The Book of Abramelin in Conjure & Folk Magic
I have recently been perusing literature related to Abramelin the Mage. What's so fascinating about the history behind the 15th century grimoire, is it's influence on both Neo-Paganism and Hoodoo. For those of you who have strong feelings about the discrepancy regarding the differences between the two, you can not escape the fact that ancient grimoires have influenced both modalities. For example, Macgregory Mathers did indeed translate the “Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage .” Mathers was one of the original founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Now if you are a fan of the Tarot, you will certainly understand how widespread Mathers work has influenced occult practices. In fact, when exploring the first book of Abramelin the Sage (there are three) I was immediately struck by the journey of the Fool as he transcends into an enlightenment through his passage of the Major Arcana. For Tarot Enthusiasts, the Golden Dawn Tarot deck is a reflection of Mather's work. Mather's would later influence both Aleister Crawley and A.E. Waite.
There is no question the Talmud did indeed influence “The Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Sage.” It truly does reference the need for “righteousness” which is unquestionably Hebrew. There are also references to the Kabala (please keep in mind I'm not a Kabala scholar). However, there certainly are other influences. The first I recognized was the magic of the Ancient Egyptians. Not surprisingly, Mathers does do an excellent job of referencing ancient influences. So he deserves quite a bit of credit. What is more interesting, is that the ingredients of the popular Conjure oil, “Abramelin Oil” tends to utilize Mather's recipe rather than the one used in the 15th century manuscript. But this does vary from practioner to practioner. The recipe dictated from the original manuscript seems to be more of the likes of “Holy Oil”. In either case, the ingredients in both encompass ancient herbs that have been utilized for centuries. They both work.
The underlying concept of The Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Sage” is that of developing a relationship with your Guardian Angel. If you are at all familiar with Santeria, then you may be aware of the process of bringing down your guardian angel. In Santeria your Guardian Angel is one of the Orishas. This is the Orisha that crowns a person's head. There is always an element of fate in this relationship. You can not choose your guardian angel as your guardian angel is there to help you in spiritual matters that you are destined to work through. I have had my own guardian angel brought down. It certainly was one I did not expect although it does make perfect sense! The concept of a Guardian Angel certainly has it roots in ancient history. The old testament for example references the significance of Angels. Early Christianity seems to have really developed the guardian angel concept believing that individuals can have specific angels that do indeed “guard” them.
With that being said, you can not deny the Christian influence on “The Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin” There is a great deal of controversy over who the actual 15th century author was. I don't really think it matters. In my opinion it is not solely based on Hebrew mysticism. Like I mentioned earlier I am not a Kabala scholar. All I can say is that from what I understand of Judiasm is that the primary relationship for man is that with God, “Hashem.”
The concept of working with Angels and Demons also relates to Obeah. Of course, this process is in many other grimoires including those in the 6th & 7th Books of Moses. Again I'm not a scholar and from what I understand, Obeah developed in the Caribbean during the slave migration. Sources report that Obeah developed out of the religion of the Igbo tribe but also has influences from other tribes particularly those from the Congo and Nigeria. When it comes to the modalities of folk magic, particularly those from the West Indies, Cuba And Haiti, it becomes very easy to see the influences of Christianity and the texts of notable European grimoires.
When it comes to conjure, you simply can't deny the impact and significance of historical grimoires. Now, whether you choose to study these is completely up to you. Fundamentally, if you really want to understand Conjure you should familiarize yourself with them. You can find all sorts of literature and websites that explore Hoodoo and Conjure most of them proclaim that conjure is something that is taught not learned. Keep in mind that the folk magic from this country is simply not that old even though it does have ancient influences. Quite frankly, all religions have ancient influences and even though Hoodoo is not a religion, it too has ancient influences. If you really want to learn more about conjure, I suggest beginning by researching a bit of history. For example, I was recently reading the “The Leyden Papyrus”, an ancient Egyptian manuscript. Talk about conjure! I have always wondered about the origins of dove's blood and within this manuscript I saw a spell that utilized it. Who knew it's use dated as far back as the Ancient Egyptians? Somehow I'm not surprised.