Getting to know your Holy Guardian Angel – the Abramelin approach

As I said before, the original book on attaining the Knowledge and Conversation of your Holy Guardian Angle (hereafter know by various permutations of K&C of your HGA) was the Book of Abramelin the Mage (you can buy yourself a copy of it here: The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage, or indeed simply read it in its entirety online – isn't the internet marvellous?  Although it does take the edge off the mystery of reading powerful and secretive texts).  This gives clear, if lengthy, instructions for how to go about achieving the K&C.  The first book gives autobiographical details of Abramelin, the second instructions for how to achieve K&C, with the final book giving some suggestions for all the cool stuff you can do once you've got your HGA to talk to you.  But, it has to be said, for this day and age many of the instructions aren't exactly practical.

For a start off you are meant to do the work as part of a 6 month retreat.  Now, at present, a 6 month holiday to go and do some magick is rather appealing, but it isn't exactly practical – sadly whilst paternity leave has becoming increasingly accepted as a concept 'spiritual retreat leave' is some distance from being accepted by the EU establishment.  The text does say that you don't actually have to retreat from everyone.  You can still have contact with your wife and your servants, meaning they can still bring you food and keep the place tidy and so on, you just should keep conversation to a minimum.  Which is handy, because whilst I don't have a wife to worry about my servants are pretty clingy, and they'd really miss me if I just left them alone for six months.

The requirements for a physical space within which to perform the magickal work are also quite taxing – a north facing room with a balcony, which is to be used for no other purpose during the six months of the magickal operation.  Oh, and its floors and walls should be made of white pine.  Given I currently don't have any rooms to call my own, this would be particularly hard for me.  And who can afford a room for 'temple space' with London rents the way they are?

Compared to this, the magickal operations themselves don't seem too demanding at first – a ritual prayer twice a day, combined with regular confession.  Oh, and bathing at least once a week, but I think I could probably manage that.  However, after the first two months the daily demands increase, and in the final two months each day requires three rituals, each of which are quite lengthy, with even more work to do on the Sabbath.

It's interesting to see, however, that even in this important text the author occasionally takes the time to note that it isn't entirely prescriptive.  He will say 'these are the words I use, if you have a better way of doing it, a preferred prayer, then by all means use your own'.  There's also an acknowledgement that some of the practical demands might not be realistic for some practitioners, that they may need to find a different way of doing things.  Too many people get hung up on the idea that there is a 'right' way to practice magick, that a particular set of words or gestures 'contains the power' and that other ways are wrong.  Even this most venerable of texts indicates this is not the case – the rituals are about achieving internal transformation, and if your technique works it's good, if not it isn't.

(For a more lengthy, considered, and serious discussion of the Abremelin working I'd recommend this article by Aaron Leitch)

In many ways, each part of the Abremlin approach makes sense to me – a retreat takes you away from the normal social melee in which we exist, and which, whether we like it or not, does a great deal to define our thought processes, personality, beliefs and attitudes.  Getting away from that now and again is healthy because it allows us to return to some kind of 'base level' of our personality, to get a better sense of who we are.  But more significantly it can allow transformations to take place – it's a well known idea within therapy that change is often stifled by the fact that, unconsciously, the people around us may not actually want us to change that much, they are secure in their vision of who we are and may inadvertently put pressure on us to stay that way – to remain predictable and constant.

As I've noted before Magickal practice brings on change and transformation – shifting to become the kind of person who has K&C of their HGA is significant… and hard to do if you are held in place by the expectations of others.  A retreat would work wonders… but sadly, it's not currently practical.

Likewise, a clean room not used for anything else, lined with white wood… how great would it be to have that as a basis for a magickal operation?  A superb way of shifting your state of mind, of really focussing on the work at hand, and of not getting distracted.  But not currently within reach.

Plus, the general tone of the Abramelin isn't quite for me – it's a little too Christian-y (although it's interesting to note that some scholars suggest that the original book was steeped in Jewish mysticism, not Christian, but this was changed when it was translated into French) and archaic. Although I hugely respect anyone with the resources and dedicated to follow through the process 'by the book', I needed a different approach.

Up next – Crowley lends a hand.  Well, him and Lon Milo Duquette.

4 Responses to "Getting to know your Holy Guardian Angel – the Abramelin approach"

  1. […] Getting to know your Holy Guardian Angel – the Abramelin approach […]

  2. Rozee says:

    Seeing that i didn't have any of the prerequisites…i understand why the HGA came to me. what are your feelings about re-incarnation? It's quite possible to have experienced the first part in one life and then cross the abyss for the whole next life.

    It's not an easy experience. It is actually Hell – but somehow, those who are on a certain path are compelled to follow it through to whatever awaits them. Home perhaps, in the energetic sense.

    I used to think that the identified self was not supposed to tamper with the deeper metaphors of being, but now i see that it doesn't matter how one comes at it.

  3. STEVE OLSON says:

    IN THE CROWLEYS BOOK " THE VISION AND THE VOICE " HE GIVES ADDED DETAILS TO hga PLUS NOT ALL IS TOLD TO YOU. IN THE FINAL WEEKS YOU MUST PICK UP MORE DETAILS PSYCHICALLY I HAD ONCE PLANNED DOING THIS BUT ALL HELL BROKE OUT> CROWLY GIVES A SHORTENED VERSION 6 WEEKS AI THINK IT WAS I THINK jESUS ATTAINED hga IN THE DESERT. THE BIBLE SAID ANGELS CAME AND TAUGHT HIM AFTER 40 DAY FAST god bless

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