The essence of Abramelin magick can be found in The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, which was translated by MacGregor Mathers from a manuscript written in French in the eighteenth century. The work purports to be much older, however. It was dated 1458 and claims to be translated originally from Hebrew. The text reveals to the adept that the universe is teeming with hordes of angels and demons that interact with human beings on many levels. All the vast array of phenomena on Earth are produced by the demonic entities, who are under the control of the angels. Humans are somewhere midway between the angelic and the demonic intelligences on the spiritual scale, and each human entity has both a guardian angel and a malevolent demon that hover near him or her from birth until death.
Abramelin magick provides instruction to the initiates of the "Magic of Light" that will enable them to achieve mastery over the demons and place them under their control. Abramelin the great magus learned how to accomplish such a difficult task by undergoing a process of spiritual cleansing and the development of a powerful will. In addition to spiritual and mental exercises, Abramelin discovered words of power that can be arranged in magic squares and written on parchment. With the proper application of these magical squares, the magus can command the demons and order them to assist him in the acquisition of earthly knowledge and power. By applying such magic words as "abracadabra," Abramelin magicians claim they can gain the love of anyone they desire, discover hidden treasures, become invisible, invoke spirits to appear, fly through the air and travel great distances in a matter of minutes, and animate corpses to create zombies to serve them. Abramelin magicians believe they can heal illnesses or cause diseases, bring about peace or war, create prosperity or poverty. They claim to shapeshift into different animal or human forms.
The difficulty that most practitioners of Abramelin magick encounter is that there are few words in any language that are able to fulfill the requirements of such productive squares. The basic concept of the Abramelin school of magick as determined by MacGregor Mathers in his translation of the French manuscript dictates that the letters in the squares must form the word that represents the desired object and must read the same in all directions. Mathers achieved little success in translating the words provided by Abramelin or in forming others that were little more than collections of meaningless letters.