Written in the 15th century, the Book of Abramelin the Mage is one of the most prominent mystical texts of all time. It is the work of Abraham von Worms, a Jewish traveler who purportedly encountered the enigmatic magician Abramelin during a voyage to Egypt. In exchange for 10 florins and the promise of piety, Abramelin gifted this manuscript of magic to Abraham, who then passed it on to his son Lamech.
Abramelin’s ritual, referred to as “the operation,” is an arduous one. It consists of 18 months of prayer and purification, which is only recommended for men of sound health between the ages of 25 and 50. Women in general are discouraged from undertaking “the operation” because of their “curiosity and love of talk,” although an exception can be made for virgins. If the tenets of “the operation” are adhered to strictly and with unwavering devotion, you get in touch with your Holy Guardian Angel, who will grant you a wealth of powers. These powers include necromancy and divination, precognition, control of the weather, knowledge of secrets, visions of the future, and the ability to open locked doors.
The book relies heavily on the power of magic squares—unique words arranged into puzzles. Like the Icelandic staves in the Galdrabok, these squares contain mystic and occult properties when written out. The word “MILON,” for example, reveals the secrets of past and future when written on parchment and placed over the head, while “SINAH” brings war. The author warns that some magic squares, like “CASED” are too sinister to ever implement.
This text had a profound impact on famed occultist Aleister Crowley, who claimed to have experienced several supernatural occurrences after embarking on the ritual, and on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a 19th-century British magical order. Crowley later used the book as the foundation for his own system of magic.