The Abramelin Working


The Sacred Magic

The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage is the name of a text that was once quite famous, translated by S.L. MacGregor Mathers. At the time it was one of those books which had a great deal of mystique. It was believed that the book itself had power because the magical secrets held therein were so powerful, so important, so different from other systems of magic and yet at the same time wholly central to all other forms of magic. The book details the story of Abraham the Jew and his explorations seeking out a true system of magic. He eventually came upon Abramelin in Egypt. Abramelin taught Abraham the “Sacred Magic” which Abraham recorded along with the story of his travels to leave for his younger son, as his elder son would receive the Kabbalah.

The Sacred Magic dispenses with the use of circles and seals and ornate conjurations and the various trappings of the grimoiric systems of magic which were becoming popular at the time. Abraham condemns these other practices as false and as traps to ensnare the magician. He warns his son away from them and from any magical practices which do not fall within the Sacred Magic. The system Abraham the Jew describes is without detail, but it implies simplicity. For communicating with angels one simply prays to God for the assistance from the angels, this is not given much space within the work. The practical elements of the system concern themselves more fully with the use of demons. The demons are conjured and sworn to obedience beginning with the Four Kings and moving down through their hierarchy. The text also contains several magical squares composed of groups of letters. These squares each serve a different purpose, and there are certain demons who may be called for those purposes. Within differing hours of the day different familiar spirits serve the magician. The magician simply holds up the square appropriate to his desire during the time he is served by a demon appropriate to that square and the demon performs the task.

Such a method of working with spirits seems to be revolutionary in its simplicity. Why would it be so much simpler than other grimoiric texts? The main element of the system of the Sacred Magic is a lengthy retreat which the magician undergoes in order to encounter his Holy Guardian Angel. The Holy Guardian Angel then reveals to him the true secrets of the Sacred Magic and is his aid and guide in magic from thenceforth. The relationship with the Holy Guardian Angel allows the magician to conjure and command the demons and demand their obedience. In modern magic this relationship has become a significant step in the magician's development. While the Golden Dawn did not directly utilize the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the idea of the Holy Guardian Angel inspired them and it was central to the concept of adepthood, or the process of becoming “more than human.” In Thelema it took an even more central position. Strangely, very few people actually engage in the operation.

Abraham the Jew gives minimal description of the exact operation itself. Only a few chapters of the book deal with it directly. The basic structure given in the French version of Abramelin as presented by Mathers takes 6 months. The more complete German manuscript presented by Georg Dehn takes 18 months. In both the magician spends time preparing for the actual rite, and doing preliminary work while still living his normal life, but slowly reducing his distractions. Eventually he cloisters himself for prayer and meditation until the final moment where he achieves contact with the angel. As he begins the ritual he spends days in prayer and fasting, confessing his life and engaging in mortification to purify and direct himself towards his work. From there he engages in a period of enflaming himself in prayer. Praying and meditating several times a day with increasing length and devotion until he is ready to receive his angel. Abraham the Jew describes the purification, and the conditions and environment needed for the ritual, he describes the major steps, and how to conjure the demons after the ritual is over and how to utilize them. He does not provide prayers or specific rituals simply the attitude the magician should have while praying and how he should compose his prayers. Much of it is left open to individual interpretation and method.

There have been over time several methods for achieving this same goal. The PGM has methods for conjuring a spiritual assistant and the agathadaimon. Agrippa gives methods for finding the name and working with the Guardian Angel. We see in the continental magic of the 18th century ideas which mimic this structure of a spiritual guide in the form of an angel or higher genius, and this grows in the continental magic of the 19th and early 20th century until it became an idea which was central and common throughout the ceremonial magic of the Western Mystery Tradition. Again, despite its commonness as an idea it is still not common as a practice. In recent years more attention has been given to the Sacred Magic, with more magicians engaging in a traditional exploration thereof. More material is being published about people's experience with their Holy Guardian Angels and their interpretations of how to perform the operation which makes it more accessible to those who previously may have expected that it was insurmountable.

Resources and materials that I used in conjunction with my Abramelin Working in the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. This does not include all elements which were used but includes several pieces which may be of use or interest. Other elements are described in the mp3 of the lecture “The Abramelin Working” provided below.

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

This prayer was an important part of my daily prayers multiple times a day during my working of the Abramelin. You can rework this to make it Thelemic or Gnostic but you don't really need to. I present an article on this prayer from a Thelemic perspective in William Blake Lodge's Heaven and Hell

The Headless Invocation (Alex Sumner version)

This is my preferred version of the Headless/Bornless Invocation. This version is arranged by Alex Sumner and taken from the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition. ( During the ritual I used the version presented in Betz's edition of the PGM.

Liber Samekh

Crowley's attempt at a ritual based on the Bornless Invocation. Many people look at this as Crowley's method of attaining Knowledge and Conversation, Crowley did however begin the Abramelin with Mathers's text prior to using the Bornless Invocation to complete the process. Many people think of this as the A.'.A.'. method for achieving Knowledge and Conversation, but the Vision and the Voice actually presents a ritual for this purpose.

Fr. Rufus Opus utilized Liber Samekh as a significant portion of his method in achieving Knowledge and Conversation. I did not spend much time drawing from Liber Samekh directly.

Ritual VIII (Liber VIII)

Ritual VIII of the A.'.A.'. drawn from Crowley's vision of the Eighth Aethyr. This provides the A.'.A.'. version of the Abramelin Working. This is highly useful in considering how to plan your own approach.

Oratory Blessing

A simple blessing, in the style of the RCC but updated for modern magicians, to be used in the establishment of the temple space which will be used for the retreat.

The Anthem from the Ship

The Anthem from the Ship

Liber Resh vel Helios

A ritual means of saluting the sun with four daily prayers to different forms of the solar force.

A Small Gnostic Liturgy

A reworking of the Gnostic Mass for the purpose of daily celebration by the individual.

Books on the Abramelin Working

The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage Translated by Mathers

Mathers's translation of the French manuscript. This manuscript is incomplete but it is the version which influenced thinking on the ritual for over 100 years. This is the version with which Crowley and other magicians of the 20th century were familiar.

The Book of Abramelin Translated by Georg Dehn

An English Translation of the more complete German Manuscript of the Book of Abramelin by Abraham of Worms (Abraham the Jew). This is the text you should use as the basis of your work towards accomplishing the Abramelin ritual. This also contains significant information which can be useful for the grimoiric magician.

Holy Guardian Angel by Ceccetelli et al

A collection of essays on the Holy Guardian Angel published by Nephilim press. I have not read this work but I know some of the authors and trust their work. Also close friends have worked with material in this book and have endorsed it.

In November of 2010 I presented a weekend “Magical Intensive” workshop and lecture series on the Abramelin Working. This was the third in a series of four intensives that took place over about 4 or 5 years. We covered thoughts on magic in general, recentering and committing oneself to the work, a divergent form of the A.'.A.'. and how the Rosicrucian Grade structure works to prepare initiates. The final lectures go over the initiatory elements of the Mysteries of Death and the actual Abramelin Working, it's purpose, how to do it, and what I did when I did it. Here are the lectures from that series of classes along with some supplemental textual resources. There are a few points where water is running in the background as food is prepared, and there are a few points where the group enjoys a bit of laughter, but over all there are several hours of useful material available here. The files are all provided as mp3s which may be downloaded for free. Please feel free to download them and play them in your car or on your mp3 player or however else is convenient.

The Hajj and the Rite of Dedication

This lecture presents information on a smaller ritual retreat designed for magicians needing to recenter themselves. The Hajj is based on Liber 8 or the A.'.A.'. version of the Abramelin retreat. The lecture talks about how this smaller ritual addresses a lot of the ideas and techniques one would work on in the Abramelin and in magic in general. Presents an overview of the ideas involved.

The Point of It All: Magic and Philosophy Through Historical Modalities

An exploration of the history of magic as an explanation of why we do magic and what the point is.

Begins with asking, and exploring, why do we do magic? Moves on to address belief in magic and its place in modern society and compares it to the historical reality of magic falling within the realm of intellectualism. An exploration of the basic ideas behind magic and practical magic versus changing your perception. Then, finally, dropping back to antiquity to look at early forms of magic and what the point was. Discusses magic as an approach to reality versus magic as an approach to psychological exercise. Concludes that magic even in the early modern era continued with the trend of historical magic as a means of finding a connection with the divine.

The Rosey Way, it Ain't All Rose Colored Glasses, but it's as Good as Gold Part I

If you want to avoid the random banter, skip to about minute three.

This lecture presents information on the Rosicrucian Grade system and the mythology related thereto, and how it plays into developing the magician to prepare for achieving the Sacred Magic.

Part I: What is Rosicrucianism? Rosicrucian symbolism and alchemy. Hallmarks of the initiatic process and the spiritual experiences they reveal. The importance of structure in initiation, and the juxtaposition of a complete system of development versus a partial system. Discussion of the Three Degrees, Hermit, Lover and Man of Earth. The Holy Hexagram and it's symbolism. An interlude on the Philosopher's Stone. An explanation of the kabbalistic and alchemical work of the grades. The Mystery of creating the Magical Tools and how they are symbols for initiation. Exploring the perspectives of the Four Worlds.

The Rosey Way, it Ain't All Rose Colored Glasses, but it's as Good as Gold Part II

Continuation of Part I.

Addresses individual aspects of the specific grades as understood through exploration of the elemental weapons and worlds. Explanation in detail of the Mysteries of the elemental perspectives, the transition into the Threshold of the Vault of the Adepts, the actualization of the self as the local presence of Divine Authority, and the Mysteries of the Cross as the transcendence of Manifest Divinity into Absolute Divinity.

The Necessity of Death

This lecture explores the power and importance of the mysteries and nature of death. It looks at death's relation with our lives, death and religion, and then at the mystery traditions and death in that context. Also addresses some of the mysteries of sexual mysticism.

The Abramelin Working

This lecture discusses how to plan the Abramelin working. It goes over how Fr. RS performed his working of the ritual and how he designed it. Concerns and considerations to take into account when planning, myths about how the ritual goes, and other similar such things. The lecture touches on the German Abramelin text, the French Text, the Call of the Eighth Aethyr based version in Liber VIII, and Liber Samekh as well as other sources and ideas.

Note: In this lecture it discusses the idea of the Holy Guardian Angel as the higher self. Unfortunately it did not include the further explanation that your experience of the angel, and it's nature is such that it will be as if it is a fully separate entity. This is necessary for the whole process to work properly.

Documents from the Abramelin Intensive Workshop weekend held at William Blake Lodge of the OTO in November 2010

The Hajj or Liber IO

Liber IO, the Hajj. A ritual for magicians who need to recenter or recommit themselves to their task in an extreme manner. Written in a semi-tongue in cheek approach to Crowley-esque language. The ritual itself is however serious.

The Rite of Dedication

Dedication ritual which was used at the beginning of the workshop weekend. Can be modified as a ceremony for contacting the HGA or committing to the work.

Cakes of Light

Instructions for making cakes of light.

Abramelin Oil and Incense

Instructions for making and consecrating Abramelin Oil and Incense

Invocation of Iris

A simple ritual for contemplation of the mysteries of death.

Main Menu