HAVING reached the end of our journey we must cast one rapid glance over the road we have followed, in order to give some account of the scope of our work.
Seeing that materialistic science was giving way, in spite of the desperate efforts of its partisans, under the irresistible pressure of the new era, the impotence of purely analytical methods forced itself upon us, and we were led to search for the possible basis of a synthesis which each day renders more indispensable.
At this moment, the ancient wisdom revealed itself to our investigations, and we find that it contains this synthetic method as the immutable basis of all its scientific, religious, and social discoveries.
The secret societies entrusted with the transmission of this sacred deposit have lost its key as well as its ritual; the nomad Gypsies and the Jews only have guarded their Bibles intact throughout the centuries: the latter had the Sepher of Moses, the former the Tarot attributed to Thoth Hermes Trismegistus, the triple hierarchic University of ancient Egypt. 1
Tile Tarot appeared to us as the Egyptian translation of the book of initiation, starting as the now missing key to Freemasonry and the whole occult science.
How could we decipher this series of hieroglyphics? How discover. the mysterious grouping of these plates, now become the accessory of gamblers?
Wronski teaches us that the faculty to conceive implies the faculty to execute. Strong in this truth, we have questioned antiquity. Its Sphinxes, dumb to the profane, have spoken, its old temples have unveiled their mysteries, its Initiates have re-awakened in answer to our call: four mysterious letters have been revealed to us--
[paragraph continues] The sacred word, which shines above every initiation, the object of the veneration and respect of all the sages.
The study of the Tarot has shown us that it only expresses the combinations of IEVE. However, since we must in these questions guard ourselves above all things from leaving too much scope to the imagination, we have chosen as the starting-point for our studies a fixed principle, as basis to these immutable combinations, the sole guarantee against all possible error: the number.
We then approached the symbol, and there we again encountered new difficulties. The history of the Tarot has shown us that its figures have often changed in passing through the hands of various peoples, and through different epochs, although its meaning has been preserved in all times and in all places.
It was therefore necessary to find for the symbols a principle as fixed and immutable in its combinations as the number. The study of the origin of the letters used
to inscribe human languages led us back to the determination of the sixteen primitive hieroglyphic signs, the source of the first alphabets. The 22 Hebrew letters immediately derived from these signs furnished us with this indispensable basis to all serious researches, as definitely fixed for the symbol, as the numbers were for the whole Tarot. We thus had a sure guide, which rendered error still more unlikely.
Thanks to the application of these principles, exact, although very general, information was furnished to us upon Theogony, Androgony, and Cosmogony, and we could at last recapitulate the symbolism of the Tarot in a very interesting tableau. We then wished to show that the Tarot was really the general key which we had pronounced it to be. A few applications proved the fact. Astronomy is unquestionably the most important amongst them through its fixed principles. Therefore, when we wish to discover how an evolution can advance, and we wander in. the labyrinth of inexactitude, Astronomy shows us how the evolution of the sun progresses, and that knowledge gives us the key to every possible evolution.
The gigantic labours of Dupuis were fruitless, because he did not understand that the solar Myth was only a representation of the general law of evolution, and not that of the especial evolution of the sun. The method of occult science is neither induction nor deduction, but analogy, an unknown method at the present date which the Tarot reveals to us in all its splendour.
Afterwards we have made other applications of it, and could have made still more; shown the key of Philosophy, of the Holy Kabbalah, of Theosophy, of the Physiology of Man and of the Universe in the Tarot; but we have
restricted ourselves to giving the key, and to showing the way to use it by some examples.
We were unwilling to exceed the strict limits of our engagement.
Such as it is, our work still contains some imperfections which we would willingly efface. We are under no illusions on this point, and time alone can remedy it. But we would draw attention to the aim which is visible throughout its pages; the application of the most exact methods possible to occult science.
Through the modern exact sciences we have reached the study of occultism, and starting ourselves from materialism, of which we were one of the most ardent disciples, we felt the necessity of advancing further. But we had retained one trace of our early affections, the taste for method, and it is the absence of this method which spoils occult science. Louis Lucas had clearly seen that physics must advance by the side of metaphysics to serve as its basis: in the same way we have endeavoured to place fixed principles, such as numbers and the Hebrew letters, side by side with the metaphysical data, like the symbols or abstract conceptions.
Occultists as a rule are lost through this lack of precision. We have made every effort to avoid this stumbling-block, without however asserting that we have succeeded. An author is not qualified to judge his own work.
Be this as it may, we have been frequently obliged to speak of occult science without the leisure to enter into these explanatory details--this is the reason we addressed our book
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An Initiate is one who possesses the elements of occultism, and who is therefore familiar with a whole vocabulary, which may well alarm a man of the world; this is our excuse for words which may sound pretentious to some minds, and this is why we were anxious to express our ideas quite clearly.
Still, since it is customary for the Tarot to be used for fortune-telling, we have touched upon this subject, and rendered it as attractive as possible. We have tried to simplify the systems used, so that a woman of even little intelligence can easily and with little exercise of memory amuse herself with this art.
But since our own system may not please all the partisans of Cartomancy, we have summed up the process of the great master Etteila, so that, even in this purely empiric region, we have tried to introduce as much scientific exactitude as possible.
We hope that this recapitulation of the efforts of several years may prove useful to occultism, and to its revival, which becomes daily more pronounced. This is the aim which we have kept in view. May the social disorders which are preparing give rise to an era of peace and harmony amongst the now divided nations, and may the knowledge of these mysteries overthrow European Cæsarism in all its forms! This should be your aim, Kabbalists, Theosophists, Martinists, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons? On this point believe the humble disciple of your doctrines, who will be only too happy if his work has retained one feeble ray of the Eternal and Holy Truth.
343:1 Consult Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, Mission des Juifs.