FROM ELIPHAS LEVI'S WORKS. (Continued.)
That which is true in cause, is real in effect; that which is not realized does not exist. The realization of speech is the Word, properly so called: a thought is realized in becoming a word — realized by signs, by sounds, by figures. This is the first degree of realization. Then it impresses itself upon the Astral Light by these signs or words, it influences other minds by repeating itself in them, refracts itself in traversing the imaginations of others, assumes therein new forms and proportions, and finally transmutes itself into actions and modifies society and the world. This is the last degree of realization. Those who are born in a world which is modified by an idea, bear the imprint of it, and it is thus that the word is made flesh.
The Astral Light, figured in ancient symbology by the serpent biting its tail, represents in turn, folly and prudence, time and eternity, the Tempter and the Redeemer; thus this Light, being the vehicle of life, serves as an auxiliary alike to good or evil, assumes the fiery shape of Satan as well as the form of the Holy Spirit. It is the universal weapon in the wars of the Angels, feeds the fires of Hell, and furnishes the lightning of Saint Michael. It may be likened to a horse that has the attributes of the chameleon, and reflects always the armor of its rider.
The law of realization produces what may be called magnetic respiration; which impregnates objects and places, and communicates to them an influence corresponding to our dominant wishes. In a word, the universal agent, the latent Astral Light, tends ever to equilibrium; it fills every void, and aspires ever to repletion. For this reason vice is contagious, just as are certain physical maladies, and so it works powerfully for the proselytism of either vice or virtue. For this reason, also, relics, be they either of saints or of great criminals, may produce marvellous effects either of sudden conversion or perversion. The soul breathes just as the body does; it draws in that which it esteems happiness, and gives out the ideas which result from its inmost sensations. So diseased souls have a bad breath, and vitiate the moral atmosphere; that is to say, they mingle impure reflections with the Astral Light which penetrates them, and thus establish deleterious currents.
We are often astonished, when in society, at being assailed by evil thoughts and suggestions that we would not have imagined possible, and we are not aware that we owe them solely to the presence of some morbid neighbor; this fact is of great importance, since it relates to the manifestation of conscience — one of the most terrible and incontestable secrets of the magic art.
This magnetic respiration throws about the soul a halo, of which it is the centre, and surrounds it with the reflection of its own actions, which make for it a heaven or a hell.
No actions are isolated, and none can be hidden; everything that we really wish, that is to say, everything that we confirm by our acts, remains in the Astral Light, in which its reflections are preserved; these reflections again influence our thoughts, by mingling with our lucidity, and thus a man becomes, and continues to be, the author of his destiny.
The Astral Light, combining with ethereal fluids, forms the astral phantom of which Paracelsus speaks in his philosophy of intuition. This astral body, being freed at death, attracts to itself, and preserves for a long time, by the sympathy of likeness, the reflections of the past life; if a powerfully sympathetic will draws it into the proper current, it manifests itself in the form of an apparition.
The Astral Light, transmuted into human light at the moment of conception, is the primary envelope of the soul. This fluidic body, like the mass of the Astral Light, has two contrary movements, attractive on the right hand, and repulsive on the left; or reciprocal, as in the case of the two sexes; this produces in us the strife of contending emotions, and contributes to the terrors of conscience; thus are produced in us sometimes temptations, sometimes subtile or unexpected graces.
This is the explanation of the traditional dogma of the two attendant Angels who help us or oppose us: these two movements of the Astral Light may be represented by a Balance, in which are weighed our resolutions.
The Astral body is not always of the same sex as the material body: that is to say, these two forces, swaying, so to speak, from right to left, often seem to contradict the visible organization; thus are produced the striking errors of the human passions, and thus may be explained, although without in the least justifying them, the amorous peculiarities of an Anacreon or a Sappho.
There are persons who cannot be offended with impunity, and one who does them an injury may begin to die from that very moment; there are some men whose influence is fell at once, and whose mere glance may change the direction of the current of our life.
The basilisk who killed by his look, is not a fable, but a magic allegory. As a rule, it is injurious to the health to have enemies, and it is not possible, with impunity, to brave the reprobation of anyone: before opposing ourselves to a force or a current, we should be sure that the person or the current is not stronger than we are; otherwise, we shall be overwhelmed or even annihilated. Many sudden deaths are attributable to no other cause than this. The dramatic deaths of Nadab and Abihu, of Ananias and Sapphira, were caused by the electric currents of the faith that they outraged.
The intense reprobation that was aroused by the massacre of St. Bartholemew was the sole cause of the horrible malady and death of Charles IX; and Henry IV, if he had not been sustained by the enormous popularity which he owed to his personal magnetism, or the sympathetic power of his astral life, could scarcely have survived his conversion, and would have perished beneath the contempt of the Protestants, combined with the distrust and hatred of the Catholics.
Unpopularity may be a proof of integrity and courage, but it is never a proof of political wisdom. Outrages to public opinion are fatal to statesmen; and it is possible to recall the premature and violent death of more than one illustrious man, of which it is not fitting to speak here. These verdicts of public opinion may be very unjust, but they are none the less causes of failure, or even sentences of death. On the other hand, injuries done to a single human being may, and unless reparation is made, must, cause the destruction of a community or of a whole nation. This is what is meant by "the cry of blood" — for at the bottom of every injustice, lies the germ of a homicide.
It is because of these terrible laws of solidarity, that Christianity insists so strenuously upon the forgiveness of injuries, and the necessity of reconciliation. He who dies without forgiving his enemy, hurls himself into eternity armed with a dagger, and devotes himself to the horrors of eternal murder.
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