Abramelin, or Abra-Melin, is the claimed eponym of the author of a famous grimoire, which calls itself The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.
The grimoire itself is found in a manuscript in the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal in Paris. It is framed as a sort of epistolary novel in which Abramelin, or Abraham, the Jew, reveals his magical and Kabbalistic secrets to his son Lamech, and dates itself to the year 1458. It moreover claims to have been translated from Hebrew into French, the language in which it is extant. From the spelling and usage, the French text likely dates to the eighteenth century, and the existing text gives few indications of having ever been in Hebrew. The author quotes psalms from the Vulgate in Latin.
This grimoire was translated into English by Samuel L. MacGregor Mathers in 1897. The magic of the grimoire was influential in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a fact which has burnished the reputation of this particular text beyond its fellows such as the Key of Solomon.
The grimoire describes an elaborate ritual whose purpose is to obtain the "knowledge and conversation" of the magician's "Holy Guardian Angel." The preparations are elaborate, difficult, and long; the initial phase of working the system lasts exactly six months before any divine contact is known. During this period, the magician the magician must wake up every day before dawn, and go to a certain area and pray, and at sunset he must do the same thing. During this preparatory phase, there are many restrictions: chastity must be observed, alcoholic beverages refused, and the magician must conduct his business with scrupulous fairness.
Aleister Crowley summarized the operation:
- 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.
- Holy Guardian Angel
- The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (http://www.sacred-texts.com/grim/abr/index.htm)
- Wikipedia. (2004). Abramelin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abramelin). Retrieved on Sept. 28, 2004.