[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Grimoires are handbooks of magic that provide instructions for rituals, the casting of spells, the procuring of treasure and love, the procuring of Familiars, and the evocation and control of spirits, including Demons and Angels, to perform tasks. Grimoire is a French term for “grammar book.”
Although any handbook of magic could be called a grimoire, the term usually applies to specific texts that claim the magical knowledge of King Solomon as their source. The material in grimoires is heavily derivative of Hebrew magical and mystical lore, involving the names, powers, and duties of spirits and the powerful names of God. Other principal sources are Hellenistic Greek and Egyptian magical texts and folk magic.
Most of the principal grimoires were written in the 17th and 18th centuries but claimed to be much older.
They were popular well into the 19th century. Printed on cheap paper, grimoires circulated primarily in France and Italy. They are still consulted, but modern magicians have written their own textbooks of magic.
Grimoires give instructions for rituals to conjure and control spirits and cosmic forces for protection, wealth, luck, supernatural power, Curses on enemies, and so forth. They instruct the magician on what to wear, what tools to use, how to purify himself, and what prayers and incantations to recite at precise astrological times and various hours of the day and night, according to the ruling spirits.
They give recipes for fumigations, descriptions of the creation of magic circles, magic triangles, pentacles, Amulets, Talismans, seals and sigils, instructions on sacrifices, and ways to deal with unruly Demons, including rites of Exorcism.
Some grimoires are devoted to theurgy, or white magic, while others concern goetia, or black magic. Some include both. The attainment of treasure and love and the ability to harm one’s enemies are prominent throughout the grimoires. Some were printed in red ink and were said to burn the eyes if gazed at too long.
The following are the grimoires of significance:
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