.        Magus Eliphas Levi
.                   (1810 - 1875)
A French Occultist and Author
Eliphas Lévi, born Alphonse Louis Constant, (February 8, 1810 - May 31, 1875) was a French author and

"Eliphas Lévi," the name under which he published his books, was his attempt to translate or transliterate his given
names "Alphonse Louis" into Hebrew.  A prolific writer on Magical Freemasonry, he has been called, "the last of the

Lévi was the son of a shoemaker in Paris; he attended St. Sulpice seminary in Paris with the intention of gaining a formal
education and eventually becoming a Roman Catholic priest.  St. Sulpice had become a hotbed of alternative thought
and a place where esoteric and occult study seemed to have gone hand in hand with orthodox Catholic belief.  This
earned the seminar one of the strangest reputations of any of the 19th century french seminaries. Levi soon became
deeply involved in occult thinking and practices.  Levi did not make a very good priest.  In 1846, soon after being
ordained, he met and married 17 year old Neomie Cadot,  The marriage was soon annulled and Levi, by now dismissed
by the church, began to earn a good living in journalism.

He wrote a number of minor religious works: Des Moeurs et des Doctrines du Rationalisme en France ("Of the Moral
Customs and Doctrines of Rationalism in France", 1839) was a tract within the cultural stream of the
Counter-Enlightenment. La Mère de Dieu ("The Mother of God", 1844) followed and, after leaving the seminary, two
radical tracts, L'Evangile du Peuple ("The Gospel of the People," 1840), and Le Testament de la Liberté ("The
Testament of Liberty"), published in the year of revolutions, 1848, led to two brief prison sentences.

Levi's esoteric training soon led him into less orthodox areas of publishing and he began to call himself Eliphas Levi
In 1854, Lévi visited England, where he met the novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who was interested in Rosicrucianism as
a literary theme and was the president of a minor Rosicrucian order. With Bulwer-Lytton, Lévi conceived the notion of
writing a treatise on magic. This appeared in 1855 under the title
Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, and was
translated into English by Arthur Edward Waite as
Transcendental Magic, it's Doctrine and Ritual. The books famous
opening lines present the single essential theme of Occultism and gives some of the flavor of its atmosphere:   

"Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness
and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh
or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or
Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvelous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the
inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books on alchemy, in the ceremonies
practiced at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is
everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed."

In 1861, he published a sequel,
La Clef des Grandes Mystères (The Key to the Great Mysteries). This was soon
followed by
A History of Magic, Transcendental Magic. Further magical works by Lévi include Fables et Symboles
(Stories and Images),
1862, and La Science des Esprits (The Science of Spirits), 1865. In 1868, he wrote Le Grand
Arcane, ou l'Occultisme Dévoilé (The Great Secret, or Occultism Unveiled);
this, however, was only published
posthumously in 1898.

Lévi's version of magic became a great success, especially after his death. The Spiritualism fad was popular on both
sides of the Atlantic from the 1850s and contributed to his success. His magical teachings were free from obvious
fanaticisms, even if they remained rather murky; he had nothing to sell, and did not pretend to be the inititate of some
ancient or fictitious secret society. He incorporated the Tarot cards into his magical system, and as a result the Tarot
has been an important part of the paraphernalia of Western magicians. He had a deep impact on the magic of the
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and it was largely through this impact that Lévi is remembered as one of the key
founders of the twentieth century revival of magic.

Levi made the contribution towards helping to blacken the symbolism of the pentacle. He claimed that when the pentacle
appeared in its inverted form, i.e. with  a point downward, it represented a potent satanic symbol. He claimed it was
associated with a goat, an animal often equated with the devil, and images portraying the association soon became
common.  It did not matter that the pentacle had regularly been used as a Christian symbol because a society thirsty for
the sort of 'revelations' that Levi claimed to be making took the image on-board and many began to see it as a symbol of
or Goat of Mendes,
in Dogme et Rituel  
de la Haute Magie
The Pentagram From
Eliphas Levi's
Transcendental Magic
Greenman fountain at entryway

The Hiram Key, by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
The Hiram Key Revisited, by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler
In the 19th century, the name of Baphomet became associated with the occult. In 1854, Eliphas Levi published Dogme
et Rituel de la Haute Magie ("Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic"), in which he included an image he had drawn himself
which he described as Baphomet and "The Sabbatic Goat", showing a winged humanoid goat with a pair of breasts and
a torch on its head between its horns (illustration, top). This image has become the best-known representation of
Baphomet and reflects a number of principles considered fundamental to occultists.  It was influenced by Hermeticism,
Kabbalah, and Alchemy, among other sources.

Levi called his image "The Goat of Mendes", presumably following Herodotus' account[14] that the god of Mendes —
the Greek name for Djedet, Egypt — was depicted with a goat's face and legs. Herodotus relates how all male goats
were held in great reverence by the Mendesians, and how in his time a woman publicly copulated with a goat.

In mystic symbolism, the image of the hermaphroditic Baphomet is representative of the Great Oneness (the
Universe/the One God), the dualistic nature, the Void and Manifest Existence, the association of the spiritual and the
physical, and the undying Truths of Existence to be discovered in the pursuit of Light

Levi himself described the meaning of the symbol thusly: "The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the
pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of hermetism, the
one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses
the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyn of
Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The
flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul
elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast's head expresses the horror
of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul
is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals
symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers
following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the
occult sciences."

When viewed through this mystical perspective, it is no more an image of evil than of good; it is a portrayal of the
Whole, a point of focus for meditation for the philosopher who approaches understanding without superstitious

Baphomet appeared as a term for a pagan deity in trial transcripts of the Inquisition of the Knights Templar in the early
14th century.   From
The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas,  "It was said that the Knights Templar
worshiped something with the curious name of 'Baphomet', which was never understood until it was written in Hebrew
and the Atbash cipher applied to reveal the word 'Sophia' - the Greek for 'wisdom'.    

(French pronunciation: [sɛ̃sylpis]) is a Roman Catholic church in Paris, France, on the east side of the
Place Saint-Sulpice, in the Luxembourg Quarter of the VIe arrondissement.  Known as the "Cathedral of the Rive
Gauche," Saint-Sulpice is one of the largest churches in Paris

St. Sulpice played a prominent part in Dan Browns' 2003 novel
The Da Vinci Code, an international bestseller that
brought crowds of tourists to St. Suplice.

In 2005, the Catholic Church refused Ron Howard permission to film inside Saint Sulpice when he was making The Da
Vinci Code. The scenes set in the church that appear in the finished movie are not shot on location. According to an
article in the British magazine 3D World, a computer-generated virtual set was used.  Photographs taken inside the
church were used to create texturemaps, but no detailed measurements were taken

Atbash cipher:
Atbash is a simple substitution cipher for the Hebrew alphabet. It consists in substituting aleph (the first letter) for tav
(the last), beth (the second) for shin (one before last), and so on, reversing the alphabet. In the Book of Jeremiah, לב
קמי Lev Kamai (51:1) is Atbash for כשדים Kasdim (Chaldeans), and ששך Sheshakh (25:26; 51:41) is Atbash
for בבל Bavel (Babylon). It has been associated with the esoteric methodologies of Jewish mysticism's interpretations of
Hebrew religious texts as in the Kabbalah.

An Atbash cipher for the Roman alphabet would be as follows:
Plain:  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H   I   J   K   L  M   N   O  P  Q  R  S  T   U  V W  X  Y   Z
Cipher: Z  Y   X  W V  U  T   S  R  Q  P  O  N   M   L   K  J    I   H  G  F  E  D  C  B  A