Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Gathering Grimoires

The Grimoire Gathering in Clun was a good opportunity to hear some very different perspectives on the grimoires. Carrying on the tradition of the well respected Ludlow Esoteric Conference, this was a gathering for practitioners. These events are always small affairs, but over a hundred people assembling in this remote location is quite an achievement.

David Cypher spoke on the importance of Cornelius Agrippa, and although The Three Books of Occult Philosophy are not a grimoire, the ideas collated by Agrippa make this text one of the cornerstones of modern magic. Our own copy of Three Books is well thumbed, bookmarked and often consulted. It is, as David Cypher demonstrated, a key part of the education of any practical magician. With many students looking for ‘advanced magic books’ it is easy to neglect the fundamentals which Agrippa introduces.
David Rankine’s essay on Agrippa’s magic squares in Howlings is worth mentioning here for those who have not read it and wish to understand how the kameas and their sigils work.

The whole out of copyright text of The Three Books of Occult Philosophy can be found free online here: http://www.esotericarchives.com/agrippa/

Though we find the electronic form unwieldy, it is useful when researching.
We also recommend the Llewellyn version edited by Donald Tyson with extensive footnotes. Tyson also has substantial essays which appear in Howlings and Diabolical.

Our friend David Rankine of Golden Hoard spoke on the Key of Solomon, talking about its origins in the Greek Hygromanteia. Though we personally disagree with him over the use of angels to constrain demons, David as ever gave a strong performance covering a lot of ground and material. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the grimoires shone through. His work with Stephen Skinner in collating the MS of the grimoire tradition is one of the most important publishing endeavours in modern magical history.

We had been looking forward to seeing Jake Stratton-Kent again and he did not disappoint. On rollickingly good form Jake set out his argument that grimoire magic, seen through the lens of his extensive work with the Grimorium Verum, can be traced to the figure of the ancient Greek Goes. His thesis completely changes the way we see Western magic, rather than a reliance on late influences such as Qabalah, we can see a direct line from the grimoires to the spirit contact and necromancy of the chthonic world. Fizzing with energy and passion, Jake further laid out how this reconnection can take us into a new fusion of Western grimoire magic with the living traditions of the African Traditional Religions. It was a tour de force.

Geraldine Beskin of Atlantis rounded off the day with an entertaining biography of Frederick Hockley.

We were pleased to meet more of our readers and friends in the flesh. It is always a pleasure.

We hope that this event will be repeated.

Jake will be speaking again in Bath and his new work Geosophia will soon be available for subscriber pre-order.

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