The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy
Cornelius Agrippa was one of the most important and influential occult philosophers of the 16th century. It is known that Cornelius wrote three books on the occult sciences, but it seems that he had nothing to do with the fourth book, which appeared a short time after his death. This book of spirit conjuration blackened the name of Agrippa at a time when the witch trials were being stoked across Europe.
Published in the early 1800s and written by the British occultist and balloonist Francis Barrett, The Magus was a collection of 17th-century occult science, and, in essence, borrowed heavily from an English edition of the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy. Its influence has been considerable, especially with the occult revival of the late 19th century and contemporary magical traditions. In the early 20th century, a plagiarized version produced by an American entrepreneur and entitled The Great Book of Magical Art, Hindu Magic and East Indian Occultism became much sought after in the United States.
This mysterious book of secret wisdom was written in the eighth century by a crazed Yemeni poet. Despite being a literary fiction, several “real” Necronomicons have been published over the decades, and today it has as much a right to be considered a grimoire, even though it is actually a work of fiction by horror maestro HP Lovecraft.
The Sixth & Seventh Books of Moses
From Germany, this grimoire spread to America through the Pennsylvania Dutch, and once in cheap print was subsequently adopted by a large number of African Americans. With its mystical symbols, spirit conjurations and psalms, this book of the secret wisdom of Moses was a founding text of Rastafarianism and various religious movements in west Africa, as well as a cause célèbre in post-war Germany.
The Clavicule of Solomon
Mystical books purporting to be written by infamous King Solomon were already circulating in the eastern Mediterranean during the first few centuries AD. By the 15th century, thousands of copies were in the hands of Western scientists and even clergymen. While some denounced these Solomonic texts as heretical, many clergymen secretly read and learned from them.
This grimoire symbolizes the huge cultural impact of the cheap print revolution of the early 18th century. The flood gates of magical knowledge were opened during the Enlightenment, and the Petit Albert became a name to reckon with across France and its colonies. As well as practical household tips, it included spells to catch fish, charms for healing, and instructions on how to make a Hand of Glory, which would render one invisible. This was the go-to grimoire for the everyday person.