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Description: The Book of Ceremonial Magic by Arthur Edward Waite was originally called The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts. It is an attempt to document. By A. E. Waite. The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, including the Rites and Mysteries of Goetic Theurgy, Sorcery, and Infernal Necromancy, also the Rituals.. . Book Of Black Magic. And of Pacts. INCLUDING THE RITES AND MYSTERIES OF GOETIC THEURGY,. SORCERY, AND INFERNAL NECROMANCY, ALSO.
Wikimedia Commons. The book also uses actual Hebrew, such as in this gold-leaf sigil. A challenge to readers: For the most part, though, these images and writings reach the twenty-first century without context, and without a key to unlock them. Their authors intended it that way. Only the elect, or those with direct knowledge passed down from a magical practitioner, were thought to be worthy of understanding books like this.
Contemporary practitioners of "magick" might try to unlock them, and historians might successfully contextualize them, but in a very real way, these books will always be ciphers to us.
That doesn't mean that they're relics of a "dark age" of superstition and ignorance, however. Today they circulate still, buoyed by the more sophisticated global networks of the internet. Since this post is an invocation of these spells, of a sort, I thought I'd end with the final page of the book, and a rough translation which shows it to be a magical command to a summoned creature to return from whence it came.
Go away now most calmly to your place, without murmur and commotion, and without harm to us and to the circle of other men. In its day, this must have been quite a valuable resource, but since most of these grimoires are now readily available in English translation, it has become somewhat redundant.
Still, it's a handy reference work, although by no means essential. The notorious grimoires of antiquity can only be so to those who've never read them when you do you realize they are more absurd than notorious and of dubious antiquity. In Waite's own words they are "frivolous, fantastic and foolish. One wonders if the goetic grimoires came about, in part, when the allegorical became the liter The notorious grimoires of antiquity can only be so to those who've never read them when you do you realize they are more absurd than notorious and of dubious antiquity.
One wonders if the goetic grimoires came about, in part, when the allegorical became the literal. A slow profanation of the mysteries over the centuries? Waite ultimately demolishes the absurdity that is black magick: It's not about discovering the Monad or evolving to a higher plane through the rigorous training of the will; it's about getting cash, getting laid and getting even with the people who piss you off.
As research for a piece of fiction, I've been reading about European magic. The extant manuscripts of the various Grimoires of Black Magic in the British Museum date from the 15th century onwards, though may have been written earlier. Black magic is strange, or to paraphrase the author of the book I've read, it is a mixture of the grotesque and the imbecilic.
The Grimoires teach that through the glory and power of God, one can summon and control infernal spirits. In popular culture we think of bl As research for a piece of fiction, I've been reading about European magic. In popular culture we think of black magic as a godless deal with demons - it is strange to think those who practiced it believed themselves holy. There's a Jewish legend about King Solomon: God gave him the power to control demons, and he used demons to build his temple and help him out whenever he wanted.
There are also Christian and Islamic versions of this legend - in the Islamic version, Solomon also has a magic carpet.
Many of the Grimoires claim to be based on the magical writings of King Solomon, who shared the secrets of demon-control.
In Jewish mythology, demons are not fallen angels - they are creatures God abandoned bodiless and unfinished at sunset on the 6th day, to mark the importance of ceasing work to rest on the Sabbath. They are not inherently evil, though are jealous and spiteful of humanity's completeness. Thus demons are another of God's creatures on Earth, over which man is supposed to be the ruler, and so in Jewish magic systems the wizard sorcerer chap is hoping for God's assistance in placating one of his subordinate creatures - analogous to praying that your horse will carry you to your destination without rearing up and maiming you.
I have a separate book on Jewish magic which I have not read yet.
The Solomon-inspired magic was adapted to a Christian setting and audience. The wizard sorcerer chap calls on the power of God to help him summon and enslave a fallen angel to do his bidding.
Jesus commands demons in the gospels the Pharisees think he is in league with Satan because the demons obey him so quickly , and so a devout Christian should also be able to to command demons with Jesus' support. As the Pharisees thought Jesus was bad for his command over the demons, the Church authorities think the sorcerers are evil for their command over the demons.
So the reasoning goes. While most Grimoires claim to originate with King Solomon, a few others claim to be the work of a Pope, who was holy enough to have been taught the magical arts by an angel of light. Most of the rituals concern personal and material gain: Very cliche and selfish objectives. Not very holy.
I was trying to imagine the sort of person who - hundreds of years ago - would have turned to such rituals. Poor, lonely, awkward, and yet with an ego big enough to think they were holy and great enough to get God's assistance in enslaving a fallen angel.
I pictured a modern-day Internet Troll living in the pre-modern world. In preparation for a ritual, the sorcerer is supposed to fast, refrain from social contact with other humans, and sleep as little as possible for so many days, presumably so by the time they carried out the ritual their mental state was sufficiently ruined hallucinations came very easily.
Specific prayers must be repeated throughout the fasting days, and at the sorcerer must bathe in holy water and bless every item to be used in the ritual - his robes white linen, embroidered with certain symbols depending on which ritual is being performed , the incense, the parchment or vellum, the candles, the magic circle, etc. There is only one extant ritual which calls for a blood sacrifice for the sake of blood sacrifice. I'll spare you the details, but it involves killing both a black hen and a young lamb.
A few others feature human body parts in their reagents list - the author notes that human bodies would have been easyish to find back then, when mortality was high, life expectancy low, and the death sentence was a punishment for many crimes. Curiously, the cliche of sorcerers sacrificing a goat as part of their rituals comes from a misunderstanding: Sorcerers could not rely on the local tannery for this, and so would prepare their own.
Obviously, since the goat's tanned hide was to be used in the ritual, the sorcerer would bless the goat repeatedly - before, during, and after slaughtering it - and so to any casual observer, it would look like blood sacrifice for the sake of blood sacrifice.
In case it's not obvious, I think this magic stuff is bollocks.
At best a historical curiosity, at worst a way of seriously damaging your mental health. I tried to imagine how I would react to it, living hundreds of years ago. I found myself feeling sympathetic towards the Inquisition. If your worldview takes the existence of evil demons as a fact, and your holy books warn against greed and lust and malice, it is so easy to imagine these Grimoires having been forged by demons to trick the poor, lonely, and egotistical down a dark path.
I gave up on page , after skipping ahead to part 2 and realizing the whole book, to me, is a waste of words. I don't know what I expected this book to be about when I bought it. Maybe I thought it would be about how to perform ceremonial magic. Maybe I thought it'd be insightful.
Maybe I should have questioned why "Jehovah," and "Emmanuel" were on the cover of the book. But enough of that. You know when you had to write research papers in college and you were forced to find academic sources, so you type your query into your college's database and end up getting something with the most perfect title ever, only to click on it and find it's a book review instead of the information you need?
That's this book. The book is basically just a bunch of book reviews of grimoires from the medieval era with some prayers stuck here and there and maybe Charlemagne's name thrown in to spice things up. Maybe that's useful to someone else, but for a novice looking for information into the occult who thought this would be a great reference, oh my god I just wanted to throw this book against the wall.
It's as dry as my mom's infamous pork chops and as far as I can tell all pages were not worth cutting down a tree for. I even skipped ahesd to part two, which is supposed to be about how to do ceremonial magic. It just keeps going on and on about what different texts from the medieval era think. And then what he thinks about it. And then he throws in a bunch of prayers. Jesus don't want your ceremonial occultism nonsense any more than I want to read it.
Housed at: Wellcome Library Found via: The Appendix Underlying Work: PD Worldwide Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions.
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