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This is Eliphas Levi’s () bestknown book. This work arguably made Levi THE most influential writer on magic since the Renaissance. Originally issued. Éliphas Lévi Zahed, born Alphonse Louis Constant (February 8, – May 31, ), was a . The magic propagated by Éliphas Lévi became a great success, especially after his death. . et Rituel de la Haute Magie, (Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual), –; Histoire de la magie, (The History of Magic), . ELIPHAS LEVI ZAHED is a pseudony m which was adopted in his o ccult writings by Alphonse Louis Constant, and it is said to be the Hebrew equivalent of that.

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Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. The author of the Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie was born in humble circumstances about the yearbeing the son of a shoemaker. Giving evidence of unusual intelligence at an early age, the priest of his parish con- ceived a kindly interest for the obscure boy, and got him on the foundation of Saint Sulpice, where he was educated without charge, and with a view to the priesthood. He seems to have passed through the course of study at that seminary in a way which did not disappoint the expecta- tions raised concerning him.

In addition to Greek and Latin, he is believed to have acquired considerable knowledge of Hebrew, though it would be an error to suppose that any of his published works exhibit special linguistic attainments. He entered on his clerical novitiate, took minor orders, and in due course became a deacon, being thus bound by a vow of perpetual pevi.

Shortly after this step, he was suddenly expelled from Saint Sulpice for holding opinions contrary to the teaching of the Roman Magicc Church.

Full text of “Transcendental magic, its doctrine and ritual”

Pending the appearance of the biography which has been for some years promised in France, we have few available materials for a life of the “Abbe”” Constant. Some element of socialism must have combined with the illuminism of the visionary, and this ap- pears to have borne fruit in the brain of Constant, taking shape ultimately in a book or pamphlet, entitled ” The Gospel of Liberty,” to which a transient importance was attached, foolishly enough, by the imprisonment of the author for a term of six months.

There is some reason to suppose that Esquiros had a lfvi in the production, and also in the penalty. His incarceration over, Constant came forth un- daunted, still cleaving to his prophet, and undertook a kind of apostolic mission into the provinces, addressing the country people, and suffering, as he himself tells us, persecution from the ill-disposed. Papus, a contemporary French occultist, in an extended study of the “Doctrine of Eliphas Levi,” asks mxgic See Histoire de la Magie, 1. Noe’iny, a beautiful girl of sixteen.

This lady bore him two children, who died in tender years, and subsequently she deserted him. The lady, it may be added, had other domestic adventures, ending in a second marriage about the year Madame Constant was not only very beautiful, but exceedingly talented, and after her separation she became famous as a sculptor, ex- hibiting at transcejdental Salon and elsewhere under the name of Claude Vingmy.

It is not impossible that she may be still alive ; in the sense of her artistic genius, at least, she is something more than a memory. At what date Alphonse Louis Constant applied himself to the study of the occult sciences is uncertain, like most other epochs of his life. The statement on page of this translation, that in the year he entered on a fateful path, which led him through suffering to knowledge, must not be understood in the sense that his initiation took place at that period, which was indeed early in boyhood.

It obviously refers to his enrolment among the scholars of Saint Sulpice, which, in a sense, led to suffering, and per- eliphxs ultimately to science, as it certainly obtained him education.

The episode of the New Alliance so Gannean termed his system connects with transcendentalism, at least and obtaining a licence to preach and administer the sacraments in that diocese, though he was not a priest. He is represented as drawing large congregations to the cathedral by his preaching, but at length the judge who had sentenced him unmasked the impostor, and the sacrilegious farce thus terminated dramatically.

What it does exhibit unmistakably is the in- tellectual insincerity of the author, for he assumes therein the mask of perfect leci, and that accent in matters of religion eliphad is characteristic of the voice of Rome.

The Dogme de la Haute Magie was succeeded in by its com- panion volume the Hituel, both of which are here translated for the first time into Mqgic. It was followed in rapid succession by the Histoire de la Magie, ; La Clef des Grands Mysteres, ; a second edition of the Dogme et Rituel, to which transcendenhal long and irrelevant introduction was unfortunately prefixed, ; Fables ct Symloles, ; Le Sorcier de Meudon, a beautiful pastoral idyll, impressed with the cachet cabalistique ; and La Science des Esprits, The two last works incorporate the substance of the amphlets published in and The precarious existence of Constant’s younger days was in one sense but faintly improved in his age.

Her husband was approaching elipha life when he withdrew her still a child from her legal protectors, and the runaway marriage which began by forswearing was, under the circumstances, little better than a seduction thinly legalised, and it was afterwards not im- properly dissolved.

He was commonly to be found chez lui in a species of magical vestment, which may be pardoned in a French magus, and his only available portrait prefixed to this volume represents him in that guise.

He outlived the Franco- German war, and as he had exchanged Socialism for a sort of transcendentalised Imperialism, his political faith must have been as much tried by the events which followed the siege of Paris as was his trxnscendental enthusiasm by the reverses which culminated at Se”dan. His contradictory life mgic in amidst the last offices of the church which had almost expelled him from transcendntal bosom. He left many manuscripts behind him, which are still in course of publication, and innumerable letters to his pupils Baron Spedalieri alone possesses nine volumes have been happily preserved in most cases, and are in some respects more valuable than the formal treatises.


No modern expositor of occult science can bear any comparison with Sliphas Levi, and among ancient exposi- tors, though many stand higher in authority, all yield to him in living interest, for he is actually the spirit of modern thought forcing an answer for the times from the old oracles. Hence there are greater names, but there is no influence so great no fascination in occult literature ex- ceeds that of the French magus.

The others are surrendered to specialists and the typical serious students to whom all dull and unreadable masterpieces are dedicated, directly or not ; but he is read and appreciated, much as we read and appreciate new and delightful verse which, through some conceit of the poet, is put into the vesture of Chaucer.

Indeed, the writings of filiphas Levi stand, as regards the grand old line of initiation, trannscendental relatively the same position as the ” Earthly Paradise ” of Mr William Morris stands to the ” Canterbury Tales. In both cases elipjas is the year ct seq. Moreover, ” the idle singer of an empty day ” is paralleled fairly enough by ” the poor and obscure scholar who has recovered the lever of Archimedes.

Students of ICliphas LeVi will be acquainted with the qualifications and stealthy retractations by which the some- what uncompromising position of initiated superiority in the ” Doctrine and Eitual,” had its real significance read out of it by the later works of the magus.

I propose rather to indicate as briefly as possible some new considerations which will help us to understand why there were grave discrepancies between the ” Doctrine and Ritual of Transcendent Magic” and the volumes which followed these.

Transcendental Magic : Eliphas Levi :

For the proof we need travel no further than the introduc- tion to ” The Doctrine of Magic,” and to the Hebrew manu- script cited therein, as to the powers and privileges of the magus. Here the literal interpretation would be insanity ; these claims conceal a secret meaning, and are trickery in their verbal sense. They are what filiphas LeVi himself terms “hyperbolic,” adding: But this consideration is not in itself sufficient to take account of the issues that are involved ; it will not explain, for example, why filiphas Levi, who consistently teaches in the ” Doctrine and Ritual ” that the dogmas of so-called revealed religion are nurse-tales for children, should subsequently have insisted on their acceptation in the sense of the orthodox Church by the grown men of science, and it becomes necessary here to touch upon a matter which, by its nature, and obviously, does not admit of complete elucidation.

The precise period of study which produced the ” Doctrine and Eitual of Transcendent Magic” as its first literary result is not indicated with any certainty, as we have seen, in the life of the author, nor do I regard filiphas LeVi as constitutionally capable of profound or extensive book study.

Intensely suggestive, he is at the same time without much evidence of depth ; splendid in generalisation, he is without accuracy in detail, and it would be difficult to cite a worse guide over mere matters of fact. The French verb parcourir represents his method of study, and not the verb appro- fondir. Let us take one typical case. There is no occult writer whom he cites with more satisfaction, and towards whom he exhibits more reverence, than William Postel, and of all Postel’s books there is none which he mentions so often as the Clavis Absconditorum a Constitutione Mundi ; yet he had read this minute treatise so carelessly that he missed a vital point concerning it, and apparently died unaware that the symbolic key prefixed to it was the work of the editor and not the work of Postel.

It does not therefore seem unreasonable to affirm that had LeVi been left to himself, he would not have got far in occult science, because his Gallic vivacity would have been blunted too quickly by the horrors of mere research ; but he did some- how fall within a circle of initiation which curtailed the necessity for such research, and put him in the right path, making visits to the Bibliotheque Rationale and the Arsenal of only subsidiary importance.

This, therefore, constitutes the importance of the ” Doctrine and Eitual ” ; disguised indubitably, it is still the voice of initiation ; of what school does not matter, for in this connection nothing can be spoken plainly, and I can ask only the lenience of deferred judgment from my readers for my honourable assurance that I am not speaking idly.

The grades of that initiation had been only partly ascended by filiphas Levi when he published the ” Doctrine and Ritual,” and its publication closed the path of his progress: Having gone too far, he naturally attempted to go back, and just as he strove to patch up a species of modus vivendi with the church of his childhood, so he endeavoured, by throw- ing dust in the eyes of his readers, to make his peace with that initiation, the first law of which he had indubitably violated.

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In both cases, and quite naturally, he failed. It remains for me to state what I feel personally to be the trajscendental limitation of LeVi, namely, that he was a tran- scendentalist but not a mystic, and, indeed, he was scarcely a transcendentalist in the accepted sense, for he was fundamentally a materialist a materialist, moreover, who at times approached perilously towards atheism, as when he states that God is a hypothesis which is “very probably necessary ” ; he was, moreover, a disbeliever in any real communication with the world of spirits.


He defines mysticism as the shadow and the buffer of intellectual light, and loses no opportunity to enlarge upon its false illuminism, its excesses, and fatuities. There is, therefore, elihas way from man to God in his system, while the sole avenues of influx from God to man are sacramentally, and in virtue merely of a tolerable hypothesis.

Thus man must remain in trasncendental intellectualism if he would rest in reason ; the sphere of material experience is that of his knowledge ; and as to all beyond it, there are only the presumptions of analogy.

I submit that this is not the doctrine of occult science, nor the summum “bonum of the greater initiation ; that transcendental pneumatology transcenrental more by its own; hypothesis than an alphabetical system argued kabbalis- tically ; and that more than mere memories can on the same assumption maic evoked in the astral light.

An annotated translation exceeded the scope of the present undertaking, but there is much in the text which follows that offers scope for detailed criticism, and there are points also where further elucidation would be useful.

One of elipas most obvious defects, the result of mere carelessness or undue haste in writing, is the promise to explain or to prove given points later on, which are forgotten subsequently by the author.

Instances will be found on p. In some cases the promised elucidations appear in other places than those indicated, but they are mostly wanting altogether.

There are other perplexities with which the reader must deal according to his judgment. The explanation of the quad- rature of the circle on p. So magiv the Greek conjuration, pp. Lastly, after careful consideration, I have judged it the wiser course to leave out the lrvi essay which was prefixed to the second edition of the ” Doctrine and Ritual ” ; its prophetic utterances upon the mission of Napoleon III.

The present translation represents, therefore, the first edition of the Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, omitting nothing but a few unimportant citations from old French grimoires in an unnecessary appendix at the end.

The portrait of Le’vi is from a carte-de-visite in the possession of Mr Edward Maitland, and was issued with his ” Life of Anna Kingsford,” a few months ago. Unity of the Doctrine Qualifications necessary for the Adept Universal Theology of the Triad The Macrocosm The Microcosm and the sign thereof Power tganscendental Elements and Spirits.

Use and Consecration of the Pentagram Ceremonies, Vest- ments, elihas Perfumes proper to the seven days of the week Com- position of the Seven Talismans and Consecration of Magical In- struments Precautions neces- sary for transcendentall accomplishment of the Great Works of Science.

Methods transcendebtal its formation. Ceremonial for the Resurrection of the Dead and for Necromancy Ceremonial for the same Mode of defence against them The Great Symbol of Solomon.

Sacerdotal Esotericism making the sign of Excommunication 26 A sacerdotal hand making the sign of esotericism and projecting the figure of the demon in its shadow.

Above are the Ace of Deniers, as found in the Chinese Tarot, and two superposed triangles, one white franscendental one black. It is a new allegory explaining the same mysteries ; it is the origin of good and evil ; it is the creation of the demon by mystery. The Triangle of Solomon. The Four Great Kabbalistic Names.

The Pentagram of Faust. The Tetragram of the Zohar. Addha-Nari, grand Indian Pantacle.

It has more than one analogy with the Cherub of Ezekiel. The human figure is placed between a bridled bull and a tiger, thus forming the triangle of Kether, Geburah, and Gedulah, or Chesed. In the Indian symbol, the four magical signs of the Tarot are found in the four hands of Addha- Nari on the side of the initiate and of mercy are the sceptre and the cup ; on the side of the profane, represented by the tiger, are the sword and the circle, transcendentak latter may become either the ring of a chain or an iron collar.

On the side of the initiate, the goddess is clothed only with the skin of the tiger ; on that of the tiger itself she wears a long star-spangled robe, and even her hair is veiled. A fountain of milk springs from her forehead, falls on the side of the initiate, and about Addha-Nari and the two animals it forms a magic circle, enclosing them in an island which represents the world.

The goddess wears round her neck a magic chain, formed of iron links on the side of the profane and of intelligent heads on that of the initiate ; she eliphaa on her forehead the figure of the lingam, and on either side of her are three superposed lines which represent the equilibrium of the triad, and recall the trigrams of Fo-Hi.

The Pantacles of Ezekiel and Pythagoras. Below is the wheel of Ezekiel, key of all pantacles, and the pantacle of Pythagoras. Ekiphas cherub of Ezekiel is here represented as it is described by the prophet.

Its four heads are the tetrad of Mercavah ; its six wings are the senary of Bereschith. The human figure in the middle represents reason ; the eagle’s head is faith ; the bull is resignation and toil ; the lion is warfare and conquest.