Figuring Out Abramelin (A ‘How To’ Discussion)   20 comments

Greetings Aspirants!

So we have entered another Abramelin season, and I’m getting more questions about how to properly perform the Rite.  (A little late for Easter, but it’s still good that folks are asking the right questions.)

The following exchange took place between me and (I believe) two different aspirants on the Abramelin Group at Yahoo.  It concerns Abraham’s take on religion, women, sex and even magickal timing.  If you’ve been wondering about these issues in the Abramelin Rite yourself, then perhaps this will be of some help:


Thank you so much to everyone that replied. The reason I.m afraid to do it wrong is because someone posted in February that they done the operation and failed twice which is scary!

Most people who do the operation do not do it correctly. They bring to it everything they *think* the aleady know, and are convinced they can create a “better version” of the Rite by adding extra rituals, quiting early, praying to different gods, etc, etc. Or, just as often, they think they know what Knowledge and Conversation “really is” – and they are usually wrong – so they spend the entire time striving for the wrong goal.

I’m sure it is possible to fail at the Rite even if you do everything correctly.  My wife was considering undertaking it herself, but divinaions strongly suggested she not attempt it. However, barring a situation where your Guardian Angel (head spirit) simply says “no”, I couldn’t imagine anyone failing if they keep to the Rite as it is presented and put aside their ill-informed opinions about how it “shoudl work” or what it “really means.”

 These warnings and those in the text are really good to be mindful of and I appreciate being told and reminded. 
I’ve never been known to have problems with reading comprehension but I find the text very hard to make sense of. I’ve read both translations several times and I’m still not clear on it being acceptable for people of any religion to perform the Abramelin.

This is a sticky point in the system.  The German original states that the only person who cannot perform the Rite is a Jew who has converted to another religion.  The French version was modified to suggest that no one who has changed their birth religion can do it. 

The modern take is generally that one should not *deny* their birth religion,* but recognize that it contains truth and beauty like all religions at their core.  And since you were raised with it, and imprinted with it at an earyly age, it is important to ackowledge it even if you’ve moved on from it later in life.

(* Note that, in days past, it was necessary to publicly deny one’s birth religion as part of the conversion process.  It is much less common for that to be required today.)

Still, no matter how you slice it, the bottom line is that both versions of Abramelin say the same thing:  You don’t have to BE a Christian or Jew to perform the Rite, but you still basically have to accept that the Judeo-Christian God is indeed the One and Only Big Guy and anything else is false.

This is one of those very few places where I have to call bullshit on Abraham’s part.  Much like his claim that women must not perform the Rite.

You mention people praying to different Gods; the prayer (orison) in chapter 12 is clearly to the Judeo-Christian God and our confessional appeals are also addressed to Him.

Yes and no.  In its original context – you are correct (see above).

However, we are fortunate today that the Qabalah has spread into many different systems, and in many cases the Hebrew terms used are considered more like formula than as names of an actual bearded guy living in the clouds.  For example, you are told to pray to “Adonai Tzabaoth” – which literally translates as “Lord of Hosts.”  In other words, you are praying to the God in Charge of Angels and asking Him to send one of those Anegls to you.  It doesn’t matter who you personally think that Lord of Hosts “is” or “is not.”  The Great Spirit in charge of Angels is indeed who you have to pray to regardless of your personal religion.

 Also, we are commanded to keep Jewish holidays. It’s okay if you aren’t Jewish now – but you still need to pray to YVHV and observe His feasts.

Like all holidays, the Jewish ones are drawn from ancient pagan festivals.  Holidays are based on the movement of the heavens and the turn of the seasons.  Whether you call it “Ostara” or “Easter” or “Passove”, you’re still going to start the Operation at the same time of year and you’ll still be celebrating the Spring.

So, during this period, do you put aside your own faith and holidays?

No!  But you do need to understand that – ultimately – your holy days and the Jewish ones, and the Christian ones, and the Wiccan ones, etc, etc, etc are all basically the same thing.  Each religion puts their own window dressing on them, but your job is to see beneath that dressing to the core.

As an adept (which you are strivig to become), you should be able to walk into ANY place of worship in ANY religion, participate in the observances, and ACTUALLY MEAN IT.  Hang-ups about any one religion’s window dressing must be abolished.

 The 20th chapter makes it sound like those who perform the operation are obliged to worship YVHV for the rest of their lives, so perhaps conversion is implicit. Is that correct?

In its original context – I think it is.  But that is the bias of Abraham, not your HGA.  My own Guardian led me to Gnosticism, Shamanism, some Buddhism and the Golden Dawn without delay.  But I still confess and pray to the Lord of Hosts every Sunday.  (Sunday because I was raised Christian -see?)

 There are other topics I’m unclear on; I could go on Abraham’s comments on being a woman

Total BS from Abraham.  Not his fault – sign of the times.

or point 33 in the 20th chapter.

“(33) Take well heed during the six Moons or months to lose no blood from your body, except that which the expulsive virtue in you may expel naturally of its own accord.”

This troubles you?

In fact, I find this point kind of interesting.  He says in one place that women MUST NOT be given the Operation.  But, then, here at point 33 we see what appears to be an allowance for menstruation.  LOL

From what I can tell, the anti-woman thing comes strictly from Abraham himself, and not from the text Abramelin the Mage gave him.

I find both troubling, but the consensus now is that women can perform it anyway. Also, celibacy is recommended in the second period, however marital relations are permitted. (?)

Marital relations are allowed during the first portion of the Rite.  By the final phase, no sex at all.  Sex = spiritual heat, and you want to be as spiritually cool as possible.

Lastly, the rite should be commenced on the day following Passover for Jews or Easter for Christians, but can be begun at anytime. (?)

Yes, but I *strongly* suggest starting it at the recommended time.  Abramelin is a Solar Rite, and the given timing has you begin as the Sun begine to wax and end when the Sun begins to wane.  Doing it at another time removes you from that natural cycle.
I don’t want to create a better version or whatever, but even for someone who wants to be painstakingly observant, the text is so confusing it’s difficult to guess what’s required. I know others have figured it out, although many figure it wrong. I don’t want to set myself up for failure from the get-go.

Nike siad it best:  Just Do It.  As Abraham tells you, your Angel will appear at the end of it all and correct any mistakes you made.  Those corrections might take weeks, months or years – but if your heart is in it they will be corrected and you will achieve your goal.



Posted April 21, 2012 by kheph777 in grimoires, religion, students

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20 responses to “Figuring Out Abramelin (A ‘How To’ Discussion)

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  1. Thank you very much for this well-written, common-sense contribution to a fascinating topic!


  2. I did marshal my thoughts on the Abramelin operation at the beginning of the month. In summary my main conclusions were:
    1. You really need to consider the most recent edition of the Book of Abramelin, not the Mathers one, before you can speak authoritatively on the subject;
    2. There is an esoteric interpretation to the Book of Abramelin which needs to be considered over and above the plain-text written by Abraham the Jew;
    3. Many of the details which people like Crowley and Robert Ambelain glossed over or omitted in their own interpretations are in fact keys to unlock the true meaning of the operation, e.g. the giving of 10 golden guilders to charity before receiving the Magick of Abramelin at the outset.

    Unfortunately, not many people took me up on my offer to sponsor me to undertake the Abramelin operation. 😦


    • Greetings Alex!

      I ready your blog post. Funny stuff indeed! 🙂 As for your points:

      1) I wouldn’t say one should consider the German original at the expense of the French (aka “Mathers”) version. I have found both of them considered together provide quite a bit of insight. Whoever the French author was, he seems to have been a “real-deal” Solomonic magic, and his interpretation of the Rite is not without merit.

      2) I would agree there is an esoteric level of Abramelin – but at the same time I would hate to see that used as an excuse to “reinterpret” the basic instructions for performing the Rite as it is plainly written. I’ve seen this attempted before, and it always leads to greatly diminished “versions” of the process that just don’t work.

      3) I think there is some merit in what you say here. There is a lot going on the Book of Abramelin that isn’t plainly obvious until you study a bit into it. For one example, there is a lot behind Abramelin being an Egyptian Mage – though much is left unsaid about it in the text. The guilders are also a subject of much discussion. I even have some reason to suspect that parts of the story of Abraham the Jew went into the creation of the Christian Rosencreutz saga. And etc…


      • I should clarify: the Mathers version acknowledges but one source, the one in the Bibliotheque Arsenal in Paris. The version published by Georg Dehn in 2006 draws upon all the known MSS in Europe, including the Bibliotheque Arsenal one. So from a purely scholarly point of view the Dehn version technically supersedes Mathers’… however I still keep the Mathers version in my library because I enjoy his introduction and his editorial comments.

        I do not follow your point about reinterpreting basic instructions. Exactly whom are you alleging is doing this? As far as I am concerned, the esoteric interpretation of Abramelin stands in relation to the exoteric in much the same way as the Z-documents stand to the Neophyte ceremony of the Golden Dawn – it obliges the operator to do it more conscientiously, not less.


  3. I’m surprised that the Grimoire fundamentalists have not jumped on the Abraham bandwagon and stated that women are forbidden to practice the Abramelin operation. Afterall they claim to stick by the letter of the word of a particular grimoire. Ugh! Personally I am of the view that Abraham was cautious about women performing the operation primarily due to two reasons:

    1. The cultural views of his time which saw women as less than a man to put it gently.
    2. Women menstruation – As we all know blood is very attractive to demons, and thus a woman bleeding during the operation *may* break the RHP ritual “purity” required during the Abramelin operation by attracting demonic forces. Examples of this view can be found in other religious traditions. In orthodox Hinduism a woman is forbidden to go to the Temple when she is in her menstruation period so as not to “pollute” the ritual or temple. In Islam a woman is forbidden to perform her Salat (ritual prayers) or read the Holy Qur’an during menstruation. Ofcourse we Vamachari (LHP) Tantriks couldn’t care less about menstruation. We consider woman to be at the peak of her powers during menstruation and would gladly invite them to our temples and rites. We relish in breaking such taboos.

    -Aghor Pir


    • Aghor, there is a problem faced by any would-be grimoire fundamentalist where it comes to the Book of Abramelin. And that is the book claims to have been written by *two* authors. Thus, we have to consider very carefully which portions of the text are strictly from Abramelin himself, and which portions were added, modified or re-interpreted by Abraham von Worms. THEN we have to weigh our options between holding up Abramelin as the ultimate authority and/or accepting Abraham himself as an authority on the Rite.

      As an example (which I mentioned previously), all the anti-women stuff in the book seems to come from Abraham. No mention of it is made in the portions that appear to come from Abramelin. So we are left to assume Abraham had a problem with women that Abramelin may not have possessed. We are left with no clue whether Abramelin would have supported Abraham’s anti-woman stance or scolded him for it.

      To be honest with you, grimoire fundamentalists just aren’t into that kind of text. They’d rather stick to grimoires with plainly-stated instructions they can be fundamentalist about, without having to think too much about such ambiguities. To be honest, I think I am as close as you’re ever going to find to an Abramelin fundamentalist. Well maybe Khem Caigan would trump me on that one… but I think that’s about it.


  4. Women have different powers and aspects in play during magick occasionally, but the obvious response would be a discussion of what they are and how to utilize them for maximum effect and creativity rather than accepting cultural prejudice against woman as magickal law. There is no question that women are capable of this rite, as many have done it before, and also as they are human and have souls, which is hopefully not under philosophical debate. The beauty of the simplicity of this rite is that those little neurotic details about ‘how to do it right’ are almost entirely irrelevant suggestions, rather than laws. Head and heart in the right place, solitude and focus, sincere focused intent, and allowing the energy filled with pure holy and sacred state to build (however or with whatever faith you find creates it for you) without interruption or other competing efforts is like a closed pot coming to slow boil. If you have a speck of sensitivity, you can tell when some random thing is setting you off track or syphoning the build of power, or what you can still manage to do and yet maintain stasis. This should tell you, not some rule book, because this is the breath, the distant root of the ‘other’ conciousness in action within you, the only authority on it for you, and becoming aware of its awareness will aid the opening of the door. Remember yours may not be like that of others, and may have different needs.


  5. I am thinking that the largest controversies over Abramelin are ones that are fairly easy for serious students to dismiss or adapt to. First, it is explicitly religious and could be described as a prayer regimen – which is not necessarily an attractive prospect to “ex-” or “recovering” members of corrupt commercial churches. Second, it takes months of daily work – hence the vast array of proposed “shortcut” methods. Finally, anyone with the slightest amount of spiritual intuition will realise, on reading the manual, that it really will work – and that’s a frightening proposition, for one who is not really ready for a full commitment to the the Great Work.

    As for the nuts and bolts details of the process as described, see 2 Corinthians 3:6 “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Any celebrant who makes a solid and persistent effort to “do it right” will get the full results regardless of minor deviations from the text – provided he or she actually wants the specified results.


  6. I admire your ultimate knowledge Aaron Leitch: Adonai Tzabaoth is the Elshaddai and the only true God. I am not a Jew as I am black and from Africa.However, there is a name you forgot to mention – Yeshua . Wonders and amazing signs can be achieved by invoking that name and blood. Why? If the blood of Abel speaks, then evil sacrifices with blood will also speak things that I am sure will not be in my interest.

    I am actually a total and if you will like to put it this way “a fanatic believer” that Yeshua is Lord. I have always invoked the name and blood to achieve all sorts of things that many will describe as miracles. As a latest testimony, I have an estranged woman who went to a demon to report me that I have offended her and should be destroyed. The High Priest at that alter saw wonders. At the mention of my name, thunder and lightening manifested and their was as expected great panic and confusion. WHY? I always in faith confess that ” At the mention of my name … before any alter dedicated to Lucifer and any power of darkness, the blood that that speaks better things than the blood of Abel should answer for me with thunder and lightening – rain or sunshine”. The sacrifices that this woman brought to appease her god were forfeited and she was sent away with a stern warning not to come near the evil shrine again.


    • Greetings, Michael

      My point was not really that Adonai Tzabaoth is the “One and only True God.” In fact, from the standpoint of Abramelin it is entirely beside the point. The true point is to pray to God as you understand God – whatever that may be. (This is why Pagans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc. are premitted to perform it.) However, along wtih your own understanding of God, you should be willing to refer to it as “Adonai Tzabalath” during the Rite, because it is the Lord of Hosts that you must appeal to send you an Angel. Appealing, say, to the Lord of Mountains, or the Lord of the Dead, or the Lord of the Sea just wouldn’t be productive in this instance.

      As for Yeshua, I did not forget that name at all. However, it does not relate to Abramelin proper. According to the text, you should only appeal to God by three names: Adonai, Tzabaoth and YHVH. This does NOT mean you must never appeal to Yeshua in your own work if that is your conception of God. But, when working the Abramelin system, only the names Adonai Tzabaoth (Lord of Hosts) and YHVH (the highest un-nameable concept of the Divine) apply. For instance, those are the three names to be engraved upon the filet/headband when summoning the spirits.

      And, no, I do not mean to imply that Yeshua is “right out.” If your HGA tells you to appeal to Yeshua, then you’d better do so. 😉 I am referring only to the original text of Abramelin as it was written. Yesha is not “forgotten” in the text, it simply doesn’t play a role in it (because it is of Jewish origin).


      • Many Thanks for your comments Aaron. Fact is in my own operations, I am more inclined to do as “the spirit” directs within the framework of the overall prescription. I am not usually insistent on the manifestation of spirit beings. For me, the end justifies the effort so I am content with the manifestation of my work intentions. I am not privileged to have space for a detailed adherence to the Abremalin prescription.


  7. Michael – this may be a limitation of the medium we are using to have this discussion, so forgive me if I am making the wrong assumption. But it seems to me you are viewing (or at least describing) the Abramelin operation as a kind of practical magick process to achieve various magickal goals. If so, I think you are viewing the system in the wrong light. If it were, I would quite agree with what you say above. However, Abramelin has a specific purpose that is not the same as, say, working with the Heptameron or the Key of Solomon.

    One thing that makes me raise an eyebrow is your saying that you do not have the space to perform Abramelin – yet all you really need is a space big enough to kneel at an altar and pray every day. It takes much less space, in fact, than most existing magickal operations. (The terrace with sand, though, may be what you are referring to. The Operation can be performed without it if necessary.)

    That and other subtleties of your statements make me suspect you and I are not talking about the same thing when we talk about Abramelin…


  8. Wonderful discourse


  9. Is it possible to do the Abramelin operation successfully without including the invocation of the angels of evil, if I have the name right? Just concentrate on invoking the Holy Guardian Angel and leave it at that?


    • Personally, I would not take away the convication of the evil spirits. Abramelin is a two-part operation. First, to gain a connection with the highest spiritual force available to you. Then, to turn back toward the physical world and use that connection to establish control over the material forces (demons). You would be falling quite short of the point if you only contact the angel and stop there. (However, once you DO contact that angel, you would best ask him what to do about the spirits.)



      • Thanks, Aaron, on the convocation of the evil spirits. One thing at a time, then. I very much appreciate your sensible advice to ask one’s Angel. Its just that Crowley’s dramatic description in his autobiography of the effects of drawing the demon sigils is so disturbing. Since we are discussing practicalities, apologies for this very basic question which you might have addressed earlier on this thread-which version of the Abramelin text do you recommend? Would the old Mathers version be good enough?


      • I avoided reading anyone else’s description of Abramelin work when I was doing my own. Practical tips I would have loved (there were none to be found back then), but subjective expereince I stayed away from.

        As for versions of the text – get and read both versions. I found that one doesn’t invalidate the other. Both of them have good things to add to your understanding of the Work. If I were to do it again today, I would use the 1 1/2 version, but I would keep the Psalms and some of the other things added to the French version.




  10. Thanks for this very encouraging-

    ‘One thing that makes me raise an eyebrow is your saying that you do not have the space to perform Abramelin – yet all you really need is a space big enough to kneel at an altar and pray every day. It takes much less space, in fact, than most existing magickal operations. (The terrace with sand, though, may be what you are referring to. The Operation can be performed without it if necessary.)’


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