Grimoire #atozchallenge

grimoire

I think just about everyone reading this knows what a grimoire is: it’s a textbook of magic, and I don’t mean the kind of legerdemain practiced by Blackstone or Marshall Brodien.

A grimoire covers such topics as making amulets and talismans, summoning spirits, casting spells and charms, and all that other stuff you can learn at Hogwarts. The implication is that what you’ll learn to do is secret and occult and not meant for everyone, particularly not squibs or muggles. (Yes, I’ve read them, and quite enjoyed them, and I’ve even watched the movies. So what?)

I have no experience with that kind of grimoire, as you can probably imagine. However, there is a set of books that I was sorely tempted to buy back in my guitar-playing days, namely The Guitar Grimoire series.

The Guitar Grimoire: A Compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes by Adam Kadmon (source: Amazon.com)

Back in the days when there were bookstores that sold books like this, I would pick this book up and flip through it, then think, “Wow, this book will teach me everything I need to know to become a guitar genius!” I’d spend a good half hour looking through it, and eventually realize that I could likely produce the same results by applying what I already knew about music theory (one class in high school) and about the guitar (specifically where all the notes were on the neck, which I learned when I was eleven and took my first couple of guitar lessons), provided I planted my fat ass in a chair, picked up my guitar, and set about the task of learning all of it. That would cost me nothing, whereas the book cost about $25, and I’d still have to plant my fat ass in a chair, pick up my guitar, and set about the task of learning it.

I’m not saying that these books are useless and a waste of money. If owning the book gets someone who wants to learn to play the guitar to sit down with the instrument and actually learn the material and how to play, then it’s worth every penny. The same thing is true for any book, music or otherwise: if you actually care enough to learn the material and are faithful to using it, then it’s money well spent. Simply owning a book isn’t going to magically endow you with the ability to play like Eric Clapton, or to write like Eudora Welty, or to sell like Og Mandino, or invest like Warren Buffett.

I think we all fall victim to that kind of thinking, to a greater or lesser extent. I know I do.

38 thoughts on “Grimoire #atozchallenge

  1. I’ve seen this word, but never knew what it meant. I’d probably goof up the instructions while making an amulet, so it might be best if I avoided books like these. But for those who are crafty and inclined to need talismen in their lives, these books sound perfect.

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  2. Never heard of a grimoire, but now I also know. I actually know of students who believe that one should sleep with study material under one’s pillow; this will ensure that the facts in the book will penetrate the brain where the knowledge will be retained. There’s magic for you. I also love Harry Potter (anyone who has an active inner child loves Harry Potter). I read all the books and watched all the movies. I know all the spells and sometimes mutter them under my breath …

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    1. And, like most magic, sleeping with the books under their pillows doesn’t work. I have heard that people will record themselves reading their notes and sleep with that running all night. That might work better, but who has time to record everything?

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      1. Those recordings will be a waste of time. I take my ipod to bed with me every night. When I can’t sleep, I listen to audio books and if I happen to fall asleep, as is often the case, I don’t remember the parts I missed.

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  3. I did not know this word either and I have read a couple of the HP books so maybe I should have? Sounds like it could be dangerous in the wrong hands!

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    1. I don’t think Rowling uses it in any of the books. It’s been a while since I’ve read them, and frankly have no particular desire to go back through them right now. My guess is there are a few grimoires in the Hogwarts library, but I couldn’t be sure.

      There was a Gahan Wilson cartoon years ago where a man is in a bookstore reading a book and a small demon has appeared at his feet. One of the sales people comes up and says, “Please, sir, no browsing aloud in the Occult section!”

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  4. John,

    Magic fascinates me. When DS was younger, he was absorbed by magic and his uncle (DH’s brother) & auntie got him a magic tricks DVD. He loved that and learned how to do several card tricks which he performed quite well. I was impressed by his ability and I never figured them out. I think it’s remarkable how gifted these professionals are with such tricks.

    Curious as a Cathy
    iPad Art Sketches ‘Goofy Faces’

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    1. Mom had a friend that was an amateur magician, and he was very good at it. He gave her a bunch of his old books and a few trick card decks, including a marked deck that I used to play poker with… I’m worried that, with all the electronics and video games and such, kids aren’t as interested in magic as they were when I was a kid. It’s kind of a shame, really. It’s like cursive writing, it’s becoming a lost art.

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  5. I sure didn’t know that, John. Of course there’s one, for those who want to learned spells and Amulets. I guess a Grimoire is sort of a how-to book for a particular topic?

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  6. I learned something new today having never heard Grimoire before now. Some folks may learn by reading but me, I have to just do it. I am a tactile learner. It is why I throw instructions out. Reading the step by step how to drives me batty.

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  7. Oh no, I remember this guy (hey, am I showing my age here????) hahaha!!! Love it! I love watching stuff bringing back old memories… thanks so much for sharing! Really and I remember Goldblatts too. We had one right by our house a place called Scottsdale Shopping Center and my Mom use to bring me there all the time shopping. Wow, I haven’t thought about that place in ages… WOW! Thanks John, some great memories I have of that place too! Have a great weekend! I wasn’t in much to magic, but I loved watching with my mouth wide open of course! hahaha

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    1. We’d go past Scottsdale sometimes after we’d been at Ford City. (This was after we were married and I moved south.) I don’t think we ever shopped there, though. We had our own Goldblatt’s at 47th and Ashland, not far from where we lived (45th and Wood), right near all the furniture stores (Warshawski’s and Aronson’s, “Home of the credit connection”. Nelson Bros. was further down Ashland.) Great place to shop, had darn near everything you needed. I think we bought our carpets there.

      You’re not much older than I (a couple of years, as I recall) if you remember Marshall Brodein and TV Magic Cards. He played Wizzo on Bozo in the 70’s. He’s still around, I think the only one from the cast who is.

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  8. I have SO MANY writing books. And craft ones, too… they have certainly given me inspiration, and step by step instructions on how to write certain forms, or knit or sew a certain stitch, but yes, it does take practise every day to learn guitar and I think I’d get a teacher for that. Having someone waiting to hear how far you have come would be a good prompt to actually sit down and practise for me – having a goal. I know I learn the music and words much more quickly in choir if we have a competition coming up! Liz http://www.poetryroundabout.com

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    1. My own experience with a guitar teacher wasn’t that great, but there is something to be said for having someone listen to you, even if it’s just you playing into a tape recorder and listening to the playback.

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  9. Grimoire, bestiary, log book; synonyms!

    Hi Mr.John,

    Congratulations on making it to the letter ‘G’ on your A to Z Challenge.

    Wish you the very best and will see you at ‘Z’, soon!

    Regards,
    Saryan
    WondraWords.BlogSpot.Com

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  10. Always like expanding the vocabulary. I like coming up with new words that maybe the husband isn’t familiar with. He sure has bested me when it comes up to vocabulary but I still beat him hands down at spelling. You might think we are a bit competitive and you’d be right. He’s the math guy and the artist. I’m the English gal and writer and spelling. It’s made for a 42/39 year match married in heaven. Been together for 42 years, married 39 years this August. Thanks for the new vocabulary word Mr. John…😉

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    1. We celebrated our 40th anniversary back in January, but we weren’t together very long (a little over a year) before we got married. We joke that it’s not so much a marriage as a fight to the death, but I couldn’t imagine being without her.

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      1. That’s a good way to put it, sometimes it feels that way too. But as you, I don’t know what life would be like w/o him. Oh and we got married when I was 12 😉

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    1. I always thought Marshall Brodien looked and sounded a little stiff on the commercial. He was a pretty funny guy in person, and when he played Wizzo on Bozo he was a riot. He really got into character and looked like he was having fun.

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