A male DEMON who evolved from the ancient Phoenician mother goddess of fertility, Astarte or Ashtoreth. Astaroth is also a FALLEN ANGEL and 29th of 72 SPIRITS OF SOLOMON. According to Judaic lore, he was a high-ranking ANGEL, either one of the seraphim or a prince of thrones, prior to his fall. Astaroth is a grand duke and treasurer of HELL and commands 40 LEGIONs of demons. He is one of the three supreme evil demons, with BEELZEBUB and LUCIFER, in the Grimoire Verum and Grand Grimoire, which date from about the 18th century. In the Lemegeton, he appears as either a beautiful or an ugly angel, riding a dragon and holding a viper. He possesses a powerful stench and stinking breath. Magicians who desire to conjure him must hold a magical ring in front of their faces to protect themselves against his smell.
   Astaroth teaches all the sciences and is keeper of the secrets of the past, present, and future. He is invoked in necromantic rituals of divination. When conjured in magical rites, which must be performed on Wednesday nights between 10:00 and 11:00, he will give true answers to questions about the past, present, and future. He discovers secrets and is skilled in liberal sciences. He encourages slothfulness and laziness.
   The demon is said to instigate cases of demonic POSSESSION, most notably that of the Loudun nuns in France in the 16th century (see LOUDUN POSSESSIONS). The nuns accused a priest, Father URBAIN GRANDIER, of causing their possession. At Grandier’s trial, a handwritten “confession” of his was produced detailing his PACT with the Devil, witnessed and signed by Astaroth and several other demons.
   Astaroth loves to talk about the Creation and the Fall, and the faults of angels. He believes he was punished unjustly by God, and that someday he will be restored to his rightful place in heaven.
   Astaroth can be thwarted by calling upon St. Bartholomew for help.
   - Hyatt, Victoria, and Joseph W. Charles. The Book of Demons. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.
   - Plancy, Collin de. Dictionary of Witchcraft. Edited and translated by Wade Baskin. Originally published as Dictionary of Demonology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1965.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

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