Honorius Versus Honorius: The Sworn Book and the Grimoire, Part 4

Three posts in, and it’s time to look at the backstories for the Grimoire of Honorius.

The 1670 edition reads as if the author were familiar with the tale from the Sworn Book, as it also begins with a group of magicians making a pilgrimage.  In this case, however, they are traveling to Rome, having been invited by Pope Honorius himself to the holy city.  Experiencing terrible weather, they nonetheless made it.  There, one of their number, Hierosme Adam, a man from a forest near Milan, performed the rituals in the book, and…

That’s where the author breaks off.  Did Hierosme receive great rewards?  Were he and his fellows captured and killed by the Inquisition?  Did the magicians find the ritual didn’t work and all go home in disgust?  We just don’t know.

Later editions seem less indebted to the story of Honorius and more willing to work with the notion of a magical-wielding Pope.  Thus, the 1760 and 1800 editions begin with a fake bull from Honorius III (or II for the Irwin manuscript reprint).  It informs us that Jesus cast out demons, and invested this power in Saint Peter, who passed it on to the subsequent heads of the church.  So far, all of the theology here is quite orthodox.

By now, however, Honorius has grown disgusted with the large number of priests who are complete duffers at exorcism.  Given these dire straits, he is providing the clergy with the formulae for casting out devils, so that they can either step up to the plate or be destroyed forever by an angry God.  Having said that, Honorius goes on to divulge the methods of calling up and commanding demons.  Most of these have nothing to do with exorcism, as if Honorius forgot why he was admonishing the priests to begin with.

Then what are they about?  Next time, we examine the contents of the Grimoires.

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Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 9:28 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Aquired an oringial French Grimorie of Pope Honorius. Its a little book…a bit pricey.Has many circles and penagragams drawing as well as on page 49 an illustration of the Hand of Glory. I have an e-book translation and trying to see how accurate it is…along with a french dictionary of course. lol


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