The Picatrix is a 10th century text on astrological magic. Believed to be written by Maslama al-Qurtubi, the Picatrix’s original Arabic title was Ghayat al-hakim: the Goal of the Wise. The book itself is a compilation of many earlier works of astrological magic; the author claims to have consulted over 224 books in its creation.

Though the Picatrix was originally written in Arabic, it was translated into Spanish, which was later translated into Latin. Some changes were introduced with each translation. The Latin version heavily influenced medieval and renaissance astrologers. The first English version was a translation from the original Arabic text, and was published by Ouroboros Press in 2002. In 2009 Christopher Warnock and John Michael Greer published an English version translated from the Latin text.

In substance, the Picatrix focuses largely on electional astrology and astrological magic through the creation and use of talismans, amulets, and images. According to the Picatrix, by creating a talisman at a particular point in time, the practitioner can capture a planet or fixed star’s unique energy at that moment, harnessing it for future use. The book contains magical workings both benign (a spell to make two people fall in love) and destructive (a spell to destroy one’s enemies). Actualizing the will through hidden or occult forces is also a major theme of the magic contained in the book.

Further Study:

The Astrology Podcast, Episode 239, The Picatrix: A Grimoire of Astrological Magic, Chris Brennan & Christopher Warnock, January 24, 2020.

Greer, John Michael & Warnock, Christopher, The Complete Picatrix: The Occult Classic of Astrological Magic, Liber Atratus Edition, Adocentyn Press, 2010.


Article Information:

  • Author(s): Claire Rootjes
  • Editing or additional contributions: Chris Brennan
  • Originally published: October 26, 2020
  • Last updated: October 26, 2020
  • Cite this article: Claire Rootjes, “Picatrix,” The Astrology Dictionary, October 26, 2020, http://theastrologydictionary.com/p/picatrix/ ‎