Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eliphas Levi

Right. Life. It gets in the way sometimes.

After the laptop fiasco I got a replacement. Since then I've been dealing with moving all my files over from my old laptop (as many as I could save) into the new one, virus scanning them, all that good stuff. That between classes, where it seems my professors wanted to exactly space out every test in such a manner that I had at least one every week. I prefer to spend about a week studying for exams whenever possible, so my free time has been eaten up.

But as November break comes closer I've finally gotten some free time. Sadly not enough to get back into real ritual practice, but by golly I tried! What I did get is some neat research done on one of the most well known occultists in recorded history. I'm talking about the legendary Eliphas Levi. Crowley believed that he was a reincarnation of Eliphas Levi, so I figured it would make sense to look into him some. Turns out he has a fascinating back story.

Born under the name Alphonse Louis Constant in 1810, Eliphas Levi (name assumed to be a translation of his birth name into Hebrew) would grow to become one of the leading figures of modern day occultism. He was the son of a poor shoemaker and attended a Catholic school for the impoverished, where he showed an aptitude for religious thinking. He worked his way towards becoming a member of the clergy, but before taking his vows he decided against it. Most sources seem to suggest that he chose not to because he had fallen in love and could not imagine living a life of chastity.

He eventually met up with an enigmatic figure named "Ganneau," a prophet and socialist advocating social reform. Levi wrote for the cause, which landed him a few months in prison for sedition. After he left, he married a girl from Paris believed to be only 16 years old (he was 36 at the time). The marriage did not last, and eventually the two divorced. Starting in 1850, Eliphas Levi began offering lessons in the occult while contributing to various theological encyclopedias. At around this time he rejected his birth name and became known as Magus Eliphas Levi to his students.

1852-1854 marked the true beginning of his involvement in the realm of the occult. He met with a mysterious woman who wanted him to engage in a Necromantic rite to speak to the occultist Apollonius of Tyana. During this time he also began writing his most famously known occult manuscripts, including The Dogma and Ritual of High Magick and The Key of the Mysteries. He became well known in the occult community for his theories on the Astral Body as well as connecting the 22 Arcana of the Tarot to the Khaballist Tree of Life. Though considered inaccurate, many found Levi's writings to be a major foundation for modern day occultism.

If you're interesting in giving some of this stuff a look, I recommend: (The Dogma and Ritual of High Magick) (The Key of the Mysteries) (Conjuration of the Four Elements)

Good stuff, if you ever decide to give it a chance.


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