Anyone who’s ever tried to do on-line research on the Arbatel of Magic has discovered that information is thin on the ground. And not only is the information pretty scarce, but the researcher is confronted with the irritating Internet phenomenon of a proliferation of sites that think they are doing someone a service by repeating the same information that can be found on several dozen other sites. And most of that is simply a repetition of the handful of most significant pages from the primary source; the grimoire itself. And since I’ve read the grimoire, all of that is useless to me.
I’m not going to do anyone else the disservice of repeating information you can learn from reading the Arbatel yourself . It’s short. There are more sites to download various versions of it from than you can shake a skinny custom-made almond-wood stick at.
What I will do is give you the benefit of my days (weeks!) of research, using several search engines and trying out various search terms. Some of these hits only came from using odd search terms, and wading through to the 100th hit in the results. I’m sure if I kept dreaming up search terms and kept combing through the hits to the 14th page, I’d come up with more, but I’ve had it for the time being.
It’s not as if books are all that much better than the Internet on this subject. I found several scanned books in my search (Google Books and the like), and their chapters on the Arbatel just parroted information that can be found just about anywhere (including — Duh! — the primary source). It’s incredible what some people consider publishing a worthwhile book.
The following is a list of the most worthwhile hits I found, along with a bit of description, and/or commentary.
A digital edition purportedly converted into a PDF by the eminent Benjamin Rowe himself. At least that’s what it says on the second page.
– This is Sadena Meti’s Arbatel site. Although it’s unclear who Sadena Meti is, or what his motivations were, Mr Meti endeavored to create an edition of the Arbatel
that corrected Turner’s translation mistakes, and the mistakes that had crept in when Turner’s translation was copied and reprinted. He published a high-quality bound edition that was limited to 49 copies. Luckily, he also makes the high-quality PDF of that version available on the site as well. One of the best features of this edition is that it includes scans of the Olympic Spirits’ sigils from the original Latin edition, which he acquired at his own expense.
If one can take the information on his personal website (http://www.sadena.com/
) at face value, he is now an atheist nihilist anarchist, and presumably doesn’t do magic anymore. Or is just me that thinks someone of that orientation can’t do magic?
Supposedly acquired in East Africa by one Marius Malchus in 1927, this Grimoire, although dealing with the same spirits, is nothing at all like the Arbatel in either tone or content. Gives diagrams of specific magical tools and recipes for incenses. Much “darker” than the Arbatel.
A grimoire derived from the Arbatel. Nearly identical, but with illuminating differences in the details. Unfortunately, it has never been translated from German, and even if you do read German, it’s a challenge to read the fraktur script.
The Max Planck Institut in Berlin offers this scanned on-line copy of Robert Turner’s translation of the spurious Fourth Book of Agrippa’s Occult Philosophy (1783). The Arbatel starts on page 263 and ends on page 319.
Article by well-known Golden Dawn magician and writer Nick Farrell
, published in The Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition. This is one of the most unique pieces ever written on the subject, placing the Olympic Spirits at the very top of the spiritual hierarchy. An intriguing proposition. Contains some suggestions for applying the theory to practice, including the use of the sigils as portals to the realms of the Olympic Spirits’ realms.
A bit cynical and dismissive of the content of the Arbatel outside of the sigils and descriptions of offices.
Bill Heidrick’s famous list of correspondences includes a unique rendering of the Olympic Spirits’ sigils, and a few intelligent observations on the subject.
A description of a very simple rite to evoke the Olympic Spirits.
The chapter on the Arbatel in A.E. Waite’s tome The Book of Ceremonial Magic. Nothing too informative. Or it’s informative, but I just can’t understand what he’s trying to say. It’s Waite, after all.
by Vincent Bridges and Teresa Burns
Illustrations by DARLENE and J. S. Kupperman
In the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
Probably the most useful article I found in all of my Internet research, as far as gaining a deeper understanding of what or who the Olympic spirits are. This article presents a theory that the sigils of the Olympic Spirits found in the Arbatel are related to the symbols scrawled on countless stones and stone walls in the Camonica valley (Northern Italy) by a pre-Christian culture that used these symbols to commune with their gods. It suggests that John Dee came into contact with these symbols during his travels in that part of the world, and that this is the source of the seven symbols on the very outer edge of his Sigilum Dei Aemeth. This article is well researched, intelligently written, and well worth reading for anyone interested in Dee, the Arbatel, or the Black Venus grimoire.
by Vincent Bridges
Another JWT article citing the relationship between the sigils in the Arbatel to the symbols of the Neolithic Camonians
Short article on a site called Septagram. This author is not just parroting other information available in books and on the web, but has obviously reflected a little. There are two thought provoking paragraphs on why the sigils are always presented without much other information to go with them, even in Regardie’s Golden Dawn books, that say:
“I have a simple theory on why the knowledge of these sigils has been transmitted this way: because it is unlawful to do so in any other manner. That would mean the use of these sigils can’t be taught, but depend rather heavily on use of intuition in order to figure out what purpose they have.
“I have read a number of accounts where magicians have attempted to contact the entities directly, and I’m not sure this is the best way to go. If you draw out the sigils as meditative aids, their use might become more clear.”
I have given much thought to these remarks, and have adjusted my practices accordingly.
Although this is a self-promotion blog, it is worth noting that David Rankine makes approximately the same point as Frater RO does in this posting
, i.e. that the Olympic Spirits seem to be more strongly connected to the material realm than beings identified as angels, which gives them more efficacy in the material realm.
A Power Point presentation on evoking the Olympic Spirits which is as cryptic as ppt presentations usually are without the script of the presenter. Nonetheless, it’s apparent from this presentation that the author uses a very elaborate set-up involving several ritualists and invoking a whole hierarchy of beings.
Interview with Aaron Leitch, in which the Olympic Spirits are briefly touched upon, and Leitch remarks, “I should also add that the Intelligences and the Olympic Spirits are very similar creatures.”
This site offers a beautiful set of printable Olympic Spirit Seals to be used as you see fit (though do honor his request for a link if you used them on the internet).
At the time of this writing, Frater Acher is in the middle of a series of evocations of the Olympick Spirits. He is a meticulous and learned magician. His methods and toolcraft are worth studying, and his results are very intriguing.
This is the record of a more internal/meditational approach to interacting with the Olympic Spirits rather than external/ceremonialist. The author of this blog writes clearly and expressively about symbol-rich internal experiences during a month-long project of meditating each Olympic Spirit on its respective planetary day of the week. A welcome addition to the contemporary records of Arbatel work. You’ll need to do a search to find the Arbatel-related postings on this blog.
By Brother M
This — an account of an evocation of the Olympic spirit Bethor using all the bells and whistles of the Golden Dawn tool box — is a study in overkill. The Arbatel counsels a simple ritual, and this one leaves no pentagram or hexagram untraced. Nonetheless, it seemed to have worked marvelously for brother M, so I guess I can’t really argue with success.
Short account of an evocation of Phul.
On this page there are links to the records of three evocations of Olympic Spirits: Phul, Ophiel and Hagith.
A bizarre site called “dadamancer. This site contains records of evocations of five Olympic Spirits
Account of an evocation of Bethor. I don’t like the tone of this one, but it seems to have originally been posted on a forum, which explains its excessive casualness (almost to the point of flippancy). I thought if I didn’t include this one I might be crossing the border between editing and censoring.
An account of an evocation of Ophiel, in which Ophiel suggests that it’s not all that important to see him.
Article written by someone who evoked Hagith and found a woman to love.