Abramelin movies.

Based on the

 

The Book of Abramelin

 

An authentic 15 century autobiography by Abraham von Worms

Compiled and edited by Georg Dehn

Translated by Steven Guth

Foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette

Ibis Press. An Imprint of Nicolas-Hays, Inc. Berwick, Maine 2006

 

Suggestions and treatments from Steven Guth guthltd@comcen.com.au

PO Box 20, Duffy, Canberra. ACT Australia. Phone: 61 2 62881070

 

 

Five suggestions for movies with one developed treatment.

 

Background.

 

All the suggestions are for a magician’s movie with special effects. The plots are based on the true story of Abraham, a Jew from Worms in central Germany who through experiences he encounters in his travels finally becomes a master magician. The book is compiled from hand written manuscripts which describes the author’s journey of self discovery 600 years ago.

 

The first English translation of the book has been around for 100 years. In this form the text has been used by thousands of would be magicians to conjure up powerful spiritual beings - the same beings Abraham describes in his manuscript. Over the years the first English translation acquired a well deserved reputation as a sorcerers handbook 

 

From the foreword of “The book of Abramelin”

 

I confess. In 1976, when I first ran across the Abramlein book

 in a used bookstore in Hollywood, my hand actually shook as I pulled it

from its place on the dusty shelf. Fearing demonic attack, I very

cautiously drove home and tucked it away in a black borrowed

slipcase and kept it apart from my other books. Not wishing to

take responsibility for the unspeakable evils that might befall

them, I refused to loan it or even show it to curious friends.

 

 

{All images are from the Nicolas-Hays manuscript proof.}

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestion one –

 

 

A movie that follows the life of Abraham on his travels meeting and experiencing the magicians described in the manuscripts. The story starts at Abraham’s preserved gravestone in today’s Worms, it then time and shape shifts back into the 14th century. The full treatment is attached.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestion two –

A movie that makes scant attempts at realism. Impressionistic sets from the 1920’s stage could be used. A sophisticed sound track and special effects would help create the necessary suspension of disbelief. Some modern scenery could be incorporated into the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestion three –

A documentary based on a modern commentary. Locations and some acted out scenes from Abraham’s autobiography could be included. The attached treatment (suggestion one) hints at the possible contents for the documentary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestion four –

Abraham’s 14th century journey could be transposed into the modern world with today’s locations and modern magical events replacing the scenes described by Abraham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestion five –

 

Alester Crowley – perhaps the 20th century most controversial magician – was profoundly influenced by Abraham’s manuscript. Crowley appears to have believed that his guiding spirit, his “Holy Guardian Angel” came to him because of his use of the rituals outlined in Abraham’s autobiography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestion six –

 

A modern adventurer, a composer, uses the Abraham material to conjure up for himself four servant spirits. The composer has accumulated piety and wisdom from books and we follow him as he seeks the secrets that are promised him by his “Holy Guardian Angel”.

 

A brief treatment.

 

The adventure’s laptop contains a musical biofeedback system. A modern master magician replaces Abramelin in his location in the Egyptian wilderness. The prescribed spiritual retreat takes place in a Pacific coast beach house where the modern equivalents of the four elemental kings are confronted to yield up the four servants of the day – perhaps in forms stranger than anyone bargained for!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The full treatment based on suggestion one

 

 

Background

 

Costumes could be authentic for the times and locations The need for special effects is obvious - the sets could be strange, cheap and simple. A really good sound track will help to create the suspension of disbelief that the Abraham’s story requires from the modern viewer. 

 

Imagine a shift from modern sounds at Abraham’s  gravestone (it is just behind a busy road) to the 14 century sounds of horses, bells, shouts, and birds. These needed be real sounds but just suggested by the musical score. Or consider the sound associated with sorcerer Halimeg’s tent in an Egyptian bazaar when he turns a woman into a goose. Or the wind at Abramelin’s hermitage as it blows through rocks. Or a hint of evensong drifting into the Bishop’s palace. 

 

Only the beginning and end of the movie are set in the sights and sounds of modern life - at Frankfurt airport and in the town of Worms with its Jewish cemetery. The real life characters are the two people who found and translated the German text into modern English. They conjure up Abraham, the original author from his grave ... and so starts our ‘Wizard of Oz’ journey through history. 

 

And what a journey it is. Thanks to satellite mapping we fly via some system like ”Google Earth” through the air from location to location, landing superman like at the right place. We met magicians who show off their skills to Abraham. We spend time with Abramelin the master magician who lives in the Egyptian desert. We participate in the 18 months long prayer ritual that Abraham uses to connect to his Holy Guardian Angel. We watch, concerned, as Abraham conjures up and struggles to control the 4 elemental Kings and their 8 servant Dukes.

 

We travel with Abraham as he shows us his life as a master magician working for Popes, Dukes and Emperors - creating armies, making gold and forcing Bishops to confess their thievery.

 

 

The ending brings us back into the world of today - and a rather humorous, yet fitting conclusion.

 

And I repeat - the story is real, from a real book. It is factual biography that the author Abraham, the Jew from Worms wrote as a legacy for his son over 600 years ago. And the book is out there (Published by Ibis Press Nicolas-Hays) and rendered into modern English by the same two men who cast the spell that gets sets off the story.

 

Here follows a brief outline of some of the story boards that make up this early draft of the movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brief outline of some of the 50 plus story boards that make up this early draft of the movie.

 

 

 

 

 

Georg (bald, middle aged, glasses) goes into an old library, obtains the original MS, opens it, enters into a discussion about MS and why Abraham set out to find a magical solution to the Jewish persecutions of the plague years. Georg writes out title page from the ancient MS and the film Credits roll across screen.

 

 

Sky with strange shapes lurking in the clouds, a 747 lands at Frankfurt. Georg parks his old VW convertible in the eerie underground car park, he walks in a long legged lope through the airport carrying a loose (self picked) bunch of white daisies. Steven (long hair) carries bunch of short Aboriginal spear shafts and a didgeridoo. In the car they head down the autobahn. They stop at small snack bar, there is a crocodile skin on wall. Georg carries his MS with him and talks of the Abraham material, Steven tells about learning Dreaming from Aboriginals. Steven says he needs money. Georg writes out an Abramelin magic square from his stack of book notes.

 

Worms. Georg takes Steven to the Jewish ghetto with its 800 year old ritual bathing well and then onto and Holy Sands cemetery. The magic square is placed on the gravestone. Georg makes a magic circle with a spear shaft. Steven sprinkles white petals, lights small smoky fire of graveyard herbs, Georg makes magic square on ground, Steven plays didgeridoo. Georg calls the name on the square. Smoke bellows out and a whirl wind changes into the form of Abraham.

 

 

 

As the smoke shifts the movie takes us back inside the old ritual bathing well.  But the music and sounds are now different, the costumes are from the 1400’s. After a service in the synagogue Abraham (about 30 years old) is asked for a wedding match, he replies, “I’m off to Minz to study with Rabbi Mosses to become a Rabbi, I will see if I can find a good match for your daughter there.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movie ‘Googles’ to Mainz. A few years later, Abraham who is dressed as Rabbi puts Talmud scrolls away with Rabbi Moses - who says to him, “You seek the wisdom of Adonai? I will show you my magic.” The movie takes us to a room full of fantastic objects, Moses makes all the church bells in Mainz ring. Also, he washes his face in magic water and becomes a young.

 

Abraham asks (in voice over or commentary), “What use is this? I will travel on?” We ‘Google’ to Strasbourg, where Jacob shows Abraham some seemingly real ghosts - by using mirrors and strings - Abraham quickly exposes the fraud. We ‘Google’ to Linz,  and we land in the cathedral’s forecourt. Abraham bumps into Christian woman, spilling her basket of magic making herbs. She invites him to her cottage at 3 am, she rubs ointment on herself, Abraham does a little of the same. Soon the witch collapses sleeps and appears to be dead. Hours later she awakens from her “trip” with an impossible fantastic tale.

 

We ‘Google’ onto Greece, where Abraham meets Piloviour who creates a blinding snow storm with special song and dance – we hear satanic laugher. Again Abraham asks “What use is all this? I seek the power of Adonai.” (See Bk 1 Ch 5 & 6)

 

 

 

We ‘Google’ to Egypt, we pass over the delta and the pyramids and land next to the tent of Halimeg, the magician. Inside the tent Halimeg works magic and makes a piece of wood dance and talk. He also turns a woman into a goose.

 

We ‘Google’ on again, Abraham is in a small sailing boat on the Nile. A strange light appears on the water, it mysteriously turns into a huge crocodile which wrecks the boat and Abraham just manages to reach the shore near Araki. He is rescued by Aaron, “a man of my origin.” Abraham breaks down and cries in frustration.

 

Aaron helps Abraham, he arranges for a man with donkey to lead him into desert to meet Abramelin the master at his hermitage. Abandoned, without water he cries out “Zebaoth” the name of God. A light that has been following Abraham since the crocodile attack disappears and Abramelin appears - he is a small, polite man who is wearing simple clothes. He greets Abraham and leads him to the small stone hermitage with its bush verandas and covered altar.

 

Abraham takes water from large urn, there is also a fire pit, jars of pickled vegetables and so on. They sit, talking, eating lentils from wooden bowl with pieces of bread. Abramelin speaks about morality and how Abraham must seek god in the Psalms. This goes on for many days and nights.

 

Then, one day Abramelin asks Abraham for 10 gold coins as alms for 72 poor people, instructs Abraham on what to do, and departs for Araki. Music becomes spooky, a watcher (like after crocodile attack) hovers about, weird shapes and strange beings try to lure lonely Abraham into trouble. 15 days later Abramelin exchanges himself for watcher and says, “Tomorrow you will consider your past life, your wrongs and why you need to thank and praise Adonai.”


 

Abraham spends a hot, terrifying day in front of the bush altar. He prays, burns incense, sings Psalms weeps, crying out in pain. This goes on all night too. Finally, Abramelin says, “I like you like that” and leads Abraham into his room, opens a hidden trapdoor (special effects) takes out a sealed  package, unwraps two books and hands them to Abraham with instructions to copy them. Abraham falls on his knees tries to give thanks, Abramelin reaches out and says, “No, no, only bend your knees to the face of God.”

  

We see Abraham leading a simple substance life and copying books. Voice over: “For a year I copied the books and asked questions, Abramelin always helped me to understand the wisdom.”

 

Some time later Abramelin says, “You have met the first sister, wisdom. Now I will show you the power of Adonai so you understand the secret. But you will have to find your own secret and receive your own Holy Guardian Angel, mine you cannot use.”

 


Abramelin draws a magic square in the sand on the veranda. Coming back inside Abramelin lights incense, uses oil to seal the doorways and windows, besmokes the 4 directions. He picks up a wand, stands in a power position and mutters a prayer. Slowly light energy comes out of Abramelin, from the smoke and down from the ceiling. It forms into a Holy Guardian Angel, a huge shape that solidifies into human size but angelic shape.

 

Abramelin takes out a white parchment writes out magic square and tosses it out the window. The music picks up the noise of metal falling from a great height. Going outside they see a pile of gold coins. Abramelin hands Abraham a bag, places the coins inside it, kisses him good bye and disappears.

 

Abraham walks up to the ridge from where he ‘Googles’ to reappear in Constantinople. He is in a room affected by a stroke. A pretty slave girl cares for him, slowly he gets better. She gets into bed with him. 18 months pass. Finally he stands, ready for a journey, with a friend and says goodbye to the girl who cared for him, she now has a baby in her arms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abraham ‘Googles’ (with commentary to Venice it’s great from the air - I checked) onto the port below Pisa, to France and to the Rhine to arrive back in Worms. In the Worm’s synagogue Abraham as a Rabbi sings from an illustrated prayer book (the one he used still exists). Afterwards an old man speaks to him, “Rabbi, the money notes you wrote during your travels are coming in. Please marry and make a good dowry.”

 


 

 

 

An alchemist’s room. Abraham makes his incense and sacred oil - voice over by Abraham - mixes and grinds - ingredients list visible as in book. Next scene is the altar room (similar set as used later) with an oil lamp hanging from the ceiling, an incense burner, charcoal and an altar (these are described in the book). Abraham wears a white robe with an embroidered tie. He seals the room with his fingertips which he dips into a bottle of the sacred oil. He lights incense and smokes the room - black things appear in the corners and run away. Abraham opens his traveling box, and gets out books he has copied in Egypt. He constructs two squares (as in Bk 4, Chap 19, numbers 3 & 4). He places these on the altar. He then writes out “Melka” and “Abraham” in honey on a small piece of lamb skin, (as in Bk 2, Chap 3 ). He sprinkles the skin with a little incense ash and places it next to the two squares. He takes up his wand and traces out the names in squares, singing out the names of the entities. The music changes, Abraham places the lamb skin on the smoldering charcoal, smoke bellows out and forms into a shape that first surrounds Abraham and then drifts out the window. 

 

 


Abraham is dressed as bridegroom, we are at Jewish wedding with dancing music. There are gifts on table including piles of gold coins (and why not a modern toaster and coffee percolator?)  Voice over by Abraham, “Married, to my cousin I received a good dowry. But I still sought to receive my Holy Guardian Angel.”

 

Abraham speaks, “I had the wisdom (a moving figure of Horis appears mistily on his right - see book page 204) but I still needed to develop my intuition, to meet and her sister who leads the way to the secrets (we see a picture of Anubis on a manuscript sheet.) I had learnt from Abramelin that the way to find her was through a period of retreat, confession and praise to God. So I rented out my business and organised my household to give me 18 months to praise Adonai.” So saying Abraham leads us through his living room (where he sleeps with his wife and eats) to the prayer room and out a door to the veranda which has a layer of sparkling white sand covering the floor.

 

Voice over continues as Abraham goes through his daily actions (see Bk3 Ch12). Gradually, the light and focus in rooms change, the music builds up to create a feeling of expectation. Finally, after the third period of 6 months (interspersed with Jewish holy days) the day to invoke and hold discussions with the Holy Guardian Angel arrives (Bk3 Ch13). Abraham wears simple mourning clothes, prays humbly. The Holy Guardian Angel appears - one wing comes from his body, one from the ceiling and one from the incense smoke on the altar. (This is a repetition of the scene in Egypt where Abramelin did the same invocation). Abraham has a conversation with Holy Guardian Angel - voice over - “My Holy Guardian Angel told me how to deal with the elemental beings and the unredeemed spirits. He told me they are waiting unseen (Bk3 Cp14) and that I should call on Jehovah, Adonai, and Zabaoth. He told me how I should prepare for the elemental Kings, the Dukes and unredeemed spirits.”

Abraham washes, wears a white robe, yellow overlay and tie, prepares room by sealing with oil and smokes. He prays to God for the power God gave to Moses, Aaron and Elijah. Holy Guardian Angel stands/hovers in background. Abraham sings the names, “Jehovah, Adonai, Zabaoth,” and wand in hand faces the veranda door and calls out, “Lucifer (who comes out of fire), Leviatan (who appears from a rock), Satan (who comes in a puff of wind) and Belial (who manifests out of a puddle on the sand).

 

The view changes so we stand on the veranda, looking at Abraham in the prayer room.  The kings mull about, angry, yet unable to leave. Abraham says, “You have been called here because I am a human who carries the power of Adanoi, Jehovah, Zabaoth in me so you must respond to me ... there is considerable discussion and the kings make threatening movements, they suggest deals (see Bk 3 Ch17), The Holy Guardian Angel standing in the background gives Abraham flashes of light and as he argues with the kings. In end Abraham makes the kings swear that they will reappear tomorrow and bring with them their dukes with their servants. Kings disappear leaving marks in the sand - of a puddle, a rock, some white feathers and a smoldering fire.

 

Sand with remnants scattered on it. Abraham calls, Kings slowly appear, subdued but angry. Abraham than calls, Astarot, Magot, Asmodee, Belzebud, Oriens, Paimon, Ariton, Amaimon and the spirit dukes appear, some quickly, some slowly. All have next to them the strangest of servants/creatures - a troop of elves, a horse, a gnome, beautiful girls, a weight lifter ... Abraham calls on the names of God (see Bk 3 Ch17 & 18). He demands 4 servant spirits for each quarter of the day and night - more discussions and arguments. The Holy Guardian Angel gives Abraham power (see Bk3 Ch16 &17).

 

Slowly all fade away leaving beautiful girl (or other) who follows Abraham like a dog and helps clear up the sand. She lies, swears, attacks - Holy Guardian Angel touches Abraham who uses the wand and knocks three times on the altar. In desperation he then blasts a hole in the sand and dissolves her leg. She keeps standing, as if nothing happened, moves normally and is submissive.

 

Abraham, alone at the ritual washing well - voice over - Abraham moves his hand in a strange way and two candles move towards him and give light to what he is doing, a gnome (indistinct) is holding them. “With the two sisters, wisdom and inspiration on either side of me (shapes appear and fade) and my Holy Guardian Angel to guide me I became adviser to Bishops, Popes, and even the Kaiser, I have done many things - but first the Bishop, my friend - we find ourselves in a plush Bishop’s apartment.

 

From now on the background music is different, simpler, older more Sita like. Abraham is becoming old, tired, sad in his voice. More shapes are hinted at in background. A small altar boy stands next to Bishop. In the background, two little sub humans run about, playing hide and seek, finally clashing together to become one. Abraham is at a table making square from Bk4, Ch12, number3 on a sheet of linen, he does this from memory. The room goes slightly strange, unclear dreamlike. Abraham sits and waits, a fly lands on his ear, he speaks, “My dear Bishop, your priest in Ladenberg will betray you in 6 months.” (Bk1 Ch8)

 

Back at the ritual washing well Abraham speaks, “This was nothing, count Frederick I saved by creating 1,000 knights - here, let me show you ... we are suddenly out in a big field (it’s all a bit unclear, strange, dreamlike) Abraham makes a square (Bk 4, Ch 29, number 1 ), Abraham calls out in a voice of power the name “Aramourus” and a Duke with a troop of gnomes appears, They light a fire with lots of smoke, in and behind the smoke we see an army of strange soldiers clashing their steel weapons and yelling, they start to sing a war dirge and we are suddenly in the middle of them. Music and effects frightening.

 

Smoke builds up about Abraham, as it clears we are at the gravestone in the Worms Holy Sands cemetery and there stands Abraham with Georg and Steven crumpled up and  sleeping. Abraham laughs, a perhaps a little demonically. He says, “Ah it is too soon, I’ll show you more”. We “Google’ from the cemetery to a fairy tale castle in Regensburg.

 

 

We are led through a door that has been broken open, to the scene of a theft. Abraham walks across to the table makes the square Bk 4, Ch 24, number 4. He makes squares by dribbling wax from a candle onto the tapestry that covers the table. Using charcoal he writes out the square. He  throws incense into the fire, it fills the room, everything becomes unclear and dreamlike Abraham calls out “Morelogeforgoherem”, two policemen appear dressed in complex medieval clothes. There is some argument about Abraham’s right to call up the men to pursue a Bishop of the church. The moral argument wins, the men disappear. Abraham moves his hands in his special way and in the background a servant spirit starts to tidy up the room. Soon a bag of coins, jewelry and account books are carried into the room by one of the men. Following closely behind is a screaming Bishop amazed that the goods he has stolen are floating in the air (the policemen dissolved as the Bishop appeared in the doorway). Abraham asks, “Why did you steal from me?” Discussions with the Bishop follows see Bk 1 Ch 8.

 

It is possible to construct many more of these scenes from Bk 1 Ch 8 linked to the right squares from book 4. The only limits are good taste, one’s desire for magical scenes and the extent of one’s imagination.  (I must admit that I’ve created some horrific magical scenes from the material but the advice of my friends - and my sentiment for the original author - has prevented me from putting them into this overview)

 

But, no matter how the story continues to unfold, eventually the story needs to come to the end ...

 

An old Abraham is in his living room in Worms. He is writing at a table, on it are jewels, gold coins, a couple of manuscripts and a box. A young Rabbi walks in. Abraham says, “I’ll give this box to you. Copy what I have written and carry the rest to Constantinople to my son Lamech. He will not be Jewish and he may be rich or poor.” 

 

And finally...

 

Abraham arrives back at the cemetery, stands next to the gravestone and says, “You have heard my story, now you are going to write it.” We are taken back to Abrahams living room in which Steven and Georg (in monks robes) are writing with quill pens amid candles.  A Holy Guardian Angel stands near by as strange forms scurry about. The room changes to a modern space with a computer and there are Georg and Steven doing a verbal translation, with Abraham’s Holy Guardian Angel standing next to them. The last scene is a book launch in a modern shop - and why not add a modern Abramelin, with a white poodle by his side, buying the first copy signed by the transcribers.