A Jew from Würzburg, Germany, Abraham, or Abramelin, created a body of magical works that for centuries influenced magicians, including Aleister Crowley. An expert on the Kabbalah, Abramelin said he learned his magical knowledge from angels, who told him how to conjure and tame demons into personal servants and workers, and how to raise storms. He said that all things in the world were created by demons, who worked under the direction of angels, and that each individual had an angel and a demon as familiars. The basis for his system of magic, he said, may be found in the Kabbalah.
According to lore, Abramelin created 2,000 spirit cavalrymen for Frederick, elector of Saxony. He also is said to have aided an earl of Warwick in his escape from jail and helped save the antipope John XXIII (1410–15) from the Council of Constance.
The magic of Abramelin allegedly is contained in a manuscript, The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, actually a collection of three books. The manuscript was written in French in the 18th century but claims to be a translation of Abramelin’s original manuscript in Hebrew,
dated 1458. It was translated into English around the turn of the 20th century by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, one of the early and most influential members of the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn. Crowley borrowed from the book for his own rituals to master demons, and Gerald B. Gardner used it as a source for his book of shadows.
Abramelin magic is similar to that found in The Key of Solomon, considered the leading magical grimoire. It is based on the power of numbers and sacred names and involves the construction of numerous magical squares for such purposes as invisibility, flying, commanding spirits, necromancy, shape-shifting and scores of other feats. Rituals for conjuring spirits, creating magic squares and making seals and sigils are elaborate and must be followed exactly in accordance with astrological observances.