Occult Books

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Non-Mythos works (generally real-world) are often mentioned side-by-side with fictional Mythos Tomes in work by Lovecraft and others.

Contents

Alchemical Texts

Emerald Tablet

The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragdine Table, or Tabula Smaragdina, (attributed to Hermes Trismegistus; Arabic 6th-8th Century, Latin 12th Century)

The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragdine Table, or Tabula Smaragdina, is a compact and cryptic piece of Hermetica reputed to contain the secret of the prima materia and its transmutation. It was highly regarded by European alchemists as the foundation of their art and its Hermetic tradition. The original source of the Emerald Tablet is unknown. The layers of meaning in the Emerald Tablet have been associated with the creation of the philosopher's stone, laboratory experimentation, phase transition, the alchemical magnum opus, the ancient, classical, element system, and the correspondence between macrocosm and microcosm. In its several Western recensions, the Tablet became a mainstay of medieval and Renaissance alchemy. Commentaries and/or translations were published by, among others, Trithemius, Roger Bacon, Michael Maier, Aleister Crowley, Albertus Magnus, and Isaac Newton. The concise text was a popular summary of alchemical principles, wherein the secrets of the philosopher's stone were thought to have been described.


Picatrix

Picatrix, or The Aim of the Sage or The Goal of The Wise (10th-11th century)

Originally in Arabic, more likely to be found in Latin. Picatrix is the name used today, and historically in Christian Europe, for a 400-page book of occult magic and astrology originally written in Arabic under the title Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm, which most scholars assume was originally written in the middle of the 11th century, though a supported argument for composition in the first half of the 10th century has been made. The Arabic title translates as The Aim of the Sage or The Goal of The Wise. The Arabic work was translated into Spanish and then into Latin during the 13th century, at which time it got the Latin title Picatrix. The book's title Picatrix is also sometimes used to refer to the book's author. A composite work that synthesizes older works on magic and astrology. The most influential interpretations suggests it is to be regarded as a handbook of talismanic magic and celestial magic.

Turba Philosophorum

The Turba Philosophorum or Assembly of the Philosophers (900AD)

Originally in Arabic, more likely to be found in Greek. One of the oldest European alchemy texts considered to have been written c. 900 A.D., translated from the Arabic, attempting to put Greek alchemy into the Arabic language and to adapt it to Islamic science. Nine philosophers take part in a discussion, being, once the text has been transcribed back to the original Arabic, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Archelaus, Leucippus, Ecphantus, Pythagoras and Xenophanes. The statements of the philosophers, whilst usually different from the known beliefs of the pre-Socratics, are usually recognisable as outgrowths of Greek philosophy. They discuss matter, how it acts, and relate this to cosmology, the gods, and the elements.

Liber Investigationis

Geber's Liber Investigationis, or 'Summa Perfectionis,' or 'Summit of Perfection' (1531)

Originally in Arabic, more likely to be found in Greek. The library of Joseph Curwen is said to have had a copy of 'Liber Investigationis' by Arabian scientist Geber (Jabir ibn-Hayyan). This is probably a Latinized version of the 'Summa Perfectionis,' or 'Summit of Perfection.' Geber's works provide a window into the Islamic Gnosticism of the late ninth century and shed light on classical Greek scientific texts, many of which do not survive in the original. Jābir’s alchemical works include descriptions of distillation, calcification, dissolution, crystallization, and other chemical operations that subsequently were used in the Islamic world and in Europe for centuries. Several works of the Jābirean corpus have been translated into Latin. The present work was written in three parts, covering the properties of metals, alchemical techniques, and the properties of the planets.

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")

Key of Wisdom

Artephius' The Key of Wisdom or Miftah al-Hikma or Clavis (Majoris) Sapientiae

Originally in Arabic, more likely to be found in Greek. This treatise describes the entire process of preparing the philosopher's stone. There are three separate operations described here: the preparation of the 'secret fire' (the catalyst or solvent which is used throughout the whole work, without which nothing can be achieved, but which is seldom if ever mentioned in any alchemical treatise), the preparation of a metallic vapor made from antimony and iron necessary in the preparation of the stone, and the preparation of the stone itself. These operations are not presented in sequence. The reader will note that the language is allusive and recondite, that several names are used to refer to the same thing and that one name is used to refer to several things. This is, however, an exceptionally clear alchemical text. Artephius is said to have written this in the 12th century. Numerous books over an incredible time span were attributed to Artephius; a Renaissance tradition held that Artephius had been born in the first or second century and died in the twelfth, thanks to having discovered the alchemical elixir that made it possible to prolong life. In his Secret Book, Artephius indeed claims to be more than a thousand years old.

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")

Albertus Magnus

Albertus Magnus' De Concordantia Philosophorum in Lapide, Compositum de compositis, and Liber octo capitulorum: De lapide philosophorum

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")

Ars Magna et Ultima

Raymond Lully's Ars Magna et Ultima, or Ars Magna, or The Great Art

Calatan writer Lully's most important work, the "Ars Magna" or "The Great Art," was a defense of Christianity against the teaching of Abu-Al-Walid Muhammad Ibn-Ahmad Ibn-Rushd (1126-1198), commonly called Averroes. Averroes was a Muslim Spanish-Arab philosopher, jurist, and physician who held the heretical view that philosophy was as important as religion. Spain was in a heated battle over the Christian religion versus the invading Arab religions crossing over from North Africa. This was an founding factor in the Spanish Inquisition. Joseph Curwen kept a copy of Zetner's edition of this work in his collection.

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")

Thesaurus Chemicus

Roger Bacon's Thesaurus Chemicus (1620)

Could be found in the possession of Joseph Curwen. This treatise on chemistry involved alchemical elements.

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")

Clavis Alchimiae

Fludd's Clavis Alchimiae, or Clavis Philosophiae et Alchimiae Fluddanae (1632)

The work discussed alchemy as a spiritual path, and attempted to defend the Rosicrucian brotherhood from its Catholic critics. In 1632, the whole edition of the work was destroyed in Frankfurt by the militia; but the work was reprinted the following year.

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")

De Lapide Philosophico

De Lapide Philosophico, or Opera Universalia et Vegetabilia, Sive de Lapide Philosophorum, or The Universal and Vegetable Works of Isaac and J.I. Holladus; or, On the Philosopher's Stone by Johannes Isaac Hollandus (1617)

In Latin. Consists of two treatises on metallurgy and the Philosopher's Stone. The first treatise seems to be a "hermetically sealed" and highly symbolic alchemical recipe book, in a fashion that was a huge success among seventeenth century readers. The details of their operations on metals are the most explicit that have been given, and because of this very lucidity have been discounted.

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")

Theatrum Chemicum

Theatrum Chemicum, or Chemical Theatre, or Theatrum Chemicum, præcipuos selectorum auctorum tractatus de Chemiæ et Lapidis Philosophici Antiquitate, veritate, jure præstantia, et operationibus continens in gratiam veræ Chemiæ et Medicinæ Chemicæ Studiosorum (ut qui uberrimam unde optimorum remediorum messem facere poterunt) congestum et in quatuor partes seu volumina digestum (1602)

In Latin. A compendium of early alchemical writings published in six volumes over the course of six decades. The first three volumes were published in 1602, while the final sixth volume was published in its entirety in 1661. Theatrum Chemicum remains the most comprehensive collective work on the subject of alchemy ever published in the Western world. A full account of the contents can be found here: (link)


Books on Witch-Hunting

Dæmonolatreia

Remigius' Dæmonolatreia (1693)

In Latin(?) French judge Remigius (Nicolas Remy) wrote this essential work on witch-hunting, Dæmonolatreia, which was published in three books in Lugduni in 1595. Since there have been a German translation (1693) and an English one by Montague Summers under the name Daemonolatry (1930). Like the witch hunting works of Trithemius and Sprenger & Kramer (the infamous Malleus Maleficarum), the Daemonolatreia explains the horrors and dangers of the power of the witches, how to distinguish them, and how to torture and destroy them.

("The Festival" "The Dunwich Horror")

Saducismus Triumphatus

Saducismus Triumphatus, or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions. In two parts. The first treating of their possibility. The second of their real existence. by Joseph Glanvill (1681)

In English(?) The book affirmed the existence of witches with malign supernatural powers of magic, and attacked skepticism concerning their abilities. Glanvill likened these skeptics to the Sadducees, members of a Jewish sect from around the time of Jesus who were said to have denied the immortality of the soul. The book is also noted for the account of the Drummer of Tedworth, an early poltergeist story, and for one of the earliest descriptions of the use of a witch bottle, a countercharm against witchcraft. Strongly influenced Salem witch-hunter Cotton Mather.

Magnalia Christi Americana

Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana: The Ecclesiastical History of New England, or The Glorious Works of Christ in America (1702)

In English. Consists of seven "books" collected into two volumes, and it details the religious development of Massachusetts, and other nearby colonies in New England from 1620 to 1698. Notable parts of the book are Mather's descriptions of the Salem Witch Trials, in which he criticizes some of the methods of the court and attempts to distance himself from the event; his account of the escape of Hannah Dustan (one of the best known accounts to captivity-narrative scholars); his complete "catalogus" of all the students that graduated from Harvard College, and story of the founding of Harvard College itself; and his assertions that Puritan slaveholders should do more to convert their slaves to Christianity.

("Pickman's Model")

Wonders of the Invisible World

Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World (1693)

In English. With arguments largely derivative of Saducismus Triumphatus, this book was Mather's defense of his role in the in the Salem, Massachusetts witch-hunts, and espousing the belief that witchcraft was an evil magical power. Mather saw witches as tools of the devil in Satan's battle to destroy the colonies ("...An army of devils is horribly broke in upon the place which is the center, and after a sort, the first-born of our English settlements..."), and saw the prosecution of witches as a way to secure God's blessings for the colony.

("Pickman's Model")

Malleus Maleficarum

Heinrich Kramer's The Malleus Maleficarum, or Hammer of the Witches, or Der Hexenhammer, (1487)

In German or Latin. One of the most well-known treatises on the prosecution of witches. In 1490, three years after its publication, the Catholic Church condemned the Malleus Maleficarum, although it was later used by royal courts during the Renaissance, and contributed to the increasingly brutal prosecution of witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries. Kramer wrote the Malleus shortly after being expelled from Innsbruck by the local bishop after a failed attempt to conduct his own witchcraft prosecution. Kramer's purpose in writing the book was to explain his own views on witchcraft, systematically refute arguments claiming that witchcraft does not exist, discredit those who expressed skepticism about its reality, claim that those who practised witchcraft were more often women than men, and to convince magistrates to use Kramer's recommended procedures for finding and convicting witches.


Books on Vampire-Hunting

De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis

Michael Ranft's De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis, or "On the Gnawing of the Dead in Their Graves", (Leipzig, 1728)

Refers to the phenomenon of finding, when opening a grave, that the corpse has chewed at its shroud, hinting at the relationship between that phenomenon and vampirism. While discussing the corpses of disinterred vampires, Montague Summers says the following of this book: "It was not infrequently seen that the dead person in his grave had devoured all about him, grinding them with his teeth, and (as it was supposed) uttering a low raucous noise like the grunting of a pig who roots among garbage. In his work, De Masticatione Mortuorum in tumulis, Leipzig, 1728, Michael Ranft treats at some length of this matter. He says that it is very certain that some corpses have devoured their cerements and even gnaw their own flesh. It has been suggested that this is the original reason why the jaws of the dead were tightly bound with linen bands. Ranft instances the case of a Bohemian woman who when disinterred in 1355 had devoured the greater part of her shroud. In another instance during the sixteenth century both a man and a woman seemed to have torn out their intestines and were actually ravening upon their entrails. In Moravia a corpse was exhumed which had devoured the grave-clothes of a woman buried not far from his tomb."

Often cited in Robert Bloch's stories ("Mannakin").


Dissertatio de Cadaueribus Sanguisugis

John Christian Stock's Dissertatio de Cadaueribus Sanguisugis AKA "Dissertation on Blood-sucking Cadavers", (Jena, 1732)


Dissertatio de Uampyris Seruiensibus

Zopfius' and van Dalen's Dissertatio de Uampyris Seruiensibus, or "Dissertatoin on Vampires" (Duisburg, 1733)

This famous and influential treatise paints a lurid picture of the undead rising to attack the living: "In fulfilment of their curse, the undead are condemned to issue forth from their graves in the night to attack people sleeping quietly in their beds, drawing out the spirit, and drinking out the blood, and gnawing out the flesh from the bodies of their victims. These graveless souls beset men, women, and children alike, sparing neither age, nor sex. Those who are under the fatal malignity of their influence complain of suffocation and despair for the phantoms of the night which come creeping in, after which they soon expire. Some who, when at the point of death, have been asked if they can tell what is causing their death, reply that the graveless souls are gathering in the night, and persons known to be lately dead have risen from the tomb to torment and torture them, and that their hungry and restless shades appear before them at night. When this is discovered, the corpse of the person designated by the victim must be dug up out of its grave, whereby it shall be revealed to still possess a crude vigor and freshness long past that of more recent corpses, which, if natural, should have already decayed. And it will be noted that in the thing which is dug up, the nails and hair will have continued to grow, and the nose and mouth will be also smeared with the fresh blood and shreds of flesh of its victims, which fills and swells chest and belly of the thing. He who has thus unearthed the undead thing, must then pierce its unclean heart with a sharp stake, and the burn its body to ashes so that it might rise and trouble the living no more."


De Masticatione Mortuorum

Philipp Rohr's Dissertatio Historico-Philosophica de Masticatione Mortuorum, AKA De Masticatione Mortuorum, or "Historical and Philisophical Dissertation on the Chewing Dead", (Leipzig, 1679)

Rohr's work explores the strange and terrible legends of the dead reanimated through demonic possession devouring their own shrouds and moving on to gnaw on nearby corpses in a sort of unholy manduction, this of course has a relevance to the vampire mythos. First edition; 24 unnumbered pages, slightly shorter than 20 cm., beginning with title; later paper-covered boards darkened and rubbed at leather spine and tips, general age toning but entirely readable and not at all fragile, has five block letters penciled in margins. With a wood engraving featuring Saint Jerome and lion.


The Vampire: His Kith & Kin

Montague Summers' The Vampire: His Kith & Kin, (1928)

Celebrated book on vampires. It was quickly followed by his equally informative The Vampire in Europe.


The Vampire in Europe

Montague Summers' The Vampire in Europe, (1929)

A celebrated book on vampires, a sequel to The Vampire: His Kith & Kin.


De Miraculis Mortuorum

Christian Frederic Garmann's treatise De Miraculis Mortuorum AKA Academici Curiosi de Miraculis Mortuorum, or "The Wonders of the Dead", (1st ed. Leipzig, 1670 by Kirchner) (2nd ed. Leipzig, 1687 by Weidmann) (3rd expanded posthumous ed. Dresden, 1709 by Zimmerman)

A treatise by noted physician Christian Frederic Garmann, who was born at Mersebourg about 1640 and who practised with great repute at Chemnitz. Garmann discusses many curious details about the undead, and continued to amass so vast a collection of notes that after his death there was published in 1709 at Dresden by Zimmerman a very much enlarged edition of his work. Even if not always scientifically rigourous, one of the earliest texts devoted to forensic medicine, one of the founding texts of modern Thanatology, and allegedly an inspiration to Mary Shelley in the writing of Frankenstein. First edition of this rare and significant physical and medical treatise on the phenomena that are said to accompany death and the decomposition process, with rich dissertations about the growth of corpses' hair and nails; the death rattle and other sounds made by corpses; the physical changes of decomposition; how long it takes for flesh, organs, bones, and teeth to decay or burn; abdominal swelling and bursting; penile erections in corpses; infestation of insects and worms; etc. First edition contains pages of stiff parchment; the title and the frieze in antique letters on the spine; skull woodcut in the title; headers, drop caps and ornamentations stained or in woodcut; diffuse burnishing typical of German books of the period.


The Strange History of Vampires

Paul Bonnat's Die Seltsame Geschichte der Vampyre AKA The Strange History of Vampires (German, Leipzig, Gottlieb Faust Erben, 1770)

This book of vampire lore appears in the film Vampyr: Der Traum des Allan Grey (1932 film), as a roughly Thirty-Twomo-sized antique volume (about 5"x2"), with a dark (leather?) binding, wrapped in paper sealed with string and wax and labeled "to be opened upon my death", with the following excerpts appearing in German on pages printed in a relatively large (only a couple paragraphs to the page) serif type face in close-ups during the film:

Die Seltsame Geschichte der Vampyre
von Paul Bonnat
(woodcut illustration of an emaciated walking corpse)
Leipzig, Gottlieb Faust Erben
MDCCLXX

Accounts from many ages and lands tell of terrible demons called vampires. These are the bodies and souls of the dead whose terrible deeds in life deny them repose in the grave. Under the bright light of the full moon, they rise from their graves to suck out the blood of children and youths and thus prolong their shadowy existence. The Prince of Darkness is their ally and lends them supernatural power among the living and the dead....

At night these creatures from the abyss haunt the abodes of the living, where they sow death and decay. A vampire's victim is doomed to perish without hope. A wound on the throat, as from the bite of a cat or rat, is the mark of damnation....

Like a plague, the vampire's lust infects the victim, who is torn between a thirst for blood and a desperate revulsion toward this craving. The innocent youth itself becomes a vampire and seeks to prey on its nearest and dearest. Entire families, even entire villages, are thus brought under the curse....

The ghosts of executed criminals are in their service, but the living too may fall under their dreadful influence. An account from Hungary tells of a village doctor who, having sold his soul to the Evil One, became a vampire's henchman and thus an accessory to a series of horrid crimes in that region.

Once the vampire has gained complete control over its victim, it seeks to drive the victim to suicide, thus delivering that soul to the Evil One, for he who takes his own life is lost for all eternity: to him the Golden Gates of Heaven are closed, and all hope is lost.

Accounts of how vampires have been rendered harmless in many places: In the village of Kisilova, haunted a generation ago by a vampire in the form of an old woman, the following procedure was used: at dawn the grave was opened, and the old woman was found lying as if asleep; an iron stake was driven through her heart, nailing her horrid soul to the earth. She then died a true death, and the curse that had lain upon herself and her victims was broken.

Even in these parts tradition tells how certain areas were haunted by vampires. Just 25 years ago, a murderous epidemic claimed 11 victims in the village of Courtempierre. Doctors assigned the plague a medical name, but a persistent rumor circulated among the people that a vampire was the cause of the scourge. Many firmly believed that vampire to be none ofther than Marguerite Chopin, who lay buried in the village cemetery. All her life, Marguerite Chopin had been a monster in human form. She died an unrepentant soul, and the CHurch denied her the Last Sacraments.



Occult Texts and Manifestos

Greater Key of Solomon

Key of Solomon, Greater Key of Solomon, or Clavicula Salomonis (14th or 15th Century, Anonymous but often falsely attributed to King Solomon)

The Key of Solomon is divided into two books. It describes not the appearance or work of any spirit but only the necessary drawings to prepare each "experiment" or, in more modern language, magical operations. Unlike later grimoires such as the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (16th century) or the Lemegeton (17th century), the Key of Solomon does not mention the signature of the 72 spirits constrained by King Solomon in a bronze vessel. As in most medieval grimoires, all magical operations are ostensibly performed through the power of God, to whom all the invocations are addressed. Before any of these operations (termed "experiments") are performed, the operator must confess his sins and purge himself of evil, invoking the protection of God. Elaborate preparations are necessary, and each of the numerous items used in the operator's "experiments" must be constructed of the appropriate materials obtained in the prescribed manner, at the appropriate astrological time, marked with a specific set of magical symbols, and blessed with its own specific words. All substances needed for the magic drawings and amulets are detailed, as well as the means to purify and prepare them. Many of the symbols incorporate the Transitus Fluvii occult alphabet.

Lesser Key of Solomon

Clavicula Salomonis Regis, The Lesser Key of Solomon, or Lemegeton (Mid-17th Century, Anonymous)

This Tome is divided into five books mostly copied from older sources:

  • Ars Goetia - a list of 72 demonic spirits and their seals/signitures mostly copied from Pseudomonarchia Daemonum
  • Ars Theurgia-Goetia - another list of spirits, derived from Steganographia
  • Ars Paulina - a list of astrological and zodiacal spirits and how to summon them falsely attributed to Paul the Apostle, and derived from Non-Occult Books|Steganographia and from portions of the Heptameron
  • Ars Almadel - instructs the magician on how to create a wax tablet with specific designs intended to contact angels via scrying, from an allegedly Arabic source
  • Ars Notoria - a much older work (dating to the 13th Century), consisting of a series of prayers (related to those in The Sworn Book of Honorius) intended to grant eidetic memory and instantaneous learning to the magician


Arbatel de Magia Veterum

Arbatel de Magia Veterum, Arbatel: Of the Magic of the Ancients (Latin, 1575 in Switzerland, edited by Theodor Zwinger, sometimes falsely attributed to Paracelsus but probably by Swiss Paracelsian mage Jacques Gohory)

The Arbatel mainly focuses on the relationship between humanity, celestial hierarchies, and the positive relationship between the two. The Olympian spirits featured in it are entirely original. Unlike other grimoires, the Arbatel avoids the trappings of black magic and exhorts the magus to remain active in their community (instead of isolating themselves), favoring kindness, charity, and honesty over remote and obscure rituals. The Arbatel is noted for being straightforward in its writing, positive in its contents, and unusually honest regarding its origins, and for original content unrelated to the Key of Solomon.


Heptameron

Heptameron, or Magical Elements (purportedly by Peter de Abano Venice, 1496)

It has been alleged that Abano wrote this grimoire, a concise book of ritual magical rites concerned with conjuring specific angels for the seven days of the week (hence the title).


Pseudomonarchia Daemonum

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, Hierarchy of Demons (1577, Johann Weyer)

First appears as an Appendix to Johann Weyer's De praestigiis daemonum (1577), and is an abridgement of a grimoire similar in nature to the "Ars Goetia", the first book of The Lesser Key of Solomon, containing a list of demons, and the appropriate hours and rituals to conjure them. The book was written before The Lesser Key of Solomon, and has some differences (fewer demons, listed in a slightly different order).


De Praestigiis Daemonum

De praestigiis daemonum (Johann Weyer, 1577)

The book also contains a famous appendix also circulated independently as the Pseudomonarchia daemonum, a listing of the names and titles of infernal spirits, and the powers alleged to be wielded by each of them. Weyer relates that his source for this intelligence was a book called Liber officiorum spirituum, seu liber dictus Empto Salomonis, de principibus et regibus demoniorum ("The book of the offices of spirits, or the book called Empto, by Solomon, about the princes and kings of demons.) Weyer's reason for presenting this material was not to instruct his readers in diabolism, but rather to "expose to all men" the pretensions of those who claimed to be able to work magic, men who "are not embarrassed to boast that they are mages, and their oddness, deceptions, vanity, folly, fakery, madness, absence of mind, and obvious lies, to put their hallucinations into the bright light of day."

Weyer held to a demonology that was entirely orthodox in terms of its endorsement of the reality of Satan and evil demonic spirits, while maintaining at all times that their ability to act was circumscribed by the omnipotence of God, but disagreed with certain of his contemporaries about the justification of witch-hunting. Weyer believed that most, probably all, cases of alleged witchcraft resulted from delusions of the alleged witch, rather than actual, voluntary cooperation with spiritual evil. In brief, Weyer claimed that cases of alleged witchcraft were psychological rather than supernatural in origin.


Liber Officiorum Spirituum

Liber Officiorum Spirituum, The Book of the Office of Spirits, "The Office of Spirits, Liber officiorum spirituum, seu Liber dictus Empto; Salomonis, de principibus et regibus daemoniorum, or Book of the Offices of Spirits, or the Book Called 'Empto'; Solomon, Concerning the Princes and Kings of Demons (unknown origin and author; earliest known version was crudely translated from Latin to English by John Porter in 1583)

Derivative of (or outright copy of) a number of other grimoires, notable mainly for shifting focus toward the end of the Grimoire from lists and hierarchies of demonic spirits to the order of the Faerie world instead, with references to Faerie King Oberon, Queen Mycob, etc., as well as sections on spirits that make/write books, spirits of the days of the week, and Necromancy.


Livre des Esperitz

Livre des Esperitz, Le Livre des Esperitz, The Book of Spirits (15th Century)

A French grimoire that inspired later works including Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and the Lesser Key of Solomon. It contains ideas, traditions, and elements of works dating back to at least the 13th century. Like the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Livre des Esperitz has been attributed to Solomon. The Livre des Esperitz merely lists the hierarchy of hell, and does not include prayers, conjurations, invocations, or spells to summon any being described. It does provide detailed descriptions of each spirit's appearance and function, and lists how many legions of demons serve under each. Many of these descriptions eventually found their way into later works, often unmodified.


The Sworn Book of Honorius

The Sworn Book of Honorius, Liber Juratus, Liber Sacer/Sacratus/Consecratus, or Grimoire of Honorius (perhaps 13th Century or earlier, purportedly by Honorius of Thebes)

It is supposedly the product of a conference of magicians who decided to condense all their knowledge into one volume. In 93 chapters, it covers a large variety of topics, from how to save your soul from purgatory to the catching of thieves or finding of treasures. It has many instructions on how to conjure and command demons, to necromancy, to work other magical operations, and knowledge of what lies in Heaven among other highly sought information. Like many grimoires, it has lengthy dissertations for proper operation and seals to be used. The book can be classified as a "Solomonic Grimoire" due to its heavy use of angelic powers and seals like those found in The Greater Key of Solomon.


I Ching

I Ching, or Classic of Changes or Book of Changes (1000BC)

An ancient divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics. Possessing a history of more than two and a half millennia of commentary and interpretation, the I Ching is an influential text read throughout the world, providing inspiration to the worlds of religion, psychoanalysis, business, literature, and art. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou period (1000–750 BC), over the course of the Warring States period and early imperial period (500–200 BC) it was transformed into a cosmological text with a series of philosophical commentaries known as the "Ten Wings." After becoming part of the Five Classics in the 2nd century BC, the I Ching was the subject of scholarly commentary and the basis for divination practice for centuries across the Far East, and eventually took on an influential role in Western understanding of Eastern thought. The I Ching uses a type of divination called cleromancy, which produces apparently random numbers. Four numbers, 6 through 9, are turned into a hexagram, which can then be looked up in the I Ching book, arranged in an order known as the King Wen sequence. The interpretation of the readings found in the I Ching is a matter of centuries of debate, and many commentators have used the book symbolically, often to provide guidance for moral decision making as informed by Taoism and Confucianism. The hexagrams themselves have often acquired cosmological significance and paralleled with many other traditional names for the processes of change such as yin and yang and Wu Xing.


Hermetic Corpus

Hermetic Corpus, or The Corpus Hermeticum

In Latin. The term particularly applies to the Corpus Hermeticum, Marsilio Ficino's Latin translation in fourteen tracts, of which eight early printed editions appeared before 1500 and a further twenty-two by 1641. The Corpus Hermeticum are the core documents of the Hermetic tradition. Dating from early in the Christian era, they were mistakenly dated to a much earlier period by Church officials (and everyone else) up until the 15th century. Because of this, they were allowed to survive and we seen as an early precursor to what was to be Christianity. We know today that they were, in fact, from the early Christian era, and came out of the turbulent religious seas of Hellenic Egypt.


Zohar

Zohar (1558)

In Hebrew. Large folio containing complete system of Kabbalistic theology. The Zohar (Hebrew, lit. "Splendor" or "Radiance") is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains a discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and "true self" to "The Light of God", and the relationship between the "universal energy" and man. The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic.

("The Case of Charles Dexter Ward")


Simon Necronomicon

The infamous Simonomicon, in all its paperback glory....

Necronomicon, or Simonomicon (1977)

In English and Mumbojumbo. This is one of the hoax Necronomicons produced in the 1970's and later as a mass-market paperback book, purporting to be the revelations of an anonymous sorceror "Simon" that had somehow conspired with Aleister Crowley and H.P. Lovecraft to secretly create their individual works based on an unknown, hidden Sumerian magical text. The book seems to contain some form of "real" ceremonial "Magick" inspired by a somewhat imaginative and sometimes silly jumble of vagely-researched Sumerian and Babylonian mythology, Aleister Crowley's occult teachings, in-name-only elements of Lovecraft's fiction filtered through the lens of August Derleth, and, no doubt, a healthy dose of "Simon"'s imagination.

(References might appear in Call of Cthulhu RPG scenarios for humorous effect as a shorthand for gullible amateur cultists, and in heavy metal music lyrics; this paperback book might also be treated in a Delta Green scenario as disinformation released as part of a cover-up of the real Tome....)



Period Occult Texts (1711-1940)

Originally collected in The Unspeakable Oath 4.

History of the Ridiculous Extravagancies

A History of the Ridiculous Extravagancies, AKA History of the Ridiculous Extravagancies of Monsieur Oufle Microform: Occasion'd by His Reading Books Treating of Magick, The Black Arts, Daemoniacks, Conjurers, of Elves, Fairies, of Dreams, The Philosophers Stone, Judicial Astrology, With Notes Containing a Multitude of Quotations Out of Those Books, Which Have Either Caused Such Extravagant Imaginations, or May Serve to Cure Them, by Abbot Laurent Bordelon (1711, originally in French, translated to English)

Histoire Critique

Histoire Critique, AKA Histoire Critique Des Practiques Superstitieuses: Qui Ont Saeduit Les Peulples, & Embarrassae Les Scavans by Pierre Lebrun (1732 in four volumes, French)

Discourse on Witchcraft

A Discourse on Witchcraft, AKA A Discourse on Witchcraft: Occasioned by a Bill Now Depending in Parliment, to Repeal the Statute Made in the First Year of the Reign of King James I, Intituled, An Act Against Conjuration, Witchcrafts and Dealing with Evil and Wicked Spirits by J. Read (1736, English)

Autobiographical Tracts of Dr. John Dee

Autobiographical Tracts of Dr. John Dee by Dr. John Dee, his letters, notes and other remnants, as gathered by the Chetham Society (1851, English)

Lists of Manuscripts Owned by Dr. John Dee

Lists Of Manuscripts Owned by Dr. John Dee, his letters, notes and other remnants, as gathered by the Chetham Society (1921, English)

Der Aberglaube Des Mittelalters

Der Aberglaube Des Mittelalters, AKA Der Auberglaube Des Mittelalters. Ein Beitrag Sur Culturgeschichte by Heinrich Bruno Schindler (1858, German)

Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy

Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy by Emile Angelo Grillot De Givry (1870, French; 1931, English)

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions, AKA Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay (1880?, English)

Phantasms Of Living

Phantasms Of Living by Edmund Gurney, F.W.H. Myers, Frank Podmore (1886, English)

Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling

Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling by Charles Godfrey Leland (1891, English)

Aradia: Or The Gospel Of Witches

Aradia: Or The Gospel Of Witches by Charles Godfrey Leland (1899, English)

Occult Sciences: A Compendium

The Occult Sciences: A Compendium, AKA The Occult Sciences: A Compendium of Transcendental Doctrine and Experiment, Embracing an Account of Magical Practices; of Secret Sciences in Connection with Magic; of the Professors of Magical Arts; and of Modern Spiritualism, Mesmerism, and Theosophy by Authur Edward Waite (1891, English)

Cock Lane and Common Sense

Cock Lane and Common Sense by Andrew Lang (1894, English)

Why We Oppose The Occult

Why We Oppose The Occult by Emile Cailliet (1894, French; 1931, English)

Occult Philosophy or Magic

Occult Philosophy or Magic, AKA Three Books Concerning Occult Philosophy, Book I by Henry Cornelius Agrippa (1898, English)

Three Books Of Occult Philosophy

Three Books of Occult Philosophy, AKA Three Books Concerning Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa (1913)

This summa of occult and magical thought, Agrippa's most important work in a number of respects, sought a solution to the skepticism proposed in De Vanitate. In short, Agrippa argued for a synthetic vision of magic whereby the natural world combined with the celestial and the divine through Neoplatonic participation, such that ordinarily licit natural magic was in fact validated by a kind of demonic magic sourced ultimately from God. By this means Agrippa proposed a magic that could resolve all epistemological problems raised by skepticism in a total validation of Christian faith.

Egyptian Magic

Egyptian Magic by E.A. Wallis Budge (1899/1901/etc., English)

Book of the Dead

Book of the Dead by E.A. Wallis Budge (1909/etc., English)

Modern Spiritualism

Modern Spiritualism by Frank Podmore (1902, English)

Mesmerism and Christian Science

' by Frank Podmore (1909, English)

Advanced Courses in Yogi Philosophy

Advanced Courses in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism by Yogi Ramacharaka (1905, English)

Occult Science in India

Occult Science in India, AKA Occult Science in India and Among the Ancients, With an Account of Their Mystic Initiations, and the History of Spiritism by Louis Jacolliot (1908, English and French)

The Star of the West

The Star of the West by J.F.C. Fuller (1909, English)

The Voices

The Voices by W.V. Moore (1913, English)

Occult Arts: An Examination

The Occult Arts: An Examination, AKA The Occult Arts: An Examination of the Claims Made for the Existence and Practice of Supernormal Powers, and as Attempted Justification of Some of Them by the Conclusions of the Researches of Modern Science by J.W. Frings (1914, English)

Magic Jewels and Charms

The Magic Jewels and Charms by G.F. Kunz (1915, English)

Great Book of Magical Art

The Great Book of Magical Art AKA The Great Book of Magical Art: Hindu Magic And East Indian Occultism, Now Combined with the Book of Secret Hindu, Cerimonial, and Talismanic Magic by L.W. De Laurence (1915, English)

Spirit Intercourse

Spirit Intercourse by J.H. Mackenzie (1916, English)

Course of Advanced Lessons

A Course of Advanced Lessons by Swami Panchadasi (1916, English)

Spiritualism: Its History, Phenomena, and Doctrine

Spiritualism: Its History, Phenomena, and Doctrine by J.A. Hill (1918, English)

Some New Evidence gor Human Survival

Some New Evidence for Human Survival by C.D. Thomas (1922, English)

Atlantis and Lemuria

Atlantis and Lemuria by Rudolf Steiner (1923, English)

Supernormal Faculties in Man

Supernormal Faculties in Man by E. Osty (1923, English)

Problem of Atlantis

The Problem of Atlantis by L. Spence (1924, English)

Atlantis in America

Atlantis in America by L. Spence (1925, English)

History of Atlantis

The History of Atlantis by by L. Spence (1926, English)

Way to Power: Studies in the Occult

The Way to Power: Studies in the Occult by Lily Adams Beck (1928, English)

New Model of the Universe

A New Model of the Universe AKA A New Model of the Universe: Principles of the Psychological Method in its Application to Problems of Science, Religion, and Art by P.D. Ouspensky (1931, English and Russian)

Invisible Influence

The Invisible Influence: A Story, AKA The Invisible Influence; a Story of the Mystic Orient, With Great Truths Which Can Never Die by Alexander Cannon (1934, English)

Attitude of Voltaire

The Attitude Of Voltaire To Magic And The Sciences by Margaret Sherwood Libby (1935, English)

Outline of Modern Occultism

An Outline of Modern Occultism by Cyril Scott (1935, English)

Fifth Dimension and the Future of Mankind

The Fifth Dimension and the Future of Mankind by Vera Stanley Adler (1940, English)