Oriental Magic is recognized as a brilliant study of how, what and why people think, in territories extending from North Africa to Japan.
Profusely illustrated, the book is the product of years of research and field-work in a dozen different cultural regions.
Its scholarly accuracy and genuine contribution to cultural understanding have made it a key text for anyone interested in informal beliefs, and esoteric practices.
The work includes material on Indian alchemy, the Arabian Abjad system, on divination and talismanic charms, and it even contains an ancient Brahmin spell for immortality.
“The main purpose of my books on magic was to make this material available to the general reader. For too long people believed that there were secret books, hidden places, and amazing things. They held onto this information as something to frighten themselves with. So the first purpose was information. This is the magic of East and West. That's all. There is no more. The second purpose of those books was to show that there do seem to be forces, some of which are either rationalized by this magic or may be developed from it, which do not come within customary physics or within the experience of ordinary people. I think this should be studied, that we should gather the data and analyze the phenomena. We need to separate the chemistry of magic from the alchemy, as it were.”