There is a book coming out this year that I was looking forward to more than any other. That book is Michael Cecchetelli’s Book of Abrasax. I really love the magic of the Hellenic and Gnostic Era. There have been other attempts to weave the historical texts into a full system. Stephen Flowers took a stab at it, as did Don Webb. But every attempt seemed, to me at least, to lack a little something that would flesh it out fully into a system that was applicable to the modern world, open to receiving new information from spirits and inspiration, and ready for a new emergence. To say that I had high hopes for the book is an understatement.
I have read the book and performed a few operations from it. I am happy to report that Mr. Cecchetelli did not disappoint. In fact the moment I read the introduction and found that he has been working with the Gnostic Luminaries, I called him up extremely excited. I had worked with the Luminaries in a very rudimentary way years ago and have never seen anything like what I had been doing in print.
The bulk of the book is concerned with operations of practical magic, and there are chapters on spacial, protective, amorous, wealth, curse, and transcendent operations. Cecchetelli sticks very close to the original texts from which he draws but is also not afraid of making changes, additions, and insertions when needed. This is actually the real genius of the book. Former attempts have stayed so close to the original that they omit things where the papyri is worn, and refuse to make even the most obvious changes for fear of not passing academic scrutiny. Mike understands that the needs of the academic and the needs of the magus are not always the same. He has the intelligence, wisdom, gnosis, and frankly daring to alter the text in accordance with the intended goal: producing a workable modern grimoire.
These chapters on practical magic are book-ended by a narrative story of a Magus passing on his secrets to a worthy student. This touch ads a flourish to the book and places it within the proper spiritual context. It also give the opportunity to present the parables of Abrasax, which provides a nice meditation on what it means to be a Magus, and what success in the art really means.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I know Michael Cecchettelli and contributed a few paragraphs on magical gestures to the book. I can assure you though, that this did not effect my review. This book is amazing!