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21. Grimoires of Magick (WMB 20.d)

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


Chapter 20, part d

The other grimoire we need to consider is the Grimoire of Pope Honorius, which should not be confused with the Sworn Book of Honorius. Copies of this black magick grimoire, usually in French, can be found dating from 1670 to 1800. The magick circle, calling of spiritual creatures at the cardinal points, and double-edged black-handled knife are all components it has in common with the subsequent Wiccan tradition.

The period of five hundred years or so which comprises the main corpus of the grimoire tradition from the thirteenth to eighteenth century also coincides with the witch trials and changes in attitude to magick from occasional tolerance to hostility to ridicule. The survival relatively unscathed of practitioners of grimoire magick may be due to their social position, as the surviving manuscripts have usually been passed through the hands of the educated social elite, such as royalty and aristocracy, clerics, doctors and lawyers. Nor can we ignore the scope of this tradition as a transmitter of magickal practice when we consider the high number of manuscripts that have survived. Research for another book has unearthed more than fifty different manuscripts of the Key of Solomon, for example. Allowing for the destruction of a high percentage of the manuscripts, this clearly shows that the grimoire tradition thrived for many centuries.

In the nineteenth century the tradition continued through the reproduction of the material in both books and by hand. This can be seen with the publication of Francis Barrett’s his classic work The Magus in 1801, which compiled large amounts of grimoire material with Qabalah and natural magick. Likewise in the early nineteenth century the occult book dealer John Denley, based in Covent Garden, London, employed Frederick Hockley to copy manuscripts for resale at a handsome profit. Hockley would later leave much of his material to the Freemason Kenneth Mackenzie, and some was also bought by Wynn Westcott, indicating the transmission of grimoire material into the Golden Dawn.[1]

That the two currents of the grimoires and witchcraft are interlinked has been demonstrated numerous times in this work, and the grimoires remain a useful source of information for Wiccans and other magickal practitioners.

[1] The Goetia of Dr Rudd, Skinner & Rankine, 2007

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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