A History of Western Magick

The known history of what has become the Western ceremonial magick tradition, including alchemy, astrology, evocation, and similar pursuits, spans roughly six or seven hundred years, the earliest manuscripts dating to the thirteenth century. However, this was solely when European scholars became aware of them at the dawning of the European Renaissance, as much of the material that formed the early corpus came from Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic sources (to name but a few) before being translated - typically into Latin.

The following time line shows important dates in the emergence of the magickal tradition, as well as other notable dates and persons of interest for reference. I have purposely excluded living persons, because that just gets awkward...

If you believe I have done a grave disservice by excluding someone, or if you feel something is incorrectly attributed or dated, feel free to contact me.

c.100Dating of the Sepher Yetzirah, the seminal book on Kabbalah.
c.233Porphyry born.
c.300"The Testament of Solomon" appears, detailing how King Solomon conjured, controlled and used demons to build the Temple of Jerusalem.
c.304Prophyry dies.
c.354Saint Augustine born.
c.430Saint Augustine dies.
c.500Pseudo-Dionysius defines his hierarchy of angels.
c.700Beginning of the Islamic Renaissance.
c.1100Dating of the Sepher ha-Bahir, a foundational book on Kabbalah.
1129Knights Templar founded.
1189Third Crusade begins.
1193Albertus Magnus born.
c.1200The Zohar written; attributed to Moses de Leon.
1214Roger Bacon born.
1225Saint Thomas Aquinas born.
1250Pietro d'Abano (Peter de Abano) born.
1274Saint Thomas Aquinas dies.
1280Albertus Magnus dies.
1292Roger Bacon dies.
c.1300Beginning of the European Renaissance.
1307Arrest of the Knights Templar.
1312Knights Templar officially disbanded.
1314Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, burned at the stake.
1316Pietro d'Abano dies.
1433Marsilio Ficino, early humanist and neoplatonic philosopher, born.
1440The printing press is introduced by Johannes Guttenberg.
1455Johann Reuchlin born.
1458The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (internal date - speculative).
1459Internal dating of "The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz".
1462Johannes Trithemius born.
1463Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, humanist philosopher, born.
1473Nicolas Copernicus born.
1484Pope Innocent VIII declares the practice of witchcraft to be heretical. (Prior to this date, it was purely a civil matter, not an ecclesiastical one.)
1486Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim born.
 Giovanni Pico publishes his "900 Theses," intending to debate them at the Vatican.
 Malleus Maleficarum, the Inquisitorial handbook on witch-hunting, published.
1489Giovanni Pico publishes his "Apology," defending the orthodoxy of his "900 Theses".
1492Christopher Columbus discovers the New World.
1493Paracelsus born.
1494Giovanni Pico della Mirandola dies - suspected poisoning.
1499Trithemius' Steganographia first circulated in manuscript form, detailing a series of magical squares in what is really a treatise on cryptography.
 Marsilio Ficino Dies.
1515Johann Weyer born.
1516Johannes Trithemius dies.
1517Reuchlin publishes "De Arte Cabalistica".
 Martin Luther publishes his "Ninety-Five Theses" initiating the Protestant Reformation.
1522Johann Reuchlin dies.
1527John Dee, Elizabethan magician and astrologer, born.
1533Agrippa publishes his "Three Books of Occult Philosophy".
1534Rabbi Isaac Luria born, widely regarded as the father of modern Kabbalah.
1535Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim dies.
1541Paracelsus dies.
1543Nicolas Copernicus publishes "De revolutionibus orbium Coelestium" conceiving (and mathematically proving the validity) of the heliocentric model.
 Nicolas Copernicus dies.
1548Giordiano Bruno born.
1555John Dee imprisoned for "conjuring."
 Edward Kelley, scryer for John Dee, born.
 Queen Elizabeth ascends to the throne of England.
1563Johann Weyer publishes "De Praestigiis Daemonum et Incantationibus ac Venificiis," containing "De Pseudomonarchia Daemonum" that details an early listing of the Goetia, a treatise against witch hunting hysteria.
1564John Dee publishes "The Hieroglyphic Monad", an inspired magical treatise.
 William Shakespeare born.
 Galileo Galilei born.
1570John Dee publishes the introduction to Euclid's "Elements".
1572Isaac Luria dies.
1575Arbatel published.
1582John Dee and Edward Kelley begin to receive the Enochian system.
1583Thomas Rudd born.
1584Reginald Scot publishes "The Discoverie of Witchcraft" in which he gives an english translation of Weyer's "De Pseudomonarchia Daemonum". This also was a treatise against witch hunting hysteria.
1588Johann Weyer dies.
1593Giordiano Bruno imprisoned by the Inquisition.
1597Edward Kelley dies.
1600Giordiano Bruno burned at the stake for heresy.
1606Johann Trithemius' "Steganographia" published.
1608John Dee dies.
1616William Shakespeare dies.
1617Elias Ashmole born.
1632Galileo Galilei publishes "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" which defended a heliocentric world-view.
1642Galileo Galilei dies.
1643Sir Isaac Newton born.
1656Thomas Rudd dies.
1659Meric Causabon publishes "A True and Faithful Relation..." detailing a number of Dee's angelic conferences.
1692Elias Ashmole dies.
 The Salem Witch Trials begin. Nineteen persons are hung upon their conviction.
1717First Masonic Grand Lodge created (England).
1727Sir Isaac Newton dies.
1735The Witchcraft Act passed in England.
1801Francis Barrett publishes "The Magus".
1810Alphonse Louis Constant (Eliphas Levi) born.
1854S.L. MacGregor Mathers, head of The Golden Dawn, born.
1855Eliphas Levi publishes "Dogma et Rituel de le Haute Magie" later published by A.E. Waite as "Transcendental Magic".
 Theodor Reuss, founding member of the O.T.O., born.
1857Arthur Edward Waite born.
1865Gerard Encausse (Papus) born.
1875Alphose Louis Constant (Eliphas Levi) dies.
 Aleister Crowley born.
1884Founding of the Theosophical Society.
 Paul Foster Case, founder of B.O.T.A., born.
 Gerald Gardner, founder of Gardnerian Wicca, born.
1886Austin Osmond Spare born.
1888The Golden Dawn opens Isis-Urania Temple in London.
1889Mathers publishes "The Key of Solomon".
1891A.E. Waite joins the Golden Dawn.
1895Founding of Ordo Templi Orientis.
1898Aleister Crowley joins the Golden Dawn.
1900A schism in the Golden Dawn creates a number of offshoots. The order never fully recovers.
1904Aleister Crowley receives "The Book of the Law".
 Aleister Crowley publishes "The Goetia".
1907Israel Regardie born.
1911A.E. Waite publishes "The Pictoral Key to the Tarot".
1913Crowley composes the Gnostic Mass.
1914World War I begins.
1916Gerard Encausse (Papus) dies.
1918World War I ends.
 S.L. MacGregor Mathers dies.
1922Aleister Crowley becomes head of O.T.O.
1928Discovery of penicillin.
1939World War II begins with Germany's invasion of Poland.
1942Arthur Edward Waite dies.
1945World War II ends.
1947Aleister Crowley dies.
1951The Witchcraft Act of 1735 repealed.
1954Paul Foster Case dies.
1956Austin Osmond Spare dies.
1964Gerald Gardner dies.
1978Foundations of Chaos Magick introduced.
1985Israel Regardie dies.

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