Eckartshausen, Karl von (1752–1803)
Author of Der Wolke vor dem Heiligthume (1802), a classic
work of Roman Catholic mysticism, translated into English as
The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary. Eckartshausen, by nature and education
an intensely religious man, began his writing career
with several small books of devotion that had great vogue in
France and Germany. He later turned his attention to larger
works of a more profound character.
According to Eckartshausen, the requisite faculty of true
communion with the ‘‘interior church’’ is the inward conception
of things spiritual; this sense makes possible the beginning
of regeneration understood as the process of gradually eliminating
Original Sin. His consideration of the interior church
proceeds at two levels, beginning with an elucidation of his doctrine
and moving to a series of assertions derived therefrom.
Isabelle de Steiger’s translated The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary,
which was first published in 1895 in The Unknown World was edited
by Arthur Edward Waite. It was later issued in book form.
The English version was soon adopted not only by spiritual
seekers but also by many occultists. It had some influence on
the development of the modern occult revival, finding some
favor among the leadership of the Hermetic Order of the Golden
Dawn. The book also impressed magician Aleister Crowley,
who was attracted to its idea of the mystical interior church.
Crowley was eventually consecrated into an independent Gnostic
tradition, and he wrote a Gnostic mass for the church he
founded as an auxiliary organization to the magical order he
led.
Sources
Eckartshausen, Karl von. The Cloud upon the Sanctuary.
Translated by Isabel de Steiger. Introduction by Arthur E.
Waite. London Philip Wellby, 1903

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