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Timeline of Templars-Enlightenment (1075-1875) and Modern Theosophists (1875-1935)

Notable Western Influences (1075-1875)

“Visit the interior of the Earth;
by rectification thou shalt find the hidden stone.”
(Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando
Invenies Occultum Lapidem Veram Medicinam)
Alchemical Motto
1075-1275The period of the Templars, Crusades during the time of Frankish Knight Godfroi de Bouillon, Rashi (1040-1105) heads an esoteric rabbinical kabbalist school in Troyes, Champaign; Comte de Champagne, Peter the Hermit and Bernard of Clairvaux of the Cistercian Order, Raymond de Saint Gilles are notables in the mid 1090’s. The Prieuré de Sion, Carmalites, and Calabria networks.
1095First Crusade
1099Capture of Jerusalem; and Founding of Prieuré de Sion
1113-1115Saint Bernard joins the Order of Cistercians at Cîteax. Becomes founding abbot of Clairveaux.
1118Official Founding of the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.
1128Vatican council officially recognized and incorporated the Templars. Hugues de Payens is the first Grand-Master. Eulogy and Rule is composed by Saint Bernard.
1139Papal bull by Pope Innocentius II (protégé of Saint Bernard and former Cistercian monk) declares Templars’ sole allegiance is to the Pope.
1140-1170Flourishing of the Gnostic Cathars in Languedoc. Their mystic doctrines showed up in the poems of the Troubadours.
1130-1220Troubadours flourish between 1170-1209, inspiring the north French Trouvères and German Minnesinger.
1145Second Crusade.
1187Beginning of end of Frankish presence in the Holy Land. Grand Master of the Templars Gérard de Ridefort responsible for the debacle.
1180-1200Publication of the esoteric Grail Romances. Chrétien de Troyes (sponsored by Marie, Contesse de Champagne), Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Robert de Borron. Some having a strong Cathar, Templar or Cistercian influence.
1210Establishment of the order of Franciscans by St. Francis of Assisi. Approved by Pope Innocentius III (same pope who went after the Cathars).
NotablesRashi (1040-1105). Kabbalist and Rabbi. Founder of an esoteric school in Troyes, France.

Godfroi de Bouillon (c. 1060-1100). Duke of Lower Lorraine. Leader of First Crusade. First western ruler of Jerusalem. Brother of Baldwin I, first western King of Jerusalem. Founder of the Order of Notre Dame de Sion, later named the Prieuré de Sion.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). a) Abbot of Clairvaux, b) patron of the Templars, c) religious conscience of Europe, d) spokesman of Catholic Christianity, e) nephew of André de Montbard, f) lived in the domains of the Comte de Champagne, e) presided over the council of Troyes in 1128 to incorporate the Templars.

André de Montbard: a) uncle of Saint Bernard, b) member and later Grand Master of the Priory of Sion 1153-1170 , c) Founding member of the Templars with Comte de champagne + 1114, d) third Grand Master of the Templars 1153-1170 , e) lived in the domains of the Comte de Champagne.

Comte de Champagne: a) Overlord of Saint Bernard and de Montbard, b) gave land to Bernard to build the abbey of Clairvaux, c) Founding member of the Templars with de Montbard, d) hosted the council of Troyes in 1128,

Hugues de Payens: a) Templars first Grand Master, b) cousin of the Comte de Champagne, c) initiated by Theocletes, Grand-Pontiff of the Order of the Temple of the Nazarene sect.

Roger Bacon (ca. 1220- ca. 1292). English philosopher, scientist and reformer. An adept according to H.P.B (BCW 11: 546).

Beginnings of the RosicruciansDante Alighieri (1265-1321).  Italian poet inspired by the Provencal troubadours. “His ‘Inferno’ a true Occult Revelation in verse.” (BCW14:45).

Rulman Merswin (1307-1382). Founder of the Friends of God, a Christian esoteric movement.

Blanche d’Evruex (1332-1398). Wife of Philippe VI, king of France. Immersed in Alchemical studies and experiments; had laboratories in some of her castles. Personal patron of Nicolas Flamel.

Nicolas Flamel (1330-1418). French Alchemist with interest in Kabbalistic and Hermetic thought. Sponsored by Blanche d’Evreux. Life transformed by Alchemical text found in 1362.

Christian Rosencreuz (1378?-1484?). German Magus. Alleged founder of the Order of the Rosy Cross, which aim was the study and application of ancient science, numerology and cosmic law.

Cardinal Nicolas de Cusa (1401-1464). German Cardinal, scientist and Kabbalist. Cusa was an Adept (BCW14:377). Published De Docta Ignorantia, which “contains theosophical ideas throughout.” (BCW14:538).

1444Founding of the Library of San Marco by Cosimo de Medici.
1448Founding of the Order of the Crescent by René d’Anjou.
1471Hermetic corpus translated by Ficino.
1475End of the Hundred Years’ War turning point.
Founded after the Council in Florence in 1439Founding of the Platonic Academy in Florence by Cosimo de Medici.
Notables of Occult Renaissance in Italy, Germany, & England

George Gemistus Pletho (1355-1452). Byzantine scholar and philosopher. Inspired Cosimo de Medici to found the Platonic Academy. Promoted Greeks Philosophers, and had a profound influence on the Renaissance.

Cosimo de Medici (1389-1464). Virtual lord of Florence and patron of the arts. Influenced by René d’Anjou. Patron of Marsilio Ficino. Protector of the Platonic Academy in Florence. Founder of Europe’s first public library, the San Marco Library.

Rene D’Anjou (1408-1480). King of Naples and Sicily, and King of Jerusalem. Prompted Cosimo de Medici to acquire and translate Platonic, Kabbalistic, Gnostic and Hermetic works. Founder of the Order of the Crescent. Sponsored Mantegna. Accompanied Joan of Arc (1412-1431) to Chinon, Orléans and Reims.

Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499). Italian philosopher, scholar (EB 9:237) and magus. Head of the Platonic Academy in Florence (1462). Translated the Hermetic corpus (1471), Plato (1484) and Plotinus (1492). Sponsored by Cosimo de Medici. Teacher of Lorenzo de Medici.

Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488). Italian sculptor and painter. Alchemist and hermeticist. Taught Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.

Botticelli (1444-1510).  Italian painter. Studied under alchemist and hermeticist Verrocchio and Mantegna. Patronized by de Medici. Well acquainted with Leonardo da Vinci.

Lorenzo de Medici (1447-1492). Virtual lord of Florence and patron of the arts. Patron of Verrocchio, Botticelli, Pico della Mirandola.

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506). Spanish or Italian navigator and explorer. In the service of René of Anjou in 1472-73. Married to daughter of a former Knight of Christ. Sailed under the red pattée cross of the Knights of Christ, the renamed Knights Templars of Portugal.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Italian artist, inventor and universal genius. Sponsored by de Medicis and Ludovico Sforza, son of Francesco Sforza, close friend of René d’Anjou. Member of the Order of the Crescent.

John Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494). Italian philosopher, scholar and magus. Sponsored by Lorenzo de Medici. Connected with the Platonic Academy. Strongly influenced by Ficino. Explored Kabbalist magic.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527). Philosopher and social scientist. Worked with da Vinci on modern science and study of politics and human nature. Founder of the philosophy of history and first to understand the doctrine of historical cycles. A highly misunderstood luminary.

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). Polish astronomer, skilled medical practitioner. An adept according H.P.B. Studied at Bologna, Italy.

Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486-1535). German writer, physician and magus. Influenced by Pico della Mirandola. Influenced Giordano Bruno. An adept according to H.P.B (BCW 3:264).

Paracelsus (1490-1541). Swiss physician, alchemist, chemist and magus. Influenced Giordano Bruno. An adept according to H.P.B (BCW 4: 607).

Henry Kunrath (ca. 1560-1601 or 1605). German alchemist and Hermeticist. Follower of Paracelsus. An adept according to H.P.B (BCW 3: 264).

Thomas More (1478-1535). Pioneering English Neoplatonist.

John Colet (1466?-1519). English Neoplatonist. Worked with Thomas More and his circle.

John Dee (1527-1608). English Mathematician, scientist and astrologer.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626). English philosopher of science and politician.

Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). Philosopher, writer and magus.

Tommaso Campanela (1568-1639). Italian philosopher, poet and magus.

1612Publication of the Fama Fraternitatis.
1612Publication of The Aurora by Jakob Boehme.
1615Publication of the Confessio Fraternitatis.
1616Publication of The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz.

Robert Fludd (1574-1637). England’s leading exponent of Kabbalist-Hermetic thought. Highly defended Rosicrucians. Published two booklets (in 1616 and 1617) in order to get in contact with them. An adept according to H.P.B. (BCW 4: 607).

Johann Valentin Andrea (1586-1654). Possible author of the Fama, the Confessio and The Chemical Wedding.

Michael Maier (1566-1622?). Germany’s leading exponent of Rosicrucian thought. Connected with Fludd.

Jakob Boehme (1575-1624). German philosophical Mystic and Theosophist. Speculative Alchemist influenced by Paracelsus.

Frederick V, Elector Palatine (1596-1632). His brief reign was a Hermetic Golden Age, during which the Rosicrucian furor took place.

1637Publication of Discourse on Method by Descartes
1663Founding of The Royal Society in London
1683Opening of the first public museum, the Ashmolean Museum by Elias Ashmole.
1687Isaac Newton publishes The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
1679Two Treatises on Government by John Locke; and Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke the following year.
NotablesMarin Mersenne (1588-1648). French mathematician and theologian. Friend and supporter of Descartes. Clearinghouse for French philosophers, scientists, theologians, mathematicians etc. (like Hartlib in England). Educated at Jesuit college La Fléche. Critical of Renaissance Occultism.

 Johann Comenius (1592-1670). Bohemian educator, writer and possibly Rosicrucian. Studied at Heidelberg with professors close to Frederick. Member of the Bohemian Brethren. Inspirer of the Royal Society. Corresponded with Andrea.

René Descartes (1596-1650). French philosopher, mathematician and Rosicrucian. During winter quarters in Bohemia D. had his famous dreams, “leading him towards the conviction that mathematics were the sole key to the understanding of nature.” Heard about the Rosicrucians and was seen as one of them. Friend of Mersenne and connected with the Hartlib Circle. Educated at Jesuit college La Fléche. (Article about Descartes’ status as a Rosicrucian and Rosicrucian connections)

Samuel Hartlib (1600-1662). German educational and agricultural reformer, Rosicrucian. Center of the Hartlib Circle of esotericists and scientists. Connected with Andrea, Descartes, Boyle and Newton.

Thomas Vaughn (1622-1666). English alchemist. Wrote under the pseudonym of Eugenius Philaletes. An adept according to H.P.B (BCW 4: 607).

Robert Boyle (1627-1691). English natural philosopher and pioneering chemist. Member of the Invisible College and the Royal Society. Taught Alchemy to Newton. Friends with John Locke.

John Locke (1632-1704). English philosopher, initiator of the Age of Enlightenment and Reason in England and France, inspirer of the American Constitution. Friend of Newton. Did research on Mary Magdalen, Alchemy, and the Cathars.

Isaac Newton (1642-1727). English scientist and mathematician. President of the Royal Society. Strong interest in Alchemy and Hermeticism. Friends with leading Masonic figure Jean Desagulier, who was connected with pioneering Freemasons Chevalier Ramsay, James Anderson and Charles Radclyffe.

Elias Ashmole (1617 -1692). English antiquarian, collector and expert on chivalric orders. Freemason (1646). Founder of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. The last of Rosicrucians and alchemists, according to H.P. Blavatsky.

1773Boston Tea Party. Mostly Freemasons involved.
1775-1781American War of Independence. American army led by Freemason Washington. International diplomatic support organized by Freemason Benjamin Franklin.
1776Declaration of Independence. Majority of signers were Freemasons and Anglican/Episcopalian.
1789George Washington elected first President of the United States of America. Inaugurated with Masonic honors.
Notables, a Period of Political RevolutionsGeorge Washington (1732-1799). General, statesman, first President of the USA. Freemason. Influenced the elaborate esoteric geometry governing the layout of the capital.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). Third President of the USA. Principle author of the Declaration of Independence. Political philosopher.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). American author, freemason, inventor, scientist and diplomat. One of the best known and admired man of his time. Member of the Royal Society. Master of the influential French Lodge ‘Neuf Soeurs.’

Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Swedish scientist, mystic, philosopher and theologian.

Karl Gotthelf von Hund (1722-1776). German Freemason. Introduced the Strict Templar Observance.

Nineteenth-centuryBeginning of Spiritualism in North America with Fox sisters in 1848.

In 1852, one of Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází’s (otherwise known as the Báb) persecuted followers had a revelation in prison that he was the prophet that the Báb had proclaimed. He called himself Bahá’u’lláh and is the founder of the later Baha´i Faith.

If the timeline above tells us anything, it tells us, that the revival of such interest as in these pioneers and inquirers will come from individuals of the same learning, inclination, and sacrifice. The timelines are meant to be general, and admittedly does not include other important details and figures you may be in search for in the history of the Western Esoteric Tradition.


1875The founding of the Theosophical Society, in New York. Some co-founders: H.P. Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge, Charles Sotheran, Emma Hardinge Britten and other formers.
1877“Isis Unveiled,” written by H.P. Blavatsky, is published.
1878Henry Steel Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky start travelling to India.
1879Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky arrive in India.
Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky start the Publication of “The Theosophist.”
1881“The Occult World” is published by A.P. Sinnett.
1883“Esoteric Buddhism” is published by A.P. Sinnett.
1884C.W. Leadbeater joins the Theosophical Society.
1885H.P. Blavatsky returns to Europe.
1886W.Q. Judge starts the magazine, The Path.
1887W. Q. Judge writes a letter to H.P. Blavatsky asking her to start a group with the purpose of esoteric instruction. “Lucifer” Magazine is published Sep. 1887. The year Robert Crosbie joined the T.S.
1888The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky, is published.
The existence of the Esoteric School is publicly announced.
1889Annie Besant joins the T.S. after reading The Secret Doctrine and meeting H.P. Blavatsky.
H.P. Blavatsky publishes “The Key to Theosophy” and “The Voice of the Silence.”
1890Tallapragada Subba Row dies.
1891Helena Blavatsky dies.
Annie Besant and W.Q. Judge become joint outer heads of the Esoteric Section.
1893World Parliament of Religions, Chicago. The Theosophical Society has it’s own sub-congress. Lectures were very popular. Annie Besant, Judge and Anagarika Dharmapala lecture.
1894Katherine Tingley joins the T.S. Arguments start between W.Q. Judge, H.S. Olcott and Annie Besant.
1895The American Section secedes and is now called the Theosophical Society in America.
1896William Quan Judge dies.
1900Annie Besant receives the final letter by K.H.
1902Annie Besant invites Rudolf Steiner to form a German Section to the Theosophical Society.
1906Leadbeater is advised under pressure to leave the Theosophical Society (Adyar) after charges and admittance to sexual immorality.
1907Henry S. Olcott dies, and Annie Besant is voted President of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)
1908Council of the Theosophical Society in December votes that Leadbeater can return to the T.S.
1909Leadbeater (back in Adyar, Madras) he discovers Jiddu Krishnamurti at the beach.
The United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT) is formed by Robert Crosbie, a disenchanted member of the Theosophical Society headed by Katherine Tingley, a successor of William Q. Judge.
1911Formation of “Order of the star in the East” in dedication to “the World Teacher” and “Cosmic Hierarchy”
1912J. Krishnamurti is made head of the “Order of the star in the East.”
J. Krishnamurti’s father custody battle against Annie Besant. Besant wins in 1914.
Rudolf Steiner is expelled from the Theosophical Society (Adyar), because he refuses to have as members of his German section, people who are also members of the “Order of the Star of the East.” Most of the German Section leaves with him and the Anthroposophical Society is formed.
1919Bahman Pestonji Wadia meets members of the ULT. Robert Crosbie dies.
1922B.P. Wadia leaves the Theosophical Society (Adyar) and joins the ULT.
1925Rudolf Steiner dies.
1929J. Krishnamurti dissolves the “Order of the star of the East.” Katherine Tingley of T.S. in Pasadena dies; G de. Purucker becomes leader of the Society.
1933Annie Besant dies.
1934Leadbeater dies.

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