The Faust story is a retelling of the Simon Magus story, but instead of being set at the birth of Christianity, this is at the birth of Lutheran Protestantism, nearly fifteen hundred years later. Here we’ve worked out the tangled web of Georgius Sabellicus Faust, the child molester and fountain of necromancy as he styled himself, Johannes Faust, who was the completely blameless doctor of divinity at Heidelberg University, who was known as the demigod of Heidelberg, and we’ve worked out how these two got mixed up together by people who were just confused by all these Fausts and that even Georgius Sabellicus Faust, in the first reference to him, he refers to himself as “Faustus Secundus,” and we were looking at this, and I said, “But that makes ‘Faust Second,’ and this is the first Faust that we’ve ever heard referred to” — he’s refered to by Johannes Trithemius — so we thought, “Who was Faust the first, then?” And Steve looked up in his Latin dictionary, and the word “faustus” means “fortunate, lucky, prosperous, auspicious,” so it would have been a great generic name for a sort of generic folkloric magician, like we might say, “Oh, he was a bit of a Merlin,” and they were saying, “He’s a bit of a Faust, he’s a lucky man,” with an implication that his luck comes from magical means, like Prospero was a good name for a magician. This is a Latin word, that is presumably, there must have been a Faust in folklore before any of these other jokers got in on the act. That’s just in one page of The Book of Magic, because we’re only giving one page to each of the lives of the great enchanters that we’re including. […]

We also found out that Paracelsus invented modern medicine. This was quite interesting. We found out he was the first person to say that epilepsy was an illness rather than a madness. He was the person who pioneered the use of anesthetics and antibiotics. He was the first person to say that disease originated from outside the body and that illness came from agencies outside the body, which is the beginning of disease theory. He invented homeopathy, and he was a magician.

It points out how much of our culture, all of it, the science, the medicine, the art, has seemingly sprung up from a hardcore magical basis. That most of the people, like Isaac Newton who was an alchemist, who ideas were based on those of John Dee, who was a flat-out necromancer, and even Einstein, his ideas were very much influenced by theosophy, which was the product of the fantastic 19th century fraud, that inspired fraud of Madame Blavatsky. So it’s interesting, much of the culture that surrounds us comes out of magic, pure and simply. That was something I suspected for a long time, but doing the research for this book, that is something which is becoming more and more evident, and we are gathering the evidence for that point of view with every new aspect of it we research.

Previews: Alan Moore interview

You can compare Paracelsus’s Alphabet of the Magi and Dee and Kelley’s Enochian alphabet at Omniglot:

Alphabet of the Magi

Enochian alphabet

I’m intrigued by Moore’s claim about Theosophy influencing Einstein. Anyone know anything about it?