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Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) Paperback – January 8, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

From the Publisher

The Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Agrippa is the single most important text in the history of Western occultism. Even today, occultists use the techniques first described here, although rarely giving credit to it.

Barrett's The Magus is a direct plagiarism of a part of this book. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn's systems of the Kabbalah, geomancy, elements, and seals and squares of the planets are all taken, in a large measure, from Agrippa—but for 500 years, Three Books of Occult Philosophy was almost impossible to find.

Donald Tyson took on the Herculean task of digging out the original, correcting the errors, and fully annotating the entire work. As a result, not only is this new edition easily available to scholars, but it is now fully understandable by people today. The ancient magics, in their original form, live again.

Besides the annotations, there are also extensive appendices on such topics as the elements, the magical squares, the humors, and more. Biographical and geographical dictionaries and the general index make accessing and understanding information in this book easier than ever.

This is the ultimate version of the book that is the ultimate book on magic. If you are interested in any form of magic or occultism, you must get Three Books of Occult Philosophy.

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Product Details

  • Series: Llewellyn's Sourcebook
  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; New edition edition (January 8, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875428320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875428321
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Warnock on May 28, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy must rank as one of, if not the most important work ever written on the Western Occult tradition. Written in relative youth, it nevertheless has an immensely broad range of topics covering malefic and benefic magic while still remaining in the Christian tradition. Agrippa's work certainly provides numerous practical instructions, but always ties together a wide range of classical and traditional sources in a broad theoretical framework. As a traditional astrologer I found Agrippa's exposition of astrological magic to be among the best available in English, on a par with the Kaske and Clarke translation of Marsilio Ficino's Three Books on Life. This is not surprising as Agrippa draws directly from Picatrix, De Imaginibus of Thabit Ibn Qurra, Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars and other key astrological magic texts. Donald Tyson, the editor of this modern edition of the original 17th century English translation of Three Books of Occult Philosophy, has done a good job of providing references and citations, though he occasionally makes technical mistakes. A perusal of the Brill Latin critical edition of Three Books of Occult Philosophy can be useful in this respect. In common with other traditional sources Agrippa does not lay out a recipe style method of magic (step 1, a, b, c, step 2, etc.) Instead as he states in the final chapter of book III, he deliberately scatters information throughout the three books. This points the way to the best method to learn from and absorb what Agrippa has written: deep and repeated study, practice and meditation. If I could have only one book on the Western occult tradition (perish the thought!) this would be it. Anyone with a serious interest in studying or practicing in this area should have this book.
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110 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. Wilson on December 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just purchase Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosphy and I must say so far it has been one of, if not the best, book I've read on occultism, magic, or western occulticism/religion/metaphysics. Here are a few of the things that really impressed me:

For starters, Agrippa seems very modern in that, whether he was aware of it or not, he brings up two points that I've only heard from more contemporary occultists. First, much of his book, to me, seems to tie in with Joseph Cambell's The Power of Myth(which discusses world myths and comparative religion). Agrippa, often when discussing a single concept, simultaneously pulls from hebrew and the Qabalah, christianity and the Bible, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology, and Greek philosophers such as Plato and Pythagoras. It seems that in his mind, all these beliefs and philosophies hold truths in them and he takes them all into consideration, like a scientist would take in all the facts he recieves from the natural world. I'm certain that if Agrippa was fimilair with far east philosophy, such as Taoism and the concept of Yin and Yang, he would have incorporated that too, since it easily ties into a lot of the concepts he already elobarates on through the ideas of multiple religious and spiritual schools of thought. And secondly, the idea that what a magician is really doing is using words, symbols, etc. to focus and strengthen the mind and will, and that it is really the human mind and will that creates all the magic, is also suggested by Agrippa. I've read this theory from Aliester Crowley and another modern occultist (Brennan, I think). Agrippa states that words, numbers, and symbols have power because of the way they interact with our souls and that it is our souls that are actually effecting the world, not the words, symbols, etc.
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Radu Ysya on October 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I'm normally very skeptical about anything produced by Llewellyn, but not only is this an honest reproduction of Agrippa's brilliant works (I've seen a copy of the 1651 English translation for myself), but Donald Tyson's scholarship is almost comparable to Agrippa's own. The notes are extensive & do a marvelous job of fleshing out the myriad brief & passing references in the text. Quotes from Agrippa's most likely sources provide timely insights into his own mind, and Tyson in addition offers a notes on sources foreign to or later than Agrippa for comparative study. Tyson's editing does not disturb the text at all, but rather makes it that much more clear. His diagrams & seals are well produced, & his corrections (which include skilled reanalysis of the Hebrew) & major additions are saved for the back of each chapter and of the whole volume. These appendices, and the bibliographical notes as well, are intelligent, clearheaded & very useful. Agrippa's genius is well known, but Tyson's fine scholarship for this volume deserves acknowledgment as well. I recommend this book especially strongly to serious students of magic who are tired of the flood of New Age-y magical manuals & gothic garbage tossed out like so much glitter by these shallow modern writers who use "magic" as a substitute for intelligence, or as a solution to their ego problems.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Michael Rothermel on September 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking at the Paper Edition of 3BOC, which I already own. All five pounds of it. So I thought it might be nice to have the kindle edition on my iPad. I clicked a link from the product page and was taken here... I should have questioned the veracity of the Kindle edition because the publisher wasn't Llewellyn. Short story... this is NOT Donald Tyson's edition and it should be REMOVED and Unlinked from that edition. If you want the foreword (a short biography of Agrippa, which is invaluable) and annotations made by Tyson this isn't it.

It has NONE of Agrippa's tables, alphabets, sigils, figures, etc. Just the text. Which is nice, but it's not even the complete original work. Without the figures, it's USELESS. Every so often you'll see a sloppy hyperlink that didn't format well; a partial html address inserted into a sentence. Also missing are ALL of the Appendices added by Tyson.

In short.... if you are serious about studying this book, you need the BOOK not a lame ripoff Kindle edition. I really wish Llewellyn would release a high quality ebook that is equal to the one they published on paper.

Now I'm going to see if Kindle Editions can be refunded.
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