Archive for the 'Occult' Category

Dec 04 2007

Calendrier Magique

Published by under Occult

One of my projects at the moment is to locate and scan as many unusual fin-de-siècle texts that I can find, which I intend to upload to my future website. The more important texts from this period are already online and can be found at sites like Project Gutenberg, Google Book Search, or Gallica. But I am interested in unknown or forgotten texts, those rare volumes of arcane poetry or fiction which can still have an impact. These kind of books are well worth tracking down.

Recently I discovered an oddity called Calendrier Magique, by Manuel Orazi and Austin De Croze, which was published in 1895 in Paris. This is a 32 page illustrated pamphlet describing a variety of magical operations for the year 1896. There is very little information available about its two authors, although you can find some of Orazi’s posters for sale at places like Art.com. But as for the Calendrier itself, fewer than ten libraries in the United States possess a copy, and naturally none of them are willing to lend it through interlibrary loan.

But then I discovered that the whole text is online at Cornell University’s The Fantastic in Art and Fiction. At this site each page of the Calendrier can easily be downloaded. Sample page:

The Calendrier is an astounding piece of work. It contains an incredible phantasmagoria of macabre images. You find illustrations of medieval kings, alchemical tools, fantastic animals, bloodstains, burning candles, witches and devils, and just plain old scribbles. On the “Horoscope” page we see one illustration of an tarot card, which is highly intriguing—it’s a pity that Orazi did not design a whole deck. Of course, there is also plenty of astrological information, presumably giving the best days in 1896 in which to cast your spells.

The whole thing is a lot of fun. It is obvious that the two authors must have possessed something unheard of in late 19th century occult circles, namely a sense of humor. What they give us, in other words, is nothing more than a zestful Satanistic spoof, but one which is very well done. The only problem is that it is extremely difficult to decipher the lettering, mimicking as it does the style of medieval grimoires. But the gothic script is gorgeous and well worth study. You can probably have as much fun lingering over these images as the two authors had in designing them.

P.S. Cornell’s The Fantastic in Art and Fiction site contains several dozen other occult texts and is well worth your time.

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