Marc Haven, Cagliostro and ‘Monsieur Philippe’
One evening the occult bookshop in the rue de Trévise, La Librairie du Merveilleux, attracted two serious minded young men, a medical student, Emmanuel Lalande, (1868-1926), and his friend, a student of pharmacy (and astrology) named Thomas.
Lalande would become widely known as Marc Haven, having followed the example of Papus by choosing a pseudonym from the list of spirits of the planetary hours in the Nuctémeron of Apollonius of Tyana. In his case ‘the spirit of dignity’. He was indeed a dignified character and became particularly influential after marrying Victoire, (1878-1904) the 19 year old daughter of Monsieur Philippe in 1897.
This close association with the family led him to write what was ostensibly a biography of an 18th century thaumaturge Le Maïtre inconnu: Cagliostro. (Cagliostro – the unknown Master), parts of which can be read between the lines, for under cover of presenting Cagliostro, he provided insights into the wonder working contemporary figure of his father-in-law Monsieur Philippe!
Who – or indeed what – was Monsieur (or Maïtre) Philippe? A saint, many people thought, and some, such as Paul Sédir, a form of the ‘second coming’ of Christ. Or, in the official view, a potentially dangerous charlatan? (One reason we have such detailed records of him is thanks to contemporary police reports!).
Papus, on the other hand, found in him a ‘spiritual’ guide who drew him, over the latter part of his life, from materialistically minded occult populariser towards a form of Christian mysticism. Some saw this as a weakness, although to my mind it was a broadening of his appreciation of the invisible world(s).
Ironically, Papus was responsible for Philippe’s involvement in Russian politics by introducing him to the royal family, over whom he developed an extraordinary influence – which was only to be expected given the couple’s personal and dynastic problems and Philippe’s ability to do something to relieve them. After which it came to be assumed by the brokers of power and their agents, rightly or wrongly, that no political initiative could be pursued without the assent of Philippe. Also that he had obtained his powerful influence by corrupting the court with beliefs of the most credulous kind, as in the example of a lady in waiting who joyfully told the tsarina “I have seen Monsieur Philippe!” only to be cut down by the reply “Nobody can see Monsieur Philippe, he is a pure spirit!”
In the end the combined efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Imperial court and the French diplomatic corps, to say nothing of the Russian secret police in Paris, succeeded in having Philippe return to France, but which only led to him being replaced by the sinister Raspoutin, a staretz or wandering ‘holy man’, who lasted until he was murdered in 1916, a decade after Monsieur Philippe had passed away from natural causes at home in Arbresle, shattered by the early death of his beloved daughter. In accordance with what many believed at the time – he could save others, but his own he could not save. Or indeed himself.
This is how Dr. Lalande described his father-in-law. (Note also the capitalisation of references !) “He was so different from us, so much greater in knowledge, so free, that none of our limitations applied to Him. Logic, morals, relationships, all for Him was not what it was for us, since the whole of life was present to Him, with past and future united in a single spirituality whose nature, essence, reasons, laws, ways of working, he knew.”
Marc Haven’s brother, the philosopher André Lalande, also wrote how closely Emmanuel was attached to Philippe by friendship and admiration as well as relationship. That he was not simply a gifted healer due to some psycho-physiological faculty not yet understood, but that it went beyond that to a contact with divine power and inspiration. His moral authority over casual on-lookers or the afflicted who came in search of healing was indeed like a prophet surrounded by disciples, or even like Christ in the midst of the Apostles.
It was largely in celebration of Maïtre Philippe that Dr Lalande wrote his biography of Cagliostro although there was no direct parallel between the very different circumstances of Cagliostro’s 18th century life and times and those of Maïtre Philippe. It was rather a perceived similarity of character, as described in the following extracts that give the gist of Marc Haven’s vision of both men.
As for the sick, the unfortunate, who came to lay their troubles at his breast, they found in him a totally tested patience and miraculous help and their voice was unanimous in the attics of the poor and the mansions of the great in proclaiming his power and above all his kindness.
He was not only a lone dignity to be boasted about but a Friend of God and faithful soldier.
Always kindly, he refused no request; he listened, observed; his face receptive, his eye often took on a strange expression as if absorbed by the interior life for the moment and after he had replied, promising his intervention, his face resumed smiling.
When a being of light comes to you, and offers you, with proofs of great power, the witness of a good will without equal, is it admissible to harbour a feeling of mistrust?
He overcame abuse, but always showed respect for the government and institutions of the country receiving him. But it is written in the laws of heaven that evil has a limit and that, when its tooth, after having savaged great and small, moves on to a friend of God and wounds him, it finally breaks itself there.
When asked where his knowledge and persuasive power came from he replied that, by a special favour, God inspired him and gave him the power.
He appears drying their tears, lifting those wounded by life, giving the lost traveller the strength and courage to walk until dawn, sowing joy and beauty in the shadows, illuminating the heavens, bringing the glorious beverage of immortality. That is what is important to humanity, which the earth remembers. These are the diamonds of nature preciously revealed at its breast which eternally mark the acts of its life. These letters of light can be read; these voices of the earth can be heard; they speak of him. If our eyes are still greatly troubled and our ears unused to hear the witness, at least it is not in the phrases of a gazetteer or in police reports that we will seek his name, his titles or his face ... we evoke the kneeling crowds, the great and small of the earth before him; seeing again this being, so sublime in love within wisdom....
“I am of no time and no place. Outside time and space, my spiritual being lives its eternal existence, and if I plunge my thoughts into remounting the course of ages, if I bear my spirit towards a mode of existence far from that which you perceive, I become that which I desire. Consciously participating in absolute being, I rule my actions according to the milieu that surrounds me. My name is that of my function and I chose it, and thus my function, because I am free. My country is where I direct for the moment my steps. Identify yourself with yesterday, if you wish, by evoking the years lived by ancestors who are strangers to you; or of tomorrow, in illusory pride in a grandeur that will perhaps never be yours. As for me, I am that which is....
“Here I am: I am noble and a traveller; I speak and your soul trembles in recognition of ancient words; a voice within you which was killed a long time ago responds to the appeal of mine. I act, and peace returns to your hearts, and health into your bodies, hope and courage into your souls. All men are my brothers, all countries are dear to me; I cross them so that, everywhere, the Spirit can descend and find a way towards you....
“Like the South wind, like the brilliant light of the South that characterises the full knowledge of things and active communion with God, I come towards the North, towards the fog and the cold, abandoning everywhere in my passage some parts of myself, dispensing me, diminishing me at each point, but leaving you a little clarity, a little warmth, a little strength, until I am finally stopped and definitively fixed at the end of my career, at the time when the rose blooms upon the cross...
“Why do you want anything more? If you were children of God, if your soul was not so vain and curious, you would already have understood!...
“The progressive experience of my forces, of their sphere of action, of their scope and their limits, was the struggle I had to hold against the powers of this world. I was abandoned and tempted in the desert; I fought with the angel like Jacob, with men and with demons, and these, vanquished, have taught me the secrets that concern the empire of shadows, so that I can never lose myself in any of the routes from which no one returns. ..
“From then on I received, with a new name, a unique mission. Free and master of life, I only dreamed more to employ it for the work of God. I knew it would confirm my acts and my words, as I would confirm His name and His kingdom on Earth. There are beings who no longer have guardian angels; I am one of those.”
These citations from Cagliostro, selected by others and somewhat approximately translated by me, characterise the being and comportment of one ‘sent from Heaven’ applicable to both Cagliostro and Maïtre Philippe according to Mark Haven’s vision and observation.