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On the magic of ink and forms


The book as talisman, the words as prophecy, the ink as soul born blood and the letters as breath given up by spirit constitutes a magical or talismanic book, a book endowed with spirit.

Types of magical books are found amongst the famous grimoires, the faustbooks/teufelbooks and the Cyprians in Scandinavia and Iberia – but also books like John Dee’s Tuba Veneris . In the case of Tuba Veneris the book and its ritual had to be instigated by ink and pact at a precise astrological junction. The pen guided by ink and intent would then seal the script in stellar and telluric virtue giving birth to a talismanic script endowed with a particular spirit that in turn holds the capacity for influencing those possessing the script.

A magical book always comes with a daimon attached to it, the spirit of the book. The procedure of Tuba Veneris is one way of going about it. Another method is to fashion a contract with spirits presiding over a given mystery in the fashion of a pact, a concord. Yet another way is to herald your intent to the proper spirit as you with song, hymn and offering ask it to be bound to the book and ask to be its scribe. A magical book can also be attractive to the spirit by endowing the book with gifts from the three kingdoms that calls the spirits attention and affection. More ways can be sojourned to such end, but it remains that somehow the spirit of the book must attach itself to the book and thus the book turns into a talisman, a charm – a fetish.  

The effort in writing a book about magic, do hold potential virtue in bringing down a spirit to imbibe the child of paper and ink – but it remains in some instances a potency that may or may not be unleashed by actual work with the script in question.

I have by now written a few books about magic and a few magical books and there is clearly a difference not only in approach and but also the energy pertaining to the two modalities. To write a book about magic is an intellectual and stimulating exercise – it is like academia – you work your material on a foundation searching a harmonious consensus elaborating a mystery or a theme.  It is a pensive joy of sorts, an exercise for the muscles of the intellect.

To write a magical book, a talisman of ink, paper and leather is a whole different adventure. It consists in the soul constantly provoking the intellect and you bleed from the pores of the soul as the spirit of the book harasses you. The magical book begins like any book should – by a structure, a marrow and a spine being build – but this is for sure to be broken, smoldered and reassembled in the process… and your soul bleeds wine and oil as the body becomes the field for sacrifice and offering. The book is no longer yours as the boney hands of the spirit takes over and moves the ink into the forms and shapes it seeks as prophecy. It is all exhausting; a perpetual temptation where you are chained down in blood, rum and tobacco. You enter into deliriums and tantrums; you hate and love your work with a bittersweet quill that is constantly handed to you. There is no peace as the soul cracks open in unknown fields and gush forth revelations and pain. When the contract is at its end, when the last burned offering is given a metamorphoses occurs and renewal of peace takes place as the horizon yet again shimmer sin starlight and honey.  It is then you know it was all worthy and good, a richness of soul enters and veils the mind in linen and oil.

Exu & the Quimbanda of Night and Fire is a magical book. It was commenced with pacts and offerings to the spirits on the appointed astrological window and its gestation was terror.  It was received as embodied in the form of the book with offerings of incense, fire, tobacco and rum. The spirit of the book was Exu Mor – the very principle of infinite wisdom, but also obstruction and destruction in the cult of Quimbanda. As night fell, so did the spirits and they were bleeding through everything in the frenetic rhythm of night and fire comingled…

But only in this way could it become a true testimony of spirit where the body, the book, can capture the soul of spirit and impart something beyond its words and give an experience, a taste of what is found at the banquette of night. Only in this way can the book turn into magic, a talisman, a spiritual testimony born from the spirit harassed soul of the scribe…     

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