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Karl von Eckartshausen
Written and compiled by George Knowles
One of the greatest influences on theological and philosophical thought of the 18th century, was the writings of a little known author called ‘Karl von Eckartshausen’. Popular during his own time, he was a prolific writer of books, papers and articles covering such subjects as: the Sciences, fine Art, Drama, Politics, Religion and History, though over time, many of these have been forgotten. He is perhaps best known in esoteric circles for his writings about Magic, Alchemy and the properties of Numbers, of which his most influential book was ‘The Cloud upon the Sanctuary’. This was the book that influenced such people as A.E. Waite (indeed it was Waite who wrote the introduction to its current printing) and other members of the ‘Order of the Golden Dawn’, most particularly the infamous Aleister Crowley.
Eckartshausen was born in a Bavarian castle called Haimbhausen on the 28th June 1752. He was the illegitimate son of Count Carl of Haimbhausen and his union with the daughter of his estate overseer, Marie Anne Eckhart. His mother died during childbirth, and because of his illegitimacy, he would later be unable to take the Count’s name and title. In his mother’s honour, the Count therefore joined her name to his and called him Eckartshausen, but the stigma of his birth would always remain with him.
Because of this, his father used all his power and prestige to help and support his son, and took great pains to ensure he received the best of educations. Eckartshausen’s early life seems to have been filled with melancholy, and at the age of seven is said to have experienced dreams of a prophetic and mystical nature, as well as having visions. This led him to a tendency to withdraw from the world at large and seek solitude, a characteristic that endeared him to his family and friends. Despite this early reticence, he was destined for a career of some public importance.
He was first educated at the college of Munich, and in 1770 entered the University of Ingolstadt for the study of Philosophy and Law. Taught by a mainly Jesuit faculty, Eckartshausen excelled in all his studies and finished four years later with University honours and a Doctors Degree of Divinity. His father then procured for him an honorary position as Aulic Advisor and Councilor to the supreme court of the emperor, the Bavarian Prince Elector, Karl Theodor.
In 1777, Eckartshausen was admitted to the Academy of Sciences in Munich, and applied himself to further academic studies in natural sciences. While there he developed a friendship with the academy’s Director of History, Ferdinand von Sterzinger. Like himself, Sterzinger was interested in the hidden meanings of Magic, Alchemy and Phenomena. Together they undertook a series of physical and alchemical experiments, the results of which would influence the rest of Eckartshausen’s life and work.
His position to high office was confirmed in 1779, when he was appointed to a salaried post as Censor of the Library at Munich. As censor, he specialized in Criminology and was charged with the revision of Laws and Literature. His work helped to shape his ideals and influenced him greatly, so much so that he became a defender of the weak and suppressed. That same year he married a lady called Genoveva Quiquérez about whose origins are unknown. Sadly the marriage was short lived, for she died of unknown causes just two years later. After her death in 1781, he married again. This time to Gabriela von Wolter, daughter of Johann Anton von Wolter, the personal doctor to the Prince Elector, and director of the Medical faculty at the University. Soon afterwards a baby daughter was born, named Sophia Teresia Gabriela.
In 1784 he was promoted again and raised to the affluent office of Keeper of the Archives of the Electoral House, a position especially conferred upon him by the Prince Elector. His early rise to such high office and affluence, caused him many enemies among those less fortunate, but his favour and closeness with the Prince Elector protected him. Despite his dissenters and high office, privately, Eckartshausen remained a man of virtue and high integrity, and donated much of his wealth to the poor and needy.
His work as censor and archivist, to which he devoted much of his time, also allowed him to read and study widely. He was a prolific writer and authored well over a hundred articles, producing such varied papers as: The practical and systematic organization of the Principal Archives in general, The Moral Teachings for the Bavarian Citizen, Concerning the Source of Crimes and the Possibility of Prevention and Music of the Eyes or the Harmony of Colours. At the same time he also took an interest in theatre and wrote a number of plays and drama’s, the most popular of which was called: ‘The Prejudice of Birth’.
A religious man, Eckartshausen he was profoundly interested in metaphysical, theosophical and religious though, and in 1788, published a major work entitled: Magic: Principles of Higher Knowledge. His other major works included: God is the Purest Love – 1790 (perhaps his most popular book at the time, said to have reached sixty editions when published in Germany, as well as being translated into Latin and most other European languages), Mystic Nights - 1791, and The Most Important Hieroglyphs for the Human Heart – 1796. Many of these works are now forgotten and reside on dusty shelves in old museums and libraries, occasionally taken down and dusted for the interest of academics.
Eckartshausen died on the 13th May 1803 after a painful illness, and while most of his writings have now been forgotten, he left a lasting legacy, which still remains and inspires us today. Just before his death he published ‘The Cloud upon the Sanctuary – 1802’. A.E. Waite in his introduction to the current edition describes it as: “The crowning production of his intellectual life”:
“The Cloud upon the Sanctuary has, I believe, always remained in the memory of a few, and is destined still to survive, for it carries with it a message of deep significance to all those who look beneath the body of religious doctrine for the one principle of life which energizes the whole organism”.
Introduction to The Cloud upon the Sanctuary - by A.E. Waite
numerous websites to many to mention
First published on the 04th March 2007, 18:22:05 © George Knowles
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A Universal Message:
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Wicca & Witchcraft
The Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) / Esbats & Full Moons / Links to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft Resources / What's a spell? / Circle Casting and Sacred Space / Pentagram - Pentacle / Marks of a Witch / The Witches Power / The Witches Hat / An esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism / Pow-wow / The Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / A history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope Innocent VIII / The papal Bull / The Malleus Maleficarum / An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum / The letter of approbation / Johann Nider’s Formicarius / Jacob Sprenger / Heinrich Kramer / Stefano Infessura / Montague Summers / The Waldenses / The Albigenses / The Hussites / The Native American Sun Dance / Shielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Festivals:
The Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Rituals contributed by Crone:
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder
Rocks and Stones:
Stones - History, Myths and Lore
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:
Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Wisdom and Inspiration:
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murdered by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A Kelly / Albertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred / John Michael Greer / John Score / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot - "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" / Monique Wilson / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellars / Mrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" / Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) / Rudolf Steiner / Sabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough" / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - (includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) / Thomas Ady / T. Thorn Coyle / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest /
Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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