A Magical Spell for Book Collectors
Editor’s Note: As book collectors, we always wonder – why do some collectors waltz into an unpretentious garage sale and waltz out with an armful of Poe first editions, while we must sift through carton after musty carton of Reader’s Digest condensed books to find anything that might sell on eBay for over two dollars? Perhaps the answer is: Magic! In an effort to level the playing field, we herewith offer a magical spell for collectors of rare books, taken from Charles G. Leland’s Aradia; or, the Gospel of the Witches, a scholarly work on Italian witchcraft. No claims of efficacy are made, and readers are warned to use this spell entirely at their own risk.
An Invocation or Incantation to Diana
The man or woman who, when about to go forth into the town, would fain be free from danger or risk of an accident: or to have good fortune in buying, as, for instance, if a scholar hopes that he may find some rare old book or manuscript for sale very cheaply, or if any one wishes to buy anything very desirable or to find bargains or rarities. This scongiurazione one serves for good health, cheerfulness of heart, and absence of evil or the overcoming enmity. These are words of gold unto the believer.
‘Tis Tuesday now, and at an early hour
I fain would turn good fortune to myself,
Firstly at home and then when I go forth,
And with the aid of beautiful Diana
I pray for luck ere I do leave this house!
First with three drops of oil I do remove
All evil influence, and I humbly pray,
O beautiful Diana, unto thee
That thou wilt take it all away from me,
And send it all to my worst enemy!
When the evil fortune
Is taken from me,
I’ll cast it out to the middle of the street:
And if thou wilt grant me this favour,
O beautiful Diana,
Every bell in my house shall merrily ring!
Then well contented
I will go forth to roam,
Because I shall be sure that with thy aid
I shall discover ere I return
Some fine and ancient books,
And at a moderate price.
And thou shalt find the man,
The one who owns the book,
And thou thyself wilt go
And put it in his mind,
Inspiring him to know
What ’tis that thou would’st find
And move him into doing
All that thou dost require.
Or if a manuscript
Written in ancient days,
Thou’lt gain it all the same,
It shall come in thy way,
And thus at little cost.
Thou shalt buy what thou wilt,
By great Diana’s aid.
The foregoing was obtained, after some delay, in reply to a query as to what conjuration would be required before going forth, to make sure that one should find for sale some rare book, or other object desired, at a very moderate price. Therefore the invocation has been so worded as to make it applicable to literary finds; but those who wish to buy anything whatever on equally favourable terms, have but to vary the request, retaining the introduction, in which the magic virtue consists. I cannot, however, resist the conviction that it is most applicable to, and will succeed best with, researches for objects of antiquity, scholarship, and art, and it should accordingly be deeply impressed on the memory of every bric-à-brac hunter and bibliographer.
It should be observed, and that earnestly, that the prayer, far from being answered, will turn to the contrary or misfortune, unless the one who repeats it does so in fullest faith, and this cannot be acquired by merely saying to oneself, “I believe.” For to acquire real faith in anything requires long and serious mental discipline, there being, in fact, no subject which is so generally spoken of and so little understood. Here, indeed, I am speaking seriously, for the man who can train his faith to actually believe in and cultivate or develop his will can really work what the world by common consent regards as miracles. A time will come when this principle will form not only the basis of all education, but also that of all moral and social culture.
The reader, however, who has devout faith, can, as the witches declare, apply this spell daily before going forth to procuring or obtaining any kind of bargains at shops, to picking up or discovering lost objects, or, in fact, to finds of any kind. If he incline to beauty in female form, he will meet with bonnes fortunes; if a man of business, bargains will be his. The botanist who repeats it before going into the fields will probably discover some new plant, and the astronomer by night be almost certain to run against a brand new planet, or at least an asteroid. It should be repeated before going to the races, to visit friends, places of amusement, to buy or sell, to make speeches, and specially before hunting or any nocturnal goings-forth, since Diana is the goddess of the chase and of night. But woe to him who does it for a jest!