Alphabet of the Magi

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The Alphabet of the Magi is an alphabet used for composing talismans. Theseus Ambrosius (b. 1469) included it in his Introductio in chaldaicam linguam, attributing it to the angel Raphiel from the Book of Fire (Liber Ignis).

Claude Duret (1570?-1611) included it in his Thesor (1613, p. 117) under the name "the characters of the angel Raphael" (sic, also spelled Raphiel), citing Ambrosius.

Edmund Fry also included it in his Pantographia (pp. 28-29), stating:

"Theseus Ambrosius asserts that this character was brought from Heaven by the Angel Raphael by who it was communicated to Adam who used it in composing Psalms after his expulsion from the terrestrial paradise. Some authors pretend that Moses and the prophets used this letter and that they were forbidden to divulge it to mortal man."

It is often claimed this alphabet was invented by Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (known as Paracelsus) for the purpose of engraving angelic names upon talismans. This text is probably not by Paracelsus at all, and the Alphabet of the Magi is not found in any of his writings.

The English printed title that the talismans are printed in is the "Paracelsus. Of the supreme mysteries of nature", which is numerously subtitled with " Of [brace] the spirits of the planets. Occult philosophy. The magical, sympathetical, and antipathetical cure of wounds and diseases. The mysteries of the twelve signs of the zodiac." The publication appeared in 1655-56. Translated into English by R. Turner, philomathes. Printed in London by J.C. for N. Brook and J. Harison; with added detail on the fronts page that the books "are to be sold at their shops at the Angel in Cornhil, and the holy Lamb neer the east-end of Pauls." A copy of this text is available in the British Library.

S.L. MacGregor Mathers included it in his 1888 edition of the Key of Solomon (plate XV) under the name "Alphabet of the Magi."

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