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The Three Books of Occult Philosophy: A Complete Edition (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) Paperback – 31 Jul 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications,U.S.; New edition edition (31 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875428320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875428321
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 5.2 x 25.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 317,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486-1535) was a German magician, occult writer, theologian, astrologer, and alchemist. Editor Donald Tyson is a Canadian from Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Early in life he was drawn to science by an intense fascination with astronomy.  He now devotes his life to the attainment of a complete gnosis of the art of magic in theory and practice.  His purpose is to formulate an accessible system of personal training composed of East and West, past and present, that will help the individual discover the reason for one's existence and a way to fulfill it.


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Format: Paperback
Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy must rank as one of, if not the most important work ever written on the Western Occult tradition. Written in relative youth, it nevertheless has an immensely broad range of topics covering Goetia ("Black magic") and Theurgia ("White magic') while still remaining in the Christian tradition. Agrippa's work certainly provides numerous practical instructions, but always ties together a wide range of classical and traditional sources in a broad theorectical framework. As a traditional astrologer I found his exposition of astrological magic to be among the best available in English, better than Marsilio Ficino's Three Books of Life (though the Boer translation is fairly universally disliked). Much of astrological magic still remains locked up in Latin, Thabit Ibn Qurra's De Imaginibus, edited by Carmody and Picatrix, edited by Pingree being the most salient examples. I should note, however, that Brill has just published a new edition of Agrippa in the original Latin which does differ in some respects from the Freake translation that Tyson has edited in this edition. For example, Chapter 50, Book II at 403 Agrippa describes the construction of amulets for love and concord between two people. The first full paragraph in the Tyson edition ends, "...let them [the two images] be wrapped up in silk and cast away or spolied. In the Latin Brill edition the sentence states that the images should be wrapped in "fine linen cloth" and "buried". Nonetheless if I could have only one book on the Western occult tradition (perish the thought!) this would be it. Anyone with a serious interest in studying or practicing in this area should have this book
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Format: Paperback
I'm normally very skeptical about anything produced by Llewellyn, but not only is this an honest reproduction of Agrippa's brilliant works (I've seen the first English translation for myself--1560, I think), but Donald Tyson's scholarship is almost comparable to Agrippa's own. The notes are extensive & do a marvelous job of fleshing out the myriad brief & passing references in the text. Quotes from Agrippa's most likely sources provide timely insights into his own mind, and Tyson in addition offers a notes on sources foreign to or later than Agrippa for comparative study. Tyson's editing does not disturb the text at all, but rather makes it that much more clear. His diagrams & seals are well produced, & his corrections (which include skilled reanalysis of the Hebrew) & major additions are saved for the back of each chapter and of the whole volume. These appendices, and the bibliographical notes as well, are intelligent, clearheaded & very useful. Agrippa's genius is well known, but Tyson's fine scholarship for this volume deserves acknowledgment as well. I recommend this book especially strongly to serious students of magic who are tired of the flood of New Age-y magical manuals & gothic garbage tossed out like so much glitter by these shallow modern writers who use "magic" as a substitute for intelligence, or as a solution to their ego problems.
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Format: Paperback
I first encountered Cornelius Agrippa as a very young man many years ago in a very short extract of his work appearing somewhere or other, and I was hooked. Determining to track down his Three Books of Occult Philosophy I was astonished to learn that (at that time) there were only two known places in the world where his writing was kept. The first was under lock and key in the Vatican (surprise! surprise!) and the second was in the University of Chicago Library (and only available in the Reference department to bona fide scholars conducting "serious academic research"). Disgusted by the extent of the apparent censorship in the so-called Free World, I gave up. But over the years Agrippa remained in the back of my mind as someone clearly worth reading. Then, recently, I stumbled upon the Llewellyn publication available on Amazon. Excited by its availability (at last!) I immediately ordered a copy (half expecting to be disappointed in my younger self's taste). On the book's delivery I was a wee bit intimated by appearances. It is, after all a hefty tome of some 938 pages, and, to discourage further, it is an OLD text, some five hundred years old, in fact, and, to top it off, pubished in a BLACK binding! But, and this is the crux of it all, be not discouraged! If you are at all interested in the most important source materials on the true nature of the world, this is THE book. Beautifully written, brilliantly annotated, and ACCESSIBLE! I speak here as a layperson and sceptic with very little esoteric knowledge and even less of the occult. Agrippa's treatise is a breath of fresh air in a the midst of a confusion of New Age waffle. Great stuff! Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
This is the book most often found at the heart of many of the modern groups practising some form of Western esoteric/magickal system. This book influenced the Golden Dawn and many other groups which went on to form the foundation of classical magick in the West. Today, this heavy tome is still a treasure trove of information, technique, and erudition essential to anyone wishing to walk the path of Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, or other such related paths. Even Chaos magicians will find something useful in this book. It's a tremendous resource.
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