Science X-Files

Picatrix: Mysterious Ancient Book Of Astrology And Occult Magic

‘And that was the reason which incited me [to devote myself to astrological magic]. Moreover, these secrets were already made known by Nature, and the experience approved them. The man dealing with nature has nothing to do but producing a reason of what the experience has brought out.’

غاية الحكيم Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm, Hebrew translation of the Arabic original

An ancient Arabian book of astrology and occult magic – Picatrix explains the concept of creating and ensouling the magical statues and the talismans. It still speaks of the cities that were constructed using the identical principles of the astrological Mystic. The Picatrix is one of the old manuscripts which is nearly 400-page enchanted grimoire. It is initially written in Arabic under the title غايةالحكيم Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm.

A page from the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm (Picatrix) (Image Source)

The experts trust on the fact that it was formed in the eleventh century albeit some contend it was made in the principal half of the tenth century. The work is partitioned majorly into four books, which showcases a stamped nonappearance of an efficient piece in a much delightful way:

  • Book I – “Of the heavens and the effects they cause through images made under them”
  • Book II – “Of the figures of the heavens in general, and of the general motion of the sphere, and of their effects in this world”
  • Book III – “Of the properties of the planets and signs, and of their figures and forms made in their colors, and how one may speak with the spirits of the planets, and of many other magical workings”
  • Book IV – “Of the properties of spirits, and of those things that are necessary to observe in this most excellent art, and how they may be summoned with images, suffumigations and other things”
Picatrix composed of both magic and astrology (Image Source)

At some time between 1256 and 1258, the king of Castile Alfonso X, also known by the name of Alfonso “The Wise” requested that the interpretation of the old content to Spanish. The Latin version was produced sometime later, based on translation of the Spanish manuscripts. The Spanish and Latin versions were the only ones known to Western scholars until beginning of 20th century.

 More recent attributions of authorship range from “the Arabic version is anonymous” to reiterations of the old claim that the author is “the celebrated astronomer and mathematician Abu l-Qasim Maslama b. Ahmad Al-Majriti” One recent study in Studia Islamica suggests that the authorship of this work should be attributed to Maslama b. Qasim al-Qurtubi (died 353/964), who according to Ibn al-Faradi was “a man of charms and talismans”. If this suggestion is correct it would place the work in the context of Andalusian sufism and batinism. 

غاية الحكيم Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm (Image Source)

The Middle Easterner history specialist, Ibn Khaldun,  ascribed authorship of Picatrix (referring to the original Arabic version, under the title Ġāyat al-Ḥakīm) to the mathematician, al-Majriti, who died between 1005CE and 1008CE.

It has helped to arrange customs considering of the most auspicious minute so that the vitality of the universe supported the outcome. Curiously, Picatrix discloses not only how to make and ensoul the supernatural status and charms but talks about the entire urban communities who has built the standards of visionary enchantment.

The mysterious manuscript remains today as a fascinating example of ancient text of astrological magic.


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