by Eliphas Levi
This book is a must read for anyone interested in Transcendental Magic. I enjoy Levi's writing style and the density of the information in his text.
The Hermetic art is, at one and the same time, a religion, a philosophy and a natural science. Considered as religion, it is that of the ancient Magi and the initiates of all the ages; as a philosophy, its principles may be found in the school of Alexandria and in the theories of Pythagoras; as science, its principles must be sought from Paracelsus, Nicholas Flamel and Raymund Lully. The science is true only for those who accept and understand the philosophy and religion, while its processes are successful only for the adept who has attained sovereign volition, and has thus become monarch of the elementary world, for the Great Agent of the solar work is that force described in the Hermetic Symbol of the “Emerald Tablet”: it is universal magical power; it is the igneous spiritual motor; it is the OD of the Hebrews and the Astral Light, according to the expression which we have adopted in this work.