Teitan Press has just released a Hockley edition of the Ars Notoria, or The Notary Art of Solomon. Often known as “that other book at the end of Lemegeton, or The Lesser Key of Solomon,” it is my hope that this release begins the arduous and long overdue task of placing this work in its true and rightful position within the study of Solomonic magic.
The Ars Notoria consists of a number of orations whose constant and devout rehearsal purport to bring the aspirant the knowledge of various arts and sciences. Typical of the genre, it includes a number of the “barbarous names of evocation” to empower their efficacy, and it is given mention by name in Goetia – a likely reason for its inclusion in some of the known collections of Lemegeton.
While one can certainly obtain a copy of the Ars Notoria through a number of sources, it is the introductory materials that – to me – make this particular edition all the more appealing. Firstly, noted Hockley scholar Alan Thorogood supplies an exceptionally well-researched introduction to the text, its history, and Hockley’s own impressions of it. Citing and building on relatively recent research on the Ars Notoria and its variant stemma, his insights are worth the price of admission alone.
As Hockley was transcribing from the published edition of this work in 1657 by Robert Turner – who also produced the best known English-language translations of Heptameron and the pseudo-Agrippan Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy – it is worth some time in detailing the life of that man as well, which Robin Cousins does admirably in his own preface, building on his own prior work and research. (For those of you that may raise an eyebrow at a manuscript copy of a printed work, this was in fact quite common, though less so in the mid-nineteenth century in which Hockley was working.)
The transcription itself is very well laid out, a difficult feat in and of itself given the format of the work, and it includes a facsimile of the manuscript in Hockley’s neat and well-practiced hand. As anyone that has spent time transcribing manuscripts can attest, a legible hand is nearly unheard of, as most were creating these manuscripts for themselves and as such did not concern themselves if anyone else might like to read it!
In all, this is an exceptionally well-done volume that expands not only on the corpus of Solomonic literature, but also the scope of Hockley’s contributions to that study. Teitan has released a number of Hockley works over the years, and this is a welcome addition.
Hardcover (black with gold), small quarto, appx. 300pp. Issued as a limited edition of 650 copies. $60 US.