The Enchiridion of Pope Leo III
A collection of charms, cast in the form of prayers, that have
nothing in common with those of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Enchiridion is concerned chiefly with worldly, rather than
spiritual, advantages. It is said to have been printed in Rome
in 1523, and again in 1606. Its magical virtue rests on a supposed
letter from Charlemagne to Pope Leo, in which the former
states that since receiving the Enchiridion he has never
ceased to be fortunate. However, no such letter appears to be
in the Vatican library, where it was supposed to be lodged. The
charms that the Enchiridion contains are supposed to be effectual
against all the dangers to which human flesh is heir—poison,
fire, wild beasts, and tempests.
When a copy of the book has been secured, it must be placed
in a small bag of leather, carried on the person, and one page
at least read daily. The reading must be done upon the knees
with the face turned to the east, and works of piety must be performed
in honor of the celestial spirits, whose influence it is desired
to attract. The first chapter of the Gospel according to St.
John is declared to be the most potent in the book. As for the
symbols, they are mostly of Oriental origin.
The book also includes what are claimed as the mysterious
prayers of Pope Leo III and certain conjurations of a semimagical
character, including the seven mysterious orisons, which are
merely clumsy imitations of the Roman ritual. From an extant
edition of 1633, it seems unlikely that this book was the work
of Pope Leo III and is more likely a compilation by a maker of
grimoires (textbooks of black magic).
Waite, Arthur Edward. The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts
Including the Mysteries of Goëtic Theurgy, Sorcery, and Infernal Necromancy.
London George Redway, 1898. Revised as The Book
of Ceremonial Magic. New Hyde Park, N.Y. University Books,