On the Shelf Review: A Collection of Magical Secrets

As mentioned, I picked up a copy of Skinner and Rankine’s A C0llection of Magical Secrets a few days ago.  Here’s what you can expect.

This book provides the contents of Wellcome MS 4669 that do not appear in the Veritable Key of Solomon.  Skinner and Rankine made an editorial decision to part the “Grimoire” sections, based on spiritual workings and the like, from the “Book of Secrets.”  I wish they hadn’t – the two generally go together in most late-period grimoires, and I suspect that the ornate operations of the grimoires were passed over by many readers in favor of the simpler, “peripheral” rites.  This book further blurs those lines, as both this and the Veritable Key include methods of creating planetary talismans.

Putting aside my editorial issues, this is really an excellent book showcasing a wide variety of operations.  The first section includes short rituals intended to uncover thieves, bring love, and heal afflictions.   Of especial interest are several rites intended to bring the reader a spirit familiar; I believe this is the largest collection of such ceremonies I have seen yet.  Most of the rites are innocuous, but some include gruesome ingredients, like the human rib I previously mentioned or a sword that has killed a man (a surprising discovery, given the rarity of rituals requiring death in the grimoire tradition).

Beyond the first section, we also have the aforementioned rite to create a planetary talisman, another to call upon an angel of that day of the week to bring the magician a dream-revelation, and a fate-book along the same lines as that attributed to Napoleon, save that it is based on random numbers.  The incantations include many footnotes, and an index rounds out the collection.

As usual, if my description leaves you interested, you should probably check out this book.  The pre-order offer included free shipping, but it’s a solid collection of typical magical operations at a reasonable price.

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Thus it was that, no sooner than I finished A Collection of Magical Secrets, than I found three more books at my […]

  2. Dan,

    I’m sure I recently came across a spell requiring a knife that had killed a man in another ms. source recently. I’ll try and dig it out. In general the material also reminded me of the charms section of Scot – Book XII. There’s also a spell in Scot for aiding childbirth involving the use of a stone that has killed a man, a boar and she-bear…

  3. […] of its books:  The Book of Treasure Spirits (my review here) and A Collection of Magical Secrets (review here).  Both are excellent works, and this is a good opportunity to pick them up if you haven’t […]


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