The Great Secret or Occultism Unveiled

by Éliphas Lévi

Eliphas Levi

Book Two

Chapter XI The Arcana of Solomon's Ring

You must look in Solomon's tomb, that is to say, in the crypts of occult philosophy, not for his ring but for his wisdom.

Assisted by wisdom and a persistent will, you will attain wisdom's supreme secret, which is free sovereignty over balanced movement. You will then be able to get the ring for yourself by having it made by a goldsmith, to whom you will have no occasion to reveal the secret. For if he does not know what he is making he will not be able to tell others.

Here is the formula for the ring:

Take a small quantity of gold and twice the amount of silver at the hours of the sun and the moon, and mix them together; add three parts similar to the first of well refined copper, four parts of tin, five of iron, six of mercury and seven of lead. Mix them all together at the hours corresponding to the metals, and make the whole into a ring with the circular part flattened and slightly broad, permitting characters to be engraved on it.

Make a square setting in this ring to hold a red lodestone mounted in a double ring of gold.

Engrave the double seal of Solomon on the stone, above and below.

Engrave the ring with the occult signs of the seven planets as illustrated in the magical Archidoxis of Paracelsus or in Agrippa's Occult Philosophy; magnetize the ring strongly by consecrating it every day for a week with the ceremonies appointed in our ritual.

The ring must then be wrapped in a silk fabric and, after fumigation, may be carried on your person.

A round piece of metal or a talisman prepared in the same manner would have as much virtue as the ring.

Anything prepared like this is a sort of reservoir of the will. It is a magnetic reflector which can prove very useful, although it is never essential.

We have stated elsewhere that the ancient rites have lost their efficacy since the advent of Christianity.

Catholic Christianity is in fact the legitimate daughter of Jesus, whom the magi adored. Catholic worship is nothing other than high magic referred to the laws of the hierarchy, which are indispensable to ensure that it is both reasonable and efficacious.

An ordinary scapular, worn by a true Christian, is a more invincible talisman than the ring and the pentacle of Solomon.

Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, so humble, said of Himself: 'The Queen of Sheba came from the distant East to see and listen to Solomon, and a greater than Solomon is here.'

The Mass is the most prodigious of evocations.

Necromancers evoke the dead, sorcerers evoke the devil and tremble, but the Catholic priest does not tremble to evoke the Living God!

What are all the talismans of ancient science in comparison with the consecrated wafer?

Let Solomon's skeleton sleep on in its tomb of rock, together with the ring he may have on his bony finger. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, He lives. Take one of those silver rings as sold at the church porch, stamped with the image of the crucified and with ten rosary beads. If you are worthy to wear it, it will be more effective in your hands than the genuine ring of Solomon would be.

Magical rituals and detailed performances in worship are all for the ignorant and superstitious, and we cannot help recalling the well-known story which we shall now relate briefly, because it fits in here.

Two monks entered a thatched cottage which had been left in the care of two children, and asked to be allowed to rest and to have something to eat if that were possible. The children replied that they had nothing to give.

-- 'Ah well!' said one of the monks, 'here's a fire; just lend us a pot and a little water and we'll make ourselves some soup.'

'With what?'

'With this pebble', said the cunning friar, fetching a piece of stone. 'Don't you know, my children, that the disciples of St Francis possess the secret of pebble soup?'

Pebble soup? What a marvel for the children! They were promised that they would taste it and find it excellent.

Within the space of a few minutes the pot was got ready, the water was poured into it, the fire was stirred into a blaze, and the pebble was carefully placed in the water.

'So far so good,' said the monks, 'and now a little salt and some vegetables; bring them, there are some in your garden. Now, why not add a little smoked bacon? It will only improve the soup.

The children squatted by the hearth looking on in wonder. The pot boiled.

'Right, cut a few slices of bread and come to this tureen. My! What a smell! Lay the table, and let's dip our bread in the soup. Here's the pebble, wrap it up carefully, you may keep it for your trouble; it will never be used up and will always work. Now then, taste the soup! There! What did we tell you?'

'Oh! It's first rate!' said the little peasant children, clapping their hands.

In fact it was a good bacon and cabbage soup, which the children would never have managed to set before their guests without the bit of wonder-working with the pebble.

Magical rituals and religious ceremonies are rather like the monks' pebble. They supply the pretext and the occasion for practising virtues which, in themselves, are indispensable to the moral life of man. The good monks would not have dined without the pebble; so did some real power reside in the stone? Yes, in the imagination of the youngsters, which was set working by the ingenuity of the good fathers.

We can say this without blaming or offending anyone. The monks were sensible men, not liars. They helped the children to do good, and filled them with admiration, helping them to share a good soup; and in this connection we advise those who are feeling hungry but would find it rather too difficult (or rather too simple) to make cabbage soup, to make pebble soup instead.

We want to be clearly understood on this point. We are not trying to say that signs and rites are a big piece of humbug. They would be such if people did not need them; but we have to recognize that everyone has not the same degree of intelligence. Children have always had fairy stories told to them, and these stories will continue to be told as long as there are nurses and mothers. Children have faith and this is what saves them. Imagine a child of seven saying: 'I do not want to accept anything I cannot understand.' What could one teach such a monster? Accept what your teachers tell you to begin with, my fine fellow, then study it and, if you are not an idiot, you will understand it by-and-by.

Children need fables, the masses need fables and ceremonies; the frailty of mankind needs crutches. Blessed are those who possess the ring of Solomon, but even more blessed are those who equal or surpass Solomon in knowledge and wisdom without requiring his ring!

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