Top 10 Spell Books That Are Actually Real

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Top 10 Spell Books That Are Actually Real

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Emily Blair
You won't find these in your local library. For this list, we'll be looking at grimoires, also known as spellbooks, that contain allegedly authentic instructions on how to perform magical spells and rituals. Our countdown includes The Book of St. Cyprian, The Black Pullet, The Book of Shadows, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Real Life Spellbooks


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Real Life Spellbooks.

For this list, we’ll be looking at grimoires, also known as spellbooks, that contain allegedly authentic instructions on how to perform magical spells and rituals. We’re excluding funerary texts that incorporate spells, although if you’re worried about the afterlife, arm up with the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Do you believe in magic? Let us know in the comments!

#10: The Book of St. Cyprian

There are actually multiple grimoires attributed to this third century figure, a pagan magician who converted to Christianity and was martyred - at least according to legend. The most fascinating text is arguably the Portuguese version, dating back to the 19th century. It includes a description of the legend of St. Cyprian and instructions on alchemy, divination, exorcism, and love magic. What’s most unique about this grimoire however is that it also contains maps to sites of hidden treasure and details on how to obtain magical riches. Some editions even include the success story of one French peasant who used the maps to successfully find treasure.

#9: Arbatel De Magia Veterum (Arbatel: Of the Magic of the Ancients)

Of all the spellbooks on this list, this one seems most likely to be used by Glinda the Good Witch. Published in Switzerland in 1575, this book won’t tell you how to perform dark magic to harm others, but it will tell you how to live a kind, honest, and charitable life. Though it deals with matters of the occult, the most frequently cited work in the Arbatel is actually the Bible. The overarching theme of this grimoire is the positive relationship between humanity and the heavens. If you want to learn how to recruit the help of angels and other benevolent spirits in your life, this would be the book to use.

#8: The Sworn Book of Honorius

Dating back to at least the 14th century, this encyclopedic spellbook is an incredibly influential guide to medieval magic. According to the prologue, a group of magicians facing persecution at the hands of the Catholic Church came together to compile all of their magical knowledge into this oathbound volume. Thus, the Sworn Book of Honorius was published with 93 chapters containing virtually everything there was to know about magic, from summoning demons to finding treasure. Originally, students of magic reportedly had to take an oath of secrecy before being allowed to read it; any copy they made went with them to the grave upon their death. Today, however, the secret is out: you can easily buy it on Amazon.

#7: The Black Pullet

From 18th century France, this spellbook is unique because the information within it is presented as more of a narrative than an instruction manual. The text tells the story of a French officer sent by Napoleon on an expedition to Egypt. There, he meets an elderly Turkish man who teaches him all the secrets of magical talismans. These mystical engraved objects give the wearer supernatural protection and special powers, such as the ability to summon a djinn, and make the djinn bring your own true love. For those with more material ambitions, you could try summoning the titular Black Pullet itself, a hen that lays golden eggs that can provide you with infinite riches.

#6: The Greek Magical Papyri

By far the oldest entry on this list, this collection of ancient magical knowledge has sections that date back over two thousand years. The book is a collection of papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt, written primarily in Ancient Greek, that contains magical spells, recipes, and rituals that were supposedly used by magicians throughout the Mediterranean region for centuries. The collection includes spells that promise to grant one the ability to see the future, and instructions on how to create a figurine similar to a voodoo doll. The papyri were compiled and published as one book during the nineteenth century, which is now widely available today.

#5: The Lesser Key of Solomon

While other grimoires contain a wide variety of magical information, this book is strictly limited to demonology - and on that subject it is very thorough. Split into five sections, the Lesser Key of Solomon lists 72 different demons, complete with descriptions, as well as instructions on how to summon them and make them do your bidding. The book claims to have been written by King Solomon, but the most well known version of the text is only a few centuries old. Unknown author aside, this book is one of the most popular sources of demonology information and is given credence by many in the occult community.

#4: The Key of Solomon

So influential that it may have inspired the previous entry on this list, this spellbook is the quintessential collection of renaissance magic. Again, though it’s said to be written by King Solomon, the real author is unknown. Its contents include many spells and the methods of casting them, with all of the book’s magic being made possible by the power of God. Although the Church denounced the book as heresy, many clergymen in the 15th century studied the text in secret hoping to gain the wisdom and power the book claimed it could grant. Today, the book is available to read in its English translation for anyone who wants to learn more about these Solomonic spells.

#3: The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses

Allegedly written by Moses, this text claims to contain books of the Hebrew bible that were hidden or otherwise lost. It was first published in Germany around the nineteenth century. In keeping with the theme, the spells within this book are explicitly biblical, including many of the same spells Moses allegedly used to perform miracles like parting the Red Sea. Due to advancements in printing press technology, this grimoire became one of the most widely circulated in the world, spreading throughout Europe, the Americas, and parts of Africa. As a result, the spellbook is significant to diverse groups, from “folk magicians” in the Appalacians to Rastafarians in Jamaica.

#2: Simon Necronomicon

This grimoire may have been published in 1977, but it’s not as far removed from some of the older spellbooks as you might think. If the name sounds familiar, you likely know it from an H.P. Lovecraft story, or from the Evil Dead series. In addition to a Lovecraftian influence, this version contains elements of Middle Eastern mythology and an overarching theme of good vs. evil. Though its authenticity as a grimoire has been contested due to it being so clearly inspired by fictional works, most of the spells and rituals within the book are copied directly from other spellbooks. Most older grimoires were compiled the same way, meaning this newer text is arguably just as authentic as any other.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Galdrabok (Book of Magic)
An Icelandic Book of Magical Healing Spells

Picatrix
A Book of Astrology & Occult Magic Filled with Gruesome and Dangerous Spells

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (False Monarchy of Demons)
A List of 69 Demons & How to Summon Them

Petit Albert
A French Book of Household Magic & Recipes

The Magus
An Occult Handbook Compiling Spells & Ceremonies from “The Most Famous Magicians”

#1: Book of Shadows

Though it’s less than a hundred years old, this book is the most influential magical text for modern lovers of the occult. Between the late 1940s and early 50s, English Wiccan Gerald Gardner composed it from knowledge he claimed to have acquired from a coven of witches. It went on to become one of the founding texts for Wicca. Partly a religious text, and partly a spellbook, it borrows elements from other occult sources, such as the works of magician and self-styled prophet Aleister Crowley. To remove Crowley’s influence, it was rewritten by the High Priestess of Gardner’s coven, Doreen Valiente. Some covens and practitioners also have their own versions. Though its origins and authenticity have been debated, the Book of Shadows has shaped how people view the occult today.
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