left biblioblography: ALLEGORIES GONE WILD: THE SACRED MAGIC OF ABRA-MELIN THE MAGE

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

ALLEGORIES GONE WILD: THE SACRED MAGIC OF ABRA-MELIN THE MAGE

Welcome to this episode of 'Allegories gone wild.'

The book in question is titled: "THE SACRED MAGIC OF ABRA-MELIN THE MAGE".

Yes, I do indeed still own this ridiculous tome. I purchased back in the days of my wastrel youth, and it's still sitting down in the garage (I actually tried to sell it at a garage sale for five bucks years ago, but the one lady who showed interest in the stupid thing acted like I was supposed to sell it to her. Big whoop - still got it).

I was an occultist from the age of 14 to the age of 25. I studied witchcraft, divination, and yes - long before Madonna made it fashionable - Kabbalah. I guess I'd have to say, Madonna's not a 'true' Kabbalist (hehehehe).

I love esoterica, in case no one's noticed.

From wikipedia:

Abramelin, or Abra-Melin, is the name of the Egyptian Mage who teaches a system of magic to Abraham, the Jew, the author of a famous grimoire which calls itself The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.

The grimoire itself is found in a manuscript in the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal in Paris. It is framed as a sort of epistolary novel in which Abraham, the Jew, reveals Abramelin's magical and Kabbalistic secrets to his son Lamech, and dates itself to the year 1458. It moreover claims to have been translated from Hebrew into French, the language in which it is extant. From the spelling and usage, the French text likely dates to the eighteenth century, and the existing text gives few indications of having ever been in Hebrew. The author quotes psalms from the Vulgate in Latin. The Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal was founded in 1797.

This grimoire was translated into English by Samuel L. MacGregor Mathers in 1897. The magic of the grimoire was influential in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a fact which has burnished the reputation of this particular text beyond its fellows such as the Key of Solomon.

The grimoire describes an elaborate ritual whose purpose is to obtain the "knowledge and conversation" of the magician's "Holy Guardian Angel." The preparations are elaborate, difficult, and long; the initial phase of working the system lasts exactly six months before any divine contact is known. During this period, the magician must wake up every day before dawn, and go to a certain area and pray, and at sunset he must do the same thing. During this preparatory phase, there are many restrictions: chastity must be observed, alcoholic beverages refused, and the magician must conduct his business with scrupulous fairness.

Well, being young, dumb, and full of...er, never mind. Anyways, at the time, I was still in drinking=sport mode. Chastity? I' m an American man. 'Nuff said.

I recall many, MANY years ago, explaining some procedure out of the book to a friend with similar (occultic) interests, and his observation on it remains with me to this day:
"By the time you're done with the preparations, you're probably hallucinating."

From the same source:
"After the preparatory phase has been successfully completed, the magician's guardian angel will appear to teach the magician magical secrets. The chief goals of these secrets are to compel the magician's personal demon, presumably the inverse counterpart of the Guardian Angel, to serve the magician. The magical goals for which the demon can be employed are typical of the grimoire literature: you are promised the ability to find buried treasure, cast love charms, the ability of magical flight, and the secret of invisibility. Magic squares feature prominently in the instructions for carrying out these operations.

Needless to say, I never completed step one. Shouldn't have spent the money on the bloody thing, come to think of it.

It uses the concept of the magic square, of which the Sator Square is the most common. It also relies very heavily on the Judaic concept of appealing to the On High, and includes the concept of finding hidden magical meanings in midrashic texts, by use of gematria, and relies heavily on the Sephirot, the Tree of Life, and it's opposite, the Qliphoth, the Tree of Death. From which, of course, stems the demonological aspects, and the subsequent hierarchies spewed forth from the dark recesses of bad dreams.

While researching a few components of this 'magical belief system', I found this entry terribly interesting (under the heading of Origin of Jewish mysticism):

"According to adherents of Kabbalah, the origin of Kabbalah begins with the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible). When read by a Kabbalist, the Torah's description of the creation in the Book of Genesis reveals mysteries about God's creation of the universe, Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and a Tree of Life, the interaction of these creations with the Serpent which leads to disaster when they eat the forbidden fruit, as recorded in Genesis 2 .Artson, Bradley Shavit. From the Periphery to the Centre: Kabbalah and the Conservative Movement, United Synagogue Review, Spring 2005, Vol. 57 No. 2 Sefer Raziel HaMalach, an ancient kabbalastic text, was, according to the kabbalists, transmitted to Adam (after being evicted) by the angel Raziel. Another famous kabbalistic work, the Sefer Yetsira, supposedly dates back to the patriarch Abraham. According to tradition, early kabbalah was transmitted to humans by the two angels, Aza and Azaz'el (in other places, Azaz'el and Uzaz'el) who 'fell' from heaven (see Genesis).

The oldest versions of the Jewish mysticism have been theorized to extend from Assyrian theology and mysticism. Dr. Simo Parpola, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, has made some suggestive findings on the matter, particularly concerning an analysis of the Sepiroth. Noting the general similarity between the Sepiroth of the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life of Assyria, he reconstructed what an Assyrian antecendent to the Sepiroth would look like.Parpola S. 1993. The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing the Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy. Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 52(3) pp161-208 He matched the characteristics of En Sof on the nodes of the Sepiroth to the gods of Assyria, and was able to even find textual parallels between these Assyrian gods and the characteristics of god. The Assyrians assigned specific numbers to their gods, similar to how the Sepiroth assigns numbers to its nodes. However, the Assyrians use a sexagesimal number system, whereas the Sepiroth is decimal. With the Assyrian numbers, additional layers of meaning and mystical relevance appear in the Sepiroth. Normally, floating above the Assyrian Tree of Life was the god Assur, this corresponds to En Sof, which is also, via a series of transformations, derived from the Assyrian word Assur. Furthermore, Dr. Paropla was able to now re-interpret various Assyrian tablets in the terms of this primitive Sepiroth, such as the Epic Of Gilgamesh, and in doing so was able to reveal that the scribes themselves had been writting philosophical-mystical tracts, rather than mere adventure stories. Traces of this Assyrian mode of thought and philosophy eventually makes reappearances in Greek Philosophy and the Kabbalah."

Can you say "syncretism", boy and girls?

Anyways, after contact with the 'Holy Guardian', apparently said practitioner is then able to invoke spirits and/or demons, and force them to provide the invoker with all sorts of fun events, like raising the dead, changing men into animals (hey, Circe, take notes!), transform animals into stones, become financially independent, win friends and influence people, all that hubbub, yadayada, yadayada.

So in short, unless you get a big, strange kick outta strange esoteric occultic tomes, don't buy. Why do I still have it? I don't like burning or throwing away books, go figure.

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27 comments:

udonman said...

now i want to touch the holy guardian i could be a superhero

a rich superhero
ohh i could also raise the dead here that karen I could bring back Jim Morrison

i could turn Bf into an animal uhm whaat would i turn him into a pig no its already happend there

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
now i want to touch the holy guardian i could be a superhero
Hit the nail on the head in 1.
i could turn Bf into an animal uhm whaat would i turn him into a pig no its already happend there
Hey, BF's a bit of all right. That's a tad unnecessay, ain't it?
I certainly don't agree w/most of his views, but he's been fairly well-behaved lately.

udonman said...

yeh i guess hw been fairly well behaved herebut have you been to his blog lately but youre righ and i take back that comment but i will replace his name with goerge w bush

udonman said...

wow guess I should get some sleep look at all those typos and I just got back to your blog after being on BF's blog and reading his comments probaly shouldve restained my self a bit there so bf if you read this I will show humility and apoligize not antagonize

Beowulf said...

RA,

Thank you.

Udon, don’t sweat it. We all slip occasionally. Apology accepted and no offence taken. Sleep is always a factor. I can relate because I have had little lately (with a new little one).

Take care

Krystalline Apostate said...

BF:
De nada.
I run a RESPECTABLE blog here...hahahaha!
I try to maintain a LITTLE decorum.
Tryin' me best to deflate the 'angry vitriolic atheist' stereotype.

PastaLaVista said...

Freaky stuff Reluctant. Ah some of the crazy things we do in our youth. Live and learn.

Krystalline Apostate said...

PLV
Ah some of the crazy things we do in our youth. Live and learn.
Yeah, I got a whole load of weird stories.

beepbeepitsme said...

Interesting. I haven't read about this before.

Rosemary said...

Reluctant:

The things you get up to!! ;)

TheJollyNihilist said...

Anyways, after contact with the 'Holy Guardian', apparently said practitioner is then able to invoke spirits and/or demons, and force them to provide the invoker with all sorts of fun events, like raising the dead, changing men into animals (hey, Circe, take notes!), transform animals into stones, become financially independent, win friends and influence people, all that hubbub, yadayada, yadayada.

Why does raising the dead always end up getting in on the act? Every religion, every mystical superstition...they all somehow involve the absurd notion that corpses can return back to vitality.

Hell, plenty of people believe, even if the corpse doesn't actually come back to life, that ghosts hang around afterward. Very odd, indeed.

We humans have a funny little instinct for pretending natural death can be reversed, or somehow defeated.

Krystalline Apostate said...

beepbeep:
Interesting. I haven't read about this before.
Kabbalistic magic? Oh, it's very involved and...anal. Millions of rules. Demons & angels for every hour of the day, even. No, not kidding.
Rosemary:
The things you get up to!! ;)
Oh, this is all in retrospect. Raging xenophile that I am, I drink up culture like water.

Krystalline Apostate said...

FTM:
Like how you handled FT, BTW (the moral relativism thingie). Very mature. Kudos.
Why does raising the dead always end up getting in on the act? Every religion, every mystical superstition...they all somehow involve the absurd notion that corpses can return back to vitality.
Well, some it is, everyone wants to be immortal. I think the other issue, is that most superstitious folk want to see their departed loved ones. I can understand that. I still have dreams about my dad being alive, a decade or more after the fact.
There's also invoking the dead for information. There's definitely a morbid fascination.
Here's a bit of a...Tarantino production.
You take the head of a hung thief (hung thieves are a big thing in the occult, see Hand of Glory), insert specific beans in his mouth, mutter select words over the head, & the head is supposed to answer your questions.
Never tried it, but I'm betting that won't work. But it's stuff like that, makes me wonder about my own species, sometimes.

I was watching that TV show, 'Bones', they did an episode involving Voodoo, & these 2 people are arguing about it, Catholic guy says, "Hey, WE don't have zombies!" Gal says, "What about Jesus? He rose from the dead."
I laughed my ass off.

I'm a little tired of talking about xtianity. I'm thinking about taking some swings at the Occult, since I know a thing or 2 about it.
I'm just worried about getting cursed. (HAHAHHAHA!)

udonman said...

bf thanks man for accepting my apology like I said I need sleep i work grave yard shift and some times I will post some thing when I am tired with out thinking it though
hey congrats on the rugrat ( I mean that as a compliment)last time I said that the person asked if it was complimentary but when you've been around kids as long as i have you get used to hearing names like rugrats or kids being called kritterrs yeah i know its misspelled just how its pronounced in my area

see yah all later

Tony

Rosemary said...

Reluctant:

How much do you think dreams of dead relatives and friends contributed to the developement of the idea of an afterlife?

Krystalline Apostate said...

rosemary:
How much do you think dreams of dead relatives and friends contributed to the developement of the idea of an afterlife?
What a brilliant question! That hadn't even occurred to me.
I thought perhaps it was just me (how narcissistic, ey).
I wonder if studies have been done on that?
I'm looking, but not seeing more than the usual 'dream dictionaries'.
I think that's 1 thing that may have triggered the notion of an afterlife.
That, & the notion of 'down' being bad, & 'up' being good (which, of course, my pat reply is: "More proof that evolution formed this world"). Especially combined w/the fact that we bury our dead.
Inriguing...

udonman said...

rosemary and reluctant I have wonderd the same thing much less how about hypnotic rituals and medicnel herbs being used ( listen to 311 whos got the herb)
and I am sure you will see a connection well that and you have to admit it is a great way to control a large number of people look at the catholic church and its large number of members all striving for that coveted place in heaven and all controled by one indivual

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
rosemary and reluctant I have wonderd the same thing much less how about hypnotic rituals and medicnel herbs being used ( listen to 311 whos got the herb)
Well, I'll be going into the hypnotic rituals sometime in the future, not an apothecary so I don't know about the herbal part. I have no idea what 311 whos got the herb means.

udonman said...

oh come man 311 the progresive band from omaha theve got a song called whos got the herb its about passing a joint around at a party i meant it as a joke about using hebs in medicine sorry it went over your head I forgot your middle age ( iknow you could still kick my ass)

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
311 the progresive band from omaha theve got a song called whos got the herb its about passing a joint around at a party i meant it as a joke about using hebs in medicine sorry it went over your head I forgot your middle age
I should've been able to figure it out. It was the 311 referent that threw me off (yeah, right!).

udonman said...

what you dont think in a fight with your martial arts backgrounfd you wouldnt whoop me any way if all of us get to gether at the next american atheist convention you should bring this book I could always use a good laough

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
if all of us get to gether at the next american atheist convention
Well, I'm going to try to make the 1 on June 24th, as I can BART to the thing. Dunno about 2007.

ominous said...

If you spent that much time studying esoteric doctrine, you can't tell me that you take all those things literally, unless you got discouraged before you actually began to understand.

Krystalline Apostate said...

ominous:
If you spent that much time studying esoteric doctrine, you can't tell me that you take all those things literally, unless you got discouraged before you actually began to understand.
Interesting comment.
I don't think I ever took anything literally, truth be told.
Luckily, it was all a matter of breaking up the ennui.

ominous said...

Ah yes, I have been there myself! A paridigm change perhaps? I wasn't trying to be crass, it was just the "tone" in which you presented your post... A little misleading to unlearned ears. Intentionally perhaps...

ominous said...

This is too funny... the randomly selected "word verification" code that was generated by the system for me to type in for my reply to post was majgick!!!
Coincidence? You decide... LOL

Krystalline Apostate said...

ominous:
A little misleading to unlearned ears. Intentionally perhaps...
I'm afraid I don't follow.
Coincidence? You decide... LOL
Jury's in: co-ink-ee-dink. But that is pretty amusing.