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The Picatrix: Grandfather of Grimoires

The Arabic Picatrix was hugely influential on European magic, a true “grandfather of grimoires”.

The Picatrix (original title Ġāyat al-Ḥakīm, “The Goal of the Wise”) is one of the first and most famous magical books of the middle ages. Its pages contain rites for raising spirits, mystical instructions, recipes for magical potions, incense-making instructions, names of demons, curses, blessings, talismans, sigils, planetary prayers and astrological figurations. The Picatrix was hugely influential on European magic, a true “grandfather of grimoires”. Originally written in Arabic, then soon after translated into Latin, it has never been fully translated into English, hence the Picatrix has been somewhat inaccessible to the modern reader unfamiliar with Latin or Arabic. Since it is not in print, tonight’s speaker will both introduce the grimoire and aim to bring it alive. She will take us into the world of the Picatrix: its Arabic origins, its extraordinary magical contents, and its huge influence upon occult ritual and magic in Europe through the entire pre-modern period. A talk for all lovers of magic and its history in the West.

Liana Saif is researching a doctorate at Birkbeck, University of London. She holds an M.A. in Renaissance Studies and is working on the links between Arabic and European magical texts in the pre-modern period.

Further Reading. Two solar rituals from the Picatarix: http://picatrix.mike-rock.com/sun.php. The Prologue: http://picatrix.mike-rock.com/.


Liana Saif | talks


Date and Time:

4 March 2008 at 7:15 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Treadwell's Books
33 Store Street
020 7419 8507

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