segunda-feira, 7 de abril de 2008



While the onsent of the Enlightenment at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century meant the end of the serious study of astrology, alchemy and magic a few brave scholars, including Francis Barrett, carried on the occult traditions of the Renaissance. Little is known of Barrett's early life, but he appears to have been born in London between 1770 and 1780. He made several ill-fated attempts at balloon ascents in the Summer and Fall of 1802, but is best known as the author, or more accurately, the compiler, of the Magus. Barrett also appears to have formed a school of occult studies. The following advertisement appears in The Magus, "The Author of this work respectfully informs those who are curious in the studies of Art and Nature, especially Natural and Occult Philosophy, Chemistry, Astrology, &c.&c. that, having been indefatigable in his researches into those sublime Sciences, of which he has treated at large in this Book, that he gives private instructions and lectures upon any of the above-mentioned Sciences; in the course of which he will discover many curious and rare experiments. Those who become Students will be initiated into the choicest operations of Natural Philosophy, Natural Magic, the Cabala, Chemistry, the Talismanic Art, Hermetic Philosophy, Astrology, Physiognomy, &c.&c. Likewise they will acquire the knowledge of tthe Rites, Mysteries, Ceremonies, and Principles of the Ancient Philosophers, Magi, Cabalists, Adepts &c...." The Magus Book II, page 140. Barrett ends by saying that, "Those that feel themselves thoroughly disposed to enter upon such a course of studies...may speak with the Author upon the subject, at any time between the hours of Eleven and Two o'clock at 99 Norton Street, Mary-le-Bonne." The Magus Book II, page 140. It is possible to trace Barrett's influence through his student John Parkins who practiced as a magician and cunning man in Lincolnshire, England in the early 19th century. In a 1802 manuscript entitled, Directions for the Invocations of Spirits, Parkins is mentioned as a pupil of Barrett. Parkins appears to have practiced horary astrology, crystal gazing, geomancy, herbal medicine, the construction of astrological talismans and ceremonial magic. Thus, through the efforts of a few studious and determined practitioners the traditional occult arts and sciences continued despite the deleterious effects of the "Enlightenment".

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