This article serves to analyze Chief Duke Mephistophiles, best known in Demonolatry as Mesphito, the Keeper of the Book of Death, through the esotericisms of demonology, Qabbalah, and Greek magick. This is a very deep look into demonology which may not be suitable or helpful for beginners.
We know from grimoires modern and medieval alike that Mephistophiles (often called Mesphito) is a real demon, and a powerful one at that. Well, believe it or not, Doctor Faust was a real person. He was an infamous alchemist, blasphemer, astrologist, magickian, necromancer, and sodomite who once allegedly tricked a local chaplain into rubbing arsenic on his own face. Countless medieval grimoires are attributed to the teachings of Doctor Faust, just like many grimoires are attributed to the teachings of Solomon and Moses.
Faust lived around the time that the printing press was invented, so while we do have stories about his exploits, our sources aren’t entirely reliable, and the fictitious adaptations of his life, both in theater and literature, are abundant.
Mesphito is attributed to two of the Qliphoth’s Spheres, namely the third and the fifth. Three multiplied by five gives us 15, the number of the fifteenth tarot card (the Devil). The fifteenth tarot is attributed to the twenty-sixth pathway* of the Qliphoth, which just so happens to be the pathway which connects the two Qliphas that Mesphito is attributed to. 26 (2 + 6) gives us 8, as do the third and fifth spheres added together (3 + 5). 8 is a number attributed to the planet Mercury and the Philosopher’s Stone, and it’s the number of faces on an octahedron (the Platonic solid attributed to Mercury). An octahedron has eight faces, twelve edges, and six vertices: 8 + 12 + 6 = 26, which is again the number of the path between the Qliphothic spheres which Mesphito is attributed to.
8 and 15 are the two numbers given to us by the two spheres that Mesphito is attributed to, and I have demonstrated that the path between these spheres relates to both of these numbers as well. Multiplied together, 8 & 15 give us 120. 120 is the mystic number of the star and the mystic quality of the number 5, giving us the pentagram, a sign of the Great Work (note: 8 also symbolizes the Great Work). 120 is also the numerical value of the Hebrew letter Samekh when it is spelled out as a Hebrew word (note: it is in Liber Samekh that Crowley delineates the Rite of the Bornless One, an adversary-oriented rite to invoke the Higher Self which was written to precede workings with the demons of the Goetia). Blood is sometimes esoterically interpreted as a sign of the Great Work, and 120 days is the life span of a red blood globule (note: one of Mesphito’s names in the grimoires is Hemostophile).
Now let’s talk about the spheres specifically. First, Mesphito is attributed to Samael and Glasyalabolas, Buer, Adrammelech, and Amon (lesser attribution). Secondly, Mesphito is attributed to Thagirion alongside Claunech, Sorath, Belphagore, Paimon (lesser attribution), Amy, and Merihim.
The light of the Black Sun of Thagirion is the guiding influence which orients the Black Moon of Gamaliel. This is why Mammon, the foremost emissary of Gamaliel, is believed to enact the agendas of Sorath, the true offspring of Thagirion. Samael, the Mercurious Qlipha, is the sphere which imparts the Black Sun’s guidance to Gamaliel.* So, Mesphito is attributed to both this guiding influence of the Black Moon and the medium of its provision.
*This is the same pathway that Marbas and A’ano’nin are attributed to.
**Within Gamaliel dwell Mammon, Lilith, Qalilitu, Verrine, Buer, and Orias.
The Initiatory Force of Mephistophiles
One of the leading authorities of Traditional Demonolatry, S. Conolly (the S. stands for “Stephany,” by the way) has recorded the esoteric meaning of the name Beelzebuth revealed to her by Beelzebuth itself. While the literal translation of the name is “Lord of the Flies,” its esoteric meaning is “Lord of All that Flies.” This is a reference to Beelzebuth’s patronage of
aeronautical engineering, meterology, and aerospace engineering sky machines. Mesphito has more than nineteen name variations in the medieval grimories, and we’re going to attempt some esoteric name interpretation.
One of Mesphito’s names in the grimoires is Memostophiles, with Mem being the Hebrew word for water. Mem is the 23rd Hebrew letter, and 23 = 15 + 8 (these are the two numbers given by adding and multiplying the third and fifth Qliphothic spheres). Mem, as a word, means “water,” and the value of the Hebrew phrase “your water,” a phrase denoting god-given sustenance in the Bible, is 120, the number we got by multiplying 15 (3 x 5) and 8 (3 + 5). In the Golden Dawn,*** the stage of initiation attributed to the sphere of Mercury is called “the water grade” in reference to the “nurturing waters of [the Sephira of Mercury]” and the tarot card attributed to Mem is the Hanged Man.
The Hanged Man the card of self-sacrifice. It represents an accomplishment of the Great Work which is misconstrued by the uninitiated as martyrdom. The figure in the tarot card is depicted hanging from the Hebrew letter Tau, which Hebrew letter is considered to have been the Mark of Qayin (Qayin/Cain being the first Ascended Master of the Black Lodge) and is attributed to the thirty-second path of the Qliphoth, basically signifying the start of a new cycle of initiatory demon magick.
***Based on the consistent similarities between the recorded experiences of Niners working with the Tree of Wyrd, practitioners of demon magick working with the Qliphoth, and white magickians working with the Sephiroth, I have concluded that Hod, Samael, and Utarid are all just different approaches to working with the planetary sphere of Mercury
My attribution of Mesphito to the card of self-sacrifice via esoteric name-analysis is actually verified by a synchronicity in psychodynamic therapy. According to Wikipedia, “Psychodynamic therapy uses the idea of a Faustian bargain to explain defence mechanisms, usually rooted in childhood, that sacrifice elements of the self in favor of some form of psychical survival.” (Note: obviously psychodynamic theory uses the metaphor of Faust’s bargain in a negative light).
So, the initiatory influence of Memostophiles is that of an apotheosis misconstrued by outsiders as death. So, when the fictitious legend of Faust concludes with the (perceived) accidental death of the sorcerer, we can infer what really happened. The cause of Faust’s death, having been perceived as coming about due to an accidental result of the explosive gases used in alchemy, is simply the common man’s interpretation of Faust’s achievement of magickal immortality. After all, Memostophiles correlates to the initiatory stage of the Sphere of Mercury, and it just so happens that the alchemical substance attributed to Mercury is explosive gas.
Mephistophiles as a God of Mercury
In The Book of Mephisto, Asenath Mason forwards the notion that Mesphito is a an spirit of Mercury. While I adore Asenath Mason’s literature, I feel that she very much oversimplified Mesphito in more ways than by her mere avoidance of Mesphito’s other Qliphothic and other planetary attribution. She focused far more heavily on fictitious renditions of the story of Faust than the depictions of Mesphito within the grimoires, and when she did address the spirit’s description in grimoiric demonology she focused entirely on the medieval tradition, neglecting the wonderful yet admittedly sparse insights into Mesphito provided by modern black magickians such as J. Thorp.
Nonetheless, I am pressed to agree with Mason’s attribution to the Mercurial Qlipha and the planet of Mercury itself.
Two of the three animal forms which Mephistophiles takes in the grimoires I’ve read (modern and old alike), which forms include a toad, a bear, and a dog, are symbols of Ophiel, the Olympic Spirit of Mercury. A medieval grimoire’s description of Mesphito as a bald man in a black cape seemed, in my opinion, reminiscient of a recorded appearance of Ophiel as a man in a black cloak. The medieval-grimoiric description of Mesphito as an approachable, youthful man lines up with the appearance of the Greek God of Mercury. Moreover, the magickal powers of Mephistophiles provided in the medieval grimoires completely match the powers given to those two entities of Mercury.
One of the speculative etymologies of Megastophiles and Mephistophiel, two of Mesphito’s names in the grimoires, is “Megist Ophiel” or “the Great Ophiel.” This interpretation makes far more sense than the unfortunately more common comparison of the name Mephistophiles to “Mephitis,” the name of a goddess who rules over stench.
In conclusion, Mesphito is a divinity of Mercury both inside and outside of Qliphothic sorcery. In contrast, while Mesphito is attributed to Jupiter by a medieval grimoire unrelated to Qabbalah, he has no recorded attribution to the Qlipha of Jupiter in grimoires which incorporate Qabbalah.
A demon’s attribution to Qliphothic planetary spheres usually does not match their attribution to planets outside of Qabbalah. For example, while Amducious and Vassago are both attributed to Thaumiel (Neptune & Pluto/Moloch & Satan), neither of them are attributed to Pluto outside of the Qliphoth. The only two demons I can think of who are attributed to the Qliphothic spheres of planets that they are attributed to outside of the Qliphoth are Buer an Glasyalabolas. Interestingly enough, Buer and Glasyalabolas are both attributed to Samael (Mercury/Adrammelech). We might be building evidence of a trend.
Update: I decided to find out once and for all whether Ophiel and Mephistophiles were the same entity. I channeled the gnosis that the two spirits were indeed the same, and publicly requested that other black magickians seek their own gnosis regarding the matter and get back to me. My gnosis that Ophiel = Mesphito, being a confirmation of scholarly speculation, was confirmed by three other witches who didn’t know my opinion on the matter.
Mephistophiles and Jupiter
While it has been easy for me to draw much meaning from Mesphito’s attributions to the Qliphothic Spheres of Mercury and the Black Sun, I was at a loss as to what meaning I could draw from his non-Qliphothic planetary attribution to Jupiter, but the very first article I read about Jupiter easily reconciles Mesphito’s attribution to both it and the Sphere of the Black Sun. The article calls Jupiter “the elder king, giving way to the new solar king” and “a Sun that has never ignited” which “radiates not physical light, but the spiritual light of illumination.” Jupiter, like the Sphere of the Black Sun, is attributed to both the guru and the inner teacher. You may read that article here:
Since Mesphito usually described as one of the highest authorities of the Infernal Divine, and since he is renowned for being really fucking powerful and really fucking nice, it makes sense for him to be attributed to Jupiter, and as far as non-Qliphothic planetary attributions go, Jupiter is as good of an equivalent of the mixture of the influences of the Mercurial and Black-Solar Qliphas as I can think of.
Mephistophiles and Baphomet
In Path of Satan, Mesphito is attributed to the seventh letter of “the infernal alphabet,” being K. Apollo is attributed to the seventh Greek letter, Epsilon. Epsilon is attributed to Mercury, and K corresponds to the Hebrew letter Kaf, being the source of the K in magick– a symbol of the Great Work attributed to Mercury. K, as Mesphito is attributed to it, is both 7 and 8, lending 15 (the fifteenth tarot card, the Devil) and 56, a number of the Great Work.
The Baphomet of Eliphas Levi, being the model for the Devil as depicted in Atu XV, is also known as Octinomos insofar as (s)he is a symbol of the Great Work. The numbers of Atu XV and Octinomos add and multiply to give us 23 and 120 again, equating Mesphito to the Goat of Mendes in terms of alchemical signification. Despite Baphomet’s attribution to Mercury, it is believed that the state of adepthood illustrated by Baphomet is attained in the Sphere of the Sun, so it can be said that Mesphito represents the black magickal equivalent of this same attainment.
Mephistophiles, Lucifuge, and Lucifer
Lucifer, who is attributed to Venus and the Sun (he has no known attribution in the Qliphoth), is considered the counterpart of Mesphito. This makes a degree of sense, keeping in mind that Saturn is the quintessential Diabolic force of astrology. The nature of Saturn is reflected in Venus Inversus, the black aspect of Venus, and the Saturnian Qlipha is the top of the Qliphoth’s left column, of which collumn the Mercurial Qlipha forms the base. Lucifer’s other counterpart, Lucifuge, may be a counterpart to Mesphito as well.
Lucifuge and Mesphito are the two great grimoiric initiators. The Qliphothic hierarchy used by the modern Black Lodge attributes Lucifuge to the Saturnian Qlipha, but a lesser-known hierarchy exists which assigns Lucifuge to leadership over the Sphere of the Black Sun.**** Lucifuge, being attributed to leadership of the Qliphothic Spheres of Saturn and the Black Sun, represents a far more advanced initiation than Mesphito, being identified as an emissary of the Qliphothic Spheres of Mercury and the Black Sun. However, both of them are, in terms of Qliphothic influence, a mixture of the Black-Solar Qlipha with the Pillar of Severity, so the fact that they play identical roles to one another in many medieval grimories makes a lot of sense.
****The hierarchy which attributes Lucifuge to Thagirion attributes Eisheth Zenunim to the Saturnian Qlipha. A modern Demonolater by the name of T.B. Scott has attributed Eisheth Zennunim to Thagirion, intimating a great similarity between the two Qliphas. Since the Qliphas of the Black Earth and Black Moon are both related to Lilith, whose true throne is in the Saturnian Qlipha, it makes sense for Thagirion to have a connection to Saturn as well).
In case you want a black metal song about Mesphito for your magickal work, here’s the one I personally use: