Rune Magic

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

'That is the secret delight and security of hell - that it is not to be informed on, that it is protected from speech, that it just is, but cannot be public in the newspaper, be brought by any word to critical knowledge ...'
Thomas Mann 


The Order of the New Templars
Weihnachtstag, 1907 - A Castle in Upper Austria, on the Danube.
Against a backdrop of snow-covered hills and ice-blue sky, church bells and Weihnachtslieder, a flag is raised over Burg Werfenstein and, for the first time, the world sees a swastika banner fluttering in the breeze over Europe.
Men dressed in white robes emblazoned with red crosses - Rune Magicians - raise their arms and voices in pagan chant to Baldur, the Sun God, Lord of the Winter Solstice.

Burg Werfenstein 
The Order of the New Templars is proclaimed, while, only a few miles away, young Adolf Hitler has just buried his mother.
Most of us live in a world that is neatly organized around several basic principles.
Like medieval serfs who lived secure in the knowledge that there was a God in heaven and a Satan in hell, that humanity was the battleground between these two forces, and that God was winning; we twentieth-century serfs bask in the comfort of a world that we are told is the product of purely scientific principles.
The book of Genesis has given way to Darwin's 'The Origin of Species' and the 'Big Bang'.

Lanz von Liebenfels
at Burg Werfenstein 
We have, it is claimed, landed on the moon, rather than drawing it down with incantations and rites of witchcraft.
We heal with lasers and sterilized instruments to a back-beat of the blips and beeps of electronic monitoring equipment; the fractured rhythms of the witch doctor's drums are but a faint echo of old fears and tainted memories.
Thus, we assume, all men and women are guided by scientific principles in their daily lives; and this is especially true, we sometimes like to think, of our politicians.

'Faust' (1926) - F. W. Murnau

The epigraph from Thomas Mann at the beginning of this setion is taken from 'Doctor Faustus'.
The author thought that both quotation and source were apt selections to christen this discussion.
'Doctor Faustus', after all, is a novel that takes place in Germany during the rise and fall of Hitler.
Its title comes from a long German tradition of Doctors Faustus: magicians and occultists who have sold their souls for personal power and glory in this one.
The 'secret delight of hell': as Mann understands it, hell's delight is that it cannot be discussed or described, that 'it is not to be informed on.'
It is the author's intention, therefore, to steal some of hell's secret delight and security; to shine a light, however feebly or inexpertly, on that corner of history's basement few professional historians have dared to visit, and to show the reader why.

Wappen von Lanz von Liebenfels
And to do that, we must begin with a scene of utter chaos; with the breakdown of civilization; with rooftop snipers and roving gangs with guns; with terror and madness; with mystical diagrams and pagan rituals in ruined castles.

Adolf Josef Lanz - also known as  Jörg Lanz, - who called himself Lanz von Liebenfels (July 19, 1874 – April 22, 1954), was an Austrian volkisch ideologue and philosopher. He was a former monk and the founder of the magazine 'Ostara' (named after the Nordic goddess of the Spring), in which he published anti-semitic and völkisch theories.

We must begin with Munich in 1918.


The city is in turmoil.

Standard der Deutschen Kaiser
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The Kaiser's Reich has collapsed with the defeat of Germany in the First World War, and the whole country is up for grabs.
It appears as if Germany is about to fall apart into the warring city-states from which it had been assembled nearly fifty years ago.
The victorious Allies are demanding enormous concessions from Germany.
Kurt Eisner
The Russian Revolution has been in full swing for a year, and German soldiers returning from the front are being cajoled into helping midwife the same type of Communist regime amid the ashes of the Second Reich.

Kurt Eisner - an intellectual and a Jew, a defender of the League of Nations - takes the initiative and proclaims a Socialist Republic in Munich on the seventh of November, 1918.
It looks as if there is going to be a Communist regime in Germany - or, at least, a Socialist one in Bavaria - after all.
Hysteria grows among the nationalists, and with it despair that their nation is on the verge of realizing the dreams of Marx and Engels as codified in their famous Manifesto.
Germans are bewildered, shocked ... stunned into a kind of nervous stupefaction.

Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten
Thule Gesellschaft
© Copyright
Peter Crawford 2017
They have lost the war, their country may be broken up once again into many separate bickering pieces, and there will soon be Communists calling the shots in Berlin and in the capital city of Bavaria: Munich.
Within forty-eight hours there is a meeting of the 'Thule Gesellschaft'.
The Thule, a mystical society based in part on the theosophical writings of Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels - which is to say, an amalgam of ancient religion, theosophy, anti-Semitism, Grail romance, runic occultism and Nordic paganism - meets every Saturday in spacious rooms at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel in Munich.
There are roughly 250 members of the Thule in Munich ... and over fifteen hundred in Bavaria.

Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff 
On that day, November 9, a remarkable individual, - an occultist, an initiate of the Eastern mysteries in Turkey as well as of Freemasonry, and the leader and founder of the Thule - the self-styled Baron Rudolf Glandeck von Sebottendorff - makes an impassioned plea to the assembled cultists for armed resistance to the Reds.

This plea includes references to runes, German racial theory, Nordic mythology, and other arcane lore.
No matter -most of his listeners know what to expect.

Germanenorden Walvater
des Heiligen Grals
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They are, in fact, members of the super-secret, super-racist, and super-occult "Germanenorden Walvater des Heiligen Grals," or Germanenorden, which is using the name Thule Gesellschaft - or 'Thule Society', a "literary-cultural society" - as a cover to confuse Munich's fledgling Red Army, which is on the lookout for right-wing extremists.
Sebottendorff himself is Master of the anti-Semitic Germanenorden's Bavarian division under its leader and founder, Hermann Pohl.
This innermost circle was privy to the hard-core Gnostic teaching on the 'Grail', immortality and godhood...
But under it all was the invisible presence of "Unknown Superiors", who taught Hitler himself, and who were assumed by his associates to endow him with his uncanny hypnotic power.
Undoubtedly Hitler's remark - 'Out of Parsifal I shall make my religion.' relates to  his understanding of the Grail teachings of the Germanenorden Walvater des Heiligen Grals.

'Out of Parsifal I shall make my religion.'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

Thule Gesellschaft
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The Thule cultists - whose symbol is a long dagger superimposed on a swastika - need no encouragement from Sebottendorff to oppose the Jewish Left.
They begin stockpiling weapons in secret supply dumps in and around Munich, anticipating a counterstrike against the new Socialist Republic.
They make alliances with other nationalist groups, such as the Pan-Germans under editor Julius Lehmann, the German School Bund, the Hammerbund ... and an organized resistance movement is born.

Julius Friedrich Lehmann (28 November 1864, Zurich – 24 March 1935, Munich) was a publisher of  nationalist tracts in Munich. 
Lehmann became a member of the Deutsche Vaterlandspartei in 1917. He also became a member of the Thule Society. He established the 'Deutsche Volksverlag', which he handed over to Ernst Boepple.
Lehmann also published the journal 'Deutschlands Erneuerung' (Germany's Renewal), which was edited by the Pan-German League. Lehmann's publishing house was an important connection between the German Nationalist Protection and Defiance Federation, the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, then the Organisation Consul and the 'German National People's Party'.
In 1923 Lehmann took part in the Munich Putsch. He joined the 'Militant League for German Culture' in 1928, and became a member of the NSDAP in 1931.

All the mystical and clandestine labors of the past twenty years involving a series of secret and occult organizations, with elaborate initiation ceremonies and complex magical rituals, from the List Society's inner HAO (Higher Armanen Order) to the Order of the New Templars, will soon culminate in a pitched battle in the streets of Munich between the neo-pagan 'Thule Society' and the "godless Communists."

FEBRUARY 21, 1919.

Anton Graf Arco Valley
The Assassin
Kurt Eisner
The Archetypal Jew
The idealistic but hapless Kurt Eisner - who preceded political speeches with symphonic concerts - is assassinated by a young count and would-be Thulist.
The police descend upon Thule headquarters, looking for inflammatory leaflets and other evidence of Thule Society involvement in the plot.
Was the notoriously anti- Semitic Thule Society somehow responsible for Eisner's assassination ?
Sebottendorff stonewalls, and threatens to instigate a pogrom if the police don't leave the Thule Society alone.
The police comply.

APRIL 7, 1919.

Bernhard Stempfle

A rebel Bavarian Soviet Republic is proclaimed in Munich as the legitimate minister-president of Bavaria flees north with his council to the town of Bamberg to prevent the Communists from taking over the government.
The Thule organizes among the anti-Communist factions in Munich, and Sebottendorff (together with his friend, the racist priest Bernhard Stempfle) begins conspiring with the "exiled" Bavarian government in Bamberg for a counter-revolt.

APRIL 13, 1919.

Bavarian Friekorp in Munich
The Palm Sunday Putsch.
An abortive attempt by the Thule Gesellschaft - with other anti-Communist groups - to take power in Munich.
There is bloodshed. The Putsch fails. Munich explodes into anarchy.
The Communists seize control of the city and begin taking hostages.
The Red Army is on the march ... and hunting for the Thule Gesellschaft.

APRIL 26, 1919.

Munich Counter Revolution - 1919
Sebottendorff is away at Bamberg, busy organizing a Freikorps (Free Corps) assault on Communist headquarters, when a Red Army unit raids Thule Society offices and arrests its secretary, the Grafin Hella von Westarp, and seizes the Thule membership lists.
Six more Thulists are arrested at their homes, including the Prince von Thurn und Taxis, a well-connected aristocrat with blood relations among the crowned heads of Europe.

APRIL 30, 1919.

The High Holy Day of European Paganism and Witchcraft.
Grafin Hella von Westarp
The Red Army executes the captured Thulists and other hostages, shooting them against a wall in the courtyard of Luitpold High School.
It is probably the worst mistake they could have made.
The next day, an obituary appears in Sebottendorff's 'Münchener Beobachter' - a newspaper which a year later becomes the official organ of the NSDAP, the 'Völkischer Beobachter' - giving the names of the seven murdered cultists and laying the blame on the doorstep of the Red Army.
The citizens of Munich are finally outraged, shaken out of their lethargy.
Thulists continue their well-organized campaign of propaganda against the Communist regime.
The people take to the streets.
The Free Corps - twenty thousand strong - marches on Munich under the command of General von Oven.
For the first time in history, storm troopers - members of the Ehrhardt Free Corps Brigade - march beneath a swastika flag, with swastikas painted on their helmets, singing a swastika hymn.

Hermann Ehrhardt (29 November 1881 – 27 September 1971) was a German Freikorps commander during the period of turmoil in Weimar Republic Germany from 1918 to 1920, he commanded the famous II.Marine Brigade, better known as the Ehrhardt Brigade or Marinebrigade Ehrhardt.
During the period after the defeat of the German Empire, Ehrhardt formed the II.Marine Brigade.
Holding the rank of Korvettenkapitän, his army equivalent rank was only that of a major, yet he still commanded a force of around 6,000 men. His force fought in north-west Germany, central Germany, Upper Silesia, and Bavaria and participated in the unsuccessful Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch of 1920, afterwards he fled Germany, but later returned. In Bavaria, which was ruled by Gustav von Kahr at that time, he formed the Organisation Consul, and later the Viking Bund, a secret military society.
.He died in 1971 in Krems an der Donau.

Marinebrigade Ehrhardt
As they enter the city, they find that the Thule has managed to organize a full-scale citizen rebellion against the Soviet government. They join forces.
When the dust settles on May 3, the Communists have been defeated in Munich, politically and militarily.
But now, so soon after the victorious march of the Freikorps through the streets of Munich, the threat of a Soviet regime in the rest of Germany is still very real.
Units of the navy are in mutiny, raising the red flag over Germany's battleships.
France will march into the Ruhr valley, Germany's industrial heartland.

Hermann Ehrhardt
But the spectacular success of the Freikorps has aroused the admiration of anti-Bolshevik forces all across Europe.
In Riga, the newly formed Latvian Republic begs for Freikorps assistance to defend their country against the Bolsheviks, and even the British support this decision.
Hence, Freikorps units move to the defence of Latvia.
Even Germany's own right wing is divided into two camps: those in favour of restoring the monarchy, and separating Bavaria from the rest of Germany, and those in favour of a unified Greater German Reich, without a monarch but with a leader, a leader with vision - a German messiah - a Fuhrer.
Where is that Fuhrer to be found ?

Friekorps - 1919
Unwittingly, the Thule Gesellschaft provides the answer.
Meeting in the expensive 'Four Seasons Hotel', the leading industrialists and aristocracy of the city, along with a generous helping of local police and military officials, are designing a two-pronged strategy of political activism.
The Thule Society will do the organizing, will make the right connections among the society figures, the wealthy capitalists, the intelligentsia.
They will stockpile the weapons.
They will organize units of the Free Corps, particularly the Ehrhardt Brigade (which will become an official unit of Germany's navy as the Ehrhardt Naval Brigade and, eventually, subsumed into Himmler's SS) and the Freikorps Oberland.
But another arm of the Thule has already begun recruiting - not among Munich's "beautiful people," the rich and the powerful - but among the working people, the lower and middle-class citizens who have been hit hardest by the civil wars, the enormous rates of inflation, the chaos and confusion.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Anton Drexle
There will be no overt involvement of the Thule Society in this group, which is to be called instead the ''German Workers Party' (DAP) - but it will use the Thule curved swastika - and will be led by a serious, humorless, railroad employee and locksmith named Anton Drexler.
They will meet in a beer hall.
Perhaps between the two groups - the Thule with its academics, nobles, and factory owners meeting at the 'Four Seasons', and the German Workers' Party, with its rough-and-tumble factory workers meeting in beer halls - they will be able to form a united front against Communism, international Freemasonry, and world Jewry.
Within a year, this project of the Thule Gesellschaft will become the NSDAP: the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

National Socialist German Workers' Party
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Swastika Flag
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
It will sport a swastika flag and a swastika armband, and its leader will be a war veteran, a corporal who had been sent by the German Army to spy on the organization: Adolf Hitler.
And by November, 1923, the tiny German Workers' Party will have grown to enormous proportions with many thousands of members, and will attempt to take over the country in the famous Beer Hall Putsch.
The Putsch will fail, but Adolf Hitler the Füuhrer will be born.

What was the Thule Gesellschaft ?
What were cultists doing fighting Communists in the streets of Munich ?
What did they believe ? How did it influence the Nazi Party ?


Michel Foucault
The once-fashionable and still-controversial French philosopher Michel Foucault once described two major impulses in European culture and its dynamics of power.
The first of these he called 'the blood.'
This impulse was directly related to old-fashioned concepts of political sovereignty.
According to Foucault, the death penalty was important and indulged in heavily during this period because it represented the monarch's divinely given power to cause the death of enemies; i.e., to rob them of their blood.
One pledged to defend a monarch to the last drop of one's blood.
People became rulers owing to their consanguinity with the previous ruler (they shared the same blood, were of the same family).
And, of course, although Foucault does not say it so baldly, an essential element of the dominant European religion, Christianity, is the idea of the redemption of humanity through the spilled (and sacred) blood of Christ.
This cultural conceit existed in the West well until the advent of the nineteenth century, at which time it was gradually replaced by the second of the two impulses, that of 'sexuality.'
'Sanguinity' gave way to "sexuality" as political attitudes shifted from the importance of blood (and, hence, of the mystical value of death, the spilling of blood) to the importance of life itself: to the regulation of life's processes, the (selective) preservation of life, and the survival (or destruction) of entire populations.

Sigmund Freud
Power, therefore, was no longer a mystical quality of kingly blood - i.e., of an individual sovereign - but inherent in the control, manipulation, and interpretation of the sex act and its product.
Power shifted - according to Foucault - from the symbol or sign of the blood toward the object of sex; Machiavelli moving down the talk show couch to make room for Freud, who will take it with him when he leaves.
This seeming digression has been made because it so perfectly describes what will follow in the remainder of this study; - we will be watching how these twin forces - blood and sex - came to be epitomized in the occult struggles, the mystical agon of the Third Reich.
Rather than remain an abstract philosophical problem, however, the themes of blood and sex become very real, very conspicuous in the writings, acts, and preoccupations of the magicians who gave birth to the Occult Reich, and of those who carried out the policies of the SS.
The reader is asked to remember this brief encapsulation of Foucault's observations as we follow the argument down the last hundred- odd years since the birth of the German Theosophical movement and its illegitimate offspring, the sex-and-blood rune magicians List, Liebenfels, and Sebottendorff.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, let us begin where most Western twentieth- century occultism begins, with the birth of the Theosophical Society in New York City in 1875 and the subsequent occult revival that spread to England and the Continent with such powerful consequences.


Theosophical Society
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Madame Helena Blavatsky

Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) was born in what is now Ukraine.
She would be forty-four years old before creating the Society for which she is best remembered, but her most important achievements still lay ahead of her.

In 1877 - two years after starting the Theosophical Society - she would publish 'Isis Unveiled', an energetic blend of Eastern religion and mysticism, European mythology and Egyptian occultism, which would pave the way for her even more ambitious 'Die Geheimlehre' in 1888.

Some authors have written that the popularity of Blavatsky's writings in the late nineteenth century was evidence of an anti-positivist reaction among the middle classes to the effect that science was having on religious belief.
In other words, science was going so far toward "proving" the errors of faith that the average person – in a state of existential and ontological 'angst' - embraced the quasi-scientific approach toward religion represented in 'Die Geheimlehre'.
Darwin had published 'The Origin of Species' in 1859, and this was followed by 'The Descent of Man' in 1871; both books offered evolution as the means by which humans were created, as opposed to the Biblical account found in Genesis.
The effect of the theory of evolution on religion was as great then as it is now; the controversy over Darwinism caused many people to question the existence of God, the possibility of redemption, life after death.
People were startled to discover that Biblical myths were at odds with scientific theories, and thus began to doubt everything they ever believed. They found themselves spiritually – and, more significantly, morally adrift.
Blavatsky provided a much-appreciated antidote to Darwin, even as she was brazenly appropriating (and some might argue - reversing) his theory of evolution.
Her theories were actually quite brilliant for her time, for they enabled intelligent and educated men and women to maintain deep spiritual beliefs while simultaneously acknowledging the inroads made by scientific research into areas previously considered beyond the domain of mere human knowledge.

Die Geheimlehre
Blavatsky outlined a map of evolution that went far beyond Darwin to include vanished races from time immemorial through the present imperfect race of humans, and continuing on for races far into the future.
Based on a selection of various Asian scriptures 'Die Geheimlehre' (The Secret Doctrine's) message would later be picked up by the German occultists, who welcomed the pseudo-scientific prose of its author as the answer to a dream.
The smug and condescending attitude of scientists and their devotees toward the "unscientific" had proved contagious among many in the newly created middle class, and mystics began to find themselves in the ridiculous position of having to satisfy the requirements of science in what are patently unscientific (we may say "non-scientific") pursuits.
'Modernism' in general was seen as being largely an urban, sophisticated, intellectual (hence "Jewish") phenomenon, and this included science, technology, the Industrial Revolution, and capitalism.
James George Frazer
The only wholesome lifestyle was that of the peasant on his "land," and the naive beliefs of the people of the land, the paganus or pagans - with their sympathetic magic and worship of ancient gods in the form of such superstitious practices as fertility rites, the lighting of bonfires on particular days sacred to the old calendar, and the whole host of cultural traditions that can be discovered by consulting Frazer's 'The Golden Bough' - were set up in opposition to 'science', with its suspect lack of human warmth and its cold indifference to the 'gods'.
Science in its hubris was treading dangerously close to the territory claimed by religion (the origin of life, the creation of the universe, even the existence of God), and in order to get there it would have to dance a jig all over the occult 'sciences'.

Science still smarted from the religious furores caused by Galileo and Copernicus; so rather than mount an all-out attack on God, it was a lot safer to conduct a rearguard action, and go after the ghosts.
But then along came Blavatsky, who took new scientific attitudes as they were popularly understood and gave them a mystical twist.
Taking her cue from Darwin, she popularized the notion of a spiritual struggle between various races, and of the inherent superiority of the Aryan race, hypothetically the latest in the line of spiritual evolution.

Blavatsky would borrow heavily from carefully chosen scientific authors in fields as diverse as archaeology and astronomy to bolster her arguments for the existence of Atlantis, extraterrestrial (or super-terrestrial) life-forms, the creation of animals by humans (as opposed to the Darwinian line of succession), etc.
It should be remembered that Blavatsky's works - notably 'Isis Unveiled' and 'The Secret Doctrine' - appear to be the result of prodigious scholarship and were extremely convincing.
The rationale behind many later Völkisch projects can be traced back - through the writings of von List, von Sebottendorff, and von Liebenfels - to ideas first popularized by Blavatsky.

The Runes
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
A caste system of races, the importance of ancient alphabets (notably the runes), the superiority of the Aryans (a white race with in the center of Asia), an 'initiated' version of astrology and astronomy, the cosmic truths coded within pagan myths ... all of these and more can be found both in Blavatsky and in the doctrines of the Third Reich itself, specifically in the ideology of the SS.

The Swastika
It was, after all, Blavatsky who pointed out the supreme occult significance of the swastika.
And it was a follower of Blavatsky who was instrumental in introducing the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' to a Western European community eager for a scapegoat.
This is not to imply that Theosophy is inherently fascist.
Although Blavatsky herself did not become overtly involved in political campaigning or intriguing, many of her followers and self-appointed devotees could not help but use their new-found faith as a springboard into the political arena.
The fascinating mixture of armchair archaeology, paleo-astronomy, comparative religion, Asian scriptural sources, and European mythology that can be found in Blavatsky's writings was enough to cause a kind of explosion of consciousness among many people of her generation, including the scientists who would one day direct entire departments within the SS.
Blavatsky's 'creative' method of scholarship inspired admirers and imitators throughout the world, who considered the theories put forward in such books as 'The Secret Doctrine' to be literally true, and who used her writings as the basis for further research.
In a way, this was understandable.
In ancient times, alchemists were the only chemists; as the centuries went by and science developed a philosophy and methodology of its own, the alchemists and chemists split off from each other and went their separate ways.
So it was with the rest of academia.
In the nineteenth century - bereft of a unified vision of humanity and cosmos, cosmos and God - it was no longer easy to be an expert in every field of science and philosophy; by the twentieth century, it would become impossible.
The writings of people like Blavatsky and her spiritual descendants represent what could be the last gasp of the 'Renaissance Man' before science, medicine, the Industrial Revolution, and mechanized warfare made specialization a necessity and the medieval image of the all- powerful and all-knowing Magician a bitter-sweet memory.


The German Section of the Theosophical Society was founded in the town of Elberfeld on July 22, 1884.
Blavatsky was staying there at the home of Marie Gebhard (1832-92), nee L'Estrange, a native of Dublin who married a well-to-do German and, moving to elegant surroundings in her new homeland, devoted her leisure time to a study of occultism and ritual magic.

Eliphas Levi
Frau Gebhard had corresponded regularly with the famous French magician and author of several popular books on magic, Eliphas Levi (the Abbe Louis Constant).
She is known to have visited the Master at least once a year in Paris for ten years until his death in 1875 in order to receive personalized instruction in the occult arts.
A room at her estate in Elberfeld was completely devoted to these pursuits, and it was there that the German Section of the TS was inaugurated with a Dr. Wilhelm Hubbe-Schleiden (1846-1916) as its first president.

'Die Sphinx'
Although Hubbe-Schleiden would become well known as the publisher of the influential German occult magazine, 'Die Sphinx', prior to his occult career he was an outspoken supporter of German nationalism and colonialism.
This is mentioned only to show how early on occultism and political adventurism - specifically an elitist, racist adventurism - were linked.
While not exactly a proponent of an early 'Lebensraum' policy, Hubbe-Schleiden had once been the manager of an estate in West Africa and was at the time of his tenure as president of the Theosophical Society in Germany a senior civil servant with the Colonial Office, energetically promoting the expansion of Germany's colonies abroad.
In all fairness, however, it must be admitted that 'Die Sphinx' was one of the first, and also more up-market, occult periodicals of its time.
It catered to an intellectual audience, and its contributors included scientists, philosophers, and other mainstream academics writing on a variety of topics, from the paranormal and psychical research, to archaeology and mysticism.
As such, it was firmly in the Theosophical camp, which required some sort of (one-sided) accommodation with mainstream science.
One man of science who would come to personify this uneasy truce was a Blavatsky enthusiast who became influential in the German movement.

Dr. Franz Hartmann
Dr. Franz Hartmann (1838- 1912), the prolific author of a wide range of occult books, first studied medicine at the University of Munich.
While spending seventeen years as an eye doctor (and sometime coroner) in the United States, he became interested in the Spiritualist movement and began reading Theosophical tracts.
In 1883 he travelled to Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar, India, to sit at the feet of the Masters, evidently impressing his hosts greatly.
He was trusted so highly that, while Blavatsky was in Elberfeld helping jump-start the German Section, Hartmann was in Adyar as acting president of the Theosophical Society and remained in India until 1885.
Hartmann is of considerable interest to this study, as it was he who helped create the 'Ordo Templi Orientis', a German occult society formed around the idea of sexual magic.

Argentum Astrum
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Dr. Rudolf Steiner
Other illustrious members of the OTO will include another Theosophist, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, who would go on to form the Anthroposophical Society in 1912; Gerard Encausse, who - under the nom de plume of "Papus" - had written the first definitive text on the Tarot as a book of concealed illuminism; and Aleister Crowley, whose A...A..., or Argentum Astrum ("Silver Star"), was founded in 1907, the same year as the Order of New Templars mentioned above.
Another personal friend of Mme. Blavatsky was Dr. William Wynn Westcott (1848-1925), another coroner and a Theosophist who founded the 'Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn' in England in 1888, the same year as 'Die Geheimlehre' was published.
Westcott claimed that the Golden Dawn was in reality the English branch of a German occult lodge.
And so we have the Theosophical Society, the OTO, the Anthroposophical Society, and the Golden Dawn all intertwined in incestuous embrace.
These are the organizations most familiar to a casual reader of occult histories, and we will come back to them later on, for they all bear directly on our story.
For now, though, let us follow the careers of the German Theosophists to see where they will lead us.
Upon his return to Europe in 1885, Hartmann took up residence at a town near Salzburg, and the directorship of a Lebensreform sanatorium. Lebensreform (or 'life reform') was a back-to-nature movement that espoused a wide range of "clean living" practices that would be the envy of any New Ager of today. Vegetarianism, abstention from alcohol and tobacco, homeopathy, and even nudism informed this movement, and Hartmann saw it as a vehicle for the more overtly mystical program of Theosophy.
Like most occultists who are inveterate "joiners" and collectors of paper dignities, Hartmann was not content to confine his spiritual search to the leadership available in the Theosophical movement or any other movement.
Most Western occultism is long on text and short on practice (contrary to forms of occultism found in the East, which rely on strict discipline, rigorous mental and physical exercises, and the constant supervision of a teacher or "guru"), and occasionally a Western seeker - starved for genuine accomplishment - will accumulate vast quantities of initiations into wildly disparate organizations with awesome-sounding titles, hoping thereby to satisfy his ego if not his spirit.
In this way, occultism becomes a hobby - rather like stamp-collecting, or bird-watching - but with the added benefit that the seeker elevates himself in his own eyes to stratospheric levels of arcane wisdom beyond the feeble understanding of mere mortals.
John Yarker
That is, until the next occult order is formed and another - more formidable - initiation becomes available.
Thus Hartmann will become involved, in 1902, with one John Yarker whose Masonic order, the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Mizraim, would claim many otherwise-sincere individuals as members.
It would be from among the German leadership of this organization that the future founders of the OTO - including Hartmann himself - would be selected.
Hence, it is Franz Hartmann who provides us with some excellent connections between the seemingly apolitical 'Ordo Templi Orientis' and the rest of the German occult community, which was, more or less, aligned with either the Lebensreform movement, or directly with the Pan-German, anti-Semitic movement which gave birth to National Socialism.
Thus Hartmann is the axle on which this peculiar Wheel of Life will turn.
Wherever we pick up the thread of twentieth-century Western occultism and ritual magic, we can follow it back along a trail that leads to Hartmann.

Theodor Reuss
A few years later, Hartmann became involved with another Lebensreform community, this time at Ascona, in Switzerland, where we will eventually find his associate and fellow OTO initiate Theodor Reuss sitting out the First World War in 1917.
There Hartmann began his own journal, the 'Lotusbluthen', (Lotus Blossoms) in 1892, which printed translations of many Theosophical and related writings. Lotusbluthen's logo included the ubiquitous swastika.
Among Hartmann's many other publications were translations of the 'Bhagavad-Gita' (one of Himmler's favorite texts), and the 'Dao De Jing', the sacred text of Taoism.
It is a measure of Hartmann's popularity and reputation that some of his writings have been translated into English and are available today under a variety of imprints.
 Hugo Vollrath
Little of what Hartmann wrote, however, could be said to fall under the OTO's domain of "sex-magic."
Hartmann would eventually take on as a kind of disciple and amanuensis a young Theosophist, Hugo Vollrath (born 1877).
In 1899, Hartmann picked up this university student as a personal secretary and the two would go on speaking tours together, trumping up business for the Theosophical Society.
Vollrath, an intense young man eventually became involved with the Leipzig branch of the Society, and soon found himself embroiled in one scandal after another.
It quickly became evident to the other members that Vollrath saw Theosophy as a potential cash cow.
He began a series of publishing ventures, introducing Theosophy and, later, astrology to the German-speaking public.
The Theosophists complained about Vollrath's apparent lack of sincerity to the General Secretary of the German Section of the Society, who at that time was Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
Steiner, a friend of Dr. Hartmann, had become involved with both Theosophy and the OTO only to eventually leave them both to found his own group, the Anthroposophical Society (which also exists to this day).
In 1908, Steiner was forced to expel Vollrath from the German Section but the damage had already been done.
The Theosophists had created a monster, and Vollrath would go on to become a Theosophical publisher to be reckoned with, providing a forum for the men who were laying the foundations of a New World Order.
An associate of Vollrath will be Johannes Baltzli, a Theosophist and the secretary of yet another mystical organization, the List Society.

Astrologische Rundschau
Annie Besant
Baltzli would contribute articles to Vollrath's new Theosophical magazine, 'Prana', and soon the bizarre ideas of racist and rune magician Guido von List would fill the pages of this otherwise-bland outlet previously devoted to the writings of Blavatsky, her successor Annie Besant, and wandering "Bishop" Leadbetter.
And, as if to emphasize how inextricable German occultism was with German racism, it is through his astrological journal, 'Astrologische Rundschau', that Vollrath has additional impact on our story, for in 1920 he turned it over to the editorial ministrations of no less a historic personage than the Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff: mystic, Freemason, initiate of the Eastern mysteries, and now astrologer.
The Baron needed a new career.
After all, his last occult experiment - although an unqualified success in the political arena - had turned on him.
He needed new pastures, and editing 'Astrologische Rundschau' from the relative safety of Switzerland seemed just the ticket.
Maybe there - with a completely new audience of adoring fans - he could forget about the Thule Gesellschaft.

MUNICH - 1919

To hear most historians speak of the Thule Gesellschaft, one would think that it was a slight aberration, an anomaly that does not deserve close scrutiny.
It is mentioned almost in passing in John Toland's 'Adolf Hitler', and in works by Joachim Fest and other historians of the Nazi episode.
Its founder, the same Rudolf Sebottendorff, wrote its story himself in a book he published in 1933, a book that was, understandably, suppressed under the Third Reich.
But to understand what was really happening it is necessary to investigate the origins of the National Socialist Party itself much more thoroughly than has been done to date.
For the NSDAP was never merely a political party; it was always much more.
Hitler himself warned his critics that if they understood National Socialism as a political party only, they were missing the point.
Many observers have since agreed.
Politics alone did not create such force in human history.

Guido von List and the Runes
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The central idea informing Völkisch National Socialism was a belief in the perfectibility of the Aryan race, and its eventual 'exaltation' in the form of the 'Übermensch'.
This was an idea that can be traced to Hitler's early, student days in Vienna, and to the influence of racial tracts published by the leading occult, anti-Semitic lights of the day: Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels.
And from there, directly to the occultist and Eastern initiate Rudolf von Sebottendorff and his brainchild, the Thule Gesellschaft.
In this century, in Europe, racism had its roots in occultism.
Racism and the occult were often found sharing the same magic circles in the early days of this century, and therewith 'hangs a tale'.


It has been the refusal of historians to view the National Socialist Party as a religious - or at least a mystical - organization, a cult, that has contributed to so much confusion over the phenomena of National Socialism and Aryanism.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
Indeed, yet another Blavatsky protege - during the time of Hartmann, Hubbe-Schleiden, and Vollrath - was the mysterious Yuliana Glinka, a Russian noblewoman who donated enormous sums of money to spiritualist mediums and their circles, and who was instrumental in promoting the document known as 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion', which, along with 'Mein Kampf', can be considered one of the significant texts of National Socialism.

Yuliana Dmitrievna Glinka (1844–1918) was a Russian occultist born to a prominent family in Orel, Russia.
Her grandfather, Colonel Fyodor Nikolaevich Glinka was investigated as a leader of "a secret society of mystics" during Prince Alexander Nikolaevich Galitzine's investigation of masonic lodges following the Decembrist uprising of 1825. Fyodor Tolstoy testified that although he was a mystic he was "a loyal officer of the Empire".
Yuliana's father, Dmitri Feodorovich Glinka became a general and entered the diplomatic service. As a result she spent time in Portugal and Brazil where her father was posted. She probably became interested in spiritualism while in Brazil. She lived in Rio de Janeiro, and at Petropolis, in the Serra dos Órgãos, home of Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil. With her father and sisters she traveled with Dom Pedro to Minas Gerais, visiting Ouro Preto and Diamantina, both very old cities with mystical associations.
In Brazil, Yuliana became acquainted with Candomblé, a Brazilian version of Caribbean Santería. She also read about the Fox sisters and their encounters with "the Spirit World" in the New York, United States.
In 1857, the family returned to Russia, and Yuliana's older sister married Vsevolod Solovyov, the brother of Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. But the honeymoon did not last. In no time at all, the aspiring writer Soloviev succeeded in seducing Yuliana, the 13-year-old sister of his bride.
Family connections got Yuliana a position as maid of honour to Tsaritsa Maria Alexandrovna. Yuliana spent little time at Tsarskoe Selo, home of the Romanovs. She spent most of her time in Paris where she became involved with the theosophists and other occultists. Through her uncle, General Orzheyevsky, she became involved with Pyotr Rachkovsky of the Okhrana, the Imperial Russian secret service.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The Protocols were largely thought to be the product of a conspiracy between the Okhrana (the Czarist secret police) and occult circles operating in Paris and St. Petersburg.
Originally, this pamphlet was an attack against both the Jews and the Freemasons, and was probably created around 1895 to discredit enemies of the head of the Okhrana in Paris, one Rachkhovsky.
It was the occultist Mme. Glinka who 'leaked' the manuscript to the press.

Theodor Herzl
The newspapers seized upon it in the heyday of the Dreyfus Affair and the first-ever Zionist Congress presided over by Theodor Herzl in 1897.
Here was documentary evidence that the Jews, operating through the lodge network and secret rituals of the Masonic Society, were putting the final touches on their program of world domination the authenticity of the Protocols beacame a matter of faith among some of the most influential political and intellectual leaders of Europe.
Thus, this single most inflammatory and crucial document of the Third Reich had its origins in that strange twilight world where occultism and espionage meet.
And it is important to realize that the Masonic Society was considered just as culpable as the Jews; that it was, in fact, a Jewish "front": for the Elders sign themselves as thirty-third degree Masons.
The plot as described in the Protocols involves a schedule for world domination that was believed to be well on its way to full implementation.
By taking over the reins of commerce and by fomenting world revolution, the Jewish-Masonic conspiracy against Christian monarchies was nearly successful. With the destruction of the Second Reich, the last bastion of Aryan supremacy was removed and victory virtually assured.
Using the twin tools of Democracy and Communism, the Jewish-Masonic cult had emasculated the potentially troublesome populations of America and Russia.
To the völkisch believers, their only hope of salvation was to be found - not in any revived Christian fundamentalism, for Christianity (as a Jewish creature) was also suspect - but in the rediscovered faith of their fathers, the Odinist religion that had been stolen from them by the fire and sword of the Inquisition.
'The Protocols' implied that the Jews had infected all governments, all commerce, all of the arts and media; - everything was suspect.
Only the pure faith of the Old Ones - abandoned for centuries and thus beyond reproach - could offer salvation.


\Wotan Riding Sleipnir
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
On the Continent there existed a group of purely German nationalistic cults that were the result of this underground surge of neo-paganism.
These cults were usually linked in some way with the more overtly political "Pan-German" movement, which sought to unite all the German-speaking peoples of Europe into a single, coherent nation.
The "Pan-German" movement envisioned a single, German national and racial entity that would abrogate or dissolve sovereign boundaries and unite the German speakers all over Europe wherever sizable numbers could be found.
In order to provide a solid philosophical or ethical framework for this peculiarly German desire for monolithic statehood, some sort of precedent was required to show that much of what is now Europe was actually once part of a greater German Reich, even if that Reich was in the remote - even prehistoric - past.
If it could be proved that everything from the Ukraine to the Atlantic was at one time part of an ancient Teutonic Empire, then the German people would have historical justification for the acquisitive urges they were suddenly experiencing, as well as a seemingly rational excuse for the exercise of their right to bear arms against all and sundry.
What was required, then, was the assistance of the twin sciences of archaeology and linguistics and where better do these two rational arts combine but in their occult child, the runes?

'Ring Runes'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The obsession with runes that was enjoyed by a certain minority of Germans at the turn of the last century has been discussed by other authors in other books, but usually as a kind of crank occupation not fit for serious academics.
Before we go on to study the contributions to Völkisch ideology by such famous rune promoters as Guido von List and Rudolf von Sebottendorff, it would behove us to pause for a moment to observe to what extent this arcane lore was - and is - making its effect on traditional academia.
Runes are simple alphabetic symbols.

Wotan Receives the Runes
Runic Inscription
They owe their odd and distinctive shapes to the fact that they were designed to be carved on wood, stone, or metal, as opposed to written with a pen; thus, only straight lines are used to form the letters.
The words formed by the runes that concern us are generally in some form of Nordic tongue, and thus belong to that class of things purely Teutonic, pre-Christian, and German.
In the new, urban, middle-class world where a multiplicity of words, books, ideas, and philosophies seemed to contend in a violent thunderstorm of polysyllabic chatter, the clean simplicity and bare prose of the runes and their sagas stood to the Pan-Germans, the anti- Semites, and the Aryan mystics for a saner time, an honest time, when the questions were few and the answers as clear and natural as the light of the sun.
They are also tangible relics of an ancient legacy-landmarks of historic accomplishments.
Unlike words printed or written on paper (a German proverb reminds us that "paper is patient"), runes were inscribed with earnest deliberation using iron implements on solid rock; serious messages from the past intended to survive the centuries.
The effort required to carve these messages was quite different from the ease with which pen slides over paper; the implication being that whatever was written in runes was not the mindless static of superficial minds, chewing up the forests with self-absorbed monologues.
Further, if runic inscriptions could be found on stones buried or standing in such faraway places as Minsk or the Pyrenees, then the assumption was that Minsk and the Pyrenees were once German territories.
And, if the sounds represented by the runic symbols could be discerned in place names from other parts of Europe, then it followed that Germans had once colonized and settled in those places.
The alphabet was therefore abandoned for mystical purposes by the Pan-German cults in favour of the runes.
What was the alphabet, after all, but some sort of Semitic invention ?
Ancient Greek Swastika
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
The runes, on the other hand, were the pure expression of people of German blood.
If a rune were discovered carved into a stone found lying in a field in Tibet, for instance, it was simply further proof of Teutonic migration and domination.
And once the swastika - a sacred symbol in many parts of the world - was identified as a rune the German Occultists were well on their way to proclaiming the entire globe German territory.
Many academics of the day placed a great deal of importance on runic studies and on the use of runes to establish the extent of Nordic migrations.

Kensington Stone
For instance, as late as 1932 and 1940 Hjalmar R. Holand was publishing his analyses of the famous Kensington Stone, analyses that were later examined by some of the leading German rune experts in Nazi Germany, including Richard Hennig in the 'Zeitschrift fur Rassenkunde' (Magazine of Race Science) in 1937, Wolfgang Krause in an issue of 'Germanien' (the official organ of the Ahnenerbe-SS: see Chapter Six) of the same year and Eilert Pastor in 'Wacht am Osten', also of 1937.
If his analyses were determined to have merit, then the presence of Nordic peoples in America as far back as the fourteenth century (over a hundred years before Columbus) could be established, with rather sobering political ramifications considering German policy regarding former Teutonic territories!
Briefly, the Kensington Stone is a slab carved with runic characters found on a farm in Minnesota in 1898.
The runes describe an Indian massacre said to have taken place in the year 1362.
While some scholars have considered the Stone to be a hoax, others disagree.
Mr. Holand went even further, however, by suggesting that various Indian tribes may have intermarried with Nordic peoples at that time; a circumstance that would account for the presence of blue eyes and fair hair among the Mandan population, for example.
(Wouldn't this also, after all, explain how the swastika turns up in North America as a Native American symbol ?)
While Holand himself does not take all this to its illogical conclusion, it is clear that some in the Third Reich would have considered this just one more proof of ancient Teutonic expansion.
More importantly, this work is not a Third Reich propaganda tract, or the writings of a völkisch ideologue – but rather it is the sober offering of a college-educated American author of Scandinavian descent, representing his carefully considered contribution to the growing literature of rune studies.
Today, similar studies have been undertaken by American and European epigraphers and by the Diffusionists led by Harvard Professor Barry Fell.

Troy Swastikas - Schielmann
These professional and amateur archaeologists have made substantial contributions to this neglected field, and labour to preserve from vandalism and neglect those ancient stone inscriptions wherever they might be found. Runic inscriptions are evidence of ancient voyages otherwise unrecorded, and refer to vast tracts of unexplored history for which few documents remain.
They have also demonstrated sophisticated advances in astronomy and navigation that may require significant portions of world history to be rewritten.
Books and research like the foregoing provide the "missing link" between the fanciful and outlandish works by authors such as von List on the one hand, and the regular academic community that considers the rune scholars to be nothing more than a cabal of German Occultists on the other.
The notion of a hidden science of runes was given heat by the writings of Blavatsky, in which the runes are discussed in connection with her racial theories.
For example, if there truly is a caste system of races, and if the present Master Race is the Aryan, and if the Aryan is a blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordic race, then it stands to reason that the Germans are the Master Race.
If runic symbols, such as the swastika, are evidence of a secret Aryan science of symbols, and if the ancient German (Teutonic) method of communication was this same runic system, and if runes can be discovered all over the known world, then (a) that is further evidence that the Germans are the Master Race and (b) it is also further evidence that Germans once ruled the entire world; from which it follows that Germany has a "legitimate" stake in such property.

like printed electronic circuitry
that can connect one directly to God
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
Even more importantly, the runes themselves have mystical as well as practical applications.
They are not merely alphabetic symbols that identify their users as Aryans: within the construction of the individual runes themselves are certain potent designs - like printed electronic circuitry - that can connect one directly to God.
Coded within their stark diagrams are secret formulae for achieving telepathic power, foretelling the future, and peering into the past: innate magical abilities that the Aryans - through inbreeding, neglect, and ruthless suppression by the Christian authorities - have lost.

Halls of Valhalla
The remains of this occult science are to be found in an 'initiated' interpretation of the runes and, in conjunction with an aggressive eugenics program, the careful application of rune magic will enable the Aryan race to walk once more with the Gods in the halls of Valhalla.
Thus the Aryans are not simply a superior race in a strictly Darwinian sense; they are also the 'Chosen People', divinely ordained supermen, locked in cosmic combat with a race of subhuman beings - red, brown, black, yellow - under the command of the Jews, the Communists, and the Freemasons: worshipers all of the demon Jehovah.

Aryan Male
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
This satanic conspiracy has robbed the Aryan male of his manhood, has leached from him his birthright, his mystical powers, the very land that once was his; it has enslaved him in chains made of debts to Jewish bankers, of twisted ideas of democracy and freedom learned from the Masons, under a dictatorship of the proletariat imposed by the Bolsheviks.
But then, how to explain the sad condition of this once and innately superior race ?
Divided, conquered, bereft of all its old territories, in enormous debt ... what happened ?
And how to rectify the situation ?
For the answers to these questions, we must resort to the literature of the volkisch apologists, specifically to Guido von List and his student, the former Cistercian monk Lanz von Liebenfels

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017