Tag Archives: Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers

The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage

Maxomenos reviews The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, translated by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, from the Bkwyrm archive.

Mathers The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage

If you only use one book of magick in your entire study, this is the one to use. If you are Wiccan, and you only buy one book on the magick of “old dead white men” in your entire life, this is the book to get. If you are a Thelemite, this book should be required reading, since this is where Crowley got his most important ritual, the Great Work.

Abramelin, like Gaul, is divided into three parts. The first part is the story of how Abraham, the ostensible author, came upon a man named Abramelin and this, his system of magick. Abraham spends plenty of time describing all of his endeavors, including having done magickal favors for a number of Emperors. He admonishes his son Lamech not to use this system for vain purposes. In the third part, he gives a number of talismans, in the form of magic squares, which are used for various purposes, from scrying to changing the weather. The real meat of this book, however, is in the second part. Here, Abraham gives details of a ritual for invoking and communing with one’s Holy Guardian Angel. (This parallels the Shamanic practise of the totem quest. In Wicca, this is practised in lesser version by means of the Sabbats and Esbats.) This is the Great Work which Crowley mentions, and which he used as the basis for his Liber Seketh.

This ritual has many significant restrictions, the least of which is the age requirement: one should be no younger than 25 and no older than 50 years of age. According to my sources, these numbers originate from an astrological mistake: the actual age range should be between the first and second Saturn returns, that is, between 30 and 60. I have my doubts about this since the Operation is supposed to be independent of Astrological influences; more likely it is a matter having a magician who is old enough to have acquired some wisdom and young enough to have the physical stamina to perform the operation. If this is true, then I doubt that 25 enough of a lower bound for most people.

A brief note on the magic squares in the third part: the squares all consist of arrangements of letters in grids, such as the example below:

M I L O N
I R A G O
L A M A L
O G A R I
N O L I M

The form of these tables carries many advantages which most talismans, such as those found in The Key of Solomon, in that they are simple to produce, easy to display as ASCII (note to persons wishing to research magick via computer), and for the most part innocuous. A layman would probably recognize a Goetic talisman immediately but not an Abramelin one. However, I believe that many of the talismans are incomplete. I am not precisely sure how one should complete them.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s.

The Goetia

Randall Bowyer reviews The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King: Lemegeton – Clavicula Salomonis Regis, Book 1, translated by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, edited by Aleister Crowley and Hymenaeus Beta, from the Bkwyrm archive.

Reviewed: the illustrated second edition with new annotations by Aleister Crowley, edited by Hymenaeus Beta.

First of all, I must reassure you that the illustrations are not those D&D-style drawings that mar the New Falcon edition of the Goetia, but rather the adorable little engravings by Louis Breton that you’ve seen in all those coffee-table books; they are supplemented by a few of Crowley’s crude sketches, which have the advantage of having been drawn from life. The new edition irons out some errors which were present in the first edition, greatly increases the usefulness of the Enochian conjurations, and generally makes the book more convenient for reference; it even fixes the pile of mistakes in the Greek text of 365 from the 1994 edition of Magick. It is not, however, without its flaws. First, the book is printed on cheap, see-through paper. Second, the new edition introduces more than fifty new errors. Most of these occur in the Editor’s Foreword, and most are very minor problems like the incorrect accenting of several Greek words; others, though, are more substantive errors of fact. For all these blunders we can thank the Tepaphone’s own “R. B.,” who had a hand in the translating and proofreading work for this new edition. Despite his arrogance and the occasional shallowness of his research, I really expected more of this intelligent amateur. R. B. tells me that a corrected reprint on real paper is already in the works, and will appear under the imprint of 93 Publishing: perhaps serious students should wait for this improved version. Meanwhile, the new edition is still better than the first edition.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s.

The Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript

The Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript [also, also], Golden Dawn Studies Series Number 1, deciphered, translated and edited by Darcy Küntz, introduction by R A Gilbert, the 1996 first edition paperback from the Holmes Publishing Group, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Darcy Kuntz R A Gilbert The Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript from Holmes Publishing Group

“This book contains the first complete facsimile and translation of the Cipher Manuscript, which became the foundation of the Golden Dawn’s initiation ceremonies and knowledge lectures. The complete Cipher Manuscript has been safeguarded in private collections and inaccessible to occultists and historians for over a century—until now. The publication of the Cipher Manuscript is the most important Golden Dawn manuscript to be printed in many years.

Some Highlights of the Volume:

  • An early history of the Golden Dawn as presented by the author.
  • ‘A Tentative Solution to the Riddle of the Cipher Manuscript’ by R.A. Gilbert and printed in North America for the first time.
  • The first complete facsimile and translation of all 60 Cipher Folios, including two unknown Cipher Folios recently discovered.
  • The ‘Zelator Opening’ Ceremony and now issued for the first time from an obscure source of the Cipher Manuscript.
  • The ‘Knowledge [Lecture] of the Theoricus’ Grade — newly discovered and now appearing for the first time.
  • S.L. MacGregor Mathers’ ‘Notice to the Philosophi’ herein available as the Philosophus Knowledge Lecture.
  • The ‘Adeptus Minor Opening Ceremony’ newly translated into English from French, Latin, Hebrew and Greek.
  • S.L. MacGregor Mathers’ version of the Practicus ‘Tarot Lecture.’ based on the Cipher Manuscript and presented as an appendix.
  • The Bibliography contains a list of the Golden Dawn Source Works relating to the Cipher Manuscript.”


 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Sacred Magician

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Sacred Magician: A Ceremonial Diary by William Bloom (originally published under the pseudonym William Chevalier):

William Bloom's (aka William Chevalier) The Sacred Magician

 

This volume is a 1992 reissue of a book originally published under a pseudonum in 1976. The subtitle “A Ceremonial Diary” is misleading, since, although very much a diary, it provides little detail on the ceremonial dimension of the author’s efforts in prosecuting the operations in The Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage, which are the activities covered by the span of the diary. The edition includes a partial fascimile of Abra-Melin in the Mathers translation, which accounts for nearly all of the actual information on the mechanics of the work, so it is difficult to know how rigorous Bloom was in applying its specifics. The Abra-Melin work is mixed with Theosophical aspirations strongly influenced by the works of Alice Bailey, and it is actually these latter that seem to predominate for long stretches of the introspective diary. [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Black Magic is Not a Myth in Articles by Aleister Crowley.

“My most memorable personal experience of the effects of black magic occurred when I was living in Scotland. The machinations of a degraded and outcast member of the Order caused my hounds to die, my servants to become insane. The struggle lasted until the recoil of the current of hated caused the luckless sorcerer to collapse.” [via, also]

“I began my pilgrimage to far-distant countries. Mexico was the first. I was sent there by the head of the Order to consecrate a priest to serve the Lamp of the Invisible Light.”

I Make Myself Invisible in Articles by Aleister Crowley.

“I began my pilgrimage to far-distant countries. Mexico was the first. I was sent there by the head of the Order to consecrate a priest to serve the Lamp of the Invisible Light.” [via, also, see]