Eliphas Levi

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Eliphas Levi 1874
'Father, forgive them,' said Jesus, 'for they know not what they do' -- People of good sense whoever you may be, I will add, do not listen to them, for they know not what they say.

Eliphas Lévi (February 8, 1810May 31, 1875), born Alphonse Louis Constant, was a French occult author and magician. "Eliphas Lévi," the name under which he published his books, was his attempt to translate or transliterate his given names "Alphonse Louis" into Hebrew.


The History Of Magic (1860)[edit]

(Text online)

  • Magic has been confounded too long with the jugglery of mountebanks, the hallucinations of disordered minds and the crimes of certain unusual malefactors. There are otherwise many who would promptly explain Magic as the art of producing effects in the absence of causes; and on the strength of such a definition it will be said by ordinary people — with the good sense which characterises the ordinary, in the midst of much injustice — that Magic is an absurdity. (Introduction)
  • It can have no analogy in fact with the descriptions of those who know nothing of the subject; furthermore, it is not to be represented as this or that by any person whomsoever: it is that which it is, drawing from itself only, even as mathematics do, for it is the exact and absolute science of Nature and her laws. (Introduction)
  • Magic is the science of the ancient magi; and the Christian religion, which silenced the counterfeit oracles and put a stop to the illusions of false gods, does, this notwithstanding, revere those mystic kings who came from the East, led by a star, to adore the Saviour of the world in His cradle. They are elevated by tradition to the rank of kings, because magical initiation constitutes a true royalty; because also the great art of the magi is characterised by all adepts as the Royal Art, as the Holy Kingdom — Sanctum Regnum. The star which conducted the pilgrims is the same Burning Star which is met with in all initiations. For alchemists it is the sign of the quintessence, for magicians it is the Great Arcanum, for Kabalists the sacred pentagram. (Introduction)
  • The Great Work is the attainment of that middle point in which equilibrating force abides. Furthermore, the reactions of equilibrated force do everywhere conserve universal life by the perpetual motion of birth and death. It is for this reason that the philosophers have compared their gold to the sun. For the same reason that same gold cures all diseases of the soul and communicates immortality. (p. 500)
  • Those who have found this middle point are true and wonderworking adepts of science and reason. They are masters of the wealth of worlds, confidants and friends of the princes of heaven itself, and Nature obeys them because they will what is willed by the law which is the motive power of Nature. It is this which the Saviour of the world spoke of as the Kingdom of Heaven; this also is the Sanctum Regnum of the Holy Kabalah. It is the Crown and Ring of Solomon ; it is the Sceptre of Joseph which the stars obeyed in heaven and the harvests on earth. (p.501)

The Great Secret: or Occultism Unveiled[edit]

(Originally written in 1868. Published in French in 1898. Published in English in 1975.) ISBN 0-87728-938-7

  • Happy in the time of Jesus were those who wept! Happy, now, are those who can laugh, because laughter is the attribute of man, as the great prophet of the Renaissance, Rabelais, said. Laughter is forbearance; laughter is philosophy. The heavens clear when they laugh, and the great secret of divine omnipotence resides in an eternal smile!
    • Book Two: The Royal Mystery or the Art of Subduing the Powers, Chapter V: The Outer Darkness
  • We want to be clearly understood on this point. We are not trying to say that signs and rites are a big piece of humbug. They would be such if people did not need them; but we have to recognize that everyone has not the same degree of intelligence. Children have always had fairy stories told to them, and these stories will continue to be told as long as there are nurses and mothers. Children have faith and this is what saves them. Imagine a child of seven saying: 'I do not want to accept anything I cannot understand.' What could one teach such a monster? Accept what your teachers tell you to begin with, my fine fellow, then study it and, if you are not an idiot, you will understand it by-and-by.
    • Book Two: The Royal Mystery or the Art of Subduing the Powers, Chapter XI: The Arcana of Solomon's Ring
  • Progress is a possibility for the animal: it can be broken in, tamed and trained; but it is not a possibility for the fool, because the fool thinks he has nothing to learn. It is his place to dictate to others and put them right, and so it is impossible to reason with him. He will laugh you to scorn in saying that what he does not understand is not a meaningful proposition. 'Why don't I understand it, then?', he asks you, with marvellous impudence. To tell him it is because he is a fool would only be taken as an insult, so there is nothing you can say in reply. Everybody else sees it quite clearly, but he will never realize it.

    Here then, at the outset, is a potent secret which is inaccessible to the majority of people; a secret which they will never guess and which it would be useless to tell them: the secret of their own stupidity.
    • Book Two: The Royal Mystery or the Art of Subduing the Powers, Chapter XII: The Terrible Secret
  • 'Father, forgive them,' said Jesus, 'for they know not what they do' -- People of good sense whoever you may be, I will add, do not listen to them, for they know not what they say.
    • Book Two: The Royal Mystery or the Art of Subduing the Powers, Chapter XII: The Terrible Secret

Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (1856)[edit]

"The sign of the Cross adopted by the Christians does not belong exclusively to them. It is kabalistic, and represents the oppositions and quaternary equilibrium of the elements. We see by the occult verse of the Pater, to which we have called attention in another work, that there were originally two ways of making it, or, at least, two very different formulas to express its meaning — one reserved for priests and initiates; the other given to neophytes and the profane. Thus, for example, the initiate, carrying his hand to his forehead, said: To thee; then he added, belong; and continued, while carrying his hand to the breast — the kingdom; then, to the left shoulder — justice; to the right shoulder — and mercy. Then he joined the two hands, adding: throughout the generating cycles: 'Tibi sunt Malchut, et Geburah et Chassed per AEonas' — a sign of the Cross, absolutely and magnificently kabalistic, which the profanations of Gnosticism made the militant and official Church completely lose.

  • Bloody and hideous facts; acts of revolting superstition, arrests, and executions of stupid ferocity. "Burn every body!" the Inquisition seemed to say — God will easily sort out His own! Poor fools, hysterical women, and idiots were roasted alive, without mercy, for the crime of "magic." But, at the same time, how many great culprits escaped this unjust and sanguinary justice! This is what Bodin makes us fully appreciate.
    • Quoted in Isis Unveiled, by H.P. Blavatsky, Vol. II, Chapter III (1877)

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