Horapollo- some thoughts


Two small points, please...

I was trying to check out the name of Dom Antoine Joseph Pernety in context with the Count Caligliostro. what caught my eye were only in context of Count Cagliostro and the Egyptian rite, and Dom Antoine Joseph Pernety.

I came across this web reference first for Dom Antoine Joseph Pernety, as I was not familiar with him:


1716 - 1796
Author of Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermétique (1758) and Rituel alchimique secret du grade de vari maçon (1770), Dom Pernety also created the Swedenborgian Rite while he was librarian to Frederick the Great. Here he met a Polish Count, Thaddeus Leszczy Grabianka (1740 - 1807) and in 1786 they founded the Societé des Illuminés d'Avignon.

"Dom Antoine-Joseph Pernety is not to be confused with his cousin Dom Jacques Pernety, the illustrious alchemist and cabbalist who was a freemason and a member of the Loius d'Argent Lodge of Paris. Nobody knows if Dom Antoine Pernety was ever a freemason."

On Caligliostro and Pernety:
I checked through the biography by Iain McCalman of "The Last Alchemist; the Seven Extraordinary Lives of Count Caligliostro, 18th Century Enchanter," copyright 2003. I have not come across the illustrious Pernety association. Cagliostro (born Giuseppe Balsamo in 1743-1795) did undergo Masonic initiation and he did uncover a manuscript regarding Egyptian rites and Freemasonary links browsing through booksellers stalls written by George Cofton or Coston...

"Cofton was said to be a former Irish Catholic priest who developed the model of an Egyptian rite from the Roicrucian-influenced docterines of another continental mystic, Martines de Pasqually...or Coston might have been a minor Oxford scholar of eastern religion called George Costard, who produced several works on ancient magic around that time. To Giuseppe, it mattered not." (page 41)

There are many names populating that book, mostly people that Count Cagliostro swindled...some helped Cagliostro unknowingly to gain access to illustrious circles. Calgliostro also used his wife sometimes as part of his blackmail swindles,

I found links and minor highlights of Count Cagliostro on the web, but more detail in the book I mentioned. Calgliostro had a talent for herb and apothecary remedies, a passion for masonic rituals, but he also was known as a scoundrel and swindler who might combine all of the above if it helped him gain fame and influence.

The last chapter of the Last Alchemist suggested some of the romantic fiction writers, including Alexandre Dumas 1846-47 and Umberto Eco in 1988, gave Count Cagliostro's real life a mythic edge that this particular biographeer didn't find facts to back up...I did not find the 1974 biography you mentioned listed in the Last Alchemist, but a movie that came out in 1974 by Twentieth Century Fox from Piero Carpi has a romantic story of Count Cagliostro, including the theory of an evil twin.

By the way, the Roberto Gervaso book on Amazon.com came up used for over one hundred dollars; my paperback copy of the Last Alchemist (Iain McCalman ) was five dollars.

I hope this helps anyone researching bits and pieces of your wonderful series of thoughts and musings,



John Meador

Cagliostro and Pernety

Hi Cerulean,
I did read Iain McCalman's"The Last Alchemist and enjoyed it. However, it struck me as a work written with entertaiment in mind rather than scholarship. Not to dismiss it, just to qualify its worth for me. The most useful source on Pernety and Cagliostro I have encountered is Marsha Keith Manatt Schuchard [1975] Freemasonry, Secret Societies, and the Continuity of the Occult Traditions in English Literature (The University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., 1975) (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Xerox University Microfilms, 1975) Part 1 1-373; Part 2 374-698. George Gordon Lord Byron's affiliation with Cagliostro in London is discussed! along with other surprises. This is a seminal work on the influence of secret societies that aroused a deal of controversy in regards Schuchard's claims for Swedenborg's affiliations. Her more recent work, Restoring the Temple of Vision. Cabalistic Freemasonry and Stuart Culture is another monument in the same landscape.

Best Regards,


Thank you very much! I am interested in more information...

...especially since your musings cross a rather fun area that seems almost ageless in fascination: the links of Egyptian myth in the hopes and minds of those who study the ancient ways and also seem to crop up in many tarot related historical readings...

Delighted to look into more of your threads soon...




With regards to the Swedenborg Rite of Freemasonry, or indeed the Societe des Illuminees d'Avignon or the Ancient & Primitive Rites of Memphis Misraim (really a unification of three earlier rites - though most say of two), these are all part of what John Meador indeed describes as 'another monument in the same landscape'.

Yet these monuments also stand, though sharing much of the same foundation, as distinct structures - Tarot as pictorial-Imaginative book, and Freemasonry as dramatic-Intuitional ritual, with neither using the other, except from the late 19th century onwards, and then in only certain encampments.


Isn't there a dog-faced monkey-baboon on the Moon Card of the Tarot de Paris? (desperately looking for link)

John Meador

Arcana arcanissima hoc est Hieroglyphica AEgyptio-Graeca

Michael Maier's title page contains an illustration with Typhon at the top and a cynocephalus at the bottom. Strangely, this work has not been translated into English, though it was published first in London,1614. It is said to have circulated in ms form as de Theosophia Aegyptiorum, ca. 1608/9 (a copy reportedly in der Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig) Circa 1612, he was physician-in-ordinary to Rudolf II.


"...He desires a more original, a deeper, a truer meaning to be found in the old hieroglyphics and stories of these gods and daemons....These old allegories, stories, and adventures of the gods may be properly understood as referring to scientific, philosophic, and chemical secrets; their labours and researches into the powers of Nature, and even their wars and quarrels, may have reference to the labours, the strifes, and the convulsions in Nature, and natural substance, for the evolution of new births...Under all these old stories and hieroglyphics an arcane, hidden meaning lies. -J.B.Craven, Count Michael Maier, 1910.

"...Dom Pernety owes very much to Michael Maier who in 1612 had published an interpretation of Greek myths in hieroglyphic and alchemic key..."

"In his first work, Arcana Arcanissima, Maier explains the evolution of the twelve Greek Gods and Goddesses from Vulcan and Mercury, and the Egyptian Gods Osiris and Isis and their myths to be philosophical, alchemical, and medicina allegories. In the second book of the six books which make up the Arcana Arcanissima, he reviews the "golden legends" found in these stories, all of which revolve around the tale of the Golden Fleece and the Golden Apples of the Hesperides."