Lanz von Liebenfels

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Lanz von Liebenfels (July 19, 1874 – April 22, 1954) was a Austrian occultist, former Cistercian monk and founder of the Ariosophy movement.
The term 'Ariosophy', meaning wisdom concerning the Aryans, was first coined by Lanz von Liebenfels in 1915 and became the label for his doctrine in the 1920s. The term 'Ariosophy' is used generically to describe the Aryan-esoteric theories of a subset of the 'Völkische Bewegung'. This broader use of the word is retrospective and was not generally current among the esotericists themselves.

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Lanz von Liebenfels was a friend of student of Guido von List, and helped found the "Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft" (Guido von List society) in 1905, and in 1907 he founded the "Ordo novi templi" (Order of the New Templars). He published the magazine 'Ostara, Briefbücherei der Blonden und Mannesrechtler' from 1905 till 1930
Brief Biography

Liebenfels was born on July 19, 1874 in the Penzing district of Vienna in what was then Austria-Hungary, as the son of schoolmaster Johann Lanz and his wife Katharina, née Hoffenreich.
His parents were middle class, and his fathers ancestors had been burghers in Vienna since the early 18th century.

Stift Heiligenkreuz
Lanz became a monk in the Cistercian order in 1893, assuming the name Georg, and living in the Heiligenkreuz monastery (see right).
In 1894, he claimed to have been "enlightened" after finding the tombstone of a Knight Templar, and began developing his theories of "blond aryanism" and the "lower races".
He left the monastery in 1899; with Lanz claimed that this was due to "growing nervousness".

Die Abtei von Lambach

When young Adolf Hitler became a student at Lambach Abbey, in Austria, the abbot of Lambach, Father Hagen, had already died, but the swastikas he ordered to be carved still decorated the sanctuary of the Abbey.
Wappen des Abtes Hagen
While young Adolf  was a student and chorister at the abbey, a Cistercian monk, named Adolf Joseph Lanz (Liebenfels), made a stay at Lambach.
Hitler - back row - second from right
He stayed for several weeks, working in the monastery library, thoroughly researching and studying Hagen's personal papers.
The monks affirm that during his research he evidenced the signs of great agitation, like of a person who had made a great discovery.
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After his visit to Abbey, Lanz returned to Vienna, where the following year, (1900) he founded the Order of the New Templars, raising a swastika flag over the Templar castle he chose to be the center of the Order. We are, therefore, left with the tantalizing question of whether the young Adolf Hitler, and Liebenfels ever met during this period - and if there is any connection between Hagen' swastikas, Hitler's presence at Lambach, and the later use, by both Hitler and Liebenfels, of the swastika.
In 1903–4  von Liebenfels published a lengthy article under the Latin title 'Anthropozoon Biblicum' ("The Biblical Man-Animal") in a journal for Biblical studies, edited by Moritz Altschüler, a Jewish admirer (?) of Guido von List.

The author undertook a comparative survey of ancient Near Eastern cultures, in which he detected evidence from iconography (see left), and literature which seemed to point to the continued survival, into early historical times, of hominid 'ape-men' similar to the dwarfish Neanderthal men known from fossil remains in Europe, or the Pithecanthropus (now called Homo erectus) from Java.
Furthermore, Lanz systematically analyzed the Old Testament in the light of his hypothesis, identifying and interpreting coded references to the 'ape-men' which substantiated an illicit practice of interbreeding between humans and "lower" species in antiquity.

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In 1905 he expanded these researches into a fundamental statement of doctrine titled 'Theozoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Äfflingen und dem Götter-Elektron' - (Theozoology, or the Science of the Sodomite-Apelings and the Divine Electron).

Extraterrestrial Origins of the Aryans
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He stated that the “Aryan” peoples originated from non extraterrestrial, interstellar entities, (termed Theozoa - in fact, Gnostic Æons), while “lower” races (Chandals) were a result of interbreeding between humans and ape-men (or Anthropozoa).
The effects of miscegenation (racial cross-breeding) caused the atrophy of paranormal powers inherited from the gods, but these could be restored by the selective breeding of pure Aryan lineages.
Miscegenation - (from the Latin 'miscere' 'to mix' and 'genus' "kind") is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, or procreation. The term miscegenation has been used since the 19th century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations, and more generally to the process of genetic admixture. The concept of miscegenation is tied to concepts of racial difference.
Liebenfels, as has already been stated, maintained that the Aryan race was the creation of the Æons, having descended directly from the heavens.
Other humanoid forms (chimpanzees and other great apes - the creations of a lesser 'god' - the Demiurge), it was held, had crossbred with Aryans in the distant past, giving rise to the various Untermenschen still in existence - or not, as in the case of the Neanderthals - (with the Jews as the most developed, and the Polynesians and Negroes at the lower end of the scale - see Lanz von Liebenfells).

Aryans have one pair fewer chromosomes than other apes, with ape chromosomes 2 and 4 fusing into a large chromosome (which contains remnants of the centromere and telomeres of the ancestral 2 and 4). Having different numbers of chromosomes is not an barrier to hybridization; similar mismatches are relatively common in existing species, a phenomenon known as 'chromosomal polymorphism'. Current research into human evolution tends to confirm that in some cases, interspecies sexual activity may have been a key part of human evolution.
There had, throughout recorded history been a continuation of  miscegenation occurring between the Aryans and the Chandals (Untermenschen), resulting in the gradual dilution of the purity of the Aryan racial stock.

As a result there were, in the 19th and 20th centuries, practically no pure Aryans.
(This theory is symbolised Wagner's Bühnenweihfestspiel 'Parsifal').
The evidence, for Liebenfels, was clearly evident in the decline of Western (and particularly German speaking) societies, as reflected in politics, the fine art, music, architecture, public morality and all aspects of 'modern' life.
Hence the need for what was later termed Rassenhygiene
The German eugenicist Alfred Ploetz introduced the term Rassenhygiene in his 'Grundlinien einer Rassenhygiene', in 1895. Initially Rassenhygiene was concerned more with the declining birthrate in Germany, and the increasing number of mentally ill and disabled people than with the "Jewish question" and "de-Nordification" (Entnordung), which would come to dominate Rassenhygiene in Germany from the 1920s through to the second World War. The blue print for the attitude of the Third Reich toward other races was written by Erwin Baur, Fritz Lenz and Eugen Fischer and published under the title' Menschliche Erblehre Theorie und Rassenhygiene' (1936). Also, acting on eugenic concerns about the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and syphilis, the Third Reich sponsored research, undertook public education campaigns, and enacted laws that together aimed at eliminating “genetic poisons” linked to birth defects and genetic damage to later generations.
Aristocracy of the Blood
Aristocracy of the Blood
At its core the Rassenhygiene was conceived as the regeneration of the Aryan race, which would be mainly achieved by the strict implementation of Eugenics.
The goal of Liebenfels was for society to return to a healthy, strong and beautiful life, and the Nordic Aryan race would regain its "purity" through selective reproduction in conformity to Darwinian theory.
Rassenhygiene was a theory that certain individuals should be allowed to procreate and others not, with the expressed purpose of promoting certain characteristics deemed to be particularly desirable. It was stated that race created culture, and that "impure" miscegenation led to chaos. Racial hygiene was historically tied to traditional notions of public health, but usually with an enhanced emphasis on heredity. Francis Galton began working in 1869 in order to find a statistical science of heredity which he believed could encourage voluntary care in selecting partners, and in 1883 he introduced the term "eugenics" for this subject, but in the early 20th century a eugenics movement adopted ideas of Mendelian genetics, and promoted Rassenhygiene to prevent those who were unsuitable from having offspring.
Ostara - Goddess of Spring
In the same year that Lanz published 'Theozoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Äfflingen und dem Götter-Elektron' he commenced publication of the journal 'Ostara', (named after the pagan Germanic goddess of spring), to promote his vision of racial purity (see below).

That same year published an article titled "Antropozoon Bible," in which he argued that in a group, there were two quite distinct and humanities.
On the one hand, we find the "Children of the Gods" (Teozoa creations of the Gnostic Æons - see left), and on the other hand the "Children of Men" (Antropozoa - creations of the 'lesser god' - the Demiurge).
The first were the Aryans, with a pure spirituality; other races came from biological evolution of animals.
So Liebenfels explained the "fall of the Aryan Race" as an act of miscegenation.
At the root of this 'fall', the Aryan race lost its divine powers and paranormal abilities, such as telepathy or clairvoyance - and lost its mystic vision of the universe and the 'powers'.

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These qualities (weakened, however)  then became limited to a few descendants of Aryans.
Liebenfels thus concluded that to recover Aryan racial purity would be equivalent to recovering the spiritual nature of the origina Aryans.
This was outlined in "Theosophie und assyrischen Götter" in 1907. 

Liebenfels asserted that Atlantis (the original Aryan continent), was divided into pure species and bestial.
Echoing Blavatsky, in 'Die Geheimlehre', Liebenfels stated:
"The fatal error of the fifth root of the Aryan race was that they had repeatedly mixed with the descendants of apes."
Helena Blavatsky
In this manner the consequence of such behavior resulted in institutionalization of satanic cults, and created numerous mixed races of untermenschen, threatening the sacred authority of the Aryans.
The 'men-gods' original error was similar to that found in Genesis-6, when 
"the sons of God come down to earth and mate with the daughters of men."
Liebenfel's interest in the latest discoveries, such as X-rays, radioactivity and radio, led him to develop a "scientific theology," in which the 'gods' (Gnostic Æons) represented the highest form of life, and were possessing special  electrical powers located in the pineal and pituitary glands, which subsequently became stunted.
This regression or reversal stemmed from the union of beasts and untermenschen with Aryan 'god-men'.
The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces melatonin, a serotonin derived hormone, which affects the modulation of sleep patterns. Its shape resembles a tiny pine cone (hence its name), and it is located in the epithalamus, near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres. Occult philosophy refers to the pineal as the inner third eye, which is necessary for mystical awakening or enlightenment, clairvoyant perception, and higher states of consciousness. This idea was particularly expounded by Madame Blavatsky in Die Geheimlehre.
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On December 25, 1907 Liebenfels founded the Neutempler Orden
(Order of the New Templars - Ordo Novi Templi or ONT) (see right), a mystical association, with its headquarters at Burg Werfenstein (see left), a castle in Upper Austria overlooking the river Danube.
Its declared aim was to harmonize science, art and religion on a basis of racial consciousness.
Rituals were designed to beautify life in accordance with Aryan aesthetics, and to express the Order's theological system.

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The Order was the first to use the swastika (in addition to the Templar Cross) in an "Aryan" meaning, displaying on its flag the device of a red swastika facing right, on a yellow-orange field (see right).

The ONT declined from the mid-1930s, and was suppressed by the Gestapo in 1942, on Adolf Hitler's orders. By this time it had established seven utopian communities in Austria, Germany and Hungary.Though suspending its activities in the Greater German Reich, the ONT survived in Hungary until around the end of World War II. It went underground in Vienna after 1945, but was contacted in 1958 by a former Waffen-SS lieutenant, Rudolf Mund, who became Prior of the Order in 1979.Mund also wrote biographies of Lanz and Wiligut.
In 1905, Liebenfels founded the magazine 'Ostara - Briefbücherei der Blonden und Mannesrechtler', of which he became the sole author and editor in 1908.
This publication took a huge spread in the German countries, reaching runs over 100,000 copies.
It appeared in two series, from 1905 to 1917, eighty-nine numbers and published from 1922 to 1927, with twelve more numbers.
There are many indications that Hitler read 'Ostara' with great interest in his youth.
This publication was mainly concerned with issues of religion and race, and Liebenfel's articles called for revolt against the "subhuman races", and in particular against the Jews.
Salvation was offered by the revival of ancient Aryan wisdom, which had been spread by such ancient civilizations as Hiperbórea and Atlantis.

Readers of this publication included Adolf Hitler and Dietrich Eckart, among others.
Lanz was once visited by the young Hitler, whom he supplied with two missing issues of the magazine.
As a student of Guido von List, Lanz further expanded his theories; other influences included Otto Weininger, of whom Lanz was a fervent follower.
'Ostara' offered a hope of redemption and regeneration by conducting a policy providing safeguards to the Aryan race from subhuman races, which would later be the ideological basis of National Socialist eugenics.
In a paragraph of this magazine, Liebenfels states that
"the Aryans are the masterpiece of the gods and are endowed with supernatural powers and paranormal, emanating from" centres of power "and" power bodies "that confer absolute supremacy over any other creature."
In his theology, Lanz von Liebenfels also used astrology, and defined the history of mankind as a "war between races," whose final eschatological end was clearly evident in their horoscopes.

In 1905 Lanz and some 50 other supporters of List signed a declaration endorsing the proposed Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft (Guido von List Society), which was officially founded in 1908. (Guido List - see left)
He also founded his own esoteric organisation, the Ordo Novi Templi (Order of the New Templars) in 1907 (see above).
These movements were supposed to
"further the racial self-confidence by doing pedigree and racial research, beauty contests and the founding of racist "future sites" in underdeveloped parts of the Earth"- ("das Rassebewusstsein durch Stammbaum- und Rassekundeforschung, Schönheitswettbewerbe und die Gründung rassistischer Zukunftsstätten in unterentwickelten Teilen der Erde zu fördern").
To further this agenda, he purchased the Werfenstein castle ruins in Austria.

Neither organization really managed to attract a large member base, though; it is estimated that the order had around 300 members, the most prominent of which was the poet Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando (see right).
Lanz claimed that the organization was already founded prior to 1900, and that he met with August Strindberg (see left) in 1896 and managed to convince him to join the order.
For Liebenfels, the rebuilt the Order of the Temple was tantamount to creating a brotherhood worthy of actually receiving the Holy Grail.

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
What was the Holy Grail for the followers of Ariosophy ?:
It was an energy accumulator, from which issued forth the "electron of the gods", the 'vril', aimed at regenerating and maintaining Aryan transcendent powers.

After Hitler's rise to prominence in the 1920s, Lanz tried to be recognized as one of his ideological precursors.
In the preface of issue one in the 3. series of 'Ostara', c. 1927, he wrote:
One shall remember that the swastika and fascist movements are basically offspring of Ostara.”
After Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938, Lanz hoped for Hitler's patronage, but Hitler, embarrassed by this early connection, banned him from publishing his writings.
Most notably copies of 'Ostara' were removed from circulation.
After the war, Lanz accused Hitler of having not stolen and corrupted his idea.


'Ostara' or 'Ostara, Briefbücherei der Blonden und Mannesrechtler' (English 'Ostara, newsletter of the blonde and masculists') was a German nationalist magazine founded in 1905.Lanz derived the name of the publication from the reconstructed Old High German goddess name Ôstarâ (see right and below).Lanz claimed that the Ostrogoths and the nation of Austria (German: Österreich) were matronymically named after this goddess.According to von Liebenfels, the magazine had a peak circulation of 100,000.The magazine appeared in three series; the first series included 100 (or 89 ?) issues between 1905 and 1917, the second series had only one issue, and the third series included 20 issues between 1927 and 1930.

Ostara marks the first true day of spring.It is the vernal equinox. It is believed that the name Ostara comes from the Germanic Goddess Oestara.Oestara is the Goddess of Fertility.Ostara is the time when there is a celebration of the balance of the seasons and the passage of nigh into day.The Goddess blankets the Earth with fertility, bursting forth from her sleep, as the God stretches and grows to maturity.He walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of Nature.On Ostara the hours of day and night are equal.Light is overtaking darkness. This is a time for beginnings, of action.As spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase.The young Sun God, symbolised by the swastikas, now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives.In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother.It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals.The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit.Although Ostara is a festival of fertility, however, unlike Beltaine, it is not a festival of human and animal fertility, but of the fertility of the earth.
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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
Excerpt from 'The Lord of the Harvest'

Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels

The only person to match List's occult knowledge or charisma was Lanz von Liebenfels.
Born plain Adolf Lanz, in 1874, he underwent when he was young, like List, Gurdjieff and many other remarkable individuals, a religious education.
Apparently he had aspirations to become a monk, but was not considered suitable material by his superiors in the monastery.
Changing his name to von Liebenfels, he proceeded to pursue spiritual enlightenment by other means, founding his own occult order, 'The New Templars'.
The order was by no means a charade, as it was able to attract to its membership no less a person than the dramatist August Strindberg.
Another significant member was Guido von List. List and Liebenfels, early on, formed a mutual admiration society, and Liebenfels, not surprisingly, joined List's Armanen Order.
Liebenfels published a periodical, 'Ostara', in which he propounded his pan-Germanic and Volkisch views, which were, if anything, more racially extreme than List's.

The reason why race had become such a strong issue in occult circles was simple.
Occultist, such as Liebenfels, who believed in the existence of super-beings, also believed that such super-beings could be bred.
The contention of the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith (see left), that men could become Gods, along with his obsessive desire to breed sufficient suitable individuals for that purpose, through the institution of 'celestial marriage', had by now, in Germany and Austria, developed into a concept that by-passed the necessity of death, by breeding Gods here and now.
Mormon theologians had declared that those who were not of the Anglo-Saxon race were ineligible for the priesthood and ultimate deification.
They had little contact with Jews, and so concentrated their attention upon Negroes and other coloured races.

List and Liebenfels, along with Wagner (see right) and Chamberlain (see left), however, had little contact with Negroes and other coloureds, and therefore concentrated their attention upon the Jews.
The principle, however, was the same.
The message had come through that there was a connection between race and spirituality.
It was not a new idea.
Any cursory reading of the Old Testament will show that the idea of a chosen race, close to God, endemic to Jewish spirituality; and further inspection of the New Testament will show that Christianity's much vaunted condemnation of the racial principle was mainly motivated by the fact that Paul, failing to convert the Jews to his newfangled 'mystery religion', rather than accept defeat, abandoned the idea of racial exclusivity, much to the annoyance of most of the Apostles, who were the real bearers of the message of the Jesus of Nazareth (*).
One of the most interesting literary works, published by von Liebenfels was 'The Book of German Psalms: The Prayerbook of Aryan Racial Mystics'.
Within its pages is the summation of a long development of thought, which was, in the near future, about to erupt into unforeseen disaster.
Although the book was not widely read, it graced the shelves of both the influential and the unknown (including a young Adolf Hitler), and it was from the ranks of those who had studied the works of Liebenfels that the founding members of the Thule Gesellschaft were drawn.

*  See Acts, Chapter 15, verses 1 to 35.

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