Some famous occultists of the 1800s
The occultists of the 1800s largely influenced many of today’s western occult, new age, gnostic, masonic, wiccan and even luciferian ideas. They were often well educated and part of high society. Most of them were members of the masons, rosicrucians or other orders. Many of them started their own mystical groups or secret societies.
They all had varied teachings and ideas. Some of their theories have been proven incorrect and all of their mystical ideas are questionable. What they had in common was a search for hidden meanings in ancient teachings, practice in ritual magic, searching out the labyrinth of the mind and trying to understand the esoteric forces beyond our scientific reach.
Disclaimer: I do not condone ritual magic, out of body meditative states or the conjuring of spirits… for the scientific reasoning that it can be psychologically damaging. Carl Jung himself developed a dangerous psychosis from meditative practices taught in alchemy. There are numerous stories and warnings form people who have delved into occult teachings and developed damaging schizophrenic-like mindsets. Even Manly P. Hall gives a stern warning ( http://youtu.be/w3WiuG6uTJQ )
Nevertheless, I find these unconventional ideas and the characters behind them fascinating. In a scientific explanation, they were early explorers of psychology and sociology. To the open minded, they were explorers of the spiritual realms.
In an age where science is the major religion and many believe that mankind is soon to reach an apex of knowledge, the hint of a spiritual reality is refreshing. No matter what your belief, the truth that we are extremely limited creatures birthed on a speck of dust in the corner of a small galaxy is undeniable. In this light, the probability that forms of consciousness exist beyond our perception seems more likely than unlikely. Any glimpse of a so-called spiritual reality could be seen as a justification for faith, no matter what your religion.
Now, back to these strange individuals. What was their purpose?
Perhaps the drive of the vague and diverse wold of the occult can be better explained by Elphias Levi.
“Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvelous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books on alchemy, in the ceremonies practised at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed.”
Pictured above. Left to right (Text in quotes via Wikipedia):
Antoine Fabre d’Olivet (December 8, 1767, Ganges, Hérault – March 25, 1825, Paris)
“His best known works are on the research of the Hebrew language and the history of the human race.” He influenced Eliphas Levi and other notable occultists.
Eliphas Levi, born Alphonse Louis Constant (February 8, 1810 – May 31, 1875)
He had many contributions to occultism and influenced countless occultists. He is most recognized by his drawings of baphomet and the Tetragrammaton pentagram. “He incorporated the Tarot cards into his magical system, and as a result the Tarot has been an important part of the paraphernalia of Western magicians. He had a deep impact on the magic of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.”
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
(12 August 1831 – 8 May 1891)
She is one of the most influential and controversial occultists of all time. She is a founder of the Theosophical Society and supposedly channeled the book, The Secret Doctrine from an “ascended master from Tibet.” Many of her teachings are foundations of the modern day New Age movement.
Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse A.K.A. Papus
(July 13, 1865 - 25 October 1916)
He was a doctor of medicine and advised Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II ( he even warned the Tsar about the famous Rasputin). He was a member of well-known esoteric groups. He founded a few of his own includong the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Croix.
(21 January 1869 - 30 December 1916)
A mysterious mystical figure who grew to become a well-known advisor to the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. There are many strange stories and unverified myths about this man. “Historians agree that his presence played a significant part in the increasing unpopularity of the Tsar and Alexandra Feodorovna his wife, and the downfall of the Russian Monarchy. Rasputin was killed as he was seen by both the left and right to be the root cause of Russia’s despair during World War I.”
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (25/27 February 1861 - 30 March 1925)
“He was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and spirituality; his philosophical work of these years, which he termed spiritual science, sought to apply the clarity of thinking characteristic of Western philosophy to spiritual questions, differentiating this approach from what he considered to be vaguer approaches to mysticism.”