occultart

A witch at her cauldron, standing in a magic circle, surrounded by demons. A grimoire (book of magick spells) can be seen in the right corner, and a goat, representing the Devil, can be seen behind her. Etching by Jan van de Velde II, 1626. Source: Wellcome Library

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“Cabala, speculum artis et naturae, in alchymia” by Stephan Michelspacher, 1616, is a short pamphlet about hidden secrets in 4 works of art. The book claims that only masters of alchemy will fully understand them, but gives hints to their meanings relating to: chemistry, astrology, philosophy, art, virtues, and the natural elements.

From Embassy of the Free Mind, and translated on Seculo Spiritus Sancti

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Depictions of demons and the devil with extra faces, often on the groin, are common in medieval manuscripts. Some theorize that it represents their spiritual corruption, by emphasizing the senses that focus on the material world, others think it’s merely to make them monstrous.

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The preeminent source of jinn-lore is One Thousand and One Nights (aka Arabian Nights), a collection of tales from Arabic, Persian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian traditions. The evolving collection has stories of characters we know today, like Aladdin and Sinbad.⠀

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Illustrations by Martin van Maële from the 1911 edition of the book Satanism and Witchcraft (La Sorcière) by Jules Michelet, first published in 1862. While widely inaccurate, the book was one of the first sympathetic portrayals of the history of witchcraft.

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The Compendium Of Demonology and Magic is a book full of bestiary illustrations and magical diagrams, written in German and Latin. It’s title page has the warning “Don’t Touch Me” and the year 1057, but it’s been dated to 1775. Likely the book was created to sell to collectors.⠀

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Ezequiel or Chazaqiel is one of the fallen Watcher Angels, class of angels meant to be sentinels or messengers of Yahweh. He taught forbidden knowledge to humans, including how to identify omens the clouds. He was also known to lust after women. ⠀

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Ammit or Ammut is an Egyptian demon, who holds the titles “Devourer of the Dead” and “Eater of Hearts”. If Anubis determined a deceased’s heart was impure, Ammit would devour it, causing the soul to be restless forever. She was also known to cast hearts into a lake of fire.⠀

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Demonic imagery from different books of hours. A Book of Hours was a type of Christian book popular in the Middle Ages that contained prayers, psalms, hymns and lessons that were meant to be read at certain hours of the day, everyday. ⠀

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Depiction of the four humors, the chemical systems believed to regulate human behaviors. According to Hippocrates, who is credited as the first to apply the principle to medicine, the humors were blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Image: Bartholomaeus Anglicus, mid-15th C⠀

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