We approach the mystery of black magic. We are about to confront, even in his own sanctuary, the black god of the Sabbath, the formidable goat of Mendes. At this point those who are subject to fear should close the book; even persons who are a prey to nervous impressions will do well to divert themselves or to abstain. We have set ourselves a task, and we must complete it.
Let us first of all address ourselves frankly and boldly to the question: Is there a devil? What is the devil?
As to the first point, science is silent, philosophy denies it on chance, religion only answers in the affirmative.
As to the second point, religion states that the devil is the fallen angel; occult philosophy accepts and explains this definition.
It will be unnecessary to repeat what we have already said on the subject; we will add here a further revelation:—
IN BLACK MAGIC, THE DEVIL IS THE GREAT MAGICAL AGENT EMPLOYED FOR EVIL PURPOSES BY A PERVERSE WILL.
The old serpent of the legend is nothing else than the universal agent, the eternal fire of terrestrial life, the soul of the earth, and the living fount of hell.
We have said that the astral light is the receptacle of forms, and these when evoked by reason are produced harmoniously, but when evoked by madness they appear disorderly and monstrous; so originated the nightmares of St. Anthony and the phantoms of the Sabbath.
Do, therefore, the evocations of goëtia and demonomania possess a practical result? Yes, certainly one which cannot be contested, one more terrible than could be recounted by legends! When any one invokes the devil with intentional ceremonies, the devil comes, and is seen. To escape dying from horror at the sight, to escape catalepsy or idiocy, one must be already mad.
Grandier was a libertine through indevotion, and perhaps also through scepticism; excessive zeal, following on the aberrations of asceticism and blindness of faith, depraved Girard, and made him deprave in his turn. In the fifteenth chapter1 of our Ritual we shall give all the diabolical evocations and practices of black magic, not that they may be used, but that they may be known and judged, and that such insanities may be put aside for ever.
M. Eudes de Mirville, whose book upon table-turning made a certain sensation recently, will possibly be contented and discontented at the same time with the solution here given of black magic and its problems.
As a fact, we maintain, like himself, the reality and prodigious nature of the facts; with him also we assign them to the old serpent, the secret prince of this world; but we are not agreed as to the nature of this blind agent, which, under different directions, is at once the instrument of all good and of all evil, the minister of prophets and the inspirer of pythonesses.
In a word, the devil, for us, is force placed temporarily at the disposal of error, even as mortal sin is, to our thinking, the persistence of the will in what is absurd. M. de Mirville is therefore a thousand times right, but he is once and one great time wrong.
What we must exclude above all from the realm of existences is the arbitrary. Nothing happens by chance, nor yet by the autocracy of a good or evil will. There are two houses in heaven, and the lower house of Satan is restrained in its extremes by the senate of divine wisdom.
[Link later.] ↩