Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Arrival!

To my library, that is!

Ishtar Publishing has recently published a fresh Arabic translation of "The Grand Key of Solomon the King" that was preliminarily titled "Ajinas". I pre-ordered my copy a while ago, and it showed up yesterday. I am eager to dig in to it! It's a small, but not pocket sized hard back, and as with many of Ishtar Publishing's works it's cover and pages have a bit of a "flare for the dramatic."

Most of Ishtar Publishing's books aren't really for beginners, especially their translations of Arabian works. Other grimoric publishers have loads of foot notes, indexes, and commentary to give you a clue to the view and the lineage, as well as other tasty tid bits of knowledge. Ishtar gives you good translations. You are expected to know what you are doing. Other publication houses also have access to teams of translators and fact checkers. I am saying this very generally, and only in refrence to historical Arabic translations of theirs that I have read. It's a good thing that it's a publishing house run for the most part by Mages, otherwise a lot of language can get garbled if you are doing a word for word translation. They make things as clear as they can.

Sadly, the Arabian world doesn't look kindly on Magic. You can seriously be killed for owning one book in some places. As such there are many people who speak Arabic who won't translate them, even if they live in the US or Canada, strictly on religious grounds. The same goes for many anthropologists and historians if they are Muslim, and not Sufi.

Luckily Ishtar DID put out a book called "The Secrets of Ancient Magic", which was re-released as "Magic that Works", that does help explain a bit about the view and practice of Arabian Sorcery. It helps with the culture gap, but more help is still needed. At least it was for me, as I am a wretched pain in the ass and have to take everything apart, and badger "Why?" like a four year old. The sad fact is that the level of scholarship that we are used to in the west with many of our magical texts, especially recently with folks like Joseph Peterson, and Donald Tyson's great translation and annotation of Agrippa, simply either does not exist yet, or it isn't translated yet.

Translation is more than just the words, the the communication of the whole view of a passage so that the reader can understand it clearly and explain it clearly to others without error. Just getting the manuscripts is hard enough, as many source materials are just that MANUscripts. Written by hand. Many are medieval or several hundred years old. Then the translating problem. Then finding multiple sources to cross reference, sussing out confusing terms in period language, in a specialized, technical, vocabulary.

It's a process! I'm really grateful that we have what we have, I just wish that more Arabian language and anthropology scholars would help the process more. There is money in it guys! I swear! And academic cred! Think of the papers you can publish.. you know you want to.


Eldritch said...

Very interesting post! Have you considered making a site where people can download Occult PDFs and texts for free and then doing Magic to make it virally spread through the middle east?

Lazy Magus said...

I too just received Grand Key of Solomon the King. Already I'm intrigued by the contents and the Names given. I can vouch whole-heartedly the credibility for Magic That Works, too. It's a unique book with potent material. Ishtar Publishing really do put out quality books.

Jow said...

Honestly, no, I hadn't! The big problem is I can't read or speak Arabic. So I have to take someone's word on what I am uploading is a magical tome, and not, in fact porn, or a cookie recepie.

Another problem is that many manuscripts are incomplete, have tons of short hand, or are missing key elements. The folks at Ishtar sew up those holes when they publish. Like much of the grimoric tradition the words were copied by students with their own hands, from their master's copy, as well as being a small part of a larger system of thought and practice.

I don't think it would be a bad idea, but I do think that it would be far safer to do magic to calm fundamentalism (as well as donate money and resources to make people less despirate, and thus less likely to turn to fundamentalism).

Eldritch said...

Ah, my mistake, also do you have a gmail address so I can add you as a chat contact? (FYI I'm one of the members of the invisible college blog.)