Picatrix as a Kabbalistic Talisman

Page 57 Picatrix Rubeus:

“All that we have said in this context we say only to sharpen the intellect and illuminate awareness, because the aforesaid words and reasons that we have stated are spiritual images and the word that Adam received form the Lord God. They cannot be understood except by the sages who have labored faithfully in knowledge and have understood how created beings attain truth. You should understand all of this and retain it in your intellect, because what we have said up to this point in this book of ours constitute the foundations of the art of magic, if you understand it well.”

  1. So, basically he’s saying that large chunks of Picatrix are talismans of a kind in textual form. What do they do? Probably helps the student comprehend the rest of the text– and man, do we need that help sometimes.
  2. The word given to Adam is a veiled reference. According to Jewish folklore, Kabbalah was given to Adam by God after the expulsion from Eden because the punishment was too severe, with the intent that it be passed down to his favored sons for their succor. Since Kabbalah is a largely non-astrological form of magic (in its practical expression) which is almost exclusively textual, this makes sense that it be referred to when describing a text-based enchanted object. A book on magic, which is itself a magical book.
  3. Some would say that Judaic Kabbalah was a medieval phenomenon, but I strongly disagree and think there is evidence for its existence during the development of the Talmud. So a reference to it in a 700AD text would not be anachronistic.

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