Eliphas Levi

The Ritual of Transcendental Magic

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The Ritual of Transcendental Magic was published in 1856. It discusses the actual materials, processes, and settings for conducting ritual magic. The practitioner must purify himself through a temperate diet, regular sleep, and thorough attention to cleaning and hygiene. A complete description of tools like a magical lamp, rod, sword, and dagger follows, leaving the magician well equipped to perform ceremonies and rituals. Levi also added the Tarot to the tools of the magician, which was a new development in the occultism of the time.
This work explores the magician’s foundations for his spiritual beliefs, as well as his idea that an elite class of priests would be necessary to lead the people into both social and magical order. He writes, “Occult philosophy seems to have been the nurse and godmother of all intellectual forces, the key of all divine obscurities, and the absolute mistress of society, in those ages when it was exclusively reserved for the education of priests and of kings...Magic is the traditional science of the secrets of Nature which comes to us from the Magi.”
Although Levi didn’t enjoy much notoriety during his life, his works eventually became highly influential among other occultists, and he is now considered one of the fathers of modern mysticism. Famous occultist Aleister Crowley even claimed to be Levi himself in one of his past lives, as he was born less than six months after Levi’s death in 1875.
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Henry Schrader
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