On the Shelf: The Grimoire of Pope Honorius

Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Way back when, you might remember that I thanked Ben Fernee of Caduceus Books for making special efforts to get an order to me. That order arrived a while ago, and I’ve had time to read it. Thus, I present to you the latest edition of the Grimoire of Honorius.

The Grimoire of Honorius is the most notorious book of black magic in human history, just like the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, the Key of Solomon, the Book of Cyprian, and the Necronomicon. Its blasphemous text and soul-shocking magic have earned it condemnation and opprobrium from the authorities. According to Eliphas Levi, the book drove one Louis Verger mad enough to brutally murder the Archbishop of Paris!

Levi omits the fact that Verger had just lost his job and the Archbishop refused to arbitrate for him, but let’s not let that distract us from its Awesome Evil.

The Grimoire is primarily a French tradition – three of the books are available on Joe Peterson’s Esoteric Archives CD – but it has appeared in a number of different languages, including English. None of the English texts have been entirely satisfactory – the editions available in the works of Waite and Shah are incomplete, and online versions like this one aren’t much better.

That’s just the more normal ones.  There’s also that edition from IGOS, creators of overpriced expensive books who managed to get the Grimoire mixed up with the Sworn Book of Honorius.  And who could forget the baffling edition from Trident Books, that takes some variant from nineteenth-century Germany that’s not at all like the more famous French editions, tosses in the introduction and illustrations from the French, and calls it good?

What Caduceus and the mysterious “Society for Esoteric Endeavour” present now is the first full-length English translation of the entire grimoire.  That’s not all it is, though.  It’s a full-color facsimile reproduction of a manuscript taken from the collection of Frances G. Irwin,  best known for participating in the mid-nineteenth century “new Masonic-Rite-of-the- Month Club” with such luminaries as Kenneth Mackenzie and Frederick Hockley.

The manuscript as presented is in two parts.  The first is a complete spirit conjuration, discussing the creation of the circle and implements, ritual sacrifice of a cock, and a list of demons associated with the four directions and seven days of the week.  The second is a miscellany dedicated to various rites for detecting thieves, healing, and carrying out different magical operations.  To make the book as accurate a facsimile as possible, no introduction or other non-period text has been included.

After some comparisons with the texts on the Peterson CD, the greatest likelihood is that this was a text copied from the 1800 edition.  It does present one interesting puzzle due to the disordered nature of the second section.  This precedes in the same order as the 1800 edition, until it arrives at the incantation to create the Hand of Glory.   This is skipped, and the following recipes are out of order – including that for the Hand of Glory, which is reinserted later, presumably after the copyist decided it wasn’t that bad.  Weird.

Sadly, this is a pricey and scarce little volume, but it’s nonetheless one that I highly recommend.

Published in: on January 16, 2007 at 4:37 pm  Comments (19)  

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] cheap paperback format.  We’ve already talked about an English version of the 1800 version here, and this one might be a little easier on the pocket […]

  2. […] of Moses coming out through the Ibis imprint of Red Wheel Weiser The Sixth and Seventh Books are the most notorious books of black magic in history, so it’s great to see a solid new translation. I […]

  3. […] acquisition here is Joe Peterson’s translation of the Grimorium Verum, which is, of course, the most notorious book of black magic in history. Joe’s been selling an electronic copy of this nineteenth century grimoire on his CD, but […]

  4. i would download the grimoire of pope honorious

  5. i would like to download the grimoire of pope honorious

  6. Let me try that.

    I would like some cookies and cream.

  7. i would like to buy the grimoire of pope honorious at a low price

  8. Better!

    But it’s not for sale. You need Joe Peterson’s CD at Esoteric Archives.

  9. […] to the Undisclosed Location. Unlike a previous release, the Grimoire of Pope Honorius (review here), this book – the Grimoire pour Conjurer l’Esprit d’un Lieu – is only known through one […]

  10. I would be very interested to know your views on the history of and similarities/differences between the Grimoire and the Sworn Book.

  11. James,

    Give me a few days, and I’ll see what I can do.

  12. […] one from Caduceus Books and the Society of Esoteric Endeavour, who have previously presented the Grimoire of Honorius and the Grimoire to Conjure the Spirit of a Place.  To take a page off of the Caduceus […]

  13. […] indeed have a striking similarity.  He goes on to find that, while similar sigils are found in the Grimoire of Honorius, the closest versions are found in the French edition of the […]

  14. Has anyone bought this CD?

  15. did i read this right…there is no book of it for sale except downloading on the internet? im really intrested in obtaining a copy. im currently reading all books pertaining to wicca,santeria,kabalah and anything to help me in my practice of knowledge and wisdom in my life..i would really appreciate more info pertaining to pope honorius and his works…thank you

  16. […] Grimoire of Honorius, and we’ve seen two and a half English editions of the book published (a facsimile edition from Caduceus Books, the mass market edition by whatsisface, and one section of the charms translated into English), […]

  17. […] Grimoire of Honorius, and we’ve seen two and a half English editions of the book published (a facsimile edition from Caduceus Books, the mass market edition by whatsisface, and one section of the charms translated into English), […]

  18. […] book has a minor omission or two.  The introduction is well done overall, but the manuscript translation of Honorius made by Frances G. Irwin and published by Caduceus isn’t noted.  Likewise, I believe that a few diagrams were omitted from the German […]

  19. I like this book

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