I can give this title because you are searching for the truth in the sincerity of your heart, ready to make the necessary sacrifices in order to find it. Truth, being the essence of all that is, is not difficult to find: it is within us and we are within it. It is like light and the blind do not see it. Being is. This is incontestable and absolute. The exact idea of being is truth; its knowledge is science; its ideal expression is reason; its activity is creation and justice. You wish to believe, you say. For this, it is enough to know and to love truth. For the true faith is the unshakeable adhesion of the mind to the necessary deductions of science in conjectural infinity. Only occult sciences give certitude, for they have their bases in realities and not in dreams. In every religious symbol, they bring out the true and the false. What is true is the same everywhere, but falsehoods spring up according to places, times and people. These sciences are three: the Qabalah, Magic and Hermeticism. The Qabalah, or traditional science of the Hebrews, might be called the mathematics of human thought. It is the algebra of faith. It solves all problems of the soul as equations, by isolating the unknowns. It gives to ideas the clarity and rigorous exactitude of numbers; its results, for the mind, are infallibility (always relative, however, to the sphere of human knowledge) and for the heart, profound peace. Magic, or the science of the magi, has its ancient representatives in the disciples, and perhaps the teachers, of Zoroaster. It is the knowledge of secret and particular laws of nature which produce hidden forces, magnets and loadstones which may exist even outside the realm of metal. In a word, and to use a modern expression, it is the science of universal magnetism. Hermeticism is the science of nature hidden in the hieroglyphics and symbols of the ancient world. It is the search for the principle of life, along with the dream (for those who have not achieved it) of accomplishing the great work, that is the reproduction by man of the divine, natural fire which creates and recreates beings. Here my friend, are the things you desire to study. The circle they enclose is immense, but the principles are so simple that they are represented and contained in the signs of numbers and in the letters of the alphabet. ‘It is a labor of Hercules that is also a child’s game,’ say the masters of holy science. Characteristics necessary to success in this study are a great rectitude of judgment and a great independence of mind. One must rid oneself of all prejudice and every preconceived notion, and it is for this reason that Christ said: ‘Unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the malkouht,’ that is, the kingdom of knowledge.
Eliphas Levi (The book of Splendours)
Submitted by Brother John Logan Parsons, III