In this post for Of the Arte Goetia, I want to take a look at the Brass Vessel, a well known facet of the Goetia and its concept of conjuration and spirit-keeping. The form of the vessel as given in the manuscripts is a sphere, but that is otherwise nowhere described, so there is some leeway in the format should you want to create a brass vessel of your own. The most interesting feature is the lettering around the circumference, which is the topic of this article specifically.
At first glance, one sees a set of letters in Hebrew that consist primarily of Archangelic names: Tzaphkiel, Tzadkiel, Khamael, Raphael, ARARITA, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel, and Asher Eheieh. The first of the two non-angelic names is ARARITA, which is a Hebrew notarikon (acronym) for the phrase, “Achad Rosh; Achadotho Rosh; Yechudo Temuarhzo Achad.”  The second is a corruption of the Hebrew “Eheieh Asher Ehieh”, a divine name associated with the sephirah Kether, meaning “I am that which I am.” The real question, however, is why these names? Specifically, why the two non-angelic names?
To answer this question, one has to look toward The Key of Solomon itself. In that work, there is a passage that states:
Whensoever in any Operation it is necessary to write Characters, and thou fearest that thou wilt fail, do this: Write at the beginning the name Eheieh Asher Eheieh, and at the end the name Ain Soph; between these names, write what thou wishest…
In this passage, we see the presence of the now-familiar name Eheieh Asher Eheieh as something preceding the characters, and a different name, Ain Soph (“Limitless”), terminating it. This first name is something we see on the brass vessel at the end of all the names, which (depending on where you start in a circular band about the circumference) might just as well be the start! However, Ain Soph is not seen, replaced instead with ARARITA. This is either an alternative or a corruption of the original – probably the latter – meaning the second divine name on the brass vessel should probably be Ain Soph. The presence of the name – ARARITA or Ain Soph – in the middle of the sequence is strange if we are trying to align the approach, but this is easily explained away as the illustrator attempting to show both sides of the vessel and doing so, if I may suggest, quite poorly. The illustration in Sloane MS 3825 in fact shows the letters upside down rather than reversed when “showing through” to the back side of the vessel!
I think it very certain that the approach from The Key of Solomon was being taken for the names on the brass vessel in Goetia, but the illustrations were so poorly done it has gone undetected for centuries. One immediately sees the intent, once discovered, to write a set of Archangelic names between the two divine names that are purposely included due to the injunction for writing characters and “thou fearest that thou wilt fail….” This set of Archangelic names is intended to to constrain the malign spirits for such purposes as the magician might have, with the brass vessel even being used in place of the scrying device/triangle. The corrected inscription can now be understood as “Eheieh Asher Eheieh, Taphkiel, Tzadkiel, Khamael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel, and Ain Soph” – in Hebrew, of course. Furthermore, should you not be afraid of failing to write the characters, the divine names can be omitted altogether!
This puts the brass vessel’s inscription on much more solid ground than what appears to be a random assemblage of angels and divine names with no seeming order.
Note: The special edition copies are now sold out, but there are still standard copies available.
Of the Arte Goetia; Colin D. Campbell; Teitan Press; 2015. Limited Edition of 72 deluxe and 720 standard edition copies; hardbound in black cloth with gold gilt stamping; 280pp.
 One is his beginning; one is his individuality; his permutation is one.