Tag Archives: Franz Hartmann

Is the progressive part of the world going to wait until the legally appointed guardians of the truth have found out the true value of the treasure in their possession?

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts

Hermetic quote Hartmann Adepts treasure

There are elements of good and elements of evil in every man, and it depends on ourselves which class we desire to develop. From a cherry stone nothing can grow but a cherry tree, from a thistle seed nothing else than a thistle; but man is a constellation of powers in which all kinds of seeds are contained

Franz Hartmann, With the Adepts

Hermetic quote Hartmann Adepts seeds

In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom by Franz Hartmann.

Hartmann In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom

This short book is an early work (ca. 1890) by the physician who went on to serve as a Secretary General of the German Theosophical Society and a founding member of Ordo Templi Orientis. The “temple of wisdom” at issue is the Temple of the Rosy Cross, understood by Hartmann as the body of hidden chiefs or secret adepts, after the manner of Eckartshausen’s Cloud Upon the Sanctuary. Hartmann is generally contemptuous of modern Rosicrucianisms, writing for instance (in unfriendly allusion to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn): 

“The true brothers of the Golden and Rosy Cross were and still are a spiritual society, and therefore the effort made [during the Middle Ages] of finding a real and living, indisputably true Rosicrucian, were as unavailing as was at a more recent period the effort made by a certain London society of proving the existence of real and living Adepts.” (36)

After some introductory perambulation, the opening chapters address the esoteric tradition in antiquity and the Middle Ages through such exponents as Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus, Malchus Porphyrius, Iamblichus, Proclus, Hierocles, and Cornelius Agrippa. Then Hartmann discusses legends of adepts and alchemists from the late medieval and early modern periods, progressing to the Rosicrucian “Orders” (his scare quotes) stemming from the manifestos of the 17th century, and this latter chapter culminates with a useful bibliography of the Early Modern “Rosicrucian Controversy.” 

Chapter Six was for me the highlight of the book, supplying an overview of the 18th-century competition between Rosicrucians and Illuminati. In Hartmann’s telling, the Rosicrucian orders of the period are obscurantist “impostors and fools,” while the Illuminati pursued a virtuous bid for rationality and freedom. This short account was possibly the most useful reference on its historical topic until the publication of McIntosh’s Rose Cross and the Age of Reason more than a century later in 1992.

The final two chapters reproduce historical Rosicrucian, alchemical, and Hermetic materials with Hartmann’s commentaries to them. He says in his foreword that these “will be incomprehensible to the would-be wise; while those who are unsophisticated will find therein a great deal of wisdom” (6), but such “unsophisticated” readers will still find it useful to be able to read Latin and to recognize biblical allusions and traditional metaphors.

“But,” I objected, “such an institution would require an Adept as a teacher. Would you consent to teach?” To this Theodorus answered, “Wherever there is a want, the supply will not fail to come, for there is no vacuum in nature.”

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts

Hermetic quote Hartmann Adepts teach

Truly occult and Theosophical books ought to be prayers and poems; calculated to lift the heart and the mind of the reader up to the highest regions of thought, and aiding him to descend into the innermost sanctuary of his own being

Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom

it is intended to be a place where those who earnestly aspire to spirituality may find the external conditions necessary to cultivate it and to acquire the true “magic staff” that will securely support them on their voyage through eternity; namely, the power to recognise divine truth within their own selves–not by any capacity of their own, but by the power of the Light itself, which comes to all men if they are willing that the darkness should be driven away.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts

Books on true occultism are on the whole very useless things; because those who are in possession of occult knowledge will not require them; while those who have no such knowledge will not understand them; neither will they receive much benefit from such literature; because real spiritual knowledge must be found within one’s own soul; it cannot be learned from books. The scientist, rationalist, and speculative philosopher deals only with, so to say, the candlesticks bearing the candles from which is emanating the light which they cannot see, neither can they see the candle; for the latter is representing the soul, whose light is the spirit.

Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom

No man can show to another the light if the latter is incapable to see it himself; but the light is everywhere; there is nothing to hinder a person to see it, except his love for the darkness.

Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom

Study this book practically; bring the circle into a square. Mortify the metals; calcinate and purify them of all residua. When you have succeeded, we shall meet again.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts

The old truth which was known to the ancients, but which had been almost entirely forgotten during our modern age of materialism, that man is not a finished being, incapable of any further organic development, but that his body and his mind are continually subject to transformation and change, and that no transformation can take place where no substance exists, because force cannot exist without substance, has become almost universally known.

Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts: An Adventure Among the Rosicrucians