From Conjuror to Philosopher

A Comparative Analysis of Medieval and Renaissance Angel Magic

Bibliographic Entry

Plaisance, Christopher A. "From Conjuror to Philosopher: A Comparative Analysis of Medieval and Renaissance Angel Magic." In Occult Traditions, 140–154, ed. Damon Zacharias Lycourinos. Melbourne: Numen Books, 2012.


This is a paper in the history of Western esotericism whose purpose is to argue that the process of evolution from Medieval to Renaissance forms of angel magic — as specifically embodied in Liber Juratus Honorii and De occulta philosophia libri tres — is more accurately characterized as one of a developmental continuum than a discontinuous break made by the fifteenth century reintroduction of the Neoplatonic and Hermetic corpora. It proceeds by examining, first, what precisely angel magic is — how it can be placed with in an etic explanatory matrix, and what its relation to concurrently practiced forms of magic is. This is followed by an explication of both ritual magic in general and angel magic in particular as practiced during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. This is done by appealing both to the two aforementioned texts, as well as works from the various traditions from which they evolved. The paper then concludes with a cautiously suggestive analysis of the possible reasons as to why the great gap that seemingly exists between Medieval and Renaissance forms of angel magic is more apparent than real.


Western esotericism, historiography, angel magic, Neoplatonism, Hermetism


Finley, Lana Louise. "Occult Americans: Invisible Culture and the Liberary Imagination." PhD dissertation. University of California, Los Angeles: 2012.
Lycourinos, Damon Zacharias. Ritual Embodiment in Modern Western Magic: Becoming the Magician. Gnostica. London: Routledge, 2017.