The Book of Ceremonial Magic
§ 3. Concerning the Experiment of Invisibility
We shall see later on that there are certain processes found in the Grimoires which do not connect with Black Magic otherwise than by their place in the Grimoires. There are also other processes which are not in themselves Goëtic, but are objectionable on account of the abuse to which they are liable. It is curious to observe how experiments of this kind
will in one Ritual appear under a harmless guise but will in another bear all the marks of diabolism. The experience of Invisibility, with which we are here concerned, illustrates all these points.
Here Ceremonial Magic pretends to place its adepts in possession of the ring of Gyges.
Presuming that the Key of Solomon is the most ancient of all the Rituals, it is there that the formal process first occurs. It is accomplished, however, without the intervention of a ring, by means of a simple preliminary invocation, and an address to Almiras, Master and Chief of Invisibility, whatsoever may be necessary for the particular occasion, such as characters and circles, being left to the discretion of the operator. There is also a complementary process by means of a waxen image; it occurs in one manuscript copy and is given by the English editor. The person who has duly made and consecrated this image is supposed to become invisible when he carries it. If we now turn to the Book of True Black Magic, we shall find the first experiment adapted as follows:--Before making the experiment of invisibility these words must be committed to memory: SCABOLES, HABRION,
ELÆ, ELIMIGIT, GABOLII, SEMITRION, MENTINOBOL, SABANITEUT, HEREMOBOL, CANE, METHÉ, BALUTI, CATEA, TIMEGUEL, BORA, by the empire which ye exert over us, fulfill this work, so that I may become invisible. 1 The said words must be written with the blood before mentioned, 2 and the following Conjuration recited: O Ye Spirits of Invisibility, I conjure and constrain you incontinently and forthwith to consecrate this experiment, so that, surely and without trickery, I may go invisible. Furthermore, I conjure you by Lucifer, your prince, by the obedience which you owe to him and by the power of God, incontinently to aid me by consecrating this experiment, without loss of my body or my soul. So be it, so be it, so be it.
Prepare all things required for this experiment with due solemnity and diligence, as it is laid down in the chapter proper thereto: so shalt thou operate with certainty and so find the truth; but failing any of the things needful, thou shalt not attain thy desire, for not by the walls but the gate may any man enter a town.
This is merely a shorter recension of the process contained in the Clavicle, with the reference to Lucifer interpolated.
In place of these bald and somewhat unmeaning directions, the Grimorium Verum supplies an excessively curious process, at once monstrous and fantastic, recalling the sorceries of Thessaly and having direct connections with folk-lore.
To become Invisible
Begin this operation on a Wednesday before the sun rises, being furnished with seven black beans. Take next the head
of a dead man; place one of the beans in his mouth, two in his eyes and two in his ears.
Then make upon this head the character of the figure which here follows. (Omitted in all the Grimoires.) This done, inter the head with the face towards heaven, and every day before sunrise, for the space of nine days, water it with excellent brandy. On the eighth day you will find the cited spirit, who will say unto you: What doest thou? You shall reply: I am watering my plant. He will then say: Give me that bottle; I will water it myself. You will answer by refusing, and he will again ask you, but you will persist in declining, until he shall stretch forth his hand and shew you the same figure which you have traced upon the head suspended from the tips of his fingers. In this case you may be assured that it is really the spirit of the head, because another might take you unawares, which would bring you evil, and further, your operation would be unfruitful. When you have given him your phial, he will water the head and depart. On the morrow, which is the ninth day, you shall return and will find your beans ripe. Take them, place one in your mouth, and then look at yourself in a glass. If you cannot see yourself, it is good. Do the same with the rest, or they may be tested in the mouth of a child. All those which do not answer must be interred with the head.
The advantage of occasional invisibility in the pursuits of illicit affection seems to have fascinated the compiler of the Little Albert, and he refers to the adultery of Gyges with evident relish in prefacing his process for
Invisibility by means of a Ring
This important operation must be performed on a Wednesday in spring-time, under the auspices of Mercury, when it is
known to be conjoined with other favourable planets, such as the Moon, Jupiter, Venus or the Sun. Taking good mercury, fixed and well purified, compose a large ring thereof, so that the same will pass easily over the middle finger of the hand. Let the collet be enriched by a small stone which is found in the pewit's nest, and about the ring let the
following words be enchased: Jesus passing through the midst of them disappeared.
Next, having placed the ring on a palette-shaped plate of fixed mercury, compose the perfume of mercury, and thrice expose the ring to the odour thereof; wrap it in a small piece of taffeta corresponding to the colour of the planet, carry it to the pewit's nest from which the stone was obtained, let it remain there for nine days, and when removed, fumigate it precisely as before. Then preserve it most carefully in a small box, made also of fixed mercury, and use it when required. The method of use is to place the ring upon the finger with the stone outwards; it will so fascinate the spectators by its virtue. that one may be present without being beheld. When the wearer no longer desires to be invisible, he has merely to turn the ring, so that the stone shall be inward, and close the hand over it.
But Éliphas Lévi affirms that the only authors who have written seriously concerning the ring of Gyges or its equivalents are Porphyry, Iamblichus and Peter of Apono; that their discourse is allegorical and that they are referring to the Great Magical Arcanum.
However this may be, the Little Albert supplies an alternative process which it pretends to derive from these authorities and also from Cornelius Agrippa, sometimes termed the master of Peter of Apono in defiance of chronology
and the centuries. The first requisite is a tuft of hair taken from the head of a hyena, and from the upper part thereof. These hairs must be plaited into a ring, which must be carried, like the other, to a pewit's nest and deposited therein, also for the space of nine days. The perfumes of mercury must be used in like manner. The person who wears this ring will be invisible and he will reappear by removing it from his finger.
Éliphas Lévi observes that the directions recall the history of the bell of Rodilard, but the criticism is scarcely commensurate, for the material is certainly obtainable, nor would it be necessary to catch one's own hyena. The point which was missed by the occultist may be evident to the ordinary reader; the head of the hyena is short-coated, and the hairs could not be braided. It is not, however, unreasonable that impossible conditions should attach to an impossible object. 1
307:1 These names are given as follows by the English editor: Sceaboles, Arbaron, Elohi, Elimigith, Herenobulcule, Methe, Baluth, Timayal, Villaquiel, Teveni, Yevie, Ferete, Bacuhaba, Gimarin.
307:2 Possibly that of a mole, used in the consecration of the instruments.
309:1 Compare the Magic Circle of Honorius.
310:1 A process was also provided against fascination and deception by means of the ring of invisibility. It consists in the composition of a ring similarly shaped, made of refined lead, and enchased with the eye of a female ferret which has had only one litter. The words Apparuit Dominus Simoni should be engraved about the circumference. It should be composed on a Saturday when Saturn is in opposition with Mercury, perfumed three times with the perfume of Saturday, wrapped in a piece of a winding-sheet, next buried for nine days in a churchyard, perfumed, when disinterred, as before, and it is then ready for use.