A grimoire (pronounced / r m w r/) is a textbook of magic.

Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons.[1] In many cases the books themselves are also believed to be imbued with magical powers, though in many cultures other sacred texts that are not grimoires, such as the Bible and Qur'an, have also been believed to intrinsically have magical properties; in this manner whilst all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books could.[2] Whilst the term grimoire is originally European, and many Europeans throughout history, particularly ceremonial magicians and cunning folk, have made use of grimoires, the historian Owen Davies noted that similar such books can be found all across the world, ranging from Jamaica to Sumatra,[3] and he also noted that the first such grimoires could be found not in Europe but in the Ancient Near East.[4] It is most commonly believed that the term grimoire originated from the Old French word grammaire, which had initially been used to refer to all books written in Latin. By the 18th century, the term had gained its now common usage in France, and had begun to be used to refer purely to books of magic, which Owen Davies presumed was because "many of them continued to circulate in Latin manuscripts." However, the term grimoire also later developed into a figure of speech indicating something that was hard or even impossible to understand amongst the French. It was only in the 19th century, with the increasing interest in occultism amongst the British following the publication of Francis Barrett's The Magus (1801), that the term entered the English language in reference to books of magic.[5]


[edit] History
[edit] Ancient period
The earliest known written magical incantations come from ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), where they have been found inscribed on various cuneiform clay-tablets excavated by archaeologists from the city of Uruk, and dated to between the 5th and 4th centuries BC.[6] The ancient Egyptians also employed magical incantations, which have been found inscribed on various amulets and other items. The Egyptian magical system, known as heka, was greatly altered and enhanced after the Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, invaded Egypt in 332 BC. Under the next three centuries of Hellenistic Egypt, the Coptic writing system evolved and the Library of Alexandria was opened, and this likely had an influence upon books of magic, with the trend on known incantations switching from simple health and protection charms to more

and therefore of books on magic.the Testament of Solomon. philosophical and divinatory texts that it viewed to be a threat to authority. in the Book of Enoch found within the Dead Sea Scrolls for instance. suppressed many pagan. there is various information on astrology and the angels. and two manuscripts likely dating to the Fourth Century. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. but that it was only written down in the 5th century BC by the magician Osthanes . St. and in many cases attempted to outlaw it. Solomon used the ring. wrote the book itself as both a warning and a guide to the reader. although eventually.[10] Meanwhile there is definite evidence of grimoires being used by certain. the angel Michael gave the king a magical ring with the Seal of Solomon on it which had the power to bind demons from doing harm. amongst many ancient writers. This work tells of the building of The Temple and how.his claims are not however supported by modern historians. being hampered in its construction by demons. present him as a polytheist who explained how to conjure gods and subdue demons. this figure was associated with both writing and magic. and sometime in the first five centuries a Greek manuscript was written.[7] It was also around this time that the legendary figure of Hermes Trismegistus developed as a conflation of the Egyptian god Thoth and the Greek Hermes. both of which purport to be the legendary eighth Book of Moses (the first five being the initial books in the Biblical Old Testament). including those of the Greek mystic and mathematician Pythagoras. Indeed. When they calculated the value of the scrolls.specific things such as financial success and sexual fulfilment. c. when Christianity became the dominant faith of the Roman Empire. In possible connection with the Book of Enoch. particularly Gnostic sects of early Christianity. Moses himself was seen as an Egyptian rather than a Jew. Baal and Rapha. Christian.[12] Despite the fact that the Biblical figures of Moses. the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. This was not a new idea." Acts 19. who himself had learned it in Egypt.[11] "Many of those [in Ephesus] who believed [in Christianity] now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. even before Christianisation.[8] The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that books on magic were invented by the Persians. In the New Testament. probably in either Babylonia or Egypt. First Century Another Biblical figure who was associated with magic and sorcery in the ancient world was the Israeli king Solomon. that was attributed to him . locking certain demons within jars and commanding others to do his bidding. the idea of Enoch and his great-grandson Noah having some involvement with books of magic given to them by angels continued in various forms through to the mediaeval period. and after subsequently losing favour with God. A number who had practised sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. Paul had . the early Church disagreed with the propagation of books on magic. and burned many books. with the 1st century CE writer Pliny the Elder stating that magic had been first discovered by the ancient philosopher Zoroaster around the year 6347 BC. Enoch and Solomon were commonly associated with magic.[9] The ancient Jewish people were also often viewed as being knowledgeable in magic. the Imperial Roman government had. which according to legend they had learned from Moses. he was tempted into worshipping "false-gods" like Moloch. according to the Testament. connecting it with paganism.

because it was viewed as merely taking note of the powers in nature that were created by God. seguloth. "there is ample evidence that the medieval clergy were the main practitioners of magic and therefore the owners. because it was believed that such magic did not come from God. the Church divided books of magic into two kinds. for instance the AngloSaxon leechbooks which contained simple spells designed for medicinal purposes were tolerated. "while the [Christian] Church was ultimately successful in defeating pagan worship it never managed to demarcate clearly and maintain a line of practice between religious devotion and magic.[13] [edit] Mediaeval period In the Mediaeval period. . transcribers. the production of grimoires continued in Christendom as well as amongst Jews and the followers of the newly founded Islamic faith. With the increase in contact between Christians and Muslims through the Crusades and the Moorish occupation of Spain. In Christianised Europe."[14] and the use of such books on magic continued. astral magic.called for the burning of magic and pagan books in the city of Ephesus. featuring various magical sigils (or in Hebrew). and circulators of grimoires"[16] whilst several grimoires were actually attributed to various Popes. The former was acceptable. those than dealt with "natural magic" and those that dealt in "demonic magic". demonic magic was not acceptable. involving invoking .[15] Despite this. divination and demonology. However the latter. and this advice was adopted on a large scale after the Christian ascent to power.[17] An excerpt from Sefer Raziel HaMalakh. As the historian Owen Davies noted. but from the Devil and his demons . various magical ideas and concepts originating in the Islamic world made their way into European grimoires.these grimoires dealt in such topics as necromancy. In particular.

such as Christopher Marlow's Faust. being renamed the Clavicula Salomonis or the Key of Solomon. the 12th Century Ghâyat alHakîm fi'l-sihr. and also included ideas such as prayers and a ritual circle. but had been demonised by the Mediaeval Church as a devil-worshipper and evil individual. like the ancient Testament of Solomon before it.[23] [edit] Early Modern period As the Early Modern period commenced in the late 15th Century. In the 16th Century this work had been translated into Latin and Italian. Hell and Purgatory.[24] The most important magician of the Renaissance was Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486±1535). Alongside this. and eventually published his own.[18] However. where it was known as the Magical Treatise of Solomon or the Little Key of the Whole Art of Hygromancy. the Three Books of Occult Philosophy. translated in Europe as the Liber Razielis Archangeli. in 1533. and like the Biblical Jesus had supposedly performed miracles.[22] However.[19] A later book also claiming to have been written by Solomon was originally written in Greek during the 15th Century.[21] Similarly. there was also a rise in interest in a form of Jewish mysticism known as the Kabbalah. grimoires were written that were attributed to other ancient figures. the 13th Century the Sworn Book of Honorius for instance was. and gaining much wisdom and knowledge as a result. there were those who did not believe this. and grimoires claiming to have been written by them were circulated. who widely studied various occult topics and earlier grimoires. the Witch Hunt and the advent of printing. Magus had been a contemporary of Jesus Christ's. One such Arabic grimoire devoted to astral magic. largely fuelled by the 1471 translation of the ancient Corpus hermeticum into Latin by Marsilio Ficino (1433±1499). that portrayed him as consulting . it was commonly believed by Mediaeval people that other ancient figures like the poet Virgil. thereby supposedly giving them a sense of authenticity because of their antiquity. based upon the New Testament figure of Simon Magus. upon whom several pieces of later literature were written. many changes began to shock Europe that would have an effect on the production of grimoires. astronomer Ptolemy and philosopher Aristotle had been involved in magic. who published Of the Supreme Mysteries of Nature in which he emphasised the distinction between good and bad magic. Found by Several Craftmen and by the Holy Prophet Solomon. which was spread across the continent by Pico della Mirandola and Johannes Reuchlin. the historian Owen Davies classed the most important of these as being the Protestant Reformation and subsequent Catholic Counter-Reformation. with the mystical purpose of having visions of God. there was an increased interest in Hermeticism amongst occultists and ceremonial magicians in Europe.[20] Also in Christendom during the Mediaeval. Another was the Sefer Raziel Ha-Malakh.[26] A third such individual at the time was Georg Faust.1214-1294) stated that books falsely claiming to be by ancient authors "ought to be prohibited by law". and in this period. The Renaissance saw the continuation of interest in magic that had been found in the Mediaeval period.[25] A similar figure was the Swiss magician known as Paracelsus (1493±1541). The German Abbot and occultist Trithemius (1462±1516) supposedly had in his possession a Book of Simon the Magician. for instance the Fransiscan friar Roger Bacon (c. was later translated into Latin and circulated in Europe during the 13th century under the name of the Picatrix. largely based upon the supposed teachings of the Biblical king Solomon. not all such grimoires of this era were based upon Arabic sources.and praising the powers of celestial bodies into talismans and amulets was introduced to significant effect.

hand-written grimoires remained highly valued. the Church published the Indexes of Prohibited Books in which many grimoires were listed as forbidden. To counter this. Sometimes those found with grimoires.[29] However.[36] In Christendom there also began to develop a widespread fear of witchcraft. which it was believed was Satanic in nature. which were not under the domination of the Roman Catholic Church. the rituals of which were often very similar to those of demonic conjuration. grimoires were found in the heretics' possessions and destroyed. including Magia naturalis.[32] However. Amongst the earliest books to be printed were magical texts. people lower down the social scale and women began to get access to books on magic. a Roman Catholic organisation. and in particular that of the cunning folk. The advent of printing in Europe meant that books could be mass-produced for the first time. where such grimoires were published. as they were believed to contain inherent magical powers within them. the Inquisition.[34] Throughout this period. who were professionally involved in folk magic. grimoires on natural magic also continued to be produced.[35] In 1599. the nóminas were one example of this.[27] The idea of demonology had remained strong in the Renaissance.[33] These works also left Europe and were imported to those parts of Latin America controlled by the Spanish and Portuguese empires and the parts of North America controlled by the British and French empires. including several mediaeval ones like the Key of Solomon which were still popular. had organised the mass suppression of peoples and views that they considered heretical.with demons.000 people. particularly of a demonological . In many cases. The signs on the perimeter are astrological. most of whom were women. and they continued to be produced. including The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy which falsely claimed to having been authored by Agrippa. and could reach an ever-growing literate audience. this was often incorporated into the popular folk magic of the average people. which listed sixty-nine different demons. alongside these demonological works.[31] It was particularly in Protestant countries such as Switzerland and the German states.[30] Man inscribed in a pentagram. the Roman Catholic Church authorised the production of many works of exorcism. and several demonological grimoires were published. with increasing availability. written by Giambattista Della Porta (1535±1615).[28] and the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum. Despite the advent if print however. from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Libri tres de occulta philosophia. consisting of prayers to the saints used as talismans. and the subsequent hysteria. known as the Witch Hunt caused the death of around 40.

" From the Grand Grimoire. but in most cases those accused had no access to such books. The European nation that proved the exception to this however was the highlyliterate Iceland. In doing so they confiscated many grimoires. predominantly amongst the ruling classes.nature.[41] Similar books published in France at the time included the Black Pullet and the Grimoirium Verum. many European governments brought in laws prohibiting many superstitious beliefs in an attempt to bring an end to the Witch Hunt. and many grimoires were published through this and circulated amongst an ever growing percentage of the populace. a hugely influential grimoire was published under the title of the Grand Grimoire. and was available for sale in many Parisian bookstores. and make it so that this night the grand Lucifege appears to me in human form.[39] However it was also in France that a new form of printing developed. I beg you also. belief in magic and witchcraft persisted.[38] [edit] 18th and 19th centuries "Emperor Lucifer. in order to gain wealth off of him. following the French Revolution of 1789. as did the witch trials in certain areas.[40] In the late 18th and early 19th centuries. the Grimoire du Pape Honorious and the Enchiridion Leonis Papae. The 18th century saw the rise in the Enlightenment. O count Astarot! Be favourable to me. prince Beelzebub to protect me in my undertaking. however there was no evidence for the existence of Rosenkreuz or the Brotherhood and it seems likely that Rosicrucianism was formed as a hoax. particularly that of France. in particular the Grand Albert. . However. this would invariably affect the release of grimoires. I beg you to favour me in the call that I am making to your grand minister LUCIFUGÉ ROFOCALE. A new version of this grimoire was later published under the title of the Dragon rouge. Certain governments did try and crack down on magicians and fortune tellers. amongst much of Europe. all the riches I need. often in a search for treasure. where a third of the 134 witch trials held here involved people who had owned grimoires. were prosecuted and dealt with as witches. a movement devoted to science and rationalism. for instance dealing in both simple charms for ailments along with more complex things such as the instructions for making a Hand of Glory. desiring to make a pact with him. Lucifugé Rofocale. and the beginnings of the Enlightenment.[37] By the end of the Early Modern period however. which first appeared in the early 17th Century when two pamphlets detailing the existence of the mysterious Rosicrucian group were published in Germany. which was considered particularly powerful because it involved conjuring and making a pact with the Devil's chief minister. master of all the rebel spirits. These claimed that Rosicrucianism had originated with a Mediaeval figure known as Christian Rosenkreuz who had founded the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. by the pact that I am going to present to him. the Petit Albert. Hermeticism and the Kabbalah would influence the creation of a mystical philosophy known as Rosicrucianism. where the police viewed them as a social pest who took money from the gullible. and that he accords to me. the Bibliothèque bleue. and without any bad odour. The Petit Albert in particular contained a wide variety of different forms of magic. Meanwhile.

there were many historians with an interest in magic and grimoires.[46] Frontpiece of the 1880 New York edition of The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. thereby helping to further propagate them. Perhaps the most notable of these was the Protestant pastor Georg Conrad Horst (1779±1832). or The Book of St Ciprian. because it had been a stronghold of Protestantism.[44] Another scholar of the time interested in grimoires was the antiquarian bookseller Johann Scheible. particularly in Spain was the Libro de San Cipriano. who first published the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. and many of those interested in the esoteric travelled from their own Roman Catholic nations to Switzerland to purchase grimoires or study with occultists. grimoires appeared that involved Catholic saints within them. the city of Geneva was commonly associated with the occult at the time. Several published extracts of these such grimoires in their own books on the history of magic. London was . two influential magical texts that claimed to have been written by the ancient Jewish figure Moses.[42] Soon. Like most grimoires of this period. in the Danish and Swedish languages. grimoires were known as 'black books' and were commonly found amongst members of the army. with the increased interest in folklore during the 19th Century. particularly by Catholics.The widespread availability of such printed grimoires in France despite the opposition of both the rationalists and the Church soon spread to neighbouring countries such as Spain and Germany. which falsely claimed to date from circa 1000. In Switzerland. it dealt with how to discover treasure amongst other things. such as Ebenezer Sibly's A New and Complete Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology. In Britain. where.[43] In Germany. one such example that appeared during the 19th Century which became relatively popular. who from 1821 to 1826 published a six-volume collection of magical texts in which he studied them as a peculiarity of the Mediaeval mindset. which became particularly popular with cunning folk.[45] The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses were amongst the works that later spread to the countries of Scandinavia. In the last decades of that century. new grimoires continued to be produced throughout the 18th Century.

but neither sold well. and grimoires were commonly associated with the French. Chumbley has been described as a modern grimoire. although it was never actually published. a section in the Lesser Key of Solomon which concerns the summoning of demons. Other authors such as August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith have also cited it in their works with Lovecraft's approval. particularly those of Cornelius Agrippa. . gradually came to be a particularly influential text. created his own handwritten grimoire. The Azoëtia of Andrew D. largely because Britain at the time was at war with France. [edit] 20th and 21st centuries The Secret Grimoire of Turiel claims to have been written in the 16th Century. Lovecraft. and inspired by Babylonian mythology and the Ars Goetia. the Lesser Key of Solomon (17th Century) In the late 19th Century. and this was only further propagated when Francis Barrett published The Magus in 1801. The Grand Oracle of Heaven. It was first referenced in his story "The Hound" and subsequently made appearances in many of his stories. several of these texts (including the Abra-Melin text and the Key of Solomon) were reclaimed by paraMasonic magical organisations such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis. with booksellers and librarians receiving many requests for the fictional tome. released The Philosophical Merlin (1822) and The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century (1825). though none have been endorsed by Lovecraft himself. or. a creation of the author H. Pranksters have even listed it in rare book catalogues. Several authors have also published books titled Necronomicon. The Art of Divine Magic. The Magus contained many things taken from older grimoires. P. Many readers and others have believed it to be a real work. Robert Cross Smith. or. named after a fictional book of magic in the stories of author H.[48] The Lemegeton. John Parkin.[47] One of Barrett's pupils. and Gerald Gardner introduced the Book of Shadows as a Wiccan Grimoire. but no copy older than 1927 has been produced. Lovecraft.[50] [edit] Popular culture The term "grimoire" commonly serves as an alternative name for a spell-book or tome of magical knowledge in such genres as fantasy fiction.[49] The Neopagan religion of Wicca publicly appeared in the 1940s. The only writer to widely publish British grimoires in the early 19th Century.experiencing a revival of interest in the occult. and whilst not achieving initial popularity upon release. A modern grimoire is the Simon Necronomicon. P.[51] Michael Crichton also included it in the bibliography of his 1976 novel Eaters of the Dead (which professes to be a translation of the mediaeval travel narrative of Ibn Fadlan). The most famous fictional grimoire is the Necronomicon. including one who surreptitiously slipped an entry into the Yale University Library card catalogue.

The Vampire Diaries. etc.In the WB series. . Charmed. as opposed to the Book of Shadows. the Grimoire refers to the evil spell book used by demons. The Grimoire was also referred to in the CW series. warlocks. which is used by good witches. Grimoires are a common item in video games or fantasy role-playing games with a magical element.

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