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David Pantano

The Hermetic Physician – Daffi / Pantano (2022)

The story of this book is actually more interesting than the book itself. Pantano I knew from his Numen book The Magic Door, an introduction into the Italian occult scene. I now know that he borrowed the title from a book of Giuliano Kremmerz (1861–1930 born Ciro Formisano). Pantano announced a new book which is going to include Kremmerz and that is what led me to this title from 2022.

Kremmerz had some followers in his day and he founded several “Fraternity of Myriam” groups. Marco Daffi (1900-1969 born Ricciardo Ricciardelli) knew Kremmerz, but was not a Myriam member. In 1981 he published a critical history of Kremmerz’ groups and the different Myriam groups that came or continued after Kremmerz’ death (Giuliano Kremmerz e la Fr+Tm+ di Miriam 1981). Many Kremmerz followers were not pleased with that publication.

Pantano has translated the book of Daffi and added some more material. In the book you will mostly learn about the Myrian groups, not too much about Kremmerz and his ideas. Also, as the title suggests, there is more focus on Kremmerz as an esoteric physician, than as an esotericist proper. The book gives an idea of the Italian occult scene around the year 1900 and Daffi tries to show that even when ‘the master’ is of high calibre, his followers not necessarily are as well.

As appendices you will get some texts of Kremmerz. Some purely organisational for the Myriam groups, but also his introduction to magic. For more about that side of Kremmerz, I refer the recently reviewed The Hermetic Science of Transformation.

The Magic Door – David Pantano (2019)

“A Study on the Italic Hermetic Tradition: Myth, Magic, and Metamorphosis in the Western Inner Traditions”. That is a title.

The author starts this little book (small size, about 200 pages) with an introduction that suggests a Traditionalist approach. The “Hermetic Tradition” from the title gets the Evola explanation of alchemy, but first we start with Roman myths, Pythagoras, Ovid, Apuleius, Dante, Ficino, Pico, Bruno, etc. You get it, the history of esotericism that has been told a few times in recent decades. What does add to the book is that the author also cites Italian sources that I have not yet seen translated.

Halfway things get more interesting. The Magic Door from the title proves to be an actual alchemical / Rosicrucian door that can still be found in Rome. This is the start of a part with more contemporary Italian esotericists. Some I knew or at least heard of (Cagliostro, Kremmerz, Evola), others were new to me (Vico, Daffi, Giammatria). What is more, Pantano writes about groups that I never heard of (Neapolitan Mysterio, Fraternity of Myriam, Circle of Kronos). It is interesting how such groups sprouted from one another during quite a period.
Also here Pantano uses sources that I do not think were available in English before. It also sheds some (to me) new light on Evola.

“The Magic Door” is (as you can gather) mostly interesting for dealing with the period from the 18th century to the present concerning Italian esoteric circles. From (semi-)Masonic to downright magical, also Italy proves to have had it’s share of alchemists.
What surprises me a bit is that Reghini is hardly spoken about. He seems to have been a spider in a web as well.

2019 Manticore Press, isbn 0648499642