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Eliphas Levi - The Tarot Descriptions (268.0 Kb)

Cover of Eliphas Levi's Book The Tarot DescriptionsBook downloads: 191
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By the time of his death in 1875, Eliphas Levi was recognized in both Europe and America as the greatest occultist of the 19th century. In life, his work was the inspiration for Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma, the most influential American Masonic book of its day, and in death, it proved to be a seminal influence on figures as diverse as Madame Blavatsky, A.E. Waite, and Aleister Crowley--but during his lifetime none of his writings appeared in English.
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Category 1:  Tarot and Divination
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Author:      Eliphas Levi
Format:      eBook
By the time of his death in 1875, Eliphas Levi was recognized in both Europe and America as the greatest occultist of the 19th century. In life, his work was the inspiration for Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma, the most influential American Masonic book of its day, and in death, it proved to be a seminal influence on figures as diverse as Madame Blavatsky, A.E. Waite, and Aleister Crowley--but during his lifetime none of his writings appeared in English.

About Author:

Eliphas Levi (the pen name of Abbe Louis Constant, 1810-1875), was a French occultist who is credited for reviving interest in magic in the 19th century. Levi's writings have been appraised as being highly imaginative but not very accurate. His first and probably most important work was The Dogma and Ritual of High Magic. It was followed by A History of Magic, Transcendental Magic, The Key of Great Mysteries, and other occult books. Levi "believed in the existence of a universal 'secret doctrine' of magic throughout history, everywhere in the world."

In The Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, Levi devoted 22 chapters to the 22 trump cards, or Major Arcana, of the tarot. He linked each to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and to aspects of God.

Levi also proclaimed a theory of astral light based on his belief in animal magnetism. In his theory, astral light was similar to either, a fluidic life force that fills all space and living beings. This concept was not original but held by others in the 19th century. Levi stated, "To control the astral light was to control all things; a skilled magician's will was limitless in power."

Levi stated he was influenced by an earlier writer and occultist Francis Barrett. In turn he influenced another writer and occultist Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, with whom he visited in London in 1861. Bulwer-Lytton wrote The Last Days of Pompeii and other occult books helping to make magic fashionable to the last of the 19th century. They both became members of an occult group, which perhaps Bulwer-Lytton may have organized, that studied scrying, magic, astrology, and mesmerism. In his popularity he drew a cult following, influencing others to write their own books.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in London in 1888, adopted much of Levi's magic. Aleister Crowley, a former member, was born the year that Levi died and claimed to be the reincarnation of Levi.

Levi is well know for four main books, The Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, A History of Magic, Transcendental Magic and the The Key of Great Mysteries, and other occult books. Levi "believed in the existence of a universal 'secret doctrine' of magic throughout history, everywhere in the world."
In The Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, Levi devoted 22 chapters to the 22 trump cards, or Major Arcana, of the tarot. He linked each to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and to aspects of God.
Levi's most well known work covers Transcendental magic which is a far more practical from text an occult perspective than Levi's other works. The work is split into two parts. Part 1 covers theory, and examines traditional interpretations of magic and religion. Part II covers the practical aspects of ritual magic.

His other works are:

- Clefs Majeures et Clavicules de Salomon
- Dogma et Rituel de la Haute Magie Part I
- Dogma et Rituel de la Haute Magie Part II
- Elements of the Qabalah
- The Conjuration of the Four Elements
- The Key of the Mysteries
- The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum.