16th century

An Aludel, also known as Hermetic Vase, the Philosopher’s Egg, and the Vase of the Philosophy, is a tool used in alchemy to turn to solids such as mercury, sulfur into gasses. The device is place in a furnace and the condensation is trapped at the top. Image: Alchemiae Gebri, 1545


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Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Seven Deadly Sins, Published by Hieronymus Cock, 1558: ENVY, GLUTTONY, GREED, LUST, PRIDE, SLOTH, WRATH & THE LAST JUDGEMENT

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Diagrams of alchemical furnaces in The Key of Alchemy by Samuel Norton, 1577. I love how amateur these look, it’s from a handwritten manuscript, so perhaps they’re placeholder drawings. From Manly P. Hall’s collection of Alchemical Manuscripts. Box 18, MS102, v10

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Diagrams demonstrating the “divine” proportions of the human body and how they correspond to sacred geometry. From book two of Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, 1533. Source: archive.org


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Seals and characters for summoning the greater demons Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Astaroth. In order of effectiveness, the symbols must be drawn in either: the sorcerer’s blood, the blood of a sea turtle, or engraved on emerald or ruby. From Grimorium Verum (16th Century) and The Grand Grimore (18th Century). Source: “The book of black magic and of pacts”, A.E. Waite, Embassy of the Free Mind


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The Monster of Krakow first appeared in Histoires Prodigieuses by Pierre Boaistuau, 1559. Four hours after its birth, the demonic beast reportedly uttered “Watch, the Lord cometh” and died. Source: Wellcome Collection

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This Chinese astrology book, made 1597, was for the purpose of military divination, to guide commanders in their battles. The 6 volume book has 15 categories: sun, moon, constellations, stars, wind, clouds, fog, rainbows, rain, thunder, frost, five planets, time of the day, astrological talismans for casting spells, and magic arts in Taoist witchcraft.

The book was classified material, only for the imperial court, because astrology was banned for private use at the time, and carried the threat of severe punishment. From: National Central Library

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Magic circle diagrams. The diagrams are to be copied on to the floor, and stood on for protection while practicing magick, particularly when summoning, spirits, fae, and demons. From “The discouerie of witchcraft” by Reginald Scot, 1584. Source: Wellcome Library


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Diagrams exposing instruments of trickery, used by charlatans in the 16th century, to claim to have magical powers. From “The discouerie of witchcraft” by Reginald Scot, 1584. The diagrams expose the following tricks: severed head on a plate, knives into and through the body, juggling, and passing a rope through the body. Source: Wellcome Library


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Initial Letters from “The Discouerie of Witchcraft..” by Reginald Scot, 1584. Source: Wellcome Library

Full title of book: “The discouerie of witchcraft, wherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notablie detected, the knauerie of coniurors, the impietie of inchantors, the follie of soothsaiers, the impudent falshood of cousenors, the infidelitie of atheists, the pestilent practices of Pythonists, the curiositie of figurecasters, the vanitie of dreamers, the beggerlie art of Alcumystrie, the abhomination of idolatrie, the horrible art of poisoning, the vertue and power of naturall magike, and all the conueiances of legierdemaine and iuggling are deciphered. And many other things opened, which have long lien hidden, howbeit verie necessarie to be knowne. : Heerevnto is added a treatise vpon the nature and substance of spirits and diuels” Source: Wellcome Library


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Grilandas inventum libri by Paolo Grillandi is a series of 16th century diagrams that tied aspects of the human body to astrology. The Italian author wrote seminal books on witchcraft and demonology and was a papal judge in witch trails.⠀

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