The Key of the Mysteries

The Fourth Part

The Great Practical Secrets
or the Realization of Science


The lofty sciences of the Qabalah and of Magic promise man an exceptional, real, effective, efficient power, and one should regard them as false and vain if they do not give it.

Judge the teachers by their works, said the supreme Master. This rule of judgment is infallible.

If you wish me to believe in what you know, show me what you do.

God, in order to exalt man to moral emancipation, hides Himself from him and abandons to him, after a fashion, the government of the world. He leaves Himself to be guessed by the grandeurs and harmonies of nature, so that man may progressively make himself perfect by ever exalting the idea that he makes for himself of its author.

Man knows God only by the names which he gives to that Being of beings, and does not distinguish Him but by the images of Him which he endeavours to trace. He is then in a manner the creator of Him Who has created him. He believes himself the mirror of God, and by indefinitely enlarging his own mirage, he thinks that he may be able to sketch in infinite space the shadow of Him Who is without body, without shadow, and without space.

To Create God, to create one's self, to make one's self independent, immortal and without suffering: there certainly is a programme more daring than the dream of Prometheus. Its expression is bold to the point of impiety, its thought ambitious to the point of madness. Well, this programme is only paradoxical in its form, which lends itself to a false and sacrilegious interpretation. In one sense it is perfectly reasonable, and the science of the adepts promises to realize it, and to accomplish it in perfection.

Man, in effect, creates for himself a God corresponding to his own intelligence and his own goodness; he cannot raise his ideal higher than his moral development permits him to do. The God whom he adores is always an enlargement of his own reflection. To conceive the absolute of goodness and justice is to be one's self exceeding just and good.

The moral qualities of the spirit are riches, and the greatest of all riches. One must acquire them by strife and toil. One may bring this objection, the inequality of aptitudes; some children are born with organisms nearer to perfection. But we ought to believe that such organisms result from a more advanced work of Nature, and the children who are endowed with them have acquired them, if not by their own efforts, at least by the consolidated works of the human beings to whom their existence is bound. It is a secret of Nature, and Nature does nothing by chance; the possession of more developed intellectual faculties, like that of money and land, constitutes an indefeasible right of transmission and inheritance.

Yes, man is called to complete the work of his creator, and every instant employed by him to improve himself or to destroy himself, is decisive for all eternity. It is by the conquest of an intelligence eternally clear and of a will eternally just, that he constitutes himself as living for eternal life, since nothing survives injustice and error but the penalty of their disorder. To understand good is to will it, and on the plane of justice to will is to do. For this reason the Gospel tells us that men will be judged according to their works.

Our works make us so much what we are, that our body itself, as we have said, receives the modification, and sometimes the complete change, of its form from our habits.

A form conquered, or submitted to, becomes a providence, or a fatality, for all one's existence. Those strange figures which the Egyptians gave to the human symbols of divinity represent the fatal forms. Typhon has a crocodile's head. He is condemned to eat ceaselessly in order to fill his hippopotamus belly. Thus he is devoted, by his greed and his ugliness, to eternal destruction.

Man can kill or vivify his faculties by negligence or by abuse. He can create for himself new faculties by the good use of those which he has received from Nature. People often say that the affections will not be commanded, that faith is not possible for all, that one does not re-make one's own character. All these assertions are true only for the idle or the perverse. One can make one's self faithful, pious, loving, devoted, when one wishes sincerely to be so. One can give to one's spirit the calm of justness, as to one's will the almighty power of justice. Once can reign in Heaven by virtue of faith, on earth by virtue of science. The man who knows how to command himself is king of all Nature.

We are going to state forthwith, in this last book, by what means the true initiates have made themselves the masters of life, how they have overcome sorrow and death; how they work upon themselves and others the transformation of Proteus; how they exercise the divining power of Apollonius; how they make the gold of Raymond Lully and of Flamel; how in order to renew their youth they possess the secrets of Postel the Re-arisen, and those alleged to have been in the keeping of Cagliostro. In short, we are going to speak the last word of magic.


Chapter I

Of Transformation —
The Wand of Circe —
The Bath of Medea —
Magic Overcome by Its Own Weapons —
The Great Arcanum of the Jesuits and the Secret of Their Power

The Bible tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar, at the highest point of his power and his pride, was suddenly changed into a beast.
He fled into savage places, began to eat grass, let his beard and hair grow, as well as his nails, and remained in this state for seven years.
In our Dogme et rituel de la haute magie, we have said what we think of the mysteries of lycanthropy, or the metamorphosis of men into werewolves.
Everyone knows the fable of Circe and understands its allegory.
The fatal ascendant of one person on another is the true wand of Circe.
One knows that almost all human physiognomies bear a resemblance to one animal or another, that is to say, the signature of a specialized instinct.
Now, instincts are balanced by contrary instincts, and dominated by instincts stronger than those.
In order to dominate sheep, the dog plays upon their fear of wolves.
If you are a dog, and you want a pretty little cat to love you, you have only one means to take: to metamorphose yourself into a cat.
But how! By observation, imitation and imagination. We think that our figurative language will be understood for once, and we recommend this revelation to all who wish to magnetize: it is the deepest of all the secrets of their art.
Here is the formula in technical terms:
"To polarize one's own animal light, in equilibrated antagonism with the contrary pole."
To concentrate in one's self the special qualities of absorption in order to direct their rays towards an absorbing focus, and vice versa.
This government of our magnetic polarization may be done by the assistance of the animal forms of which we have spoken; they will serve to fix the imagination.
Let us give an example:
You wish to act magnetically upon a person polarized like yourself, which, if you are a magnetizer, you will divine at the first contact: only that person is a little less strong that you are, a mouse, while you are a rat. Make yourself a cat, and you will capture it.
In one of the admirable stories which, though he did not invent it, he has told better than anybody, Perrault puts upon the stage a cat, which cunningly induces an ogre to change himself into a mouse, and the thing is no sooner done, than the mouse is crunched by the cat. The Tales of Mother Goose, like the Golden Ass of Apuleius, are perhaps true magical legends, and hide beneath the cloak of childish fairy tales the formidable secrets of science.
It is a matter of common knowledge that magnetizers give to pure water the properties and taste of wine, liqueurs and every conceivable drug, merely by the laying-on of hands, that is to say, by their will expressed in a sign.
One knows, too, that those who tame fierce animals conquer lions by making themselves mentally and magnetically stronger and fiercer than lions.
Jules Gerard, the intrepid hunter of the African lion, would be devoured if he were afraid. But, in order not to be afraid of a lion, one must make one's self stronger and more savage than the animal itself by an effort of imagination and of will. One must say to one's self: It is I who am the lion, and in my presence this animal is only a dog who ought to tremble before me.
Fourier imagined anti-lions; Jules Gerard has realized that chimera of the phanlasterian[1] dreamer.
But, one will say, in order not to fear lions, it is enough to be a man of courage and well armed.
No, that is not enough. One must know one's self by heart, so to speak, to be able to calculate the leaps of the animal, divining its stratagems, avoiding its claws, foreseeing its movements, to be in a word past-master in lioncraft, as the excellent La Fontaine might have said.
Animals are the living symbols of the instincts and passions of men. If you make a man timid, you change him into a hare. If, on the contrary, you drive him to ferocity, you make a tiger of him.
The wand of Circe is the power of fascination which woman possesses; and the changing of the companions of Ulysses into hogs is not a story peculiar to that time.
But no metamorphosis may be worked without destruction. To change a hawk into a dove, one must first kill it, then cut it to pierces, so as to destroy even the least trace of its first form, and then boil it in the magic bath of Medea.
Observe how modern hierophants proceed in order to accomplish human regeneration; how, for example, in the Catholic religion, they go to work in order to change a man more or less weak and passionate into a stoical missionary of the Society of Jesus.
There is the great secret of that venerable and terrible Order, always misunderstood, often calumniated, and always sovereign.
Read attentively the book entitled, The Exercises of St. Ignatius, and note with what magical power that man of genius operates the realization of faith.
He orders his disciples to see, to touch, to smell, to taste invisible things. He wishes that the senses should be exalted during prayer to the point of voluntary hallucination. You are meditating upon a mystery of faith; St. Ignatius wishes, in the first place, that you should create a place, dream of it, see it, touch it. If it is hell, he gives you burning rocks to touch, he makes you swim in shadows thick as pitch, he puts liquid sulphur on your tongue, he fills your nostrils with an abominable stench, he shows you frightful tortures, and makes you hear groans superhuman in their agony; he commands your will to create all that by exercises obstinately persevered in. Every one carries this out in his own fashion, but always in the way best suited to impress him. It is not the hashish intoxication which was useful to the knavery of the Old Man of the Mountain; it is a dream without sleep, an hallucination without madness, a reasoned and willed vision, a real creation of intelligence and faith. Thence-forward, when he preaches, the Jesuit can say: "What we have seen with our eyes, what we have heard with our ears, and what our hands have handled, that do we declare unto you." The Jesuit thus trained is in communion with a circle of wills exercised like his own; consequently each of the fathers is as strong as the Society, and the Society is stronger than the world.

[1] Fourier was a Socialist who wrote a sort of "Utopia." His social unit was the "phalanstere." —TRANS.

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