Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Count Cagliostro: The Masonic Magician


I just ran across Pip Faulks' website (well, after Martin pointed me at it). It seems that she and friend and brother Robert L.D. Cooper (librarian of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and author of The Rosslyn Hoax) have collaborated on a book about the mysterious and celebrated Count Alessandro Cagliostro.

The Masonic Magician is due in October 2008 from Watkins Publishing.

Miracle-worker or man of straw? Count Alessandro Cagliostro was a cult figure of European society in the tumultuous years leading to the French Revolution. An alchemist, healer and Freemason, he inspired both wild devotion and savage ridicule – and novels by Alexander Dumas, a drama by Goethe and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.

Cagliostro’s sincere belief in the magical powers, including immortality, conferred by his Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry won him fame, but made him dangerous enemies, too. His celebrated travels through the Middle East and the capitals of Europe ended abruptly in Rome in 1789, where he was arrested by the Inquisition and condemned to death for heresy.

The Masonic Magician tells Cagliostro’s extraordinary story, complete with the first English translation of the Egyptian Rite ever published. The authors examine the case made against him, that he was an impostor as well as a heretic, and finds that the Roman Church, and history itself, have done him a terrible injustice.

This engaging account, drawing on remarkable new documentary evidence, shows that the man condemned was a genuine visionary and true champion of Freemasonry. His teachings have much to reveal to us today not just of the mysteries of Freemasonry, but of the mysterious hostility the movement continues to attract.

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