Illuminati Conspiracy Archive

Freemasonry: Midwife to an Occult Empire

- by Terry Melanson ©, June 4th, 2005

“When later he [the Mason] is given Light, it means really that he is taught the principles of occultism ...”

Introduction

The article located at this URL, and earlier at Geocities, was first written 4 years ago. Since then I have learned a bit more about Freemasonry and have had many communications, good and bad, with its members. I've been put on an "anti-mason" [hit]list, along with others who dare to write anything unflattering against the brethren; I've had heated debates and arguments in public forums and message boards; and I've actually been threatened, both subtly and overtly. Curiously, many times the offended Mason claims to be a chaplain, a minister or a supposed "man of cloth" - a real surprise, at first, considering the occult nature of the organization.

The negative experiences far outweigh the positive. The members who regularly post to forums and send out emails display the traits of having been thoroughly brainwashed by a first-class cult. Some are far more clever, however, and are undoubtedly part of a concerted effort by the Brotherhood. See, Masonic Disinformation, Propaganda, Dissembling, and Hate Techniques for a concise elaboration of their techniques.

Historically, Freemasonry has been charged with corruption of public officials because of the oaths and promises they swear to keep amongst themselves, above all else. At the very least, joining a secret society, or a "society with secrets," creates a glaring conflict of interest.

The following document doesn't go into corruption or masonic favoritism. A secret society, by its very nature - and one as widespread and established as masonry - would naturally enable such intrigue. My only intention here is to outline its influence, and guiding hand on a unique phenomenon that occurred at the crossroads of the 19th and 20th century. Having learned from earlier criticism, and with all brevity aside, I hope this page is seen as one of the most comprehensive and accurate expositions in this field of study.

The Hoodwinking

“Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled ...”

“The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry.” (pp. 104, 105 & 819)

Albert PikeGeneral Albert Pike wrote those words in a work called Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 1871. At the time his title was The Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite in Washington D.C. This book is revered by occult groups across the globe, and most masons have never read it, let alone understood it. It deals with the occult origins of the symbols, initiations, and rituals of Freemasonry. Morals and Dogma is typically only giving to Master Masons. It is estimated that for every hundred Masons, ten will read it, three will finish it and only one will understand it.

The rites and rituals of Freemasonry are directly derived from ancient occult mysteries. 1 An Entered Apprentice is deceived from the beginning, as Pike has openly admitted; at the same time revealing its likeness with the "Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy."

Pike said the initiate is "intentionally misled by false interpretations." Another esteemed Mason put it this way:

“FREEMASONRY is a fraternity within a fraternity — an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect. Before it is possible to intelligently discuss the origin of the Craft, it is necessary, therefore, to establish the existence of these two separate yet interdependent orders, the one visible and the other invisible. The visible society is a splendid camaraderie of 'free and accepted' men enjoined to devote themselves to ethical, educational, fraternal, patriotic, and humanitarian concerns. The invisible society is a secret and most august fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of a mysterious arcanum arcanorum. Those Brethren who have essayed to write the history of their Craft have not included in their disquisitions the story of that truly secret inner society which is to the body Freemasonic what the heart is to the body human.”

“When a mason learns the key to the warrior on the block is the proper application of the dynamo of living power, he has learned the mystery of his craft. The seething energies of Lucifer are in his hands and before he may step upward, he must prove his ability to properly apply energy.”

- Manly P. Hall, 33°, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, p. 48

The latter quote, in particular, may be surprising to some but occultists have a clear concept of what Manly P. Hall was conveying. To them, the true definition of occultism is the science of energy flow and energy relationships. Occult meditation is a means of consciously and purposefully directing energy from a recognized source to the creation of some specific effect. This is the task of the initiate in all Occult groups. The initiator shows the candidate his latent faculties, his dormant powers, and initiates him into their use. He explains or demonstrates how the candidate may awaken the static energy into dynamic power.

Freemasonry has always, admittedly, held deep occult secrets which it hides from the "profane" and unworthy. One person who believed this to be true was Alice Ann Bailey. Her praise and admiration - she appeared to be almost in awe of the craft - was evident throughout all her works. A typical flattery can be found on p. 511 of The Externalization of the Hierarchy: "The Masonic Movement . . . is the custodian of the law; it is the home of the Mysteries and the seat of initiation. ...It is a far more occult organization than can be realized, and is intended to be the training school for the coming advanced occultists. In its ceremonials lies hid the wielding of the forces connected with the growth and life of the kingdoms of nature and the unfoldment of the divine aspects of man."

The Occult Revival

“Satanic Ritual is a blend of Gnostic, Cabbalistic, Hermetic, and Masonic elements, incorporating nomenclature and vibratory words of power from virtually every mythos .... Masonic orders have contained the most influential men in many governments, and virtually every occult order has many Masonic roots.”

- Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Rituals — Companion to the Satanic Bible, pp. 21, 78 [PDF Version here]

The occult revival of the 20th century can be directly attributed to Freemasonry and its peripheral entourage of acolytes: Theosophy, the New Age Movement, Satanism, Cabalistic Black Magic, Enochian Magic, Gerardian Wicca, Alexandrian Wicca and Sex Magic.

The Who's Who List of 19th & 20th Century Occultism

Arthur Edward Waite

Arthur Edward WaiteA. E. Waite (October 2, 1857 - May 19, 1942) was a Freemason, an English occultist and member (later Grand Master) of the magical order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Waite is most famous as the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, the most popular tarot deck in use today.

From Wikipedia: "Waite was a prolific author of occult texts on subjects including divination, Rosicrucianism, freemasonry, black and ceremonial magic, Kabbalism and alchemy; he also translated and reissued several important mystical and alchemical works. His works on the Holy Grail, influenced by his friendship with Arthur Machen, were particularly notable. A number of his volumes remain in print, the Book of Ceremonial Magic, The Holy Kabbalah, and New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry having seen reprints in recent years."

At least one Masonic authority had high praise and glowing approval for Waite's writings. In Builders: A Story and Study of Masonry, in a chapter entitled Secret Doctrine, Baptist minister Joseph Fort Newton, the Grand Chaplain for his lodge, said:

“Perhaps the greatest student in this field of esoteric teaching and method, certainly the greatest now living is Arthur Edward Waite, to whom it is a plesure[sic] to pay tribute. ...Much learning and many kinds of wisdom are in his pages, and withal an air of serenity, of tolerance; and if he is of those who turn down another street when miracles are preformed in the neighborhood, it is because, having found the inner truth, he asks for no sign.” (p. 57)

Dr. Wynn Westcott

Dr. Wynn WestcottWilliam Wynn Westcott (December 17, 1848 - July, 1925), East London coroner, a Freemason, Theosophist, Qabalist, Supreme Magus of the Societas Rosicruciana and founding member (and organizing genius) behind the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Westcott, along with MacGregor Mathers, initiated Golden Dawn students into the study of the Qabalah, Alchemy, Astrology, Geomantic and Tarot Divination, Tattwa Vision and the Pentagram Ritual.

Before the Golden Dawn had its own Lodge, its rituals (the Isis-Urania) were performed, covertly, in a Masonic Lodge Hall:

“From the beginning, the ceremonies of Isis-Urania were conducted at Mark Masons’ Hall in Great Queen Street (now demolished) but members were careful not to embarrass the Masonic authorities, being told that they ‘must not enter Mark Masons’ Hall by the front door, but go under archway and down passage, entering by a door on the right”

- A. Gilbert, Golden Dawn Companion, p.31.

The mention of Golden Dawn rituals being performed at "Mark Masons' Hall" is also repeated in other places recounting the history of the magical order: A Short Treatise on the History, Culture and Practices of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, A Detailed History of the Golden Dawn and The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order, 1887-1923, by Ellic Howe. It seems to be generally accepted as fact.

Wynn Westcott is also famous for his translation of the legendary Kabbalah treatise, Sepher Yetzirah "Book of Formation," into English.

S. L. MacGregor Mathers

S. L. MacGregor MathersSamuel Liddel "MacGregor" Mathers (January 1854 – November 1918) a Freemason, a Rosicrucian and an adept occult magician. Mathers was one of the most influential occultists in modern times. Along with Dr. Wynn Westcott, he founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. On the Golden Dawn, Wikipedia has this to say: "The 'Golden Dawn,' as it is commonly referred to, was probably the single greatest influence on 20th century western occultism. While it existed, it was the focal point of the development and redevelopment of magical thinking in Europe. In it, most concepts of magic and ritual that have since become core elements of Wicca, Thelema, western mystery schools and other forms of magical spirituality were first formulated."

Mathers was instrumental in formulating instructions on the occult meanings of the Tarot. From the Golden Dawn website: "Much of what we know of the Tarot comes from Mathers and his wife. Today, we take the Tarot for granted, but without the ground breaking work of Mathers and the Golden Dawn, our Tarot symbolism might be basic and trite."

Aleister Crowley

Aleister CrowleyAleister Crowley (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), the most controversial occultist in modern times, dubbed the "wickedest man alive." There's much dispute as to his official status as a mason. The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, however, admits to his initiation into Craft Freemasonry in Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343. Crowley was also conferred the degrees 33°, 90° and 96° of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, Disciples of Memphis by John Yarker. Throughout his career, Crowley was as much influenced by Freemasons as he in turn had influence on them.

Crowley has generated an intense following since his death. He has influenced countless disciples and gave birth to Satanism. Proclaiming to be the magus (and great Beast 666) of the "new age of Horus," he saw himself as the usher, or prophet, of a "new Aeon" of illuminism.

Because of his total disregard for imposed social values and his legendary rebellion toward authority, Crowley became a hero for young people - especially rock musicians of the 60s and 70s and through to the Heavy Metal acts of the 80s and 90s.

Dr. Gérard Encausse

Dr. Gérard EncausseDocteur Gérard (Anaclet Vincent) Encausse (1865 - 1916), a Parisian spiritualist; Theosophist; Qabalist; chief of the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Croix; founder of the Order of the Martinists, based on two extinct Masonic Rites; an OTO initiate; a Golden Dawn occultist; and an adherent of Esoteric Christianity of the Gnostic Church.

Encausse organized an "International Masonic Conference" in Paris on June 24, 1908. Later, Theodor Reuss gave him a patent to form a "Supreme Grand Council General of the Unified Rites of Antient and Primitive Masonry for the Grand Orient of France and its Dependencies at Paris." [source: The Invisible Basilica: Gerard Encausse (Papus)]

Dr. Theodor Reuss

Doctor (Albert Karl) Theodor ReussDoctor (Albert Karl) Theodor Reuss (1855 - 1923) joined Masonry in 1876. Reuss was a tantric occultist and utopian socialist. William Wynn Westcott, in 1901, provided a charter to Reuss for the Swedenborgian Rite of Masonry. Westcott also provided authorization for Reuss to found a High Council in Germania of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. Theodor Reuss, also in 1901, was designated Special Inspector for the Martinist Order in Germany, by Gérard Encausse. [source: The Invisible Basilica: Theodor Reuss]

Reuss is most famous as the Outer Head of the Ordo Templi Orientis. The O.T.O. is a revival of the Order of the Illuminati with practical magickal rituals and initiations. Ordo Templi Orientis is still in existence today, and has thrived in recent years as its members have embraced the internet.

George Pickingill

'Old George' Pickingill"Old George" Pickingill (1816-1909) is perhaps the most intriguing figure of the bunch. George Pickingill was a legend in his own time and was much feared by the villagers of Canewdon as a "Master of the Witches" and a black magician. "Old George" was a hereditary witch of a continuous, and genuine tradition dating back centuries. Pickingill claimed to be the direct ancestor of "Julia – The Witch of Brandon," burned at the stake in 1071; "since that time each generation of the Pickingill family has served as priests in the Old Religion." Occultists from all over Europe and the United States revered him and sought after his teachings.

During the course of his long life, Pickingill established nine hereditary covens in Norfolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Sussex, and Hampshire. Each coven worshiped the "Horned God" and practiced sex magick in its rituals. According to the legend both Allan Bennett and Aleister Crowley (around 1899) were initiates.

Some quotes:

“Lefebure claims that Pickingill was believed to have sold his soul to the Devil and he was alleged to hold nocturnal orgies in the graveyard of St. Nicholas' church attended by his Romany kin. These midnight rites were allegedly ignored by the aged incumbent vicar who was terrified of George Pickingill's powers.”

“The O.T.O. claimed that sex magic was the key which opens up all Masonic and Hermetic secrets. If Kellner did receive this knowledge via P.B Randolph then Pickingill's influence on the O.T.O. can be demonstrated. The Pickingill Nine employed texts from the Classical Mysteries in conjunction with sexual techniques to contact ancient Divine Forces. P.B Randolph visited London in 1858 and discussed sex magic techniques with Hargrave Jennings, who was one of George Pickingill's pupils.”

“...His reputation preceded him and landowners and influential ‘Rosicrucians’ were impressed with his magical powers. He was granted access to the archives of several ‘cunning lodges’ and Masonic temples in London....”

“...It was not long before Pickingill was exhibiting his gifts at Masonic temples and private houses. He conducted the bulk of his demonstrations at a country house in Hertfordshire. John Symonds (1973) states in his biography of Crowley that the famous French magician Eliphas Levi visited Knebworth, the country house in Hertfordshire where Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton held his ‘magical club’. It is certainly possible that Bulwer-Lytton’s house was ‘the country house in Hertfordshire’. Many Masons and Rosicrucians are known to have observed the magical experiments at Knebworth.”

Sources:

Annie Besant

Annie BesantAnnie Besant (October 1, 1847 - September 20, 1933) was responsible for founding the British Federation of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry. Besant was intimately involved with Fabian socialism and was a member of the Fabian Society. Having been converted to the teachings of the Theosophical Society after a review of Madame Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, she joined the organization, rose in the ranks, becoming its European, and finally, worldwide head.

C. W. Leadbeater

C. W. LeadbeaterBishop Charles W. Leadbeater (1847 - 1934) 2; a Freemason; a prolific author and teacher on occult subjects and Masonic history; an adept Theosophist and prelate in the Liberal Catholic Church.

Leadbeater was a mystic and clairvoyant widely regarded by both his masonic brothers and other occultists of his time. His works on the occult origins of the Craft are still widely read, and printed: Freemasonry and Its Ancient Mystic Rites and Hidden Life of Freemasonry being the most sought after.

His greatest contributions to the world of the occult were by association with the Theosophical Society. He joined Theosophy in 1883 and traveled with its founder, Madame Helena Blavatsky, to India in 1884. He helped spread the teachings of Theosophy to a wide audience through "his ability to write and speak in a direct, convincing, simple popular style." Obscure concepts such as the "aura, akashic records, reincarnation, vegetarianism, long hair, bare feet, the spiritual life as practised in India, [and] the bioenergetic field surrounding the human body" were easily grasped through his accessible exposition of the material. 3

After Blavatsky's death, Leadbeater had a hand, along with Annie Besant, in the promulgation of a new "World Teacher":

“In 1909 at Adyar, India, Leadbeater discovered a boy whose aura he judged to be completely free of selfishness. This was Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was 13 years old. Adopted by Besant and Leadbeater, he received intensive training, then 10 years of schooling in England. People in many countries were informed of his future role. At the age of 27, Krishnamurti had a personal vision which convinced him that the consciousness of Maitreya was beginning to overshadow him. Theosophists throughout the world had been waiting for this development.”

“But when he was 34, Krishnamurti renounced his association with the Theosophical Society, declaring: 'I do not want followers. My only concern is to set men absolutely, unconditionally free.' He spent the rest of his years teaching humanity how to achieve that freedom.”

Manly P. Hall

Manly P. HallManly P. Hall (1901 - 1990) is unequaled, he is the most prolific occult philosopher of all-time. No one in history has even come close to matching his literary output on the subject. "Hall authored over two hundred books on occult subjects ranging from works on astrology, the Bible, Tarot, dreams, mysticism, Eastern and Western philosophy, religion, psychology, symbology, and reincarnation, plus hundreds of essays and a monthly magazine published called the PRS Journal. Over the course of six decades he delivered eight thousand lectures. He spoke for up to two hours extemporaneously, weaving a mesmerizing tapestry of wisdom." 4

Born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada in 1901, the Hall family moved to the United States in 1904. In 1919, Manly settled in Los Angeles. From an early age he was interested in occult matters and subsequently joined a number of societies: Theosophy, Freemasonry, the Societas Rosecruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, and the American Federation of Astrologers.

After writing his first book, The Initiates of the Flame, in 1922, Hall began collecting rare books on the mystery schools and esoteric philosophy to begin assembling the text for a magnum opus of occult history. During this time he also travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and Egypt. In the search for "ancient wisdom" texts, Manly Hall's favorite place was the British Museum in London:

“The great center of learning in England is the British Museum, with its miles of bookcases, which caused De Quincy to sit and weep because he could not read all the volumes. In order to gain access to the two principal departments of the museum—one of rare books, and the other of manuscripts—it was necessary to be appropriately sponsored. I had the good fortune of becoming acquainted with General Sir Francis Younghusband, the man who led the British expedition into Tibet in 1903-1904, and camped his army at the foot of the Potola at Lhasa. While dining one day at the Officer’s Club, Sir Francis confided to me that he was known as the conqueror of Tibet, but he regarded this as a dubious honor. The real fact, he said, was that Tibetan religion and philosophy had conquered him. A note from Sir Francis immediately gave me admission to the most valuable parts of the British Museum, and I was able to examine the originals of many of the world’s most priceless books and manuscripts.” 5

In 1923, Hall was ordained a minister by the Los Angeles-based Church of the People, an occult/metaphysical congregation. As the leader of the Church of the People, Hall started a magazine titled " The All Seeing Eye."

By 1928, after 6 years of work and raising $100,000 for the first edition, Manly Hall finally published what has become a valuable classic for those who want to learn about the history of the occult and the "Ancient Wisdom" mystery schools: The Secret Teachings of All Ages. A quarter of a century later, the sheer breadth and scope of the work remains impressive: "pythagorean mathematics; alchemical formulae; Hermetic doctrine; the workings of the Kabala; the geometry of Ancient Egypt; the Native American myths; the uses of cryptograms; an analysis of the Tarot; the symbols of Rosacrucianism; the esotericism of the Shakespearean dramas – these are just a few of Hall’s topics." 6

In 1934, Hall founded the Philosophical Research Society, a research institute modeled on the ancient school of Pythagoras. It was here that he made his home, he held weekly lectures and continued to publish an incredible body of work. In the year of his death, Manly P. Hall was bestowed with the honorary 33º of Scottish Rite Masonry.

Gerald B. Gardner

Gerald B. Gardner Gerald Brosseau Gardner (June 13, 1884 - February 12, 1964) was a Freemason, an English hereditary Witch and largely responsible for reviving Witchcraft in the modern Western world. Gardner claimed to trace his roots to a Witch named Grissell Gardner who had been burned at the stake in 1610 at Newburgh.

Gardner suffered severely with asthma from an early age and required a nurse to attend to his needs. Nurse Josephine "Com" McCombie brought along young Gardner on her various trips to Europe and Ceylon, where he worked on a tea plantation. Gerald later worked and travelled to Borneo and Malaysia. In Ceylon between 1905 - 1908, Gardner became a Freemason, Sphinx Lodge 113, I.C., Colombo.

Between 1920 and 1923 Gardner studies native lore, magic, and weaponry in Malaysia. In 1926 through to 1932 Gardner takes up amateur Archaeology; proves the existence of a Malaysian civilization predating the coming of the Portuguese in 1687; returns to England and marries Donna Rosedale, a nurse; frequents the British Museum to research Welsh and Basque folklore; encounters a whole host of Spiritualist mediums; and visits an archaeological dig at Gaza in Egypt, prehistoric caves in France, and England.

In England before the Second World War, Gerald was involved with the Fellowship of Crotona - an occult group of Co-Masons - and met people who introduced him into Witchcraft. The Fellowship of Crotona was a secret society within a secret society; the inner circle claimed to be hereditary Witches. In 1939, Gardner was initiated into the New Forest coven by high priestess Old Dorothy Clutterbuck.

It was in 1940 at a large gathering of many covens that a legendary event was to take place:

“In June 1940 when England faced invasion from the Nazis, Gardner claims that the high priestess of his coven called a huge gathering of witches in the New Forest where the Great Circle was erected. This was a magical ritual only performed in cases of extreme emergency. Previously it had only been raised twice, in 1588 to combat the Spanish Armada, which was defeated not only by Drake and his ships but with the help of a great storm, and in the 1800s when it looked as if Napoleon would cross the Channel. The ritual in the forest involved raising a cone of psychic power and directing it towards the French coast with the command, ‘You cannot cross the sea. You cannot cross the sea. You cannot come.’ According to Gardner this ritual involved the use of the life force of the gathered covens and as a result several elderly witches died. The ritual was repeated four times and then the Elders said ‘We must stop. We must not kill too many of our people.’”

By 1951 the last of the English laws against witchcraft were repealed and throughout the 50s into the 60s Gardner published some widely read books on the rituals and traditions of the New Forest covens. This laid out the seeds of what would eventually be known as "Gardnerian Wicca." The resurgence of the "Old Religion" spread like wildfire and continues unabated.

Gardnerian Wicca borrows very heavily from Freemasonry, Tantric Hinduism and a touch of ceremonial magick. Gardnerian covens are always headed by a High Priestess and have three degrees of initiation closely paralleling the Masonic degrees. Worship is centered on The Goddess and The Horned God. Eight seasonal Sabbats are observed, and the Wiccan Rede is the guiding principle.

Sources:

Theosophy

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) heralded the dawn of the New Age Movement. Her writings are the foundation for many occult fraternities. After publishing monumental works such as Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, the Theosophical Society (1875) was formed to spread her teachings worldwide. She claimed to receive her revelations from Secret Chiefs, or disembodied Ascended Masters; who claimed to be aiding humanity evolve into a race of supermen. Freemasonry took notice and many soon proclaimed her an occult genius:

"The Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled are Madame Blavatsky's gifts to humanity, and to those whose vision can pierce the menacing clouds of imminent disaster it is no exaggeration to affirm that these writings are the most vital literary contribution to the modern world. No more can they be compared with other books than can the light of the sun be compared with the lamp of the glowworm. The Secret Doctrine assumes the dignity of a scripture, . . ."

- Manly P. Hall 33°, The Phoenix: An Illustrated Review of Occultism and Philosophy, 1960, The Philosophical Research Society, p. 122

Blavatsky soon had a great host of admirers. The Theosophical Society had freemasons Henry Steel Olcott, George H. Felt appointed president and vice-president respectfully. Among the early members were high ranking masons Charles Sothern and Albert Pike.

In 1907 Annie Besant became president of the Theosophical Society. The beginnings of the modern New Age Movement began with search for their "own" messiah, as it were. Along with 33rd degree mason C.W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant promoted a young adept as the messiah: Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Alice Bailey and husband Foster (32° degree mason) continued to interlock the workings of Theosophy with the aims of Freemasonry. Bailey, as founder of Lucis (Lucifer) Trust, worked laboriously to fulfill the plan toward a New World Religion, which her master Djwhal Khul had said was the ultimate aim of Freemasonry. The Hierarchy had blessed both their beginnings, her master said.

O.T.O.: Ordo Templi Orientis

The O.T.O. founded at the beginning of the 20th century represents a reunification attempt to incorporate the traditions of the Freemasonic, Rosicrucian and Illuminist movements of the 18th and 19th centuries, the crusading Knights Templars of the middle ages and early Christian Gnosticism and the Pagan Mystery Schools.

The spiritual father of the OTO was Karl Kellner a wealthy Austrian paper chemist. Kellner was a student of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism and Eastern mysticism. He developed adhesive to form an Academia Masonica which would enable all Freemasons to become familiar with all existing Masonic degrees and systems.

In 1895, Kellner decided that the Academia Masonica should be called the 'Oriental Templar Order'. The occult inner circle of this Order (OTO) would be organized parallel to the highest degrees of the Memphis and Mizraim Rites of Masonry, and would teach the esoteric Rosicrucian doctrines of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, and Kellner's 'Key' to Masonic symbolism. Possession of the various degrees of Craft and High-Grade Freemasonry would be a prerequisite for admission to the Inner Circle of OTO.

Theodor Reuss, Kellner's partner, was granted the charter to perform three systems of high-grade Freemasonry known as the Antient and Primitive Rite of Memphis of 97°, the Ancient Oriental Rite of Mizraim of 90°, and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of 33°. With the incorporation of these rites, the Order was enabled to operate as a completely independent Masonic system.

John Symonds, the official biographer of Aleister Crowley, tells us that "the letters of O.T.O. stand for Ordo Templi Orientis or Order of the Templars, an occult society which was founded in Germany at the beginning of this century. Its leaders were well-known Grand Masters of Masonry, such as Franz Hartmann, Heinrich Klein, and Karl Kellner. They had decided to found the O.T.O. after the Viennese Karl Kellner had returned from an extensive tour in the East (where he had been initiated by the Arab fakir, Soliman ben Aifa, and the Indian yogis, Bhima Sen Pratap and Sri Mahatma Agamya Guru Paramahamsa) and had expounded the mysteries of yoga and the left-hand path which he called 'sexual magic'. Thus, in 1902, the Ordo Templi Orientis was constituted for an inner circle of adepts who, in the light of this new and exciting knowledge, found the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of masonry rather tame, and the ninety-seven degrees of the tiresome Rite of Memphis quite unnecessary." (The Great Beast: The Life and Magick of Aleister Crowley, Granada Publishing, 1973, p. 179)

The O.T.O. has also claimed, "Our Order possesses the KEY which opens up all Masonic and Hermetic secrets, namely, the teaching of sexual magic, and this teaching explains, without exception, all the secrets of nature, all the symbolism of FREEMASONRY and all systems of religion." (Ibid. p. 181)

Conclusion

I've tried to keep my biases in check for the entirety of the text. I am a Christian, but hopefully the explication of the facts have spoken for themselves; without resorting to preaching or any appearance of a smear campaign. Maybe that goal was accomplished, maybe not.

Many Freemasons throughout history have contributed immensely to our society, I would be remiss having not mentioned it. However, for all the good that has been done there is still only one occult revival that has occurred on such a grand scale (taken together as a phenomenon) which I thoroughly believe warrants the appellation of an empire. Historians will record this unique event, and its repercussions. It should also be put on the record that many Freemasons of the period had more than a passing influence on its birth.

End Notes

  1. Freemason Chevalier Andrew Ramsay, as far back as 1736, during a gathering of French Masons, revealed that Masonry was the heir of the secrets of the Templars who in turn were the inheritors of the ancient wisdom of the pagan Mysteries. (The Occult Conspiracy, p. 57; Murdered Magicians: The Templars and Their Myths)

    Mystery Schools - of all stripes, whether ancient or modern - are based on a staged series of initiations or degrees; conferred ceremonially through allegory and symbol.

    “Many Freemasons shudder at the word occult which comes from the Latin, meaning to cover, to conceal from public scrutiny and the profane. But anyone studying Freemasonry cannot avoid classifying Freemasonry among occult teachings.”

    - George H. Steinmetz, The Royal Arch Its Hidden Meaning, Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., Inc. 1946, p. 147.
  2. "Official records place his birth at February 16, 1854, while official Theosophy publications approved by him place his birth at February 17, 1847 (Source: Charles Webster Leadbeater Biography 1854-1934)." The Liberal Catholic Church, as well as Theosophy, places his birth in 1847.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Manly P. Hall: Portrait of An American Sage, The Philosophical Research Society

  5. Ibid.

  6. The Inscrutable Manly P. Hall: The Author of The Secret Teachings of All Ages Remains an Enigma


Appendix: Quotations

“[Freemasonry] makes no profession of Christianity, and wars not against sectarian creeds or doctrines, but looks forward to the time when the labor of our ancient brethren shall be symbolized by the erection of a spiritual temple whose moral grandeur shall be commensurate with civilization; a temple in which there shall be but one altar and but one worship; one common altar of Masonry on which the Veda, Shastras, Sade, Zend-Avesta, Koran, and Holy Bible shall lie untouched by sacrilegious hands, and at whose shrine the Hindoo, the Persian, the Assyrian, the Chaldean, the Egyptian, the Chinese, the Muhammadan, the Jew, and the Christian may kneel with one united voice celebrate the praises of the Supreme Architect of the Universe.”

- The Kentucky Monitor, p. 95, Grand Lodge of Kentucky (source)

“Masonry, successor of the Mysteries, still follows the ancient manner of teaching.”

- Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 2nd Degree, II - THE FELLOW-CRAFT, p. 22

“Though Masonry is identical with the ancient Mysteries, it is so only in this qualified sense: that it presents but an imperfect image of their brilliancy, the ruins only of their grandeur . . .”

- Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 2nd Degree, II - THE FELLOW-CRAFT, p. 23

“The doctrines of the Bible are often not clothed in the language of strict truth, but in that which was fittest to convey to a rude and ignorant people the practical essentials of the doctrine.”

- Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 14th Degree, XIV - GRAND ELECT, PERFECT, AND SUBLIME MASON, p. 224

“The true name of Satan, the Kabalists say, is that of Yahveh reversed; for Satan is not a black god, but the negation of God. The Devil is the personification of Atheism or Idolatry.

For the Initiates, this is not a Person, but a Force, created for good, but which may serve for evil. It is the instrument of Liberty or Free Will. They represent this Force, which presides over the physical generation, under the mythologic and horned form of the God PAN; thence came the he-goat of the Sabbat, brother of the Ancient Serpent, and the Light-bearer or Phosphor, of which the poets have made the false Lucifer of the legend.”

- Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 3rd Degree, III - THE MASTER, p. 102

“Masonry is a search after Light. That search leads us directly back, as you see, to the Kabalah. In that ancient and little understood medley of absurdity and philosophy, the Initiate will find the source of many doctrines; and may in time come to understand the Hermetic philosophers, the Alchemists, all the Anti-papal Thinkers of the Middle Ages, and Emanuel Swedenborg.”

- Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 28th Degree, XXVIII - KNIGHT OF THE SUN, OR PRINCE ADEPT, p. 741

“All truly dogmatic religions have issued from the Kabalah and return to it: everything scientific and grand in the religious dreams of all the illuminati, Jacob Bœhme, Swedenborg, Saint-Martin, and others, is borrowed from the Kabalah; all the Masonic associations owe to it their Secrets and their Symbols.”

- Albert Pike, 28th Degree, XXVIII - KNIGHT OF THE SUN, OR PRINCE ADEPT, p. 744

“[Albert Pike] was an honorary member of almost every Supreme Council in the world, personally receiving 130 Masonic degrees.

Pike also was one of the most physically and morally repulsive individuals in American history. Weighing well over three hundred pounds, his sexual proclivity was to sit naked astride a phallic throne in the woods, accompanied by a gang of prostitutes. To these orgies he would bring one or more wagon loads of food and liquor, most of which he would consume over a period of two days until he passed into a stupor.

In his adopted state of Arkansas, Pike was well known as a practitioner of Satanism, Portraits of his later years show him wearing a symbol of the Baphomet around his neck.”

- John Daniel, Scarlet and the Beast, Vol 2, Page 37

“It is generally agreed that the biggest single influence in the modern expansion of ritual magic, and the occult explosion in general, in the Western world, was the Golden Dawn. This magical fraternity, founded by Freemasons at the end of the 19th century, developed a complex ritual system with ten degrees of initiation relating to the Cabalistic Sephiroth.”

- Janet and Stewart Farrar, The Life and Times of A Modern Witch, Phoenix Publishing Company, p. 121

Worshipful Master: “What makes you a Mason?”

Senior Warden: “My Obligation.”

- question and answer, The Entered Apprentice Degree Ritual, Grand Lodge of Nevada

“... binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out, and with my body buried in the sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I ever knowingly or willfully violate this, my solemn Obligation of an Entered Apprentice.”

- from the oath of obligation, The Entered Apprentice Degree Ritual, Grand Lodge of Nevada

“... binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my left breast torn open, my heart and vitals taken thence, and with my body given as a prey to the vultures of the air, should I ever knowingly, or willfully, violate this, my solemn Obligation of a Fellow Craft.”

- from the oath of obligation, The Fellow Craft Degree Ritual, Grand Lodge of Nevada

“... binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken thence, and with my body burned to ashes, and the ashes thereof scattered to the four winds of Heaven, that there might remain neither track, trace nor remembrance among man or Masons of so vile and perjured a wretch as I should be, should I ever knowingly or willfully violate this, my solemn Obligation of a Master Mason.”

- from the oath of obligation, The Master Mason Degree Ritual, Grand Lodge of Nevada

"In willful violation whereof may I incur the fearful penalty of having my eyeballs pierced to the centre with a three-edged blade, my feet flayed, and I be forced to walk the hot sands upon the sterile shores of the Red Sea until the flaming sun shall strike me with livid plague, and may Allah, the god of Arab, Moslem and Mohammedan, the god of our fathers ..."

- from the oath of obligation, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine ( source)

If a Mason is a defendant in court, Masonic partiality extends to the witness stand. In the Masonic Hand Book we read:

“You must conceal all the crimes of your brother Masons, except murder and treason, and these only at your own option, and should you be summoned as a witness against a brother Mason, be always sure to shield him. Prevaricate, don’t tell the whole truth in this case, keep his secrets, forget the most important points. It may be perjury to do this, it is true, but you’re keeping your obligations, and remember if you live up to your obligations strictly, you’ll be free from sin.”

Masonic partiality extends to the jury box. The Blue Lodge degrees read:

“Whenever you see any of our signs made by a brother Mason, and especially the grand hailing sign of distress, you must always be sure to obey them, even at the risk of your life. If you’re on a jury, and the defendant is a Mason, and makes the grand hailing sign, you must obey it; you must disagree with your brother jurors, if necessary, but you must be sure not to bring the Mason guilty, for that would bring disgrace upon our order. It may be perjury, to be sure, to do this, but then you’re fulfilling your obligation, and you know if you live up to your obligations you’ll be free from sin.”

Once a Mason reaches Royal Arch degree, he is to conceal all crimes of brother Masons, including murder and treason. Royal Arch Masons swear:

“I will aid and assist a companion Royal Arch Mason, when engaged in any difficulty, and espouse his cause, so far as to extricate him from the same, if in my power, whether he be right or wrong…. A companion Royal Arch Mason’s secrets, given me in charge as such, and I knowing him to be such, shall remain as secure and inviolable, in my breast as in his own, murder and treason not excepted.”

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