The Book of Ceremonial Magic (Illustrated Edition) - Arthur Edward Waite - E-Book

The Book of Ceremonial Magic (Illustrated Edition) E-Book

Arthur Edward Waite

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The Book of Ceremonial Magic is famous as one of the first attempts to document various famous grimoires and other magic texts. In this work, Waite pays much attention to the history of magic texts, refuting many of their legends. He also raises a question of the relations between magic and theology. He discusses these issues in particular examples, like raising the question of why good angels would be summoned to kill an enemy. Another merit of this work is synthesizing many famous grimoires into one system.

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Arthur Edward Waite

The Book of Ceremonial Magic (Illustrated Edition)

Including the Rites and Mysteries of Goëtic Theurgy, Sorcery & Infernal Necromancy
e-artnow, 2022 Contact: [email protected]

Table of Contents

Chapter I. The Antiquity of Magical Rituals
§ 1. The Importance of Ceremonial Magic
§ 2. The Distinction Between White and Black Magic
§ 3. The Unprinted Literature of Ceremonial Magic
Chapter II. The Rituals of Transcendental Magic
§ 1. The Arbatel of Magic
§ 2. Theosophia Pneumatica
§ 3. The Enchiridion of Pope Leo
§ 4. The Seven Mysterious Orisons
§ 5. Summary of Transcendental Magic
Chapter III. Composite Rituals
§ 1. The Key of Solomon the King
§ 2. The Lesser Key of Solomon
§ 3. The Pauline Art
§ 4. The Almadel
§ 5. The Fourth Book of Cornelius Agrippa
§ 6. The Heptameron
§ 7. The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
Chapter IV. The Rituals of Black Magic
§ 1. The Grimorium Verum
§ 2. True Black Magic
§ 3. The Grand Grimoire
§ 4. The Grimoire of Honorius
§ 5. Minor and Spurious Rituals of Black Magic
§ 6. The Black Pullet
§ 7. Talismans of the Sage of the Pyramids
§ 8. The Gold-Finding Hen
Chapter I. The Preparation of the Operator
§ 1. Concerning the Love of God
§ 2. Concerning Fortitude
§ 3. Concerning Continence and Abstinence
§ 4. Concerning the External Preparation of the Operator, and firstly Concerning Ablution
§ 5. Concerning the External Preparation of the Operator, and secondly Concerning the Vestments
Chapter II. The Initial Rites and Ceremonies
§ 1. Concerning the Virtues of the Planets
§ 2. A General Instruction Concerning the Instruments Required for the Art
§ 3. Concerning the Rod and Staff of the Art
§ 4. Concerning the Pen and Ink of the Art
§ 5. Concerning Virgin Wax or Virgin Earth
§ 6. Concerning the Silken Cloth
§ 7. Concerning the Victim of the Art
§ 8. Concerning Aspersion and Cleansing
§ 9. Concerning the Time of Operation
Chapter III. Concerning the Descending Hierarchy
§ 1. The Names and Offices of Evil Spirits
§ 2. Concerning the Forms of Infernal Spirits in their Manifestations
Chapter IV. The Mysteries of Goëtic Theurgy According to the Lesser Key of Solomon the King
§ 1. Concerning the Spirits of the Brazen Vessel, Otherwise Called the False Monarchy of Demons
§ 2. Concerning the Rite of Conjuration, from the Lemegeton
Chapter V. Concerning the Mystery of the Sanctum Regnum, or the Government of Evil Spirits; Being the Rite of Conjuration According to the Grimorium Verum
Chapter VI. The Mysteries of Infernal Evocation According to the Grand Grimoire
§ 1. The Rite of Lucifuge
§ 2. Concerning the Genuine Sanctum Regnum, or the True Method of Making Pacts
Chapter VII. The Method of Honorius
Chapter VIII. Miscellaneous and Minor Processes
§ 1. Concerning Works of Hatred And Destruction
§ 2. Concerning Venereal Experiments
§ 3. Concerning the Experiment of Invisibility
§ 4. Concerning the Hand of Glory
§ 5. Concerning the Vision of Spirits in the Air
§ 6. Concerning Divination by the Word of Uriel
§ 7. Concerning the Mirror of Solomon, suitable for all Kinds of Divination
§ 8. Concerning the Three Rings of Solomon, Son of David
Chapter IX. Concerning Infernal Necromancy


Table of Contents

The art which is called Goëtic, being that of incantation, of sorcery, fascination and of the illusions and impostures connected therewith, has come somewhat arbitrarily to signify the last issue in diabolism of the more catholic and general art which is termed Practical Magic. The latter designation implies that there is a Magic on the theoretical side, or, as it may be, a philosophy of the subject, and this again is of two kinds: in modern days it has embodied various attempts to provide an explanation, a working hypothesis, for alleged phenomena of the past; of old it came forward with the accent of authority and carrying the warrants of a peculiar and secret knowledge; it taught rather than explained. Behind this, in virtue of a specific assumption, there stood the source of such authority, the school or schools that issued, so to speak, the certificates of title which the records of the expounding master are supposed to shew that he possessed. Herein resided presumably that Higher Magic which justified the original meaning of the term Magic; this was the science of wisdom, and of that wisdom which was the issue of experience and knowledge particular to sacred sanctuaries in the years of the Magi. In this manner a remote and abstract magnificence has been allocated to the practical work; but between this aspect as we know it otherwise and that dream as it has been dilated in the forms of its expression there is the kind of relation which subsists between renown and its non-fulfilment. If Magic in its proper and original meaning be synonymous with wisdom; if that wisdom, by virtue of this assumption which I have mentioned, were something inconceivably great, it is of certitude that it had no causal connection with the congeries of arts and processes which are understood by Practical Magic. That there was, as there still is, a science of the old sanctuaries, I am certain as a mystic; that this science issued in that experience which imparts wisdom I am also certain; but it did not correspond to any of the arts and processes to which I refer here, nor to anything which can be received by the mind as the result of their exaltation. The consideration of a possibility thus already condemned is therefore ruled out of the inquiry which I have attempted in the present work. I have also ruled out, as it will be seen, the distinctions which have subsisted between the good and evil side of the arts and processes, not that it does not exist on the bare surface, but because the two aspects dissolve into one another and belong one to another in the root that is common to both. The actual question before us is after what manner, if any, magical procedure draws anything from secret tradition in the past, and so enters into the general subject of such tradition, whether in Christian or anterior times. It would and could only be of tradition on its worthless side, and it will not exalt a subject which the records of centuries have shewn to be incapable of being raised; it will, however, let us know where we are. On the face of the question a tradition of all kinds of rubbish is very likely to have been handed down from antiquity, and in respect of occultism, the last drift and scattermeal has passed into the Grimoires, Keys of Solomon and other rituals innumerable by which Art Magic has passed into written record.

As this book represents, under a new title and with many additions, a work which was issued originally in 1898, I have accepted the opportunity to indicate its position in respect of far more important works embodying my construction of the Secret Tradition in Christian Times. I have secured this object--which after all is clear and simple--not by a regrettable comparison of what I have written there with that which appears in the present place, but by shewing in a brief introduction the proper sense in which phenomenal occultism and all its arts indifferently connect with the tradition of the mystics: they are the path of illusion by which the psychic nature of man enters that other path which goes down into the abyss. The book in its present revision remains of necessity a presentation of old texts by the way of digest; I have added some new sections that in this department it may be rendered more representative, and if a touch of fantasy, which is not wholly apart from seriousness, will be pardoned here at the inception, the work itself is now an appendix to the introductory thesis--the textual, historical and other evidence by which it is supported.

In the year 1889 an expositor of the more arid and unprofitable side of Kabalistic doctrine edited in English a text of Ceremonial Magic, entitled Clavicula Salomonis, or, the Key of Solomon the King. In an introduction prefixed to the work he stated that he saw no reason to doubt, and therefore presumably accepted, the tradition of its authorship,1 which in respect of the critical sense may be taken to summarise his qualifications for a mentor stultorum. It should be added, as an additional light, that he undertook his translation more especially for the use of occult students, that is to say, for those persons who believe in the efficacy of magical rites and may, as an illustration of their faith, desire to put them in practice. With this exception, the large body of literature which treats of Theurgic Ceremonial in its various branches has remained inaccessible to the generality of readers, in rare printed books and rarer manuscripts, in both cases mostly in foreign languages. There is probably a considerable class outside occult students to whom a systematic account of magical procedure may be not unwelcome, perhaps mainly as a curiosity of old-world credulity, but also as a contribution of some value to certain side issues of historical research; these, however, an edition for occult students would deter rather than attract. In the present work several interests have been as far as possible considered. The subject is approached from the bibliographical and critical standpoints, and all sources of information which many years of inquiry have made known to the writer have been consulted to render it complete. At the same time, seeing that there is a section of readers who will not disdain to be classed as professed occultists, whatever my view of their dedications, I am dealing with texts over which their interest may be held to exercise a certain primary jurisdiction, and I have therefore studied their requirements in two important respects, which will not, as I believe, be a source of offence to merely historical students. They have been studied, firstly, by the observance of strict technical exactitude; the ceremonial produced in this book is absolutely faithful to the originals, and removes all necessity of having recourse to the originals before determining any doubtful point of magical procedure in the past. For convenience of reference--if I may venture to make the modest bid for recognition on the part of such a circle--it is indeed superior to the originals, because it has been put systematically, whereas they often exceed understanding owing to the errors of transcribers, the misreadings of printers, the loose methods of early translators, and seemingly, it must be added, the confused minds of the first compilers, "Solomon" himself not excepted. The innumerable offices of vain observance which constitute Ceremonial Magic, as it is presented in books, will therefore be found substantially intact by those who concern themselves with such observance.

The second respect in which the interests of the occult student have been considered is, however, of much more importance, though he may not be as ready to admit the suggestion, having regard to all that it implies. Robert Turner, the English translator of the Magical Elements, written, or--more correctly--supposed to be written, by the unfortunate Peter of Abano, describes that treatise as an introduction to "magical vanity," a term which was possibly used in a symbolical or exotic manner, to intimate that most things which concern the phenomena] world are indifferently trivial. Now, the more inward purpose of the present investigation is to place within reach of those persons who are inclined to such a subject the fullest evidence of the futility of Ceremonial Magic as it is found in books, and the fantastic nature of the distinction between White and Black Magic--so far also as the literature of either is concerned. As to the things which are implied within and may lie behind the literature, they are another consideration, about which I will say only at the moment that, judged by the fruits which they have produced, they are not incomparable to the second death beyond the gates of perdition. It would be unbecoming in a writer of my known dedications to deny that there is a Magic which is behind Magic, or that even the occult sanctuaries possess their secrets and mysteries; of these the written ceremonial is held by their self-imputed exponents to be either a debased and scandalous travesty, a trivial and misconstrued application, or, in respect of diluted views, it may be alternatively "as moonlight unto sunlight and as water unto wine." The exponents withhold their warrants; but in the presence or absence of these, it may be as well to say at the beginning that if the secrets and mysteries belong to the powers and wonders of the psychic side, and not to the graces of the spirit, then God is not present in those sanctuaries. Let a mystic assure the occult student that as he, or any one, is dealing herein simply with nauseating follies of the inside world of distraction, so he would be concerned in the alleged schools behind them--supposing that he had the right of entrance--with the same follies carried to the ne plus ultra degree. The texts, for this reason, may be more innocent because they are more ridiculous and have the advantage--for the most part--of being impossible to follow. The statement just made will explain why it is permissible to bring forth from the obscurity of centuries a variety of processes which would be abominable if it could be supposed that they were to be seriously understood. The criticism applies to all the extant Rituals, whatever their pretended claims, whatever their surface distinction. Some are more absurd than others, some are perhaps more iniquitous, but they are all tainted with Black Magic in the same way that every idle word is tainted with the nature of sin. The distinction between White and Black Magic is the distinction between the idle and the evil word.

It would, naturally, be unsafe to affirm that all persons making use of the ceremonies in the Rituals up to the point of possibility would fail to obtain results. Perhaps in the majority of cases most of such experiments made in the past were attended with results of a kind. To enter the path of hallucination is likely to insure hallucination, and in the presence of hypnotic, clairvoyant and a thousand kindred facts it would be absurd to suppose that the seering processes of Ancient Magic--which are many--did not produce seership, or that the auto-hypnotic state which much magical ritual would obviously tend to occasion in predisposed persons did not frequently induce it, and not always only in the predisposed. To this extent some of the processes are practical, and to this extent they are dangerous.

For convenience of treatment the present work is divided into two parts. The first contains an analytical and critical account of the chief magical rituals known to the writer; the second forms a complete Grimoire of Black Magic. It must be remembered that these are the operations which gave arms to the Inquisitors of the past, and justified Civil Tribunals in the opinion of their century for the sanguinary edicts pronounced against witch, warlock and magician. It is, in truth, a very strange and not reassuring page in the history of human aberration; nor has it been a pleasing exercise which has thus sought to make it plain, once and for all.

A SERPENT BEFORE THE CURSE. From the "Speculum Salvationis."


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The mystic tradition in Christian Times is preserved, apart from all questions and traces of Instituted Mysteries, in the literature of Christian Mystical Theology; it is a large and exceedingly scattered literature; some of its most important texts are available in no modern language; they stand very seriously in need of codification, and--if I may be so frank--even of re-expression. But if, for other reasons, they are in their entirety a study which must be left to the expert, there is no person now living in Europe who has not close at his hands the specific, simple, isolated texts--much too numerous to name--which are sufficient to give some general idea of the scope and aims of the tradition. If I were asked to define the literature shortly and comprehensively as a whole, I should call it the texts of the way, the truth and the life in respect of the mystic term. It is not only full but exhaustive as to the way--which is that of the inward world, recollection, meditation, contemplation, the renunciation of all that is lower in the quest of all that is higher--but perhaps the most catholic word of all would be centralisation. It is very full also on the fundamental truth, out of which it arises, that a way does exist and that the way is open. The truth is formulated in all simplicity by the Epistle to the Hebrews--that God is and that He recompenses those who seek Him out. I have cited this testimony on several occasions in the same connection, and I do so here and now without a word of apology and with no sense of repetition, since it can never be a matter of redundancy to remember after what manner the Divine ways are justified to humanity, when humanity is seeking the Divine. The literature, in fine, is full as to that which it understands in respect of the life, but this is the Divine Life; it is grace which fills the heart; it is the Holy Spirit of God which makes holy the spirit of man; it is life in God. There is no doubt that in its formulation it was presented to the mind of Christian Mysticism as the life which was hidden with Christ in God, and this ineffable concealment was equivalent to the presentation in open teaching of that mystery of emblematic death which lies behind all the pageants of initiation. This was the state, and the dogma from which the state depended is defined by that Johannine Epistle which affirms: (1) That God hath given to us eternal life; (2) That this life is His Son; (3) That whosoever hath the Son hath life; (4) That whosoever is without the Son is without life also. These points follow naturally enough from the testimony of the Fourth Gospel: (1) In the person of the Divine Voice, saying--I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: I am the Resurrection and the Life: I am the Bread of Life; (2) In the person of the witness, saying: In Him was life and the life was the light of men.

There is no doubt, in the second place, that the Divine Voice was incarnate for Christian Mysticism in Jesus of Nazareth, and we must cast out from us the images of those false witnesses who from time to time have pretended that the masters of the hidden life in the Christian centuries had become far too enlightened spiritually to tolerate the external cortex of their faith and creed. This point is of much greater importance than it may appear in the present connection, for I am not doing less than establish a canon of criticism. I will take two typical examples, one of which is moderately early and the other sufficiently late to serve as a distinction in time. The anonymous Cloud of Unknowing belongs, I believe, to the early part of the fifteenth century, and it is to be classed among the most signal presentations of the conditions and mode of the Union which I have met with in Christian literature. It offers an experiment in integration which seems to me more practical because it is more express than the great intimations of Dionysius. The integration is grounded on the identity of our essential nature with the Divine Nature and our eternal being therein: "That which thou art thou hast from Him, and He it is"; and again: "Yet hath thy being been ever in Him, without all beginning, from all beginning, from all eternity, and ever shall be, without end, as Himself is." There is sufficient kinship on the surface of these statements for the casually literate and not too careful reader to speak of them as a simple presentation of the pantheistic doctrine of identity; but they are saved herefrom by the important qualification that--this state of eternal Divine indwelling notwithstanding--man had "a beginning in the substantial creation, the which was sometime nothing." This beginning signifies the coming forth of man's spirit into the state of self-knowing in separateness, or some more withdrawn condition to which we cannot approximate in language--I mean in language that will offer a satisfactory consideration to the higher part of our understanding. If it is conceivable that there is a possible state of distinction in Divine Consciousness by which the true self of our spirit became self-knowing, but not in separateness, then it is this state which is called in The Cloud of Unknowing "a beginning in the substantial creation." It will be seen that I set aside implicitly the suggestion that the passage is a simple reference to the soul in physical birth. I do not think that the mystic whose chief flowers are of all things exotic would offer a distinction like this as a qualification of the soul's eternity by integration in the Godhead, or, more correctly, by substantial unity. That which I take, therefore, to have been present to the writer's mind was the implicit pre-existence of all souls in the Divine Being for ever, and secondly their explication--as if the living thought became the living word; but there are no commensurate analogies. In this manner there arose "the substantial creation, the which was sometime nothing," and we know of all that has followed in the past and continued ages of our separateness. This state is our sickness, and the way of return is our healing. That return, according to The Cloud and its connections and identities in the great literature, is "the high wisdom of the Godhead ... descending into man's soul ... and uniting it to God Himself." The path is a path of undoing, though it is at this point that so many mystics stand in fear of the irresistible consequences which follow from their own teachings: it is the returning of the substantial creation into nothing; it is an entrance into the darkness; an act of unknowing wherein the soul is wholly stripped and unclothed of all sensible realisation of itself, that it may be reclothed in the realisation of God.

It may well seem that in this House Mystic of ineffable typology all the old order has passed away. The secret of attainment does not lie in meditation or in thinking, in the realisation of Divine qualities, in the invocation of saints or angels; it is a work between the naked soul and God in His uttermost essence, in an essence so uttermost that "it profiteth little, or nothing at all, to think upon the loving kindness of God, or upon the holy angels and saints, or else upon the glory and joys of heaven." That, and all that, is fair work and square work, good and true work, but it is not materials for building the Most Secret, Most Holy Temple, into which God and the soul go in and one only comes out. Yet is the old doctrine the true doctrine still; there is nothing abrogated and there is nothing reduced. In all but the deepest paths, it is meet and right and salutary to seek the interceding angels and the communion of saints, to dwell upon the Passion of Christ, and so forth. The old histories also are truly understood in the old way; the Passion was no shadowy pageant; Christ died and rose in the body; in the body He ascended into Heaven, and no less and no differently in that body He sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.

And yet these references to doctrine and practice, to symbol, rite and ceremony, are only like the hills standing about Jerusalem, and into the city mystic, into the central place of debate, they do not enter anywise. They have not been expelled-they are simply not there, and the reason is that there they do not belong. Once more, it is between God and the soul. It is as if the ways were filled with the pageants of the Heavenly and Ecclesiastical Hierarchies; as if the Masses and the Matins and the Vespers celebrated in marvellous and stately measures the Holy Trinity, the dilucid contemplation of the Persons, the ineffable secrets of the hypostatic state and the super-incession of Divine natures. But after all these wonders, rank after rank of the Blessed Angels, after all visions of the Great White Throne, it is as if a quiet centre opened unawares and through an immeasurable silence drew down the soul-from the many splendours into the one splendour, from the populous cities of the blest, from the things that are without in the transcendence into the thing that is of all within--as if the soul saw there the one God and itself as the one worshipper. But after a little while the worshipper itself has dissolved, and from henceforth and for ever it has the consciousness of God only. This is the knowledge of self, no longer attained by a reflex act of the consciousness, but by a direct act in the unity of the infinite consciousness; in this mode of knowledge there is that which knows even as it is known, but such mode is in virtue of such an union that the self does not remain, because there is no separateness henceforth. It follows that the Divine Union, as I have sought to give it expression apart from all antecedents and warrants of precursors-I think indeed that there are none-is something much deeper and higher than is understood by the Beatific Vision, which shines with all the lights of noon and sunrise and sunset at the summit of the mountain of theology. That Vision is more especially of St. Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, the mighty Angel of the Schools, expounding the Transcendence to himself in the most resplendent and spiritual terms of the logical understanding. The intervening distinction between it and the term of all is that the one is the state of beholding and the other is the state of being; the one is seeing the Vision and the other is becoming it. Blessed and Holy are those who receive the experience of God in the dilucid contemplation, but sanctity and benediction and all in all is that state wherein contemplation is ineffably unified, by a super-eminent leap over of love, with that which is its object; and in that love and in that joining together there is no passage longer from subject to object. But this is the Godhead.

These considerations have got so far beyond even The Cloud of Unknowing, that it seems almost a fall into matter to speak, as I had intended, of Molinos and his Spiritual Guide, which is in no sense really comparable to the older work. It is a more ascetic treatise, and by its asceticism is a little hindered; it is a less catholic treatise, and it suffers here and there from the particular sense. Yet it bears the same testimony of a full and complete intention--much too complete and too full to carry anything of the concerted air--to maintain the veils of doctrine, to speak the high and orthodox language of the official Church; but again it is like a moving, yet all remote, echo from a world which has almost passed out of knowledge. What is there left to the soul that it should say of the Holy Humanity, of the Precious Blood, of the five wounds, of the dolorous death and passion? It is not that all this has been swallowed up in the glories of resurrection, but that those who have entered "where God keeps His Throne and communicates Himself with incredible intensity"--and those who have obeyed the last precept "to be lost in God"--have entered into a new order; the ships that carried them have dropped out of sight with the tide, with the breeze, in the sunshine.

Now, the secret of this is--not that Dionysius and Ruysbroeck, with all their cohæredes et sodales, had become unitarians, but that the term of the Christian dispensation, to each of them personally, had been fulfilled in each. Christ had been born and lived, had taught and suffered and died, had risen and ascended and reigned in them. So that Divine life, in fine, carried them to its last stage. It was not Dionysius or Ruysbroeck, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, or the soul of the poor imprisoned Jesuit Molinos, but the Christ nature within each and all of these, within ten thousand times ten thousand of their peers, in all ages and nations and faiths and climes, which entered into the incredible intensity; and that which is termed the act or state of being lost in God is that which I have elsewhere described in a perfection of all similitudes--which is of my adaptation but not of my making--when Christ delivers up the Kingdom of each soul to His Father, and God is all in all.

This is the state which is beyond the state when it is said that "they shall see His face."

Hereof is the mystic tradition in Christian Time; it has been perpetuated in an unbroken line from the beginnings of the new dispensation until this now. It is of course in itself the most secret, exotic and incomprehensible of all languages, though at the same time it is the most open, universal and simple. The understanding of it is a question of experience, and the experience is attained in sanctity, though--as I have said, but also elsewhere--the intellectual light concerning it belongs rather to the dedication out of which sanctity may at length issue than to the state of saintship itself. The technicalities of the occult sciences may seem hard to the beginner, and they are actually hard like the wilderness, because they are barren wastes, but they are in words of one syllable if compared with the little catechisms of eternal life, which are exclusive to the children of God.

Behind this Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King--which is so like the eye of the needle--there is the concealed tradition in and behind the mysticism of Christian Times. About this it is scarcely possible to speak here, and it will require some care not to confuse the image with which I have opened my statement. The Open Entrance of course leads to the Palace, but at a certain point there is found an exceedingly hidden postern and a path beyond, which is absolutely unattainable except through the lawful entrance, because, although the Kingdom of Heaven tolerates a certain quality of enlightened and loving violence, the sanctuary of all its sanctuaries responds only to the violence of that man who knows how to lay hands on himself, so that he may carry none of his extrinsics to the most intrinsecus place in all the world of God. This postern is hidden deeply on the deepest side of tradition, but by what can be traced concerning it, I think that there has been such a going to and fro upon the Ladder of Jacob that something more of the states which are not the term, but are perhaps penultimate thereto, has been brought back by those who have accomplished the next but one to all of the Great Work. I think further that they have gone so far that they have seen with their own eyes some intimacies of the term itself--being the state of those who go in and do not evermore come back.

These are aspects of the Secret Tradition in so far as it has declared itself on the side of God. It remains now to be said that there is a tradition à rebours, and though it may seem very hard to put it so roughly and frankly, I have not taken all the consciousness of the inward man for my province to smooth or reduce any of the distinctions between the loss and gain of the soul. The tradition a rebours is definitely and clearly that of miraculous power in the quest and attainment thereof. It is summarised by the ambition of the Magus in its contrast with the desire of the eyes and the hope which fills the heart of the true mystic. I am not intending to suggest that the Magus as such is of necessity at issue with the decalogue, or that he is under judgment by this sole standard, whether for vengeance or reward. As the position is capable of dogmatic statement, and as such is without any subjection to vicissitude, I will express it in dogma as follows: Whosoever goes inward to find anything but the Divine in his centre is working on the side of his own loss. As there is the height of Kether in Kabalism, so there is the abyss which is below Malkuth, and those who are seeking to exercise the powers of the soul apart from its graces are treading the downward path. The operation of grace is so utterly catholic, and there is correspondingly so much of the Divine prevention operating everywhere, that in most instances the experiments come to little and the frittering does not continue from the mere weariness of its business; but the quest of miraculous power--and I use an unscientific phrase of set purpose, because I am dealing now with the most inexact of all subjects--is that which is usually comprehended by the term occult science, and the occult sciences, speaking generally, are the sciences of the abyss. I except astrology, which--only through the accident of many associations--has been taken by force into the category: it is not an occult science, and notwithstanding a few negligible claims on the part of a few sanctuaries, it has no secret mode of working whatsoever. It is the calculus of probabilities on the basis of experience in respect of empirical things. Putting it aside, on the fringe of the whole circle there are further a few score of follies which one would not term the grades of preparation for the abyss unless there were a solid reason for being preternaturally serious. I have characterised these sufficiently in the text, and here I Will say only that all paths of folly lead to the Houses of Sin.

There remains the question of Magic. As to this, I am aware that the professors, who are many, and the amateurs, who are many more, may be disposed to intervene at this point and call attention to the ancient and honourable distinction between White and Black Magic. But with this also I have dealt so fully in the text that I question whether the entire work is not an illustration of my thesis that, except in a very slight, verbal and fluidic sense, no such distinction exists--I mean to say that it is unrooted in the subsoil of the subject. Lest I should appear, however, uncritical over things of sufficient importance to be regarded in their several phases, it is necessary to make two further distinctions on my own part. One of the secret sciences is of course Alchemy, and so far as this was the mode, mystery, or art of transmuting metals, of healing material human disease, of prolonging human life by certain physical methods--to this extent it is, as it was always, a matter of learned research; and though I should not say that the students of the old literature are in the least likely to discover the secrets from the books, there is such an excusable and pleasant air about the quest and its enthusiasm, that it is rather a consolation to know that it is of more danger to the purse than it will ever be to the soul of man.

Alchemy has, however, another and if possible a more secret side, from which it enters the science of the soul. I distinguish it at once and entirely from occultism and all its ways; it is approximately and almost literally identical with that postern within the first entrance of the Closed Palace which I have already mentioned. The postern, however, stands for several manners of research which are not in competition with and are without prejudice to each other.

We shall come presently to a third distinction which is much nearer to our hands and feet than are the two others, and will call for some courage on my part in consequence. I will leave it for this reason to such spur of necessity as may arise at the end-to which indeed it belongs otherwise.

As there is a door in the soul which opens on God, so there is another door which opens on the recremental deeps, and there is no doubt that the deeps come in when it is opened effectually. There are also the powers of the abyss, and this is why it has been worth while to look at the subject seriously. Being thankful to say that I am, and hoping under God to continue, without first-hand experience in these departments, it must be understood that I speak here under the reserves of derived knowledge. It should, I think, be understood that there is no sublimity in those deeps; they are the cesspools of spiritual life and the pit of the second death; their powers are those of the pesthouse, and they are as remote from the sombre terrors and splendours of Dante's Inferno as are the gold bars of heaven and the stars and lilies of the Blessed Damozel far--and how far--away from the Vision and the Union.

There is no especial reason to suppose that there is a Black Sanctuary, a Hidden Church of Hell opened to Christians; but it may be, and in the analogy it would seem that there must be, a communion of self-lost souls, as there is a communion of saints. I should imagine that the Lords of its Convention are to be feared in a certain manner, like the Red and the Black Death. But the versicles and aspirations and formulæ which must be strong enough at any moment to undo all the gates of hell and to cast down all its citadels have been taught us almost at our mothers' knees. I should think that the Noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens would be sufficient to disperse cohorts and not only the isolated negotium perambulans in tenebris. The Pater noster, moreover, is worth all the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, all the Commentary of Hierocles, and every oracle of Zoroaster, including the forged citations. And, in fine, I do not think that there is any power of the abyss, or any thrice-great Magus, or any sorcerer in final Impenitence who has charm, talisman, or conjuration which could look in the face without perishing that one loving supplication: Custodi nos, Domine, ut pupillam oculi; sub umbra alarum tuarum, protege nos.

It is improbable that there is any hidden science in respect of Magic, whether Black or White, but it should be noticed that the occult sciences with which I am concerned here are reducible under this especial head, as it is the greater which includes the lesser. Its processes lie on the surface, and the so-called sanctuaries of occultism may extend the codices but are unlikely to increase the efficacy. In respect of Black Magic, so far as there is a textual excuse for separating it from that uterine sister which was reared on the same milk, I have indicated that there is nothing to suggest one touch of sublimity in diabolism. In its, so to speak, pure state, but absit verbum--I should rather have said undiluted--it is the simple ambition and attempt to compel demons, and observe here that it is Satanism to deal, ex hypothesi, with the abyss, for whatever purpose. In its worst state it is the Grimoires and the little books of wicked and ultra-foolish secrets. The difference between the Grimorium Verum and the Key of Solomon is that the one deals openly with the devil and his emissaries, and the other with spirits that are obviously of the same category but are saluted by more kindly names. If it were possible to formulate the motive of Black Magic in the terms of an imputed transcendence, it is the hunger and thirst of the soul seeking to satisfy its craving in the ashpits of uncleanness, greed, hatred and malice. It is exactly comparable to the life of that Chourineur in The Mysteries of Paris who lived upon diseased offal and grew to be satisfied therewith. But this unfortunate could not help himself exactly, while the soul of the black magician has usually sought evil for its own sake.

I recur therefore for a moment to that door of the soul which, as I have said, opens on God, and it is that which by a necessary but somewhat arbitrary distinction must be called the door to the heights. In their proper understanding, the deeps are holy as the heights, and of course in any true philosophical sense there is neither height nor deep, for these are not journeys made in space and time. However, that symbolic door is the golden way of satisfaction; but it is not of magic, of divination, of clairvoyance, of the communication with spirits, of what order soever; it does not offer the fabled power over Nature of which the Magus is said to be in search and to which lying rituals have from all time pretended that he can attain. It is the hunger and thirst after sanctity and the overfilling of the soul therewith.

The word clairvoyance brings me to the last point and to the third distinction which I have promised to mention.

The office of occultism is of course comparable to the empirical science of the psychic side of things which is being followed at the present day with circumspection and keenness all over Europe and America. It is a poor compliment in one way to institute the comparison, because that which has passed through the alembics of occultism is the dregs and lees of thought, intelligence, motive, and of all that goes to make up the side of action in man. Psychical research, on the other hand, has throughout been actuated by an honourable--often by a pious--motive; it has adopted a scientific method, so far as the subject would permit; it has put forth no claims and abides judgment by results. It is of course, from my point of view, very far from the term. I do not believe for one moment that anything responds to its methods from the unseen side of things which can bring good to man by the intercourse. But it has to be remembered that every supramundane or abnormal fact which is registered by this kind of research is so much evidence added to the dossier of occult science. If the phenomena of psychism are as psychical research has registered, the old processes of Magic may be unquestionably veridic processes within their own lines. They did not put the operator in communion, on the highest supposition, with Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel, or with Astaroth and Belial and Lucifer, on the lowest, any more than psychical research and spiritism have ever established intercourse with the souls of the faithful departed. But both have produced the extraordinary pathological condition and the phenomena of the soul manifesting. The distinction between the two methods is that one was usually the result of personally induced hallucinations, complicated by the frequent intervention of abnormal psychic facts-the whole following a more or less maniac ceremonial--while the other is the scientific investigation of similar and analogical states in predisposed subjects whom the operator may seek to control. I have no reason to suppose that the sober, ordered and well-judged methods of such experimental research will succeed in taking the subject into any grade of certitude which will be of permanent value to man, and the question closes here so far as I am concerned. The indications--such as they are--gather rather on the other side. The path of certitude is in the inward man, as it stands to all reason that it must be, if God and His Kingdom are within. There is thus, on the best and most temperate hypothesis, no object in going towards any other direction than thither wherein is contained the All.

Two things only now remain to be said: It will be seen, in the first place, that from that part of the Secret Tradition in Christian Times, with the summary details of which I opened the present conference, there could have never been any derivation to occult tradition and so-called occult science. In the second place, the work which hereafter and now follows shall permit the Rituals of White and Black Magic to speak for themselves as to the tradition therein and its value.


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Chapter I The Antiquity of Magical Rituals

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§ 1. The Importance Of Ceremonial Magic

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The ordinary fields of psychological inquiry, largely in possession of the pathologist, are fringed by a borderland of occult and dubious experiment into which pathologists may occasionally venture, but it is left for the most part to unchartered explorers. Beyond these fields and this borderland there lies the legendary wonder-world of Theurgy, so called, of Magic and Sorcery, a world of fascination or terror, as the mind which regards it is tempered, but in either case the antithesis of admitted possibility. There all paradoxes seem to obtain actually, contradictions coexist logically, the effect is greater than the cause and the shadow more than the substance. Therein the visible melts into the unseen, the invisible is manifested openly, motion from place to place is accomplished without traversing the intervening distance, matter passes through matter. There two straight lines may enclose a space; space has a fourth dimension, and untrodden fields beyond it; without metaphor and without evasion, the circle is mathematically squared. There life is prolonged, youth renewed, physical immortality secured. There earth becomes gold, and gold earth. There words and wishes possess creative power, thoughts are things, desire realises its object. There, also, the dead live and the hierarchies of extra-mundane intelligence are within easy communication, and become ministers or tormentors, guides or destroyers, of man. There the Law of Continuity is suspended by the interference of the higher Law of Fantasia.

But, unhappily, this domain of enchantment is in all respects comparable to the gold of Faerie, which is presumably its medium of exchange. It cannot withstand daylight, the test of the human eye, or the scale of reason. When these are applied, its paradox becomes an anticlimax, its antithesis ludicrous; its contradictions are without genius; its mathematical marvels end in a verbal quibble; its elixirs fail even as purges; its transmutations do not need exposure at the assayer's hands; its marvel-working words prove barbarous mutilations of dead languages, and are impotent from the moment that they are understood; departed friends, and even planetary intelligences, must not be seized by the skirts, for they are apt to desert their draperies, and these are not like the mantle of Elijah.

The little contrast here instituted will serve to exhibit that there are at least two points of view regarding Magic and its mysteries--the simple and homogeneous view, prevailing within a charmed circle among the few survivals whom reason has not hindered from entering, and that of the world without, which is more complex, more composite, but sometimes more reasonable only by imputation. There is also a third view, in which legend is checked by legend and wonder substituted for wonder. Here it is not the Law of Continuity persisting in its formulae despite the Law of Fantasia; it is Croquemetaine explained by Diabolus, the runes of Elf-land read with the interpretation of Infernus; it is the Law of Bell and Candle, the Law of Exorcism, and its final expression is in the terms of the auto-da-fé. For this view the wonder-world exists without any question, except that of the Holy Tribunal; it is not what it seems, but is adjustable to the eye of faith in the light from the Lamp of the Sanctuaries; in a word, its angels are demons, its Melusines stryges, its phantoms vampires, its spells and mysteries the Black Science. Here Magic itself rises up and responds that there is a Black and a White Art, an Art of Hermes and an Art of Canidia, a Science of the Height and a Science of the Abyss, of Metatron and Belial. In this manner a fourth point of view emerges; they are all, however, illusive; there is the positive illusion of the legend, affirmed by the remaining adherents of its literal sense, and the negative illusion which denies the legend crassly without considering that there is a possibility behind it; there is the illusion which accounts for the legend by an opposite hypothesis, and the illusion of the legend which reaffirms itself with a distinction. When these have been disposed of, there remain two really important questions--the question of the Mystics and the question of history and literature. To a very large extent the first is closed to discussion, because the considerations which it involves cannot be presented with profit on either side in the public assemblies of the reading world. So far as may be held possible, it has been dealt with already. As regards the second, it is the large concern and purpose of this inquiry, and the limits of its importance may therefore be stated shortly.

There can be no extensive literatures without motives proportionate to account for them. If we take the magical literature of Western Europe from the Middle Ages and onward, we shall find that it is moderately large. Now, the acting principles in the creation of that literature will prove to rule also in its history; what is obscure in the one may be understood by help of the other; each reacted upon each; as the literature grew, it helped to make the history, and the new history was so much additional material for further literature. There were, of course, many motive principles at work, for the literature and history of Magic are alike exceedingly intricate, and there are many interpretations of principles which are apt to be confused with the principles, as, for example, the influence of what is loosely called superstition upon ignorance; these and any interpretations must be ruled out of an inquiry like the present. The main principles are summed in the conception of a number of assumed mysterious forces in the universe which could be put in operation by man, or at least followed in their secret processes. In the ultimate, however, they could all be rendered secondary, if not passive, to the will of man; for even in astrology, which was the discernment of forces regarded as peculiarly fatal, there was an art of ruling, and sapiens dominabitur astris became an axiom of the science. This conception culminated or centred in the doctrine of unseen, intelligent powers, with whom it was possible for prepared persons to communicate; the methods by which this communication was attempted are the most important processes of Magic, and the books which embody these methods, called Ceremonial Magic, are the most important part of the literature. Here, that is to say, is the only branch of the subject which it is necessary to understand in order to understand the history. Had Magic been focussed in the reading of the stars, it would have possessed no history to speak of, for astrology involved intellectual equipments which, comparatively speaking, were possible only to the few. Had Magic centred in the transmutation of metals, it would never have moved multitudes, but would have remained what that still is, the quixotic hope which emerges at a far distance from the science of chemistry. We may take the remaining occult sciences collectively, but there is nothing in them of themselves which would make history. In virtue of the synthetic doctrine which has been already formulated, they were all magically possible, but they were all subsidiary to that which was head and crown of all--the art of dealing with spirits. The presumed possession of the secret of this art made Magic formidable, and made therefore its history. There was a time indeed when Ceremonial Magic threatened to absorb the whole circle of the occult sciences; it was the superior method, the royal road; it effected immediately what the others accomplished laboriously, after a long time.2 It had, moreover, the palmary recommendation that it was a conventional art, working by definite formulæ; above all, it was a process in words.

It was the fascination of this process which brought men and women-all sorts and conditions of both--to the Black Sabbath and to the White Sabbath,3 and blinded them to the danger of the stake. It was the full and clear acceptation of this process as effectual by Church and State which kindled the faggots for the magician in every Christian land. Astrology was scarcely discouraged, and if the alchemist were occasionally tortured, it was only to extract his secret. There was no danger in these things, and hence there was no judgment against them, except by imputation from their company; but Magic, but dealing with spirits, was that which made even the peasant tremble, and when the peasant shakes at his hearth, the king is not secure in his palace nor the Pope at St. Peter's, unless both can protect their own. Moreover, in the very claim of Ceremonial Magic there was an implied competition with the essential claim of the Church.4

The importance of Ceremonial Magic, and of the literature which embodies it, to the history of the occult sciences being admitted, there is no need to argue that this history is a legitimate and reasonable study; in such a case, knowledge is its own end, and there can be certainly no question as to the distinguished influence which has been exercised by the belief in Magic throughout the ages. In order, however, to understand the literature of Magic, it is necessary to obtain first of all a clear principle of regarding it. It will be superfluous to say that we must surrender the legends, as such, to those who work in legends, and dispute about their essential value. We need not debate whether Magic, for example, can really square the circle, as magicians testify, or whether such an operation is impossible even to Magic, as commonly would be objected by those who deny the art. We need not seriously discuss the proposition that the devil assists the magicians to perform a mathematical impossibility, or its qualified form, that the circle can be squared indifferently by those who invoke the angel Cassiel of the hierarchy of Uriel and those who invoke Astaroth. We shall see very shortly, as already indicated in the preface, that we are dealing with a bizarre literature, which passes, by various fantastic phases, through all folly into crime. We have to account for these characteristics.

The desire to communicate with spirits is older than history; it connects with ineradicable principles in human nature, which have been discussed too often for it to be necessary to recite them here; and the attempts to satisfy that desire have usually taken a shape which does gross outrage to reason. Between the most ancient processes, such as those of Chaldean Magic, and the rites of the Middle Ages, there are marked correspondences, and there is something of common doctrine, as distinct from intention, in which identity would more or less obtain, underlying them both. The doctrine of compulsion, or the power which both forms pretended to exercise even upon superior spirits by the use of certain words, is a case in point. In approaching the Ceremonial Magic of the Middle Ages, we must therefore bear in mind that we are dealing with a literature which, though modern in its actual presentation, embodies some elements of great antiquity.5 It is doubtful whether the presence of these elements can be accounted for on the principle that mankind in all ages works unconsciously for the accomplishment of similar intentions in an analogous way; a bizarre intention, of course, tends independently to be fulfilled in a bizarre manner, but in this case the similarity is so close that it is more easily explained by the perpetuation--sporadic and natural or concerted and artificial--of an antique tradition, for which channels could be readily assigned. There is one upon the face of the literature, and that is the vehicle of Kabalistic symbolism, though it cannot be held to cover the entire distance in time.

There have been two ways of regarding the large and imperfectly explored literature which embodies the Kabalah of the Jews, and these in turn will give two methods of accounting for the spurious and grotesque processes which enter so extensively into Ceremonial Magic. It is treated either as a barren mystification, a collection of supremely absurd treatises, in which obscure nonsense is enunciated with preternatural solemnity, or it is regarded as a body of theosophy, written chiefly in the form of symbolism. The first view is that which is formed, I suppose, almost irresistibly upon a superficial acquaintance, and there is not any need to add that it is the one which obtains generally in derived judgments, for here, as in other cases, the second-hand opinion issues from the most available source. It is just to add that it does not differ very seriously from the opinions expressed in the past by a certain section of scholarship. The alternative judgment is that which prevails among those students of the literature who have approached it with a certain preparation through acquaintance with other channels of the Secret Tradition. From the one it would follow that the Ceremonial Magic which at a long distance draws from the Kabalah, reproduces its absurdities, possibly with further exaggerations, or it is the subject-matter of the literature carried to its final results. Two erroneous views have issued from the other--an exaggerated importance attributed to the processes in question on the ground of their exalted connections, and--this, however, is rarely met with--an inclination to regard them also as symbolical writing.

There is no ground for the criticism of the first inference, which has arisen legitimately enough and is that which will be most acceptable to the majority of readers. Those who value Kabalistic literature as a storehouse of symbolism, the inner sense of which is or may be of importance, but see nothing in the processes of Ceremonial Magic to make them momentous in their literal sense or susceptible to interpretation, will be tempted to dismiss them as mediæval and later impostures, which must be carefully distinguished from the true symbolical tradition. In either case the ceremonial literature is disdainfully rejected, and it follows in this manner that alternatives which exclude one another both reach the truth as their term.