Magic is an elusive category, as most modern scholars will readily admit. Magic is hard to define and to separate from many other arts, practices, and devotions. There is no clear definition of magic with universal acceptance, and efforts to delineate magic from such practices or arts as religion or science have proven to be futile. For magic is in the mind's eye of the beholder. What one person calls religion, another calls science, and yet another calls magic. And vice versa. What follows is a collection of widely accepted and for the most part, highly regarded magical texts that have at one time or another probably been classified under any number of possible categories. Nevertheless, they form the foundation of what we today, call MAGIC.
The writings of Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516), The Seven Secondary Intelligences (De septem secundeis) is one of the earliest records of this nature. The books of Steganographia (Secret Writing), Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3, all lead to the art of drawing spirits into crystals.
The writings of Dr. John Dee (1527-1608), which includes the Five Books of Mystical Exercises (Mysteriorum Libri Quinque), Mysteriorum Liber Sextus et Sanctus (Liber Loagaeth), Index Verborum of the "Angelic Language" from Liber Loagaeth, Compendium Heptarchiae Mysticae, De Heptarchia Mystica, Tuba Veneris ("The Trumpet of Venus"), Tabula bonorum angelorum invocationes, The Holy Table engraving from Casaubon"s True and Faithful Relation, The Hieroglyphic Monad, An excerpt form Josten"s translation of the Hieroglyphic Monad, and A Letter Containing a most briefe Discourse Apologeticall are some of the most interesting and hotly debated works ever written.
The classic writings of Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) are mainstays within the more authoritative texts produced within the magical body oof works. His most famous writings are: De Umbris Idearum ("The Shadow of Ideas") (1582) (Latin), Ars Memoriae ("The Art of Memory") (1582) (Latin), Cantus Circaeus ("Incantations of Circe") (1582) (Latin), Ars Reminiscendi -- Triginta Sigilli (1583) (Latin), Explicatio triginti sigillorum (1583) (Latin), The Heroic Frenzies (English), De Magia (Latin), Theses De Magia (Latin), Magia Mathematica (Latin), and the De vinculis in genere (Latin). While much of Bruno's work is still only available in Latin, new translations are being created regularly.
The Classical Grimoires are the more widespread and well known of the group. They include Heptameron, or Magical Elements, Of Occult Philosophy I: Natural Magic, Of Occult Philosophy II: Celestial Magic, Of Occult Philosophy III: Ceremonial Magic, and the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy. Other popular and widely read works are: Arbatel of Magic, Liber Juratus, Key of Solomon, The Key of Knowledge, and Lemegeton. Other works of note are: Ars Notoria, Picatrix (The Goal of the Wise), Reginald Scot"s collection of magical texts, Sefer ha-Levanah—The Book of the Moon. Ebenezer Sibly's, "A New and Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences", Book 4. (1795?) is also a classic and broad text well worth investigation.
Some of the best Hebrew texts are: Mafteah Shelomoh / Clavicula Salomonis, Sepher Maphteah Shelomoh (Book of the Key of Solomon), and the Testament of Solomon.
In the area of Black Magic, we highly recommend: Le Grand Grimoire, L"art de commander les esprits... du Grand Grimoire (circa 1750), Le Grimoire du Pape Honorius, Gremoire du Pape Honorius, Grimoire du Pape Honorius (French, 1760), Grimorium Verum, and Verus Jesuitarum Libellus. Other noteworthy works worth reading are: Johann Weyer"s "Pseudomonarchia daemonum," Sigillum Dei Aemeth, Athanasius KircherOedipus Aegyptiacus (1652), Sworn Book, Sworn Book 2, and much of the writings of Kircher and of course John Dee.
Other miscellaneous Magical Texts that we keep on our recommended reading list are: Angel Registry: Index of Angel names, magical words, and names of God, Chaldaean Oracles of Zoroaster (W.W. Wescott, 1895), Chaldaean Oracles (Stanley, 1661), Solomon and the Ars Notoria: From Lynn Thorndike, Magic and Experimental Science, 1923-58, Chapter XLIX, Iamblichus: Theurgia, or the Mysteries of Egypt, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola: Of Being and Unity, Pico: Conclusiones sive Theses DCCCC (Latin), A word about Lovecraft and the Necronomicon (JHP), Apollonius of Tyana reads your future, and The Sphere of Sacrobosco.
The following links lead you directly to free copies of the texts named:
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