Thursday, April 09, 2015

The importance of the Cloud upon the Sanctuary

Karl von Eckarthausen wrote the Cloud Upon the Sanctuary aroound 1795. Louis Claude de Saint-Martin is said to have been influenced by the worthy Councillor, and that the work had resonances with that of Saint-Martin's own intiation school, that of Martinez de Pasqually. Karl was active in the mystical and occult of France during the time period, and may was regarded as 'an extraordinary personage'.

This work, therefore, has some influence on the antecedents of the school of mysticism and occult knowledge of which I am a member. His words echo (or are the source of echoes) the words which we teach in the AJC, in Martinism, and in various other orders of which I'm a member. The language is couched in the Roman Catholic Christianity by which he was surrounded, but the ideas come straight out of Hermeticism, Neo-platonism, Gnosticism, and many other of the mystery schools of the ancient world. Just as those mysteries are couched in the language of the pagan or Christian religions that surrounded them, so too is the universal religion of Eckarthausen couched in Protestant Christianity, while still pointing at that Hermetic idea of a secret interior school, of knowledge beyond the every day, of a true reality veiled from our sight.

Upon reading this work from at least two centuries ago, I get chills. The words, the language, is stilted to my ear, but the ideas are modern, fresh, living. The Spiritual Alchemical process is laid out for all to see. The strange, unlikely unity of the Divine and Material, God and Human, laid out again, explained, proposed, illuminated.

He impresses upon us the necessity of the inner and the outer, the necessity of competing forces in order to provide a balance. He makes an example of the Outer Church, which provides the symbols and rituals to lead to the Inner Church. He talks of Philosophy and Religion, and how the two separate become sterile and harmful, but when they contain each other they make the other greater.

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