Excerpt Page from the "-Black Pullet" GrimoireThe "Black Pullet1," Red Dragon, and the Black Screech Owl are all examples of magickal texts, grimoires2, or instructional books.  Although the term "grimoire" is used by some Pagans interchangeably with "Book of Shadows", the flavor of this term is somewhat more specific, and not exactly Pagan, due to its historical roots.

Grimoires became very popular from the 1600's to the 1800's and these three examples probably date from then. The Black Pullet (Poulet Noir) was most likely written in Rome in the late 18th century and contains instructions on the creation of magickal talismans, amulets, and jewelry - primarily rings. It was also published under the titles Black Screech Owl and Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids - both with only slight alterations. To add even more to the confusion, some practitioners refer to this grimoire as The Hen that lays Golden Eggs or The Hen with the Golden Eggs due to the instructions within the text for creating a "black pullet" which in turn will provide the practitioner with unlimited wealth.

Grimoires contain elaborate rituals, many of which are echoed in modern Witchcraft rites such as consecrations and quarter calls. The Key of Solomon is a famous grimoire that contains the most correlations with Witchcraft rites. Doreen Valiente and the Farrars (Janet & Stewart) suggest that the material was adopted by Gerald Gardner to fill the missing gaps in some rituals. It has also been suggested that Aleister Crowley aided or encouraged these adaptations.

Red Dragon is another 'black book' that is also entitled Grand Grimoire and was published in 1822. It allegedly dates back to 1522, however there is little evidence to substantiate this. Sources for the information in the various Grimoires include Greek and Egyptian magical texts from 100-400 A.D. and Hebrew & Latin sources.  These texts were often used by ceremonial magicians to conjure and control demons, angels, spirits, etc.

A List of Grimoires:
Some reprints of these titles are available through Amazon.com.

The Key of Solomon
The Lemegeton (or Lesser Key of Solomon)
Grimorium Verum (based on The Key of Solomon)
Grimoire of Honorius
The Book of Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage
The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts
True Black Magic (or The Secrets of Secrets, draws on The Key of Solomon)
Grand Grimoire (or Red Dragon)
The Magus by Francis Barrett
The Black Pullet (or Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids or Black Screech Owl)
Verus Jesuitarum Libellus (or True Magical Works of the Jesuits) Not so 'true', this one is A FAKE
For more information about Grimoires, see The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, Rosemary Ellen Guiley -highly recommended

References & Resources

  1. A pullet is a young hen (chicken).
  2. Grimoire (plural grimoires) is a general term for an instructional book of magic, like a textbook or "grammar".  It is pronounced Grim (like the reaper) and wahr (drawn out as when you say "far").

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