Eugène Canseliet – A Few Words About Karl von Eckartshausen
picture in I.n.c.n. magazine, volume 2.
🌿Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA is the English translation of a small article by Eugène Canseliet about Karl von Eckartshausen, published in 1964 in ‘Alchimie-Etudes diverses de symbolisme hermétique et de pratique philosophale’ by Editions Pauvert in Paris🌿 Antoine Faivre in his magistral ‘Eckartshausen et la Théosophie Chrétienne’, Klincksiek, Paris-1969, reproduces this article and introduces it with these words: ‘Eugène Canseliet, who practices alchemy on both the material and spiritual level, is a well known figure to the French public. This researcher, who claims to have been the student of Fulcanelli, wrote a small text about Eckartshausen. I am grateful to him to have allowed for its integral reproduction that completes and illustrates my chapter, ‘Eckartshausen and France‘🌿
‘Karl von Eckartshausen can be ranked in a fairly good position among the writers that had the best achieved making us feel that science cannot exist without philosophy, and especially without Faith. A substantive without which we wouldn’t be able to hear the blind and proud belief in the possibilities of the human being, falsely wonderful and only appearing without limit. Faith remains indivisible like Truth, of which it is the foreknowledge. It must be scientific and especially religious, in the deep meaning of the latin adjective, religiosus, that which endows consciousness.
Such appears, in brief, Karl von Eckartshausen’s doctrine, which is similar to alchemy’s very own, led hence forth midway to the solely spiritual illumination of the Saints. It is him that brought, if we may express our selves in such a way, the counter-test of alchemical unity, as in physics, happens double-weighting.
In Eckartshausen’s world views, the philosophical edification of the wise prevails over the material application of the artist (note: in the meaning of artisan, craft, who practices his art). His work defines, in extenso, the philosopher- that he differentiates from the encyclopedist. Upon this very precise point, the title of the book most read among the many works of the German Theosopher-this title, we say, reveals a complete program that already points at the physical threat that ordinary reason doesn’t have any idea of:
‘The cloud upon the Sanctuary,
or something the proud philosophy doesn’t suspect‘.
Like ‘Ariadne’s thread, used to enter safely in the hermetic philosophy labyrinth‘, this cloud, is it not the pilar of smoke & fire that guides us through-out the desert?
Von Eckartshausen, with a soft and charitable insistance, stipulates the undeniable necessity of the humility of spirit, the purity of the soul and the goodness of the heart, for the person who seeks access to Science, ‘that leads Man towards power and domination upon nature.’
This is why he developed and paraphrased, all along his invaluable treatise, the short but luminous definition of Alchemy, which was Paracelsus’ at his best and which Martin Ruland, in his ‘Lexicon Alchimiae’, recorded:
‘Alchimia est impuri separatio a substancia puriore‘,
‘Alchemy is the separation of the impure from the purest substance.’
The comparative was used so to mark well the successive steps of the constant modification. Is it not here the broader formula used by Eckartshausen, in his major work entirely focused upon the Art, that reveals itself royal and sacerdotal? Royal, because it allows man to pierce the secrets of Nature; sacerdotal, because it sanctifies and bring everything into perfection. Consequently, how obvious-by its exactitude-the explanation of the great mystic imposes itself, in regard to the worthy celebrant of natural magic:
‘A priest (a hierophant) is a separator of the pure nature from impure nature, a separator of the substance-that-contains-all from the perishable mater that only offers pain and misery.‘ (‘La Nuée sur le Sanctuaire’, Paris 1819).
After this declaration, is it possible to think, to reasonably admit that Karl von Eckartshausen had experimented-in the laboratory-the philosophical theories that he had established under the light and guidance of the ancestral tradition? We are convinced of it, in our humble opinion, when we read the final words of the ‘Chemical essays’-this operative manual of the German Theosopher-that describe the raw (or rough, materia bruta) matter, that generates the Stone of the Wise. For him, it is the Ethiopians’ daughter-filia aethiopium-of which he writes:
‘Nigra sum sed formosa, filia Jerusalem, adeo dilexit me Rex,
et introduxit me in cubiculum suum.’
‘I am black but beautiful, daughter of Jerusalem;
further more, the King loves me,
and introduces me into his night chamber.’
In order to complete this loose quotation of the ‘Song of Songs’, the Aulic-Counsellor Karl von Eckartshausen tells us that the matter of the Great Work (le Grand Oeuvre) is not only the un-ripe mineral electrum-Electrum minerale immaturum-that should not be confused with amber, but also with Magnesia, the Lunar, the LEAD OF WISDOM: ‘Magnesia, lunaria, PLUMBUM SAPIENTIAE‘.
In the very last part of the XVIII th century, the catechism, for the degree of Adept, or Sublime & Unknown Philosopher Apprentice, asks to the recipient:
Q: What is the word of Magnesia?
R: You know if i can and should answer to the question;
i therefore keep my word‘.