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by Lewis de Claremont

A strong influence on 20th century hoodoo practices, this collection of occult tidbits by Lewis de Claremont integrates European and African-American traditions.

Included is basic information gleaned from a variety of ancient and modern sources on dressing oils in antiquity and in the contemporary traditions, Medieval philtres and potions, incense in Hebrew and Egyptian history and in modern times, ancient and modern magical uses of dozens of illustrated herbs and roots, how to use sachet powders for magical ends, how to use baths and washes, and a series of philosophical and mystical illustrations revealing the author's Hermetic-style conceptions of the relationship between the material and spiritual worlds.

Most remarkable in this latter context are Lewis de Claremont's four-fold illustrated distinction between Man (Earth), Chiram [Hiram] (Water), Lucifer (Fire), and Satan (Air); and a cryptic diagram labelled "Spirit / Matter : Dog / God." These diagrams are not explained in the text and they bear no relation to any other grimoire or book of alchemical or hermetic magic known to me. Perhaps they constitute the author's own unqiue perspective on reality; perhaps they were lifted from an earlier book on occultism in which their full context was explained.

From the beginning, "Legends of Incense, Herb, and Oil Magic" was intended as a companion to the same author's "Ancient Book of Formulas" and was orignally marketed by the Oracle Company, which manufactured compounds of essential oils and published the latter book as well. Thus, although some formulas and recipes are given, the bulk of "Legends" deals with the proper way to use purchased spiritual supplies rather than how to make them from scratch or grow them in one's garden.

Like Lewis de Claremont's other works, "Legends of Incense, Herb, and Oil Magic" is basically European and Medieval in orientation, but it has from the first been packaged for sale to hoodoo practitioners in the African-American community. It has proven consistently popular and has rarely gone out of print, dspite the fact that in 1966 an important chapter on seals and talismans was eliminated by the publisher, probably in a bid to save paper and thus reducing printing costs. The advertisement shown on this page is apparently for the 2nd edition, and dates from the 1940s, as the cover price can be seen at the lower left and later editions carried no cover price.

Order Legends of Incense, Herb, and Oil Magic from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

Because this book has been extensively revised and abridged, i herewith append my key to understanding the different editions, as found in my collection.

First edition: "© 1936 by Oracle Publishing Co."
•    1936; probably only one printing
•    cover: green index stock with black illustration
•    interior paper: white paper with black ink
•    10 chapters, last word is "Albert."
•    58 illustrations; "Spirit" illo, on page 43, is captioned
•    112 pages (102 numbered pages, plus 10 pages of Oracle Products ads in the back)
•    square-bound
•    typewriter-style type-setting
•    cover art signed "S. Quinlan"
•    cover price: $2.00
•    no zip code on title page

Second (revised) edition: "revised edition, Dorene Publishing Co., Inc. © 1938"
•    1938-1965; many printings
•    cover: dusky pink index stock with black illustration (shown above)
•    interior paper: pink paper with black ink
•    10 chapters, last word is "Albert."
•    58 illustrations; "Spirit" illo, on page 49, has had its caption removed
•    104 pages (103 numbered pages; final page not numbered)
•    square-bound
•    typeset in Times Roman style font
•    cover art signed "S. Quinlan"
•    cover price: $2.00
•    no zip code on title page

Third (abridged) edition: "© 1938 by Dorene Publishing... revised edition 1966"
•    1966-c1986; many printings
•    cover: dull red index stock with black illustration
•    interior paper: white paper with dark blue or black ink
•    9 chapters, last word is "fragrance." (Chapter 10 deleted.)
•    43 illustrations; "Spirit" illo, on page 49, is un-captioned and upside-down
•    96 pages (98 numbered pages; title page and fly leaf were deleted but book not re-numbered)
•    saddle-stitched (stapled)
•    typeset in Times Roman style font
•    cover art signature deleted
•    no cover price
•    zip code on title page

Fourth (abridged) edition: "© 1938 by Dorene Publishing... revised edition 1966"
•   1986-2000; many printings)
•   cover: white chrome-coat (shiny) stock with red illustration
•    interior paper: white paper with black ink
•    9 chapters, last word is "fragrance." (Chapter 10 deleted.)
•    43 illustrations; "Spirit" illo, on page 49, is un-captioned and upside-down
•    96 pages (98 numbered pages; title page and fly leaf were deleted but book not re-numbered)
•    saddle-stitched (stapled)
•    typeset in Times Roman style font
•    cover art signature deleted
•    no cover price
•    zip code on title page

There may be other editions, and if so, i would like to hear about them.

The biggest difference between the various editions is the complete loss of Chapter 10 (which deals with the use of Talismans and Seals) from the Third edition and onwards. Secondarily, the cover illustration, originally signed "S. Quinlan" and very clear and easy to see in the First edition, was picked up and copied so many times that it eventually became plugged in and lumpy-looking. Finally, the interior illustrations were cut from 58 to 43, and as reprints were made from printed copies, they eventually become more faded and indistinct with each passing edition.

The restored Fifth edition, currently in production, will correct these faults.


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