I’m making another go at Aaron Leitch’s book, Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires. Every so often, I sit down with it to read it, encounter something completely outrageous, and I have to put it down and come back later.
That’s not to say that it’s a bad book. Leitch has certainly done his homework, engaging with a number of different grimoires as well as the scholarship on books of magic. I don’t mind that he’s writing for a popular audience, or that he’s a practitioner writing to that market, or that the book is slightly out of date now. The trouble is, I just can’t get past passages like this (which I’ve cut down to the troubling matters]:
The Knights Templar… were a mystery cult of warrior-monks who protected the merchant lanes of the Holy Land and practiced the rites of ancient Gnostic Christianity… [King Philippe le Bel] began to systematically destroy the order one member at a time… In a final maneuver, he attempted to demand judgment against the Templars from the pope. When the holy leader refused to be manipulated, the king dismissed him and instated his own man, the Bishop of Bourdeaux, as Pope Clement V… This was the basis of the dreaded Inquisitions… The Templars were merely the first to fall.
This is pretty accurate, once you ignore the material about Gnosticism, or that the King of France actually arrested all the Templars in France at once, or that getting the pope’s permission was actually the first maneuver instead of the final one, or that the king didn’t dismiss the previous pope (who died), or that Clement V was the Archbishop and not Bishop of Bourdeaux, or that the Inquisition was founded nearly a century before the case against the Templars (Leitch quotes the dates for both).
This passage is probably the worst I’ve read so far, and it would be unfair to characterize the book as completely inaccurate. Still, I keep running into these, and it makes me wonder whether I should continue. I’ve never made it past the second chapter of Secrets because my penchant for accuracy keeps getting in the way.
Has anyone read it who can advise as to whether it’s worth it?