Yet, even those who have bought the books might shelve them at the sight of words they can’t find in Webster’s dictionary. Apparently, Chumbley’s dictionary was a 1930s Oxford Unabridged. That might explain it. The resale cycle for these books is decent, so at least a few people gave up who bought them outright.
I will say, sinking hundreds or thousands into owning a grimoire might provide the work ethic to trudge through it repeatedly until you figure out what it means. But you can also just come to a print off or photo-copy with the same Protestantism. I mean the thrill and cost of a supposed potential suit or arrest might motivate one to make the most of their stolen goods too. But it is, in general, less the inclination of the thief than the earner to work hard.
So all this being said, I think perhaps there is a purpose to the post-graduate vocabulary in these books. Maybe Chumbley was channeling a witch Egyptologist professor from the 1920’s—or maybe he wants to weed out the lazy as well as the less gifted who come upon his works either by purchase or pilfer.
Since I first obtained my Azoetia, nearly 8 years ago. I have come to it again and again. I have long been precocious, and I went from reading the likes of Buckland and some Irish Mythology to trying to grok the big AZ. I wasn’t up to it, but I revisted it every year or so as my general occult education expanded. I got on the subscriber mail list and ordered the new books as they came out and chased down whatever copies of the other books as I could. Now on my fifth time revisiting the text with a dabbled background in practical alchemy, AOS, Cornish Witchcraft, fairy faith, fallen angels, Cunningfolk and familiar spirits, and so on, I am able to know that keis is not just a sheath, its also a vulva, and a creatrix, an alchemical term and more. The opacity of the language has become more transparent.
And I have to say, my magic is getting better for it. I could say, I don’t know if the techniques had just been handed to me plain as day if I would have gotten it right off. But I won’t. Lets be honest, the same techniques are presented in plain language all over the place. The mysteries are shouted off the mountaintops. But sometimes something hardwon is more appreciated. And although I didn’t drop a few thousand for my dog eared and torn Azoetia, I have spent the last eight years working for it. And perhaps I will spend then next 8 getting even more out of the journey it led/leads me on.