Sigillum Dei Aemeth

Seal of the Truth of God

Sigillum Dei Aemeth - John Dee
Catherine Beyer / About.com

Note: Larger versions of all diagrams can be found here

The Sigillum Dei Aemeth, or Seal of the Truth of God, is most widely known through the writings and artifacts of John Dee, a 16th century occultist and astrologer in the court of Elizabeth I. While the sigil does appear in older texts of which Dee was probably familiar, he was not happy with them and ultimately gained guidance from angels to construct his version.

Dee's Purpose

Dee inscribed the sigil on circular wax tablets. He would commune via a medium and a "shew-stone" with the angels, and the tablets were used in preparing the ritual space for such communication. One tablet was placed upon a table, and the shew-stone upon the tablet. Four other tablets were placed beneath the legs of the table.

In Popular Culture

Versions of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth have been used several times in the show Supernatural as "demon traps." Once a demon stepped within the confines of the sigil, they became unable to leave.

General Construction

Dee's system of angelic magic, known as Enochian, is heavily rooted in the number seven, a number which is also strongly connected with the seven traditional planets of astrology. As such, the Sigillum Dei Aemeth is primarily constructed of heptagrams (seven-pointed stars) and heptagons (seven-sided polygons).

Read more: Diagram of Sigil Broken Down Into Components

A. The Outer Ring

The Outer ring contains the names of seven angels, each associated with a planet. To find a name, start with a capitalized letter on the ring. If there is a number over it, count that many letters clockwise. If there is a number under it, count that many letters counterclockwise. Continuing the procedure will spell out the names:

  • Thaaoth (Mars)
  • Galaas (Saturn)
  • Gethog (Jupiter)
  • Horlwn (Sun)
  • Innon (Venus)
  • Aaoth (Mercury)
  • Galethog (Luna)

These are the Angels of Brightness, who comprehend the seven "inward powers of God, known to none but himself."

B. "Galethog"

Inside the outer ring are seven symbols based on the letters forming "Galethog," with "th" being represented by a single sigil. The name can be read counter-clockwise. These seven sigils are the "Seats of the One and everlasting GOD. His 7 secret Angels proceeding from every letter and cross so formed: referring in substance to the FATHER: in form, to the SON: and inwardly to the HOLY GHOST."

C. The Outer Heptagon

The names of the "Seven Angels who stand before the presence of God," each also associated with a planet, were written vertically into a 7-by-7 grid. By reading the grid horizontally, you get the seven names listed in the outer heptagon. The seven original names were:

  • Zaphkiel (Saturn)
  • Zadkiel (Jupiter)
  • Cumael (Mars)
  • Raphael (Sun)
  • Haniel (Venus)
  • Michael (Mercury)
  • Gabriel (Moon)

The resulting new names are written clockwise.

Read more: Diagram of Arrangement of Letters for Area C

The Central Structures (D. E. F. G. and H.)

The next five levels are all based off of another 7-by-7 grid of letters.

Each is read in a different direction. The letters are names of more planetary spirits, originally written in a zigzag pattern, starting in the upper left corner (the "el" of each name was removed in the creation of the grid):

  • Sabathiel (Saturn)
  • Zedekieiel (Jupiter)
  • Madimiel (Mars)
  • Semeliel (Sun)
  • Nogahel (Venus)
  • Corabiel (Mercury)
  • Levanael (Moon)

The names between the outer heptagon and heptagram are constructed by reading the grid horizontally. They are the "Names of God, not known to the Angels; neither can be spoken nor read of man."

The names within the points of the heptagram are the Daughters of Light. The names within lines of the heptagram are the Sons of Light. The names within the two central heptagons are the Daughters of the Daughters and the Sons of the Sons.

Read more: Diagram of Arrangement of Letters for Areas D. E. F. G. and H.

I. The Pentagram

The planetary spirits are repeated around the pentagram. The letters spelling out Sabathiel (with the final "el" again removed) are scattered around the outside. The next five spirits are spelled out closer to the center, with the first letter of each name within a point of the pentagram. Levanael is at the very center, surrounding a cross, a common symbol of earth.

Read more: Pentagrams in Occult Belief