Occultism in a Global Perspective, 6



Occultism in 20th-Century Italy

Francesco Baroni


pp. 101-2 spiritualism and the occult sciences in Italia of the late 19th & early 20th centuries ChrE

p. 101

"The vogue of esotericism in early twentieth-century Italy is ... revealed by the reprinting, in 1922, of the successful handbooks by Armando Pappalardo, ... popularizer of the "occult sciences" ... Neapolitan Hermeticism and Egyptianism -- with the outstanding figure of Ciro Formisano, alias Giuliano Kremmerz (1881-1930) ... . [p. 115, n. 4 : "An outstanding work has recently been published regarding ... Italian esotericism ... : Cazzaniga (2010)."] ...

Preceded by the vogue of animal magnetism, during the second half of the nineteenth century spiritualism spread quickly all over Italy, first in Turin, then in Parma, Naples, Florence, Palermo and Rome ... .

p. 102

... Related to the Hermetic and "neo-pagan" currents ... we have, then, the so-called "traditionalist Roman School", whose chief exponents were Arturo Reghini (1878-1946), ... Martinist and theosophist, and

Julius Evola (1898-1974), who edited the reviews Ur (1927-28) and Krur (1929). ...

... French esotericist Rene' Gue'non's (1886-1951) ... corpus in Italy ... nurtured a comparative and perennialist approach to religion. This intellectual climate was to inspire ... Giuseppi Tucci (1894-1984) and Ele`mire Zolla (1926-2002)".

Cazzaniga 2010 = G. M. Cazzaniga (ed.) : Storia d'Italia. Annali, 25. Esoterismo. Turin : Einaudi.

p. 103 avowed anti-Christians : Caetani; Kremmerz; Reghini; Evola

"Islamist, Orientalist and left-wing member of parliament Leone Caetani (1869-1935) ... In La crisi morale dell'era presente {'The Moral Crisis of the Praesent Aera'} (1901) ... states quite categorically that Christianity is a cult ... "incompatible with ... conscience" ... and claims to be be "Pagan and admirer of Paganism"".

"the most influential occultist Giuliano Kremmerz, founder of the

"Therapeutic and Magical Brotherhood

{named for the Therapeutai mentioned by Philon}

of Miriam"

{the sistre of Mo^s^eh}

... depicted Christianity as "a plague coming from the East"".

{"we have seen His star in the East" (Eu-angelion according to Matthaios 2:2).} {Although according to the Pythagoreans, "the stars are rational beings"; yet nevertheless according to >iyob 25:5, "the stars are not clean" ("O&LS") : for, "the stars portend plague" (PM&EM, p. 145).}

"Arturo Reghini ... in the review Ur in 1927 ... tries to demonstrate [that] ... Christianity, in its origins and essence, ... displays ... religious intolerance, dogmatism".

"Julius Evola. According to him, Christianity displays a total absence of esoteric elements, for it conceives

God as a personal entity, altogether distinct from man.

{This is quite true of the catholic-orthodox Christianity installed by the imperial Roman government. But earlier, the various Gnostic trends had been quite different, namely polytheistic and ascribing (in the Apokruphon of Ioannes) operation of the human body to various named entities residing at locations within the body.}

In other words, it lacks the ... "supreme identity", typical of Vedanta and constituting the core of any true esotericism ... . {Evola was thus promoting " Perennialism ... revived in ... a modified form, with the newly discovered Veda[-]s" ("ChM", p. 99).}

{Correlation of the divine world with the human body is to be found, however, in the macrocosm-to-microcosm correspondences propounded in the Qabbalah and by the Bektas^i.}

In [Evola's] Imperialismo pagano ([1928] ...), ... Christianity is regarded as "a doctrine for losers" (dottrina da falliti) ... . In his Rivolta contro il mondo moderno {'Revolt Against the Modern World'} ([1934] ...), Evola presents Christianity ... as the main thing responsible for the modern decadence ..., and describes its spirituality as a "desperate" one, "levering on the irrational part of being".

"Therapeutai". http://www.encquran.brill.nl/entries/brill-s-new-pauly/therapeutai-e1210190

"O&LS" = Joseph W. Trigg : "Origen and the Life of the Stars". https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/journal_of_early_christian_studies/v001/1.2.trigg.pdf

PM&EM = Byron Lee Grigsby : Pestilence in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature. Routledge (an imprint of Francis & Taylor Bks), 2004. http://books.google.com/books?id=DfKTAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA145&lpg=PA145&dq=

"ChM" = Colin Duggan : "Chaos Magick". In :- Egil Asprem & Kennet Granholm (edd.): Contemporary Esotericism. Equinox Publ Ltd, Sheffield, 2013. 91-112.

p. 104 hairetical Christianisms : anthroposophia, neo-Gnosticism, neo-Templarism, archaiosophia

"the Holy See never showed any tolerance toward esoteric movements ... . ... Since 1907, theosophy was strongly contrasted by the Jesuit intelligentsia, which placed it in the range of contemporary heresies along with Freemasonry and spiritualism. In 1919, the Holy Office explicitly condemned theosophy as being incompatible with Christianity."

"the numerous Martinist groups ... and neo-Gnostic organizations of the second postwar pereiod, such as the "Gnostic Church of Italy" founded by Mario De Conca, and Francesco Brunelli's "Italian Gnostic Church" ... emerged also in the neo-Templar orders such as the "Supernus Ordo Equester Templi" ... .

In none of these groups, however, ... Christian esotericism attained the level of originality that we find in Palamidessi's "Archeosophy" ... (see Baroni 2011)."

Baroni 2011 = F. Baroni : Tommaso Palamidessi e l'Archeosofia. Foggia : Bastogi.

p. 105 sexual magic of Evola; magical healing by Kremmerz

"Evola (like P. B. Randolph, Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley before him) was equally involved in ... sexual magic. Such practices, aiming at "self-transformation and integration into transcendent realms" (Hakl 2005:347), were deeply influenced by tantrism."

"As for Giuliano Kremmerz, he was rather interested in ... "magic healing" resting on the (mesmeric) ... "fluid". In this perspective, "putting together the power of several initiates in a magical brotherhood, as well as invoking angels, benevolent spirits and gods [was] regarded as essential if the fluid stolen by the dark forces [was] to be recovered" ... .

But some branches of the Kremmerzian school also developed other magical techniques ... :

substituting one soul for another in the same human body ("Avatar magic"),

{similar to the soul "walk-in" of flying-saucer space-aliens}

and purifying the spirit ("solar bodies") by "a number of sex magic orperations ... performed at dates carefully selected according to an astrological chart"".

Hakl 2005 = H. T. Hakl : "Evola, Julius". In :- W. J. Hanegraaff (ed.) : Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism. Leiden : Brill.

pp. 106-9, 116 Tommaso Palamidessi & his Archeosophia

p. 116, n. 17

"During the 1940s. while working in Turin as an astrologer and a psychic, Palamidessi mainly focused on medical and mundane astrology, publishing several books on these subjects ... . ... moreover, Palamidessi did not neglect spiritual alchemy ... and tantric yoga ..., which was quite an exotic topic at that time in Italy. ... In these years, Palamidessi ... after creating a "Cosmo-biological ... Research Institute" in 1942, he founded a "Loto-Crucian Order" ... in 1948 and a School of Tantric Yoga in 1949."

p. 106

"in 1953 Palamidessi moved to Rome with his wife Rosa Bordino (1916-99) and his daughter Silvestra ... . ... At the beginning of the 1960s, during a stay in Alexandria, he attained the certitude of having been Origen. ... All these ... precedes the creation of "Archeosophy" and of the "Archeosophical Society" in September 1968 ... . ... Palamidessi's metaphysics ... echoes principles ... inspired by Bo:hme and modern Russian theologians Solovyov and Florensky ... with ... Isaac Luria. Archeosophical anthropology represents ... the theosophical doctrines of ... "subtle bodies" ... and reincarnation, with a strong emphasis on Palamidessi's own experiences of "astral projection" and memory of past lives ... . ... Convinced of the veracity of his memories of previous lives (that of Origen, but also that of

p. 107

the sixteenth-century astrologer and mathematician Girolamo Cardano, 1501-76), Palamidessi believes that his historical mission is to revive the glorious tradition of ... esotericism, identified with ... reincarnation, the doctrine of subtle bodies and of chakras ... . This ... has its roots in the writings of the major ... theosophists (mainly Kingsford, Besant and Leadbeater) ... . ... The core of Archeosophy ... is ... the techniques for travelling in the astral and other spiritual realms, for gaining the memory of past lives ... . ...

The "Loto-Crucian" initiatory order ... was "awakened" ... in 1968. In this context advanced students receive the "horizontal

p. 108

initiation" ... (cf. Baroni 2009b:308-14). ... As regards its internal structure and doctrine, ... the order "Loto-Croce" consists of twelve degrees, plus a thirteenth degree represented by the Superior Initiator. ... Both men and women are allowed in it. ... Its members meet in groups or "temples of assembly"... . ... Palamidessi describes the function ... of Lotocrucian initiation in his Dizionario enciclopedico di Archeosofia (1978). ...

p. 109

In three rituals, the initiator projects his energies ... :

first on the brain, seat of the Spirit,

then on the heart, seat of the Emotional Soul, and

finally on the genitals, seat of the "Eros-Dynamic Soul".

In theory, according to Palamidessi, there should be two initiators, a man and a woman, for each is ... to work on a polarity of the initiate's energetic body. The transmission of the energies seems to be carried out mainly through ... magnetic passes. ... The initiator prays to induce the descent of the "divine uncreated energies" on the recipient, while the latter breath[e]s ... according to the rules of pranayama {pran.a-yama} (Baroni 2009b:308-14). ... To make his prayer effective, the theurgist exploits "the power of symbols, of sacred letters, colours and fragrances, combinations of musical notes (chords), the exact pronunciation of the Divine Names and spirits, using the most favourable astronomical rhythms" [Palamidessi 1985-8:I.187]. ... Palamidessi also alludes to the "theurgical book of spirits of light" and to the "thaumaturgical stole", decorated with symbols and divine names, particularly useful in spiritual healing ... . But ... "when acceding to the third degree of Lotocrucian Initiation, and therefore attaining the rank of Master, the knowledge of Angelology becomes fundamental" (ibid.:II,204)."

Baroni 2009b = Francesco Baroni : Tommaso Palamidessi (1915-1983) et l'"Arche'osophie". PhD diss, EPHE, Paris.

Palamidessi 1985-8 = Tommaso Palamidessi : Archeosofia. 5 voll. Roma : Archeosofica.

p. 110 epiklesis ['surname; invocation, appeal']

"The aim of Lotocrucian ceremonies, however, is not only tol contact angelic spirits, but also to stimulate ... the chakras of the adepts."

[quoted from Palamidessi 1974, vol. 1, p. 53 :] "Epiclesis is very useful for the development of our Centres. It is used in rituals (set of words, gestures, ceremonies, music, perfumes, colours of garments, thoughts) of each centre."

Palamidessi 1974 = Tommaso Palamidessi : Risveglio e Sviluppo dei Centri di Forza. Roma : Archeosofia.

p. 111 spiritual energies in eikones

"there is also the "... influence ... transmitted ... by the mystical painter in a state of holiness" ([Palamidessi 1986b]:40) and the penetration of the icon by the uncreated divine energies, which takes place when the icon is consecrated by a priest. All this explains the power of sacred images and their role in supporting the ascetic's mystical endeavours."

Palamidessi 1986b = L'icona, i colori e l'ascesi artistica. Roma : Archeosofica.

p. 116, n. 23 seeking the divine through art

""Art is an unconscious search for the supreme Artist, from whom come ... galaxies, solar systems ..., the manifestation of ... superhuman life. ..." (Palamidessi 1986b:20)

We see similar remarks in Schuon (1948:90)."

Schuon 1948 = Frithjof Schuon : De l'Unite' transcendante des Religions. Paris : E'ditions Traditionnelles.

p. 113 eikonologia

"Palamidessi followed ... Orthodox theologians on the ... meaning of icons (Ouspensky 1960; Evdokimov 1970)." [p. 117, n. 25 : "Evdokimov said that the icon is a "sacramental" (a rite instituted by the Church for producing a spiritual effect), and not a sacrament."]

Ouspensky 1960 = L. Ouspensky : Essai sur la the'ologie de l'ico^ne ... . Paris. (transl. as Theology of the Icon. Link Crestwood (NY) : St Vladimir's Seminary Pr, 1992.)

Evdokimov 1970 = P. Evdokimov : L'art de l'icon^e, the'ologie de la beaute'. Paris : Descle'e de Brouwer.

p. 115 Archeosophical Association

"Palamidessi died in 1983 ... . However, the "Archeosophical Association" is now firmly established in Italy ... . The most successful among its activities are ... the concerts of "Archeosophical music", performed in many prestigious sites all over Europe".


Henrik Bogdan & Gordan Djurdjevic (edd.) : Occultism in a Global Perspective. Acumen Publ Ltd, Durham (UK), 2013.