Tag Archives: Alois Mailänder

Review: “Alois Mailander: A Rosicrucian Remembered,” by Samuel Robinson

At a certain point in the Royal Arch degree, the blindfolded candidate is asked to read something he holds in his hand – which of course he cannot. Instead, he is forced to answer: “For want of Light, I am unable to discover.” Anyone with merest smattering of spiritual understanding will realise that the Light being referred to is Illumination from God, which I interpret as meaning that it is ultimately impossible to understand the true meaning of Holy words without Divine assistance. This in turn further implies that all scripture is in some ways Esoteric, as the true meaning, which comes from God, will always be more than what is written in black and white. How ironic that so many people over the past two thousand years or more – both believers and non-believers – have tried reading the Bible without praying for the benefit of Divine Intuition – or Grace – when doing so. Crowley said “If one were to take the bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad.” No, indeed! Attempting to read it without the benefit of Light would not make you go mad, but with Light, you would become MAD.

But I digress. This book is not about Aleister Crowley, Royal Arch, Freemasonry, or lame jokes in Enochian. Instead, it is the sequel to 44 Letters to Gustav Meyrink, by Alois Mailänder.

As previously noted, the profile of Mailänder (1843 – 1905) has risen in recent years due to the website Pansophers.com, of which the translator of the current work, Samuel Robinson, is the founder. Mailänder apparently had a spiritual awakening in 1877, which led him to become the leader of a group of spiritual seekers known as “The Covenant of the Promise.” Tellingly, the membership comprised mostly German and Austrian members of the Theosophical society, seeking a Rosicrucian path as opposed to the Eastern flavour espoused by Blavatsky.

Mailänder himself avoided publicity: instead, new members came to him by word of mouth, but he only accepted them after he consulted with what is described as his “inner word.” I rather suspect this was meant in the same sense as “Im Anfang war das Wort,” and hence was equivalent to the his Inner Christ. Once accepted, he would give each pupil individual teachings upon which to meditate, and hence ultimately discover their own “inner word.”

The main feature of this particular book, however, is a series of Mailänder’s teachings translated into English for the first time. Of these, the “Soul Teachings” comprise over four hundred cryptic statements with little apparent elucidation, e.g.

The first baptism is the attraction of Christ and the Crucifixion. Then we step into the Spirit of Truth.
The second baptism is the reception of the power of spirit through accepting the Lord in the spiritual life.
The third baptism is the conception of the Holy Spirit, which is the work of the spirit.

Robinson (2021) p200.

The above passage has at least three distinct layers of meaning: firstly, the bare meanings of the words themselves; secondly, the context in relation to Mailänder’s teachings in general. Mailänder characterised an individual’s spiritual progress into three stages which he termed “Baptisms.”

However, the third and most important layer is the meaning which the individual intuits after meditation – and the influx of Light from God, rather like the candidate for the Royal Arch degree. In this sense I see the similarity between Mailänder’s approach and that of Jakob Boehme, who noted that there is a barrier to full Divine knowledge which must be overcome, which “is not to be done by thyself, but by the Light and Grace of God received into thy Soul.”

The book also contains “Form Teachings” – to wit, Mailänder believed that certain signs appearing on one’s flesh (e.g. letters) could be interpreted as spiritual messages for the individual.

Overall, this book is essentially a reference work, ideally suited for an English-speaker wishing to investigate Mailänder’s teachings in detail. It is a rather curious read: because it is only newly-translated, it may come as a surprise to English-readers that here was a man for whom Rosicrucianism consisted of privately teaching a small group of followers in his parlour at home – yet after his death his students acclaimed him the greatest authority since Christian Rosenkreutz himself. He has languished in obscurity up to now, what with his wish for anonymity during his lifetime, and the fact that his works were not available, but hopefully that will now change.

Robinson, S (2021) “Alois Mailander: A Rosicrucian Remembered,” Pansophic Press, Oberstdorf, Germany. ISBN 978-0645394603

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Review: 44 Letters to Gustav Meyrink, by Alois Mailänder

Gustav Meyrink (1862-1932) is most famous as the writer of The Golem, as well as other occult novels. What is perhaps less well-known is the extent to which he was involved in real-life occultism. That he was in contact with leading Theosophists and other occultists, such as the founders of the Golden Dawn, is almost common knowledge. He was also rumoured to have been involved with organisations even more mysterious, including a branch of the Gold Und Rosenkreuzers, who were supposed to have gone dormant over a century before. The legendary “Meyrink Line” is still spoken of in hushed tones of awe and mystery in the pubs of north London (or at least was before the lockdown).

Fortunately, one occult connection which is now seeing the light of day is that to Alois Mailänder (1843 – 1905), a German mystic who has been much lionized on the website Pansophers.com. Mailänder forbid his disciples from revealing his identity to the public during his lifetime, although Franz Hartmann and Meyrink himself both referred to him anonymously. In any event, those that knew him, praised him enormously, describing him as a “real Rosicrucian.” Apparently, Mailänder’s teachings owed a lot to Jakob Boehme, as well as Boehme’s protegés John Pordage and Jane Leade, as well as J B Kerning, and he managed to gather a large number of students from the German and Austrian occult scene in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As it happened, Meyrink did not get much out of his association with Mailänder at the time: it was only towards the end of his life that he fully acknowledged his appreciation of him.

Anywho – this book: this contains a scholarly introduction to both Mailänder and Meyrink’s life; a helpful epilogue in which the editors further explain the context of Mailänder’s teachings, and how Meyrink viewed him through his writings; and the central section – the book’s USP, as it were – 44 letters which Mailänder wrote to Meyrink, which had been available in German, but are here now translated into English for the first time. In addition there are letters written by the former’s amanuensis and companion to both Meyrink himself and his (ex-)wife.

Ironically – the text of the letters is the least useful part of the whole book! They reveal only a small fragment of Mailänder’s teachings and practices (i.e. he would periodically give each pupil a phrase or mantra upon which to meditate, which he often changed according to how he judged the pupil’s progress). They do however reveal some of his character, that apart from being a spiritual teacher he managed to live a fairly normal life as a family man and a textile worker in Southern Germany.

On the very last page, however, the editors reveal that they are currently at work on a second volume – a translation of “Lectures on the Soul” – a book of Mailänder’s teachings which he gave out to members of his personal circle. This at least would be something to which to look forward.

44 Letters to Gustav Meyrink: English Translation (Writings by and about Alois Mailänder Book 1), by Alois Mailänder. Edited by Erik Dillo-Heidger and Chris Allen. ISBN: 3751997857. Books On Demand, 2021. Available on Amazon.


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