Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual
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2011 Reprint of 1958 London Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. This is Levi's first treatise on magic and was translated into English by Arthur Edward Waite as "Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual". Its famous opening lines present the single essential theme of Occultism and gives some of the flavor of its atmosphere: "Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvelous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books on alchemy, in the ceremonies practised at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed. ( From the Introduction)". Lévi's version of magic became a great success, especially after his death. That Spiritualism was popular on both sides of the Atlantic from the 1850s contributed to this success. His magical teachings were free from obvious fanaticisms; he had nothing to sell, and did not pretend to be the initiate of some ancient or fictitious secret society. He incorporated the Tarot cards into his magical system, and as a result the Tarot has been an important part of the paraphernalia of Western magicians. He had a deep impact on the magic of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and later on the ex-Golden Dawn member Aleister Crowley. He was also the first to declare that a pentagram or five-pointed star with one point down and two points up represents evil, while a pentagram with one point up and two points down represents good. It was largely through the occultists inspired by him that Lévi is remembered as one of the key founders of the twentieth century revival of magic.
and contrary to one another, produce equilibrium by their contrasts and rule the movement of the spheres. The Hebrews termed them the seven great archangels, giving them the names of Michaël, Gabriel, Raphaël, Anaël, Samaël, Zadkiel and Oriphiel.2 The Christian Gnostics named the four last Uriel, Barachiel, Sealtiel and Jehudiel. Other nations attributed to these spirits the government of the seven chief planets, and assigned to them the names of their chief divinities. All believed in their
4 months, after which it will be succeeded by the return of the reign of Orifiel, an epoch of silence and night. The coming universal empire, being under the reign of the Sun, will belong to him who holds the keys of the East, which are now being disputed by the princes of the world's four quarters. But intelligence and activity are the forces which rule the Sun in the superior kingdoms, and the nation which possesses at this time the initiative of intelligence and life will have also the keys of
raving mad, possessed by the most incredible terrors, as if God Himself had punished him for defending His cause out of season. As a fact, he perished by reason of a law of Nature of which assuredly he knew nothing; he set himself against an electric current and was struck down as by lightning.1 Had Marat not been assassinated by Charlotte Corday, he would have been destroyed infallibly by a reaction of public feeling. It was the execration of decent people which afflicted him with leprosy, and
claims and records. For the proof we need travel no farther than his original introduction to The Doctrine of Magic, or take the Hebrew manuscript cited therein, as to the powers and privileges of the Magus.2 Here the literal interpretation would be insanity; these claims conceal another meaning of what is called the moral kind and are trickery in their verbal sense. They are what Éliphas Lévi himself terms “hyperbolic”, adding: “If the sage do not materially and actually perform these things, he
working out their liberation. Yet you dream that the spirit is set free first so that it may cease to live! You believe that thought and love can die when the grossest matter is imperishable! If change must be called death, we die and are reborn daily, because daily our forms change. Fear therefore to soil or rend your garments, but do not fear to lay them by when the hour of sleep approaches. The embalming and mummification of bodies is a superstition which is against Nature; it is an attempt