940 – Animal skull in hexagram

Physical description:
Ram's (or goat's) skull, painted with a hexagram and other devices, mounted on a multi-coloured hexagram on a yellow disc.
Museum classification:
Ritual Magic
Size:
300 x 300 x 170 mm
Information:

The object entry as of August 2018 for this object simply read, "From a ritual magician's temple."  The current author has been unable to verify this.  In an email in August 2018, Graham King, former Museum Director, confirmed that he had discovered this object in Cecil Williamson's home after he died.  Graham stated that it probably came from a Ritual Magician's Den but he couldn't confirm this.

In 2018, this object appeared in the Museum's exhibition "Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic."

It also appeared on the front cover of the paperback edition of "Of Shadows: 100 objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic" by Sarah Hannant and Simon Costin (Strange Attractor Press).

This object was found in Cecil’s home after he died in 1996.  It utilises the hexagram (symbol of the macrocosm) and an animal skull. 

The colours most likely represent the planets (see object number 3930 for the traditional Golden Dawn system of planetary colours within a hexagram) and the blue triangle on the nose is the symbol of water. 

It could be that the symbols are simply decorative, however, in Ritual Magic, symbols usually have meaning and care has been taken with this object but its exact meaning is unclear.

The symbol on the top (red with green dot) could represent a third eye.  The colours are the alchemical symbols for fire.

The yellow, orange and brown lines on the forehead are a mystery as are the green foliage/green fire like motifs.

The white hexagram in the middle could represent spirit.

The yellow lines on the nose area are laid out in the same way as the I Ching tri-gram for Earth (Kun).  In the Museum archive, there is a whole booklet of the I Ching hexagrams written by Cecil Williamson (see document number 8872). However, the current author hasn't seen the I Ching used in this way anywhere else.

Some speculation about this object:

-it could be a vessel for conjuring a spirit possibly related to fire (this was suggested by Mark the Wand in 2017);

-it could be a Zodiacal talisman (the skull could represent Capricorn or Aries) as it resembles talismans written about by Eliphas Levi in “The Ritual of Transcendental Magic” but it is not identical (see below - in this talisman, the bull is drawn only, perhaps this talisman was made with a real animal skull instead of a pictorial representation of one?)

 

A recent donation to the Museum collection was a different painted ram's skull (object number 3868) used in rituals associated with BABALON working (Crowley/Thelemite approach to magic exemplified by Jack Parsons).  It could be that this ram's skull has something to do with this type of working as well.

 

 

Resource:
Object
Materials:
Bone, wood

The object entry as of August 2018 for this object simply read, "From a ritual magician's temple."  The current author has been unable to verify this.  In an email in August 2018, Graham King, former Museum Director, confirmed that he had discovered this object in Cecil Williamson's home after he died.  Graham stated that it probably came from a Ritual Magician's Den but he couldn't confirm this.

In 2018, this object appeared in the Museum's exhibition "Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic."

It also appeared on the front cover of the paperback edition of "Of Shadows: 100 objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic" by Sarah Hannant and Simon Costin (Strange Attractor Press).

This object was found in Cecil’s home after he died in 1996.  It utilises the hexagram (symbol of the macrocosm) and an animal skull. 

The colours most likely represent the planets (see object number 3930 for the traditional Golden Dawn system of planetary colours within a hexagram) and the blue triangle on the nose is the symbol of water. 

It could be that the symbols are simply decorative, however, in Ritual Magic, symbols usually have meaning and care has been taken with this object but its exact meaning is unclear.

The symbol on the top (red with green dot) could represent a third eye.  The colours are the alchemical symbols for fire.

The yellow, orange and brown lines on the forehead are a mystery as are the green foliage/green fire like motifs.

The white hexagram in the middle could represent spirit.

The yellow lines on the nose area are laid out in the same way as the I Ching tri-gram for Earth (Kun).  In the Museum archive, there is a whole booklet of the I Ching hexagrams written by Cecil Williamson (see document number 8872). However, the current author hasn't seen the I Ching used in this way anywhere else.

Some speculation about this object:

-it could be a vessel for conjuring a spirit possibly related to fire (this was suggested by Mark the Wand in 2017);

-it could be a Zodiacal talisman (the skull could represent Capricorn or Aries) as it resembles talismans written about by Eliphas Levi in “The Ritual of Transcendental Magic” but it is not identical (see below - in this talisman, the bull is drawn only, perhaps this talisman was made with a real animal skull instead of a pictorial representation of one?)

 

A recent donation to the Museum collection was a different painted ram's skull (object number 3868) used in rituals associated with BABALON working (Crowley/Thelemite approach to magic exemplified by Jack Parsons).  It could be that this ram's skull has something to do with this type of working as well.