What is a grimoire? The word has a familiar ring to many people, particularly as a consequence of such popular television dramas as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But the grimoire represents much more than just magic. As this book richly demonstrates, the history of grimoires illuminates many of the most. Review: Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen DaviesJad Adams finds a mixture of the sacred and profane in books of spells.

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The Secrets of Solomon: Detailed and thoroughly researched, this is a must have for grimiores interested in the history of Grimoires.

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Later, the equally sincere researches of Eliphas Levy, the creation of the Order of the Golden Dawn, hishory experimentation of Crowley and the ‘invention’ by Gerald Gardner of Wicca all made use of the conceits of the grimoire in order to explore consciousness and ‘spirituality’ in new and imaginative ways.

I waited not hopefully for this book my entire life.

Grimoires – Owen Davies – Oxford University Press

It seems a little rushed by the end, but by devoting the work to the written histories as acceptable evidence, Owen is only reflecting the weight of the study – not any personal pretense that only those from long ago and far away have meritorious analyses!

There are some wonderful tales of gullible treasure-seeking yokels hustory thoroughly done over by trickster ‘sorcerers’ in the chapter on the pre-revolutionary era in France and Switzerland. Davies is excellent in tracing their path from Europe into the New World and other Western colonies and back and forward across Europe, linking their influence to practical factors such as the availability of the printing press and the willingness and determination of the authorities to suppress them. The methods of securing these ends are similarly diverse, and range from channeling astral influences to signing pacts with the Devil himself.


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It comes alive, becoming more than a linking of antiquarian facts, when it gets to the eighteenth century. Similarly, the early sections of the book, dealing with ancient and medieval practice, are among the most interesting, but they’re relatively short and lightweight.

Nov 06, Honey rated it it was amazing. One thing the author brings to light over and over is how these books w This is an extremely informative and well researched book on the history of Grimoires from late Roman times to the 20th century.

Du Bois, and Wilson J.

After Templar exposure European magic was exposed to Arabic works like the piciatrix, astrology and the amalgamation of Jewish Kabballah, Christian mysticism and Islamic Sufiism. Those fortunate enough not to be executed were flogged while the pages of their magic manuscripts were burned boooks their noses. At their most benign, jistory repositories of forbidden knowledge revealed how to make powerful talismans and protective amulets, and provided charms and conjurations for healing illness, finding love, and warding off evil.

More information on the Arabic world and the far east where magical traditions still thrive now would have been a welcome addition but it is clear to see where the author sees his specialties. Put simply, grimoires are books of spells that were if recorded in the Ancient Middle East and which have developed and spread across much owwn the Western Hemisphere and beyond over the ensuing millennia. Feb 11, Jessica rated it really liked it Shelves: They are also not the author’s fault but the editor’s, or perhaps the lack of an editor is more like it.


A fascinating and thorough boks of Grimoires. A History of Magic Books. This is no fault of the author, or less fault anyway, and more to do with the nature of the book.

Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies

At their most benign, these repositories of forbidden knowledge revealed how to make powerful talismans and protective am No books have been more feared than grimoires, and no books have been more valued and revered. Aug 17, Mankey rated it really liked it. Don’t have a Kindle? To understand the history of grimoires is to understand the spread of Christianity, the development of early science, the cultural influence of the print revolution, the growth of literacy, the impact of colonialism, and the expansion of westerncultures across the oceans.

Add both to Cart Add both to List. Popular Magic in English History. In this erudite and entertaining addition to book scholarship Davies makes a convincing argument about the resilience of books, with their enduring ability to shape the modern age despite the addition of electronic alternatives.

As this book richly historry, the history of grimoires illuminates many of the most important developments in European history over the o two thousand years. When a French government official defiantly laid his hand on a book, whose mere touch was supposed to conjure the devil, the non-appearance of Lucifer was considered evidence of the official’s skill as a secret magician.

Review “An amazing achievement, not just for its depth of research but its breadth, maglc Massachusetts to Martinique to Mauritius.