Hadean Press has released a series of pamphlets called “Guides to the Underworld,” exploring various aspects of underworld myth from various belief systems. Most notably for Papers purposes, it includes three pamphlets by Jake-Stratton Kent, translator and editor of Scarlet Imprint’s The True Grimoire, or Grimorium Verum, which I reviewed previously in three parts. I ordered his three pamphets Goetic Divination, Elelogap, and Goetic Pharmakos (written with Jaime Alekzander).
Stratton-Kent’s objective is to tie grimoire magic to Pagan religious traditions, most particularly the beliefs of classical times and the Afro-Caribbean faiths of our own era. Though each one of these uses the Grimorium Verum as the starting off point, and the author cautions that one should have a working relationship with the spirits of that book first, the books themselves draw from an array of beliefs. Goetic Divination outlines methods for divining by pendulum, dice, and scyring into water, as practiced in classical times. Elelogap is an exploration of a water spirit from the True Grimoire and its ties to the ritual uses of water and classical myths of the nymphs and nereids. Finally, Goetic Pharmakos discusses the Grimoire spirits and their relation to the ritual materials of hoodoo.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, these are books for practitioners rather than scholars.
Overall, I found that Goetic Divination was the strongest of the works, with several techniques outlined that integrated both grimoire and classical magic outlined in interesting ways. Elelogap was fascinating for its exploration of water in ceremonial contexts, but it’s hard to get too excited about Elelogap. The weakest was Goetic Pharmakos, as the grimoire and hoodoo content seemed to sit alongside each other rather than becoming integrated into a new whole.
I suppose my question about this, which none of the books directly addresses, is what the purpose is to bring together these techniques from different cultures. I mean, why not simply write a ritual for the nereids instead of one for Elelogap? I can think of some reasons – the purpose of the Verum spirits, their relevance to someone from a Judeo-Christian background, etc. – but it would have been good to spell these out.
As always, if you’ve read this far, you probably know whether these will be books for you or not. If they are, head over to the Hadean Press site and order theml