The Key of Solomon is the most famous and important of all Grimoires, or handbooks of Magic. As A.E. Waite has stated (BCM, pg. 58) “At the head of all, and, within certain limits, the inspiration and the source of all, stands the Key of Solomon. … Mr. Mathers’ presentation of the Key of Solomon, which is still in print, though the work of an uncritical hand, must be held to remove the necessity for entering into a detailed account of the contents of that curious work. … The Key of Solomon can scarcely be judged accurately in the light of its English version, for the translator, preternaturally regarding it as a highly honourable memorial of lawful magic, has excised as much as possible the Goëtic portions, on the ground that they are interpolations, which is of course arbitrary.”
Mr. Waite’s harsh criticism is hardly justified. In fact, Mathers excised very little. Actually, three of the four significant excisions are operations dealing with love magic (Colorno, chapters 11-13: The experiment of Love, and how it should be performed; The experiment or operation of the fruit; Of the operation of love by her dreams, and how one must practice it. The fourth excision is chapter 14: Operations and experiments regarding hate and destruction of enemies.)
It is true that the Mathers edition would not be considered critical by modern standards of scholarship (but Waite’s editions of various esoteric texts leave far more to be desired than Mathers’). Especially wanting are a proper critical apparatus, an analysis of the relation between manuscripts, and better utilization of the Latin and Italian manuscripts. Nevertheless, this edition has stood the test of time.
A magical grimoire of sigils and rituals for summoning and mastering spirits, The Key of Solomon the King is the most famous, or infamous, of all magick books. It has influenced everything from the revival of magick and the Western Mystery Traditions (tarot, alchemy, astrology, etc.) to fictional works such as Lovecraft’s The Necronomicon.
Purported to have been penned by King Solomon himself, the book provides instruction for incantations, rituals, and sigils used to call upon and control spirits and demons. Those practicing magick have used it extensively through the centuries, but its true origins and purpose have been lost in the mists of time.
No library of the contemporary occult student or practicing magician is complete without this tome. It remains a standard of esoteric lore by which others are measured. This edition includes a new foreword by noted esoteric scholar Joseph Peterson.
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