Ars Notoria

This is a book review that has taken a LONG time to come to fruition. And that’s because every now and then Inner Traditions gifts me with such an EPIC chunk of occult book porn that it takes some serious time to take it all in. (wink, wink) Today I’ll be discussing the massive 896 page “Ars Notoria: The Notory Art of Solomon; A Medieval Treatise on Angelic Magic & the Art of Memory” as translated by Matthias Castle.

What is the “Ars Notoria?” The answer belies the complexity of Castle’s work. Simply put, the “Ars Notoria” contains the secret rituals used by King Solomon to gain his legendary wisdom and aptitude with magic. In medieval times it was considered a short cut to the sum total of knowledge. The text’s lineage starts in the mythical and flows into the verifiable, beginning as some of the most ancient Hebrew texts that Solomon compiled, evolving into Solomon’s “Liber Florum Doctrinae Caelestis”, leading to “Flores Aurei” by Apollonius, which then spawned, I kid you not, “Ars Notoria” version A, A2, and B. Those three versions prompted noteworthy texts that branch from them.

This book contains “Ars Notoria” version A, the version A supplement (aka, A2), version B, along with assorted fragments of others “Ars Notoria” texts. Castle describes the complete ritual procedures, analyzes the figures found throughout the texts, and explains the importance of the art of memory. All of Castle’s explorations show that “practitioners of the “Ars Notoria” operate within a Hermetic-Christian worldview inhabited by heavenly angels.”

The book, just like its subject matter, is not an easy lift. And at a suggested retail of $195, it packs quite a punch to the wallet. I was gifted the copy I read for this review however, the question is, who spends this level of cash on “Ars Notoria?” I can’t be certain, but this seems like it will be the definitive English language publication of “Ars Notoria” for some time to come. If you are interested in the academics of occult history, and the practices of occult traditions, this will be a luxurious, but worthy addition to your library.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

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