Part 1 of 2 (Chapters I-IV) [Part 2]
IN THE PRONAOS
TEMPLE OF TRUTH
By Franz Hartmann, M.D.
CONTAINING THE HISTORY OF THE TRUE AND THE
FALSE ROSICRUCIANS + WITH AN INTRODUCTION IN-
TO THE MYSTERIES OF THE HERMETIC PHILOSOPHY
AND AN APPENDIX CONTAINING THE PRINCIPLES OF
THE YOGA-PHILOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS AND
Original Edition Published in Boston and
London, 1890 by The Theosophlcal Society
and Occult Publishing Company
This Edition of In The Pronaos Of The
Temple Of Wisdom by From. Hartmann
is Limited to Two-hundred and Fifty
Copies — Printed and Published by The
Aries Press — Chicago, Illinois, 1941
Reprinted, March 1945
This copy was scanned by hermetics.org. from the original 1945 copy.
I thought the above hauntingly graceful inscription in the book jacket was worth preserving.
Chapter One—Introduction. Occult Literature—Allegorical language of the Rosicrucian books—Its secret meaning
Chapter Two—The Hermetic Philosophy. The Neoplatonists— Ammonius Saccas— Plotinus— Malchus Porphyrius— Jamblichus— Proclus— Hierocles
Chapter Three—Mediaeval Philosophers. 'Magic," according to Cornelias Agrippa
Chapter Four—Among the Adepts. "The Brotherhood of the Golden and Rosy Cross"— Occult and mysterious powers— Adepts and Sages— Alchymists and Goldmakers—The True History of Flamel— The Count de Saint Germain— Cagliostro— The art of making alchemical gold— Well-authenticated facts
Chapter Five—The Rosicrucian "Orders." "History" of the Rosicrucians— The Universal Reformation; the Fama Fraternitaris and the Confessio— Truth and Fiction— The Chemical Marriage of Christian Rosencruetz— Valentin Andreae— The Sphinx Rosaceae— Andreas von Carolstadt— Theophrastus Paracelsus— Rosicrucian Literature
Chapter Six—Pseudo Rosicrucians. Impostors and Fools. Mysticism during the Middle Ages— Secret Societies— Schroepfer— J. C. Woellner
and Bischofswerder— Political Influence— The Jesuits and the Illuminati— Weishaupt— King Frederic William II
Appendix—The Principles of the Yoga-Philosophy of the Rosicrucians and Alchemists
Chapter Seven—In the Pronaos of the Temple of the True Cross. The Cross and the Rose— Rosicrucian Rules— The duties of a Rosicrucian— The Secret Signs of the Rosicrucians—Rosicrucian Jewels— Rosicrucian Symbols—Signs from the Heart of the celestial Mother— Signs referring to the Divine child.
Chapter Eight—Alchemy. The Science and Art of Alchemy— The Prima Materia— The Spiritus Universalis— The Secret Fire— The four
alchemical rules—The five things necessary to observe in the practice of Alchemy— Axiomata Hermetica
Quite a number of books dealing with the "History of the Rosicrucians" have appeared of late for the purpose of amusing and gratifying the curiosity of the mystery-loving reader; but it does not appear that they have proved to be very instructive, or that they have succeeded in throwing much light upon this perplexing subject; neither is it to be desired that the Rosicrucian mysteries should be publicly bawled out and exposed to the view of the vulgar; because they belong to that which is most holy and sacred in the constitution of man.
Books on true occultism are on the whole very useless things; because those who are in possession of occult knowledge will not require them; while those who have no such knowledge will not understand them; neither will they receive much benefit from such literature; because real spiritual knowledge must be found within one's own soul; it cannot be learned from books. The scientist, rationalist, and speculative philosopher deals only with, so to say, the candlesticks bearing the candles from which is emanating the light which they cannot see, neither can they see the candle; for the latter is representing the soul, whose light is the spirit.
Truly occult and Theosophical books ought to be prayers and poems; calculated to lift the heart and the mind of the reader up to the highest regions of thought, and aiding him to descend into the innermost sanctuary of his own being; so that he may become able to open the senses of his interior perception and grasp himself those divine ideals which are beyond the understanding of the semi-animal intellect; for spiritual truth cannot be brought down to that level; it requires, for its recognition, the rising up in the spirit to its own plane; neither can any man reveal to another the light, if the light does not reveal its presence to the investigator; all that a book can do is to aid the reader in opening his own eyes.
Little would it benefit us if we knew of the existence of sunlight only from reading about it in books, and were incapable to see the light and to enjoy the rays of the sun. What would it serve us if we theoretically knew all about the constitution of the terrestrial sun if we were encompassed by darkness? What good would it do to us to be informed about all the qualities of the divine powers of God, if we could recognise nothing divine within our own selves?
No man can show to another the light if the latter is incapable to see it himself; but the light is everywhere; there is nothing to hinder a person to see it, except his love for the darkness. His love for the illusions of his terrestrial phase of existence causes him to regard these illusions as real, and to relegate the Real to the realm of fancy and dream. Nevertheless, that which seems now the true light to him will be as darkness when his consciousness awakens to the perception of the light of the spirit.
As light is incomprehensible except by its contrast to darkness, I have not only selected some of the best portions of the writings of the ancient hermetic philosophers and mediaeval "Rosicrucians"; but I have also taken the trouble to collect a few facts from the great storehouse of human follies to be found in the fools' paradise of the visionary and dreamer; but for those who earnestly wish to enter the path and to follow the Light, I have added some of the most precious gems, taken from the books of the sages; whose meaning will be incomprehensible to the would-be wise; while those who are unsophisticated will find therein a great deal of wisdom.
In the popular books of to-day, dealing with the origin of religion, we find it stated that they originated from fear. It is described how our ancestors, while in a savage state, and being unacquainted with the revelations made by modern science, saw the lightning flash, and heard the noise of thunder and watched other natural phenomena, whose origin they could not explain, and how they came to the logical conclusion that such things must be produced by some extra cosmic supernatural and intellectual power, which might some day take a notion to destroy their possessions; and which must, therefore, be flattered and propitiated so that it might be kept in a good humour.
Such a scientific explanation of the origin of religion and the belief in God may satisfy the speculating brain of the rationalist and thinker, who, living entirely in the moonshine of his own imagination has no perception for the light of that knowledge which belongs to the spirit of man; but such a theory will not satisfy the heart in which there is still a spark of the divine life, and which, therefore, feels the presence of a universal and higher power that is not a product of nature, but superior to her. A religion having such a merely logical origin would be truly the religion of the devil, because it would be thoroughly false. It would be merely a system teaching how God may be cheated and eternal justice be made to come to naught. True religion has nothing to do with fear nor with logical speculation, and its true origin rests in the fundamental relation which the human soul bears to the divine origin of the spiritual power by which she is inhabited. It is the divine spirit in man itself, recognising and through the instrumentality of man the presence of the universal spirit in nature. This divine power is truly "occult," because it cannot be perceived by any external means, neither can its existence be logically proved to those who are not capable to feel it; it will for ever remain a mystery to the "Adam” of earth; because it is divine and can therefore be intellectually known to man only when he has entered into a state of divinity.
Nevertheless, it is a quality inherent in the nature of man that he wishes to know intellectually that whose presence he intuitively feels, and there have, therefore, at all times been men curious to know the nature of God, and attempted to break by their intellectual efforts a hole through the veil that covers the sanctuary of the great mystery, so that they may peep through it, and gratify their curiosity. From the vagaries of such speculators, visionaries and pseudo-philosophers has originated a false system of theology, mysticism, and superstition, which is even to-day often regarded as being Occultism and Theosophy.
The soul of man stands in the same relation to that spiritual power that fills the universe, as the flowers of the field to the light of the terrestrial sun. A plant deprived of life will sicken and die, and a soul in which the spirit of holiness does not exist will become degraded lower than the soul of the animals; because animals are not given to arguing; they act according to the laws of their nature, while the possession of an intellect enables man to act unnaturally, and in opposition to divine law.
But there have also been other men, who, by remaining natural and obedient to divine law, have grown into a state of spirituality superior to the merely intellectual state, and in the course of their interior unfoldment, their inner senses have become opened, so that they could not only intuitively feel, but also spiritually perceive this light of the spirit,. Such men are the true Mystics, Rosicrucians, and Adepts, and with them the historian and antiquarian has nothing to do; because they are beyond his reach of investigation. A "History of Rosicrucians” could, at best, be a history of certain persons who "were supposed to have been spiritually enlightened." It would have to remain for ever uncertain whether a person mentioned in such a "history" had really been a Rosicrucian or not; because that which constitutes a man a saint and a sage does not belong to this earth and cannot be examined by mortal men; it is that part of man of which the Bible speaks when it is written, "We live upon the earth; but our soul is in heaven."
External investigation can only deal with external things; that whose existence depends on a form can deal only with forms; but all forms are merely fictitious to him who recognises by the power of his spiritual perception the truth which the form represents. The whole of nature is an expression of truth; but there are few who can realize the truth expressed in nature. We are all more or less caricatured images of the truth which we are originally intended to represent. As long as we have ourselves merely a fictitious existence, owing to the non-recognition of the truth within our own selves, we merely know the caricature which we represent, but not our true, real self.
Wisdom, as a principle, is inconceivable unless it becomes manifest in the wise, and only the wise are capable to recognise it. A man without knowledge knows nothing. It is not man in his aspect as a being without any principle who can know any principle whatever; it is always the principle itself that recognises itself in other forms. Thus, if a person wants to know the truth, the truth must be alive in him; if there is no truth in him, he can perceive no truth, neither within himself nor in external nature. For ever the truth is crucified between two "thieves" called "superstition" and "scepticism," and if we see only one of the crucified thieves, we are liable to mistake him for the truth; but the two forms of the thieves are distorted, or, to express it more correctly, the truth is distorted in them. Only when we are capable to recognise the straight form of the Saviour hanging between the two distorted thieves, will we see the difference and know where to search for the Redeemer.
For those in whom the truth has not yet become a living power, fictitious forms are necessary to show them the way, but the majority of the ignorant see only the fiction; there being no truth within themselves, there is nothing to perceive the truth in the form. For this reason the "Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians" will for ever remain secret" to all who have not the living truth within their own hearts, and they will not comprehend them, in spite of all the explanations produced. These, however, in whom the truth struggles to become alive and who are striving not merely for the gratification of their curiosity, but who love the truth for its own sake and without any personal consideration, may be aided a great deal by the study of the books of the Rosicrucians and their secret symbols, in the same way as a traveller in a foreign country may be aided by those who have travelled there before him and know the way. They can indicate to him the road through the desert and the places where sweet water may be found, but they cannot carry him, he is to do the walking himself.
Divine wisdom is not of man's making, neither is it invented by him. There is no other way to obtain it than by receiving it willingly within one's own heart. If it enters there, then will the storm of contending opinions subside, and the sea of thought be as clear as a mirror in which we may see the truth. Then will the truth itself become strong in ourselves, and we shall know God, not by reading a description of Him in books but in and through His own power, or, to express it in the words of the Bible, we shall attain knowledge of Him "by worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth."
Like the allegorical language of the Bible and other religious books, the Rosicrucian writings are utter nonsense and incomprehensible, if taken in an external sense and applied from a material point of view. Merely external reasoning, far from being an aid in their understanding, is rather an obstacle in the way; but to him who looks at them with the understanding that comes from the spirit, they are full of divine wisdom.
The Rosicrucians say, "A person who knows Divine truth has attained the highest and desires nothing more; for there can be nothing higher than the attainment of the truth. In comparison with this treasure, wordly possessions sink into insignificance: for he who possesses the highest has no desire for that which is low; he who knows the reality does not care for illusions. Scientific and philosophical speculations in regard to what may possibly be true are useless to him who feels and perceives the truth; he does not need to speculate about that which he already sees and knows. He does not require great riches, for the wants of his physical form are few and simple, and moreover, by the action of the spirit within, radiating in an outward direction, the material principles composing his physical form become more and more sublimated and etherealized, and independent of the necessities of the material plane; until at last, having stripped off the last sheath of the gross and visible form, and having made that principle conscious which gives life within the visible inner body, he may live entirely in the latter, invisible to mortal eyes, independent of material conditions, an ethereal spirit surrounded by indescribable beauties, in possession of powers of whose existence mortal man does not dream—an ethereal spirit, but nevertheless a real and living man."1
And, again, the Rosicrucians say of him who has tasted of the living water of truth, the true "Elixir of Life":—
"Blessed is he who is above want and poverty, above disease and death, who cannot be touched by that which gives pain, who does not require another roof over his head than the sky, no other bed than the earth, no other nutriment than the air, and who is above all those wants for which mortals are craving."2
"God humiliates the vain and exalts the humble. He punishes the proud with contempt; but to the modest He sends His angels with consolation. He throws the evil disposed into a wilderness; but to the kind-hearted He opens the portals of heaven."3
"Avoid the books of the Sophists; they are full of errors; for the foundation upon which their knowledge rests is their fancy. Enter the realm of the real, and divide with us the treasures which we possess. We invite you, not by our own choice, but by the power of the Divine Spirit whose servants we are."4
"What does the animal know about intellectual pleasures? What does the Sophist know about the joys of the spirit? Would it not be a precious thing if we could live and think and feel as if we had been living and thinking and feeling ever since the beginning of the world, and were to continue thus unto its end? Would it not be delightful to know all the secrets of Nature and to read that book in which is recorded everything that has happened in the past, or which will exist in the future? Would you not rejoice to possess the power to attract the highest instead of being attracted by that which is low, and to have pure spirits instead of animals assembling around you?"5
Are such powers attainable by man? It would be useless to attempt to prove it to those who have no desire to attain them; and even if it were proved, what would it benefit those who are poor to prove to them that there are others in possession of treasures which for the former do not exist? Can the existence of powers be proved to one who has no capacity for their perception or comprehension? Even a miracle would prove nothing except that something unusual and unexplained had occurred.
The Fama Fraternitatis says: "The impossibility to reveal such secrets to those who are not sufficiently spiritually developed to receive them is the cause that many misconceptions and prejudices have existed among the public in regard to the Rosicrucians. Grotesque and fabulous stories, whose origin can only be traced to the ignorance or malice of those who invented them, have been circulated and grown in intensity and absurdity as they travelled through the ranks of the gossippers. Falsehoods cannot be eradicated without injuring the roots of the truth, and evil intentions grow useful to contradict the false statements made by the ignorant or wilful deceiver; but what is the testimony of the blind worth when they speak of what they believe they have seen and what value can be attached to the statements of the deaf when they describe what they believe they have heard? What does the untruthful know of the truth, the godless of God, the foolish of wisdom, and the unbeliever of faith? They may think that they are right, nevertheless they are wrong; they may accuse others of harbouring illusions, while they live in illusions themselves. Envy, hate, jealousy, bigotry and superstition are like coloured glasses, which cause him who looks through them to see nothing in its true aspect, but everything in coloured light."
Thus it appears that the "Rosicrucians," in speaking of their society, means something very different from any terrestrial and external organization of persons calling themselves, for some reason or other, "Rosicrucians"; but of a spiritual union, a harmony of divine and con-spiritual, but, nevertheless, individual powers, such as the angels are supposed to be, and which are not concerned in any history connected with the tomfooleries of external life.
It is of that spiritual "association" of which they speak when they say:—
"Our community has existed ever since the first day of creation, when God spoke the word, 'Let there be light,' and it will continue to exist till the end of time. It is the society of the children of light, whose bodies are formed of light, and who live in the light for ever. In our school we are instructed by Divine* wisdom, the heavenly bride, whose will is free, and who comes to him whom she selects. The mysteries which we know embrace everything that can possibly be known in regard to God, Nature, and Man. Every sage that has ever existed has graduated in our school, in which he could have learned true wisdom. We have among our members such as do not inhabit this globe; our disciples are distributed all over the universe. They all study one book, and follow only one method of studying it. Our place of meeting is the temple of the Holy Spirit pervading all nature, easily to be found by the Elect, but for ever hidden from the eyes of the vulgar. Our secrets cannot be sold for money; but they are free to everyone who is capable to receive them. Our secrecy is not caused by an unwillingness to give; but by the incapacity to receive on the part of those that ask for instruction.
"There is only one eternal truth; there is only one fountain of love, Love cannot be given, it must be born in the human heart. Wherever the quickening takes place, we attend to the birth of divine love. We are in possession of a light that illumines the profoundest depths of the darkness and enables us to know the deepest of mysteries. We have a fire by which we are nourished and by which wonders may be performed in nature.
"Everything in this world is subject to our will, because our will is one and identical with the law; nevertheless, our will is free and bound by no law.
"Do you wish to become a member of our society? If so, enter within your own heart and hearken to the voice of the Silence. Seek for the Master within yourself, and listen to his instructions. Learn to know the Divinity that seeks to manifest itself within your soul. Throw away your imperfections and become perfect in God."
It will readily be perceived that all this refers to the "Inner Man," and not to his mortal physical frame. It is neither the physical body with its external senses, nor the perishing mind of man which can know divine truth. It is only divine truth in man that can know its .own self. No man can attain true knowledge of any spiritual power, unless that power becomes alive in him and he identified with it. Occultism is not a question of what one should know, nor of what one should do; but of what one must be. If the inner man has become truly spiritual, not merely in his imagination, but in his will; then his awakened spirit will penetrate even through the physical form and change its nature in the same sense as darkness is consumed by light.
All this refers not to the man of terrestrial flesh; but to him who has been regenerated in the life of the spirit. The elementary body of man is not above disease and death; nor above that which gives pain. That body requires to be sheltered against the elements whereof it is made; and needs terrestrial food; but the man of the celestial kingdom is free. His home is as wide as his thoughts can reach, and his nutriment is the "Manna" from heaven.
"God" (according to Jacob Boehme) is the will of divine wisdom. He who rises up in his self-conceit will fall; because he will be full of his delusive knowledge, and the will of the Eternal cannot awaken divine wisdom in him. True humility does not consist in abject fear; but in the highest sense of dignity, such as can be felt only by him who feels that God is in and with him.
The "sophists" are those sceptical inquirers who diligently examine the external shell of the fruit that grows upon the tree of knowledge; without knowing that there is a kernel within the fruit. They persuade themselves that there is no kernel, and imagine that those who are capable to perceive by the power of the spirit the light that shines from the interior fountain, are dreamers; while they themselves little know that their own life is merely a sleep and their fancied knowledge a dream.
The spirit of man is not of this world; it belongs to eternity. There never was a time when the spirit of man was not; even since the beginning of creation; neither is its presence limited to this planet Earth. He who succeeds in merging his consciousness with that of the divine spirit that overshadows his personality, and which is his own real self, will know his past forms of existence and see the future; but the animal principles in man cannot partake of that state; they die and enter again into the Chaos, the storehouse for the production of forms.
THE HERMETIC PHILOSOPHY
Tria sunt mirabilia. Deus et Homo. Mather et Virgo. Trinus et Unus.
There is only one eternal truth and consequently only one divine wisdom. If we wanted to trace the history of those in whom that wisdom became manifest back to their origin, we would have to step out of time and space and enter into eternity. We would have to go back to the first days of creation, when "the spirit of God moved upon the waters," when the "first initiator" (l) instructed a race of semi-spiritual beings, constituted very differently from the human beings as we now know them upon this planet. The externally reasoning historian speaks of the wisdom-religion of the ages, as if it were some system invented by man and evolved from the gradually unfolding speculative power of the reasoning intellect; but the Occultist knows that divine wisdom is eternal and always the same; all that differs is the form of its manifestation, according to the capacity of the minds in which it seeks for expression. A history of the doctrines of the Rosicrucians might, therefore, begin with an exposition of the doctrine of the Vedas or the ancient books of Egypt; but as these subjects have been extensively treated in H. P. Blavatsky's "Secret Doctrine" and other books, we will merely see in what shape the hermetic philosophy presented itself to the minds of the neoplatonic philosophers.
thýs philosopher, who lived about 190 a.d., was the founder of the Neoplatonic School. He was the son of Christian parents, and received a Chritsian education, but departed from this system and became a "philosopher." He gained a living by carrying burdens for pay, and yet he was one of the greatest philosophers of that age, and well acquainted with the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. His disciples were Erennios, Origenes, Plotinus, and Longinus.
Plotinus was born at Lykopolis in Egypt in the year 205 a.d. He received his education at Alexandria. He took part in the war of the Emperor Gordianus in Persia, and went afterwards to Rome, where he established his school of philosophy. Here he obtained great renown and was respected by all. It is said that during the 26 years he lived in Rome he did not have a single enemy. Even the Emperor Gallienus, one of the greatest villians, respected and honoured him.
Plotinus fell sick. As the physician Eustachius entered the room in which Plotinus was dying, the latter exclaimed, joyfully, "I am now going to unite the God that lives within myself with the God of the universe."
The mind of Plotinus was continually directed towards the Divine genius who accompanied him,—his own higher self. He cared little about his physical body, and having been asked about the day when the latter was born, he refused to tell it, saying that such a trifling matter was of too little importance to waste any words about.
Phenomenal existence was to him an error, a mistake, a low and undesirable condition, union with the Divine principle the highest aim of existence. He ate very little, took no meat, and lived a life of chastity. Porphyry, another one of the disciples of Saccas, having become envious of the renown of Plotinus, attempted to use black magic against him, but without success; and finally said that the soul of Plotinus was so strong that the most powerful Will directed against his soul could not penetrate it, and rebounded upon the sender. Plotinus, however, felt that magic influence, and expressed himself to that effect.
According to the philosophy of Plotinus, God is the foundation of all things. There is only one Substance; Matter and Form are merely illusions, or shadows of the Spirit. God is eternal and everywhere. He is pure light, a Unity, the basis of all existence and thought. The Mind (noûs) is the image of this Unity; it is, so to say, the image created by the Eternal by looking within itself. Thus the Mind is the product or creation of God, and yet God itself, and receiving its power from the latter. The Mind is the eternal activity of the Eternal. It is Light, primordial and unchangeable. Thought and every thinkable object exists within the mind. The world of Mind is the internal world; the eternal, sensual world is the external expression of the former. Mind being a Unity, and all beings and objects consisting of Mind substance, all are fundamentally identical, but they differ in form.
The activity by which the inner world of Mind came into existence is an interior power acting towards the centre. If an external world, corresponding to the inner world, is to come into existence, there must be another activity by which this internal activity is reversed, so as to be directed towards the periphery. This centrifugal activity is the Soul, a product or reaction of the centripetal activity of the Mind, in other words a product of Thought, entering within itself.
There is a universal law according to which something real may produce something approaching its own state of perfection, but not quite as perfect as itself, and therefore the activity of the soul resembles the activity of the mind, but is not as perfect as the latter.
The Soul, like the Mind, is living thought, but unlike the Mind, subject to continual change. The soul, unlike the mind, does not see things within her own self, but sees them in the mind. The activity of the soul is directed outwardly, that of the mind inwardly; the perceptions of the soul are not so clear as those of the mind. The soul, like the mind, is a kind of light; but while the light of the min is self-luminous, that of the soul is a reflection of the former.
According to the eternal laws of order and harmony existing in the whole organism of Nature, all souls become after a certain time separated from the mind, or—to express it more correctly—the distance between the soul and the centre of mind increases, and they assume a more material state. Moving away from the Divine intelligence they enter the state of matter, they descend into matter. At each step towards materialization their forms become more dense and material, the souls in the air have an airy, those upon the earth an earthly material form. The activity of the soul produces other and secondary activities. Some of the latter have an upward tendency, others follow lower attractions. The upward-tending activities are Faith, Aspiration, Veneration, Sublimity, etc.; the downward tendencies produce reasoning, speculations, sophistry, etc.; the lowest activity of the soul is the purely vegetative power, sensation, assimilation, instinct, etc.
The ultimate aim of the activity of Nature is the attainment of self-knowledge. Whatever Nature produces in a visible form, has also a supersenual form, giving shape to gross matter, so that the form may become an object for recognition. Nature is nothing but a living soul, she is the product of a higher, interior activity, the Universal Mind. There is only one fundamental living power in Nature, the power to imagine; there is only one result of the activity of this power formation, or perception of form, and the same process which takes place in Nature, takes place in the nature of man.
All formations of matter are produced by the soul residing therein. All forms are filled with an interior life, even if not manifested outwardly. The Earth is like the wood of a tree, wherein life exists; the stones resemble twigs which have been cut off from the tree. In the stars, as well as in the Earth, is Divine Life and Reason.
The sensual world and each existence therein has an interior soul, and this soul is all that is lasting about those forms; the external appearance is nothing more than an appearance.
The World of Intelligence, is an unchangeable living Unity wherein there is no separation by space or change in time. In that world exists everything that is, but there is neither production nor destruction, neither past nor future. It is not in space, and requires no space. If we say the world of intelligence is everywhere, we mean to express the idea that it is in its own being, and, therefore, within itself.
The world of Intelligence is the world of Spirit. There is a supreme Intelligence, wherein are germinally (potentially) contained all objects and all intellects, and there are as many individual intellects as can possibly be contained in that world of intelligence. The same may be said about the Soul. There is a supreme Over-Soul, and as many individual souls as can be contained therein; and the latter stand in the same relationship to the former as a species to the one class to which it belongs. There are different kinds of species in a class, yet all originate in the latter. Each species has a character of its own. Likewise, in the intellectual world there must be some certain qualities to produce souls of various kinds, and the souls must be in possession of various degrees of thought-power, else they would all be identical in every detail.
There is nothing absolutely without Reason in Nature, although the manifestations of the principle differ vastly in the various forms. Even animals, which seem to be unreasonable, possess a reason which guides their instincts. Everything that exists has its origin in Reason, and there can be nothing absolutely unreasonable in Nature; but there are innumerable modes in which Reason becomes manifest, because these manifestations are modified by external and internal conditions and circumstances. The inner, spiritual man is far more reasonable than the external one. In the external world Reason manifests itself as observation, logic and speculation; but in the world of intelligence Reason is manifest in direct perception of the truth.
The aim of the internal action of reason is to produce an objective form. As differentiation proceeds and the various powers unfold, they continually lose some of their attributes, and the ultimate products are less perfect than the original power; but the circumstances in which they are placed give rise to the origin of new attributes, and thus a step is made towards rising again into a higher state.
Thus the world of intelligence is a radiation from the fundamental original centre, and the world which we perceive with our senses is a product of the world of intelligence. The state of imperfection and mutability of all things in the external world is caused by their remoteness from the great centre. The Universe is a product of three fundamental principles of existence; it is a great living being or organism, in which all its constituent parts are intimately connected together, and no part in that universe can act without causing a certain reaction in all other, even distant parts because throughout the whole there is only one soul, whose activity, manifesting itself in all parts, constitutes the organism of the whole. All parts are connected together by that universal power which constitutes the One Life in the universe. All souls lead, so to say, amphibious existences. Sometimes they are attracted more to the sensual plane and become interwoven with the latter; at other times they follow the attraction of Reason, from whence they originated, and may become united with it. The soul ultimately becomes divided, the higher elements rise to the higher planes, the lower ones sink still lower when they are no more held up by their connection with the higher ones. Whenever the incarnation of a human being takes place, the soul furnishes the mortal body with some of her own substance, but she does not, as a whole, belong to the body; and only that part of the soul which has become thoroughly amalgamated with the body takes part in the pains and pleasures of the latter. Man's evil desires come only from that part of his soul, which is thus mixed with the body, and, therefore, the evil consequences of man's evil actions befall merely the animal man—that is to say, his living animal principle—but not the real man or the spirit, connected with the higher elements of the soul. The more the soul is attracted to the vulgar and low, the more grossly material will the organism with which she clothes herself become. After death the gross substances must be purified or destroyed, while the pure elements rise up to the source from whence they came, until the time for a new incarnation in a form of flesh has arrived. This process is repeated until the soul has attained sufficient knowledge to become inaccessible to the attraction of that which is low. In this sense man's terrestrial existence may well be looked upon as being a punishment for harbouring evil desires and inclinations. Intellectual labour is an activity belonging to a lower state of existence, and is necessary because the original faculty of the soul of directly perceiving the truth has been lost. If the soul desires to obtain this faculty again, she must free herself from all intellectual conceptions, and penetrate into the formless. If she desires to reach up to the original inconceivable fountain of all, she must leave her own conceptions behind, she must become free from all sensual perceptions and intellectual speculations, free of thought and speech, and live in a state of spiritual contemplation. That which is beyond intellectual conception can be seen, but can neither be conceived nor described in words. Seeing is better than believing, knowledge is better than logis; spiritual knowledge is one, but human science is a multiplicity, and has nothing to do with the eternal Unity, from which all things take their origin.
It is of the utmost importance that men should be instructed about their own nature, their origin, and their ultimate destiny; because an intellectual person is not inclined to undertake a labour, unless he is convinced about its usefulness. Spiritual perception is a power, which cannot be imparted, but which must be gained by effort.
If a person does not know that such a power exists, or if he cannot realize its usefulness, he will make no efforts to attain that state, his mind will remain without illumination, and he will not be able to see the truth. He may feel the existence of the truth, like a man may feel love for an unknown ideal, of which he does not know whether or not it exists; but he whose mind is illumined sees the object of his love, the light which illumines the world. This light is present everywhere. But it exists relatively only for those who are able to see, perceive, feel, and embrace it, by reason of their own similarity to it. To make the matter still more comprehensbile, let us say that if the soul throws off her impediments and enters that state again in which she originated from the Eternal, then will she be able to see and feel the Eternal. If, after having received these instructions, a person is too indolent to follow them, he will have no one to blame but himself if he remains in darkness. Let all, therefore, try to tear themselves loose from that which is low and sensual, and become united with the supreme power of God.
If you desire to find the Supreme, you must free your thoughts of all impressions coming from the external world, purify your mind of all figures, forms, and shapes.
God is is present in all, even in those who do not recognise Him; but men flee from God, they step out of Him, or, to speak more correctly, out of themselves. They cannot grasp Him before whom they are thus fleeing, and, having lost themselves, they hunt after other gods. But if the soul progresses on the road to perfection, begins to realize her own higher state of existence, to know that the fountain of eternal life is within herself, and that she, therefore, has no need to hunt after external things, but can find all that is desirable in the divine element within herself; if she begins to understand that in that God within is her whole life and being, and that she must flee from the realm of illusion to live and exist in Him, then will the time come when she will be able to see Him, and to see herself as an ethereal being, illumined by a super-terrestrial light. She will see herself even as the pure Divine Light itself, as a God, radiant in beauty, but becoming dark again as her light is rendered heavy if it approaches the shadows of the material plane.
Why does not the soul remain in that state of light? Merely because she has not yet freed herself fully from the attractions of matter. If she has become entirely free of these attractions, she will remain in that light, and know that she is one with it. In this state there is no perceiver and no object of perception, there is merely perception, and the soul is that which she perceives. She is, for the time being, identified with the object of her perception, and, therefore, this state is something beyond the intellectual comprehension of man.
Having been united and identical with it, the soul carries its image within herself when she returns to herself. She then knows that during the time of her union with the Eternal she was the Eternal itself, and there was no difference between herself and the former. In herself there was no motion, no sensation, no desire after anything else, neither was there thought nor conception. She was exalted and resting in her own being, she was, so to say, rest itself, in a state surpassing all conceptions of beauty or virtue. A soul entering into this sublime state, in which there is no form and no image, cannot be supposed to enter anything illusive. A soul which sinks into illusions degrades herself, and enters the region of evil and darkness; but the exalted soul enters into herself; she is then neither in a state of being nor of non-being, but in one which is inconceivable and above all being.
This philosopher was a disciple of Plotinus, and was born in Batanea, in Syria, in the year 233 a.d. He died at Rome in the year 304 a.d. He says that only one single time during his life did he succeed in obtaining his union with God, while his teacher Plotinus, was four times blessed in this manner.
Porphyry says, in regard to the Soul:—The embodied soul is like a traveller who has lived a long time among foreign nations, and has, therefore, not only forgotten the costumes of his own country, but also adopted those of the foreigners. When such a traveller returns from his voyage, and desires to be welcomed by his friends and relatives, he attempts to lay on? his foreign manners,- and to return again to his former way of acting and thinking. Likewise the soul, while banished from her celestial home, and being forced to inhabit a physical form, acquires certain habits from the latter, and if she desires to return to her former state, she must lay aside all she has adopted from her terrestrial form. She must try to put off not merely the gross physical mask in which she is dressed, but also her more interior envelopes, so that she may enter, so to say, in a state of nudity into the realm of bliss.
There are two poisonous sources from which man drinks oblivion of his former condition, and which cause him to become forgetful of his future destiny, namely sensual pain and sensual pleasure. By the action of these two, but especially by the action of the latter, desires and passions are created, and these attract the soul to matter and become the cause of her corporification. Thus the soul is, so to say nailed to the body, and the ethereal vehicle of the soul is rendered heavy and dense. We should avoid everything which may excite sensuality, because wherever sensuality is active, reason and pure Intelligence cease their activity. We should, therefore, never eat for the mere pleasure of eating, but only eat as much as is necessary to nourish the body. Superfluous, and especially animal food, strengthens the bonds which bind the soul to matter, and withdraw her from the Divinity and from divine things. The wise, being a priest of God, should seek to remain free of all impurities while he is in the temple of Nature, and he should never so far forget his dignity as to approach the Source of all Life while he himself constitutes a grave for the dead bodies of animals. He should select for his nutriment only the pure gifts of his terrestrial mother. If we could avoid all kind of food, we should become still more spiritual.
In regard to the difference existing between corporeal and incorporeal things, Porphyry says:—"The Incorporeal governs the Corporeal, and is, therefore, present everywhere, although not as space, but in power. The corporeal existence of things cannot hinder the Incorporeal from being present to such things as it desires to enter into relation with. The Soul has therefore the power to extend her activity to any locality she may desire. She is a power which has no limits, and each part of her, being independent of special conditions, can be present everywhere, provided she is pure and unadulterated with matter. Things do not act upon each other merely by the contact of their corporea1 forms, but also at a distance, provided they have a soul, because the higher elements of the soul are everywhere, and cannot be enclosed in a body, like an animal in a cage, or a liquid in a bottle. The universal soul, being essentially one and identical with the infinite supreme Spirit, may, by the infinite power of the latter, discover or produce everything, and an individual soul may do the same thing if she is purified and free from the body."
"The realm of the soul, being semi-material, has its inhabitants possessing semi-material (astral) forms. Some of them arc good, others evil; some are kindly disposed towards man, others are malicious. Both classes have ethereal but changeable bodies; the good ones are masters of their bodies and desires, the evil ones are governed by the desires of their bodies. They are all powers for good or for evil, divine, animal, or diabolic invisible influences creating, by their interior activity, passions, desires, vices, and virtues in the souls of beings. The more evil they are, the more do their forms approach the corporeal state. They then live on the exhalations of matter; they induce men to murder and to kill animals, they enjoy the vapours arising from the victims, and grow fat by absorbing the ethereal substances of the dying. They are, therefore, always ready to incite men to wars and crimes, and they collect in great crowds in places where men or animals are killed."
Porphyry ridicules the idea that gods, being wiser, more powerful, and superior to man, could be coaxed, persuaded or forced to do the will of man or conform to his desires. He repudiates the theory that clairvoyance, prophecy, etc., were the results of the inspiration by external gods, but says that they are a function of the Divine Spirit within man; and that the exercise of this function becomes possible when the soul is put into that condition which is necessary to exercise it. "The consciousness of man may be centred within or beyond his physical form; and according to conditions a man may be, so to say, out of himself or within himself, or in a state in which he is neither wholly without nor within, but enjoys both states at once." He also states that there are many invisible beings, which may take all possible forms and appear as gods, as men, or as demons, that they are fond of lying and masquerading, and of pretending to be the souls of departed men.
It is said that Porphyry was several times during his prayers levitated into the air, even to the height of ten yards or more, and that on such occasions his body appeared to be surrounded by a golden light. "The gods are everywhere, and he whose soul is filled with such a divine influence to the exclusion of lower influences is, for the time being, the god which that influence represents, possessing his attributes and ideas. The nature of the union of the soul with God cannot be intellectually conceived or expressed in words; he who accomplishes it is identical with God, he is Divinity itself, and there is no difference between him and the latter. The gods are not called down to us by our prayers; but we rise up to them by our own holy aspirations and efforts; we are connected with them by the all-embracing power of love."
This philosopher was a disciple of Porphyry, and died about 333 a.d. He says:—
"If the soul rises up to the gods, she becomes god-like and able to know the above and the below; she then obtains the power to heal diseases, to make useful inventions, to institute wise laws. Man has no intuitive power of his own; his intuition is the result of the connection existing between his soul and the Divine Spirit; the stronger this union grows, the greater will be his intuition, spiritual knowledge. Not all the perceptions of the soul are of a divine character; there are also many images which are the products of the lower activity of the soul in her mixture with material elements. Divine Nature, being the eternal fountain of Life, produces no deceptive images; but if her activity is perverted, such deceptive images may appear. If the mind of man is illumined by the Divine Light, the ethereal vehicle of his soul becomes filled with light and shining."
Proclus lived at Byzany, 412—485. He was a hermetic philosopher and mystic, having often prophetical visions and dreams. It is said that he had the spiritual power of producing rain by his "prayer" and of preventing earthquakes. He was very pious and self-denying, and on some occasions his head seemed to be surrounded by a glory of light.
He says that the soul of man consists of many coats; some more dense, and others of a more ethereal character, each one being a fundamental principle, changeable only in regard to its form. "The soul can only return to her divine state after having been purified of her earthly desires. Her reason and free will must take part in the sufferings belonging to the material state, until she attains knowledge and becomes free from desires. For this purpose she clothes herself at certain periods in a physical form (reincarnates as a human being), until she has laid off her desires. The more the soul frees herself from her gross external coats (principles) the higher can she rise."
This philosopher says:—"The intelligent soul-substance received from the Demiurgos (Logos) an inseparable immaterial body, and entered thus into being. She is, therefore, neither corporeal nor incorporeal, but comparable to the sun and the stars, which are the product of an immaterial substance. This soul-body, which human beings as well as "spirits" possess, is of a shining nature. The vehicle of the soul is contained within the material body of man; it breathes Life into the lifeless and soulless physical organism, and contains the harmony of the latter. The Life Principle of man is the inner being which produces the activity of Life in the organism. The inner man consists of an intelligent substance and an immaterial (transcendentally material) body. The visible material form is the production and images of the interior man. The external form consists of the animal, unintellectual, gross-material and ethereal bodies, a separation of living substance and dead matter is effected, and thus man may render himself capable of having intercourse with pure spirits.
During the year 529, the imperial bigot Justinian closed the schools of Philosophy at Athens, and their last representatives, Isodorus, Damascius, and Simplicius went to Persia. They expected to find in the East freedom of thought, tolerance, and wisdom. It was said that Chrosroes, the King of Persia, was a philosopher, and they hoped to obtain his protection. But they soon found that the philosophy of that King was very superficial, and that he was a cruel, passionate, and ignorant tyrant, varnished over with some superficial learning. Disappointed, they returned to Greece.
This was the experience of the last of the Neoplatonic philosophers, such as were publicly known, and a long obscuration of the sun of wisdom took place, until a ray of light broke again through the clouds during the I5th century.
Centrum in Trigono Centri
The external world is an image of the interior world. The astronomy of the visible starry sky is an external reproduction of astrological processes taking place in the invisible heavens, and the revolutions of the planets which are within the reach of observation by our physical senses, are symbols by means of which the action of spiritual powers existing in the universe are represented. As the earth has her seasons of heat and cold, according to her position which she occupies in regard to the sun, and as she approaches the sun at certain times and recedes at others, likewise there are regular periods at which the human mind seems to come nearer to the spiritual sun of divine wisdom, and there are other times when a period of darkness and materialism exists. During the times of perihelion, receptive minds will find it easier to rise up in their thoughts to the fountain of eternal truth; while during the aphelion it requires greater efforts to approach the divine luminary. During the time of the Middle Ages there appears such perihelion to have taken place, and a wave of spirituality was passing over the world, illuminating the minds of those who were receptive for wisdom; while in the minds of the vulgar it merely aroused the emotional element, causing among them an epidemic of superstition, which manifested itself on the external plane as the development of witchcraft and sorcery. There were many hermetic philosophers of great prominence living during those times. Foremost of all must be mentioned Theophrastus Paracelsus, of Hohenheim; Jacob Boehme, Cornelius Agrippa, Basilius Valentinus, Robert Fludd, and many others too numerous to be named. As the lives and the philosophy of the two former ones have already been explicitly dealt with in my other books, I will select from the rest the writings of Cornelius Agrippa as a type of what was taught by those mediæval philosophers.
magýc, ACCORDING TO cornelýus agrýppa.
Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim was born of a noble family at Coeln (Cologne) on September 14, in the year 1486. He was a philosopher, physician, lawyer, theologian, soldier, and also a statesman. He studied the Occult Sciences, and is said to have been a good Alchemist. He also organized at Paris a secret society for the purpose of studying the secret sciences. He drew upon himself the hatred and malice of the clergy, whose evil practices he desired to reform, and he was consequently denounced as a black magician and sorcerer, and there are even to-day nearly as many fabulous stories circulating about him as there are in regard to the reputed black magician, Doctor Faustus. He was an open enemy of the Holy Inquisition, continually persecuted by latter, and therefore he had to change his place of residence very often. While only twenty-four years of age he wrote his celebrated work, “Occulta Philosophia," which in his riper age he greatly improved. His study of the occult side of nature led him to realize the fact that the truth cannot be found in illusions, even if they belong to the supersensual plane of existence, and he therefore says in his book, "De Vanitate Scientiarum": "He who does not prophesy in the truth and power of God, but by means of daemons and evil spirits, errs. He who produces illusions by magic spells, exorcisms, citations, cojurations, philtres, and other dæmoniacal methods deserves to be punished in hell."
Cornelius Agrippa made great effort to restore the true meaning of the term "Magic": a term which means the exercise of spiritual functions which are in possession of the wise; but the ignorant even to this day use the term "Magic," when they want to talk about Sorcery and Villainy, which is not wisdom, but the very thing opposed to it. In regard to his book he says: "I have written it in such a manner that those who are wise will find therein all the information they desire; but to the evil disposed and the sceptic the door to the mysterious realm will remain closed, no matter how hard they may struggle to enter it. If you possess the power of seeing with the eye of reason, the whole sublime magic science will appear before your sight, and you will know the powers which Hermes, Zoroaster, and Apollonius knew."
”The Key to the highest and divine philosophy of the mysterious powers nature is reason. The brighter the sun of reason shines, the more powerful will the intellect grow, and the easier will it become for us to accomplish even the most wonderful things. But if the intellect is in the bonds of flesh, if it cannot overcome the errors received by inheritance and false education, it will be unable to penetrate into the divine mysteries of nature and God. He who wants to enter into the sanctuary must die. He must die to the world and to external sensual attractions, die to his animal instincts and desires. Not that by such a death the soul would become separated from the body; but the soul must be able to step out of the latter. Therefore Paulus writes to the Colossians: 'You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God'; and at another place he says: ‘I know a man (but whether he was in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows it) he was exalted into the third heaven.' Such a death must he die who wishes to know God, and only few are privileged to do so."
"Whatever we read about the irresistible powers of the Magic Art, of the wonderful sights of the Astrologers, etc., will be found to be fables and lies as soon as we take those things in their external and literal meaning. Their external forms cover internal truths, and he who desires to sec those truths must be in possession of the divine light of reason, which is in possession of very few. Therefore those who attempt to solve the problems of the divine secrets of nature by the reading of books will remain in the dark; they are led away from the light of reason by the illusive glare of their erring intellect; they are misguided by the tricks of external astral influences and by erroneous imaginations. They fall continually into error by seeking beyond their own selves that which exists within themselves. You must know that the great cause of all magic effects is not external to ourselves, but operating within ourselves, and this cause can produce all that the Magicians, Astrologers, Alchemists, or Necromancers ever produced. Within ourselves is the power which produces all wonderful things.
Nos habitat, non tartara, sed nee sidera coeli
Spiritus in nobis, qui viget, ilia facit.
"Magic Science embraces a knowledge of the most sublime and exalted truths, the deepest mysteries in nature, the knowledge of the nature of matter and energy, of the attributes and qualities of all things. By uniting the powers of nature and combining the lower with its corresponding higher counterpart the most surprising effects may be produced. This science is therefore the highest and most perfect of all; she is a sacred and exalted philosophy the culminating point of all."
Agrippa regards nature as being a trinity; an elementary (corporeal) astral and spiritual world, and the lower principles are intimately connected with the higher ones, forming thus four more intermediary states; that is to say, seven in all.
The cause of all activity in the universe is the omnipresent principle of Life (being identical with the Will), a function of the universal spirit. This life principle causes the ethereal Soul to act upon the gross element of Matter.
"The Spirit—the Primum mobile—is self-existent and is motion; the body, or the element of matter, is in its essence without motion, and differs so much from the former that an intermediary substance is required by which the Spirit can be united with the body. This intermediary spiritual substance is the soul, or the fifth essence (quinta essentia) because it is not included in the four states of matter, which are called the four elements, but constitutes a fifth element, or a higher state of matter which is perceptible to the physical senses. This soul of the world is of the same form as the world; because as the spirit in man acts upon all the members of his body by means of man's soul, likewise the universal spirit by means of the soul of, the universe pervades and penetrates all parts of the latter. There is nothing in the world which does not contain a spark of this universal power; but spirit is most active in those things or beings in whom the activity of soul is strongest.
This astral spirit can be rendered very useful to us if we know how to separate it from the other elements, or if we use such things as contain an abundance of it. There are certain things in which this principle is not so deeply sunk into or so strongly amalgamated with the body as it is in others, and such things act powerfully and may produce their counterparts.
This is the great alchemical agent, and in it are contained all productive and generative powers. If this spirit is extracted from gold or silver and united with some other metal it transforms the latter into gold, respectively silver.
There is such a great harmony and unity in nature that every superior power sends its rays through intermediary links down to the lowest, and the most inferior thing may rise up through the scale to the highest. Thus the lowest is connected with the highest comparable to a string of a musical instrument, which vibrates in its whole length if touched at one end. If the lower is acted on it reacts upon the higher, and the highest corresponds to the lowest.
A thing of very small size may produce a great effect (as may be seen by the growth of a tree from a seed), but this cannot take place with an elementary quality (physical force). The hidden powers may accomplish a great deal, because they are the properties of the form to which they belong; but the elementary (mechanical or physical) forces, being material, require a great deal of matter to produce great effects upon matter. The powers belonging to the form are called occult powers, because their causes are hidden; that is to say, even the sharpest intellect cannot thoroughly conceive of their nature, and what the philosophers know about them they have learned rather by observation and experience, than by intellectual reasoning.
God created man in His own image. The universe is the image of God and man is the image of nature. Man is therefore, so to say, the image of the image; in other words a Miscrocosmos, or little world. The world is a reasonable, living, and immortal being; man is equally reasonable, but he is mortal, or at least divisible. Hermes Trismegistus says that the world is immortal, because no part of it is ever annihilated. Nothing is ever annihilated, and if "to die" means to be annihilated, then is "dying" a term without any reason for its existence; because there is no death in nature. If we say that a man dies, we do not mean to imply that anything of that man perishes; we only mean to say that his body and soul become separated from each other. The true image of God is His Word, Wisdom, Life, Light, and Truth; they exist through Him, and the (spiritual) soul is their image. This is the reason why it is said that we (man in its primitive purity as a spiritual being) have been created in the image of God, and not in the image of the world or its creatures. God can neither be touched with the hand, nor be heard with the external ear, nor be seen with the external eye, and likewise the spirit of man can neither be seen, heard, or touched in this manner. God is infinite and cannot be overpowered by anything, and likewise is man's spirit (spiritual soul) free and can neither be forced nor limited. In God is contained the whole world and everything existing therein, and likewise in the will of man is contained every part of his body. Man being thus stamped and sealed in the image of God as His counterpart, necessarily clothed himself in a form, representing the true image of nature. He is therefore called the second or little world; he contains everything contained in the great world, and there is nothing existing in the latter which is not also truly existing within the organism of man. In him are contained all the elements (principles), each principle according to its own qualities; in him is the ethereal astral body, the vehicle of his soul, corresponding to the firmament of the world; in him is the vegetative power of plants, the principle of sensation, manifest in the animal kingdom, the divine spirit, divine reason, and the divine mind All this is contained in man, united to a unity and belonging to him by divine right. Man is therefore called by the Bible "the whole creation," and in his aspect as the Microcosm he contains not only all parts of the world, but also contains and comprehends the divinity itself.
The natural Soul is the Medium by which the Spirit becomes united with the flesh and the body, through which the latter lives and acts and exercises its functions. This Medium is intelligent, but also so to say corporeal; or to express it perhaps more correctly, the soul takes part in the materiality of the physical body. This is the doctrine of all hermetic philosophers. Man consists of the higher, the intermediary, and the lower principles. The higher ones are called the illuminated spiritual soul, and Moses speaks of it figuratively as having been breathed by God into the nostrils of man. The lowest is the animal soul (anima sensitiva). The apostle Paulus calls it the animal man. The intermediate part is the rational soul which connects the animal soul with the divine mind and takes part in the nature of the two extremes. This part, to become free, must be separated from the lower elements by the power of the Will of which the apostle says, that it is living and cutting like a sword. The divine principle never sins and never consents to sin; but the animal principle sinks continually lower in animal desires unless it is held up by the divine spirit. The highest part of ourselves is never subject to punishment, knows nothing of the sufferings of the lower principle; but returns after being separated from the lower principles to its divine source; but that part which is called the rational soul, and which being free, may choose between the higher or lower, will, if it continually clings to the highest, become united with God and immortal in him; but if the intellectual principle clings to that which is evil, it will become ultimately evil, and grow to be a malicious demon.
God is the centre of the world and enters the heart of man, like a sun-ray. As the spirit of God descends, it surrounds itself with an ethereal substance, forming the Astral body, the vehicle of the soul (the fiery chariot of the soul). From the centre of the heat the spirit radiates into all parts of the body and pervades all its members, combing its own vehicle with the natural heart of the body and with the soul substance generated within the heart. By means of the soul it mixes with and amalgamates with the fluids (the blood, nerve currents, etc.), and with all organs of the body. The soul is therefore equally near to all organs, although she radiates from one organ into another in the same sense as the heat of a fire is intimately connected with air and water, if it is carried from fire to water by means of the air. In this way we may form a conception of the process, by which the immortal spirit by means of its immortal ethereal vehicle may be enabled to adhere to and mix with a dense, mortal, material body. If by disease or otherwise the connection between different parts of the same organism is interrupted, the spirit returns again to the heart. If the life-principle leaves the heart, the spirit departs with the ethereal vehicle and the physical organism dies.
The first Light in God is beyond intellectual conception, and can therefore not be called a conceivable light; but as it enters the mind it becomes intellectual light and may be intellectually conceived. Entering into the soul it may not only be conceived, but also understood. It is incorporeal. When it enters into the ethereal vehicle it takes form, invisible to the physical senses; but when it penetrates the elementary (physical) organism, it becomes also visible to the external perception. By this gradual progression of this divine Light from Spirit into dense Matter our spirit may obtain great power. It is possible that if the thoughts of the wise are directed with great intensity upon God, the divine light illuminates the mind and radiates its rays through all the parts of the dark and gross body, causing even the latter to become illuminated like a luminous star, and to change its attraction to the earth, so that it may be raised up into the air, and thus it has happened that even the physical bodies of men have been carried away to some distant locality. So great is the interior power of the spirit over the external body that the former may lift the latter up and take him to that place where man's thought travels or where he desires or dreams to be.
Man's power to think increases in proportion as this ethereal and celestial power or light penetrates his mind, and strengthening his mental faculties, it may enable him to see and perceive that which he interiorly thinks, just as if it were objectively and eternal. Spirit being unity and independent of our ideas of space, and all men having therefore essentially the same spirit, the souls of men existing at places widely distant from each other may thus enter into communication and converse with each other exactly in the same manner as if they had met in their physical bodies. In this state man may perform a great many things in an exceedingly short period of time, so that it may seem to us as if he had required no time at all to perform it. But not everybody can do so; it can only be done by those whose imagination and power of thought is very strong. Such a man (an Adept) is able to comprehend and understand everything by the light of the universal power or guiding intelligence with which he is spiritually united.
But if imagination possess such a power that it cannot be impeded or restrained by the obstacles presented by time or distance, if it can even communicate itself to the heavy physical body and carry the latter with it; then it will be reasonable to believe that thought becomes still more powerful if it becomes free and may follow its natural; inclinations, instead of being held back by the attractions of the sensual plane. In each man there is such a power, which is the inherent property of his soul by right of the divine origin of the latter; but this power is not equally developed in all men, but stronger in some, weaker in others, and according to the state of its development the possibility to use it differs in different individuals.
By this power two persons being bodily far distant from each other may exchange their thoughts, or one may impress his thoughts upon another, and such a power may be used for good or for evil purposes. Weak-minded persons may thus be fascinated by stronger minds, or be made to fall in love with the person by whom they are thus fascinated. The instrument of fascination is the spirit, and the organ, by which it eminently expresses itself is the eye. Thus the spirit of one person may enter the heart of another by way of the eyes, and kindle a fire therein which may burn and communicate itself to the whole body. If two persons look into the eyes of each other, their spirits come in contact, and mix and amalgamate with each other. Thus love may be caused by a look in a moment of time, like a wound caused suddenly by an arrow. The spirit and the blood of a person thus affected then turn towards him who fascinated it, like the avenging spirit and the blood of a murdered person turns against the murderer.
The passions of the soul which adhere to the imagination may, if they are sufficiently strong, not only produce changes in the organism to which they belong, but also be transferred upon another organism, and thus impressions may be made by the will of a person upon the elements and external things, and thus diseases of the soul or body may be caused or cured. The state of the soul is the principal cause of the condition of the external body. A strong, exalted soul, stimulated by a strong and active imagination, may not merely cause health or disease in her own organism, but also in that of others with which she comes in contact. Evil disposed persons may exert a very evil influence upon others by their look. The invisible forces emanating from the soul through the eye are much more powerful, stronger, hotter, and more active than the emanations of the physical body. The soul-force of a person entering within the soul sphere of another acts therein not less strong than it would act if it had originated in the latter. By such means one man may exert an influence upon the mind and character of another.
The spirit may accomplish a great deal by the power of Faith. This power is a firm confidence or conviction, based upon the knowledge that one can and will accomplish his purpose. It is a strong, unwavering attention which gives strength to the work, causing, so to say, an image in our mind of the power which is necessary to accomplish the work, and of the work which is to be accomplished in, by, and through ourselves. We must, therefore, in all magic operations, apply a strong will, a vivid imagination, a confident hope, and a firm faith; all of which combined will assist in producing the desired result.
It is well known that if a rich person has confidence and faith in his physician, he is more liable to be benefited by the latter than if he mistrusts him, and often the presence of the physician in whom the patient has faith benefits the latter more than the remedies which he uses. The presence of a spiritually-minded physician who possesses a strong soul, and who desires to help the patient, is a power which is often sufficiently strong to change the pathological activity of the soul-elements of the patient (of which the physical processes taking place in the organism are merely the external expression), and thus to restore the patient. Every physician ought therefore be a magician in a certain sense. He ought not to doubt in the least that he will be successful in that which he attempts to accomplish. He ought not even to permit a thought of the possibility of a failure to enter his mind; because as a firm faith may accomplish wonderful things, like-wise doubt disperses the active power of the operator and renders it ineffective. In such a case the spiritual activity vibrates, so to say, between two extremes: it lacks the projecting impulse to enter the physical organism of the patient, it becomes diffused in space and is lost.
In this power of the spirit over the element of matter by means of the soul rests the power of certain signs, images, formulas, incantations, words, etc., and many wonderful experiments may thus be produced. The activity of the spirit strengthens the soul; by the will and imagination of the spirit the soul receives strength to act upon matter.
There is a spiritual power residing in the soul of man which enables the latter to attract, influence, and change things. If the power of the soul mounts to a certain height she may overpower the elements which hold her in bonds; for that which is above attracts and subjects that which is below, and the latter partakes of the changes of the former. Therefore, a man who has rendered himself capable to receive celestial gifts, by making use of the aspirations (functions) of his soul and employing natural things, may influence another being who is less spiritually strong, and force him to obey.
He may cure another by the power of his will or cause him to be sick or kill him; he may make him joyful or sad, fill him with fear, admiration, respect, veneration, etc.
The root from which all such effects spring is a strong and decided will supported by the spiritual influence coming from and through the heart. An opposing spiritual activity will, if the latter surpasses the former in strength, neutralize or repulse it, or weaken its influence If a man becomes subject to a fascination, it is not his intellectual principle, but his sensual (animal) soul which is thus affected. The intelligent and spiritual part in man cannot be thus magically influenced. If the organism of a man is suffering it suffers according to its animal and terrestrial, and not in his spiritual or celestial aspect. The intelligent and spiritual part of man can merely know that such influences are acting upon the lower principles by a certain sensation which is communicated from the lower to the higher elements. Intelligent man feels the influence which is exercised by external conditions upon his animal constitution; but he is not himself subject to their influences. Everything belonging to the above moves that which is next to it below according to its degree and order, not merely in the visible, but also in the invisible part of nature. Thus the Universal Soul moves the individual souls, the Mind acts upon the animal, and the animal upon the vegetative principle. Each part of the world acts upon every other part, and each one is capable to be moved by another; and upon each part of the lower world acts the higher world, according to the attributes and conditions of the former, just as one part of the animal organism acts upon another.
There is an art, known only to few, by which the purified and faithful (intellectual) soul of man may be instructed and illuminated, so as to be raised at once from the darkness of ignorance to the light of wisdom and knowledge. There is also an art, by which the knowledge gained by the impure and unfaithful may be taken away from their mind and memory and they thus be reduced to their former state of ignorance.
Apuleius says that the human soul may be put into a state of sleep, so that she will forget her terrestrial conditions and turning her whole being towards her divine origin, she will become illuminated by the divine light, and not only be able to see the future and to prophesy it correctly, but also to receive certain spiritual powers. On such occasions the divine inspiration and illumination may be so great, as even to communicate itself to other persons near, and to influence them in a similar manner.
Persons in a state of receptivity or passivity may become mediums through which divine demons (influences) may be attracted within the body of man and cause men to perform wonderful things. If the soul of such a person breaks away from the bonds of the body and surrenders herself to the power of imagination, she may become the habitation of demons of a lower order, which may enable her to perform extraordinary things. Thus we may see that a person who has never had any instructions in painting may suddenly exercise that art and produce an artistic work, etc., etc. If the soul enters entirely the intellectual sphere, she may become the habitation of another class of demons and obtain great knowledge in regard to human and external things, and man may thus become suddenly a great philosopher, physician, orator, etc., without having learned those things; but if the soul rises up entirely to the region of divinity, she may become the habitation of divine spiritual influences, and obtain a knowledge of divine mysteries.
Only those who are pure-minded and spiritual can possess true magic powers. Thought is the supreme power in man, and pure spiritual thought is the miracle-worker within him. If the thought of man is bound to the flesh, deeply amalgamated with it and occupied with animal desires, it loses its power over the divine elements, and therefore among those who seek to exercise magic powers there are few who succeed. If we desire to become spiritually developed we must try to find out how we can free ourselves of our animal instincts and desires and become rid of our sensuality and passions, and we must, furthermore, attempt to rise up to a state of true spirituality. Without accomplishing these two propositions we will never rise up to that state which is necessary to obtain magic powers, which result from the spiritual elevation and dignity of man.
We should therefore attempt to remove all external impediments which are in the way of our spiritual development and live in a state of purity. Our thoughts should be continually directed inwardly and within ourselves; for within ourselves is the element of consciousness, knowledge, and power. Nothing hinders us to develop and exercise our own powers, except our misconceptions, imaginations, and external desires. Therefore the divine influences will only come to him who liberates his soul of all such hindrances, carnal desires, prejudices, and hallucinations. A diseased eye cannot bear to look at the light; an impure soul is repulsed by the divine light of truth.
Such a process of development and unfolding is not accomplished at once, but requires time and patience; a neophyte cannot immediately understand the mysteries of initiation when he enters the sacred precincts. The soul must be gradually accustomed to the light until the power of spiritual thought is unfolded, and the latter being, continually directed towards the divine light, becomes at last united with it. If the soul is perfectly purified and sanctified she becomes free in her movements; she sees and recognizes the divine light and she instructs herself, while she seems to be instructed by another. In that state she requires no other admonition or instruction except her own thought, which is the head and guide of the soul. She is then no more subject to terrestrial conditions of time, but lives in the eternal, and for her to desire a thing is to possess it already.
C. Agrippa here adds the following instructions, copied from Boëthius:—
"The guides on the road to perfection are Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the means to attain this object are Purity, Temperance, Self-control, Chastity, Tranquility of Mind, Contemplation, Adoration (Ecstasy), Aspiration, and Virtue."
If the highest state of spiritual development is attained, the spirit, endowed with the highest spiritual activity of the soul, attracts the truth, and perceives and knows at once the conditions, causes, and effects of all external and internal, natural and divine things. It sees them within the eternal truth like in a mirror of Eternity. By this process Man, while he still remains in eternal nature, may know all that exists in the internal and external world, and see all things, not merely those which are, but also those which have been, or which will exist in the future, and, moreover, by being united and identified with the divine power (The Logos), he obtains the power to change things by the power of his (spiritual) Word. Thus man being within nature may be above her and control her laws."
Those who are able to read the works of Cornelius Agrippa by the light of internal reason, will see that a single page of his books contains more wisdom than whole libraries filled with the speculations and theories of our modern philosophers, and his name and doctrines will be remembered and admired when all the illusions and hallucinations of the latter will have sunk into the oblivion which they deserve.
AMONG THE "ADEPTS."
A belief in the existence of persons endowed with abnormal or extraordinary psychic faculties or magical powers, by which they can produce wonderful effects, such as are not to be explained by the commonly accepted theories of external science, is nothing new. The Bible and the "Acta Sanctorum" are full of accounts of so-called ”miracles," a term which signifies something wonderful, but for all that not anything contrary to the laws of nature. Such "wonders" are performed by the power of the spiritually awakened will. The Yoga philosophy gives a specification of these powers, and describes how they may be acquired.
To those powers belongs the art of making oneself invisible; of leaving one's body at will and returning to it again; of projecting one's soul to a distant place; of prolonging physical life for a long period of time; of transforming base metals into pure gold by alchemical means; of creating subjective illusions which appear to the spectators as objective realities, and of performing numerous other feats, such as belong to the department of Magic, white or black.
There is sufficient evidence going to show that during the time of the Middle Ages there were numerous people existing in whom such psychic faculties had been more or less developed. It was a time during which the imagination of the people as a whole was more active and more directed toward the supersensual and metaphysical aspect of the world. There was more of the true faith, and likewise more superstition to be found than at present, and faith as well as fear are active powers, capable to produce results on the astral plane. From the true faith, the result of spiritual knowledge, spring the powers of the Adept; from fear and superstition, the phenomena of obsession and sorcery. Persons in possession of magic powers, and especially those who were supposed to know the secrets of Alchemy, were called "Adepts," "Rosicrucians," or "Philosophers," and the greatest of them were supposed to belong to some secret and mysterious society, called "the Brotherhood of the Golden and Rosy Cross."
If we allow a great deal of poetical liberty in the descriptions of the members of this fabulous order, charging it to the fruitful imagination of the writers living at the time of the "knights errant," nevertheless, there remains a considerable amount of historical evidence going to show that there were persons endowed with abnormal powers; although there is no evidence whatever that they were united among themselves by any external association or sect. Neither would such a farce ever be necessary among those whose internal senses were opened, and who would be drawn together by the ties of the spirit, Having the power of interior perception, they would surely not need any external passwords and signs. The true brothers of the Golden and Rosy Cross were and still are a spiritual society, and therefore the effort made at that time of finding a real and living, indisputable true Rosicrucian, were as unavailing as was at a more recent period the effort made by a certain London society of proving the existence of real and living Adepts.
The Rosicrucians have been celebrated in prose and in verse; and their virtues have been extolled by some, while others have denounced them as impostors. Some writers describe them as beings of a superior character, possessed of apparently supernatural knowledge and powers, as men of noble appearance and exercising an invisible but irresistible influence over all with whom they come into contact. They describe them as having the power to read the hearts of men, and to cure the diseases of their bodies by wonderful medicines, or merely by the touch of their hands. They are loved by all and they love all; but their hearts are invulnerable to sexual love. They never marry. They are sometimes described as being of fabulous age, and still appearing in the full vigour of manhood; as being great travellers and speaking the language of each country where they temporarily reside, as fluently and correctly as if it were their own native tongue; as possessing the power of rendering themselves invisible, and again, as often appearing unexpectedly, when their presence is most urgently needed. They are possessed of immense treasures, and have the power to transmute base metals into gold, and yet they despise riches and are contented to live in poverty. They are the wisest of all men, and the knowledge of even the most learned cannot be compared with what they know. They do nothing whatever for the purpose of obtaining fame, for they are dear to ambition; nevertheless their fame spreads wherever they appear. They are universally honoured, but they seek not for honour, and prefer to remain unnoticed. Palaces are at their disposal, but they prefer the hut of a beggar. They are not proud of their personal attributes, but it is the majesty of the divine principle manifesting itself in them, and shining even through the material envelope called the physical body, which surrounds them with an aura commanding the respect and veneration of all who approach. The glory of supermundane light which shines through their forms is so great that they may even appear luminous in darkness.1
The following is taken from a book entitled "Hermippus Redivivus," which we will abbreviate as much as possible.
The Sieur Paul Lucas, who, by the order of Louis XIV., travelled through Greece and Africa in search of antiquities, says, "Being at Broussa, we went to a little mosque. We were introduced into a cloister, where we found four Dervishes, who invited us to their dinner. One of these, who said that he was of the country of the Usbeks (a Tartar tribe) appeared to me more learned than the rest; and / verily believe he spoke all the languages of the world. After we had conversed for a time in the Turkish language, he asked me whether I could speak Latin, Spanish or Italian. We then spoke in Italian; but he noticed by my accent that this was not my mother tongue, and when I told him that I was a native of France, he spoke to me in as good French as if he had been brought up at Paris. I asked him how long he had stayed in France, and he answered that he had never been there, but that he desired to visit that country. This man was so learned that, judging from his discourse, he seemed to have lived at least a century; but according to his external appearance he was not more than thirty years of age.
"He told us that he was one of seven friends who had wandered all over the world with a view of perfecting their studies; that at parting they always appointed another meeting at the end of twenty years in a certain town, and that the first who came would wait for the rest. I perceived that Broussa was the place appointed for their present meeting. There were a few of them present already, and they seemed to converse with each other with a freedom which spoke of old acquaintance rather than merely accidental meeting. We spoke of religion, natural philosophy, chemistry, alchemy and the Kabala. I told him that the latter, and especially the notion of the 'Philosopher's Stone,' were considered by modern savants as mere chimeras. He seemed to know all about it, and answered: 'The true sage hears all things without being scandalized at them; but though he may have so much politeness as not to shock any ignorant person by his denial when they talk of such things; yet, let me ask you whether you think that he is obliged to sink his understanding to a level with vulgar minds because they are not able to raise their thoughts to an altitude equal to his? When I speak of a sage, I mean that kind of man to whom alone the title "philosopher" properly belongs. He has no sort of tie to the world; he sees all things die and revive without concern; he has more riches in his power than the greatest of kings, but he tramples them under his feet, and this generous contempt sets him even in the midst of indigence above the power of events.'
"I said: 'With all these fine maxims, the sage dies as well as other people. What imports it, therefore, to me when I die, to have be«
either a fool or a philosopher, if wisdom has no prerogative over folly and one is no more a shield against death than the other?'
"'Alas!' he answered, 'I see you are absolutely unacquainted with our sublime science, and have never known true philosophy. Learn from me, then, my friend, that such an one as I have described dies indeed, for death is a debt which Nature enacts, and from which therefore no man can be exempt; yet he dies not before his utmost time is fixed. But then you must observe that this period approaches near a thousand years, and to the end of that time a sage may live. He arrives at that end through the knowledge he has of the true medicine. Thus he is able to ward off whatever may impede the animal functions of his body or injure the temperature of his nature; and is enabled to acquire the knowledge of whatever comes within the cognizance of man.
"Aboriginal man knew the secrets of Nature by the use of his reason, but it was this same reason which blotted his knowledge again from his mind, for having attained this kind of natural knowledge, he began to mingle with it his own notions and ideas. This created a confusion which was the effect of a foolish curiosity, and he reduced thereby the work of the Creator to a state of imperfection; and this is the error which the true sage attempts to redress. The other animals act only by their instinct, which they have preserved as they obtained it at first, and they live as long now as they did when they first came into existence. Man is a great deal more perfect than they; but has he still preserved that prerogative which he had in the beginning, or has he not lost long ago the glorious privilege of living a thousand years, which, with so much care, he should have studied to preserve? This the true sages have accomplished, and that you may no more be led into mistakes, let me, assure you that this is what they call the Philosopher's Stone which is not a chimerical science, but a real thing. It is, however, known to a few only, and indeed it is impossible that it should be made known to the most of mankind, whom avarice or debauchery destroys, or whom an impetuous desire of life prematurely kills.'
" 'Surprised at all I heard, I said: 'Would you, then, persuade me that all who have possessed the Philosopher's Stone have likewise lived a thousand years?' 'Without doubt,' answered he, gravely, 'for whenever a mortal is favoured with that blessing, it depends entirely on his own will whether he shall reach that age of a thousand years, as in his state of innocence the first man might have done.'
"I took the liberty to mention the illustrious Flamel, who, I said, had possessed the Philosopher's Stone, but was now dead as far as I knew. As I mentioned that name, he smiled at my simplicity, and said with an air of mirth: 'Do you really believe Flamel is dead? No, no, my friend, do not deceive yourself, for Flamel is living still. It is not above three years ago since I left him and his wife in the Indies, and he is one of my best friends.' He was going to tell me how he made Flamel's acquaintance, but stopping himself, he said: 'That is little to the purpose. I will rather give you his true history with respect to which, in your country, I daresay, you are not very well acquainted.'
"A little before the time of Flamel there was a Jew of our fraternity; but as through his whole life he had a most ardent affection for his family, he could not help desiring to see them after it once came to his knowledge that they were settled in France. We foresaw the danger of his voyage, and did all we could to persuade him not to undertake that journey. We succeeded for a while in detaining him; but at last the passion of seeing his family grew so strong upon him that he went. At the time of his departure, he made us a solemn promise to return to us as soon as it was possible. He arrived at Paris, and found there his father's descendants in the highest esteem among the Jews. There was also a Rabbi, who was a true philosopher at heart, and who had long been in search of the great secret. Our friend did not hesitate to make himself known to his relatives, he entered into friendly relations with them, and gave them an abundance of light.
" 'But as the matter requires a long time to prepare it, he put into writing the whole process, and, to convince his nephew that he had not told him falsehoods, he made the "projection" in his presence of some ninety pounds of base metal, and turned it into pure gold. The Rabbi, full of admiration, did all he could to persuade our brother to remain with him, but in vain; for the latter had made up his mind not to break the promise to return to us. When the Jew found this out, he changed his affection into hatred, and his avarice stifling the admonitions of his conscience, he resolved to extinguish one of the lights of the universe. Dissembling his black design, he begged the sage to remain with him only for a few days. He then executed his execrable purpose of murdering our brother, and made himself master of his medicine.
"'Such horrible actions never remain very long unpunished. Some other crimes he had committed came to light, the Jew was imprisoned, convicted, and burned alive.
" 'Soon after this a persecution of the Jews began in France. Flamel, who was more reasonable than his enraged countrymen, and whose honesty was known, became a friend of the Jews, and a Jewish merchant entrusted him with all his books and papers, among which were those of the criminal who had been burned alive, and also the book of our brother; which had never been carefully examined by the merchant. When Flamel examined that book, his curiosity became aroused by certain figures contained therein, and he began to suspect that it contained great secrets. He got the first leaf, which was written in Hebrew translated, and from the little he learned from that, he became convinced that his suspicion was well founded; but knowing also that great caution was necessary, he took the following steps: He went into Spain, and, as Jews were settled in many parts of that country, he applied in every place to which he came to the most learned, and engaged each of them to translate a leaf of the book. Having thus obtained a translation of the whole, he returned to France. When he came home, he undertook with his wife the prescribed labours, and in the progress of time they arrived at the secret, by which they acquired immense riches, which they employed in building public edifices, and in doing good to a great many people.
" 'Fame is often accompanied by great dangers; but a true sage knows how to extricate himself from ail kind of perils. FIamel saw that he was in danger of being suspected to possess the Philosopher's Stone, a suspicion which might have caused the loss of his liberty, if not that of his life, and he thought of means to escape all danger. By his advice, his wife pretended to be dangerously sick, and when it was reported that she had died, she had already safely passed the frontier of Switzerland, They buried in her place a wooden image in one of the churches which he had founded. Some time afterwards he used the same stratagem for himself and joined his wife. You know that there could have been no great difficulty in doing this, since in every country, if a man has sufficient money, physicians and priests are always at his service, ready to say or do whatever he directs them. He moreover left a last will and testament, directing that a pyramid should be erected to his memory and that of his wife. Since that time both have led a philosophic life, residing sometimes in one country and sometimes in another. This, depend upon my word, is the true history of FIamel and his wife,' "
The well-known fact that the Adepts and alchemists of the middle ages were continually subject to persecutions, to imprisonment, punishment, torture and death, is the cause that the names of only few of them became publicly known. Ore reputed alchemist was the Count de Saint Germain, who lived in 1770 at the Court of France. He appeared to be, about forty years of age; some said he was ninety, he himself gave his age as being 370 years. He possessed the art of making artificial diamonds and precious stones, he was clairvoyant, could read people's thoughts and foretell future events. He possessed an "album," in which many of the most celebrated persons of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had signed their names; he was able to write with both hands at one and the same time, with each on different subjects.
A somewhat similar character was the Count Cagliostro, whose physical form was born in Italy and received the name Giuseppe Balsamo. The latter was incarcerated in the castle San Angela at Rome, and is believed to have died in one of its dungeons. The problem of Cagliastro will not be solved by our historians until they study the true nature of man in its normal and abnormal aspects, when they may, perhaps, discover the fact that two personalities may inhabit one physical organism, and that a man may, perhaps, be a Cagliostro at one time and a Balsamo at another.2
I have carefully read the proceedings of the trial of the renowned Count Cagliostro before the tribunal of the inquisition in Rome, and have found no proof whatever of his having been an impostor. To everyone acquainted with even the elementary teachings of occultism, the phenomena which occurred in his presence do not appear at all unexplainable, or as having been the products of imposture; but what appears wonderful is the illogical consequence and ignorance of the witnesses for the prosecution, who admit the occurrence of phenomena in his presence, which could not have been produced by his tricks, while in the same breath they denounce him to be an impostor.
To arts of this kind belongs that of making pure gold or silver articially, of transforming base metals into nobler ones; of preparing a Universal Panacea out of the principle of Life; of curing all diseases; of preparing a lamp which, by the manner in which it burns, indicates the state of health of an absent friend, with whom it is empathetically connected; of producing a similar sympathetic or magnetic connection between a person and a jewel, a tree, or a mirror; of producing a living miniature image of the world in a closed glass globe; of causing the forms of vegetables or animals to reappear out of their ashes after they have been burnt; of producing artificially man (Homunculi) without the assistance of a female organism; of preparing a fluid, which rises and falls within the bottle where it is contained, according to the increasing or decreasing moon; of preparing a glass wherein it will thunder, and lightning will appear, whenever the same takes place in the air; of producing an inextinguishable magic fire, an ever-burning lamp; a magic mirror, where events can be seen taking place in any other part of the world; a perpetuum mobile, whose rotation is caused by the rotation of the earth; a divining rod, for finding water or minerals, or whatever one wishes to find; a magic ring, which warns the wearer of any approaching danger, and reveals to him many secrets; of causing Irve or hate at will; of making pearls, diamonds, or any other jewels, which cannot be distinguished from natural ones, or causing them to grow larger; of obtaining power over the elemental spirits of Nature and causing them to render services; of causing the astral spectres of dead persons to appear and talk and answer questions, and many other similar feats, too numerous to mention.
We call that wonderful which is not within our experience, and the causes of which we cannot explain; we are daily surrounded by marvels, and witnessing the most marvellous phenomena, the causes of which we cannot explain; but we do not look at them with a sceptical eye, nor are we at all surprised that they occur. On the contrary, we should be extremely surprised if they once ceased to occur; this merely because we are accustomed to see such things every day. We are surrounded by phenomena of an occult and .magic nature, and we live in a laboratory of alchemy. We see how out of a hard little stone—kernel or seed—a germ appears, and grows into a big tree, although we are sure that there was no such tree in the kernel; and what would be still more astonishing if it were not of daily occurrence, is that out of a certain kind of seed a certain species of plant only will grow, and no other. We see how out of an egg a living bird appears, and yet if we examine the same kind of egg as long as it is fresh, and open it we find therein nothing living, and nothing that resembles a bird. We also know that the parent bird does not put a bird into the egg after it is laid, for we may hatch out eggs by artificial heat, and thus produce birds out of the egg, and there is surely no bird in the heat. We See how out of a vegetable substance animal substance can grow, for we feed our cattle on grass, hay, and corn, and yet we are certain that there is no flesh in the grass or corn. We see the ever-burning light of the sun spending its heat year after year. We know of nobody who supplies him with fuel, and yet it seems to have always the same temperature. We know that the globe whereon we live revolves and, flies with tremendous velocity through space, and yet we do not feel it move, nor do we fall head foremost down in the abyss of space when at night it turns the dark side away from the sun; we see that the storm blows down houses and trees, and yet that which does the damage is nothing but thin air; we see the body of water of our rivers and lakes, and if we attempt to step on its surface we sink; but a few weeks or months afterwards we may try it again and find it as hard as rock, able to bear the weight of the skating crowd. There are a thousand other similar marvels in Nature, too numerous to mention.
There are many stories told of the Adepts, and the wonderful things they sometimes performed; how, in mid-winter, they caused beautiful flowers to grow out of the floor of a room, or produced a shower of roses in places where no roses were to be found; how some of them were seen simultaneously in two different places speaking and acting in each; how they sometimes were attended and served by "supernatural" beings appearing in human forms; how they were sometimes able to read the future, or see what was going on at a place hundreds of miles away from them; how they could speak languages which they had never studied; knew the contents of books which they had never read; could swallow poison without being harmed; make themselves invisible and visible at will, etc., etc. But the most interesting parts of our research, and at the same time the most pertinent to our object in view, will be historical accounts referring to their ability to make pure gold in an artificial manner—or, to speak more correctly, to transmute other metals into gold, and make gold grow. We shall therefore give a few abbreviated accounts of such authenticated facts:—
1. The following account is taken from the acta of the judicial faculty of Leipzig, whose legal decision was given in August, 1715. (Responsio Juridica Facultis Juridicae Lipsiensis.) A few years ago a man arrived late in the evening at the residence of the Countess of Erbach, the castle of Tankerstein, and asked to be permitted to enter it, and to hide there a few days, as he had accidentally killed a deer belonging to the Palatine of Palatia, who was, therefore, pursuing him to take his life, and he asked to be protected. The Countess at first refused; but when she saw the man she was so much impressed with his noble appearance that she consented, and the stranger was given a room, where he stayed for a few days. After that he asked for an interview with the Countess, and when admitted to her presence, he expressed his thanks for the protection given to him, and offered that, as a token of his gratitude, he would transmute her silver ware into gold. The Countess at first could not believe that such a thing was possible, but she at last consented to have an experiment made with a silver tankard, which the stranger melted and transmuted into gold. She thereupon sent this gold to the city and had it tested by a goldsmith, who found it to be gold of the purest kind. She then permitted the stranger to melt and transmute all her silver spoons, plates, dishes, etc., into gold, which he did, and finally he took his leave and went away, having received a comparatively small sum of money as a gift from the Countess. Soon after this event, the husband of the Countess, who seems to have been a spendthrift, and who had been away from home for several years, serving as an officer in some foreign country, returned, because he had heard that his wife had become suddenly rich. He claimed half of the gold for himself, but the Countess refused to acknowledge his claims. The case came, therefore, before the Court, and the husband supported his claims by the fact that he was the lord of the territory (Dominus territorii) upon which the castle belonging to his wife was located, and that according to the laws of the country all treasures found upon that land were lawfully his. He therefore requested that the gold should be sold, and from the proceeds new silver ware should be bought for the Countess, and the surplus be given to him. The defendant claimed that artificially produced gold could not come under the consideration of a law referring to buried treasures, and that therefore the said law could not be applied in her case; that, moreover, the silver had been transmuted into gold for her own benefit, and not for that of another, and she begged the Court to be permitted to remain in undisturbed possession of it. The Court decided in her favour.
2. Another authenticated case is that of an Adept by the name of Sehfeld, who lived in Rodaun, a small place in the vicinity of Vienna. He made gold out of tin and spent it freely. The proprietor of the house where he resided, a man named Friedrich, gained the confidence of the Adept, and told his family about the doings of Sehfeld. The consequence was that soon rumours and gossip began to spread. Sehfeld was accused of sorcery, and appealed for protection to the Austrian Emperor, saying that he was engaged in making certain chemical colours of which he possessed the secret. It is said that Sehfeld paid 30,000 florins into the Imperial Treasury to obtain this protection, which he enjoyed for several months. Friedrich and the members of his family often were present when Sehfeld made gold, and they say that after melting the tin, he sprinkled a small quantity of a red powder upon the molten mass, when the latter began to foam and exhibited all kinds of colours. After an hour or so it was allowed to cool, and all the tin was then transmuted into pure gold. One day Friedrich attempted to make the experiment himself. Having obtained some of the red powder from Sehfeld, he melted the tin while Sehfeld was absent, and sprinkled the powder upon it; but the latter had no effect upon the tin and did not mix with it. After a while, Sehfeld entered the room where the experiment was made, and as he entered the mass began to foam and turned into gold. The security which he enjoyed did not last long, for after a few months new rumours were put into circulation, the envy, greed and jealousy of the neighbours were aroused, he was accused of practising unlawful sciences, and he was arrested at night and imprisoned in the fortress of Temeswar, where he remained over a year, sternly refusing to tell his secret, and saying that no amount of physical torture would be able to make him reveal it. The governor of the fortress of Temeswar, General Baron von Engelshofen, was so much charmed by the noble appearance and open character of Sehfeld, that he went to Vienna and spoke to the Emperor about Sehfeld, declaring his opinion that the latter was innocent. The Emperor soon afterwards, while hunting boars in a forest near Rodan, sent for Friedrich, and received from him a detailed account of his experiences with Sehfeld, and became convinced that the latter was not a villian; but he would not believe that he was able to make gold, and expressed his doubts to that effect. Upon this, Friedrich, who was an honest man, exclaimed, "Oh! your Majesty, if at this moment God were to come down from heaven, and say, ‘Fredrich, you are mistaken; Sehfeld cannot make gold!' I would answer him, 'Dear God, it is nevertheless true that he can make it, because I know it to be so.'" Upon this, the Emperor, struck with the sincerity of the man, ordered that Sehfeld should be permitted to go where he pleased, and make whatever experiments he choose; but that he should not leave Austria, and should always be accompanied by two trustworthy officers who should never permit him to go out of their sight. Two of the best and most trustworthy officers belonging to noble families were selected for that purpose. He made several little excursions in their company; but not long afterwards Sehfeld and his two guards disappeared and never returned, nor has any trace of them ever been discovered. The historian adds that it is not probable that those two rich and noble officers would have sacrificed their career and also their reputation by thus deserting without having a sufficient cause or inducement to do so. Researches made in the house of Friedrich seemed to indicate that Sehfeld prepared his red powder out of some sky-blue minerals, probably some sulphuret of copper.
3. An apothecary at Halle made the acquaintance of a stranger, whom he found to be in possession of some chemical secrets. Having been invited to visit the stranger in his lodgings he went there, and after having talked about Alchemy, the claims of which the apothecary denied, the stranger showed him a certain red powder, and offered to give some of it to the apothecary so that the latter could make an experiment himself. With a very little spoon he took some of the powder out of the box wherein it was contained, but the apothecary objected that such a small quantity would not be sufficient to make the experiment. Upon this the stranger threw the powder back into the box, wiped the spoon, to which some of the powder adhered, on a piece of cotton, wrapped the cotton in a paper, and gave it to the apothecary, telling him that even this would be sufficient for that purpose. Having returned home, the apothecary took a big silver spoon, melted it in a crucible, and threw the cotton upon it. The molten metal began immediately to boil and to foam, and to exhibit the most beautiful colours. After a while he took the crucible from the fire and poured the metal into a mould. The next morning he examined it and found that it was the purest gold, and there were some ruby-red drops on the top, which seemed to have been the surplus of the red powder which the metal had not absorbed. The apothecary hurried immediately to the lodging of the Adept to tell him of his success; but the latter had gone, and no one knew where he went. A sum of money, more than sufficient to pay for his lodging, was found upon the table in his room. The silver which the apothecary employed in this experiment weighed 1 ¼ ounces, and the gold which he gained weighed 1 ½ ounces, which he sold to a goldsmith for 36 thalers. The gain in weight was, therefore, 20 per cent., which may be accounted for by the fact that the specific gravity of gold is greater than that of silver. Unfortunately, the ruby-red pearls on the surface of the gold were lost during the excitement caused by the discovery that the mass was actual gold, else they might have been used to transmute a far greater quantity of silver into gold.
4. During the reign of the Emperor Leopold, a monk of the Order of St. Augustine, named Wenzel Seiler, found a certain red powder in his convent, which proved to be the "Red Lion" of the Alchemists. By means of this powder, Seller transformed a quantity of tin into gold in the presence of the Emperor and his Court. The Emperor ordered that certain medals were to be made of this artificially produced gold, and he divided them out among the noblemen of his Court. He also, as a reward, gave to that monk the title of Freiherr von Rheinburg, and appointed him as master of the Imperial mint in Bohemia. The medal, of which one is now in the family of Count Leopold Hoffmann, in Brieg, shows upon the top the bust of the Emperor Leopold, with the following words:— "Leopoldus Dei Gratia Romanorum Imperator semper Augustus Germaniæ Hungariæ et Bohemiæ Rex." The reverse side is not stamped, but there is engraved thereon a verse, saying:—
Aus Wenzel Seilers Pulvers Mach
Bin ich von Zinn zu Gold gemacht.
5. The most indisputable proof (if appearances can prove anything) of the possibility of transmuting base metals into gold, may be seen by everyone who visits Vienna; it being a medal preserved in the Imperial treasury chamber, and it is stated that this medal, consisting originally of silver, has been partly transformed into gold, by alchemical means, by the same Wenzel Seiler who was afterwards made a knight by the Emperor Leopold I. and given the title Wenzeslaus Ritter von Reinburg.
The medal is of oval shape; its long diameter is 37, and the short one 40 centimetre. Its specific gravity is 19·3, and its weight 7,200·4 grammes. Its value is estimated to correspond to 2,055 Austrian ducats.
As indicated in the accompanying figure, about one-third of the upper part is silver, and the remaining part gold. The two incisions
were made in 1883, for the purpose of examining the medal, to see whether it was pure or merely gilded. The examination was made on request of Professor A. Bauer, of Vienna.
One side of the medal shows the portraits of the ancestors of the Emperor, up to King Pharamund, the other side has the following
Potentissimo et invictissimo
Arcanorum natura; scrutatori curiosmo
Genuinum hoc verae ac perfectae
pro exiguo anniversarii diei nominalis
cum omnigenae prosperitatis voto
humillima veneratione offert et dicat
Joannes Wenzeslaos de Reinburg
numini majestatique eius
anno Christi MDCLXXVII. die festo
ognomine pii olim marchionis Austria;
nunc autem patroni augustissimae
It seems, however, that there is nothing perfectly reliable in this world of illusions, and it is therefore necessary to state that Wenzel Seiler was afterwards regarded as an impostor, and sent back to his monastery. Later on, however, the Emperor received him again into his favour, and even paid his numerous debts, the existence of which is quite incomprehensible if he actually had the power to make gold by alchemical means.
Before us is a paper, printed in Leipzig, dated May 26th, 1761, which gives the latest news from Koln (Cologne). It says: "The two prophets who have been imprisoned in this place are still keeping the attention of our citizens on the alert. The court has not yet decided what shall be done. It is useless to chain them, because they possess the wonderful power of bursting even the strongest chains, as if they were threads of linen, and they have done so in the presence of many. They can even in the darkest night see all objects in their prison, because there is an unearthly light shining around their heads and coming out of their eyes, which illuminates their surroundings. They seem to be young men, and yet they say that they were at Constantinople in the year 1453, at the time of Mohamed II.; they say that they were intimately acquainted with the last Christian emperor at that place, Constantine Palaeologus, and they are in possession of letters written by him and his wife and sister. They say that at the time when they were at Constantinople they were already over 300 years of age. They speak Persian and Chinese and other languages fluently; they live on nothing but a little bread and water. They performed some wonderful cures in the neighbouring villages before they were arrested; savage dogs and wild animals appear to treat them with reverence; they seem to be well acquainted with the books written by the ancient philosophers, and talk about Pythagoras with great respect. We do not know what to think about these men. Etc., etc."
Whether or not the body of a person may be inhabited simultaneously or alternatively by two different individualities, may be a matter for doubt; but the phenomena of obsession and hypnotism go to show that this is not impossible. Cagliostro said that he was born in the East, and it is certain that he had connections there; nevertheless, it was proved that he was born in Italy, and that his name was Balsamo. This would, of course, convict him at once among the ignorant of his times and among our writers of encyclopædias as being an impostor. Nevertheless, a more definite knowledge of the true constitution of man might explain the mystery. That which is the fundamental reality in man, is the will. The phenomena of So-called hypnotism show that the will of one person may be made to act in another, and during the time that a person is obsessed by the will of another, he is also under the influence of the memory of the latter. Those acquainted with occult laws will not find it incredible that the person of Balsamo was influenced and used by some eastern human spirit, whose name was Cagliostro, and that during such times Balsamo believed himself to be, and actually was, Cagliostro. Modern spiritualism has a legion of similar facts.
Continued in Part 2 (Chapters V-VIII)