Nigel Jackson draws from H.C. Agrippa, the Picatrix, Giordano Bruno, and the alchemist Edward Kelly in a refreshing synthesis of talisman magic. From history and theory to construction and ritual, this is one of the most complete works on the topic available.
Chapter 1: Hermetic Foundations and Transmission delves into the stellar magic from its discoverable beginnings to current day, taking us for a rapid jaunt though Egypt and its royal priesthood, ancient Greece and Neoplatonism, the Sabeans and their planetary temples, then into the final stage of the development of this art in the Middle Ages.
Chapter 2: IYNX: The Erotic Philosophy of Magic is a chapter dealing with the very Hermetic concept of nature’s inherent desire to be. The seed that will grow into a mighty oak, philosophically has an inborn desire to do so. Nature herself is both a seductress with the promise of being and the great magician which brings sublunar things into existence. Rather than dwell too long on the what, the book jumps into the “how” by giving examples of ritual tools to theurgically link oneself with this unfolding first matter. If that sounds like alchemy, it’s no accident, as this whole chapter does a fairly good job of expositing the requisites of that discipline for the benefit of the rest of the book.
Chapter 3: Celestial Harmonies: The Magical Cosmology is a continuation of laying out a full magical world-view for the reader. Platonic thought and Ptolemy are invoked when explaining the magical model of the universe, throughout. The Ptolemaic “Triple Universe” is explained quite well, and supporting the view with as late a character as Robert Fludd goes a long way toward demonstrating a continuity in the transmission of this science over vast centuries.
Chapter 4: The Heptarchy of Heaven examines the division of the governance of the universe into seven powers. After a brief introduction the chapter moves on to examine the seven Archangels associated with the planets, each followed by a short list of materials associated with the planet. Planetary images can be found in many books, but this is the only modern book in which I have found Geordano Bruno’s 49 planetary images. These scenes are designed to attract the power of the planet they are dedicated to, and link to us the creator/viewer of the image. Seven images are given for each of the seven classical planets.
Chapter 5: The 28 Mansions of the Moon gives a description of each mansion, where to find it by degree in the heavens, and what powers it rules over.
Chapter 6: The Work of Talismanic Magic takes you out of “context” and into practice, complete with ritual and consecration procedures and requirements. Capturing etherial elixer are dealt with here, which I have not seen in other places. Additionally scrying is touched on before closing the chapter.
Chapter 7: Drawing Down the Stars deals with capturing the magic of the 15 fixed stars. Jackson makes it a point to mention that while most of Classical Astrology is making use of a tropical zodiac, the art of using the 15 fixed stars is a sidereal endeavor.
Chapter 8: Hermetic Daimonology is not as one might assume a diabolic chapter, but references the daimon that a Platonist would refer to, a spirit being in other words.
Chapter 9: The Star of the Magi is a short allegorical reading of Biblical themes.
In addition to the above chapters are six appendices linked to the ritual and art of the book itself. Nigel Jackson’s spirit stirring artwork appears throughout.
This is one of the rare books on the talisman art that doesn’t shy away from the very traditional astrological work done by the classical users of magic. The book is thoroughly enjoyable.