Seven years have passed since this essay was written, and the pages have been lent to many friends and students of mystic lore and occult meanings. It is only at the earnest request of these kindly critics that I have consented to publish this volume. The contents are necessarily of a fragmentary character, and have been collected from an immense number of sources; the original matter has been intentionally reduced to the least possible quantity, so as to obtain space for the inclusion of the utmost amount of ancient, quaint and occult learning. It is impossible to give even an approximate list of works which have been consulted; direct quotations have been acknowledged in numerous instances, and (perhaps naturally) many a statement might have been equally well quoted from the book of a contemporary author, a mediæval monk, a Roman historian, a Greek poet, or a Hindoo Adept: to give the credit to the modern author would not be fair to the ancient sage, to refer the reader to a Sanskrit tome would be in most cases only loss of time and waste of paper. My great difficulty has been to supply information mystic enough to match the ideal of the work, and yet not so esoteric as to convey truths which Adepts have still concealed.
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