Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie Part II
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Fully illustrated. Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (English: Dogma and Ritual of High Magic) is the title of Eliphas Levi's first published treatise on ritual magic, which appeared in 1855. This is Part II, The Ritual of Transcendental Magic.
This book has 185 pages in the PDF version. This translation by A. E. Waite was originally published in 1856.
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Excerpt from 'Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie Part II'
KNOWEST thou that old queen of the world who is on the march always and wearies never? Every uncurbed passion, every selfish pleasure, every licentious energy of humanity, and all its tyrannous weakness, go before the sordid mistress of our tearful valley, and, scythe in hand, these indefatigable labourers reap their eternal harvest. That queen is old as time, but her skeleton is concealed in the wreckage of women's beauty, which she abstracts from their youth and love. Her skull is adorned with lifeless tresses that are not her own. Spoliator of crowned heads, she is embellished with the plunder of queens, from the star-begemmed hair of Berenice to that-white, but not with age-which the executioner sheared from the brow of Marie Antoinette. Her livid and frozen body is clothed in faded garments and tattered winding-sheets. Her bony hands, covered with rings, hold diadems and chains, scepters and crossbones, jewels and ashes. When she goes by, doors open of themselves; she passes through walls; she penetrates to the cabinets of kings; she surprises the extortioners of the poor in their most secret orgies; she sits down at their board, pours out their wine, grins at their songs with her gumless teeth, takes the place of the lecherous courtesan hidden behind their curtains. She delights to hover about sleeping voluptuaries; she seeks their caresses, as if she hoped to grow warm in their embrace; but she freezes all those whom she touches and herself never kindles. At times, notwithstanding, one would think her seized with frenzy; she stalks slowly no longer; she runs; if her feet are too slow, she spurs a pale horse and charges all breathless through multitudes. Murder rides with her on a russet charger; shaking his mane of smoke, fire flies before her with wings of scarlet and black; famine and plague follow on diseased and emaciated steeds, gleaning the few sheaves which remain to complete her harvest.
After this funereal procession come two little children, radiating with smiles and life, the intelligence and love of the coming century, the dual genius of a newborn humanity. The shadows of death fold up before them, as does night before the morning star; with nimble feet they skim the earth and sow with full hands the hope of another year. But death will come no more, impiteous and terrible, to mow like dry grass the ripe blades of the new age; it will give place to the angel of progress, who will gently liberate souls from mortal chains, so that they may ascend to God. When men know how to live they will die no longer; they will transform like the chrysalis, which becomes a splendid butterfly. The terrors of death are daughters of ignorance, and death herself is only hideous by reason of the rubbish which covers her, and the sombre hues with which her images are surrounded. Death, truly, is the birth-pang of life. There is a force in Nature which dieth not, and this force perpetually transforms beings to preserve them. It is the reason or word of Nature. In man also there is a force analogous to that of Nature, and it is the reason or word of man. The word of man is the expression of his will directed by reason, and it is omnipotent under this leading, for it is analogous to the word of God Himself.
By the word of his reason man becomes conqueror of life, and can triumph over death. The entire life of man is either the parturition or miscarriage of his word. Human beings who die without having understood or formulated the word of reason, die devoid of eternal hope. To withstand successfully the phantom of death, we must be identified with the realities of life. Does it signify to God if an abortion wither, seeing that life is eternal? Does it signify to Nature if unreason perish, since reason which never perishes still holds the keys of life? The just and terrible force which destroys abortions eternally was called by the Hebrews Samael; by other easterns, Satan; and by the Latins, Lucifer. The Lucifer of the Kabalah is not an accursed and ruined angel; he is the angel who enlightens, who regenerates by fire; he is to the angels of peace what the comet is to the mild stars of the spring-time constellations. The fixed star is beautiful, radiant and calm; she drinks the celestial perfumes and gazes with love upon her sisters; clothed in her glittering robe, her forehead crowned with diamonds, she smiles as she chants her morning and evening canticle; she enjoys an eternal repose which nothing can disturb, and moves solemnly forward without departing from the rank assigned her among the sentinels of light. But the wandering comet, dishevelled and of sanguinary aspect, plunges hurriedly from the depths of heaven and flings herself athwart the peaceful spheres, like a chariot of war between the ranks of a procession of vestals; she dares to face the burning spears of the solar guardians, and, like a bereft spouse who seeks the husband of her dreams during widowed nights, she penetrates even unto the inmost sanctuary of the god of day; again she escapes, exhaling the fires which consume her and trailing a long conflagration behind; the stars pale at her approach; constellate flocks, pasturing on flowers of light in the vast meadows of the sky, seem to flee before her terrible breath. The grand council of spheres assembles, and there is universal consternation; at length the loveliest of the fixed stars is commissioned to speak in the name of all the firmament and offer peace to the headlong vagabond.