Eliphas Lévi by Thomas A Williams (Review)


Eliphas Levi by Williams

Eliphas Levi by Thomas Williams

This website is concerned in part with the inspiration of Valentin Tomberg. And it is a fact that Tomberg drew on a French Catholic hermetic stream, which figures like Eliphas Lévi represented.

In time, I would like to focus more on Levi. But for the moment, I am choosing to present at this website two old reviews of books I wrote for Amazon years ago. One is Lévi’s biography, presented below. The other is of a later work by Eliphas Lévi himself, which you can find here.

Levi was a very complex figure. Some traditional Catholics may be disturbed by my featuring him at this website. My purpose is not to recommend Lévi willy nilly to anyone. No – I must say: Caveat Lector! There is much in Lévi’s legacy which is disturbing. Why feature him at all, then?

To this question, I will simply say that I have tried to respond to the problem presented by Eliphas Levi here. If dear Reader, you are disturbed, I would ask you to read – carefully if you can – what I say there.

Briefly, I will just say this now. I am gravely troubled by the de-Christianised New Age movement overtaking the West. And paradoxical as it is may sound, I believe that the Catholic Eliphas Lévi could yet serve as a healing antidote to the de-Christianised spirituality of the New Age.

Here then, with some revision, is my old Amazon review:

‘I love this book.

It is precious to me and performs a true service. It really is an admirable effort.

For although MacIntosh’s title has more information about Lévi’s life, I prefer Williams’ shorter, more compact effort. Quantity is not the same as quality.

And although there is less information here, I feel Williams captures more of the essential heart of who the remarkable Eliphas Lévi really was.

Who was Eliphas Lévi? I echo Williams completely, when he writes as to his reasons for writing the book: `The more I found out [about Lévi], the more interested I became. Levi emerged as a far richer personality than I would ever have suspected.’

I concur – the more I’ve pursued Lévi, the more I’ve found a very generous and noble heart, a very human thinker.

Williams’ takes us through Lévi’s whole life: his life changing first communion, his ordination in the Catholic Church, his years of radical utopianism, his veneration of the feminine and his esoteric Christian works.

Unfortunately, the information on Lévi’s last years is thinner. This is a shame, inasmuch as I find the mature Lévi the most moving of all – as he leaves behind his past for an ever deeper engagement with the Catholic Mystery.

Although this is regrettable, I would still emphasise Williams captures Lévi’s heart.

And what a heart that is, wide-open filled with sympathy and love!

Lévi deserves not to be forgotten. As I said in my review of The Key of the Mysteries:

‘Lévi is also notable because, although he could be seen as one of the fathers of the New Age movement, he does not have a `New Age politics’. This is to say, Lévi expresses sentiments which New Agers could easily relate to, while at the same time he does not share the New Age rejection of religion and the establishment.

For example, Lévi has much to say regarding to say regarding the symbols and hermetic correspondences between different worlds – but his social and political vision is deeply Catholic.

For Lévi is writing some decades after the French Revolution tried to destroy the Church. Indeed in his time, there is ongoing subversive activity to bring down the Church or severely restrain her freedom. Lévi would align himself with the Church. He seeks a renewed Church vigorously supporting and informing the established order.

Many of the thoughts here seem like rough drafts of what the anonymous author of Meditations on the Tarot would later develop with more finesse.’

So in addition to all the above reasons, those seeking to understand the background to the astonishing Meditations on the Tarot will also find Williams’ book a most valuable resource.

If you would like to buy this book from Amazon US, or Amazon UK click on the relevant link below:-

In Our Book Stores (Numerous New Titles)

Here is a slideshow of many of our Amazon titles.  I have also added comments as to why I believe in each book.

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Thank you – RB.

Prints, Posters, Imagery and More

The world is awash with materialistic imagery, designed to stimulate consumer desire. Yet once, Christendom was awash with imagery of the Christian Mystery. Whatever can redress this imbalance is most needed. With such thoughts, we present this small selection also available from Amazon:

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