The Personal Tutelary Spirit: An Abbreviated Abramelin Operation


The following technique is something of an updated and abbreviated version of the so-called Abremalin Operation,  which in full form is a months-long process for establishing Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, a tutelary spirit (spirit guide if you prefer) whose function is to teach the magician evermore advanced magical techniques, and to aid the magician in any and all magical workings. The reader is encouraged to research the operation and it's modern commentary as preparatory study for the current instruction. For starters, we recommend:

  1. This decent Wikipedia article summarizing the literary history, background, and some of the modern connotations of the original working
  2. This additional Wikipedia article elaborating on the named goal of the operation, Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, from various perspectives
  3. And for the ambitious and most thorough of students, this or other editions of the source document, The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage

It is noted here at the outset that the operation as laid out in the source document, like most other Grimoiric material of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, has decidedly heavy Christian undertones and overtones, perhaps most recognizable in the daily confession of sins and the particularly self-deprecating and supplicative nature of the prescribed prayers. In preparing the current instruction, an effort was made to extract the generic value of the original exercises and to reformat them without any particular religious framing. For example, confessing sins is replaced by intense introspection and self-examination, and the self-deprecating prayers of supplication becomes a strident effort to attain a state of true humility by contemplating the vastness, wondrousness,and inscrutable intricacies of the universe and ones rightful place within it.  In every case where substantive changes were made, the intent was to preserve the essential characteristics of the original operation, in terms of the cognitive and emotional processes involved, but to remove those particular elements that might be in conflict with any alternative religious or spiritual mindset.

Another important thing to note is the attitude taken here toward what Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel might mean and what the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) might actually be, in relation to some of the common modern interpretations. Some equate the idea of the HGA to a foreign intelligence with superior knowledge, from another dimension, another planet, the future, the past, spiritual realms, etc. that is bound to or connected to the individual by nature for some reason. Another notion is that the HGA is a manifestation of the so-called Higher Self, which may be envisioned as a part of the human complex that knows it's own true nature, it's place within the grand scheme of things, and subsequently understands why the individual exists in the first place and how to best go about accomplishing whatever it is here to do. Still another perspective holds that the experience of Knowledge and Conversation with the HGA represents an epiphany of sorts, a turning point in spiritual development wherein the individual recognizes certain fundamental truths about their own existence, purpose in being, etc. Some even consider that all of the above descriptions capture certain aspects of the truth of the matter, and that some aspects have other explanations, or perhaps remain unspecified.

According to the source documents, the primary function of the HGA is to teach the aspirant advanced magical techniques that are not (perhaps cannot be) published anywhere, personalized, as it were, for that specific magician's needs; the current instruction is consistent with that general idea. As to the nature of the HGA, be it a foreign intelligence, the individual's Higher Self, etc., the current instruction remains agnostic. The notion of spirit guides and tutelary spirits are common in the magical folklore of virtually every culture and historical epoch, and it is reasonable to assume that the Abremalin Operation is but one expression of the currents that have driven that notion in every other place and time. The current instruction is therefore constructed on the assumption that, whatever the experience of a spirit guide/tutelary spirit might represent in terms of cosmological truths, it is at the very least an experience that lies within the boundaries of human capacity and can be attained by anyone, given enough of the right kind of effort. It is furthermore asserted that the vast majority of people who exercise the following instructions with all due sincerity and effort will develop an experience that is consistent with the primary function of the HGA as stated, which will very likely enhance ones personal magical practice thereafter, often in delightfully unexpected ways. Because the descriptive title, Holy Guardian Angel, is connoted with Judeochristian-specific imagery, the HGA  will hereafter be referred to as the Personal Tutelary Spirit (PTS), or simply the Spirit.

It is here acknowledged that some aspects of the following procedures were inspired by the writings of Carroll "Poke" Runyon, a noted ceremonial magician, author, founder of the Ordo Templi Astarte, and pioneer of the Black Mirror Facial Reflection-Distorition technique as applied to ceremonial magick practices such as Goetic Evocation. In addition to the use of the black mirror technique, the brief fast combined with 24 hour sleep deprivation in the final phase of this operation were inspired by discussion with Mr. Runyon, either online or at one or more of his public appearances toward the end of the 20th Century.

The Abramelin Operation Dissected

The preparatory features of the operation are:

  1. To withdraw from the potential mental and emotional distractions of routine, mundane affairs
  2. An intensive self-examination
  3. Developing a sincere state of humility

Once the preparatory steps have been accomplished, the remainder of the operation generally takes place in a single session, which consists of:

  1. Establishing a state that is conducive to the experience of the Personal Tutelary Spirit
  2. Establishing communication with the Spirit
  3. Establishing a personal mode of contacting the Spirit in the future
  4. Optional additional communication/goals as inspiration dictates

Preparatory Procedures

This operation assumes that the aspirant has a black mirror or other obscure reflective devise and is proficient in its use. Most people develop adequate skill within a few weeks of practicing this exercise. The operation on the whole can be adapted for use without the mirror by astute students of magical development procedures.

A 6 to 18 month withdrawal from ones means of financial support, which the original Abremalin Operation calls for, is not an option for most people today. As an alternative, one may learn to free oneself from their mundane concerns and distractions for brief periods of time through relatively standard meditative practice. The remainder of the work may therefore be accomplished during these brief periods. Avoiding stress, generally and as much as possible during the entire course of the operation is still highly recommended, so attempting this work during a vacation from work would probably be ideal, though is not strictly necessary. The following instructions assume that the aspirant is not taking weeks off from any necessary employment. The final phase of the operation, however, should be conducted on a second or third consecutive day that is free of any other obligations.

A one month preparatory period is recommended, but is not a strict prescription. If at any time the aspirant feels ready, the final phase may be undertaken, or if at the end of a month's time the aspirant does not feel ready, the preparatory work may be extended. The one-month timeline will none the less be observed for instructional purposes, and the individual aspirant is free to adjust the schedule to meet their personal needs. The operation requires a commitment to work at least one continuous hour every day, seven days a week until the final phase is completed. Additional tasks that can be accomplished by brief efforts throughout the day are also required. Decide well in advance when you will perform the operation, read through the entire instruction so that you know what lies ahead and can mentally prepare, and schedule 2-3 days free of any other obligation at the end of the sequence to complete the final phase of the working.

General Observances

The following basic guidelines apply to the entire 4-week period leading up to the operation itself. 


Eat modestly. Your diet need not be excessively restrictive, but you should eat moderate portions relative to your normal eating habits. Make an effort to minimize your intake of highly processed food. If you normally eat meat, reduce the amount and frequency of your meat intake (one serving per day or less is ideal). Daily servings of fresh fruit and vegetables along with minimally processed grain products are recommended.

Physical Activity

Diet and level of physical activity have to be adjusted together to maintain adequate physical and mental health as well as overall vitality. Any reduction in caloric intake should be accompanied by a comparable decrease in physical activity level. If you normally exercise or play a sport, etc., continue but moderately reduce those activities. Pay attention to how you feel and make adjustments in your diet and activity level as inspiration dictates. If your occupation requires strenuous labor so that you cannot reasonably limit your physical exertion, adjust your diet accordingly. Rather than reducing calories, strive to improve the quality of the foods you eat as much as possible (i.e. avoid all sweets and salty snacks, etc. in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables). 


Adequate sleep is extremely important. Strive to go to bed and rise at the same times each day. How much sleep any individual needs is a personal matter and can only be determined by feel: 6-8 hours is typical, but you'll have to figure that out for yourself. If you normally wake feeling tired, chances are you're not getting enough sleep. When adjusting your sleep schedule, as a general rule of thumb it's preferable to go to bed earlier rather than to sleep later.

Week 1 

Set aside one hour every day to develop a sustainable meditative state. It should always be the same hour every day and it should not be too soon after a meal). The instructions assume that you will do these exercises  in the evening, approaching bedtime. The schedule can be adapted, but with care. The general form of the work is to think about a prescribed topic throughout the day, then to incorporate that topic into the daily meditative session, so adjusting the schedule should take this format into consideration.  Always follow your daily meditative sessions with a little light stretching and have a little something to eat. If doing this work near bedtime, nibble a little bread afterward, eat a carrot, or some other very modest thing. Do not eat anything heavy and do not eat a lot of food just before bed.  

Perform the following during your assigned hour:

  1. Begin the session with a progressive relaxation sequence, as discussed in the basic instruction for Black Mirror work.
  2. Breathe normally, and focus all of your attention on your breath as it enters and exits your body. You may find that measured, deep breathing automatically occurs, and this is fine but it needn't be forced. Let your breathing rhythm be as comfortable as possible. The main thing here is to keep your attention on your breath as it moves in and out. To facilitate this, you may imagine that a nebulous white, fluffy cloud is hovering just in front of you, and as inhale, the cloud enters through your nose and collects again in front of you as you exhale. Another suggestion is to focus your attention just at the rim of your nostrils, and feel the air as it passes that point going in and out. You may find other mental aids that help you keep our attention trained on your breath, but they should not be more elaborate than those described above.  Keep it simple. The goal of these aids is to give your attention something to focus on rather than your usual internal chatter or the random thoughts that spontaneously arise.
  3. When your attention is fixed in this manner, the chatter of your inner voice will naturally cease, which is exactly what you want to happen. However, in the beginning, the moment you notice that your inner chatter has ceased, your inner chatter will immediately start up to inform you that you're doing it right, at which point, of course, you've lost the state you want to maintain. You may also find that random thoughts and images enter your mind as you do this work. Do not regard any inner chatter or random thoughts and images that occur as "bad" or as a "failure." When you notice something of that nature during the session, acknowledge it then refocus your attention on your breathing. The amount of time you go without intruding thoughts and chatter will naturally increase with each attempt.
  4. Spend most of your assigned hour on this activity, every day.

Day 1 of Week 1

In addition to the dedicated meditation, on day one of week one, at any time throughout the day and as often as you can, spend some time recalling your earliest childhood memories. Do your best to recall any events that occurred during the first roughly 20% of your life. Set an upper age limit on these very early memories, and make a list of events you can recall from that time period. Start by recalling where you lived (i.e. what you can remember about your room, your bed, or other items you would have interacted with every day, including important people), and then any routine activities (such as meal time, bath time, school, etc.). After your meditation session, read through your list and if you can recall anything more, add it to your list at this time. Then, spend some time trying to recall how you felt during the episodes you can recall most clearly. Try your best to put yourself in the moment, and try to feel those feelings in the present as part of the memory experience.

Day 2 of Week 1

Spend time on day two remembering events from the second ~20% of your life. Set a lower and upper age limit and make a list of what you can recall during those years. As you recall events from later ages, you will naturally have more memories to list. Rather than try to list every detail once you get to that point, focus on the choices you've made or actions you took that you feel had a lasting impact on your life direction. Search your memory for choices and actions you are particularly proud of or feel particularly good about, and those that you regret or feel particularly bad about now. After your meditation session, review your list and add to it you recall anything new at this time. Then spend some time trying to feel the feelings you had when the events on your list originally occurred. Try to put yourself into the moments just before an action was taken, both the things you feel good about and the things you regret, and try to feel just how you felt right before a turning-point decision was made. Carefully contemplate why you made the choices you made, or why did the things you did.

Days 3-5 of Week 1

Continue working through your life memories in similar fashion in 20% chunks, up to a review of the present time (on day 5).

Day 6 of Week 1

Immediately after your meditative session, without consulting any of the memory lists you've compiled up till now, write down three things that you would change if you could go back in time to any point in your life. Do not consider changes in what other people did or said, etc. Consider only choices that you made, only acts that you yourself committed. Then spend some time imagining how your life would be different now if you had done things differently at those points. Make your imagined scenarios as detailed in your mind as you possibly can. Then write out a summary of the major differences between your current life and your idealized, imagined life. Take note of your feelings when comparing the two.

Day 7 of Week 1

Repeat the work of Day 6, but with three different things that you would change if you could.

Notes on the writing assignment. You will need to be very disciplined to do this properly. If you're not careful you'll find that you're spending way too much time writing, which is not desirable and is beside the point. To prevent this, use short, descriptive phrases and a listing strategy. These are your memories after all, so there's no need to write things down in a way that would make sense to anyone else. Write only what you need to jog your own memory, and spend the majority of your time experiencing and exploring the memories with your mind's eye and your feelings.

Week 2

Continue the daily mediation session, as in week 1, and the following:

Day 1 of Week 2

Throughout the day, recall everyone you have known that has died, and make a list of them. After your meditation session, review your list and add to it if you recall anyone else. Reveiw the list and select up to five of them for further exploration. They should be the five most important people on your list and you will focus on one per day for the next 5 days (days 2-6), ending with the one individual who you feel had the most profound impact on your life. If you have known fewer than 5 people who have died, choose the people who were most important to you for multiple sessions toward the end of the 5 day period. Once the listing and prioritizing is done, close your eyes and imagine that each of the people on your prioritized list comes into the room with you. Try to see their faces, hear their voices, observe their style of dress and other characteristic mannerisms, etc. Do not imagine you are interacting with them (beyond a greeting perhaps) during this session. Simply imagine that they are present. Continue as long as desired, then end the session as usual.

Days 2-6 of Week 2

For each of days 2 through 6, think about the person you've selected for that day throughout the day. Recall as many details about your interactions with them as you can, whether good, bad, or neutral, heartwarming or infuriating, comforting or downright disturbing, etc. Make a conscious effort to not idealize or demonize the person. Focus on specific events and actions rather than your own inferences about their motivations and reasons.

At the end of your daily meditation session, recall the person of the day. Begin by recalling their face, then the rest of their body, paying particular attention to their posture, usual style of hair and dress, etc. Recall the sound of their voice by thinking of common things they used to say, etc. When you feel you have recalled their physical being as well as you can, begin to review your interactions with them while they were alive with a specific emphasis on your own feelings, not only about the person when they were alive and now, but also your feelings about yourself as you related to that person when they were alive, and now. When you feel that you've explored all there is to explore, end the session in your usual manner.  

Notes. For obvious reasons, this process can be extremely challenging and emotionally draining when done with all due sincerity and effort, and is likely to raise any number of unexpected, perhaps unwanted feelings, depending on the circumstances of your life and the lives of the people you're recalling. This is a part of your life and these are your memories, however, and therefore you must own them. There is no stated goal beyond having this memory experience and being as truthful with yourself about your past as you can be. You're not obligated to lay unresolved conflicts to rest, to overcome regrets, to forgive anyone for transgressions against you, or to seek absolution for your own transgressions against others. You should face what you find in your memory head on, and from there… whatever inspiration dictates, that is what you must do.  

Day 7 of Week 2

Perform your mediation session as usual, and immediately after, recall your five people to the room as you did on day one of this week. Again, do not attempt to interact with them. Simply imagine they are present. When you feel satisfied, end the session as usual.

Week 3

Continue the daily meditation session as before.

Day 1 of Week 3

Begin mentally preparing yourself for an 8-hour, water-only fast. The fast should take place on a day that is free from other concerns (i.e. not a regular work day) later in the week, preferably one of days 5-7. The general form will be to refrain from eating for 8 hours from the time you wake on the appointed day, so in actuality you will be fasting for anywhere from 12 to 16+ hours depending on how long you slept. At this point, however, merely imagine yourself doing it, and every time you think of it, strengthen your resolve to do it. Do this every day until you complete the fast. 

Notes. Fasting is not recommended for individuals with certain health conditions. If you are uncertain of the safety of fasting for you, consult a qualified physician for advice. If fasting for more than a couple of hours is contraindicated for you, replace the fast with a modified, restricted diet that you're certain is safe for you.

When you fast, reduce your physical activity from your norm and drink at least one glass of water every hour and anytime you feel thirsty.  

In addition, throughout the day, think about your greatest accomplishments to date, the best decisions you've made and their consequences. Some if not all of these will have been addressed during week 1, but for this day, focus exclusively on the accomplishments. At the end of your regular meditation session, spend some time reviewing the accomplishments you remember. Recall your thoughts and feelings at crucial decision points, etc. Once your review seems fairly complete, consider the things that other people did to help make those accomplishments possible. Try to imagine what might have happened if a person had not been there to do what they did. Consider whether things would have been more difficult for you, or if you would not have accomplished what you did without them, etc. Also, think of things that people did that hindered your progress, that stood in your way, or otherwise made your accomplishment more difficult than necessary. Finally, spend a few minutes imagining what your life might be like had you not made these accomplishments, and compare that to your current life. End the session as usual when you feel satisfied.

Day 2 of Week 3

Throughout the day, think about your worst decisions and worst failures. Some if not all of these will have been addressed during week 1, but focus just on the bad decisions and failures only today. Then, at the end of your daily meditative session, review your bad decisions and failures again. Recall your thoughts and feelings that preceded the decisions that led to the undesirable outcomes, etc. and consider what other people did in relation to those events. Contemplate how you were influenced by others, or how you ignored good advice, etc. Then consider how your life would be had you taken someone's advice, or not allowed yourself to be so influenced, etc. Compare the differences with your current life. End the session as usual when you feel satisfied.

Day 3 of Week 3

Throughout the day, think of the major accomplishments of the people closest to you. Think specifically about the things that you did to help them achieve those accomplishments. Recall your thoughts and feelings as you made the choices that lent to their success. Recall your thoughts and feelings when you learned of their success. At the end of your daily meditative session,  review your memories of the accomplishments of others that are close to you, and recall the associated thoughts and feelings again. Now think about the things you might have done differently, to be more help than you actually were. Also, consider how their success has affected your life, for better or for worse, and imagine what your life would be like now if you had been more or less helpful than you actually were. Compare that imagined life to your life now. End the session as usual when you feel satisfied. 

Day 4 of Week 3

Throughout the day, think of significant failures and setbacks experienced by those closest to you. Think specifically about the things that you did that contributed to those failures and setbacks. Think also about those things that you might have done the remove obstacles to their success. Recall your thoughts and feelings as you made the choices that led to your actions, before and after the relevant events. Consider also how you may or may not have lent emotional support to these individuals as they realized their failure. At the end of your daily meditative session, review the events leading up to and following the major failures and setbacks of those closest to you. Try to put yourself in their place as they learned of their failure, do your best to feel their disappointment, and try to project how that person felt about you and the part you played in the relevant events. When you feel you've explored as much as you can, end the session as usual.  

Days 5-7 of Week 3

Immediately following your usual meditative session on these days, seize on the first thought that occurs and explore it and its implications as fully as you can. End the session as usual when you feel satisfied. 

Carry out the 8+ hour fast on the most auspicious day. On the day you fast, regardless of when you usually do your daily meditative session, do it at the end (during the last hour or so) of your fasting period, or if you're using a modified, restricted diet, do your meditative session at the end of the maximum interval between eating. When the meditative session has ended, eat a small meal of healthy foods, but specifically avoid meat at this meal.   

Week 4

The actual operation will take place at the end of this week, following 24+ hours of sleep deprivation and fasting (within the limits that your health status allows). The preparation to be carried out every day leading up to the operation is to conduct your daily mediative session as usual, and immediately after, focus on the concept of humility, in any way that inspiration dictates. By way of suggestion, you might search and read commentary on humility as discussed from various spiritual perspectives throughout the day, then contemplate those ideas after your meditative session. You may think about the unfathomable vastness of the extant universe we know, and the even greater vastness of what we do not know, the incredible intricacies and profound interrelations of ecosystems and biological life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere in the universe, etc., and then focus on your place and role in the grand scheme of things. You may also consider how and when humility has and has not been expressed in your own life, in light of the insights you have gained over the past 3 weeks. However you go about it, the goal this week is to discover the source and depth of your own capacity for humility.  

The Operation

Determine the time that you will carry out the operation, and refrain from eating and sleeping (as your health status allows) for the 24+ hour period leading up to that time. Keep your physical activity down to a minimum during this period. Every two to three hours during this 24 hours, conduct a ~30 minute basic meditative session. Take care to avoid falling into a deep sleep during these sessions. To that end and for many other reasons, it is advisable to have a helper with you, at least during the last 8 or so hours of the procedure. Keep the meditative attitude (let random thoughts and feelings come and go without seizing upon and following them with internal dialogue, etc.) during the entire period.

Set up the equipment necessary for a black mirror scrying session sometime during the run up to the operation.

Spend the 2 or so hours prior to the actual working in a darkened room (lit only by candlelight.) in quiet contemplation of the Personal Tutelary Spirit.

When ready, extinguish all currently burning candles, situate yourself in front of your scrying device, light the handheld scrying candles, and gaze at your reflection. Wait for the image to morph. When it does, make no conscious effort to shape the image. Let it be what it will, shift as it will, etc. When the image stabilizes (somewhat) and most importantly when you feel the presence of the Spirit, strive to commune with it. Keep an open mind and let happen what will happen. No further instruction is possible here. 

End the session as inspiration dictates. Do a little light stretching, eat a little something, and sleep. 

Notes. Some but not all people experience something like a verbal conversation, Some experience detailed visual revelations on the scrying surface. Others mostly experience feelings and bodily sensations. And many experience some combination of those and many other things that cannot be anticipated. Goals for the session might include learning the Spirit's name, procedures by which it would be called in future sessions, signs that will indicate the Spirit is operating in your life, etc., but none of these things should be considered as markers of success, nor should the absence of any of them be considered failure.

No matter what happens or does not happen, the operation as designed inevitably establishes a connection between the magician and the PTS, and no matter what does or does not happen, further work is necessary to strengthen the connection and to learn how to benefit from the relationship. That further work is largely a matter of inspiration, but the most common is to continue to evoke the PTS regularly (i.e. once a week) with normal black mirror scrying methods. 



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