Arbatel
A magical ritual published at Basle in 1575. The text is in
Latin and appears to have been influenced by Paracelsus. It is
of Christian, not Jewish, origin, and although the authorship
is unknown, it is probably the work of an Italian. Only one of
its nine volumes still exists dealing with the institutions of
magic, the work is entitled Isagoge, which means ‘‘essential or
necessary instruction.’’
The book introduces the ritual of the Olympic spirits who
dwell in the air and among the stars and who govern the world.
There are, we are told, 196 Olympic provinces in the universe
thus Aratron has 49; Bethor, 42; Phaleg 35; Och, 28; Hagith,
21; Ophiel, 14; and Phul, 7. Each of the Olympic spirits rules
alternately for 490 years. They have natural sway over certain
departments of the material world, but outside these departments
they perform the same operations magically.
Thus Och, the ruler of solar affairs, presides over the preparation
of gold naturally in the soil. At the same time, he presides
magically over the preparation of that metal by means of
alchemy. The Arbatel states that the sources of occult wisdom
are to be found in God, spiritual essences, and corporeal creatures,
as well as in nature, but also in the apostate spirits and
in the ministers of punishment in Hell and the elementary spirits.
The secrets of all magic reside in these, but magicians are
born, not made, although they are assisted by contemplation
and the love of God.
It is sufficient to describe the powers and offices of one of
these spirits. Aratron governs those things that are ascribed astrologically
to Saturn. He can convert any living thing into
stone, can change coals into treasure, gives familiar spirits to
men, and teaches alchemy, magic, medicine, and the secret of
invisibility and long life. He should be invoked on a Saturday
in the first hour of the day. The Arbatel was said to be one of
the best authorities on spiritual essences and their powers and
degrees.

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