On the Shelf Review – Praxis Magica Faustiana

One sub-genre of the grimoire not usually available to English speakers is comprised of works dedicated to the infamous Doctor Faustus.  The most infamous of these, Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis, has yet to be translated, but these works are slowly making their way into English.  A short time ago another, Praxis Magica Faustiana, appeared from the Society of Esoteric Endeavour, and is now available upon inquiry to Caduceus Books.  (I should note that I might be working with Caduceus Books on a project.)

Though this book is a recent publication, it cannot truly be called a new translation.  What we have here is the English translation of Major F. G. Irwin, a close friend of Frederick Hockley.  The manuscript in question passed through the hands of Arthur Edward Waite, who mentions it in his Book of Ceremonial Magic.  It later made its way to the Cleveland Public Library, where it remains in its Special Collections Department.

The Caduceus book is a beautiful piece, a small red volume bearing the seal of the operation itself.  Inside we find the brief German text of the original, an introduction to the translation, and the English translation.  The Praxis is one of the shorter Faustian operations, most notable for the numerous illustrations that accompany the text.  Those illustrations are reproduced with the German, in brilliant red and black, and a commentary on them appears alongside the English text.  The volume is rounded out with a foldout of a mysterious character from the back of the manuscript, which seems to be derived from an Indian figure of magic that can be seen in the Qanoon-e-Islam.

The only obstacle that might deter some readers is the cost, which was around $70 for me, including shipping.  Nonetheless, this is an important contribution to the English language literature about a magical tradition that is largely unknown outside the German-speaking world, and one that should be a lovely addition to a grimoire collector’s library.

Published in: on April 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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