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The core of "Magitians Discovered", part one

So what exactly *is* the core material of "Magitians Discovered"? The anonymous material added to the 1665 edition of Reginald Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft" consists of a treatise on ghosts, elemental spirits, and demons, and nine chapters of rituals and ritual preparation. The perspective of the treatise is relatively unique.

That perspective is that of Paracelsan magic and metaphysics. The people who put together the Treatise material together were significantly influenced by the Paracelsan tradition, and used its description of astral energy and the imagination as a framework within which to locate the functioning of certain types of magic, the nature of ghosts, and the nature of elemental spirits.

For the authors, the astral body of an individual after death and elemental spirits had certain features in common. Elemental spirits lived purely off of the astral energy that corresponded to their signatures, while the sidereal or astral body of a departed person subsisted on the astral energy that it took with it at death, before exhausting it and dissolving into nothing.

The authors combined their Paracelsan perspective with concrete examples of ghosts and elementals drawn both from the classical world and from their own time. These include examples of encounters with fairies that appear to have been drawn from the Scottish fairy tradition, as well as descriptions of aerial spirits that overlap with the grimoire tradition represented in Liber Juratis, the Heptameron, and the Theurgia Goetia.

The perspective on Demons that the Treatise material gives is particularly unique, and will be the subject of another post. I believe that the treatise material was written by two parties, and that while the majority of the sections on ghosts and elemental spirits were written by the author influenced by Paracelsan thought, the section on Demons was authored by the author who had a quite different, but very valid, perspective.

Created: 2014-10-16 03:53:19

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