Although the idea of a grimoire that provides a comprehensive system of magical practice is still popular, many grimoires from past eras were actually compilations of rites and ceremonies that the author thought might be particularly interesting. The latest of these to be published is The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet, a published version of Sloane 3851 edited by David Rankine, known for several other works I’m too lazy to link to at the moment, and published by Avalonia Books.
Gauntlet appears to have been a cunning man who lived in London in the early 17th century, and this book is quite an interesting work that covers a broad variety of magical topics. On one hand, we have more-or-less straight transcriptions from such works as the Heptameron and the Arbatel, though the latter also includes a diagram for the text not seen in other editions. On the other hand, it possesses a large number of invocations of various spirits (including Oberion), charms, remedies, and advice, including some that appear in the Folger Manuscript. Overall, it is an impressive compendium of magical material present in London in the 17th century. The whole is supplemented with footnotes on sources, an introduction, and an index.
The Latin from the book is translated into English and printed in the footnotes, which makes me happy – mostly. I throw in a caveat because the material in one section – page 37 – is simply baffling, with Latin words being transcribed as barbarous names, and one or two highly questionable translations. This does not seem to be the case for the rest of the book, I hasten to add, but it might be advisable to double-check the wording if in doubt on a particular point.
As for the other material, I remain cautious about dating the book via reference to Mr. Gauntlet’s life, as the attributions of grimoires are sometimes misleading, but that’s only a weak protest. Also, few readers will be able to insist, as Mr. Rankine does, as to “the heavily angelic and moral nature of Gauntlet’s manuscript,” given the frequent charms calling upon infernal powers and the heavy concentration of lust spells therein.
Nonetheless, I found The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet to be an engaging work of value to my own research and revealing another aspect of the occult underground of the post-Elizabethan age.