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Term: Eliphas Levi


Eliphas Levi (penname of Alphonse Louis Constant), 1810-1875, was a highly influential French occultist and author. He was among those who spearheaded the 19th century occult revival. Levi's works were translated by Arthur Edward Waite into English and had a great impact on the occultism of the time. Levi's writings focused on the union of Hermeticism, the Kabbalah, and magick. He also was a strong proponent that alchemy was an encoded esoteric system of spiritual transformation, where the pursuit of transforming lead into gold was symbolic of enlightenment.

Levi is also notable for creating correspondences with the tarot, such as its astrological and kabbalistic associations, which influenced Arthur Waite and his Rider-Waite-Smith deck, with Waite referencing Levi's work on tarot in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot. He is also known for his famous illustration of Baphomet in his book Transcendental Magic, and for coining the Four Powers of the Sphinx, which later found its way into witchcraft practices under the name of "The Witch's Pyramid." His occult work greatly influenced the Golden Dawn, Thelema, and Wicca. Aleister Crowley claimed to be the reincarnation of Eliphas Levi, pointing out that Levi died the year he was born.

AUTHOR:  Mat Auryn