While reading Tyson’s new edition of the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy of pseudo-Agrippa, I was reminded of the Liber Spirituum, or Book of Spirits. Such a work is not a grimoire in the strict sense, but rather a tool that a magician might use to quickly call upon particular spirits without the rigamarole of fasting, prayer, and elaborate conjurations typical of the grimoires. The book itself needed to be consecrated and, in some cases, signed by each spirit mentioned therein.
The Fourth Book contains the following passage, quoted from Joe Peterson’s e-text:
And this book must be inscribed after this maner: that is to say, Let there be placed on the left side the image of the spirit, and on the right side his character, with the Oasth above it, containing the name of the spirit, and his dignity and place, with his office and power. Yet very many do compose this book otherwise, omitting the characters or image: but it is more efficacious not to neglect any thing which conduceth to it.
Some have insisted that the Liber Spirituum practice originated in the Fourth Book, but what that work actually states is that this is a pre-existing tradition, with enough variation to cause arguments about how it should be properly done.
If this is the case, then, why have we found so few of these books? I’ve been trying to come up with an example of an honest-to-goodness Liber Spirituum, and I can’t recall one that was ever reported. Of course, this would have been a magician’s most treasured work, and many would have been quickly consigned to the flames if found, but the lack of these works baffles me. Any thoughts?