On the Shelf Review – Arbatel: Concerning the Magic of the Ancients

There’s lots going on at the Undisclosed Location, so it’s a good thing that my latest book  for review is so damn short.

Joe Peterson’s works are always excellent, and the Arbatel is no exception.  Originally issued in Basel in 1575, this set of forty-nine aphorisms provide guidelines for one who wishes to become a magician through Christian means, along with thoughts on elementals and the sigils of seven Olympian, or planetary, spirits.  Naturally, most of the occult community has reacted to this by grabbing the Olympian sigils and ignoring the rest, but that’s how it usually goes.

For the most part, magicians have had to satisfy themselves with Robert Turner’s occasionally inaccurate translation of the book into English.  Peterson offers us both the Latin text and a new parallel English translation, along with occasional notes on the appearance of Scriptural passages and curious historical incidents.  He also provides a lengthy introduction and an index.

Overall, the Arbatel is a fascinating piece of magical history, and a work that could very well serve as a founding document for an order of Christian magicians, if someone wanted to do such a thing.

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 10:03 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for posting that information Harms. I will be sure to look into this one.

    Be Well

  2. […] of such recent works as the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (review starts here), the Arbatel (here) and the Grimorium Verum (and here).  If you’ve seen those works, you know the […]


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