The magic lamp, known as the so-called laterna magica, is also quite often referred to in many grimoires and in the oldest books dealing with evocations. It represents, in the practice of ritual magic, a very important aid, and the magician will surely want to make use of it in his work. The magic lamp is the symbol of enlightenment, cognition, experience, intuition and the inner light; in short, all symbolic analogies of the light are represented by the magic lamp. Lighting the magic lamp is, from the hermetic point of view, equivalent to lighting the magician’s inner light, and having it burn like a flame. Colour, which comprises the quality, vibration and oscillation of the light, is also one of the mysteries of the magic lamp. The quality of a being or of a sphere is expressed by the being’s character. The purer and brighter the coloured atmosphere of a being or sphere takes shape and the more it shines and glistens the higher is its intelligence and the purer is its quality. Low or negative beings appear in a dark and cloudy, (that is, an unclean), colour.

To know all this is of greatest importance to the magician practising ritual magic. His enlightenment is symbolically expressed by the lamp. When working with beings, the lamp has to be covered with coloured glass or celophane paper in such a way that the colour created will find the beings’ approval. Thus, when working with beings of the elements for the fire spirits the lamp will have to have ruby-red glass or accordingly coloured that the lamp radiates a red light. For spirits of the air or the so-called faries, a darkblue light is necessary. The lamp therefore has to be covered with dark-blue celophane paper or with a piece of silk of that colour, thus creating a blue light. Water-spirits or so-called waternymphs must have a green light. For spirits of the earth a yellow colour which may have a shade of brown will have to be used. The Akasha-colour can be used as a universal light, in which case the lamp must have a violet colour. High spirits or intelligences from the world beyond the planets need a white light.

For beings coming from a certain planet the light has to be created in such a way that it is appropriate to the colour of that planet. Beings of Saturn, for example, thus need a light-violet or ultramarine coloured light, beings from Jupiter a blue, from Mars a red, from the Sun a yellow, from Venus a green, from Mercury an opalescent and from the Moon a white light. Only in a very restricted number of cases may operations of ritual magic be carried out under normal artificial light, since physical electricity has a disturbing effect on the astral oscillation which, at the time of the operations, is vibrating in the room or place used for that purpose.

Generally, the laterna magica or magic lamp is equipped with a candle or oil-flame. An ideal light is procured by a spiritlamp, a spirit-flame. The spirit (methyl) has to be prepared in a special way: one third camomile blossoms to two thirds of spirit are to me mixed together and to be left drawing in a closed bottle or pot for 8 or 9 days, then the mixture is to be poured through a strainer or otherwise filtered. The spirit prepared in such a way is, at the same time, a useful fluid condenser, which, above that, may be charged with the magician’s will in order to get better results.

The charged spirit, when set to flame, helps create a favourable atmosphere, which will also contribute to bringing about good results. The spirit-flame may also be charged for clairvoyance or for different operations with the magic mirror, or for other astral magic operations which need no artificiallight. If the magician is operating in a closed room, the lamp may be placed in the magic circle or into a corner of the room. It is most advantageous to fix it in a position above the magician’s head, so that the room is evenly illuminated. When lighting the lamp, the magician has to meditate and concentrate on the uniform kindling of the inner light of soul and spirit.