Llewellyn Magick Blog: “Grimoire Hopping”: Is It Valuable—or Possible—to Dedicate to a Single Text?   2 comments

Greetings Readers!

You, courageous seeker (if this applies to you), are merely pointed toward an entire genre of (extremely obscure) occult literature and told, “There lie the true secrets of magick. Good luck.” So, realizing you’re pretty much on your own, you take the most logical first step: look for a copy of the Key of Solomon in order to get an idea of what the system looks like and requires. But wait! Do you mean the “greater” or “lesser” Key of Solomon? Or did you mean the Hygromanteia (aka the Magical Treatise of Solomon)? Maybe you’d like the Key of Solomon the King published by Mathers, or do you prefer the Veritable Key of Solomon published by Skinner and Rankine? I could go on

 

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From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, February 16, 2016:

Those who take an interest in Solomonic and grimoire occultism face a rather unique dilemma. Anyone who undertakes a specific path/tradition—such as the Golden Dawn, Thelema, and even Wicca—generally has their work cut out for them. Literally. Someone before them has taken the time to design an entire course of work and study for the new student to follow. You will read this text and that one, you will perform these rituals and meditations, and you will pass this test before moving on to the next stage—there really isn’t any room for confusion on that point.

This, however, is not the case for the student hoping to learn the ways of Solomon or Enoch. You, courageous seeker (if this applies to you), are merely pointed toward an entire genre of (extremely obscure) occult literature and told, “There lie the true secrets of magick. Good luck.” So, realizing you’re pretty much on your own, you take the most logical first step: look for a copy of the Key of Solomon in order to get an idea of what the system looks like and requires. But wait! Do you mean the “greater” or “lesser” Key of Solomon? Or did you mean the Hygromanteia (aka the Magical Treatise of Solomon)? Maybe you’d like the Key of Solomon the King published by Mathers, or do you prefer the Veritable Key of Solomon published by Skinner and Rankine? I could go on, but you can see for yourself right here. And, mind you(!), these are only a few of the manuscripts attributed specifically to Solomon—so this doesn’t include the host of grimoires attributed to other authors. All of them purport to teach you how to summon the spirits and work the spells, and they are all certainly similar to one another, yet they are also very different.

But we’re not done confusing you yet! You see, we old-timers are going to give you a solid gem of advice before you even get started: Follow the damned instructions! Don’t skimp or take shortcuts, don’t alter things to the way you think they should be; trust that the author of the grimoire knew what he (or she) was doing and follow the instructions as given. Then, you’ll delve into your chosen grimoire(s) and discover the punchline: the instructions aren’t complete! At least, they aren’t in the greatest number of occult texts. Most of them were written as working notes for practicing magicians, and it was assumed a lot was already understood by the student before even picking up the book.

[…]

Now, here is where the student will encounter some real controversy. There are a few Solomonic practitioners out there who will insist “grimoire hopping”—that is, either switching between grimoires, or drawing material from one text to “fill out” another—is a bad idea. Instead, one should pick a text and dedicate to it. They will say there are differences between the instructions in different grimoires, and therefore we shouldn’t assume their procedures can be easily shared between them. Not to mention a great number of grimoires, themselves, claim to contain the real secrets of magick while other grimoires are vain foolish attempts at the same—so apparently even they didn’t want you to mix their systems together.

Except, they totally mixed the systems together themselves—a lot. They regularly borrowed conjurations, prayers, talismans, words of power, ritual tools, magick circles, and more from one another. In fact, they did so much appropriating it is often difficult to determine which book copied from another, or when they might both have been drawing from some as-yet-unknown older source. And they didn’t keep the things they borrowed pristine, either. They made aggressive changes—lengthening or shortening conjurations, changing names of God, altering spirit hierarchies, changing the required tools and furnishings, adding bits in, taking bits out, etc., etc.

So, I’ll understand if you find yourself confused and exasperated. You shouldn’t mix systems or deviate from the instructions, except you actually have to. Yet, trust me, there is no change, addition or subtraction you can make to your chosen system that will not result in someone, somewhere, telling you that you’ve done it wrong. I can’t entirely blame those of you who have decided the Solomonic mages can go to gehenna with their convoluted tradition. However, before you begin to wish the Roman Church had succeeded in burning all the blasted grimoires, let’s see if we can’t untangle this knot to some extent.

 

Read the Rest at:  http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2016/02/grimoire-hopping/

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Posted February 17, 2016 by kheph777 in grimoires, llewellyn blog, solomonic

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2 responses to “Llewellyn Magick Blog: “Grimoire Hopping”: Is It Valuable—or Possible—to Dedicate to a Single Text?

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  1. Good point! Magic has been described as an “art” and like any art the student first needs to learn the basic principles and techniques, then they are encouraged to form their own creative synthesis. First study traditional sources then experiment with them enough to come up with one’s own style of grimoiric
    magic, based on what works for you. This is what many of the authors the grimoires did, IMO.

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    • David – you have nailed *exactly* why I have a problem with Chaos magick. The CM philosophy sounds like it makes sense, because it also describes making your own synthesis in which to practice magick – but it tries to have you accomplish this *without* taking the time to learn the traditional methods first. It is attempting to build a castle on no foundation whatsoever. I know this sounds like it is changing the topic, but perhaps you can see where these two topics intersect.

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