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This design for an amulet comes from the Black Pullet grimoire. According to the instructions you should embroider it upon black satin and say "Nades, Suradis, Maniner", and a djinn will appear; tell the djinn "Sader, Prostas, Solaster", and the djinn will bring you your true love. Say "Mammes, Laher" when you tire of her.

A grimoire (pronounced /grɪˈmwɑr/) is a textbook of magic. Books of this genre, typically giving instructions for invoking angels or demons, performing divination and gaining magical powers, have circulated throughout Europe since the Middle Ages.

Magicians were frequently persecuted by the Christian church, so their journals were kept hidden to prevent them from being burned.[1] Such books contain astrological correspondences, lists of angels and demons, directions on casting charms and spells, mixing medicines, summoning unearthly entities, and making talismans. Magical books in almost any context, especially books of magical spells, are also called grimoires.


[edit] Origin of the term

The word grimoire is from the Old French grammaire, and is from the Greek root "grammatikos", “relating to letters”, from which grammar, a system for language, and glamour, influential appeal, are derived. In the mid-late Middle Ages, Latin "grammars" (books on Latin syntax and diction) were foundational to school and university education, as controlled by the Church—while to the illiterate majority, non-ecclesiastical books were suspect as magic, or believed to be endowed with supernatural influence. The word "grimoire" came over time to apply specifically to those books which did indeed deal with magic and the supernatural.

Similar magical writings have existed from antiquity, and although these are not in the same genre of medieval magic, they are sometimes described as grimoires.

[edit] Medieval and Renaissance

The first grimoires appear in the High Middle Ages, growing out of earlier traditions, notably of medieval Jewish mysticism, which continued traditions dating back to Late Antiquity. Thus, the 13th century Sefer Raziel Ha-Malakh is significantly based on the Sefer Ha-Razim (ca. 4th or 5th century), which is in turn influenced by Hellenistic Greek magical papyri.

Notable 13th to 17th century grimoires include:

The Voynich manuscript has never been deciphered, and is difficult to date, but may also qualify as a 15th century grimoire.

[edit] 18th to 19th century

In the late 19th century, several of these texts (including the Abra-Melin text and the Key of Solomon) were reclaimed by para-Masonic magical organizations such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis.

Many false or poorly translated grimoires have been circulated since the 19th century (many original texts are in French or Latin, and are quite rare); however, faithful editions are available for most of the above titles.

[edit] 20th century to present

A modern grimoire is the Simon Necronomicon, named after a fictional book of magic in the stories of author H. P. Lovecraft, and inspired by Sumerian mythology and the Ars Goetia, a section in the Lesser Key of Solomon which concerns the summoning of demons. The Azoëtia of Andrew D. Chumbley has been described as a modern grimoire.[1]

The Neopagan religion of Wicca publicly appeared in the 1940s, and Gerald Gardner introduced the Book of Shadows as a Wiccan Grimoire.

Grimoire was the title selected by Michael Donaghy in 2003 for his poem reflecting on the Cyborg research of scientist Kevin Warwick[2].

[edit] Popular culture

The term "grimoire" commonly serves as an alternative name for a spell-book or tome of magical knowledge in such genres as fantasy fiction. The most famous fictional grimoire is the Necronomicon, a creation of the author H. P. Lovecraft. It was first referenced in his story "The Hound", and subsequently made appearances in many of his stories. Other authors such as August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith have also cited it in their works with Lovecraft's approval. Lovecraft believed such common allusions built up "a background of evil verisimilitude". Many readers and others have believed it to be a real work, with booksellers and librarians receiving many requests for the fictional tome. Pranksters have even listed it in rare book catalogues, including one who surreptitiously slipped an entry into the Yale University Library card catalog.[3] Several authors have also published books entitled Necronomicon, though none have been endorsed by Lovecraft himself.

The 2000 PlayStation game Vagrant Story makes heavy use of the term as items/scriptures found through the adventure to help the main character the learning of magical abilities useful during the game. The 2006 PlayStation 2 RPG Final Fantasy XII, developed by the same team of Vagrant Story, also makes reference to grimoires and magick.

The 2008 Nintendo DS game Final Fantasy Tactics A2 carries the subtitle "Grimoire of the Rift" and features a grimoire which the main character finds in a library and which opens a portal to the game's world.

In Final Fantasy VII Dirge of Cerberus, Grimoire Valentine is Vincent Valentine's father.

In Final Fantasy XI, another MMORPG, the job class Scholar uses a Grimoire to cast certain types of magic.

The Dutch Black metal band God Dethroned has an album entitled, The Grand Grimoire, and a song by the same name that was released in 1997.

In Charmed The Book of Shadows also has an evil counterpart known as the Grimoire. The Grimoire is a large brown book with an unknown demonic symbol of an upside down pentagram and skull on the cover. The pages of the Grimoire are said to be blackened by its evil. Much like the Book of Shadows, the Grimoire possesses the power to protect itself from its enemies or anything Good. Its spells and incantations are written in Latin. It makes only a few appearances and is later orbed under a mountain of rock in the West Andes by Leo. Bianca and her family of assassin witches possess a grimoire which contains their family's spells, although this is simply a grimoire and not the Grimoire. The book had a symbol of two snakes intertwined with each other added to its cover for the episode. The book was sold on eBay in late 2007 and reached a final bid of $405.00. In the episode Bride and Gloom, The Charmed Ones' Book of Shadows began to change itself into a grimoire once the girls turned to evil, even transforming once good spells into new dark spells.

In the hit musical and bestselling book Wicked by Gregory Maguire, Elphaba (The Wicked Witch Of The West) came to owning a "Grimmerie", which held spells, etc.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Semple, Gavin (1994) 'The Azoëtia - reviewed by Gavin Semple', Starfire Vol. I, No. 2, 1994, p. 194.
  2. ^ Crawford, Robert(ed.), "Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science", Oxford University Press, 2006
  3. ^ L. Sprague de Camp, Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers, pp. 100–1. ISBN 0-87054-076-9.

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