grimoire Abramelin

The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage

by Rabbi Jacob ben Moses ha Levi Moellin (Abraham of Worms), early and mid-18th century

D MS M 111 | BA Ms-2351 | Cod. mag. 15

This interesting grimoire was published by S.L. Mathers in 1898, and a second edition was published in 1900 by J.M. Watkins, London. Mathers rendered his text from a French manuscript in the Bibl. de l’Arsenal (La sacrée magie que Dieu donna à Moyse Aaron, David, Salomon, et à d’autres by Paulmy, ca. 1750). Unfortunately, this manuscript did not fully understand the text it was based on. The author did not fill in most of the letters in the magical squares, so many of Mathers’ comments are irrelevant. As an example, below is a page from Mathers’ flawed exemplar (left) and a page from an earlier, complete German manuscript (right). Each show the Kodselim Square that Aliester Crowley reproduced in the first edition of his The Book of Goetia of Solomon the King. Its safe to assume that the intended effect of its associated spell (“To undo any magic soever”) would fail without the rest of the letters filled in. Consequently, the the accuracy of both Mathers and Crowley’s grimoires cannot be entirely relied upon.

The text was evidently originally written in German. A German edition was published under the fictitious name, Peter Hammer in 1725, Reprinted by J. Scheible, Stuttgart, ca. 1853. This edition was based off one of the earlier, more complete German manuscripts from the 17th and 18th century. What is absolutely mind blowing is that the Peter Hammer text was entirely unknown, not only to Mathers, but to all the other members of the Golden Dawn, who between them had noted and collected just about every occult and esoteric work ever published.

There are a total of seven manuscripts known today. The provenance of the text has not been definitively identified. The earliest manuscripts are in German and date from 1608 – 1750. These earlier, more complete German manuscripts have additional material and reflect a more elaborate operation. One notable difference is that the operation lasts a year and a half, not six months as described in Mathers’ text. It also contains an additional book (mostly a collection of recipes) not found in Mathers’ edition. Below is a full list from Joseph H. Peterson:

Dresden. MS N 111Magia Abraham oder Underricht von der Heiligen Cabala (ca. 1700)
Dresden. MS N 161Cabala Mystica Aegyptiorum et Patriarchum”. Anonymous. (1750)
Bodleian Oxford. MS. Opp. 594Sefer Segullot Melachim. Anonymous. (Ca. 1740)
Wolfenbüttel, Codex Guelficus 47.13.Abraham ben Simon bar Juda ben Simon. Das Buch der wahren praktik von der alten Magia (1608) 
Wolfenbüttel, Codex Guelficus 10.1.Abraham eines Juden von Worms untereinander versteckte zum Theil aus der Kabala and Magia gezogene, zum Theil durch vornehme Rabbiner als Arabern un anderen so wie auch von seinem Vater Simon erhaltene, nachgehend, aber meisten Theils selbst erfahrene un probirte, in diese nachfolgende Schrift verfaste und endlich an seinen jüngeren Sohn Lamech hinterllaßene Künste: so geschehen ud geschrieben circa Annum 1404. ca (1612) The text on which the French translation (used by Mathers) was based.
Leipzig. Cod. mag. 15Cabala mystica Aegyptiorum et Patriarcharum, das ist das Buch der wahren alten und göttlichen Magia geschrieben von Abraham den Sohn Simonis an seinen jüngern Sohn Lamech – Cod.mag.15. (ca 1750)
BA Ms-2351La sacrée magie que Dieu donna à Moyse Aaron, David, Salomon, et à d’autres by Paulmy (Antoine-René d’Argenson, marquis de) – Bibl. de l’Arsenal. (ca. 1750) Apparently based on MSW. This was the manuscript used by Mathers

Mathers’ Exemplar

German Printed Edition

German Manuscripts

S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers

Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854–1918), born Samuel Liddell Mathers, was a British occultist. He is primarily known as one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a ceremonial magic order of which offshoots still exist today

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