Causes manifest by effects, and effects are proportioned to causes. The divine word, the one word, the tetragram, has affirmed itself by tetradic creation. Human fecundity proves divine fecundity; the jod of the divine name is the eternal virility of the First Principle. Man understands that he was made in the image of God when he attains comprehension of God by increasing to infinity the idea which he forms of himself. When realising God as the infinite man, man says unto himself: I am the finite God.
Magic differs from mysticism because it judges nothing à priori until after it has established à posteriori the base itself of its judgments, that is to say, after having understood the cause by the effects contained in the very energy of the cause, by means of the universal law of analogy. Hence in the occult sciences all is real, and theories are established only on the foundations of experience.
Realities alone constitute the proportions of the ideal, and the magus admits nothing as certain in the domain of ideas save that which is demonstrated by realisation. In other words, what is true in the cause manifests in the effect. What is not realised does not exist.
The realisation of speech is the logos properly so called. A thought realises itself in becoming speech; it realises itself also by signs, sounds, and representations of signs: this is the first degree of realisation. Then it is imprinted on the astral light by means of the signs of writing or speech; it influences other minds by reflection upon them; it is refracted by crossing the diaphane of other men; it assumes new forms and proportions; it is then translated into acts and modifies the world: this is the last degree of realisation.
Men who are born into a world modified by an idea bear away with them the impression thereof, and it is thus that the word is made flesh. The impression of the disobedience of Adam, preserved in the astral light, could only be effaced by the stronger impression of the obedience of the Saviour, and thus the original sin and redemption of the world can be explained in a natural and magical sense. The astral light, or soul of the world, was the instrument of Adam’s omnipotence; it became afterwards the instrument of his punishment, being corrupted and troubled by his sin, which intermingled an impure reflection with those primitive images which composed the book of universal science for his still virgin imagination.
The astral light, depicted in ancient symbols by the serpent devouring his tail, represents alternately malice and prudence, time and eternity, tempter and Redeemer; for this light, being the vehicle of life, is an auxiliary alike of good and evil, and may be taken for the fiery form of Satan as for the body of the Holy Ghost. It is the instrument of warfare in angelic battles, and indifferently feeds the flames of hell and the lightnings of St. Michael. It may be compared to a horse having a nature analogous to the chameleon, and ever reflecting the armour of his rider. The astral light is the realisation or form of the intellectual light, as the latter is the realisation or form of the divine light.
The great initiator of Christianity, divining that the astral light was overcharged with the impure reflections of Roman debauchery, sought to separate his disciples from the ambient sphere of reflections, and to make them attentive only to the interior light, so that, through the medium of a common faith and enthusiasm, they might communicate together by new magnetic chains, which he termed grace, and thus overcome the dissolute currents, to which he gave the names of the devil and Satan, signifying their putrefaction.
To oppose current to current is to renew the power of fluidic life. The revealers have, therefore, scarcely done more than divine, by the accuracy of their calculations, the appropriate moment for moral reactions. The law of realisation produces what we call magnetic breathing; places and objects become impregnated therewith, and this communicates to them an influence in conformity with our dominant desires, with those, above all, which are confirmed and realised by acts.
As a fact, the universal agent, or latent astral light, ever seeks equilibrium; it fills the void and sucks up the plenitude, which makes vice contagious, like certain physical maladies, and works powerfully in the proselytism of virtue. Hence it is that cohabitation with antipathetic beings is a torment; hence it is that relics, whether of saints or of great criminals, produce the extraordinary results of sudden conversion and perversion; hence it is that sexual love is often awakened by a breath or a touch, and this, not only by means of the contact of the person himself, but of objects which he has unconsciously touched or magnetised.
There is an outbreathing and inbreathing of the soul, exactly like that of the body. It breathes in the felicity which it believes, and it breathes forth ideas which result from its inner sensations.
Diseased souls have an evil breath, and vitiate their moral atmosphere—that is, they combine impure reflections with the astral light which permeates them, and establish unwholesome currents therein. We are often invaded, to our astonishment, in society by evil thoughts which would have seemed impossible, and are not aware that they are due to some morbid proximity.
This secret is of high importance, for it leads to the opening of consciences, one of the most incontestible and terrible powers of magical art. Magnetic respiration produces about the soul a radiation of which it is the centre, and surrounds it with the reflection of its works, creating for it a heaven or a hell.
There are no isolated acts, and it is impossible that there should be secret acts; whatsoever we truly will—that is, everything which we confirm by our acts—remains registered in the astral light, where our reflections are preserved. These reflections continually influence our thought by the mediation of the diaphane, and it is in this sense that we become and remain the children of our works.
The astral light, transformed at the moment of conception into human light, is the soul’s first envelope, and, in combination with extremely subtle fluids, it forms the ethereal body or sidereal phantom, of which Paracelsus discourses in his philosophy of intuition—philosophia sagax.
This sidereal body, setting itself free at death, attracts, and for a long time preserves, through the sympathy of things homogeneous, the reflections of the past life; if drawn along a special current by a will which is powerfully sympathetic, it manifests naturally, for there is nothing more natural than prodigies. It is thus apparitions are produced. But we shall develop this point more fully in the chapter devoted to Necromancy.1
This fluidic body, subject, like the mass of the astral light, to two contrary movements, attracting on the left and repelling on the right, or reciprocally, between the two sexes, begets various impulses within us, and contributes to solicitudes of conscience; it is frequently influenced by reflections of other minds, and thus are produced, on the one hand, temptations, and, on the other, profound and unexpected graces.
This is also the explanation of the traditional doctrine of two angels who strengthen and tempt us. The two forces of the astral light may be represented by a balance wherein are weighed our good intentions for the triumph of justice and the emancipation of our liberty.
The astral body is not always of the same sex as the terrestrial, that is, the proportions of the two forces, varying from right to left, frequently seem to gainsay the visible organisation, producing the seeming vagaries of human passions, and explaining, without in any sense morally justifying, the amorous peculiarities of Anacreon or Sappho. A skilful magnetiser should take all these subtle distinctions into account, and we shall provide in our Ritual the rules for their recognition.1
There are two kinds of realisation, the true and the fantastic. The first is the exclusive secret of magicians, the other belongs to enchanters and sorcerers.
Mythologies are fantastic realisations of religious dogma; superstitions are the sorcery of mistaken piety; but even mythologies and superstitions are more efficacious with human will than a purely speculative philosophy apart from any practice.
Hence St. Paul opposes the conquests of the folly of the Cross to the inertness of human wisdom. Religion realises philosophy by adapting it to the weaknesses of the vulgar; such is for Kabbalists the secret reason and occult explanation of the doctrines of incarnation and redemption.
Thoughts untranslated into speech are thoughts lost for humanity; words unconfirmed by acts are idle words, and the idle word is not far removed from falsehood. Thought formulated by speech and confirmed by acts constitutes a good work or a crime.
Hence, whether in vice or virtue, there is no speech for which we are not responsible; above all, there are no indifferent acts. Curses and blessings invariably produce their consequence, and every action, whatsoever its nature, whether inspired by love or hate, has effects analogous to its motive, its extent, and its direction.
When that emperor whose images had been mutilated, raising his hand to his face, exclaimed, “I do not feel that I am injured,” he was mistaken in his valuation, and thereby detracted from the merit of his clemency. What man of honour could behold undisturbed an insult offered to his portrait? And did such insults, inflicted even unknown to ourselves, react on us by a fatal influence, were the effects of bewitchment actual, as indeed an adept cannot doubt, how much more imprudent and ill-advised would seem this utterance of the good emperor!
There are persons whom we can never offend with impunity, and if the injury we have done them is mortal, we forthwith begin to die. There are those also whom we never meet in vain, whose mere glance alters the direction of our life. The basilisk who slays by a look is no fable; it is a magical allegory. Generally speaking, it is bad for health to have enemies, and we can never brave with impunity the reprobation of anyone. Before opposing ourselves to a given force or current, we must be well assured that we possess the contrary force, or are with the stream of the contrary current; otherwise, we shall be crushed or struck down, and many sudden deaths have no other cause than this.
The terrible visitations of Nadab and Abiu, of Osa, of Ananias and Saphira, were occasioned by electric currents of outraged convictions; the sufferings of the Ursulines of Londun, of the nuns of Louviers, and of the convulsionaries of Jansenism, were identical in principle, and are explicable by the same occult natural laws.
Had not Urban Grandier been immolated, one of two things would have occurred—either the possessed nuns would have died in frightful convulsions, or the phenomena of diabolical frenzy would have so gained in strength and in influence, epidemically, that Grandier, notwithstanding his knowledge and his reason, would himself have become hallucinated, and to such a degree that he would have slandered himself, like the unhappy Gaufridy, or would otherwise have perished suddenly, with all the appalling characteristics of poisoning or of divine vengeance.
In the eighteenth century the unfortunate poet Gilbert fell a victim to his audacity in braving the current of opinion and actual philosophical fanaticism which characterised his epoch. Guilty of philosophical treason, he died raving mad, possessed by the most incredible terrors, as if God himself had punished him for defending his cause out of season. As a fact, he perished by reason of a law of nature of which he could know nothing; he set himself against an electric current, and was struck down as by lightning.
Had Marat not been assassinated by Charlotte Corday, he would have been destroyed infallibly by a reaction of public opinion. It was the execration of the honest which afflicted him with leprosy, and he would have had to succumb thereto.
The reprobation excited by the massacre of St. Bartholomew was the sole cause of the atrocious disease and death of Charles IX., while, had not Henry IV. been sustained by an immense popularity, which he owed to the projecting power or sympathetic force of his astral life, he would scarcely have outlived his conversion, but would have perished under the contempt of Protestants, combined with the suspicion and ill-will of Catholics.
Unpopularity may be a proof of integrity and courage, but never of policy or prudence; the wounds inflicted by opinion are mortal for statesmen. We may recall the premature and violent end of many illustrious persons whom it would be inexpedient to mention here. Disgraces in public opinion may often be great injustices, but none the less they are invariably occasions of ill-success, and frequently of a death-sentence. In return, acts of injustice done to one individual can and should, if they rest unrepaired, cause the loss of an entire nation or of a whole society; this is what is called the cry of blood, for at the bottom of every injustice there is the germ of homicide.
By reason of these terrible laws of solidarity, Christianity recommends so strongly the forgiveness of injuries and reconciliation. He who dies unforgiving casts himself dagger-armed into eternity, and condemns himself to the horrors of an eternal murder.
The efficacy of paternal or maternal blessings or curses is an invincible popular tradition and belief. As a fact, the closer the bonds which unite two persons, the more terrible are the consequences of hatred between them. The brand of Althaea burning the blood of Meleager is the mythological symbol of this terrible power. Let parents be ever on their guard, for no one can kindle hell in his own blood, and devote his own issue to misfortune, without being himself burnt and made wretched. To pardon is never a crime, but to curse is always a danger and an evil action.