Grim Editions – The Grimorium Verum

18500Not so long ago, a virtual daemon dropped a message in my mailbox, announcing the release of a brand new edition of the grimoire called Grimorium Verum. Having heard or read almost nothing about this magical book, I sat down with a cup of chicken blood in order to conduct some e-research on this concise but most sinister manual of black magic. I’m delighted to share with you the wisdom obtained in yet another post on this blog called Grimoires.

The Grimorium Verum (or True Grimoire) was allegedly written by Alibeck the Egyptian in Memphis in 1517. It’s agreed that this claim is untrue, as Memphis was nothing more than a ruin by that time. The Grimorium Verum more likely finds it origins in Rome, with the oldest surviving copies in French and Italian, starting from 1817 (see more on dating below). Like many grimoires, it claims to contain the sacred knowledge of biblical figure and legendary demon summoner King Solomon. As such this often overlooked grimoire takes up a place in the so-called Solomonic cycle. The first part of the Grimorium Verum (also spelled Grimoirium Verum) is indeed similar to the Lemegeton, while the second reminds more of the Petit Albert (which was commonly ascribed to Albertus Magnus). In English, the full title of this little treatise reads as follows:

Grimoirium Verum or the Most Approved Keys of Solomon the Hebrew Rabbin where in Most Hidden Secrets both Natural and Supernatural, are immediately exhibited, but it is necessary that the Demons should be contented on their part. Translated from the Hebrew by Palingiere, a Dominican Jesuit, with a Collection of Curious Secrets. Published by Alibeck the Egyptian, 1517.

I dug up another post by Necronomicon expert Dan Harms containing a brief overview of the editorial history of this true grimoire, focussing on early print editions and English translations. I also took the freedom to reproduce those references here, together with some editorial trivia I’ve scraped together. And some nice pictures too, to avoid full accusation of bibliographical theft. Here’s the list, and as said, modern French, Italian, and German editions (all 20th century) are not taken into account.

Editions of the Grimorium Verum

  • The first French editions (1817) appeared in the beginning of the 19th century, an early example being a version printed by the notorious publisher afbeelding-5Simon Blocquel in 1830. Furthermore we find Italian translations from an unknown publisher in Milan (1868), from Amato Muzzi in Firenze (1880), and from Illensub Oirelav in Milan (1880s). Dan Harms stated the Grimorium Verum was probably written after Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt (which excited the European imagination about that land and its antiquities), but in a comment Joseph H. Peterson pointed out that Adelung, a German grammarian and philologist quotes from a 152-page Latin manuscript of the Grimoirum Verum, circa 1688 (!). Thus, Harms concludes, the Grimoirum Verum pre-existed the Napoleonic campaign, but the Alibeck-Memphis attribution did not.
  • (1911) A.E. Waite, a scholarly mystic who wrote extensively on occult and esoteric matters, wrote The Book of Ceremonial Magic as a newer and more accurate version of his previous waite-ceremonial-magic-first-edition-1title The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts (1898). Waite tried to fill in the lack of accessible ancient magical literature at his time and presented the text of his book as a methodical and systematic account of magical procedures of the past. In fact, the Book of Ceremonial Magic is an attempt to synthesize the procedures of all of the famous grimoires. Waite treats the subject matter rather skeptically. As to the Grimorium Verum, large portions were translated, but on the whole these translations are very unreliable.
  • shahsecr(1957) Idries Shah published another partial translation in “The Secret Lore of Magic: Book of the Sorcerers”. It is in fact even worse than Waite’s. According to Idries Shah, “this grimoire was par excellence the magical book of Europe”. He also stated that “there is some mystery about actual manuscripts of the Grimorium Verum. The French version, for instance, seems to have been printed from a very incomplete copy: in fact, from what could have been some magician’s notes from the complete manuscript. The Italian versions, on the other hand, seem to have been compiled with reference to a very complete manuscript whose whereabouts is not now known”.
  • (1979) an edition published by Acorn Press (US). This book says its translation is based on the 1672 and 1861 editions, but this is most likely a lie.
  • 30739(1994) Grimoirium Verum by Plangiere, (hardcover) published by Trident Books. According to the publisher’s prospectus “this edition of Grimoirium Verum is unique in its completeness, verifiable authenticity and never-before published material. (…) An appendix, The Book of the Black Serpent, has been added to this edition. Previously unpublished, it supplements the demonology in Grimoirium Verum in addition to making a rare Golden Dawn tract on angelology available.” Furthermore, the publisher feels “justified in saying that for all we know the Grimoirium Verum is more original than the Key of Solomon; or that it is one of original books of the Library of Hermes, or even the magical libraries of the Babylonians.” Dan Harms criticizes the Trident editions by saying that it’s basically a remarketing of the Shah material, and that it doesn’t constitute an independent translation in its own right.
  • (1994) Index to The grimoirium verium [sic] (1994 Trident Books version) compiled and edited by Frater Zarathustra, published by the Technology Group (El Sobrante, Calif), pp.: iii, 32 leaves.
  • (1997) Grimoirium Verum (paperback), published by Trident Books.
  • (1999) digital edition and translation by Joseph H. Peterson on esotericarchives.com (seperate as wel as parallel Italian, French, and English versions). Peterson supplied missing figures from versions found in other grimoires. In this edition the French text has been rearranged to conform with the Italian editon.
  • (2007) Grimorium Verum, a paperback by J. H. Peterson, published by CreateSpace. This is a critical edition which includes a translation based on all the major sources, complete French and Italian texts, and 5 other appendices. It has received many positive reviews on Amazon. One reviewer gives us an idea of the contents of this edition: afbeelding-31a lineage of the work as it relates to other pieces belonging to the Solomonic cycle; an outline of the demonic theology subscribed to in the work; a study of the relation of textual sources and the contrasts between the French and Italian editions; inclusion of the Rare and Surprising Secrets of magic and Conjurations for the Other Days of the Week from the Italian editions, and The Great Kabbalah of the Green Butterfly as well as Other Secrets in their entirety; a compiled translation from the various editions; footnotes that justify every editorial choice or give alternate readings; miss-identified seals are set in their proper places; a listing of alternate spellings of spirit names from the various sources; 150 pages of appendices, including an index of demonic names, alternate drawings and figures, as well as the complete French and Italian versions of the work for your comparison. According to the same reviewer this publication probably stands as the definitive edition of the Grimorium Verum.
  • (2008) additional source material to the textual tradition of the Grimorium Verum was published with Skinner & Rankine’s The Veritable Key of Solomon 207649189(Golden Hoard Press). Up to 2008, the standard edition of this other most famous grimoire called The Key of Solomon was S.L. MacGregor Mathers’ translation (1889), which was in fact compiled from diverse sections drawn from seven different manuscripts. Skinner and Rankine explored all the extant source material on this grimoire, and found two previously overlooked French manuscripts that were copied for a French aristocrat in 1796 (!). One of these manuscripts was the one referred to by English novelist, poet, playwright, and politician Bulwer-Lytton in his classic nineteenth century magical novel of initiation, Zanoni, and another one contains an early version of the material later found in the Grimorium Verum.
  • (2009) The True Grimoire translated and edited by Jake Stratton-Kent (Scarlet Imprint). This volume was just recently released in a limited edition of a 1000 copies, and is meant as a contribution to the study and actual practice of Goetic magic. afbeelding-6According to the publisher, Jake Stratton-Kent (who is a well known UK English qaballist and practicing necromancer) has reconstructed a working version of the Grimorium Verum from the corrupted Italian and French versions. This edition places the Grimorium Verum in a grimoire tradition with links back to the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri and the necromancy of the original Goes, as well as within living traditions, and restores the neglected Grimorium Verum to it’s rightful place as a potent and coherent system of Goetic magic. Furthermore insights are given into the Dragon Rouge, Key of Solomon, Lemegeton, Abramelin, Honorius and the Black Pullet, and the nature of Astaroth is definitively set down.

The web wouldn’t be the web if you couldn’t find an electronic version of the Grimorium Verum online, see the example listed below. Note that the sources of such files are often clouded in mystery, so don’t blame me if your favorite demon doesn’t appear right away!

References

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One Response to “Grim Editions – The Grimorium Verum”

  1. grimoires Says:

    It seems another version of the Grimorium Verum was published by I.G.O.S. (Palm Springs: 1996), which offers the text in both French and English. I.G.O.S. is the International Guild of Occult Sciences, a college and research society located in Palm Springs, CA. They are said to have a huge catalog, with hundreds of books, products, and reports. The people that run IGOS also run the International Guild of Advanced Sciences (IGAS), an organization that specializes in the field of radionics, psionics, etc. It seems that I.G.O.S. also published an Eng. translation of Cauzons La Magie et la Sorcerie en France in 1994.

    The domain http://www.igos.org is currently for sale, and on the site of IGAS they seem to sell mysterious Chi Generators..

    I found the reference to this 1996 ed. GV right here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/13154952/The-Study-of-Solomonic-Magic-in-English. (p.8)

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