Mar 20, 2014

Grimoires and Books of Shadows, The magickal book

We can  call it  The Book of Shaodows,  The  Grimoire, or plainly Magick Book, Recipe book, Magickal diary, but it’s still plain, personal book of Magick, written and owned by given practitioner.  Being a very personal thing, it’s imbued with practitioner’s energy, as well as magickal energy in general, and is a powerful tool used in magick, and also a pragmatic one.  Differences and variations come as a result of different spiritual system and paths, and do not affect the core idea and symbolism of a magickal book.
Paperblanks notebooks, or diaries, examples, suitable  to be used
as Your own Book of Shadows, or Grimoire. I myself, own the
first one on the left. Find out more about them at: 

Holy, and Magickal, Books

Certain religious books predate all the Grimoires in the world, and according to  religious teachings and beliefs, hold more power than all of the Grimoires combined.   Originally religious books, offering theology, myths, dogma as well as instructions and advices on/for performing rituals, these books have throughout the time found their  place and use in magick , thus also spell casting as well. In fact, they influenced the Grimoires, which “borrow” a lot of material from The Three Holy Books. If You chose to observe the “Book of Shadows” like a pagan-proprietary idea, and/or  term ( like Silly New-Age authors purport it to be ), the same can not apply for them.

The Books  I was referring here are Torah,  The Bible, and Quran. We can, additionally mention  Zabur ( in Islamic traditions )  book, which is though,  held to be no other than the Book of Psalms of the Bible, and Bhagavad-Gita, the principal Hindu holy book.

Egyptian myths speak of the certain mystical scroll of Toth, that once dissolved in water, and the water drunk , would enable the drinker, to  attain all the knowledge contained within it . The latter-apperaing, plethora of, so called “Books of Thoth”, are merely called that way, and may be modeling after the given legend. [1] In fact, being that Thoth was a considered a deity that taught humans magick by Egyptians, it’s not hard  to imagine, modern day, neo-pagans sticking the label “Book of Thoth” to everything and anything.

Some books, that appeared later, heavily influenced by the Holy books, are described  as books of Mysticism, have been  the precursors  of the  later-to-come, classical Grimoires.  The books I speak of are Speher Yetzirah  ( “Book of Creation” )and the legendary Sepher Raziel, which are,  in a way,  manuals on Hebrew mysticism.  Sepher Raziel was according to legend, orally or actually ( in form of an actual book ) given to Adam, and later also to Abraham, by the Angel called Raziel, hence the name.
The oldest surviving manuscript of Speher Raziel dates back to XIII age, and is attributed to rabbi Eleazar of Germiza.  [2] Latter versions, one of which in Latin, appear around 15th century.

Another manuscript worth of mentioning here, is the so called "Devil's Bible" , or "Codex Gigas" ( lat.corupt. gigas - enormous , giant, extremely large ) is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world [3] It's indeed an enormous manuscript, dating back to 13th century and originating from Benedictine monastery of Podlažice ( Bohemia, Czech republic ) . It contains Vulgate Bible ( old Latin ) as well as some pre-vulgate segments, medical texts of and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus,  also several lengthy sections on science, and  abundance of magickal formulae for all sort of purposes, originating from both higher magick and European ( in large part Slavic ) folklore. It's a cryptic, mysterious book, that has survived  wars, fires and all sort of things, and has even  injured quite a few people. Some pages were lost when it was saved from fire in Sweeden, and  is now kept in museum, there, on public display. Many legends are associated with it, and it's generally feared by the superstitious , but also by those who are not, who  insist that the books strikes them as  malignant, and/or cursed.
According to the legend, Codex Gigas, was written  by Dev*l himself, in exchange for a soul of a monk who vowed to write a book  that will  glorify the monastery, and at the same time also contain all human knowledge, in a single night. The digital version of Codex Gigas is ( currently at least ) available online.

Grimoires and Books of Shadows

In  Your personal “Book of Shadows” You write down magickal information that You find valuable, practical, about magick that You’ve used, all sort of recipes, and odds and ends of  other information related
Notebook, for keeping notes on magick, ready for consecration
to magick. In a "Grimoire", strictly technically speaking, You write entries about Higher, or Ceremonial magick, namely various spirits You’ve worked with or  that You  plan to work  with,  information, seals , invocation and releasing formulas  etc. There is a preferred/suggested set of guidelines about writing in Grimoires, which suggests what should be written on the very first page, next one and how should You organize Your other entries. For example,  it’s suggested that each spirit has one page filled with information about it, and the other, the very next one, should contain drawings of the spirit and it’s seals. [4] So,  essentially this is the main difference between a personal Grimoire and a Book of Shadows. The Grimoires, those of the antiquity, mainly Middleages and Renaissance,  or those of a  popular kind, which we consult in our workings of Higher magick ( such as “Greater Key of Solomon”, “Goetia” , “Grimoire Armadel”  , “Magus”, “De occulta phillosphia”, and alike ) are not strictly manuals on invoking and controlling spirits only, even though that for the most part they are exatly that. They make also contain a sort of “introductory”  section(s) speaking of tools, preparatory rituals and giving general description of invoking and releasing ceremonies. In short, the list of what You need for the work with invoking the spirits in the given system,  and information on how to obtain, make, consecrate, bless and use them. Finally some may contain a sort of “appendix”,  giving various magickal operations, “experiments” ( like in “Grimoirum Verrum” ) and recipes.

Most Grimoires,  and  even  more “Books of Shadows”, despite  their, alleged  ( and epic ) antiquity and age,  are relatively new. The really “old” ones, which are a few, date back to the Late Medieval and  the Renaissance, so in the best case,  they date back 15-16 centuris. Again, these are not many, and we can  count them on fingers of both hands.  Many magickal books simply falsely purport to be of such ( or even older ) age, or are plainly wrongly beleieved to be.  As for the Book of Shadows, most were destroyed during the burning times, in fact most  of the “witches” instruct someone to burn their own “Book of Shadows” when they die. Hence the oldest of the “Book of Shadows” are, in best case,  200-300ages old. People may tell You that I lie, and that their family of witches had been passing  down “The book” and powers since King Arthur,  but use Your common sense to see that 99% of such people are trolling, role-playing, in denial, delusional…or plainly lie. As Dr. House says:  “People lie” !  And they do indeed, and more so online. You may have a good idea of how intensely and how often, If You’ve ever seen an episode of that TV show “Catfish” lol . Hence, we can conclude that another difference between book of Shadows and  Grimoires is their age, Book of Shadows are in most  part much Younger, although, some Grimoires are being written even nowadays. Recent examples may be works of Golden Dawn, or Cultus Sabbati etc. 

But in essence, minus the technicalities, the two are very similar, they both contain information regarding magick, sometimes also about the  specific religion/s, they both are personal items/tools of a practitioner ( at during their life ), and they both require some form of consecration, or blessing.

Additionally, in  the most cases, both are kept secret, and both are constantly evolving, which means that the information is constantly added to them. Due to the later,  they are traditionally hand-bind, so we can add more and more pages, or are really large, and come in  varying number of tomes.

Due to these technicalities, I prefer to, emblematically, use  the term Grimoire, or plainly call my book/s “Magickal book”.

Making, consecrating, and using magickal books

The actual manufacturing of the physical Grimoire, is a rather  loosely covered topic in classical magickal texts, like “The great key of King Solomon” ( Clavicula Solomonis )  , “Magus” , “De occulta philosophia” and similar.

In fact, Clavicula Solomonis, provides us rather,  with instructions for making a book to be used in Theurgic ( Conjuring and petitioning Angels ) work, and  instructs  the reader to make entries about Angels, their seals, invocations ect, than speaking about an actual, versatile grimoire ( let alone what we would call “Book of Shadows” ) [5] An illustrative example of such book, might very well be “Book of Supplications” by the famous Dr ( John ) Dee, an English Elizabethan  astrologer and enochian magician. His book contains page length “prayers” for invocation of the angels, as well as some charts and  tables.

Clavicula Solomonis also describes so called “Book of Spirits” ( Liber Spiritus ) , which is as Sir Aaron Leitch notices, not unlike the Angelic book, except in fact that it does not include angels, but rather various spirits, mostly evil spirits and demons; 

We can see little difference here, in fact, between spirit and angelic books . Their general  construction, consecration and care seem to be about the same” [6]

It does give instructions of how it should be consecrated,   in  a somewhat elaborate, 7 days ( consecutive ) ceremony. 

The “Magus” text, suggest binding pages of Vellum,  some other texts suggest parchment instead, leather bounding, or even human skin, at least the covers,  the last being used for Necromancy book though [7]

You can buy a plain blank notebook, but try not to be cheap and get a good quality, hardcover one. I personally, suggest Paperblanks, or akin notebooks, which haveblank pages without lines, of good quality parchment-like  yellowish paper, and beautiful, decorative hardcover, often embellished with spiritual motifs, Celtic knots, Hindu motives or Crosses.  In fact, any fine, decent quality journal will do, but the point is not to be cheap, and not to just go and purchase the cheapest thing You find. You can wait, until You have  saved enough money to get Yourself the one You want.

You will realize the importance of this, when You read the following beliefs realetd to, and characteristics of, a Magickal book according to High magic  tradition :

·         Magickal book is considered a living entity in a way. While not actually alive or able to operate on itself, without  the practitioner using it ( like often portrayed in TV shows and movies ) it has various higher intelligences tightly connected and often bound to it, through power of consecration, blessing and sprit seals and descriptions

·         Magickal book is a personal (!!! ) tool, imbued greatly with the power and personal energy of the practitioner. Ideally, it should be used only by practitioner who made it, for “ irreverent ” use  may devoid it greatly of power. This being said, I think we can assume that they can be,  moderately shared  and  used with fellow practitioners we know well and trust, when good reason arises*

·         Power of the Book increases with : Invocation, written information and seals, Consecration and Dedication

·         When made according to instructions of Higher magick,  such as those given in “Magus” or “Clavicula Solomonis  Your magickal book will be touched, and blessed by Angels, Spirits or  other entities You enlist in it and invoke. This can probably occur as a result of non standardized, devoted work with spirits through use of Your book

·         Consecrated book is said to “fix” the  errors, or rather compensate for them in energy, this is why the blessing or consecration is an imperative. So that, if some of the symbols, seals or sigils is not perfect, and has errors, or parts are lost in transliteration over the  course of time, consecration and/or blessing of the book,  ensure, that, in a way, everything written in the book becomes  true.  Considering this, a personal Grimoire, consecrated by specific practitioner, even if it’s a transcript/copy of a popular grimoire in terms of content, would be a working version, as opposed to photocopied or printed, non-consecrated version for example. [8]

So You see that it should be a book that’s been invested in, even magickaly. Sprits are going to touch and consecrate it after all, and it’s going to be a sacred, energy radiating tool in Your magick.

From the  above stated,  we also see that the consecration / blessing,  is perhaps the most crucial and important thing about the book. I’ve mentioned before, that the Clavisula Solomonis gives a rather elaborate ritual, lasting seven days,  and most of the grimoires simply follow in exactly the same, or extremely similar fashion.  The issue that I have with this method here is that one is supposed to invoke all the spirits, angels or demons, listed in the book during these seven days so they would touch the book as a form of “signing the deal” and agreeing to work with You.

If You however, wish to have a book that is not merely a personal grimoire, but which is a manual for invocation of spirits, be it  Liber Spiritus, or Liber Angelos, but also contains all sort of other information, the given method might need some personalization. I personally believe that it does not affect the power of the book though.  Here is an outline or a ritual, as I’d do it, for creation and consecration of magickal book, following the tradition of 7 days consecration,  yet not in the same way the  Greater Key  of King Solomon suggest. It’s adopted for a more “eclectic” personal Magickal book, rather than a Grimoire. It’s in a way,  for something of a cross between a Grimoire and  Book of Shadows

The consecration ritual

Start the ritual during the waxing phase of the Moon, preferably on the day and in the hour of Mercury. If possible, during the seven days, that You’ll be performing the ritual, fast, and certainly abstain from using drugs, alcohol or having intercourse.

Prior to each consecration, You may take a cleansing bath. A Hyssop and salt bath, poured over Yourself, while reading the  Psalm 51st will do.

Before You write anything in the book, cleanse it by Fumigating it with incense which is made by combining Frankincense, Angelica and either Alum or Sage. The plain Frankincense alone, or Frankincense with Myrrh will work brilliantly too.  Sprinkle the book with Holy water  ( very lightly, obviously ) and smudge with incense  as You say:

I exorcize thee Book +, from any harmful influence from evil spirits, that You may be clean and useful to me, and that You may serve me well, and be imbued with great power. And may all that it’s written in You be free from evil influence and hindrance of evil spirits +, may it be effective + , true and blessed +. May it be so by the Name which is above all other names, in The Name of Eternal and Almighty G’d +, who created the Heavens and the Erath, and everything there is, through His Will and Word +, which was in the beginning.  I exorcize You of all evil +, so that You may never fall prey  to it, and that You may serve the highest purpose effectively and aid me in my spiritual works+. So mote it be, in the Name of Father +, Son  + and Holy Spirit +. Amen!

Now, having done that, on the very first day, with a consecrated pen, on the first page draw a symbol meaningful to You, a symbol of protection or power  or alike. Pentacle of Solomon makes a very good choice, or the AGLA Cross, both  of which should be encircled with 22 letters of Hebrew alphabet.  On the very next page inscribe the following prayer:

ADONAI, ELOHIM, EL, EHEIEH ASHER EHEIEH, Prince of Princes, Existence of Existences, have mercy upon me, and cast Thine eyes upon Thy Servant (N.), who invokes Thee most devoutedly, and supplicates Thee by Thy Holy and tremendous Name Tetragrammaton to be propitious, and to order Thine Angels and Spirits to come and take up their abode in this place; O ye Angels and Spirits of the Stars, O all ye Angels and Elementary Spirits, O all ye Spirits present before the Face of God, I the Minister and faithful Servant of the Most High conjure ye, let God Himself, the Existence of Existences, conjure ye to come and be present at this Operation, I, the Servant of God, most humbly entreat ye. Amen.” [9]

Bellow the prayer, You may, or may not write down the sigils or names of Spirits You’ve worked with or plant to work with. In the case of traditional Grimoire, which would be like a manual of invoking the spirits, the names and the information and seals would appear later in the book, each having it’s own page or two exclusively. Here, You would just need help of these spirits to bless the book. You may or may not add entries about them later on. In fact You can, with Your own, heartfelt petition ask  them to help You in Your working with this book, and ask them to bless, empower and protect it.  For example,  eahc od the seven archangels' seals can be listed and You can invoke them asking for the help.  

Place the book on Your altar, between three white candles set so to form a triangle. These candles may be dressed with “Holy anointing oil” , or “All purpose oil”, “Altar oil” , “Master key oil” , “Blessing oil” or plain  Olive oil, preferably one that’s been prayed over. Light the candles.

Read the prayer written,  and once again, cense the book with the incense. In the higher magick tradition, for each of the seven days, starting from Saturday, a corresponding planetary incense formula is used (  that is Saturn’s incense for Saturday, Sun’s incense for Sunday, Moon’s incense for Monday and so on ). Here You can use the same incense used to exorcize the book. Plain Frankincense can be used too.  

Allow the candles to burn for a while more, than snuff them, do not blow them out.

Repeat the same for six more days, seven altogether. On the seventh day,  when You have finished the standard steps, take some “Master key” oil  and dress Your dominant palm very lightly all over. Place some plastic wrap bellow the first page,  the one with the symbol, and press Your  ( oiled ) palm against it, so that You leave an oily hand-print.

If You can do it while keeping the palm on the page read the following:

“I conjure thee, O Book, to be useful and profitable unto all who shall have recourse to thee for the success of their affairs. I conjure thee anew, by the virtue of the Blood of Jesus Christ, contained daily in the chalice, to be serviceable unto all those who shall read thee. I exorcise thee, in the Name

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of the Most Holy Trinity, in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity!

What follows must be said before the sealing of the Book

I conjure and command you, O Spirits, all and so many as ye aye, to accept this Book with good grace, so that whensoever we may read it, the same being approved and recognised as in proper form and valid, you shall be constrained to appear in comely human form when you are called, accordingly as the reader shall judge. In no circumstances shall you make any attempt upon the body, soul or spirit of the reader, nor inflict any harm on those who may accompany him, either by mutterings, tempests, noise, scandals, nor yet by lesion or by hindrance in the execution of the commands of this Book. I conjure you to appear immediately when the conjuration is made, to execute without dallying all that is written and enumerated in its proper place in the said book. You shall obey, serve, instruct, impart and Perform all in your power for the benefit of those who command you, and the whole without illusion. If perchance some of the invoked spirits be unable to come or appear when required, they shall be bound over to send others vested with their power, who also shall swear solemnly to execute all that the reader may demand, and ye are all hereby enjoined by the Most Holy Names of the Omnipotent Living God, ELOYM, JAH, EL, ELOY, TETRAGRAMMATON, to fulfil everything as it is set forth above. If ye obey me not, I will force you to abide in torments for a thousand years, as also if any one of you receive not this Book with entire resignation to the will of the reader.” [10]

Cense the book once again. Sprinkle with Holy water, very lightly. Leave it on the altar, until the candles burn all the way down.

If possible, go to Church when the  mass is held and carry the book with You. Ideally, it would be placed on altar during the Mass, but I’m not sure  what would the Clergy have to say about that J If You can get a Priest to bless it, and leave it over the night ( for 24 hours ) on the Altar, or Book stand in the Church, all You need to do is to inscribe the first page with the symbol, the second one with the prayer, and then give it to the Priest. When You get it back home, also make the hand-print, and read the “Conjuration of the Book”, cense it with Frankincense, sprinkle with some Holy water and You’re done!

When consecrated wrap it in some fabric, to better preserve it, preferably new silk, and keep the book in the hidden place. Add entries only  by using Your consecrated pen!

Now if You wish to secure the book from preying eyes and hands, which is entirely optional ( it's enough to place it in a safe place, obviously  lol ) You can try the following spell I composed for this  purpose

Book protection spell

If You wish, You may protect Your book, by  dipping a Rosemary sprig in Holy water, and tracing a symbol of ( banishing ) Pentacle, Hexagram  (  David’s/Solomon’s  shield ) , or Cross  on the book covers ,  while chanting words given bellow

Or You can simply place the book in some nice fabric, sprinkle with some Caraway seeds, Red Cayenne Pepper flakes, and crushed dry Sage leaves,  and then wrap,  make a Cross sign over it three times, while saying these worlds:

"In Hoc quod signo quod pono
Hicce librum protecto
De oculorum et manuum
Et omens qui oporet tangunt
(in)  timore et dolore occupabit!

Homines et Spiritus ! Istum librum

Noli tangere, Fuguite!"

The chant is essentially a “protective curse” , designed to repel those who should not touch the book, make their fingers itchy, or with burning sensation, and cloud their mind and confuse them, should they try to profane Your  book.
NOTES: This article was  written and composed by myself, hence If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits  :   Shadow of Shadows magick place,  , or a direct link to this post

[3] according to :
[4] Like suggested in “Magus”,  Francis Barrett
[5] According to “Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, the classic texts of magick  deciphered” by Aaron Leitch, Llewellyn publications, page 261st
[6] Quotation retrieved from – as under [5], page 417th
[7] “Forbidden rituals” Richard Kieckhefer
[8] According to “Book of Consecration”, as found in Munich’s handbook of Necromancy, also from the source as under [6]
IMAGE CREDITS: First image  is made combining g the snapshots from  by me, used here for illustrative purposes. Second image is taken and edited by myself

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