Eliphas Levi on Lucifer

Eliphas Levi

ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE is the major source that Occultists turn to for translations of Eliphas Levi. One other source is Aleister Crowley, who gave to the world the excellent translation of The Key of the Mysteries, originally in his Equinox, but later published by Rider and Co. Waite, in 1886 e.v., published The Mysteries of Magic, which is a digest of several of Levi’s crucial writings, culled from Dogma et Ritual de la Haute Magie, Le Clef des Grands Mysteres, Fables et Symboles, La Science des Esprits, and others. This is the main sourcebook, even today, for Levi’s writings, since only a handful of his titles are readily available.

In the section entitled “Religious and Philosophical Problems and Hypotheses,” subsection entitled “The Reason of Prodigies, or the Devil before Science,” we find the following:

“The devil is named but not defined in Holy Scripture; Genesis nowhere speaks of a supposed fall of angels, it attributes the sin of the first man to the serpent, the most subtle of the beasts of the field. We know the Christian tradition on this subject, but if this tradition be explainable by one of the greatest and most universal allegories of science, in what way will the solution affect the faith which aspires to God alone and despises the pomps and works of Lucifer?

Lucifer! The Light-Bearer! How strange a name is given to the spirit of darkness! What, is it he who bears light and who blinds weak souls? Yes, doubt it not, for traditions are full of divine revelations and inspirations. ‘Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light,’ says St. Paul.’I have seen Satan fall from heaven like a thunderbolt,’ says the Saviour of the World. ‘How art thou fallen from heaven,’ cries the prophet Isaiah, ‘bright star who didst herald the morning!’ Lucifer is, therefore, a fallen star, a meteor which burns when it no longer illuminates. But is this Lucifer a person or a force? Is it an angel or a lost thunderbolt? Tradition supposes it to be an angel, but does not the Psalmist say, ‘He makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flaming fire?’ The word angel is given in the Bible to all things commissioned of God — messengers or new creations, revealers or scourges, resplendent spirits or dazzling objects. The fiery shafts which the Most High darts from the clouds are the angels of His anger, and this figurative language is familiar to all readers of oriental poetry.” [The Mysteries of Magic, pp. 62-63.]

Let us turn, now to a similar passage in M&D, the Lecture for the 19°, that of Grand Pontiff, on page 321.

“The Apocalypse is, to those who receive the nineteenth Degree, the Apotheosis of that Sublime Faith which aspires to God alone, and despises all the pomps and works of Lucifer. Lucifer, the Light-Bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with splendours intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not! for traditions are full of Divine Revelations and Inspirations: and Inspiration is not of one Age nor of one Creed. Plato and Philo, also, were inspired.”

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