The seven Systems of Magic are:
1. Hermetic Era Magic
2. Dark Ages Era Magic
3. Medieval Era Magic
4. Renaissance Era Magic
5. Transition Era Magic
6. Gothic Revival Era Magic
7. Modern Era Magic
We will take each in turn and investigate the forces
involved in shaping magic in general, and evocation in
1. Hermetic Era Magic-332 B.C.E. to 500 c.e.
Hermetic Magic encompasses a complete system of
theoretical, theological, philosophical, and practical magic.
If magic can be said to truly have a starting point or an
origin in the classical sense of the word, then it lies here; in
the original magic derived from Graeco-Egyptian sources.
As Dr. Stephen Edred Flowers points out in his landmark
contribution, Hermetic Magic-The Postmodern Magical
Papyrus of Abaris, the magic given in the papyri is the first
known attempt to merge the then varied forms of magical
traditions from many different Mediterranean and Eastern
countries into one integrated system of magic. A rigorous
analysis of Dr. Flowers' book reveals that the resulting
Graeco-Egyptian eclectic system still retained significant
traces of its original component parts; keys used to extend
this magical system into yet other magical systems over
time. Not only are the ritual actions found in the Graeco~
Egyptian system strongly reflected in the later six magical
systems cited above, but their patterns of thought and
philosophy are more or less imaged in these latter day
schools of magic.
Dr. Flowers illustrates this point perfectly in his con-
struction and interpretation of a Hellenistic "Cosmo-
graphic Tree." This is a pagan version of the much later
Hebrew Qabalistic glyph of the Tree of Life so well know
in today's magical community, and upon which many of
the contemporary currents of magic are built. Yet this par-
ticular glyph has its origins in Nee-Platonic Cosmology.
Like its Hebrew counterpart which was used as a
template to construct it, it too has ten spheres of pure or
"Intelligible" qualities, and 22 Paths or "Sensible" projec-
tions of those qualities into the world of mind and matter.
Like the Western Qabalah which is based upon the original
Hebrew Kabbalah, this pagan glyph has Path attributions
and connections between its ten spheres or "Sephiroths."
More importantly, even a casual study of this early pagan
glyph reveals several different connections of Paths be-
tween the spheres than those used in the Western version.
This immediately suggests other forces or spirit-interac-
tions, thereby possibly extending the range of the Qabalis-
tic Tree of Life into new ritual and ceremonial construc-
tions beyond what is known today even in the most con-
temporary magical societies.
Another tract of vital importance in understanding the
practical side of Hermetic Magic is that entitled The Greek
Magical Papyri in Translation, by Professor Hans Dieter
Betz. It is mentioned in Flowers' book for all those who
seriously consider experimenting with Hermetic Magic.
This is a very scholarly work in the purest sense of the
word, being an in-depth presentation of a large number of
magical spells and formulae derived directly from original
Graeco-Egyptian papyri. As such, it is an invaluable work-
book for the Practitioner of magic today, even though it
was meant primarily to influence scholars working in the
field of the history of religions.
The hard and cold fact is that the magical currents of
today that append the word Hermetic to their name are,
for the most part, woefully lacking any substantial basis of
Hermeticism. The reason for this is the magical formulas
and spells given in the papyri, which were not discovered
and imported into Western Europe until the earliest years
of the 19th century, required extensive examination by
authorities in the field over the last eight or nine decades
before they yielded their fruit, as Flowers points out.
Hence their Hermetic influence on the developing magical
systems of the time were minimal at best.
In terms of the Golden Dawn material, this is men-
tioned by the brilliant esoteric scholar, R.A. Gilbert, in his
1997 introduction to the important work Collectanea
Hermetica. In this single volume of ten papers, compiled
from a series of classic alchemical, Gnostic, and other
related texts by none other than W.W. Westcott, the co-
founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn,
Gilbert writes of one of these papers: "Similarly we can,
with hindsight, see the weaknesses of Florence Farr's
Egyptian Magic, but in 1896 it was a pioneering study.
There was nothing at all then available to the general pub-
lic on Gnostic Magic, and little enough of any value on the
Egyptian Book of the Dead. "1
Yet Farr's paper, and the other nine of the Collectanea,
laid down the intellectual basis for that system of magic, as
Gilbert goes on to explain. Surely Westcott, a medical doc-
tor, scholar, and thorough researcher, was aware of the
discovery of the Graeco-Egyptian papyri. He must also
have been aware that this discovery was less than a hun-
dred years old at the time of the formation of the Golden
Dawn, and realized that their content would require gen-
erations for translation and study.
This comes through in studying Westcott's several
Prefaces to different sections of the Hermetica. In them, one
gets the feeling of hesitancy in his writings; that he sus-
pected the incompleteness of the Collectanea because of this
missing material. Yet he had the courage to intimate this
shortcoming in the very documents that served as the
intellectual underpinnings of the magical order he created.
But his caution, as with his famous foundational tome, was
and still remains largely ignored, when one examines a
number of the ritual and ceremonial documents of the
Golden Dawn or any other current society that bears the
word Hermetic in its name.
From ritual construction to the names of the Gods and
their hermetic pronunciation, many are either skewed,
contain errors to varying degrees, or are simply incorrect.
It only takes the most casual study of Flowers' and Betz's
texts to see this clearly. The question remains. What forces
were brought to bear upon the Egyptians and their magic
that eventually produced the synthesis we call Hermetic?
Remember, this is a system of magic which would indi-
rectly influence the creation and development of the other
six different systems of magic previously listed.
The magic of the original papyri is, arguably, com-
pletely Egyptian in composition, content, and structure.
This is extremely important to remember because it is from
this point onward that we find the beginnings of the syn-
thesis of Hermetic Magic-that body of work which would
covertly inspire and serve as base material for the other six
systems. As early as the 7th century B.C.E., war between
Egypt and Greece brought about one of the earliest and
most pronounced Greek influences on Egyptian culture, its
But this influence did not escalate until 332 B.C.E,
when Alexander the Great conquered this magically-based
country. It was from that time forward that Egyptian
thought, theology, and philosophy provided the raw mate-
rial for the Greeks, who then applied their logic and ana-
lytical rigor to create the magic we call Hermetic today. In
fact, an examination of early Greek writings will show that
Greek philosophers credited the Egyptians for much of
their own magic, theology, and philosophy, and this influ-
ence can be found within the writings of Plotinus, Por-
phyry, Pythagoras, and Ptolemy.
Over the ensuing centuries, the magical papyri that
resulted from this synthesis of Egyptian Magic with Greek
self discipline and analytical thinking were produced. In
fact, the papyri manuscripts that serve as the foundation
and structure of Hermetic Magic is actually dated from
circa 100-400 c.E., although their contents date back to a
much earlier time.
An example of how Hermetic Magic influenced the
development of these other systems can be seen when we
look at the use of magical "tools." In and of itself, the use
of tools or "instruments" in rituals and ceremonies of other
cultures was a matter of course, and so was not unique.
For example, the earlier flourishing civilizations of the
Babylon, Persian, Syria and Phoenicia used various devices
in their formal public religious ceremonies, and in their
individual private devotional practices.