On the Shelf Review: Abraham the Jew on Magical Talismans

Over recent years, we have been fortunate to see several releases of works by the nineteenth-century Spiritualist, bibliophile, and magician Frederick Hockley.  Now Teitan Press has released another of his manuscripts, Abraham the Jew on Magic Talismans.

In this notebook, “Abraham the Jew” provides two different methods for making talismans:  one dependent upon the fixed stars, and the other based on the twenty-eight mansions of the moon.   All of these are annotated by the editor, who notes inconsistencies with others texts, including those of Agrippa and Barrett.   Following these sections are selected pages from the Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Agrippa, which present similar texts describing these methods, and a black-and-white facsimile of the original manuscript (though one color plate for the frontispiece is also reproduced).   Rounding this volume out is an introduction by Silens Manus regarding the history of the text, which suggests that this is the only one known, though a possibility exists of another copy that has yet to be revealed.

I haven’t said much on this one, as the text itself is quite brief, and we have little idea as to the context.  The book itself is not one of the earlier volumes created by order for Denley, such as the Complete Book of Magic Science, but it also does not explicitly state that it was part of the procedure Hockley used, as Invocating by Crystals and Mirrors did.   It raises the question, as did Occult Spells, of whether Hockley assembled this for his own practice, out of curiosity, or to satisfy the needs of a friend (the latter being unlikely).   Given the growing amount of Hockley material that’s been published, we can hope that it will undergo some manner of scholarly scrutiny in time to come.

As it stands, this work is another valuable addition to the corpus of Hockley material, further revealing the depths of his interests in occult matters, and is a worthy companion to the previous books in this series.

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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