Abramelin the Mage (1362-1460), a Jew from Wurxburg, Germany. Abraham, or Abramelin, also known as Abraham the Jew or Abra-Melin composed a body of magical works which left their mark on Alexander Sanders and Aleister Crowley. Abra-Melin was an expert of the Kabbalah and proclaimed that he was taught magical knowledge by angels. They told him how to conjure and tame demons to become his personal servants and workers. He also was taught how to raise storms. His magic is frequently referred to as AbraMelin magic.
He proclaimed that demons who created everything in the world worked under the direction of angels, and that each individual had a demon and angel as familiars. He stated the basis for his magic could be found in the Kabbalah.
AbraMelin generated much lore which surrounded him. It credits him as creating 2,000 spirit cavalrymen to help Frederick, the elector of Saxony. Supposedly he helped the earl of Warwick in his escape from jail. Also he helped save the antipope John XXIII (1410-1415) from the Council of Constance.
The magic of Abra-Melin was supposedly contained in The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, which was actually a collection of three books. The French manuscript supposedly written in the 18th century is supposed to be a translation of Abra-Melin’s original Hebrew work, dated 1478.
This manuscript, at the Biblotheque de I’ Arsenal, Paris, was again translated by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, an influential member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Aleister Crowley is said to have copied from the book to compose his rituals for mastering demons.
Abra-Melin magic resembles that found in The Key of Solomon grimoire. The basis of the magic lies in the power of numbers and sacred names and the construction of numerous magical squares for the purposes of invisibility, flying, commanding spirits, necromancy, metamorphosis, and other magical feats. All rituals for the magical practices must be adhered to exactly and in strict accordance to astrological observances.
Mathers’ translation was published about 1899. It was reissued by Causeway Books, New York, 1974, and Dover Publications, New York, 1975.
Abra-Melin Operation or ritual was first described in The Book of Abramelin and then translated into The Sacred Magic of Abramelin by S. L. Mathers in 1899, and employed by Aleister Crowley, in 1904, as a major part of his Thelema magical system. The ritual is one of the sternest to prepare for in occultism. Originally the preparation time required eighteen months but Mathers reduced it to six and Crowley followed suit. The prime goal of the magical operation is to obtain the Knowledge and Conversation of the magician’s Holy Guardian Angel.
The time spent in preparation is grueling. The magician is required to work from sunrise to sunset. He has to lead a complete chase life, drink no alcoholic beverages, and be scrupulously fair in all business dealings.
Once this preparation period has successfully completed his Holy Guardian
Angel appears to reveal magical secrets to the magician. Then the magician
must evoke the Four Great Princes of Evil in the World (Satan, Lucifer, Leviathan, etc.), their eight sub-princes, and the 316 servitors which will charge previously prepared talismans. Included among these entities are four principle familiar spirits and other familiar spirits associated with the magical word-squares talismans. Control over these entities and talismans will enable the magician to satisfy his needs and desires.
There is nothing exceptional about the magical tasks for which the demons can be commanded to perform; they resemble those typically promised of other
grimoires. The magician is promised the capability to buried treasure, to cast love charms, to have magical flight, to possess invisibility among other things.
Magic squares are predominantly in the instructions for conducting these magical feats as does a recipe for the anointing oil (taken from Exodus 30) and used as ceremonial oil called Abramelin’s Oil (a). Other ceremonial tools include a holy Lamp, a Wand made of a special almond branch, a special
incense recipe (also taken from Exodus 30) presently known as Abramelin’s Incense (b), various robes, a square or seven sided plate of silver or (bees)
wax, and other tools.
The Abra-Melin Operation has been compared to The Goetia especially by European scholars in that demons are conjured, but the main focus of the former is the communication of the Holy Guardian Angel. A.G.H.
(a) This anointing oil was used to cleanse the Hebrew people attending the service (Exodus 30:20).
(b) The incense was use to anoint the altar on which the burnt offerings were placed as well as Aaron and his sons to sanctify them (Exodus 30:25-30).
The Book of Abramelin. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Abramelin>.
Suster, Gerald. The Legacy of the Beast: The Life, Work and Influence of Aleister Crowley. York Beach, ME. Samuel Weiser. 1989. p. 32
Sources: 4, 9.