History of the Brotherhood of Saturn

Distant Roots

As with all organizations of an occult nature, accurate and consistent historical data for the FS is hard to obtain. On some aspects there is an abundance of information, while on others we are left to speculate. In this chapter, I want to trace the history of the FS as an organization and as an idea, and at the same time remain as much as possible within the context of events in the contemporary occult subculture.

Documents within the FS1 point to the idea that on some mystical level there is a connection between the ancient mysteries of the Germanic past and the Fraternitas Saturni. It is held that there were Satur-nian Brotherhoods working as early as the end of the 1600s in Sweden, Denmark, and Poland. Also, it is indicated that there is a mystical connection between he Greco-Roman Saturnian Principle {fatum, fate)

and the old Germanic high god, Wotan, whose name is also spelled in these documents as "Fuotan"; hence the link with fatum. Supposedly both Hoene-Wronski2 in the nineteenth century and Gregorius in the twentieth century made these connections. This Fuotan is seen as the All-ruling Principle of Fate, which does not itself succumb to the ultimate "Twilight of the Gods." It is understandable in light of the neo-Romantic Ger-manicism prevalent in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germany that FS doctrine would to some extent derive from the Germanic (or as they would have it, "Aryan") North rather than from the Mediterranean region.3 Later, it was emphasized that the Brotherhood had its origins in the rituals of the Roman Saturnalia (which takes place around December 27th),4 which made clear the FS's tendency away from the Christian world-view and toward a darker side of things. At one point, apparently between 1927 and 1933, there was a provision of the group that only "Christians" (i.e., non-Jews) could be initiated and that all neophytes had to acknowledge the basic "Nordic" ideology of the lodge.

This is mentioned to indicate the underlying belief that the FS itself has its mystical origins in the North, and that there was indeed an early Saturnian Brotherhood in the Scandinavian region whose history remains quite obscure. It was to these dim roots that the early FS traced its origins.

As far as the Scandinavian Brotherhood of Saturn that was supposed to have been working during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries is concerned, all that is said is that it was active in alchemy and in mathematical and Pythagorean mysticism, and that this group was probably based on an even earlier brotherhood in the region. By the end of the eighteenth century those lodges had disappeared and nothing further was heard of them.5

According to FS documents, a Saturnian Brotherhood was revived in Warsaw by the mathematician and mystic Joseph Maria Hoene-Wronski (1776-1853). This lodge was said to have had outer courts in Krakow, Posen, and Thorn. Ultimately these lodges were destroyed by various wars.6

Although the mysterious Hoene-Wronski may have indeed revived a Saturnian lodge in Poland, the historical record makes it clear that he could not have remained active there, because by the time he was twenty-one he was studying philosophy in Germany.7 Hoene-Wronski spent most of his life as a Polish expatriate in France, where he is generally held to have been the magical initiator of Alphonse Louis Constant, or as he was better known, Eliphas Levi.8 Hoene-Wronski was indeed an "occult master" involved with the ideas of the Kabbalah, Gnosticism, and the teachings of Jakob Boehme, but he was also a well-respected (if a bit eccentric) mathematician and philosopher of his day. He was also dedicated to romantic social reform movements, and was the leader of a group called the "Antinomian Union." Among other things, Hoene-Wronski held that humanity was to pass through five evolutionary stages, and that his theories would open the way to the fifth and final stage. Perhaps the most important of Hoene-Wronski's theories was his Principle of the Absolute, which held that knowledge of truth was possible through human reason combined with a secret mathematical formula However, he never seems to have been able to communicate this formula. Related to this was his Law of Creation, which posited that man could "create reality" from the sum of his sense impressions, again combined with a mathematical formula.

The historical connections between Hoene-Wronski and the FS are tenuous, but there are several points on which his theories and legacy touch upon the later development of the FS itself. Certainly not the least of these is his role as initiator of Eliphas Levi (between the years 1850 and 1853), who was to be instrumental in the general occult revival of the late nineteenth century.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment