Johan Georg Gichtel (1628-1710)
There is no more fitting surname for Gichtel than the one of “UnknownTheosopher”, but his contemporaries called him the Theosopher of Amsterdam.
Born in Ratisbon (Germany) in 1628, Gichtel studied Law at Stratsburg and became a lawyer in his native town. At the age of 26, Gichtel met with theleaders of the Evangelic Missionary Movement and under the influence of this movement, sent letters to the representatives of the Lutheran Church in all of Europe and participated,in 1664, in the redaction of the advertisement submitted to the Corpus Evangelicum in Ratisbone. Over a period of ten years Gichtel constantly wrote to the authorities of the churches to denounce abuses. Finally, he was arrested and sent to jail for thirteen weeks as a criminal. Due to the intervention of a friend of his father, he escaped capital punishment, for an accusation of anabaptism, but was banished ad vitam aeternan from Ratisbonne and from the State of Bavaria and all his belongings were confiscated.
As most of the free spirits of his time, Gichtel decided to travel to Amsterdam, the capitol of the freedom of thought. On his way, Gichtel managed to get himself jailed for a second timein the city of Zwolle, where he took the defense of Breckling, the Lutherian minister of Zwolle condemned for his advanced ideas on education and social Christianity, independent from all ecclesiastic institutions. Gichtel was severely punished: he was exposed on the town’s pillory and publically slapped in the face with his own writingsby the town executor. He was also banished from the City of Zwolle and the Province of Overijsel for 25 years.
Gichtel finally arrived in Amsterdam in 1668 and remained in the city until his death in 1710. During the 42 years of his life in Amsterdam, Gichtel produced several treatises on Theosophy and more than 4000 pages of correspondence. Very friendly and very well organized, he lead a simple life: cutting wood in the morning for the exercise, handling his mail early in the morning, taking care of his own home and household with surprising dexterity. He remained in the bait of the city, leaving his house only once or twice a year for a short work in nature. He lead a lonely life, not even visiting the famous Pierre Yvon, living at the other side of the same canal where his house was located. He was entirely occupied by his inner life. He prayed, wrote, studied Theosophy and in particular the works of Jacob Boehme, received the visit of Wisdom, exercised the priesthood according to Melchisedech, and refused to exercise any profane profession.
The cosmogony of Gichtel is influenced by Boeme’s Three Principles and Seven Qualities or Forms. But Gichtel emphasizes the “Fourth Principle, from which God opposes Himself to reflect Himself, to see Himself and by this to become more conscious of Himself with the purpose of realizing Himself in a later stage.” This Fourth Principle carries several names: “Sophia, the Divine Wisdom, the Eternal Virgin, the Eternal Wisdom of God “. In a letter dated April 4th 1699, Gichtel carefully describes the eight degrees of action and of revelation of the Divine Sophia. In all his work Gichtel tries to define the role of Wisdom in the divine nature of God, as the mirror of God. In his view, the created world is the image of the pure, divine world. In this mirror, God plays with the ideas of creation. All creatures are thus the reflection of those ideas. So Adam is born androgyne, Eva being the reflection of the Divine Sophia, and also of Christ, the new Adam, is also born androgyne. Gichtel speaks of: “the Blood and Body of Christ, that I traditionally call Sophia” and of “the Body–Energy, the Blood and Body essential to Christ, our dear Sophia”. In this way, Gichtel’s theosophical works precisely describe the feminine aspect of Divinity.
2) The Brotherhood of Men and the Reintegration
The entire community of men is contained in a new, invisible Church, the primitive and collective reflection of the Deity. As such, all men participate to the process of the development of Consciousness. The stages of return to the Perfection or Reintegration are the Man of Darkness (symbolized by the drawing included in the book on Chakras by C.W. Leadbeater),the Man reborn, and the inner (or perfect) Man.Although Gichtel considers that all men are brothers, the way to Reintegration described by him is the perfecting of the individual or the traditional path of personal salvation.
3) Latent Powers in Man
Gichtel’s view of the potential development of hidden powers in man is limited to the faculty of vision of the invisible in a world of duality—mainly the perception of Sophia and of the dark forces. The main virtue to be cultivated is the power of the will. The intellect and the emotions are components of the mortal part of man, and therefore cannot contribute to his elevation. The kingdom of God is hidden in the depth of the soul. The power of man will grow in proportion to the strength of the Fire of the Soul (Kundalini). The participation of the soul in the mystical wedding of Christ and Sophia can give man unlimited Strength as the expression of the Eternal Life.