Thursday, 3 December 2020

your daily demon: balam

The fifty-first spirit is this infernal king that rules the tenth through fourteenth degree of Sagittarius—from this day through 7 December, and is depicted, according to the Ars Goetia and other sources, as a monstrous entity with three aspects—the faces of a bull, a man and a ram with the tail of a serpent, who sits astride a ferocious bear, with a goshawk born on his forearm.

Giver of good counsel and wit, this figure probably originates (in a less fantastical form) from the magician and diviner called Balaam from Numbers 22, whom the Israelites blame for their difficulties and adjustment issues, characterising him as a charismatic sophist, when they enter into the Promised Land, enticing them into transgressive behaviours, including encouraging sacrifice performed to Baal, and thus the source of a deadly plague visited on the delivered tribes as a result.