Saint Germain

 


by James Dilworth

The man known as the Count of Saint-Germain or le Comte de Saint-Germain as he is more commonly known (also known as “der Wundermann”, meaning the wonder man in German) is a figure of mystery whose legend has grown in the last 200 years since his death, or supposed death according to some. There are several conflicting versions of his early life one being, that he was born in 1710 in Portugal, a Sephardic Jew. Another account said his name was Francis Ragoczy and that he was a prince from Transylvania who made a living from the trade of jewels. What is known for certain is that Saint-Germain spoke all European languages fluently, had a complete knowledge of history, was a composer of music and was able to play the violin very well. He was most famous for his amazing skills in medicine and alchemy, especially for transmuting metals into gold and having a secret technique for removing flaws from diamonds. He was also said to be the inventor of Masonry (since he claimed to be thousands of years old) as well as a skilled Cabalist (see Kabbalah), rarely ate in public and always dressed in black and white.

The first real evidence for the existence of Saint-Germain comes in a letter from 1743, where the English writer Horace Walpole (the author of The Castle of Otranto, the first gothic novel) mentions his presence in London and in the English court. Saint-Germain was soon expelled having been accused of being a spy for he Stewart pretenders to the English crown. Saint-Germain went to France around 1748, becoming a favorite of Louis XV who employed him as a spy several times and exerted great influence over that monarch. Around 1760 Saint-Germain was forced to leave France and returned to England where he met the Count Cagliostro and taught him the Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry. In 1762 Saint-Germain was found in St. Petersburg, playing a very important part in the conspiracy to make Catherine the Great Queen of Russia. After returning to Paris in 1770, he traveled through Germany, eventually settleling in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. There he studied the “Secret Sciences” with the landgrave Charles of Hesse and was said to have died in 1784. Some people disagree with this date for his death, since he was said to have been in Paris in 1789, during the French Revolution. Since 1789 Saint-Germain is said to have been seen all over the world, appearing to many famous occultists as well as normal people, both in spirit and in flesh.


References
Encyclopedia Britannica. 11 th edition. Chicago. 1911
Givry, Emile Grillot de. Picture Museum of Sorcery, Magic & Alchemy.
University Press. New Hyde Park, New York. 1963
Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book. Visible Ink Press. Detroit. 1994
Spence, Lewis. The Encyclopedia of Occultism. University Press. New York. 1959

Zosimos of Panopolis

 


third century Gnostic mystic and alchemist. He authored an encyclopedic treatise on alchemy, which remains the oldest text on the subject. His writings showed him not only to be versed in Egyptian, Greek and Arabic lore of alchemy, but Christianity as well. His book described mystical visions combining both Christian and pagan constituents. A.G.H.


Sources: 2.

For more on Zosimos’ writings, see: Zosimos

Zoroaster Definition

 


Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, is thought to be the founder of Zoroastrianism. The time in which he lived is uncertain; many give the date of 6000 BC while others state 1200 BC. The confusion of the dates may be explained, according to some sources, by the implication that the prophet’s name might also been generic; meaning there was more than one Zoroaster, or his name was used to indicate heads of a priesthood because Zoroaster was a priest as well as a prophet. Such conflicting views might well provide the explanation between the various descriptions of the prophet ranging from some kind of a “shaman” to a worldly familiar of Chorasmain kings and court politics.

However, from the Gathas one gets a semi-self-portrait of Zoroaster himself. He refers to himself as a zoatar” a fully qualified priest, the founder of the creedal religion. Also he refers to himself as a manthran” one composing manthra (Sanskrit for Mantra). The Indo-Iranian training for priesthood probably started at about seven years of age, conducted orally since there was no knowledge of writing, and consisted of learning the rituals, doctrines, extemporizing verses in the invocation and praise of the gods, and learning by heart the great manthras composed by the early sages. The Iranians held that maturity was reached at fifteen, which is when Zoroaster is presumed to have become a priest. Again in the Gathas Zoroaster suggests he sought further learning from other teachers, and describes himself as a vaedema, or “one who knows,” an initiate possessed of divinely inspired wisdom. According to the Zoroastrian tradition (preserved in the Pahlavi books) he wandered years in search of the truth. His hymns suggest that he witnessed violence inflicted by war-bands, worshippers of the Daevas, descending on peaceful communities to pillage, slaughter, and carry off cattle. He consciously felt himself physically powerless, filled with a deep longing for justice, he sought the moral laws of the Ahuras in order to establish tranquility for all, the strong and weak alike.

Also, according to tradition, when Zoroaster was thirty, filled with wisdom, his revelation came to him. It is alluded to in one of the Gathas (Y 43); and briefly described in a Pahlavi work (Zadspram XX-XXI). It is told that he was at a gathering of men celebrating the spring festival; he went to the river to draw water for the haormy-ceremony. He waded in to draw it from midstream; and when returning to the bank-found himself in a state of ritual purity, emerging from the pure element, water, in the freshness of a spring dawn-had a vision. He saw on the bank a shining Being, who revealed himself as Vohu Manah “Good Purpose”; and this Being led Zoroaster into the presence of Ahura Mazda and five other radiant figures, before whom “he did not see his own shadow upon the earth, owing to their great light” (Boyce 18-19). Then Zoroaster received his great revelation of Ahura Mazda and his adversary.

The prophet’s birthplace is no less controversial. While the Gathic hymns seem to belong to the northeastern group of Iranian languages, others associate Zoroastrianism with Persian traditions, and others place it in the west. This latter consideration is suggested because of the religion’s association with the Magi whose homeland was traditionally in western Iran although they reportedly traveled to Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Aegean.

This mentioning of the Magi does not help to identify Zoroaster or his religion because in the history the Magi have been “associated with the highest speculation and the most base-charlatanism; the mixed resources of religion and magic; a mysterious origin and an authority that endure across a succession of beliefs” (Settegast 215). While only portrayed as sorcerers in fables, the Magi were more recognized by serious Greeks and Romans as dedicated servants of the gods. Almost universally recognized as masters of learning, in ancient times they were credited with initiating the “cosmological science,” the study of not only the heavens, but of the elements and earth as well.

According to Herodotus they were a Median “tribe,” but others consider them to be a sacerdotal caste of indistinct ethnic origin. They led a strict ascetic life; the wearing of personal jewelry, especially gold, was prohibited; their beds were made on the ground; their diet consisted of cheese, herbs, and coarse bread; the apparently worshipped fire, water, and both the celestial and chthonic gods; and they practiced exposing their dead to scavenge of vultures.

From comparisons of the teachings of the Magi and those of Zoroaster the following possible assumptions have been made: the Magi and their Zervanite religion must have been in existence before the birth of the prophet because the mentioning of the “twin spirits” appears in the Gathas, a proof that Zervanite existed before Zoroaster’s time. In the Zervanite theogony, Ahura Mazda and Ahriman, associated with Light and Darkness, were the twin sons of Zurvan, god of Infinite Time (Settegast 216). These conclusions were theoretically independent of Zoroaster’s birth, which Plutarch himself, in naming Zarathustra a Magus, placed 5,000 years before the siege of Troy.

Evidence indicates that religion of the Magi is much older than Zoroaster and his exact relationship with the group is uncertain. At first the Magi may have opposed the prophet’s teachings not only because they spoke against the excesses of the nature cults of his day but against certain Zervanite principles as well. Zoroastrianism did away with the worship of Time and Fate, concentrating instead on man’s active participation in the struggle between the creative and destructive spirits. Further speculation suggests that the Magi continued preaching Zervanite doctrine while absorbing some of the Zoroastrian beliefs as they did with other beliefs. The main point to be noted is the change of worship; nature, time and fate were deemphasized while the struggle between creative and destructive forces, which also increasingly involved man’s participation, was emphasized. This appears to have been Zoroaster’s mission to renounce the Old Iranian gods with his introduction of Ahura Mazda and the YazatasA.G.H.


Sources:

Boyce, Mary, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, New York, Routledge, 2002, pp. 18-29
Settegast, Mary, Plato Prehistorian, Cambridge, MA, The Rotenberg Press, 1986, pp. 211-218

See also: Founder of Zoroastrianism

Zombies

Meaning, Story, Origin, Apocalypse


Definition

A zombie is a dead person that is brought back to life through means of Vodoun or necromancy, destroying the mental processes of this person through the process. Most people consider zombies only to be the stuff of horror books and movies, but they do exist in Haiti in the present day. Thousands of people in Haiti are considered to be zombies, some of which lead normal everyday lives with families, jobs and are respected citizens. It¹s even considered to be a crime to make a zombie in Haiti.

 

Haitian Penal Code:

Article 249. It shall also be qualified as attempted murder the employment which may be made against any person of substances which, without causing actual death, produce a lethargic coma more or less prolonged. If, after the person had been buried, the act shall be considered murder no matter what result follows.

To make a zombie, a voodoo practitioner makes a potion that consists of mainly the poison of the pufferfish (one of the strongest nerve poisons known to man, the clinical drug norcuron has similar effects and is used during surgery) that is given to the intended victim. This causes severe neurological damage, primarily effecting the left side of the brain (the left side of the brain controls speech, memory and motor skills). The victim suddenly becomes lethargic, then slowly seems to die. In reality, the victim¹s respiration and pulse becomes so slow that it is nearly impossible to detect. The victim retains full awareness as he is taken to the hospital, then perhaps to the morgue and finally as they are buried alive. Then, at the voodoo practitioner¹s leisure does he come to retrieve the victim, now become a slave, as a commodity (at one time it was said that most of the slaves who worked in the sugar cane plantations of Haiti were zombies. One case in 1918 had a voodoo priest named Ti Joseph who ran a gang of laborers for the American Sugar Corporation, who took the money they received and fed the workers only unsalted porridge). A zombie will remain in a robot-like state indefinitely, until he tastes either salt or meat(so much for ³The Night of the Living Dead²). Then the zombie becomes aware of their state, immediately returning to the grave. The reality behind the zombie has only been taken seriously by medical science within the last ten years, since the use of CAT scans of the brain, along with the confessions of voodoo priests, explaining their methods. Previous to that, zombies were considered mental defective by science or explained as stunts to try to confuse scientists.

There are many examples of zombies in modern day Haiti. Papa Doc Duvallier the dictator of Haiti from 1957 to 1971 had a private army that was said to consist of zombies, called tonton macoutes. These people were said to be in trances and they followed every command that Duvallier gave them. Duvallier was also a devout voodooist, as are many people in Haiti, who lead a voodoo church¹ with many followers. He also claimed that he was immortal and he would rule Haiti forever¹, promising to return after his death to rule again. After his death (a heart attack), he did not come back, although a guard was placed at his tomb, to insure that he would not try to escape, or so someone wouldn¹t try to steal the body (this is a common practice in Haiti, along with the padlocking of tombs, for the same reason). There are also many stories of people that die, then many years later return to the shock and surprise of relatives. A man named Caesar returned 18 years after he died to marry, have three children and die again, 30 years after he was originally buried. Another case involved a student from a village Port-au-Prince who had been shot in a robbery attempt. Six months later, the student returned to his parent¹s house as a zombie. At first it was possible to talk with the man, and he related the story of his murder, a voodoo witch doctor stealing his body from the ambulance before he reached hospital and his transformation into a zombie. As time went on, he became unable to communicate, he grew more and more lethargic and died.

 

A case reported a writer named Stephen Bonsal described a zombie he witnessed in 1912 in this way:³A man had at intervals a high fever he had joined a foreign mission church and the head of the mission saw the patient die. He assisted at the funeral and saw the dead man buried. Some days later the supposedly dead man was found dressed in grave clothes, tied to a tree, moaning. The poor wretch soon recovered his voice but not his mind. He was indentifed by his wife, by the psysicain who ahd prounced him dead, and by the clergyman. The victim recognized no-one, and his days were spent moaning inarticulate words no-one could understand².

by James Dilworth


Sources Quoted

Arthur C. Clarke¹s Mysterious World: Zombies and Voodoo BBC and Discovery Channel 1996

Cassiel The Encyclopedia of Black Magic 1989 New York Mallard Books

The Haitian Penal Code

Out of This World Volume 20 1975

W. B. Yeats

 (1865-1939)



W
illiam Bulter Yeats, a noted Irish poet, playwright, and mystic, was born at Sandymount, near Dublin, Ireland. His father John Yeats was a talented portait painter. His brother Jack Butler Yeats was an artist too. His sisters Elizabeth and Lily assisted in the founding of the Dun Emer (later Cuala) Press.

Most of Yeat’s childhood was spent in London where he attended the Godolphin School, Hammersmith. However, he also spent time in Dublin and County Sligo, in Western Ireland. When fifteen he attended Erasmus Smith School in Dublin where he studied art for three years, turning to literature having reached twenty-one. His first published book, in 1886, was a little play entitled Mosada. This was followed by two books of poems, The Wanderings of Oisin (1889) and The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). In 1888, he edited a collection of works titled Fairy and Folk Tales of Irish Peasantry, which included some of his own fairy verse and established him as one of the leaders in the Irish literary renaissance.

He knew many distinguished members in both English and Irish societies. He helped establish the Irish Literary Threatre in 1899 (later the Abbey Threatre). His poems and plays gained world fame. He served as a member of the Irish Senate from 1922-1928, and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

Yeat’s literary works received more publicity than his occult and mystic endeavors. However, he believed he owed much credit for his poetry to his studies of the occult. “In 1892, he wrote, `If I had not made magic my constant study I could not have written a single would of my Blake book, nor would The Countess Kathleen have ever come to exist. The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.'”

His interest in Theosophical writings led to the founding of the Hermetic Society, in Dublin. He presided over the initial meeting on June 16, 1885. When in London in 1888 he joined the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society. Then in 1890, he joined the famous Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, taking the magical motto; `Demon Est Desus Inversus” (DEDI) and was associated with this order for over thirty years. It was in 1900 that he clashed with Aleister Crowley, another member, in a leadership crisis.

In his book Ideas of Good and Evil (1903) are his studies of the mystic element in Blake and Shelley and another essay entitled “The Body of the Father Christian Rosencrux”. In the commencement of an essay Magic Yeats wrote, “I believe in the practice and philosophy of what we have agreed to call magic, and what I must call the evocation of spirits, though I do not know what they are, in the power of creating magic illusions in the visions of truth in the depths of the minds when the eyes are closed.”

After declaring this Yeats told how an acquaintance of his, while at a small party in a darken room held a mace over “a tablet of many coloured squares,” and then repeating “a form of words.” He said that right away he found that his “imagination began to move itself and to bring before me vivid images”

Yeats later said that it was S. L. Mathers of the Golden Dawn “who convinced me the images well up before the mind’s eye from a deeper source than conscious or subconscious memory.”

In a lecture on “Psychic phenomena” given before the Dublin Society for Psychical Research, which was reported in the Dublin Daily Express, November 1913, Yeats described the most amazing experiences which he had received during his many years of investigating the phenomena. He stated, “that so far as he was concerned, the controversy about the meaning of psychic phenomena was closed. But he was not `converted,’ in the true sense of the word, since he was a born believer, and he had never seriously doubted the existence of the soul or of God.”

However, even though he declared a firm belief in the soul and God, Yeats further stated his experience with the occult and psychic phenomena in a lecture on “Ghosts and Dreams” before the London Spiritualist Alliance (1914). In Per Amica Silentia Lunae (1918), he wrote as a poet and mystic concerning some of the deeper issues of Spiritualism.

After marrying Georgia Hyde Lees, in 1917, he discovered that she was a medium and had the ability of automatic writing.

Yeats’ one-act play The Words Upon the Window-Pane (1934) was composed around a Spiritualist seance at which the spirit of Jonathan Swift communicated.

Yeats’ mystical inclinations was stimulated by the Hindu religious philosophy of the Theosophical Society. In his sixties he became friends with a Hindu monk Shri Purohit Swami. He wrote an introduction to the Swami’s autobiography An Indian Monk ((Macmillan, London, 1932). He further translated another book The Holy Mountain (Faber, London, 1934) which was by the Swami’s guru. There were other endeavors which Yeats and the Swami also work on.

It should be said that it took courage for Yeats to divulge some of his occult beliefs, however he never publicize his association with the Golden Dawn. By his disclosure of such beliefs one can surmise that he considered them to be of importance although he firmly declared Christian convictions. A.G.H.


Sources: 4929.

Veleda

(c. 70 AD)


Veleda was a prophetess among the ancient Germanics of whom the historian Tacitus spoke, “She exercises a great authority, for women have been held here from ancient times to be prophetic, and, by excessive superstition, divine. The fame of Veleda stood on the highest elevation, for she foretold to the Germans a prosperous issue, but to the legions their destruction! Veleda dwelt upon a high tower, whence messengers were dispatched bearing her oracular counsels to those who sought them; but she herself was rarely seen, and none was allowed to approach her. Cercalis is said to have secretly begged her to let the Romans have better success in the war. In the reign of Emperor Vespasian she was honored as a goddess.”

Veleda predicted the success of Claudius Civilis in the Batavian Revolt (69-70 AD) and the fall of the Roman Empire. A.G.H.


Source: 9, 1769.

Valmiki

 


Valmiki is supposedly the legendary author of the epic Ramayana that he claimed to have visualized in the Vedas; in fact, the Ramayana bears signs of different layers of composition, but Valmiki may have been a kusilava (bard) who introduced the sloka, the epic meter of two lines, each of two parts with eight syllables in each, which is used for the most part in the Mahabharata. Another epic work is also accredited to Valmiki, the Yoga-Vaisistha, but there is no historical evidence for this accreditation.

(Also see BalmikiA.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 1014

Trithemius

(1462-1516)


Trithemius was born in Germany, as a magician and alchemist he studied in France, where he Latinized his name. Upon returning to Germany he served as an abbot of a monastery at Spannheim, and later at St. James of Wurzburg. His fame as an occultist came from his works in geomancyKabbalismnecromancy, sorcery, a book on guardian angels that govern the world (translated into English in 1647), and a book on alchemy. His work on sorcery contained the first record of the famous folk story Dr. Faustus. He is credited as having revealed to Emperor Maximillian a vision of his deceased wife. A.G.H.


Source: 2, 314-315.

Trapas

 


Trapas is the term of a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ranking beneath a lama. The higher rank of lama is generally often misapplied to Tibetan monks. A.G.H.


Source: 83, 383.

St Teresa of Avila Biography


Biography and life

St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was a Carmelite nun and a Spanish mystic. She is also known as “St. Teresa of Jesus” or the “Great St. Teresa” to distinguish her from another Carmelite nun, St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) known as “The Little Flower. St. Teresa of Avila is a very much-loved contemplative Catholic saint

She was Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, a child of a noble family, born on March 28, 1515 at Avila in Castile. Her mother died when she was fifteen. This event upset her so much that her father sent her to an Augustinian convent in Avila. Her father brought her home after a year and a half when she became ill. After being exposed to monastic life she wished to become a nun, which her father forbade as long as he was living. At the age or twenty or twenty-one she secretly left home and entered the Incarnation of the Carmelite nuns in Avila, after which her father dropped his opposition.

Much of St. Teresa’s life was plagued by illness. In 1538 it appears she suffered from malaria when her father took her from the convent and placed her under doctors care. Despite of this she remained ill and undertook experimental cures by a woman in the town of Becedas. These methods left her in a coma for three days and not able to walk for three years. It was during this time of illness and convalescence that she took to daily mental prayer, which led to her experiences with mystical prayer. She credited her recovery to St. Joseph.

St. Teresa never sought out the mystical experiences that she experienced, but resigned herself to God’s will and considers the experiences a divine blessing. She spent long hours in meditation
that she called the “prayer of quiet” and the “prayer of union.” During such prayers she frequently went into a trance, and at times entered upon mystical flights in which she would feel as if her soul were lifted out of her body. She said ecstasy was like a “detachable death” and her soul became awake to God as never before when the faculties and senses are dead.

St. Teresa being a contemplative (see Contemplation) is well known for her discussion on the grades of prayer through which the soul is focused upon the love of God passes before reaching the “central mansion” of the soul, where Christ lives. She distinguished sharply between the essence of mysticism, which is loving the contemplation of God infused by God’s own love and grace, and the tangential phenomena that may accompany the contemplative life, such as visions, audible sensations, ecstasy, levitation, and stigmata. She, as others, believed that Satan could manipulate such phenomena to corrupt the gullible even when they come from God. St. Teresa felt that the Devil could twist such things in order to cause the individual to be more concerned with these manifestations than with their true mission of loving God entirely.

Although St. Teresa warned against taking the powers of the Devil too seriously, and advised that his powers should be despised (tener en poco). She said Satan was constantly active against Christians, especially the contemplative, trying intensely to block them from their goal of achieving absolute union with God. Although the Devil was powerless against the defense that Christ builds up in a faithful soul, he will rush in at the person’s weakness moments to suggest things that appear reasonable and good but invariably result in feelings of confusion, worthlessness and disgust. He put for ingeniously devised temptations: he encourages self-righteousness and false humility and discourages us from prayer; he causes us to feel guilty for having received God’s grace and to labor under the impossible burden of trying to earn it; he makes us ill- tempered toward others; he creates illusions and distractions in the intellect; he inspires the doubt and fear that the understanding that we are granted in contemplation is an illusion. Sometimes we feel that we have lost control of our souls, as if demons are tossing us back and forth like balls. Sometimes we feel that we have made no progress, but even when the boat is becalmed, God is secretly stirring in the sails and moving us along.

In 1562, against opposition, she founded a convent in Avila with stricter rules that those that prevailed in Carmelite monasteries. She was determined to establish a small community that would follow the Carmelite contemplative life, especially unceasing prayer. In 1567 she was given permission to establish other convents, and eventually founded seventeen others. She dedicated herself to reforming the Carmelite order. When St. Teresa was fifty-three she met the twenty-six-year-old St. John of the Cross, who was dedicated to reforming the male Carmelite monasteries. Following a period of turbulence within the Carmelites, from 1575 to 1580, the Discalced Reform was recognized as separate.

As St. Teresa was traveling about Spain founding her reformed Carmelite convents her pen was busy too. All of her books have become spiritual classics. Life, her first work and autobiography written in 1565, describes how she experienced a spiritual marriage with Christ as bridegroom to the soul; she had this experience on November 18, 1572. Following this experience she wrote The Way of Perfection (1573), about the life of prayer. This was followed by The Interior Castle (1577), her best-known work, in which she presents a spiritual doctrine using a castle to symbolize the interior life. This latter book was revealed to her on Trinity Sunday, 1577, in which she saw a crystal globe like a castle that contained seven rooms; the seventh, in the center, held the King of Glory. One approached the center, which represents the Union with God, by going through the other rooms of Humility, Practice of Prayer, Meditation, Quiet, Illumination, and Dark Night.

After founding her last convent at Burgos, in 1582, St. Teresa returned in very poor health to Avila. The difficult journey proved to have been too much for her frail condition. She took to her deathbed upon her arrival at the convent and died three days later on October 4, 1582. The next day the Gregorian Calendar went into effect, thus dropping ten days and making her death on October 14. Her feast day is October 15. St. Teresa was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV and was declared doctor of the Church, the first woman so honored, in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. A.G.H.


Sources: 29, 610-611; 82, 52-53.