Brother Leonardo's Spiritual Leadership as Magical Reality - an occult lodge lecture from the late 1920s
What you'll find in this post is the second translation of an occult lodge lecture from the early 20th century by Brother Leonardo. Since the publication of the previous lecture and with the kind help of Volker Lechler I found out more about the author. His real name was Edgar Weiß, a German Jew born 4th of April 1884. He joined the occult lodge Fraternitas Saturni in 1928 and several of his speeches were published later on in their lodge magazine. During WWII he was able to escape from Germany and emigrated to Palestine. - He gave this lecture on 'Spiritual Leadership as Magical Reality' probably towards the end of the 1920s. Yet, it was only made public in 1952 when it appeared in the September edition of the FS lodge magazine.
I will not repeat what I have said already about the living conditions in Germany of that time - specifically for minorities such as Jews and mystics. Just as in the previous lecture - which, however, Brother Leonardo only held a few years after this one - we see him as a blazing activist who calls on his brothers to tear down the artificial divide between their magical and everyday lives. He calls for an immediate sense of urgency amongst his magical community to do everything in their power to avert the danger of the a second world war - whose omens he read so clearly. For a magician of course such aversion needs to be fought on all levels and with all instruments available. The sharpest and mightiest of all being their consciousness.
In the second half of the lecture we also see clear references to the deeply Gnostic world view that was and still is essential to the worldview propagated by the Fraternitas Saturni. We hear about the Demiurge as the world-creator and a deeply antagonistic struggle between Light and Dark in which each man needs to choose their place. Not once, but proven by their deeds and self-sacrifice everyday over and over again. - While Br. Leonardo's Gnostic philosophy might be peculiar and not in line with our own, I urge us to consider his practical applications as highly relevant standards to apply judgement even in our current everyday reality:
Yet in the end it is so easy to fairly judge according to just criteria whoever seems to be leading or might be perceived as a leader. One may only look at them and upon their deeds. Not at the life they are leading as this is of no matter. Daimonic instruments such as these tend to lead their lives in different ways than the majority and in this respect are almost always abnormal. Yet are they supporting the spiritual freedom of humanity?
Finally and most importantly in my eyes Brother Leonardo stresses and explains the significance of the 'Chain of Brotherhood' and how to turn ourselves into a strong link in such chain. According to him this effort indeed marks one of the most essential elements of the human Great Work: to leave behind traces that others can follow. To understand our magical journeys as one life-long ascend. And with each additional step we not only advance further, but also mark the ground with a trail for others to follow.
Of course it's easy to understand the emphasis on tradition in a world where a storm was brewing that would wipe out not only 6 million Jews but an estimated 80 million human overall and destroy almost all living magical brotherhoods across mainland Europe. What wasn't truly alive in people hearts but only asleep on pages of paper would be lost forever in the firestorm that was quickly advancing.
I wonder now... holding such legacy, such knowledge in our hands, doesn't it create a duty, a bond and obligation to do even better for us today?
Spiritual Leadership as Magical Reality
A lecture by Brother Leonardo
in the grade of Mercurii
I have always been missing something when so often within our circle the impulse of the new age has been discussed. I am missing the absolute becoming aware, the radical articulation which everyone of us has to feel within their flesh and blood. With regards to this matter we cannot look often enough at the similarities between our situation today and the one of the first gnostics in the Rome of the classical time. From all the countless catacombs a mysterious admonition is coming towards us! During these days when they lived their lives in absolute truthfulness a whole world was shattered. It was with the downfall of Rome that the last of the classical empires sank down into dust. Yet even back then the few initiated felt everything passing by like a huge wind.
Wether or not we can and will withstand such wind, such storm in our own time will be down to us! Everyone of us has to be concerned with how they are coming to terms with themselves as well as with the world around them. Yet how will such coming to terms look like?
As banal as it might sound: It is with the tiniest of things that we will need to start again - in order to give shape in reality to what has been magically presaged for us. We can begin to understand the organic evolution of the term of a magical reality by the interchangeability of its elements. Without confusing its meaning we could also say:
‘We have to create magically what we envision in reality.’
To speak of Leadership at this point I am not allowed to, nor do I want to. We will realise how hard and responsible it is to take action for oneself, let alone to take actions on behalf of others. Moreover it will be necessary to begin to deal with these aspects immediately and without any delay. It is now neither the time nor the place to lose oneself in the details of the methods of how to conquer the needs of our time. Yet, it has to be emphasised that a certain mentality is required, bitterly required, which needs to be based on a broader viewpoint than normally is demanded amongst people.
In order to take oneself seriously as combatant of the new time, strictest acquittal discipline in fulfilling one’s own duties has to be called for oneself. One needs to reduce to its minimum the burden of exoteric and material things! It is by our training that we want be personalities who can without bowing down look into everyone’s eyes on the same level! To achieve this we mustn’t be parasites to other humans or institutions but need to set our everyday-table ourselves. We will need to sacrifice so much of ourselves in order to turn us into teachers or leaders one day. However, our willingness to sacrifice needs to be proven by deeds not by words alone. We have to cut off any lukewarmness within our own circles. Just like the lie is the first of the mortal sins, so is it cowardliness that stands right next to it. This is why one may not act without responsibility. Yet, there are so many, many hours that we allow to pass by!
Whoever during the everyday battles of fulfilling their duties and sorrows allows the spiritual to be pushed into the background, whoever doesn’t manage to use a small percentage of their income, even if it may be tiny, to fund their own development, they are already substandard in the battle for themselves. As harsh as it may sound: the worries and care taking for our families and other duties may not be allowed to dominate everything. Elsewise people are sinking down into the realm of the unspiritual bourgeoisie or unknowing proletariat. A self-determined amount of money can be set aside as a war-bduget by every man if they only will it with iron strength and reduce their other everyday needs. Even if they need to include days of lent. Our greatest creative minds often enough had to starve for their spiritual values. One can miss or reduce so many small needs! In fact there is no excuse that would matter. Unfortunately, without even realising it, most people are slaves to their social milieu.
We all celebrate too much mentally! It is the suggestion of uselessness that is used too often as an excuse. We neither have the right to pass by the world nor to look at it from afar in the misperceived pose of the initiated.
At every future night we would need to stand in front of ourselves and ask ourselves:
- What is it that hasn’t been conquered today and if so, why?
- If not today, when will it be accomplished?
- When according to my own judgement will I stand above this matter?
The nature of the sleep which is then approaching shall not be the weakness of powerless resignation but the renewal of powers under full consciousness of our energy and drive. Even our everyday work in the machinery of compelled work may be holy to ourselves; because so often again we shall say to ourselves: 'Even this is nothing but a step. Everything is step, always only step! Onwards and upwards all the time!' Who hasn’t experienced it when from the eyes of someone who has suffered for decades and is standing at the abyss suddenly a brilliance is emerging, indicating the glow of inner awakening and understanding. For every human being this hour will come, this very hour!
In this way I touched briefly on a few points only - of which I believed that they shine a light into the possibilities of a magical reality. Of magic and mystic and all their disciplines little did I share here. Yet that these occult disciplines equally are a path of practice and that they need to be perfected through constant effort, I don’t need to tell you. Without holding back all of these disciplines have to be thrown into the fight for as much as we are allowed to by our karmic responsibilities. And we should not talk about these magical deeds except for amongst our brothers or to our master. Whoever boasts about their magical capabilities will loose them like water is lost in sand. And over and over again one would need to ask the master for our own sake to be as strict as possible during the selection. The magical reality of a chain of brothers will suffer in case the ring isn’t closed tightly and made up from the most reliable human material. One has to recognise each brother not by their position or rank but by their inner light, the glowing brilliance of their forehead that shines from within them.
Once the searcher has turned into such a human all other duties and work will appear to him all by themselves. Increasingly other people will approach him without being asked and ask for his advise in this matter or another. This is when his conscious work on this wide field can begin, of knowing guidance, of secret leadership, of influencing in almost imperceivable ways. This is how he works, sows and plugs away the spiritual plough. And then this one or that one will ask them where from they are taking such strength and knowledge? Then, should they seem worthy and suited, it might be time to bring such questioners closer to our circle. This then is the work that builds the spiritual temple. Yet only once the mystical spark of the magical glow of the fire begins to shine within him, we can advance to speak:
‘It is a spiritual guide!’
Then the magical reality will be fulfilled in so far as through its creative impact another human building block is added to the Great Work. It is magical reality whenever we consciously take a hand in someone’s life to help them in a good and harmonic sense, whenever we set them free to follow their inner desire. And this is where the problems of spiritual guidance begin on a larger scale. Many are called to it, yet only few are selected! The mightiest mercy is required in order to take influence on the karmic occurrences of larger circles or even on an entire people.
We cannot know in advance in a mental way who will advance as a spiritual leader. We read in the books of Master Therion:
‘A Nobody walks away and a Someone returns! Yet something we do know. We know what this someone now must know. We will recognise him by his mental structure and by his deeds not at least! We can measure his knowledge by our knowledge in saying: He must have overheard cosmic laws in the silence of the hour of his inner revelation.’
This is said very easily. We, who we have dedicated ourselves to the demiurge Saturnus, are acutely aware of the gravity of our responsibility which we carry for all people unaware. We don’t say this with an attitude of proud arrogance but with the humble resignation to the will of the great creator of the world. Only in this way do we look into the eye of our time, in the consciousness of our own indelible determinedness of fate. And it is this amazing consciousness that through its building power and despite all the heaviness of our daily grind, should make our lives happy and worth living. Under the freedom of our will it is that we live this life. Included in this affirmation lies the cult of any life. Next to the fighting it is the cult that should be one of the main responsibilities. If we only learned how to raise a new cult, we would be creating a new source of power at the same time. Once every individual through tireless work on and within themselves achieves complete consciousness of their spiritual purpose then they will also discover the duty for spiritual guidance and helping others to find their own paths. By this time, however, they have also turned into a significant link in the great chain of brothers as they participate in the work of these circles within the magical reality.
It happens now that someone comes and speaks: ‘I have fulfilled my duties in everyday life regularly. I have also fulfilled my duties towards our circle. Even during my leisure time I am not idle. I read and study. I exercise and research. I live secluded from the world and don’t make much of its trumpery. I walk out into nature and search for its peace. None of the great suggestions which are present amongst the people am I subject to. Isn’t this enough? It is quiet all around me and I long for light and new purpose!’ ———
And I have to reply: ‘If this is how things are then let me ask you: Show me the human who walks in your traces, who is meant to carry on your spiritual legacy? Where is he? How far is he?` Or I am asking: 'Show me the record of the best of your thinking, of your work of maturity which you can designate for all the searchers following after you! Where are the trees that you have planted? Or where is the being that obeys you and follows your magical calling? Search the next chapter of the path within yourself! Meditate! Meditate! Meditate!'
Mostly they who ask these questions then understand and walk off to continue their work with alacrity.
One often hears people say: ‘Did not leaders arise during all times of needs, leaders who influenced whole people by their mighty impulses?!’ Those who speak like this aren’t people with knowledge however intelligently they may stand in life. They don’t know or forebode anything about the factuality of the great counter-demiurges, who as gigantic daimons influence time consciously and mightily. If they ask like this, they don’t know about the almost eternal fight between Light and Dark.
Yet in the end it is so easy to fairly judge according to just criteria whoever seems to be leading or might be perceived as a leader. One may only look at them and upon their deeds. Not at the life they are leading as this is of no matter. Daimonic instruments such as these tend to lead their lives in different ways than the majority and in this respect are almost always abnormal. Yet are they supporting the spiritual freedom of humanity? Do they advance spiritual individuality? Do they advance the religious impulse and the inner faith of the people? Are they enemy to all violence and all shedding of blood? Do they not accept any injustice or confinement? Do they respect the cosmic laws and offer freedom of thought? Do they support philanthropy and the fraternisation of humanity in the spirit of the All-Love. Are they just and truthful? Can they be counted on according to their words?
All in all: Are they humans who draw from the good and truthful sources of humanity for the benefit of all?
Should they not be than they have to be considered instruments of the Daimon that fights against the principle of Chrestos, against the principle of love and all-mercifulness on Earth. Then everything is different and their success is only vanity and illusion to cover up.
Such questions not only should be applied to personalities in politics of our modern time but they hold true for any leader of the spirit and mind. Very rarely are politicians also mental leaders. Even if matters of philosophy of life are under consideration. And in this case the questions above should be applied to this very philosophy in question to see if it holds true to these criteria and doesn’t accept any abasement of humanity.
There have always been true and false prophets. And significant heterodoxies have dominated over long periods of time and grabbed people and led them astray.
The training of the individual personality is supposed to be a heavy counter-weight and allow to raise callers in the conflict who do not underly the false suggestions but acknowledge with a clear view the Daimons in their wrongness and illusionary glow. A magus, who is able to master and realise the mental worlds, is equally capable of realising the major world daimons and not to succumb to them.
Only in this way is it possible that the work on ourselves is also useful work for humanity. Such mystics are the sourdough in the fermentation process of the indifferent masses. Such is the task for each one of us and this is how it has to be understood. These are truly high and great goals - especially thought of in a completely selfless way. It can be everybody’s calling to contribute to this work and everybody is welcome. No social rank or social pedigree, no school or education makes any difference. The mystical glow of the fire is equally alight in the materialistically poor - the record of our previous spiritual leaders proves this clearly enough.
The clock of the world is advancing to its last hour! Who knows if the good and harmonic forces will prevail and spare us the imminent bitter chalice of another war? Because it would result in the downfall of whole cultures. Or might even this suffering be necessary - according to a higher resolution - to further mature humanity? We do not know.
A true mystic isn’t fearful about his own self; he rests assured that his ego is immortal. And he knows that when the time is ripe he will be thrown into another circle, into further work that forms part in this great human plan. Yet still even he will say:
‘Lord, if it is possible, let this cup pass by me.’