Rosicrucian Writings Online


The Comte de St. Germain

Mystical Facts About a Famous Rosicrucian.
 
By Raymund Andrea, F.R.C.,
Grand Master AMORC, of Great Britain
 
[From The Mystic Triangle July 1928]
 
 
PERHAPS NO subject is of such perennial interest to students of the occult as that dealing with the Great Masters and their lives and works. And I think it may be safely affirmed that this rapidly increasing interest will soon be met by a further response to sincere inquiry, and from many unexpected sources information regarding the secret history of the Masters, their work and methods will be vouchsafed to us. Let the demand only be strong enough and made with the pure and sincere intent to know, that thereby our knowledge may be used legitimately for the one purpose of being of profound service to the race, and the response will come. Amid the clash of world affairs and innumerable disquieting controversies, there is little doubt in an awakened mind that within the sacred portals of the Brotherhood the Masters are initiating important events for the enlightenment of the West along the lines of higher unfoldment; hence it is that the voices of their disciples are heard with force and authority in many directions proclaiming fearlessly the truths of a new consciousness and stimulating aspirants to the life of the path and selfless endeavor.
 
The name of the Master Rakoczi is familiar to many of us. He is that member of the Brotherhood who was actively engaged in the affairs of the Western world for some time past, and is active today. A pupil of Indian and Egyptian hierophants, he has worked in the world under various names and in the eighteenth century passed under the well known name of the Comte de St. Germain. H. P. Blavatsky, writing in 1881, and referring to a defamatory article on the Comte and his "adventures," said that there were highly important documents existing in Russia about the Comte and she hoped the long needed but missing links in the chain of his history would speedily be made public. Her hope was soon fulfilled, for in 1897 a series of articles appeared from the pen of Mrs. Cooper-Oakley who had travelled widely in Europe and visited many famous libraries for purposes of research, and for the first time fragments of the eventful life of the great occultist were published. These articles, with further subsequent material, were issued as a monograph in 1912, and in view of its rarity and prohibitive price this monograph has just been reissued. If the few outstanding characteristics of the famous adept and a brief allusion to one or two of the more extraordinary episodes of his appearance as the Comte which I propose to sketch in this article, lead readers to peruse the book for themselves, they will gain a striking conception of a supreme master mind in world action, of the master mystic who stands behind the thrones of kings and foretells and influences the destiny of nations. The personality of Zanoni we know very well; but he is a character of fiction. We cannot quite conceive a Zanoni in real life. But the Comte de St. Germain lived; he was seen of many at courts and in royal houses, fragments of his prophetic and magisterial conversation have been preserved, even some of his musical compositions are extant; and everywhere the Master went his personality was stamped so signally and indelibly that he exists for us as truly and realistically as any figure in political history. It is only at rare intervals and at decisive stages in history that an accredited adept such as was the Comte appears openly and seeks to influence objectively the trend of human affairs.
 
Within the past 20 years there have certainly existed such momentous world conditions as would seem to have justified, if ever conditions justified, the public appearance and interference or guidance of adepts of the Brotherhood, yet we have no record of such appearances or guidance. The absence of any record is of course no proof that necessary guidance was not given; only those on the inner side know. But the dramatic appearance of the Comte in the 18th century as fully testified by the records of men and women of high social, political and mystical rank, seems to be the only instance in modern times of the Brotherhood permitting a qualified adept of occultism to play an astonishing role on the stage of the world, surpassing in fact all the fiction of a Lytton.
 
But we must give credit to the Masters for knowing human nature better than ourselves. With all our knowledge of occultism we complain of their aloofness and silence and are unconvinced of the good reasons for it. Let us reflect: if the Masters were among us and accessible even to those only who have sincere interest in them, what would their lives be worth? How many of us are so dispassionate, so purged of worldly vanity and curiosity, so intent upon forms of real service and expression of the soul, as to renounce a personality intrusion upon them and remain confident in their wisdom to approach us when they will? That is another hard saying of occultism: it is also one of its laws and cannot be annulled. It is demonstrated clearly enough in the life of the Comte. Often during his arduous mission he was compelled to hide from the hand of the assassin; just as often to refuse the society of those who would have prostituted the very gifts by which he confounded them. Will the great artist speak of his marvellous technique to a fool? "A century will pass," said the Comte to Madame d'Adhemar, "before I shall reappear there." She burst out laughing,--and he did the same.
 
The Comte when he appeared gained precisely the same kind of reputation he would be assured of were he to appear today. He was a romantic, a charlatan, an adventurer, a liar and a swindler. When a man receives a galaxy of titles of that description he is usually a character worth investigating. Those who investigated the character of the Comte testified that he lived according to a strict regime; that he had a charming grace and courtliness of manner; that he was an excellent musician and demonstrated powers which were incomprehensible and amazing; that he painted beautifully, and spoke the languages of half a dozen countries so perfectly that he might have been a native of either. He adopted various names the better to execute his mission; a custom which we thoroughly understand, but which to his contemporaries was a most damning reflection on his character. He conversed with people when they were young and met them again when they were old, but appeared not a day older himself. They could assign a sinister reason for his numerous names; but when he appeared at the court of Louis XV and encountered those who had met him in Venice 50 years before, reason failed them. The Countess v. Georgy called him "a most extra-ordinary man, a devil!"
 
From hints in his conversations it is clear that he had travelled extensively and was familiar with India, China and other Eastern countries, where no doubt he gained his vast occult lore. He was deeply versed in physics and chemistry, and possessed a rare knowledge of secrets of nature, which astonished those who happened to witness some of his demonstrations. He applied a particular mysterious colour to his paintings in oil which produced a wonderful brilliancy; in historical pieces he introduced into the dress of the women sapphires, rubies and emeralds of so remarkable a hue as to incline the spectator to believe their beauty was borrowed from the original gems.
 
From 1737 to 1742 the Comte was at the Court of the Shah of Persia, and it was here that he learned many of the secrets of nature. During the Jacobite Revolution of 1745 we find him in England, suspected as a spy, and arrested. In one of Walpole's letters we have the account: "The other day they seized an odd man who goes by the name of Count St. Germain. He has been here these two years, and will not tell who he is or whence, but professes that he does not go by his right name. He sings and plays on the violin wonderfully, is mad, and not very sensible." Not long after he appeared in Vienna and lived as a prince; he was well received, and became an intimate friend of the Emperor, Francis I. We have it in his own words in a letter to a friend that he made a second journey to India in 1755! "I am indebted for my knowledge of melting jewels to my second journey to India, in the year 1755, with General Clive, who was under Vice Admiral Watson. On my first journey I had only a very faint idea of the wonderful secret of which we are speaking; all the attempts that I made in Vienna, Paris and London are worthless as experiments; the great work was interrupted at the time I have mentioned."--The power of improving precious stones was but one of the many arts the Comte is commonly reported to have possessed.
 
In the year 1757 he was introduced by the Minister of War to Louis XV, who assigned to him a suite of rooms at his royal Chateau of Chambord, where a laboratory was fitted up for the experiments of the Comte and a group of students. This glimpse of laboratory work with others reveals clearly one aspect of his mission.
 
Further details of his character and abilities are preserved in a letter from Graf Karl Cobenzl to the Prime Minister in Russia. The Graf said the Comte was the most singular man he ever saw in his life; possessing great wealth yet living in the greatest simplicity, knowing everything, and revealing an uprightness and goodness of soul worthy of admiration: "Among a number of his accomplishments, he made, under my own eyes, some experiments, of which the most important were the transmutation of iron into a metal as beautiful as gold, and at least as good for all goldsmith's work; the dyeing and preparation of skins, carried to a perfection which surpassed all the moroccos in the world, and the most perfect tanning; the dyeing of silks, carried to a perfection hitherto unknown, like dyeing of woollens; the dyeing of wood in the most brilliant colours penetrating through and through, and the whole without either indigo or cochineal, with the commonest ingredients, and consequently at a very moderate price---" Another writer says: "Sometimes he fell into a trance, and when he again recovered, he said he had passed the time while he lay unconscious in far-off lands; sometimes he disappeared for a considerable time, then suddenly reappeared, and let it be understood that he had been in another world in communication with the dead*. Moreover, he prided himself on being able to tame bees, and to make snakes listen to music."
 
It was during the few years that preceded the revolution in France in 1793 that the Comte gave the most daring and emphatic warnings to the queen, Marie-Antoinette, of the machinations of certain ministers against the king. Letters reached her from the "mysterious visitor" filled with tragical prophecies of the coming storm, but although she had already had ample proof of his foresight and wisdom she was loth to believe the vision of blood and slaughter outlined in these communications and personally confirmed in an interview the Comte subsequently had with her. Carlyle in his famous History wrote: "To whom, indeed, can this poor queen speak! In need of wise counsel, if ever mortal was; yet beset here only by the hubbub of chaos! Her dwelling-place is so bright to the eye, and confusion and black care darkens it all. Sorrows of the Sovereign, sorrows of the woman, thick-coming sorrows environ her more and more."
 
If to the vivid pages of the historian the secrets, efforts and negotiations of the Comte were truly intercalated in all their masterly progress, what an amazing record we should have! Wise counsel the queen did have--but even nations have their Karma. "We are walking on dangerous ground," she confessed; "I begin to believe that your Comte de St. Germain was right. We were wrong not to listen to him." To Mad. d'Adhemar she said: "Here is another missive from the unknown. This time the oracle has used the language which becomes him, the epistle is in verse." This prophetic verse contains a lurid picture of the Terror that shortly after carried away king, throne and altar and spread chaos throughout France. Subsequent warnings reached the queen, but she was too weak to act.
 
There are hints of numerous diplomatic missions in which the Comte was engaged but the details of them are, no doubt advisedly, missing; but from what is known it is clear that he was the trusted friend of kings, princes and statesmen, moved freely among all dispensing light, knowledge and rare instruction, then vanished from the scene as mysteriously as he appeared. He came to give peace to France, but the personal ambitions of the French ministers thwarted his mission.
 
Of the Comte's Masonic and mystical connections a good deal is known as the result of research in certain archives. Although modern Freemasonic literature attempts to eliminate his name and the assertion is made by some that he was regarded as a charlatan by leading Masons, it is known that the Comte was one of the selected representatives of the French Masons at their convention at Paris in 1785. To many assemblies in Paris the Comte taught his philosophy. Meetings were held in a Lodge of the "Philaletes" which, according to records, had a strong Rosicrucian foundation from the true Rosicrucian tradition. Practical occultism and mysticism were their aim. They were however involved in the violent Karma of France and their studies terminated.
 
From a Masonic source comes the information that amongst the Freemasons invited to the great conference at Wilhelmsbad in 1785 the Comte and Louis Claude de St. Martin with many others were included. Further, the librarian of the Great Ambrosiana Library at Milan says: "And when, in order to bring about a conciliation between the various sects of the Rosicrucians, the Cabalists, the Illuminati, the Humanitarians, there was held a great Congress at Wilhelmsbad, then in the Lodge of the "Amici riuniti" there also was Cagliostro, with St. Martin, Mesmer and Sainte-Germain."
 
It is well known that the Comte and Mesmer were connected in the mystical work of the last century, and search among the records of the Lodge meetings mentioned above verifies this. Vienna was the great centre for the Rosicrucians and allied societies, and among these there was a group of the Comte's disciples. "One day the report was spread that the Comte de St. Germain, the most enigmatical of all incomprehensibles, was in Vienna. An electric shock passed through all who knew the name. Our Adept circle was thrilled through and through. St. Germain was in Vienna!" So writes Franz Graffer, a Rosicrucian and friend of the Comte. There is a touch of the melodramatic in this writer's narrative of the memorable meeting with the Comte which followed. During the conversation the Comte became gradually abstracted, rigid as a statue, after which he launched forth into one of his remarkable sententious prophecies, concluding: "Towards the end of this century I shall disappear out of Europe, and betake myself to the region of the Himalayas. I will rest; I must rest. Exactly in eighty-five years will people again set eyes on me. Farewell, I love you."
 
Undoubtedly the Comte is one of our Great Brothers of the Great White Lodge. Last century literature affords evidence of his intimacy with the prominent Rosicrucians of Hungary and Austria. H. P. Blavatsky refers to a "Cypher Rosicrucian Manuscript" which was in his possession and which proved his high authority in the Lodge. He was connected with the "Knights of St. John the Evangelist from the East in Europe, with the "Knights of Light", and with the "Martinists" in Paris. It is a fact," writes one, "that the count knows details which only contemporains could tell in the same way. It is fashion now in Cassel to listen respectfully to his stories and to be astonished about nothing. The Count does not praise himself, neither is he an importune talk-teller, he is a man of good society, whom every one is glad to have. He can speak in different voices and from different distances, can copy any hand he sees once, perfectly--he is said to be in connection with spirits who obey him, he is physician and geognost and is reported to have means to lengthen life." And as a concluding quotation we have this from an article of an Austrian writer: "He was the 'Obermohr' of many mystic brotherhoods, where he was worshipped as a superior being and where every one believed in his 'sudden' appearances and equally 'sudden' disappearances. He belongs to the picture of 'Old Vienna' with its social mysteriousness; where it was swarming with Rosicrucians, Illuminates, Alchemists, Magnetopaths, Thaumaturgs, Templars, who all of them had many and willing adherents."---
 
What is the central truth to be gathered from these few scattered glimpses of the life of the Comte de St. Germain? That he was living the master life in all its fullness and power and demonstrating on a grand scale the identical philosophy and practice to which we are devoted, of the same Great Lodge to which we aspire today. To the many, the Comte will appear but a fiction like Zanoni: to us, he is a lofty and present spirit appearing there for a brief moment of time in a perfected and deathless life. His hand is in our work. A little more culture, a little more persistent endeavour, a little more of that tense, absorbing, spiritual passion to become, and that hand will grip our own. The Master's skill in action is a wonderful theme and transcends all the dreams of fiction; but the mere reading of it will accomplish nothing. It is for us to translate life to life until the virtue in us merits his approach and compels his guidance. When that attitude is as firmly established in us as breathing, we need have no anxiety about our progress or the future.
 
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* Bear in mind these words are those of one who did not understand. The Master never claimed to talk with the "spirits" of the dead.
 

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Webmaster's Note: "The Comte de St. Germain" by Isabel Cooper-Oakley may be downloaded here (external link).
 

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