Having had some down-time this week I finally had an opportunity to dive into a Grimoire I'd long sought and only as recently as a couple of months ago located - Tuba Veneris: Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer. To my knowledge there are only two English editions of this work, the sold out handmade version of Waning Moon, and the one I was fortunate enough to find, brought to life by James Banner over at Trident Books. Ironically, my discovery of the copy which now sits in front of me also led to a book project which is now nearing completion.
Having looked high and low, hither and thither, to and fro for this edition for the better part of a year, and finding only a couple of copies, exorbitantly overpriced, far more than I was willing to pay, and since I'd thought Trident Press was no more I had all but given up on ever owning a copy, when, miracle of miracles, I happened upon one on eBay of all places, at the original retail price. After buying it I received an email from the seller, to wit:
Thanks for your interest. Also thank you for your work with Crossed Keys, I bought it when it came out and I love it. If you ever want to do a book with Trident, let me know.
Coming back to the subject at hand, Tuba Veneris, I love this work, to say the least. The Grimoire itself if a treasure, made more precious by Phil Legard's illuminating essay and Michael Putnam's preface. Also intriguing to me is that while the predominant belief is that the conjurations contained herein contain examples of what have been, in our day, termed Voces Magicae, or strings of words having no meaning in any language known to man, or "barbarous words of evocation", yet another school of thought is that they represent something different altogether - Steganagraphia. As Dee is known to have had a particular interest in this hidden writing, made popular by our beloved Trithemius, I find this not at all unlikely. While decoding this enigma is beyond the scope of my ability, I do find it a puzzle of great interest.
Also of interest to me is Charles MacKay's essay on the life of John Dee, which I enjoyed immensely. While I can't comment on the veracity of the magickal practices espoused in this work, since I haven't practiced from it YET, it is a book I am happy to have and in which I find great value.
While Trident no longer maintains a website, their hardcover and paperback books can be purchased directly from the owner, Jim Banner, via his eBay store, and he also takes special orders for the beautiful handmade leather editions for which trident has come to be known.