by The Rosicrucian Forum 1939
by Rosicrucian Editors
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If it were not a serious implication, the news article and statement, first appearing in the New York Mirror last month, and then later in other of the Hearst newspapers, declaring that Hitler was supported morally by the Rosicrucians, would be amusing. The article, which was purported to be cabled from Paris, stated in part: “That Adolph Hitler is a member of the Mystic Order called the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, and that he is inspirationally directed by some of its leaders is a charge made by Edouard Saby, French writer, in a book now in preparation.” Naturally the article concluded with a brief reference to AMORC [Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis], which the newspaper, from the article’s wording, appears to have obtained from some standard dictionary or encyclopedia.
When the cable was received, it was to be expected that the first thing a tabloid newspaper would do would be to seek some connection between such a cabled statement and some local Organization in this country or part of the world, for that would cause the article to have more local reader interest. Since numerous encyclopedias and dictionaries refer to AMORC and its history, it was easy for them to locate data about AMORC, and such data was included in the article. In fact, the body of the article, especially the references made to AMORC, are not damaging, because they merely consist of a quotation of partial historical facts – the damage, if any, was in the implication of the headline – that is, that the Rosicrucians in Germany inspired Hitler in his plans.
There are several interesting things in connection with this article that should not be overlooked – first, what was the foundation for such a story as this? The newspaper itself admits it is “a charge made by Edouard Saby, French writer, in a book now in preparation.” It is hardly to be expected that French authors, particularly at this time, would write anything favorable of Herr Hitler, and that they would write sensationally about him whether what they said was true or not. Second, Hitler at the moment, as we all know, is news and any book dealing with him or his affairs is assured a fairly successful tale. This book, according to the tabloid newspaper account, isn’t even published yet, for they say it is “now in preparation.” This indicates that from an advertising and publicity point of view the French publisher of the book sought some sensational advance sale publicity by attracting attention to the book and the author at this psychological time. The tabloid newspaper of New York, in turn seeking a sensational article that would be timely, and knowing interest on the one hand in Hitler and the well-established and known existence of the Rosicrucians on the other hand, likewise sought to capitalize on the incident by exploiting the report without an iota of foundation.
As an officer of the Rosicrucian Order, I, in the course of one of my journeys to Europe in 1932, visited the former Grand Master of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood in Berlin, as I did other Rosicrucian officers in other countries. I can say with definiteness that then and now the authentic Rosicrucian movement in Germany is disorganized and not functioning. Two conditions contribute to this inactivity – first, the political difficulties existing then in Germany, which have intensified since that time; and, second, the economic inability of the members to hold the Rosicrucian Brotherhood together as an Organization in Germany. However, the Rosicrucian Brotherhood or Order, when it was an active movement in Germany years ago, held to the same traditional tenets that the AMORC does all over the world. One of the prime tenets is the brotherhood of man, irrespective of race and creed or nationality. It is quite apparent, therefore, that no Rosicrucian jurisdiction in Germany, or elsewhere, could sponsor or inspire any man to military measures or to further war, regardless of the nature of the war. To encourage war would be diametrically opposed to Rosicrucian teachings and idealism, and this cabled news article to the New York Mirror is in fact a slur upon the noble and splendid work formerly accomplished by the Rosicrucians as an organization in Germany. There are undoubtedly thousands of former active Rosicrucians in Germany. What they do as individuals when the Order, as we know, is officially dormant, cannot reflect upon the attitude of Rosicrucianism.
Whether Herr Hitler ever was a member of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood in Germany, it is impossible now to learn. Whether he has read Rosicrucian books or literature, as millions of persons throughout the world have, there is no way of learning. One thing we here reiterate – nothing in Rosicrucianism he would read would inspire him to militarism.
XVIII. KNIGHT ROSE CROIX. [Prince Rose Croix.]
Man fell, seduced by the Evil Spirits most remote from the Great King of Light; those of the fourth world of spirits, Asiah, whose chief was Belial. They wage incessant war against the pure Intelligences of the other worlds, who, like the Amshaspands. Izeds, and Ferouers of the Persians are the tutelary guardians of man.
When the strife between these and the good angels shall have continued the appointed time, and these Spirits enveloped in darkness shall long and in vain have endeavored to absorb the Divine light and life, then will the Eternal Himself come to correct them. He will deliver them from the gross envelopes of matter that hold them captive, will re-animate and strengthen the ray of light or spiritual nature which they have preserved, and re-establish throughout the Universe that primitive Harmony which was its bliss.
Masonry also has her mission to perform. With her traditions reaching back to the earliest times, and her symbols dating further back than even the monumental history of Egypt extends, she invites all men of all religions to enlist under her banners and to war against evil, ignorance, and wrong. You are now her knight, and to her service your sword is consecrated. May you prove a worthy soldier in a worthy cause!
-- Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike
The Ah-hi (Dhyan-Chohans) are the collective hosts of spiritual beings — the Angelic Hosts of Christianity, the Elohim and “Messengers” of the Jews — who are the vehicle for the manifestation of the divine or universal thought and will. They are the Intelligent Forces that give to and enact in Nature her “laws,” while themselves acting according to laws imposed upon them in a similar manner by still higher Powers; but they are not “the personifications” of the powers of Nature, as erroneously thought. This hierarchy of spiritual Beings, through which the Universal Mind comes into action, is like an army — a “Host,” truly — by means of which the fighting power of a nation manifests itself, and which is composed of army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and so forth, each with its separate individuality or life, and its limited freedom of action and limited responsibilities; each contained in a larger individuality, to which its own interests are subservient, and each containing lesser individualities in itself.
-- The Secret Doctrine -- The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
One of AMORC’s official representatives in New York City, in a conversation with one of the reportorial staff of this New York City tabloid, learned that the fundamental basis for the tale that Hitler is or was a Rosicrucian, or was influenced by Rosicrucianism, is the fact that Hitler is a firm believer and follower of astrology. If it is true that Hitler is a devotee of astrology, just how, we may ask, does that make him a Rosicrucian? The Rosicrucian teachings have never included as an essential part of their curriculum the study of astrology, nor does the Rosicrucian Order of this jurisdiction or any other jurisdiction declare astrology to be an absolute science.
XVIII. KNIGHT ROSE CROIX. [Prince Rose Croix.]
The Phœnician Cosmogony, like all others in Asia, was the Word of God, written in astral characters, by the planetary Divinities, and communicated by the Demi-gods, as a profound mystery, to the brighter intelligences of Humanity, to be propagated by them among men. Their doctrines resembled the Ancient Sabeism, and being the faith of Hiram the King and his namesake the Artist, are of interest to all Masons. With them, the First Principle was half material, half spiritual, a dark air, animated and impregnated by the spirit; and a disordered chaos, covered with thick darkness. From this came the WORD, and thence creation and generation; and thence a race of men, children of light, who adored Heaven and its Stars as the Supreme Being; and whose different gods were but incarnations of the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the Ether. Chrysor was the great igneous power of Nature, and Baal and Malakarth representations of the Sun and Moon, the latter word, in Hebrew, meaning Queen.
-- Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike
We must admit the truth of horoscopy whether we will or not. For, as observed by one of the modern adepts of Astrology, “Now that photography has revealed to us the chemical influence of the Sidereal system, by fixing on the sensitized plate of the apparatus milliards of stars and planets that had hitherto baffled the efforts of the most powerful telescopes to discover them, it becomes easier to understand how our solar system can, at the birth of a child, influence his brain — virgin of any impression — in a definite manner and according to the presence on the zenith of such or another zodiacal constellation.”
-- The Secret Doctrine -- The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
It is true that a number of small publishing concerns, styling themselves Rosicrucians, here and abroad base all of their work upon astrology, but they have no connection with the International AMORC. Furthermore, there are actually hundreds of booklets and pamphlets and dozens of schools teaching many different versions of astrology, and these undoubtedly have a great many followers in all lands, but certainly it would be absurd to claim that any who read such literature or who are followers of such schools are Rosicrucians. This is not said to condemn astrology, for those who desire it have the privilege, as individuals, to pursue it, but the fact that they do so does not in any way make of them Rosicrucians.
A representative of one of the large news services, after investigating this Hitler story and finding it without any foundation, after interviewing an AMORC officer in the East, discarded the tale as worthless propaganda. Three or four newspapers comprising the Heart chain did, however, publish it.
There is one thing though that such news tales do indicate – they point to a negative compliment of the extent of AMORC. Certainly no newspaper story in this country would have related Hitler to any organization were not known in some way to its readers, for it would not have made a sensational news story. We, however, as Rosicrucians do not appreciate such indirect sinister flattery. Hitler is also declared to be a staunch reader of mystical literature, though so far as I know no one has ever mentioned the titles of the books to indicate whether ir really is mystical literature or not. On the other hand, perhaps he does read mystical books, and perhaps so do some of the Prime Ministers and dictators of other countries, but, we repeat, the fact that they do does not make any of them Rosicrucians, or members of AMORC here or abroad. -- X
[Rudolf] Hess became Hitler's secretary and helped him with Mein Kampf. Hess did more than take dictation and type the manuscript. As the best educated of Hitler's disciples, he was able to provide Hitler with useful information, particularly on a new study which was called geopolitics. He introduced Hitler to the professor (and ex-general) from whom he had learned about geopolitics, and, in fact, the professor was a frequent visitor to Landsberg prison. Some people, indeed, believe that the professor, Karl Haushofer, was Hitler's guiding brain.
Writing in Current History and Forum in June 1941, Frederic Sondern, Jr., who had personal knowledge of the subject, reported:
Dr. Haushofer and his men dominate Hitler's thinking. That domination began 17 years ago when the World War general flattered the ex-corporal by paying him visits in prison. Haushofer saw possibilities in the hysterical agitator who had launched an unsuccessful beer- hall revolution. The prison visits became frequent; the distinguished soldier-scientist fascinated Hitler, then finally made him a disciple. The ascendancy has grown as Dr. Haushofer again and again has proved the accuracy of his knowledge and the wisdom of his advice....
It was Haushofer who taught the hysterical, planless agitator in a Munich jail to think in terms of continents and empires. Haushofer virtually dictated the famous Chapter XVI of Mein Kampf which outlined the foreign policy Hitler has since followed to the letter.
Haushofer's Lebensraum ("living space") theory sought to justify Germany's world conquest by claiming that it was necessary to insure the German people room to preserve and expand their racial community. He developed an intelligence-gathering organization which became the envy and model for all others. He was called everything from "Hitler's idea man" to "the man who will in the end take the Fuhrer's place," yet he seems to have kept a very low profile. But there is apparently much more to Haushofer than the geopolitician.
A love affair with the Orient began in 1908, when, as a field artillery officer in the Bavarian army, he was sent to Tokyo to study the Japanese army and to advise it as an artillery instructor. The assignment changed the course of his life. He traveled extensively in the Far East, and added the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean languages to his repertoire of English, French, and Russian. He could not be accused -- as other leading Nazis were -- of having a provincial background.
His four-year sojourn in the Far East also changed the course of German history. Haushofer was able to make the acquaintance of influential Japanese and to develop a rapport for the culture which helped account later for the German-Japanese alliance. When he returned to Germany in 1912, he had no reason at all to know that the Chinese proverb of which he was so fond, "He who rides a tiger cannot get off," would one day have particular relevance for him.
Haushofer was introduced to Oriental teachings during his stay in the Far East. He had been a devout student of Schopenhauer, and now he could drink directly from the source. He became sufficiently conversant in Sanskrit to translate several Hindu and Buddhist texts, and according to Ravenscroft, he was "an authority on Oriental mysticism ... concealing the other side of his nature and activities as a leader of a secret community of Initiates, and an authority on every aspect of the 'Secret Doctrine. ' [He was] in the esoteric stream of satanism through which he sought to raise Germany to the pinnacle of world power."
His most famous disciple was Rudolf Hess. He followed Haushofer to the University of Munich and sat at his feet, ardently drinking in the pseudoscientific political theories. He was a frequent visitor to the Haushofer home. Mrs. Haushofer was kind enough to give him English lessons. But the professor described his pupil with merciless accuracy:
He was one student among others, not particularly gifted, of slow intellectual grasp and dull in his work. He was very dependent on emotions and passionately liked to pursue fantastic ideas. He was only influenced by arguments of no importance at the very limits of human knowledge and superstition; he also believed in the influence of the stars on his personal and political life.... I was always disconcerted by the expression of his clear eyes, which had something somnambulistic about it....
Presumably, the professor was able to effect a change in his student, because he later claimed that it was only Hess who really understood his theories.
After 1932, when the Nazis came to power, he was made deputy leader, second in command under Hitler. He controlled the central political organization of the Party, supervised and coordinated policy throughout Germany, and was in charge of at least nineteen departments of the government. He was not popular with the other party people. Kurt Ludecke refers to him as a "notorious" homosexual, and claims he was known as "Fraulein Anna."
Hess was a man hungry for faith and ready to place it in pseudosciences like astrology, homeopathy, and every manner of divination. His fate was ruled entirely by the stars, by the pronouncements of soothsayers, by animal magnetism, the swings of pendulums, and terrestrial radiations. Demons had a terrible reality for him.
-- Gods & Beasts -- The Nazis & the Occult, by Dusty Sklar
Lanz von Liebenfels and the Templar Revival
The eccentric ideas of Guido von List were carried to another extreme by his young follower, Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels (1874-1954), who created the Order of the New Templars as a secret society bent on reviving the chivalric brotherhood of knights, but in an aggressively Teutonic -- and anti-Semitic -- format. While List's sympathies were clearly already pagan and anti-Christian, von Liebenfels sought to restore a non-Christian, Teutonic Grail Order to its rightful place in the world. He used those of List's racial and linguistic theories he found most appealing; but it should be remembered that von Liebenfels was a Cistercian monk who abandoned his vows but who never, in his heart, abandoned the Church ... at least, not his idealized, medieval version of it. While von Liebenfels had no sympathy for the Catholic Church as such -- for its beliefs [?] -- he had unbounded admiration for its pomp and ceremony, its elaborate ritual. He managed to combine this fascination with stately ceremony with a peculiar understanding of the Templar Order. To von Liebenfels, the Templars were an Aryan brotherhood dedicated to the establishment of a greater Germany and to the purification of the race. The Grail, in his estimation, was symbolic of the pure German blood.
Even modern historians of the Grail legends disagree on the meaning of the term "Grail." To a linguist, the phrase Sangraal or Saint Graal ("Holy Grail") may simply be a pun on Sang Real or "Royal Blood." Indeed, the British research team of Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln offer just such a theory in their best-selling Holy Blood, Holy Grail;  except that for these gentlemen the Holy Blood is not that of an Aryan super race, but the very blood of Christ himself, preserved in a dynastic lineage kept secret for two thousand years and protected by a secret society with the unfortunate name of Priory of Zion, a title which, combined with mysterious purpose, has perhaps too many resonances to those fictional Elders and their famous Protocols.
The ambivalence of men like List and Liebenfels toward the Christ figure is revealing. Hitler himself would later insist that Christ couldn't possibly have been Jewish.  For all their hatred of Christianity and Judaism, many Nazis and anti-Semites were loath to throw the Baby out with the bathwater. That may have been simple pragmatism in the land of Luther; but it also may have been evidence of deep uncertainty over ingrained concepts like heaven and hell, retribution and salvation. As the title character in the movie version of The Man in the Glass Booth tells us, a Christian is "a nervous Jew with an insurance policy."  To turn one's back completely on Christ may have seemed unsettling to these Supermen. A serious exception to this would be, of course, Heinrich Himmler whose unabashed paganism we shall discuss in a later chapter.
This hearkening back to a glorious German past was what united List and Liebenfels, although in many other ways their paths diverged. It was von Liebenfels's notorious magazine, Ostara, that so attracted Hitler in the latter's early days as an impoverished artist in Vienna, and we now know that Hitler -- so inflamed by the wild occult, racial, and anti-Semitic theories he found in Ostara -- actually paid an unannounced visit to the editor's offices and came face-to-face with Liebenfels himself.  This information comes from an interview with von Liebenfels after the war, when he was struggling with the de-nazification process and would have had no ulterior motive in describing this meeting since the revelation of a personal relationship with Hitler could conceivably only hurt him.
Who was Lanz von Liebenfels, and how did he manage such an emotional impact on young Hitler?
If all one had to go on were back copies of Ostara, we would have to say that he was a cross between Pat Buchanan and Henry Lee Lucas, with a little Jimmy Swaggart thrown in to provide the Biblical and sexual references. Actually, von Liebenfels was a bit more complicated than that.
His Order of the New Templars was an occult lodge that met at a ruined castle high on a cliff over the Danube -- the eerie Burg Werfenstein in Upper Austria, a few miles upriver from Hitler's childhood home -- among other sites. The members wore white, surplice-style robes emblazoned with the red cross of the Templars, a cross that von Liebenfels believed was formed of two, superimposed and counter-rotating, swastikas. At the same time, another such lodge was operating in Germany: the Ordo Tempii Orientis (Order of the Eastern Temple), which had nothing to do with Liebenfels's ONT but everything to do with Aleister Crowley as we shall see in a later chapter.
Von Liebenfels -- in Ostara and in other publications, such as his weirdly entitled Theozoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Aefflingen und dem Gotter-Elektron (1905), which we may translate as "Theozoology, or the Science of the Sodom-Apelings and the Electron of the Gods" -- prescribed sterilization and castration for inferior races and, of course, denounced miscegenation owing to its pollution of the pure-blooded German Volk. He also sounded a theme that was to occupy all other racist ideologues, including Hitler, and that was the forced submission of women to Aryan men. To the Nazis and their ideological predecessors, feminism was an evil on the same level as Freemasonry, international Jewry, and Bolshevism. In fact, the Nazis believed feminism (like Bolshevism) to be a creation of international Jewry for the express purpose of finishing off the Aryan race. The irony has come full circle, of course, for the term "feminazis" has become a staple of Rush Limbaugh-style, talk radio agit-prop.
But von Liebenfels did not stop at sweeping political indictments. He included occult biology in his repertoire, with a concentration on the pineal and pituitary glands. He believed -- as did Blavatsky and as do many current mystics and theosophists -- that a space between these glands in the hypothalamus of the brain was formerly a supercharged area that gave Aryans the twin powers of telepathy and omniscience: the third Eye; but that -- because of the pollution of Aryan blood with that of members of the inferior races -- these two glands had so atrophied that the Aryan people had lost their psychic abilities. This is a somewhat liberal borrowing from the teachings of legitimate Eastern adepts who train their devotees in methods of awakening this innate potential (regardless of their racial background).
According to von Liebenfels, however, the solution to the problem of the incipient physical and spiritual degeneration of the Aryan race was not hatha yoga or Transcendental Meditation but the creation of a new priesthood of the Holy Grail; a new Knights Templar of the German Blood (for that was, according to von Liebenfels, what the Grail represented). As for the inferior races? They were to be deported; or incinerated as a sacrifice to God; or simply used as slave labor.
All of these proposals -- from Knights Templar to slave labor, from Holy Grail to crematoria -- were to be accepted, incorporated, and expanded upon by Adolf Hitler personally, and by the Third Reich as official policy. It was also von Liebenfels who proposed that the finest specimens of Aryan males should mate indiscriminately with the finest specimens of Aryan females in specially controlled and tightly monitored villages in order to create the super race.  This would, of course, be a cause taken up by Himmler's Lebensborn organization to which every SS officer was expected to belong.
Lanz von Liebenfels and his mentor Guido von List can be viewed as archetypal Social Darwinists and the Third Reich as Social Darwinism carried to its logical conclusion. Similar to the rationale behind the race eugenics programs in the United States (which also influenced American immigration policies, both of which the Nazis regarded with admiration and approval), it was an ideology of the survival of the fittest, and the enslavement and destruction of the weakest, from Jews to women, from the mentally and physically handicapped to the aged, from Slavs and Gypsies to Communists. Gradually, the distinction between race and ideology became so blurred that the Soviets were viewed as race enemies as much as political enemies. This explains the ferocity with which Russian Communists were slaughtered by roving bands of Einsatzgruppen during the war, notably under such racist ideologues as Dr. Franz Six and onetime Theosophist Otto Ohlendorf. To support this program, they enlisted the aid of history, of romance, of legend, and of the occult significance of alphabets, geometry, ancient architecture, ritual magic ... and the Knights Templar.
During the early twentieth century in Europe, the romance and lure of the Knights Templar myth was strong. The original Order of the Knights of the Temple had been destroyed by an agreement between the king of France (Phillipe le Bel) and Pope Clement V in the fourteenth century. Their leader at the time, Grandmaster Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake in A.D. 1314 and the Order's assets seized all over Europe (primarily in France). One reason for all this bloodshed and chaos was the fact that the Order had become notoriously wealthy by loaning money to the king ... so much money that the king now had no hope of repaying it. The official reasons given by Church and State for the suppression of the Templars were much different, however, and it is the mystery of this Order that has given rise to so many myths and legends, and which has contributed to the creation of several occult societies in the twentieth century. The works of Louis Charpentier in France  and Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln in Great Britain  may be consulted for a more detailed discussion of pop Templar literature, but for now all we need to know is that the Templars were believed to be the heirs of a mystical tradition of which Lanz von Liebenfels considered himself the modern incarnation.
-- Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement With the Occult, by Peter Levenda
The Knights of Malta and the Knights Templar are the Rosicrucian upper-degrees of Freemasonry. The insignia of the Knights of Malta is the unusual 'Cross of Malta' that was the original emblem of the Knights Templar, before being forced to adopt the Latin cross (the red cross) following the Inquisition. Occult initiates discover that the Cross of Malta is a cryptogram for the Goat of Mendes, the occult idol Baphomet, as is the inverted pentagram or five-pointed star, that represents the goat's beard and horns. This is the symbol of ruling matter and spirit by the Will, and the controlled magickal direction of sexual energies. Past Grand Masters of the Knights of Malta, including Manuel de Fonseca, are known to have been initiates of the Templar tradition, and according to the Dragon Court's current Sovereign Grand Master Prince Nicholas de Vere von Drakenberg, who is a direct descendant of the originator of the Knights Templar Godfroi de Vere de Bouillon, the Templars were "a Satanic order, whose rituals included infanticide, sodomy and witchcraft."
-- The Knights of Malta, by VOXNYC