Hellmut Ritter - Picatrix In German (48.6 MB)
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"Picatrix" Das Ziel des Weisen von Pseudo-Magriti, Translated into German from the Arabic by Hellmut Ritter and Martin Plessner, London, The Warburg Institute, University of London, 1962.The author of the Picatrix begins his preface with an elaborate praise to God and the prophet of Islam, thus identifying himself as a Muslim philosopher. He goes on to say that he was encouraged by the interest of his time in the matters in which he speaks, mainly those of talismanic magic. He says that it was those of his generation that we... More >>>
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"Picatrix" Das Ziel des Weisen von Pseudo-Magriti, Translated into German from the Arabic by Hellmut Ritter and Martin Plessner, London, The Warburg Institute, University of London, 1962.
The author of the Picatrix begins his preface with an elaborate praise to God and the prophet of Islam, thus identifying himself as a Muslim philosopher. He goes on to say that he was encouraged by the interest of his time in the matters in which he speaks, mainly those of talismanic magic. He says that it was those of his generation that were unsure as to the approach they should take and lacked a manual of methodology in these matters who inspired him to write his treatise. He declares that philosophers before him intentionally presented their material in a manner that was hidden within symbols and articulated in a vague manner. Those other philosophers did this because they understood that the material being presented could be used for ill. The author of P is confident that this would not happen with his text because God sanctions what he has written and God protects the world. He does acknowledge that some knowledge must still be presented in a vague manner in order that it only is accessible to those who have done the initial work of being worthy of this knowledge. That is, that if someone has gone through the lengths to gain the preliminary knowledge of understanding symbols and secret alphabets, then these secrets would rightly reveal themselves to them. In this way, the revelation of knowledge, particularly the knowledge he presents in this manual, is the kind that reveals itself slowly, through a practitioner doing the initial work of seeking knowledge. As more work is done to understand the symbols and codes, more is understood, and thus more is revealed.
Though the roots of the author's practice may have had polytheistic origins, as identified by Pingree earlier in this essay, the author makes it clear that his stand is completely monotheistic. His monotheistic basis is an important one for it connects to his understanding and justification of the Neo-Platonic model on which his practices are based. The author of P explains that it is the One who sits on top and has knowledge of all beings. He explains that there are ranks of reality, and that through effort, one can ascend through these ranks and elevate oneself in status, thereby bringing one's rank up higher on this hierarchy of reality. To know these ranks and to experience and accept their existence is "wisdom in reality".
The author of P believes that the ultimate goal and purpose of his task is the cultivation of wisdom. It is, according to him, "broad and noble, and seeking it is an obligation, as well as a virtue". To attain a degree of wisdom has benefits that include an enlightening of the intellect and a revealing of the spirit with an eternal, ceaseless, and magnificent luminosity that comes from the search for understanding the wisdom available by connecting to the beings of these various ranks. Significantly as well, paying less attention and giving less credence to the visible world of matter and material lead to the greatest benefits.
By sheer seeking does one begin to live in this elevated state where the wisdom of the One is more readily available. This allows a more personal relationship with the One and grants wisdom that is superior to those who do not do the work to cultivate this form of wisdom. It allows the reality of the whole of existence, with its various realms and manifestations, to become more clear and transparent. By having this connection to the One, the practitioner, or rather cultivator and seeker of wisdom would have a foreknowledge of things to come. A better understanding of the relationship between cause and outcome, between source and consequence, thus being better able to see the variety of influences on the cause.
Wisdom seems to be the central theme and foundational basis for what motivates the author of P in his search and practice of the magical arts. He goes on to identify three subjective, personal, and particular features of wisdom. First, he explains that wisdom contains the inherent quality of growth and is undying, unending, and everlasting. Secondly, the cultivation of wisdom leads to an inner chastisement, and inner reprimand, that allows one to discipline, restrain and control one's self. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, wisdom is something that must be cultivated by the individual. It will not come uninvited and will not come within reach or move towards anyone who does not express interest or make some sort of appeal in the direction of its cultivation.