Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Three things hit you in the head upon reading this book all the way through. Owen Davies knows his stuff. This book is well researched as are all his works from beginning to end. By this I mean both time and book. You will learn a lot from any of his works. The second is that most grimoires are not in the least bit factual. They are penned by people but often times false histories are ascribed to them. Going further many are said to be written by people who did not even write them . Some would call this embellishment but if it is all about spirituality where truth is paramount I would call it flat out lies. People who have used these grimoires have not had the results they were looking for. Despite that we get to number three Grimoires are evolving and still new ones are being written. The new ones can be dedicated to angels, fairies, pagan gods, devils and even fictional gods from popular novels.
Grimoires became famous for their use in the Middle Ages. Could mean grammar in french it was oft time a collection of spells, working recipes and magical actions. Some famoujs grimoires are "The Grand Grimoire" "Great Albert" "Petit Albert" Agripppa's "There Books of Occult Philosophy" and Clavicula of Solomon. Their beginning though is in the Middle East most particularly in Mesopatamian times. Books themselves were considered holy and special people called scribes wrote books in general. Scribes were a class unto themselves. It was rare that people could even read. AS a result books themselves regardless of subject matter were considered magical.
This continued through out Greek and Roman times and finally reached Europe after the Crusades when Templars came into contact with Middle Eastern culture and spirituality . Originally Romans thought that magic came to EUrope from a tribe of magician called the "Magi" whoo hailed from Persia.. After Templar exposure European magic was exposed to Arabic works like the piciatrix, astrology and the amalgamation of Jewish Kabballah, Christian mysticism and Islamic Sufiism. Absorbed in these mystic currents was the previous wisdom of pagan cultures.
In the beginning A grimoire was an expensive affair reserved for the upper classes. They were leather bound written with special ink onn parchment. Just to have one gave an individual magic power. Books were thought to heal, ward against evil and give one special abilities. This grimoire had to be written buy a scribe or a magician. As the printing press came about and grimoires were printed on paper this gave more people access to them. It also robbed them of their power. Before only monasteries and popes and university libraries had grimoiis bu now eevery one had them. This disturbed the catholic church and the protestants but for different reason. eventually FRacne became the main area of making these and chap book. They would filter out into Europe and other area. Most people used them for treasure hunting.
The book discusses how they got to AMerrica and the new world and the impact they had the magical traditions of the new world. THE most influential books were the " 6Th and 7Th Books of Moses" and a couiple others. This infueeenced Penssykvania pow wow magic and Hoodoo and Voodoo tradition. It is said that Joseph Smith founded mormonism after using a grimoire to contact an angel. Grimoires and magic would later go through more changes as groups like the Golden Dawn would use them not as a basis for results based magic but rather for spiritual developement. Grimoiures would also be subjected to mass production much like pulp fiction. This lowered their value even more but made them more available .
Edging into modern times we have works of fiction making use of fictional grimoires. The most noted would be trhe Necornomican based on HP Lovescrafts works. New Grimoires that claims=ed to be real buyt were fabrication would be Gerald Gardners book of Shadows and his created Wicca. Satanist Anton LaVey came up with his own but he was more honest then the most.
Owen Davies gives you the inside scoop on all of it. Read this man.
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