Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wizard Books, Dear Readers.

So lately I've been thinking that we should be expanding our horizons when it comes to grimoires. There's more out there than just the greats. Not to say that angel magic and demon taming aren't serious business - anything that potentially involves the donning of a lion-skin belt must be serious business - but I think too many occultists are missing out on stuff like, I dunno...the Galdrabók. Are you prepared to mix magical ink that requires blood from the heart of a living raven and both your nipples? Are you prepared to invoke the names of Thor and Satan at the same time? This stuff is pure wizard.

Or stuff like the enigmatic diagrams of Byrhtferth, a 10th century Anglo-Saxon monk. (Detail above.) Not that we necessarily know what the hell any of it means, but anything that involves futhark, ogham, Latin ciphers and sigils apparently of the author's own making should be instantly fascinating to any magician. At least, it's instantly fascinating to me. A Hermetic/numerological tome that weaves together at least three different linguistic systems? Pure wizard. I know we like to segregate ourselves according to our distinct "traditions," but why I've never heard anything of this material from the "occult community" before is beyond me. (For the record, it was my pal Erynn Rowan Laurie who exposed me to this. Leave it to a poet.)

Hell, I'd be happy if Anna Riva's cheap handbooks on hoodoo and witchcraft got some more love. (You know those Anna Riva oils you see in shops? Same woman.) They're certainly much more straightforward and informative than Bristle-Moon Seaspray's latest book on lubing up your candles with the oils you bought from Anna Riva. What, no whimsical nonsense or embarrassing moral proclamations? Brilliant!

I'm just beginning to see that the history of occult literature is more variant and surprising than many of us tend to assume, and that's something I'm very keen to explore.

Extra Credit: Wizard People, Dear Readers.


  1. I just loved this post. Pure wizard! It's got me re-thinking my magical practice as I type. Thank you so much for spending time pondering and sharing. Best to you!

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Glad I struck a chord!

  3. Very good stuff! I have not examined some of the ones you've mentioned...but as you know, I'm working on a compiled/"remixed" collected works of Astrampsychos, to be called the Liber Astrampsychi...and it won't be for general sale, it will only be printed in a very small print run (ten or less) and traded...or, on one or two occasions, given away. Like such things should be, I think! ;)

  4. A wizardly endeavor, indeed! I look forward to the result. I do wonder - are new oracles going to be needed to fill in the blanks? Am I understanding that problem correctly?