Explanatory Remark on “The Magical Evocation of Apollonius of Tyana”
Spiritual Scientist, November 4, 1875
Explanatory Note by H.P.B. on her translation of a Chapter from Eliphas Levi
So little is known in modern times of Ancient Magic, its meaning, history, capabilities, literature, adepts and results, that I cannot allow what precedes to go out, without a few words of explanation. The ceremonies and paraphernalia so minutely described by Lévi, are calculated and were intended to deceive the superficial reader. Forced by an irresistible impulse to write what he knew, but fearing to be dangerously explicit, in this instance, as everywhere throughout his works, he magnifies unimportant details and slurs over things of greater moment. True, Oriental Cabalists need no preparation, no costumes, apparatus, coronets or war-like weapons; these appertain to the Jewish Cabala, which bears the same relation to its simple Chaldean prototype as the ceremonious observances of the Romish Church to the simple worship of Christ and his apostles. In the hands of the true adept of the East, a simple wand of bamboo with seven joints, supplemented by their ineffable wisdom and indomitable will-power, suffices to evoke spirits and produce the miracles authenticated by the testimony of a cloud of unprejudiced witnesses. At this séance of Lévi’s, upon the reappearance of the phantom, the daring investigator saw and heard things, which in his account of the first trial, are wholly suppressed, and in that of the others merely hinted at. I know this from authorities which cannot be questioned.
Suppose that the criticasters of the “Banner” and the “ir–Religio,” who, every week occupy themselves with shooting off their little pop-guns at the Elementary Spirits evoked in their literature by Colonel Olcott and myself, should try their hand at some of the simplest ceremonies given to neophytes, to sharpen their wisdom-teeth upon, before undertaking to amuse and instruct the world with their wit and wisdom. Shoot away, good friends, you amuse yourselves and hurt nobody else.