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Slavonica, Vol. 11, No.

2, November 2005

AN INTERPRETATION OF THE OCCULT SYMBOLISM IN MIKHAIL BULGAKOVS THE MASTER AND MARGARITA
Amy de la Cour
Ceres Health Foods, Worthing
Much of the extensive scholarly criticism on The Master and Margarita has focused on Bulgakovs cosmology and how the events of the novel can be seen as a mirror of his world view. In particular, The Master and Margarita is often seen as a literary exposition of a Gnostic outlook. The overwhelming tendency of many studies is to look for a key which can unlock the riddles in the novel and answer some of the more difficult questions pertaining to developments in the plot. This often means that the book is approached from the outside. In contrast, I have tried to look at it from the inside out, and ask how the imagery and symbolism in the book can help answer some of these questions and reveal clues as to Bulgakovs intentions and world view. The fact that much of the symbolism in the book is drawn from Goethe, witchcraft and black magic has been noted but not that this occult symbolism runs much deeper to include, for example, Masonic and alchemical motifs. As well as exposing this particular layer of symbolism, I have examined how it points to Bulgakovs belief in the importance and need of a spiritual re-birth both for individuals and for Russia itself; and that the secret to regeneration lies in the power of such an inner journey. Introduction The inherent difficulties in interpreting Master i Margarita (The Master and Margarita) mean that the critical literature on the book has almost developed into an industry of its own: every possible interpretation, it seems, has been suggested from apocalyptic Gnosticism1 to Stalinist allegory2 to Freudian psychoanalysis.3 The literature surrounding the book continues to evolve, with new insights and explanations, as more material from previously unseen archives is revealed. But the sheer quantity of criticism and the hugely diverse and frequently contradictory nature of the interpretations point to a series of riddles inherent in the theme and narrative structure that are unlikely ever to be resolved, there being no one conclusion or answer to the mysteries contained in the work and it has to be a possible conclusion that this was exactly Bulgakovs intention. Bulgakov started work on the original idea for the novel as early as 1928, as far as we know, and was still dictating revisions to the text on his death bed in 1940.4 Whether the book as it stands is actually finished is debatable, as is the question surrounding the different versions that are available.5 What is undeniable is that over the twelve or so years that it was written,
2005 W. S. Maney & Son Ltd doi: 10.1179/136174205x60465

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The Master and Margarita evolved from its beginnings as a novel about the devil6 to include a wealth of biographical detail from the authors increasing frustration at the difficulties he experienced as a writer in Stalinist Russia (including his burning of the original manuscript and its being rewritten effectively in secret with no hope of publication), his renewed faith in love after his marriage to his third wife, and a sense of resignation in the face of the death that he knew, at the end, was imminent. Another difficulty in interpretation is in the paucity of information about the sources Bulgakov consulted.7 However, I think many critics have overemphasized the role played by what we do know of these sources and have undervalued Bulgakovs place in the overall development in Russian culture. The Master and Margarita has to be placed in context, particularly in the context of a long tradition of literary and visual representations of both the real Christ and the devil himself, who was very much in vogue at the turn of the century.8 In addition to these artistic antecedents, Bulgakov, especially as the son of an esteemed theologian,9 would have also been rooted in the history of Russian religious philosophy and in particular its turn at the beginning of the twentieth century towards mystical thought as part of the dissatisfaction with traditional Orthodox philosophy. All these external factors entangle the complex web that is the text itself, and so further complicate attempts to come to a comprehensive understanding of the work. Bearing this in mind, I want to take one aspect of this web for discussion in this essay: that of Bulgakovs world-view and his cosmological emphasis. That is not to say that the themes of narrative structure, narrative voice, and space/time relations are not just as important, but it is the question of cosmology that has caused so much difficulty and controversy in interpretation, and is a fundamental basis for further analysis of the text. Is there an easily applied key that will unlock the secrets of the text? Is that key a Gnostic world view,10 an Orthodox Christian world view,11 or an essentially apocalyptic vision?12 Or is there no such system behind the work at all? The purpose of this essay is to show that the usual models cited apropos Bulgakovs world view, as well as having inherent inadequacies as monist theories, fail to take into account the complicated world of symbolism in the novel and what that itself symbolizes, as well as ignoring the occult motifs, taken from Goethe, freemasonry, Boehme, alchemy, and the Kabbalah that point to a deeper understanding of Bulgakovs vision of a spiritual quest for inner development and rebirth. Satan in Moscow: a Gnostic conception? In the huge amount of literature written on the subject of Bulgakovs worldview in The Master and Margarita, it is the essentially Gnostic/dualistic idea that is most prevalent. On an initial reading of the novel, it is easy to see why this idea is so persuasive, as it concretely addresses the question of evil in the book and would thus answer the problem of the exact nature of Wolands role. While the function and nature of Christs demystified narrative poses many questions as well, it is the character of Woland that is more difficult to understand: an amalgam of literary sources and popular clichs, his actions do not conform in their entirety to any traditional concepts of the devil: the tempter, the Old Testament judge13, or the entertainer in Faust who is engaged in a battle with God for his subjects souls. In fact, the reader can almost be persuaded to feel sympathy for this seemingly gentle devil (although there is an awful lot of grotesque violence in the book, this is always the work of Wolands retinue; he remains far more ambiguous). The Gnostic conception does answer some of these questions: in Gnosticism, a fall or a disharmony in God has led to the creation of the material world which, as a divine mistake, is inherently evil and ruled by a demiurge. The material world, with all its

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suffering and dependence on earthly pleasures cannot, for a Gnostic, be the creation of a good God. However, a spark of divinity remains trapped in mans material body and this spark can be reunited with its source in those initiates who have received the revelation of divine knowledge, or gnosis. There is no doubt in The Master and Margarita that Woland is in charge of this, the earthly realm (his globe accessory is the obvious testament to this). The conception of this world as a living hell of materialism can be seen in the greed and corruption exposed everywhere in Moscow, a capital run with materialism as its dominant creed. Pilate, the Master, and Margarita, all initiates with the knowledge of the real Passion story, are those who are rescued from their materialistic prison or are they? This position does not elucidate the final destination of the Master and Margarita, or Pilates years of suffering, or the ultimate return to the material realm of Bezdomnyi, who should also be an initiate. More importantly, dualism alone does not explain Wolands place in the divine scheme. There are many theories of exactly how good and evil interact within Gnostic theory, the most extreme being Manichaeism which sees a fierce battle for supremacy between good and evil being the force that creates the material world. Other theories see good and evil as being in opposition, but aware of their essential interdependence. But there is little sense of Woland being in opposition to the divine or trying to destroy it he seems, far more, to be a mere employee, and one who readily accepts his place in the divine scheme. In addition, any Gnostic worldview would not incorporate the essential fatalism that runs throughout The Master and Margarita: Woland, for example, says at the beginning in his conversation with Bezdomnyi and Berlioz that in order to rule hyyho kak-hnkak nmets tojhqi, plah ha hekotopqi, xots ckolsko-hnvyds ppnlnjhqi cpok14 (one must have a precise plan worked out).15 Woland accepts his place in the divine scheme unquestioningly, and the infinite wisdom of that scheme is constantly alluded to in the symbolism of the sun, the moon and the weather: everyday reminders that we are not in charge of nature and that the celestial spheres include the material in their plan; which is not something a Gnostic thinker would accept. That this was the overriding world view of Bulgakov himself can be seen in a letter he wrote to his fellow writer Ilf, in which he said: Jto paho nln pozdho, bce ctahet ha cbon mecta.16 Goethe and Faust: the spiritual journey In attempting an explanation for the genealogy of Woland, the symbolism linked to Faust is often mentioned. In fact, from the very beginning in the epigraph, references to Faust litter Bulgakovs text; however despite the similarities (for example: Satans ball, the poodle imagery, the names Woland and Margarita) these are an unconvincing clue to Bulgakovs aims because they are just that: superficial similarities. But it could be that Bulgakov quotes Faust so as to allude to a deeper affinity with Goethes philosophy: Goethe showed in Faust his firm conviction that rationalism was inadequate for the assimilation of spiritual ideas. We can see a direct parallel with The Master and Margarita in that the atheist Soviet Union is corrupt and decaying without any acknowledgement of the power of the spiritual, unseen world, and that its corresponding realism in the arts is not the true role of genius, through which imagination can be divinely inspired and give rise to the development of the human spirit. This is fairly evident in the text, but what is rarely commented on is that Faust cannot just attain the spiritual knowledge he craves overnight. He has to go on an inner journey that involves him having to die; only then can he be fully awakened, through the birth of his higher self. As

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Rudolf Steiner, discussing the Faust legend, says, Man dies from the lower life in order to live again in a higher existence.17 Is it not possible that it is to this aspect of Goethes philosophy (expressed most famously in Faust but evident throughout his work) that Bulgakov is alluding in his references to Faust and in the deaths of Pilate, the Master, and Margarita? In this way, the retelling of Christs Passion can be seen as a symbol for mans need of an inner, spiritual rebirth, just as essential for human evolution as developments in technology and the sciences. This interpretation of the text is further enhanced by the exposure of Masonic imagery in The Master and Margarita: the imagery of the knight on his quest for higher, lost knowledge. Whether or not Bulgakov was a Freemason, the occult symbolism that synthesized such systems as the Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, alchemy, and Freemasonry enjoyed a renewed interest in the art and literature of the early twentieth century and would have been easily accessible to him.18 These systems shared the belief that through ancient hidden practices and symbols man could come to possess superior divine knowledge and unity with the divine source, and so their various ideas often become amalgamated. As for Freemasonry itself, it had as important a role in Russia as in the rest of Europe in counteracting the excessive rationalism of the enlightenment and included many of the eighteenth centurys most distinguished names, in particular Pushkin (who held specific importance for Bulgakov).19 Goethe, of course, was a Freemason, and Steiner lectured extensively on the importance of Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism in Goethes thought, lectures that could well have been available to Bulgakov, given the interest in Anthroposophy in Russian artistic circles.20 While the specific symbols will be discussed in more detail, the general process in Masonic literature is that the initiate, having gone through the initiation ceremony and a ritual death (often involving the adoption of a new name, like the Master)21 embarks, in a similar fashion to a medieval knight (and note how often Pilate is referred to as a Knight or the Knight of the Golden Lance), on a spiritual journey. This journey will be beset with difficulties and involves attaining many levels of knowledge but, for those who can prove their spiritual worth, the reward is salvation commonly depicted as a paradise/Garden of Eden.22 The similarities with the Master and Margarita, especially their final destination, are obvious. The crossing of a stream, as they have to in order to get to their paradise, is a common symbol for the progression onto a higher stage of knowledge, the bridge being an allusion to when the Queen of Sheba crossed a stream by means of a bridge made out of wood from the Tree of Life.23 Masons on such a quest are often depicted as having to reach specific stages, each symbolized by a gate or door, the knowledge required to open it being the key. For this reason keys are sometimes given as a symbol when a Mason progresses from one degree to another. In The Master and Margarita, of course, the Master has managed to acquire or steal a set of keys from the nurse, which has given him bozmoyhocts bqxodnts ha ovwni valkoh.24 The journey is also symbolized by the process of building a spiritual temple within oneself, symbolism that stems from the Legend of the lost Temple of Solomon and finds its echo in Yeshuas words jto pyxhet xpam ctapoi bepq n cozdactcr hobqi xpam nctnhq.25 The Transformation of White to Red: occult symbols We are first introduced to Masonic/alchemical symbolism in the first chapter of the book, when Woland pulls out his famous cigarette case: Oh vql gpomadhqx pazmepob, jepbohhogo zolota, n ha kpqwke ego ppn otkpqbahnn cbepkhyl cnhnmn n velqm oghem vpnllnahtobqi tpeygolshnk.26 Gold is, of course, the alchemists final goal and triangles

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are an ancient symbol with many occult references: in Masonic symbolism, the triangle represents strength, perfection, and rebirth, as well as, when also linked to fire, heat, or bright light, the realm of the spirit.27 The six pointed star of Solomon shows the intersection of two triangles one spirit, one matter and their mutual interdependence. Here, the equation of the triangle with fire would definitely indicate Wolands affinity with the spirit realm, despite his material form.28 In alchemy, a similar denial of matter (ritual death) is required before the process of transformation can occur: from the initial blackness of nothing is produced the white of creation, before the final transformation to the red that symbolizes the highest stage, the philosophers stone. In this way, red and white are opposites symbolizing the eternal opposites that govern the cosmos: day/night; sun/moon; life/death; male/female etc.29 This indicates that an interpretation of the way Pilate appears b velom plawe c kpobabqm podvoem30 is a sign of his capacity for inner alchemy, spiritual transformation. Similarly, the persistent symbolism of blood, the colour red, and the profusion of rose symbolism can be seen as an expression of the power of rebirth and the possibility of perfection. Roses enter Masonic symbolism as an emblem of one of the three pillars on which all life rests: the pillar of Beauty (the other two being Strength and Wisdom). This symbolism was elevated to a higher plane in Rosicrucianism, which saw the rose as a symbol of the divine nature of aesthetic creation, and the exalted status of the artist within the world. The rose changing colour, from white to red, as they do in Pilates spilt wine,31 indicates the flowers development and attainment of a new, lofty plane of aesthetic beauty.32 The intrinsic role played in the cosmos by artistic creation is thus reiterated throughout the novel with this recurrent symbol. Although it is, of course, not the only layer of significance present in the scene of Satans Ball, elements of a Masonic initiation ceremony are present, symbolizing Margaritas willingness to forgo her past life and wholeheartedly embrace a journey involving illumination from the supernatural. Masonic initiation rites vary tremendously, but some basic, generic practices can be discerned in Margaritas arrival at flat no. 50, in chapter 22, Ppn cbejax (By Candlelight). It is common in such a ritual for members to guard the entrances to the Lodge. As Margarita and Koroviev approach, they see three such guards at the various entrances to the flat. At first, the initiate is blindfolded and led through various rooms, all to disorientate him, and sometimes it is shouted to him that he is being thrown into Hell33 (Margarita, of course, already suspects this). Margarita is at first led into a room that is so dark that hnjego he vqlo bndho, kak b podzemelse.34 The initiate is then led to a flight of stairs in a room which is very dimly lit the staircase is specially constructed so that you think you have ascended a long way although you have hardly moved at all; the staircase in Masonry is a common symbol of the long, never-ending ascension to higher knowledge.35 Similarly, Margarita and her guide tyt ctaln podhnmatscr po kaknm-to wnpoknm ctypehrm, n Mapgapnte ctalo kazatscr, jto kohua nm he vydet. E popayalo, kak b pepedhei ovqkhobehhoi mockobckoi kbaptnpq moyet pomectntscr qta heovqkhobehhar, hebndnmar, ho xopowo owywaemar veckohejhar lecthnua.36 Next the Masonic initiate finds himself in an illuminated room, and he is asked do you recognise who is your master?37 Similarly, Margarita finds herself b cobepwehho heovsrthom zale, da ew c kolohhadoi38 (such as the entrance hall to many Masonic Lodges would be) and Koroviev tells her, Bq [. . .] kohejho, yye dogadalncs o tom, kto haw xozrnh.39 Only once she replies in the affirmative, and what is expected of her has been explained, is she led through to the light: the room where Woland is. Just as in Masonry the path to knowledge is a difficult one, Margaritas experience at the ball proves that she has to endure quite an ordeal, but one which ultimately brings great reward.40

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Finally, the last and most important symbol: the moon. For many commentators, the constant sun/moon imagery in the book is further evidence of its Gnostic and dualistic tendencies. It is true that in many dualistic systems (especially that of Boehme), the sun and moon were the eternal representations of the inherent dualism and interdependence of the opposite forces of the world at work. The overwhelming presence of the moon in the novel can also be read as the traditional idea of the moon as a symbol of all that governs the world of the spirit, the emotions, the passive and feminine principle of the unseen world. Certainly this conception is important in the novel, highlighting the presence of the supernatural even when the citizens of Moscow deny it. But the moon seems to suggest even more than that. It functions as a symbol of the path to enlightenment: Pilate and Yeshua finish the novel walking along this path seemingly forever. In the Jewish Kabbalah, the moon is the entrance to the spiritual realm and its light can illuminate the path man should take, by illuminating in him the divine spark and the memory of the light, so often hidden, that we all have inside us.41 Is it the awakening of this spark and the awareness of the difficulties it brings, that gives the Master, Pilate, and Bezdomnyi no peace when the moon is full? Just as the red dawn symbolizes a spiritual rebirth and the actualization of knowledge (it is b vlecke pepbqx ytpehhnx lyjei that the Master and Margarita cross into their new realm42), the moon represents the way to that rebirth. Pilate has a long way to go, and in Masonry an initiate can start on his journey only once he has accepted God as all-powerful as well as reconciling himself to the idea of immortality. Maybe it took Pilate all those thousands of years to accept this, for he is just beginning his journey at the same time that the Master and Margarita finish theirs. Conclusion The Master and Margarita, in both its symbolic structure and in its more farcical, theatrical scenes, calls for a spiritual rebirth not through any particular doctrine or creed, but through an understanding that only by accepting the ultimate mystery of the universe can we progress to a deeper level of existence. Bulgakov exposes the failings of Soviet society in the greed and corruption of its citizens, but he also questions the ideological need to know everything, to have proof, definite answers, and the unquestioning assumption that what is presented as a truth, especially a written truth, is an undeniable fact. Of course while specifically relevant to Bulgakovs time and experience in Communist Russia, the human impulse to seek in science and rationalism explanations of those things in the world that are hard to understand is common to many cultures. From the very beginning of the book, The Master and Margarita questions the readers traditional assumptions in both its unconventional representations of character and in the style of the novel itself, asking us not only to re-evaluate our thoughts on, for example, traditional depictions of the crucifixion, but also to question our expectations of fiction as a genre. I have here pointed out a layer of symbolism in The Master and Margarita that I see as central to an understanding of the book. It is, of course, not the only one and not exclusive: as I have mentioned, the writing of the book was a process itself, taking many years and so incorporating a wealth of detail from Bulgakovs own life experience and the evolution in his own thought. In particular, the granting of the Master and Margarita peace and not light at the end of the book can point to the wish fulfilment and extreme exhaustion of a dying man who suffered so much in his life. Many critical studies have attempted to evaluate the symbolism or allegorical nature of the work by a decoding process, and in doing so have fallen into the trap

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Bulgakov has deliberately created that is central to the books conception: the assumption that we can know a definite truth. In encoding his fiction, Bulgakov has obscured any obvious meaning, and thus asks the reader to go on a similar journey to that of the main characters. Writing about Goethe, Steiner sees that some people, while realising that there are no bounds to mans search for wisdom, but that it is capable of infinite expansion, are aware that the depths of the universe are unfathomable, that in every unmasked secret lies the origin of the new; and in every solution of a riddle another lies unrevealed.43 And it is with this in mind that we need to approach Bulgakovs work. But it is also the type of symbolism that is important, and that is what I have attempted to unravel in this essay. Traditionally, occultists and mystics of all persuasions have sought in symbols clues to the deeper mysteries of the universe, and such symbols are usually in these systems revealed as steps on the life-long road to deeper knowledge. Bulgakovs use of Masonic and occult symbolism throughout the book points to this need for growth and development in mans inner life to mirror the advancements in the sciences, technology, and all that creates our external life. It is possible that the main message in the symbolism of The Master and Margarita is a very simple reminder that there are signs all around us that point to an existence that goes beyond the visible, if we are open to this different way of seeing. We come back, as in the epigraph at the beginning of the novel, to Faust, and the Chorus Mysticus at the end of Part II:
Alles Vergngliche Ist nur ein Gleichnis; Das Unzulngliche, Hier wirds Ereignis; Das Unbeschreibliche, Hier ists getan; Das Ewig-Weibliche Zieht uns hinan.44

Bibliography
Barratt, A., Between Two Worlds. A Critical Introduction to The Master and Margarita (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987). Belozerskaia-Bulgakova, L., My Life with Mikhail Bulgakov, trans. By M. Thompson (Ann Arbor, Munich: Ardis, 1983). Bethea, D., The Shape of Apocalypse in Modern Russian Fiction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989). Billington, J., The Icon and the Axe (London: Weidenfeld, 1966). Buck, J., Symbolism of Freemasonry or Mystic Masonry (Chicago: Ezra Cook Publishing, 1925). Bulgakov, M., Mactep n Mapgapnta (Mockba: pedakunohho-nzdatelsckni komplekc Mnlocepdne, 1991). Cavendish, R. (ed.), Encyclopaedia of the Unexplained: Magic, Occultism and Parapsychology (London: McGraw Hill, 1974). Chudakova, M., The Master and Margarita. The Development of a Novel, Russian Literature Triquarterly, 15 (Spring 1976), 177209. Chudakova, M., Usloviie sushchestvovaniia, V mire knig, 12 (1974), 7981. Chudakova, M. (ed.), Mikhail Bulgakov: Sovremennye tolkovaniia. K 100-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia (Moskva: Akademiia Nauk SSSR, 1991), p. 25. Cottrell, A., Goethes View of Evil and the Search for a New Image of Man in our Time (London: Floris Books, 1982). Curtis, J. A. E., Manuscripts Dont Burn. Mikhail Bulgakov, A Life in Letters and Diaries (London: Bloomsbury, 1991).

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Curtis, J. A. E., Bulgakovs Last Decade. The Writer as Hero (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). Ericson, E., The Apocalyptic Vision of Bulgakovs The Master and Margarita (Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 1991). Goethe, Faust (Hamburg: Christian Wegner Verlag, 1954). Hanratty, G., Studies in Gnosticism and in the Philosophy of Religion (Chippenham: Four Courts Press, 1997). Haber, E., The Lamp with the Green Shade: Mikhail Bulgakov and His Father, Russian Review, 44.4 (October 1985), 33350. Krugovoi, G., The Gnostic Novel of Mikhail Bulgakov: Sources and Exegesis (New York: University Press of America, 1991). Lessing Baehr, S., The Paradise Myth in Eighteenth Century Russia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991). Mahlow, E., Bulgakovs Master and Margarita: the Text as Cipher (Vantage Press, 1975). Milne, L., Mikhail Bulgakov: a Critical Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). Pittman, R., The Writers Divided Self in Bulgakovs Master and Margarita (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991). Proffer, E., On The Master and Margarita, Russian Literature Triquaterly, 6 (Spring 1973), 53364. Raphael, A., Goethe and the Philosophers Stone (London: Routledge, 1965). Reed, T. J., Goethe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984). Rosenthal, B. (ed.), The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997). Steiner, R., Goethes Standard of the Soul (London: Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1925) Steiner, R. The Temple Legend. Freemasonry and Related Occult Movements (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985) Waite, A., A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, vols 12 (Rider, 1921). Weeks, L., Hebraic Antecedents in The Master and Margarita: Woland and Company Revisited, Slavic Review, 43.2 (Summer 1984), 22441. Weeks, L. (ed.), The Master and Margarita: A Critical Companion (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1996). Yanovskaia, L., Treugolnik Volanda. K istorii romana Master i Margarita (Kiev: Libid, 1991). Yanovskaia, L., Tvorcheskii put Mikhaila Bulgakova (Moskva: Sovetskii Pisatelech, 1983).

1 See G. Krugovoi, The Gnostic Novel of Mikhail Bulgakov: Sources and Exegesis (New York: University Press of America, 1991). 2 For example, in E. Mahlow, Bulgakovs Master and Margarita: the Text as Cipher (Vantage Press, 1975). 3 In R. Pittman, The Writers Divided Self in Bulgakovs Master and Margarita (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991). 4 For the history of the writing of the text, see M. Chudakova, The Master and Margarita. The Development of a Novel, Russian Literature Triquarterly, 15 (Spring 1976), 177209. 5 An analysis of the various texts and translations is given in A. Barratt, Between Two Worlds. A Critical Introduction to The Master and Margarita (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987). 6 See Chudakova, op. cit. 7 Possible sources are given in M. Chudakova, Uslovie sushchestvovaniia, V mire knig, 12 (1974), 7981. 8 Representations of a realistic Christ are especially notable in the paintings of A. Ivanov, I. Kramskoi, and N. Ge and in the fiction of Tolstoi, Dostoevskii, and later Symbolist writers such as A. Belyi and A. Blok. For the devil in turn of the century culture, see K. Groberg, The Shade of Lucifers Dark Wing: Satanism in Silver Age Russia in The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, ed. by B. Rosenthal (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997). 9 For the influence of his father on his worldview, see E. Haber, The Lamp with the Green Shade: Mikhail Bulgakov and His Father, Russian Review, 44.4 (October 1985), 33350. 10 As in Krugovoi 1991, and Barratt 1987. 11 E. Ericson, The Apocalyptic Vision of Bulgakovs The Master and Margarita (Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 1991). 12 D. Bethea, The Shape of Apocalypse in Modern Russian Fiction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989). 13 As suggested in L. Weeks, Hebraic Antecedents in The Master and Margarita: Woland and Company Revisited, Slavic Review, 43.2 (Summer 1984), 22441. 14 M. Bulgakov, Master i Margarita (Moscow: Miloserdie, 1991), p. 10. (Hereafter referred to as M & M). All English translations are from The Master and Margarita, trans. by M. Glenny (London: The Harvill Press, 1967).

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M. Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita, trans. by M. Glenny (London: The Harvill Press, 1967), p. 20 Sooner or later, everything finds its own place (my translation), in Mikhail Bulgakov: sovremennye tolkovaniia. K 100-letiyu co dnia rozhdeniia, ed. by M. Chudakova (Moscow: Akademiia Nauk SSSR, 1991), p. 5. 17 R. Steiner, Goethes Standard of the Soul (London: Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1925), p. 16. 18 See M. Carlson, Fashionable Occultism: Spiritualism, Theosophy, Freemasonry and Hermeticism in Fin-de-Sicle Russia, in The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, pp. 13553. 19 See Carlson, as above, and the discussion of Freemasonry in J. Billington, The Icon and the Axe (London: Weidenfeld, 1966). According to Haber, Bulgakovs father wrote and published an article on Freemasonry (E. Haber, The Lamp, p. 334, n. 3). 20 See R. Steiner, The Temple Legend. Freemasonry and Related Occult Movements (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985). 21 See M & M, p. 135: the Master says he has renounced (otkazalcr) his name. The word Master itself conjures Masonic connotations: the Master is the highest degree attainable in Craft Masonry. Higher Order Masonry, however, has many additional degrees to progress to: in the Royal Arch degree, the high Priest is called Jeshua (Steiner, The Temple Legend, p. 89). 22 See S. Lessing Baehr, The Paradise Myth in Eighteenth Century Russia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991). 23 Steiner, The Temple Legend, p. 162. 24 M & M, p. 130. This has given him the freedom of the balcony (Glenny, p. 154). 25 Ibid., p. 21, the temple of the old beliefs would fall down and the new temple of truth would be built up (Glenny, p. 33). 26 Ibid., p. 11. It was of enormous dimensions, made of solid gold and on the inside of the cover a triangle of diamonds flashed with blue and white fire (Glenny, p. 21). 27 See, for example J. Buck, Symbolism of Freemasonry or Mystic Masonry, (Chicago: Ezra Cook Publishing, 1925), p. 132. A triangle of fire is also connected to the Prometheus legend, and the giving to man of both fire and the arts, the power of creation. 28 An entirely different interpretation is given in L. Yanovskaia, Treugolnik Volanda. K istorii romana Master i Margarita (Kiev: Libid, 1991), pp. 6970. She suggests that the symbol had originally been an F, from a time in the development of the novel when Woland was called Faland, and as it was originally conceived as an initial, concludes the triangle must be the Greek letter D, for Devil. 29 See A. Waite, A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, vols 12 (Rider, 1921). 30 M & M, p. 15, in a white cloak lined with blood red (Glenny, p. 27). 31 Ibid., p. 302 32 In Waite (1921). 33 Steiner, The Temple Legend, p. 78. 34 M & M, p. 249, as dark as a cellar (Glenny, p. 285) 35 Steiner, The Temple Legend, p. 79 36 M & M, p. 249. Margarita began to mount a broad staircase, so vast that to Margarita it seemed endless. She was surprised that the hallway of an ordinary Moscow flat could hold such an enormous, invisible but undeniably real and apparently unending staircase (Glenny, p. 285). The scenes at Satans ball have been shown to be heavily influenced by the Bulgakovs impressions of the extravagant ball they attended at the American Embassy in Moscow in 1935 including the detail of the vast and seemingly never-ending staircase. See, for example, the information in M. Chudakova, Zhizneopisanie Mikhaila Bulgakova (Moscow: Kniga, 1988), 2nd edn. 37 Steiner, The Temple Legend, p. 79 38 M & M, p. 250. Margarita is in a vast, colonnaded hall (Glenny, p. 287). 39 M & M, p. 251. She has naturally guessed who our host is (Glenny, p. 287). 40 There are other references to initiation rites in the text, but they are not as noticeable; such rites vary tremendously but the basis remains the same: the progress from dark to light, through many rooms and a staircase, and the importance of giving the right answers. Other possible references could be the seven-armed candelabra (seven is a magic number, along with three, in Masonry), the presence of skulls and coffins (which denoted ritual death/rebirth), and the sword Woland has, which the master in an initiation ceremony also uses. 41 In Lessing Baehr (1991) and Encyclopaedia of the Unexplained: Magic, Occultism and Parapsychology, ed. by R. Cavendish (London: McGraw Hill, 1974) under the heading Cabala.

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M & M, p. 387, in the first rays of morning (Glenny, p. 431). Steiner, Goethes Standard of the Soul, p. 5. 44 J. W. Goethe, Faust (Hamburg: Christian Wegner Verlag, 1954), p. 364. All things corruptible | Are but a parable | Earths insufficiency | Here finds fulfilment | Here the ineffable | Wins life through love | Eternal Womanhood | Leads us above. From Goethe, Faust. Part Two, trans. by Philip Wayne (London: Penguin Books, 1959), p. 288.