Eliphas Levy

QUESTION. What is man?
ANSWER. Man is an intelligent and corporeal being made in the image of God and of the world, one in essence, triple in substance, mortal and immortal.

Q. You say, "triple in substance." Has man, then, two souls or two bodies?
A. No; there is in him a spiritual soul, a material body, and a plastic medium.

Q. What is the substance of this medium?
A. Light, partially volatile, and partially fixed.

Q. What is the volatile part of this light?
A. Magnetic fluid.<<WEH NOTE: This passage derives from the efforts of Newton, Mesmer and others to quantify the astral body. 18th and 19th century efforts to measure ectoplasm, oddic force, etc. and to physically measure an essence of life have persisted to the verge of the 21st century in a strange pseudo-
science. At least in the 18th and 19th centuries there was the idea of the luminous Aeyther as a partial justification for this sort of thing. Now it is generally considered a curiosity dependent on subjective measurement without the objective external instrumentation required by hard science. This concept has led to a vast array of quack medical theories and the loss of otherwise promising philosophies. Bulwar Lytton used the idea; W. Reich was imprisoned for trying to cure with it. Crowley lost much time over it in his later years in trying to market his Amrita derivations. The future may disclose some substance here, but it tends to "confusion of the planes" more often than not.>>

Q. And the fixed part?
A. The fluidic or fragrant body.

Q. Is the existence of this body demonstrated?
A. Yes; by the most curious and the most conclusive experiences. We shall speak of them in the third part of this work.

Q. Are these experiences articles of faith?
A. No, they pertain to science.<<WEH NOTE: Although this is not essential to Thelema, Crowley's dependence on it is a measure of his place in time. "The Method of Science. The Aim of Religion." --- A valid perspective, but not without potential for misapplication. This, more than anything else, is the
influence of Levi on Crowley's philosophy. Accidents of emphasis in Levi's works often became seeds for fruitless avenues of research in Crowley's effort.>>

Q. But will science preoccupy herself with it?
A. She already preoccupies herself with it. We have written this book and you are reading it.

Q. Give us some notions of this plastic medium.
A. It is formed of astral or terrestrial light, and transmits {105} the double magnetization of it to the human body. The soul, by acting on this light through its volitions, can dissolve it or coagulate it, project it or withdraw it. It is the mirror of the imagination and of dreams. It reacts upon the nervous system, and thus produces the movements of the body. This light can dilate itself indefinitely, and communicate its reflections at considerable distances; it magnetizes the bodies submitted to the action of man, and can, by concentrating itself, again draw them to him. It can take all the forms evoked by thought, and, in the transitory coagulations of its radiant particles, appear to the eyes; it can even offer a sort of resistance to
the touch. But these manifestations and uses of the plastic medium being abnormal, the luminous instrument of precision cannot produce them without being strained, and there is danger of either habitual hallucination, or of insanity.

Q. What is animal magnetism?
A. The action of one plastic medium upon another, in order to dissolve or coagulate it. By augmenting the elasticity of the vital light and its force of projection, one sends it forth as far as one will, and withdraws it completely loaded with images; but this operation must be favoured by the slumber of the subject, which one produces by coagulating still further the fixed part of his medium.

Q. Is magnetism contrary to morality and religion?
A. Yes, when one abuses it.

Q. In what does the abuse of it consist?
A. In employing it in a disordered manner, or for a disordered object.

Q. What is a disordered magnetism? {106}
A. An unwholesome fluidic emission, made with a bad intention; for example, to know the secrets of others, or to arrive at unworthy ends.

Q. What is the result of it?
A. It puts out of order the fluidic instrument of precision, both in the case of the magnetizer and of th magnetized. To this cause one must attribute the immoralities and the follies with which a great number of those who occupy themselves with magnetism are reproached.

Q. What conditions are required in order to magnetize properly?
A. Health of spirit and body; right intention, and discreet practice.

Q. What advantageous results can one obtain by discreet magnetism?
A. The cure of nervous diseases, the analysis of presentiments, the re- establishment of fluidic harmonies, and the rediscovery of certain secrets of Nature.

Q. Explain that to us in a more complete manner.
A. We shall do so in the third part of this work, which will treat specially of the mysteries of Nature.