The Three Occult Books of Philosophy – A Review

The Three Occult Books of Philosophy are probably one of the most important and defining pieces of literature and collection of the occult to have ever been produced. To say this heavily influences our modern day version of the occult would be a drastic understatement, with many historians citing it as THE cornerstone document for modern day western occultism. For over 500 years this book has been referenced by magicians and occultists, using the information contained within to enhance their own practice and to assist in selling their own books (while not giving any credit to Agrippa for this book). That being said, the modern and annotated version is 938 pages long and a herculean effort was made to make sure the information inside is correct, translated properly, and annotated with relevant information. In other words, this is not light reading before bed. 

This is literally the book that contains EVERYTHING. You want to know what the planetary correspondence is for like anything? You want to know about divination using dreams? You want to know how to ask for and receive divine gifts? You want to know why math is so important, especially in the occult? Or know what sigils do? Care to know about magical squares? All this and more is in this book. Literally everything that was considered occult during that time period is listed in this book. Everything from spells, correspondences, charts, diagrams, explanations and philosophical writings on the nature of the cosmos and celestial beings, and our role in the universe. It is literally one of my go to books to pick up and reference for most of my practice. 

That being said, this is not a book that I would recommend for beginners to read back to front, instead I would have them use it as a reference for other source material. First and foremost, the book has the original writings with multiple annotations on each page, making it a bit more academic in nature. Additionally, the writing style is true to 16th century English which means it is a bit more difficult to read as some of the context of the words have changed over the centuries. This book also contains some very important and deep philosophical content, however for most beginners these concepts might be a bit difficult to grasp, especially given the nature of the writing. Instead, I would advise these be kept in mind and returned to read once the practitioner is more familiar with this book, the way it is written and annotated, and when they feel comfortable expanding on their current philosophies. 

Something that is important to keep in mind with this book is that it is old. Like “Founder of modem occultism” old. As such, some practices, tools, and information are either out of date or not in the book at all. For example, tarot is not once mentioned in this book, mainly as this book was written before tarot even existed as a card game, much less used as a form of divination. The annotations are great at helping to clarify newer and more modern interpretations of the work, so it is important to read those and take note of them, especially as Agrippa sometimes uses names for things that have since changed (i.e., Rosemary is referred to as Libanotis in the book and an Oyster is referred to as a Margari). It is really important with this book to make sure to read the entire section, including annotations, when referencing anything in this book. 

Overall this is a MUST HAVE book for any aspiring occultist, magician, witch, or shaman. While laying the foundation for modern practices, this book contains everything we used to know about the world, the heavens, hell, and how it is all connected. It contains everything from the Hebrew Alphabet to the Kabbalah Chambers, from star charts to wood carvings of ancient magical knowledge, from teaching how the planets affect everything to explaining the soul and how it is tethered to the body, this book literally has anything you might want or need. While it can take a bit to get used to, at the end of the day all occultists, witches, magicians and the like are academics. Learning is at the core of who we are and I know that whoever does indeed purchase this book, will not regret it!


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