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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Eliphas Levi on Magic

I'm currently reading The Essential Golden Dawn by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, an excellent introduction to that magical tradition, and in it they quote Eliphas Levi on magic and prayer.  I just wanted to share it here:
"All ceremonies, consecrations, ablutions,and sacrifices are prayers in action and are symbolic formulas; and they are the most potent prayers because they are translation of word into action, showing will power and persistence, seeing that they require more constrained attention than silent prayer, or prayer expressed in words; and so they constitute real work, and such work demands a man's whole energy."
Not only is this a perfect answer to the question, "Why not just pray?" but it also reminds the magician what is needed to practice artfully - one's "whole energy."

Eliphas Levi was a french would-be priest turned occultist credited with greatly inspiring the Western Magical Tradition including the Golden Dawn.  Some of his books can be found at the Occult Underground.  A bio can be found at Great Tarotists of the Past.

© Trish Deneen

Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes

I was doing some research on the history of  Murray and Lanman's Florida Water used in conjure (though some say it was only used in Santeria) and as fragrance and after-bath splash.  I came across Catherine Yronwode's excellent article on the subject.  In it she mentions some sources for recipes on making your own waters including Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes.  I have no interest in making my own as I adore the Murray and Lanman product.  But I also saw the book mentioned in a survival forum which piqued my interest.

I found the book free on Google Books, though I'm sure you can find it reprinted at Amazon if you're inclined to buy it.  Florida Water is a unisex scent that has come to be used in hoodoo for cleansing and protection.  Page 514 of the book has the recipe.

I haven't read the book and am unsure if Henley means essential oil when he uses the term "oil of."  The process of extracting oil may be described in the book.  Yronwode also has a description on her article from Hiscox and Sloane's Fortunes in Formulas (I assume this is Fortunes in Formulas for Home Farm and Workshop) of what type of alcohol should be used in perfumery for the best result which is that distilled from wine spirits.

This would be an ambitious project and again I don't plan on making my own Florida Water any time soon.  But a book "containing ten thousand selected household and workshop formulas, recipes, processes and moneymaking methods for the practical use of manufacturers, mechanics, housekeepers and home workers " may be of interest as a curio to the independent magical practitioner or country living buff.  While you may not be able to find some of the items called for in the recipes, this could be a valuable resource for research. Along with modern books on magical herbalism, you should be able to come up with suitable substitutes for your own recipes.

© Trish Deneen