ABRAMELIN Quest Background
THE ABRAMELIN EFFECT
Quest for Abramelin, the Mage
A Cryptoporticus Video Production, by Iona Miller, 2010
Resplendent, and there will be no more sunset...
I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart, and I said
"Who are you?" and he said "Your Self." --Hallaj
The Book of Abramelin, Classic Occult Text
Modern Translation & Commentary by Georg Dehn (Ger.) and Steven Guth (Eng.)
In his introduction, Abraham narrates to his son the story of how he came upon the great magician in a small town on the banks of the Nile river. His interest in various magickal practices had led him on a tour of the civilized world, seeking out magicians and Qabalists, taking what he could learn from each.
After describing how he came to learn the Sacred Magic of Abramelin, Abraham proceeds to explain in great detail the entire necessary operation, from the selection of an appropriate place, to the summoning of various spirits and demons to do the bidding of the magician. The book carefully details the qualifications necessary to become a magician, protections, asceticisms, purifications, evocations, vestments and prayers.
The goal of paramount importance to the operation is the invocation, or knowledge and conversation, of the Holy Guardian Angel. This is the first written use of this term, which is now extremely common in modern occult literature. The Holy Guardian Angel, considered by many modern magicians to be the "Higher Self" or Augoeides, assists the magician through the remainder of the operation. The next step of the process is to evoke the denizens of hell, and force their allegiance and submission to the magician. Once the magician has mastered the evocation of good and evil spirits, commanding those spirits to do his will, and overcoming rebellious spirits, he can begin putting the spirits to work.
The last part of the book gives specific instructions for clairvoyance, divining metals and treasure, warding off evil magick, healing illness, levitation, transportation, making oneself invisible, creating illusions, reading minds, and many various powers and magicks, both white and black, which the magician may now utilize.
The "Abramelin operation," as it is often called, in reality consists of two seperate operations. The first operation, the attainment of knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, is the perfection and purification of the Self. It opens the path of communication between man and Divine. In the second operation the evil demons, who are sometimes considered the magician's "lower Self" or negative character traits, are conquered and commanded to do the magician's bidding by force of will and magick. This second operation would therefore fall into the category of medieval magick called goetia.
Magic is an art. Its medium is the unbound self. In magick it is called the Holy Guardian Angel. The self is transcendent because it points to an unlimited future and unbounded creative expansion of the evolutionary process. This is something that no being can comprehend. Of course we can have some sense of the future structure of the evolutionary process, but that tells us nothing of its essence. It tells us nothing of what it is like to be a more highly evolved being. Augoeides is an obscure Greek term meaning "luminous body" or "shinning image". It is a synonym for the body of light and the Holy Guardian Angel.
The most substantial difference consisted in the location of the immortal or divine spirit of man. While the ancient Neoplatonists held that the Augoeides never descends hypostatically into the living man, but only more or less sheds its radiance on the inner man – the astral soul – the Kabalists of the Middle Ages maintained that the spirit, detaching itself from the ocean of light and spirit, entered into man's soul, where it remained through life imprisoned in the astral capsule.
It was during the period in China, 1906, Aleister Crowley was performing his Sammasati meditations to explore the causal roots of his karma, even though he acknowledged that "cause" itself was an illusory concept, that the term "Augoeides" came into Crowley's thoughts as the name of the central god-form of his Abra-Melin Operation. Augoeides signifies one's Higher Genius in the Golden Dawn teachings, and in classical Greek "glittering" or "self-glittering one," employed in the third century in De Mysteriis by the Neoplatonist Iamblichus. Hence, Augoeides became Crowley's new name for his Holy Guardian Angel.
Jung saw the Self is one of the archetypes. It signifies the coherent whole, unified consciousness and unconscious of a person - 'the totality of the consciousness and unconscious psyche." It is expressed in mandalas which symbolically integrate the four (in One) cardinal directions, and/or the four elements (fire, earth, air and water). The self is transcendent because it points to an unlimited future and unbounded creative expansion of the evolutionary process.
This totality is something that no being can comprehend. Of course we can have some sense of the future structure of the evolutionary process, but that tells us nothing of its holistic essence. It tells us nothing of what it is like to be a more highly evolved being, wielding full emergent potential. The human and divine self are co-existent. We can derive and embody meaning from trying to imagine and connect with our luminous bodies.
The question remains, how can the Abramelin working be practice outside the embedded structure of the Jewish calendar, rites and Torah study? Can it be effectively adapted for the Western Magical Tradition and practiced by esoteric gentiles? Those attempts at an all-inclusive awakening to one's essential nature have certainly been made, with varying results. Awareness is an endless expanse of evenness and exaltation.
The Book of Abramelin - A New Translation by Dehn and Guth may very well be the finest contribution to modern esotericism in a generation. The author clearly defines the distinctions between classical kabbalah, 'mixed-kabbalah' (Mediterranean syncretism), and the 'Sacred Magic' as he is presenting it. It includes voluminous important material left out of Mathers’ work, including an entire Part 2 filled with magical recipes, important distinctions in the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel ritual, and complete word grids that were only partially completed by Mathers. The 72 demons are the decans, whose acronyms can be subjected to Gematria. This is an essential work for any serious practicing magician or student of occult history.
Piety is the suggested prerequisite for occult power. Today we might call it 'compassion,' for in giving and receiving are the forces of Life multiplied. An 18 month initiation involves fasting, prayer, study of the Holy Books, and doing good deeds (mitzvahs). The rite culminates in a union between the prospective Magi and the Divine, completing both in the process commonly called self-realization or self-actualization. Living from the authentic self, it is verb, not a noun; 'presence in the now,' an ongoing process rather than goal.
Abramelin is famous largely because Crowley became famous. Crowley became aware of the book entitled The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage from George Cecil Jones, a member of the Golden Dawn. The book describes the full procedure for “Knowledge and Conversation” and gave him the term "Holy Guardian Angel." Crowley identified the "influence" of the HGA with the path Gimel perhaps as a 'negative existential', and sums up the book in The Equinox of the Gods:
The aspirant must have a house secure from observation and interference. In this house there must be an oratory with a window to the East, and a door to the North opening upon a terrace, at the end of which must be a lodge. He must have a Robe, Crown, Wand, Altar, Incense, Anointing Oil, and a Silver Lamen. The terrace and lodge must be strewn with fine sand. He withdraws himself gradually from human intercourse to devote himself more and more to prayer for the space of four months. He must then occupy two months in almost continuous prayer, speaking as little as possible to anybody. At the end of this period he invokes a being described as the Holy Guardian Angel, who appears to him (or to a child employed by him), and who will write in dew upon the Lamen, which is placed upon the Altar. The Oratory is filled with Divine Perfume not of the aspirant's kindling. After a period of communion with the Angel, he summons the Four Great Princes of the Daemonic World, and forces them to swear obedience.On the following day he calls forward and subdues the Eight Sub-Princes; and the day after that, the many Spirits serving these. These inferior Daemons, of whom four act as familiar spirits, then operate a collection of talismans for various purposes. Such is a brief account of the Operation described in the book.
Features of Dehn's translation include:
* There is a fourth book, in addition to the three Mathers translated from the French edition. This book deals with what Abraham calls the "mixed kabbalah". It is in effect a formulary of folk cures, charms, and nostrums that are not to be found at all in the Mathers edition.
* Instead of six months, the operation detailed here, is a much more complex 18 months.
* The squares from the final book that mesmerize so many students are completely different in the original German, than they are in the manuscript Mathers had worked from. Instead of 242, mostly incomplete squares, the German manuscripts show 251 squares, and every single one of them is completely filled in. That is to say, the Mathers version gave not only an incomplete list of squares, but out of the ones that are listed, two thirds are not completely filled in. What lines in the squares are filled in, you quickly discover, are misspelled, out of order, and almost wholly in disagreement with the original sources the present author uses.
* The author goes to great lengths retracing the steps of Abraham, making a case for his historcal reality, as well as the hermitage of Abramelin, the "old father" himself. Abraham von Worms, long thought to be a pseudonymous figure, is nearly conclusively proven to be a well-known 14th century Jewish scholar, Rabbi Jacob ben Moses ha Levi Moellin, more commonly known as MaHaRIL.
Georg Dehn is a life-long student of all things esoteric, which led him on the quest to not only translate The Book of Abramelin, but also to follow the original seeker's footsteps through the Middle East and eventually to the hermitage at Araki. He is the founder and publisher of Edition Araki, a German publishing company specializing in the occult. Dehn is the author of many works, Abramelin being the first to be translated into English. He lives in Leipzig, Germany. English translator, Steven Guth is Australian. Their "soror mystica," filmmaker Iona Miller is American.
Get the Book: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Abramelin-New-Translation/dp/089254127X
See the Video: [in production]
Dehn-Guth Translation: Spiritual Science of Spirit Evocation
The quest for Abramelin is the timeless quest for Light and the Knowledge that is gnosis. Mage-ic is to be distinguished from craft practice for personal gain, which serves the personality rather than the transformative process. The Abramelin material is only for use after the magician has undergone a ritual purification and profound spiritual transfiguration. Otherwise conjuring up shadow elements of the personality will sabotage the archetypal process of spiritual rebirth, just as we see in the therapeutic psychological transformative process. The solitude demanded by Abramelin is a metaphorical return to the womb that minimizes outside input.
Supercharging the Soul with Spirit
Functioning as a sort of a spiritual software for reprogramming the psychophysical being, purifications, fasting and prayer lead to transcendent experience. Thus, Abramelin's aim of Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel, is a quest for Knowledge, for gnosis of experiential realization, healing and oneness with the otherwise missing or dormant parts of the higher self. It remains "secret" because it is an experiential journey which cannot be conveyed, except conceptually, any other way. The difference is that of reading a recipe versus tasting the dish.
Without a firm foundation and ennobling of personality, the formulas will not work correctly and take their toll on the non-adept. That seed must be within the person in order for it to grow and flower in creative genius. Magic is an art form that manipulates etherial energies that are nevertheless dynamic and quite real. Conscious exchange with one's spiritual soul mate -- the Holy Guardian Angel -- will not be achieved without the proper psychological ingredients.
The spiritually motivated continue this quest today with the aim of self-realization and God-realization. Under several names, many pursue the transformative process described by Maslow and others as self-actualization, which describes the maturity and depth of the personality that has connected with and is actively embodying unfolding spiritual potential. The creative energies are channelled into self-transformation. The scattered and contrary energies of the collective unconscious are brought into the light of conscious dialogue and symphonically coordinated with the growth process.
The arduous regimen builds dynamic energy that facilitates the spiritual breakthrough and an indissolvable bond with one's creative genius. The HGA is its imaginal embodiment. Love for the divine counterpart is an intrinsic part of the inspirational process. In the language of depth psychology, we can call this a capacity to intimately dialogue at will with one's genius, or daemon as Plato called it.Empathy needs a "face." Though it inspired him his whole life, Plato had a passive relationship with it, whereas Abramelin's magic is definitely pro-active. It meets the divine halfway, inviting it in. Attainment of the goal is a state change that makes a person a creative dynamo.
Crowley acknowledged that the Abra-Melin Operation was not the only method by which the adept could contact his Holy Guardian Angel. He writes:
It is impossible to lay down precise rules by which a man may attain to the knowledge and conversation of His Holy Guardian Angel; for that is the particular secret of each of us; a secret not to be told or even divined by any other, whatever his grade. It is the Holy of Holies, whereof each man is his own High Priest, and none knoweth the Name of his brother's God, or the Rite that invokes Him.
Just as Crowley states each person has his separate Guardian Angel, he later claims these Angels change. In Magick Without Tears he presents a different view of the Holy Guardian Angel which is no longer the "Silent Self."
Now, on the other hand, there is an entirely different type of angel; and here we must be careful to remember that we include gods and devils, for there are such beings who are not by any means dependent on one particular element for their existence. They are microcosms in exactly the same sense as men and women are. They are individuals who have pick up elements of their composition as possibility and convenience dictates, exactly as we do ourselves...I believe that the Holy Guardian Angel is a Being of this order. He is something more than a man, possibly a being who has already passed through the stage of humanity, and his peculiarly intimate relationship with his client is that of friendship, of community, of brotherhood, or Fatherhood. He is not, let me say with emphasis, a mere abstraction from yourself; and that is why I have insisted rather heavily that the term "Higher Self" implies "a damnable heresy and a dangerous delusion."
The term Holy Guardian Angel has become so profound in the Western magical tradition that it is abbreviated HGA even in non-English-speaking countries. As with many such terms as this one, the Holy Guardian Angel has acquired various meanings from "Silent Self" to "Higher Self" to "Cosmic Consciousness" signifying the divine spark in each man and woman. Perhaps this variety of meanings caused Crowley to feel the need to later clarify it.
However, the Self characteristically appears as an encounter between the I and the Not-I, ego and archetype. Crowley called Aiwass his angel and an alien; he looks "alien." Even though the Holy Guardian Angel is, in a sense, the “higher self”, it is often experienced as a separate being, independent from the adept. Much like Abramelin, Crowley did fnally find his angel in Egypt. The proof is in the pudding. Only fear holds our creativity prisoner.
THE AIM REMAINS THE SAME
The master on a relative level, the appearing aspect, is ultimately the magical display of awareness itself. There, the master, self-manifest empty awareness, abides primordially together with me. I release my mind, this knowing, into all-encompassing awareness.If there is cause for delusion, let there be delusion; deluded phenomena are traceless in empty movement. If there is cause for liberation, let there be liberation; the ground of liberation is baseless, without foundation. I have reached the self-manifest Lama's exalted kingdom beyond the ordinary mind's reference points - O how wonderful! -- Dudjom Rinpoche, Tibetan Master
Invocation is the calling up and embodiment of a spiritual energy in oneself. Evocation is the calling up of seemingly supernatural agents as familiars. Imaginal embodiment facilitates a dialogue with those energies that coordinates it with the personality and will of the magician. The aspirant simultaneously explores the breadth and depth of the transpersonal realm and the realization of self as microcosm. There are many dimensions to our lives; not all of them are visible to the naked eye, but they can and do manifest for the dedicated visionary or seer.
Correcting the Historical Record
The Western magical tradition has come down to us in fragmentary form, since much of the material was never codified or was lost in translation. Correlation of related materials is required to set the historical record straight. Some might even argue that such oversights were intentional to protect the ancient wisdom from the mundane and materialistic, figuring a true mage would discern the distinctions hidden from the profane. A contemporary scholar, monk, rabbi or zaddik, for example, might easily catch such gaffs.
For example, all rites require a Banishing Ritual, a purification addressing the four directions and their corresponding elements (Fire, Air, Water and Earth), to clear the working area of extraneous forces and help focus one's energies. But mistakes in the construction and execution of such ceremonies are perpetuated from magical predecessors who had more limited sourcing information. Errors are copied and recopied. Modern research in esotericism is attempting to correct such errors. Just as Mathers made errors in his translation of Abramelin, the magicians of the Golden Dawn and others must be excused if not blamed for their oversights. We must revert to other sources for accurate traditional practice or its co-option becomes virtually meaningless.
With regard to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram: Alphonse Louis Constant (Elias Levi) had already published a version of the so-called 'Qabalistic Cross' in his *Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie* in 1855 (in which he confuses the assignment of Earth and Water to the points of the Compass, which is then perpetuated by the Golden Dawn, et aliter) -- *Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual* by Eliphas Levi, pages 227-228. (View at GoogleBooks) http://tinyurl.com/27kaqcp
A four-fold arrangement of angels was ready to hand in a popular Hebrew prayerbook found in many Synagogues throughout Britain: " Prayers Before Retiring to Rest at Night. " To be said three times:- " In the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, may Michael be at my right hand; Gabriel at my left; before me, Uriel; behind me, Raphael; and above my head the divine presence of God. " -- from *The Authorized Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire*, Translated by Simeon Singer, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1900, Sixth Edition, page 297. Archived at http://tinyurl.com/29dw653
Trachtenberg offers other relevant data: 'Already in the pages of the Talmud we read that "the demons keep away from everyone who recites the Shema before retiring." An increasingly elaborate scheme of prayer grew up around this nocturnal recitation of the Shema (Kriat Shema she'al ha-Mita), to reinforce its protective powers, and coupled with straightforward pleas for deliverance from "the terrors that threaten by night" were potent Biblical verses and Psalms, magic names, appeals to the angels, three- and seven-fold repetitions, prayers with obscure mystical connotations, etc. There was no attempt to disguise the purpose of this prayer service; it was frankly admitted time and again that "it exists only because of the demons."
This night-prayer offers an interesting illustration of the tenacity of magical and superstitious forms. One of its constituents invokes the protection of the angels: "at my right Michael, at my left Gabriel, before me Uriel, behind me Raphael." This is nothing more than a Jewish version of the ancient Babylonian incantation, "Shamash before me,
behind me Sin, Nergal at my right, Ninib at my left," or, "May the good Shedu go at my right, the good Lamasu at my left," etc. ' ~ from : *Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion* by Joshua Trachtenberg, page 156.
Preview - http://tinyurl.com/29anp9e
Automatic Writing in Zoharic Literature and Modernism, ×©×� ×”×›×•×ª×‘ ×•×›×ª×™×‘×”
×�×•×˜×•×ž×˜×™×ª ×‘×¡×¤×¨×•×ª ×”×–×•×”×¨ ×•×‘×ž×•×“×¨× ×™×–×�, by Amos Goldreich (Sources and Studies in the Literature of 24; 2010, 408 pages, ISBN , in Hebrew).
This richly detailed monograph explores the phenomenon of mystical and magical techniques which induce a different state of consciousness that leads to literary production. The impetus of the study is the suggestion, offered in the celebrated testimony of R. Isaac of Acre, that R. Moses de León was able to write the using shem ha-kotev, a magical application of the divine name. It has been demonstrated that the later stratum of the Zohar, that is Tiqqunei ha-Zohar, was actually written using this technique. All scholarly treatments of the topic, including new evidence from manuscript sources and a history of related phenomena amongst kabbalists, and on through the development of similar techniques in modernism, such as automatic writing experiments in early twentieth-century English occultism and French surrealism, are all discussed at length in this monumental study.
MAGICK IN THEORY & PRACTICE
Consciousness is rooted in our genetic predisposition to construct theory. The structure of theory is narrative. Theory is "story" that we tell to, among, and with others, real and imaginal, as in our imaginal "selves". Imaginal does not mean "unreal," but is a quality of psyche or soul and psychic experience.
The construction of narrative (i.e. theory), is no more mysterious than the behavior of birds gathering twigs and bits of string to shape into a nest in which they will thereafter reside, along with their developing offspring. Instead of twigs and string, we gather up our self-created vocal and gestural material and shape it into symbolic-narrative nests of varying utility, in which we reside, and without which we are not and cannot be conscious.
Our narratives, symbols, and imaginative constructs are the very stuff of the conscious, inter-subjective mind. They expand awareness into regions well beyond the senses and well beyond the present. At the same time, however, they throw a veil of illusion over reality-in- itself, making "reality" always a human reality. Theories are constructs, thus contents of the mind, whether personal or universal. Our stories, symbols, & images conceal as much as they reveal, but what they give us is our lived reality. They provide meaning.
"Or does it happen because self-concealing, concealment, lethe, belongs to a-letheia [revealing] not just as an addition, not as a shadow to light, but rather as the heart of aletheia?" (M. Heidegger)
Every conscious being comes into existence in the context of theory shared by others as narrative, and thereafter in continuous interaction with others and the substantive world at large. It is in this complex ongoing interaction of story-tellers predicting their way through the world that theory comes to be accepted and taken-for-granted. Theory that comes to be taken-for-granted (e.g. Self-evident or "proven") forms the foundation for the edifice of subsequent theory we construct continually.
All theories are (partial) models of how the holistic world works -- paradigms of being with certain basic assumptions and presumptions. We cannot extricate ourselves from theory --- we cannot be conscious of ourselves from outside our narrative nests. This 'belief barrier' can only be overcome by practices designed to give-up self-awareness (i.e. non-consciousness) for primordial awareness. The initial stages of this process have content -- symbols and images -- while the most exalted realizations are steady states of content-free Being, often associated with deep meditation.
Origin of the Manuscript
The book exists in the form of six manuscripts and an early printed edition. The provenance of the text has not been definitively identified. The earliest manuscripts are two versions that date from about 1608, are written in German and are now found in Wolfenbuttel Another two manuscripts are in Dresden, and date from about 1700 and 1750 respectively.
The first printed version, also in German, dates to 1725 and was printed in Cologne by Peter Hammer. A partial copy in Hebrew is found in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and dates from around 1740. A manuscript copy existed in French in the Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal in Paris, an institution founded in 1797. The French copy has since disappeared, but is available on microfilm.
All German copies of the text consist of four books: an autobiographical account of the travels of Abraham of Worms to Egypt, a book of assorted materials from the corpus of the practical Kabbalah (including some which is duplicated in the German-Jewish grimoire called "The Sixth and 7th Books of Moses") and the two books of magic given by Abramelin to Abraham. The well-known English translation by S.L. MacGregor Mathers from the French Manuscript in Paris contains only three of the four books. The Hebrew version in Oxford is limited to Book One, without reference to the further books.
Of all the extant sources, the German manuscripts in Wolfenbuttel and Dresden are taken by scholars to be the authoritative texts. According to respected Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem, the Hebrew version in Oxford was translated into Hebrew from German. An analysis of the spelling and language usage in the French manuscript indicates that it dates to the 18th century, and that it was also likely copied from a German original. Although the author quotes from the Jewish Book of Psalms, the version given is not from the Hebrew rather, it is from the Latin Vulgate, a translation of the Bible employed by Roman Catholics at that time.
The German esoteric scholar Georg Dehn has argued that the author of The Book of Abramelin was Rabbi Yaakov Moelin (Hebrew 13651427), a German Jewish Talmudist and posek (authority on Jewish law). (ref Georg Dehn, The Book of Abramelin: A New Translation, transl. by Steven Guth, Ibis Publishing, 2006)
What's New with My Subject?
Magic Word Squares
The practical magic of Abramelin (found in both Book III of the French text, and Book IV of the German original) centers around a set of talismans composed of magic word squares. These are similar to traditional magic squares, though the latter are usually composed of numbers, while Abramelin's squares contain letters. Commonly word squares are used as puzzles or as teaching aids for students.
In the context of Abramelin, the focus becomes mystic. Each square should contain words or names that relate to the magical goal of the square. A parallel is found in the famous Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas word square, an altered version of which is also found among Abramelin's squares. Dehn deduced that the spirit names are derived from Hebrew names with German alphabetic pronunciations.
For example, a square entitled "To walk under water for as long as you want" contains the word MAIAM, the Hebrew and Arabic word for "water". A square for recovering treasures of jewelry begins with the word TIPHARAH (a variant of Tiferet), which can mean "golden ring" in Hebrew and is also the name of the sphere of "Beauty" on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.