- Paperback: 474 pages
- Publisher: Martino Fine Books (February 19, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1891396951
- ISBN-13: 978-1891396953
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual Paperback – February 19, 2011
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l will start off by saying that l do not fully grasp everything discussed in this book. lt is a very long, difficult book to read and covers many hard to understand ideas, wrapped up inside even more complicated concepts. Personally l would recommend having a dictionary and an encyclopedia handy when reading this book. That’s not meant to be funny; unless you’re already extremely well-read and educated, you will most likely have frequent difficulty understanding Levi’s meanings and the cumbersome wording he utilizes.
Transcendental Magic is basically 2 books combined into a single volume: the first being Doctrine, and the second Ritual. The Doctrine half establishes the ideas themselves, such as how occult science came to be separate from formal religion, and the difference between high and low magic. What is the Absolute, the Astral Light, the significance of Hebrew letters and numbers, and does Satan exist? Doctrine is definitely the more confusing and perplexing half of the book. Your average reader could quickly lose interest and abandon the book before reaching the midway point. The Ritual half, while still not easy reading, does become more interesting as it delves into actual processes, materials, vestments and settings necessary for initiation and higher understanding through rituals. Levi’s attitude throughout is that the difference between light and black magic is essentially the magician’s intent and spirit behind their actions, as well as the items used to achieve them.
This is not a fun book; it is a serious, in-depth treatise on the occult written in the 19th century. If you do plan on reading it, just prepare yourself for that fact. Put your nose to the grind, keep on reading and eventually some of it will start to sink in. l couldn’t give the book 5 stars, just due to the difficulty of comprehension and how daunting it was to get through the first half. However it is interesting if you stick with it, and the last half redeems it to a good extent. To fully grasp this kind of material will require a ton of extra reading and re-referencing, making notes, cross examining and pondering. I do plan on reading more books by Eliphas Levi and hope to get a better grip on his material that way.
The omission of a great deal of content makes this an unacceptable surrogate for a physical edition. There are other digital editions available free of charge, notably a PDF on Hermetic.com, that are of superb quality.