Eliphas Levi

The History of Magic

This is one of the most influential works of Éliphas Lévi. He believes that people regard magic erroneously and narrow it to a collection of tricks. On the contrary, magic is practicing the concentration of will, imagination, and psychic power to influence the minds of other people and the phenomena of reality. In The History of Magic, Lévi compares the magical components of different religious traditions and organizations, like pagan beliefs, Kabbalah, Christian Catholicism, Illuminati, and Freemasonry. He states that true magic is earthed under the parables, fables, and wonder stories with peculiarities in every division. Yet, they all have a common basis, which Lévi describes as the true magic which imparts real science. Lévi enumerates in the preface the nine fundamental tenets of magic, such as magic is real and true; it is kept secret, it gives a man super-human powers, it is ruled, practiced, and shared to us by Magi, initiation to Magi provides a human with power over other human's will and control of thoughts, conventional religions are the parable of the proper knowledge. They are valid for the crowd but not for an initiated person. The book chapters are dedicated to the magic of the Magi, Magic in Ancient Greece, the Kabbalah, primitive symbolism, mysticism, oracles, magical monuments, the relations between magic and Christianity, pagan magic, masons, Illuminati, and more. Lévi's books greatly influenced the development of different occult and mystical movements in Europe and the United States, including the Theosophical Society of Helena Blavatsky.
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