Skull Incantation Bowls

Via Witchvox and beyond comes this article by Dan Levene on the use of skulls for incantation bowls.

For those who aren’t hip to such things, we’ve discussed the bowls in the past here, and you can view a gallery of them.  For the most part, these appear in the Middle East about 500-600 AD (that number might be off, as I’m working from memory here).  These bowls typically include a spiral pattern of writing inside, usually an incantation against demons,  and are buried beneath the corners of buildings.  Some say they are there to ward off demons, while others think their purpose is to trap them.

Most of these are clay, so the few that are actually made out of a human skull are especially notable.   The article makes much of the fact that using them violates Judaic law regarding the handling of corpses.  I’m not so sure I see that as crucial; there might have been ways around that, including having a person without religious qualms create these objects.  At any rate, the same taboo that sets these remains apart might also be seen as granting them ideological power, thus making them prime candidates for this treatment.

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Perhaps they are little demon bowls, integral to some idea of protection.

  2. By way of GENERATING demons, I mean.

  3. Coincidentally I was thinking about my own top 10 grimoires last night and decided that the Paris Codex (PGM IV) would have to be one of them. Among the spells here is a “restraining seal for skulls that are not satisfactory” (2125-39). The article cited mentions that the entire skull was once complete and this spell also points to the use of whole skulls in divination, mentioning that the magician should stop up the mouth of his unsatisfactory skull with dirt from the doors of Osiris’ temple and graveyard dirt.

  4. Uhmm..after reading the article..,it made me think of some thing familiar:

    “They must be engraved upon the bowl with a fine stylus, or painted thereon with dark ink. The sacrifice must be new bread, pine resin, and the grass Olieribos. These must be burned in the new bowl, and the Sword of the Watcher, with his Sigil engraved thereupon, at hand, for he will inhabit such at the time of the Calling of the Watcher and will depart when he is given license to depart.”

    “Prepare, then the bowl of TIAMAT, the DUR of INDUR, the Lost Bowl, the Shattered Bowl of the Sages, summoning thereby the FIRIK of GID, and the Lady SHAKUGUKU, the Queen of the Cauldron. Recite the Conjuration IA ADU EN I over it, and build the Fire therein, calling GBL when thou dost, after his manner and form”

    Thanks Dan for showing the authenticity of the Neronomicon Tradition once again. I guess this knocks out the remarks the Gonce made on page 171 of the necronomicon Files. its okay Dan we all learn sooner of later. 🙂

    Have a wonderful day!

  5. Alan – only you…

    Phil – PGM IV is easy to keep out, because I don’t see it as being “influential” due to it dropping out of sight for over a millennium.

    Warlock – have you read anything on the incantation bowls? They’re used in a very different method than the bowl described in the Simon book.

  6. Dan – ah, my top 10 was more of a personal nature rather than being about degrees of influence. I was considering the texts that have elements that continue to fascinate and inspire me (in this case the poetry of the Mithras Liturgy, prayer to Selene and that absolutely astounding erotic spell calling on the aspects of Hekate).

  7. Yes I ahve Dan, and I see that the idea of performing incantations with bowls is not something that was invented by Simon. Thanks for posting it! 🙂

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