eliphas levi

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Scans of Eliphas Levi’s “The Magical Rituals Of The Sanctum Regnum, Interpreted By The Tarot Trumps”, published in 1896 and edited by William Wynn Westcott. The images are placed according to their order of appearance.

“Much has been said of the loneliness of wisdom, and how much the Truth seeker becomes a pilgrim wandering from star to star. To the ignorant, the wise man is lonely because he abides in distant heights of the mind. But the wise man himself does not feel lonely. Wisdom brings him nearer to life; closer to the heart of the world than the foolish man can ever be. Bookishness may lead to loneliness, and scholarship may end in a battle of beliefs, but the wise man gazing off into space sees not an emptiness, but a space full of life, truth, and law.”

— Manly P. Hall: Sacred Magic of the Qabbalah

“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

— Henry David Thoreau: Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition

Baphomet is the symbolic painting of Eliphas Levi, which he used to represent his secret magickal agent: the Astral Light. The Astral Light is a power everywhere present, claims Eliphas. The magician who learns to harness this power according to Will has the power to create.

#baphomet #eliphaslevi #magick #occult #spells

Eliphas Levi - Great Prototypal Man, “ The Book of Splendours: The Inner Mysteries of Qabalism”.

“Synthesis of the World, formulated by the human figure, ascended slowly and emerged from the water, like the Sun in its rising. When the eyes appeared, Light was made; when the mouth was manifested, there was the Creation of Spirits and the world passed into expression. The entire head was revealed, and this completed the first day of Creation. The shoulders, the arms, the breast arose, and thereupon work began. With one hand the Divine Image put back the sea, while with the other it raised up continents and mountains. The Image grew and grew; the generative organs appeared, and all beings began to increase and multiply. The form stood at length erect, having one foot upon the Earth and one upon the Waters. Beholding itself at full length in the ocean of Creation, it breathed on its own reflection and called its likeness into life. It said: Let us make man - and thus man was made. There is nothing so beautiful in the masterpiece of any poet as this vision of Creation accomplished by the prototype of humanity. Hereby is man but the shadow of a shadow, and yet he is the image of Divine power. He also can stretch forth his hands from East to West; to him is the Earth given as a dominion. Such is Adam Kadmon, the primordial Adam of the Kabbalists. Such is the sense in which he is depicted as a giant; and this is why Swedenborg, haunted in his dreams by reminiscences of the Kabbalah, says that entire Creation is only a titanic man and that we are made in the image of the Universe.”

Manuel Orazi, Messe Noir, 1903.

“The tail-ends of the centuries all resemble each other. They are always periods of vacillation and unrest. Magic flourishes when materialism is rife.” 


Joris-Karl Huysmans, Là-Bas, 1891.

The fin de siècle preoccupation with magic and the occult was so peculiarly pervasive and profound it makes one wonder if there actually is some mystical magnetism that concentrates at the end of centuries. It is, of course, also a social phenomenon, a strange by-product of societies that think of themselves as ‘in decay’ (in yet another parallel, late Rome was obsessed with divination and fascinated by witchcraft.) The latter 19th Century was a time of curious contradiction – even as popular rhetoric trumpeted on about progress, empire and industry, new ideas and new technology, there was also a distinct feeling that the West was living its languid twilight years. This unique intersection of a material reality of prosperity with an atmosphere of spiritual decline bred the occult mania, largely born of a disgust with the common-sense ugliness of modernity and a perverse nostalgia for a fantastical pre-modern past that never was. The mania’s most popular manifestation was Spiritualism, and séances were held in bourgeois parlors and artistic salons alike. It was unusual if an Idea painter or poet didn’t confer with the Spirits. 

Supposedly rooted in Medieval witchcraft, but in actuality based on the historical fantasy of Jules Michelet and Huysmans, various versions of the Black Mass became quite fashionable, I’d surmise largely due to their erotic elements and nude ‘altars’ – wonderfully, wryly depicted in Orazi’s précieux piece of Art Nouveau. Witches and Sabbats were go-to themes for paintings, and it was basically compulsory for all the eccentric Decadents to indulge in some sort of Satanic dalliance – Jean Lorrain threw a launch-party for Là-Bas in drag surrounded by people in demonic costume while the outrageous Count Eric Stenbock slept under a pentagram with his familiar, a toad named Fatima. Gautier identifies such preoccupations as indeed a hallmark of a Decadent style: “contrary to Classical style, it admits of backgrounds where the specters of superstition, the haggard phantoms of dreams, the terrors of night…move together confusedly.”

Quasi-historian Eliphas Levi’s books kickstarted an earnest revival of ceremonial High Magic, a hodgepodge of alchemy, Egyptian Hermeticism and Christian mysticism that grew intertwined with the world of arts and letters. Yeats, Crowley and Machen belonged to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and self-styled magus Joséphin Péladan founded the Salon Rose + Croix, which functioned both as a magical order and as an exhibition space for Symbolist painting. In this way, Symbolist art itself became a species of magical practice, the artist a magician penetrating into higher (or lower) spheres. 

“Oh Thou, Nuit! Eternal Seity of heaven, who art the primordial Soul, who art what was and what shall be, Isis, whose veil no mortal has lifted, when Thou art beneath the irradiating stars of the nocturnal and profound sky of the desert, with purity of heart and in the flame of the serpent, we call upon Thee!”

- A prayer to the Godess Isis

Eliphas Levi - The Magical Head of the Zohar, “Histoire de la Magie”, 1860.

The Magical Head of Zohar is a cabalistic design illustrating the concept of opposites, the principle of “As Above, So Below”, implying that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one.

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”

~Thomas A. Kempis: The Imitation of Christ

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Scans of Eliphas Levi’s “The History Of Magic, Including A Clear And Concise Exposition, Its Rites, And Its Mysteries” published in 1922 and translated, with preface and notes, by Arthur Edward Waite. The images are placed according to their order of appearance and these are 11-20.

From Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual:

“The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of occultism, the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyne of Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyne arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.”

* Image & Text by Eliphas Levi

Consciousness:

1. The state of being conscious; knowledge of one’s own existence, condition, sensations, mental operations, acts, etc.

2. Immediate knowledge or perception of the presence of any object, state, or sensation.

3. An alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation.

Consciousness is the foundational energy of perception. 

Consciousness is the basis upon which we as an existing being either evolve or devolve. Our improvement or degeneration is marked by the state or level of our consciousness.

“It is vital to understand and develop the conviction that consciousness has the potential to increase to an infinite degree.” - the 14th Dalai Lama.