Sworn Book of Honorius

Sworn Book of Honorius: Also known as the Liber Juratus, or simply the Sworn Book. This book was supposedly written by Honorius, son of Euclid, and inspired by the angel Hochmel. The name of the angel is almost certainly derived from the Hebrew word hochmah (sometimes also transliterated as chochmah), meaning “wisdom.” Hochmah is also one of the ten Sephiroth on the Qabbalistic Tree of Life. It is called the Sworn Book because those individuals chosen to receive a copy were allegedly sworn to have only one copy of the book for themselves and to have this copy buried with them when they died.

Secrecy is stressed in the opening passages of the text, and that secrecy is put forward as crucial to the continued survival of the mystic arts contained within the book. The text is comprised primarily of orations and prayers, although it also contains sections on angels and demons. There are similarities between some of the orations found in the Sworn Book and orations found in the Ars Notoria, indicating a connection between the two texts. There are also similarities between portions of the Sworn Book and the Heptameron, attributed to Peter de Abano. Several of the demons connected with the spheres of the planets have variations that appear in the Heptameron. In the Heptameron, however, all of these spirits are identified as angels.

Some of the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Sworn Book were written in the fourteenth century. These are kept in the British Museum under the designations Sloane MS 313 and Sloane MS 3854. Of these, Sloane 313 is known to have belonged to the famous English magician Dr. John Dee. Occult scholar Joseph Peterson counts the Sworn Book among the oldest and most influential medieval manuscripts on magick, suggesting that it has its origins as far back as the thirteenth century. Most versions of the text are entirely in Latin, although a manuscript exists that contains Latin as well as some English. This is also kept in the collection at the British Museum and is known as Royal MS 17 Axlii.

In 1977, Daniel Driscoll of Heptangle Press undertook one of the first modern English translations of this work. This was published under the title The Sworn Book of Honourius the Magician.

For many years, this remained the only English version of this Latin text. In 1998, Joseph Peterson produced a translation for his resource site, esotericarchives.com. This translation draws primarily upon Royal MS 17 Axlii. There are significant differences between the Driscoll and the Peterson translations, including changes in nearly all of the demon names recorded in the book. According to Peterson, the discrepancies are partly due to errors on Driscoll’s part, but also occur because Driscoll simply failed to use the best manuscripts. Because of the significant differences, not only in the spelling of the names but in the demons’ associations, powers, and offices, I have included demons from both texts under separate entries in this work.

Source: The Dictionary of Demons: Names of the Damned by Michelle Belanger

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