Most magickians keep magickal diaries, very few of them are worth publishing, and even fewer see anything other than the magickian’s home. Marcus Katz shares his magickal diary from the six months he undertook the Abramelin ritual, and sought Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel. Very few books cover the ritual experience in such detail. It is refreshing to read the account of a magickian who did the ritual traditionally (or as traditionally as the modern world allows), rather than taking many of the shorter modern routes to the supposed same end.
Katz includes some of his process leading up to the ritual, the choice for performing it and the details behind it, he explains how his life changed after completely the ritual, but the bulk of the book is the journal he kept for those six months.
Early in the text Katz mentions “[i]f you are close to anyone and do not want to risk that relationship, do not undertake the Abramelin. It has to be performed when you seriously have nothing to lose” (26). Right away you become aware that this might not be a simple retelling, but something personal, and occasionally painful. Another way to see that, is an authentic account of the experience.
Each day is dutifully recorded and given a personal title by Katz. In reading the text there were a few times where I had to shake my head and put the book down because I found the similarity of experiences unnerving. While the external experiences of our Abramelin ritual could not be more different a lot of little things in the inner experiences matched up so clearly that I was shocked.
Katz has an insight to the ritual that I agree with; he calls it a “Self-Extracting Program” (40), that “the working is self-developing, like a fractal – once seeded, it opens up, unique to each Operation, but following the same intrinsic pattern” (37). It is personally fascinating to see where our Operations lined up, and where they differed, it was reassuring to read about the same reality hiccoughs, and the vacillation between ecstatic faith, and numbing doubt. The insight into Katz’s path and experiences is a great read for those like me who enjoy understanding how people interpret the world, and to observe the change in language and perspective as the ritual goes on it quite interesting.
This is not a book for someone wanting to learn the Abramelin, it is merely a recording of one man’s journey through it. To be honest I’m not sure if I’d recommend it for someone considering the ritual either, I’d be concerned of them reading about specific experiences and trying too hard to recreate them, rather than experiences what comes their way. That might seem overly cautious by I know one of my ordeals of the ritual was letting go of what I had expected during the Abramelin Operation, and letting life occur. For those who are curious of anyone’s experience on the Path, who want to understand and read the experiences behind the ritual, and maybe have walked similar it is definitely an interesting read.