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 Arbatel of Magic (Arbatel de Magia Veterum):

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Stacey/Cirrius
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PostSubject: Arbatel of Magic (Arbatel de Magia Veterum):   Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:07 pm

Joseph Peterson describes this text as appearing first in Latin in Basle, Switzerland 1575. It is also mentioned in John Dee’s Five Books of the Mysteries (circa 1583). This was among the rituals classified by A.E. Waite as “transcendental magic”- that is, magick that does not include what he considers black magickal elements (see the Book of Ceremonial Magic p. 28.) It was later translated into English by Robert Turner In 1655.

The Arbatel was originally intended to contain nine volumes, though we only know of the first book today. Many speculate that the other eight were never written, and this could very well be true. Although, the magick that is supposedly contained in those eight books would not have been uncommon Medieval magickal literature. I feel that the author at least intended to write them, if he did not in fact do so after all.

The first book, called Isagoge (or A Book of the Institutions of Magick), concerns the basics of magickal procedure in general. It contains 49 “aphorisms,” divided into groups of seven called “septenaries,” which must be learned and followed in order to succeed in magickal experiments. A fitting example of the nature of these aphorisms would be number two:

In all things call upon the Name of the Lord: and without prayer unto God through his onely-begotten son, do not thou undertake to do or think any thing. And use the Spirits given and attributed unto thee, as Ministers, without rashness and presumption, as the messengers of God; having a due reverence towards the Lord of Spirits. And the remainder of thy life do thou accomplish, demeaning thy self peaceably, to the honour of God, and the profit of thy self and thy neighbour.
The third septenary of aphorisms begins a description of the natures and methods of working with seven planetary Olympic Spirits, who inhabit the firmament (sky), specifically the stars (or planets) of the firmament. Their office is to declare Destinies and to administer fatal Charms as far as God permits them. Their names are Aratron, Bethor, Phaleg, Och, Hagith, Ophiel, and Phul.

According to this text, the universe is divided into 186 “provinces,” which are ruled by the Olympic Spirits. Each Spirit also rules, in succession, a period of 490 years. According to the text, we have been under the general governance of Ophiel, the Spirit of Mercury, since 1900 CE, and will remain so until the year 2390 CE.

The eight non-existent books said to follow the first are described in the introduction of the Arbatel. The second book concerns Microcosmical Magick, and sounds as if it might be an operation of working with one’s Lesser Guardian Angel or Genius (see the Pauline Arts above). The third contains Olympic Magick, or the methods of working with the spirits who reside upon Mt. Olympus. The fourth book contains what it calls Hesiodiacal or Homerical Magick, and focuses upon working with “cacodaimones” (unclean spirits, or demons). It is very likely that this text was (or would have been) somewhat along the lines of the Goetia. The fifth of the nine books contains “Romane or Sibylline Magick,” which concerns work done with Tutelar Spirits- that is, those spiritual entities who guide and protect human beings. The sixth book is called Pythagorical Magick, which promises the appearance of spirits who will teach one all of the “rhetorical sciences” such as medicine, mathematics, alchemy, etc. The seventh book is called the Magick of Apollonius, and claims to work according to the rules of both the Microcosmical (book two) and Romane (book five) Magicks. However, this work claims to work with hostile spirits instead of benevolent. The eighth book is called Hermetical or Egyptian Magick, and is described only as being similar to “Divine Magick.” If I were to make an assumption as to what this means, I might assume that it was related in some way to work with celestial beings (“theurgy”), or even devotional religious magick as found in Book III of Agrippa’s Three Books. Finally, the ninth book is “that wisdom which dependeth solely upon the Word of God; and this is called Prophetical Magick.”
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