This spirit is very well known in the modern world, but it is obscure even among the works on demonology, where it appears in comparatively few references. One can find Asmoday and Lucifer, Beelzebub, and other unsavory characters in many catalogues of infernal spirits, but this one Vassago is rare. I should like to mention these appearances and then set them aside, as there the identity of this spirit is tied to bigger things than medieval grimoires.
In those few grimoire cameo roles, Vassago is credited with several things, and in this case I do not intend to provide a list of references but the basic idea will be sufficient and you can go and look into the grimoires on your own and check the facts. First, that his Legions come partly of the Order of Thrones, which is to say that they were (or are) angelic beings, implying that the First Estate of this spirit is that of a great angel. Second, that he has a goodly nature, which says that he will not likely devour the exorcist on first meeting, and that he may be more inclined to things that are benign or helpful rather than destructive. Third, that he tells of things past, present, and future, and of what is lost or hidden.
All of these things interest me, and over the years I have attempted to call upon this spirit on several occasions, both alone and with others, and those events will be described later. My primary objective, one which I think a fair amount of magic has been designed to accomplish, was to find lost or hidden treasure. I have sought to call upon this spirit to find historical treasures, and to find personal items that had been lost, or to find whatever kind of treasure might be available, and in all of these attempts at conjuration, the spirit has refused to acknowledge me. In all other conjurations, one way or another, I have been able to compel the spirits, and in this one place I have been consistently denied, until now.
Before discussing what is different this time around, I should at least attempt to justify my prior intentions. It was not an attempt to produce a windfall amount of money through discovery of hidden treasure, more to prove a point and have fun in so doing. Treasure-finding would go a long way toward lending support for practice of magical arts as something that is productive and practical. It would make an impression, even if it would have relatively small impact on myself, and I continue to think of treasure as a worthy goal for a magician. In this instance however, I intended to ask of the spirit what part of life I am missing, what is hidden from me that if known could revolutionize my life in a positive manner.
For each of the spirits of the Brazen Vessel, there are particular temptations that make the spirit suited for its role as an infernal deity. The 72 mentioned in the list, or rather the deities they represent, are not given worship in their original sense anywhere in the world. They are dead gods, even those who have lively revivalist cults, and yet the influence of the idolatry behind them allows their influence to persist throughout the ages. In all of the spirits, there is an aspect that appears divine, true, and full of miraculous promise, but within each of those things there is a fatal flaw, the seed of ruin sure to come. Recognizing and overcoming these temptations is the binding of the spirit, which is laid upon it out of respect to the Final Judgment rather than its immediate condition, as it is said that all of the spirits returned to their former places upon release. Psalm 82:6, which Christ quotes in John 10:34, speaks of the gods being judged as men, and it is this Judgment, rather than their terrestrial reputation, which is invoked against them.
The third in order, this spirit addresses some of the primary concerns of magic and divination in general: learning secret things. Beyond the secrets of other people, this spirit offers the secrets of all time, ancient high technology and futuristic speculation, and the sight of everything done upon the earth. For this reason, no doubt, it appears so often among those enthusiastic about crystal balls. For this conjuration, I procured for myself a flawless rock crystal sphere the size of a baseball, made by someone I trust. Such an artifact is not common, to obtain it was a kind of life-quest that I have undertaken since around eight years old, and I believed it essential on account of that desire rather than out of any technical considerations.
Besides the potentially disruptive nature of learning the secrets of others, there is not much in the spirit description that lends itself to being seen as “demonic” if taken out of context on its own. This curious placement stands as a warning. Behind the seemingly innocuous Office attributed to this spirit, there are some very dark potentialities which would certainly justify its designation as one of the primary infernal rulers, a Prince under the infernal king Egyn.
Prior to the conjuration, I performed a sort of pilgrimage and retreat, culminating in what was supposed to be a short hike and the consecration of the crystal stone at the wading pool below a waterfall in Kitsap County. Numerous obstacles appeared, and what was supposed to be a very short walk became a twelve-hour ordeal in the woods on a hot day without food or water. The waterfall that had been there two days before had become something less impressive than an overflowing toilet, and the crystal-clear wading pool had become a stagnant puddle.
For my hike, I was joined by my longtime friend who once had conjured this spirit successfully to discover lost cash. In that case, he had constructed a “Vassago Board” which was like a Ouija with Vassago as its theme, and he requested knowledge of who had taken his money. After violently attacking one of his close friends on the word of the spirit, he returned to the board yet again and put the spirit to torment with the curses and his enchanted dagger. At that point, the spirit gave him the true identity of the thief, which knowledge was later proven true and utterly beyond his knowing at the time. The key to his success at conjuring was not an elaborate set of equipment but a hardened determination to wrestle the will of the spirit and become victorious, claiming from it some secret knowledge that it would otherwise refuse to disclose.
Despite the difficulty in the pilgrimage, I believe that this aspect of the work contributed considerably to the response of the spirit. I had accomplished a major personal milestone of sorts, and then pushed myself beyond reasonable limits just for the sake of calling this spirit in what I could honestly think of as a proper manner. Determination, and proper alignment of the will to bind the spirit, are essentials of the magic art. The spirit is not called to provide something within its possession, but rather to allow the magician some part of life that has been denied on account of his own sins or those of others. The demon is bound, and the magician claims a prize which was his right to have from the dawn of time.
A person who does not know what meaning and purpose life can have will inevitably lead a diminished kind of existence compared to what might have been. The United Negro College Fund slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” reminds the world that a person might be limited in attainment by lack of awareness of opportunities, and lack of the requisite training to pursue them. It is not so much that one must find the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, but it is enough to have a sense that such a thing might exist, without which every breath is lined with despair in some way. When so many people follow out this diminished sense of themselves, over generations, any institution they create or maintain will also preserve those character flaws, leading ultimately to its ruin and failure. I sought to bind the spirit so that I might avoid such a fate.
After my arduous hike and long journey home, around midnight I got the ceremony together, which was itself a task of epic proportions in that state. Besides a few of the larger pieces of equipment, the majority of the ceremony fits into a discreet box decorated with the Four Great Kings from the Clavis Inferni, along with a music stand for a lectern, the sword, and the brazier.
First, the Circle was laid out, and furnished. I performed the purifications, then the vesting, including the oil anointing. The Hexagram was consecrated, then covered with linen. The Pentacle of Solomon and the Seal were consecrated next, announcing which spirit I would call. Next, the Triangle was described, and Archangel Michael called to preside over it. The lamps were lit and consecrated. I walked the perimeter of the Circle, speaking the ten prayers. I lit the coal, so that it would be ready for the incense later and began the conjuration.
The first thing that became apparent was the Eye. It was clear, an inhuman eye, maybe that of an amphibian, but obviously looking at me and comprehending me. It was just the eye, like the Devil’s monocle floating in the air, and it was orange like ochre or gold-bearing soil. It was not solid, but like it was burned into the air. I gave the Address, and when I went to unlatch the linen to expose the Hexagram, it had come undone and was already showing.
I put frankincense on the coal, which was now glowing, and gave the Welcome incantation. The Eye dissolved into a point that was faint, glowing, and purple. From that point, and very slowly, the spirit took the form of an incredibly old man, covered in cobwebs and dust so much that he looked like an unwrapped mummy. He was absolutely ancient and severe of countenance, wrinkled all over his half-naked body, and with very long hair and beard, a homeless Saruman manifest from the lidless eye, except that the lidless eye in this case had at least two lids that worked in different directions.
The apparition of the eye indicates an inspection process, the spirit observing critically whether I have called it in a manner that it must answer. It was apparent that this annoyance referred in some way to my mishandling of the Hexagram. The old man was so covered in dirt that he appeared like a long-term homeless man from the Arizona desert. His attitude was something I might compare to meeting Grandpa’s sailor friend that Mom never let hang out with the family: he was grumpy, full of opinions, and insistent about everything, incredulous that his audience understood him.
As I did not have my “script” of questions to ask and commands to make, I decided to just say what was most strongly felt and get to the heart of this. I cannot remember so much of my exact words, but it was something along the order of requesting that the spirit reveal what opportunities I am not seeing in life that, if known, would revolutionize my circumstances for the better without damaging or upsetting the things and people I love. There was a loud train whistle.
The spirit rejoined that I should speak of which kind of directions I would like to take. Opportunities abound, but not all of them would be something I feel comfortable doing. Almost all of them depend on other people, and while finding random valuables lost by others might appear useful, it would leave me in the same situation in which I now come to it for answers. I thought it best to break down several suspected avenues of profit, and then gradually expand on those. In the modern world, if a thing does not make money somehow, it is worthless, and so I attempted to produce something that demonstrates profitability.
The first thing to come to mind was the idea of turning a profit from cryptocurrency or other digital assets, something that has been a popular topic lately but was also a part of earlier attempts to conjure the spirit. During that same period, the concept of cryptocurrency arose, and I was dismissive of it, preferring instead to find buried gold and revel in the glory of it. If I had put a small amount of money into it back then, against the advice of every single financial professional on the planet, I would now be mega-rich. Such rapid and exponential growth of a single asset is rare, and I wished to treat with the spirit directly to discover whether this field is worth the headaches.
The spirit described a system of derivative markets that capture the movement of various “coins” and convert that into profit for those with a stake in the enterprise. The spirit, when requested, gave the designation of [omitted] as the one to pick. I thought maybe it meant [omitted], but it was emphatic and twice repeated that it meant [omitted], which is a specific example of that type of asset which could be expected to produce profit through its volatility.
I requested that it reveal, during the process of personal inspection, which real estate properties might be more likely to increase in value, or a manner of determining which assets will grow in value. The spirit suggested that the power of monetary trade is rooted in vitality, and those places which have the most “life” in them will be the most likely to appreciate. This is specifically a value-judgment from the individual perspective, it is not to mean that overgrown lawns and rodent infestations qualify as having more life. Living things absorb and respond to stimulus from outside, properties that are immune to local activity for good or ill are less likely to gain in value.
Which industries are likely to gain traction? Identity verification. Companies that provide security from liability through verifying the legitimacy of buyers and sellers will be sought-after as the world begins to rely on digital domains for most of the business.
I asked the spirit to reveal the secrets of health and longevity. Is there a way to live longer, and better? The spirit went in a few directions on the answer. First, the potential for longevity is something that genetics is currently able to resolve, but not in a way that meets laboratory needs and standards. It has a lot of human obstacles, but there are two ways to achieve a “thoughtless” longevity. The first is selective breeding. According to the spirit, these traits open for people when the breeding conditions become ideal: low population density, abundance of resources, and as an adaptation to ages wherein the fertility rate is exceptionally low. The same effect can be generated in a lab setting, and we have the capability to do that, but only a handful of people know or care. Those few people, among them the well-known researchers, do not feel confident to come forward about their findings because they are not unsure of their conclusions and are certain of some margin of error.
Its general health advice, the secrets of personal well-being, amount to three things: eating well, building the kind of body a person wants to use, and avoiding sick people.
Eating well as a general principle is the first necessity of health and long life. Not eating a robust or varied diet, but eating well, so that one is satisfied and sustained. If a person has basic food issues, life will never be far from complaint. Food security and satisfaction were given priority over nutrition content.
Building the body one desires to use is very different from building an ideal body. A person should train every part of the body to cooperate in what he does, not to be bigger or stronger or even healthier, but to participate in the way he desires to live. The physical shape and appearance should extend the personal ambition and play a key role in what one does, whether it is walking or throwing or riding or whatever else. A physically fit and strong person who lives the life of a weak person will die sooner and in poorer spirits than a person in poor health who embraces his destitution.
Avoidance of sick people is more than social distance from the ill, it is a choice of lifestyle and companions. In short, health can be affected by participating in a kind of social atmosphere that one feels is wrong on some fundamental level. The stress of being part of something that one disdains will eventually produce pains and problems. A person needs to be among people with whom they have some shared purpose, and any situation with inherent conflict of interests will lead to sickness and disorder.
Speaking of sickness and disorder, I asked about the [you know what]. The spirit did not have an awful lot to say about ***** that would surprise anyone. If only I could remember the exact words, but in brief it described the ***** as well-planned, but utterly beyond control. In the long run, its influence would be negligible, and serve only to reorganize certain medical service systems that need to accommodate more people. It has an extremely exaggerated reputation. The spirit had quite a bit to say about the medical adventurism behind the *****, but these are the main points, the genuine facts of which the public is in a state of near total ignorance in all quarters.
Immediate desires and trivial things aside, I spoke to the spirit at length about what is hidden or lost that has actual value. It feels a bit petty to be asking about profits, but that’s the point, I want something to show for it, so what is ultimately the point of that? What is the secret purpose of it all? What is truly hidden or lost that is worth knowing?
The spirit had one answer: the truth. Even if truth is known, it is lost at its first revelation. A person can know truth, can see truth, but can only speak an interpretation of it, can only record a memory of it. Facts are not themselves truth, but truth will vindicate all facts, and selection of facts (as opposed to outright lies) is the main way that people obscure truth. People are unaware of their own capabilities as well as other things that might be considered lost, and the truth about what a person wants or feels is usually more deeply hidden than their personal treasures.
I spoke to the spirit about the concept of Things Lost and Hidden in terms of relics and mysteries of ancient cultures, specifically those in North America, but also the general idea of a Golden Age of a greater society whose methods have been lost. The spirit spoke on this for the better part of an hour. I am condensing that to these few sentences.
First, the main thing we have lost is a strict social order. Those Golden Age societies whose demise are lamented in songs had as their defining character a rather rigid system of personal value. You were probably born to be what you became as an adult, much of the anxiety of deciding what to do with yourself is easily resolved by not having a lot of choice in what you do. The modern world has so many things to be and do, that there is a guarantee of conflicting interest at every level of social participation. The people of the Golden Ages might not have had toilet paper, but they had a clear concept of who they were in relation to other people they knew, and a clear sense of identity as a people, leading to a sense of being in a Golden Age which for modern people looks like the struggling lifestyle of the lower Paleolithic.
There are relics of civilizations that predate the last Ice Age all over the world in one form or another. The main marvels of those ages that we have forgotten how to reproduce are all basic chemistry and physics. They moved heavy things using fulcrum technology. They made their own stone from mining slag and strong acids made from compost, and there is proof of it on every continent. The relics and technologies of those places are not something so easily discovered, except in ways that lead to little personal gain besides enjoyment of them. The real marvel is that they were able to be done at all, and that occurred because they had a level of organization that was rooted in strong ideas about themselves as people.
I asked about movements around the world in ancient times, like the Egyptian pineapples and the Phoenicians of southwest England, and the spirit replied that there are always immigrants in all places and times. There are foreign people who moved around or traded, and they simply did not become part of the official and surviving record. Even now, people from obscure nations are living near to us, and they are not part of any historical record, until such time as they contribute to a version history which somehow survives those who recorded it.
In the Golden Age society, the defining point of personal attainment is to transmute one station for another, and in this there are two primary stations in life. One is either a leader or a follower, and there are two types of leaders. There are those who lead their own team, and those who lead the teams of others, and for each there is an equivalent follower. Of the followers, there are two types, those who volunteer to suffer on behalf of others, and those who refuse to suffer for anyone but themselves. The great alchemical transformation of a person is to move between these layers of society, to reorganize the self-concept into a different modality. Getting out of the way is not an option, but to become wealthy or wise is to change the formula by which one lives.
All of this sounds like an orderly vision of the ways in which people could be separated into classes, which in terms of demonology is one of the reasons this spirit is accounted among the damned. A person is free, in whatever sense might constitute the ultimate or spiritual reality, but in order to get anything done, people need to become considerably less free. This inescapable condition highlights the temptations behind the power of the spirit. It is more than mere temptation to snoop on the neighbors, it is an imposed sense of identity that eventually causes whatever civilization had been constructed around it to crumble as its members are unable to produce the things they most deeply require. As man does not live by bread alone, the economic activity of a family, a city, a nation, or the world, must do more than produce profit, it must produce generational satisfaction with what has been accomplished, a thought echoed in Ecclesiastes 15.
It is often difficult to see these things as evil or demonic. It is very hard to understand that something which appears to be entirely benevolent, representing ultimate truths of existence, could in some way be deemed satanic except by the most shallow and biased audience. Nonetheless, the imposition of social order, the limitations of personal knowledge, the obscurity of personal merit, are all unfortunate tragedies of the human race that are resolute against all attempted remedies. The complex factors at the root of those issues is, for the demonologist, a spiritual being with whom one negotiates a relief from the universal misery borne of the simple fact that everyone lives in a world of inherited troubles.
I had been listening and occasionally requesting clarification for a while. I was very tired. I asked the spirit which kinds of change I could make personally that would lead to my personal gain if it is not something evident to me. I wanted to know what kind of revolution or transmutation I could make that allow for me to pursue my hopes and dreams rather than simply survive.
The spirit said that I should become someone like William Blake, producing something that inspires others by virtue of its passionate delivery but is not in itself perfect, and that through doing this I could become like a prophet of transcendental nationalism. The spirit encouraged me to produce works of art and writing for their aesthetic value rather than their trade value, and to use them as a method of spreading this gospel of self-definition that allows people to see themselves outside of the social order and its standards. In brief, I should become bolder about supporting myself as an artistic philosopher and speak my doctrine until the words fall on fertile soil in someone else’s mind, rather than marketing a commercial product or service with the hope of maximized returns.
The spirit was clear that there is no way to become involved in the lost and hidden if one does not also wish to be part of it being found and revealed. That is more than just getting a picture in the paper, a person then becomes as much a part of the discovery as whoever left it to be found, if not more. It described every hidden or lost thing as retaining some ties to the one who left it, which ties become a protective force that must be broken or pacified before whatever it is can be obtained or known.
In addition to all of this, I made several inquiries on behalf of others, most of whom have been waiting quite some time for me to have an opportunity for this. I had also intended to request that the spirit endorse my activity with the crystal ball, providing true answers when a sign was made and so on, but over the course of the discussion, that option grew less relevant. The spirit was not keen on accepting this part of my program.
All of this gave me something to think about, not exactly miracles and secrets revealed, but not nothing. I resolve to give it thought and if necessary, return to the spirit, which was clear that it chose to communicate with me only out of respect to my diligence in seeking it out so far. It was getting light out, and I was very tired, so I gave the spirit its dismissal and went to sleep.