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Ancient History
Before the Awakening, there were books of magic, which ranged from scholarly treatises and lists of spells to fantastic lists of demons, angels, and other spirits. The actual number of these books remained fairly low for the bulk of human history; it wasn't until increasing literacy, printing technology, and a demand for the stuff caused the deluge of magical and pseudomagical books that stock the datastores of today's New Age section.

What many people tend to forget is that those ancient, original works on magic are just as relevant today as the latest copy of the Manual of Practical Thaumaturgy. The language might be difficult and solid theory ensconced with mysticism and allegory, but these books still form the basis of many modern magical traditions. While most of them are best understood as strictly theoretical, the canny magician can wheedle a little actual power out of these works...and did I mention they're all available online and for free these days?

The Key of Solomon
Clavis Salomonis is an influental 15th century book on magic that forms part of the fundamentals of the Hermetic library. According to its own introduction, the book was originally written by King Solomon himself, the legendary Jewish monarch who constructed the First Temple in Jerusalem, before the kingdom of Israel split, and to whom later legends attest a number of mystical feats. The text itself is split into two "books." The first describes how the "exorcist" (the term for magician) invokes the power of God while performing certain "experiments" (magical operations). The second book describes various preparations and requirements for the "exorcist," including rituals of purification and construction of tools.

I really prefer the 2042 annotated version of this work by Julia Mairtin, Ph.D.Th., which just about triples its length if you click on all the channels regarding its historical importance and influences - personally, I just stick to the practical bits. You have to take some of the God-talk with a grain of salt unless you're an out-and-out theurgist, but there's a lot of practical information in the Key of Solomon regarding the basics of ritual theory and enchanting. Julie warns the users that while some of your basic spells today started off here in the Key of Solomon, the modern versions are relatively safe while these most definitely are not. Definitely watch the embedded clip where that guy in 2016 managed to autoflay himself while casting an invisibility spell.

[ Spoiler ]

The Lemegeton
Also known as The Lesser Key of Solomon or Clavicula Solomon, the Lemegeton is a 17th-century follow-up to the Clavis Solomon and is considered the most popular pre-Awakening work on demonology, and the famous Goetia edition of 1904 was translated by Mathers and Crowley. The anonymous author based their text on a number of mideval grimoires, some from the 14th century, and uses many of the same conventions as the Key of Solomon, including the term "exorcist" for the magical practitioner. The text is divided into five parts, each of which deals with a different magical art - mainly concerning the summoning and binding of 72 demons, 31 aerie spirits, and various angels using complex seals, and is a primary source for the ritual circles used in some Hermetic summonings and the basis of spirit formulae as we know them today, but also the creation of almadels and a collection of spells at the end.

The Lemegeton is actually the more popular of the two Keys of Solomon, and I couldn't begin to tell you how many kids got their start "playing at magic" by drawing the seals and chanting the words to try and summon up a Prince or President of Hell. None of the demons actually work (despite many attempts), but the first elementals were conjured using the Lemegeton in 2012, and the rituals refined and recodified into something workable for the modern mage by 2013. On the down side, the Lemegeton also has a history of association with Faustians, corrupt mages, and other toxic magicians. Ownership is not restricted in most countries, but particular copies belonging to the Sons of the Fly, a trio of mass-murders who purportedly summoned toxic spirits to attack a downtown mall in San Antonio are known to have been destroyed or placed under lock and key in Lone Star vaults.

[ Spoiler ]

Pow-Wows, or the Long-Lost Friend
This is an 1820 book of German reciepts, or spells and talismans, published in America for the Pennsylvania Dutch. It made the rounds and carried some quite venerable charms into the rootwork of the south, influencing New Orleans Voodoo and some other magical practices. It deals primarily with medicine and simple ailments, and includes more than a few purely mundane recipes and the like. Few people these days are aware of it, and it is little more than a footnote in magical history.

That said, many theurgists have taken to speaking the morning prayer from the Long-Lost Friend before starting an astral journey, and some of the incantations against malign witchcraft are workable and useful during counterspelling and warding. If nothing else, the text sounds authentic and can be used when you need to put a little show in your magic for the mundanes. I know at least one magician who considers it something of a good luck charm because of a passage in the book that promises protection to those who carry it.

[ Spoiler ]

The Book of the Dead
This ancient Egyptian funerary text is the basis of much Heka magic, not to mention thousands of Hollywood sims regarding mummies. There are easily hundreds of translations, and the actual text itself developed, organized, and standardized over centuries of continuous use before the first European scholar ever made a bad translation of the text. The quality of the original copies varies considerably; the images are usually highly detailed while the text itself is truncated or wrong in most cases - it took Egyptologists a fair sample of papyrus examples of the Book of Dead to piece together what a "complete and correct" copy would look like (and then reprint it for gullible tourists and other Egyptologists).

Heka magicians prefer to use very elaborate versions of the Book of the Dead as grimoires and their copies come with all sorts of extras - I've seen e-scrolls with mechanical scarab drones that attack anyone who doesn't match the magician's biometric data, for example. The Judges of Duat in particular are known for their outstanding grimoires based on the Book of the Dead, many of them done in a mixture of media but incorporating a lot of lapis lazuli and gold leaf. The copies from the souk in Dubai are just gorgeous.

[ Spoiler ]

Ancient History
Okay, so they can't all be winners...
You know, I'm tempted to put in a bit of Deadlands into Shadowrun and write something up for the original "Hoyle's Guide to Poker". nyahnyah.gif
Coldhand Jake
I'd love to see you dive into more of this, AH. John Dee's Enochian squares, the Unspeakable Names, etc. Especially, I'd like to see the ideas on Cthonic magical traditions in SR...for when you really, really, want to summon up the gibbering wigglies.
ic.gif Cahotic: "Well, don't get your hopes too high. There's this book I've bought in a strange bookshop in France, near the SOX. Le Grimoire du Chaos. As I'm what some would call a Chaos Mage (actually more of a cahotic mage ohplease.gif ) I thought it'd be interesting. It turned out it wasn't exactly about Chaos Magic, but about demons, according to the pictures and the few words I could get. I got it translated just to realize it was a worthless fantasy book full of made-up folklore for an imaginary world.
Believe me, I looked stupid when I tried their ritual to summon demons by rolling dices!"

ooc.gif It actually happened in game: my mage was in France near the SOX and decided to look for magic shop. What he found was a RPG shop and he bought a Warhammer RPG sourcebook.
Well, I've actually got several of these books, including a reprint of the Mathers version of the Clavicula Salominus, Tyson's Tetragrammaton on Enochian magic, the Grimoirium Verum by Alibeck, and A.E. Waite's summaries of the Arbatel, Enchiridion, Clavis Salomonis, Magical Elements, Cornelius Agrippa's Fourth Book, and the Grand Grimoire.

If I have some time I'll pull them off the shelf and make a few shadowchat-esque postings on them.

--Edit: I forgot I still had copies of my old Mage website where I had information on the books posted. I'll recycle the material.
The Grand Grimoire

While many refer to the Grimoire as little more than a retread of the Keys of Solomon, it does in fact contain surprisingly useful knowledge for the practicing hermetic. Many modern thaumaturgists are turned off by certain aspects of the Grimoire, primarily the appeals to spirits that at first glance feels more shamanic. However ignoring the spiritualist connotations, many of the rituals are useful for enchanting.

Key to the Karcist is the "Blasting Rod" used to threaten spirits. Though the rituals as written require adjustments (not to mention work-arounds given the general lack of available sacrificial goats), the methods used to create the Blasting Rod will produce a functional summoning focus.

-->>{Most Karcists find that the Blasting Rod enchantments are more effective for banishing foci than summoning. }<<--Adonay

-->>{Karcist? }<<--RikiTik

-->>{Adherents to The Grand Grimoire are known as Karcists. }<<--Adonay

-->>{Side note: Eliphas Levi used the The Grimoire's unique naming conventions in many of his works without attribution. }<<--TriviAL

It is not recommended that those not of the Judeo-Christian faith utilize the summoning rituals provided. The symbology is so pervasive that any doubt or discomfort on the part of the summoner is almost guaranteed to corrupt the summoning. At best nothing happens and only time is wasted, however it is more common that the summon will fail to control the mystical forces and either be struck down especially hard by the drain of summoning or the spirit is set free.

-->>{Wait, these rituals only work for Christians? }<<--RikiTik

-->>{No, they'll work for any hermetic, assuming they don't sabotage themselves. There are certain cultural and social memes that are ingrained from childhood and any mage opposing an ingrained meme tends to have a hard time of it. Most people are uncomfortable using the trappings of a religion they don't believe in. That discomfort distracts the mage. Distracted mages tend to have bad days.}<<--PilingHigherandDeeper

For those who are curious, the summonings detailed in the Grimoire are based in part on circles and characters similar to that of the Key of Solomon however they diverge significantly in many details. The characters must be written with the blood of the operator or that of a sea-tortoise, or alternately engraved on an emerald or ruby and worn on the wrist by men or between the breasts of women.

Then the operator must acquire a virgin goat that is to be slain in a particular manner on the third day of the moon. The goat must have a garland of the herb vervain tied by a green ribbon about its neck. The occultist's right arm should be bare to the shoulder and they should have a strong steel knife and a fire of white wood. The sacrifice must follow a particular process and be done at the location the actual summoning is to be done.

A number of additional rituals, evocations, prayers and materials need to be crafted prior to the actual summoning. These rites are quite exacting and require an extensive amount of time and effort to enact correctly. I do not find it prudent nor worth my time to enumerate them here except to say that it would take me over an hour simply to document the tasks and prayers needed.
Tetragrammaton -Enochian Magic

Enochian is a language attributed to the Elizabethan mystic, John Dee. Dee had instigated communication with an angel named Raphiel but his own powers were weak in that realm so he employed the seer Edward Kelley. Kelley wished to be an alchemist, like Dee, and apprenticed himself and his talents to Dee. It was appropriated by the Golden Dawn, who based much of their rituals on Dee and Kelley's diaries.

The tetragrammaton, literally "four letters" are the name of God, JHVH (commonly pronounced Jehova), or more appropriately the hebrew characters yod, he, veh, he. Kabbalistic lore involves numerology that can transform JHVH into "man+woman=family", (1+1=3), "man in god's image" and more.

One of the more insightful, and possibly disturbing, aspects of the Kaballistic view of the tetragrammaton is that it is composed of four characters, one of them doubled. The classic analogy was that it was a pyramid, with a stable tripod base, with the redundant he being an aspect of God that mankind couldn't see, standing beneath God. The modern Kabbalist would say that God is a higher being, aka 4-dimensional, and mankind is only able to see him as a three-dimensional being.

-->>{God is a hyper-triangle? }<<--FlatSpace

-->>{Smart aleck-ery aside, the idea that thousands of years ago mystics had insight into n-dimensional math is stupefying. }<<--IntegratedoverPi

-->>{Why? Because discovery and insight couldn't exist prior to the Rennaisance? }<<--Archibald

The fundamental concept of Enochian and tetragrammatonic magic is that man is made in God's image and that all nature must obey when mankind displays its divine aspect.

-->>{That's pretty conceited. Who other than sociopaths think they are divine?}<<--IrthaKit

-->>{You conjure fire with a gesture and heal by force of will and tell me that you aren't touching your inner divinity. }<<--Adonay

-->>{I'm touching my inner divinity right now. }<<--Chester

Enochian sorcery, as compared to summoning, is focused on the use of somatic components tied to the tetragrammaton. Yod is "north", the "He"s are at east and west, and Ve is south. The western He is the terminus of the Tetragrammaton and is typically identified in bold face. The magician concentrates on his own ascended nature, mentally and/or verbally enunciates the letters and makes the corresponding gestures to evoke the Wings of the Winds, mostly referred to as angels but sometimes depersonalized as forces of nature.

Enochians believe the personification of the spirits is a convenient construct to make them more comprehensible to human minds but one that leaves aspects of them concealed, much like the shadow He. Each angel has a gender association, a direction, astrological sign, handedness, and element. A mystic attempts to invoke an angel that is most in synergy with their own natures.

An enochian mage casting a mind-control spell would invoke the angel Vamediah, who's banner is HeVehYodHe. The mage's hand would start in the "west" He position, diagonal southeast to Veh, upwards to Yod and southeast again to He. This is a "water" symbol, which may not be amenable to all casters.

A "fire" aligned enochian would invoke Hatakaiah using Yod-HeVeHe.

Counterspelling merely requires mirroring the symbols. Thus to disrupt or block a mind control spell the fire mage would use Yod-HeVeHe.

QUOTE (Ancient History @ Sep 13 2008, 12:04 PM) *
Okay, so they can't all be winners...

Heh don't undersell yourself bro - I liked it now that I got around to reading it biggrin.gif I'd love to see more.

QUOTE (CanRay @ Sep 13 2008, 12:10 PM) *
You know, I'm tempted to put in a bit of Deadlands into Shadowrun and write something up for the original "Hoyle's Guide to Poker". nyahnyah.gif

Aw frikken sweet biggrin.gif If you do perhaps a formal huckster tradition as well please? cyber.gif
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