Demonspotting: This DotW feature is your field guide to all things hellish and demonic.
A charming fellow, Mr Asmodeus. He has a long and varied history–and it’s all very dark.
For the Hebrews, Asmodeus was one of the seraphim, who, led by Satan, rebelled against God and so were thrown from heaven to become demons. Asmodeus is a player in the Book of Tobit, where he’s attracted to the hot young thing Sarah, Raguel’s daughter. Well, Asmodeus convinces Sarah not to let any man touch her, which is a bit of a problem since Raguel keeps trying to marry her off. Seven times. Sarah kills each one of these guys before they can get busy. And yet men keep lining up to marry her for some reason. Tobit, the hero of the story, marries Sarah and burns a fish heart and liver in their tent on their wedding night. The stench is so bad it makes Asmodeus flee to Egypt, where an angel binds him.
Asmodeus is the demon of lust. But for a lusty demon, he puts the ‘ug’ in ‘ugly’. In de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (1863), he is shown with three heads, ogre, ram, and bull, the feet of a rooster, and with wings. He also rides a dragon.
But he’s a very busy demon, so he’s also got his hands in the revenge and gambling businesses.
It’s said that King Solomon tricked Asmodeus into building a temple for him. And he may have been married to Lilith, the demon queen of lust.
If you happen to be conjuring Asmodeus, here’s his sigil, that you want to wear on a pendant so that it hangs over your heart:
When preparing to conjure Asmodeus (And really, don’t. Just don’t.), take off your hat, and do not sit down at any time during the ceremony. Apparently if you’ve got something on your head, Asmodeus gains the power to deceive you, but if you don’t he’ll tell the truth. As soon as you see him, ask “Art thou Asmoday?” If you’ve got the right guy, he’ll say so, and he’ll bow to you. (You might be able to say “Are you Asmodeus?” and it’ll still work, but I’m going by the Lesser Key of Solomon here, translated 1904 from medieval documents. That’s what it says, and why would you want to mess with this stuff? Go with the tried-and-true, I say.)
Some people say you should beware of Asmodeus in November, when his power is stronger. Or, between January 30 and February 8.
Frankly, I think you should beware of anyone with three heads at all times.
Come back next Saturday for a little ghoul on ghoul action. And watch for a mid-week update on Wednesday.
Other demons you might like
- Rosemary Ellen Guiley, The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft
- S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, The Lesser Key of Solomon