For the Praise and Glory of God, most high and all powerful, to whom belongs the revealing of the secrets of the sciences to his appointed, and for the illumination also of Latin doctors who have need of these books produced by the ancient philosophers, Alphonse, most illustrious king of Spain and of all Andalusia by the grace of God, ordered that this book be translated with the utmost care and the most precise exactitude from the Arabic into Spanish, this book whose title is PICATRIX. This work was achieved in the year 1256 of the Lord, year 1568 of Alexander, 1295 of Caesar, 655 of the Arabs. Indeed, a knowledgeable philosopher, the noble and honored Picatrix, compiled this book from two hundred and more books of philosophy, this book that was called by his proper name.
In the name of the Lord. Amen. This is the beginning of the book that the most knowing philosopher Picatrix composed upon the art of Nigromancy from the corpus of numerous works. As the sage says: what we must do first in all of the affairs of the world, is to render thanks to God. Thus why I say first that he be praised for what by His light are revealed the mysteries and unveiled what is hidden; by His power are manifested all wonders and in Him are considered all petitions and all knowledge; by his command, days are separated from nights, by his virtue even, all was created from nothing so that there be Creation. By his power all creatures renew themselves and are directed in him as befits their nature. He Himself is powerful; it is by him that all is renewed from generation to generation and he himself is not wrapped with the rest, neither is he separated from it because he has no determined location, but yet is not exterior to it, for he himself is place itself. All the languages of the world could not reveal his works nor list his powers; his marvels are infinite and nothing is new to him. That he therefore be praised, and we give obedience to him, to his prophets and his saints who, upon his command, carried light into the world and showed the way to men, because by that they could attain the knowledge and the wisdom of God. Let's ask him therefore to receive us into his grace and mercy and to lead us into his eternal glory. Amen.
O You who wants to understand the sciences of the philosophers, to know and examine their mysteries, search first the great marvels of the art that is placed in their books, and search to attain the marvels of the nigromantic science. You must first know that the philosophers hid this science and did not permit men to discover it -- to the contrary, they veiled it with all their strength and all that they said in this domain was with jargon, and also with symbols and terms similar to those that they summon in the other sciences, that in reason of their nobility of soul and their bounty because if this science were revealed to men, it would overturn the universal order. Tis for that reason that they spoke in a figural manner, because one may not attain without being enlightened by the science as they. Thus, under all their secret veils, they gave the ways and the rules that permit sages to attain and to take profit of all that they wanted to say secretly. Thus why I composed this book and seek to reveal what, in their books, they hid by their strange terms, with means and words more easily understood.
I ask the most high Creator that our book not fall but between the hands of a sage that may be attentive to all that I will say to him, in making good use and that all the works that he takes from it, he do them for the goodness and the service of God.
This work is divided in four books of which each is divided into appropriate sections.
In the first book is treated the nature of the sky and of its effect, and that by reason of the images that are in it.
In the second book, one speaks in general fashion of the figures of the sky, of the movement of the eighth sphere, and their effects upon our world.
Within the third book, a propos to the properties of the planets and zodiacal constellations, are shown their configurations and their forms according to their color, how one may speak with the planetary spirits and all the other practices of nigromancy.
Within the fourth book, of the properties of the spirits and of what is necessary to observe within this art and how one is helped with talismans, incenses, and other practices.