Article Selections from “Unpublished Writings of Eliphas Levi” | Notes by H.P.B.

. . . The legend of St. Bernard tells us that one day the devil broke one of the wheels of the saint’s carriage, and that holy man forced the bad spirit to change himself into a wheel, to replace that which was gone. Another and still more ancient legend, originating from the same idea, says that a bear having devoured the ass of some saint, was made to serve in his turn as a beast for the saddle of the pious and robust saint. This shows, as we have said before, that the devil gives himself up to the true magician while the ordinary sorcerer only delivers himself to the devil.1 . . .

1. It is very much to be regretted that in the new “apostolic” edition of the Acta Sanctorum many of the most glaring absurdities have been left out, evidently from the mistaken idea that they were incompatible with modern thought; while in fact the most absurd ones contain the most beautiful hidden truths, which unfortunately the “apostolic” editor has not understood.

. . . The white serpent is a fiction of eternal day, the black one is the falsehood of eternal night; the hermetic staff produces an equilibrium between nights and days and reveals thereby the secret of motion and life. Before the tribunal of Hermes, Cain and Abel are equally foolish; the prophet Enoch, who represents Hermes among the Hebrews, did not kill any body like Cain, neither did he allow himself to be killed by any body like Abel; but he cut out upon the earth the pillars upon which rests eternal science, and he rose up to heaven by escaping death.2

2. That means he succeeded while on earth to establish a union between his Atma (the 7th Principle) and his soul (the 5th).