Grimoires & Spellbooks
term grimoire is a general name given to a variety of texts setting out
the names of demons and instructions on how to raise them. Effectively a
grimoire is a book of black magic, a book on which a wizard relied for all
the necessary advice and instruction on raising spirits and casting
spells. To be effective, the wizard should be initiated in the art of
reciting the formula and following the rituals that are associated with
the spells. Some superstitions claim that Grimoires must be in manuscript
and in red ink, bound in black or in human skin, and that they must be
given to the user as part of a witch's legacy. If money is involved, all
powers are cancelled out.
Grimoires were very popular from 1600 AD thru 1900 AD. The Black
Dragon, Red Dragon and the Black Screech Owl are all examples of grimoires
or magical texts. The term "Grimoire" is a derivative of "grammar".
Grammar describes a fixed set of symbols and the means of their
incorporation to properly produce well-formed, meaningful sentences and
texts. Similarly, a Grimoire describes a set of magical symbols and how
best to properly combine them in order to produce the desired effects.
True grimoires contain elaborate rituals, many of which are echoed in
modern Witchcraft rites. Sources for the information in the various
Grimoires include Greek and Egyptian magical texts from 100-400 A.D. and
Hebrew & Latin sources. Grimoires were used much more by sorcerers,
wizards, and early church officials than by witches.
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Al Azif (The
Philadelphia: Owlswick Press, 1973
||Ars Notaria: the notary art of Solomon the
Seattle: Trident, 1997
The Key of Solomon is probably the most famous of all Grimoires,
and the best known translation is that by Mathers The oldest of the
manuscripts used by him is probably 16th century but there are
however older texts, including several English manuscripts, three
Hebrew manuscripts and an ancient Greek manuscript version of this
Fourth book of occult philosophy
Heptangle Books, 1985
De Nigromancia ...
De Nigromancia, or, Concerning the Black Art,
is a Latin manuscript attributed to Roger Bacon, first appearing
some time in the 16th century. The text is concerned with Goetic
summonings, especially of wraiths. Goetia is the common name for
that branch of Ceremonial Magic that deals with the conjuration of
infernal spirits or demons.
The Magus or celestial intelligencer;
being a complete system of occult philosophy
Maine: Samuel Weiser Inc.,(1978)
||Le Dragon noir: ou, les forces infernales soumises a
Mayer: Editions Bussiere, 1995
A scarce French grimoire text, considered the companion volume to
the infamous Le Dragon Rouge or Red Dragon, a
French version of the medieval Grand
Grimoire. It contains, with specific instructions on making
a demonic pact and diagrams of talismans.
||Le Dragon Rouge: ou, l’art de commander les espirits celeste
Cergy: Editions Pesthuis, n.d.
Le Dragon Rouge or the Red Dragon is another
"black book" that is also known as a Grand
Grimoire. It was published in 1822. It allegedly dates back
to 1522, however there is no concrete evidence to substantiate this.
The Red Dragon is considered by some to be the source of black magic
and demonic evocation.
||Grimoire of Armadel. Translated by ... S.L.
London: Routledge, 1980
The Grimoire of Armadel is supposedly translated from
the original French and Latin of a manuscript in the Biblotheque
l'Arsenal in Paris. This Christian grimoire contains many of the
important seals and sigils of the various demons and planetary
||Grimoir of Pope Honorius|
Seattle: Trident, 1999
Another grimoire is the Grimoire of Honorius, a
catalogue of fallen angels and how to raise them. This book was
credited to Pope Honorius III, who succeeded Pope Innocent III in
1216. The book is full of Christian benedictions and formulae. "It
not only instructed priests in the arts of demonology but virtually
ordered them to learn how to conjure and control demons, as part of
their job." It was recommended that the sorcerer wrote the grimoire
with his own hand to obtain the power of the spells.
||Grimoirium verum ...translated from the Hebrew by
Seattle: Ars Obscura, 1995
The True Grimoire. Originally claimed to be published in
French, by an Egyptian named Alibek, in 1517 in Memphis (Egypt). The
book claims a connection to Solomon but many believe that it was
really written in the 18th century. The work concentrates on rituals
for summoning of demons, and gives "Characters" for some of these
||The Grand Grimoire. Translated by Gretchen
Seattle: Ars Obscura, 1996
Also known as the Red
Book, the Grand Grimoire is a name given to a
collection of invocations, spells and elementary magic, supposedly
from the pen of King Solomon, but almost certainly no older than the
sixteenth century. This text constitutes one of the more famous and
outrageous Grimoires of black magic. A. E. Waite pronounced this the
most fantastic of the texts of the Black Magic cycle, and "one of
the most atrocious of its class.
||Pneumatologia occulta et vera: (manuscript)|
||Les Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle du petit
It is claimed that this text was written by Albertus Magnus in
1272, in French. The work contains instructions for the creation of
such magical aids as the Hand of Glory, often featured in trials for
The Necronomicon …
New York: Schlangekraft
The Necronomicon was written in Damascus in 730 A.D. by
Abdul Alhazred. The Necronomicon (literally: "Book of Dead Names")
is not, as is popularly believed, a grimoire, or sorcerer's
spell-book. It was conceived as a history, and hence "a book of
things now dead and gone". An alternative derivation of the word
Necronomicon gives as its meaning "the book of the customs of the
dead", but again this is consistent with the book's original
conception as a history, not as a work of necromancy.