Originally titled Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm or The Goal of the Wise in Arabic, The Picatrix is a book of magic and astrology attributed by some to the pen of Hermes Trismegistus, and thought to represent the practices of the Sabian Magi. They were a sect of seemingly monotheistic pagans mentioned in The Koran as being “People of the Book,” whom Muslims were ordered to treat equitably along with Jews and Christians. Along with some rather interesting essays explaining the philosophy behind the magic, here are some of the more ridiculous “pearls of wisdom” contained therein:
Every man who suffers from nightmares should be washed with water of feces, and he will be healed.
Great. Now I’m going to have nightmares about being washed with “water of feces.” Also about the next one:
Take the skin of a woman’s vulva all the way around, so that it retains its opening; if you look at someone through it, it is the sign of death. This is a thing of great sacredness.
Gee, I wonder how you go about obtaining something like that?
Take the leaves of a garden onion, and fold them up one inside another. Give them to whatever chicken you wish for three days in a row—that is, for three times a day; and you ought to begin this working on a Wednesday. Thereafter the chicken will esteem you and follow you.
That’s great, if your goal in life is to have a chicken follow you around.
We talk a bit about The Picatrix, and a lot about Hermes Trismegistus, in the new book Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled, by Tracy R. Twyman and Alexander Rivera.