“he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine”

I am currently reading the massive Satanism: A Social History by Massimo Introvigne. This is a scholarly work published by the esteemed publisher Brill. It was first published in Italian in 1994 and was later translated, rewritten and expanded in various languages to (currently) end with the 655 pages that Brill published in 2016. There is something in this book that got me thinking about the early days of Freemasonry. There are many histories of these early days. Not all treat the rising of ‘modern’ lodges in the context of the late 16th, early 17th society. There are investigations showing that there were many social clubs, workers associations that either or not provided financial security in case of sickness, but besides social and philosophical clubs, there were also gatherings of another kind. You have probably heard of “the” Hellfire Club. Actually, there was not one Hellfire Club, there were several.… Read More »“he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine”

Tarot

Tarot is a subject that has only interested me mildly. I enjoy the symbolism of the cards, but that is about it. At some point I bought myself a ‘Crowley tarot’, mostly because the cards that are drawn by Frieda Harris (1877-1962). See the card on the right above. Some time ago I was reading something and the author kept referring to symbols on the Rider/Waite tarot (second from the right above) but without images. The images for this deck are drawn by Pamele Colman Smith (1878-1951) and designed by the (in)famous Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942). Rider was the company that first published the deck. I do not have the deck myself, so I grabbed my Crowley tarot and I remembered just how great these cards look. They were not all that helpful for the text that I was reading though. So I figured I should read up a bit… Read More »Tarot

Squaring the circle

“Squaring the circle” is an expression that I run into frequently, whether in a Hermetic/esoteric or a Masonic connection. Often the first image that pops into people’s minds is this image supposedly of Hermes Trismegistus. Recently I was reading the book Quadrivrium and ‘squaring the circle’ is mentioned four times, but quite different from the above. According to the authors, a ‘circled square’ (or ‘squared circle’) are a circle and a square with the same area. So the square would certainly be smaller than in the image above, more like this: Or like in Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” You can read all about the mathematical approach on Wikipedia. Later I was rereading a book by René Guénon (Symbols Of Sacred Science). He also mentions ‘squaring the circle’ a couple of times and with Guénon you can expect a different approach. Let us see. In this connection we should note… Read More »Squaring the circle

Fabio Venzi (1961-) esoteric Freemasonry

Recently (late 2019) the new book of Fabio Venzi was published by Lewis Masonic. It is called The Last Heresy and is about the relation between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry. It is an historical book and nothing like the previous two books that were published by the same publisher. It did make me go back to these two titles and since I was noting quotes, I figured I could just turn that into some sort of article that may give you an idea of the ideas of this Traditionalistic Italian Freemason who has been the Grandmaster of the Regulier Grand Lodge of Italy since 2001. Traditionalism In the two books, Studies On Traditional Freemasonry (2013) and Freemasonry, The Esoteric Tradition (2016), Venzi refers to René Guénon, but also to his more controversial fellow countryman Julius Evola. Guénon was initially of the opinion that Freemasonry is a genuine Western initiatic… Read More »Fabio Venzi (1961-) esoteric Freemasonry

Antaios

In 2009 or 2010 I was contacted by a man who wanted to revive the Antaios journal that was edited by Mircea Eliade and Ernst Jünger. There were plans to start with a website, but to eventually come to a printed magazine. The website could be found at new-antaios.net. The magazine had a flying start, but was short-lived.

I was asked to write a short biography of Franz Farwerck. It could be found on the website, was copied by another website called Euro Synergies and when it became clear that The New Antaios would fold, I republished it on this very website.

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More Masonic Traditionalism in Italy

My last two articles were about Masonic Traditionalism. One was based on a book by Mark Sedgewick about René Guénon, the other inspired by the books of the contemporary Masonic Traditionalist Fabio Venzi. Even though I had not, and have not, really been looking into the subject, I once again return to it. I recently ran into Christian Guidice’s thesis about Arturo Reghini. Reghini was a Freemason and a Traditionalist. There is an interesting twist to the story. Reghini’s story is in some regards similar to that of René Guénon. The two were contemporaries. Reghini was born in 1878, Guénon in 1886. Reghini passed away in 1946, Guénon in 1951. Both were interested in esotericism and occultism from a young age. Both were involved in the Theosophical Society, but Reghini more than Guénon. Reghini helped to found the society in Italy. Both later took firm distance from their Theosophical involvement… Read More »More Masonic Traditionalism in Italy

Masonic Traditionalism in Italy

I recently read the book Studies On Traditional Freemasonry by Fabio Venzi. This is a very Traditionalistic book and I wanted to see if that is just the author or if that author is part of some sort of current. Unfortunately it does not seem to be easy to find much information. Fabio Venzi was born in 1961 in Rome. He is a sociologist who publishes on a variety of subjects. I have not been able to find out when he was initiated, but I do know that since 2001 Venzi has been the Grand Master of the Gran Loggia Regolare d’Italia, or Regular Grand Lodge of Italy. This organisation appears to be a split-off of the Grande Oriente d’Italia (Grand Orient of Italy). This sounds a bit like Belgian Masonic history, were it not that the Grand Orient of Italy is still regarded “regular” by many Grand Lodges, while… Read More »Masonic Traditionalism in Italy

Masonic Traditionalism

Currently I am (finally) reading Mark Sedgewick’s Against The Modern World, a history of Traditionalism. It contains biographical information of people such as René Guénon, Frithjof Shuon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, but also subjects that I never really thought about. One such subject is “Masonic Traditionalism”. I was aware that Guénon had shortly been a Freemason and that in his earlier works, he saw Freemasonry as one of the two only genuine Western initiatic orders. Later in his life he changed his mind. Things are not quite so simple it seems. The first connection between Guénon and Freemasonry occurs on page 47/8: In 1906 Guénon entered Encausse’s Free School of Hermetic Sciences (as the Independent Group for Esoteric Studies has been renamed) and joined the neo-Masonic Martinist Order and an irregular Masonic body called Humanidad (Humanity), located in France but licensed by a Spanish rather than a French Obedience. “Encausse” is Gérard… Read More »Masonic Traditionalism

Frimurerne I Vikingtiden

A couple of months ago there was a tiny stir in the ‘social world’ about a Norwegian book about “Freemasonry In Viking Times” by the Freemason Arvid Ystad. I tried to gather information, wrote a little text, tried to get a copy of the book and got in contact with the publisher. According to the publisher there are no plans for an edition in another language than Norwegian, so I figured I would just have a stab at the book as it is, so I got myself a copy.
I have worked through a book in a language that I do not master. Since Norwegian is a Germanic language like my own, some words are recognisable from my own language, other words from another language that I do master. Sometimes the words looked like nothing and I used Google translator which I installed on my phone. I figured that if I would understand a few words from every sentence, I would have a rough idea of what it is all about. I am familiar with both subjects in the book, so recognising a few names and keywords would give an idea of the context. I made notes of points that seemed interesting enough to look at better and after finishing the initial reading I have been typing over passages in translation software. I am sure I missed many nuances, subtleties or even interesting information that did not seem groundbreaking when seeing them written in Norwegian, but I think I got enough to be able to give you an idea of the book. Too many points for a book review even, so I have turned this into an article.Read More »Frimurerne I Vikingtiden