Eliphas Lévi is one of the key figures of western occultism and the man of whom Aleister Crowley claimed to be the reincarnation. This is the first full study in English of the life and writings of this colourful man and the occult revival of which he was part. It describes an era rich in bizarre characters and events: rival magicians fighting duels on the astral plane; Victor Hugo writing poetry aided by the spirit of Shakespeare; Leo Taxil, perpetrator of the most amazing occult hoax of all time.
This study not only brings out the sensational aspects of this era, but also analyses its importance in the history of occultism, giving much detailed information on the rites practised by the eighteenth-century occult masonic orders, and on the activities of de Guaita, Peladan, Papus and the other nineteenth-century Rosicrucians and cabalists. It also provides, for the first time, an objective and sympathetic assessment of Lévi’s magical teaching.
Lévi himself viewed occultism as a reaction to too much emphasis on “science” and reason but emphasised its positive character through its roots in philosophy and ancient wisdom. He was influential in popularising this heritage against the view that all magic was mere manipulation of dangerous forces of nature. The historical balance of reason and faith in relation to this period are discussed.
Eliphas Lévi and the Occult Revival, Christopher Mcintosh, Rider, 1972
First edition. Hardback. Octavo. Grey cloth binding. Minor shelf wear. Book appears to be unread. Previous owners sticker to the endpapers. Pages are unmarked. A clean, tight copy.