eliphas levi

That Angel who was brave enough to buy his independence at the price of eternal suffering and torture; beautiful enough to have adored himself in full divine light; strong enough to still reign in darkness amidst agony, and to have made himself a throne out of his inextinguishable pyre.
— 

History of Magic, Éliphas Lévi

or, when you try to show that “the Satan of the Republican and heretical Milton”, “the fake Lucifer of the hetorodox legend” sucks but utterly, epically, terribly fail.

Virtue presupposes action; for the reason why it is usually contrasted with our passions is to make it clear that it is never something passive.
Not only is virtue strength, it is the governing reason behind strength. It is the equilibrant of life.
The great secret of virtue, virtuality and life, whether temporal or eternal, may be formulated thus:
The art of balancing forces so as to keep movement in equilibrium.
The equilibrium we are looking for is not that which produces immobility, but that which regulates movement. For immobility is death, and movement is life.
—  Eliphas Levi
2

Eliphas Levi, 1861

Each letter is an universal and an absolute conception, governed only by the number represented by the letter. The science of signs begins with the science of letters.

Letters are absolute ideas. Absolute ideas are numbers. Numbers are perfect signs.

In using ideas with numbers, one can operate upon the ideas like one can operate upon number and arrive at the mathematics of truth.

(Course of Kabalistic and Occult Philosophy, The Kabalistic and Occult Tarot of Eliphas Levi, 1861)

The angel of liberty was born before the dawn of the first day, before even the awakening of intelligence, and God called him the morning star.

O Lucifer! Voluntarily and disdainfully thou didst detach thyself from the heaven where the sun drowned thee in his splendour, to plow with thine own rays the unworked fields of night!

Thou shinest when the sun sets, and thy sparkling gaze precedes the daybreak!

Thou fallest to rise again; thou tastest of death to understand life better!

For the ancient glories of the world, thou art the evening star; for truth renascent, the lovely star of dawn.

-  The Key of the Mysteries (La Clef des Grands Mystères)By
Eliphas Levi

“Baphomet is a knowledge rising in opposition to idolatry, protesting though the very monstrosity of the idol. The Israelites were forbidden to give divine concepts the figure of a man or of any animal; thus, on the ark of the covenant and in the sanctuary, they dared sculpt only cherubs, that is, sphinxes with the bodies of bulls and the heads of men, eagles or lions. These mixed figures reproduced neither the complete form of any man, nor that of any animal. These hybrid creations of impossible animals gave to understand that the image was not an idol or reproduction of a living thing, but rather a character or representation of something having its existence in thought. Baphomet is not worshipped; it is God who is worshipped, this faceless God behind this formless form, this image which resembles no created being. Baphomet is not a God; He is the sign of initiation.”

- Eliphas Levi; The Book of Splendours

The Exacting Art of Wand Making


“The magical rod is the verendum of the magus; it must not even be mentioned in any clear and precise manner; no one should boast of its possession, nor should its consecration ever be transmitted except under the conditions of absolute discretion and confidence.” - Eliphas Levi, “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie” (1856)


It is a matter of fact that properly making a wand is a pain in the ass. It is a rather long process, with lots of detailed steps, none of which can be skipped. It takes more than a month of near daily work, invariably leads to both accidental and purposeful blood spill, not to mention all the mess.

Having lived in London for over a decade I can assure you that there is no Ollivanders in which to purchase a finished wand. And while many many sticks that have been nicely polished, often having had some baubles attached to them, are for sale from a variety of vendors they are not in any practical way a wand.

A wand must be cut by the practitioner themselves directly from the tree, must be worked to shape by the practitioner’s hands, tooled by the practitioner’s blade. It is a very necessary tool in the arsenal of witch and wizard alike, found throughout history in the practice of magic.

On the whole its a bothersome process; messy, meticulous, exacting and often tiresome. But at each point where you would shirk the necessary steps it is only in reminding yourself that the tool you make may save your life that you push on, doing every little bit that is needed to make it as strong as possible. Because like a parachute your life may hang in the balance of your wand having been made in an exacting process that I would personally never trust to something I bought online or in a shop.

The length of the wand varies from culture to culture and use to use. I myself prefer a length that is the distance from one’s nose when looking straight ahead to the tip of one’s fingers. Approximately three feet long (four spans) though tailored exactly to the body of its owner. The perfect length for tracing a circle on the ground without bending over.

It so happens that I had long held off on making myself a second hazel wand, my first being in storage in the US and something I had used for decades - though not seen in years. In its stead I have been using a very nice rowan wand I constructed about a year after I arrived in London, which works for most situations and is particularly adept at landscape magics. But then there are some things for which only a hazel wand will do the job properly.

Unfortunately my original hazel, cut from a deep and old wood in the states when I was a young man, has gone missing. Its whereabouts are a mystery, though where it should have been among my library storage materials it was not. Thus I have been slowly getting around to replacing it, and some near future work that needs doing has required my starting in order to finish before the vernal equinox.

So while the blackbird sang me a song of predawn delight I cut the hazel and have begun the process. As it dries I will gather the bits I need, offerings and ointments for its preparation, and by the first day of spring it should be ready for a bit of that old black magic.

The stars utter speech to one another; the soul of the suns corresponds with the exhalation of the flowers; chains of harmony create correspondence between all natural things.
—  Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic its Doctrine and Ritual: The Nuctemeron of Apollonius of Tyana
Translated by Arthur Edward Waite
Know then, O thou who wishest to be initiated into the Great Mysteries, that thou makest a pact with suffering and encounterest Hell. The vulture which gorged itself on Prometheus’ entrails has fixed eye upon thee. And the Furies, lead by Mercury, are preparing the blocks of wood and nails. Thou shalt be sacred; that is to say, consecrated to torment. Humanity has need of thine agonies.
—  Eliphas Levi, The Great Secret