The Book of Ceremonial Magic

§ 2. Theosophia Pneumatica

In the year 1686, the Arbatel was translated into German, and in the same year--possibly
in the same volume-appeared, also in German, a work entitled The Little Keys of Solomon
or Theosophia Pneumatica. 1 There are no examples of these editions in the British
Museum, and inquiry has failed to elicit any particulars concerning them. Both are
reprinted, together with other specimens of Ancient Magical Literature, to illustrate the
Faust legend, in the third volume of Scheible's Das Kloster, 2 The translation of the
Arbatel makes no reference to the previous edition in Latin, and Theosophia Pneumatica
nowhere states that it is an adaptation of the earlier work. The attribution to Solomon is,
of course, wholly contrary to

p. 36

the spirit of the Ritual, and betrays so far the hand of ignorance.

The adapter had, however, been subject to other occult influences besides the Arbatel. He
applies the term Talmid 1 to the magical aspirant, and this is not used by the original. The
adaptation has been well executed and makes for additional clearness. The transcendental
portions are slightly accentuated; it is said in one place that the exaltation of prayer is the
end of the whole Mystery, and that such exaltation will never be denied to the true seeker,
who is recommended on no account to undervalue his own prayers. This is a better
presentation of the theory than the corresponding passage in the Arbatel itself. There is
also an addendum on Transcendental Medicine, which, so far as can be known, is
original, and it is as curious as anything in the literature with which we are dealing. 2

p. 37



35:1 Claviculæ Salomonis, vel Theosophia Pneumatica.

35:2 J. Scheible, Das Kloster. Weltlich und Geistlich. Meist aus der Altern Deutschen Volks-Literatur, 12 vols., Stuttgart, 1845-49.

36:1 There is a curious history attaching to this word, but it can he elucidated only by a Hebrew scholar. It seems to be of late introduction, though it derives from the verb to learn. It has been said to represent a stage of initiation in certain occult societies of Islâm.

36:2 As it is unlikely that Theosophia Pneumatica will ever be printed in English, it may be well to give a summary of its appendix, that is to say, of the only section of this work which differs generically from the Arbatel. Affirming that all things are threefold, from the Divine Triad of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to man, who is composed of the fleshly
body, the sensitive soul and the rational spirit, it defines the human principles as follows:
The body is of earth; the sensitive soul is of the four elements, but derives through the stars, and is the seat of understanding and genius for arts and sciences; the rational spirit is from God absolutely; the sphere of its activity is celestial and divine, and divine inspiration and influence pass through it to the material body. The body is a house wherein soul and spirit abide and perform their functions, having been married therein by God. At the same time, they strive daily with one another, till the spirit overcomes the soul, and thus attains regeneration. There are two kinds of death--that which results from the destruction of vital physical organs by disease or injury, and that which results from
the destruction of the sensitive soul by envenomed astral influences. Physical disintegration and flight of the divine spirit follow in either case. The spirit may also be recalled by the direct action of the will of God, without disease or injury. Man is therefore poised upon three pillars; if one of them fall or break, the man dies. He should preserve and embalm his body against infectious diseases, for the living organism can be embalmed better than a corpse. He should also combat the venomous influences of baleful stars, for Elohim has gifted men with the power to compose characters that will destroy such influences. It is impossible, however, to cure those diseases with which God in His unsearchable compassion may Himself scourge mankind; vain are the best medicines and vain the highest arcana, vain p. 39 is p. ex. unicorn., vain is the potent aurum, vain the spiritus auri, vain the quinta essenda; Azoth itself is useless; the lapis
philosophorum is made void. The skilled physician will immediately discover such a case in a patient. All other diseases, whether deriving from the planets, from the natural corruption of the earth or from neglect, may be cured by natural remedies--by herbs, balms, spices, oils, metals or preparations of Alchemy. When natural diseases become incurable it is through the ignorance or indocility of man. This Appendix of Theosophia Pneumatica not only indicates the influence but reproduces the terminology of Paracelsus.

The Book of Ceremonial Magic

Main Library