The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.
The Birth of
(The Mystic Name of an Adept of this degree is not to be divulged without special reasons for so doing.)
In the autumn of 1898 George Cecil Jones had directed the attention of Frater Perdurabo to a book entitled "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage." The essence of this book is as follows :
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.
This Operation strongly appealed to our student. He immediately set about to procure a suitable house, and to prepare everything that might be necessary for the operation. All was ready for the beginning in Easter of 1900, and it must be said that the preliminary work alone is so tremendous that a long story might be written of the events of these 18 months of preparation. The Operation itself was however never begun. A fortnight or so before the time appointed, he received an urgent appeal from his Master to save him and the Order from destruction. He gave up his own prospects of personal advancement without hesitation, and hastened to Paris. (See the Equinox "The Temple of Solomon the King" for a fairly full account of these various matters. The "Master" was the late S.L. Mathers.)
That the Master proved to be no Master, and the Order no Order, but the incarnation of Disorder, had no effect upon the good Karma created by this renunciation of a project on which he had set his heart for so long.
In Mexico, he kept vigil during several nights in the Temple of the Order of the Lamp of the Invisible Light, an Order whose High Priest is pledged to maintain a Secret and Eternal Lamp. In this shrine he received some shadowing forth of the Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel, and that of the Four Great Princes : here also he renewed the Oath of the Operation.
(The whole of his magical career is best interpreted as the performance of this Operation. One must not suppose that Initiation is a formality, observing the "unities," like being made a Mason. All life pertains to the process, and it pervades the whole personality; the official recognition of attainment is merely a token of what had taken place.)
On his return to Scotland in 1903, he found ample evidence of the presence of the forces of the Operation, but by now, having conceived that Work in a subtler manner and having prepared to carry it out in the Temple of his own body, having seen Magick, in short, more of less in the manner in which it is seen in Parts II and III of the Book 4, he was able to dispense with the exterior physical appurtenances of this Operation.
We must now pass over a few years, and deal with the completion of this Operation, although it is in a sense irrelevant to the purpose of this book.
During the winter of 1905-6, he was traveling across China. He had come to the point of conquering his mind. That mind had broken up. He saw that the human mind is by its very nature evanescent, because of the fact that nature is not unity but duality. Truth is relative. All things end in mystery. In such sentences have the philosophers of the past formulated this proposition, as announcing the intellectual bankruptcy which he, with greater frankness, describes as insanity.
Passing from this, he became as a little child, and on reaching the Unity behind the mind, found the purpose of his life formulated in these words, The Obtaining of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
He then found himself, having destroyed all other Karma, perfectly free to pursue this one work. He then accomplished the six months of Invocation, as prescribed in the Book of the Sacred Magic, and was rewarded in October, 1906, by complete success. (An account of these matters, in part, is to be found in the Equinox, Vol. I, No. VIII, and in his own poem "Aha !")
He then proceeded to the evocation and conquest of the Four Great Princes and their Inferiors, a work whose results must be studied in the light of his subsequent career.
We have now finished all that is necessary to say concerning him, for the account of some of his further Attainment is given fully in Liber CDXVIII, "The Vision and the Voice," also in Equinox Vol. I No. X "The Temple of Solomon the King," where the unexpected result of the Communion of the Holy Guardian Angel is shown in a symbolism which can hardly be understood without reference to the events of 1904, which are now wholly pertinent to this Essay.