The Count of St. Germain (fl. 1710–1784) has been variously described as a courtier, adventurer, charlatan, inventor, alchemist, pianist, violinist and amateur composer, but is best known as a recurring figure in the stories of several strands of occultism -- particularly those connected to Theosophy, where he is referred to as the "Master Rakoczi" or the "Master R". Some sources write that his name is not familial, but was invented by him as a French version of the Latin Sanctus Germanus, meaning "Holy Brother".
The scarcity of contemporary biographical detail about St Germain (alongside his own apparent self-mythologising) has supported the construction of many versions of his origins and ancestry, including that he was:
the son of Francis II Rákóczi, the Prince of Transylvania, by Rákóczi's first wife 
the illegitimate son of Maria Anna of Pfalz-Neuburg, the widow of Charles II of Spain
the son of the king of Portugal (presumably John V)
In a letter of 1745 Horace Walpole mentions a Count St. Germain as being arrested in London on suspicion of espionage (this was during the Jacobite rebellion) but released without charge:
...the other day they seized an odd man, who goes by the name of Count St. Germain. He has been here these two years, and will not tell who he is, or whence, but professes that he does not go by his right name. He sings, plays on the violin wonderfully, composes, is mad, and not very sensible. He is called an Italian, a Spaniard, a Pole; a somebody that married a great fortune in Mexico, and ran away with her jewels to Constantinople; a priest, a fiddler, a vast nobleman. The Prince of Wales has had unsatiated curiosity about him, but in vain. However, nothing has been made out against him; he is released; and, what convinces me that he is not a gentleman, stays here, and talks of his being taken up for a spy.
A M. de Saint-Germain was Governor of Chengalaput, in India, in 1752.
Giacomo Casanova describes in his memoirs several meetings with the "celebrated and learned impostor". Of his first meeting, in Paris in 1757, he writes:
The most enjoyable dinner I had was with Madame de Gergi, who came with the famous adventurer, known by the name of the Count de St. Germain. This individual, instead of eating, talked from the beginning of the meal to the end, and I followed his example in one respect as I did not eat, but listened to him with the greatest attention. It may safely be said that as a conversationalist he was unequalled.
St. Germain gave himself out for a marvel and always aimed at exciting amazement, which he often succeeded in doing. He was scholar, linguist, musician, and chemist, good-looking, and a perfect ladies' man. For awhile he gave them paints and cosmetics; he flattered them, not that he would make them young again (which he modestly confessed was beyond him) but that their beauty would be preserved by means of a wash which, he said, cost him a lot of money, but which he gave away freely.
He had contrived to gain the favour of Madame de Pompadour, who had spoken about him to the king, for whom he had made a laboratory, in which the monarch - a martyr to boredom - tried to find a little pleasure or distraction, at all events, by making dyes. The king had given him a suite of rooms at Chambord, and a hundred thousand francs for the construction of a laboratory, and according to St. Germain the dyes discovered by the king would have a materially beneficial influence on the quality of French fabrics.
This extraordinary man, intended by nature to be the king of impostors and quacks, would say in an easy, assured manner that he was three hundred years old, that he knew the secret of the Universal Medicine, that he possessed a mastery over nature, that he could melt diamonds, professing himself capable of forming, out of ten or twelve small diamonds, one large one of the finest water without any loss of weight. All this, he said, was a mere trifle to him. Notwithstanding his boastings, his bare-faced lies, and his manifold eccentricities, I cannot say I thought him offensive. In spite of my knowledge of what he was and in spite of my own feelings, I thought him an astonishing man as he was always astonishing me. I shall have something more to say of this character further on.
Myths, legends and speculations about St. Germain began to be widespread in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and continue today. They include beliefs that he is immortal, the Wandering Jew, an alchemist with the "Elixir of Life", a Rosicrucian, and that he prophesied the French Revolution. He is said to have met the forger Giuseppe Balsamo (alias Cagliostro) in London.
Several Theosophists stated that they had met Saint Germain in the late 19th or early 20th centuries:
Annie Besant said that she met the Count in 1896.
C. W. Leadbeater wrote that he had met him in Rome in 1926. Leadbeater said that Saint Germain showed him a robe that had been previously owned by a Roman Emperor and that Saint Germain told him that one of his residences was a castle in Transylvania. 
Guy Ballard, founder of the "I AM" Activity, said that he met Saint Germain on Mount Shasta in California in August of 1930, and that this initiated his "training" and experiences with other Ascended Masters in various parts of the world. 
There are several "authoritative" biographers who usually do not agree with one another. Probably the two best-known biographies are Isabel Cooper-Oakley's The Count of St. Germain (1912) and Jean Overton-Fuller's The Comte de Saint-Germain: Last Scion of the House of Rakoczy (1988). A book titled "The Great Secret, Count St. Germain," by Dr. Raymond Bernard purports that St. Germain was actually Francis Bacon by birth, and was also the author of the plays attributed to Shakespeare. He is the very heart of the Saint Germain Series of Books published by the Saint Germain Press. The first two volumes, "Unveiled Mysteries" and "The Magic Presence," written by Godfre Ray King, describe Saint Germain as an Ascended Master, like Jesus, who is assisting humanity and the Earth at present. Godfre Ray King is the pen-name for Guy W. Ballard. In the first two books, he discusses his personal experiences with Saint Germain and reveals many teachings that are in harmony with Theosophy and the other works referenced above.
Books supposedly based on the Discourses or direct Teachings of Saint Germain include the "Green Books" or Saint Germain Series of books published by the Saint Germain Press, and the "Comte de Gabalis."
One book attributed to Saint Germain himself is "The Most Holy Trinosophia of the Comte de St. Germain." There are also two triangular books in the Manly Palmer Hall Collection of Alchemical Manuscripts at the Getty Research Library which are attributed to Saint Germain.
Occult and New Age views about St. Germain
Many groups in occultism honor St. Germain as an Ascended Master. As such, he is believed to have many magical powers such as the ability to teleport, levitate, walk through walls, influence people telepathically, etc.
Theosophists consider him to be a Mahatma, Master or adept. Helena Blavatsky said he was one of her Masters of Wisdom and hinted at secret documents. Some esoteric groups credit him with inspiring the Founding Fathers to draft the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as providing the design of the Great Seal of the United States. (See P.Manly Hall's "Secret Teachings of All Ages.")  In the New Age beliefs regarding him, Saint Germain is always associated with the color violet, the jewel amethyst, and the Maltese cross rendered in violet (usually the iron cross style cross patee version); he is also regarded as the "Cosmic Master of the Seventh (violet) Ray" — according to Theosophy, the Seven Rays are seven metaphysical principles that govern both individual souls and the unfolding of each 2,158 year long Astrological Age. Since according to Theosophy the next Astrological Age, the Age of Aquarius, will be governed by the Seventh (violet) Ray (the Ray of Ceremonial Order), Saint Germain is sometimes called "The Hierarch of the Age of Aquarius".
Another belief, promoted by New Zealand Author Michael Taylor, is that St Germain died around 1784, and then was incarnated as Carl Jung Senior (Grand Master of the Swiss Lodge of Freemasons), then as Carl Jung Jnr, the great Swiss Psychologist who died in 1961. 
Founders of the T. S.
William Quan Judge
Henry Steel Olcott
Alice Bailey · Annie Besant Geoffrey Hodson · C.W. Leadbeater Alfred Percy Sinnett · Rudolph Steiner
Seven Rays Initiation
Theosophical Society TS Adyar · TS Pasadena · ULT
Isis Unveiled The Key to Theosophy Mahatma Letters The Secret Doctrine The Voice of the Silence
Sanat Kumara Morya Kuthumi Paul the Venetian Serapis Bey Master Hilarion Master Jesus Master Rakoczi
According to Theosophy and the Ascended Master Teachings, Saint Germain was incarnated as: (see notes 1, 2, and 3 for sources)
Ruler of a Golden Age civilization in the area of the Sahara Desert 70,000 years ago, originally a colony sent out from Atlantis.
High priest on Atlantis 13,000 years ago, serving in the Order of Lord Zadkiel in the Temple of Purification, located where the island of Cuba is now
Samuel, eleventh century B.C. Religious leader in Israel who served as prophet, priest, and last of the Hebrew judges
Saint Joseph, first century A.D., Nazareth. Husband of Mary and Guardian of Jesus
Saint Alban, late third or early fourth century, town of Verulamium, renamed St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. First British martyr — he had sheltered a fugitive priest, became a devout convert, and was put to death for disguising himself as the priest so he could die in his place
Proclus, c. 410 - 485 A.D. Athens. The last major Greek Neoplatonic philosopher, headed the Platonic Academy and wrote extensively on philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, and grammar
Merlin, c. fifth or sixth century, Britain. Magician and counselor at King Arthur's Camelot who inspired the establishment of the Order of the Knights of the Round Table
Roger Bacon, c. 1220–1292 A.D., England. Philosopher, educational reformer, and experimental scientist; forerunner of modern science renowned for his exhaustive investigations into alchemy, optics, mathematics, and languages
Organizer behind the scenes for the Secret Societies in Germany in the late fourteen and early fifteenth centuries. The creation of a fictional character named "Christian Rosenkreuz" was inspired by his efforts.
Christopher Columbus, 1451–1506 A.D. Believed to have been born in Genoa, Italy and settled in Portugal. Landed in America in 1492 during first of four voyages to the New World sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain
Francis Bacon, 1561–1626, England. Philosopher, statesman, essayist and literary master, author of the Shakespearean plays (according to the Ascended Master Teachings), father of inductive science and herald of the scientific revolution.
Ascension into masterhood
These organizations believe that Francis Bacon made it appear that he died on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1626, and that he even attended his own "funeral" in disguise. He then supposedly traveled secretly to Transylvania (then part of Hungary, now part of Romania) to the Rakoczy Mansion of the royal family of Hungary. Finally on May 1, 1684 he is believed to have attained his physical Ascension (attaining immortality and eternal youth at the sixth level of initiation), at which time Francis Bacon adopted the name "Saint Germain."
St. Germain in popular culture
Umberto Eco's satirical work involving conspiracy theories, Foucault's Pendulum, features a putative St. Germain as the antagonist.
French socialite and singer Richard Chanfray achieved minor celebrity status in the 1970s by claiming to be the Comte de St Germain. He was Dalida's lover for several years.
The 1976 French horror film, Le Collectionneur des cerveaux, places the Comte de St. Germain in the role of a brain-collecting mad scientist.
Diana Gabaldon's novel Dragonfly in Amber features St. Germain as a French nobleman and wine merchant dealing in the darker side of Parisian politics and high society in 1745. In her book, the Count is not immortal.
The author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has written (as of 2006) two dozen fantasy books (including spin offs) concerning a vampiric character modeled after St. Germain.
The role-playing game Unknown Armies features St. Germain as an immortal yet very human, enigmatic and complex figure also referred to as "The First and Last Man".
St. Germain appears in the BL game Animamundi: Dark Alchemist as the fiancé to the main character's sister.
St. Germain also appears in Aleksandr Pushkin's short novel The Queen of Spades.
Author Katherine Kurtz featured Saint-Germain as the esoteric Master behind the scenes orchestrating the American Revolution in the novel Two Crowns for America (1996).
St. Germain(e) appears in the graphic novel The Sandman (written by Neil Gaiman) spin-off_The Dead Boy Detectives, written by Ed Brubaker. St. Germain(e) here is the name/identity taken by Gilles de Rais.
St. Germain appears as a villain in the anime series Le Chevalier D'Eon
The Comte de St. Germain(e) appears (also called Master Rakoczi) in Traci Harding's book The Cosmic Logos.
St. Germain is the villain of the limited comic book series Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu: Hellfire Apocalypse (2002–2003) by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy, wherein St. Germain is revealed to be actually Fu Manchu in disguise.
St. Germain appears in the head of Billy Ballantine in Tor Åge Bringsværd's "Den som har begge beina på jorda står stille" AKA "Den som har begge beina på jorda står stille (eller: Alveolene kommer!). Om de merkelige hendelsene som rystet London den 26. og 27. mai 1973. En digresjonsroman. Vel blåst!" St. Germain proves his ability to make gold, by turning a criminal into a golden statue and a preacher into a golden calf.
A major setting in the browser-based MMORPG Nexus War is St. Germaine Island, almost certainly a reference to the Count, given the game's heavy magical elements.
The author of the Japanese manga D.Gray-man, Katsura Hoshino, has heavily implied that the demonic villain of the series, the Millennium Earl, is based upon St. Germain.
St. Germain appears in the video game Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army.
St. Germain appears in the video game Castlevania: Curse of Darkness as an fellow ally attempting to oppose Death's plans for the resurrection of Dracula.
Fictional details of St. Germain's jorney to Russia form part of the novel Wheel of Fortune (Колесо Фортуны) (1970–75) by the Russian writer Nikolay Dubov (Николай Иванович Дубов).
In the novel The Red Lion: The Elixir of Eternal Life by the Hungarian writer Mária Szepes, St. Germain appears as a companion of the protagonist. He is "the man that never dies".
In the fifth volume of the manga Rozen Maiden, "The Father" who created the magical doll protagonists is revealed to be St. Germain.
Saint Germain appears in the Buffyverse comics miniseries Spike vs. Dracula.
Count Saint-Germain appears in the Topps comic book series The Frankenstein/Dracula War as a captain in Napoleon's army who plots to replenish his fading immortality by blackmailing Frankenstien's Monster into removing Dracula's heart. Frankenstein's Monster eventually turns on Saint-Germain and kills him with the aid of Dracula.
^ Schroeder, Werner Ascended Masters and Their Retreats Ascended Master Teaching Foundation 2004, pages 250 - 255
^ Luk, A.D.K.. Law of Life — Book II. Pueblo, Colorado: A.D.K. Luk Publications 1989, pages 254 - 267
^ Booth, Annice The Masters and Their Retreats Summit Lighthouse Library June 2003, pages 312 - 322
^The Comte de St. Germain by Isabel Cooper-Oakley. Milan, Italy: Ars Regia, 1912
^ Letter to Sir Horace Mann, Dec. 9, 1745, available on Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12073/12073.txt
^ Butler, E. M.: The Myth of the Magus; Cambridge University Press, 1948; p. 189
^ The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Memoires of Casanova, Complete, by Jacques Casanova de Seingalt: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2981/2981.txt
^ Leadbeater, C.W. The Masters and the Path. Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1929 (Reprint: Kessinger Publishing, 1997).
^ Hall, Manly P. The Secret Teachings of All Ages "An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings Concealed within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of all Ages" H.S. Crocker Company, Inc. 1928
^ Michael Taylor "Master of the Rose", Comstar Media LLC, 1997-2007
Bernard, Raymond.Great Secret Count St. Germain. Mokelumne Hill, California: Mokelumne Hill Press, 1993 (reprint ed.). ISBN 0-7873-0095-0.
Fuller, Jean Overton. The Comte de Saint-Germain: Last Scion of the House of Rakockzy. London: East-West Publications, 1988. ISBN 0-85692-114-9.
Leadbeater, C.W. The Masters and the Path Adyar, Madras, India: 1925--Theosophical Publishing House
Prophet, Elizabeth Clare. Saint Germain: Master Alchemist. Gardiner, Montana: Summit University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-922729-95-6.
Prophet, Elizabeth Clare. Saint Germain's Prophecy for the New Millennium: Includes Dramatic Prophecies from Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and Mother Mary. Gardiner, Montana: Summit University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-922729-45-X.
Prophet, Elizabeth Clare. Violet Flame to Heal Body, Mind and Soul. Gardiner, Montana: Summit University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-922729-37-9.
Prophet, Mark L. and Elizabeth Clare Lords of the Seven Rays Livingston, Montana, U.S.A.:1986 - Summit University Press
Saint Germain. Saint Germain on Alchemy: Formulas for Self-Transformation. Gardiner, Montana: Summit University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-916766-68-3.
Melton, J. Gordon Encyclopedia of American Religions 5th Edition New York:1996 Gale Research ISBN 0-8103-7714-4 ISSN 1066-1212 Chapter 18--"The Ancient Wisdom Family of Religions" Pages 151-158; see chart on page 154 listing Masters of the Ancient Wisdom; Also see Section 18, Pages 717-757 Descriptions of various Ancient Wisdom religious organizations
Campbell, Bruce F. A History of the Theosophical Movement Berkeley:1980 University of California Press
Godwin, Joscelyn The Theosophical Enlightenment Albany, New York: 1994 State University of New York Press
Johnson, K. Paul The Masters Revealed: Madam Blavatsky and Myth of the Great White Brotherhood Albany, New York: 1994 State University of New York Press