Liber Juratus is a pretty intimidating grimoire which contains multiple circles with multiple operations. If you’re actually going through this grimoire you might be uncertain about which circle to use. In order to determine this, we have to confront conflicts and complications brought up through reading the text. So we should take a little time to talk about each one so we can understand what the fuss is all about.
Before we get into the weeds, lets set the stage. From a practitioners perspective, Liber Juratus is an intimidating Grimoire. It’s believed to have its origins somewhere between the year 1100 and 1350. The most probable first mention of the work is in 1230 under the name Liber Sacratus mentioned by William of Auvergne, 71 years before the first mention of the Clavis (Key of Solomon) by historical Peter De Abano in 1301. The work entails multiple practices ranging from a 40 day (or 72 day) beatific vision, the conjuration of Angels, conjuration of spirits of the air and spirits of the earth. It’s reliant on divine permission, lunar prayers, catholic mass, the office of hours and the reliance of a priest to modify a Mass of the Holy Ghost and pray for the magician. The practice of conjuration has a 20 day purification ritual done only after you gain divine permission and the ritual itself spans over several days.
Circle One: The Angelic Operation
Take hard stones, and plain (i.e. uniform), in the which there is neither hole nor rift, or else tiles specially made for that purpose, and let him that shall make them be clean from all pollutions, and let him have lime and sand of the sea bank mingled together wherewith he shall join the stones. Then of them he shall make a place wherein the circle shall be drawn, and this place shall thus be fashioned:
First let the circle be equal with the earth, having in length and breadth nine feet, within the which make a crooked circle like half a circle, higher than the other in length and breadth, containing seven feet, and in height three feet and an half.
This done, draw two circles whereof the one shall be a foot from the other, and it must be done with a new knife. And write in the compass the names of the angels of the hour, of the day, of the month, of the time, and of the face, saying[CXII.] Here followeth the making of the circle. – [CXIV.] The Second Day.
We also need to observe the language of constructing the circle. “How facto protrahat circulum 9 pedum dicens” is to say to draw a circle of 9 feet. It’s easy to assume this means a diameter of 9 feet but the fact the the language for the second ring being a foot apart form the first is speaking in terms of a radius, not a diameter.
So in summary we have an 18 foot circle with a one foot column surrounding a seven foot mound raised three and a half feet In the center. In the column of the circle are written names of a series of angels which rule the moment in time that the ritual will be completed. The magician stands outside of this circle and conjures the angels within it.
Circle Two: The Spirits of the Air Operation
With this done he should draw a circle of 9 feet across saying, 18 in which he should draw two circles where the first is one foot away from the other between which you should write the names of the angels of the day and hour, of the month, of the time and of the face…
Then draw within those two circles a regular heptagon, suitable for all invocations(CXXVII) End of the divisions of the angels and spirits, and beginning of the manner of working with them.
So far this circle is exactly like the angelic circle except it has a heptagon in the middle of the circle where the angelic circle contained a mound. But as we read on we are presented with this illustration (Image A) which shows two circles divided into seven parts each containing its own name of God paired with an angel. It also does not contain a “regular heptagon” and has various names of God inside the circle. Nothing about this circle fits the instructions given in the chapter.
If we actually follow the instructions given for conjuring the spirits of the air, we get something closer to Image B. But there’s more to consider here. As we read on we are told to add the names of God as seen in the illustration (Image A) to the list of angels of the day and hour, month, etc… So WTF Liber Juratus? We have two circles both in deep contradiction with each other. We’re told to do one while given an illustration of another and then given instruction to kind of mix the content of one into the other. But here is the thing… That phrase, “Then draw within those two circles a regular heptagon, suitable for all invocations”, the Latin gives us this, “Tunc protrahes infra istos duos circulos eptagonum communem”. It actually is referring to the “common” or “universal” heptagon which is “suitable for all invocations, the form of which with its parts, dimension, and definitions, is shown in the figure above” (Image A). So to make that perfectly clear, we are to place Image A inside the circle which contains the names of the angels of the hour, day, month, times and face.
Circle Three: Spirits of the Earth Operation
We are given a circle of invocation which the magician stands in to conjure spirits of the earth. We’re told that there actually should be two circles 9 feet away from each other. One imaged here (Image C) which the magician stands in to conjure and a second circle which is dug out three feet deep to conjure the spirits into.
You can work with the terrestrial spirits using the same method described in the previous work if the suffumigations and the names are altered as well as the circle and the seals.CXXXV
First, we’re only really interested in this circle if we’re working with spirits other than the seven spirits of the air. Secondly, we know the method of the conjuration of the spirits of the air does not use a second circle because we tell the spirits to appear around the circle. So this circle is to be disregarded unless you’re working specifically with the spirits of the earth.
How to Construct the Circle for the Spirits of the Air
- We are to draw a eighteen foot circle.
- One foot within that first circle, draw a second circle.
- in between the two circles write the names of the angels of the day and hour, of the month, times and face.
- Add the universal heptagon for all invocations within this circle (Image A)
- The circle is to be flat (not dug and not a mound as with the angelic circle).