FROM ELIPHAS LEVI'S WORKS
To be able to command this agent, is to be the depository of the power of God Himself: all effective Magic, all real power, is there: and all books of true science have no other aim than to demonstrate this. In order to command this great magical agent two things are necessary — to concentrate, and to project. On one of the arms of the Androgyne of Henri Khunrath, is inscribed "COAGULA:" on the other, "SOLVE," — to concentrate, and to expand, are the two master words of Nature: but how can we "concentrate," or "expand," the Astral Light, the soul of the world? Concentration may be effected by isolation, and expansion by the magic chain. But he who has prejudices or fears, who is passionate, or a slave of his passions, can never concentrate nor coagulate the Astral Light. All true Adepts have been self centred, sober, and chaste even unto death: and the reason of this is, that in order to be master of a force, it must not be permitted to have dominion over us.
To form "the magic chain," is to establish a magnetic current, which becomes powerful in proportion to its length. Enthusiasm is contagious, because it is only produced by settled faith: and faith begets faith; to believe, is to will with reason; to will with reason is to will with a power. I do not say infinite, but indefinite.
All enthusiasm propagated in a society by means of regular practices and communications, creates a magnetic current, and conserves and augments itself by means of this current. The tendency of this current is to carry away and exalt, often beyond measure, persons of a weak or impressionable nature, those of nervous organisms, and temperaments predisposed to hysteria or hallucination: such persons become powerful media of communication of the magic force, and facilitate the transmission of the Astral currents: To oppose the manifestations of such currents, therefore, is, as it were, to fight against fate. When the young Pharisee, Saul, threw himself with all the fanaticism of a head-strong sectary, against the overwhelming spread of Christianity, he placed himself, without knowing it, at the mercy of that power he thought to combat: accordingly, he was thunder-struck by a terrible magnetic flash, which was rendered more instantaneously effective, no doubt, by the combined action of a cerebral congestion and a burning sun.
There are some sects of enthusiasts at whom we may laugh — while at a distance — but in whose ranks we enlist, in spite of ourselves, as soon as we come within the sphere of their influence. These magnetic circles and magnetic chains sometimes establish themselves automatically, and influence, in accordance with fatal laws, those who expose themselves to their action: every one of us is perforce drawn into such a circle of relations, which constitutes his world, and to whose influence he must submit.
Great cycles make great men, and vice versa: there are no "misunderstood geniuses:" there are "eccentric" men, and the word is so admirably descriptive, that it seems that it might have been invented by an Adept. The eccentric man of genius is he who seeks to establish a circle for himself by combating the forces of central attraction and the established currents: his fate is either to be crushed in the struggle, or to succeed.
The man of genius is he who discovers a real law, and consequently possesses an invincible power of action and direction: he may possibly die in the accomplishment of his work, but what he wills comes to pass in spite of his death, and often even because of it, for death is a veritable assumption: "If I be lifted up" said the greatest of Initiates, "I will draw all men unto me."
The law of magnetic currents is the law of the movement of the Astral Light: this movement is always double and propagates itself in contrary directions. A great action always opens the way for a great reaction, and the secret of consummate success lies solely in the ability to foresee reactions. To oppose one's self to a current that is beginning to run its circle, is to court destruction: to oppose a current that has run through its circle, is to take lead of the reflex currents: the great man is he who appears at the right moment, and can decipher the meaning of the new movement.
The various phenomena which have lately excited so much interest in Europe and America, the rapping tables, and fluidic manifestations, are merely magnetic currents which are beginning to form spontaneously; and are, in fact, the solicitations of Nature, inviting us, for the good of Humanity, to form again the great sympathetic and religious chain: for the stagnation of the Astral Light means the annihilation of the human race: and even the stagnation of this agent is from time to time manifested, by terrifying symptoms of decomposition and death: Cholera Morbus, for example, and the diseases of the grape, and the potato, have no other cause than this. All the mysterious movements of tables are attributable to this universal magic agent; which seeks a chain of enthusiasms, in order to form new currents: it is a force blind in itself, but which may be directed by the will of man: and it is influenced by prevailing opinions: this universal fluid, if we may so call it, being the common medium of all nervous organisms, and the vehicle of all sensitive vibrations, establishes between persons of an impressionable nature, an actual physical solidarity, and transmits, from one to another, the impressions of imagination and thought.
The movement of an inert body, determined by the undulations of the universal agent, obeys the dominant impression, and reproduces in its revelations sometimes the lucidity of the most marvellous visions, sometimes the oddity and deception of the most incoherent dreams.
Thus, the extravagances of the ecstatics of St. Medard, the phenomena of raps in furniture, of musical instruments playing apparently of their own accord, are all illusions produced by the same cause.
The exaggerations which are induced by that fascination which is a peculiar intoxication, caused by the congestion of the Astral Light, the oscillation impressed on inert matter by the subtle and universal agent of movement and of life is all that there is at the bottom of much that is so apparently marvellous, as one can easily convince himself, by producing them, at will, by following the directions laid down in the "Dogma and Ritual"
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