Tag Archives: Franz Hartmann

C. Agrippa here adds the following instructions, copied from Boethius:—”The guides on the road to perfection are Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the means to attain this object are Purity, Temperance, Self-control, Chastity, Tranquility of Mind, Contemplation, Adoration (Ecstasy), Aspiration, and Virtue.”

Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom

Hermetic quote Hartmann In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom Agrippa Boethius faith hope charity purity temperance self-control chastity tranquility of mind contemplation adoration ecstasy aspiration virtue

We should therefore attempt to remove all external impediments which are in the way of our spiritual development and live in a state of purity. Our thoughts should be continually directed inwardly and within ourselves; for within ourselves is the element of consciousness, knowledge, and power. Nothing hinders us to develop and exercise our own powers, except our misconceptions, imaginations, and external desires. Therefore the divine influences will only come to him who liberates his soul of all such hindrances, carnal desires, prejudices, and hallucinations. A diseased eye cannot bear to look at the light; an impure soul is repulsed by the divine light of truth.

Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom

Hermetic quote Hartmann In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom attempt remove external impediments spiritual development live purity impure soul repulsed divine light truth

Porphyry ridicules the idea that gods, being wiser, more powerful, and superior to man, could be coaxed, persuaded or forced to do the will of man or conform to his desires. He repudiates the theory that clairvoyance, prophecy, etc., were the results of the inspiration by external gods, but says that they are a function of the Divine Spirit within man; and that the exercise of this function becomes possible when the soul is put into that condition which is necessary to exercise it. “The consciousness of man may be centred within or beyond his physical form; and according to conditions a man may be, so to say, out of himself or within himself, or ‘in a state in which he is neither wholly without nor within, but enjoys both states at once.” He also states that there are many invisible beings, which may take all possible forms and appear as gods, as men, or as demons, that they are fond of lying and masquerading, and of pretending to be the souls of departed men.

Franz Hartmann, In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom

Hermetic quote Hartmann In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom Porphyry ridicules gods wiser powerful superior to man coaxed persuaded forced do will man conform desires divine spirit within man

Some of these societies, being based upon a financial scheme for making money, pretending to be able to employ divine powers in their service and to have the will of God at their command for the purpose of procuring for their adherents physical health and worldly benefits, met with great success; for the multitudes will always rush to that camp, where they think that a mine of gold has been discovered and where they are expecting a share; and the holding out promises of making salvation easy has always been the fundamental power of every clerical institution.

Franz Hartmann, The Dangers of Occultism

Hermetic quote Hartmann The Dangers of Occultism holding out promises making salvation easy always been fundamental power every clerical institution

Lamaseries and lodges, orders, monasteries, convents, and places of refuge have been established, where people might strive to attain a higher life, unimpeded by the aggressions and annoyances of the external world of illusions. Their original purpose was beyond a doubt very commendable. If in the course of time many such institutions have become degraded and lost their original character; if instead of being places for the performance of the noblest and most difficult kind of labour, they have become places of refuge for the indolent, idle, and superstitious; it is not the fault of that principle which first caused such institutions to be organised, but it is the consequence of the knowledge of the higher nature of man and his powers and destiny having been lost, and with the loss of that knowledge, the means for the attainment, the original aim, was naturally lost and forgotten.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library, Hermetic Library]

Hermetic quote Hartmann With the Adepts places refuge established strive attain higher life unimpeded external world illusions instead indolent idle superstitious original aim lost

“One cannot be careful enough in selecting one’s guides,” continued the stranger. “There are at present so many false prophets and guides. All the world is at present crazy for poking their noses into the mysteries of the astral world. Everybody wants to be taught witchcraft and sorcery. Secrets, which for thousands of years have been wisely kept hidden before the eyes of the unripe and profane, are now bawled out from the housetops and sold at the market-place as objects of trade. Hundreds of self-appointed ‘masters’ and guides speculate upon the selfishness and ambitions of their disciples, and, the blind leading the blind, they both come to grief. If only all the seekers for truth were like you, they would not be deluded by false promises held out to them for attaining adeptship.”

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library, Hermetic Library]

Hermetic quote Hartmann With the Adepts if only all adepts would not be deluded false promises attaining adeptship

To become wise, they would have to learn the true meaning of their own doctrines, symbols, and books, of which they at present merely know the outward form and the dead letter. They would have to form a much higher and nobler conception of God than to invest Him with the attributes of semi-animal man.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Hermetic Library]

Hermetic quote Hartmann With the Adepts become wise learn true meaning

With the Adepts

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews With the Adepts: An Adventure Among the Rosicrucians [Bookshop, Amazon, Publisher] by Hermetic Library Figure Franz Hartmann, introduction by R A Gilbert.

Hartmann Gilbert Among the Adepts

Theosophist and Rosicrucian Franz Hartmann first published this didactic fable in 1887, and my copy is the 2003 Ibis Press reproduction of the 1910 edition with an additional introduction by R.A. Gilbert, who compares the story to Hilton’s Lost Horizon. Hartmann’s tale is set in the Bavarian Alps, not in Asia, but he does refer to an elided discussion of “White Magic and the wonderful powers of certain Tibetan Adepts” (87), and it is not impossible that Hartmann’s book could have been an inspiration for Hilton, whose actual sources for “Shangri-La” remain obscure.

In Hartmann’s Tibetan references, I understood him to be addressing himself to the interests of a Theosophical readership. He also has his Rosicrucian Imperator affirm the spiritual and cultural significance of H.P. Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine (50-1), while his occultist doctrines and attitudes toward materialist science and traditional religion are generally consistent with her earlier Isis Unveiled material.

The book attributes the organization of its concealed retreat of adepts to the “Brothers of the Gold and Rosy Cross,” an actual German initiatory order of the eighteenth century, and associates with them an historically extant mystical tome The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians, of which Hartmann was to produce the first English translation. In fact, the original edition of Hartmann’s “adventure among the Rosicrucians” might be read as little more than an elaborate advertisement for Cosmology, or Universal Science (1888) which Hartmann must have had in preparation by then.

Although Hartmann was one of the founding initiates of the order best known as Ordo Templi Orientis, Gilbert’s biographical essay in the introduction goes to amusing lengths to avoid mentioning O.T.O. as such. His closest approach is in this passage: “Through Kellner, Hartmann had come to know Theodor Reuss, who in 1902 appointed him as Grand Administrator General in the newly formed Sovereign Sanctuary of the German version of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Mizraim. … In 1905 Hartmann became Honorary Grand Master General of the Rite, but it fell apart shortly afterwards and he took no part in its later incarnations” (xix). (For considerations relevant to the veracity of this “took no part” claim, see Richard Kaczynski’s Forgotten Templars, 242-3.)

Throughout With the Adepts it is clear that the author’s preoccupation is with the possibility of establishing a secluded spiritual community, which he terms a “Rosicrucian convent.” In the appendix added to the second edition, he claims to have begun this work in Switzerland, although he sounds a clear note of discouragement: “It has not yet been finally decided whether this undertaking will be a success or a failure; but the latter is more than probable, as the method of thinking in old dilapidated and dying Europe is too narrowminded to permit of grasping such an exalted idea” (175). He had in fact taken material steps towards this goal by issuing a prospectus and forming a joint stock company in the late 1880s, but by 1910 it is a little strange to see him still holding out any hope at all for the venture. And yet, the site was close to where Reuss would eventually establish his O.T.O. “Anational Grand Lodge” Verita Mystica at Ascona, perhaps in some measure posthumously answering Hartmann’s aspirations.

On the strength of this context, it seems likely that the emphasis on “Profess-Houses” in the early plans and constitutive documents of O.T.O. may reflect Hartmann’s distinctive contribution to the germinal synthesis of esoteric motives in that organization. Indeed, Aleister Crowley’s much later paper on the governing of Profess-Houses, “Of Eden and the Sacred Oak,” takes for its central metaphor the one introduced here by Hartmann in the voice of the alchemist adept Theodorus:

“Could they not establish a garden, where the divine lotus flower of wisdom might grow and unfold its leaves, sheltered against the storms of passion raging beyond the walls, watered by the water of truth, whose spring is within; where the Tree of Life could unfold without becoming encumbered by the weeds of credulity and error; where the soul could breathe the pure spiritual air, unadulterated by the odour of the poison-tree of ignorance, unmixed with the effluvia of decaying superstitions; a place where this Tree of Life, springing from the roots of the Tree of Knowledge, could grow and spread its branches, far up in the invisible realm where Wisdom resides, and produce fruits which cause those who partake of them to become like gods and immortal?” (156)

In our school we are instructed by Divine wisdom, the heavenly bride, whose will is free, and who comes to him whom she selects. The mysteries which we know embrace everything that can possibly be known in regard to God, Nature, and Man. Every sage that has ever existed has graduated in our school, in which he could have learned true wisdom.

Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom [Bookshop, Amazon]

Hermetic quote Hartman Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom divine wisdom heavenly bride mysteries embrace everything god nature man

The supreme spirit which pervades, embraces, and penetrates everything, being the very essence, soul, and life of all things in the universe, from the atom up to the whole solar system, is beyond all mental conception.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts [Bookshop, Amazon, Publisher]

Hermetic quote Hartmann With the Adepts supreme spirit pervades embraces penetrates everything essence soul life universe