The Shadowhunters' Wiki
The Shadowhunters' Wiki

Pyxis is a specialized box used to contain demon energies. The use of a Pyxis for holding and transporting demons is an old practice and they are no longer used in modern times.[1][2]


The Pyxis is a tall box of golden wood covered in alchemical symbols. It is used to safely trap and store the demons' consciousness, which is in the form of a sort of energy, as opposed to humans', whose consciousness is their souls.

The one in the London Institute in 1878 had an ouroboros burned into the front, symbolizing the different dimensions—the world they live in inside the serpent, and the rest of existence outside. The one before that, claimed by Edmund Herondale when he left, had an infinity symbol drawn upon its side.


In 1849, when Edmund Herondale was 14 years old, he slew the demon Marbas and, to celebrate his first demon slay, its spirit was kept in a Pyxis.

Around 1873, years after Edmund's exile, his son, Will, opened the Pyxis and unwittingly released Marbas, which later killed his sister Ella.[3]

More than ten years later, Axel Mortmain had Nate Gray steal the Pyxis of the London Institute, intent on using demon energies to bring his automatons to life.[4] While only Shadowhunters can open the Pyxis, Mortmain managed to open it and release the Greater Demon Armaros imprisoned in it, only to transfer it to the body of an automaton.[5]

After the events of the Clockwork War, Pyxides were abandoned as a tool for Nephilim. Most of the boxes were destroyed, though some were preserved in Idris.[2]

In 1899, the Shadowhunter Academy used Pyxides holding small, harmless demons for their training exercises. The Academy's older students scattered Pyxides in the woods, with the demons within meant to be released and engaged by the younger trainees. That particular year, a group of students put a very dangerous Vetis demon inside one of the boxes as a prank, and a student got killed in the process.[1]

In 1903, Emmanuel Gast built a Pyxis to capture and hold the Mandikhor demon he had been hired to summon. After he returned home however, the demon broke free of its box.

Later, the young Shadowhunters of the London Enclave stole a Pyxis from Hypatia Vex to use in order to recapture and then destroy the Mandikhor. When they returned with it to the Institute they discovered it was full. They released and dispatched Agaliarept—who had been trapped within it—and then took the box to Tower Bridge, in hopes of finding the Mandikhor there. They did, however it easily broke out of the Pyxis, destroying it in the process.[2]


The word pyxis originated from the Greek word puxos, meaning "box". In classical pottery, a pyxis was a cylindrical clay box with a lid originally used by women to store cosmetics, trinkets or jewellery.[6] The name derived itself from Corinthian boxes made from the boxwood (puksos) tree. The term "Pyx" is used for liturgical boxes used for holding and transporting consecrated hosts in traditional Christian churches.[7]

This Greek origin gave way to the Latin word pyxis meaning "small box", while also acting as the Latin name for a nautical compass, and a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nothing but Shadows
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Chain of Gold
  3. Clockwork Prince
  4. Clockwork Angel
  5. Clockwork Princess
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Pyxis (vessel)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed September 6, 2019).
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Pyx," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed September 6, 2019).
  8. Wiktionary contributors, "pyxis," Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary, (accessed September 6, 2019).