Dogme elRituel de la Haute Magie. Par Eliphas Levi, 2 vols., demy 8vo, Paris, 1854.
This is the first publication of Alphonse Louis Constant on occult philosophy, and it is also his magnum opus. It is constructed in both volumes on the major Keys of the Tarot and has been therefore understood as a kind of development of their implicits, in the way that these were presented to the mind of the author. To supplement what has been said of this work in the text of the present monograph, I need only add that the section on transmutations in the second volume contains what is termed the Key of Thoth. The inner circle depicts a triple Tau, with a hexagram where the bases join, and beneath is the Ace of Cups. Within the external circle are the letters TARO, and about this figure as a whole are grouped the symbols of the Four Living Creatures, the Ace of Wands, Ace of Swords, the letter Shin, and a magician's candle, which is identical, according to Lévi, with the lights used in the Goetic Circle of Black Evocations and Pacts. The triple Tau may be taken to represent the Ace of Pentacles. The only Tarot card given in the volumes is the Chariot, which is drawn by two sphinxes; the fashion thus set has been followed in later days. Those who interpret the work as a kind of commentary on the Trumps Major are the conventional occult students and those who follow them will have only the pains of fools.
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.