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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential work on Western occult tradition
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...
Published on May 28, 1999 by Christopher Warnock

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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT the Donald Tyson Edition! Beware!
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...
Published on September 9, 2012 by Michael Rothermel


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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential work on Western occult tradition, May 28, 1999
By 
Christopher Warnock (Iowa City, IA, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) (Paperback)
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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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Occultism, December 16, 2004
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This review is from: Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) (Paperback)
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. themselves. Further more, while the book has no apparent actual magic rituals, spells, etc., it provides the philosophy and concept behind the magic, which I feel is ultimatly more important. The book is thoroughly annotated, to the point were the footnotes are often longer than the chapters, so that everything is understandable to a modern reader, and provides a great springboard for further and more indepth study into all of Agrippa's sources and influences, and into some of the most important spiritual and philosophical writings in western history. And, just to make me love it more, Agrippa is probably the first occult writer who doesn't write with that annoying pompous, or arrogant attitude, nor talks down or oversimplifies things as if he thinks his readers are to stupid to understand. So many occult writers come off this way, either oversimplifying or overdoing it to the point of sounding arogant or full of themselves. Agrippa talks like an educated scientist, talking to someone of equal intellegence on a subject that is serious, but accessable to all. in his words, occultism and magic don't seem to be some mysterious, shadowy, and dark subject, but rather a divine science and wisdom that can and should be used to elevate all mankind.

So far I've been extremely inspired, pleased, and excited with this book. I strongly suggest this book to anyone and everyone interested in not only occultism, but also religion, spirituality, metaphysics, and even history.
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than worth the price..., October 23, 1998
By 
This review is from: Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) (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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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT the Donald Tyson Edition! Beware!, September 9, 2012
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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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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missing most of the book, January 13, 2010
By 
This version appears to be missing all of the diagrams and tables that are integral to the book. Wait for an edition that has the full set of diagrams, etc.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Timeless Masterwork of the Arch-Magus, July 31, 2004
This review is from: Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) (Paperback)
Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy - a volume which is literally worth a barrow-load of today's contrived and wearisome pseudo-esoteric tomes. All the more amazing when you consider that this towering encyclopedic exposition of the Renaissance Magical Tradition was written when Agrippa Von Nettesheim was but 23 years old - clearly a 'fiery genius' as Erasmus termed him. Herein Agrippa guides the student through the three realms of the universe unfolding the Magical mysteries and technical lore along the way in fulsome and fascinating detail, ascending the Platonic Chain of Being from the sublunary or Natural World, through the astral and mathematical harmonies of the Celestial World high into the archetypal realms of Demons, Angels, Spirits and Gods in the Divine World, winging ever upwards beyond all multiplicity toward the unio mystica with the transcendent One, the Summum Bonum or Agathon of Plotinian philosophy.

Agrippa's vast cosmic vision of the spiritual universe of the traditional Magus is entirely sublime and endlessly inspiring - one can only marvel at the richness and rigorous clarity of his exposition, the sonorous literary textures of his compact chapters, shot through and through with shimmering notes of poetic utterance and mystic profundity. The radiant teachings of the Magical Tradition revealed in this theurgic odyssey through the Three Worlds are a complete and integral vision of the Western Esoteric doctrines, bringing together the operative techniques of Marsilio Ficino's Astrological Magic and the Arab Nigromancy of the Picatrix with the arcane Angelology of Johann Trithemius and the lofty Christian Cabala of Pico Della Mirandola: the exalted mysteries of the Orphic-Pythagorean-Platonic current form the living philosophic foundation of Agrippa's Magical mindset orientated within the religious context of his intense Catholic faith and his deep grasp of Pauline theology.

This book is a pivotal and perennial encapsulation of Western Magic in the Hermetic-Neoplatonic tradition at it's most glorious flowering in the Northern Renaissance and the sheer quality, solid reliability and astonishing scope of the knowledge this tome conveys to the Magical seeker cannot be lightly underestimated - this is real Magic as taught, studied and practised prior to the shadow of confusions which obscured the subject from the 18th century 'Enlightenment' onwards.

Many modern-day magicians may find Agrippa's austere and majestic teaching of the Magical Wisdom too challenging to engage and implement practically and the fashionable preoccupations of todays occultnik scene will find little support in these densely-articulated pages : let such stay with the modern didappers, mountebanks and posturers they so vainly idolize - for those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear and wit to understand Cornelius Agrippa Von Nettesheim stands as the grand Arch-Magus of the Northern Renaissance and this volume a testament to his burning genius as an authentic expositor of the 'Invincible Magical Discipline'. Buy this work, immerse yourself in its arcana, closely read and re-read it time and time again, meditate upon its chapters, imbibe the crystalline draught of its theurgic truths and make them a vital part of your soul - live with and apply its concepts and teachings in your practise and you will be receiving the true Tradition from a master mentor. This book is really all you will need to accompany you on your journey through the Perennial Wisdom of genuine Western Magic. (With a few select companions such as William Lilly's 'Christian Astrology', the 'Corpus Hermeticum', The 'Enneads' of Plotinus you will have pretty much all you need in the way of texts.) Agrippa's book is literally worth its weight in gold to the practising Magus.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle edition linked is not the Freake-Tyson edition, December 7, 2012
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Amazon needs to stop linking Kindle editions to printed texts that are different from these printed editions, as if they were equivalent. Especially in case of translations, where the edition is often paramount.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An occult classic, December 11, 2005
This review is from: Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) (Paperback)
Every student of occult sciences should have this volume of work in their occult library. It is one of the "bread and butter" grimoires of Western Occultism. A lot of occult philosophical teachings that developed after the age of Agrippa have their foundation in H.C. Agrippa's writings. I am always amazed Agrippa developed such a large and vast body of magickal knowledge as well as knowledge of the natural world. His writings are not easily understood in some chapters but this book is not meant to be read "novel style". It is an occult textbook and one must read it as such.

I would not recommend this book as an introduction to occult science. For someone who only wishes to learn an overall view of occultism this book would be overwhelming if not actually boring. But for the student who is ready to understand some of the foundations of what shaped the Western Mystery tradition as well as develop skills of ceremonial magick this book is a must read. It is a large body of writing and one must be committed to such a reading undertaking but for those who do so you will be rewarded with an insight and grasp of occultism few people will ever take the time to develop. And your occult knowledge will increase each time you study from this book. I have had this book for three years and Agrippa's writings still have much to teach me.
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49 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Source Book for the Scholar of Magic & Neo-Platonism, October 14, 2001
By 
David M. Elder (Pacifica, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) (Paperback)
This huge tome, written in the 16th century by Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, is a gathering together of ideas from a myriad of scholarly sources describing the role of magic in the Universe. Largely drawn from Greek, Roman and Bibilical sources, the philosophy -- later recanted by Agrippa when in danger of falling into accustaion of heresy from the still influential Catholic Church -- is the cornerstone of Western Magic. Indeed, it was very influential with such 19th century occultists as Francis Barrett (The Magus), Lord Bulwer-Lytton, the Goldern Dawn and OTO.
Each book describes a facet of occult philosophy in a differnt focus. Book I describes the occultism of the physical world and relies much on neo-platonic thought. Book II deals with the Cellestial world, with a heavy focus on astrology. Book III deals with the world of the divine with a heavy Judeo-Christian philosophy.
While many of the ideas put forth appear rediculous today, relying on the validity of heresay evidence and the reknown of the sources he uses, it is interesting to see how, despite the knowledge of empiricism at that time, the word of the Church and Greco-Roman Philospohers are accepted with little question to validity.
Much of this massive book, minute in detail with the space given to the editor's footnotes often exceeding that of the chapters of the original text itself, will prove tedious and silly. And yet, one can find gems of wisdom as well as an understanding of the progression of scholarly thought in the West at that period.
A tue occultist will delight in the detailed description of the correspondences and the orginal thought behind why one thing such as Mars, is associated with another such as the color red. But while today we may see this all as mere symbolism, back then they really believed there was a true physical or spiritual link between such objects.
One of the benefits of this version of the Occult Philosphy is the bibliographical dictionary at the end of the book, compiling short sketches of most of the famous and obscure philosophers, historians and other writers whose works Agrippa cites in his text.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Foundation Book of Western Occultism, March 11, 2004
By 
OAKSHAMAN "oakshaman" (Algoma, WI United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) (Paperback)
Everyone with even a passing interest in the occult has heard of Agrippa's three books. It has rightfully been called THE sourcebook of western magic (or at least of the Renaissance rediscovery of the Art.). It is recorded that the magus Dr. John Dee always kept a copy open on his desk at Mortlake for ready reference. Even today many of us keep Agrippa's masterpiece out and ready- some for reference, others to merely impress. This edition edited by Donald Tyson is probably the best that has ever been produced. It is clear, clean, and appropriately illustrated. Further, while I usually ignore editor's notes and appendixes in a source work, in this case, they add considerably to the understanding of the work. He even points out errors that have stood for nearly 500 years now.
The basic, uniting principle of this mammoth volume is the Soul of the World. This is the traditional Greek concept (Agrippa was clearly a Neo-Platonist) of an intermediary world-soul that mediates between the One and the material world. This is the basis of all natural magic. This is what interconnects all of Agrippa's vast system of astrology, numerology, alchemy, Kabala, seals, talismans, lists of correspondences, etc. Everything in the cosmos emanates downward from the highest Source. Moreover, hidden currents and vibrations interconnect the lower with the higher in sympathetic union.
As much as I value this classic book, if I wanted a single volume for practical use and reference I would probably choose _The Magician's Companion_ by Bill Whitcomb (another Llewellyn publication.) However, I would still keep this book in my master collection with the rest of the great source works.
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Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook)
Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook) by Henry Cornelius Agrippa (Paperback - January 8, 1992)
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