The work includes material on Indian alchemy, the Arabian Abjad system, on divination and talismanic charms. 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 these books was to show that there do seem to be forces, some of which are either rationalised 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 analyse the phenomena. We need to separate the chemistry of magic from the alchemy, as it were.’ – Idries Shah