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De Magische Krachten Van De Natuur * Karl von Eckartshausen (isbn 9067320927)

über die zauberkräfte der natur

What a pleasent surprise, but also an unpleasent surprise! The Dutch translation of Über Die Zauberkräfte Der Natur is -among other titles of this writer- available from the publisher of the Dutch Rosicrucian order Lectorium Rosicrucianum. The back of this book makes Von Eckarthausen more of a gnostic than (I think) he really was, but that is of course the basis of the Lectorium. Eckartshausen (1752-1803) proves to be a very unknown figure from a time that I have been studying a lot recently. I haven’t been able to find one book of myself in which this person is mentioned! Still he was -as other occultists of his time- heavily influenced by Kabbala (however more the Christian, or “real” version), Hermetism and the like. He wrote about magic, had a big influence on Freemasonry, occultists like Eliphas Levi, Romantic writers to name a few. Also like occultists from the Renaissance he walked the line between magic and religion and wrote about magic, but also wrote books with prayers. The very long and outstanding introduction is in the Dutch version by noone less than Antoine Faivre, the founder of the first chair of esotericism at the university of Paris (there are now two of these faculties, the other is in Amsterdam). Faivre speaks about the system of Eckartshausen, his influences, who he had influence on and presents a wonderfull and docile introduction.

Eckartshausen himself proves -in this book at least- to be a mix between Eliphas Levi (a theoretical magician) and Jacob Böhme (a rather gnostic theosophist/mystic). First he speaks about magic, his ideas of four worlds and four souls and lateron the subjects are more investigations of spiritual and religious problems, like the Fall, Sophia and morality. To this short text another text is added, the Katechismus Der Höhere Chemie, which is a not too interestion Q&A text.

Then to the unpleasent surprise. I looked for English translations of texts of Eckartshausen, but couldn’t find any! Then I wanted to see what German printings are still available, but of this book none! I am afraid that you will have to get a Dutch version or try secondhand stores…

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