Sep 19, 2012

Are the grimoires dead wrong? Part II of III

The second argument regarding the practicability of grimoires is that these books were meant to fail. The authors wanted the knowledge to remain secret,  for fear of the Church and for fear of misuse in beginners.

I’ve stated before that the Church did not treat mercifully the necromancers that used divine names and Christian elements in their conjuration as opposed to those who did not. The last category is practically non-existent. You did not get a slap on the wrist by putting prayers in your grimoire. You put prayers in your grimoire because you were a devoted religious man, seeking power through the use of holiness, depending on what religion you practiced.   Jewish grimoires contain psalms and prayers, Islamic grimoires contain extensive surahs from the Quran, and there was certainly no Jewish or Islamic Inquisition to please using these.

The knowledge was supposed to be secret, true. But grimoires were secret themselves. The Sworn Book of Honorius was passed down in a straight lineage of masters and disciples, and if the master could not do that, he would have had it buried with him. The grimoires we have today were not published in great numbers in paperback format and advertised to make a profit or to increase one’s notoriety. Secrecy of the content was not the issue, as very few people could read, and if they could make out the letters somewhat, they were not learned men to speak Latin, and even if they were part of the scholarly world or religious world and knew how to read and speak Latin, they must have had enough money to buy or have a book bound and enough connections to get access to magical manuscripts. One simply could not go online and look for spells, one could not go to the local library and look for books on magic. You had to find a practitioner and either pay him well for his book of secrets, like Wierius might have done to obtain the Liber Officiorum from Cockars and T.R., or apprentice under a necromancer in order for him to teach you.  

Their authors did not fear that people who could misuse them were to read them simply because they could control their readership. He wouldn’t even fear rival magicians. The readers were not a mass of unknown people with whom the magician had no contact, but a select few that the necromancer would make readers of his own will. 

The problem of the Church was not so strict. Many of the readers, writers copyists WERE clergymen or monks, part of the Church! There is no problem if the book might have been found by a priest or a monk, as many of them professed an avid interest in them, even collected them. The problem was if the wrong clergyman would find them. Only few were so stuck up and righteous that he would grab your book and accuse you of witchcraft. If this was done, the book itself would have been burnt as well, not kept and read. Few inquisitors did read the books and extracted information used in their letters of accusation, but then they would burn them as part of the judicial process. The ones who did keep books kept them secret and they were sympathetic to the use of magic and many monks sold their books for fear of being discovered by their superiors to other monks. This is how Johannes Trithemius could assemble such a marvelous library on magic in the  short span of time he was an abbot in Sponheim. 

The grimoires were not false advertisers, but personal notebooks. True. There were active schools of magic in Naples, Athens, Salamanca, Fez, Toledo, Rome and perhaps many more. Not every piece of information in the course was recorded by the student, indeed. The author in question argues that the grimoires contain a bare minimum and much was left out. Moreover, much was added to confuse people, created blinds and specifically wrote them so that they would not work.
The said author does not know how a grimoire was used, I’m afraid. The fault does not lye necessarily with him, this part is a commonly overlooked detail and a forgotten element that nobody seems to remember. The grimoire was not just a simple notebook, but a consecrated object meant to make the rituals work. The most important part of the necromancer’s arsenal was the Book of Consecrations. This contained all the names of the spirits with their characters, plus a set of nine conjurations to be performed every day in a ritual of nine days meant to empower it. His was no mere hollywoodian Book of Shadows, but a powerful object meant to make it’s content effective. 


And a summary and incomplete content would not do. The experiment was to be written in full, with conjurations and actions, in order to be effective. A blind or lie would not necessarily render the information invalid, but quite the opposite, funny enough, it would make the blind true!
The grimoires are not ineffective in themselves, as the modern practitioners do not use the said book, the very manuscript that the magician wrote and kept and consecrated on his knees for nine mornings with exhortations and suffumigations, but published versions of them. They do not construct a Book of Consecrations, out of lack of information or rejection of the proper way of doing it, but work from printed, on-line or oral material. Some exercises are not bound to that process and are certainly effective, but most are. For example, the Book of Consecrations states that all experiments are useless until the necromancer puts it in his book and recites the orisons to make it effective. More even, any corrupted experiment was made viable again if it be put in the Book. This is mainly why magicians were not so avid to look for the meaning and etymology of the words of power used, they did not care if they said or write Saday, Caday, Sadat, Saddai, Seday or Saclay instead of the Hebrew name Shaday. Because every experiment, no matter how corrupted, would have become effective once copied in their private consecrated book.
From this point of view, the use of a grimoire as it is is not ineffective, but the lack of a personal grimoire consecrated according to the tradition that the desired experiment refers to.

Sep 8, 2012

Secret Jinn Report Review

This article is a review of Ishtar Publishing s Secret Jinn Report.

As many of you know, I share a special bond of work and friendship with the people over at Ishtar Publishing. This bond came second to my fascination of their books and my services as an illustrator were offered at the beginning of our collaboration as an attempt for a less then well-paid illustrator to get the books he dreamt of and could never afford. 

The efforts were successful and ever since, I ve been part of the Ishtar Publishing team I like to think, enjoying their trust and friendship and occasionally getting to constructively criticize or add good ideas that might help. I am in no way on their payroll and this way I can keep my honesty sharp and my opinions objective.  If something of theirs is good and trustworthy, I will back it up, and if something seems fishy or out of place, I either keep my mouth shut in order to not offend, or if it seems wrong, I will openly object to it.

So far, I haven t had the chance to test the second version, a thing that eases my mind a bit.

The document I am reviewing now is a wonderful piece of esoteric work. In the old days, books on magic would be passed down from hand to hand and some even flooded the market, such as the Marvelous secrets of little Albert or the Book of Honorius. These books, much like modern paperbacks on magic, magick, magickq, witchcraft and wishcraft, are by no means scarce, quite the contrary. Yet still some works were kept in manuscript form, passed to a select few or sold for huge amounts of money. We can read the very rare and secret Triangular Book of Saint Germain of which we have but two copies and in the Faustian literature we read how the author, said to be Faust, purchased the secrets of such and such talismans for good amounts of gold, from Holland or other countries. 

This document falls in the middle. It s not published as a regular book, to be circulate widely and the unsold pieces be tossed in the 5$ bin at major bookstores, but kept strictly for people soliciting it. It s also not as expensive as one might think, for in Muslim countries their price is sky high, as the very possession of such documents would earn you death by law. This is in no way a farfetched claim, and the reader can check for himself the legislation in Arabic speaking countries of magic and possession of magical literature.

The Secret Jinn Report is part of a series of documents put up by Nineveh Shadrach in which some missing pieces from other grimoires are granted to the reader. As we might suspect, and is the case with all grimoires, no one book contains all the theoretical structures, preparatory works, prayers, invocations, seals, sigils, signs, banishments and amulets necessary to the practitioner. No such book exists. Some are of the beginning level, like the Picatrix or the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, some are theoretical treatises, and others are filled with practical secrets. 

If the first category can be safely distributed to any one, the second is likely to be subject to careful examination. To cite a single example, the Book of Honorius of Thebes was kept a secret by every magician who possessed it, and only a few disciples could copy it faithfully or bury it upon the masters demise, it was not published widely and advocated as a book of secrets like other opuscules. The document we have here responds to the need felt by many readers to have a beginning base in jinn magic, with things not contained in any other published work.

As far as I know, the efforts of brother Shadrach to make Arabic magic available in the West are unprecedented. Besides the Picatrix, in a few rare and expensive editions, and some articles in a number of academic journals, the West lacks any information of Arabic magic, a tradition richer than ours in many respects.

If we take into account that almost all our grimoires and magical tomes stem in some way or another from the translations made in Spain of the Great Sages and of Arabic magic books, we can have a slight idea of the vastity of the subject. Only a small portion of the available magical literature was translated then, and that small portion became the wellspring of Western magic. From astrology, astronomy, divination by lots, necromancy, nigromancy, geomancy and summoning, to alchemy, medicine and poetry, the Arabic tradition loaned us quite a number of pearls which we have held in veneration for centuries, knowing little of the richness of the necklace from whence they were separated.

He Secret Jinn Report is not the Secret of Secrets coveted by magicians, nor is it the answer to any question of the would be sorcerer, but it is far more useful than any book on magic I could order and buy.  It s quite succinct and to the point, and it s content is not only rare and translated for the first time, but it s also accurate.

I believe a great deal of manuscripts are always consulted by brother Nineveh before bringing us a single version of one rite or another, as the book of the Berhatyah Oath will prove to it s readers, and I am assured that this is also the case.

What does it contain?  I believe I will not cause any distress if I would disclose that.

The first secret is the Jinn King of the Sun. As any reader of Arabic magic might know, the Jinn king presiding over the planetary jinns of the Sun is called Al-Madhab. But is this enough to contact him? Of course not. Here we have not only his true name and rank, but also his true seal, his genealogy and his nickname, along with precise information of how to gain his cooperation, a true treasure in and of itself.

  The second secret are 15 names of Asaf bin Berechiah. These are not contained in the Grand Key and are not translated in any work. Each name has a specific purpose, each one has a magical square, and the use of only a third of these names could bring more to the practitioner than any other grimoire out there, granted he would be willing to put effort into it. From the treatment of one s illnesses and those of others to the perceptions of the jinn and stoping vehicles in their paths, the names have a multitude of uses. 

Secret three consists of a wonderful method of detecting black magic and jinn where there is doubt of the cause.

Secret four is related to Iblis, the equivalent of Lucifer in the Muslim tradition.  It s the first time when I can find a comprehensive list of his descent (genealogy) and of his children. Yes, he does have offspring. Some of the most powerful jinn are said to be his descendants or direct children, one of the most powerful being Danhash.

Secrets five and six deal directly with jinn evocation, perhaps one of the most direct approaches I ve ever read.

Secret seven deals with the release of the resident jinn, a thing never taught in Western magic, but often cited in Arabic grimoires.  Most evocations fail because the resident jinn of a place, be it deserted cave or one s home, has not been dismissed and sent away temporarily, and he can often cause the evocation to fail. If somebody invites someone in your own house, wouldn't you try to keep them out?

And finally, the eighth secret deals with the magical ink needed in the writing of the talisman and figures, something that has always concerned me and now I can say I am thankful of finding.

I would deeply encourage anyone who is interested in at least one of these secrets to purchase it. I would not encourage you to buy it if it seems unfit for you, if you're only interested in modern spell magic and visualization, in obtaining results with lighting scented candles and saying a rhyming diddy or with pseudo-magical workings. This is the real thing. If conducting a ritual top to bottom without worrying and whining that it s too hard or it takes to long seems something impossible for you, do not buy it.

However, if you are indeed interested in true magic, the one that channels the power and effort you put in it to achieve your goals and the kind that takes time to learn, to practice and to realize, this is for you.

You can buy this and start learning the real thing, or with the same amount of money, you can buy a book on pseudo-magic that tells you that every thought you utter is magical and little to no effort is necessary to do magic. The only difference is that the first choice is honest and trusted, and the other is  a money making scheme based on flattering the ego of a weak student in magic that above anything wishes to be called a master or a sorcerer.   

Your choice.