The method in which we can call our guardian angel. This sacred knowledge, given to us by the angels, is a work of divine magic.
The so-called Practical Qabalah is the application of the mystic teachings to the production of Magical effects. For the classification of Divine and Angelic Names; of Hosts and Orders of Angels, Spirits and Demons; of Particular Names of Archangels, Angels, Intelligences, and Demons, is to be found carried out even to minute detail in the Qabalah, so that the knowledge hereof can give a critical appreciation of the correspondences, sympathies, and antipathies obtaining in the Invisible World. Therefore what Abraham means is, that this system of Sacred Magic is thoroughly reliable, because correct in all its attributions, and that this being so, there is no chance of the Operator using Names and Formulas on wrong occasions and in error.
But also it is notable that Abraham the Jew (probably again with the intent of confusing Lamech as little as possible) speaks only of two great classes of Spirits: the Angels and the Devils; the former to control, the latter to be controlled; and leaves entirely out of consideration, or rather does not describe that vast race of beings, the Elemental Spirits, who in themselves comprise an infinitude of various divisions of classification, some of these being good, some evil, and a great proportion neither the one nor the other. Evidently, also, many of the results proposed to be attained in the Third Book, would imply the use of the Elemental Spirits rather than that of the Demons. No advanced Adept, such as Abraham evidently was, could possibly be ignorant of their existence, power, and value; and we are therefore forced to conclude either that he was unwilling to reveal this knowledge to Lamech; or, which is infinitely more probable, that he feared to confuse him by the large amount of additional instruction which would be necessary to make him thoroughly understand their classification, nature, and offices. This latter line of action would be the less imperative, as the correctness of the symbols of the Third Book would minimise chances of error; and what Abraham is undertaking to teach Lamech, is how to arrive at practical Magical results; rather than the Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah.
We may then conclude that Angels, though themselves divided into numerous orders and classes, possess generally the following characteristics: That they are entirely good in nature and operation, the conscient administrators of the Divine Will upon the plane of the material universe; that they are responsible, not irresponsible agents, and therefore capable of fall; and that they are independent of
the currents of the infinite Secret Forces of Nature, and can therefore act beyond them, though their classification and qualities will cause them to be more sympathetic with certain among these forces than with the rest, and this in varying degree. Also that they are superior in power to Men, Spirits, Elementals, and Devils.
The Elementals on the other hand, though consisting of an infinitude of classes, are the Forces of the Elements of Nature, the administrators of the currents thereof; and can therefore never act beyond and independently of their own particular currents. In a sense, therefore, they are irresponsible for the action of a current as a whole, though responsible for the part thereof in which they immediately act. Therefore also they are at the same time subject to the general current of the Force, wherein they live, move, and have their being; though superior to the immediate and particular part of it which they direct. Such races, superior to man in intuition, and magical powers; inferior to him in other ways; superior to him in their power in a particular current of an Element; inferior to him in only partaking of the nature of that one Element; are of necessity to be found constantly recurring in all the Mythologies of Antiquity. The Dwarfs and Elves of the Scandinavians; the Nymphs, Hamadryads, and Nature Spirits of the Greeks; the Fairies good and bad of the legends dear to our childish days the host of Mermaids, Satyrs, Fauns, Sylphs, and Fays; the Forces intended to be attracted and propitiated by the Fetishes of other nations; are for the most part no other thing than the ill-understood manifestations of this great class, the Elementals. Among these, some, as I have before observed, are good; such are the Salamanders, Undines, Sylphs, and Gnomes, of the Rosicrucian Philosophy; many are frightfully malignant, delighting in every kind of evil, and might easily be mistaken for Devils by the uninitiated, save that their power is less; a great proportion are neither good nor evil, irrationally working either; just as a monkey or a parrot might act; in fact such closely resemble animals in their nature, and especially combinations of animals, in which forms distorted and mingled, would lie their symbolic manifestation.
Another very large class, would not act irrationally in this manner; but with intent, only always following the predominant force either good or evil in their then entourage; a spirit of this kind, for example, attracted into an assembly of good persons would endeavour to excite their ideas towards good; attracted among evil-minded persons would incite them mentally to crime. Among how many criminals is not their only excuse that they “thought they kept hearing something telling them to commit the crime”! Yet these suggestions would not always arise from Elementals alone, but frequently from the depraved astral remnants of deceased evil persons.
Devils, on the other hand, are far more powerful than Elementals, but their action for Evil is parallel to that of the Good Angels for Good; and their malignancy is far more terrible than that of the Evil Elementals, for not being, like them, subjected to the limits of a certain current, their sphere of operation extends over a far greater area; while the Evil they commit is never irrational or mechanical, but worked with full consciousness and intent.
I do not agree entirely with the manner of behaviour, advised by Abraham towards the Spirits; on the contrary, the true Initiates have always maintained that the very greatest courtesy should be manifested by the Exorciser, and that it is only when they are obstinate and recalcitrant that severer measures should be resorted to; and that even with the Devils we should not reproach them for their condition; seeing that a contrary line of action is certain to lead the Magician into error. But, perhaps, Abraham has rather intended to warn Lamech against the danger of yielding to them in an Exorcism even in the slightest degree. The word “Demon” is evidently employed in this work almost as a synonym of Devil; but, as most educated people are aware, it is derived from the Greek “Daimon,” which anciently simply meant any Spirit, good or bad.
But the mode of their production as given in this work is not the Black Magic of Pact and Devil-worship, against which our Author so constantly inveighs, but instead a system of Qabalistic Magic, similar to that of the “Key of Solomon the King” and the “Clavicles of Rabbi Solomon,” though differing in the circumstance of the prior invocation of the Guardian Angel once for all, while in the works I have just mentioned the Angels are invoked in each Evocation by means of the Magical Circle. Such works as these, then, and their like, it could not be the intention of Abraham to decry, seeing that like his system they are founded on the Secret Knowledge of the Qabalah; as this in its turn was derived from that mighty scheme of Ancient Wisdom, the Initiated Magic of Egypt. For to any deep student at the same time of the Qabalah and of modern Egyptology, the root and origin of the former is evidently to be sought in that country of Mysteries, the home of the Gods whose symbols and classification formed so conspicuous a part of the Sacred Rites; and from which even to the present day, so many recipes of Magic have descended. For we must make a very careful distinction between the really Ancient Egyptian Magic, and the Arabian ideas and traditions prevailing in Egypt in recent times. I think it is the learned Lenormant who points out in his work on
Chaldean Magic, that the great difference between this and the Egyptian was that the Magician of the former School indeed invoked the Spirits, but that the latter allied himself with and took upon himself the characters and names of the Gods to command the Spirits by, in his Exorcism; which latter mode of working would not only imply on his part a critical knowledge of the nature and power of the Gods; but also the affirmation of his reliance upon them, and his appeal to them for aid to control the forces evoked; in other words, the most profound system of White Magic which it is possible to conceive.