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The Book of Abramelin in Conjure & Folk Magic

Posted on January 21, 2015 by AUTHOR (edit in theme settings)

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.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/magick_revival.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Abramelin

http://www.catholicdoors.com/misc/apologetics/guardianangel.htm

http://www.golden-dawn.org/truth_mathers.html

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The Obeah Witch Doctor or Hoodoo Root Worker?

Posted on November 15, 2013 by AUTHOR (edit in theme settings)

I need to be very clear. The Obeah (obi) practitioner and Hoodoo Root Worker have two entirely different approaches to magic. Granted, they do share some similarities such as the inclusion of European Grimoirés and the Ancient Kabbalah manuscripts related specifically to the King of Solomon. They were both also influenced by the L.W. De Laurence, who authored a number of occult books, the most famous being “The Great Book of Magical Art.” However, this is a rather recent attribute to the practice of Obeah. Prior to the exportation of slaves to the Americas, Obeah was based on a long oral teaching tradition and was and continues to be a religious practice. Hoodoo does have strong African roots largely influenced by the Yoruba, Ewe, and Fon tribes imported during the slave trade off the Gold Coast of Africa. However, it is not a religion nor does is prescribe to one particular approach.

The primary difference between Hoodoo and Obeah is the methodology. Hoodoo incorporates a number of methodologies. Some of these are European, Native American, Jewish and, yes Christian such as the inclusion of psalms and petitions to saints. Obeah, on the other hand, deals directly with spirits, both whom are reputed as benevolent and others that are less so and has a religious back drop to its practice. When I speak of spirits, I am not referring to one’s ancestors or the dead. I am referring to spiritual deities, both good and negative.

The Obeah witch has been around long before the slave trade. Some suggest Obeah originates from ancient cultures such as the Egyptians and Sumerians. Needless to say, it is old. Obeah is from the Ashanti region of West Coast Africa. Some scholars claim that Obeah comes from the Igbo tribe also located in Southern Nigeria. In either case, Obeah is distinct even though it does have a striking resemblance to Voodoo or (Vodoun). This is not surprising as they are neighbors to the Fon tribal region in Africa that includes parts of Southern Nigeria (Benin to be exact).

Obeah spread to the West Indies, Barbados, the Caribbean, Jamaica and the surrounding areas during the slave trade. It has evolved into a form of folk magic, largely based on the power of the spirit world. An Obeah practitioner, for example has the ability to work with good and bad spirits in order to accomplish a task. The goal of the Obeah practitioner is to develop a harmonizing relationship between the good and the bad spirits in order to send the spirits out to do their bidding. The Obeah works with both sides of a coin, the yin and the yang, the dark and the light. It is both a science and methodology.

Hoodoo can prove to be as equally powerful. But that really depends upon the person your work with. Here’s where I need to make a clear distinction. Most contemporary Hoodoo practitioners rely on what has been orally passed down to them. Many of the rituals they include in their repertoires do have many African undertones to it, but certainly not all of them. And many root workers have long forgotten the sources of their own methodologies. In other words, they may prescribe a certain herb, oil or ritual to perform but they may not necessarily know where the source originally came from. Although Obeah has also incorporated some European and Jewish mysticism, it is undoubtedly African in origin.

If you are scared of the spirit world, than Obeah is most likely not for you. If you would prefer some solid rituals to help you accomplish your goals without treading to deeply, than Hoodoo is most likely your ticket. To really get the most out of your money, you need to carefully pick the right practitioner. One that you can trust and one that has the resources to help you accomplish your goals.

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