Demonspotting: Berith

Berith is a sneaky sort of demon. The Goetia says he’s also called Bofry/Bolfry or Beale/Beal. But is Beal all that different than Baal? Are they possibly the same or related?

Berith is another soldier, and in fact another red solider, like Zepar. Confused yet?

His steed is a red horse, making me wonder if he’s the star of Revelation 6:3-4, the opening of the second seal:

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!”
Another came forth, a red horse. To him who sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. There was given to him a great sword.

Like with Beleth (and what about the similarity with that name?), you have to use a ring when you summon him. Or else. Or else what, I don’t know, and I don’t want to find out.

Berith can turn any metal to gold, which is maybe why he wears a gold crown.

The Goetia usually uses one or two adjectives, but Berith gets three–he is a MIGHTY, GREAT, and TERRIBLE Duke. It also says he talks in a clear and subtle voice, if that’s not an oxymoron.

Advertisements

Holda and the Wild Hunt

''Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo, d...

''Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo, depicting the Wild Hunt of European folklore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mentioned the Wild Hunt in Herne the Hunter, in a really simplified version. But there’s nothing simple about the Wild Hunt.

It’s a legend that spans most of Europe, in various formats. Boiled down to its essence, the Wild Hunt is a group of midnight spirits on a ghostly hunt. If you see the Wild Hunt, it’s a Very Bad Thing(tm). It presages disaster. Sometimes you can escape the disaster by, of all things, joining in with the Hunt and riding with them hell-bound for leather.

But sometimes that’s a very bad thing to do because time passes differently in Faery–a few hours with the Hunt could mean a few centuries in real time.

Just as the Hunt’s riders change depending on where you are in Europe (the Faery, ghosts, spirits), and the object of the hunt changes (wild women, mythic beasts, the souls of the unbaptized), the leader of the Hunt also changes.

In some Germanic traditions, it’s Holda. She’s a fierce sky goddess, and her Hunt is made up of shrieking witches. But it can’t be all bad–she was once a fertility goddess, so all the land she rides over gives up double the produce at harvest-time.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Hunt

Vampires we know and love 22: Eretik/eretica

Think vampires are all the same? Think again! Vampires come in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins ice cream. So, this special DotW feature, Vampires we know and love, spotlights different kinds of bloodsucking fiends from around the world.

Eretik/eretica

One of the Russian words for vampire, eretik/eritika, sounds a whole lot like the word ‘heretic,’ doesn’t it? It might be because the idea of vampirism is associated with the loss of your soul, sort of a trade of eternal life in heaven for a shaky eternal half-life on Earth (There might even be an interesting connection with Judas Iscariot, the guy who betrayed Jesus, but I might look at that in another blog post sometime).

We’re pretty used to concept of vampirism being a sort of plague spread by passing the infectious blood of a vampire to a human after the human blood is sucked out. It’s classic, portrayed in many a fine novel/movie/tv show.

But actually, that’s not how the granddaddy of all fictional vampires was born. Dracula wasn’t made, he was born, by rejecting God. (He did then have the power to create vampires, fyi.)

Same with the eretica, a woman who sells her soul to the devil for the power of sorcery during her lifetime. After death, she becomes a vampire. During the day, ereticy (that’s the plural) look like hags in rags. When night falls, they gather and perform vampiric rituals.

Do not look at an eretica. They all have the evil eye, which means that if you do, you’ll die a slow, withering death.

The Vampire Encyclopedia
The Vampire Encyclopedia

by Matthew Bunson

Demonspotting: Marbas

If you ever feel like causing or curing a disease, getting great wisdom in the “Mechanical Arts” or

The seal of Marbas

The seal of Marbas

changing into another shape, you might feel a kinship with Marbas. As a Great President of Hell, Marbas commands 36 Legions of Spirits. Here’s his seal.

When you summon Marbas (and please don’t) and you succeed, he’s going to show up in the form of a lion. If that doesn’t turn you on, you can ask him to take on a human form. But whatever you do, he’s still a demon, so maybe it’s just smarter take your aspirin and lie down if you’ve got a cold.

Here’s what the Lesser Key of Solomon has to say about Marbas:

He is a Great President, and appeareth at first in the form of a Great Lion, but afterwards, at the request of the Master, he putteth on Human Shape. He answereth truly of things Hidden or Secret. He causeth Diseases and cureth them. Again, he giveth great Wisdom and Knowledge in Mechanical Arts; and can change men into other shapes. He governeth 36 Legions of Spirits. And his Seal is this, which is to be worn as aforesaid.

In-genie-ous

The djinn, or ‘genies’ as they are sometimes called in the West, have fallen on hard times since Islam was born sometime in the early part of the 600’s.

Prior to that, these desert spirits were a sort of god-like beings, quite ugly and with malicious evil powers. Some desert tribes worshipped them. But along came Mohammed, and so the story goes, a group of the djinn heard him teaching. They recognized the all-powerful nature of Allah, and became Muslims.

So, some of these djinn (male singular: djinni, female singular, djinniyah) became very beautiful and helpful to mankind.

But other djinn refused to accept Allah’s word and continued to be very evil and sorry-looking creatures to boot.

Legend has it that the djinn are made out of ‘smokeless fire,’ as opposed to humans, who are of course made out of dirt.

Also, in Islamic tradition, the Jewish king, Solomon, was given power over the djinn through the use of a seal-ring with a mystical six-pointed star on it. So, when you hear about the djinni in Aladdin’s lamp, or any other djinni who was sealed away in an object, it’s this star doing the sealing.

The six-pointed star is also known as the star of David.

Note:

This blog post could really use a graphic, but I couldn’t find any worth posting that are in the public domain. This probably has something to do with the Muslim prohibition against drawing people and animals. If any of you DotWeekers out there have a link to the picture that this post deserves (that I can use without infringing on someone else’s copyright), please send it along.

Thanks,

t

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Qu’ran, Chapter 72