Of the multitudes of operations from grimoires, handbooks on magic, and scraps of remains of magician formulas long- since passed: fewer things may cause the reader to scratch their head in bewilderment as spells and operations for rendering oneself invisible. The sorcerous endeavor to veil themselves, hidden from the prying eyes of other sorcerers, diviners, and of course to be hidden from the eye and move about in secrecy, causes- to the onlooker not familiar with magic, nor with texts on magic- an admittedly laughable sense of fantasmic reaction.
The acts of this form of magic are meant to aid thieves, allow operators to go unseen, or veil the client or magician (or place or thing) under a shroud of obscurity from onlookers. Many of these themes can be broken down into these variations of themes:
Blinding those around them with darkness or light
Fascinating with trickery or illusion
Becoming obscured by darkness
Stupifying others into sleep
From the Oxyrhynchus Papyri LVIII.3931 (3rd–4th century C.E)
To make a person invisible: I call upon the spirit that pervades from earth to heaven, almighty god of the spirit gods(?). Assesouo. Dim every eye of man or woman. I shall press hard until I do all that I want, and I say (to you?), Choreith(?), listen to me, (you?) who are in charge of the universe. Alcme. Ruler of the sea, you who are in charge of the night.
This is one example that we may see in the case of blinding someone to make them unable to see. Another example is from a planetary pentacle in The Key of Solomon (Matthers 1888)
"Figure 37.--The Sixth Pentacle of the Sun.--It serveth excellently for the operation of invisibility when correctly made.
Editor's Note.--In the centre is the Mystical letter Yod, in the Celestial Alphabet. The three letters in the 'Passing of the River' writing, in the Angles of the triangle, form the great Name Shaddaï. The words in the same characters round its three sides are, in my opinion, from Genesis 1. 1:--'In the beginning the Elohim created,' etc.; but the characters are sadly mangled in the MSS. The versicle is from Psalms lxix. 23, and cxxxv. 16:--'Let their eyes be darkened that they see not and make their loins continually to shake. They have eyes and see not.'"
As Paul was blinded by YHWH, in these acts of invisibility, one is cursed by blindness, the ultimate shadow- the sun's rays burning the vision of the target, cursed with blindness so they may not see.
Fascination I find to be an interesting word to use when discussing magics which- while not inherently rendering one invisible- force the viewers who are not privy to the magic being performed, that an illusion is being placed upon them, by dazzling lights or fineries. Agrippa says this about fascination:
Fascination is a binding, which comes from the spirit of the witch, through the eyes of him that is so bewitched, and entering to his heart. Now the instrument of fascination is the spirit, viz., a certain pure, lucid, subtile vapor, generated of the purer blood by the heat of the heart. This doth always send forth, through the eyes, rays like to itself. Those rays, being sent forth, do carry with them a spiritual vapor, and that vapor a blood (as it appears in swollen and red eyes), whose rays, being sent forth to the eyes of him that looks upon them, carry the vapor of the corrupt blood together with itself; by the contagion of which it doth infect the eyes of the beholder with the like disease. So the eye, being opened and intent upon any one with a strong imagination, doth dart its beams (which are the vehiculum of the spirit) into the eyes of him that is opposite to him; which tender spirit strikes the eyes of him that is bewitched, being stirred up from the heart of him that strikes, and possesseth the breast of him that is stricken, wounds his heart and infects his spirit. Whence Apuleius saith, "Thy eyes, sliding down through my eyes into mine inward breast, stir up a most vehement burning in my marrow."
From the Petite Albert we have an instance where the word fascinate is used in a more familiar context (in this translation)
To Make Yourself Invisible By Means of a Ring
Acquire good, well-purified fixed mercury, and fashion a large ring which can easily slip onto the middle finger. Set the bezel with the little stone you find in the hoopoe’s nest, and engrave the band with these words:
JESUS PASSED +
THROUGH THEIR MIDST +
AND WENT HIS WAY +
Place the engraved ring on a plate of fixed mercury, and prepare the perfume of Mercury*. Cense the ring on its plate three times, and wrap the ring in taffeta of the planet’s colour.
Take it to the hoopoe’s nest you found the stone in, and leave it there for nine days. When it is time to retrieve your ring, prepare the incense as before, and cense it three times before placing it reverently into a small box made from fixed mercury.
The ring is easy to use. Wear the ring with the stone facing outwards, and it will catch the eye and fascinate to such a degree the one who sees it cannot see you. When you want to be visible again, turn the ring on your finger, so it faces your palm, and close your hand around it, like a fist.
While Agrippa is talking about the airs or "vapours", The author(s) of the Petite Albert is describing a trickery and fascination, as if it were a juggling trick. In the Rennaisance trickery, Illusion, and fascination were often seen as magical- at best, odd, peculiar, and light-hearted juggling tricks, at its worst, dodgy magics pulling one over on you. The idea of being bewildered by a stone, or the dazzlement of light, emanating from that very stone, placing one in a trance, could be considered magic in itself, distracting the onlookers from what's really going on.
I have also heard (and yet have not been able to find the source for this) an early modern formula which describes taking the heart of a fox, mummifying it, then perfuming it with Artemsia, and carrying it about the neck of a person.
I find the amulets of animals fascinating, as there is lore surrounding the animals which are fleeting, or fascinating, and may procure invisibility with certain bezoars from them. One example is the Coyote Stone, which is used in folk magic in northern Mexico, and the Southern United States. The hardened amulet which is a tumor found in the skull of some coyotes. As described by Laura DeVilla, telling me about them: the amulet is often used for love magic, keeping law away, and rendering oneself invisible. The tumor is a rarefied object, oftentimes being counterfeited by using certain peas or beans, which have been tried. I have a set of coyote stones which a friend has given to me, along with a toe bone.
From The PGM we have a handful of spells petitioning spirits to imbue their powers into formulas to render oneself invisible by means of miraculousness. That is to say: not blinding another nor fascinating another, but instead becoming unseen:
PGM I. 222-31
Indispensable invisibility spell: Take fat or an eye of a nightowl and a ball of dung rolled by a beetle and oil of an unripe olive and grind them all together until smooth, and smear your whole
body with it and say to Helios: “I adjure you by your great name, BORKÊ PHOIOUR IÕ ZIZIA APARXEOUCH THTHE LALIAM AAAAAA IIIII OOOO IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ IEÕ NAUNAX AI AI AEÕ AEÕ EAÕ,” and moisten it and say in addition: “Make me invisible, lord Helios, AEÕ ÕAÊ EIÊ ÊAÕ,
in the presence of any man until sunset, IÕ IÕ Õ PHRIXRIZÕ EÕA.”
PGM I. 247-62
Tested spell for invisibility: A great work. Take an eye of an ape or of a corpse that has died a violent death and plant a peony. Rub these with oil of lily, and as you are rubbing
them from the right to the left, say the spell as follows: “I am ANUBIS, I am OSIR-PHRE, I am OSOT SORONOUIER, I am OSIRIS whom SETH destroyed. Rise up infernal daimon, IÕ ERBETH IÕ PHOBETH IÕ PAKERBETH IÕ APOMPS; whatever I, NN, order you to do
be obedient to me.” And if you wish to become invisible, rub just your face with the concoction, and you will be invisible for as long as you wish. And if you wish to be visible again, move from west to east and say this name, and you will be obvious and visible to all
The name is: MARMARIAÕTH MARMARIPHEGGE, make me, NN, visible to all men on this day, immediately, immediately; quickly, quickly!” This works very well.
Finally, we can talk about the Hand of Glory or Man De Glore. As described in the Petite Albert, the Hand of Glory is the mummified hand of a felon, which is reported to burn forever, or force people sleep in a home, unlock any door, provide light to only the person holding the hand can see, or render anyon who is presented the hand motionless, allowing the operator to thieve from the victim. As described:
‘Take the right or left hand of a felon who is hanging from a gibbet beside a highway; wrap it in part of a funeral pall and so wrapped squeeze it well. Then put it into an earthenware vessel with zimat, nitre, salt and long peppers, the whole well powdered. Leave it in this vessel for a fortnight, then take it out and expose it to full sunlight during the dog-days until it becomes quite dry. If the sun is not
strong enough put it in an oven with fern and vervain. Next make a kind of candle from the fat of a gibbeted felon, virgin wax, sesame, and ponie, and use the Hand of Glory as a candlestick to hold this candle when lighted, and then those in every place into which you go with this baneful instrument shall remain motionless.’
From the Albert also this recipe:
A Light Akin to the Hand of Glory, Which Puts All in the House Asleep
Take four ounces of the herb serpentine, and put it in a stoppered earthenware pot. Allow it to digest in the belly of the horse, which is to say the hot horse manure for fifteen days. It will generate small red worms, which you will press an oil according to the principles of the Art. Use this oil in a lamp, and when it is lit it will induce sleep. Everyone in the room will slumber so deeply, they cannot be waked until the light is snuffed.