National Socialism and the Occult - Part II - Völkisch Occultism

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
National Socialism and the Occult - Part II

(Völkisch Occultism)

please note: this blog is not intended to approve, condone or encourage any of the beliefs and/or ideologies described herein.

In the years preceding World War I, German anti-Semitism was fed by an underground stream of secret cults, both in Vienna and other cultural centers.
Young Hitler in Vienna
Hitler dipped into this stream.
He was twenty when he came to Vienna in 1909, rejected for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts, and according to eyewitness accounts, lonely, shy with women, moody, given to violent outbursts.
He later wrote in 'Mein Kampf ' of this period that it gave him the foundations of a knowledge which sustained him for the rest of his life.
'In this period there took shape within me a world picture and a philosophy which became the granite foundation of all my acts. In addition to what I then created, I have had to learn little; and I have had to alter nothing.'
(This, of course, like so much in 'Mein Kampf', was not entirely true - Thule and Eckart were, in many ways, the true foundations of Hitler' weltanschauung'.
Hitler spent much of his time studying Eastern religions, yoga, occultism, hypnotism,  astrology, telepathy, graphology, phrenology, and similar subjects which often appeal to pursuers of magical powers.

Lanz von Liebenfels
His penchant for the occult led him to a tobacconist's shop near his lodging, where he came upon a magazine, 'Ostara'.

'Ostara' was a German nationalist magazine founded in 1905 by the occultist Lanz von Liebenfels in Vienna, Austria. Lanz derived the name of the publication from the Old High German goddess name Ôstarâ.
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 and appeared in three series; the first series included 100  issues between 1905 and 1917, the second series had only one issue, and the third series included 20 issues published between 1927 and 1930.

This publication was produced by the mystical, völkisch theorist, Lanz von Liebenfels, who wrote under the acronyn PONT (Prior of the Order of the New Templars).
Vienna, in those days one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, was hospitable to the formation of occult groups which sprang up with religious fervor, symptomatic of the irrational atmosphere of the time.

Vienna - 1900
Vienna's population went up 259 percent between 1860 and 1900, and the flood of new arrivals sought relief from the frustrations of an overcrowded and expensive existence.
The city was deluged by mediums, necromancers, and astrologers who claimed to b
e occupied with a futuristic science which the scientific establishment was as yet unable to appreciate, since experiments were as yet  unverified. 
Lanz von Liebenfels, a one-time Cistercian monk, started his group, the 'Order of the New Templars', in 1900.

Guido von List
His friend, Guido von List, a somewhat different sort of völkisch ideologue, started his group, the Armanen, in 1908.
Membership was often interlocking, and there was continual feedback between the cults.
Germanenorden Walvater des Heiligen Grals
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Around 1912, a number of members of both cults finally came together under one roof in the 'Germanenorden Walvater des Heiligen Grals', which prefigured the NSDAP.
Historians are divided on the question of whether Hitler was actually ever a member of either the Temple of the New Order or the Armanen, but it is certain that he was a reader of Ostara and met Lanz von Liebenfels several times in that period he later alluded to as providing him with 'the foundations of a knowledge' which was to become so important to him.

Lambach Hakenkreuz
Stift Lambach
It is also possible that Hitler, as a boy, met Liebenfels when they were both at the Abbey at Lambach.
While Hitler was a student at the abbey, Adolf Joseph Lanz made a stay at Lambach-am-Traum. 
He stayed for several weeks, shut up in the monastery, thoroughly researching and studying Abbot Theodorich Hagen's personal papers.
The monks affirm that during his mysterious research he evidenced the signs of great agitation, like of a person who had made a great discovery.
After his visit to Abbey, Lanz returned to Vienna, where the following year (1900) he founded the Order of the New Templars.

Hitler als Knabe im
Kloster Lambach Chorschule
A monastery was founded in Lambach in about 1040 by Count Arnold II of Lambach-Wels. His son, Bishop Adalbero of Würzburg (later canonised), changed the monastery into a Benedictine abbey in 1056. During the 17th and 18th centuries a great deal of work in the Baroque style was carried out. Lambach escaped the dissolution of the monasteries of Emperor Joseph II in the 1780s. It was however dissolved by the National Socialists in 1941, in the Operation Klostersturm, and the premises were used for the accommodation of a Nazi school and training institution.
(In der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus beschlagnahmten staatliche Stellen sowie die nationalsozialistische Partei weit über 200 Klöster. Der nationalsozialistische Raubzug gegen die katholischen Ordensgemeinschaften in Deutschland startete aufgrund eines Geheimerlasses des NSDAP-Reichsleiters Martin Bormann vom 13. Januar 1941.)

die Arioheroiker
Writing in an oracular, anthropological manner, Liebenfels took mankind from the beginning of time and divided the species into the Herrenrasse and the ape-men, the first being white, blue-eyed, blond, and responsible for everything heroic in mankind.
The second group was the repository of everything vile.
According to this theory, the heroes - called variously Heldinge, or Arioheroiker were superior by reason of breeding and blood, whereas the inferiors Afflinge, (apelings) Waninge, chandale always threatened to contaminate through interbreeding.
Ostara's theories were calculated to explain history as a struggle to the death between the pure Aryan and the subhuman.
This racial struggle, described in mystical prose, was the essence of human existence.

'Du und ich'
Arno Breker
The lower races must not pollute, through inter- breeding, the rich blood of the higher races.
Since, sexually, the lower races are more potent, this presents a considerable challenge to the hero.
Lanz was writing in the tradition of a völkisch revival of the conservative Germanic ideal of woman as the keeper of the hearth, in contrast with the modern suffragette who was just then demanding her rights and asserting her own sexual needs.
Race and blood, combined with ancient German occultism spells, number mysticism.
It is all too clear what one regular reader, Hitler, became, though the direct influence of Ostara.
The Order of the New Templars enrolled blond, blue-eyed members, and only if they promised to marry women with the same attributes.

Knight Templar
Lanz von Liebenfels, a teacher's son, was born in Vienna in 1874.
As a child, his wish had been to become a Knight Templar and to own Templar chateaux or, at least, to reconstruct them.
His strongest impression as a youth had been an opera, 'The Templar and the Jewess', which transported him into ecstasy. (Occultists have always argued that the Templars, a medieval religious and military order, were a Gnostic sect working to purify the world of evil.)
In 1893, at the age of nineteen, he entered the Stift Heiligenkreuz (Cistercian monastery Holy Cross), which had an important place in Austrian history.

Stift Heiligenkreuz
Heiligenkreuz Abbey (Stift Heiligenkreuz) is a Cistercian monastery in the village of Heiligenkreuz in the southern part of the Vienna woods, c. 13 km north-west of Baden in Lower Austria. It is the oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monastery in the world. Heiligenkreuz abbots were often noted for their piety and learning. Heiligenkreuz was spared dissolution under Emperor Joseph II. Although the National Socialists planned its dissolution in the Third Reich, this plan was not carried out.

The following year, he issued a work about a discovery which held secret meaning for him: a monument from the period of the Crusades, of a manly figure treading barefoot on an animal-like human being.

Liebenfels Swastika Flag
In this relief sculpture Lanz saw the triumph of the higher races over the lesser races, and it became the symbol of his ideology.
In 1900, a year after he left the monastery, started his order, taking over the name and rituals from his beloved Templars.
His sign was the swastika.
This studious-looking, bespectacled young man, preached a fall from a race-pure paradise that came about when the  Arioheroiker interbred with the  Dark Races.
He called his theory Ariosophy.

Burg Werfenstein
Lanz quickly found people who were willing to believe, and some of the believers were wealthy men, ready to help Lanz make his wildest dreams come true.
With their help, he bought Burg Werfenstein in Lower Austria, in 1907.
Other castles, in Marienkamp near Ulm and on the island of Rugen in the Baltic, were also converted into temples where the order conducted elaborate Grail ceremonies.
The carefully screened initiates, awesome in white hooded robes, performed celebrations written by Lanz.

New Templar Ceremony
Using his monastic training, he also composed his own voluminous variations of liturgical texts: a two-volumed 'New Templars' Breviary', 'The Psalms in German', and a secret Bible for the initiated, which ran to ten volumes, as well as prayer books and the like.

Theozoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Affligen
und dem Gotter-Elektron
The race struggle was his major concern, but the order also dabbled in astrology, phrenology, homoeopathy, and nutrition.
After reconstructing the Werfenstein castle, fitting it out with Templar symbols of ritual magic, and raising up a swastika flag, never before seen in modern days, he made plans for world salvation.
To ensure the extirpation of the animal-man and the propagation of the higher new man, he  called  for  a  radical  program: genetic selection, sterilization, deportations to the ape jungle. 
He advocated  the   establishment  of   special  breeding  colonies   for   the production of more Aryans.
He called his major work 'Theozoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Affligen und dem Gotter-Elektron' - (Theozoology, or the Lore of the Sodom-Apelings and the Electron of the Gods.)
He believed Aryan heroes, 'Masterpieces of the Gods', to be possessed of splendid electromagnetic- radiological organs which gave them special powers.

"Meisterwerke der Götter"
(Masterpieces of the Gods)
By following his eugenic measures, they would revitalize  their lost faculties.
Exactly what had Hitler to do with Lanz ?
In Mein Kampf the only possible reference to Ostara may be this one: 
'For the first time in my life I bought myself some anti-Semitic pamphlets for a few heller'.
His friend from childhood, August Kubizek, mentions that during this period Hitler joined an anti-Semitic lodge.
But according to Lanz's biographer, Wilfried Daim, not only was Hitler a regular reader of 'Ostara', but, because he had missed several issues, he looked up Lanz himself in 1909, who was happy to supply him with back copies.

Elektronen Gral der Götter
In fact, says Daim, he saw Lanz a few times and 'left an impression of youth, pallor, and modesty.'
Fifteen months later, through three changes of residence, the copies were still in Hitler's possession.
Lanz claimed him as one of his disciples, writing to an occultist in 1932, just before Hitler came to power: 
'Hitler is one of our pupils. You will one day experience that he, and through him we, will one day be victorious and develop a movement that makes the world tremble.'
Hitler attempted to bury all his earlier influences and his origins, and he spent a great deal of energy hiding them.

Anschluss Österreichs
Lanz was forbidden to publish after the Anschluß, when the Ostmark was re-united with the Reich in 1938.

Der Anschluß - German for "connection" or union, political annexation, - also known as the Anschluss Österreichs, was the occupation and annexation of Austria into the Third Reich in 1938. This was in contrast with the Anschluss movement (Austria and Germany united as one country), which had been attempted since as early as 1918 when the Republic of German-Austria attempted union with Germany but was forbidden by the Treaty of Saint Germain and Treaty of Versailles peace treaties.

'Mein Kampf'
But the influence of Lanz's Ariosophy is evident in passages like these from 'Mein Kampf':
'By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the handiwork of the Lord.... This Jewification of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating instinct will sooner or later destroy our entire offspring....
Blood sin and desecration of the race and the original sin in this world and the end of a humanity which surrenders to it.'
Though we may never have certain knowledge as to whether or not Hitler was a member of the New Templars, there is ample reason to suppose that Lanz's s völkisch philosophy helped to create the Third Reich.

Guido von List
The other Viennese occultist who attracted Lanz's disciples, Guido von List, presented a somewhat different variation of the occultist-racist package.
List was born in 1848 to a rich Viennese merchant.
At fourteen, in the catacombs of St. Stefan's Cathedral in Vienna, he vowed before a dilapidated altar that when he became adult he would build a temple to the pagan
god Wotan.
His life's work settled, he became first a merchant and then secretary of the Austrian Alp Society.

Armanen Swastika
Members used the 'Heil' greeting, harking back to paganism.
List thought of himself as the link with an ancient race of Germanic priests and wise men called the Armanen.
Their holiest emblem had been the swastika.
Taking the same symbol, which had been in widespread use by many ancient peoples, he started his own secret society, the Armanen, in 1908.
To the Germanic peoples, the swastika was an occult symbol for the sun, which represented life.
German racists believed that one of the proofs of the inequality of races was that some had a more positive attitude toward the sun than others, and sun worship became a pagan ritual among volkisch groups.
List became a pioneer in reviving Teutonic folklore and mythology.
This helped to prepare the climate for nationalism.

Franz Hartmann
Karl Lueger
The Armanen succeeded in attracting such people as Vienna's mayor, Karl Lueger, and the well-known Theosophist Franz Hartmann.
List claimed that his group was the inner circle, hence, the leaders of the Aryo-Germanic race, with power to unlock the secrets of the universe.
They had the call. They were similar to God.
List apparently never lacked for rich supporters to finance his undertakings.
His major undertaking was his plan to lead the master race, having been in communication with ancients possessing esoteric wisdom.
He looked like an ancient prophet with his long, flowing white beard.
He taught his members runic occultism.

Armanen Runes
Wotan was said to have invented the runes, the ancient alphabet, as part of his secret science. (The Gothic runa means 'secret', 'secret decision'.
The early Finnish runo, taken from the Germanic, has to do with magic songs.)
Edgar Polome points out in his essay 'Approaches to Germanic Mythology', in Myth in Indo-European Antiquity:

Wotan and the Runes
'What Wotan originally acquired by hanging on the tree for nine days, starving and thirsting as in a shamanic initiation rite, was a powerful secret lore, of which the runes later on became merely the tool'.
The idea that the runes have occult significance was mentioned as early as
A.D. 98 by Tacitus, who described the Germanic peoples as making marks on wood branches in order to practice augury and divination.
Old Norse literature speaks of runes carved on wood, over which incantations or charms were spoken.
List wrote a book about runes in 1908.
Like other German occult groups, he was  preoccupied with  the magical power contained in the old alphabet.
The historian Reginald H. Phelps, although he does not touch on the occult practices of Lanz and List, points out in his article 'Before Hitler Came': Thule Society and Germanen Orden', in 'The Journal of Modern History', that they propagated their theories 'with varying success among intelligentsia and aristocrats'.

Theodor Fritsch
Phillip Stauff and his Wife
About 1912, disciples of Lanz and List started the 'Germanen Orden' under the leadership of a member of List's Armanen, a journalist named Philipp Stauff, and several others.
Theodor Fritsch, one of the founders, had great organizational ability.
Originally a technician for windmills, he then published a trade journal for millers, the 'Deutscher Muller', which provided him with the funds to pursue his real passion, scientific anti-Semitism.
From the 1880's on he had been a leader in the Pan-German movement.
In 1902, he began to publish the 'Hammer', a völkisch magazine which aimed at eliminating all foreign participation from German cultural life.
He tried to spread the word to the workers as well as to the elite, calling for a racist-nationalist organization that would combine the smaller groups into one 'above the parties'
It was to be impeccably Aryan and was to bring 'enlightenment' to the Germanic peoples.
He was joined by a sealer of weights and measures from Magdeburg, Hermann Pohl, and also by Stauff, who brought with him several other List disciples.
The organization was to be a secret 'Bund' (group) for the purpose of combating what they believed to be the secret Jewish group, that was plotting world conspiracy.
One could only become a member by proving German origin to the third generation.
Race science was to be taught, provable in the same way for human beings as the principles of scientific breeding had been established for plants and animals.
The origin of most sickness was the result of the mixing of races, they held.
The principles of Pan-Germanism were to be disseminated not only among Germans, but among all blood-related peoples.
The fight was against all un-German thinking, which included Judaism and internationalism.
Germanen Orden
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
While the 'Germanen Orden' violently opposed Freemasonry as international and Jew-ridden, it used Freemason terminology and organization - this was because Pohl believed that this would guarantee secrecy.
Their symbols were runes and the swastika with curved arms.
Stauff and Pohl were the only open members.
Closet cultists have always enjoyed the high degree of secrecy surrounding the meetings of
occult groups.
Rites are rarely, if ever, committed to paper.
It is as if there is a recognition that power tends to evaporate and mysteries to become cheapened with exposure.
At any rate, the initiation and other rites must have been similar to those of  Lanz's and List's groups.
As with those other groups, there were inner and outer circles, with the latter yearning to be admitted into the ranks of the former.
The mysteries were revealed through signs and symbols which only the properly initiated could interpret, and only when deemed worthy.
The typical occultist saw symbolism everywhere, and hermetic significance in everything.
Groups also borrowed heavily from each other, so that if one saw wisdom in the ancient rune symbols, chances were that another would adopt it.
Stauff and List wrote books on runic wisdom.
Meetings of the 'Germanen Orden' taught the same.
Before World War I, despite countless leaflets distributed and propaganda spewed out, growth of the Germanen Orden was slow.
Fritsch issued a call to action. 
The  time  for  counter-revolution was  at  hand. 
For  decades  the Germanic peoples had been sabotaged by the 'chandale', Lanz's term for the lower races.
Now the 'chief criminals' must be defeated.
'A few hundred courageous men  can accomplish the work,' said Fritsch.
The Jewish liberal and leftist leaders must fall, at the very start of the revolt; not even flight abroad shall protect them.
As soon as the bonds of civic order lie shattered on the ground and law is trodden underfoot, the Sacred Fehme enters on its rights; it must not fear to smite the mass-criminals with their own weapons.

Within the politically heated turmoil of the early German Weimar Republic after WWI, the term Fememord is used to refer to right-wing political executions of Jewish politicians such as Kurt Eisner (1919), Matthias Erzberger (1921), or Walther Rathenau (1922) by right-wing groups.

The group, however, was not successful.
November 1914, the finances were bad, and nearly half the brethren were with the military.
Between 1914 and 1918 the Orden was inactive, because most of its members were at the front.
Of the known members, only Theodor Fritsch, the grand old man of German anti-Semitism, achieved lasting recognition.
His 'Antisemitische Katechismus' - (Anti-Semitical Catechism), written in 1887, had more than twenty editions and sold almost a hundred thousand copies.
His 'Handbuch der Judenfrage' - (Handbook of the Jewish Question), a 1919 update of the 'Katechismus', reached 145,000 readers.
Some years ago, in a suburb of Berlin, a monument was erected to his name.
During the 'Ersten Weltkrieg' (First World War), all the secret cults were dormant.
Pohl was reduced to selling bronze rings inscribed with runic characters.
They possessed, he claimed, protective magical qualities, certainly very much needed in those days.
It was not until after the war that the occult anti-Semitic groups produced a mass movement.

Thule Gesellschaft

'In the depths of his subconscious every German has one foot in 'Atlantis' where he seeks a better Fatherland and a better patrimony.'
Adolf Hitler

Thule Gesellschaft
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
After the war, it was not uncommon to find occult secret societies coupling with conservative, racist politics, and growing quite militant.
The  'Germanen Orden' was reactivated, and Hermann Pohl's Bavarian branch took the cover name of the Thule Gesellschaft.

'Bevor Hitler Kam'
Not until 1933 did the connection between the Thule Gesellschaft and the prehistory of National Socialism come to light, when a book was published, in Munich, with the intriguing title 'Bevor Hitler Kam' (Before Hitler Came).
It must have enjoyed a vogue, because there was a second printing in 1934.
Both editions were confiscated by the NSDAP, and the author vanished.

'Mein Kampf'
Hitler had already given a rather simple, and not entirely truthful account of his political début in an insignificant workers' party, (in 'Mein Kampf'), and he apparently did not care to have another version publicized.
The author, who called himself Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff, had been Grand Master of a small lodge which called itself the 'Thule Society', and he stated right at the outset: 'Thule people are the ones to whom Hitler first came.'
Sebottendorff himself acknowledges his debt to 'a man whom Juda [Jewdom] could not get rid of - Theodor Fritsch - and to three Austrians who started the fight against Juda: Guido von List, Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels, and List's disciple, Philipp Stauff.
There was one other, a Baron Wittgenberg, who, Sebottendorff claimed, 'chose to kill himself' in 1920 because his wife and daughter were caught under the influence of a Jewish banker. 

This unfortunate man's compendiums, published in 1914 (An Index of Jewish Titled People, An Index of Titled People and Their Connection with Jews, and Jews of Industry, Science, Authors and Artists), had been snatched up by Jews, said Sebottendorff, and there were no more copies available.
Thule and the 'Germanen Orden' joined forces right after the war.

Sebottendorff prepared a brochure for the initiates coming home, and started a publication called 'Runen' to bring in new members.
The first three members of the reconstituted circle were Dr. George Gaubatz, a bald-headed Red Cross worker, and member of the Audubon Society, who looked like Erich von Stroheim, and wore a key chain across his waistcoat, from which dangled the swastika, emblem of the Thule Society; Wilhelm Rohmeder, an educator  and  member  of  a  German  education  society;  and  Johannes Hering, who had already distinguished himself in Pan-German circles.

Erich von Stroheim (September 22, 1885 – May 12, 1957) was an Austrian director, actor and producer, most notable as being a film star of the silent era, subsequently noted as an auteur for his directorial work.

There were, apparently, attempts at gaining magical knowledge.

Sebottendorff was an authority on astrology, alchemy, divining rods, and rune symbolism, and was happy to expatiate on these subjects.
Johannes Hering's diary entry for August 17, 1918, shows great vexation with Sebottendorff for delivering a talk to the group on divining rods.
Hering feared 'such occult nonsense lost them good will.'
Sebottendorff was nostalgic for the Middle Ages, when the Jews in Germany had been openly persecuted.
Nowadays, he said, they exerted an influence not only on the Catholic Church, but, through Freemasonry, even on the Protestants.
In fact, the Jews were always the machers in the Masonic lodges, and plotted an international conspiracy, under the guise of liberty, fraternity, and equality.

Macher - a Yiddish term for big shot. A man who is (or thinks he is) really important. Usually refers to someone who is showing off in some way.

Masonic Emblem

Sebottendorff mouthed the usual attitudes of völkisch writers toward Freemasons, who have traditionally been associated with the forces of liberalism.

The Pan-Germans pledged themselves to combat   the   'world   conspiracy'   being   led   by   Freemasons   and international Jewry.
However, Sebottendorff had a love-hate relationship with the Freemasons.
They were the prototype for most secret organizations. 'The old Freemasonry,' he said, 'had been a keeper of secrets which they had learned from the Aryan wisdom and from the alchemists, and which concerned itself with the building of cathedrals.'
Naturally, he supposed, when the cathedrals were all built, the Masonic guilds had died out, and with them, the Aryan wisdom.

Kölner Dom,
Like other occultists, Sebottendorff accepted the view that the medieval master builder knew more than just the secrets of his trade.
Many of the European cathedrals, four hundred years in construction, exemplified, in esoteric circles, the occult symbolism.
As a modern Freemason, Delmar Duane Darrah, described it in 'The History and Evolution of Freemasonry':

Everywhere was the mystic number. The Trinity was proclaimed by the nave and the aisle (multiplied sometimes to the other sacred number, seven), the three richly ornamented recesses of the portal, the three towers. The rose over the west was the Unity, the whole building was a Cross. The  altar  with  its  decorations announced the  real  perpetual Presence. The solemn crypt below represented the underworld, the soul of man in darkness and the shadow of death, the body awaiting the resurrection.

Even the uninitiated could feel the power of the symbolism underlying the great cathedrals.
Sebottendorff recognized that for the Mason himself, the work of building cathedrals was symbolic of and important to the soul's journey, as all work was.
'But', he said, 'after the Thirty Years' War, Juda started Freemasonry again,' with a difference. An article in the July 21, 1918, edition of 'Runen' gives Sebottendorff's views on the antithesis between modern Freemasonry and the Aryan wisdom:
'We look at our world as a product of the people. The Freemason looks at it as a product of conditions. We don't acknowledge the brotherhood of people, only blood brotherhood. We want the freedom, not of herds, but of duty. We hate the propaganda of equality. Struggle is the father of all things. Equality is death.'
For Sebottendorff, the modern Freemason, like the Jew, was a parasite, unbending, incapable of  change.
All the same, he borrowed liberally from the Freemasons, as well as from Madame Blavatsky, perhaps influenced by her boldness as much as by her Theosophy.
Sebottendorff, born with the less glamorous name of Adam Rudolf Glauer to a Silesian locomotive conductor in Hoyerswerda, on November 9, 1875,  the  same  year  that  Countess Blavatsky  was  launching  her Theosophical Society in America, became first a merchant seaman.
Osmanli Armasi
At twenty-six, he transplanted himself to Turkey, and became a Turkish citizen.
In 1909, he had the good fortune to be adopted by an Austrian baron named Heinrich von Sebottendorff, in Istanbul, according to Turkish law.
Rudolf was badly wounded in the Balkan War and came back to Breslau in 1913.
The adoption was contested in Germany, and in 1920 the last remaining members of the Sebottendorff family readopted him in Baden-Baden.

Sufi Dervishes

During his  sojourn in Turkey, with  his  sinecure as engineer-cum-supervisor of a substantial estate, he had been able to spend time reading Oriental philosophy and Theosophical writings, as well as engaging in Sufi meditation.
He acknowledged that he had been a Knight of the Masonic Order of Constantine.
Turkish Freemasonry, it seemed, had kept the ancient Aryan wisdom intact.
'It must be shown,' said Sebottendorff, 'that Oriental Freemasonry still retains faithfully even today the ancient teachings of wisdom forgotten by modern Freemasonry, whose Constitution of 1717 was a departure from the true way.'
By 1918 he had formed his own lodge, the 'Thule Gesellschaft', and elevated himself to the rank of Grand Master.
One of his first acts was to place an advertisement in the local paper, inviting men to a meeting. 
Those who responded were sent a letter, predicting the imminent collapse of Germany if racial intermarriage were not halted.
Each prospective member was to be on probation for one year.
The initiation fee was twenty marks; the quarterly Ardensnacht, ten marks.
The applicant was required to fill out a form declaring that, to the best of his knowledge, not a drop of Jewish or Negro blood flowed through his or his wife's veins.
On returning this, he was sent a questionnaire and asked for a photograph.
A most thorough questionnaire, inquiring into such intimacies as the amount of hair on various parts of the body and asking, if possible, for an imprint of the sole of the foot on a separate piece of paper.
'We then tested for race purity,' says Sebottendorff, 'and started an inquiry.'
The one-year probationary period was only the first level in the member's initiation.
He had to take a ritualistic vow of absolute obedience and loyalty to the Master of the lodge. 'Symbolically,' said Sebottendorff, 'it  was  the  return  of  the  lost  Aryan  to  the  German Halgedom.'
Sebottendorff did not need to invent anything.

Madame Blavatsky
Blavatsky's 'Geheimlehre' 
Inspired by Blavatsky's 'Geheimlehre' - (Secret Doctrine), he re-spun the age-old myth of Atlantis, calling it 'Thule'.
Like Atlantis, 'Thule' was believed by occultists to have been the magic centre of a vanished civilization.
Madame Blavatsky speculated that it had been swept away in the first Deluge, 850,000 years ago.
Compared with it, the much more recent Noah's Flood had been a puddle, and mythical,
Here, Madame Blavatsky believed, were the relics of the giants of the Fourth Race; only this Atlantean being deserved to be called 'Man', for only he was completely human.

Aryan Third Eye
After him, the Fall.
Among other things, the Fall cost him his invaluable third eye, which gave him spiritual insight.
What had caused the Fall ?
Tucked away in 'Geheimlehre' is the answer.
The Atlanteans had mated with semi-human beings.
Anticipating the argument that this was contrary to nature, she argued:
'Esoteric science replies to this that it was in the very beginnings of physical man. Since then, Nature has changed her ways, and sterility is the only result of the crime of man's bestiality.'

In the chaos and distress of Germany after World War I, with the occultist boom, the German racist groups seized upon mystical ideas of this sort, and wove them into a myth of the 'Herrenrasse' - (master race - not to be confused with the Übermensch).
Sebottendorff transposed Blavatsky's cosmology, by which she had sought to confound the evolutionists.
In place of her sub-races who had extinguished the 'Flames' by 'long generations of bestiality,' ruining it for the Aryans, he taught members of Thule that the purity of their blood had been defiled by the Jews.
Thus, as his predecessors, List and Lanz, had done, Sebottendorff gave status to the lower and middle classes, who must have fantasized wistfully of having aristocratic blood - the only sure way to amount to something in that time and place.
Not only did this mystical doctrine elevate them to potential Aryan 'höheren Menschen' (the dormant occult  powers would reawaken in the Aryan people in the twentieth century, with the appearance of 'höheren Menschen' who would restore the German volk to their ancient glory and lead them in conquering the world), but it released them from the binding strictures of the Judeo-Christian morality, which had been, after all, inspired by the enemy, and calculated to rob the pagan heroes of their vitality.
With the old order going down to destruction, people felt threatened on all sides by the spectre of 'progress' - the frighteningly rapid growth of alien populations in the cities, and the advent of mass production and modern technology - and, above all, the feeling that an imminent revolution would come to turn everything upside-down.
Sebottendorff owed a considerable part of his success to these fears.
He was an accomplished astrologer and magus.

His mission, as he saw it, was to reveal  certain  basic  esoteric secrets, to  counteract a  vast network of alchemists and Freemasons and Jews who had hatched a plot of monstrous dimensions to undermine the civilized world.
The existing religious institutions had apparently grown too weak to make any unified effort to
There was only one way to avoid the chaos that would throw everything into the abyss, and that was the intervention of the spiritual chiefs in the West.
The ideology of purity of the blood was founded on the esoteric alchemical theory of the Grand Work.
It was necessary for Sebottendorff to prepare suitable Aryan candidates for their proper place in a mystical hierarchy.
Therefore, he taught them certain mystico-magical exercises which the French occult scholar Rene Alleau defines as:
'A mysticism, founded on the repetition of certain syllables during periods determined by the synodic revolution of the moon, and in association with signs of the hand and passes that had for a goal capturing the most subtle radiations of the original force for the purpose of integrating them into the human body, in order to spiritualize matter into universal energy.'
This is reminiscent of the conjurations and incantations which occultists have always used in the practice of the magical arts.
Alleau points out:
'These movements of the hand are held at various parts of the body - neck, chest, stomach.' One concentrates mentally on these gestures and the repeated syllables until, little by little, according to Alleau, an abnormal heat increases progressively, and is conducted to different points in the body.
At the same time, changes in the senses of taste and smell are observed, and ultimately 'the disciple will see a black shadow that marks the end of the first part of the work.'
When that happens, 'the day is celebrated like the beginning of a new life, and the disciple receives his lodge name.'

Human Aura
The initiate perceives colours changing, which signifies his subtle trans-mutation from one phase to the next.
'The black of the shadow changes itself to blue, to light red, and to pale green. When the tint has become a luminous green this period is finished.'
Next, in conjunction with passes of the chest, comes a glaring white.
Alleau says:
'After the ventral posture, these mystico-magical exercises end in the elaboration of a shadow of a pomegranate red. The Oriental Mason has become the perfect master. The cubic stone is entirely shaped. The Oriental initiates . . . name these tasks of the spiritual work  - the Science of the Key - and name themselves the - Sons of the Key.'
That there is a coloured light-field around human bodies and that the colours change with changing spiritual development is an old esoteric belief.
These colours  or auras, are visible to occultists and sensitives.
The colours  while presumably present for these people, are also symbolic, and there are varying interpretations as to the significance of each.
All of Sebottendorff's rituals had as their aim one effect, the same as that of other esoteric groups: dissolving the 'small self' so that the 'divine self' could become manifest.
The teaching holds that there is a world beyond the senses, which can be reached with proper preparation.
This world is not material.
The occultist believes he can ascend to it in various stages, each of which has its own particular pitfalls. 

'Rising on the Planes'

This ascending is referred to as 'Rising on the Planes'. The practice of Rising on the Planes is of such importance that special attention must be paid to it. It is part of the essential technique of Magick. - Aleister Crowley

It is certainly not for everyone.
A great effort of will is necessary.
So is courage. It is not possible to get anywhere by moving haphazardly from one stage to the next.
One must observe the strictest protocol and techniques.
For this, of course, the services of a master are absolutely indispensable.
Negative forces lie in wait everywhere, and the journey is most perilous.
Sebottendorff taught:
'Once come to the end of our training, we sense our terrestrial body becoming more and more a stranger to us. We cross beyond it. We see distinctly that it has become dust and ashes. It is the lowest point that can be attained, that where the shadows of death and their terrors involve us. It is for this reason that the ancient Oriental Freemasons received into their community nothing but courageous men because the tests reserved for the neophyte were very harsh. Courage and endurance were the two principal virtues that were necessary.'
To this end, Sebottendorff exacted from his disciples the cry 'Sieg Heil' (Victory Hail !), which symbolizes the kind of blind obedience the formula speaks of when it exhorts the initiate:
'Be between the hands of your master, like a cadaver in the hands of him who washes him.'
The master, in esoteric teaching, is God's emissary.
The relationship between disciple and master is particularly meaningful in the occult tradition. 
The neophyte must place  himself completely in  the teacher's hands and obey even his most eccentric commands, whether or not those commands do violence to his own individual conscience.
There are at least two reasons for this:
First, the master is the repository of ancient and secret wisdom which the disciple presumably cannot acquire in any other way, and second, the master seeks deliberately to create an atmosphere in which the disciple's consciousness will be changed.
Toward that end, the master is prepared - in fact, it is necessary - to go beyond rational thought and behaviour.
For this, extremely harsh discipline may be called for.
History provides a number of examples of irrational cults by powerless people who fell under the domination of a powerful master and accomplished his will.
The  Assassins, a  secret  politico-religious order  of  eleventh-century
Islam, made the murder of its enemies a religious duty.
An absolute ruler presided over three deputy masters.
Under them were the initiated, and then the students, who were only partially acquainted with the secrets of the order.
The students in time graduated into the ranks of the initiated.
Below the students came the active members of the order, 'the devoted ones,' young men who were kept in absolute ignorance of the teaching of the sect, but from whom complete obedience was expected.
They were the blind instruments in the work of secret political assassination planned by the leaders.

Muslim Assassins
The terrorism they spread for two centuries was disproportionately greater  than  their  actual numbers, and  the  name  'Assassin' became associated with dread in the Middle East.
They struck down generals, statesmen, and caliphs.
They were even hired by contending political factions.
The secret of their power lay primarily in the peculiar manner of their training.
Before they were assigned to their tasks, the disciples were stupefied by means of hashish. 'Assassin' is just the English analogue of the Arabic 'hashshashin', (one who is addicted to hashish), and, while in an ecstatic state, plunged into sensual pleasure, as a foretaste of the bliss which would be theirs in paradise if they faithfully followed the orders of their overlords. The training was so marvellously effective that the young men were indifferent to the threat of death, which gave them a considerable edge over their opponents.
The Thugs of India were comparable.
A religious fraternity of Hindu origin, they were known to commit murders in honor of the goddess Kali as early as 1290, and lived chiefly on plunder.
(Thug=conceal, hence a cheat in Sanskrit.)
They were highly organized gangs travelling about India for more than three hundred years. 
They had a jargon and signs, and the character of their assassinations conformed to certain ancient religious rites, pointing back to the destructive power of nature.
Through spies, they would learn of wealthy people undertaking a journey and strangle them with a cloth.
Another class of Thugs murdered people in charge of children, and then sold the children into slavery.
They really formed a caste, hereditary for the most part, although a few recruits were admitted from outside.
A number of Muslims joined.
But no washer-men  sweepers, musicians, poets, blacksmiths, carpenters, oil  vendors, cripples, or  lepers could become Thugs.
After each murder, there would be a special ritual in honour of Kali, the feminine aspect of nature's demonic power.
In addition to all the other dangers, then, the disciple of an esoteric group runs the real danger of falling victim to a domination which may indeed leave him little more than a living cadaver.
Like all other such groups, the Thule Gesellschaft had an inner circle and an outer circle.
Both were involved in raising their consciousness to an awareness of super-human intelligences in the universe, and in trying to achieve means of communicating with these intelligences.
Some writers have speculated that the inner circle were Satanists, who practised black magic. Satanism is, of course, not unknown in esoteric circles.
It is simply the crooked path to self-transcendence.
There is even a philosophical rationale, Gnostic in origin:
Since the world's ways are illusory and evil, the creation of Satan, all worldly  behaviour is equally  sinful. 
The  occultist, therefore, has  two choices open to him.
He can either become an ascetic, and renounce the world or, since he recognizes the non-materiality of the divine nature, he may feel morally free to defy convention and indulge his passions to the full.
Whether Thule members chose the 'left-hand path' or not, it is certain that, like other occult groups, they copied certain aspects of Freemasonry.
One reason why secret societies like the Thule Gesellschaft imitated the earlier prototype, despite their enmity toward it, was that it had a history of guarding ancient secrets.
In a series of pamphlets published in Germany in the early seventeenth century, at a time when the upheavals of the Renaissance and Reformation had called into question many verities, this mysterious fraternity announced that it possessed spiritual knowledge of supernatural truths which could be revealed only to specially prepared initiates.
It became fashionable for wise men to belong to the Freemasons, and their rituals and techniques were widely copied by other groups.
The Thule Gesellschaft gave its members a set of symbols, and a place to voice their alienation.
In exchange for obedience, it promised protection.
In the face of the unstable economic and social conditions, the initiate received assurance that there were forces which, through magic, he could make work for him.
More important and  immediately  satisfying, the  elaborate hierarchy in which the initiate advanced only if he did as he was told meant that one could at least control other people and assert his superiority over them.
Membership in the Thule Gesellschaft set one apart from non-members - inferior beings.
The advantage that accrued to Thule members more than made up for the totalitarian aspects: Without having to make independent decisions, they could become an elite cadre whose task was nothing less than saving the world.
To deal with that task, the the Thule Gesellschaft became the active political branch of the 'Germanen Orden' after the war.
Without undue modesty, Sebottendorff observed of his branch: 
'This decision was important, for Bavaria has thereby become the cradle of the National Socialist movement.'

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2016

National Socialism and the Occult - Part III
Thule and the New Messiah

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