Abramelin the Mage (1362–1460)

A Jew from Würzburg,
Germany, Abraham, or Abramelin (also spelled
Abra-Melin), created a body of magical works that for
centuries influenced magicians, including Aleister
Crowley. An expert on the Kabbalah, Abramelin said
he learned his magical knowledge from angels, who told
him how to conjure and tame demons into personal servants
and workers, and how to raise storms (see storm
raising). He said that all things in the world were created
by demons, who worked under the direction of angels,
and that each individual had an angel and a demon as
familiars. The basis for his system of magic, he said,
may be found in the Kabbalah.
According to lore, Abramelin created 2,000 spirit cavalrymen
for Frederick, elector of Saxony. He also is said
to have aided an earl of Warwick in his escape from jail
and helped save the antipope John XXIII (1410–15) from
the Council of Constance.
The magic of Abramelin allegedly is contained in a
manuscript, The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, actually
a collection of three books. The manuscript was
written in French in the 18th century but claims to be
a translation of Abramelin’s original manuscript in Hebrew,
dated 1458. It was translated into English around
the turn of the 20th century by S. L. MacGregor Mathers,
one of the early and most influential members of the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn. Crowley borrowed
from the book for his own rituals to master demons, and
Gerald B. Gardner used it as a source for his book of
Abramelin magic is similar to that found in The Key
of Solomon, considered the leading magical grimoire (see
grimoires). It is based on the power of numbers and sacred
names and involves the construction of numerous
magical squares for such purposes as invisibility, flying,
commanding spirits, necromancy, shape shifting (see
metamorphosis) and scores of other feats. Rituals for conjuring
spirits, creating magic squares and making seals
and sigils are elaborate and must be followed exactly in
accordance with astrological observances.

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