Main Llewellyn's Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick: A Comprehensive Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition

Llewellyn's Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick: A Comprehensive Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition


Compiled by two of the leading figures in the magick community, this new title in Llewellyn's Complete Book series includes more than 500 pages of fascinating insights into the history and contemporary practice of ritual magick. With contributions from dozens of top authors, this book brings the practices, theories, and historical understanding of magick into the 21st century, including in-depth chapters on:

  • Foundations of Western Magick
  • Qabalah
  • Demonology
  • Spirit Evocation
  • Alchemy
  • Planetary Magick
  • Enochian Magick & Mysticism
  • The Magick of Abra-Melin
  • The Golden Dawn
  • Thelema & Aleister Crowley
  • Polytheistic Ceremonial Magic
  • Magician's Tables
  • The Future of Ceremonial Magick
  • Year: 2020
    Edition: Retail
    Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
    Language: english
    Pages: 445
    ISBN 10: 0738764728
    ISBN 13: 978-0738764726
    Series: (Llewellyn's Complete Book Series)
    File: EPUB, 11.73 MB
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    Year: 2020
    Language: english
    File: EPUB, 810 KB

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    			 Llewellyn Publications
    			Woodbury, Minnesota
    Copyright Information
    			Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick: A Comprehensive Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition © 2020 edited by Lon Milo DuQuette and David Shoemaker.
    			All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any matter whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Llewellyn Publications, except in the form of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
    			As the purchaser of this e-book, you are granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. The text may not be otherwise reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, or recorded on any other storage device in any form or by any means.
    			Any unauthorized usage of the text without express written permission of the publisher is a violation of the author’s copyright and is illegal and punishable by law.
    			First e-book edition © 2020
    			E-book ISBN: 9780738761251
    			Cover design by Kevin R. Brown
    			Art credits for interior illustrations listed at the end of each individual book.
    			Llewellyn Publications is an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
    			Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
    			Names: DuQuette, Lon Milo, editor. | Shoemaker, David G., editor.
    			Title: Llewellyn’s complete book of ceremonial magick : a comprehensive
    			 guide to the western mystery tradition / edited by Lon Milo DuQuette &
    			 David Shoemaker.
    			Description: 1. | Woodbury, Minnesota : Llewellyn Worldwide. Ltd, 2020. |
    			 Series: Llewellyn’s complete book series; 14 | Includes bibliographical
    			 references and index. | Summary: “Compiled by two of the leading figures
    			 in the magick community, this new title in Llewellyn’s Complete Book
    			 series includes more than 650 pages of fascinating insights into the
    			 history and contemporary practice of ritual magick”—Provided by
    			Identifiers: LCCN 2019036892 (print) | LCCN 2019036893 (ebook) | ISBN
    			 9780738764726 (paperback) | ISBN 9780738761251 (ebook) 9780738760827 (hardcover)
    			Subjects: LCSH: Magic. | Ritual.
    			Classification: LCC BF1623.R6 L54 2020 (print) | LCC BF1623.R6 (ebook) |
    			 DDC 133.4/3—dc23
    			LC record available at
    			LC ebook record available at
    			Llewellyn Publications does not participate in, endorse, or have any authority or responsibility concerning private business arrangements between our authors and the public.
    			Any Internet references contained in this work are current at publication time, but the publisher cannot guarantee that a specific reference will continue or be maintained. Please refer to the publisher’s website for links to current author websites.
    			Llewellyn Publications
    			Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
    			2143 Wooddale Drive
    			Woodbury, MN 55125
    			Manufactured in the United States of America
    			The editors would like to express our deep gratitude to all the talented authors who contributed to this volume. Their wisdom and insights will serve seekers for many years to come. Special thanks to Elysia Gallo at Llewellyn, for her expert guidance and her unique ability to keep two crazy magicians on track and on task. And to our families, friends, and teachers, our deepest thanks for a lifetime of love, wisdom, and support.
    			List of Figures
    			List of Tables
    			Editors’ Introduction
    			Book One: Foundations of Western Magic—by Sam Webster
    			A survey of the philosophical, religious, and cultural precursors of the Western ceremonial magic traditions.
    			Book Two: Qabalah—by Anita Kraft & Randall Bowyer
    			An exploration of the Hebrew and Hermetic Qabalistic traditions, whose doctrines and symbol sets heavily influenced ceremonial magic as we now know it.
    			Book Three: Planetary Magic—by David Rankine
    			A review of the ways in which the symbols and energies of the seven classical planets may be employed in magical ritual.
    			Book Four: Alchemy—by Dennis William Hauck
    			An exploration of the processes of alchemical transformation that are embedded, explicitly or implicitly, in much of the Western magick tradition.
    			Book Five: Demonology & Spirit Evocation—by Dr. Stephen Skinner
    			A review of the traditions and procedures involved in the evocation of demons or spirits.
    			Book Six: The Magick of Abra-Melin—by Marcus Katz
    			A thorough presentation of one of the most important works of theurgy in the ceremonial magick tradition, originating in the medieval grimoire of Abra-Melin.
    			Book Seven: Enochian Magick & Mysticism—by Aaron Leitch
    			An exploration of the Enochian magick system of John Dee and Edward Kelley, a growing subfield of ceremonial magick since the Renaissance.
    			Book Eight: The Golden Dawn—by Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha Cicero
    			A discussion of the work of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a British magical order whose structure and teachings have had a seminal and inescapable influence on all subsequent ceremonial magick traditions.
    			Book Nine: Thelema & Aleister Crowley—by David Shoemaker
    			An exploration of the work of one of the most notorious, innovative, and influential figures in modern magick, including a review of Crowley’s broader cultural impact in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
    			Book Ten: Polytheistic Ceremonial Magic—by John Michael Greer
    			An exploration of pagan and other polytheistic traditions as they intersect with ceremonial magic ritual and doctrine.
    			Book Eleven: Magician’s Tables—by David Allen Hulse
    			An annotated compendium of symbolic correspondences for the practicing ceremonial magician.
    			Epilogue: The Future of Ceremonial Magick—by Brandy Williams
    			Wherein the narrator sets out to explore the future, confronts Despair, and emerges with Hope.
    			About the Editors
    			Book Two
    			Figure 1. The Tree of Life of the Golden Dawn
    			Figure 2. The Three Triads on the Tree of Life
    			Figure 3. The Three Pillars
    			Figure 4. The Veils of Negative Existence
    			Figure 5–Figure 11. How to Draw the Tree of Life, Steps 1–10
    			Figure 12. The Nine Chambers of Aiq Bekar
    			Figure 13. The Nine Chambers Exploded as a Code-Matrix, Showing the Hebrew Alphabet Encrypted by the Aiq Bekar Cipher
    			Figure 14. The Name Abraham in the Aiq Bekar Cipher, and Some Sigils Formed from It
    			Figure 15. The Nine Chambers of Aiq Bekar Rearranged as a Magic Square, with the Name Abraham Indicated by Lines Drawn on the Square
    			Figure 16. The Rose of Twenty-Two Petals, with the Name Abraham Indicated by Lines Drawn on the Rose
    			Figure 17. A Talisman Incorporating Correspondences of the Letter Lamed, Employing Notariqon, Gematria, and Temurah
    			Book Three
    			Figure 1. Image of the Tree of Life Showing Sephiroth with Planetary Attributions
    			Figure 2. Example of Sigil Construction
    			Figure 3. Tzaphkiel Sigil
    			Figure 4. Tzadkiel Sigil
    			Figure 5. Khamael Sigil
    			Figure 6. Michael Sigil
    			Figure 7. Uriel Sigil
    			Figure 8. Raphael Sigil
    			Figure 9. Gabriel Sigil
    			Figure 10. Agiel Sigil
    			Figure 11. Jophiel Sigil
    			Figure 12. Graphiel Sigil
    			Figure 13. Nakhiel Sigil
    			Figure 14. Hagiel Sigil
    			Figure 15. Tiriel Sigil
    			Figure 16. Malka Sigil
    			Figure 17. Zazel Sigil
    			Figure 18. Hismael Sigil
    			Figure 19. Bartzabel Sigil
    			Figure 20. Sorath Sigil
    			Figure 21. Kedemel Sigil
    			Figure 22. Taphthartharath Sigil
    			Figure 23. Chasmodai Sigil
    			Figure 24. Schad Sigil
    			Figure 25. Gabriel Seal
    			Figure 26. Michael Seal
    			Figure 27. Adoniel Seal
    			Figure 28. Salatiel Seal
    			Figure 29. Anatiel Seal
    			Figure 30. Uriel Seal
    			Figure 31. Raphael Seal
    			Figure 32. The 7/3 Heptagram
    			Figure 33. Sigillum Dei Aemeth
    			Figure 34. The 7/2 Heptagram Showing the Days of the Week
    			Book Four
    			Figure 1. Emerald Tablet
    			Figure 2. First Matter
    			Figure 3. Laboratory
    			Figure 4. Monad
    			Figure 5. Sun
    			Figure 6. Moon
    			Figure 7. Construction
    			Figure 8. Ciphers
    			Figure 9. Mercury
    			Figure 10. Saturn Left
    			Figure 11. Saturn Right
    			Figure 12. Jupiter Left
    			Figure 13. Jupiter Right
    			Figure 14. Venus Top
    			Figure 15. Mars Bottom
    			Figure 16. Azoth
    			Book Five
    			Figure 1. A Very Simple Protective Circle
    			Figure 2. A Complex Circle
    			Figure 3. A Heptameron-Style Circle
    			Figure 4. Circle for Evoking the Spirit Oberion, Set Outside in the Woods
    			Figure 5. The Compass Rose in the Theurgia-Goetia
    			Figure 6. Table of Practice for the Ars Paulina
    			Book Seven
    			Figure 1. Archangels of the Seven Planets
    			Figure 2. The Holy Table
    			Figure 3. The Seal of the True God
    			Figure 4. The Holy Lamen
    			Figure 5. The Ring of Solomon
    			Figure 6. The Holy Table Set Up
    			Figure 7. Liber Juratus Seal
    			Figure 8. Almadel of Solomon
    			Figure 9. The Pauline Arts Table of Practice
    			Figure 10. The Ensign of Venus and Annael
    			Figure 11. The Ensign of Sol and Michael
    			Figure 12. The Ensign of Mars and Samael
    			Figure 13. The Ensign of Jupiter and Sachiel
    			Figure 14. The Ensign of Mercury and Raphael
    			Figure 15. The Ensign of Saturn and Cassiel
    			Figure 16. The Ensign of Luna and Gabriel
    			Figure 17. Tabula Collecta
    			Figure 18. Tabula Bonorum
    			Figure 19. Table of the Seven Sephirothic Archangels
    			Figure 20. Table of the Seven Planetary Archangels
    			Figure 21. Dee’s Heptarchia Talisman
    			Figure 22. Tree of Life with the Fifty Gates
    			Figure 23. The Great Table of the Earth Showing the Ninety-Two Parts
    			Figure 24. The Great Table of the Earth
    			Figure 25. Powers of the Angels in the Great Table
    			Figure 26. The Tablet of Union
    			Figure 27. The Reformed Great Table of Raphael
    			Figure 28. The Frontispiece of Book H
    			Book Eight
    			Figure 1. Cross and Triangle
    			Figure 2. A Modern-Day Vault of the Adepti
    			Figure 3. Elemental Attributions of the Pentagram
    			Figure 4. Lesser Invoking and Banishing Pentagrams
    			Figure 5. The Elemental Tools of an Adept
    			Figure 6. The Exercise of the Middle Pillar
    			Figure 7. Planetary Attributions of the Hexagram
    			Figure 8. Four Forms of the Lesser Hexagram
    			Figure 9. The Rose Cross Lamen of the Adept
    			Figure 10. Tracing the Rose Cross
    			Figure 11. Movements in the Rose Cross Ritual
    			Figure 12. The Final Rose Cross
    			Figure 13. Israel Regardie’s Tattva Cards
    			Figure 14. Israel Regardie
    			Figure 15. Enochian Tablet of the North (Earth)
    			Book Nine
    			Figure 1. The Tree of Life with the Grades of the A A
    			Figure 2. The Sigil of the A A
    			Book Ten
    			Figure 1. Spirit Pentagrams
    			Figure 2. Elements and the Pentagram
    			Figure 3. Earth Pentagrams
    			Figure 4. Water Pentagrams
    			Figure 5. Air Pentagrams
    			Figure 6. Fire Pentagrams
    			Figure 7. Altar for Sample Ritual
    			Book Eleven
    			Figure 1. The Tree of Life as 32 Paths
    			Figure 2. Waite’s Wheel of Fortune Card
    			Figure 3. Pentagram of Five Elements
    			Figure 4. The Court Cards as Sixteen Invisible Paths and Four Select Sephiroth on the Tree of Life
    			Figure 5. Hexagram of Seven Planets
    			Figure 6. Seven Chakras as Seven Planets
    			Figure 7. Rose Cross of 22 Petals
    			Figure 1. Hope in a Prison of Despair by Evelyn de Morgan
    			Book Two
    			Table 1. The Hebrew Alphabet
    			Table 2. Two Examples of Temurah Cipher
    			Table 3. Essential Correspondences of the Hebrew Alphabet
    			Book Three
    			Table 1. The Pantheons and Their Planetary Attributions
    			Table 2. The Planets, the Human Body, and the Ages of Man
    			Table 3. Attributions of Planetary Hours of the Day
    			Table 4. Attributions of Planetary Hours of the Night
    			Table 5. Planetary Hierarchy
    			Table 6. Aiq Beker
    			Table 7. English-Language Table for Sigil Making
    			Table 8. Kamea of Saturn
    			Table 9. Kamea of Jupiter
    			Table 10. Kamea of Mars
    			Table 11. Kamea of the Sun
    			Table 12. Kamea of Venus
    			Table 13. Kamea of Mercury
    			Table 14. Kamea of the Moon
    			Table 15. The Planetary Archangels and Their Sigils
    			Table 16. The Planetary Intelligences and Their Sigils
    			Table 17. The Planetary Spirits and Their Sigils
    			Table 18. The Planets and Their Associated Types of Magick
    			Table 19. The Planets and Their Metals, Colours, and Crystals
    			Table 20. Planets, Elements, and Rulerships
    			Table 21. Planets with Their Associated Incense Plants and Latin Names
    			Table 22. Attributions of Planetary Incenses across Time
    			Table 23. Planets and Their Crystal Attributions
    			Table 24. Planetary Relationships According to Agrippa
    			Table 25. Prayers from Psalm 4:6–10
    			Table 26. Planets and Their Night Angels
    			Table 27. The Seven Vowels of Ancient Greek
    			Book Eight
    			Table 1. The Sephiroth, with English Translations and Attributes
    			Table 2. The Grade Structure of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
    			Table 3. The Tattvas and Their Correspondences
    			Book Ten
    			Table 1. Correspondences for the Middle Pillar Exercise
    			Book Eleven
    			Table 1. Eliphas Levi’s Hebrew Key to the Tarot
    			Table 2. The Golden Dawn Hebrew Alphabet Key to the Tarot
    			Table 3. The 32 Paths of Wisdom on the Tree of Life
    			Table 4. The Four Color Scales of the Four Worlds for the Ten Sephiroth
    			Table 5. The Four Color Scales for the 22 Paths in the Four Worlds
    			Table 6. Alchemical Trinity of Elements
    			Table 7. The Secret Order of the Court Cards
    			Table 8. Latin Cabala Simplex
    			Table 9. The Four Elements in the Wheel of Fortune Card
    			Table 10. Additional Symbols for the Four Elements
    			Table 11. Pentagram of Five Elements
    			Table 12. Elemental Counterchanges for the Court Cards
    			Table 13. Sixteen Geomantic Figures
    			Table 14. Sixteen Sub-elements as Court Cards, Geomancy, and Astrology
    			Table 15. Sixteen Sub-elements as Tarot, Hebrew, Number, and Enochian
    			Table 16. The Five Excluded Enochian Letters
    			Table 17. Sixteen Sub-elements as Astral Landscapes
    			Table 18. The Sixteen Court Cards on the Sephiroth of the Tree of Life
    			Table 19. The Flow of Elements across the Sephiroth
    			Table 20. The Sixteen Invisible Paths on the Tree of Life
    			Table 21. The Sixteen Tree of Life Color Variations and the Four Quadrants of the Four Enochian Watchtowers
    			Table 22. The Seven Planets in the Major Arcana
    			Table 23. Platonic Order of the Seven Planets
    			Table 24. Seven Planets as the Seven Chakras
    			Table 25. Basic Astrological Symbolism for the Zodiac
    			Table 26. Alchemical Ladder of Planetary Rulers
    			Table 27. The Zodiac in the Major Arcana
    			Table 28. The Zodiac in the Cosmos
    			Table 29. The Zodiac in the Natural World
    			Table 30. Golden Dawn Symbolism for the 36 Decans
    			Table 31. Days of the Year and the Zodiac
    			Table 32. The Rainbow Scale on the Rose Cross
    Editors’ Introduction
    			Magick is not something you do. Magick is something you are!
    			~Donald Michael Kraig 1
    			Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.
    			~Aleister Crowley 2
    			I was an eighteen-year-old atheist when my passion for all things magical and mystical was born out of a psychedelically triggered epiphany of self-realization. In a timeless slit of eternity I saw (in blinding Technicolor certainty) that all things in the cosmos—light, time, space, energy, matter, motion, and my own self—were merely cascading fractals of a supreme and awesome singularity of consciousness; furthermore, I giddily surrendered to the most “Self”-evident of self-evident Truths that this supreme singularity of consciousness was God and myself.
    			In the days and weeks that followed that curious awakening, I combed the stacks of my college library for books on Zen, yoga, and other varieties of Eastern mysticism, hoping to find in classical literature other examples and parallels to my chemically induced experience. I soon found the works of Alan Watts, Paramahansa Yogananda, and a wide selection of other material to capture my attention. My timing for such a quest could not have been more culturally synchronistic. The pop world of the mid-1960s viewed such esoteric studies and practices as being where it’s at, hip, socially aware, and sexy. Oh, I was going to look so cool losing my ego!
    			For the next ten years or so, I made a real effort to become a good yogi (I truly don’t regret a moment of mantra chanting, fasting, and pranayama), but eventually I came to the realization that I was fundamentally hardwired differently than the Eastern mystic I was trying to emulate. I was objective rather than subjective, active rather than passive. I began to seek out some sort of Western system of consciousness expansion and self-transformation. What I eventually found was Qabalah and six thousand years of philosophies, spiritual practices, arts, sciences, and mythologies that lie at the heart of Western philosophy and religion; indeed, it forms the foundation of Western civilization itself. I found “Magick.”
    			Even under the best of circumstances ceremonial magick is an awkward and difficult study, especially at the beginning. There is no such thing as “Magick 101.” It seems that wherever one chooses to begin, one should already be familiar with (or have mastery of ) a half dozen obscure and esoteric subjects about which one is woefully undereducated. Fledgling magicians are forced to dive into the deep side of the pool and sink or swim. Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t drown in the murky waters of the magical swimming pool. Perhaps I was too lazy to get out of the water.
    			One thing is for certain: at the beginning of my magical career, things would have gone dramatically smoother had I a textbook like Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick—a single volume I could turn to to get a primary esoteric education in the most important subjects I needed to learn in order to properly prepare myself for postgraduate work. Such a tool would have shaved years off my magical learning curve.
    			I admit, I am the laziest man in the world, and even though I have written a number of books and songs and been involved in one way or another in numerous other publishing efforts, each time a project is presented to me I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the process. When my friends at Llewellyn approached me about a massive project called the Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick, my initial response was, “It sounds like too much work!”
    			I think they thought I was joking. When pressed why I was reluctant to come on board, I responded by saying something like this:
    			It would mean … first trying to contact a score of the most celebrated magical scholars and practitioners in the world and convince them to drop whatever it is they are doing and write the equivalent of a small masterpiece of a book that would encapsulate and illuminate the essence of an essential aspect of the science and art of ceremonial magick. Even if we could get these cloistered esoteric superstars to agree, they are all geniuses! Do you know how hard it can be to work with even one genius? Can you imagine trying to work with a couple dozen geniuses at once? This thing will probably drag on for years as we gather up and edit. No! It sounds like too much work!
    			Obviously, I changed my mind.
    			The project’s profound and historical potential (and my own sense of responsibility to future generations) won out over my inherent slothful nature. Much to my surprise, I found it far easier than I expected to personally contact and secure the goodwill and participation of the brightest stars of the twenty-first century’s magical firmament. Each was remarkably gracious and enthusiastic. Furthermore, the gods smiled and inspired each of our contributors to create for us real mini-masterpieces … some of the best work of their careers—true examples of magical genius. And that is the real magick of the Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick.
    			I would especially like to draw the reader’s attention to the epilogue of this work, The Future of Ceremonial Magick by Brandy Williams. It will be apparent to the reader that the format Brandy is offering is different from that of the other sections. It is a true prophetic document and a breathtaking example of the visionary inner eye of a true magician. The reader is urged to read it in a meditative state.
    A Special Thank You
    			As I’ve confessed, I am the laziest man in the world. The editorial labor necessary for a work of this scope is monumental and far beyond my skill or capacity to shoulder alone. This work would never have seen the light of day without the herculean efforts of my friend and co-editor, Dr. David Shoemaker (who is also the author of Book Nine of this work). Thank you, Dr. Shoemaker, and let’s hope our next project is a bit easier.
    			—Lon Milo DuQuette
    			Never let your love of Clarity overtake your lust for Mystery.
    			~Bill Nelson, musician/magician
    			As a young doctoral student in clinical psychology, I found myself frustrated by the status quo
    of the available training in clinical theory and practice. The emphasis in clinical psychology over the past several decades has been on empirically validated clinical approaches, favoring easily researchable modalities over the more traditional (but unfashionable) “depth” psychology of Freud, Jung, and others. This was a needed corrective to the occasionally slack critical thinking evident in the earlier approaches, but it limited the light of investigation to only one corner of the human experience. In this intellectual climate, I found myself seeking a psychological worldview that would satisfy my curiosity about the deeper mysteries of human consciousness. This quickly led me to the work of Carl Jung, and I soon realized that I was not only seeking a foundation of my psychological approach, I was seeking a renewal of my spiritual life. The mystery I was lusting after would not be discovered in any book or in any theory, but only in my own personal approach to the divine. I soon found the work of Israel Regardie in the form of The Middle Pillar,3 which introduced me to Qabalistic psychology and the writings of Aleister Crowley. When I finally delved into Crowley’s writings, I knew I’d found my path.
    			In most of life, it is only occasionally that we meet an individual who truly shines with Self-hood, whose very presence is a lesson in a certain way of being and of living. When I began attending events presented by various magical orders, I found that these organizations were absolutely filled to the brim with such people!—and I am so very pleased and honored to say that the contributors to this volume are among the best and the brightest of these brilliant individuals. It has been a true delight to read and edit this collection and to hear the unique voices of the various authors discussing their respective areas of specialty with such clarity and passion.
    			In assembling this volume, we considered the diverse array of philosophies, spiritual traditions, and ritual styles that might reasonably fall within the conceptual net known as ceremonial magick. In each book of this volume, we will feature a different tradition, highlighting the key concepts, philosophical underpinnings, and ritual approaches that constitute its unique contribution to the field of magick. Text boxes in each book will give more detail about important historical figures or submovements relevant to the tradition. The sequence of books is roughly chronological, to aid the reader’s ability to trace the evolution of magick across cultures and over the course of millennia. Furthermore, as many traditions built on the foundations of earlier doctrines and practices, approaching the work chronologically more clearly traces the influences each body of work exerted on the others. As one might expect, we were inevitably forced to explore some traditions in more detail and others only in passing. We encourage the reader not to assume that this represents doctrinal bias on the part of the editors but rather the limitations of the space and scope of this volume.
    			The very worthwhile price to pay when assembling a volume of this diversity and magnitude is that the unique viewpoints of the various authors may sometimes contradict each other. We made an editorial decision to embrace these differences as an inevitable, positive result of bringing together a group of such devoted and learned specialists rather than attempting to impose a uniformity of doctrine and interpretation that, in fact, is not actually there. Accordingly, we invite the reader to approach this volume with critical thinking skills fully engaged, and to let the interplay of views enrich your research as you come to your own conclusions. In a similar vein, we have made no attempt to standardize the spelling or usage of the technical terms and concepts that appear throughout this volume. As they say, reasonable people may disagree on such things, and the various traditions represented here often have their own unique usages as well.
    			To my good friend, co-editor, and brother in the Great Work, Lon Milo DuQuette (who, judging by his prolific career of writing, speaking, teaching, and making music, isn’t as lazy as he thinks): Thank you for sharing the very magical task of compiling and editing this work. It has been a challenging but extremely fulfilling journey, and I share your hope that generations to come may benefit from what we’ve assembled here.
    			And finally, to the reader: May you discover the eternal light of Magick within yourself, and bring that light to bear on your path, finding much joy and fulfillment in every step.
    			—David Shoemaker
    			 				 					1. Donald Michael Kraig, Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, rev. and expanded ed. (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2010), 88.
    				 					2. Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice, 6th ed. (New York: Castle Books,1992), xii.
    				 					3. Israel Regardie, The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic., ed. and annotated with new material by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero (St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2002).
    		 			 Book One
    Foundations of Western Magic
    by Sam Webster
    			In 1510 Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa gave us ceremonial magic as the topic of the third of his Three Books of Occult Philosophy. The practices and traditions discussed in the volume in your hand call themselves forms of ceremonial magick because of this. Agrippa created a critical compendium of magical lore that still enriches our practice to this day, but much of this lore was not considered magic by those who practiced it.
    			Scholars from Lynn Thorndike to Ronald Hutton have suggested there is a continuity in the development of Western ritual magic from ancient times to modern.4 As a body, this stream of practice has been termed the Western Mystery Tradition, or more recently the Western esoteric tradition.5 So much will have to be lightly touched upon here due to the limits of space, but those parts that become our magic will be the focus.
    What Is Magic?
    			Before we can undertake a history of Western magic—particularly if the history is to be a short one—we need to have some idea about what we do and do not mean by the word. 6 Yet a precise definition is not easy to fashion.
    			Magic is thought of by many as being in opposition to religion. Magic is often defined as the manipulation of spiritual forces for specific, usually material ends, while religion is said to focus on worship and general supplication for help. This is a popular distinction, but counterexamples are not hard to find. We regard the animal sacrifices of the ancient Greeks to be religious, not magical—and yet the ancient Greeks always expected an answer. Even today, anyone attending a Catholic mass or Protestant service will note the specificity of petitional prayer.
    			Others define the difference between religion and magic as the difference between the legitimate and the illegitimate use of spiritual resources,with magic of course constituting the illegitimate. And indeed, every culture distinguishes between common acts of piety and esoteric or forbidden magic—but unfortunately for our purposes, these dividing lines are drawn very differently from one culture to another. The same magical square that a magician in London might formulate in private to attract celestial forces, a Hindu shopkeeper in New Delhi will hang openly behind the cash register to attract the blessing of the gods and good fortune.
    			Moreover, many practices have been thought of as magic at one time in history and yet not at another. For example, both Agrippa in 1500 and the Golden Dawn in 1900 used the term magic to describe their practices, while Iamblichus, who in 300 was at the root of these same practices, did not. Particularly for ancient peoples, these practices were not regarded as magic but simply as a part of their religion—the operational part.
    			Once we remove the cultural framework around the words religion and magic, no objective differences remain. This realization will guide our exploration of the ancient forms of magic, and we may see them as entirely a part of their religious framework while no less means of accomplishing ends.
    			And so, what is magic? In my view, magic is religious action or operative religion. It is any use of religious or spiritual resources to achieve a result, whether that result is spiritual or material. To put it flatly, magic is not separate from religion in any meaningful sense; rather, it is part of religion, specifically that part that seeks an outcome.
    			Equipped with this definition, we can now look at the ancient sources that are the foundations of Western ceremonial magic. The history that follows is a summary of a long journey, one whose beginnings are older than history itself, that takes us through the ancient cultures that contributed to our understanding of those practices we now call magic.
    			We’ll look into the depth of time and consider the limited information our forebears had of the Bronze Age. The path becomes easier for us to follow as we enter the Iron Age, and from there we can trace the philosophical tradition through more than a thousand years of development, culminating in the practice of theurgy as developed and taught by Iamblichus of Chalcis around 300 BCE.
    			The tradition was interrupted by the rapid rise and domination of Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire, but from about 500 on, we can again track the development of magical theory and practice through the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. At last, this short history will bring us to the dawn of the modern era, when in 1510 Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa wrote his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, a scholarly compendium of magical lore that still influences and enriches our practice to this day.
    			Discussing aspects of this history in more depth and continuing the journey to the present day is the work of the rest of this volume. Later books cover planetary magick; the influence of the Kabbalah of the Jews, the Cabala of the Christians, and the Qabalah of the hermeticists; the grimoire traditions and the Enochian magick of John Dee; alchemy; the Abra-Melin system; and influential orders such as the Rosicrucians and Freemasons, and later the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and the AA. In the final chapter, after this long journey, ceremonial magic is returned to its polytheistic roots.
    			Deep Time and the Bronze Age
    			Modern humans, of the species Homo sapiens sapiens, have been around for perhaps 300,000 years. The deep past, of course, always casts a subtle influence on the present, but only in the last few hundred years have we begun to possess real information about ancient cultures. Not until 1822, for example, was the ancient Egyptian language translated; the translation of Sumerian was only beginning in 1838.
    			When we look at the deep ancient world, then, we have to remember that until relatively recently we had only a dim and often erroneous idea about our inheritance. Our old ideas about the origins of the Western magical tradition were mostly projections based on whatever architecture, artifacts, and other fragments of the past had survived into the Iron Age. Even these scattered pieces had often themselves been changed along the way, transformed by ancient peoples before being written down and delivered to us in the form of myths, legends, and scriptures.
    			A variety of scientific developments, however, have increased our skill at reconstructing the past. We have better indications now of what humans were doing as deep as 33,000 BCE, when the Red Lady of Paviland was buried in what is now Britain. The body, which was covered in red ocher, was buried with seashell necklaces and rings and rods carved from the ivory of a mammoth’s tusk. When the Red Lady was unearthed in 1823, scientists speculated that “she” was a prostitute from the time of the Roman Empire; only since the 1960s has analysis revealed that the skeleton is male and dates from tens of thousands of years earlier. The ocher and the adornments must have had some symbolic meaning and probably indicate some form of ritual activity. The Red Lady is now thought to be the oldest known ceremonial burial in Europe. These ancient cultures, however, are mostly cut off from us by the last ice age, which ended about 12,000 years ago.
    			The stone circles of Europe were once thought to have been erected by the ancient Druids, who were contemporary with the ancient Romans. We now know that these were actually built by much older cultures beginning in about 3300 BCE. Even earlier are chamber tombs and cairns, which we can date to 4000 BCE at the latest, in the early Neolithic period. Long before these is the Göbekli Tepe in what is now Turkey, built in about 11,000 BCE by people who had not yet developed agriculture.
    			The historical record changes dramatically after a period of decline and destruction that began about 1200 BCE. Within about a half-century, most of the great cultures of the Western world at that time—including the Egyptian, Hittite, Minoan, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Mycenaean cultures—either collapsed or were significantly diminished. During this period, almost every important city on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea was destroyed; many of them were never occupied again. Historians still debate the causes—drought, warfare, widespread piracy, and the failure of rigid political systems to adapt to change are all possible contributors—but in any case, this collapse marked the end of the Bronze Age.
    			Here is where our story can really begin.
    			When the Lights Come on Again: The Iron Age and the Ancient World
    			We can trace the origins of our modern practices all the way back to about 900 BCE, to the culture that arose as humanity began to recover from the Bronze Age collapse. What survives from this prehistoric world is mostly Greek and Roman, along with some Hebrew elements. It was through the lenses of these great cultures that the still more ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures were understood.
    			This final period of prehistory, the Iron Age, was first named by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod in his poem Theogony. For Hesiod, the Iron Age was the third and most brutal of the mythic ages during which the gods had their origins. Together, the epic poems of Hesiod and Homer formed the cosmic narrative that became the basis for Mediterranean culture. Beginning with the conquests of Alexander the Great starting around 325 BCE, the swell of great empires spread these myths and legends broadly.
    			What comes forward from this ancient period are streams of knowledge and practice: philosophy, myth, spellcraft, fragments of worship practices, and bits of early science and math. Much of this lore would be hidden and inactive until the Renaissance, except for such pieces as were later absorbed and preserved—though in distorted forms—by the Church.
    			The line between the Iron Age and the beginnings of written history is not sharply defined. It was around this time that philosophy had its beginnings in attempts to find a rational basis for understanding and interpreting the ancient poetic myths. But it wasn’t long before philosophers expanded their horizons and were trying to explain the whole world without reference to the literary traditions. We call these ancient philosophers the pre-Socratics, and the first—at least of those whose names and works have survived—was Thales (c. 624–546 BCE), who told us “all things are full of gods” and began organizing the discipline of geometry.
    			Pythagoras (c. 570–495 BCE), who is credited with coining the term philosophy, created a community of followers that long outlasted him. He taught using geometric proofs, and he required discipline and contemplation from his students. His contributions ranged from theories of musical harmonics to practices for the attainment of a good life. The doctrine of ethical reincarnation is attributed to him, as well as a number of mathematical theorems.
    			Our image of a holy man or sage comes, in part, from the mystic philosopher and healer Empedocles of Sicily (495–444 BCE). Empedocles was said to go about wearing elaborate purple robes, a crown, and golden sandals. This sartorial splendor was criticized by some in his own day as being eccentric and overdone, but it was the common garb of priestfolk during worship.
    			Empedocles claimed to remember other lives and to know that he was a divine being incarnate on earth. In his great cosmogonic poem On Nature, he wrote that the conflict between two divine forces, Strife and Love, was the dynamic that propels all action. In this poem, he also gave us the first Western presentation of the four elements, fire, air, water, and earth, which he called “roots.” He took his leave of life (or at least of Sicily) by jumping into a volcano, leaving his sandals on the edge of the crater.
    			Socrates (470–399 BCE) was a stonecutter in Athens whose method of teaching was not to profess to know but only to ask. We have no writings of his, only what Plato, Xenophon, and a few other contemporaries wrote about him, and it may be that the Socrates we meet in Plato’s dialogues is more of a literary construct than an accurate portrait. Socrates was noted for his unusual method of teaching, which consisted of asking a series of questions, and for his ethical virtues, which ultimately brought him into conflict with the leadership of Athens and led to his trial and his death by hemlock.
    			For magical practitioners, it is important to note that Socrates claimed to be guided by his personal daemon, mostly by being told what not to do. Scholars struggle with this, but the descriptions that we have make it clear he was dealing with the same phenomenon we know today as the Holy Guardian Angel.
    			Little is known about Diotima of Mantinea, but it is important that we acknowledge her as the one whom Socrates referred to as his teacher, according to Plato’s Symposium. She introduced Socrates to the notion of divine ascent through beauty and love, starting with the particular love, as of an individual, and slowly learning to generalize and abstract that love until one can perceive and unite with the Good and Beautiful that are the Source of Being. Diotima’s teachings illustrate why understanding ancient philosophy is vital to us. Philosophy was the theology of its time, and it provides the theoretical underpinnings for magical practice today.
    			Philosophical development in the West comes to a head with Plato (c. 428–347 BCE). Plato was the founder of the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, and while he was not the first to be called a philosopher, his formulation of the discipline is so influential that in the West he can be considered philosophy’s inventor. Plato’s dialogues summarize the thought of many thinkers before him, and in many cases it is only through Plato that we know of them at all. Importantly, Plato’s work was preserved (though it was lost to the West from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance), and it came to form the basis for all philosophy and theory of magic thereafter.
    			Yet to Plato himself, the written word was not the most important part of his teachings. In the dialogue Phaedrus, he wrote that “he who has knowledge of the just and the good and beautiful … will not, when in earnest, write them in ink, sowing them through a pen with words which cannot defend themselves by argument and cannot teach the truth effectually.” The unwritten doctrines that expressed Plato’s true understanding were to be conveyed by the spoken word.
    			Plato’s philosophy developed in two major phases after his life. The first we call Middle Platonism, and it starts with Antiochus of Ascalon (c. 125–68 BCE), who rejected the hard skepticism of his teachers at the Third Academy, who denied humans the ability to know the absolute.
    			Plutarch (c. 45–120) is the preeminent writer of Middle Platonism. He also rejected the strict determinism of the Stoics and asserted the freedom of the will. He disagreed with the Epicureans and declared the soul immortal. For Plutarch, matter, although transformed by the Creator into the World Soul, was nonetheless the source of all evil. For him, the Supreme Being was transcendental to the world, yet worked within the world through the gods and daemons of popular religion.
    			In the Roman Empire at this time, participation in politics was limited by the imperial system to a small portion of elite society. For the leisured classes and anyone else who had an education, philosophy and religion had become venues for self-expression and advancement. This was an era that saw the writing of the Corpus Hermeticum, the Sepher Yetzirah, the Chaldean Oracles, the Gnostica, and the Gospels.
    			Neoplatonism, which emerged in the third century, is the name we give to the next phase of development in Platonic thought. Eventually, Neoplatonism split into two branches, one purely philosophical and the other theurgic and ritualizing. It is from this theurgic branch that the Western magical tradition springs, specifically “learned” magic.
    			When Plotinus (204–270) arrived in Alexandria to study philosophy, he despaired of finding what he sought until he was pointed to Ammonius Sakkas (dates unknown), who held the chair of philosophy at Alexandria. On returning to Rome, Plotinus taught his own vision of Platonic philosophy. The teachings of Plotinus bear some striking similarities to Vedantic thought, and recent scholarship suggests that his teacher’s family may have come to Alexandria from northern India. Plotinus’s cosmology and ideas about the soul were the origin of the concepts that magic users today have about the world and ourselves.
    			Plotinus gave us a relatively simple fourfold cosmological model that was debated and elaborated upon by his successors but that would be familiar to any Qabalist. It consists of a hierarchy of four hypostases, or entitative stabilizations. The highest realm is that of the Creator and source of being, called to hen, the One. Next highest is the realm of nous, the intelligible mind, the domain of whatever can be apprehended only with the nondiscursive mind. Below that is the realm of psyche, the soul. The soul is perhaps most simply understood as that which leaves the body upon death, but here it constitutes an entire living cosmic domain and underpinning of the material world. This realm is the natural place of the gods of myth and culture in this system. The lowest realm is that of hyle, matter, which consists of the entire physical cosmos out to and including the eighth sphere of the fixed stars.
    			Plotinus’s cosmology assumed that this fourfold cosmos is of similar character to the humans in it. The entitative unity of a human comes from the presence of the One in us. As Plotinus expressed it in his last words, “Strive to give back the One in yourself to the One in the All.” The nous in humans, corresponding to the nous in the cosmos, is our intelligence. Yet in a real sense what are present in us are merely the participating images of the real One and the real nous, just enough to give us these qualities of unity and mind. Where we really begin is at the level of the psyche, or soul, which lives in the material world of hyle, in, on, or permeating the body.
    			We have Plotinus’s thought because his lecture notes and essays were compiled and edited by one of his students, Porphyry of Tyre (c. 234–305). We are fortunate that Porphyry was an excellent writer, as is shown by his other works such as On Abstinence from Animal Food, Aids to the Study of the Intelligibles, and Philosophy from Oracles, which gives us parts of the Chaldean Oracles. The popularity of his Against the Christians can be inferred from the fact that the Roman emperor Theodosius II ordered the burning of every copy in 435—and then had to repeat the order in 448.
    			Porphyry’s work was important to science, as his writing on the Aristotelian categories became the basis for biological taxonomies. But it is his Letter to Anebo that is important to Western magic. There are competing theories as to what this letter is really about, but in it Porphyry critiqued the modes of worship of the day and raised the idea—which Christians would later adopt—that the recipients of burnt and bloody sacrifice were demons and not gods.
    			Most scholars think that Porphyry’s critique was literal and sincere. Many of his views in this letter, however, are contradicted by his later writings, which has led some to suggest that this text should be regarded as an example of “disputations and solutions,” a common mode at the time for discussing philosophical topics, in which the author listed all the debates on a subject and then systematically answered each one.
    			We have the Letter to Anebo at all only because it is part of a work by Porphyry’s own student, Iamblichus (c. 240–325).7 Iamblichus was born in the town of Chalcis in northern Syria. He lived and taught in the Syrian city of Apamea, where the Chaldean Oracles are said to have been written and kept. Only a small portion of Iamblichus’s books have survived. He is known today principally because later writers wrote about him, sometimes quoting passages from his works. In this way we have fragments from two commentaries on Platonic dialogues and from his work On the Soul. We also know about other works of his that are completely lost, including one on the Chaldean Oracles, with at least twenty-eight chapters.
    			One exception to this sad loss is the work generally referred to as De mysteriis, or On the Mysteries. This, Iamblichus’s longest-surviving work, is properly titled The Reply of the Master Abamon to the Letter of Porphyry to Anebo, and the Solutions to the Questions It Contains. In this work, Iamblichus defends theurgy, which is advanced polytheistic practice, and he presents a rationale for cultic worship of heroes, spirits, archons, angels, and gods, leading eventually to union with the One that is All. It also explains the use of divination, divinization through divine possession, the art of sacrifice, and other allied practices generally termed magic today. Importantly, Iamblichus gives us the pedagogy that provides the skills needed to do all this and that underlie all magical practice. This work, like the rest of Iamblichus’s writings and teachings, integrated worship and philosophy in a way that had not been seen before but which came to dominate Neoplatonic philosophy in the ancient world.
    			The last major philosopher of the ancient world whom we have space to cover is Proclus (412–485), who was the head of the later Athenian Platonic Academy. Many of the ideas that were first exposited by Iamblichus were developed—and sometimes criticized—a few generations later by this important thinker.8 We have also been blessed by a collection of Proclus’s hymns which show us an implementation of theurgic practice in verse.9
    			We are fortunate to have some of Proclus’s longer works, such as Platonic Theology and The Elements of Theology, all of which had a profound influence during the Renaissance when they were translated and became available to Europe.
    			Most precious to us is Brian Copenhaver’s 1988 translation of “On the Priestly Art According to the Greeks,” as this is one of the very few explicit writings on the actual practice of theurgy.10 Copenhaver speculates that this text is a précis, culled by a Byzantine philosopher, of a larger work by Proclus. The text is especially important due to its influence on Ficino, and it figures prominently in his Three Books on Life. It explains the power and ubiquity of prayer and explains the use and theory behind what we call today correspondences.11
    			The excessive prevalence of men in this story is partly an artifact of the way history was written. Even if there is little information about them, we must remember Diotima of Mantinea, Socrates’s teacher mentioned previously; Sosipatra of Ephesus (c. 325), mystic and teacher of philosophy; and Hypatia of Alexandra (c. 350–415), teacher, astronomer, and mathematician. Joan Breton Connelly’s work shows the importance of women in the religious culture of the ancient world, mostly lost to us because the women did not write.12
    			Maximus the Thaumaturge
    			Maximus of Ephesus (c. 310–372) was a Neoplatonist philosopher, theurgist, and mage who studied at the school of Iamblichus’s greatest pupil, Aedesius, alongside the famous sage Eusebius. Maximus became the most influential teacher of the future emperor Julian, who would attempt to reestablish classical paganism in the Roman Empire. Eusebius tried to warn Julian off becoming Maximus’s pupil on account of his penchant for sorcery, relating an occasion when Maximus invited him and others to the temple of Hecate. There he saluted the statue of the goddess and told his audience that they would soon be witness to his lofty genius. He then burned a grain of incense while muttering an incantation, whereupon the statue of the goddess seemed to smile before bursting out laughing. Urging his audience not be afraid, he warned them that the stone torches in her hands would shortly burst into flame, which they immediately did. Eusebius advised Julian that such theatrical sorcery merely tricked the senses, insisting that the purification of the soul is of primary importance, and that was to be achieved by reason alone, which was the position of Plotinus rather than Iamblichus.
    			Julian nevertheless headed straight to Ephesus, where Maximus taught him Iamblichan theurgy, which was based primarily on the Chaldean Oracles and the magical religious rites that he had inherited as a son of the last solar priest-king of Emesa. Animal sacrifice and divination were central rituals. On assuming the throne, Julian attempted to establish a cult of Helios the Sun, as the supreme deity of Creation.
    			Eunapius, the Greek historian from whom we derive most of our knowledge of Maximus, met the great wizard in person, and gives us perhaps the best description of a pagan magus of late antiquity that has come down to us:
    			While still a youth [I] met him in his old age and heard his voice, which was such as one might have heard from Homer’s Athene or Apollo. The very pupils of his eyes were, so to speak, winged; he had a long grey beard, and his glance revealed the agile impulses of his soul. There was a wonderful harmony in his person, both to the eye and ear, and all who conversed with him were amazed as to both these faculties, since one could hardly endure the swift movements of his eyes or his rapid flow of words. In discussion with him no one ventured to contradict him, not even the most experienced and most eloquent, but they yielded to him in silence and acquiesced in what he said as though it came from the tripod of an oracle; such a charm sat on his lips.*
    			Eunapius also recounts an episode in which the great philosopher and mystic Sosipatra was bewitched by a relative who had fallen in love with her. Maximus detected the spell and was able to counter it with a spell of his own. After the death of Julian just two years into his reign, Maximus was arrested and eventually executed.
    			—Guy Ogilvy
    			Guy Ogilvy has been a practising spagyrist and student of the Western esoteric tradition for many years. He has written several books on esoteric subjects under various names, including his latest, The Great Wizards of Antiquity (Llewellyn, 2019), the first of a trilogy on the history of magic and alchemy in the West. He has appeared on several television networks in Britain, Japan, and the US to share his expertise on magic and alchemy.
    			* Philostratus and Eunapius, The Lives of the Sophists, trans. Wilmer Cave Wright, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1921), 427.
    Our Theurgic Foundation
    			The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century and the dominance of Christianity thereafter disrupted the development and continuity of this branch of philosophy and religious practice. Some religious and magical technologies were passed on in spite of the interruption, such as the collection of spells and recipes called the Kyranides. The Northern peoples and their practices would be absorbed into the hegemonic cultures of the Mediterranean during the earlier medieval period (500–1100), and fared about as well as the Southern peoples. Others survived because they had been translated into Arabic or Hebrew but were little known in Christendom for a thousand years until the recovery of magic in the Renaissance.
    			The Renaissance, however, would see the recovery of ancient magic in a new and vital way we will examine below, but what was central to that recovery was the last great fluorescence of traditional pre-Christian religion, a profound synthesis of religious thought. This synthesis was developed by the ritualizing, theurgic branch of Neoplatonism, and it began with Iamblichus.
    			What is critical about this, and not always recognized, is that this synthesis provided a complete theory and justification for all traditional ancient worship. It provided for every level of development and education, from the holiday visits of common worshipers, to the temple to ask for boons, to the needs of cities and states for divine blessings, to the exalted practices of the philosophers and priestfolk, and even to the completely immaterial mind-only practices of the rare and few.
    			What we have of this is most thoroughly presented in Iamblichus’s De mysteriis. Other philosophers such as Proclus and Damascius (c. 458 to after 538) would add to this understanding, but not in such a practical manner as in De mysteriis.
    			It is fair to argue that theurgy is the central pillar of all magical practice in that it is the basic technique for worshiping the gods, attracting their presence and power to enable those practices of wonders and transformations we call magic. Divination, spirit conjuration, and divine possession are all embraced by, and made actionable in, theurgic practice. In this way, De mysteriis is the cornerstone of the entire Western magical tradition. No other work provides as strong and thorough a theoretical basis for all the practices we call magic today as this one does.
    			Yet never does Iamblichus refer to magaia in De mysteriis. He appears to have thought of the practices not as magic but rather as a kind of advanced religiosity and deep spirituality.
    			In De mysteriis, Iamblichus, who was in fact a Syrian noble of a priestly family, wrote in the character of an Egyptian priest. With great vigor and eloquence, he answered each of Porphyry’s challenges to worship and spiritual advancement, and in the process he delineated a justification for worship of the gods as well as for the advanced form of that worship, which is theurgy.
    			Prayer, sacrifice, and divination were the tools used by Iamblichus and the theurgists. De mysteriis gave a critical analysis of each. Not satisfied with merely being in the gods’ good graces, the practitioner used sacrifice and prayer to come into a closer relationship with the deity, eventually to the level of union.13 Divination was employed to refine theurgic practice by seeking the deity’s instructions to improve it.
    			Where philosophy was used to speculate upon the nature of the gods and how to approach them, divination augmented that understanding with revelation. Then the practices of sacrifice and prayer actively applied and tested that knowledge, resulting in better communications with the gods.
    			The Iamblichan Paradigm of Theurgy
    			In Iamblichus’s view, the theurgist lives in a world created by a divine hierarchy that is descended from the One, the supreme and ultimate grand unity of being. The world gets its structure according to the principles of mediation; as a mean is required between all extremes, the hierarchy has many layers, all in keeping with the cosmic strata.
    			These strata are derived from Plotinus: unity, mind, soul, and matter. The material realm, the cosmos, is organized by the classical Ptolemaic cosmology. The earth, along with the four elements, are at the center. This terrestrial realm is surrounded by the celestial realm, which includes the moon, the sun, and the rest of the planets, and ends with the sphere of the fixed stars. Outside the cosmos, the divine realm begins.
    			The power of creation and divine presence ever flows from the One. It flows down the hierarchy of divinities and daemons in emanation, prohodos, and it flows in return, epistrophe. It is this returning current that the theurgist exploits to ascend the hierarchy, eventually back to the One.
    			The deities of worship, myth, and legend are, in philosophical terms, the Platonic ideas or forms. The deities emanate their essences (their selves) into the cosmos, giving otherwise formless and insensible matter its distinct characteristics. When manifested in material form, these divine ideas are called words, or logoi, and so the texture, color, shape, and what we call today the chemical or medical properties of things, as well as all other characteristics, are to the theurgist the literal presence of the deity in the object. These anagogic logoi of the gods that can be found in matter are called sunthemata, or tokens, and by contemplating and sacrificing these “wondrous deposits,” the theurgist becomes herself divinized.14
    			Moderns will recognize this as the ancient understanding of correspondences, although that term was not used until after the Renaissance. Proclus, in his On the Hieratic Art, explained that the “sympathy of lower things for those above” is the inherence of the logoi of the divine ideas present in objects, prayers, and thought. The logoi are not only the distinguishing characteristics in all things, they are themselves the divine presence. When Proclus wrote of their “use made in the priestly art,” he explained how and when these things are applied and their logoi are activated.
    			Proclus wrote that the divine light comes “to what is capable of sharing it,” using the analogy of a warm candlewick that, having been made fit (epitedeiotes) by being warmed, can be lit by a flame that is merely held nearby without touching. It is through the performance of the invocation that the theurgist is “warmed” and that the contact with the divine is made. In this analogy, the lighting of the wick represents the “divinization of mortal entities,” and the illumination that results is the approaching of the divine. Proclus cites Chaldean Oracle, fr. 121: “For the mortal who has approached the fire will possess the light from God.” 15
    			The human theurgist is a microcosm of the larger world. Within her constitution is the One in the soul, the manifestation of the One in the individual that grants unity and individuality. She also possess nous, or nondiscursive mind, which resides above and complements her discursive mind, dianoia, for it is nous that is able to experience the logoi directly. Most properly, her rank is that of a soul, and from the mean between nous and hyle she takes her own proper place in the divine hierarchy, albeit as its least member.
    			The theurgist’s soul, like those of all humans, is imbued with the divine logoi. The gods, who are the source of the logoi, are present to her and within her as part of her very constitution. She shares in the composite life of the body and is constrained by its lawful needs, and yet with the help of the gods she is able to free herself from the body, its limits, and its passions, and ultimately to attain the rank of the angels and coadminister the cosmos.
    			Bridging the gap between the material body and the incorporeal soul is the aetheric and/or pneumatic vehicle, called the augoeides soma or ochema, the egg-like body or vehicle.16 Once purified, this vehicle becomes the tool for the ascent to the creative cause and the screen on which “blessed visions” arise as the gods communicate to the theurgist.
    			Theurgy is an advanced religious practice, and so the would-be theurgist must be prepared. At the beginning, she undergoes a time of study. She learns of the world from Aristotle, and she learns of higher things from the Platonic dialogues (including their copious commentaries), the Corpus Hermeticum (in whatever form it existed in Iamblichus’s time), the Chaldean Oracles, Pythagorean mathematics, and other supportive works. Parallel to this was the cultivation of virtue, moderation, and piety in all actions. Supporting all this was her lifelong practice of ordinary, traditional worship and cult.
    			The theurgist is then to practice devotion, making sacrifice and spending long hours in invocation. First, she will be illuminated by the gods as she comes to know them firsthand, and she will be purified by their sunthemata, which are activated by their presence in offerings. Later, she will become united with their will, and she will join in their projects. Eventually, she will be joined to the gods in ineffable union, theosis.
    			As part of her approach to the divine, she invokes and makes offering to each and every daemon, angel, and archangel. First, she worships the terrestrial gods of her culture and of the places around her. This is the first step up the hierarchy of divine beings, which proceeds up through the celestial realm to the noeric (soul) gods, to the noetic (mind) gods, and finally to the henadic realm of the many gods that are one.
    			When she is able to stand on the firm foundation given by the terrestrial gods, she next worships the sun and practices photogogia, light-guiding, filling herself with divine fire. From the sun, she asks to know and converse with the personal daemon, called today the Holy Guardian Angel, who was given her by the demiurge at her creation and who will guide her on her theurgic path. One after another, she invokes the gods until she comes to know them all and awakens their logoi within her, uniting herself to the cosmos and eventually leading her up to union with the One, henosis.
    			As she advances along this path, her sacrifices become less material. She gradually dispenses with “bodies,” or material offerings, as she moves to symbols, word images, and actions. Eventually, as her epitedeiotes, or “fitness,” to receive the gods improves, she dispenses with symbols as well, making purely immaterial offerings.
    			As the divine union becomes more pure and stabilized, as her will becomes more united with the gods, the theurgist’s actions become those of demiurgic mimesis, imitating the Creator as she fulfills her purpose, continuing creation so that the promise of the Timaeus (41b–c) is fulfilled, that the cosmos be complete or else be imperfect.
    			Notably, there are no voces magicae, what we call barbarous tongues, listed as part of this preparation. Nor are there any arcane practices, strange symbols, and the like. There are places for these things in theurgy, and if the theurgist is trained in the use of these tools, or if she is an initiate of such mysteries as provide them, they will provide divinely empowered access or activity. But, though they may be helpful, they are not necessary.
    			In essence, theurgy was for the most part performed simply by participating in ordinary cultic activities. These activities were performed, however, with the understanding and intention of being moved by the activated sunthemata along the path to greater intimacy with the gods. By taking what we might call the “theurgic view,” the theurgist makes her participation in all religious activity—even that from outside her own culture—serve her theurgic advancement and attainment. This is key to understanding the practices of Agrippa’s occult philosophy and, later, those of the Golden Dawn.17
    The Medieval Age
    			With the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, reckoned from about 500 CE, a new era dawned. This age was profoundly dominated by the Church and Christianity. Never had the West seen a religion that was so militant and aggressive, so dedicated to removing all other spiritualities from its domain.
    			As the Church spread into the lands of the Franks, Germans, and Britons, it worked primarily to convert the local leadership. But there were also the traditional religious practices of those peoples to be dealt with. These practices were “pagan,” which is to say non-Christian, so the Church could not allow them to continue; yet they were also vibrant and necessary to life, so they proved impossible to erase. In the interest of easing conversions, however, the Church made accommodations.
    			In spite of the Church’s condemnation, magic was widespread and in use in every stratum of society.18 This was a time of limited medical knowledge and few life-supporting technologies, and magic, in the sense of the use of spiritual resources for material ends, was one of the very few recourses available for the stricken. Every European culture had developed its own collection of spells and recipes designed to alleviate troubles. After the spread of Christianity, these collections were still made and used, but where once they had called on the deities and spirits of the local cultures, they now called more often on saints, angels, and the Holy Trinity, either in whole or in part.19
    			Incantations, amulets, and actions laden with meaning or power were still used to aid the needful and smite enemies.20 Divination was still used to prognosticate or diagnose.21 But more often than not, a Christian “coat of paint” was added so that the people would redirect their devotions to Christian deities and their loyalties to Church authorities. Within a few generations, the “pagan” origins of these practices were a faint memory, and everyone was a baptized Christian.
    			The text of the Kyranides, which contains elements from the Greek magical papyri, shows how these ancient spells endured well into the Christian period.22 Formalized speech, physical objects having natural “occult” properties or consecrated with verbal formula, and images of the afflicted or cursed, usually empowered by invoking Christian spiritual entities, were common.23 The Church alternately promoted and condemned these practices, for it presumed that the powers invoked were not those of the Christian Trinity or the saints but those of non-Christian demons.24 Making the sign of the cross or saying the Pater Noster could be acceptable, but because they could be also deployed for dishonorable purposes such as cursing, they were not entirely encouraged. The blessing of Church-ordained priests, on the other hand, was considered helpful to all magics, and could be requested to empower spells and amulets. Consecrated eucharists were used by priests in a talismanic fashion to protect and to bless with fertility and good fortune cities, villages, fields, and flocks.25
    			Book-derived magic, including the conjuring of spirits and demons, was practiced among the educated and often mislabeled as necromancy.26 Yet the usual hallmark of theurgy, the use of such practices for spiritual advancement, was absent here. Scholars have identified certain texts and practices that can be considered theurgy, and some of these were possibly influenced by Iamblichus. Claire Fanger, in the compilation Invoking Angels, outlines the major forms of theurgy that were emerging in the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.27 This collection of essays, edited by Fanger, presents a number of Christian texts that show some of the characteristics of theurgy we have seen in the Iamblichan paradigm. These texts clearly were used to invoke beings, namely angels, in order to receive knowledge and experience visions.28 In the absence of polytheism, however, the practice was limited by having only one god to invoke.
    			By the High Middle Ages, 1000–1250, and the dawn of the Renaissance beginning according to various opinions as early as the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the religions that the Church worked so diligently to suppress were mostly gone. As for their magics, although the serial numbers were filed off and fresh coats of paint applied in new colors, much of the same underlying methods were there but now the new God and his angels and saints were the divine ones invoked.
    			Michael Scott: The Wizard of the North
    			Michael Scott (1175–c. 1232) was a multilingual, wandering Scotsman who studied astrology in Toledo, taught mathematics to Leonardo Fibonacci in Bologna,* and spent some years as court astrologer and scientific advisor to the great Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, the King of Jerusalem, Germany, Italy, Sicily, and Burgundy. Frederick was a great zoologist, so it’s likely that Scott’s translation of Aristotle’s nine-volume History of Animals caught his attention. As a member of the famous Toledo School of Translators, he was a colleague of Yehuda ben Moshe, the translator of the infamous Arabic grimoire Picatrix, a compendious handbook of talismanic magic. Scott referred to a book he studied in Toledo that contained spirits that, when the book was opened, would cry out, “Say what you want and it shall be done forthwith.” ** Scott was long accredited, perhaps erroneously, with writing a book on demonic magic owned by Abbot Trithemius, the teacher of Cornelius Agrippa. He certainly wrote works on alchemy, astronomy, physiognomy, and chiromancy, many of which survive, but his success during his lifetime was largely based on his great learning, shrewd intelligence, and ability to perform apparent wonders. Our idea of the classic medieval wizard may be based chiefly on him. Scott had already earned a formidable reputation as a magus by the time he made an impressive entrance at Frederick’s multicultural court in Sicily, dressed in a pointy hat and flowing robes cinched at the waist. Frederick is said to have done his best to expose the wizard’s deception, but when the wily Scott defeated all his best efforts, he asked him to accept a position at court.
    			Scott gained a pernicious reputation as the most feared sorcerer and alchemist in Europe. Dante even found a place for him in his Inferno, specifically in the fourth bolgia of the Eighth Circle of Hell, reserved for sorcerers, astrologers, and false prophets.
    			Despite his reputation, he was a well-qualified clergyman and was offered an archbishopric in Ireland by Pope Honorius III, which he turned down because his knowledge of Irish Gaelic was limited.
    			Scott became known to history by many titles, including the Wizard of the North, the White Wizard, and the Lost Genius. He is now acknowledged by historians of science for his contributions to such subjects as medicine, anatomy, reproduction, and the rare phenomenon of supernumerary rainbows, which he appears to have observed in the Sahara in the company of Tuareg tribesmen.29 He is celebrated by some stage magicians as a brilliant illusionist and hypnotist who used his understanding of physiognomy for “cold reading” his audience.
    			—Guy Ogilvy
    			 * Fibonacci discovered the magical sequence of numbers named after him that illustrates the fractal nature of the universe. He dedicated his Liber Abaci, which included the sequence, to Scott.
    			** Lynn Thorndike, Michael Scot (London: Nelson, 1965).
    			These centuries were also a time of narrowing choices for the Jewish community.30 In the 1400s, Jews were persecuted in Austria and expelled from Cologne, Augsburg, and many other cities and districts of Germany.31 Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497. In 1536, the Inquisition was permanently established in Portugal for the purpose of exposing Jews. The Talmud was burned in Italy in 1553, Hebrew books were censored by the Church in 1554, and Pope Paul VI ordered the Jews of Rome into a ghetto in 1555.32
    			This same period saw the development of the Jewish mystical tradition called Kabbalah,33 from the first appearances of foundational works such as the Bahir and the Zohar in the thirteenth century to the sixteenth-century reinterpretations by Isaac Luria and others in the Galilean community of Safed, which developed in reaction to the increasing persecution of the Jews.
    			Kabbalah drew on earlier mystical traditions, including the Merkabah (chariots) and Hekhalot (palaces) schools of mysticism, the mysticism of the Sefer Yetzirah, based on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and Neoplatonism with its hierarchy of cosmic realms.
    			Fanger cites both Moshe Idel and Gershom Scholem as presenting significant arguments as to how the various aspects of Jewish practice constitute a kind of theurgy, both through its attempts at unio mystica, divine vision, and through its pursuit of practical results.34 Idel argues that the simple practice of the commandments, even in the absence of any ritual activity, were also an effective form of theurgy.35
    The Renaissance
    			The medieval period is often called the Dark Ages for good reason. So much knowledge and so many writings had been forgotten or lost with the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Church that little was known or understood about the ancient world except for what it suited the Church to preserve. Of the classical philosophers, only Aristotle was preserved in something approaching completeness, and that was largely because his work had been given life in the context of the Church by Thomas Aquinas.
    			Out of Plato’s many writings, the West still possessed only one dialogue, the Timaeus, and some small fragments of other works. What little else was known of Plato came mostly from one book, The Consolation of Philosophy, that became popular during the late Middle Ages. This summary of philosophy was written by the Roman senator and philosopher Boethius in 534 as a way to pass the time while awaiting his execution for treason.
    			The rest of Plato’s works, along with the works of Plotinus, Iamblichus, and many others, had been preserved by the Arabs, who had translated them into Arabic, and by the Byzantine Greeks. But the Roman Catholic Church was at war with the Islamic World throughout much of the Middle Ages, and the Greek and Latin sides of the Church had been divided ever since the Great Schism of 1054.
    			If these works from the ancient world had remained lost to the West, the Western magical tradition might have ended during the Middle Ages. The rebirth of that tradition came about because these texts were rediscovered by the West. And that rediscovery can be traced back to a meeting in 1438 between Cosimo de’ Medici and a Greek scholar. At least that’s the popular version of the story. Historians disagree about whether there was ever an actual meeting between the two. But the Greek scholar’s influence on Cosimo is certain.
    			This scholar, Georgius Gemistus, was the first person to call himself a Hellene—the Greek equivalent of a Pagan—in Christian times. Through his writing and teachings, Gemistus reintroduced Plato to the Western world. Because of his profound knowledge of Plato, he was known as Plethon, meaning “like-Plato.” 36
    			Many people know about the Medicis, and in particular Cosimo, who was a wealthy merchant and banker, a patron of art and scholarship, and the effective ruler of Florence, Italy. Far fewer have heard of Plethon, who came from the Peloponnese in Greece. In 1438 Plethon traveled to Italy, along with a delegation from the Eastern Orthodox Church, to attend the Council of Ferrara. The council was one of several attempts that were made to reconcile the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. (The council, like all the other attempts, was ultimately unsuccessful; the Orthodox and Catholic Churches were unable to resolve their differences and remained divided.)
    			It was in Ferrara that Plethon may have met Cosimo.37 Neither man was a delegate to the council, but both were among the many great men who attended and watched from the sidelines. Cosimo was also paying for the event.
    			We can’t be sure that Cosimo and Plethon met in Ferrara, nor in Florence, where the council was moved after a year to avoid an outbreak of plague. But popular history holds that it was Plethon who inspired Cosimo to seek out and acquire critical Platonic and Neoplatonic texts, the Corpus Hermeticum, the Orphic Hymns, and other ancient Greek writings. It is also possible that Cosimo acquired from Plethon a short version of the Chaldean Oracles. Cosimo later funded the education of Marsilio Ficino, who translated these texts into Latin for the first time.
    			Marsilio Ficino
    			Cosimo de’ Medici began sending his agents to find and purchase works by Plato and other Greek philosophers. But as Greek was no longer widely spoken in the West, the texts would have to be translated into Latin.
    			Cosimo found the translator he needed in Marsilio Ficino, the young son of his personal physician. He arranged to have Ficino taught Greek by an exiled Orthodox priest. Between 1462 and 1484, Ficino translated all of Plato’s dialogues into Latin. He also translated works of many of the Neoplatonists, including Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Proclus.
    			Cosimo lay on his deathbed when he acquired a manuscript of what we now call the Hermetic Corpus. Ficino stopped working on Plato in order to translate it as quickly as possible so he could read it to Cosimo in his final hours.
    			Ostensibly a commentary on Plotinus, Ficino’s own Three Books on Life contains in its third book a functional presentation of theurgy that many later writers exploited and built upon.38 Ficino’s works, though, are heavy with theory; the practicalities of theurgy received only light treatment from him.
    			Even so, we have stories of him singing the Orphic Hymns accompanied by the lyre. These invocations, along with his instructions in the third book, made for a kind of celestial therapy that dared not call itself magic, or at least not yet. That would come with his students and, more powerfully, a generation later with Agrippa.
    			Renaissance Kabbalah
    			Kabbalah entered the world of the Renaissance though Ficino’s student, the young Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Kabbalah was thought by some to be the secret teachings of Moses, but for Pico it supported the divinity of Christ and other Christian theological positions, which meant that it could be used to provide a Christian justification for magic. The tale of Pico and the Kabbalah lies outside our scope, but it has been well covered by others.39
    			Through their own works, two of Pico’s students added considerably to an understanding of these teachings. Johannes Reuchlin published De Verbo Mirifico in 1494 and De arte Cabalistica in 1517, and Franciscus Gregorius published De harmonia mundi totius cantica tria in 1525.
    			To understand Kabbalah itself, we can turn to the father of its modern study, Gershom Scholem, and his student Moshe Idel. According to Scholem, Kabbalah is the traditional and most commonly used term for the esoteric teachings of Judaism and for Jewish mysticism, “especially the forms which it assumed in the Middle Ages from the 12th century onward.” 40 Scholem, Idel, and a host of scholars since then have explored the richness of this kind of Jewish mysticism, finding in it a beautiful and lively depth.
    			Neoplatonism is an essential dimension of Kabbalah. As Scholem has written, “Inasmuch as early Kabbalah needed a theoretical foundation it was largely influenced by neoplatonism.” 41 Kabbalah can even be seen as a kind of theurgy. In Kabbalah: New Perspectives, Moshe Idel dedicates a chapter to exposition of devekut, the practice of cleaving to Yahweh (YHVH), the patron deity of the Jewish people.42 Idel noted that source texts on the subject employ Aristotelian, Neoplatonic, and hermetic terminology as “a garb used by the mystics in order to articulate their experiences.” 43 Idel also wrote that the Neoplatonic and hermetic influences have “strong magical interests, widely known as theurgy.” This fusion of purpose and nomenclature between Neoplatonic theurgy and Kabbalah also extends to the idea of the transformation of the soul through the use of devekut through ordinary worship.
    Agrippa and the Modern Era
    			At last we come to the modern era, which can be said to have begun in 1517 on October 31, the precise moment of its beginning marked by the blow of a hammer as Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Cathedral of Wittenberg.
    			The dominant figure in Western magic in the early modern era was Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486–1535). Agrippa is considered a humanist and was contemporary with Erasmus (1466–1536), with whom he corresponded, and Martin Luther (1483–1546), whom he first supported and later denounced.44 In intellectual history, he is known most positively for his De vanitate, considered an important work on early modern skepticism.
    			It was his writing on the occult, however, and especially his Three Books of Occult Philosophy (TBOP) that made him most famous. Perhaps infamous is the better word—his fame was so great that he is considered to have been a major influence on the popular legend of Faust selling his soul to the Devil, especially in the plays of Christopher Marlowe and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.45
    			Agrippa considered himself to be a son of Cologne, Germany; however, little is known of him before 1507, the date of his earliest surviving letter.46 He matriculated at the University of Cologne in 1499 and received a licentiate in art in 1502. He later claimed doctorates in canon and civil law and at times claimed to be a doctor of medicine.47
    			Besides his intellectual career, Agrippa was also a man of action, seeing military service in Spain and Italy. This is perhaps what led to his claim of knighthood on the title page of TBOP.48 There is also evidence of his service to the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope. This service brought Agrippa to stay in Italy between 1511 and 1518, where he was exposed to the Italian humanists and the work of Ficino, Pico, and Reuchlin. He married an Italian native of Pavia and attempted to settle, lecturing at the University of Pavia on the hermetic Pimander.49
    			Agrippa’s knowledge of the occult was not solely theoretical. He claimed to be able to manufacture gold alchemically, but said that the process was too expensive to be profitable.50 Perhaps more important, there is significant evidence in his letters that he formed occult groups, possibly oathbound to secrecy, wherever he traveled.51 Of their influence we can only speculate.
    			Three Books of Occult Philosophy
    			Agrippa finished writing his first version of Three Books of Occult Philosophy in 1510. Twenty years passed before the publication of its first volume, which Agrippa spent serving first the city of Metz 52 and then the nobility of Europe.53 At the same time, he was studying Kabbalah and hermeticism, and he added discussions of both subjects to TBOP before its first volume was published in 1530. This volume caused such an uproar among the censors that the publication of the remaining two volumes was delayed for three years.54
    			In TBOP, Agrippa drew on the works of Pico, Reuchlin, and Gregorius as well as on other sources of Kabbalistic knowledge.55 The brothers Paolo and Agostino Ricci were major contributors and possibly known by Agrippa personally.56 Paolo Ricci is known for his translation of the Sha’arei Orah of Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla, while Agostino Ricci was the author of a number of works and a likely source of Agrippa’s knowledge of the important Kabbalistic text the Zohar.57 Another source of information was Pietro Galatino’s Opus de arcanis Catholicae veritatis, published in 1518. Agrippa possessed a copy of this Latin text on the Kabbalah by 1532 and cited it in TBOP. 58
    			With its influences from Neoplatonism and theurgy, Kabbalah fit well into TBOP. Agrippa could not have known that Kabbalah had, as a matter of historical fact, been informed by Neoplatonism. But he certainly saw the parallels, and he realized that Kabbalah could serve as a vehicle for presenting Iamblichan theurgy in a suitably “de-paganized” form to be acceptable for use by Christians.
    			The final two volumes of TBOP were published in 1533, and Agrippa died just two years later. Over time, many editions of TBOP were produced, many of them unauthorized. At one point a spurious fourth book was published; this incorporated some of Agrippa’s own work on geomancy but also contained rites intended to summon specific demons, which were outside the scope of Agrippa’s original project.59 TBOP was translated into English in 1651, and this edition was plagiarized to produce Francis Barrett’s The Magus and the DeLaurence edition of Agrippa’s Philosophy of Natural Magic.60 In his study of the history of grimoires, Owen Davies notes the presence of Agrippa’s Three Books (and often the spurious fourth) in all the time periods and most of the locales he explores.61
    			The influence of TBOP is hard to overstate.62 TBOP informed the cunning-folk and underpinned many of the grimoires that came after it. Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), John Dee (1527–1608), the Rosicrucian documents (1614–1617), and the Freemasons (1717) were all influenced by it. By the 1850s Freemasonry metastasized into “Fringe Masonry,” with orders and lodges that reasserted social hierarchy and explored more esoteric spirituality. 63 This kind of Freemasonry became the container for the French occult revival, the medium of transmission of hermetic and other ancient thought systems, and the population with the appropriate skills to be able to produce several magic or theurgic societies such as the Élus Coëns, or Martinists (c. 1766), and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1888).64 The Golden Dawn extensively used the concepts and language of TBOP to structure its teachings, rituals, and other practices.65
    			This can be seen as the successful result of Agrippa’s purpose for TBOP: the reformation and redemption of occult philosophy—magic—for contemporary use. Agrippa accomplished this task by reorganizing the grimoire magic of his day on the basis of Iamblichan theurgy. Theurgy gave Agrippa a coherent theory for explaining the nature of magical practice and its use for spiritual advancement. Then, by translating theurgical concepts—particularly the Neoplatonic cosmology and divine hierarchy and the theurgical notions of the soul, its parts, and its vehicle—into their Kabbalistic equivalents, Agrippa made this “pagan” spirituality sufficiently Christian to be acceptable for use in his time.
    			So now we have come to the end of our journey through the past. We have seen how the ancient world bequeathed to us—as filtered through the perceptions of the Greeks and Romans—their religious insights and a portion of their magical practices; how the Neoplatonists, especially Iamblichus, developed this inheritance into theurgy, which became the foundation for the Western magical tradition; how Christianity tried to end this tradition even while carrying pieces of it forward; how the recovery of ancient texts by way of Byzantium and the Islamic world led to its renewal; and how Agrippa gave us a masterful and influential summa of our great inheritance.
    			Throughout the rest of this book, dear reader, you will find the best and brightest of us explaining the depths of that inheritance and providing you with the tools and means to practice its many branches.
    			May you have success!
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    			Wirszubski, Chaim. Pico della Mirandola’s Encounter with Jewish Mysticism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989.
    			Woodhouse, C. M. George Gemistos Plethon: The Last of the Hellenes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.
    			Yates, Frances A. Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition. New York: Vintage Books, 1969.
    About the Author
    			Sam Webster, PhD, MDiv, Mage, hails from the Bay Area and has taught magick publicly since 1984. He graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley in 1993 and earned his doctorate at the University of Bristol, UK, studying Pagan history under Prof. Ronald Hutton. He is an Adept of the Golden Dawn, a cofounder of the Chthonic-Ouranian Templar order, and an initiate of Wiccan, Druidic, Buddhist, Hindu, and Masonic traditions. His work has been published in journals such as Green Egg and Gnosis, and 2010 saw the release of his first book, Tantric Thelema, establishing the publishing house Concrescent Press ( He founded the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn ( in 2011 and the Pantheon Foundation ( in 2013. Sam serves the Pagan community as a priest of Hermes.
    			 				 					4. For example, Lynn Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science; and Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft and Witches, Druids, and King Arthur.
    				 					5. For a formulation of Western esotericism, see Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism. For a concise history, see Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction.
    				 					6. Herein and hereafter I will use the spelling magic, which is conventional in academic work. Aleister Crowley’s custom of using the k will be better applied to work from within the contemporary magickal perspective.
    				 					7. The current best biography of Iamblichus is found in the introduction to Iamblichus: De Mysteriis, trans. Emma C. Clarke, John M. Dillon, and Jackson P. Hershbell, pp. xvii and following.
    				 					8. O’Meara, Pythagoras Revived: Mathematics and Philosophy in Late Antiquity.
    				 					9. See R. M. van den Berg, Proclus’ Hymns.
    				 					10. Copenhaver, “Hermes Trismegistus, Proclus, and the Question of a Philosophy of Magic in the Renaissance,” in Hermeticism and the Renaissance, 79–110.
    				 					11. Eds. note: Magical correspondences are discussed throughout this volume, with extensive tables given in Book Eleven: Magician’s Tables.
    				 					12. Connelly, Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece.
    				 					13. Sandwell, 266; Lane Fox, 207–208; Scheid, 95.
    				 					14. Iamblichus: De Mysteriis, 10.5, p. 349, and 1.12, p. 53.
    				 					15. “Fr.” means “fragment.” Scholars have attempted to catalog the Chaldean Oracles in various ways over the years, since we literally only have “fragments” of the original work.
    				 					16. Shades of Carlos Castaneda here.
    				 					17. Eds. note: See Book Eight: The Golden Dawn.
    				 					18. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 80; Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages, 56–57; Flint, The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe, 3–8; and Fanger, Conjuring Spirits: Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic.
    				 					19. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 83.
    				 					20. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 80–83.
    				 					21. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 82, 87–90.
    				 					22. Anonymous, Kyranides: On the Occult Virtues of Plants, Animals & Stones, 67. Compare with Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, LXIII. 7–12, p. 295, and another version VII. 411–416, p. 129. See also Section 1.2, fn4.
    				 					23. Formalized speech: Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 83–84, and Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages, 69–70. Objects: Bailey, 84–87. Images: Bailey, 87.
    				 					24. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 4; Flint, The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe.
    				 					25. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 86.
    				 					26. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, 78, 101–106; Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages, 151–175.
    				 					27. Fanger, Invoking Angels: Theurgic Ideas and Practices, Thirteenth to Sixteenth Centuries, 15 and throughout.
    				 					28. Fanger, Invoking Angels, 8, 65–67, re: Iamblichus, 56; Iamblichus: De Mysteriis, 2.9, 105–107.
    				 					29. See Scott, “Michael Scot and the Four Rainbows.”
    				 					30. Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought, 450; David B. Ruderman, Kabbalah, Magic, and Science, 8–9.
    				 					31. Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought, 321.
    				 					32. Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought, 451.
    				 					33. Eds. note: See Book Two: Qabalah.
    				 					34. Fanger, Invoking Angels, 23–26, re: Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives, 35–58, especially 40–41, and Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, 4.
    				 					35. Fanger, Invoking Angels, 23; Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives, 158.
    				 					36. Woodhouse, George Gemistos Plethon, 186–188.
    				 					37. Woodhouse, George Gemistos Plethon: Ferrara, 136–153, Florence, 171–188, and humanism, 154–170.
    				 					38. Ficino, Three Books on Life, trans. Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark.
    				 					39. Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella, 54–59; Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 84–116; Wirszubski, Pico della Mirandola’s Encounter with Jewish Mysticism.
    				 					40. Scholem, Kabbalah, 3.
    				 					41. Scholem, Kabbalah, 96.
    				 					42. Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives, 35–58.
    				 					43. Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives, 39.
    				 					44. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 109–110, 168. This is the main biography of Agrippa.
    				 					45. Lehrich, The Language of Demons and Angels, 1.
    				 					46. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 4.
    				 					47. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 10.
    				 					48. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 15–17, 37–39.
    				 					49. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 37–40.
    				 					50. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 24.
    				 					51. Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 17–24. Compagni, Cornelius Agrippa: De occulta philosophia, libri tres, 2.
    				 					52. Lehrich, The Language of Demons and Angels, 5.
    				 					53. Compagni, Cornelius Agrippa: De occulta philosophia, libri tres: Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian, William IX Palaeologus, 4, Margaret of Austria, 7.
    				 					54.Nauert, Agrippa and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought, 112–113.
    				 					55. Compagni, Cornelius Agrippa: De occulta philosophia, libri tres. Sources: Gregor