bITS 'N CHUNKS
I love Eliphas Levi as if he were still with us and not dead for hundreds of years.
I have a necklace with his Baphomet imagery. I have his circle of demons on my work desk. He was a pretty big & pretty popular figure back in his day, and especially if you're interested in ceremonial magic you have either read or should read all of his works.
Besides Crowley, I would say Levi is the name in occultism and magick. Levi tried to merge European socialism with an occult bent and he came out successful. You'll recognize that in a lot of modern Wicca. He developed the grounds of ritual and ceremonial magic as we know it (then, you know, Crowley) and to be honest a lot of his disciples really can't touch how mystical and open his language was.
In short, reading Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie will make you feel like you're really getting into some deep shit, and I like that.
It's also a lot more accessible than later texts on ceremonial magic, which assume you're already initiated most of the time. Here, the art is still new and Levi is grappling with separating the magician from quackery (something he's very aware of). It's not for everyone but I still find it very enlightening when I'm in the mood to feel like a grand high priestess.
I think it's because of his political bent but I often find Levi the least condescending so I often relate to his writings. I'm not terribly interested in the tarot but I like watching the metamorphosis of it from parlor card game to divination tool. It kind of…makes sense even if it doesn't. But this book is definitely not for you if you're already swatting your hands at the thought.
So if you think you're not interested, does Levi give any reason to take him seriously? Oh, yes. His passion bleeds from every word and his prose is enchanting. Reading Dogme et Rituel, even the English translations, feels empowering. Levi sets himself up as an authority but doesn't try to convince the reader that he's about to approach this rationally. No, he's here to tell you what he's seen and how you can get there too! So it's a very deeply mystical book that reads like an incantation. Who knows what the hell you'll conjure up by the time you're done.
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...