Ars Notoria: Rapid Learning or Mindfulness Guide? With Dr. Justin Sledge from Esoterica

Ars Notoria Feature ImageWhat if there was a book that helped you learn at a rapid pace by chanting the names of angels while looking at interesting images?

There’s more to the Ars Notoria than that, of course.

But the interesting thing is that this book may actually have provided a beneficial effect.

For one thing, the text likely created a meditative state.

And it’s been well-demonstrated that meditation improves memory.

It also improves focus, attention and your overall awareness.

To help us learn more about the Ars Notoria and the people who used it, we’re joined in this episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast by Dr. Justin Sledge from Esoterica.

What Is The Ars Notoria?

The Ars Notoria is hard to describe.

But generally, it probably belongs to a genre called grimoire. This word probably relates to “grammar” and refers to texts proclaiming to teach the art of invoking angels and/or demons.

In the case of the Ars Notoria, the idea seems to be that you “inspect” certain “notes,” ostensibly while chanting the names of angels you’ve memorized.


Because the book promises that you’ll rapidly acquire the trivium and quadrivium at an epic speed, provided you still attend lecture and do all the assigned reading.

The “notes” you’re supposed to stare at, one assumes, the images included in the book. But it’s possible that you also created your own when using the pecia system to copy books you could not afford to own.

If you want to check out the text for yourself, this is the version of the Ars Notoria I read. It appears that a new version is coming out soon as well.

To understand the medieval practice of this form of magic, I recommend Claire Fanger’s Invoking Angels.

And of course, there is Dr. Sledge’s excellent video analysis of the text:

How Would You Use The Ars Notoria?

Based on my reading so far, here’s what I would probably do:

  • Memorize the recommended names and words using a Memory Palace
  • Recite the content while considering the images
  • Repeat daily while studying the material using other memory techniques

Although not quite so elaborate, I have done something similar already with Sanskrit. I memorized a substantial part of the Ribhu Gita, for example.

Here’s the demonstration video and here’s my TEDx Talk about the experience.

Do The Promises of the Ars Notoria Deliver?

As Dr. Sledge and I speculate, it’s highly likely that using the Ars Notoria provided students and other individuals some benefit. If it didn’t, why else would manuscripts of the text have flourished?

I think the relationship here with other kinds of concentration meditation and visualization meditation is clear.

Some people will certainly learn faster and remember more based on the benefits of concentration meditation alone.

But my thinking aligns with Claire Fanger’s suggestion that working with the names of angels probably helped people improve their use of mnemonics.

This intuition makes total sense to me because the more strange names and words you know, the more connections you can make while using mnemonics.

In other words, this could have served as a kind of practice akin to what we do now with things like the pegword method, the Major System and the PAO System.

Ultimately, the only way to know whether or not this approach will work for you is to give it a try.

Stay tuned to this page for updates as more resources and materials emerge.

When the new version comes out, and if it fills in the gaps in the current versions we have, I might just give this technique a try.

And if I do, I’ll document everything for you. Watch this space and if you’d like to improve your memory between now and then, grab my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

This course provides you with contemporary and scientifically proven boosts to your memory.

And you don’t have to pray to anyone or anything in order for it to work!

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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

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