Thursday, September 6, 2012
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Picatrix is the name used today, and historically in Christian Europe, for a grimoire originally written in Arabic titled غاية الحكيم Ġāyat al-Ḥakīm, which most scholars assume was written in the middle of the 11th century, though a supported argument for composition in the first half of the 10th century has been made. The Arabic title has been translated as "The Aim of the Sage" or "The Goal of The Wise". The original Arabic work was translated into Spanish and then into Latin during the 13th century. The name "Picatrix" is also sometimes used to refer to the author.
Picatrix is a composite work that synthesizes older works on magic and astrology. One of the most influential interpretations suggests it is to be regarded as a "handbook of talismanic magic".
Hermeticism, Sabianism, Ismailism, astrology, alchemy and magic produced in the Near East in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D." According to Eugenio Garin "In reality the Latin version of the Picatrix is as indispensable as the Corpus Hermeticum or the writings of Albumasar for understanding a conspicuous part of the production of the Renaissance, including the figurative arts." It has significantly influenced West European magical thinking from Marsilio Ficino in the 15th century, to Thomas Campanella in the 17th century. The manuscript in the British Library passed through several hands: Simon Forman, Richard Napier, Elias Ashmole and William Lilly.
Spanish from the Arabic by order of Alphonso X of Castile at some time between 1256 and 1258. The Latin version was produced sometime later, based on translation of the Spanish manuscripts. It has been attributed to Maslama ibn Ahmad al-Majriti (an Andalusian mathematician), but many have called this attribution into question. Consequently, the author is sometimes indicated as "Pseudo-Majriti".
(text borrowed from an ad and from wikipedia)
"This is the leading text of Islamic Occultism, written by the mysterious Cabbalistic Sufi Ahmad al-Buni. This work is about the Secrets of the Asma Al-Husna (the 99 “Excellent Names” of God), the mysteries of the Huruf Muqatta’at of the Qur’an (the enigmatic letters appearing at the start of some chapters), and it discusses the influence exercised by the sun, moon and stars at the time of preparing prayer-charts or phylacteries. There is a great deal on magic squares, numerology, alchemy, amulets, many formulae for day-to-day use, and much more. The Shams al-Ma’arif rivals the Picatrix in importance. Most of the "time-tested" books on sorcery in the Muslim world are simplified excerpts from the Shams al-Ma’arif. Both the Picatrix and the Shams al-Ma’arif were probably a model for H. P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon. More intriguing, perhaps, is the similarity between some of the symbols in the Shams al-Ma’arif and the veves of the Voodoo tradition."
Arabic: أحمد البوني), his complete name is Sharaf al-Din or Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Yusuf al-Buni al-Maliki al-Amazighi. Born in the city of Bône (Annaba), Algeria (died 1225) Ahamd al-Buni was a well known Sufi and writer on the esoteric value of letters and topics relating to mathematics, sihr (sorcery) and spirituality, but very little is known about him. Al-Buni lived in Egypt and learned from many eminent Sufi masters of his time.
A contemporary of Ibn Arabi, he is best known for writing... the Shams al-Ma'arif, a book that is still regarded as the foremost occult text on talismans and divination. It was to be banned soon after as heretical by followers of the Islamic orthodoxy.
Instead of sihr (Sorcery), this kind of magic was called Ilm al-Hikmah (Knowledge of the Wisdom), Ilm al-simiyah (Study of the Divine Names) and Ruhaniyat (Spirituality). Most of the so-called mujarrabât ("time-tested methods") books on sorcery in the Muslim world are simplified excerpts from the Shams al-ma`ârif. The book remains the seminal work on Theurgy and esoteric arts to this day.
In c. 1200, Ahmad al-Buni showed how to construct magic squares using a simple bordering technique, but he may not have discovered the method himself. Al-Buni wrote about Latin squares and constructed, for example, 4 x 4 Latin squares using letters from one of the 99 names of Allah. His works on traditional healing remains a point of reference among Yoruba Muslim healers in Nigeria and other areas of the Muslim world.
Al-Buni also made regular mention in his work of Plato, Aristotle, Hermes, Alexander the Great, and obscure Chaldean magicians. In one of his works, he recounted a story of his discovery of a cache of manuscripts buried under the pyramids, that included a work of Hermetic thinkers.
Shams al-Ma'arif or Shams al-Ma'arif wa Lata'if al-'Awarif
Arabic: كتاب شمس المعارف ولطائف العوارف, lit. "The Book of the Sun of Gnosis and the Subtleties of Elevated Things") is a 13th-century grimoire written on Arabic magic and a manual for achieving esoteric spirituality. It was written by quasi-Qabalistic Sufi Sheikh Ahmad bin Ali Al-buni in Egypt, who died around 1225 CE (622 AH). The Shams al-Ma'arif is generally regarded as the most influential textbook of its type in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and is arguably as important as, if not more than, the Picatrix in both hemispheres. In contemporary form the book consists of two volumes; Shams al-Ma'arif al-Kubra and Shams al-Ma'arif al-Sughra, the former being the larger of the two. The first few chapters introduce the reader to magic squares, and the combination of numbers and the alphabet that are believed to bring magical effect, which the author insists is the only way to communicate with genies, angels and spirits.