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The Grimoire or Book of Spells of Pope Honorius (edition of 65 copies) (Used)

by Irwin, F.G. (scribe)

Publisher: Society for Esoteric Endeavour

Binding: Hardcover

Book ID: SEE0701, SEE0701


S.E.E. 2006 Numbered limited edition of 65 copies. 204pp of which 98pp have text or illustrations, the blank pages of the original manuscript being reproduced. This is a facsimile of the manuscript belonging to F.G Irwin who was a member of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, The Society of Eight, the Fratres Lucis and the Golden Dawn. He was an important figure in the 19th Century British occult milieu. His ownership of the original 19th Century manuscript is confirmed by the presence of his bookplate. The manuscript is variant to any published. Whilst some diagrams generally present are not included there are other illustrations that are unique and appear nowhere else. Then manuscript has an ornately decorated coloured title page and occasional coloured embellishments, all faithfully reproduced.

The nature of the facsimile is unusual. The original manuscript had been bound into a book. This was disbound and each individual sheet was reproduced onto pure cotton paper. Even the blanks and the slight foxing that affect them have been reproduced. The original was written and then bound and trimmed with occasional unobtrusive loss of borders. This too has been reproduced. Then the sheets were hand sewn copying the arrangements of the signatures in the original. Then the book block was cased in a quarter Moroccan goatskin binding and traditional bookcloth. Whilst this is more difficult to work with that the usual buckram it was selected for its superior feel. The boards are bevelled and there is a leather label title gilt blocked with twenty three and a half carat gold leaf. The edges of the label are embedded into the board. The pastedowns and flypaper are of hand marbled paper by Cockerills one of the most respected practitioners of this highly skilled book art. The pattern is created by boiling a certain Irish seaweed to give the water a viscous quality when it cools. The inks are added to the surface from droppers on a frame, the degree of spread being controlled by the application of ox-gall. Then the surface of the jelly is combed with a special rake and the elusive pattern is captured by placing a single sheet of paper on the surface. Great skill is required to obtain sheets that match and, of course, no two are ever identical. A bookplate of the Society of Esoteric Endeavour identifies the limitation and the number of each copy. The bookplate of F.G Irwin has been reproduced and that is also tipped in.

The intent is to provide the very next best thing to owning the original manuscript. In some ways better, whilst the binding is entirely in keeping with the period of the original manuscript it is better quality than the original! There is deliberately no introduction. Comment from a twenty first century viewpoint would jar with the viewpoint of the text and the scribe. Better this is preserved and presented to the reader without distraction.

The text is in two parts. The first is a Grimoire written in 17th Century France and spuriously attributed to the much earlier Pope. The ethos is that the Christian God, having achieved ascendancy over the rebellious spirits deputises authority over the infernal daemons to the Catholic church. This authority can be invoked by the magician so that various daemons may be summoned and compelled to provide service. The most conjurations appear for Lucifer though a great range of daemonic names are given. This approach is by not unique in grimoire literature and may represent a proto-gnostic response to Christian orthodoxy. Certainly the 72 names of God invoked after the Holy Trinity contains many Gnostic terms as well as some Kabbalistic names. There are also Gnostic resonances and Kabbalistic terms used in the names used to conjure the demons. It must be said that the rituals is very extreme and violates modern sensibilities.

The second part of the Grimoire is very different being a collection of spells that are clearly drawn from various sources, two being named individuals. One, though attributed to a minister, is a very brief spell to obtain your desires involving a psychoactive dose of nutmeg and unfamiliar words of power, one being a name for faeries. The other named source, described as a respected practitioner of healing through occult means, provides a series of rituals invoking Christian powers for the exorcising of livestock and property which pay heed to the movement of the sun through the heavens. It is noted that an evil shepherd could use the cognate techniques for ill-wishing his flock. Though many of the spells use Christian words of powers in other cases the powers invoked are obscure, kabbalistic and even demonic. Most are for healing but some are ambiguous. One summons the shade of a dead person by planting beans in orifices of a skull, the practitioner can share in the spirit’s invisibility by placing a similar bean his mouth. In another a mare’s hair is placed in a sealed earthenware jar which is buried in the ground for three day. The hair changes into a small serpent like creature with whom the magician makes a pact. It is not unknown for an animals heart pierced with nails or thorns to be found in old houses, particularly in the chimney. In this work we find the ritual that generates this charm which in fact uses Christian words of power to torment a witch! This is clearly a true record of folk magical practice. This is a record of authentic folk magical practice recording the actual spells of cunning men and witches.

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