The Magus (book)

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This article is about a book on the occult. For the novel by John Fowles, see The Magus (novel). For other uses, see The Magus.
Illustration of Cassiel from The Magus by Francis Barrett (1801)

The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer is a handbook of the occult and ceremonial magic compiled by occultist Francis Barrett and published in 1801.

Contents[edit]

Much of the material was actually collected by Barrett from older occult handbooks, as he hints in the preface:

We have collected out of the works of the most famous magicians, such as Zoroaster, Hermes, Apollonius, Simon of the Temple, Trithemius, Agrippa, Porta (the Neapolitan), Dee, Paracelsus, Roger Bacon, and a great many others...

Sources[edit]

Actually, most of the material comes from Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy and Pietro d'Abano's Heptameron.[1]

Previous demonologists such as Binsfeld (1589) had drawn up lists that comprised a hierarchy of devils and attributed them with the power to instigate people to commit the Seven deadly sins. Lucifer was associated with Pride, Satan with Anger and so forth. In The Magus Barrett altered the "roster of devils" and Satan now became a prince of deluders (serving conjurers and witches).

Publication and influence[edit]

The book was originally published with three books in a single volume, as was common with many texts of this period. It facilitated the modern revival of magic by making information from otherwise rare books more readily available. It may have influenced novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton and occultist Eliphas Levi.

Even farther afield, some have speculated on long chains of influence from various religious texts, through Masonry, to Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. While the talk has no actual mention of The Magus, Reed C. Durham, Jr.'s speech "Is There No Help for the Widow's Son?" does list several traditionally occult figures.[2]

References[edit]

  • Robbins, Rossell (1959), The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, Crown Publishers Inc., ISBN 0-600-01183-6 

External links[edit]