The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
Translated by S.L.M. Mathers
The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage tells the story of an Egyptian mage named Abramelin, who taught a system of magic to Abraham of Worms presumed to have lived from c.1362–c.1458 The system of magic from this book regained popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries partly due to this translation and partly to its importance within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and later within the mystical system of Thelema.
The text describes an elaborate ritual whose purpose is to obtain the "knowledge and conversation" of the magician's "guardian angel." The preparations are elaborate, difficult, and long. During the period of the work, the magician must daily pray before sunrise and again at sunset. During this preparatory phase, there are many restrictions: chastity must be observed, alcoholic beverages refused, and the magician must conduct his business with scrupulous fairness. After the preparatory phase has been successfully completed, the magician's Holy Guardian Angel will appear and reveal magical secrets.
The practical magic of Abramelin centers around a set of talismans composed of magic word squares. These are similar to traditional magic squares, though the latter are usually composed of numbers, while Abramelin's squares contain letters. In the context of Abramelin, the focus of the squares becomes mystical, so that each square should contain words or names that relate to the magical goal of the square.