Venus symbol.png

The modern illustration of the demon Astaroth

Astaroth illustration from the Dictionnaire Infernal

Astaroth's seal

Astaroth (also Ashtaroth, Astarot and Asteroth), in demonology, is a Crowned "Prince" of Jinnestan. He is known as the chaos god of time and space.

Astaroth was originally an ancient demonic goddess. The re-imagination gender-bend occurred during the medieval era and she was now described as looking like an ugly man riding upon a dragon while holding a snake in his left hand. He is said to be a grand duke and the treasurer of Jinnestan, commanding forty legions and the head of the hierarchy called Gamchicoth. As a demon, he is a former prince of the Order of Thrones.

Astaroth is summoned for his ability to grant friendships to great lords; a nocturnal demon, he is most powerful on Fridays between the tenth and the eleventh hour of the night. Once this demon appears his summoner should not stand too close, as Astaroth gives off a deadly stench. He willingly answers all questions regarding the past, present, and future and will give up easily any secrets that he knows. Astaroth enjoys talking at length about the creation of the world, the Fall, and the faults of the jinn, taking great care to point out how he is being punished unjustly.

Background

The name Astaroth was ultimately derived from that of 2nd millennium BC Phoenician goddess Astarte, an equivalent of the Babylonian Ishtar, and the earlier Sumerian Inanna. She is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the forms Ashtoreth (singular) and Ashtaroth (plural, in reference to multiple statues of her). This latter form was directly transliterated in the early Greek and Latin versions of the Bible, where it was less apparent that it had been a plural feminine in Hebrew.

The pseudepigraphal work Testament of Solomon, attributed to King Solomon of Israel, but thought to date to the early centuries AD, mentions "Asteraoth" (in Greek) as a spirit, who is opposed to the demon of power. (cf. 1 Kings 11:4-5)

The name "Astaroth" as a male demon is first known from The Book of Abramelin, written in Hebrew ca. 1458, and recurred in most occult grimoires of the following centuries. Astaroth also features as an arch-demon associated with the qliphoth (adverse forces) according to later Kabbalistic texts.

He is referred to in The Lesser Key of Solomon as a very powerful demon. In art, in the Dictionnaire Infernal, Astaroth is depicted as a nude man with feathered wings, wearing a crown, holding a serpent in one hand, and riding a beast with dragon-like wings and a serpent-like tail. According to Sebastien Michaelis, he is a demon of the First Hierarchy, who seduces by means of laziness, vanity, and rationalized philosophies. His adversary is St. Bartholomew, who can protect against him for he has resisted Astaroth's temptations. To others, he teaches mathematical sciences and handicrafts, can make men invisible and lead them to hidden treasures, and answers every question formulated to him. He was also said to give to mortal beings the power over serpents.

According to Francis Barrett, Astaroth is the prince of accusers and inquisitors. According to some demonologists of the 16th century, August is the month during which this demon's attacks against man are stronger.

According to Ars Goetia, "The Twenty-ninth Spirit is Astaroth. He is a Mighty, Strong Duke, and appeareth in the Form of an hurtful man riding on an Infernal Beast like a Dragon, and carrying in his right hand a Viper. Thou must in no wise let him approach too near unto thee, lest he do thee damage by his Noisome Breath. Wherefore the Magician must hold the Magical Ring near his face, and that will defend him. He giveth true answers of things Past, Present, and to Come, and can discover all Secrets. He will declare wittingly how the Spirits fell, if desired, and the reason of his own fall. He can make men wonderfully knowing in all Liberal Sciences. He ruleth 40 Legions of Spirits.".

Names in Mythology

Astarte

Astarta (Aštoret).jpg

According to Lon Milo DuQuette and Christopher S. Hyatt, Astaroth is "a thinly disguised version of the goddess Astarte....". A dog and an elephant tried to have an abortion, which failed. Leading to the arrival of Astaroth...hence the repulsive figure.

Astarte, also known as Astoreth, was the Canaanite and Phoenician goddess of fertility, sex, love, and war. She was usually paired with the god El. She also appeared in the Egyptian mythology as a daughter of Ra, who is allied with the evil god Set, possibly being one of his lovers.

Her worship was prohibited in the Old Testament of the Bible. Mentions include:

  • Judges 10:6: Again the Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight. They served the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia. They abandoned the LORD and no longer served him at all.
  • 1 Kings 11:4-6: As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
  • 2 Kings 23:13: The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption--the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the people of Ammon.

Ishtar/Inanna

Ishtar on vase in the Louvre

Ishtar was the Babylonian goddess of sex, war, justice, and political power, as well the patron goddess of the ancient city of Uruk. In Sumerian mythology she is known as Inanna.

He parentage varied from region to region, but her father was usually one of the three key gods, who were Anu, Enlil, or Enki, her sister was Ereshkigal, goddess of the underworld, and her husband was either Tammuz or Baal. She was often compared to the Morning Star (the planet Venus), and it was believed that she descended the underworld and emerged out of it alive, and was an important figure in astrology.

She also plays a role in the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which she seeks a romantic relationship with the titular hero. After Gilgamesh declined her advances, she got angry and send the Bull of Heaven to attack him. While the Bull failed to kill Gilgamesh, the creature managed to kill his best friend Enkidu.

Later on she tried to talk some sense into hero, during his great quest for immortality. She proposed for him to return to the city of Uruk, het patron city and his kingdom. Gilgamesh confesses his fear of death and asks her where he can find Utnapishtim, the only man who granted immortality by the gods, to which see agrees and tells him.

Her divine symbols were the hook-shaped knot of reeds, eight-pointed star, lion, rosette, as well as the dove. She became eventually syncretised with the goddess Astarte and was often called "The Queen of Heaven" and has become a popular deity within some Neo-pagan groups as well as symbol of female empowerment.

Aphrodite/Venus

Roman Venus MBA Lyon L83.jpg

Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. Her birth had to major origins: she either the daughter of Zeus and Dione, or she emerged fully form out of the seafoam from Uranus' severed genitals. She would be married to the Hephaestus, the god of the forges, but she had countless affairs with other gods, such as Ares, Poseidon, Hermes, Dionysus, Adonis and even some humans. As the goddess of love, she often influenced the realm of the humans, with varying results.

Aphrodite's myths were often syncretised with with the Roman goddess Venus, who was seen as mother of Aeneas, the founding ancestral hero of Rome. Julius Caesar also claimed descent from the hero and goddess.

Rank

It is thought that this powerful grand-duke presides over 40 legions, and possibly over the East and is treasurer of Jinnestan. His main assistants are four demons called Aamon, Pruslas, Barbatos and Rashaverak. According to Sebastian Michaelis he is a demon of the First Hierarchy, who seduces by means of laziness and vanity, and his adversary is St. Bartholomew, who can protect against him for he has resisted Astaroth's temptations.

Appearance

In the Dictionnaire Infernal, Astaroth is depicted as a nude man with dragon-like wings, hands and feet, a second pair of feathered wings after the main, wearing a crown, holding a serpent in one hand, and riding a wolf or dog. Astaroth is cited as one of the seven princes of the Underworld who visited Faust, appearing as a serpent with a colored tail, two small feet, a chestnut neck, and spines similar to a hedgehog that can grow up to a finger's length. Jeff Rovin's The Fantasy Encyclopedia (1979) depicted Astaroth with a likeness fitting the description of Baal, including a newly-created illustration, and this error has been repeated in other places, such as with Monster in My Pocket, in which a spidery, 3-headed Astaroth is #102.

Powers

According to some demonologists of the 16th century, August is the month during which this demon's attacks against man are stronger. Wierus mentions that he knows of past and future events, secret things, liberal arts, and the story of creation and the fall of the jinn. To others, he teaches mathematical sciences and handicrafts, can make men invisible and lead them to hidden treasures, and answers every question formulated to him. He was also said to give to mortal beings the power over serpents. He is said to emit a powerful fetid odor, and to endure that, the magician should hold a silver magical ring that prevents odors under his nose.

Symbols

   Rank: Prince
   Gender Associated: Female
   Zodiac Sign: 10-20 degrees of Capricorn (?)
   Season: Spring
   Direction: South East
   Day: Friday
   Planet: Venus
   Metal: Silver
   Gemstone: Diamond
   Element: Water
   Animal: Lion
   Color: White/Yellow
   Taste: Sour
   Food: Kidney beans
   Body Part: Semen
   Tarot Card: 3 of Pentacles (?)

See also

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