Originally Published at Conspiracy Archive on 2009/01/21

Design sketch of the alchemical laboratory at the estate of Landgrave Karl von Hessen Kassel

Design sketch of the alchemical laboratory at the estate of Landgrave Karl von Hessen Kassel

In an email Monday, L.G. wrote:

I’ve been searching for materials about the Illuminati (I read yesterday some of your notes on “May Day” and the Illuminati – quite interesting and helpful!) and there is one historical personage that keeps popping up in my searches: Saint Germain, the so-called “Wonderman of Europe”. I don’t know if he was an “illuminatus”, but his persistent connections to May 1st in the New Age Movement are very interesting. According to some sources, he “ascended” on May 1st 1684, and was crowned as the new “Chohan” (Planetary Lord) on May 1st 1954. I know these are just New Age inventions, with no historical value, but anyway the choice of that day is curious, to say the least.

While reading Manly P. Hall’s “The Secret Destiny of America”, I noticed he mentioned a person –not named in the book– who apparently influenced the creation of the american flag and called himself “The Professor”. What I wanted to know is if you know, from your own studies, if this man had anything to do with the well-known european aristocrat who called himself the Count of Saint Germain. If there was a connection, and if there was any possibility for him to have been a member of the Bavarian Illuminati, maybe this could explain the connection between the New Age “Ascended Master” Saint Germain and the day of the foundation of the Bavarian Illuminati.

By the way, as I’m talking about Saint Germain and the New Age Movement, maybe you’ll find curious the fact that certain new age circles working with this “ascended master” use a kind of violet disc with a dot in the middle as a tool for “spiritual exercises”. You can see it here (the fourth from above):

This, amazingly, reminds me of the point within a circle used by the Illuminati to designate their Order. What do you think about all this?

Thanks for your time and attention.

The short answer, is no; Saint Germain wasn’t a member of the Illuminati. His name doesn’t appear on any authentic membership list, nor would you expect to find it. Quite the opposite.

Regarding Freemasonry and other secret societies during the 18th Century, those of a mystical/occultist bent usually joined the Golden and Rosy Cross, Strict Observance or the Illuminés in France and Northern Europe (embracing the teachings of Pasqually, Saint-Martin, Pernety, and Swedenborg) – or all of the above. The die-hard rationalists, whose foundation was in philosophy rather than Pietism or mysticism or alchemy, were recruited into the Bavarian Illuminati. That being said, there was certainly overlap, but the two camps were at odds, even antagonistic. Saint Germain was of the former group. To the rationalists in the Illuminati, Saint-Germain – indeed Cagliostro and the rest of the mystical fabulists – were the butt of the joke. If you were found to be sympathetic to alchemy or Rosicrucianism, in most cases you were kicked out of the Order.

While contemplating whether to initiate Princes into the Order, a compromise was reached. The noble would certainly be led to believe that he was ascending the ladder, but instead of the normal discourse read to the initiate in the higher mysteries, that the church and throne were to be dispensed with – these were conveniently left out. Thus the sovereign’s good name could be used to recruit others – demonstrating the grandeur of the Order – and the Prince or Duke, believing he was privy to the final secret, would, in turn, work on behalf of his “brethren.”

Landgrave Karl von Hessen-Kassel was a close friend of Saint-Germain’s. He was one of those Princes initiated into the Order, and it seems as though he had an agenda as well – to spy on its activities, keep it in check, and have full control over the initiates in his territory. This power, Knigge provided to him; despite the fact that Karl was one of the most accomplished occultists of his time (and being an initiate of more mystical associations than most anyone else).

Prince Karl and Saint-Germain set up shop at his Louisenlund estate in what is now Schleswig-Holstein. While conducting experiments at Karl’s alchemical laboratory (a dark, cold, and dreary stone tower), Saint-Germain caught pneumonia and died on February 27, 1784.

The simple fact is that Rosicrucian obsession with the myths surrounding St. Germain is a ruse meant to fleece the credulous. That they use “May 1st” is perhaps due a desire to insinuate a connection with Weishaupt’s Order. But there is none. The power and allure of the very word “Illuminati” is considerable, is it not? Crowley, too, sought to conflate various names throughout history and intimate that they belonged to one grand authentic tradition. They have alternative histories – whimsical and imprecise – whose purpose is to impress; indoctrinate; initiate; propagate.

Chapter 15 (pp. 146-154) of Hall’s Secret Destiny of America (1944), is titled “The Unknown Man who Designed Our Flag.” Too often Hall’s sources are those of occultists, who in turn base their stories upon anecdote, tradition, and legend. Hall’s sole citation for the tale of this mysterious professor, is one Robert Allen Campbell: Our Flag: Or The Evolution of the Stars and Stripes, Including the Reason to be of the Design, the Colors, and Their Position, Mystic Interpretation Together with Selections Eloquent, Patriotic, and Poetical (H. E. Lawrence, Chicago, 1890).

The gist of it is this:


Many times the question has been asked, Was Francis Bacon’s vision of the “New Atlantis” a prophetic dream of the great civilization which was so soon to rise upon the soil of the New World? It cannot be doubted that the secret societies of Europe conspired to establish upon the American continent “a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Two incidents in the early history of the United States evidence the influence of that silent body which has so long guided the destinies of peoples and religions. By them nations are created as vehicles for the promulgation of ideals, and while nations are true to these ideals they survive; when they vary from them they vanish like the Atlantis of old which had ceased to “know the gods.”

In his admirable little treatise, Our Flag, Robert Allen Campbell revives the details of an obscure, but most important, episode of American history–the designing of the Colonial flag of 1775. The account involves a mysterious man concerning whom no information is available other than that he was on familiar terms with both General George Washington and Dr. Benjamin Franklin. The following description of him is taken from Campbell’s treatise:

“Little seems to have been known concerning this old gentleman; and in the materials from which this account is compiled his name is not even once mentioned, for he is uniformly spoken of or referred to as ‘the Professor.’ He was evidently far beyond his threescore and ten years; and he often referred to historical events of more than a century previous just as if he had been a living witness of their occurrence; still he was erect, vigorous and active–hale, hearty, and clear-minded–as strong and energetic every way as in the prime of his life He was tall, of fine figure, perfectly easy, and very dignified in his manners; being at once courteous, gracious and commanding. He was, for those times and considering the customs of the Colonists, very peculiar in his method of living; for he ate no flesh, fowl or fish; he never used for food any ‘green thing,’ any roots or anything unripe; he drank no liquor, wine or ale; but confined his diet to cereals and their products, fruits that were ripened on the stem in the sun, nuts, mild tea and the sweets of honey, sugar or molasses.

“He was well educated, highly cultivated, of extensive as well as varied information, and very studious. He spent considerable of his time in the patient and persistent conning of a number of very rare old books and ancient manuscripts which he seemed to be deciphering, translating or rewriting. These books and manuscripts, together with his own writings, he never showed to anyone; and he did not even mention them in his conversations with the family, except in the most casual way; and he always locked them up carefully in a large, old-fashioned, cubically shaped, iron-bound, heavy, oaken chest, whenever he left his room, even for his meals. He took long and frequent walks alone, sat on the brows of the neighboring hills, or mused in the midst of the green and flower-gemmed meadows. He was fairly liberal–but in no way lavish–in spending his money, with which he was well supplied. He was a quiet, though a very genial and very interesting, member of the family; and be was seemingly at home upon any and every topic coming up in conversation. He was, in short, one whom everyone would notice and respect, whom few would feel well acquainted with, and whom no one would presume to question concerning himself–as to whence he came, why he tarried, or whither he journeyed. ”

By something more than a mere coincidence the committee appointed by the Colonial Congress to design a flag accepted an invitation to be guests, while in Cambridge, of the same family with which the Professor was staying. It was here that General Washington joined them for the purpose of deciding upon a fitting emblem. By the signs which passed between them it was evident that both General Washington and Doctor Franklin recognized the Professor, and by unanimous approval he was invited to become an active member of the committee. During the proceedings which followed, the Professor was treated with the most profound respect and all of his suggestions immediately acted upon. He submitted a pattern which he considered symbolically appropriate for the new flag, and this was unhesitatingly accepted by the other six members of the committee, who voted that the arrangement suggested by the Professor be forthwith adopted. After the episode of the flag the Professor quietly vanished, and nothing further is known concerning him.

Did General Washington and Doctor Franklin recognize the Professor as an emissary of the Mystery school which has so long controlled the political destinies of this planet? Benjamin Franklin was a philosopher and a Freemason–possibly a Rosicrucian initiate. He and the Marquis de Lafayette–also a man of mystery–constitute two of the most important links in the chain of circumstance that culminated in the establishment of the original thirteen American Colonies as a free and independent nation. Doctor Franklin’s philosophic attainments are well attested in Poor Richard’s Almanac, published by him for many years under the name of Richard Saunders. His interest in the cause of Freemasonry is also shown by his republication of Anderson’s Constitutions of Freemasonry, a rare and much disputed work on the subject.

It was during the evening of July 4, 1776, that the second of these mysterious episodes occurred. In the old State House in Philadelphia a group of men were gathered for the momentous task of severing the last tie between the old country and the new. It was a grave moment and not a few of those present feared that their lives would be the forfeit for their audacity. In the midst of the debate a fierce voice rang out. The debaters stopped and turned to look upon the stranger. Who was this man who had suddenly appeared in their midst and transfixed them with his oratory? They had never seen him before, none knew when he had entered, but his tall form and pale face filled them with awe. His voice ringing with a holy zeal, the stranger stirred them to their very souls. His closing words rang through the building: “God has given America to be free!” As the stranger sank into a chair exhausted, a wild enthusiasm burst forth. Name after name was placed upon the parchment: the Declaration of Independence was signed. But where was the man who had precipitated the accomplishment of this immortal task–who had lifted for a moment the veil from the eyes of the assemblage and revealed to them a part at least of the great purpose for which the new nation was conceived? He had disappeared, nor was he ever seen again or his identity established. This episode parallels others of a similar kind recorded by ancient historians attendant upon the founding of every new nation. Are they coincidences, or do they demonstrate that the divine wisdom of the ancient Mysteries still is present in the world, serving mankind as it did of old?

- “The Mysteries and Their Emissaries,” From Hall’s Secret Teachings of All Ages

I’m not sure what to make of this, as I do not have access to Campbell’s book; but according to Hall, in the Secret Destiny of America, Campbell wasn’t precise about where the tale of this “Professor” had originated, so it wouldn’t make any difference. I’m sure it can be settled one way or another by meticulously reviewing all known documentation concerning the design of the Flag, but such an undertaking does not interest me at this time.

Despite Hall’s assertion that he was unable to uncover any data about the author Robert Allen Campbell, it seems that the latter was in fact an accomplished occultist (and Hall probably knew this). According to author John Patrick Deveney, in Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician (State University of New York Press, 1996), Robert Allen Campbell was “involved in the origins of the H. B. of L.” (p. 484) – that is, The Hermetic Brotherhood Of Luxor. Campbell was also the author of such works as, Phallic Worship: An Outline of the Worship of the Generative Organs As Being, or as Representing, the Divine Creator, with Suggestions as to the Influence of the Phallic Idea on Religious Creeds, Ceremonies, Customs and Symbolism—Past and Present (1887) and Mysteries of the Hand Revealed and Explained: the Art of Determining, from an Inspection of the Hands, the Person’s Temperament, Appetites, Passions, Impulses, Aspirations, Mental Endowments, Character and Tendencies (1879). Blavatsky was aware of him, and reviewed Mysteries of the Hand, in Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine, September 1888 to February 1889‎ (p. 162).

In seems that Campbell is pretty solidly established as having been involved in the “Rosicrucian” occult revival of the late 19th Century. This mysterious “Professor,” then – and his description (insinuating none other than the “Immortal” Saint Germain himself) – is suspect, to say the least. Also, there was a copy of the Hermetic Pymander floating around at the time, with a handwritten note by Campbell, stating: “Theosi, care of R. A. Campbell, Publisher, St. Louis, Mo. … School of Theosophy & Psychic Healing. Teacher & Practitioner of Philosophic & Scientific Mind Cure” etc. (see Godwin et al., The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism, Weiser, 1995, p. 306).

Regarding the “point within a circle” used by adherents of the-myth-of-Saint-Germain; this does not surprise me. It is, after all, the Hieroglyphic Monad. And it was used by Rosicrucians and alchemists such as John Dee, long before the Bavarian Illuminati. Weishaupt’s reason for using the Monad, is a direct result of Gottfried Leibniz’s own fascination with it – specifically his popular philosophic treatise, Monadology (1714). Weishaupt was extremely influenced by both Leibniz and Christian Wolff, the two giants of the German Popularphilosophen.