The Sworn and Secret Grimoire by the Master Arbatel
‘Jake Stratton-Kent has done a fabulous job of presenting the essence of grimoiric magic in a workable form which not only maintains but evolves the tradition.’ — David Rankine
A ‘Guide to Grimoiring’ is well overdue, with unqualified persons claiming to fill the gap only to muddy the waters further. Simplifying the processes involved is unhelpful, what is required is to render them comprehensible and ‘user friendly’ in a time where they are regaining their deserved prestige as monuments of a tradition preceding the Christian era while nonetheless rooted in it. These processes are demanding and require both work and study in order to succeed. So too the ‘by rote’ attitude exhibited by some writers on the subject requires a counterblast. Forging and reforging grimoires has always been a part of their real nature; in a metallurgical as well as a literary sense. Ritual composition from scratch is a neglected but necessary skill, requiring a qualified and informed approach, which the current work addresses. So too this handbook departs from the homogenised ‘Solomonic’ form, drawing instead on the great iconoclast and revitaliser of tradition, Paracelsus. While avoiding Christophobia, the implications for a more pagan (or pagan friendly) approach to the grimoires, compatible with the Greek Magical Papyri and other predecessor forms, are greatly increased by this shift of emphasis.
Welcome to the Night School
JSK’s Sworn and Secret Grimoire is not at all a ready-made modern grimoire. Instead, it challenges its reader in similar ways like the cryptic composition and language of the Arbatel has been challenging readers for more than four centuries: points where meaning-making is breaking off, where one’s understanding – like the Tarot’s fool – walks out over the edge into Otherness, are not at all flaws of the newly arranged text, but an explicit invitation to reforge the material into each practitioner’s own practice. — Frater Acher, reviewed for ParalibrumThe Sw