"Eliphas Levy; the name meant nothing to me. I squinted at a title or two: The Initiation, The Key of Mysteries, The Secret of Pandora's Box"


The heavily bearded Eliphas Levi (1810-1875) was a French occult writer and self-defined magician, and a profound influence on Aleister Crowley.  In some contrast to the other books our narrator picks up here, Levi was not a conjurer of evil or practitioner of black arts; much of his work was concerned with the pursuit of wisdom and divine love.  His beliefs about the power of human intention are reflected in some contemporary notions about ‘cosmic ordering’, as he once wrote, “Nothing can resist the will of man when he knows what is true and wills what is good”.  The texts referred to here by Carter are all real books; despite some frankly wise advice in ‘The Key of Mysteries’ (“Judge not; speak hardly at all; love and act”) it can be appreciated that the murky and sensuous world of occultism would interest Milord and earn a place in his library.