Abbey's Bookshop Logo
Go to my checkout basket
Login to Abbey's Bookshop
Register with Abbey's Bookshop
Gift Vouchers
Browse by Category

Google Book Preview
The Mirror of Magic: A History of Magic in the Western World
— —
Kurt Seligmann
The Mirror of Magic: A History of Magic in the Western World by Kurt Seligmann at Abbey's Bookshop,

The Mirror of Magic: A History of Magic in the Western World

Kurt Seligmann


Inner Traditions Bear and Company

Small-scale, secular & domestic scenes in art;
Conjuring & magic;
Occult studies


512 pages

In stock
Ready to ship
order qty:  
Add this item to my basket

A collector’s edition of the classic, illustrated, and comprehensive history of magic and the occult

• Written by renowned Surrealist and magic scholar Kurt Seligmann (1900-1962)

• Includes all 250 illustrations from the original 1948 edition

• Explores magical practices and beliefs from their origins in the ancient world through the heyday of secret societies in the 18th century

In the occult classic The Mirror of Magic, renowned Surrealist Kurt Seligmann (1900-1962) draws from his encyclopedic practitioner’s knowledge and extensive antiquarian collection to offer a comprehensive, illustrated history of magic and the occult from Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt through the 18th century. He explores the gods and divinatory arts of the legendary Sumerians and the star-wise Babylonians, including the birth of astrology. He examines the afterlife beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and the dream interpretation practices and oracles of ancient Greece, including the mysteries of Eleusis and the magical philosophy of Plato, Socrates, and other Greeks. He uncovers the origins of Gnosticism and the suppression and banishment of magic by the post-pagan, Christian emperors of Rome.

Seligmann reviews the principles of alchemy, sharing famous transmutations and allegorical illustrations of the alchemical process and explores the Hermetica and its remarkable adepts. Investigating the Middle Ages, the author discusses the work of European magicians of the time, including Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Agrippa, Nostradamus, and Pico Della Mirandola. He studies the medieval practices of devil worship, witchcraft, and black magic, as well as the "Cabala" in both its Hebrew and Christian forms. He also examines the art of the Tarot and many lesser known divination techniques. He explores the development of secret societies, including Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, in the 17th century and the increase in occult publications and magical science in the 18th century.

First published in 1948, this history of magic and the occult seeks to "mirror" the magical worldview throughout the ages. Beautifully illustrated with images from the author’s rare library, this collector’s edition features all of the artwork--more than 250 images - from the original 1948 edition.

By:   Kurt Seligmann
Imprint:   Inner Traditions Bear and Company
Country of Publication:   United States
Edition:   6th Edition, Deluxe Collector's Edition
Dimensions:   Height: 254mm,  Width: 178mm,  Spine: 41mm
Weight:   1.213kg
ISBN:   9781620557907
ISBN 10:   1620557908
Pages:   512
Publication Date:   November 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Kurt Seligmann (1900-1962) was a Swiss-American Surrealist painter and expert on magic, known for his extensive collection of rare books and his monumental role in the popularization of Surrealism in the United States. After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he was the first European Surrealist to arrive in New York. After the war his work was exhibited widely and acquired by museums throughout the United States and Europe. He taught for many years at various colleges in New York City.

Kurt Seligmann's The Mirror of Magic is a wide-ranging and accomplished survey of significant magical beliefs and practitioners in both East and West, spanning from antiquity to the dawn of our modern, scientific era in the eighteenth century. At last restored to the sumptuous visual glory of its original edition, The Mirror of Magic wondrously reflects the myriad ways, seen and unseen, by which man seeks to engage and even control elements of the surrounding universe. * Michael Moynihan, coauthor of Lords of Chaos * The Mirror of Magic is an exceptionally important work. Its influence on art cannot be underestimated, from surrealism moving forward. Capturing the visuality of the traditions as well as underlining their continuing relevance, this book belongs in every library of art. Seeing it back in print is hopefully a harbinger of things to come. * Jesse Bransford, associate professor of art at NYU Steinhardt *

My Shopping Basket
Your cart does not contain any items.