My Review of The Key of Solomon the King

kosLet’s be honest here. There have been a lot of crap editions of The Key of Solomon. Even the best of them tend to have the same nagging flaw, they are working from the 1889 translation of S.L. MacGregor Mathers.

My own history with the Mathers’ translation dates back to the mid-80s when I was first given the opportunity to study the work via the 1972 Routledge and Kegan Paul edition.

I was, in a word, enthralled.

It was my first experience with a grimoire and Clavicula Salominis was one of  handful of magical treatises that had achieved mythic stature, and rightly so.

And despite its many missteps, Mathers produced an admirable work. Of course, I had no idea when I first spent time with it of just how many variations of The Key existed. That Mathers produced an English translation at all is something of a miracle. The task must have been daunting.

I have, in my personal library, several editions, the best of which being the 2000 Dover edition with a Foreword by R.A. Gilbert. That edition has now been supplanted by Weiser Books timely release of The Key of Solomon the King: A Magical Grimoire of Sigils and Rituals for Summoning and Mastering Spirits, Foreword by Joseph H. Peterson.

Peterson’s Foreword is a fine introduction to the work, with sound, albeit brief historical examinations of the grimiore itself, Mathers and his approach to the translation, and its subsequent influence.

Many of Peterson’s thoughts in this foreword I have read, almost verbatim, before, in his reviews of earlier editions. I don’t have an issue with this. My interest in this iteration of The Key was not founded on the complexity of the edition’s preamblist, but rather on the reproduction of the sigils within.

The Pentacles are crisp and clear, and their placement within the text itself a vast improvement over previous editions and I greatly appreciate the inclusion of the 1972 sigil plates as an appendix for comparison.

This, plus a few other minor corrections, makes this the superior edition for magicians and their armchair counterparts on a budget.

I am proud to shelve this amongst my superfluity of esoterica.

The Key of Solomon the King: A Magical Grimoire of Sigils and Rituals for Summoning and Mastering Spirits, Foreword by Joseph H. Peterson is available wherever fine books are sold. Copies may be purchased online direct via Red Wheel/Weiser or if you wish to give the devil his due, Amazon will take your hard earned shekels.


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