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 The Grimoire of Armadel (Liber Armadel Seu Totius Cabalae Perfectissima Brevissima et Infallabilis Scientia Tam Speculativa Quam Practiqua)

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PostSubject: The Grimoire of Armadel (Liber Armadel Seu Totius Cabalae Perfectissima Brevissima et Infallabilis Scientia Tam Speculativa Quam Practiqua)   Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:12 pm

This text is very often confused with either the Almadel of Solomon, or the Arbatel of Magic. In fact, it is very possible that the name “Armadel” is a corruption of one of these words- especially of the name Arbatel. The Grimoire of Armadel does happen to borrow its principal conjuration and license to depart from the Arbatel of Magic. However, regardless of its use of material from earlier sources, the Grimoire of Armadel remains a magickal operation distinct from other texts with a similar name.

It is difficult to say exactly when the manuscript first appeared in history. The earliest recorded mention of the book is found in a bibliography of occult works compounded by Gabriel Naude in 1625. We do know that the name “Armadel” enjoyed some popularity among occultists during the seventeenth century, with several unrelated texts attributed to him. Eventually, a manuscript in the French language (MS 88) found its way into the Bibliotheque l’Arsenal; which was then translated into English in the early 1900s by Samuel Mathers. An introduction was then written for the text in 1995 by William Keith.

It is a very simple book, full of colorful Sigils related to recognizable Angels and spirits (such as the seven Archangels: Cassiel, Sachiel, etc), along with borrowed conjurations. Apparently, one is intended to inscribe the Sigils on consecrated parchment, and use them to contact Angels and spirits who have mysteries to reveal. The book begins with a short section outlining the basic ritual procedure, and the afore-mentioned Arbatel conjurations.

The Sigils are then grouped into three categories. The first is called “The Theosophy of Our Forefathers or Their Sacred and Mystic Theology.” It contains Sigils to contact Angels such as Gabriel- whose chapter is called “Of the Life of Elijah.” Raphael teaches the “Wisdom of Solomon.” Other chapters of potential interest are “The Explorer and Leader Joshua”, “The Rod of Moses”, “The Wisdom of Our Forefather Adam”, “The Vision of Eden”, and even “The Beholding of the Serpent [of Eden].” These are only a few of the best examples.

The next section is entitled “The Sacro-Mystic Theology of Our Forefathers.” Herein we can learn lessons “Concerning the Devils and How They May be Bound and Compelled to Visible Appearance”, as well as “Concerning the Ways of Knowing the Good Angels, and of Consulting Them.” (The latter is taught by no less than Zadkiel and Sachiel together.) We can learn much “Concerning the Evangelic Rebellion and Expulsion”, and “Concerning the Life of the Angels Before the Fall.” Again, this merely scratches the surface of available Sigils.

The final section is called “The Rational Table: or the Qabalistical Light; Penetrating Whatsoever Things be Most Hidden Among the Celestials, the Terrestrials and the Infernals.” This title represents the universally-typical threefold-world of the shaman. (We will learn much more of the importance of this three-fold division in later chapters.) Here are contained further magickal requisites, talismans, orations, and several chapters that appear to be Christian sermons, or perhaps invocations.

Some scholars tend to suggest that the Grimoire of Armadel is a complete fabrication- akin to the Grimoirium Verum and Grand Grimoire we shall see below. Armadel flourished during the occult panic that gripped France between 1610 and 1640. The Christian orientation of the text, several Biblical sermons, the invocation of Saints, and its instructions to recite such official prayers as the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, or the Creedo would probably have caught the attention of a public hungry for rumors of necromancers among the clergy.

However, I feel there is some reasonable doubt surrounding objections to this book’s authenticity. The Armadel is indeed a simple text- more akin to a working notebook than a full magickal manuscript. It certainly would have been easy to put together- assuming one could have easily amassed its source material in the 1600s. However, the Armadel still lacks the shock value that is written into other forgeries like the Grand Grimoire, or even our own modern Necronomicon. In fact, the text is highly shamanic- offering to teach one how to contact the spirits in order to be safe from them, to learn mysteries from them, etc. There are not even any blood sacrifices found in the instructions. The focus of the work seems to be upon visionary quests or spiritual encounters facilitated by the magickal characters, as well as gaining some magickal powers such as healing, alchemy, agriculture, etc.

This kind of straightforwardness would not be expected of the shock-value forgeries. William Keith and several contemporary grimoiric scholars tend to feel the magickal value of this book is “slight, or at best highly dilute.” I feel that the overall simplicity of the book disappoints many occult researchers. However, I am personally fascinated with the implications behind the Sigils and the mystical experiences they promise. It seems just as likely that this grimoire was once a personal notebook used by a working mage. The reader may even agree with me if he encounters the Armadel after reading this book (especially chapters two, three, and ten).
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The Grimoire of Armadel (Liber Armadel Seu Totius Cabalae Perfectissima Brevissima et Infallabilis Scientia Tam Speculativa Quam Practiqua)
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