The Great Secret
or Occultism Unveiled
by Eliphas Lévi
These strange but incontestable facts lead us to the necessary conclusion that there is a common life shared by all souls; or at least a common mirror for every imagination and every memory, in which it is possible for us to gaze at one another like a crowd of people standing before a glass.
This reflector ... the odic light ... which we call the astral light ... is the great agency of life termed od, ob and aour by the Hebrews. The magnetism controlled by the will of the operator is Od; that of passive clairvoyance is Ob:
In its double action, it is also represented by the serpent of the caduceus: the right-hand serpent is Od, the one on the left is Ob and, in the middle, at the top of the hermetic staff, shines the golden globe which represents Aour, or light in equilibrium.
Od represents life governed by free choice, Ob represents life ruled by fate.
These two antagonistic serpents really stand for those contrary forces which may be connected but never confused.
Hermes' sceptre, while keeping them apart, also reconciles them, and even unites them in a way; and this is how, under the penetrating eyes of science, harmony arises from the analogy of contraries.
Necessity and Liberty, these are the two great laws of life; and properly speaking these two laws only make one, because they are both indispensable.
Necessity without liberty would be fatal, even as liberty without its necessary curb would go insane. Privilege without obligation is folly, and obligation without privilege is slavery.
The whole secret of magnetism lies here: to rule the fatality of the ob by intelligence and the power of the od so as to create the perfect balance of aour.
Od, Aur, and Ob, the active, equilibrating, and passive forces of
life – a trinity in unity
Virtue presupposes action; for the reason why is is usually contrasted with our passions is to make it clear that it is never something passive.
Not only is virtue strength, it is the governing reason behind strength. It is the equilibrant of life.
The great secret of virtue, virtuality and life, whether temporal or eternal, may be formulated thus:
The art of balancing forces so as to keep movement in equilibrium.
The equilibrium we are looking for is not that which produces immobility, but that which regulates movement. For immobility is death, and movement is life.
The whole power of magic is in the central point of the universal equilibrium.
The wisdom which strikes this equilibrium is contained in these four dicta: know the truth, will what is good, love beauty,
The central point in the intellectual and moral order is the link between science and faith.do what is just! Because truth, goodness, beauty and justice are inseparable; so that he who knows the truth must needs will what is good, to love it because it is beautiful and to do it because it is just.
In human nature this central point is the medium in which soul and body combine to establish the identity of their action.
In physics it stands for the resultant of opposing forces compensated by one another.
The point of balance between life and death is the great secret of immortality.
The point of balance between day and night is the mainspring of the movement of the worlds.
The balancing point between science and faith is the great secret of philosophy.
The balancing point between order and liberty is the great secret of politics.
The balancing point between men and woman is the great secret of love.
The balancing point between will and emotion, between action and reaction is the great secret of power.
The great secret of high magic, the inexpressible, incommunicable secret is nothing other than the balancing point between the relative and the absolute
It is the infinity of the finite and the finite of the infinite.
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Lévi, Eliphas. The Great Secret
or Occultism Unveiled. 1868.