THE name of magic, after having been so dreaded and so execrated in the Middle Ages, has become in our days almost ridiculous. A man who seriously occupies himself with Magic will hardly pass as a reasonable being unless set down as a physician and a quack. Credulous folks suppose that all magicians are workers of wonders, and being moreover convinced that only the Saints of their Communion have the right to perform miracles, attribute the ideas and phenomena of magic to the influence of the Devil or evil Spirits. For our part we believe that the miracles of the Saints, and those which are attributed to demons, are alike the natural results of causes which are abnormally brought into action. Nature never disturbs herself; her standing miracle is immutable and eternal order.
Moreover Magic must not be confounded with Magism. Magic is an occult force, and Magism is a doctrine which changes this force into a Power . A Magician without Magism is only a Sorcerer. A magist without magic is only one who KNOWS. The author of this work is a magist who does not practise
magic; 1 he is a man of study and not a man of phenomena. 2 He does not claim to be either a
magician or a mage, and he can only shrug his shoulders when he is taken for a sorcerer. He has studied the Kabala and the magical doctrines of the ancient sanctuaries; he feels that he understands them, and he sincerely believes in and admires them; to him they are the noblest and the truest Science that the world possesses, and he deeply regrets that they are so little known. For this it is that he seeks to make them better known, taking only the title of Professor of the Highest Science. The Science of Magism is contained in the books of the Kabala, in the Symbols of Egypt and of India, 1 in the books of
[paragraph continues] Hermes Trismegistus, in the oracles of Zoroaster, and in the writings of some great men of the Middle Ages, like Dante, Paracelsus, Trithemus, William Postel, Pomponaceus, Robert Fludd, etc.
The works of Magic are divination or prescience, Thaumaturgy or the use of exceptional powers, and Theurgy or rule over visions and spirits.
One may divine or predict, either by observations and the inductions of wisdom, or by the intuitions of ecstasy or sleep, or by calculations of Science, or by the visions of enthusiasm, which is a species of intoxication. Indeed Paracelsus calls it "ebriecatum" or a species of ebriety. The states which are connected with somnambulism, exaltation, hallucination, intoxication whether by alcohol or drugs, in a word with all classes of artificial or accidental insanity in which the phosphorescence of the brain is increased or over-excited, are dangerous and contrary to nature, and it is wrong to attempt to produce them, because they derange the nervous equilibrium, and lead almost infallibly to frenzy, catalepsy and madness.
Divination and prediction by mere sagacity demand a profound knowledge of the laws of Nature, a constant observation of phenomena and their correlation, the discernment of Spirits by the science of signs, the exact nature of analogies, and the calculation, be it integral or differential, of chances and probabilities. It is useful to divine and foresee, but we must not allow ourselves to divine or to mix ourselves up in predictions. A prophet
interested in a matter is always a false prophet, because desire deranges sagacity; a prophet disinterested, that is to say a true prophet, always makes himself enemies, because there is always in this world more evil than good to predict; the occult sciences should always be kept hidden; the Initiate who speaks, profanes; and he who knows not how to keep silence, knows nothing. 1
Noah foresaw the Deluge but took good care not to predict it. He held his tongue and built his ark. Joseph foresaw the seven years of famine and made his arrangements which secured to the king and priests all the wealth of Egypt. Jonah foretold the destruction of Nineveh, and fled in despair because his prediction was not accomplished. The early Christians predicted the burning of Rome, and Nero with some appearance of Justice accused them of having set it on fire. The Sorcerers of Macbeth drove him to regicide, by telling him that he would be a king. Prophecy seems to attract evil and often
provokes crime. The Jews believed that the glory of God was involved in the eternal preservation of their Temple; to predict the destruction of this edifice was blasphemous. Jesus dared to do this, and the Jews, who but the day before had spread their garments beneath his feet and decked his path with branches and palms, cried all with one voice, "Let him be crucified!" But it was not for them that the Saviour had made this prediction, but for the small circle of his apostles and faithful followers; unfortunately it became public and served as a pretext for the judicial murder of the best and most divine of men. 1
If we can predict exactly and certainly when eclipses are to occur and comets to return, why should we not be able to predict the periods of the greatnesses and decadences of empires? Being given the nature of a germ, do we not know what kind of tree it will produce? Knowing the motor, the impact and the obstacle, can we not determine the duration and extent of the movement? Read the book, entitled Prognosticatio eximii docti Theophrasti Paracelsi, and you will be astounded at the matters that this great man was able to foresee by combining the calculations of Science with the intuitions of a marvellous sagacity!
One may predict with certainty by help of the calculations of science, and with uncertainty by help
of a sensitively impressionable nature, or magnetic intuition.
It is the same with miracles; these are astounding phenomena because they are abnormal and are produced in accordance with certain natural laws as yet unknown. When electricity was still a mystery for the multitude, electrical phenomena were miracles. Magnetic phenomena astonish at the present day the adepts of spiritism, because science has not yet officially recognised and determined the forces of human magnetism, which is distinct, according to our view, from animal magnetism. It is not yet known to what extent the imagination and will of man are powers. It is evident that in certain cases nature obeys them: the sick suddenly recover health, inert objects change their position without any apparent motive force, visible and palpable forms are produced; the cause of all this is God for one set, the Devil for the other, and no one reflects that God is too great to condescend to conjuring tricks, and that the Devil, if he exists, as portrayed in legends, would be too intelligent and too proud to consent to be made ridiculous.
All exclusive religions rely on miracles, and each attributes to the Devil the miracles of its opposing Faith. In this latter they are all to a certain extent right. The Devil is ignorance, the demons are false Gods. Now all false Gods perform miracles, the true God works only one, which is that of the eternal Order.
The miracles of the Gospel are the wondrous operations of the Divine Spirit, related in an enigmatical style, as is the custom of the ancients and of
[paragraph continues] Orientals especially. That spirit changes water into wine, that is to say indifference into love; it walks on the waters, and with a word stills tempests; it opens the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf; it makes the dumb to speak, and the paralytic to walk. It resuscitates humanity buried for four days (that is for four thousand years); it shows it in its putrefaction like Lazarus, and ordains that it be released from its bonds and from its shroud. Such are the true miracles of Christ, but if they ask him for prodigies, be replies, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign and there shall no sign be given to it, but that of the prophet Jonas." Here the Master gives us to understand that the miracles of the Bible are also allegories. Jonas issuing alive from the fish that has swallowed him is humanity which regenerates itself. Jesus gave to the Jews as incontestable miracles the holiness of his doctrine and the example of his virtues.
Jesus may certainly have healed the sick; since Vespasian, Apollonius, Gassner, Mesmer, and the Zouave Jacob have also healed the sick; sick people too may have been healed at Lourdes, as at the tomb of the deacon Paris; but such cures are not miracles, they are the natural results of a certain exaltation in Faith. Jesus Christ said so himself. "Can you cure me?" asked a certain sick person; "If thou canst believe," said the Master, "all things are possible to him that believeth."
Faith produces certain apparent miracles, and credulity exaggerates them. When Jesus said that all
was possible to Faith, he did not mean by this to say that the impossible could ever become the possible.
The impossible is that which is absolutely contrary to the immutable laws of nature, and to the eternal Reason. 1
Every man is a magnetic focus, which attracts and radiates. That attraction and that projection are what are called in magic the inspiration and respiration. The good inspire and respire good, the wicked attract and respire evil; the good may heal the body, because they make the souls better, the wicked do harm both to souls and bodies. Often the wicked attract good to corrupt it, and the good attract evil to change it into good. Thus it is that at times the wicked seem to prosper, whilst the good are victims of their own virtues; but they grossly deceive themselves who fancy that Tiberius at Capri was happier than Mary at the foot of the cross of her son. What pleasure nevertheless was wanting to Tiberius, what suffering to Mary? And yet how happy a mother, 2 how miserable an Emperor!
Honey changes to gall 1 in the mouths of the wicked and gall into honey in the mouths of the just. The innocent man, sacrificed, is deified by his punishment; the guilty man, triumphant, is branded and burnt by his diadem.
Let us now touch the dangerous and darkness-shrouded coasts of magic, the intercourse with the other world, the contact with the invisibles, Theurgy and the evocation of spirits.
Everything proves to us that there exist other intelligent beings than man. The Hierarchy of spirits must be infinite as that of bodies. The mysterious ladder of Jacob is the Biblical Symbol of this Hierarchy ascending and descending. God rests upon that ladder or rather he sustains it. We may say that that ladder is in him, or rather that it is He, Himself, for it is as a God, and to manifest God, that the Infinite ascends and descends.
At each rundle the Spirit which rises is equal to the one that descends, and can take his hand; but he still must needs follow him who ascends in front of him. This is a law which those who make evocations should seriously meditate.
To ascend eternally is the hope of the blessed; to descend eternally is the threat that weighs upon the reprobated.
Men invoke superior spirits, but they can only evoke inferior spirits.
Superior spirits whom men invoke attract them upwards; inferior spirits whom men evoke draw them downwards. 1
Invocation is prayer, evocation is sacrilege, except when it is a very dangerous devotion.
But the rash mortals who plunge into evocations have no thoughts of making the spirit whom they call ascend with them; they want to lean on it to rise by, and must necessarily lose their balance in leaning on what is descending.
The spirit which descends is as a load to him who would raise it, and it necessarily drags down him who abandons himself to it! To renounce the reason to follow the inspirations of a phantom, this is to plunge into the abyss of madness.
The great epoch of Theurgy was that of the fall of the ancient Gods. Maximus of Ephesus invoked them before Julian, because men had ceased to invoke them; they had sunk below even the reason of the common people; also to Julian they appeared thin, poor, and decrepit. Julian, fanaticised by the magic of the past, wished to take these infirm immortals on his back, as Æneas saved his father from the
conflagration of Troy, and the arrogant philosopher fell under the burthen of his Gods.
We cannot see the Gods without dying. This is one of the most formidable axioms of ancient Theurgy, for the Gods are the immortals; to see them we must Pass out of our Plane into theirs and enter into incorporeal life, and if this be Possible without dying, it is only so in an imaginary or fictitious manner, or by an illusion resembling that of dreams. We must conclude that every apparition which we survive can only be a dream; when a vision of the other world is real, either the seer dies, or rather is already dead when he sees it. 1 This which we
write has assuredly no sense for the learned materialists who do not believe in another life, but these are compelled, in defiance of all evidence, to deny the phenomena of magnetism and spiritism; and cannot, therefore, be sincere-the true savants are those who believe.
The danger lies in believing without knowing; for then one believes in the absurd, that is to say in the impossible. The old French language had a word to express rash belief; it was the verb cuyder, whence is derived our word outrecuidance, which signifies a ridiculous and presumptuous confidence.
Theurgy is a dream pushed to the most terrifying realism in a man who believes himself awake. It is attained by weakening and exciting the brain, by fasts, meditations and watching. Asceticism is the father of nightmares and the creator of demons, the most grotesque and deformed. Paracelsus thought
that real Larvæ 1 might be engendered by the nocturnal illusions of celibates. The ancients believed in the existence of daimones, a race of malicious genii who floated about in the atmosphere. St. Paul seems to admit these when he talks of the powers of the air against whom we have to fight; the Kabalists peopled the four elements, and named their inhabitants Sylphs, Undines, Gnomes and Salamanders. Young, hysterically disposed virgins in the middle ages used to see White Ladies appear near springs; in those days they called such phantoms fairies; nowadays when the same phenomena repeat themselves, people are persuaded that the Virgin has shown herself on earth, and they found churches and organise pilgrimages, which still bring in a great deal of money despite the decline of Faith. We must not insist in matters of Religion on enlightening the multitude too soon. 2 There are people who could no
longer believe in God if they ceased to believe in our Lady of Lourdes. Let us leave the consolation of the dream to those who do not yet know bow to apply the remedy of reason to their ills. Illusions are better than despair; it is better to do good through a misconception than to do evil through the weakness of a rebellious reason and anæmia of the conscience.
Moses, in causing the construction of the Ark of Alliance, made a concession to the idolatry of the Jewish populace, and the golden calves of Samaria were later only counterfeits of the Keroubim of the ark; these Keroubim or Cherubim were two-headed Sphinxes; there were two Cherubim and four heads, one of a child, the other of a bull, the third of a lion and the fourth of an eagle. It was a reminiscence of the Gods of the Egyptians, Horus, Apis, Celurus, and Hermomphta; symbols of the four elements 1 and signs of the four cardinal points of the heaven they served as emblems of the four cardinal virtues--prudence, temperance, strength and justice. These four hieroglyphic figures have remained in the Christian Symbology and they have been made the insignia of the four evangelists.
The Catholic Church has condemned the breakers of images, and yet well knew that images are but idols; the word idol in Greek signifies nothing else but an image, and the pagans no more believed that a statue of Jupiter was Jupiter, than we believe that an image
of the Virgin is the Virgin in person. They believed, as we do, in a possible manifestation of the divinity through such images; they had like ourselves statues that wept, that rolled their eyes, and sang at sunrise; we have, like them, our mythology, and the Golden Legend might form a sequel to the Metamorphoses of Ovid. Nothing destroys itself in the universal Revelation, but everything transforms and continues itself; the manifestation of God produces itself in the human genius by successive approximations and by progressive changes. God is always the ideal of human perfection, which grows in grandeur as man raises himself. God did not speak once, to hold his peace ever after. He speaks, as he creates, always.
Torquemada and Fénélon were both Christians and Catholics, and yet the God of Fénélon resembles in nothing the God of Torquemada. St. Frances of Sales and Father Garassus do not speak of God in at all the same manner, and the Catholicism of Monsignor Dupanloup hardly bears any likeness to that of Louis Venillot.
The Protestants have levelled everything. They have denied all they could not understand, and they hardly understand what they affirm, but Revelation does not retreat; she is not impoverished, but adds always something to the mysterious riches of her dogma; the Rabbis, to throw light on the obscurities of the Bible, redouble the darkness in the Talmud, and the Christian ages have given, as a sequel to and commentaries on the incredible accounts of the Gospels, the impossible Legends of the Lives of the
[paragraph continues] Saints. To those who deny the infallibility of the Church, we reply with the infallibility of the Pope. Always the enigma is made more complicated to prevent fools from guessing it, for all Dogma is a philosophical enigma.
TRINITY, or the three in one, signifies UNITY. INCARNATION, or God made man, that signifies HUMANITY. REDEMPTION, or all lost through one and saved by one, that indicates our mutual interdependence, the SOLIDARITY of the race.
UNITY, HUMANITY, SOLIDARITY, this will be the Trilogy of the future; pacific solution of the Revolutionary problem LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY.
Truly it is Social Unity alone that can guarantee the liberty of nations by creating Universal Right; it is before Humanity alone and not before Nature that men are equal; and it is the mutual interdependence or solidarity which alone proves fraternity. But how many ages must elapse before these Truths, simple as they are, will be understood?
Catholicism is official occultism and rests entirely upon mystery. The secret of the sanctuaries has been profaned, but has not been explained.
dipus thought to kill the Sphinx, and the plague fell upon Thebes. His hostile brothers still fight and slay each other once more. The grand Symbols of the Past are the prophecies of the Future; mysteries and miracles, such must be the Religion for the masses whom it is essential to make feel keenly what they do not understand, so that they may permit themselves to be led. This is the secret of the sanctuary, and the
magists of all times have understood it. The weak can only remain united under the surveillance and responsibility of the strong; the strong emancipate themselves. If there had never been shepherds, there would have been no tame sheep; if dogs were free, that is to say wild, they would have to be hunted like wolves: and truly, the vulgar are either wolves or sheep; it is servitude alone that saves them.
The great secret of Freemasonry is nothing else than the science of nature. It has long since been divulged, but people still swear to preserve it eternally, thus rendering homage to the eternal principle of occultism.
The true Initiates are shepherds and conquerors, they raise the sheep and conquer the wolves; this was, in the beginning, the sublime mission of the Church, but in this sheepfold of the Lord, the wolves have become shepherds and the flocks have fled away.
The true Church must be one, and not divided into numerous sects; it must be holy, and not hypocritical or greedy; it must be universal, and not restricted to a privileged circle that repels almost the whole of Humanity. In a word it must attach itself to a common centre, which in the Roman world was Rome,. but which is no more irrevocably Rome than Jerusalem. "The wind bloweth where it listeth," said the Master, and so is every one that is born of the Spirit. " . . . wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together."
The Catholic Church ought to be the House Mother of universal indulgence. She does not
tolerate merely, she absolves; she ought to excommunicate religious hatreds and bless even her children who have strayed. It is through the Catholic faith that all sincere believers, no matter what creed they profess, belong to the soul of the Church, provided they practise natural morality and seek the truth in sincerity of heart. Let only a Pope appear who will loudly proclaim these consolatory truths, and invite all the nations of the earth to an universal jubilee, and a new era will dawn for the Christian Religion.
Glory to God in all that is great, and peace and good will to men on Earth! It was by this cry of universal love that the genius of the Gospels, announced in old days the birth of the Saviour of the world.
The Official Church represents the Occult Church as the castes of society represent the natural Hierarchy; the Priests, the Nobility and the People represent the men of devotion, the men who are superior in intelligence and the men who are inferior.
The true priests of Humanity are the sincere philanthropists; the true kings are the men of genius; the true nobles, the men of intelligence and lofty sentiments; the common mass is the great flock of the voluntarily ignorant and poltroons. A simple soldier faithful to his flag is surely greater than a Marshal of France who betrays his country.
An honest rag-picker is more noble than a vicious prince; eminent men in all departments have risen from the people, and kings and queens have been seen dragging themselves through the mire. Every
intelligent and virtuous man may deserve admission to the highest initiation; the profane are only fools or knaves.
The initiate is a man of no party; he desires only unity, mutual indulgence and peace. He has no opinions, for truth is not an opinion; for him all hostilities are errors, and all curses, crimes.
Before the abuses of the Romish Church, protestation is a right and consequently a truth; but Protestantism is a sect, and therefore a falsehood. Catholicity, that is to say Universality, is the character of true religion, it is therefore a truth, but Catholicism is a party and consequently a falsehood. When abuses have ceased, protestation will no longer have any reason to exist, and when Catholicity shall have been established throughout the world, there will he no more Catholicism at Rome.
In the meantime, as one cannot live respectably 1 without religion, and as it is impossible and absurd to stand alone in religion, since the very word religion signifies a thing that binds men to one another, 2 each can and ought to follow the usages and rights of the communion in which he was born. 3 All religions
have a respectable side and a defective side. Let us no more break each other's Idols, but let us lead all men gently out of Idolatry. One must learn to endure patiently in Catholic Churches the noise of the ceremonial, and of the halberd of the Swiss, to weary oneself in all gravity and respect in the Protestant temples, to keep serious in the Synagogue and the Mosque despite the muffled heads of the Rabbis and the contortions of the Dervishes. All this must have its time.
One religion passes away, but Religion remains one man dies, but humanity dies not; one woman ceases to love or be lovable, but woman is ever worthy of respect and love; one rose fades all too soon, but the rose is an imperishable flower, and blooms anew in every spring. Let us make use of Religions for the sake of Religion, love men for the sake of humanity, and women for the love of woman; let us seek the rose amidst the roses, and we shall never find deception or despair.
But because we are men, we must not insist on the children being men. We must not beat them because
they fall, nor use them harshly because they do not understand things that are above their age. We must not rob them of their Punches and their dolls; they adore them; later they will break them; mamma will give them others, and papa will have nothing to say.
The Sacred Books of all nations in all times have been collections of fables; they are the books and pictures made for the instruction of children.
They are generally collective works resuming all the knowledge and all the highest aspirations of one people and one epoch. They are sacred as monuments should be, and worthy of respect, as is the memory of ancestors. The Divine Spirit has assuredly inspired them, but inspired them to men and not to Gods.
They reveal God, as the tree which grows reveals the seed planted in the earth, or as the rising dough reveals the hidden leaven. This double comparison is borrowed from Jesus Christ Himself.
We have said that the absurdities of Dogma are enigmatic; they are even more systematic. The great Initiates of the Ancient World never explained their symbols except by obscure symbols. God wills to be divined, because divination is divine, as the word itself sufficiently indicates. The riddle of the Sphinx is the trial of all Neophytes, and the three-headed dog watches always at the portals of the crypt of the mysteries. In Religion, to explain is to profane; to make more obscure is to reveal.
Science and Religion are as the day and night. If reason be the sun, faith is the moon. 1 In the absence of the Sun, the Moon is the sovereign of the heavens. Let us, however, not forget that it is from the Sun that she borrows all her rays, and that true Faith can never be absurd except in seeming.
Science, has not she too her mysteries? Escape if you can out of the labyrinth of the Infinite. Do indivisible molecules really exist? Endeavour to conceive substance without extension. 2 If on the contrary matter is infinitely divisible, one grain of dust may, in the infinity of time, by the infinite number of its parts, equal the infinity of space. 3 Absurdities on all sides! Ask Marphurius; he desires to explain that the polychronic evolution of analytical concepts, in the Relative, is equal to the isochronism
of the synthetical concept in the Absolute, and he thence concludes that the synchretism of the Abstract is analogous to the synchretism of the Concrete.--Cabricias arciturane!
The mysteries of faith are borrowed for the most part from the mysteries of science; for instance, is not light one, in three rays of different colours? In its triplicity it is blue, yellow and red, in its unity it is white. This Trinity gives seven shades of colour; here we have the sacred septenary. 1 Light produces
As regards the little problem which E. O. invites Western Mathematicians to explain, it is simple enough. There is no mystery in it; it is a necessary consequence of the hypotheses involved in the
premises. First the hypothesis involved in the description, to speak mathematically, of the figure we call a circle, the equality of all radii, and second the hypothesis that we are to use only equal circles. The proof is too long to insert, but it all proceeds from the known geometrical facts that where two circles touch, the line joining their centres passes through the point of contact; that where three circles touch the three lines joning their centres compose an equilateral and equiangular triangle; that the interior angles of a triangle are collectively equal to one-half of the angular extension round a point, and that each angle of an equilateral triangle is equal to one-sixth of this, and that consequently, only six such triangles, exactly this number and no more, can radiate from any point; that though the first belt may look circular, the second and succeeding ones cannot be constructed according to the terms of the problem except as hexagons, when again the properties (also the result of the hypothesis of construction) of the equilateral triangle come into play, and thus it is perfectly easy to demonstrate, that, not as a matter of mystery, but as a result following necessarily on the adopted premises, if there be n belts, then the nth must contain six n discs or circles.
It seems useless to argue with Eastern adepts--from the time of the Gymnosophists, who taught Pythagoras, they have always, verbally at any rate, confounded things and their symbols. There is p. 125 nothing sacred in the number seven; it is a memoria technica of hidden combinations, etc., which combinations, etc., are or may be held to be sacred, but as for the symbol 7, or the word seven, there is nothing sacred in either, the sanctity, if any, pertains to the mysteries they recall, and in no way to the symbol or word. Had our language called 6+1, pig, or used--as the symbol for this, then pig and--would have been as sacred as seven and 7.
On the other hand to those who ridicule and reject the facts of the occultists on the ground that according to them the universe is built up upon one numerical system, and that everything is in sevens or threes, it may be useful to point out that even in this little world of ours we have instances of the persistent adherence of nature to particular numbers. Thus 3 and multiples of this rule the inflorescence of all endogens and 4 and 5 that of all exogens; and thousands of other instances can be given, so that the general rejection of occult views of the universe, on account of a symmetry in them, which is over hastily concluded to be unnatural, and, therefore, artificial and false, is not really warranted, even by our little learning. And as to 3 and 7, the latter grows necessarily out of the former, since 7 is the greatest possible number of products of three things taken, 1, 2 or 3 together.
As for the seven impostors, dæmons, these were also considered, by some, to represent the cycle of necessity, which, according to them, beginning with Mars, ran through Jupiter and Saturn to the earth, p. 126 and thence through Mercury and Venus to the sun. But though the Tibetan Brotherhood tell us that man does pass hence first to Mercury, they tell us that the Planet on which we lived immediately previous to our advent on this Earth was Mars and their account of the worlds that make up our cycle of necessity is quite different from that above referred to. But though according to this latter Saturn, and not Mars, was the Planet from which we last came, it does not follow that the Planet we call Saturn was really meant, or that the several Planets to which occultism has attached the sings, and names of the Planets known to the Astronomers of old, are really these very Planets. On the contrary, as a rule it may generally be concluded that when occultism says anything, it means something else. Words, like the names of planets, precious stones, minerals, plants, etc., always had two meanings--one, the palpable obvious one, which; if accepted, leads entirely astray, for the uninitiated; and the other, the artificial one, which gives the real fact for the initiated. This is what has, and I maintain rightly so, brought more discredit on occultism than anything else, and which must engender disbelief in or contempt for it, in the world at large, so long as it is persisted in. But the adepts of all schools have always been so tied down, by the vows and spiritual conditions (which it therefore no longer remains in a man's option to subsequently disregard) of the successive initiations, that they can, in many matters, not speak save in this deceptive phraseology, to' those not initiated, and p. 127 these in their turn, as they progress, become by the immutable laws of the associations to which they belong, similarly tongue-tied and mind-bound; and, as to many things, the only hope for the world at large lies in the gradual development of the higher races on earth, who will, untaught in these schools, work out anew their knowledge for themselves, and untied by laws and conditions, now rapidly becoming an anachronism, give freely of all their store to all men. In this direction the authors of The Perfect Way have made the first important step.
Of course, as to many matters, witness the facts given in the introduction, the adepts can speak more plainly, and are, nowadays, some of them, not so unwilling to speak as they have always hitherto been, but there remain the highest and most important laws of which, I am informed, they neither will nor can speak, save only to those who have been initiated, and are therefore for ever precluded from revealing the truth to any non -initiated.--Trans.
forms, it is incarnate in living beings, it dies to revive, and buys back each morning our hemisphere from
the slavery of the night. Dupuis concluded thence that Jesus Christ was the Sun; a fine discovery! It
is as though one professed that a sphere of cardboard was positively the Universe.
Religion is a force which escapes from the impious and against which they break themselves. Punch will never succeed in killing the Devil, for the Devil is a caricature of God, and this caricature belongs to
those who have made it. It remains in their eyes, it fascinates and pursues them. If all the blind could coalesce to exterminate those who can see, could they even then extinguish the Sun?
The masses are blind and foolish and must be led by the seers and the sages. But when those whose duty it is to lead the blind, become blind, when the keepers of the mad go mad themselves, there result falls and appalling disorders. This is the history of all revolutions.
The use of brute force to repress disorder provokes inevitable and terrible reactions when that force has not the support of justice and Truth: for then it becomes fateful 1 and balances, necessarily, action by reaction. War authorises reprisals, because in war,
according to the cynical saying of a great German diplomatist, it is might that makes right; and indeed despotism, whether of kings or mobs, is war; the authority of the Law and the empire of justice is peace. Social Unity is the end and aim of civilisation and transcendental politics, an end at which, from the time of Nimrod, all great conquerors and profound statesmen have aimed. The Assyrians, the Medes, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, all sought to absorb the world. Bacchus, Hercules, Alexander, Caesar, Peter the Great, Napoleon, had no other dream; the Popes thought to realise it under the name of Religion, and it was a grand idea; but Germany nowadays opposes mathematics to the enthusiastic onrush of beliefs, and swells day, by day her exchequer. The Emperor, one of the two pillars of the world, is now again erect, and he is no longer Roman. Rome on one side, and on the other the whole world-the balance is no longer equal; we should necessarily require a cosmopolitan Pope, when we had an universal Emperor.
High magic is at once Religion and Science. This alone harmonises contraries by explaining the laws of equilibrium and of analogies. This alone can make sovereign Pontiffs infallible and Monarchs absolute; the Sacerdotal art is also the Royal art, and Count Joseph de Maistre was not deceived when, despairing of extinguished beliefs and enfeebled powers, he
turned his glances, against his will, towards the sanctuaries of Occultism. It is thence that salvation will come, and already it is revealing itself to the most advanced intelligences.
Freemasonry, which has so frightened the Court of Rome, is not so terrible as people think; it has lost its ancient lights, but has preserved its symbols and its rites which belong to Occult Philosophy; it still gives the titles and the ribbons of the Rosy Cross, but the true Rosicrucians are no longer in its Lodges; they are what they have been from the beginning--philosophers and unknown. Paschalis, Martines and St. Martin have successors who do not meet in regular assemblies. Their Lodge is said to be in the great Pyramid of Egypt, an expression, allegorical and mystical, which the innocent and ignorant are at liberty to take literally.
There is one thing more incontestably infallible than the Pope, and that is mathematics. Truths rigorously demonstrated force the mind to suppositions which we may call the necessary hypotheses. These hypotheses, if I may so express myself, are the scientific objects of Faith. But the imagination, exalted by an infinite want to believe and love, draws incessantly from this rational objective paradoxical deductions; to curb licence and mystic fantasies, there must be an authority touching reason on the one side and mysticism on the other; this authority, dogmatically infallible, has no need to, and cannot, he so scientifically. Science and Faith are the two columns of the Temple; they support its portico.
If they were both on the same side, the structure must fall on the other.
It is their separation and parallelism which should eternally maintain equilibrium. 1
The comprehension of this principle would put a stop to a misconception of too long standing and would bring peace to many souls. In truth between science and faith no real antagonism can subsist. All that has been demonstrated becomes unassailable, and it is impossible to believe in what one knows positively not to be true. Galileo knew that the earth turned, but he knew also that the authority of the Church is unassailable because the Church is necessary. The Church has no authority in matters
of science, but can oppose with all her power the dissemination of particular scientific truths which she judges to be at the moment prejudicial to the Faith. People very generally believed in Galileo's time that the popularisation of the system of Copernicus would give the lie to the Bible. Forced later to admit that system, because it was demonstrated it became of course necessary to find means of reconciling the difference; the earth in fact turns, but the Church remains infallible, even when it declares that it is no longer itself, but our Holy Father the Pope, who is infallible. 1
This is not said ironically; the Pope is infallible because it is necessary that he should be so, and he really is so, for those who believe it, since his infallibility only extends to matters of Faith.
The work of science is to detach Faith from the letter and attach it to the spirit; in proportion as science rises, Faith is exalted.
The eternal Evangel is like the cloud that led the Jews in the wilderness; it has one face of shadow and one face of light; the face of shadow is its mystery, the face of light its reason. The shadow is spread over the letter, the light emanates from the spirit.
There is the Gospel of Faith and the Gospel of Science. Moreover Science renders Faith impregnable; those who doubt do not know. 2
Ignorant faith only preserves itself by obstinacy, and obstinacy in ignorance is only fanaticism.
Whoso believes without knowing, but without fanaticism, will very soon begin to doubt, and that doubt can only have as its result either knowledge or indifference.
We must learn, or cease to believe. To cease to believe is easier, but for the soul to cease to believe is to cease to love; and to cease to love, is to cease to live.
Fanatics are sick, but still they are living; the indifferent are dead.
Blind beliefs do not improve mankind; they may restrain them through fear or allure them by hope, but fear and desire are not virtues. A dog may restrain his appetite under fear of the whip, but he none the less remains, greedy, he only adds cowardice to greed. So to believe to any good purpose, we must know. It has been said that a little science detaches from God, and that a great deal of science leads us back again to Him; this saying must be explained by stating that a commencement of Science and Philosophy detaches man from the God of the
foolish, while the acquisition of much of these brings him to the God of the wise.
The Magist has no need to formulate his faith in God, 1 he feels in himself that supreme power of the True and the God, which animates, sustains, fortifies and consoles him. What need have we to define the light when one can see it? What avails it to prove life, when one is alive? When St. Paul was converted, say the Acts of the Apostles, he felt as though scales had fallen from his eyes.
The scales which cover the eyes of our souls are the vain conceits of a rash theology and the unhealthy
sophisms of a false philosophy. The initiates are the seers and for the thoughtful, to see is to know, to know is to will, to will is to dare; but to dare with success, we must will and know how to be silent.
"Never be zealous," said Talleyrand, and the same diplomatist averred that speech was given us to disguise our thoughts. This political mummery is not to our taste; we do not say disguise; we say reclothe and chastely veil that Virgin that we call thought, for our thought is not a thought of personal interest and falsehood; the Veil of the sanctuary is not like the curtain of comedy; it is rent at times, but it never rises. 1
The initiate avoids with care all eccentricity; he thinks as do the most enlightened, and speaks as do the mass. If he explores cross roads it is only to reach more surely and quickly the grand route; he knows that true thoughts are like running water. Those of the Past flow in the Present, and roll on towards the Future without our needing to toil backwards to their source to find them; and he allows himself to be tranquilly borne onwards by the current, but he holds ever to mid-stream, never bruising himself against the rocks that line its banks.
Let us now sum up, laying down those unalterable principles that will serve alike as a basis and a crown to all we have written.
Man has two means of attaining certainty-mathematics and common sense.
There may be truths which outrun common sense, there are none which contradict mathematics.
"He who, outside pure mathematics, pronounces the word impossible, lacks prudence," (Arago), which means that outside of pure mathematics there is no complete, universal and absolute certainty.
Outside complete, universal and absolute certainty there are only beliefs or opinions.
Beliefs and opinions cannot be demonstrated; men choose them as a matter of taste or accept them as a matter of policy.
Useful opinions ought to be encouraged, and dangerous or noxious ones should be repressed. This explains the necessary struggle between conservatives and innovators; only conservatives become
persecutors when they consider, or affect to believe, dangerous what is evidently useful. 1
Pure mathematics exist by themselves; no will produces them, no power can limit them. 2 They are
eternal Laws, that no man can infringe, and from which it is impossible to escape.
A thing may appear absurd and be true when it is above common sense, 1 but a thing contrary to the laws of mathematics is really and absolutely absurd, and whoso believes in such an absurdity is a fool.
The sign of the cross, which is the intersection of two lines, equilibrilised one by the other, has always been considered as a divine symbol. It is the Tau of the ancient Hebrews, the Chi (x) of the Greeks and Christians; in mathematics this sign + represents the infinite, and x the unknown; + signifies plus or more, and the Infinite is always more. 2 Develop science as you will, mark its first step with Alpha, its last with Omega, and you will still always have
before you the unknown, which you must recognise, and your formula remains Ω + x; 1 all that we learn is wound off that unknown which is never wholly unwound, it is this which produces all things; not knowing what it is, we personify it and call it God. 2
Once it seemed as if this personification was realised on earth, but the God-Man died upon the cross, that is on the eternal x, and the cross alone remains, for us.
The hypothetical personification of the Infinite can only be infinite and excludes, necessarily, individual unity. Every individuality is limited by some other, unless it suppresses all others; God, on the contrary, being the principle of all individualities, cannot be an individual. It is on this account that he is said to be one in several Persons. Three is a mystic number which represents the generation of all numbers.
God never speaks to men, except through men, and does nothing in nature save through the Laws of Nature.
The supernatural is that which outsteps our natural intelligence and our knowledge of the Laws of Nature.
God, even, ought not to be considered as supernatural by the Theologians, since they reason upon the Nature of God.
The Fathers at the Council of Nice have furnished a substance to God by affirming that the Son is of the same substance as the Father. Moreover if it be impossible to admit, without confounding them, a finite substance and an infinite substance, the decision of the Council of Nice might furnish arguments to the pantheists and even to the materialists.
If God, as says Catholicism, has created us to know, love, and serve him, and by these means obtain eternal life, and if, as said Jesus Christ, that which we do to a neighbour we do to God, it follows that God has created men, to know, love, and serve each other and by these means attain Eternal Life.
The true worship of God, then, must be philanthropy.
And every Religion which does not inspire, augment and perfect philanthropy must be a false Religion.
A Religion, the consequence of which is the reprobation and eternal punishment of the majority of men or of some men, or even of one single man, does not inspire Philanthropy.
This does not touch the true Catholic doctrine, which only employs reprobation as a threat, and is in reality salvation offered to all men.
He who loves not remains in the death, said St. John, and those cast away by Philanthropy are those who will not love.
If God were, as is ridiculously supposed, an Omnipotent Personage who laid stress upon being honoured by certain special ceremonies, he would have revealed those ceremonies in a manner, evident and incontestable to all men, and there would be only one form of religious worship on earth, but such is not the case, and what he has given to all is the need and the duty of loving. Philanthropy is therefore the true and the only Religion, really Catholic, that is to say Universal.
Every word of blessing and love is the Word of God, and every word of malediction and hate is the cry of Human Wickedness, which men have personified, calling it the Devil.
An act of Philanthropy, even the most imperfect, is more religious and meritorious than all the fasts, all the genuflexions, and all the prayers.
The attraction which draws together the sexes is not philanthropic; on the contrary it is often the most brutal of all egoisms.
This attraction only merits the name of Love when it is sanctified by sentiments of self-devotion and sacrifice.
The man who kills a woman because she no longer loves him is a coward and an assassin, which however does not justify adultery; but all that can be said in regard to this has been said by Jesus Christ.
Law should be always rigorous; justice indulgent.
The little suffer for the great, but the great also must answer for the little. The rich will pay the debt of the poor. 1
The best things when corrupted become worse than the bad ones. What more venerable than the Priesthood, yet what more contemptible than a bad Priest? But the duties of the Priesthood are so sublime and so lifted above human nature, that every priest who is not a saint is bad. This explains the discredit that falls upon the Priesthood in periods when the religious sentiment is feeble. The Gospels tell its that Christ found a good thief, but they nowhere tell its that he met with a good priest!
The good Priest is self-sacrifice incarnate; he is Philanthropy raised to a divine ideal; the bad Priest is one who sells prayers and takes the sacred vases for his cooking pots.
All that does good is good; all that does ill is bad.
All that gives us pleasure seems to as good, and all that inconveniences or afflicts us seems bad; but we often deceive ourselves, and these errors are "the extenuating circumstances" of sin.
It is impossible to love evil for its own sake, knowing what it is, and without its having some appearance of good.
Evil has no real existence, or, to put it better, it does not exist in an absolute manner. That which ought not to be, is not: that is certain and incontestable. 1
That which we call evil exists as the shadow necessary to the manifestation of light; metaphysical evil is error, physical evil is pain; but error is excusable when it is involuntary. To know perfectly
that we are deceiving ourselves, and yet to persist is no longer deceiving ourselves; it is seeking to deceive others. As for physical pain, it is the preservative from, and the remedy for, the abuse of pleasure; it exercises the patience of the wise, admonishes the thoughtless and chastises the wicked. It is, therefore, rather a good than an evil.
Disorder in nature is never more than apparent, and all alleged miracles are either exceptional phenomena or conjuring tricks.
When you see a phenomenon contrary in appearance to the laws demonstrated by Mathematics, 1 be
sure either that you have observed imperfectly or that you have been duped, or that you have been hallucinated.
Truth needs no miracles, and no miracles can prove a falsehood.
The general laws of nature are known to science, but neither all the Forces nor all the Agents are yet known. A glimpse has been obtained of animal magnetism which certainly exists, but science treats it as a problem which it has not attempted to solve.
People always ask why the extraordinary phenomena of magnetism are never produced in the presence of men of learning. 1 It is because few men of learning who witness a phenomenon inexplicable to themselves would have the courage to attest its occurrence.
The light that we see is only one portion of the infinite light. It is those few rays of our sun which are en rapport with our visual apparatus. Our sun
himself is but a lamp suited to our benightedness; it is but a point luminous in space which would be darkness to the eyes of our body, and which is resplendent for the intuition of our souls.
The word magnetism expresses the action and not the nature of the great universal agent which serves as mediator between thought and life. This agent is the infinite light or rather (for the Light is only a phenomenon) is the light bearer, the great Lucifer of Nature, the mediator between matter and spirit, 1 which the ignorant and impostors call the Devil, and which is the first creature of God.
What is more absurd and more impious than to give to the Devil, that is to say to Evil personified, the name of Lucifer which signifies Light-bearer?
The intellectual Lucifer is the spirit of intelligence and love; it is the Paraclete, it is the Holy spirit, and the physical Lucifer is the great agent of Universal Magnetism.
To personify evil and make of it an intelligence, a rival to God, which can moreover understand and can no more love, this is a monstrous fiction. To believe that God permits this evil intelligence to deceive
and destroy his feeble creatures already so weak in themselves, is to make of God a Personage more wicked even than the Devil; for God, in taking from the Devil the possibility of repenting and loving, himself forces him to do evil. Moreover a spirit of error and falsehood can only be a thinking folly, and does not even deserve the appellation of spirit. The Devil is the opposite of God, therefore if God defines himself as the one who IS, the Devil must be he who is NOT.
We must seek the spirit of the Dogmas, while receiving in its integrity their letter, such as the sacerdotal Sphinx transmits it to us. This letter is obviously absurd, in order that we may seek further and higher. It is certain that to act one must be, and that to sin one must have a conscience, and that, therefore, one cannot be born guilty; that one cannot make anything out of nothing; that God cannot be a man, nor a man God; that God can neither suffer nor die; that a woman who gives birth to a child cannot be a virgin, etc., etc. No one, then, can seriously affirm the contrary of these truths, so palpable and evident, without warning us that there is a mystery in it, that is to say a hidden sense which must be extracted and understood under pain of becoming either an unbeliever or a fool.
That which excuses the so-called Atheists is the deplorable conception that the masses make for
themselves of God. Men have endowed Him with all their own vices, and have imagined they were making Him great by exaggerating these to paradoxical proportions. Thus for an example:
Pride.--God has for object only His own Glory! He looks for this glory in the abasement of His rivals--as if He could have any; He tortures for eternity His miserable creatures--for His glory; He has killed His son--for His glory!
Avarice.--Absolute master of all good things, he gives to the larger number of his children only misery, and distributes his favours to the smaller number, only slowly and parsimoniously.
Envy.--He is the jealous God. He proscribes liberty; He leads astray the reason of the wise, and favours by preference the ignorant and the idiotic.
Greed.--He is never satiated with the flesh of His victims; under the old law He required holocausts of bulls, under the new he sniffs the steam of human victims burning in auto da fés.
Luxury.--He must have Virgins like the Minotaur; he has his seraglios of languishing amorous damsels, and monks tortured by obscene nightmares; he has invented celibacy to create phantoms, more immodest than all the Roman orgies, and unnatural dreams.
Anger.--The main topic of the sacred books and collections of sermons is the wrath of God. His fury lets loose pestilences, and in his implacable rage he hollows out a hell for all eternity.
Sloth.--After a repose of an eternity, he works during six days. 1 His work consisted in giving daily one order, and after giving these six orders he felt the necessity of. resting, and how was St. John wrong when, after having represented evil under the form of a monster with seven heads, he tells us that men prostrated themselves before and adored this beast? 2
St. John adds that Anti-Christism must animate the image of this beast, and make it speak, and that the world will prostrate itself before this living simulacrum of human folly. Let us beware of thinking that this could ever be realised in the Person of a sovereign Pontiff of Catholicism; doubtless reference is here made to sonic Antipope or Perhaps to the grand Lama of Tibet!
St. Vincent de Lerius says that that alone pertains to the true Catholic or universal Dogma, which has been admitted at all times, in all places, and by every one. 3 This would simplify symbology marvellously and prodigiously enlarge the Church.
It is customary to reply to those who take objections to the teachings of the Theologians, are you stronger minded than St. Augustine? Have you more genius than Bossuet? more intelligence than Fénélon? These questions are very ridiculous, when the matter at issue is one of common sense. I am certainly less versed in mathematics than Pascal, and yet had I lived in the time of that great man, and had he said or allowed it to be said before me that two and two make five, I should have reckoned his great authority as nothing, and should have continued to believe, or rather to know, that two and two make four.
The great and learned men who have held their tongues, or have spoken in a certain manner, have had assuredly their own reasons for speaking or keeping silence. High truths are not suitable for low souls; there must be fables for children, and threats for cowards; there must be absurdities for folly and mysteries for credulity. It is through blackened glasses that we can alone gaze on the sun; looked at through a clear glass, it seems to us black, and blinds us. God is for us as a sun; we must walk by his light with lowered eyes: if one tries to gaze fixedly on Him our sight fails us. The most dangerous and the saddest of sciences is Theology, for it constitutes itself wrongly a science of God. Rather is it a
science of the foolishness of man when it seeks to explain the inscrutable mystery of the Divine.
The light of God sparkles in us all--it is our conscience. To do the good to which this incites us and to avoid the evil against which this warns us, these are our duties towards God.
God sows the idea in the Infinite, and the rays of the suns bring to birth the germs in the Planets. The animals have issued from the earth like the trees, but no more than the trees did they issue full formed and of full size; species have their embryotic periods as well as the individuals of each species. To imagine that God has first moulded a statue of clay, to blow later in its face and so make of it a man, is to believe a story similar to that they tell little girls about babies being dug up out of cabbage beds. Is God denied or is Glory lessened by declining to look on him as a statuary? It is nature that produces everything progressively and by slow degrees, operating ever through the orderly functions of the forces inherent in the substance, but it is the Divine word that guides the forces towards the ideal of the Form. Nature executes, she does not invent. The thoughts which are designed in matter come only from matter, though matter does not think. From the development of the first living cell, to the perfection of the Human Form, God has said to the forces of Nature,
[paragraph continues] "Let us make man," and his behest has endured through many millions of years which, before him, were but an instant. Genesis is not the natural history of man, it is the commencement of his Religious Epopee. The Primitive couple is Human unity established in the first family of believers. When God diffused over the face of man a breath of Immortality, man had already a face; what else then was he but one species of anthropoid animal? Certainly man does not descend from the ape, but the ape and man perhaps descend from the same primitive animal. Darwin's theory does not contradict the Bible, it restores to it its character of the symbolic Lion, exclusively religious; the great week of the creation is a series of Geological epochs 1 and God is said to rest when man begins to understand that the Universe moves on alone. 2
The supernatural is the eternal Paradox of the infinite desire. Man craves to assimilate himself with God, and he does so in the Catholic communion. From a Rationalistic point of view and considered in a purely natural manner, this communion is a thing of colossal extravagance. In the Catholic Communion they eat the spirit of God and the body of a man! Eat a spirit, and an infinite Spirit! What
madness! Eat the body of a man! How horrible! Theophagy, and Androphagy! What claims to immortality! And yet, 1 what can be more beautiful, more soothing, more really divine than the Catholic Communion? The religious want, innate in man, will never find more complete satisfaction; and how vividly we feel that it is true, when we believe in it Faith to a certain extent creates what she affirms; hope in the superhuman never deceives, and the Love of the divine is never a deception. The First
[paragraph continues] Communion is the coronation of the human royalty, it is the inauguration of the serious side of life, it is the apotheosis and the transfiguration of childhood, it is the most pure of all joys and the most true of all happinesses.
There is then something above both Nature and Reason to explain, justify, and satisfy the highest aspirations of both. From this point of view the Supernatural is Natural, and the paradoxical formula of the necessary hypotheses becomes perfectly reasonable. It is the human spirit that constructs the Impossible in order to attain the Infinite.
According to the Fathers of the Church, the Ancient Law was only an image and a shadow of the new Law. The astonishing stories of the Bible are but images, (they do not say allegories, the word would have been dangerous), images of the new dogma inaugurated by Jesus Christ, and the basis of this dogma is that God is personally united with humanity, and that we must love and serve God in man; in a word that we must love one another, which resumes all the Law and the prophets. There is then nothing true in the Bible which is not in conformity with the Gospels, and the spirit of the Gospels is the spirit of charity.
To love one another and not revile, curse, excommunicate, persecute or burn each other. To love one another and consequently to assist, console, support and bless one another. Charity is Humanity endowed with a Divine Principle; it is solidarity enriched by self-devotion; it is the spirit of the saints, and consequently the true spirit of the Catholic or Universal Church. Those possessed with a spirit opposed to this do not belong to the Church.
But charity in the Church ought to preserve above all things the Hierarchy and unity. 1 It is rightful to protest against the abuse of authority, but not against authority itself. 2
There exists at present a new sect of Protestants who call themselves Old Catholics, as if the child just born could call itself old, because it has had a grandfather? But the ancestors of these ridiculous Protestants were no old Catholics, who would have
died a thousand times rather than separate themselves from the Hierarchy and Authority. Their ancestors are the heretics of all ages, and their great ancestor is Satan, 1 that unsubmitting old Catholic.
If Religion is to be one, if it is to be holy, if it is to be universal, if it is to preserve and continue the chain of tradition, if it is to rest on a legitimate and hierarchical authority, if it is to realise and give what it promises, if it is to have signs of power and consolations for all, if it is to veil for feeble visions the eternal truths, if it is to unite in one sheaf all the aspirations and all the hopes of the most exacting souls, it can only be Catholic, 2 and all nations soon
or late will return to Catholicity when some God-enlightened Pope boldly disavows the petty passions, full of greed and hate, of clerical Catholicism, when a learned clergy shall be competent to reconcile the lights of Reason with the obscurities of Faith, and when worship freed from material interests shall be no longer an object of mercantile enterprise. This will be, because it ought to be, and it will then be discovered that in the Christian dogmas there are, as in the earlier portions of the Bible, images and shadows of the religion of the future, which already exists and might designate itself as Messianism, Paracletism, or better still absolute Catholicity, and which will be the light of all spirits and the life eternal of all souls.
99:1 His incessant struggles with the "idea" rooted in him by his unhappy Catholico-Romanism, having occupied and wasted all his time.--E. O.
99:2 It is at least questionable whether this be not the best, wisest, and safest position. Admitting that by a devotion to Occult Physics, two supreme gifts are attainable,--one, the preservation of the individual memory right through all the further lives on this and the other planets of our cycle, throughout a complete circuit-in other words the quasi-immortalisation of the personality; and second, the power of controlling and directing our own future after death instead of being drawn into the vortex and being there disposed of while still in a passive state under the laws of affinities; yet it is at any rate questionable whether even these, the highest gifts, which not one per cent of adepts even attain to, really profit a man in the long run. Most certainly to attain them, an utterly self-regarding life is needed in the case of men of our race. A sublime selfishness it may be, but none the less selfishness, is essential to the attainment of these highest gifts. It is at least open to doubt whether an active life of unselfishness and benevolence amongst our fellows is not more conducive to happiness in the long run. In a universe governed by a mathematical justice, we may be content to leave our future in the hands of the Eternal Laws and the immortalisation of a necessarily imperfect personality is a doubtful good. As for all other powers dependent on a manipulation of the Astral Essence, though doubtless susceptible of beneficial exercise on rare occasions, they hardly appear to me aims worthy of the Man-Divine. A p. 100 certain theoretical knowledge of the Physics of Occultism grows in the mind in its progress in the Metaphysics of the "Highest Science," but in my humble notion it is to a thorough comprehension and grasp of these latter that our best efforts should be directed. We should not waste time, seeking powers or power; we should lift no longing gaze even to the two supreme accomplishments, but we should strive so to purify our natures and permeate ourselves with an active love for the ALL, as to ensure at the recast, the evolution of a higher personality, and so to make the cognisance of the infinite unity, and all that thereby hangs a part of ourselves, as to render it a necessary intuition of the new personality. This is to be "un vrai magiste qui ne pratique point la magie," and to my mind this is, perhaps, the nobler, though, doubtless, the less attractive path.--Trans.
100:1 And above all in the Ancient Sacred Literature of India. But E. Lévi had never studied the Bhagavad-Gita and other like incarnations of the spiritual life in the flesh of the latter, or he would have been a far truer "Magiste".--Trans.
102:1 "Keep silence all who enter here," has from time immemorial been graved above the Portals of Occultism, "Gopaniyum Prayatnena," "to be kept secret with the greatest care" is the refrain of all the ancient Aryan writers on Psychism. But valid as this insistence on secrecy has been in the past, it must not be forgotten that evolution never sleeps, and that the wheel is ever turning. A new and higher race is scintillating on the dim horizon, and what are the highest secrets of one race, and intolerable to its mass, become the intuitions, if not the palpable verities, of the next.--Trans.
103:1 This entire paragraph is sophistical and insincere to a degree. It savours not of "the things which are of God but of the things which are of man"; not of occultism, but of Éliphas Leviism.--Trans.
106:1 Which leaves the question where it was, since even the highest adept can never have such an exhaustive knowledge of those laws or that Reason, as to be able to assert of anything that it is absolutely contrary to them, or hence to predicate impossibility of anything outside, as Arago said, of pure mathematics.--Trans.
106:2 The wretched Isiacs wound their breasts and imitate the grief of "the INFELICISSIMA MATER Isis" (Min. Felip. c 2 r). The return of Isis with the body of p. 107 Osiris is dated December 15th, and the search lasts seven days. (Plutarch).--E. O.
107:1 In this and many other cases it is impossible to reproduce in English that antithesis of sound (mielfiel), which, not unfrequently at some little sacrifice of sense, intensifies, so often, the epigrammatic character of our author's dicta.--Trans.
108:1 Correct.--E. O.
109:1 Here he alludes to the voluntary trance condition or Samadhi induced according to the rules of occult science. Mediumistic trance is a mode of epilepsy--E. O.
So, for that matter, I venture to submit, if words are used in their strict sense, is Samādhi. The real difference consists in the fact that a mediumistic trance is generally the result of an abnormal and quasi-defective organisation, undertaken or fallen into suddenly without the preparations essential to render it innocuous to the health, and without the mental preparations necessary to the retention of the free exercise of the mind and will, and is only partially, often not at all, under control, while Samādhi results from a long and careful series of exercises developing abnormal capacities in a normal organisation, and is preceded by a gradual training that protects the physical frame and habituates the mind and will to free exercise under p. 110 conditions that would normally cripple or wholly stupefy them, and is wholly under control.
Add that from its nature the former cannot continue many days without producing death, while the latter can continue for months without the slightest injury, unless we reckon as an injury the grave disgust for earthly fleshly life that haunts the adept for a longer or shorter period after revival.
Both are epileptic in character, the one only semi-voluntary, the other wholly voluntary; the one without, and the other with, the preliminary physical training necessary to enable the tissues and the mind to bear, unimpaired, subjection to the abnormal conditions.--Trans.
This, though true, is a quibble. No doubt elementaries and elementals belong to the Kāmaloka, and are, therefore, not strictly speaking apparitions of the other world, but the public thinks and talks of all such comparatively immaterial existences as belonging to the other world, and so here again the plain sense of the passage is at variance with what the writer knew to be true.--Trans.
111:1 This word scarcely as yet in use in English, though thoroughly Gallicised, is from the Latin, Larva, a ghost or spectre.--Trans.
111:2 Sophistry.--E. O.
I quite agree, but if for "Religion" we substitute "Occultism" my friend E. O. apparently considers that the Sophistry disappears.--Trans.
112:1 And of the fourfold nature of man; the three pairs and the outer fleshy case and analogous universal quaternions.--Trans.
117:1 "Convenablentent," the right word, most assuredly: respectably.--E. O.
117:2 Rather it signifies that which binds together the soul,--or if you will the highest couple, the 6th principle, and the spirit, (or 7th principle or monad), and the absolute, of which this is a ray.--Trans.
117:3 In other words we are by silence to consent to and add currency and vitality to what we think a falsehood. p. 118 There is a vast difference between tolerance for and gentleness with what we believe to be the errors of others, and the ease-loving timidity which shrinks from showing by its own example that it does believe them to be errors. E. Lévi looks forward to a reign of truth, but if men follow his advice, and for the sake of respectability persistently bow to falsehood, how is the usurper to be dethroned, how is the wrong to be conquered, and the right to triumph?--Trans.
120:1 These poetical illustrations are misleading. Science, real science, and religion are one; at most two faces of the Eternal Truth; allotropic forms of the same everlasting verity.--Trans.
120:2 There is no such thing; it is only nothing that has no extension; the extension of what we call immaterial things may be beyond our cognisance, but all things have extension, and extension is the essence of substance, which both is and fills space.--Trans.
120:3 Of course this is all a muddle; indivisible atoms do exist. You may say that the mind can divide them in conception, but if you could put the division into practice, the molecule would return into the unmanifested. Then he confuses matter, which is transitory, concrete and manifested, with substance, its eternal, abstract, unmanifested base.--Trans.
121:1 The Septenary is sacred. not for one, but for a thousand reasons. Take any seven coins or discs of precisely the same size. Place one in the centre and you will find that the remaining six, when arranged round it as a belt, will exactly occupy the whole circumscribing space, each touching its neighbours and the original central one. Add, with other precisely similar discs, a similar second belt outside the first, a third outside the second, a fourth outside the third, and so on. Increase it, as you may, each belt will only contain six more pieces than the preceding one, with the one central piece as the seventh. The belts will contain 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 pieces and so on, the numbers being terms of an arithmetical progression of which the increment is 6. You may continue enlarging the circumference till it covers the whole Gobi desert, but you will he unable to add more than 6 for each belt to the number of its predecessor. This may seem childish, but we invite all the western mathematicians to explain the why of it, and on this principle the Universe both in its concrete and abstract manifestations is built up.
Pythagoras speaks of the Dodekahedron as being the "Divine"--for the first circle of one and six is the central circle, the abstract, the one of nature in abscondito, and the most Occult. It is composed of the ONE, the central point, and of the six, the "number of perfection" of the Kabalists, having this perfection in itself, shared by no other, that by, the assemblage of its half, its third part, and its sixth part (one, two and three) it is made perfect. Therefore it is called "the sign of the world," for in six rounds the group of worlds attains its perfection, and during the seventh enjoys felicity, and neither nature nor beings labour or toil any more, but prepare in their perfection for Nirvana. With the Christian and Jewish Kabalists, it is the six days of creation and their Sabbath.
And seven is called by Pythagoras "the vehicle of Life," etc. Seven in short is the symbol of this Yug, and Time.
The Sabæans worshipped the seven sons of Sabus. The seven "spirits of God" in Revelation mean simply the perfect man; so with its seven stars, lamps, etc.; and the Chaldean "stages" of the seven spheres and the Birs Nimrud with its seven stories, symbolical of the concentric circles of the seven spheres.
You moderns, who laugh at the ignorance of the ancients, who knew but of seven planets, you have never understood what was really meant by this limited number; nor have you given one thought to the fact that men who presented Callisthenes (over 2,000 years ago) with records of celestial observations extending back from their time 1,900 years, could not have been ignorant of the existence of other planets. p. 123 And what (not who) is SABAOTH, and why should have been regarded as a creator? How many Christians are there who suspect that SABAOTH was the Demiurgic number, seven with the Phnicians, who became later the Israelites? (Read Lydus de Mens. IV, 38, 74, 98, p. 112.) Seek for SABAOTH. ADONAIOS in the "Sibylline Books," Gallacus, 278. The Demiurge is Iao presiding over the seven circles of the seven Ghebers, the seven spirits of fire, astral light, Fohat, the seven Gabborim, or kabiri, the seven wandering stars, and it is those wanderers who under their collective name of Kabar Ziv (or Mighty Life or Light) as a Central Point emanates and allows to cluster round itself the seven Dæmons.
The names of the seven Impostor Daemons in the Codex Nazaræus.
2. Spiritus (Holy Spirit), Astro (Venus)or Lebbat Amamet.
3. Nebu (Mercury).
4. Sin Luna, called also Shuril and Siro.
5. Kiun (Kivan) Saturn.
6. Bel, Jupiter (life supporter).
7. Nerig, Mars--the son of man who despoils the other sons of man; called also "Excoriatores".
The names of the seven Skandhas or Principles.
7. Spirit, the reflection of the ONE Life.
6. The spiritual soul (Female).
5. The Animal Soul (Manas).
4. The Kama Rupa--the most dangerous and treacherous of the Principles.
3. The Life-soul, Linga sarira.
2. The Vital principle.
1. The Gross body or material form--per se an animal and a very ferocious and wild one.
127:1 There is no English equivalent for "fatale," in the sense in which it is here used, and which is not p. 128"fatal," but that has become a thing of Fate, operating therefore in a blind, unintelligent, irresponsible manner under blind laws.--Trans.
130:1 Although in a certain sense this is true, it is very misleading. Faith, in the ordinary sense of the word, viz., a belief in that for which there is no evidence, direct or indirect, has no place in true Occultism which is an exact science, and accepts nothing which cannot either be demonstrated or at any rate proved to accord with, or follow, necessarily or with a high degree of probability, from what can be demonstrated. Of course, like all sciences, Occultism has its methods, and a man must understand these before be can understand its demonstrations; just, for instance, as a man must understand the methods of mathematical physics, before he can understand the proof that the poles of the moon describe in space a certain very complicated curve. But this latter is none the less an exactly demonstrated fact, and so too are the teachings of Occultism, although to one ignorant of the methods of this latter science they may seem absolute mysteries and matters of Faith.--Trans.
131:1 And thus proves again that Human Folly is limitless as space itself.--E. O.
131:2 It will be seen that by Faith he means the acceptance of the teachings of Authority (i.e., of those who p. 132 presumably know more of the matter than ourselves) on those subjects or points on which we do not possess or are unable to obtain knowledge--a constantly varying quantity altering from moment to moment with the progress of the world and the individual, and disappearing in the sanctuary of occultism where all mysteries, at any rate of the conditioned universe, are explained.--Trans.
133:1 And the Mage has not even need to believe in one.--E. O.
Quite so, he has no need. Occultism only deals with the conditioned universe, which to all conditioned in it is infinite. Admittedly, in that Universe only Laws, and no God, i.e., no conscious, intelligent will, the source of those laws, can be traced. So the Mage may justifiably say, "I content myself with the manifested and conditioned universe and believe in no God who, whether he exists somewhere abscondite or not, has not seen fit to indicate himself anywhere in manifestation, and cannot therefore, (if such a being exists) want men to believe in Him."
But there are Mages and Mages, and there are some who say, granting all this, we yet know by a higher intuition that the infinite to all conditioned existence is yet not ALL, and that there is a conscious and intelligent will, the origin of those manifested laws which alone we creatures of manifestation can cognise. But this of course is a matter of Faith and pertains not to occultism proper, which is either atheistic or agnostic, but to transcendental occultism.--Trans.
134:1 It never rises, but as race follows race, and circuit succeeds to circuit, it etherialises more and more, destined to vanish wholly before the veil of the p. 135 cosmic night, that shrouds a higher mystery and an inner sanctuary, is drawn around us.--Trans.
135:1 Very feeble! who is to be the judge? What you consider useful, I hold to be noxious, and vice versa.--Trans.
135:2 Our author, borrowing Pythagorean ideas, often speaks of pure mathematics, as if they were a kind of superhuman existence, things, as he says existing by themselves, or self-existent. But what are they really? Simply rigidly logical deductions from rigidly limited and defined hypotheses. To say their results are certain is merely to repeat with Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Logic is logic, that's all I say." Given certain accurately and exhaustively defined premises, then logical deductions therefrom must be true. Mathematics are the creation of the Human mind, and depend on meanings and values and limitations of these, which it assigns to certain symbols. There is nothing mysterious or superhuman in them. Change your scale of notation from the decimal to the duodecimal, and various "eternal laws" of the former disappear from the latter. Pass on to the differential calculus or the calculus of Infinity in which you introduce hypotheses not rigidly limited, and you at once get, along with the true ones, crowds of utterly irrelevant solutions. To say that no will creates them and no power limits them is absurd; they were created by the will that originated their fundamental hypotheses, and by these are rigidly limited.--Trans.
137:1 Nothing is above common sense, but a thing may be too ill-defined for common sense to grasp it. All our author's sententious aphorism means, is that if the nature, or our knowledge, of a thing is such that we are unable rigorously and exhaustively to define its premises and then argue logically from these, look, to our imperfect vision, as our conclusions may--they may nevertheless be true-we are in no position to decide; whereas, if we can rigorously and exhaustively define the premises and we then argue strictly logically from these, our conclusions must be correct, and no one but a fool can doubt the fact.--Trans.
137:2 This seems quibbling. Of course the usual sign for infinity in mathematics is ∞--Trans.
138:1 Hence the Tibetan cross on the Dalai Lama's headgear.--E. O.
138:2 At last the cat is out of the bag.--E. O.
141:1 It is only in a very far-fetched or else transcendental sense that this is true. Every soul p. 142 pays its own debts, be it or they great or small. This is the true and eternal basis alike of justice and morality.--Trans.
143:1 It is neither certain nor incontestable, and the whole paragraph deals in an unsatisfactory and sophistical manner with the "eternal riddle"--the origin of evil. Evil may in one sense be said to be the darkness necessary to make good apparent, but darkness is real for us, all the same, and so is evil.
The occultist's explanation is that evil is merely the result of the infringement of natural laws. The universe is the outcome of unaltering laws. One of these laws is evolution; at one stage of this, sentient beings are developed, and then commences, from their ignorant transgression of the physical laws of the universe, physical evil, bodily pain and suffering. At a later stage of evolution, intelligence and moral responsibility are developed, and then, with the transgression of the moral laws of the universe by evolutes who have developed a will and moral sense of their own, moral evil commences. There is no attempt to deny the reality--quoad us--of evil; but it is the inevitable result of the transgression of the unchanging laws of nature. It is quite admitted that the recuperative energies (the law of the reconstruction of the efficient out of the effete) of p. 144 nature often (perhaps always in the long run) bring good out of evil, just as the putrefying corpse is made a source of fertilisation: but the evil is as real as is, to our senses, the loathsome odour of putrefaction.
It is, probably, mainly the reality of evil that leads one section of occultists not merely to say "we can find no God in the universe," but to affirm that there is no God outside this, no intelligent conscious will as a source of the cognisable Laws. For, they argue, if there were, he would be responsible for all the evil, and if so he cannot be God--which means Good.
But another section argue that, conditioned as we are in the universe, we cannot draw any conclusions in regard to, or by any possibility realise or conceive, anything outside that universe, but that at the same time they have a spiritual intuition, through which, though unable to conceive Him, they know that there is such an intelligent conscious will, the essence of all perfection. And they add that why the adepts of the first class have no such intuition is simply because their peculiar psychical self-evolution, their psycho-physical training, renders them as incapable of spiritual intuition as the materio-physical training of ordinary athletes render these incapable of psychical intuition. The man, they say, who trains and develops what, for want of a more exact terminology, I call his psychical powers, so as to guide the laws of nature, control the elementals, and manipulate the astral light, as effectually closes the doors on his highest spiritual perceptions, as the man p. 145 who so trains and develops his physical powers as to win the silver sculls on the Thames. or the champion's belt, closes the doors on his psychical as well as his spiritual perceptions. We students can only sit at the feet of our respective masters and listen. We cannot form any conception of who is right; and one thing is certain, that, who ever be right as to these highest transcendental mysteries, real adepts of either class are almost as superior to ordinary men as these are to monkeys.--Trans.
145:1 It is difficult to understand what is meant here. Surely the laws of mathematics demonstrate that two do not equal and cannot take the place of one. Yet without any conjuring, the occultist doubles or reduplicates things, and that though your observation may have been perfect, and though you have been neither duped nor hallucinated.--Trans.
146:1 This, though reasonable enough a score of years ago, has now become obsolete: plenty of men of learning have of late years witnessed and attested them.--Trans.
147:1 Astral Light, the storehouse of Occult Electricity; the vehicle of the Primeval Chaos.--E. O.
150:1 Of course the six days represent inter alia the six working cycles or circuits of man--the seventh being the cycle of rest.--Trans.
150:2 The correct interpretation. There was no more of a personal God to be found in John's ideas than in our own heads.--E. O.
150:3 We must go back a good deal further than St. Vincent for the "quod semper ubique et ab omnibus."--Trans.
153:1 Or rather of cycles of development either from zero to the monkey-man, or from the monkey-man to Nirvana.--Trans.
153:2 Ingenious but------- --Trans.
154:1 These ever recurring "yets" and "buts" sound odious! He is more than humouring public superstition. He becomes a literary flunkey in his double dealings.--E. O.
1 think my revered friend judges our author not only harshly, in this case, but wrongly. The shield has two sides for the non-believer and the believer. The cause of truth demands that both sides should he seen and understood. Were there not to the believer something inexpressibly sweet and comforting in this sacrament, would billions of men have derived from it their greatest happiness in life, their chief consolation in death? Such consolation, such happiness, may not be for us, but it might almost be said "Væ victis" for those whom TRUTH has conquered. But, be this as it may, the very cause of Truth demands that the court should prove its familiarity with both sides of the case, and its verdict would carry little weight with impartial inquirers, were this not shown. As it is, the powerful rationalistic enunciation of the monstrous character of the real conception, is only brought into stronger relief by the frank admission of the ideal beauty with which Faith is able to veil it for believers.--Trans.
156:1 Quite so, when the priests, as Éliphas always repeats that they should be, are all adepts of the highest occult mysteries, and the doctrines are those of the eternal wisdom religion.--Trans.
156:2 Quite so, when authority really means superiority in spiritual knowledge; but, when leaping down at a -bound from this Utopian church and priesthood of his hopes, into the arena of the Catholic Church as it is, he assails the so-called Old Catholics for their schism, which after all is a step, if a small one, towards Reason and Truth, it is he who becomes the child and disciple of error.--Trans.
157:1 Very consistent this with what he has said above. Is this his charity?--E. O.
157:2 Perhaps it might be said that the foregoing neither wholly coincides with nor exhausts our conception of the Ideal Church of the Future. But, be this as it may, one thing is certain, viz., that on pain of losing all vitality, it must have nothing to do with "Catholicism," or any other name already bristling with pre-existing conceptions and constituting a cluster of fully developed ideas, prejudices and superstitions.
What destroyed the vitality of Christ's teachings, turned his love and blessing into hatred and curses for mankind, and now makes it necessary to preach anew what he really taught? Simply the disregard of his warning not to put new wine into old bottles. When the fathers of the Christian Church took in p. 158 and to disguise and dress up the occult verities of true Christism in the cast off and tattered garbs of other dead or moribund faiths, they burked the new born child as effectually as though they had buried it with the corpses they despoiled, to furnish it with swaddling clothes.
Theosophy may not be absolutely irreproachable as a name for the Religion of the Future because to scholars it is associated with doctrines and ideas not wholly true, though having affinities with the truth. But, to the mass of mankind the word is a blank without associations, and scholars, unless wilfully, are not to be thus misled. Anyhow it is preferable to any of the names Éliphas Lévi suggests, redolent as all these are of a tyrannical and effete dogmatism.--Trans.