Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual Eliphas Levi (isbn 1858913799)

Dogme et Rituel de l’Haute Magie

This is Levi’s (1810-1875) best-known book and one of the two large works that he wrote, together with The History of Magic. Levi was a Catholic priest who got interested in magic and the Kabbalah. However he was the worst historian ever (this book is notorious for containing nothing but historious errors) especially Dogme et Rituel de la haute Magie has made Levi into THE most influential writer on magic since the Renaissance. The book reads quite easily, is funny at times and is divided in two parts. The first is theoretical, the second practical. The first part reads a bit like Isis Unveiled of Blavatsky, much info from a lot of different corners and fairly chaotic and without much references, but still interesting. The second part is supposed to be practical, but this is not really the case. Levi reveals himself as a Christian speaking of “gnostic herecies” and who is quite anti-magical. The only few rituals he gives are to show how wrong or dangerous they are. The second part is rather boring. Overall this books proves to be most interesting from a historical point of view (everybody knows it), but not really to get to know the magical theories of a French Christian and/or his time.

Strange facts: Leer en Ritueel der Hoge Magie is one of the only two texts of Levi that is available in Dutch. It was published in 1984 and has had six reprints since. For some reason we don’t have History of Magic and in English the Doctrine and Ritual is much more less obtainable.

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