The mysteries of the Picatrix – the ancient Arabic text considered to be the ultimate magical handbook.
Download link of an PDF version of the translated Picatrix at the end of the article
It is referred to as the Picatrix, the four-hundred-page book containing comprehensive details of magic and astrology which explains to the reader how to create magical statues, talismans and even entire cities using the power of astrology. While the book is considered to be rather obscure today, it has enjoyed vogues of enormous popularity since the 11th century. But despite its historical importance, the authorship of the book remains a matter of great dispute.
“Through this ancient manuscript…the reader could attract and channel the energy of the cosmos so that a certain event develops according to the will of the practitioner, zodiacal magic; which is said to help master and dominate with accuracy—through the force of the universe—nature and its surroundings.”
It is believed that the book was originally written in Arabic and arrived in Europe through the Moorish invaders of Spain where it was translated into Spanish. Later, in the thirteenth century, it was translated into the franca lingua of the day, Latin where is spread throughout Europe. While the original Spanish text has been lost over the years, there are still multiple examples of the Latin text in existence dating from between the 15th and the 18th centuries.
The majority of scholars who are interested in the unusual text believe that the Picatrix was originally composed by Abū- Maslama Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn ‘Abd al-da’im al-Majrīt in the eleventh century. Al-Majrit was an astronomer, mathematician and an alchemist who had a specific interest in the magical knowledge accumulated by Middle Eastern scholars between the 8th and 9th centuries. However, while he seems like the most likely candidate to have penned the astrological handbook some scholars believe that it may have been written by an Arab mathematician named al-Maijriti in the eleventh century.
While the true identity of the author may always remain a mystery, one thing is for certain – following the book’s arrival in Europe it took on a life of its own. Multiple readers from all over the continent read the book with fascination to learn how they could channel the energy of the planets using numerology and the lunar calendar to manipulate the physical world around them. The book also contains details about how to build and animate magical statues, how to create magical talismans and details about entire cities being constructed using the power of astrology.
In addition to the comprehensive details about numerology and the lunar calendar, the ancient text also contains a huge number of recipes for magical potions that would allow the potion master to control the spirits of the earth. Many of these potions contained mind-altering ingredients including hashish, opium and other psychoactive plants while others included some deeply unusual ingredients including blood, sperm, urine, earwax, tears, and saliva.
Whether the book was considered to be an interesting curiosity by its readership over the centuries or whether they attempted to use the spells to alter the course of history is still a mystery.