When it comes to jewellery, my collection is fairly minimalist (by Essex standards, at least). Certainly, I don’t covet jewellery the way I do frocks and high heels. Which was why I was surprised to find this interloper in my bare-bones collection of jewellery:
It’s about the size of a British 2 pence piece, and made of copper. I have absolutely no idea where it came from.
I’m not in any way superstitious, but even so I am vaguely weirded out by this.
I decided to do some research on the meaning of the pentagram and Hebrew writing. Google is, as ever, my best friend, and I gleaned the following information…
This is a talisman depicting the Second Pentacle of Venus. The pentacle comes from a Renaissance-era magical grimoire called The Key of Solomon, claimed to have been written by King Solomon, the guy with the mines (a bullshit claim, it turns out).
The entire book can be read in English here: http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/ksol.htm
The letters around the pentagram (on my mysterious necklace) are the names of the spirits of Venus that this device is supposed to invoke, and the Hebrew around the edge reads, “Place me as a signet upon thine heart, as a signet upon thine arm, for love is strong as death.” The purpose of this pentacle is, “For obtaining grace and honor, and for all things which belong unto Venus, and for accomplishing all thy desires herein.” Sounds like it would be very useful indeed, if only I thought magic was real.
There’s a long explanation in the grimoire of how to use the talisman to conjure spirits. It involves the stuff you’d expect, like candles, insence, chanting, black silk, virgin paper and obscure herbs. To be honest it all sounds very bothersome and if I were living during the Renaissance era I’d much rather be drinking ale and watching criminals get broken on the wheel. That’s without taking into account the fact that this was a banned book that would land you in very hot water with the Inquisition.
Despite my cynicism, I’ve been wearing this necklace every day. Because even if I don’t think it will enable me to consort with the spirits of Venus, I do like the fact that it has an interesting story behind it involving books, ye olden days, and general what-the-fuckery.