The Count of Saint-Germain

David Pratt

September 2012

Part 2 of 2


Part 1

Part 2
  8. Prince Carl and the final years
  9. Origins: Prince Rákóczy
10. Messenger and adept
11. Cagliostro and Mesmer

8. Prince Carl and the final years

Prince Carl (Charles) of Hesse-Cassel (1744-1836), the grandson of King George II of England, was brought up with relatives at the Danish court. In 1762, during the reign of Tsar Peter III, when Russian troops set out to invade Denmark, he was given command under Field-Marshal le Comte (Claude-Louis) de Saint-Germain, and rode with him in Pomerania. There, news was received of the coup that replaced Peter III with Catherine, and the Russians withdrew. In 1769, Carl was appointed ruler (landgrave) of the twin duchies of Schleswig and Holstein on behalf of the government of his brother-in-law, King Christian VII of Denmark and Norway. He was received a Freemason in the lodge at Schleswig in spring 1774.

Carl of Hesse-Cassel. (

Following the death of Elector Maximilian III, the last member of the Bavarian branch of the House of Wittelsbach, on 30 December 1777, Austria invaded Bavaria and, in retaliation, King Frederick II of Prussia invaded Bohemia. Prince Carl had been taking part in peacetime manoeuvres with the Prussian army and now found himself the daily companion of King Frederick, his cousin, in what became the War of the Bavarian Succession. The Austrians retreated before them, and as Frederick considered the campaign over, Carl made his way homewards.

He arrived in Altona on his 34th birthday, 19 December 1778, and was immediately called on by the French Minister, Baron de la Housse. France was Austria’s ally by treaty, though it had not lent it practical support during the hostilities. De la Housse expressed his doubts that Frederick would be willing to conclude a peace, but Carl, knowing of Frederick’s severe gout, assured him otherwise. Carl and de la Housse informed Frederick and Louis XV that peace was possible, and the result was the Peace of Treschen, signed on 13 May 1779. De la Housse saluted Carl as the benefactor of humanity, but Carl could not have taken the initiative if de la Housse had not approached him. It is curious that de la Housse had sounded Carl out, as he had not been instructed to do so from Paris. Bearing in mind that de la Housse was the only man in Altona whom Saint-Germain frequented, Saint-Germain may have been active behind the scenes.1

While in Altona, Carl met Saint-Germain, probably through de la Housse. In his memoirs, Carl says that Saint-Germain ‘appeared to evince a growing attachment towards me, above all when he heard that I was not a hunter, and had no other passions contrary to the study of the higher knowledge of nature’. Saint-Germain told him: ‘I shall come and see you at Schleswig and you will see the great things we shall accomplish together.’2 However, Carl had heard all sorts of wild tales about Saint-Germain’s marvellous powers, and asked Colonel Koeppern to dissuade Saint-Germain from visiting him. Saint-Germain’s response was: ‘I have to go to Schleswig and will not give up.’ Carl asked a Prussian friend, Colonel Frankenberg, for his impression of Saint-Germain. He replied: ‘You can rest assured that he is not a trickster; he does possess high knowledge.’ He said that Saint-Germain had improved the stones in his wife’s earrings, with the result that they had doubled in value.3

Saint-Germain visited Carl at his residence, Gottorp Castle, in Schleswig soon afterwards.

He spoke to me about the great things he wanted to do for humanity, etc. I was not particularly desirous of doing so, but in the end I had my scruples about rejecting knowledge which was in every way important (from a false idea of wisdom or of avarice) and I became his disciple. He spoke much of the improvement of colours, which would cost almost nothing, of the improvement of metals, adding that it was absolutely necessary to adhere faithfully to this principle. ... There is almost nothing in nature which he did not know how to improve and use. He confided to me something of the knowledge of nature, but only the introductory part, making me then search for myself, by experiments, for the means of succeeding, and rejoicing exceedingly in my progress. That was the way with metals and precious stones; but as for the colours, he actually gave me them, as well as some very important information.4

Carl believed that the lack of manufactures was keeping Denmark poor, and accepted Saint-Germain’s proposal to set up a factory. He bought an abandoned one at Eckernförde (on the Baltic Sea), 30 miles from Gottorp, had it repaired, and ordered rolls of fabrics for Saint-Germain to dye. Carl often went to see him and learned how to make his dyes; Saint-Germain told Carl he was the only pupil he had ever taken. Carl says that the venture ‘succeeded perfectly’.

Carl knew a silk merchant named Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, a fellow Mason, who was working in Lyons, France, and in May 1781 sent him some samples of Saint-Germain’s work in the hope of interesting him in a joint venture. Willermoz admitted that the colours were better than his own and that he would like to participate in the enterprise, but also made disparaging comments, probably with a view to obtaining the products at a cheaper price. In the end, the plans went no further.5

In a letter to Willermoz of 7 February 1782, Carl writes that ‘Saint-Germain has been very much occupied all the winter with other matters than with dyeing, other enterprises and the giving of instruction’.6 He does not mention what the other enterprises were, but they may have involved the preparation of medicines.

The papers left by Prince Carl include the recipe for Saint-Germain’s famous tea: it contained senna pods, elder flowers, and fennel, soaked in spirits of wine; it had a laxative effect and general healthful properties. Carl recounts that once when his wife was very ill with a catarrhal attack, in great pain and suffering a fever, she took one of Saint-Germain’s medicines and within an hour she was perfectly healthy again. Saint-Germain was apparently working in the tradition of ancient herbalists, adding refinements of his own.7 Carl writes:

He knew thoroughly all about herbs and plants and had discovered medicines which he continually used and which prolonged his life and his health. I still possess some of his recipes, but the physicians strongly denounced his science after his death. There was a physician there named Lossau, who had been an apothecary, and to whom I gave twelve hundred crowns a year to work with the medicines which the Count of Saint-Germain gave him, among others; and principally with his tea, which the rich bought and the poor received gratis. This doctor cured a number of people, of whom none, to my knowledge, died. But after the death of this physician, disgusted with the proposals I received from all sides, I withdrew all the recipes, and I did not replace Lossau.8

Several writers have claimed that Saint-Germain played a key role in occult societies such as those of the Rosicrucians and Freemasons. Isabel Cooper-Oakley says that it is evident that Saint-Germain ‘went from one society to another, guiding and teaching’.9

According to Cadet de Gassicourt, he was travelling member for the ‘Templars,’ going from Lodge to Lodge to establish communication between them. M. de St. Germain is said to have done this work for the Paris Chapter of the ‘Knights Templar.’ Investigation proves him to have been connected with the ‘Asiatische Brüder,’ or the ‘Knights of St. John the Evangelist from the East in Europe,’ also with the ‘Ritter des Lichts,’ or ‘Knights of Light,’ and with various other Rosicrucian bodies in Austria and Hungary; and also with the ‘Martinists’ in Paris.10

There is nothing to show that Gassicourt was speaking from first-hand knowledge. It is certainly true that Saint-Germain was acquainted with individuals associated with various occult organizations, but there is no solid evidence that he played a leading role in any of them or took part in their rituals. As we have seen, some lower-level Freemasons tended to be hostile to him, probably because they were jealous of his fame and knowledge and the fact that people in high places held him in such regard despite his having no Masonic titles. Top Freemasons, on the other hand, such as the late Comte de Clermont Prince, Grand Master of the Grand Orient in France, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, Grand-Master of the Strict Observance, and Prince Carl, held Saint-Germain in high esteem. Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick met Saint-Germain three times while visiting Carl in late 1779 and commented that Saint-Germain ‘has acquired great knowledge through his researches into nature. ... His conversation contains much instruction.’11

On 12 December 1781 Prince Carl wrote to Duke Ferdinand von Haugwitz about new rituals and an upcoming Convention of Freemasons from all nations to be held in Wilhelmsbad. Jean Overton Fuller comments:

Had Saint-Germain been, as so many have imagined him, a highly placed Freemason, now if ever was the occasion for him to have been seen playing the role attributed to him by Mrs Cooper-Oakley, going from lodge to lodge to set up communications and, in particular, helping to overhaul The Strict Observance. It is very evident from this letter who were the people overhauling it, Duke Ferdinand von Haugwitz, with contributory help from Willermoz. Saint-Germain, though in contact with all four of them, was not shown the new rituals, nor consulted and not expected to attend the conference at Wilhelmsbad, and that because, despite the intimacy of his friendship with Prince Carl, they did not think of him as a Mason.12

Cooper-Oakley quotes an alleged letter to Count Görtz in which Saint-Germain says: ‘I have promised to visit Hanau to meet the Landgrave Karl at his brother’s and work out with him the system of the “Strict Observance”’13 But this is not supported by any letters that are known for certain to be authentic. She also cites comments about Saint-Germain by the Landgraf von Hessen-Phillips-Barchfeld, Prince Carl’s cousin:

[H]e is in connection with many remarkable men and has an extraordinary influence upon others. My cousin, Landgrave Karl of Hesse, is much attached to him, they work together in Freemasonry and other dark sciences. Lavater [famous Swiss physiognomist] sends him chosen men. 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.14

Even if this is a genuine letter, it might be based as much on rumour as on fact.

There is also a letter said to have been written by Prince Carl to Willermoz on 28 May 1784, telling him of Saint-Germain’s death and of one of his last conversations with Saint-Germain.

He had always acted as though he knew nothing of Masonry or high knowledge, though during the last year a number of things had convinced me to the contrary. ... [D]espite never having owned to being a Mason, he said something strange, that he was ‘Le plus ancien des Maçons’ – ‘the most ancient of Masons’.

The original of this alleged letter has not been traced; it is not among the known correspondence between Carl and Willermoz.15 But this sounds like something Saint-Germain could well have said.

There are claims that Carl and Saint-Germain conducted alchemical experiments together in a tower on Carl’s Louisenlund estate. Christopher McIntosh says that the park at Louisenlund ‘was laid out in the form of an initiatic journey that involved the candidate passing through a dense wood, finding his way through a labyrinth and encountering various alchemical and allegorical images along the way’.16 According to Manly Hall, Saint-Germain’s final years were ‘divided between his experimental research work in alchemy with Charles of Hesse and the Mystery School at Louisenlund, in Schleswig, where philosophic and political problems were under discussion’.17 He does not provide any supporting evidence.

Left: Louisenlund Tower, which no longer exists. Right: an idealized painting of how it may once have looked. The tower is said to have contained an alchemist’s laboratory and a room where Masonic rituals were conducted.

Close-up of the Egyptian stone doorway to the tower.
The doorway was later moved to a different location.

Even though Saint-Germain was not officially a Mason, Prince Carl clearly saw him as a companion spirit, and in fact as his teacher. In his memoirs, he describes Saint-Germain (whom he familiarly refers to as ‘old Papa Saint-Germain’) as follows:

He was perhaps one of the greatest philosophers that ever existed. A friend of humanity; only desiring money to give it to the poor; also a friend of animals; his heart was never occupied except with the good of others. He thought he was making the world happy in providing it with new enjoyments, the most beautiful fabrics, more beautiful colours, much cheaper than previously. For his superb dyes cost almost nothing. I have never seen a man with a clearer intelligence than his, together with an erudition (especially in ancient history) such as I have seldom found.18

Carl says that Saint-Germain’s ‘philosophical principles in religion were pure materialism’. So here we see Carl making the same mistake as Wurmb, another Mason. We do not know the details of their conversations and Saint-Germain’s teachings. But what we do know is that, as Carl puts it, Saint-Germain ‘was by no means an adorer of Jesus Christ’. Carl once told Saint-Germain that he found his remarks about Jesus offensive, and Saint-Germain promised not to broach the subject again.19 Most likely he had said that Jesus was a sage of holy life but not the ‘only begotten Son of God’. Saint-Germain was clearly not a theist, a believer in orthodox Christian theology, but nor was he a materialist who believed in the existence of nothing but dead physical matter. He may have adhered to a pantheistic view of nature that sounded to conventional Freemasons more like atheistic materialism.20

By 1783 Saint-Germain’s health was clearly failing. He had always been very vulnerable to cold, and was suffering from rheumatism; Carl attributes this to the damp basement room he lived in on arrival at Eckernförde. In the winter of 1783 Carl had to go to Cassel in Germany on family business. Saint-Germain told him that if he died before he returned he would leave a sealed letter for him, but that he dared not reveal anything before he died.

According to the register of the St. Nicolai church in Eckernförde, ‘the so-called Comte de St. Germain and Weldon’ died on 27 February 1784, while Carl was still in Cassel, and was buried in tomb no. 1, inside the church, on 2 March 1784.21 After the destruction caused by the great storm tide of 13 November 1872, which also flooded the church, all the indoor tombs were filled with sand and most of the large tombstones were removed, so it is not known exactly where Saint-Germain’s body now lies.22

So poor was Saint-Germain at the time of his death that his estate did not cover the cost of his burial, and he was therefore given free burial out of regard for his patron, Prince Carl. All that he left was a packet of paid and receipted bills, a small amount of cash, some clothing, and a few other items such as razors and toothbrushes. The value of his estate in the English money of today would be around £690.23 There were no diamonds, no paintings, no musical scores, no books, and no violin. Prince Carl took back all his own letters, but no other correspondence was found. Carl says that he failed to find the sealed letter Saint-Germain had promised to leave for him.


1. Jean Overton Fuller, The Comte de Saint Germain: Last scion of the House of Rákóczy, London: East-West Publications, 1988, pp. 249-50.

2. The Theosophical Path, Nov 1914, p. 382.

3. Fuller, p. 251.

4. The Theosophical Path, Nov 1914, pp. 383-4.

5. Fuller, pp. 257-69.

6. Ibid., p. 266.

7. Ibid., pp. 270-3.

8. The Theosophical Path, Nov 1914, p. 383.

9. Isabel Cooper-Oakley, The Comte de St. Germain: The secret of kings, original ed. 1912, reprint, Escondido, CA: The Book Tree, 1999, p. 147. Manly Hall asserts that Saint-Germain was ‘the moving spirit of Rosicrucianism during the eighteenth century – possibly the actual head of that order’ (Manly P. Hall (ed.), The Most Holy Trinosophia of the Comte de St.-Germain, Philosophical Research Society, 1933, p. 22; reprint: Aziloth Books, 2011, p. 16). Arthur E. Waite, on the other hand, says that the records of German Rosicrucianism at the close of the 18th century ‘have not one word to tell us on the presence or activities of the Comte de Saint-Germain’ (The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross (1924), New York: University Books, n.d., p. 499).

10. Cooper-Oakley, pp. 151-2.

11. Fuller, p. 256.

12. Ibid., p. 275. Fuller gives the date of Carl’s letter as 12 December 1782, but the conference in question opened on 16 July of that year.
      The conference was motivated by concerns about Masonry’s origins. It dragged on until mid-September 1782. The participants finally decided to stop claiming to descend from the Knights Templar, and to change the name from Strict Observance to Beneficent Knights of the Sacred City (p. 285).

13. Cooper-Oakley, pp. 152, 155.

14. Ibid, pp. 153, 4.

15. Fuller, p. 289.

16. Terry Melanson, ‘Illuminati sightseeing: Karl and St. Germain at Louisenlund’, 2008,

17. The Most Holy Trinosophia of the Comte de St.-Germain, 1933, p. 24 / 2011, p. 18. The inventory of Carl’s inheritance includes a large quantity of chemicals found in the ‘alchemy’ laboratory, where he is said to have made gold, first with Saint-Germain and later with several goldsmiths. Several pieces of this ‘Carl metal’ and several pieces of jewellery made out of it were also found. Note that this ‘gold’ is Saint-Germain’s gold-like metal (which witnesses mention as early as his time in France in the late 1750s), which was not the result of the alchemical transmutation of lead. Carl established a profitable factory for this metal at Ludwigsburg. (G. van Rijnberk, Saint Germain in de brieven van zijn tijdgenoot den Prins Karel van Hessen Cassel, Den Haag: Servire, ca. 1935, p. 29; ‘Wer war “Graf Saint-Germain”: eine historisch-kritische Bestandsaufnahme’, Jahrbuch der Heimatgemeinschaft Eckernförde e.V., no. 5, 2004, pp. 32-3.)

18. The Theosophical Path, Nov 1914, p. 384.

19. Ibid., p. 384.

20. Baron von Gleichen, another Mason, wrote: ‘His [Saint-Germain’s] philosophy was that of Lucretius; he spoke with a mysterious emphasis of the profundities of nature, and opened to the imagination a career, vague, obscure and immense as to the nature of science, its treasures, and the nobility of its origin’ (The Theosophical Path, Dec 1914, p. 455). The 1st-century-BC Roman philosopher Lucretius is usually described as a materialist who rejected all supernatural explanations of natural phenomena. However, his descriptions of the creative power of nature sometimes seem to postulate ‘an immaterial life-force surging through the universe and operating above or beyond raw nature’ (‘Lucretius’, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, H.P. Blavatsky calls the ancient ‘atomist’ philosophers (Leucippus, Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius) ‘spiritual, most transcendental, and philosophical pantheists’ (H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press (TUP), 1977 (1888), 1:569). Some of their teachings are certainly open to a theosophical interpretation (G. de Purucker, The Esoteric Tradition, TUP, 2nd ed., 1973, pp. 275-7, 385; G. de Purucker, Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, TUP, 2nd ed., 1979, pp. 433, 464, 494; G. de Purucker, Man in Evolution, TUP, 2nd ed., 1977, pp. 33-5; The Secret Doctrine, 1:567-9).
      See The mahatmas on spirit, matter, God for comments by the mahatmas that, taken out of context, might sound like materialism.

21. A certain Dr Biester claims that Carl later had Saint-Germain buried in Schleswig in the Friederiksberg churchyard ‘to consult his ghost late at night’! (Cooper-Oakley, p. 135.)

22. ‘Wer war “Graf Saint-Germain”: eine historisch-kritische Bestandsaufnahme’, p. 14.

23. Fuller, pp. 290-6. When Saint-Germain arrived in Schleswig in 1779, he is said to have brought only a suitcase of clothes and a few other items (Rijnberk, Saint Germain in de brieven van zijn tijdgenoot den Prins Karel van Hessen Cassel, p. 7fn). Given the vast knowledge he displayed of history and science, he must have had a prodigious memory.

9. Origins: Prince Rákóczy

Saint-Germain indicated to several people that he was the son of Francis (Ferenc) Rackozy II of Transylvania.1 Rákóczy (nowadays usually spelt Rákóczi; pronounced: rakotsi) was the name of a noble family in the Kingdom of Hungary between the 13th and 18th centuries. Francis II Rákóczy was the most famous member of the family. He was born in 1676 in Royal Hungary, and died in exile in 1735 in the Ottoman Empire. He led the Hungarian uprising against the Austrian Habsburgs in 1703-11 as the prince of the Confederated Estates of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Prince of Transylvania. After the defeat of the rebellion, the Rákóczy family’s wealth was confiscated.

Francis Rákóczy married Princess Charlotte Amalie von Hesse-Rheinfels in 1694, when he was 19 years old. They had three sons. The first son, Leopold George, died in 1700 at the age of 4. The second son, Joseph, was born in 1700 and died in what is now Bulgaria in 1738, while the third son, George (György), was born in 1701 and died in France in 1756. Joseph and George were taken away from their parents at an early age, and raised at the court of Emperor Charles VI, Francis’ enemy. George finally visited his father in 1727, but Joseph did not see him again. In his will, Francis mentioned his two surviving children but left everything to George, who then shared his inheritance with his brother.2

In his memoirs, written down over 30 years after his conversations with Saint-Germain, Prince Carl says: ‘He told me he was the son of Prince Rákóczy of Transylvania, by his first wife, a Thököly.’3 Carl must have misunderstood Saint-Germain. Rákóczy was only married once. It was his mother, Helen Zrinyi, who became, by a second marriage, a Thököly. Saint-Germain was clearly none of Rákóczy’s known sons, and Carl was right to think that Saint-Germain had a different mother from Joseph and George. As he occasionally hinted, Saint-Germain must have been the illegitimate son of Rákóczy. Perhaps Carl had misunderstood because this was explained to him in a delicate way.

Carl also writes that Saint-Germain

told me that he was eighty-eight years old when he came here. He was ninety-two or three when he died. ... He was placed under the protection of the last Medici, who had him sleep, as a child, in his own room. When he learned that his two brothers, sons of the Princess of Hesse-Rheinfels or Rotenberg, ... had submitted to the Emperor Charles VI and taken the names St Charles and St Elizabeth in honour of the Emperor and the Empress, he said to himself, ‘Ah well, I shall call myself Sanctus Germanus, the holy brother.’4

If Saint-Germain was 88 years old when he came to Schleswig-Holstein in 1770, Rákóczy would have been only 15 when he conceived him. Jean Overton Fuller comments:

On the other hand, if the conversation took place in Eckernförde, Saint-Germain may have meant that he was eighty-eight when Prince Carl established him at the works in Eckernförde, which must have been sometime in between 24 November, 1779, when ... he must still have been at Gottorp, and June, 1781, when ... he was at Eckernförde. If it was in 1781 he told Prince Carl he had not long gone eighty-eight, that would give us a credible birth-date, in late 1693 or early 1694, when Rákóczy would have been seventeen, and, moreover, in Italy, which would tie up with the otherwise incomprehensible reference to the Medicis.5

The House of Medici (Famiglia de' Medici) was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that began its rise to prominence in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The Medicean dynasty came to an end in the 18th century, with two unhappily married, childless brothers, Gian Gastone and Ferdinando. The elder brother, Ferdinando, died of syphilis in 1713, and Gian Gastone succeeded his father, Duke Cosimo III, in 1723, becoming the last Medicean Grand Duke of Tuscany. He died in 1737.

Saint-Germain once said that his country of origin was one that had never known foreign rule; this has been taken to mean he must belong to the Wittelsbach royal house, as Bavaria is virtually the only European country, apart from France, to which that applies. On another occasion Saint-Germain stated that only the Bourbon royal house could rival his own, which again implied he was a Wittelsbach, as only the Bourbon and Wittelsbach royal houses in Europe compared in terms of the antiquity of their reign.6 One theory is that Saint-Germain was the bastard of Queen Maria-Anna of Spain, since she was born a Wittelsbach. However, she was never in a place within hundreds of miles of Rákóczy. Jean Overton Fuller offers a more plausible hypothesis:

[T]here was another Wittelsbach lady, of the senior branch of the family, Princess Violante of Bavaria, wife of Prince Ferdinando dei Medici, neglected and miserable in Florence where Rákóczy arrived in May, 1693, and stayed four months. There is no documentary proof of their having met, but if one looks at the portraits of Rákóczy, Violante and Saint-Germain, one sees his face seems to combine feature from theirs. He looks particularly like Violante around the bridge of the nose and eyebrows and the upper part of the face generally, and particularly like Francis Rákóczy in the chin and mouth.7


Francis Rákóczy (by Ádám Mányoki, 1724).

Princess Violante.

Fuller therefore suggests that Saint-Germain was the son of Prince Francis II Rákóczy of Transylvania and Princess Violante.

This would give a reason for the Medicis to have brought him up, for why should they bring up a bastard of Francis Rákóczy unless the mother was one of their own family? Where the family of a girl who has borne a child out of wedlock chases after the man, it is usually in the hope he will provide financial maintenance; but the Medicis were so much wealthier than Rákóczy that, if they decided to keep the child and bring him up themselves, where the mother could see him sometimes, they may have thought it needless to send after Rákóczy and tell him anything about it. So he may never have known.8

Gian Gastone was always sympathetic to his neglected sister-in-law, Violante, and could have persuaded his and Ferdinando’s father, Cosimo, to take the child into his household, among the many pages from good families whom he helped to educate. This is in line with Saint-Germain’s remark that he had been ‘tremendously protected’ and educated by Gian Gastone.9 The House of Medici possessed great knowledge, but Saint-Germain told Carl that he had learned the secrets of nature by his own application and researches.10 Saint-Germain’s connection with the Dukes of Medici helps explain how he came to possess a Raphael and other valuable paintings, and how he came to be such an accomplished composer and musician.


1. Jean Overton Fuller, The Comte de Saint Germain: Last scion of the House of Rákóczy, London: East-West Publications, 1988, pp. 200, 218, 225, 230, 280.

2. Ibid., pp. 57-9. Cooper-Oakley gives a very inaccurate account of Rákóczy’s will, saying that it mentions a third son – whom she equates with Saint-Germain – and leaves him a large legacy and rights to valuable property (see Isabel Cooper-Oakley, The Comte de St. Germain: The secret of kings, original ed. 1912, reprint, Escondido, CA: The Book Tree, 1999, p. 15; Fuller, p. 57).

3. Fuller, p. 280.

4. Ibid. Carl adds: ‘I cannot guarantee the truth of his birth; but that he was greatly protected by the last of the Medici I have learnt from another source’ (The Theosophical Path, Nov 1914, p. 383).

5. Fuller, p. 280.

6. Ibid., pp. 170-1, 238-9.

7. Ibid., pp. 280-1. In his Confessions Rákóczy says that in Italy he did not meet the Grand Duke, Cosimo, but does not say whether he met Ferdinand or Violante. He says he kept away from prostitutes to avoid the risk of infection. He adds that others saw him as chaste but that he was really a whited sepulchre. He writes: ‘Thou, alone, Lord, knowest my turpitude.’ (Ibid., p. 8.)

8. Ibid., p. 281.

9. Cooper-Oakley, p. 11.

10. The Theosophical Path, Nov 1914, p. 383.

10. Messenger and adept

As noted in the introduction, Helena P. Blavatsky referred to Saint-Germain as ‘the greatest Oriental Adept Europe has seen during the last centuries’.1 She used the word ‘adept’ to refer to occultists and mystics of many different grades, not just mahatmas.

On the subject of how the mahatmas select their disciples or chelas, Blavatsky writes:

For centuries the selection of Chelas – outside the hereditary group within the gon-pa (temple [Buddhist monastery]) – has been made by the Himalayan Mahatmas themselves from among the class – in Tibet, a considerable one as to number – of natural mystics. The only exceptions have been in the cases of Western men like Fludd, Thomas Vaughan, Paracelsus, Pico della Mirandola, Count de Saint-Germain, etc., whose temperamental affinity to this celestial science more or less forced the distant Adepts to come into personal relations with them, and enabled them to get such small (or large) portion of the whole truth as was possible under the social surroundings.2

She mentions Saint-Germain as an example of someone who ‘by early training and special methods’ reached the stage of a fifth-rounder and developed his higher senses.3 She also writes:

The treatment that the memory of this great man, this pupil of Indian and Egyptian hierophants, this proficient in the secret wisdom of the East, has had from Western writers is a stigma upon human nature. And so has the stupid world behaved towards every other person who, like Saint-Germain, has revisited it after long seclusion devoted to study, with his stores of accumulated esoteric wisdom, in the hope of bettering it and making it wiser and happier.4

Note that we know virtually nothing at all about the first 40 years of Saint-Germain’s life.

Blavatsky suggests that Saint-Germain may have been able to remember some of his past lives:

If he said that ‘he had been born in Chaldea and professed to possess the secrets of the Egyptian magicians and sages’, he may have spoken truth without making any miraculous claim. There are initiates, and not the highest either, who are placed in a condition to remember more than one of their past lives.5

It is noteworthy that on several occasions while speaking about his past, Saint-Germain seems to have been talking about events in the life of his father, Francis Rákóczy, as if he were unconsciously drawing from his father’s memory.6 Saint-Germain was probably born in 1694 and his father died in 1735. Under special conditions, a soul can take over the body of a child or adult by replacing the soul originally connected with that body.7 However, it seems unlikely that the soul of Francis, on leaving his body at death, would have completely replaced the soul that had already occupied his son’s body for over 40 years.8

When did he die?

In a letter to A.P. Sinnett written in August 1881, mahatma Kuthumi (KH) said that the French occultist Eliphas Levi (1810-75) studied from the Rosicrucian manuscripts (of which only three copies remained in Europe).

These expound our eastern doctrines from the teachings of Rosenkreuz [founder of the Rosicrucian Order] who, upon his return from Asia dressed them up in a semi-Christian garb intended as a shield for his pupils, against clerical revenge. ... Rosenkreuz taught orally. Saint Germain recorded the good doctrines in figures, and his only cyphered MS. remained with his staunch friend and patron, the benevolent German Prince from whose house and in whose presence he made his last exit – HOME. Failure, dead failure!1

The meaning of ‘home’ in this context is the same as in the following remark by H.P. Blavatsky, another messenger of the Himalayan Brotherhood: ‘The writer of the present is old; her life is well-nigh worn out, and she may be summoned “home” any day and almost any hour.’2 The masters presumably saw Saint-Germain’s mission largely as a failure because they had hoped it would prevent more of the violence and bloodshed that accompanied the transition from feudal, aristocratic society, dominated by an absolute monarchy and dogmatic Church, to the new industrialized society, characterized by greater personal and political liberty.

The remarks by KH strongly imply that Saint-Germain did in fact die in Germany during the period of his close friendship with Prince Carl, though they could conceivably also be interpreted to mean that he merely retired from public work and returned ‘home’ in his physical body.

There are several stories about Saint-Germain being seen after his presumed death in 1784. Some sources say that he attended an occult conference in Wilhelmsbad in February 1785, and that in April 1785 he attended the convention of the Philalètes (‘lovers of truth’) in Paris as a delegate of the Freemasons, along with Cagliostro, Saint-Martin and Mesmer.3 The Wilhelmsbad conference was supposedly intended to ‘bring about a conciliation between the various sects of the Rosicrucians, the Necromantists, the Cabalists, the Illuminati, the Humanitarians’ and to prepare for the convention in Paris. There is some confusion here, because the convention in Paris actually began on 15 February 1785 and ended on 26 May. The convention of Freemasons in Wilhelmsbad took place three years earlier,4 and Saint-Germain is not known to have attended.

In any event, and as already mentioned, there was another Saint-Germain – Robert-François Quesnay de Saint-Germain, a Mason and grandson of Mme de Pompadour’s physician François Quesnay. In 1781 this Saint-Germain founded a Club d’Illuminés in Paris, at the address of the Lodge Les Amis Réunis, within which the Rite des Philalètes was created.5 So this could be the Saint-Germain who attended the meeting in Paris – but note that the actual list of participants does not include the name ‘Saint-Germain’!6

In the forged and largely fictitious Souvenirs sur Marie-Antoinette et la cour de Versailles, published in 1836, Countess d’Adhémar, the supposed author, reports that ‘the Count de Châlons ... on returning from his Venetian embassy in 1788, told me of his having spoken to the Comte de Saint-Germain in the Place Saint Marc the day before he left Venice to go on an embassy to Portugal’.7

She also says that she herself saw Saint-Germain several times after 1784. The first time was in 1789; she describes how Saint-Germain sent her a letter telling her to meet him at a church. She says he looked just as he had in 1760. He stated that he had come from China and Japan, and next had to travel to Sweden to prevent a great crime. He predicted the murder of the French Queen and the complete ruin of the Bourbons, but said he could do nothing to prevent this because ‘my hands are tied by one stronger than myself’. He also said the Countess would see him five more times. According to a handwritten note attached to the original manuscript of the book and dated 12 May 1821, she saw him at the execution of Queen Marie-Antoinette on 16 October 1793; during the coup of 18 Brumaire, on 9 November 1799 (when Napoleon seized power); the day following the killing of the Duke d’Enghien (an opponent of Napoleon) on 21 March 1804; in January 1813; and on 13 February 1820, the eve of the murder of the Duke of Berry (the younger son of the future Charles X of France).8 The (real) Countess died in 1822.

In Blavatsky’s opinion, if Saint-Germain really died in 1784, he would not have been buried quietly, but with the great pomp and ceremony befitting his rank. On the other hand, it could be argued that his quiet burial was fully in keeping with his secluded lifestyle and low public profile in his final years. Writing in The Theosophist in 1881, Blavatsky cites ‘alleged positive proof’ that he was still living several years after 1784:

He is said to have had a most important private conference with the Empress of Russia in 1785 or 1786, and to have appeared to the Princesse de Lamballe when she stood before the tribunal, a few moments before she was struck down with a bullet, and a butcher-boy cut off her head; and to Jeanne du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV, as she waited on her scaffold at Paris the stroke of the guillotine in the Days of Terror, of 1793.9

Rudolph Gräffer tells a rather wild tale about meeting Saint-Germain in Vienna in 1788, 1789 or 1790. He and others allegedly witnessed the ‘man of wonders’ write simultaneously with both hands and when the two sheets were placed on top of one another the writing was found to be exactly the same. Saint-Germain then launches into the following dramatic monologue:

To-morrow night I am off; I am much needed in Constantinople; then in England, there to prepare two inventions which you will have in the next century – trains and steamboats. These will be needed in Germany. The seasons will gradually change – first the spring, then the summer. It is the gradual cessation of time itself, as the announcement of the end of the cycle. I see it all; astrologers and meteorologists know nothing, believe me; one needs to have studied in the Pyramids as I have studied. 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 [i.e. around 1873-75] will people again set eyes on me. Farewell, I love you.10

It is difficult to take this sort of drivel seriously. Even Cooper-Oakley says, ‘It is to be regretted that Gräffer’s florid account opens the door to a slight suspicion of charlatanry’. But the charlatanry surely belongs to Gräffer alone.

If Saint-Germain did die in 1784 it would be quite possible for a mahatma to project his mayavi-rupa (thought-body), make it assume the appearance and other characteristics of Saint-Germain, and appear to whoever he wanted. However, the stories about his postmortem appearances do not come from credible witnesses.


As noted earlier, Saint-Germain had promised to leave Prince Carl a sealed letter if he died before Carl returned from Cassel. In his memoirs, written between December 1816 and April 1817, Carl says he did not find any letter, and wonders whether it had been ‘confided to unfaithful hands’; it is possible he found it after publication of his memoirs. The ‘cyphered manuscript’ to which KH refers could be a different document altogether. Since Carl was a Mason and knew how to keep a secret, there is no reason to expect him to mention it. After Saint-Germain’s death, Carl became Grand Master of all the lodges in Denmark. He also had a small inner group to which he gave special information from an ‘unknown superior’ whom he had met in the flesh and came to know well.1

Blavatsky refers to ‘the cypher Rosicrucian manuscript left by Count St. Germain’, saying that it fully describes the location of the mythical Garden of Eden.2 In December 1879 she spoke of

a curious manuscript belonging to a Fellow of the Theosophical Society in Germany, a learned mystic, who tells us that the document is already on its way to India. It is a sort of diary, written in those mystical characters, half ciphers, half alphabet, adopted by the Rosicrucians during the previous two centuries, and the key to which is now possessed by only a very few mystics. Its author is the famous and mysterious Count de Saint-Germain ...3

Blavatsky also presents certain teachings on numbers and their mystical significance which she attributes to ‘a MS. supposed to be by “St. Germain” ’ and ‘St. Germain’s MS.’; she shows how the teachings resemble the thinking of Pythagoras, who ‘brought his wisdom from India’.4

Blavatsky says that nearly all the secrets of esoteric Masonry have disappeared since Elias Ashmole (who died in 1692) and his immediate successors. ‘Our greatest secrets,’ she says, ‘used to be taught in the Masonic lodges the world over’, but ‘what remained written in secret manuscripts ... was reduced to ashes between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century in England, as well as on the continent.’5 Writing in March 1889, she reports that an aged ‘brother’, a great kabbalist, had just died in London whose grandfather, a renowned Mason, was an intimate friend of the Count of Saint-Germain during the latter’s visit to England in 1760:

The Count de Saint-Germain left in the hands of this Mason certain documents relating to the history of Masonry, and containing the key to more than one misunderstood mystery. He did so on the condition that these documents would become the secret heritage of all those descendants of the Kabbalists who became Masons. These papers, however, were of value to but two Masons: the father and the son who has just died, and they will be of no use to anyone else in Europe. Before his death, the precious documents were left with an Oriental (a Hindu) who was commissioned to transmit them to a certain person who would come to Amritsar, City of Immortality, to claim them.6

According to Blavatsky, in Europe a single copy of the Vatican manuscripts of the Kabbala is said to have been in the possession of Saint-Germain. She says that the parchment contains the most complete exposition of how higher intelligences – who were later collectively turned into a creative God – fashioned the organic universe, and includes the views of the Luciferians and other Gnostics. She adds that in it the ‘seven suns of life’ (solar logoi, dhyani-chohans) – only four of which are mentioned in public editions of the Kabbala – are given in the order they are found in the Hindu doctrine of the sapta-surya (‘seven suns’), indicating that the teaching originated in ‘the Secret Doctrine of the Aryans’.7

The authorship of the notable work La Très Sainte Trinosophie (The Most Holy Trinosophia / The Most Holy Threefold Wisdom) is controversial.8 It was allegedly authored by either the Count of Saint-Germain or Count Alessandro di Cagliostro. The 96-page manuscript is in the possession of the French library at Troyes. It is handwritten, mainly in French, but also contains letters, words and phrases in several other languages, figures resembling Egyptian hieroglyphics, a few words in characters resembling cuneiform, and several pages at the end in cipher. Its poetic prose is full of masonic and kabbalistic symbols, as are the drawings with which it is richly illustrated. The work deals in a veiled and allegorical manner with the mysteries of initiation.

The front cover. (

Illustration for the 12th and final section.

The first fly-leaf of the manuscript bears a note saying that it belonged to the famous Cagliostro and was found by Massena in Rome at the Grand Inquisitor’s. A stuck-on note, signed by a philosopher calling himself ‘I.B.C. Philotaume’, says it is the sole existing copy of a work by Saint-Germain. Manly Hall believes it was indeed written by Saint-Germain, and was seized by the Inquisition when Cagliostro was arrested in Rome in 1789. Jean Overton Fuller, on the other hand, suggests that it was written by Cagliostro while incarcerated in the Castel Sant’Angelo.9

Section 1 of the manuscript begins: ‘It is in the retreat of criminals in the dungeons of the Inquisition your friend writes these lines which are to serve for your instruction.’ The author goes on to say that his body is ‘broken by torture’. Unlike Cagliostro, Saint-Germain was never a prisoner of the Inquisition. Manly Hall, however, see these references as symbolic: the first chapter ‘depicts the “relapsed” state of the human soul’, the dungeon being ‘the sphere of man’s animal consciousness’; ‘The physical world, dominated by inquisitional impulses, constitutes the soul’s torture chamber and house of testing.’10

Manly Hall wonders whether the work is in any way connected with the Masonic brotherhood of the Trinosophists, founded in 1805 by the distinguished Belgian Freemason Jean-Marie Ragon. He says that the Egyptianized interpretation of Freemasonic symbolism so evident in the writings of Ragon and other French Masonic scholars of the same period is also present in the figures and text of the manuscript.11 According to H.P. Blavatsky, ‘It is also told, confidentially, that the famous founder of the Lodge of Trinosophists, J.M. Ragon, was also initiated into many secrets by an Oriental, in Belgium, and some say that he knew Saint-Germain in his youth.’12

The Manly Palmer Hall Collection of Alchemical Manuscripts at the Getty Research Library contains two triangular books (MS 209 and MS 210), similar in content but not entirely identical, whose title page mentions Saint-Germain. MS 209 has 31 leaves (of which four are blank), and MS 210 has 24 leaves; each of the three sides of the pages measures about nine inches. With the exception of the title page, the books are written in cipher. Iona Miller writes:

The cipher itself is quite simple, belonging to the class found in Masonic documents, and decodes into French. ... The writing itself belongs to a class known as Grimoire or Manuals of Ceremonial Magic. ... The balance of the manuscript is devoted to the consecration of magical implements and prayers to spirits. ... Most of the formulas are magical rather than alchemical and so involved in obscure symbolism and Cabalistic names as to be impractical to the modern reader. ... It is not known for sure if St. Germain actually wrote these rites or adapted them from an older magical text in his possession.13

We do not know for certain whether the Count of Saint-Germain had anything do with these manuscripts.

First page of the manuscript: ‘By the gift of the most wise Comte de St.-Germain
who passed through the circle of the earth.’ (

A page in cipher.


The neotheosophical tradition of Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater shows several fundamental differences with the theosophical teachings put forward by H.P. Blavatsky and the mahatmas, and other theosophical teachers such as William Quan Judge and Gottfried de Purucker.1 There are few people nowadays who think there was no self-deception at all involved in Besant and Leadbeater’s various clairvoyant observations – e.g. their descriptions of the past lives of themselves and their associates, their meetings with mahatmas and initiatory experiences on the astral plane, and their descriptions of the inhabitants of other planets in our solar system.2 Leadbeater’s statements about Saint-Germain, which were endorsed by Besant, are outlined below.3

They both identify the Count of Saint-Germain known to history as Master Rákóczy, or The Count, who nowadays usually lives in an ancient castle in Eastern Europe. The Hungarian adept who was one of the masters who helped Blavatsky to write Isis Unveiled is said to be the same mahatma.4 Drawing on his clairvoyant observations/fantasies, Leadbeater lists The Count’s previous incarnations: he was Francis Bacon in the 17th century, Robertus the monk in the 16th century (there is a Robert the Monk who is famous as a chronicler of the First Crusade, but he lived in the 12th century), Hunyadi Janos (a general and Regent-Governor of the Kingdom of Hungary) in the 15th century, Christian Rosenkreuz in the 14th century (the lives of Hunyadi Janos and Rosenkreuz probably overlapped in time), and Roger Bacon in the 13th century. Before that he was supposedly the Neoplatonist Proclus, and before that Saint Alban.

Leadbeater claims that he once met The Count in the flesh, walking down the Corso in Rome, ‘dressed just as any Italian gentleman might be’: ‘He took me up into the gardens on the Pincian Hill, and we sat for more than an hour talking about the Society and its work ...’ He describes The Count as ‘not especially tall’, with an olive-tanned face, close-cut brown hair, and a short, pointed beard. He is ‘very upright and military in His bearing’, and has ‘the exquisite courtesy and dignity of a grand seigneur of the eighteenth century’.5

Master Rákóczy is said to be one of the seven masters responsible for the ‘seven rays’, the others being Kuthumi, Morya, Jesus, Hilarion, Serapis, and the Venetian. He is supposedly the head of the seventh ray (associated with ceremonial magic and ordered service).

He works to a large extent through ceremonial magic, and employs the services of great Angels, who obey Him implicitly and rejoice to do His will. ... In his various rituals He wears wonderful and many-coloured robes and jewels. ... He is also much concerned with the political situation in Europe and the growth of modern physical science.6

Whoever it is that Leadbeater claimed to have met in Italy, it is hardly likely to be the Saint-Germain who eyewitnesses said was ailing and suffering from rheumatism in the period leading up to his presumed death in 1784. These eyewitness accounts give the lie to Besant’s claim that in the early 20th century Saint-Germain was ‘still living in the same body the perennial youth of which astonished the observers of the 18th century’.7

This painting, by an unknown artist, supposedly shows Blavatsky and ‘her three teachers’ (Kuthumi, Morya, and Saint-Germain). However, Blavatsky never referred in print to ‘Master Saint-Germain’ or ‘Master Rákóczy’, and never called Saint-Germain her teacher.

The ‘ascended master’ craze warrants only a very brief mention. In 1930, Guy Ballard (1878-1939) claimed to have met ‘ascended master Saint-Germain’ on Mount Shasta. He supposedly took Ballard and his wife to a convention of Venusians in the Grand Tetons. Ballard founded the ‘I AM’ Activity, and he and his wife and son became Saint-Germain’s ‘sole accredited messengers’ and published many ‘channelled’ messages from him. Nowadays, numerous channellers and cults claim to be receiving messages from ‘Saint-Germain’ and other ‘ascended masters’, usually living in higher realms. Many related products are available for sale, such as a silk bookmark ‘infused with Saint-Germain’s energy’, and various sprays and essences to facilitate ‘ascension to higher realms’ and communication with Saint-Germain. Donations are gratefully received ...

‘Ascended Master Saint-Germain’

‘Ascended Master Saint-Germain’ with a different hairstyle.


1. H.P. Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary, Los Angeles, CA: Theosophy Co., 1973 (1892), p. 309.

2. H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, TPH, 1950-91, 4:607.

3. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 5:144-5. According to theosophy, earth is currently midway through the fourth of the seven rounds of evolutionary development, and humanity is in its fifth root-race. The mahatmas have already reached the state of consciousness that most of humanity will not attain until far into the fifth round, while in a few rare cases, such as Gautama the Buddha, they have become sixth-rounders. More numerous are those who have reached a state of intellectual development that will characterize the early stages of the fifth round (G. de Purucker, Fountain-Source of Occultism, TUP, 1974, pp. 512-6).

4. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 3:128-9.

5. The Theosophical Glossary, p. 309.

6. Jean Overton Fuller, The Comte de Saint Germain: Last scion of the House of Rákóczy, London: East-West Publications, 1988, pp. 107-8, 136, 279, 303.

7. This is said to have happened in the case of two former leaders of the Theosophical Society: William Quan Judge and Gottfried de Purucker. See Sven Eek & Boris de Zirkoff, ‘William Quan Judge: his life and work’, in: William Quan Judge, Echoes of the Orient, 1st ed., San Diego, CA: Point Loma Publications (PLP), 1975, 1:xix-lxviii / 2nd ed., TUP, 2009-10, 1:xvii-lxvii; Dick Slusser, ‘An esoteric look at William Q. Judge’, The High Country Theosophist, Aug 1991, pp. 1-7; Dick Slusser, ‘The mystery of G. de Purucker’, The High Country Theosophist, Jul 1991, pp. 1-7.

8. A mahatma can temporarily ‘overshadow’ an individual and speak or work through them directly, as sometimes happened with H.P. Blavatsky, e.g. during the writing of Isis Unveiled (H.S. Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, TPH, 1900-1941, 1:202-54). The same mahatma could have overshadowed Francis Rákóczy (a noble, humble, unselfish and deeply religious individual) and later his son, Saint-Germain, but this would probably not explain how Saint-Germain could access his dead father’s memory.

When did he die?

1. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, TUP, 2nd ed., 1975, p. 280 / TPH, chron. ed., 1993, pp. 70-1. Note that if Saint-Germain really died at Eckernförde on 27 February 1784, he did not die in the presence of Prince Carl, who was then in Cassel and did not return home until October 1784.

2. Fountain-Source of Occultism, p. 682; Daniel H. Caldwell (comp.), The Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky, Kessinger, 2004, p. 55.

3. Isabel Cooper-Oakley, The Comte de St. Germain: The secret of kings, original ed. 1912, reprint, Escondido, CA: The Book Tree, 1999, pp. 134, 137.

4.Wilhelmsbad, Congress of’,

5. Fuller, p. 299.

6. ‘Wer war “Graf Saint-Germain”: eine historisch-kritische Bestandsaufnahme’, Jahrbuch der Heimatgemeinschaft Eckernförde e.V., no. 5, 2004, p. 23. Baron von Gleichen’s name does appear on the list of participants, and in the chapter of his memoirs dealing with Saint-Germain, he does not say that the latter attended the Paris convention (p. 39).

7. Cooper-Oakley, p. 136.

8. Cooper-Oakley, pp. 54, 74-93.

9. ‘Count de Saint-Germain’, Blavatsky Collected Writings, 3:125-9 (p. 129). The standard account of the death of Princess de Lamballe (Princess Marie Louise of Savoy) is that after appearing before a tribunal on 3 September 1792, she was ‘thrown to a group of men who killed her within minutes. Some reports allege that she was raped and that her breasts were cut off, in addition to other bodily mutilations, and that her head was cut off and stuck on a pike’ ( Jeanne du Barry was executed on 8 December 1793.
     After the words quoted above, Blavatsky continues: ‘A respected member of our Society, residing in Russia, possesses some highly important documents about the Count de Saint-Germain, and for the vindication of the memory of one of the grandest characters of modern times, it is hoped that the long-needed but missing links in the chain of his chequered history, may speedily be given to the world through these columns.’ Blavatsky is probably referring to the (forged) Souvenirs, a copy of which was in the library of her aunt, Nadyezhda Andreyevna de Fadeyev. In her book on Saint-Germain, Isabel Cooper-Oakley includes translations of several extracts from the manuscript, obtained from the copy in Fadeyev’s possession (see Cooper-Oakley, pp. 53-4).
     In an article written in 1875, Blavatsky said that the French Revolution of 1793 was ‘predicted in every detail by the Count de St.-Germain, in an autograph MS., now in possession of the descendants of the Russian nobleman to whom he gave it’ (Blavatsky Collected Writings, 1:107fn). Blavatsky’s great-grandfather Prince Pavel Dolgorukii, who had belonged to the Rite of the Strict Observance, was rumoured to have met Cagliostro and Saint-Germain (K. Paul Johnson, The Masters Revealed, State University of New York Press, 1994, p. 4). Her aunt Nadyezhda was one of his descendants. But it sounds like Blavatsky is referring here to a manuscript in Saint-Germain’s own hand, not the handwritten Souvenirs. Either Blavatsky garbled her account, or her aunt also possessed another manuscript, written by Saint-Germain himself. The Souvenirs contain alleged prophecies by Saint-Germain about the French Revolution.
     In 1884 Blavatsky stayed with Countess d’Adhémar (a US citizen and descendant of the supposed author of the Souvenirs) and her husband at their residence at Enghien, just outside Paris. The Countess later told Cooper-Oakley that there were documents relating to Saint-Germain in her family papers (in the US) (Cooper-Oakley, p. 53fn).

10. Cooper-Oakley, pp. 144-5. The first working steamboat was invented in France around 1774, and the steamboat era properly got under way in America in 1787.


1. Fuller, p. 305.

2. H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, TUP, 1977 (1888), 2:202; H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, TUP, 1972 (1877), 1:575.

3. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 2:193.

4. The Secret Doctrine, 2:582-3.

5. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 11:183.

6. Ibid., 11:184

7. The Secret Doctrine, 2:239.

8. Manly P. Hall (ed.), The Most Holy Trinosophia of the Comte de St.-Germain, Philosophical Research Society, 1933; reprint: Aziloth Books, 2011.

9. Fuller, p. 309.

10. The Most Holy Trinosophia of the Comte de St.-Germain, 1933, p. 94 / 2011, p. 71.

11. Ibid., 1933, p. 30 / 2011, pp. 23-4. He also notes that the teachings on number symbolism that Blavatsky attributes to a manuscript by Saint-Germain ‘are in substance similar to Puissance des nombres d’après Pythagore by Jean Marie Ragon’ (pp. 27-8 / 21).

12. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 11:184. Ragon was born in the last quarter of the 18th century, was initiated in the Lodge Réunion des Amis du Nord in 1803, and died in 1866, so he would have been only a child if he did meet Saint-Germain, assuming the latter died in 1784 (

13. Triangle book of St. Germain, by Iona Miller, 2012, Provenance, Translations.


1. Margaret Thomas (comp.), Theosophy versus Neo-Theosophy, 2003 online edition.

2. See ‘Leadbeater, Charles Webster’, Theosophical Encyclopedia, Quezon City, Philippines: TPH, 2006, pp. 367-73; Gregory Tiller, The Elder Brother: A biography of Charles Webster Leadbeater, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.

3. C.W. Leadbeater, The Masters and the Path, TPH, 1925, pp. 11, 44, 269, 286-8, diagram 4. The corresponding page numbers in the abridged 4th edition (1983) are pp. 7, 26, 187, 196-7, 203, but some of the material on ‘The Count’ is omitted.

4. Henry S. Olcott, too, believed that Saint-Germain was one of the masters who collaborated in the writing of Isis Unveiled (‘The Count de Saint-Germain and H.P.B. – two messengers of the White Lodge’, The Theosophist, July 1905).

5. The Masters and the Path, 1925, pp. 11, 44. Doug Skinner mentions the coincidence that in September 1923 the infamous occultist and ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley wrote in his diary: ‘Shall I “become” Comte de St Germain with a wig & beard – and start a New Legend?’ (‘The Count of St.-Germain’, Fortean Times, June 2001.)

6. The Masters and the Path, 1925, pp. 286-7.

7. Preface to Cooper-Oakley, p. xiii.

11. Cagliostro and Mesmer

Saint-Germain, Cagliostro and Mesmer were all 18th-century messengers of the Himalayan Brotherhood, just as H.P. Blavatsky was their messenger in the 19th century.1 KH says that Saint-Germain and Cagliostro were both ‘gentlemen of the highest education and achievements – and presumably Europeans’, but were regarded at the time, and still are by posterity, as ‘impostors, confederates, jugglers’.2 He condemns the ‘conceit and mental obscuration’ of the academics who ‘persecuted Mesmer and branded St. Germain as an impostor’.3

Born in Germany in 1734, Franz Anton Mesmer4 studied at the University of Vienna and became a doctor of medicine in 1766. In 1773 he began treating patients with magnets, but within a few years he stopped using magnets, believing that his cures involved the transfer of a subtle fluid or life-force, which he called ‘animal magnetism’. In 1777 he left Vienna and the following year he set up practice in Paris. His fame grew rapidly and within a few years he was treating several thousand patients annually and with great success.

His success infuriated the medical establishment, and as his clientele was mainly drawn from the upper middle classes, he was accused of extracting cash by exploiting their gullibility. In 1784 a commission made up of members of the French Faculty of Medicine and the Royal Academy of Sciences declared that his cures were entirely attributable to his patients’ imagination; they did bother to interview Mesmer during their investigation. He died in 1815, resentful of the fact that his discovery had not been officially recognized and that some of his former disciples had distorted his teaching. The common practice of equating mesmerism with hypnotism is a big mistake.5

Helena Blavatsky describes Mesmer as follows:

The famous physician who rediscovered and applied practically that magnetic fluid in man which was called animal magnetism and since then Mesmerism. ... He was an initiated member of the Brotherhoods of the Fratres Lucis6 and of Lukshoor (or Luxor), or the Egyptian Branch of the latter. It was the Council of ‘Luxor’ which selected him – according to the orders of the ‘Great Brotherhood’ – to act in the 18th century as their usual pioneer, sent in the last quarter of every century to enlighten a small portion of the Western nations in occult lore. It was St. Germain who supervised the development of events in this case; and later Cagliostro was commissioned to help, but having made a series of mistakes, more or less fatal, he was recalled. ... Mesmer founded the ‘Order of Universal Harmony’ in 1783, in which presumably only animal magnetism was taught, but which in reality expounded the tenets of Hippocrates, the methods of the ancient Asclepieia, the Temples of Healing, and many other occult sciences.7

Franz Anton Mesmer

There are several stories about Mesmer having known Saint-Germain. In an article written in 1908, A. Mailly claims that Mesmer knew Saint-Germain well from his stay in Paris, and asked him to come to Vienna so he could study animal magnetism with him; Saint-Germain supposedly stayed there secretly, providing him with a great deal of help, and Mesmer wrote down his teachings there.8 It is not clear what the evidence is for these statements.

Rudolph Gräffer claims that Mesmer met Saint-Germain in Vienna, sometime before he moved to Paris, a day after supposedly receiving a letter sent by Saint-Germain from The Hague, and he proceeds to ‘quote’ the conversation between them. Saint-Germain promised to help Mesmer with his ideas about magnetism. They discussed how to obtain ‘the elements of the elixir of life by the employment of magnetism in a series of permutations’. After talking for three hours they allegedly arranged a further meeting in Paris. We have already seen that Gräffer’s tales are rather wild, but that does not rule out the possibility that Saint-Germain and Mesmer did meet in Vienna, Paris or elsewhere.9

Count Alessandro di Cagliostro. (

Cagliostro (pronounced: cally-ostro) was an occultist, Freemason, philanthropist, and healer. HPB calls him ‘a famous adept’ whose ‘real history has never been told’.

His fate was that of every human being who proves that he knows more than do his fellow-creatures; he was ‘stoned to death’ by persecutions, lies, and infamous accusations, and yet he was the friend and adviser of the highest and mightiest of every land he visited. He was finally tried and sentenced in Rome as a heretic, and was said to have died during his confinement in a State prison [in 1795].10

His real name was supposedly Giuseppe (Joseph) Balsamo, born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1743, who became a notorious thief and was finally banished from Palermo, yet was later accepted into the highest social circles. However, the identification of Cagliostro with Balsamo derives from the Inquisition, and seems to have been intended to blacken his name.

In his own account of his life,11 Cagliostro says he does not know the place of his birth or the identity of his parents. He relates that, under the name of Acharat, he spent his childhood at Medina in Arabia, in the palace of the Mufti Salahayn, the chief of the Muslims. His tutor, Althotas, taught him botany, chemistry and other sciences.12 Althotas told him he had been left an orphan when only three months old, and that his parents were Christians of noble birth. At the age of 12, he accompanied Althotas to Mecca, where they stayed three years. He then travelled to Egypt and, by the time he was 18, he had visited the principal kingdoms of Africa and Asia.

In 1766 Cagliostro accompanied his tutor to the Isle of Malta, where he first assumed European clothes and the name of Count Cagliostro. He stayed in the palace of Pinto de Fonsesca, the then Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. After the death of his tutor he began his travels in Europe. In Rome, in 1770, he married Seraphina Feliciani, a devout Roman Catholic who could neither read nor write. Cagliostro’s travels took him to Spain, Portugal, England, Holland, Courland, Germany, Russia, Poland, France and Italy. He sometimes used other names (e.g. Comte Starat, Comte Fénix, Marquis d’Anna). He spent his time helping the poor, curing the sick, meeting high-ranking members of society, and conducting Masonic work. Most of the time Cagliostro seemed to possess an endless source of money, and Charles Sotheran suggests that the funds of secret societies were placed at his disposal.13

Cagliostro was admitted to the Esperance Lodge of the Order of the Strict Observance in London in 1777. He founded his own Egyptian Rite and in many places he established lodges of Egyptian Masonry, with varying degrees of success; contrary to Masonic custom, the lodges admitted women. His mission was to purify and elevate Masonry, and engraft Eastern philosophy onto it; without such a union, says Blavatsky, ‘Western Masonry is a corpse without a soul’.14 Sometimes he performed occult phenomena, but he found that this only led to ever greater demands for more wonders. For Cardinal de Rohan, he predicted the exact hour of the death of Empress Maria Theresa. Rohan said he had witnessed Cagliostro produce gold in the alchemist’s crucible on several occasions.15

During the three years Cagliostro spent at Strasbourg in Alsace, from 1780 to 1783, his house was constantly besieged by the sick and suffering. He treated 15,000 patients, only three of whom died. He never charged a penny, and often gave money to poor patients so that they could buy food and pay off debts.16 Many cases had been declared incurable by orthodox physicians; for instance, it is well attested that he cured the Marquis de la Salle and the Prince de Soubise of gangrene after their physicians had given up on them.17 Nevertheless, he was commonly labelled a ‘quack’ and every effort was made to undermine his work. Cagliostro prepared his own medicines and elixirs, and was also familiar with animal magnetism. A key element in his success was his ability to instil hope and confidence in those he treated.

His work inevitably aroused opposition from unscrupulous, greedy and envious people. For instance, during his visit to England in 1776-77, thieves and corrupt justice officials robbed him of a huge sum of money, valuable occult manuscripts, and his store of drugs and chemicals.18 On his second visit to England in 1786-87, he had to spend part of his time defending himself in print against his enemies, after a series of slanderous articles appeared in the Courrier de l’Europe.19

There is a tradition that Cagliostro was a pupil of Saint-Germain, though no contemporary document has been found that confirms this. A ‘memoir’ by Cagliostro – actually a hoax by Jean-Pierre-Louis de Luchet (1785) – presents an account of the initiation of Cagliostro and Seraphina by Saint-Germain into the Rosy Cross in a grotto in Schleswig-Holstein; they were supposedly taught that the art of governing people is never to tell them the truth. Jean Overton Fuller comments:

Plainly, the narration is fictitious. Yet de Luchet had been from 1777 librarian and chamberlain to Frederick II of Hesse, the father of ... Prince Carl, and may have picked up some indication that the couple had been in his employer’s son’s domains, and fleshed it with his imagination.20

From 15 February to 26 May 1785 a convention of Freemasons and occultists from France, Germany, Switzerland and other countries was held in Paris by the Lodge of the Philalèthes. Cagliostro was one of the participants. He had promised to take charge of the Lodge in order to reform and purify it but withdrew his offer because the Philalèthes rejected his demands: that they adopt ‘true Masonry’ (i.e. the Egyptian Rite) and consign the ‘vain accumulation of their archives’ to the flames; this was necessary, said Cagliostro, because ‘it is only on the ruins of the Tower of Confusion that the Temple of Truth can be erected’.21

In 1785 Cagliostro became embroiled in the diamond necklace affair in France.22 By means of deception, the Countess Jeanne de la Motte-Valois, posing as a confidante of Queen Marie-Antoinette, convinced Cardinal de Rohan that the Queen, with whom he wished to gain favour, wanted him to secretly purchase a diamond necklace worth 1,600,000 livres on her behalf. The necklace was delivered to de la Motte, but the jewellers were unable to collect the payment from the Queen because it turned out she knew nothing about it. De la Motte sold the individual diamonds and she and her husband pocketed the money. Rohan showed Cagliostro a letter in which the Queen had promised to pay by instalments, but Cagliostro told him it was a forgery.

In August 1785 Rohan, Cagliostro, the de la Mottes, and several other individuals were arrested and consigned to the Bastille for many months. At the trial, Cagliostro mounted a brilliant defence and he and Rohan were acquitted. Mme de la Motte was found guilty and sentenced to be branded with a hot iron, publicly whipped while naked, and imprisoned for life. She later escaped to England, but in 1791 the sight of several constables who wanted to talk to her about a debt led her to jump out of a window and she was seriously injured. She died two months later, on the anniversary of Cagliostro’s arrest.

The necklace affair is sometimes said to have contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution because it highlighted the Queen’s wealth at a time when the poor were in need of bread. After his acquittal, Cagliostro was forced to leave France. Thousands of people from all walks of lives turned up in Boulogne to bid farewell to ‘the divine Cagliostro’ (as he was popularly known) when he set sail for London. There, he wrote an open letter to the French people, denouncing the cruelty and injustice of the Bastille, where people could be locked away for life without trial by means of a ‘lettre de cachet’ signed by the King, and he looked forward to a time when the prison would be turned into a public promenade.23 The letter caused a great sensation, and may have been a factor in the storming of the Bastille – the first blow struck by the people during the 1789 revolution, three years later. If so, it was Cagliostro rather than Saint-Germain (as is sometimes claimed) who helped to precipitate the revolution.24

In May 1789 Cagliostro and his wife arrived in Rome. His enemies sent two Jesuits who pretended to be converts to Egyptian Masonry. On 27 December Cagliostro was arrested for practising Masonry – an offence in the Papal States. He was imprisoned in the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, where he was manacled and chained by the neck. His wife was also arrested and was induced to inform on him and ‘confess’ everything; she died in a convent a few years later. Cagliostro’s trial before the Holy Inquisition lasted 15 months. On 7 April 1791, he was condemned to death. His ‘crimes’ included being a Freemason and a ‘heretic’. His papers, effects and Masonic paraphernalia were burned before enormous crowds of people, including his manuscript on Egyptian Masonry. Then a mysterious event occurred:

A stranger, never seen by any one before or after in the Vatican, appeared and demanded a private audience of the Pope, sending him by the Cardinal Secretary a word instead of a name. He was immediately received, but only stopped with the Pope for a few minutes. No sooner was he gone than his Holiness gave orders to commute the death sentence of the Count to that of imprisonment for life, in the fortress called the Castle of San Leo, and that the whole transaction should be conducted in great secrecy.25

In the Fortress of San Leo, Cagliostro’s captors, afraid he might escape, sometimes placed him in an ‘oubliette’ (a ‘place forgotten’), essentially a well, instead of his stone chamber. He was also physically tortured. He is reported to have produced a marvel at San Leo. He took a long rusty nail taken out of the floor and transformed it without the help of any instrument into a triangular stiletto, as smooth, brilliant and sharp as if it were made of the finest steel, except for the head of the nail, which was left intact to serve as a handle. The state secretary gave orders for it to be taken away from Cagliostro and brought to Rome, and to double the watch over him.26

The hilltop fortress of San Leo in the Apennine Mountains. In Cagliostro’s day, the only way to reach it was by being hoisted up in a kind of basket by means of ropes and pulleys.

Cagliostro is officially said to have died of apoplexy at San Leo on 26 August 1795.27 But Blavatsky denies that he died in the cells of the Inquisition.28

[T]here are Masons who to this day tell strange stories in Italy. Some say that Cagliostro escaped in an unaccountable way from his aerial prison, and thus forced his jailors to spread the news of his death and burial. Others maintain that he not only escaped, but, thanks to the Elixir of Life, still lives on, though over twice three score and ten years old!29

Commenting on Cagliostro’s life, Blavatsky says:

The chief cause of his life-troubles was his marriage with Lorenza [or Seraphina] Feliciani, a tool of the Jesuits; and two minor causes, his extreme good nature, and the blind confidence he placed in his friends, some of whom became traitors and his bitterest enemies. ...
    It was his connection with Eastern Occult Science, his knowledge of many secrets – deadly to the Church of Rome – that brought upon Cagliostro first the persecution of the Jesuits, and finally the rigour of the Church ...30

The Jesuits later spread the false rumour that he had been their spy, but there is no evidence he was ever involved in any political intrigue.

He was simply an Occultist and a Mason, and as such was allowed to suffer at the hands of those who, adding insult to injury, first tried to kill him by lifelong imprisonment and then spread the rumour that he had been their ignoble agent. ...
    There are many landmarks in Cagliostro’s biographies to show that he taught the Eastern doctrine of the ‘principles’ in man, of ‘God’ dwelling in man – as a potentiality in actu (the ‘Higher Self’) – and in every living thing and even atom – as a potentiality in posse, and that he served the Masters of a Fraternity he would not name because on account of his pledge he could not.31

The Vatican document about Cagliostro’s trial and condemnation is the basis for assuming that Giuseppe Balsamo and Cagliostro are the same person. G. de Purucker says that there is certainly a mysterious connection between the two men.

How strange is it that Giuseppe Balsamo is the Italian form of the name Joseph Balm, suggesting a healing influence; and that ‘Balsamo,’ whether rightly or wrongly, can be traced to a compound Semitic word which means ‘Lord of the Sun’ – ‘Son of the Sun’; while the Hebrew name Joseph signifies ‘increase’ or ‘multiplication.’ How strange it is that Cagliostro’s first teacher was called Althotas, a curious word containing the Arabic definite article ‘the,’ suffixed with a common Greek ending ‘as,’ and containing the Egyptian word Thoth, who was the Greek Hermes – the Initiator! How strange it is that Cagliostro was called an ‘orphan,’ the ‘unhappy child of Nature’! Every initiate in one sense is just that; every initiate is an ‘orphan’ without father, without mother, because mystically speaking every initiate is self-born. How strange it is that other names under which Cagliostro is stated to have lived at various times have in each instance a singular esoteric signification! ...
    [T]o every Cagliostro who appears there is always a Balsamo. Closely accompanying and indeed inseparable from every Messenger there is his ‘Shadow.’32 With every Christ appears a Judas.33

Blavatsky says that Cagliostro’s end ‘was not utterly undeserved, as he had been untrue to his vows in some respects, had fallen from his state of chastity and yielded to ambition and selfishness’.34 G. de Purucker comments:

Cagliostro’s failure was not one of merely vulgar human passion, nor was it one of vulgar human ambition, as ordinary men understand these terms. ... [T]here are at times more tragedies in the life of a Messenger than you could easily understand, for a Messenger is sworn to obedience in both directions – obedience to the general law of his karma from which he may not turn aside a single step, and obedience equally strict to the Law of those who sent him forth. ...
    Be, therefore, charitable in your judgment of that great and unhappy man, Cagliostro!35


1. W.Q. Judge, The Ocean of Theosophy, TUP, 1973 (1893), pp. 11-2; W.Q. Judge, Echoes of the Orient, 1st ed., PLP, 1975-87, 2:27, 286-7, 349 / 2nd ed., TUP, 2009-10, 2:31, 301, 365-6.

2. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, TUP, 2nd ed., 1975, p. 306 / TPH, chron. ed., 1993, p. 290.

3. Ibid., 2nd ed., p. 281 / chron. ed., p. 71.

4. Richard Milton, Forbidden Science: Suppressed research that could change our lives, London: Fourth Estate, 1994, pp. 62-4; Franz Mesmer,; H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, TUP, 1972 (1877), 1:171-7.

5. In ‘mesmeric’ or ‘magnetic’ healing, the healer conveys prana or vitality from their own body to the diseased person, usually by stroking the afflicted organ or part of the body. Provided the magnetiser is healthy and morally upright, no harm can be done. The cure is sometimes permanent, but often only temporary. In the case of hypnotism, the hypnotist subjugates the hypnotee’s mind to his own will; this is almost always bad as it weakens the will of the person concerned. (See G. de Purucker, Studies in Occult Philosophy, TUP, 1973, pp. 622-5, 652-4; H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, TPH, 1950-91, 12:214-28.)

6. According to Kenneth Mackenzie, the Fratres Lucis (Brothers of Light) was a mystic order established in Florence in 1498. Its members included Pasqualis, Cagliostro, Swedenborg, St. Martin, Eliphas Lévi and many other eminent mystics, who were very much persecuted by the Inquisition (H.P. Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary, Los Angeles, CA: Theosophy Co., 1973 (1892), p. 188).

7. The Theosophical Glossary, pp. 213-4.

8. Isabel Cooper-Oakley, The Comte de St. Germain: The secret of kings, original ed. 1912, reprint, Escondido, CA: The Book Tree, 1999, p. 158.

9. Ibid., pp. 138-40.

10. The Theosophical Glossary, p. 72.

11. The Theosophical Path, May 1932, pp. 417-28. This is part of a series of 19 articles on Cagliostro by Philip A. Malpas, which appeared in The Theosophical Path, v. 41, Apr 1932 to v. 45, Oct 1935, and in The Theosophical Forum, v. 8, Feb & Mar 1936.

12. Charles Sotheran, who was associated with numerous esoteric and Masonic societies and was a founding member of the Theosophical Society, says that Cagliostro was born in 1748, the offspring of Emanuel de Rohan, Sixty-eighth Grand Master of Malta, by a lady of Turkish extraction (Alessandro di Cagliostro: impostor or martyr?, New York: D.M. Bennett, 1875; electronic ed., 2008). He bases his biography of Cagliostro on ‘many manuscripts and historical documents not hitherto made public’ and information obtained through his ‘connection with various European secret societies of which Cagliostro was a member’ (p. 9). Sotheran calls Althotas ‘an erudite Greek, learned in all Oriental lore and science, but especially in the hidden Eastern mysteries of Theurgic Magic (magnetism and clairvoyance), Medicine and Chemistry (alchemy)’, and says that he had Cagliostro ‘initiated into the doctrines of the Eastern Illuminati and other philosophical fraternities’ (p. 10).

13. Alessandro di Cagliostro: impostor or martyr?, p. 41. G. de Purucker says that it is very rare for the Himalayan Brotherhood to provide money for the work carried out by its agents; this only happens in isolated cases: ‘Such was the case with Cagliostro and such was the case in even larger measure with him of whom you have heard under the name of the Count of Saint-Germain. They had certain and specific duties to perform and the treasuries were opened to them.’ (G. de Purucker, Esoteric Teachings, PLP, 1987, 2:113.)

14. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 1:310. In answer to a correspondent who wondered whether practical instruction along the lines of Cagliostro’s Egyptian Rite should be instituted in theosophical lodges, Blavatsky said that, unless the participants were utterly chaste and pure in body and mind, such a plan ‘would be far more likely to end in mediumship than adeptship’. The practical instruction offered by Cagliostro ‘brought direful suffering upon his head, and has left no marked traces behind to encourage a repetition in our days’ (ibid., 10:126-7).

15. Cagliostro,

16. The Theosophical Path, Apr 1933, pp. 526-7; Jul 1933, pp. 106-17.

17. The Theosophical Path, Oct 1933, pp. 235-47.

18. See Cagliostro’s ‘Letter to the English people’, The Theosophical Path, July 1932, pp. 101-20.

19. The Theosophical Path, Oct 1934, pp. 235-46; Jan 1935, pp. 373-84; Apr 1935, pp. 506-16.

20. Jean Overton Fuller, The Comte de Saint Germain: Last scion of the House of Rákóczy, London: East-West Publications, 1988, p. 307; see also Arthur E. Waite, The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross (1924), New York: University Books, n.d., p. 500.
      Sotheran says the alleged initiation took place soon after Cagliostro’s marriage, and that they stayed with Saint-Germain ‘at Sleswig in the palace of the Prince of Hesse Cassel, whom he had known formerly in Germany, and who had forced him to leave France and remain at his Court’ (Alessandro di Cagliostro: impostor or martyr?, p. 14). However, Cagliostro married in 1770 and Saint-Germain did not go to stay with Carl of Hesse-Cassel until the end of 1779, not long after they had first met.

21. ‘Was Cagliostro a “charlatan”?’, Blavatsky Collected Writings, 12:78-88 (p. 82). The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia says that Mesmer attended the convention, but Karl R.H. Frick says that Mesmer declined the invitation to attend (Karl R. H. Frick on The Philalèthes,; Ida Postma, ‘The birth of a new order’, Sunrise, Oct 1980).

22. The Theosophical Path, Jan 1934, pp. 389-99; Apr 1934, pp. 518-25; Jul 1934, pp. 89-102.

23. The Theosophical Path, Jul 1934, pp. 98-101.

24. Blavatsky writes: ‘[I]t is our firm conviction based on historical evidence and direct inferences from many of the Memoirs of those days that the French Revolution is due to one Adept. It is ... the Count de St. Germain – who brought about the just outbreak among the paupers, and put an end to the selfish tyranny of the French kings’ (Blavatsky Collected Writings, 6:19). The root causes of the revolution were, however, poverty, tyranny and injustice. Moreover, other sources (including the fictional memoirs of the Countess d’Adhémar) suggest that Saint-Germain wanted to promote peaceful change, and avoid revolution, not encourage it.

25. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 12:86-7.

26. Ibid., 12:87.

27. If Cagliostro really died in San Leo, says Blavatsky, ‘why should the custodians at the Castel Sant’Angelo of Rome show innocent tourists the little square hole in which Cagliostro is said to have been confined and “died”?’ (Blavatsky Collected Writings, 12:88). In a letter written in August 1885, Blavatsky writes: ‘In Rome, Darbargiri Nath went to the prison of Cagliostro at the Fort Sant Angelo, and remained in the terrible hole for more than an hour. What he did there, would give Mr. Hodgson the ground work for another scientific Report if he could only investigate the fact’ (The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, TUP, 1975 (1925), p. 110). Dharbagiri Nath was a chela of mahatma KH. Richard Hodgson was an investigator sent by the British Society for Psychical Research to study paranormal phenomena connected with the Theosophical Society. He published a report in 1885 that condemned Blavatsky as an impostor (see The theosophical mahatmas,

28. Blavatsky Collected Writings, 14:278.

29. Ibid., 12:88.

30. Ibid., 12:80-1.

31. Ibid., 12:81-2.

32. See A.L. Conger (ed.), The Dialogues of G. de Purucker, TUP, 1948, 3:11-2.

33. Studies in Occult Philosophy, p. 31.

34. The Theosophical Glossary, p. 72.

35. Studies in Occult Philosophy, p. 31.

The Count of Saint-Germain: Contents

The theosophical mahatmas