Monday, November 28, 2011

What is a Grimoire or The Book of Shadows

 

A grimoire also called as Book of Shadows 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.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 while all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books could.

While 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,and he also noted that the first such grimoires could be found not in Europe but in the Ancient Near East.

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 amongst the French indicating something that was hard or even impossible to understand. 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.

18th and 19th centuries

"Emperor Lucifer, master of all the rebel spirits, I beg you to favour me in the call that I am making to your grand minister LUCIFUGÉ ROFOCALE, desiring to make a pact with him; I beg you also, prince Beelzebub to protect me in my undertaking. O count Astarot! Be favourable to me, and make it so that this night the grand Lucifege appears to me in human form, and without any bad odour, and that he accords to me, by the pact that I am going to present to him, all the riches I need."

The 18th century saw the rise in the Enlightenment, a movement devoted to science and rationalism, predominantly amongst the ruling classes. However, amongst much of Europe, belief in magic and witchcraft persisted, as did the witch trials in certain areas. Certain governments did try and crack down on magicians and fortune tellers, particularly that of France, where the police viewed them as a social pest who took money from the gullible, often in a search for treasure. In doing so they confiscated many grimoires.However it was also in France that a new form of printing developed, theBibliothèque bleue, and many grimoires were published through this and circulated amongst an ever growing percentage of the populace, in particular theGrand Albert, the Petit Albert, the Grimoire du Pape Honorious and the Enchiridion Leonis Papae. The Petit Albert in particular contained a wide variety of different forms of magic, for instance dealing in both simple charms for ailments along with more complex things such as the instructions for making aHand of Glory. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, following the French Revolution of 1789, a hugely influential grimoire was published under the title of the Grand Grimoire, which was considered particularly powerful because it involved conjuring and making a pact with the Devil's chief minister, Lucifugé Rofocale, in order to gain wealth off of him. A new version of this grimoire was later published under the title of the Dragon rouge, and was available for sale in many Parisian bookstores. Similar books published in France at the time included the Black Pullet and the Grimoirium Verum.

20th and 21st centuries

The Secret Grimoire of Turiel claims to have been written in the 16th Century, but no copy older than 1927 has been produced.

A modern grimoire is the Simon Necronomicon, named after a fictional book of magic in the stories of author H. P. Lovecraft, and inspired by Babylonian mythology and the Ars Goetia, a section in the Lesser Key of Solomon which concerns the summoning of demons. The Azoëtia of Andrew D. Chumbley has been described as a modern grimoire.[46]

The Neopagan religion of Wicca publicly appeared in the 1940s, and Gerald Gardner introduced the Book of Shadows as a Wiccan Grimoire.

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 and role-playing games. The most famous fictional grimoire is the Necronomicon, a creation of the author H. P. Lovecraft. Similarly in the television series, Charmed and The Vampire Diaries, the Grimoire refers to the evil spell book used by demons, warlocks, etc.. Similarly, on the Disney cartoon Gargoyles (TV series), the book of powerful magic sought by the Archmage, and held at various times by either Goliath or David Xanatos in the series' episodes was called the Grimorum Arcanorum. They are also featured in the anime/manga Toaru Majutsu no Index and Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san. The magician Alice Margatroid in Touhou Project also uses a grimoire. A grimoire is also featured in the Canadia television series "Blood Ties", where the main character, Henry Fitzroy uses the grimoire as a dictionary for demons.

The Grand Grimoire is a black magic grimoire that claims to date to 1522. It is possibly written some point after the 18th century but also possibly it represented the translation of The Sworn Book of Honorius, a 13th-century text. It was ostensibly published in Cairo by a person known as Alibek the Egyptian. Also known as "The Red Dragon", this book contains instructions purported to summon Lucifer or Lucifuge Rofocale, for the purpose of forming a Deal with the Devil. The book is called "Le Veritable Dragon Rouge" ("The True Red Dragon") in Haiti, where it is revered among many practitioners of Vodou. It is believed to be in the Vatican Secret Archives.

Some of the most famous grimoires include the:

The Magus Vol 1 & 2 by Barret, Francis

The greater keys of Solomon

The Lesser Keys of solomon

The Sacred Book Of Abramelin The Mage

The sixth book of Moses

The seventh book of Moses

Arbetel of magik

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