Reading The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation

The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation — Including the Demotic Spells: Edited by Hans Dieter Betz. University of Chicago Press. 1996. 353pp.
Reviewed by Jake Stratton-Kent

While this is not exactly a new book it is difficult to over emphasise its value to practicing magicians, so that promoting it here is readily justified. To begin with, one of the most important rituals in the Crowley canon — the so called Bornless Rite — was derived from just one of the rituals in this collection, only a fraction of which was available at the time. Comparison with several other rites in the collection shows clearly that said ritual was one of a genre; many of the names and titles used recur often and are plainly ‘Typhonian’.

In addition this kind of material was the origin of much of the grimoire genre, from magical symbols, through procedures, right down to the attribution of such handbooks to Solomon or Moses. However, whereas the grimoires compromised with religious orthodoxy in various ways, this material is pristine, with no concessions to an unsympathetic religious background. In short, it is a first class repository of ancient magic. My own copy has approximately twenty page tags permanently attached, the highest number of any book in my collection.