Astaroth (or Ashtaroth) is a major demon, one of seventy-two included in the Goetia. In Wierus’ Pseudomonarchie daemonum he is ranked as a duke of Hell controlling over forty legions of subordinate spirits. He ranks along side Beelzebub and Lucifer. He also is said to be in the Ministry of Hell holding the position of Grand Treasurer. Some have him visualizing as beautiful angel while others describe him as an obscene and horrible one, riding an infernal dragon, and holding a viper in his right hand. The Magus by Francis Barrett has him riding a wolf or dog.
Among his attributes he teaches liberal sciences, like other Goetia demons he can be questioned about the past, present, and future; he possesses heavenly knowledge and can describe the creator spirits, the fallen spirits and the sins which caused their fall. His other attributes are the powerful ability to find mines and transmute metals, reveal treasure that is not magically guarded, powerfully cause destruction by raising tempests and demolishing building, and transforming animals and men. Astaroth has a horrible fetid breath and the magickan is advised to hold a magickal silver ring before his face to protect himself.
Tin the True Keys of Solomon, Astaroth is named Elestor. He governs all spirits in the Americas. The Goetia of Dr. Rudd says he can be contained by the name of the angel Reiajel. In the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage Astaroth is described as one of the eight sub-princes ruling over all the demons.
Astaroth connection to Baal comes in the First Book of Samuel in the Old Testament. When entering Canaan the Israelites were forbidden to worship the Canaanite god Baal. Eventually both were took to be proper names for demon spirits but in ancient times “the Baals” were denoted as masculine “the Ashtaroths” were feminine. Yes, there were many deity spirits worshipped with the Canaanite Baal cults, each section appeared to have its particular version.
The name Astaroth was probably derived from the Semitic goddess Astarte of the Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Akkadian pantheons, a cognate of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. No matter what his or her derivative was she was a forbidden deity, a false god, for the ancient Israelites and still remains so for orthodox Jews and Christians.
Perhaps Astaroth receives his powerful position in Hell because of his relationship to the revered goddess Astarte. To those in Demonolatry the relationship between Astaroth and Astarte can be significant because the possible connection indicates spiritual power. Such power which Christianity has strived to diabolize and destroy is returning to help the people. A.G.H.
Belanger, Michelle. The Dictionary of Demon: Names of the Damneds. Llewellen Publications. 2010. ebook.
Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts, A Perigee Book, New York. Berkley Publishing Group. 1967
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen.The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. New York: Facts On File.1989