The first half of his book deals with the principles and theories that underline magical work, covering the subject from the Qabalistic, Hermetic and Christian points of view; while in the second half instructions are clearly given for the prepartation of the instruments of the art and of their ceremonial employment in the rites governing necromancy, spells and divination.
At one point the author tells in detail the now famous story of a visit to Bulwer-Lytton, and how he called up the spirit of Appollonius of Tyana in a ritual ceremony. Such vivid and exciting personal accounts add greatly to the unique qualities of this work.
The translation and notes by A.E. Waite are immaculate. Waite was a noted occult scholar of his day, teaching in both the Hermetic and Rosicrucian orders. Due to the high calibre of both author and editor, this book maintains its pre-eminent position in the literature of the magic arts.