By Eliphas Levi
First released in 1913, this vintage textual content is a useful resource ebook at the historical past and perform of magic and occultism. The contents contain: Magic of the Magi, Magic in historic Greece, the Kabalah, Primitive Symbolism, Mysticism, Oracles, Magical Monuments, Magic and Christianity, Pagan Magic, Kabalistic work and Sacred trademarks, Sorcerers, Magic and Freemasonry, the Illuminati, and extra. Illustrated.
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Those who are reading can again check me; but my answer is this: whether the subject of the moment is the art of evoking spirits, whether it is old cases of possession, whether it is witchcraft or necromancy, whether it is modern phenomena like direct-writing, table-rapping and the other properties of spiritism, as they were known to the writer and his period, they have one and all fallen under the ban of unreserved condemnation. It is not that they are imposture, for Éliphas Lévi does not dispute the facts and derides those who do, but they belong to the abyss of delusion and all who practise them are workers of madness and apostles of evil only.
It reconciles perfectly and incontestably those two terms, so opposed on the first view—faith and reason, science and belief, authority and liberty. It furnishes the human mind with an instrument of philosophical and religious certitude as exact as mathematics, and even accounting for the infallibility of mathematics themselves. An Absolute exists therefore in the realms of understanding and faith. The lights of human intelligence have not been left by the Supreme Reason to waver at hazard. There is an incontestable truth; there is an infallible method of knowing that truth; while those who attain this knowledge, and adopt it as a rule of life, can endow their will with a sovereign power which can make them masters of all inferior things, all wandering spirits, or, in other words, arbiters and kings of the world.
It is not that they are imposture, for Éliphas Lévi does not dispute the facts and derides those who do, but they belong to the abyss of delusion and all who practise them are workers of madness and apostles of evil only. The advent of Christianity has put a decisive period to every working of Magic and anathema has been pronounced thereon. It is from this point of view that Lévi takes the disciple through each century of the subject, sometimes indeed explaining things from the standpoint of a complete sceptic, sometimes as Joseph Ennemoser might himself have explained them, but never—no, not once—like the authorised exponent of practical Magic who has tried the admirable and terrifying experiments, who returns to say that they are true and real, which is the testimony of the Doctrine and Ritual, if these volumes can be held to signify anything.
The History of Magic by Eliphas Levi