One of only 196 copies being published and the publisher sold out pre-publication.
Book is in near fine condition with some light shelf-wear to the slipcase otherwise in new condition.
Never previously published.
Limited edition consisting of three components held together in slipcase:
Facsimile of Manuscript. Hardback in full calf leather binding incorporating skrying mirror. 416pp coloured pages (of which 209pp are blank) It is clearly stated to be the book of the Fratres Lucis and is bound to match the appearance of the book as Herbert envisaged and drew it in the frontispiece of the manuscript. All edges are hand gilded, thus avoiding the too shiny gaudiness of machine gilding. Leather joint, decorated endpapers. The front cover has a real satin silk doublure (a traditional bookbinding device, a panel of silk set into the inside of the boards). Inset into the doublure on the front board is a reproduction of a sigil from the book which features an eye within concentric circles. The actual eye itself if formed with a portion of paper from the original manuscript, so as to create a magical link with the original. In a recess of the doublure on the rear board is set a glass magic mirror, to facilitate the practitioner’s access to the mindspaces from whence this book arose. The black mirror’s convex design follows Herbert Irwin’s recommendations in the book. The full colour facsimile is a very high quality reproduction and is designed to have the same appearance as original manuscript, rather than modern shiny photographs of it. The manuscript was completed in 1874 and this facsimile utilises a specifically Victorian binding method called gutta percha, then used for upmarket art books. However, modern materials are used that solve the longevity issues that resulted in the binding method being discontinued in the early 20th Century.
Transcript. Hardback cloth binding. Typeset as in the original 408pp (of which 205 are blank), and also gives translations of the occasional Latin. It also reproduces all the illustrations so the text can be seen in context, but is in monochrome. There is no decoration to the cover, so visually it merges with the slipcase. Herbert Irwin’s handwriting is not always easily read. As can be seen from these images, the transcript overcomes this issue.
Talismans in Folder. Talismans from the manuscript. They can be removed from the recesses in which they are held, for ease of use by the practitioner. As with the transcript, for aesthetic reasons there is no decoration to the cover. When in position, the talismans are framed by a gilt border. The manuscript states that the talismans should be made either of pure gold or drawn on parchment. Inspired by this, these are blocked in pure gold on vellum (the terms vellum and parchment were used interchangeably in the 19th Century).
The roots of the Golden Dawn are complex and have been much debated, and will be much discussed in the future as new evidence emerges. It is undisputed, though, that Major F.G.Irwin was an important player in the pre-Golden Dawn occult milieu. One narrative* has it that Kenneth Mackenzie brought the Fratres Lucis to British shores founding Temple No.1. Major Irwin then headed the Hermanoubis Temple No. 2 in Bristol, and then Woodman, Westcott and Mathers founded the No.3 Isis-Urania Temple in London under the Golden Dawn banner, but with more complex rituals resulting from the input of Kabbalah, Egyptology and the Cipher Manuscripts. The very masonic rituals and historical narratives of the Fratres Lucis that have been published appear quite out of step with the profoundly magical nature of the Golden Dawn. It is specially interesting, then, that Major Irwin’s son Herbert should have scribed this Book of Magic which is, very explicitly, the book of the Fratres Lucis and is highly magical.
Skrying using a magical mirror. Various procedures are described for using the magic mirror to view and communicate with spirits. One involves a surprisingly early description of the use of electric batteries for occult purposes. It is clear that working with the magic mirror is the source of much of the material of the book. The manuscript is highly visual using coloured inks and numerous diagrams and images, presumably recording visions received from the magic mirror. Herbert also talks of letting angels take over his body and guide his hand. One can spot some book sources (Barrett’s Magus, Key of Solomon) for some material but much is unfamiliar and is probably the result of such magical workings.
Contact with the Hidden Adepts was a crucial aspect of the Golden Dawn and its members employed various strategies, esoteric and exoteric, to contact the “Secret Chiefs”. In the Theosophical Society, and thence Crowley’s A.A.. it was the “Great White Brotherhood” with whom communication was sought. Likewise in the Fratres Lucis as set forth in this Magic Book by Herbert Irwin. Communication with Rosicrucian adepts of the Order is embodied in records of earlier group magical rituals attended by Martinez de Pasquales, Lavater, St. Germain, Cagliostro and others. These may have been clairvoyantly perceived through the skrying mirror. Herbert writes of magically attending meetings. The Order also has inner plane contacts with Knights Templar initiates with two records of communication with the spirit of Jacques de Molay, one anonymous (probably Herbert Irwin) and another attributed to Thomas Vaughan.
Hidden Sun. In a diagram and associated text it is stated that the sun we see is not the real sun, but an imperfect and lesser reflection of the light that illuminates other universes beyond ours. This idea went on to become a dogma of the Theosophical Society (founded one year after the manuscript was completed) and then gain notoriety as the notion of the “Black Sun” current in neo-Nazi occult vectors. The Fratres Lucis, as described in this book, is synonymous with the “Brothers of the Swastika”
“Non-Euclidian Geometry” Some diagrams are suggestive of paper being folded multiple times in a manner that appears impossible to replicate in reality. This and three full page diagrams that share certain commonalities, pointing to Universes beyond ours and with compass points awry, is reminiscent of the “non-Euclidian geometry” imagined by H.P. Lovecraft.
Drugs & Herbs. In the discussion of herbalism a dozen herbs are dealt with, some very briefly as medicinal herbs but there is an extensive section on saffron which gives a lengthy and complex procedure for obtaining an extract, which is stated as being considered by Fraters of the Rose Cross the most wonderful and useful herb. The effects described are of an extreme form of rejuvenation, and also a gentle heat that pervades the frame and gives a sense of liveliness and strength. Modern users find relatively small doses of saffron akin to a low dose of Ecstasy, and recent scientific tests supports its psychoactive potential and also find that it does increase the effects of opiates, which the Victorians knew as it was a major ingredient of laudanum. Herbert also discusses the magical uses of opium itself, about which he is ambiguous, considering it potentially demonic. Never-the-less, he took opium to assist his skrying and died of an opium overdose. The original codex bears a bookplate added by his father, with the Fratres Lucis swastika, recording his death and making the book a memorial to his son. This bookplate, plus the Irwin family bookplate also present in the original, are reproduced and tipped in to the facsimile. He may have died whilst skrying mind spaces related to those that gave rise to this book which is, at least, poignant – and may also have significant esoteric implications.
An Astral Book made Manifest An illustration of the Book of Magic forms the very first page of the manuscript and the glyph of the magic book appears in a number of the subsequent illustrations. These probably record of visions received in the skrying mirror. This edition now makes manifest that astral book. Furthermore, with the eye in the motif set in the front cover being on paper from the original manuscript, it provides a magical link that is the basis for the magic mirror set in the rear board to act as the window by which the practitioner may access the same mind spaces that Herbert viewed to create the original manuscript. These mind spaces are of the same astral flux that found manifestation in the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society.
Complete List of Headings in the Manuscript:
- Book of Magic
- Second Part
- Of the Invoking of the Spirits Angelic
- Of the dress of the operator
- A Brief note of the qualities requisite in the Invoker of Angelic Spirits
- Of the Angels of Spirits of the Spheres
- Of the Necessary Conditions Rules and laws To be observed by the student of Spiritual and Angelic things
- Of Diabolic Evocation
- Of the power of the Will in Relation to Magical Things
- Of the making and of the using of Magical glasses, Crystals and Mirrors
- Charge for dismissing the Vision
- Of the Consecration of Magical Mirrors and Crystals
- Of the Virtue and Power of Signs
- Of the forming of Charms
- Of Invocation of Spirits of the Sun, Moon and Eight Planets
- Of the Spirits of the Sun
- Form of Dismissal
- Of the Spirit of the Moon
- Shapes familiar to the Spirits of the Sun
- Of the Signs, Pentacles, and Talismans of Spirits
- Of the Talismans of the Spirits of the Sun
- Spirits of the Spheres
- The sign of the good spirits of the moon
- Of the Philosophical Stone Of its making and of its using
- Further Experiments in the Hermetic Art or revification and of Resurrection
- Some Remarks on the Medical virtues of the herb Saffron
- Of the (vulgo Poppy)
- The Herb Rue
- Of the Herb Taraxacum
- The Herb Vervain
- Of the Marsh Mallow
- Of the Occult Power and of sympathy
- Of Attraction
- Of the operation of casting into the Sleep
- Of Talismans and of Signs By which to accomplish certain ends
- Of the use of many things of sympathy of antipathy of the Nature of things Of the Divining Rod
- Of Sympathy
- Of the Cabbala
- Of Divination by Marks
- Of the Division and Government of the Human Race
- The Book of the Secret Ritual of Invocation of the Brethren of [the swastika]
- Form for the Invocation of Good Angels
- Secret Ritual
- Secret Ritual Invocation March 20th 1774
- Of the Means of obtaining answers From the Inner world
- The Talismanic Science
- A Talisman of Great Power
- Of Planetary days and hours and of the Angels
- which govern them
- On the Making of Mirrors
- Of Divination by Dust or Ashes
- Of Charms
- Of the Secret Alphabet of some famous cabbalists
- Invocated Spirit