANATOS AGLA AMEN”
When your desire is satisfied and you obtain what you need from the spirit you must license him to depart.
The License to Depart: “Qui Placide et quiete venisti, et hac petitione mihi respondisti, ago Deo gratias in Cujus Nomen venisti, ite in pace ad loca tua et rediturus ad me cum te vocavero per Christum Dominum nostrum. - Amen
Seeing that peaceably and in quiet thou hast come, and hast made answer unto me in this (my) petition, I return thanks unto God, in Whose Name thou hast come. Depart hence in peace unto thine habitations, and be though ready to return whensoever I shall have called thee. Through Christ our Lord!-Amen”
An alternate License to Depart is expressed in the Armadel as, “Go in peace unto the place which hath been destined unto you from all Eternity; let there be peace between us and you!”
The Experience: A Meeting with Betel
) First Attempt: My first attempt at contacting Betel failed even though I had done the grimoire's preparations correctly. The location I chose was an out of the way stone circle. (Ireland) No matter the effort I received no understandable communication save the image of a large, black, porcelain,beetle. Its carapace was tightly closed. Light was visible leaking out of the cracks in the shell, but no matter how I manipulated the image I could not open the shell, or peer inside it. I sat in frustrated silence as dusk was fast approaching. I was then told I couldn't open the shell until the moon was out of its void course and when I had time to be truly alone for a proper discussion. The sound of a man walking through the underbrush shook me from my focus. A photographer had decided to join me in the stone circle and take photographs as the sun was setting.
When I got home I checked my notes and discovered the moon was indeed 'void of course', so I planned to do the ritual again at a more auspicious hour and in a more private location with no risk of interruption. (see Figure 4 below: the carapace)
2.) Second attempt: My second attempt at contacting Betel was successful in a way that surprised me. I chose a more appropriate time and location. I was in a secluded garden, and sat waiting in the deep grass. The sky was a brilliant blue, the air crisp, and the coconut smell of gorse drifted on the breeze. After setting up the ritual and humbly reciting the prayers, I conjured the spirit Betel and awaited his arrival. As the Armadel stated, my wait was not long. Within a couple of minutes a raven called and lit briefly on a branch near me before flying up into the hills. I sat cross-legged in the grass and started to close my eyes.
In my peripheral vision, I could see my seated shadow and another shadow that appeared to be of someone sitting next to me. I sensed a presence to my left and glimpsed sideways for a brief moment, before turning my head into a “looking forward” position and partially closing my eyes.
Betel (he pronounced it Beh-tale) had decided to make his appearance that of a human male with shaggy brown hair, a brownish open-necked shirt, and soft brownish-green pants. He reminded me of someone who spent most of his time out of doors, smelling as warm and inviting as a summer's day.
He placed a black porcelain orb near the centr of the circle I had drawn. The orb was about the size of a football. Upon closer inspection I could see that it was the shiny black beetle from the previous conjuration attempt. Its carapace streamed lights from various cracks on its body, primarily where the wings were located. Betel leaned forward and opened the beetle in the manner of one opening a jewelry box.
I was immediately flooded with streaming imagery. The light from the shell poured forth moving pictures of plants unfurling their leaves to the rain, a fox chasing a hare through the underbrush, wolves running a stag through deep snow, an eagle catching a salmon, the roar of a storm lashing though the trees, waves crashing on the beach, mice scurrying underground, the seasons moving from one to the next, insects clambering over a body, mushrooms pushing up through the dark earth and more. I could feel a sense of urgency creep into my system and push up into my heart. I teetered on the verge of being overwhelmed due to the kaleidoscope of sensory input and then there was a release, a deep sudden intake of breath, and an enveloping feeling of bliss.
We sat together quietly as I let the impressions sink in, and then I asked what the beetle symbolised, but immediately became embarrassed as realisation struck me. The beetle was a layered tangible symbol for the spirit himself. It was a play on his name as well as a representation of a scarab. Betel indicated that yes, the scarab is also one of his symbols. The black carapace is a shield against those who wish to extract information from him in an unseemly manner.
I asked Betel in what way we can arrive at the possession of the virtues of all Creatures and created things, and what kind of virtue is the most important. I braced myself, fully expecting to hear the words, “Faith, hope and charity” or something along those lines.
A few minutes passed; I felt as though Betel was looking across the landscape into the hills. I could hear the rustle of the dried lily fronds as they brushed against the old stone wall. I could smell a storm coming from the sea despite the sun warming us. I could feel my heart beat.
“Compliance.” I heard Betel speak as clear as a bell and was startled.
I said, “Pardon?” just to be sure I had heard the word correctly the first time.
“Compliance.” He repeated it again.
I sat back, puzzled and queried, “Compliance? As a virtue?”
He smiled, “As THE most important virtue.”
I started getting nervous that he was going to ask me for a favour that I couldn't, or wouldn't accommodate.
He waved his hand at me dismissively and shook his head as if to brush away my concerns. He explained,”Compliance is the most important virtue. You call it submission, or surrender. I didn't use the word submission as it sounded too war-like, but surrender...ah, there is ECSTASY in surrender!”
He flung his arms open wide. Smiling, he tilted his face toward the sun and we sat together in companionable silence.
3) Reflection: Performing the License to Depart felt more like saying goodbye to an old friend than the close of a magical operation. I spent a fair amount of time considering what I had experienced and what kind of book the Armadel was. Were the rituals within meant to impart secrets to the magus who used it or were they created to illuminate the mind of the user? In time I learned that the rituals within the Armadel may have been created to arm (Latin: arma = weapons) or imbue the practitioners with the virtues they were exploring. In my case I felt I had been graced with the virtue of compliance, of surrendering.
Unknown to me at the time of the ritual, my world was going to go through so very many drastic changes over the course of only a few months. Terrible illnesses, the death of a beloved child, a change in economic status, the close of a marriage, so many difficult things happened in such a short amount of time. Under normal circumstances, I would have been broken like an oak in a buffeting gale but instead, I was able to ride out the storms that came my way and not slip into depression.
I believe that Betel gifted me during his conjuration. He gave me the gift of compliance, the gift of surrender, and the ability to yield to life in all its terrible and beautiful glory.