The Sorcery of Solomon: A Guide to the 44 Planetary Pentacles of the Magician King, by Sara L. Mastros
Weiser Books, 1578637864, 272 pages, January 2024
King Solomon is renowned for his wisdom and wealth, but did you know that he was also believed to be a powerful magician? Many ancient texts attribute supernatural powers to him, including the ability to summon and command demons and spirits. According to legend, he used his knowledge of magic to build the Temple of Jerusalem and control the elements. Some even claim that he possessed a magical ring that gave him control over the spirits of the air, earth, and sea. While the extent of his magical abilities may be debated, there is no doubt that King Solomon was a fascinating figure whose legacy continues to guide magicians today.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced magician, The Sorcery of Solomon: A Guide to the 44 Planetary Pentacles of the Magician King by Sara L. Mastros is a game-changer in magical studies, specifically Solomonic magic. Mastros walks readers through building a relationship with Solomon, learning the Hebrew seals, and understanding how to craft your own Magic Book of Pentacles. The combination of personal anecdotes with academic information makes this a well-rounded text for those seeking guidance on how to use the seals in their own craft.
Solomon’s magic has a long, complex history. Mastros answers questions readers might have in the beginning of the book, including who this book is for and addressing concerns about cultural appropriation. She describes how working Solomonic magic requires one to be “comfortable working with the G-d of Israel.”1, while also emphasizing the book is written for both Jewish and non-Jewish practitioners alike.
“Growing, changing, and adapting generation with generation, the Solomonic current is braided through the so-called “Western mystery traditions,” both influencing and being influenced by the many magical paradigms, culturism, and styles encountered along the way. Those cultures and practices include Babylonian astrotheology, Egyptian priestcraft, Jewish amulet writing, Greek goetia, Roman witchcraft, Arabic astrological magic, both Ashkenaz and Sefardic folk magic, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Muslim ceremonial magic, Afro-Caribbean sorcery, and a variety of contemporary Angelo-phone magics.”2
Next, Mastros moves into the history and cultural context of Solomon, which I found to be immensely helpful as someone who is not overly familiar with this type of magic and its detailed history. She specifically details the history of Christian Europe in the Middle Ages and Renaissance from a Jewish perspective, as well as covering The Key of Solomon and The Book of Seals. This book works with the Samuel Liddle MacGregor Mathews interpretation of the Key of Solomon, specifically chapter eighteen focusing on the pentacles.
Mastros recommends a three-pill approach, SLM, for beginners of Solomonic magic: Solomon, Logos, and Magic. Part II is a deep-dive into this method. Topics covered range from working with the dead to dream incubation to the origin of writing. Mastros also teaches readers a good amount about Hebrew magic because the planetary pentacles are “undeniably Hebrew”, and as a result “they rely on the knowledgeable and skillful application of Hebrew magical words and Names of Power.”3
I had zero knowledge about Hebrew magic prior to reading this book, and while it felt a little overwhelming at times to absorb, Mastros does a wonderful job of making it accessible to a novice. What I appreciated most is how she constantly is sharing the relevance of what she’s teaching, assisting the reader in seeing why taking the time to study and learn is valuable. She doesn’t provide shortcuts, but at the same time, she doesn’t go on tangents that distract focus from the information at hand.
For those who feel ready, she provides plenty of guidance for invoking and working with the Great Seal and then making one’s own Book of Pentacles. I wasn’t ready to go there yet, but I highly enjoyed reading about the Great Seal, where Mastros describes the characteristics of the number five and significance of the pentacle. Here’s one thing I learned that I found fascinating:
“However, before writing a pentacle, please recall that, once enchanted, they are people, not objects, and must be treated as such. As people, they must not be thrown out, but allowed to live out their natural life space and then their remains must be interred respectfully. If they are drawn on the body, you can’t scrub them off (or otherwise intentionally efface them). They should be allowed to naturally fade and decay.”4
The longest section, Part III, covers all 44 of Mather’s pentacles. As an astrologer, I was eager to delve into this section since the planets are such a big part of my life. I wanted to learn more about planetary pendants to see what insight about the nature of each planet might be revealed. Additionally, I’ve been looking to enhance my celestial magic practice and learning to work with the seals has long been on my to-do list. I was so grateful to have Mastros as a guide to arrive at this point, as I would have been very naive in simply sketching them not realizing how to properly invoke their power. Mastros writes:
“However, in my opinion, by far the most important component in empowering the pentacles of Solomon is to carefully attend to and understand the sacred Names of Power on which the pentacles call, and to hold kavvanot appropriate to those names while writing and speaking them.”5
I highly enjoyed reading about each seal. Mastros very clearly explains each one, sharing both Mather’s description and her own experience working with it. For instance, Mastros explains how The Seal of Sheba can be worn as a pendant on the heart or arm, while The Wheel of HaShem Adonai can be placed “in a container of any vision-supporting herb to provide a bit of a boost.”6She sometimes includes exercises to aid readers, as well as additional reading material to better round-out their understanding. Another immensely helpful thing Mastros provides is the translation of the Hebrew writing on each seal, so if one wants to create their own seal, they can use the translation rather than the Hebrew script.
Overall, The Sorcery of Solomon is an extremely user-friendly guide to the 44 planetary pentacles, providing practical instructions on how to use the pentacles to their full potential while being sensitive to their historical and cultural significance. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced magician, this book is a game-changer in magical studies and Solomonic magic. Mastros’s extensive knowledge of history and experience as a magical practitioner enriches the reader’s understanding of these magical seals and provides the foundation to create one’s own Magical Book of Pentacles. While you could absolutely power-read the book and glean a great deal of information, a slow and savory read could last you a long time of in-depth study.
Alanna Kali is an astrologer, numerologist, and pioneer spirit that loves to explore life through the lens of depth psychology. She has a passion for studying the humanities and social trends. Her academic work is centered upon reuniting body, mind, and spirit through eco-psychology. She loves reading, spending time in nature, and travel.