The supernatural, occult rituals, mysticism, and even devil worship have been terrifying and fascinating to people since the beginning of time. Something about the stories of cults, the tales of Aleister Crowley and the alchemist Nicholas Flamel, and the thought of the unknown, unseen, and potentially deadly keeps people coming back for more.
One of the easiest ways for someone interested in learning more about spiritualism, mysticism, and the arcane is to read books described as “cursed” throughout history. There are surprisingly many such books out there.
Not all cursed tomes are as giant as the 165-pound “Devil’s Bible,” the Codex Gigas, or as notorious as the black magic handbook the Grand Grimoire, yet some contain a power that no single person should try to harness. One of the more obscure cursed books you can peruse is The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.
This grimoire dating back to 1458 AD, walks readers through the process of contacting and bending a celestial being to their whim and fancy. The process may be difficult, but the detail given is enough to make The Book of Abramelin notorious and potentially dangerous.
The Book of Abramelin
The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, often referred to as The Book of Abramelin, is a European Kabbalistic grimoire. The book tells the story of an Egyptian Mage named Abra-Melim or Abraham, and the magic he taught and bestowed upon Abraham of Worms.
Abraham of Worms was a Jew from Worms, Germany, believed by some to have lived around c.1362- c1458. The jury is still out as to whether Abraham of Worms was a real person or not, but he is the main character of The Book of Abramelin.
The Book of Abramelin takes the form of an epistolary novel, a type of novel written as a series of letters, but also an autobiography in which Abraham of Worms recounts his voyage from Germany to Egypt. The epistolary aspect of the book is that the book is addressed to Abraham’s son Lamech and reveals and passes the kabbalistic and magical teaching that Abramelin gave to Abraham, who now shares the teaching with his son.
For those who are unfamiliar with Jewish Kabbalah, it is important to explain what the study and practice of Kabbalah is before we learn more about The Book of Abramelin. Kabbalah is an esoteric method and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.
There are many different schools of Kabbalah, but basic Jewish Kabbalah is a group of esoteric teachings given by a rabbi that is meant to explain the relationship between the eternal and infinite God and the mortal and finite universe (God’s creation/humans). Most forms of Jewish mysticism center on three different dimensions: the investigative, the experiential, and the practical.
The investigative dimension of Kabbalah is the process of seeking the hidden reality of our universe and the secret knowledge it holds about its creation. To simplify it, this is a metaphysical investigation into philosophy, science, and existence.
- The Book of Shadows: Is There a Secret Witches’ Spellbook?
- Codex Gigas Devil’s Bible: Weird Medieval Manuscript
The experiential dimension of Kabbalah is the physical or mental quest for a mystical experience in which one encounters God. This involves living a morally and spiritually disciplined life, and many who study Kabbalah will devote significant portions of their day to devotional practices and studying the Talmud, the Torah, and any other Jewish texts.
The practical dimension of Kabbalah is the use of rituals and “exercising power to effect change in our world and celestial worlds beyond ours.” These “rituals” are only for good and are not evil in nature. The rituals are a way of furthering God’s intentions for the world, for good to triumph over evil and to mend the hearts, minds, and souls of others.
An example of such a ritual is the Kabbalat Shabbat, which literally translates to “the Reception of the Sabbath,” welcoming the spirit of the Sabbath into one’s own body.
Abramelin the Mage
In the first volume of The Book of Abramelin, Abraham describes Abramelin as a “venerable aged man” who is kind and generous. Abramelin lived in the desert outside of the town of Arachi, which borders the Nile in Egypt.
Abraham tells his son Lamech that Abramelin spoke of “nothing but the ‘Fear of God,’ the importance of living a well-balanced life, and the evils of the ‘acquisition of riches and goods.’“ He asks Abraham to promise him that he will abandon his life of false dogmas and live in the way of the lord.
Once Abraham swears to uphold his promise to Abramelin, the mage gives him two books he must copy by hand and requests that Abraham give him ten gold coins. Abramelin leaves his desert home to distribute the money from Abraham to “72 poor people in Arachi”.
After 15 days, Abramelin returns to his home, where Abraham has finished copying the books. Abramelin has Abraham recite an oath to live and serve the Lord in fear and to live and die in the Lord’s most holy law.
Upon reciting the pledge, Abramelin gives Abraham the “Divine Science” and “True Magic,” which are embedded into the two manuscripts he had to copy. He was instructed to follow the books and only share this information with someone he knew well.
How to Conjure Your HGA
The Book of Abramelin contains three parts, the first is the re-telling of Abraham’s encounter with Abramelin, and the second two book outlines a process known as the Abramelin Operation. The Abramelin Operation is best described as a step-by-step guide through a 6-18 month-long ritual one can perform to conjure and speak with an individual’s Holy Guardian Angel, abbreviated as HGA.
The third book is to be used after the Abramelin Operation has been completed and contains individual sigils and spells in the form of “Word Squares.” These spells cover everything from invisibility to wealth, adoration, and flight.
The famous English occultist, philosopher, ceremonial magician, and religious founder Aleister Crowley read The Book of Abramelin and believed that someone could slightly alter the process to summon or form an “idealized entity based in any desired language and symbolism at the discretion of the conjurer.” Crowley himself had claimed to have undergone the primary ritual of the Abramelin Operation twice. The concepts and ideas from The Book of Abramelin helped create the foundation for his occultist religion, Thelema.
The Abramelin Operation is a very intense and lengthy process with sets of rules one must follow the following description of the process has been oversimplified and condensed. If one wishes to perform this ritual at their own risk, obtaining a copy of The Book of Abramelin is recommended.
One must withdraw from society, focus on intense meditation and daily prayer, and refrain from practicing any other forms of magic for the 6 to 18-month period the operation requires. The process can be broken into three primary phases.
The process involves a schedule of ritual washing at specific times of the day, followed by prayers for visitation from the HGA in an area with an altar and open window and meditation. On the eve of the Sabbath, an individual will clean their bed and their bodies and fast.
By the end of the process, the only thing an individual does is partake in the ritual cleansing, prayers, and study sacred texts. Anyone besides those residing in the home is to be shunned, and self-isolation whenever possible is encouraged.
A Cursed Book?
The Book of Abramelin has often been considered a “cursed” book because the book does warn that only those with good intentions can complete the operation, and binding a spirit or opening up a gateway between this world and the next can be dangerous. If you look at other grimoires or “spell books,” the same warning is given, but The Book of Abramelin is not cursed at its core.
The very involved and escalating intensity requirements of the Abramelin Operation can have a psychological impact on one undertaking the ritual. Many cults throughout history will use isolation, manual labor, intense study, sleep deprivation, starvation, and praise to keep members under the leader’s control.
This typically leaves the subject too mentally exhausted to question things that would be and are against their moral, ethical, and spiritual beliefs they uphold as a person. This is part of what the media likes to call “brainwashing” or thought reform.
The Book of Abramelin is not Jim Jones or David Koresh; at its core, it emphasizes the idea of living religiously and purely. What can impact a reader psychologically is the habitual repetition of behaviors and actions, isolation for up to 18 months, and placing faith in a process that is not guaranteed can lead to increased depression, poor coping abilities, and anxiety.
If someone already has a mental illness, the Abramelin Operation could make symptoms worse. The idea of a cursed book is often propagated by the media and by those in opposition to what it contains, like magic or doing something to possess godly powers when one is a mortal.
Will you open a portal to hell if you choose to try to contact your Holy Guardian Angel as laid out in the Book of Abramelin? No, you will not. You will learn about a book that has significantly contributed to modern occultism, helping to make it what it is today.
Top Image: The Book of Abramelin contains detailed instructions for summoning your very own guardian angel. Source: lidiia / Adobe Stock.