Apr 13, 2012

Golden Lamen: II


This should have actually been Golden Lamen 0. 
It s my first attempt to gild a seal made of tin.

The Original seal of Camuel:

The tin seal,  melted, cast and engraved personally :

And the end result, gilded with common goldfoil mixture (mixtion, in my country s iconografic tradition):

Apr 10, 2012

Gold Lamen

Since I am putting together my Theurgia Goetia equipment as faithfully as I can, I will need the gold lamen. Tricky busyness... Not only is a disc of god extremely expensive and beyond my current financial reach (right now ever a dinner out and a movie are out of the question, but I m quite optimistic), but it would be extremely hazardous to engrave.

The grimoires mention times not a few the seals of wax. Not only the Book of Abramelin the Mage and the Liber Juratus (Sigillum Dei Aementh) along with Dee s inovations of it, but also the books on planetary images such as the Liber de Angelis and the Munich Manual.

Nothing wrong with wax seals. This is one of the materials used for its purity and magical properties in a lot of rites, in molding statues, images, lamens and even rings (in the Hygromanteia), and it would resolve my dilemma in finding a suitable body for the seal using genuine gold foil.

Why use plaster, wood, epoxy or any other metal, when I can use good ol consecrated wax, after the traditional method?

This is the step by step procedure of making a seal out of wax, gilded in gold:

1. Get some rosin (colophony).

2. Ground the rosin to a fine powder. It s quite easily groudable, very brittle and dry, and it will yeald a fine, puffy, white yellowish powder, the same athletes use to powder their hads for better grip. Right now I only had rosin, I ll also try shellac as soon as possible.

3. Melt some wax. Genuine beeswax, from a good seller, not candle mixture or spermaceti or paraffin wax. Genuine beeswax is yellow to brown and has a honey scent that is really to die for.

4. Put the rosin powder into the molten wax and stir until all the rosin is melted in the wax. This will produce a harder wax, and this was used for seals on documents. Natural beeswax is very very soft and it will become softer if handled, let alone worn as a lamen, and the added rosin will prevent that. It also provides a more solid surface for engraving the characters, letting the burin or engraving needle sink evenly into it. Add a lot of rosin powder, don t be afraid.

5. Pour the wax mixture in a prefered mold. I do something else: I boil some water in a round tea pot and pour the hot wax. The water sinks and the wax flows up. Once hardened, the wax will form a perfectly round disk, with the same thinkness all around. And if you try to take it out, you will ruin it. Trick is sticking the pot with the wax and water in the freezer, after it cools down, for a few minutes. The Wax will contract and come out on its own. If the pot is not all roud, it might get stuck, though. For this I used a tin mold, poured the mixture in and after cooling I placed it in the freezer. It came right off.

6. After your disk is ready, wipe it clean, dry it a bit and engrave your design. In my case, the Pentagonal Seal of Solomon, but I ll do a test one with my own design on the spot.  It s better to engrave it while still cold. After it gets warmer, it will become  quite soft, even from the heat of your hands. 

This was done in a hurry, and I m not particularly proud of it, I only wanted to show you the process.

7. Enter the goldfoil. For this demonstration I will use less expensive faux gold, but for the genuine experiment I will certainly use real 24 karat gold foil.
Since the wax  acts nothing like wood or plaster used in icons, nor like paper or vellum treated with gesso, we will have to attach the foil to the wax in a different way. This is when it hit me: rosin wax is stickier than normal wax. 

7a. Gently dry the wax seal to remove any water or vapor.
7b. Gentry apply the goldfoil.
7c.Blow on it and caress it ever-so-slightly with some cotton or a soft fabric.
7d. After the goldfoil settles (would take you a few months trials, but it s way easier than engraving pure gold when difficulty is concerned) press with your thumb gently but firmly on each line and character. The heat of your hand is moderate enough to melt the wax and make the goldfoil stick, but gentle enough so as not to melt the whole seal or ruin the design. I tried a lamp and a blowdrier first, but the wax melted in both cases, and this is surely the safest method.
7e. Press it again softly with some cotton or a satin rag and rub it, in order to burnish it.
7f. Behold ye fynished result, to the glorye of the Almightye God!

OK, so it looks a bit lame and cheap on camera, but in real life it actually looks good. The camera tends to show every wax imperfection and every scratch the goldfoil catches even from rubbing with soft materials.

Hope you get it right and practice the process, as I did. NEVER try gold foil from the get go, always practice with faux gold.

I will test the effectiveness in my evocations this summer. 

N. B. This is NOT the actual seal I will use. I will never photograph and post my magical tools, only my replicas. I am a firm believer in the Secret of Practice.

Take care and let me know if this was helpful.