THE four specific and undisguised handbooks of Black Magic, all in the French language, but in three cases, like so much of the Ceremonial literature, possessing Italian connections, real or imputed, are:--
I. GRIMORIUM VERUM, or the Most Approved Keys of Solomon the Hebrew Rabbin, wherein the Most Hidden Secrets, both Natural and Supernatural, are immediately exhibited; but it is necessary that the Demons should be contented on their part. 1 Translated from the Hebrew by Plaingière, a Dominican Jesuit, 2 with a Collection of Curious Secrets. Published by Alibeck the Egyptian. 1517. 3
II. TRUE BLACK MAGIC, or the Secret of Secrets, an MS. found at Jerusalem in the Sepulchre of Solomon, containing: 1. Forty-five Talismans with their representation, as also the
manner of using them, together with their Marvellous Properties. 2. All Magical Characters known unto this day. 1 Translated from the Hebrew of the Magus Iroë-Grego. 2 Rome. In the year of grace, 1750.
III. THE GRAND GRIMOIRE, with the Powerful Clavicle of Solomon and of Black Magic; or the Infernal Devices of the Great Agrippa for the Discovery of all Hidden Treasures and the Subjugation of every Denomination of Spirits, together with an Abridgment of all the Magical Arts. (In its earliest edition, without place or date.)
IV. THE CONSTITUTION OF POPE HONORIUS THE GREAT, wherein may be found the Arcane Conjurations which must be used against the Spirits of Darkness. With a Collection of the Most Rare Secrets. Rome, 1670.
They are all tiny volumes, nominally in duodecimo, but much smaller according to modern measurements.
The date specified in the title of the Grimorium Verum is undeniably fraudulent; the work belongs to the middle of the eighteenth century, and Memphis is Rome. The Grand Grimoire is not of higher antiquity. That of Honorius is said to have appeared originally in 1629, but it has been sometimes referred erroneously to the same period of the previous century.
As indicated by the authorship which is attributed to it, the Grimorium Verum is based to some extent upon the Key of Solomon, the main points of resemblance being in the description of the magical instruments and in some of the forms of prayer. It distinguishes plainly the powers which it is proposed
to invoke by the name of Devils. 1 At the same time it refers them nominally to the four elements, which would connect them with the Sylphs, Salamanders and so forth; but the classification in question, somewhat incidentally made, does not really obtain. There is an account of the Hierarchy of Spirits, with Lucifer, Beelzebuth and Astaroth as potentates in chief. 2 A portion of this account is drawn from the Lemegeton, perhaps through the Pseudo-monarchia of Wierus. The work purports to be divided into three sections, containing:--(a.) The Characters and Seals of the Demons, with the forms for their Evocation and Dismissal. (b.) A description of the Natural and Supernatural Secrets which can be operated by the power of the Demons, and that without any deception. (c.) The Key of the work, and the proper application thereof. Passing over typographical errors, the MS. from which it has been printed must have been in a most confused state; there are not in reality any distinct divisions, and the little volume abounds in Latin passages which often defy translation, as, for example, sic pro ratione voluntas; ut illud sit hoe in opere inclusum minimo clerum in doctis; quia amicus fiet capitalis, fiet inimicus. So also we have Sanctum Regum throughout for Sanctum Regnum. There are two folding plates of Characters and Seals, of which many have no reference to the text, while others essential to the process are missing, the deficiencies being supplied in the modern Italian versions, which probably follow another edition, also Italian, and the source of
the French translation, but unknown to the present writer, as indeed to most bibliographers. The work, as it stands, is really in two parts only, the Grimorium Verum proper and certain "Rare and Astounding Magical Secrets." The first may be analysed as follows:--(a.) Directions for the preparation of the Operator, all of a personal kind and analogous to those of the Clavicle. (b.) Instructions for the manufacture of the magical instruments required in the work, also analogous to the Clavicle. (c.) The composition of the virgin parchment on which the characters and seals are to be inscribed, shewing distinct variations from the Clavicle. (d.) The processes of evocation and the discharge. Beyond the fact that the evoked Spirits are Lucifer, Beelzebuth, Astaroth and the inferiors and ministers of these, this first and chief part is not more repulsive, as it is indeed scarcely more unintelligent, than most of the processes in its prototype.
The second part contains the usual curiosities common to all the later Grimoires, including the Admirable Secrets of the pretended Albertus Magnus, the Little Albert, &c. In so far as it presents any considerable variations, such variations are usually in the direction of Black Magic. Some are venereal in the more objectionable sense of the term, others merely revolting, while yet others, as that of the Magic Garters, are derived from the Clavicle. Finally, there are certain processes which might claim to be those of White Magic 1 and are concerned with the ceremonial induction of simple clairvoyance.
We may therefore conclude that the Grimorium Verum proper is not more diabolical than the first part of the Lemegeton, which indeed contains the ceremonial for the evocation of precisely the same spirits.
96:1 This is only a conjectural translation. It is impossible to render such a passage as modo operator per necessaria et contenta facit scia tamen oportit Dæmonum potentia dum taxat per agantur.
96:2 It will be scarcely necessary to advise the reader that a Dominican Jesuit is an absurdity, which might be paralleled by "secular monk," "unordained priest," and so forth. The order of St. Dominic and the Society of Jesus are totally distinct. A Catholic critic might almost be justified in observing that so gross a blunder would be possible only to a Jew or a heretic; certainly he would have more reason than would be discoverable in the hypothesis of Papus, that priests are the authors of the Grimoires.
96:3 On the reverse of the title:--The True Clavicles of Solomon. Memphis. Published by Alibeck the Egyptian.
97:1 That is, mystic characters for engraving on magical instruments, vessels and vestments. The statement is utterly untrue, for the characters given by the Grimoire are few in number and exceedingly imperfect as well.
97:2 Mr. Mathers reads Iohé Grevis. Iroe Gecis is another variation. It is a corruption in any case.
98:1 "Here beginneth the Sanctum Regnum, called the Royalty of Spirits, or the little Keys of Solomon, a most learned Hebrew nigromancer and Rabbin, containing various combinations of characters, whereby the Powers, Spirits or, more correctly, Devils are invoked, so that they are forced to appear whensoever you may determine, each one according to his faculty, and are compelled to bring whatsoever you may require of them, causing you no kind of annoyance, provided only that they are contented on their part, for these sorts of creatures give nothing for nothing."
98:2 See Part ii. c. 3.
99:1 See Part ii. c. 8, §§ 6, 7, and 8.