About this Title
The Picatrix is the most famous grimoire of astrological magic and one of the most important works of medieval and Renaissance magic. With all four books, the complete text, in one volume, translated and annotated by the noted scholars, magicians and astrologers John Michael Greer and Christopher Warnock, Picatrix takes its rightful place as an essential occult text for modern esotericists. The Illustrated Picatrix contains over 120 illustrations, with images of the 7 planets and 28 Mansions of the Moon by Nigel Jackson as well as images of the 36 decans and 12 signs by Renaissance artists. This is an authentic ancient magical text, lucidly translated and fully annotated with over 400 footnotes.
From the Author
I was first introduced to Picatrix in 1998 by my magical teacher, Robert Zoller. At that time it was only available in Latin. What Latin I now have, I learned from working with Picatrix. John Greer and I worked together for over two years on this translation, and now finally, a complete and usable English translation of Picatrix is available.
This translation is indeed complete, including all four books of Picatrix, the most famous grimoire of astrological magic. We used the Pingree’s Latin critical edition, so this translation is authoritative, relying on multiple manuscripts, rather than on a single variant. Why translate from the Latin? Well, firstly John Greer, my co-translator, is an excellent Latinist, but neither of us has a sufficient grasp of medieval Arabic. However, what I do have is a mastery of traditional astrology. Picatrix is so heavily astrological that the non-expert is completely lost when it comes to making an intelligible translation. Some other translations, despite ostensibly being from Arabic, have suffered greatly from an almost complete lack of astrological knowledge, leaving large sections incoherent and incomprehensible.
By contrast, our translation of the Picatrix reveals its true sweep and splendor as Picatrix is both an exhaustive manual of practical astrological magic as well as an expansive treatise on the Hermetic philosophy of astrology, alchemy and magic. This translation includes an extensive introduction and copious annotations, over 450 footnotes for 300 pages of text!
Like Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy which relies heavily on it, Picatrix represents the distillation of many earlier works. Written circa AD 1000 in Moorish Spain and translated into Latin in 1256 at the court of the Castilian king Alphonso the Wise, Picatrix is an authentic ancient work. The author says he consulted over 200 books of magic, astrology and alchemy. Picatrix was and still remains the premier grimoire of astrological magic, the highest of high magic, combining, as it does, ceremonial magic with the precise timing of traditional astrology. Picatrix explains how to create hundreds of different types of astrological talismans, including planetary, Mansions of the Moon, decan/face and house based talismans. Picatrix includes extensive planetary invocations and ritual from the pagan Sabians of Harran, renowned medieval magicians and astrologers. Sublime Neoplatonic and Hermetic philosophy bumps shoulders with “confections” of the brain of a black dove or blood sacrifice.
We have been very careful to produce an authoritative translation of the Latin Picatrix, which will satisfy both scholarly interest as well as be of use to the contemporary practitioner. The various editions of the Picatrix, for example, this edition, the Illustrated Picatrix and the Liber Atratus, both available through Amazon, or other editions, including the Liber Rubeus and Liber Viridis Green Magic edition and deluxe large format color Illustrated Picatrix, available through the Renaissance Astrology website, all have the same authoritative, complete translation of Picatrix, newly revised from our earlier versions. The separate editions have different formatting and fonts, and add to the complete translation, additional useful and interesting material. The Illustrated Picatrix includes gorgeous black and white images by Nigel Jackson of the 7 planets and 28 Mansions of the Moon using the specific Picatrix descriptions which add greatly to the beauty and utility of this edition.
Despite its popularity among mages, Picatrix was never published until the modern era. Finally, a complete, lucid and clear English translation is available, now with illustrations!