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Karl von Eckartshausen (1752-1803).

 

 

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 Councillor 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”. 

 

End.

 

Sources: 

Introduction to The Cloud upon the Sanctuary - by A.E. Waite.

Plus numerous websites to many to mention  

 

First published on the 04th March 2007, 18:22:05 © George Knowles

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Trees:

 

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 /  ElderAlso see:  The Willow Tree (Folk Music)

 

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Rocks and Stones:

 

Stones - History, Myths and Lore

 

 Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:   / Apophyllite  / Amber AmethystAquamarineAragoniteAventurineBlack TourmalineBloodstoneCalciteCarnelianCelestiteCitrineChrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / FluoriteGarnet /  Hematite Herkimer DiamondLabradoriteLapis LazuliMalachiteMoonstoneObsidianOpalPyriteQuartz (Rock Crystal)Rose QuartzRubySeleniteSeraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodaliteSunstoneThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble

 

Wisdom:

 

Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakeningThe Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods

 

Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:

 

Murder by WitchcraftThe Fairy Witch of ClonmelA Battleship, U-boat, and a WitchThe Troll-Tear (A story for Children)Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-LanternThe Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark

 

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Biographies

 

Witches, Pagans and other associated People

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Abramelin the MageAgrippaAidan A. KellyAlbertus Magnus “Albert the Great”Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” Alison HarlowAmber KAnna Franklin /  Anodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey  / Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite Austin Osman SpareBiddy EarlyBridget ClearyCarl Llewellyn WeschckeCecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey LelandCharles Walton /  Christina Oakley Harrington /  Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) /   Dion FortuneDolores Aschroft-NowickiDorothy MorrisonDoreen ValienteEdward FitchEleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” /  Dr. John Dee and Edward KellyDr. Leo Louis Martello /  Eliphas LeviErnest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry /  Fiona Horne /  Friedrich von SpeeFrancis Barrett /  Gerald B. GardnerGavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gwydion PendderwenHans Holzer /  Helen DuncanHerman Slater "Horrible Herman" /  Israel RegardieJames "Cunning" MurrellJanet Farrar & Gavin BoneJessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne John George Hohman /  John GerardJohn Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) /  John Michael Greer /  John ScoreJohannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von EckartshausenLaurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis Spence /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General”Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata /  Monique Wilson the “Queen of the WitchesMontague SummersNicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellersMrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-RavenheartOld Dorothy ClutterbuckOld George Pickingill /   Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsusPatricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPhilip Emmons Isaac Bonewits Philip HeseltonRaymond BucklandReginald ScotRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /  Rudolf Steiner /  Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & DruidsSabrina - The Ink WitchScott CunninghamSelena FoxSilver Ravenwolf /  Sir Francis DashwoodSir James George FrazerS.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  StarhawkStewart FarrarSybil LeekTed AndrewsThe Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather /  Thomas AdyVera Chapman /  Victor Henry AndersonVivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest

 

 

Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)

 

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