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A Slightly Overdue Book

When I was a young lad in my college days at Oxford… okay, well, not Oxford, but the University of Maine… I checked out a book of magic titled “A Treatise on Angel Magic” from the Fogler Library (not to be confused with the Folger Library). I had already at this point begun studying the topic, as all the cool kids did in high school, and found this particular work fascinating. As an eclectic grimoire, its contents would both baffle and astound me for years. It was the book that started me out in earnest upon the pursuit that has been at the core of my intellectual and philosophical wanderings ever since.

I turns out that this particular volume was from a limited edition of 250 hand-bound leather copies from the reasonably-well-known Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks series by Adam McLean. (Being leather bound is part of what made it so cool.) The contents are from a Harley MS in the British Library composed by the illustrious Dr. Rudd, and to this day I have no idea what Rudd was trying to do with some of his Goetic-Enochian tables.

At some point, this fell into my schoolthings, and eventually my library. I knew it was there, and knew that at some point it should return to its home.

Over the last weekend, I found myself traveling to my alma mater for the first time in a long time, and brought the book along to finally return it – sixteen years overdue. I informed the head librarian that I had to return an overdue book, which did not seem to phase him, then told him how overdue. After a pause of consideration, he laughed and became interested in the book itself. I told him a bit of the provenance, and while he did not once suggest there was going to be a late fee, I did offer a signed copy of my last book The Offices of Spirits as compensation for having it out so long. He noted that he would repair some of the binding of the Treatise and include it in their special collections going forward.

The whole affair was actually a lot of fun, but moreover I feel that I have cleared a debt both to myself and to anyone else at the college interested in occultism. While the contents are hopelessly muddled, there are some fantastic excerpts from a number of traditional works. (A Treatise on Angel Magic is now available as a paperback edition, in case you are interested, as it is a very interesting manuscript.) It got me to take the first step out of theory and into practice, and for that I will always be indebted.

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