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Ch.20 Grimoires of Magick (WMB 20.a)

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @


Chapter 20, part a

Throughout this work reference has been made to a number of grimoires and their relevance to the Wiccan tradition. To give a clearer picture of the timescale involved we felt it was appropriate to show the line of descent of the relevant grimoires themselves, and also the level of earlier pagan input into the grimoire tradition.

The grimoires themselves really started from the thirteenth century and ran through to the eighteenth century. Prior to this the style of conjurations and practices found in them can be seen in an earlier form in the Greek Magickal Papyri and the Coptic Magickal Papyri. As the former of these contains practices from the second century BCE to the fifth century CE, and the latter from the first to twelfth century CE, we can see that there is a continuous chain of written magickal manuscripts extending more than two thousand years from late antiquity through to the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

The influence of works like the Greek Magickal Papyri can be seen in the level of classical material found within the grimoire tradition. Although the popular perception of the grimoire tradition is of a heavily Judeo-Christian framework, in fact there are also many elements which point to the influence of the classical religions and folk practices. The clearest of these are the number of deities from old religions who occur in the grimoires, sometimes by their own names and at other times in bastardised forms. Amongst these we see Roman and Greek deities like Apollo, Diana, Hades, Pluto, Python and Serapis, as well as other ancient deities like Astarte (Ashtoreth), Baal (Bael) and Horus (Hauros), and classical mythical creatures like Cerberus and the Phoenix (Phenex).

The grimoires also contain frequent references to working magick with fairies and elementals as well as angels and demons. Angels of course have pre-Christian roots, from the Sumerian winged guardian spirits through to the Intelligences of Aristotle and the writings of neo-Platonists like Porphyry and the theurgic writings of Iamblichus, to the angels of the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster. It was only in the sixth century that pseudo-Dionysus the Areopagite wrote the work Celestial Hierarchies which established the angelic hierarchy of nine orders of angels under the archangels that was to influence both the grimoires and Christian doctrine.

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.



My name is Sorita d'Este

and this is my website and blog!  Thanks for visiting - I hope you are finding what you are looking for!


Many years ago I dedicated myself to the pursuit of both esoteric knowledge, and an understanding of polytheism, the Gods and Nature.  I have been a full-time writer, author and publisher, specialising subjects linked to the occult, witchcraft, Paganism, mythology, ancient religions and magic - and all kinds of things in between since 2003. 


I live on a hill in Glastonbury, overlooking the marshes of Somerset,  a place of myth and legend, and a crossroad for many different religions. Here I am frequently found digging and growing, serving my fluffy rescue cat and navigating the unknown with my teenage son.  

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