On the Shelf Review – Red Magick – Grimoire of Djinn Spells and Sorceries

My Necronomicon Files co-author John Gonce has been working with Ishtar Publishing, which has issued a few books of magic translated from the Arabic.  I’ve been interested in such works for some time, as there’s little information about them – even getting material from the Picatrix has been like pulling teeth.  To get a sample, I ordered Red Magick: Grimoire of Djinn Spells and Sorceries, translated from the works of Al-Toukhi (also known as Abd al-Fattah al-Sayyid al-Tukhi), an Egyptian sorcerer who apparently wrote multiple books on the topic of magic.

The book presents us with a wide variety of spells, attributed to the Red King of the Djinn.  Most of these turn out to be “love” spells, which are actually better described as lust spells, though a few sprinkled throughout are intended for dream revelations, invisibility, the pleasure of rulers, and other such causes.  Most are strictly Muslim in ideology and content, with great emphasis placed upon names of God, the recitation of particular suras from the Koran, and proclamations of the majesty of Muhammed and his prophet.  Nonetheless, a reader familiar with the magical papyri or Jewish magic will soon recognize similar techniques and phrases in al-Toukhi’s work.  Some spells refer to characteres, those line-and-loop designs that have passed down from antiquity, but most writing is of holy names, passages from the Koran, and magical squares of various designs.

I’m not able to evaluate the translation, but I found very few odd grammatical constructions, other than a tendency to drop initial articles (a, an, the) from sentences.  What’s described above is essentially what you get – there’s no notes, commentary, or even an introduction to place this book in some sort of broader context.  I think that in particular would have been useful, as it might have helped to place this book in a particular historic setting and made it more compelling to readers.

All told, I think the book’s price tag – $55 without discount – is quite steep for those interested in the topic, but it does constitute one of the few English-language publications in this field.  If you’re interested in how magic is practiced in the Middle East to this day, and not so much the earlier model provided in the Picatrix or Thabit ibn Qurra, you might pick up a copy of this book.

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Dan. The lack of notes and broader historical context is excused because those interested in these kind of books are supposed to have some base knowledge. Nineveh Shadrach introduces the public to this kind of Magic via his Magic that Works. I know their grimoires are largely criticised for not having a bibliographic apparatus, but i for one find that refreshing, urging the reader to do his own research. Those who simply look for “spells and powerfull stuff” don t go beyond that, while serious seekers will piece the info together and see how the traditional systems of sihr and ruhhanyat worked.

    I did the illustrations, BTW :D. If anyone needs cheap illustrations, just holler.

  2. Thanks for posting this Dan! I came across this book a few weeks ago while doing some research on the Jinn. I will look into, now that I am aware that Gonce is involved.

  3. hi dan ,i have actually being a student of hazrat tukhi and in comparison to what is obtainable from the works of the likes of abramelin the sage and other ocultic or grimorie works such as the picatrix , i think that these works are completely two worlds apart, tkhis works are mostly based on islamic beliefs the type the wahabists detest strongly even so i must confess of the existence of adulterations which is not unconnected with cultural difssion

    • Hi abdu saleh, i am really interested in the works of Hazrat Tukhi and if you have been his student is it possible to correspond with you ? please do reply or is there any institute carrying on his work? any contact info will be highly appreciated.
      T J

    • please I need biography of Sayed Abdul Fatah Al- Toukhi

  4. Hi Dan,
    First of all, I want to say thank you for all the tedious and lengthy research you did for the Book of Oberon and for getting this book published so bookworms like me who love magic/folklore can appreciate it. It is rare to find works on magic which are thoroughly researched and objectively analyzed with brilliant insight and yet still carry the touch of personal voice, like the Book of Oberon does. Not to mention your work saved me from having to buy tons of different books and a lot of time sifting through material to find information on Oberon. I am not an author, nor am I a professional researcher and I study magic/mysticism/mythology as part of my personal practice. As such, I appreciate that you had incorporated information in the book from manuscripts that I wouldn’t be able to have access to, given my college student budget and constraints on my time. So thank you for writing the Book of Oberon, yours is the type of book on this subject that I had been wishing somebody would write.

    Second, since I recently stumbled upon your blogs (I discovered them like two weeks ago, if I remember correctly), I had been enjoying your book reviews and I wanted to ask you if you had read Liana Saif’s new book The Arabic Influences on Early Modern Occult Philosophy? It’s part of Palgrave’s Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic series and some of their books I find are a hit or miss with me. And with the price tag of $100 plus for the hardcover, I was hoping you would do a review of it so I would have a better idea if it’s worthy buying or if I am better off waiting for whenever they do a paperback release of it. As an aside, I heard that Liana Saif is working on translating the Arabic Ghayat al Hakim into English. If you could find a confirmation of this or more information about this, I would appreciate that.

  5. Do you know of any biographical information on al-Tukhi, or just approximately when he lived?

    I’m doing research for a game set in Spain circa 950,and I want to make sure his writings are early enough.

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