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.


  1. I kind of agree with the guy that there are probably grimoires which were written to throw people off (to an extent.) Look on the forums nowadays and there are plenty of people using the grimoires who publically claim they don't work and say they don't use them. Many occult writers purposefuly lying about the methods they are using to achieve their results. Which is why they don't work for others.

    They want to keep it a secret just for a few, discourage others from trying, and promote bullshit methods for people to copy and keep them from doing it properly too. I see it happening today, so I see no reason why it was not happening back then as well, but I do think they are very few. Most grimoires definately work and were always meant to. A valid point about the consecration of the book.

  2. Hi Tolka, pleasure to have you here.

    I frequented some forums and finally settled at Evocation Magic. I honestly do not know anyone who failed an evocation done by the book, with all necessary tools, without adding needless rituals.

    It s either The Grimoire Method with a Golden Dawn Ritual, or the Grimoire Method minus the God Names, or the Grimoire Method without the circle or the lionkin belt, there is always something.

    Most do not like using the original method just because they re different or just because they think their way is cooler.

    Modern day occult authors do not matter to me, I was only referring to traditional grimoires. It s true some people write bogus stuff, but that does not enter the grimoire genre.

    I have no idea what grimoire was written to fail. I m very interested on this take. Could you provide an example that you found faulty?

  3. well thats annoying. I did write more but it wiped it before I got to post ~_~

    well anyway in short, the Grimoire of Armadel and the Ars Paulina are entirely corrupt so can't possibly have ever been working grimoires and the use of the house in the ars paulina suggests purposeful sabotage before beginning. I also note some Dee symbolism in the Armadel and wouldn't be surprised at all if that wasn't made by Kelley. The book of Turiel is also highly susupicious. I mean come on, it uses the Olympic spirits but with Hagiths seal upside down and is supposed to predate the Arbatel, but no other manuscript I have ever found uses Hagiths seal that way.

    More so I think that some books of ceremonial magic were writen to put the magician under the power of the spirit rather than have power over the spirit. There were some suggestions that the Liber Juratus could work in this way for trapping bad magicians, but also the Grimorium Verum to me looks deadly for this.

    I think ut's possible that the church leaked faulty grimoires out into certain circles and also that black magicians and con men had their hand. A grimoire at the end of the day was just a book about a subject, and many different types of people were likely to have compiled them.

    Heptameron, Juratus (used for good purposes), Key of Solomon and many more all work just fine as they are supposed to more or less, but I do think there are grimoires which are just duds for various reasons as mentioned.

    1. The Armadel Circle is described at the end of the book. I was never able to make heads or tails of exactly how to use the book, but I'm pretty sure it says how, somewhere. The details of Pauline Art might be sketchy, literally, but the practice is identical to other ways people reach out to angels via crystal gazing. You call the angel based on its name and personal information, and hope it appears. I don't see how this whole process is invalidated on account of copyist errors. After all, aren't you calling on an angel for help? Luke 11:11 suggests that we can get some of the details wrong and still have our petitions heard by those in charge.
      The author/OP seems to be saying that the grimoire can operate like a Fictitious Business Name Statement, wherein Matt Lawrence might call himself Living God Carpet Cleaners and adopt that role for his customers, with the consecration process is similar to the establishment of business protocols. If you want to do Saturnine things for Mercurial purposes, that's OK as long as the other party is aware of what you actually want and has agreed to do Mercurial things in response to Saturnine actions. I very much doubt that any of the beings sought by magicians work on their own time in a way that compares well to human life and consciousness, but they do so for our purposes because we have arranged some interactive protocols.

  4. Well Tolka you can go and see Frater Ashen and his works on the Armadel in his blog , it seems that he had great success with the Armadel.

  5. Well I didn't spend considerable money and at least 3 hours out of every Sunday for over a year talking to myself or hoping to impress online magicians. :) ill tell you that much!

  6. Ok. Where should I start. The symbols in it are from the magical calendar and come from a book on palmestry and were assigned to the wrong planets by agrippa who a few books copied. For example the symbols for joy and love are actually symbols of Saturn and would better suit sorrow and misery. As for your reports consider me an disbeliever. lol.

  7. Also as far as I was aware Bryan dealt with the Almadel not the Armadel which I am talking about. Though I must admit I've only ever been to his blog once and that was years ago.

  8. A wise and thoughtful article about a topic that is very close to my heart.
    Firstly, as you mentioned in your article, the various published Grimoire's the Contemporary Magus has at his or her disposal bare little resemblance to the manuscripts from which they are alleged to be reproductions of. Not only for the reasons you outline so astutely in this article.....The simple fact that a ("Real") Grimoire is not (just) a "Manual" describing exactly how to perform various Magickal Operations, they are more like the other ritually consecrated Tools the Practitioner uses (sic: Wand, Sword, Chalice, Censer..probably more so tools like the Circle of the Art et al)...useful only to the Practitioner that crafted, consecrated and utilizes....
    *There is also the fact that (again, as you mentioned) during the Dark Ages in Europe when the Church suppressed any/all of the Arts, Sciences and Other Practices it considered to be "Heretical" (pretty much all of them!) & so the Rituals & Philosophy we call The Western Mystery Tradition were actually preserved by the Persian Scholars throughout the Arabic speaking world. The works of Plato, Socrates along with the vast libraries of Occult, Esoteric and Alchemical works were translated from the Greek, Cuneiform, Aramaic and Hebrew etc into Arabic...these works were spread through the Medinas of the Arabic world and it wasn't until the (alleged) end of the Dark Ages when Europe emerged into the Renaissance that these works were rediscovered by "Western" scholars (the pivotal point being when Spain was recaptured from the Moores) they were translated into Latin by the eager students and scribes of Europe that for so long had been starved of knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment by the church.
    UNFORTUNATLEY, with all of this translation, re-translation and copying of works by hand, a great deal of the original Wisdom had literally been lost in translation!
    SO....In my opinion, for any contemporary Practitioner to believe that following the works described in these Grimoire's is the only true way to perform them correctly would be a folly...I believe it is far more wise to study the entire Tradition as a whole and then when reading these Published Grimoire's, to apply the Universal Truths of the tradition to the areas of them that don't quite seem to make sense when viewed as a part of the tradition as a whole and to not be afraid to adjust the Rituals contained therein so that they DO "FEEL" right...then before performing them, rewrite them in ones own hand, into ones own consecrated Grimoire.

  9. Quise progresar en el campo laboral y conseguir un ascenso así que busque los beneficios de los Ritual del Trabajo,al utilizarlos con mucha fe mantuve un empleo seguro
    y me senti en armonía.

  10. Not dead wrong. But intentionally vague is a debatable point.

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