The New Encyclopedia of the Occult

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9781567183368: The New Encyclopedia of the Occult

From "Aarab Zereq" to "Zos Kia Cultus," this is the most up-to-date, comprehensive guide to the history, philosophies, and personalities of Western occultism.

Written by an occult scholar and practitioner with the assistance of hundreds of experts in the field, this volume presents the latest in scholarly research and points out errors in previous writings-revealing truths much more interesting and dramatic than the fictional histories that obscured them.

The New Encyclopedia of the Occult is an invaluable reference guide to magic, alchemy, astrology, divination, Tarot, palmistry, and geomancy; magical orders such as the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucians; important occultists; and religions and spiritual traditions associated with occultism such as Wicca, Thelema, Theosophy, and the modern Pagan movement.


"This is an important source for libraries to have in their collections to assist anyone seeking information about the many aspects of occult traditions." ―Booklist

"Greer delivers a well researched, informative, and unbiased encyclopedia... Highly recommended for all public libraries and where interest merits." ―Library Journal 


COVR Award Winner

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About the Author:

John Michael Greer is a 32nd-degree Freemason, a student of the ancient mysteries, and the award-winning author of more than forty-five books, including Atlantis, The UFO Phenomenon, and Secrets of the Lost Symbol. An initiate in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, Greer served as the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) for twelve years. He lives in Maryland and can be found online at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


A... A...

Aarab Tzereq. (Hebrew AaRB ZRQ,“ravens of dispersion”)
In Cabalistic teaching, the Qlippoth or demonic
powers corresponding to Netzach, the seventh Sephirah
of the Tree of Life. Their traditional form is that of
demon-headed ravens emerging from an erupting volcano,
the latter itself a demonic power named Getzphiel.
Their cortex or realm in the Kingdom of Shells is
Theumiel, and their archdemon is Baal Chanan. SEE

Aatik Yomin. (Hebrew AaThIK IVMIN) “Ancient of
Days,” a title of Kether. SEE KETHER.

Ab. (Hebrew AaB,“darkness, obscurity”) In the Cabala,
the secret name of the world of Atziluth. The numerical
values of its letters add up to seventy-two, which is also
the sum of IVD HIH VIV HIH, the spelling of the
Tetragrammaton in Atziluth. SEE ATZILUTH; TETRAGRAMMATON.

Abaris. According to legends recounted in ancient
Greek sources, a Scythian magician who possessed a
magical arrow that he could ride through the air. He was
said to have lived in the time of Pythagoras, the Greek
mathematician and mystic, and visited the latter at his
school in Crotona, Italy. Writers from the eighteenth
century onward converted Abaris into a Druid, as part of
a claim that Pythagoras had studied with the Druids (or

Abba. (Hebrew,“father”) In Cabalistic symbolism, a title
of the Sephirah Chokmah, and also of the first letter of

Abbadon. (Hebrew ABDVN,“destruction”) The name
of a demon, whose attributes have been variously described,
or of a part or level of hell, defined with equal
variability. In Cabalistic lore, Abbadon is the name of the
sixth hell, which corresponds to the Sephirah Chesed.

Abel. The second son of Adam, according to the Book
of Genesis, slain by his brother Cain. In Gnostic
thought, Abel became the original of the “psychic” class
of humanity, those who had the potential to achieve
gnosis but did not have gnosis innately. SEE GNOSTICISM.

Abracadabra. A traditional word of power, used by
Western magicians from classical times to the present.
Written in the following way, it was used in talismans to
cure fevers and asthma:
In recent times, Abracadabra has mostly been used by
stage magicians. English mage Aleister Crowley (1875–
1947) altered the spelling to make it fit his new magical
religion of Thelema, and in this new form the word has
been much used in the Thelemite community; SEE

Abrahadabra. Aleister Crowley’s reformulation of the
older magical name Abracadabra, rewritten to place the
name Had―the shorter form of Hadith, the second person
of the Thelemite trinity―at its center. SEE CROWLEY,

Abramelin the Mage,The Sacred Magic of. A grimoire
preserved in a single eighteenth-century copy in the Bibliotheque
de l’Arsenal in Paris. Written in French, it
claims to be a translation of a Hebrew original dating
from 1458, although scholars have cast doubt on this
According to the long preface, it represents the teachings
of a Jewish magician named Abramelin, passed on by
him to his student Abraham, and by the latter to his son
Lamech. These teachings, which Abraham describes as
the only valid magical system in the world, require the
student to devote six months of prayer, repentance, and
ritual to obtain the “Knowledge and Conversation of the
Holy Guardian Angel.” After this accomplishment, the
student gains the power to command evil spirits through
talismans composed of letter combinations.
The Sacred Magic was rediscovered in the late 1890s by
Golden Dawn founder Samuel Mathers (1854–1918), and
Mathers’ English translation was published in 1898. It has
had a major impact on magical thinking ever since, especially
through its influence on Aleister Crowley (1875–
1947), who used it as the template for much of his own
understanding of magic.To this day the idea that magic is
or should be directed toward the knowledge and contemplation
of one’s Holy Guardian Angel―a concept not
found outside this work in older sources―is commonplace
in magical writings.
The book itself, however, developed a sinister reputation
among occultists in the early part of this century.
Dire accidents and mental imbalance were held to have
befallen many of those who owned a copy of the original
printing, or who tried to use the talismans contained in


Abraxas. A popular magical deity in the ancient world,
Abraxas (also called Abrasax) was depicted on classical
amulet gems as a humanlike figure with a rooster’s head
and serpents for feet, wielding a charioteer’s whip. The
letters of his name in Greek add up to 365, the number
of days in a year, which marked him as a solar deity and a
lord of time. SEE GEMATRIA.
In modern times Abraxas has achieved a new popularity
by way of the writings of the psychologist Carl Jung,
who gave him a central place in his Gnostic work The
Seven Sermons to the Dead
and elsewhere in his writings.

Abred. In Druidry, one of the Three Worlds; the realm of
plant and animal life through which souls journey in the
course of their spiritual evolution. Each soul begins its
incarnations in the simplest form of single-celled organism,
and progress step by step, learning the lessons of
every kind of plant and animal life, until they reach the
human level, on the border between Abred and the
higher life of Gwynfydd. SEE DRUIDRY; THREE WORLDS.

Abulafia, Abraham. Jewish Cabalist, 1240–after 1292.
Born in Saragossa in Spain, he studied the Jewish scriptures
and Talmud with his father until the latter’s death in
1258. In 1260 he left Spain for the Holy Land, arriving
in the city of Acre, but the outbreak of war between
Christian Crusaders and Arabs forced him to leave. After
a short stay in Greece, he went to Capua, Italy, where he
encountered a distinguished rabbi, Hillel, who taught
him philosophy, particularly the writings of Moses Maimonides.
His travels took him to Rome and then back to
Spain, and it was in Barcelona, in 1271, that “God awakened
me from my sleep, and I learned the Sepher Yetzirah
and its commentaries,” as he noted in his autobiography.
This occurred under the guidance of Baruch
Togarmi, a Cabalist about whom almost nothing is
known. Abulafia’s spiritual awakening ushered in a period
of intense mystical experience, during which he
wrote several books on the mysteries of the Cabala,
teaching a highly idiosyncratic system of meditation on
combinations of Hebrew letters. After this period he
claimed prophetic powers, a claim that did not endear
him to more orthodox Jews.
Abrahadabra 2
In 1279, convinced that God had commanded him to
convert Pope Nicholas III to Judaism, he traveled to
Rome, and then to Saronno, where the pope was staying
at that time.Word of his mission preceded him, and the
pope ordered that he should be seized and burned at the
stake if he presented himself for an audience. Abulafia
was informed of this, and showed up anyway―to find
that the pope had died during the night. He was imprisoned
by the Franciscans for a month and then released.
He returned to Barcelona, but in 1280 Rabbi Shlomo
ben Adret (1235–1310), a distinguished legalist and
scholar who was also a Cabalist, became chief rabbi of
Barcelona’s Jewish community. Rabbi Shlomo had no
time whatsoever for Abulafia’s prophetic claims and denounced
him as a fraud and a lunatic. Abulafia moved to
Sicily, living first in Palermo and then in Messina, and
gained a number of followers, but here, too, opposition
from more orthodox rabbis mounted, and he was forced
to move to the little island of Comino, near Malta, where
he spent the rest of his life. The date of his death is not
Abulafia’s prophetic and messianic claims were too
much for most Jews (and even most Cabalists) to swallow
during his lifetime, but his writings on the Derek ha-Shemoth
or “Way of the Names,” his methods of contemplation
using combinations of the Hebrew letters, were
gradually adopted in Cabalistic circles in the century after

Ac. (Old English, “oak”) The twenty-fifth rune of the
Anglo-Saxon futhorc, described in the Old English runepoem
as “fodder for pigs and timber for ships on spearsharp
seas.” It represents the sound ai. SEE ALSO ANGLOSAXON
Rune Ac

Achad, Frater. ( Jones, Charles Stansfield) Canadian occultist,
1886–1950. Born in London, the son of an engineer,
he ran a tobacco shop as a young man while studying
accounting. In 1906, he started investigating spiritualism
with an eye to debunking it, but in the process developed
an interest in the occult. This led him to Aleister
Crowley’s magical order, the Argenteum Astrum (A...A...),
which he joined as a Probationer in 1909. Moving to
Canada in 1910, he continued his studies with Crowley’s
associate J. F. C. Fuller. He was initiated into Crowley’s
other magical order, the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO),
in 1911, and proceeded to found the first OTO lodge in
North America, Agape Lodge, in 1914. SEE ORDO TEMPLI
Their correspondence, and Crowley’s visit to Vancouver
in 1915, greatly impressed Crowley with Jones’ mastery
of Cabala. The younger man’s interpretation of a
cryptic passage in the Book of the Law led Crowley to acclaim
the younger man as his “magical son.”
Under Crowley’s tutelage, Jones progressed to the
grade of Magister Templi in the A...A..., and his work
was serialized in Crowley’s periodical The Equinox under
the title “A Master of the Temple.” In 1921, he became
head of the Ordo Templi Orientis for North America,
receiving a charter from OTO head Theodor Reuss, and
for a time was involved in the Byzantine politics of that
order. Like nearly all of Crowley’s disciples, though, Jones
found it impossible to put up with the Beast for long, and
his approach to the Cabala also moved in directions incompatible
with Crowley’s own opinions.
As a result of his Cabalistic studies, Jones devised an
entirely new set of attributions of the tarot trumps to
the Tree of Life, and thus a distinctive Cabala, which is
still used by some magicians today. His attributions are
as follows:
The Fool. Path: 11. Letter: Aleph.
Connecting: Malkuth-Yesod.
The Magician. Path: 12. Letter: Beth.
Connecting: Malkuth-Hod.
The High Priestess. Path: 13. Letter: Gimel.
Connecting: Yesod-Hod.
The Empress. Path: 14. Letter: Daleth.
Connecting: Malkuth-Netzach.
The Emperor. Path: 15. Letter: Heh.
Connecting: Tiphareth-Geburah.
Achad, Frater 3
The Hierophant. Path: 16. Letter: Vau.
Connecting: Hod-Netzach.
The Lovers. Path: 17. Letter: Zayin.
Connecting: Hod-Tiphareth.
The Chariot. Path: 18. Letter: Cheth.
Connecting: Yesod-Netzach.
Strength. Path: 19. Letter: Teth.
Connecting: Netzach-Tiphareth.
The Hermit. Path: 20. Letter: Yod.
Connecting: Hod-Geburah.
Wheel of Fortune. Path: 21. Letter: Kaph.
Connecting: Chokmah-Kether.
Justice. Path: 22. Letter: Lamed.
Connecting: Netzach-Chesed.
The Hanged Man. Path: 23. Letter: Mem.
Connecting: Yesod-Tiphareth.
Death. Path: 24. Letter: Nun.
Connecting: Geburah-Chesed.
Temperance. Path: 25. Letter: Samech.
Connecting: Chesed-Chokmah.
The Devil. Path: 26. Letter: Ayin.
Connecting: Tiphareth-Binah.
The Tower. Path: 27. Letter: Peh.
Connecting: Geburah-Binah.
The Star. Path: 28. Letter: Tzaddi.
Connecting: Binah-Chokmah.
The Moon. Path: 29. Letter: Qoph.
Connecting: Tiphareth-Chesed.
The Sun. Path: 30. Letter: Resh.
Connecting: Tiphareth-Chokmah.
Judgement. Path: 31. Letter: Shin.
Connecting: Tiphareth-Kether.
The Universe. Path: 32. Letter: Tau.
Connecting: Binah-Kether.
After his attainment of the Magister Templi grade,
Jones returned briefly to England and joined the Roman
Catholic Church in an attempt to convince Catholics to
accept Crowley’s Law of Thelema. This had predictably
little effect, and he returned to Vancouver, where he wandered
about the streets for a time dressed only in a raincoat,
which he threw off in public, proclaiming that he
had cast aside all the veils of illusion. This led to a brief
stay in a mental institution.
In the 1920s Jones lived in Detroit and New York,
and wrote several books expounding his system of Cabalistic
mysticism, including Q. B. L., or the Bride’s Reception
(1923); Chalice of Ecstasy (1923), a study of the mystical
dimensions of Wagner’s opera Parsifal; and The Anatomy of
the Body of God
(1925), a study of the geometries of the
Tree of Life. He was back in British Columbia by 1930,
and gradually became convinced that Crowley had failed
to proclaim the Word of the Aeon of Horus, and that he
himself was destined to proclaim a different aeon, that of
Maat or Ma-Ion. A series of mystical experiences in the
1930s and 1940s convinced him of this mission, and in
April 1948, Jones formally announced that the New
Aeon had arrived. He started a magical order called the
Fellowship of Ma-Ion, devoted to the coming “Ma-Ion
era of truth and justice,” which survived his death and
still has lodges in North America. SEE ALSO CROWLEY,

Acquisitio. (Latin,“gain”) A geomantic figure governed
by Jupiter. Acquisitio signifies good fortune, especially in
practical matters. SEE GEOMANCY.
Geomantic figure Acquisitio

Adam. (Hebrew ADM, “red”) In the Book of Genesis
and later Jewish and Christian tradition, the first human
being, created by God on the sixth day of Creation. The
orthodox account holds that he was created out of the
dust of the earth. In the accounts of Gnosticism, the Cabala,
and many other occult traditions, by contrast, Adam
at his making was a luminous spiritual being possessed of
nearly divine qualities.
A legend much repe...

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