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 writing toxic books about Theosophy. Reghini’s preceded Guénon’s.
Both men have been involved in other esoteric groups, including Masonic organisations, in both cases “irregular” Masonic organisations. Guénon would later join a “regular” body, but after his initial idea that Freemasonry contained a genuine initiatic “filiation”, he later concluded that this “filiation” had been long lost within Freemasonry and he pursuited other paths.
Where Guénon’s involvement in “irregular” Freemasonry seems to have been accidental, in Reghini’s case this was not so. Freemasonry in Italy had from the start been very political and anticlerical. Even though he was anticlerical himself, Reghini was of the opinion that “irregular” Freemasonry was more spiritual and esoteric and that it contained the unbroken initiatic link to the past. Or in the words of Giudice:
The left-wing tendencies of mainstream Freemasonry left him and his companions very little to work with: hence the decision to resort to the smaller Rites of fringe Masonry.
Indeed, Reghini hoped to use Freemasonry for his conservative, Traditionalist, elitist and Roman reform.
Reghini was admitted to the I Rigeneratori (The Restorers) lodge of Palermo. The lodge belonged to the Oriental Rite of Memphis, a Rite that Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) had allegedly been the first European to be initiated in, at the feet of the Great Pyramid in 1798.
This was the organisation lead by the famous John Yarker, so I suppose the author is talking about the Rite of Memphis-Misraim. Other members of the organisation (according to Giudice) were Giuseppe Garibaldi who is best known for uniting Italy, a cause that Reghini strove for too, and Papus (Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse) of the Martinist order where Guénon has a past.
Because he lived far away from his lodge, Reghini tried to find nearer lodges to steer into his direction. He joined the Grand Orient of Italy lodge Michele di Lando in Florence, which he helped reorganize and rename Lucifer, but the progressive members of the Grand Orient gained the upper hand and Reghini left.
Reghini’s forays in the world of Freemasonry cannot be said to have been fruitful: his idea of an elite of highly trained individuals operating behind the scenes in order to awaken the masses and lead them towards a new Pagan renaissance was to prove futile. The anti-clerical sentiments were there, as was the rampant nationalism and the adherence to the irredentist cause: what was lacking was an occult and Traditional think tank to co-ord[i]nate all of these different strands.
He did find what he was looking for (for a while) in the Schola Italica, founded by his friend and master Amedeo Rocco Armentano, an initiatic, but not Masonic organisation.