Bringing the Complete Book off the Page

This is a love talisman from a book of lunar mansions, widely circulated in the medieval world. It is meant to be carved out of ebony, which is way beyond my skill, so I stained it ebony instead. I also did not inscribe it with the correct names, address it with the prescribed incantation, perfume it with the appropriate incense, or observe the position of the moon during its creation. So it is only a model for research purposes, and not a talisman… though if it ends up earning me the love of mankind anyway, I won’t complain!

The pictured manuscript is a Persian translation of this Arabic work of talismanic hermetica, which was also translated into Latin. Here is my translation of the spell:

A Nīranj for love in the hearts of men: Take a piece of ebony wood without any whiteness in it when the moon is in the eighth degree of this mansion and make an idol out of it with the face of a bird, with its right hand on his chest, and his left hand hanging on his hips. Then on his back, inscribe these shapes: [symbols], on his chest, inscribe these letters [a string of letters], then inscribe on his right and left thigh the names of the six angels of this mansion. Inscribe only when the moon is in the mansion and conjoined felicitously. When you have finished the inscription, suffumigate it with the incense and recite the names of the angels, and say (but do not inscribe) the following: Spirits of love, affection, togetherness, and harmony among all of creation, you have intermingled in it, spirits of love, in the hearts of the sons of Adam and the daugthers of Eve, slave and free, and all the rest of creation!

Read these words a hundred times and pick it up and carry it with you in a cloth of yellow silk brocade. This is one of the special secrets, so understand it well, O children of wisdom.



Music by Pulp (“This House is Condemned”)

Manuscript image from Royal Asiatic Society Persian MS 11

Translation based on an Arabic text of Siraj al-Din al-Sakkaki’s Kitab al-Shamil (British Library, Delhi Arabic 1915b).

The Sorcerer’s Handbook research project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust