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Books: Light of Egypt

The above title has been selected, chiefly, because, in most

works treating upon magic we find it wrongly used, and therefore,

take the opportunity of explaining the matter, for, there were no

such terms in the vocabulary of the ancient Magi.

It is unfortunate, that, words of ancient origin are not more

carefully used, and that, we should attach so many different

meanings to the same word. The terms "cere
ony" and "ceremonial"

are nothing more nor less than, what that eminent critic, John

Ruskin, would designate as "bastards of ignoble origin," which,

somehow or another, have usurped the places of "rite" and

"ritual." The word "rite" has descended to us from the Latin

"ritus" of our Roman ancestors, and they received it from the

more ancient "riti" of the Sanskrit, the Greek equivalent of

which is "reo," and means the method or order of service to the

gods, whereas, "ceremony" may mean anything and everything, from

the terms of a brutal prize fight to the conduct of divine

service within the church. But, no such chameleon-like definition

or construction can properly be placed upon the word "rite," for

it means distinctly, if it means anything at all, the serious

usage and sacred method of conducting service in honor of the

gods, or of superiors, and requires the attendance of the prophet

or priest, or some one duly qualified to fulfill such sacred

functions for the time being. The ritual of magic, then, is the

correct title of this present study, and as such, we shall,

henceforth, term it as we proceed with the course.

Man is especially, and above all creatures, an organizing force,

and when to this fact, we add the most interior and powerful of

his sentimental instincts--veneration for the powers that be, and

for the higher, invisible forces of Nature, his "religiosity," as

it has been aptly termed, we cannot wonder that, the earliest

races of which we possess any record are chiefly distinguished

for their imposing and elaborate religious rites. In fact, it is

to the stupendous temples and a colossal sacerdotalism, that, we

are indebted for nine-tenths of the relics and records which we

possess of them. So true is this that, from what we have been

able to discover, we are quite justified in asserting that the

ancient races were, above all other things, a profoundly

religious people. The temple was the center around which revolved

all their genius and art, and the sacred edifice became their

grandest achievement in architecture, and its high priest the

most powerful individual in the state. In fact, it was in

consequence of the real power invested in such sacred office that

it was so intimately connected with the throne, and why royalty

so frequently belonged to the priesthood or exercised priestly

functions. And there can be no real doubt, but that, amongst the

pastoral and more spiritual races of Earth's earliest

inhabitants, the priest, by reason of his superior wisdom, was

the first law-giver; and, by virtue of his sanctity of person and

elevation of mind became their first, primitive king, a

patriarchal monarch, whose scepter and symbol of power was the

shepherd's peaceful crook; just as among the ruder nomads of the

inhospitable North, we find the greatest hunters invested with

the dignity of chief, whose significant symbol and scepter of

royalty, upon their Nimrod thrones, was the trusty, successful

spear. And the times in which we live have bad their full effect

upon these symbols, so significant of rule. The monarch has

transformed the spear into the less harmful mace, while the

Church has added an inch of iron to the crook. Therefore, the

former has become less war-like, and the latter less peaceful,

and, verily, in actual life we find them so,

The patriarchal sire, head of the tribal household, was the

original priest; and the hearthstone the first altar around which

the family rites were performed; and from this pure and primitive

original have been evolved, through progressive ages, the stately

temple and the sacred person of the despotic pontiff; from the

sincere prayer the pure aspirations of the human heart and the

joyous offerings of fruits and flowers to the invisible powers

around them; and from the souls of their beloved ancestors has

arisen the costly and complicated ritual of theology. And, if the

theologians of to-day really knew the lost, secret meaning of

their complicated rituals, and the unseen powers lying behind

their external symbols, their anxieties for the continued life of

their dying creeds would be turned to new hopes and faith, which

could be demonstrated to their equally blind followers; that,

that which they were teaching they knew, and could practically

use the knowledge given forth in their sanctuaries; and, instead

of offering up their supplications to an imaginary, personal

Deity, their words, rites, and ceremonies, would take on the form

and power that such should command, and they would become truly,

what their title really means, a doctor of the soul. Then could

they, intelligently, lead and direct the souls of their followers

to the path of Christ (Truth), which leads up to salvation; not a

vicarious atonement, but gaining the at-one-ment through the

individual soul's development to a conscious relation, to that

Divine spirit, we call God, where it can say "I know."

Out of those simple gifts, which were the spontaneous offerings

of loving remembrance and unselfish charity, have grown the

prayers, penances, sacrifices, and servile worship, of

sacerdotalism. Out of the paternal consideration and love of the

aged sire has evolved the haughty, chilling pride of the selfish,

isolated priest, and which reflects its baneful influence upon

the worshipers at their feet. They have also changed their once

sacred, faithful, and reverent, obedience into suspicion and

distrust, and with the educated to utter disgust. The light has

been extinguished, and priest and people alike are groping about

in darkness.

It is strange, yea, passing strange, the amount of human

ignorance and folly that is revealed. When we look upon this

picture and then upon that, verily we cannot help but ask the

question, is mankind really progressing? We know that it is; we

are keenly alive to the truth that the Anthem of Creation sounds

out "Excelsior"--"move on," but how, and in what way

(SPIRITUALLY) we fail to comprehend. The cyclic development of

the human soul is an inscrutable mystery.

All the considerations above presented must be thoroughly weighed

and understood in order to arrive at the true value of "the dogma

and ritual of high magic," as Eliphas Levi terms it; because,

amid the vast array of tinselled drapery, the outcome of man's

vain conceit and bombastic pride, we shall find very little that

can be considered as vital and really essential to the rites of

magic. The show, the drapery, the priestly ornaments and

instruments, are to the really spiritual Occultist, but, as

sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. That they had, and still

have, their legitimate uses, is true, but these uses do not

concern magic, per se, nor its manifold powers. They awed the

popular mind, and impressed upon the masses a due reverence for

the powers that be. They were instrumental in holding the

untrained passions of the common herd in check, by a wholesome

fear of summary vengeance from the gods, so that this pageantry

of magic, the outward priestly show, was more of a politic

development than a spiritual necessity, an astute but,

philosophical method of enabling the educated few to govern the

uneducated many. And it was only when the educational and

initiatory rites of the temple became corrupt, and the priest

became the persecuting ally of the king--when, in real fact, the

priest lost his spirituality in the desire for temporal power and

place, that the people began to disbelieve his professions and

rebel against his tyrannical control.

The powers that be, are now wielding their sword of justice, and

unfurling the knowledge of freedom and truth to the aspiring mind

of man. He has begun to feel his bondage and the yoke of

oppression. The words of promise and love, instead of lifting him

up to the God he has been taught to worship, bow him down in

slavish obedience to his priest. Mankind cannot remain in this

mental and spiritual darkness much longer. Already I see the

break of day, the dawn of a new life, a new religion; or, rather,

the re-establishing of the true, which is as old as Time itself.

There is but One Law, One Principle, One Word, One Truth and One


The original requirements for the office of priest, and the rites

of magic, were, as shown, a primitive, i.e., pure mind; one that

had outgrown the lusts and passions of youth, a person of

responsibility and experience; and even to this day the priest of

the Roman Church is called by the familiar title of "father." And

as Nature does not alter her laws and requirements in obedience

to the moral development of the race, we may rest assured that

the same requirements, of ten thousand years ago, still hold good

to-day. You may enter your magic circle, drawn with prescribed

rites, and you may intone your consecrations and chant your

incantations; you may burn your incense in the brazen censer and

pose in your flowing, priestly robes; you may bear the sacred

pentacles of the spirit upon your breast and wave the magic sword

to the four quarters of the heavens; yea, you may even do

more--you may burn the secret sigil of the objurant spirit; and

yell your conjurations and exorcisms till you are black in the

face; but all in vain, my friend--all in vain. It will prove

nothing but vanity and vexation of spirit unless the inward self,

the soul, interblends with the outward Word, and contacting by

its own dynamic intensity-- the elemental vibrations of

Nature--arouses these spiritual forces to the extent of

responding to your call. When this can be done, but not until

then, will your magical incantations have any effect upon the

voiceless air. Not the priestly robes nor magic sword, not the

incantations, WRITTEN WORD, nor mystic circle, can produce

Nature's response to Occult rite; but the fire of the inward

spirit, the mental realization of each word and mystic sign,

combined with the conscious knowledge of your own Deific

powers--this, and this only, creates Nature's true magician.

Who and where can such be found? Are they so few that the echo

answers back "Where and who?" Yet, there are many such upon the

Earth at the present time, but the present mental conditions

forbid them making their identity known. They would not be

recognized and accepted as the TRUE teachers, but reviled and

persecuted and dubbed as insane. But silently, they are sowing

the seed of truth that will spring up and bear fruit, where and

when least expected.

Because evil is so active, truth is not lying dormant. The spirit

of God, that Divine spark of Deity within every human soul, never

sleeps, never rests. "On and upward" is its cry. "Omnia vincit


The grand sublimity of man's conception of at-one with the

Infinite Father, at-one with the limitless universe of being,

at-one with, and inheriting, all the sacred rights and

inalienable prerogatives of the ineffable Adonai of the deathless

soul, is the only test of man's qualification for the holy

office; for, as Bulwer Lytton has truthfully said, "the loving

throb of one great HUMAN HEART will baffle more fiends than all

the magicians' lore." So it is with the sacred ritual. One single

aspirational thought, clearly defined, outweighs all the priestly

trappings that the world has ever seen.

The success of all incarnations depends upon the complete unison

of VOICE and MIND, the interblend of which, produces the dynamic

intonation, that chords with the inward rhythmic vibrations of

the soul. Once this magical, dynamic, vibration is produced,

there immediately springs into being the whole elemental world

belonging thereto, by correspondence. Vocalists who hold their

audiences spellbound do so by virtue of the magical vibrations

they produce, and are in reality practical, even though

unconscious, magicians. The same power, to a degree, lies in the

voice when speaking, the graceful movement of the hand when

obeying the will, and the eye rays forth the same dynamic power

and becomes magical in its effects.

These powers are exercised more upon the physical plane, and no

better illustration can be given, than, the power man is able to

exert over the animal when gazing into its eyes.

Here, as well as in incantations and invocations, within the

power of the will, lies the success or failure.

At this point it may be asked, what, then, is the use of magical

rites, of symbols and priestly robes? We answer, in themselves

alone, nothing, absolutely nothing, except the facility and

convenience we derive from system, order and a code of procedure.

To this may be added the mental force and enthusiasm of soul

which such things inspire, just as men and women may feel more

dignified, artistic, and refined, when dressed in accordance with

their ideas. So may the average priest feel more priestly, holy;

and consequently, more powerful mentally; when arrayed in the

robes of his office and surrounded by the outward symbols of his

power and functions. But, in themselves alone, there is not, nor

can there be, any real virtue. The same may be said of the

incantations. The words used in their composition are the

hieroglyphics of mystical ideas. Therefore, the correct

pronunciation of the words or the grammatical construction of a

sentence is nothing, if the underlying idea is conceived in the

mind and responded to by the soul. Will and motive form the basis

of true magic.

One word more and we have completed our subject. Magic swords,

rings, pentacles, and wands, may, and often are powerful magical

agents in the hands of the magician, by virtue of the power, or

charm, that is invested within them when properly prepared; but

apart from such preparation, by those who know, they are as

powerless as unintelligible incantations.

All the foregoing are aids, but if physical manifestations of

magical forces be required, there must always be present the

necessary vital, magnetic pabulum, by means of which such

phenomena are made to transpire; and in every case, to be

successful, the assistance of a good natural magician, or seer,

is necessary; for without this essential element the whole art,

in its higher aspects, becomes abortive.