If you have not heard of the Scholomance, perhaps you should have. Abraham Van Helsing, Bram Stoker’s mercurial expert on maladies both material and mystical, had certainly heard of it; he suspected the Count Dracula of being a student of the place.
This hidden school in the mountains of Romania was where the Dutch doctor thought Dracula had learned his dark arts. A fabled school for witchcraft and wizardry to rival any dark palace of gothic nightmares, it was known to produce the most powerful of warlocks, just as it was known to exact a heavy price on its students.
From where do these stories come, of a school where students would learn the secrets of dark magicks from the Devil itself? Where was, and perhaps is, the Scholomance, and what can one learn there?
Ten Students and Nine Graduates
The students of Scholomance were also called the Solomonari. The school would enroll only 10 student, the strongest, finest and most devoted to be found from all around the world.
The Solomonari would learn different spells and harness magic powers to become witches and wizards at this unique magic school. The students would also be taught about the speech of animals and how to speak to the animals.
These students would be taught such powers by the Devil himself, and nine of them would graduate to return to the material world and use their powers for whatever evil plans they chose The tenth however, would stand apart, and would not return unchanged.
This final student would be chosen to be the Weathermaker. The Weathermaker would be tasked with the job of creating and controlling the weather by riding a dragon and flying into the sky. They would not return to their life, they would remain forever changed and cursed for eternity.
Not was the Scholomance easy to find. It was said to be located underground, away from common human eyes. Because of the sheer nature of the school, it was very well protected by defensive magic spells and other, more aggressive magical forms of protection.
- “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live”: The Witch-Cult Hypothesis
- The Pentagram: The Occult Meaning of the 5-Pointed Star
Because the school remained underground all throughout the year, the students would remain beneath with no sunlight. Once gathered there, the Solomonari would train for seven long years.
For these seven years, they would only stay inside the school and not be exposed to the outer world. The world would not exist for them, and only this dedication would allow them to master the dangerous powers that they were offered as students of the Devil.
Greatest of the defenders of the Scholomance was the dragon of the Weathermaker. There was a lake near the Scholomance where a great dragon by the name of Balaur, or Zmeu, was kept submerged until the need arose. This famed lake was on top of a mountain, located near Hermannstadt in the remote Romanian mountains, far beyond the reach of mortal man.
The recruitment process of Scholomance is a mystery. The recruitment process would often take the local children into consideration, however, and the local population would get preference according to their magical abilities.
There are also stories that varying numbers of students could be enrolled according the available candidates. This number could be seven, ten or thirteen as per the students selected and the seats empty at the school.
These numbers held a lot of significance in magic and witchcraft. So, these specific numbers were hired. The students would then be taught about a lot of things over the period of seven years. The curriculum at Scholomance would cover a lot of subjects, including living things, animals and their spirit, magic, and the secrets of nature.
The children would be trained in many skills, like casting different magic spells, learning how to control the rain, and riding on flying dragons. They would be granted power over lesser animals and the ability to control both these creatures, and even the minds of weaker men, just as Dracula could in Stoker’s novel.
Many students at Scholomance would often opt for learning magic for an extended period of time. For example, while the traditional time period is only seven years, a lot of senior students at this magic school would study magic for two more years.
Senior students thus graduated after either seven or nine years, the latter considered far more powerful after their further learning. At the end of their education, the Solomonari would be instructed to copy their entire body of knowledge onto a Solomonar’s book to show their extent of knowledge and magical skills.
The school of the Devil?
It is not so simple however to say that the Scholomance was simply a school of the Devil, and in a close study of the terminology one can start to unravel the threads of medieval mysticism, heresy and even antisemitism. From the name of the students: Solomonari, we can connect this school with King Solomon.
According to medieval grimoires and codices, Solomon used the demons of Hell to construct his Temple in Jerusalem. His method was quite brilliant: he used magical powers not to bind all the demons to his bidding, but instead concentrated on the most powerful. Then, having got that one under control, he made the demon instruct all his demonic followers to do what Solomon said.
That is the magic that is being taught at the Scholomance, Judaic spells used by a God-fearing king in service of his God, here recast as evil. The popular vision of such magic to be connected with Satan is a product of the revisionist hand of Medieval Christianity.
Many people therefore directly believed that the Devil himself taught at the Scholomance and chose students who were extraordinarily magical in their inherent qualities. However, this belief that the Devil was the head instructor at this obscure school could be debated because “dark” magic is only one-half of what we see as witchcraft.
It is also possible that the school was created during the reign of King Solomon and has a completely different background from what we really think or see. Was the Devil supposed to be a captive teacher?
Aside from this, much as to the detail of the Scholomance itself seems to be later embellishment to suit the needs of whoever was referencing it. Few things about the great school remain consistent, apart from the story of the Weathermaker.
The dragon kept near the Scholomance would be mounted by one of the best students of the school. This student would be chosen and called the Weathermaker because he would be able to control the weather and rain.
It is said that every time the dragon would look at the clouds, it would rain in the region. So, the Weathermaker had a great responsibility. Thus the Weathermaker is again an extremely powerful figure, but not necessarily an evil one.
Scholomance sounds like a world of its own, away from and defying the normal world outside. Whether the Devil is associated with the fictional school or not, it has acted as an inspiring backdrop for many films on witchcraft and wizardry.
Is it possible that the School of Scholomance and Solomon still exist and are among us? One cannot simply dismiss the possibility of fantasy in reality. Maybe there really is a fabled school for wizards hidden in the Romanian mountains to this day.
Top Image: The Scholomance is said to be deep under the mountains of Romania, and those that enter are taught by the Devil himself. Source: Artcuboy / Adobe Stock.
By Bipin Dimri