Note: The following article is published with permission.

On the Forbidden Letters - by Beate Schulz


[ H.P. Blavatsky ]

'Christian and Catholic sons may accuse their fathers of the crime of heresy, although they may know that their parents will be burnt with fire and put to death for it. And not only may they refuse them food, if they attempt to turn them from the Catholic faith, but they may also justly kill them." [Jesuit Precept (F.S. Fagundez, in Proecepta Decalogi, Lugduni, 1640)] 

'What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!' [Pope Leo X] 

'Where, then, lies the true, real secret so much talked about by the Hermetists? That there was and there is a secret, no candid student of esoteric literature will ever doubt. Men of genius -- as many of the Hermetic philosophers undeniably were -- would not have made fools of themselves by trying to fool others for several thousand consecutive years. That this great secret, commonly termed "the philosopher's stone," had a spiritual as well as a physical meaning attached to it, was suspected in all ages. The author of Remarks on Alchemy and the Alchemists very truly observes that the subject of the Hermetic art is man, and the object of the art is the perfection of man. (...) Man is the philosopher's stone spiritually -- "a triune or trinity in unity," as Philalethes expresses it. But he is also that stone physically.' [H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, Book I, Chapter IX, (308)/emphasis BS] 

Part 1 - On Thomas Mann's Novel 'The Magic Mountain'

In his 2001 book Ésotérisme, gnoses & imaginaire symbolique: Mélanges offerts à Antoine Faivre  (ed., with Richard Caron, Joscelyn Godwin & Jean-Louis Vieillard-Baron), Wouter Hanegraaff [ vide http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wouter_Hanegraaff ] conjectures that Thomas Mann's novel The Magic Mountain is 'full of motifs derived from alchemy and Grail-mythology,' and he informs us that this fact did 'not seem to have motivated students of Western esotericism to consider Thomas Mann as an obvious object of research.' 

I've read The Magic Mountain after having studied the Forbidden Letters though and I must agree with Forum-member Rhoode at the Forum of World Mysteries that that novel does not contain any alchemy. First Rhoode quotes Rene Loman: 

'The Paris 4 were obviously wrong when they wrote to Gary Osborn that most of Thomas Mann's short stories, but none of his novels, were about alchemy. Because at least one of his novels, The Magic Mountain is [ see quotes 13 to 22 in part 2 of http://www.world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters_47.htm ]. But they were right that Mann's short story The Wardrobe was an alchemical story. That story was written when Mann was twenty-four.' 

Next Rhoode himself writes: 

'Now, Mann did indeed call his Magic Mountain 'an hermetic story.' And this would imply an alchemical story. (hermetics = alchemy). But when I read the Mountain I found no alchemy at all. I then started to google on the whole problem and found out why Mann called his novel The Magic Mountain hermetic. In the words of David Reiner: "The dominant theme (in The Magic Mountain) is the nature of time. The Berghof is hermetically sealed, as it were, from the outside world; its inhabitants live by a different clock, where even mundane routines - such as taking one's temperature - assume almost ritualistic proportions."- ' 

Then Rhoode managed to find a quote by Thomas Mann on The Magic Mountain that finally proves that that novel was not about alchemy: 

'Hermetic—I’ve always liked that word. It’s a magic word with vague, vast associations. . . . I can’t help thinking about our old canning jars . . . hermetically sealed jars, with fruit and meat and all sorts of other things inside. There they stand, for months, for years, but when you need one and open it up, what’s inside is fresh and intact, neither years nor months have had any effect, you can eat it just as it is. Now, it’s not alchemy or purification, of course, it’s simple preservation, which is why they’re called preserves. But the magical thing about it is that what gets preserved in them has been withdrawn from time, has been hermetically blocked off from time, which passes right by. Preserves don’t have time, so to speak, but stand there on the shelf outside of time.'[Mann] 

Part 2 - On Thomas Mann's Short Story 'Disorder and Early Sorrow' 


'Thomas Mann will come to you as a surprise, we are sure, but it makes sense, as we discovered that most of his short stories are about alchemy.'[The Paris 4] 

'By the way, your man [i.e. the alchemist/BS] is a gay man. Born on the 17th of January. In possession of that very special balance in microcosmic male and female forces. A balance never possessed by heterosexual men. And your stone is Christ ('He who is near me is near the fire, and he who is near the fire is near the Kingdom' [Gospel of Thomas/BS]).'[The Paris 4]

 [ Klaus Mann at the age of twelve ] 

Thomas Mann's short story 'Disorder and Early Sorrow' was written in 1925 with characters that were structured after members of Mann's own family. The story examines the life of the Cornelius family through the eyes of Abel Cornelius, a professor at the local university. 

Bert Cornelius, the professor's son, a character based on Thomas Mann's homosexual son Klaus Mann (he uses make-up), gives a party. One of the guests is Max Hergesell, a student. Hergesell is called 'a very beautiful boy' ('ein bildhübscher Junge') by Mann - words normally used to describe female beauty in the german language when it comes to grown ups at least.

Upon entering the professor's house, Hergesell takes of his shoes to put on 'his pumps' ('seine Pumps'). This leaves the reader astonished, since Pumps in german mean the same thing as pumps in english. In spite of the fact that they are to small, Hergesell uses the pumps to dance. There is no astonishment here on the side of Professor Cornelius. They both join the party, but after a while Cornelius decides to leave 'the young people' in order to take an evening walk. But to do so he has to put on 'over-shoes' ('Ueberschuhe'). Shoes that will protect his evening shoes from the weather. 

When Cornelius is putting those shoes on, Hergesell enters the hall, taking of his right pump because it is too small. He holds his aching right feet in his hands, standing on his left foot. When he sees the professor putting on his over-shoes he quickly kneels ('auf ein Knie niedergelassen') and helps Cornelius. 

Now, what we have here is homosexuality/androgyny (Bert/Hergesell) and, in my opinion, an echo of Jesus kneeling down and washing his disciples feet in John 13 [ see section 11 of http://www.world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters2.htm ]. Because near the end Thomas Mann, out of the blue, calls Hergesell, for no obvious reason at all, a Swan Knight ('Schwanenritter'). And that spells Lohengrin, the alchemist deified in the last stage of the Great Work - the Living Stone turned into man [ Cf. 2.10 - 2.12 of http://www.world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters_35.htm ]. 

Essen, Germany, January 2011
© 2011 Beate Schulz

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