José Leitão

is creating a thesis on Magic, Grimoires and the Portuguese Inquisition

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per month
  • You will have access to my irregular patron only progress reports posted here. These will be detailing my field work in the Inquisition Archives, as well as my writing progress and academic shenanigans.


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per month
  • Same as the above.
  • Your name (or moniker) will feature in the acknowledgments of the finished thesis. Total minimum of $100 required.

(long-term reward)


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per month
  • All of the above.
  • You will receive copies of all archive digitalizations I order for this project.

(short to mid-term reward)




per month

About José Leitão

Hello, my name is José Leitão. I’m a Portuguese scholar of religion and magic, and an author and translator, having published a commented translation of the Portuguese grimoire The Book of St. Cyprian; a compilation of the writing of the Spanish polymath Jerónimo Cortez, both with Hadean Press; and also a collection of legends and folk tales about The Book of St. Cyprian with Revelore Press; this besides various essays and papers, most of which you can find on my Academia page.

In the recent past I have also used this same platform to fund further research into the roots and historical variations of The Book of St. Cyprian to great success. This ended up producing a book of about 900 pages, which is currently under edition with Hadean Press, and it promises to become a fundamental resource on Portuguese magico-religious practices focusing on St. Cyprian.

In line with this research, I am currently working on a PhD in Modern History at the University of Coimbra, focusing on the mapping of learned magic in Portugal. This project has two main aspects to it: the first is the finding of references to European magic books and grimoires in Portuguese Inquisition processes, figuring out where these books came from, who was using them and why; and the second is to find references to autochthonous productions, such as nameless prayer and magic books, older versions of the Book of St Cyprian and Iberian Keys of Solomon. This second aspect is particularly relevant given that some magic books found in the possession of Inquisitorial accused were, at times, annexed to their processes as evidence. This means that there are an unknown number of unpublished manuscript magic book in the Portuguese Inquisition archives waiting to be discovered (and I have already found a few).

After a long and painful academic and bureaucratic struggle, I have been able to secure a Portuguese FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology) scholarship, which should enable me to finish this project within the expected time frame, but, unfortunately, this line of research frequently exceeds my academic budget. Besides trips to the Portuguese National Archives and extended stays in Lisbon, I have to frequently order very extensive and expensive digitalizations, and stay constantly updated on the relevant academic bibliography, and this is where any help would mean an immense deal.

As a patron of this project, your investment will help supplement my FCT scholarship, and help insure that I am able to not only finish this project but produce a groundbreaking new study on the magic of an understudied region of major international influence. All along this process you will be given updates on my writing progress, my travels and the documents I analise and acquire. Depending on your level of investment, you may even receive:

- Copies of the Inquisition digitalizations I order;
- First hand transcriptions and translations of these documents;
- Advanced versions of thesis chapters derived from my research;
- Dedicated copies of the thesis when it is finished;

Please note that this is a long-term project of at least three years, but the result will be the presentation of a completely new and unstudied magical environment of crisscrossing influences, from folk religion to learned magic. Solely based in the small amount of research I have done so far, what can be expected, besides a map of literary contraband spreading through the Portuguese noble classes and clerical elites, is a new collection of Iberian grimoires and magic books which have been locked away for centuries.

So, if you would like to help me conduct a truly groundbreaking study, join me in this project. If you resonate with studies on magic, western esotericism, grimoires, folklore, unorthodox religion or underground book culture, this might be the project to invest in.
$191.50 of $500 per month
Reaching this goal will mean that all travel, digitalization and research expenses will be covered.
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 35 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 35 exclusive posts

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