Grimoires & Spellbooks

The term grimoire is a general name given to a variety of texts setting out the names of demons and instructions on how to raise them. Effectively a grimoire is a book of black magic, a book on which a wizard relied for all the necessary advice and instruction on raising spirits and casting spells. To be effective, the wizard should be initiated in the art of reciting the formula and following the rituals that are associated with the spells. Some superstitions claim that Grimoires must be in manuscript and in red ink, bound in black or in human skin, and that they must be given to the user as part of a witch's legacy. If money is involved, all powers are cancelled out.

Grimoires were very popular from 1600 AD thru 1900 AD. The Black Dragon, Red Dragon and the Black Screech Owl are all examples of grimoires or magical texts. The term "Grimoire" is a derivative of "grammar". Grammar describes a fixed set of symbols and the means of their incorporation to properly produce well-formed, meaningful sentences and texts. Similarly, a Grimoire describes a set of magical symbols and how best to properly combine them in order to produce the desired effects. True grimoires contain elaborate rituals, many of which are echoed in modern Witchcraft rites. Sources for the information in the various Grimoires include Greek and Egyptian magical texts from 100-400 A.D. and Hebrew & Latin sources. Grimoires were used much more by sorcerers, wizards, and early church officials than by witches.

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Al Azif

Al Azif (The Necronomicon).
Philadelphia: Owlswick Press, 1973
Ars Notaria

Ars Notaria: the notary art of Solomon the King
Seattle: Trident, 1997

The Key of Solomon is probably the most famous of all Grimoires, and the best known translation is that by Mathers The oldest of the manuscripts used by him is probably 16th century but there are however older texts, including several English manuscripts, three Hebrew manuscripts and an ancient Greek manuscript version of this Grimoire.

Fourth book of occult philosophy

AGRIPPA, Cornelius
Fourth book of occult philosophy ...
Heptangle Books, 1985


De Nigromancia

BACON, Roger
De Nigromancia ...
Heptangle Books, 1988

De Nigromancia, or, Concerning the Black Art, is a Latin manuscript attributed to Roger Bacon, first appearing some time in the 16th century. The text is concerned with Goetic summonings, especially of wraiths. Goetia is the common name for that branch of Ceremonial Magic that deals with the conjuration of infernal spirits or demons.

The Magus

BARRETT, Francis
The Magus or celestial intelligencer; being a complete system of occult philosophy
York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser Inc.,(1978)
Le Dragon noir

Le Dragon noir: ou, les forces infernales soumises a l’homme…
Mayer: Editions Bussiere, 1995

A scarce French grimoire text, considered the companion volume to the infamous Le Dragon Rouge or Red Dragon, a French version of the medieval Grand Grimoire. It contains, with specific instructions on making a demonic pact and diagrams of talismans.

Le Dragon rouge

Le Dragon Rouge: ou, l’art de commander les espirits celeste … 1521
Cergy: Editions Pesthuis, n.d.

Le Dragon Rouge or the Red Dragon is another "black book" that is also known as a Grand Grimoire. It was published in 1822. It allegedly dates back to 1522, however there is no concrete evidence to substantiate this. The Red Dragon is considered by some to be the source of black magic and demonic evocation.

Grimoire of Armadel

Grimoire of Armadel. Translated by ... S.L. McGregor
London: Routledge, 1980

The Grimoire of Armadel is supposedly translated from the original French and Latin of a manuscript in the Biblotheque l'Arsenal in Paris. This Christian grimoire contains many of the important seals and sigils of the various demons and planetary spirits.

Grimoir of Pope Honorius

Grimoir of Pope Honorius
Seattle: Trident, 1999

Another grimoire is the Grimoire of Honorius, a catalogue of fallen angels and how to raise them. This book was credited to Pope Honorius III, who succeeded Pope Innocent III in 1216. The book is full of Christian benedictions and formulae. "It not only instructed priests in the arts of demonology but virtually ordered them to learn how to conjure and control demons, as part of their job." It was recommended that the sorcerer wrote the grimoire with his own hand to obtain the power of the spells.

Grimoirium verum Grimoirium verum ...translated from the Hebrew by Plangiere
Seattle: Ars Obscura, 1995

The True Grimoire. Originally claimed to be published in French, by an Egyptian named Alibek, in 1517 in Memphis (Egypt). The book claims a connection to Solomon but many believe that it was really written in the 18th century. The work concentrates on rituals for summoning of demons, and gives "Characters" for some of these demons.

The Grand gromoire

The Grand Grimoire. Translated by Gretchen Rudy
Seattle: Ars Obscura, 1996

Also known as the Red Book, the Grand Grimoire is a name given to a collection of invocations, spells and elementary magic, supposedly from the pen of King Solomon, but almost certainly no older than the sixteenth century. This text constitutes one of the more famous and outrageous Grimoires of black magic. A. E. Waite pronounced this the most fantastic of the texts of the Black Magic cycle, and "one of the most atrocious of its class.


Pneumatologia occulta et vera: (manuscript)
Germany, circa1820
Les Secrets merveilleux de la magie ...

Les Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle du petit Albert
Lyons: 1668

It is claimed that this text was written by Albertus Magnus in 1272, in French. The work contains instructions for the creation of such magical aids as the Hand of Glory, often featured in trials for witchcraft.

The Necronomicon
The Necronomicon …
New York: Schlangekraft Inc, 1980

The Necronomicon was written in Damascus in 730 A.D. by Abdul Alhazred. The Necronomicon (literally: "Book of Dead Names") is not, as is popularly believed, a grimoire, or sorcerer's spell-book. It was conceived as a history, and hence "a book of things now dead and gone". An alternative derivation of the word Necronomicon gives as its meaning "the book of the customs of the dead", but again this is consistent with the book's original conception as a history, not as a work of necromancy.

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