THE work entitled Occult Spells is part of a rich legacy of carefully written and drawn grimoire manuscripts, left to the world by the nineteenth century occult scholar Frederick Hockley. Thanks in large part to the researches of John Hamill and R. A. Gilbert, we know that Hockley was born in humble circumstances, somewhere in London in 1808 and that he died, after a protracted illness, in 1885. He lived modestly and inconspicuously: he married and was widowed, worked for a bookseller and then as an accountant, became a Freemason, joined the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and involved himself in a number of Spiritualist and other esoteric groups. A friendly, yet unassuming man, he never sought the limelight, and instead devoted himself quietly to his studies. In the course of his lifetime Hockley acquired a prodigious knowledge of the Hermetic arts which he was not ungenerous in sharing, and he came to be regarded with warmth and respect by all who knew him. It was thus no accident that Kenneth MacKenzie chose Hockley as the first person to whom he would recount the details of his meeting with Eliphas Levi in December 1861. MacKenzie also sought to enlist Hockley in the select group devoted to the study of alchemy and magic called the Society of Eight, and would later write that Hockley was "the most profound Occult student in this country."
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