A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult

By Gary Lachman

The occult used to be a vital impact at the Renaissance, and it obsessed the preferred thinkers of the day. yet with the Age of cause, occultism used to be sidelined; simply charlatans stumbled on any use for it. Occult principles didn't disappear, besides the fact that, yet fairly went underground. It constructed right into a fruitful resource of concept for lots of very important artists. Works of brilliance, occasionally even of genius, have been produced less than its impression. In a dismal Muse, Lachman discusses the Enlightenment obsession with occult politics, the Romantic explosion, the futuristic occultism of the fin de siècle, and the deep occult roots of the modernist circulation. a few of the writers and thinkers featured during this hidden heritage of western proposal and sensibility are Emanuel Swedenborg, Charles Baudelaire, J. ok. Huysmans, August Strindberg, William Blake, Goethe, Madame Blavatsky, H. G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and Malcolm Lowry.

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Prior to this, Marie von Sivers had prepared for Steiner to offer a chain of lectures in Russia, understanding that his hugely Christianized theosophy could pass down good with the turning out to be variety of "Godseekers" turning up one of the intelligentsia. The 1905 Revolution, even though, spoiled those plans, and despatched some of the seekers into exile. It was once then prepared for Steiner to provide his lectures within the exile capital of Europe, Paris, in 1906. one of the viewers have been a number of the such a lot influential figures within the Russian cultural Renaissance: Dimitri Merzhkovsky, Zinaida Hippius, Konstantin Balmont (friend of Briusov) and Nicolai Minsky. by way of 1913, whilst Steiner gave a sequence of lectures at Helsingfors in particular for his Russian fans, there have been already a number of anthroposophical chat groups and workshops in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In Steiner's esoteric approach, the Slavic folk-soul has an immense and well timed function to play. Russia, he believed, was once the rustic such a lot suited for include a brand new cultural epoch, whatever that some of the new mystically vulnerable intelligentsia believed besides. The Russian soul, Steiner informed them, could go beyond either the rational-materialist west and the mystical-spiritual east, inaugurating a brand new, holistic recognition, that might synthesize those opposites. Oddly, lots of Steiner's pronouncements at the Slavic soul echo Hermann Hesse's feedback on `Russian Man'. The Russian, Steiner acknowledged, used to be a "child. " "In the Russian state of mind, opposing options can carry sway concurrently. " "The Russian doesn't have the slightest knowing of what Westerners name `reasonableness'. " Madame Blavatsky, Steiner stated, was once a regular Russian: she went to extremes, didn't imagine logically, and was once childlike. but it used to be accurately those features that allowed her to intuit deep, non secular truths ... occasionally. Steiner's message hit domestic, even supposing no longer all one of the intelligentsia suggestion good of him. For the thinker Nicolas Berdyaev, anthroposophy had a "distinctly corrupting and disintegrating impression. " Berdyaev, who attended Steiner's Helsingfors lectures, used to be now not inspired, and observed in Steiner a type of black magician, casting a spell upon his viewers. His fans appeared "maniacs possessed by way of a few energy past their keep an eye on. " "Whenever they uttered the magic phrases `the health care provider (i. e. Steiner) said', they appeared to be seized by way of a few demon ... " Berdyaev was once additionally very cautious of a undeniable Anna Mintslova, whom he known as Steiner's emissary, "an gruesome, fats girl with sticking out eyes" who bore a likeness to Madame Blavatsky. Mintslova "was expert in her method of human souls," and her impact was once "absolutely unfavorable and demonic. " it truly is even attainable that she played a few type of magic spell or distant hypnosis on Berdyaev. He recounts how one evening, part asleep, he observed her face soaring in a nook of his room, "its expression was once really frightening - a face likely possessed of the entire powers of darkness. " Berdyaev additionally comments on her unusual disappearance, fading into skinny air one afternoon at the Kuznetsky Bridge in Moscow.

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