Wednesday, 23 March 2011

PICATRIX - complete 1933 German version for free download

This is going to be a pretty short post... Actually, it simply is a link with a tiny bit of context. But what a link it is! 

The Picatrix (latin title of the original "Ġāyat al-ḥakīm wa aḥaqq al-natīǧatain bi-'l-taqdīm") is famous as being the mother of all grimoires. Its four books represent the major compendium of arabic sources on magic, astrology and talismans that has survived until today. The full arabic version emerged in the 10th or 11th century and was translated into Spanish in 1256. Starting from the middle ages the book was copied into countless manuscripts and started to spread its influence across Europe to finally become a major pillar of hermetic magic as we know it.

Unfortunately the book had been unavailable in print for many centuries. Only recently have we seen English translations by Christopher Warnock as well as Ourobouros Press - the first to emerge since the middle ages! However, since 1933 the book has been available in a rare German translation published by the Warburg Institute before WWII and translated by the German philosopher Heinrich Ritter (* 21. November 1791; † 3. Februar 1869).

The 1933 German translation of the Picatrix is one of the finest pearls of occult publishing ever to see the light of day. Not only was the translation done by a deeply dedicated scholar who has also published an encyclopedic history of philosophy in 12 volumes. Thus a person who was closely familiar with the historic context of the sources that fed the arabic version of the Picatrix. But also does it contain an enlightening introduction by H.Ritter of 39 pages plus a an attempt of a summary of the entire work by Martin Plessner (* 30. Dezember 1900; † 27. November 1973) in 17 pages. These two prefaces to the original source text might be the most precise and informed introductions to the philosophy and origins of hermetic and arabic magic ever to be published in the West.        

Well, and here is the good news: the entire German version of the Picatrix is available as a free PDF download of 522 pages at the digital collections of the Warburg institute. Here is the link: 

Well, if this isn't making your day, or week or even entire year - I simply don't know what could?

1 comment:

  1. And here is the link to the entire scan of the 1458/59 edition of the Picatrix in the Biblioteka Jagiellonska, Krakow: