On the Shelf Review – Guidon’s Magical Secrets

Caduceus Books’ publications from the Society for Esoteric Endeavour are always noteworthy, as is the latest volume in that series, Guidon’s Magical Secrets.  First appearing as an appendix to the 1670 edition of the Grimoire of Honorius, the work purports to be the manual of a Norman magician who traveled the countryside, working spells to protect livestock and fight off witches.

(I’m basing my assessment of this book on a copy sent to me by Ben Fernee.  It should be added that I’m working with the Society on… something.   I’ll announce it at the proper time.)

The main body of the work is an English translation of the original made by French artist Philippe Pissier, who was also responsible for the Grimoire to Conjure the Spirit of a Place.  We have a large number of charms within, often intended for the care of sheep, though Guidon assures us at one point that these can also serve dual purpose for horses as well.  It is not lacking charms for other purposes, such as the one that protected the author when, on a particularly bad day, he was stabbed five hundred times.

The question that this raises, and which I am unable to answer, is how this compares to my old buddy Simon’s translation in Papal Magic, though I’m going to suppose this one is better.  I can certainly say this phrase remains untranslated in Simon’s edition:

May the werewolf-farrier’s dick rot, because he f*cked me.

The literal translation, as given in the footnotes, is even more vulgar.

Putting that aside, this new translation also has the edge on Simon due to the translation of the numerous Latin phrases that appear within.  Some of these are quite orthodox statements of Christian faith, while others state the impotence of Jesus and call upon demons or unrecognized saints for their effects.   These are backed up with extensive notes in the back giving these translations, along with notes on parallels between the rites herein and witchcraft beliefs and secret societies elsewhere.

As with other Society of Esoteric Endeavour publications, the physical presentation of this book is also striking.  To imitate the cheap paperback binding of such books in France, this work is likewise bound in stiff paper, with a beeswax-coated cover.   Likewise, some of the pages in the greater part of the print run remain uncut, as they would have for a book from the period.  My copy was one of a smaller number with cut pages throughout, which was fine with me – although I can handle uncut pages, they tend to make me nervous.  When ordering, you might want to specify which of the two you prefer.

Overall, the Magical Secrets is a nice book that presents material that has been published elsewhere, but in what appears to be a better translation with more notes and an attractive appearance.  It is also especially recommended to those who own sheep or had a bad sexual experience with a werewolf.

Published in: on October 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I know a couple furries that would probably like copies of that charm…there’s a research product for you: a grimoire aimed at Furrydom, with their unique circumstances, opportunities, and foibles.

  2. Somehow, I do not feel the burning urge to fulfill this particular niche.

  3. I can see it now…The Grimorium Furrium and it’s companion book, The Greater Key of Yiff, bound together in synthetic polyester fur covers.

  4. Congratulations for this work. All the magic(k)al works from Philippe Pissier are references for serious occultists. It’s a very good new I’ll share with my BB.’. and SS.’. Stéphane Blet=Fr.’.’.’Ferenc (FRNC)

    • I’m glad to hear that, and not just because you’re not talking about furries.

  5. > It is also especially recommended to those who own sheep
    > or had a bad sexual experience with a werewolf.

    You know what they say — once you go lycanthrope, you’ll never be a misanthrope.

  6. […] published (a facsimile edition from Caduceus Books, the mass market edition by whatsisface, and one section of the charms translated into English), not counting an odd German edition published in the 19th centuryby Scheible that Trident put out […]

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