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Spells, Invocations and Divination: The Ancient History of Magical Grimoires

Sunday, October 23, 2016 17:09
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Spells, Invocations and Divination: The Ancient History of Magical Grimoires

Grimoires are books containing magic spells and instructions for the making of amulets and talismans, but some of them also contained directions on how to summon and control demons. Grimoires have gained great popularity in recent years through movies and television shows, but their origins date back to ancient times, and their full purpose still remains under much speculation. The Oxford dictionary defines a grimoire simply as a book of magic spells and invocations, and these books are usually attributed to famous figures such as Moses and King Solomon.

Owen Davies is perhaps one of the most prominent scholars in the field of magic studies. His book, “Grimoires: A History of Magic Books”(2009), compiles extensive research on the history of grimoires as well as magic. For Davies, grimoires are books of conjurations and charms, believed to have stored knowledge that could protect people against evil spirits, witches, heal illnesses, and alter destiny, to name just a few uses.

The word ‘grimoire’ is believed to derive from the French word for ‘grammar’, the act of combining symbols to create sentences. Grimoires are not magical diaries but a compiled set of instructions intended to produce a specific desirable outcome. Although grimoires are books of magic, not all books of magic are grimoires. Some magic texts were concerned with discovering and using secrets of the natural world instead of focusing on the conjuration of spirits, the powers carried by words, or the rituals involving the creating of magical objects. – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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