A NOTE ON ELIPHAS LÉVI
[Vol. III. No. 1, October, 1881.]
[To the Editor of "The Theosophist."
MADAM,Since you have published a posthumous
letter of my master and beloved friend, the late Éliphas Lévi,
I think it would be agreeable to you to publish, if judged suitable, a few
extracts of the many manuscripts in my possession, written expressly for,
and given to, me by my ever regretted master.
To begin with, I send you "Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan"
from his pen.
I cannot close this letter without expressing the deep indignation aroused
in me by the base diatribes published in the London Spiritualist against
your Society and its members. Every honest heart is irritated at such unfair
treatment, especially when proceeding from a man of honour as Mr. Harrison
(editor of The Spiritualist) who admits in his journal anonymous
contributions that are tantamount to libels.
With the utmost respect, I remain, Madam,
(BARON) J. SPÉDALIERI
Marseilles, July 29th, 1881.]
It is with feelings of sincere gratitude that we thank Baron Spédalieri
for his most valuable contribution. The late Éliphas Lévi
was the most learned Kabalist and Occultist of our age in Europe, and everything
from his pen is precious to us, in so far as it helps us to compare notes
with the Eastern Occult doctrines and, by the light thrown upon both, to
prove to the world of Spiritualists and Mystics, that the two systemsthe
Eastern Âryan, and the Western or the Chaldæo-Jewish Kabalahare
one in their principal metaphysical tenets. Only, while the Eastern Occultists
have never lost the key to their esotericism, and are daily verifying and
elaborating their doctrines by personal experiments, and by the additional
light of modern science, the Western or Jewish Kabalists, besides having
been misled for centuries by the introduction of foreign elements in it
such as Christian dogmas, dead-letter interpretations of the Bible,
etc., have most undeniably lost the true key to the esoteric meaning
of Simeon Ben Iochais Kabalah, and are trying to make up for the loss
by interpretations emanating from the depths of their imagination and inner
consciousness. Such is evidently the case with J. K., the self-styled London
"adept," whose anonymous and powerless vilifications of the Theosophical
Society and its members are pertinently regarded by Baron Spédalieri
as "tantamount to libels." But we have to be charitable. That
poor descendant of the biblical Levitesas we know him to be--in his
pigmy efforts to upset the Theosophists, has most evidently
fractured his skull against one of his own "occult" sentences.
There is one especially in The Spiritualist (July 22nd), to which
the attention of the mystically inclined is drawn further down, as this
paragraph is most probably the cause of the sad accident which befell so
handsome a head. Be it as it may, but it now disables the illustrious J.
K. from communicating " scientifically his knowledge" and forces
him at the same time to remain, as he expresses it, "in an incommunicable
ecstatic state." For it is in no other "state" that our great
modern adeptthe literary man of such a "calibre"* that to suspect him of "ignorance" becomes equal,
in audacity, to throwing suspicion upon the virtue of Cæsars
wifecould possibly have written the following lines, intended by him,
we believe, as a lucid and clear exposition of his own psycho-kabalistic
lore as juxtaposed to the "hard words," "outlandish verbiage,"
"moral and philosophical platitudes," and "jaw-breakers"
of "the learned Theosophists."
These are the "gems of occult wisdom" of the illustrious Jewish
Kabalist who, like a bashful violet, hides his occult learning under two
In every human creature there lies latent in the involitional part of
the being a sufficient quantity of the omniscient, the absolute. To induce
the latent absolute, which is the involitional part of our volitional
conscious being, to become manifest, it is essential that the volitional
part of our being should become latent. After the preparatory purification
from acquired depravities, a kind of introversion has to take place; the
involitional has to become volitional, by the volitional becoming involitional.
When the conscious becomes semi-unconscious, the, to us, formerly unconscious
becomes fully conscious. The particle of the omniscient that is within
us, the vital and growing, sleepless, involitional, occult or female principle
being allowed to express itself in the volitional, mental, manifest, or
masculine part of the human being, while the latter remains in a state
of perfect passivity, the two formerly dissevered parts become reunited
as one holy (wholly) perfect being, and then the divine manifestation is
Very luckily, J. K. gives us himself the key to this grandiloquent gush
Necessarily, this is only safely practicable while living in uncompromisingly
firm purity, for otherwise there is danger of unbalancementinsanity,
or a questionable form of mediumship.
The italics are ours. Evidently with our immaculate "adept"
the "involitional, occult or female principle" was not allowed
to "express itself in the volitional, mental, manifest, or masculine
part" of his being, andbehold the results!
For the edification of our Hindu readers, who are unprogressive enough
to refuse to read the lucubrations of J. K., or follow the mental "grand
trapeze" performed by this remarkable "adept" on the columns
of The Spiritualist, we may add that in the same article he informs
his English readers that it is "Hindu mystification, acting on Western
credulity" which "brought out the Theosophical Society."
"Hindu philosophy," according to that great light of the nineteenth
century, is no "philosophy" but rather "mysticism."
Following the track of the mystifying and mystified Hindus they [the
Theosophists] consider the four above faculties [Siddhis of Krishna], Anima,
Mahima, Laghima and Garima to be the power they [we] have to strive for.
Indeed, what a ludicrous confusion of effect with cause! The injury to
the brain must have been serious indeed. Let us hope that timely and repeated
lotions of "witch-hazel" or the "universal magic balm"
will have its good effects. Meanwhile, we turn the attention of our Hindu
readers and students of Occultism to the identity of the doctrines taught
by Éliphas Lévi (who is also contemptuously sneered at, and
sent by the "adept" to keep company with "Brothers,"
"Yogis," and "Fakirs") in every essential and vital
point with those of our Eastern initiates.
* "To accuse a literary man of my calibre of
ignorance, Is as amusing a mistake as it would have been to charge Porson
of ignorance of Greek," he writes in The Spiritualist of July
8th. . . . "The occult is my special subject, and . . . there
is but little ... that I do not know,"
he adds. Now, the above sentence settles the question at once for us. Not
only no "adept," but no layman or profane of the most widely recognized
intellect and ability would ever have dared, under the penalty of
being henceforth and for ever regarded as the most ridiculously conceited
of Æsops heroes, to use such a sentence when speaking of himself!
So stupidly arrogant and cowardly impertinent behind the shield of his initials
has he shown himself in his transparent attacks upon far better and more
worthy men than himself in the above-named Spiritualist, that it
is the first and certainly the last time that we do him the honour of noticing
him in these columns. Our journal has a nobler task, we trust, than to be
polemizing with those, whom in vulgar parlance the world generally termsbullies.
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