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Die Wolke Über Dem Heiligtum * Karl von Eckartshausen (1795/1977)

Karl von Eckhartshausen (1782-1803) was a German esotericist who for some reason is not very well-known. The fouder of the Dutch Rosicrucian society Lectorium Rosicrucianum, Jan van Rijckenborgh (1896-1968) found his texts interesting enough, so he translated them to Dutch. Meanwhile the publisher of the Lectorium has four books of Von Eckhartshausen. There isn’t too much information about the man on the internet. I noticed that some of the originally German books are translated into French and Spanish and there seems to be an English translation of the book under review here by noone less than Samuel MacGregor Mathers with an introduction by Waite. Also an English translation by madame Isabel de Steiger can be found online completely.
“The Cloud Upon The Sanctuary” is a compilation of six letters. The Dutch translation (at least my 1977 printing) has no introduction of any kind. The writer keeps refering to “our secret society/school”, but you won’t learn which school that is. The other Dutch translation that I have has an introduction by Antoine Faivre. Faivre says that Von Eckhartshausen knew Adam Weishaupt (1748-1811) who founded the order of the Illuminati and was initiated himself, so this may be the order the writer refers to. On the other hand, it is known that the Illuminati were very anti-Christian (or anti-Catholic?) in the higher degrees but the letters are full of love for Christ.
I can see why Van Rijckenborgh liked the texts of Von Eckhartshausen. They are nice, spiritual, nicely written, easy to understand and the ideas come close to those of Van Rijckenborgh himself.

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…

symposion booklet Karl von Eckartshausen: Hoe De Reden Ons God Verklaart (2006 * isbn 9067323276)

I don’t go to every quarterly ‘symposion’ of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum, but when I heard that there was one about the German occultist Karl von Eckartshausen (1752-1803), I again went to one of these pleasent days. After about half a year, you always get a booklet with the texts of the lectures and some extras. Rozekruis Pers, the publishing brand of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum has published a few Dutch translations of Eckartshausen texts. Some of them are reviewed elsewhere. For more information about the man, I want to refer to these reviews. At the symposion there were lectures by Eckartshausen and his time, his teachings and how he fits in the larger picture of Western esotericism. As always the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica took care of a nice display of genuine books by Eckarthausen and contemporaries and information screens. The (accompanying) texts of both can be found in the nice booklet too.
The design of the symposion-series has changed with this publication, but the content remains the same: informative, easy to read and about interesting persons from the past; also many images you will find in the booklet. The price is always nice too: E 11,-. Other symposion booklets are reviewed too.