Archdemons of the Zodiac

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The Archdemons of the Zodiac are twelve demons which rule over the signs of the zodiac. Although often ascribed Hebrew origins, the earliest textual references all state that their names and the lore about them came from Persian astrology.

Occultist Éliphas Lévi considered these spirits to represent the descending energies of the zodiac signs, and did not believe them to be explicitly demonic or evil. Depending on the source, these may be regarded as angels or genii.

Theoretically, these spirits are opposed by the Archangels of the Zodiac.

Archdemons of the Zodiac with their seals

Zodiac Sign Archdemon Name Meaning of Name Seal
Aries Sarahiel "Ruling of God" Aries.png
Taurus Araziel "Firmness of God" Taurus.png
Gemini Saraiel "Prince of God" Gemini.png
Cancer Phahkaiel "Flask of God" Cancer.png
Leo Serattiel "Cutting of God" Leo.png
Virgo Sehaliel "Profit of God" Virgo.png
Libra Hadakiel "Thorn of God" Libra.png
Scorpio Ssarssaiel "Pushing the Measure of God" Scorpio.png
Sagittarius Sarithaiel "Causing the Rebellion of God" Sagittarius.png
Capricorn Semakiel "Poison of God" Capricorn.png
Aquarius Ssakmakiel "Foulness of God" Aquarius.png
Pisces Vacabiel "Secrecy of God" Pisces.png

Textual history

The origins of the Archdemons of the Zodiac are somewhat obscure.

Occultist Éliphas Lévi claims to have learned about the demons in the work of Jacques Gaffarel through his translations of the Hebrew astrology of Rabbi Eliahou Chomer. If this story is to be believed, the foundational text concerning the demon rulers of the zodiac comes from an unpublished manuscript titled Memlecheti Halaal (The Kingdom of God) originally written by a Persian astrologer named Hamahalzel. This manuscript was acquired and translated into Hebrew by Rabbi Chomer, who then passed it to Gaffarel.

However, Gaffarel did not mention the Archdemons of the Zodiac in his 1629 astrology book Curiositez inouyes (“Unheard of Curiosities of the Talismanic Sculpture of the Persians, the Horoscope of the Patriarchs, and Reading the Stars"). This book was essentially his commentary on the Chomer manuscript and the connections between Hebrew and Persian astrology, so it seems strange he failed to mention them.

Shortly after the publication of Gaffarel's book, Athanasius Kircher created a chart with the names of the demons in the first part of the second volume of Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1654). According to Kircher, these zodiac demons are genii of Arabic origin, although he links them to the Kabbalah. It is important to note that Kircher spells the spirit names in their original Arabic suggesting he may have had access to the original manuscript and did not rely on Chomer's Hebrew translations. Or that the Chomer manuscript had no information about the demons and Levi was mistaken about his sources.

Éliphas Lévi's book Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (1854) later translated by A.E. Waite and published in English as Transcendental Magic (1923), lists the demon's names and seals, but his versions of the seals are found nowhere else in previous literature. Levi considered these spirits to represent the descending energies of the zodiac signs, but did not believe them to be explicitly demonic or evil. He also claimed to have found the information about the demons in Gaffarel's work, and ignores their appearance in Kircher's book.

Other mentions include Johann Albert Fabricius's 1712 book Menologium and Alexandre Lenoir's 1814 book La Franche-Maçonnerie Rendue à sa Véritble Origine which gives an alternative set of sigils.