Hierarchy of Hell
The Hierarchy of Hell represents the organizational structure of Hell as envisioned by occult authors in their grimoires concerning demons, especially Goetic demons. Depending on the source, different authors ascribe varying ranks and positions to different infernal spirits. The best sources for this information are The Grand Grimoire and the Lesser Key of Solomon.
The concept of the hierarchy and the categorization of spirits into various ranks seems to have been a serious preoccupation with the early authors of occult literature. Nearly every book on magic mentions at least a few demons and attempts to assign them a structure analogous to governments common in Europe at the time. They are all monarchical in nature.
In some ways, it mirrors the hierarchy of angels.
Theological classification of demons
There have been various attempts throughout time of the earth existing by theologian scholars in the classification of Christian demons for the purpose of understanding the biblical and mythological context of adversarial spirits. Theologians have written dissertations in Christian demonology, classical occultism, classical mythology and Renaissance magic to clarify the connections between these spirits and their influence in various demons.
The study of demonology was historically used to understand morality, behavioral tendencies, and has even been used as symbolism to relay anecdotal tales in with which they lure people into temptation and may also include the angels or saints that were believed to have been their adversaries; an idea which derived from the Biblical battle between the Archangel Michael and the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation (12:7-9) describing a war in heaven which resulted in Satan and his angels being expelled from Heaven.
The classifications of these fallen angels are based on many other characteristics as well, such as behaviors that caused their fall from heaven, physical appearances or the methods that were used to torment people, cause maladies, or stir up emotions. Most authors who wrote theological dissertations on the subject either truly believed in the existence of infernal spirits, or wrote as a philosophical guide to understanding an ancient perspective of behavior and morality in folklore and religious themes.
The government of Hell
In The Grand Grimoire, the following spirits and their offices comprise the upper government of Hell. In theory, these would be the actual rulers of Hell.
The following six demons are "superior spirits" who manage the day-to-day affairs of Hell.
- Lucifuge Rofocale - Prime Minister
- Satanachia - Commander in Chief
- Agaliarept - General
- Fleurety - Lieutenant General
- Sargatanas - Brigadier
- Nebiros - Camp Marshal
In most works dealing with the 72 Goetic demons, there is a rigid hierarchical structure for the demons, grouping each of them into ranks of nobility (including a knight and presidents). Occultist author Travis McHenry further explored these demonic ranks in his book The Grimoire of Heaven and Hell, giving the reasons various demons were assigned to their specific class of nobility. The quoted text comes from McHenry's grimoire (copied with permission).
"The Kings of Hell were those angels who were closest to Lucifer when he led the rebellion against God Almighty in Heaven. They were promised their own crowns if the attack succeeded, but it did not, and when all the rebelling angels were cast out of Heaven, and Lucifer was made Emperor of his own Infernal Dominion, these angels received Kingdoms of their own to rule in recognition of their loyalty."
"These demons were powerful angels who joined the rebellion in Heaven after many promises and much convincing. They did not quickly follow Lucifer, but received rewards in Hell according to the attributes they possessed as Angels."
"The Dukes of Hell were the many angels who joined the rebellion after seeing how many of the higher, and more powerful angels had already begun the assault against the throne of the Almighty. Most of the fallen angels were granted the title of Duke in recognition of their service to Lucifer."
"The Marquises of Hell rebelled against God Almighty after learning of the promises Lucifer had made to the Kings and Princes. Because of their greed, they turned against the powers of Heaven and joined the forces of evil."
"These demons joined Lucifer out of hatred for mankind and jealousy over God's love for man. Among them, Azazel would have joined the Counts of Hell, but he declined to follow Lucifer into the Infernal Realm and instead chose to wander the Earth until the End of Times when he will be invited to enter the Kingdom of Heaven again."
"Furcas was an angel who loved magic above all, but was prevented from practicing the dark arts by the Holy Powers. Lucifer promised him the ability to increase his knowledge of all magical systems and to propagate them across the earth. In recognition of his vow, Lucifer appointed Furcas as his sole Knight."
"The Presidents of Hell were servants to the higher angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of Heaven for following their leaders into battle. Because they were not directly loyal to Lucifer, they were given the lowest rank among the fallen angels."
Nine degrees of diabolical spirits
English occultist Francis Barrett, in his book The Magus, gives numerous lists of demonic spirits and attempts to rank them all according to office or to their abilities. Barrett calls this the "Nine Orders of Devils."
|Number||Degree||Ruler||Angelic Stone||Ruling Planet||Corresponding Angelic Choir|
|1||False Gods||Beelzebub||Sapphire||Primum Mobile||Seraphim|
|2||Spirits of Lies||Pytho||Emerald||Starry Heaven||Cherubim|
|3||Vessels of Iniquity||Belial||Carbuncle||Saturn||Thrones|
|4||Revengers of Evil||Asmoday||Beryl||Jupiter||Dominions|
|6||Aerial Powers||Meririm||Chrysolite||The Sun||Virtues|
|9||Tempters and Ensnarers||Mammon||Sardis||The Moon||Angels|