Book review by Dennis Waterman of  ‘The Red Lion’ by Maria Szepes
subtitled ‘the Elixir of Eternal Life’
first copyrighted in 1946 in Hungary
English version by Horus Publishing, Inc. 1997
7.5 for all levels or readers

This book can be read as a novel and on that level it is quite entertaining as it follows the five primary lifetimes of our protagonist in a 300 plus year span of a maturing Europe. During these lifetimes our main character deals with the manifestation of most human qualities; the lower ones such as lust, greed, ignorance, passions, and anger and also the higher ones such as the desire for knowledge, health, long-life, wisdom, a still mind, and energetic calm. The author spells out the karmic consequences of these strengths and frailties so that the reader cannot possibly overlook them. Beyond these unveilings there are philosophical insights such as, “The body’s weapons are passion, desire, sensuality, and yearning after beauty. The spirit’s weapons are aftereffects of these desires---nausea, disillusionment, suffering, aging, and death. The soul is the bridge on which the two forces fight continuously.”  

This tome is valued highly by the worldwide alchemy community for its in-depth understanding of the science of the soul as well as the science of the body. It is an impressive work that alludes to what is real while keeping the important information out of the everyday reader’s hands. If it sparks your interest you can inform yourself at or at or join a forum such as .

This three hundred and seventy seven page journey begins with the following stern warning:
“No one should start thoughtlessly down the path of the arcane sciences, for once he starts he must persevere to the goal. Otherwise, he will be lost. Once on the path, a single doubt will produce madness, a single stop will cause a fall, a single attempt to shrink back will plunge the luckless soul into a bottomless abyss.

You who are now beginning to read this book will be either a king or a madman once you have finished. You can do what you want to with it; you will never hate or forget it. If your heart is pure, it will be a shining torch; if your heart is strong, it will be a weapon in your hand. If your heart is wise, it will become still wiser. But if your heart is base, this book will be hellfire to you; it will brand your soul and weigh your conscience with eternal sorrow and restlessness.”
--Eliphas Levi
It is unclear to me if Levi is writing about this particular book or one of his own, and although I am no great fan of Levi, take his warning to be real, Szepes must have wanted you to or she would not have placed it up front. Of course if you are reading this review you must have some interest in the subject matter already. I believe that all human beings are on this path from the beginning it is just that sometimes their connection to the path is temporarily misplaced. My final counterpoint is that although the consequences of slipping from the original intention of liberating yourself are indeed more severe than minor failings of the will they will not send you to a ‘bottomless abyss’. Since we live quite naturally in a magical universe it amazes me when individuals use the spoken or written word to create such dramatic exaggerations. Or is it that in his dualistic reality such is indeed true for him? For those with an education (including religious indoctrination) dualism seems natural. From my viewpoint it is natural for those that dwell largely in the left brain and much of what I (Dennis Waterman) write is an attempt to get the reader to break with this (accepted) pattern. I have chosen this moment to spell it out for you so that those that need to hang on to their precious answers can make their break for the exits.

Late in the book the main character becomes an assistant and student of the Count Saint-Germaine, as the Count (possibly) leaves this earthly plane he reveals ‘The Eleven Rules’: which are
Love God above all else.
Use your time to develop your soul.
Be completely unselfish.
Be sober, humble, active, and silent.
Learn the origins of the ‘metals’ in you.
Beware of charlatans and liars.
Constantly revere the highest good.
Learn the theory before you try to practice.
Practice charity toward all beings.
Read the ancient books of wisdom.
Strive to understand their secret meaning.
I applaud this advice wholeheartedly and know that insofar as all of us are able to follow this guidance the world will be a better place to live. As regards ‘lists’, ‘commandments’, and all other forms of guidance I wish to mention my memory of a fragment of the gospel of Thomas (censored from the current bible for centuries). In it Christ is asked, “Why do you give us only two commandments, whereas Moses gave us ten?” The profound answer from Christ is, “If you understand not even one commandment is necessary. If you have no understanding not even ten times ten times ten commandments will be enough.”

The signposts that real teachers leave for us are called Truth, Love, and Peace. Follow your heart!