The most in-depth work in English on the most influential secret magic group of 20th-century Germany, the Fraternitas Saturni, or Brotherhood of Saturn
• Explores the history of the Order from its founding the late 1960s
• Transcribes many rituals and practices in such detail that readers will be able to undertake their own experiential work
• Examines the Order’s teachings on cosmology, the Kabbalah, the Saturnian Sacraments, electrical magic, and sexual mysticism--the Yoga of the Dark Light
• Includes biographies of prominent members, including founder Gregor A. Gregorius, Karl Spiesberger (Frater Eratus), and Albin Grau (Master Pacitius)
The most influential magical group in Germany during the 20th century, the Fraternitas Saturni, or Brotherhood of Saturn, is still the most active and important magical society in Germany today. But from its formal beginnings in 1926 in Weimar Berlin until around 1970 it was almost totally secret. Most of what is known about the Order in the English-speaking world is fragmentary and focuses exclusively on the sensational sex-magic practices and Luciferian tendencies of this magical lodge.
Presenting the most in-depth work in English on the Fraternitas Saturni, Stephen Flowers examines the history of the Order from the mid-1920s to the late 1960s when the Order was fundamentally reformed. He details their path of initiation, secret doctrines, ritual practices, and magical formulas and offers biographies of the Order’s most prominent members, including founder Gregor A. Gregorius, Karl Spiesberger (Frater Eratus), Albin Grau (Master Pacitius), and Franz Saettler (Dr. Musallam). Exploring the Brotherhood’s guiding principles, he shows that at the heart of Saturnian ideology is the idea of Saturn-Gnosis: the interplay of opposing forces in the universe leading to the realization of the individual self as a god-like entity. He examines the Order’s teachings on cosmology, the Kabbalah, the Saturnian Sacraments, electrical magic, sexo-cosmology, sex-magic rites, and sexual mysticism--the Yoga of the Dark Light--and transcribes many of their actual rituals and practices, including the highly controversial Gradus Pentalphae, in such detail that readers will be able to undertake their own experiential work.
Explaining the meanings of all 33 grades of the Order, the author also looks at the infamous Freemasonic Order of the Golden Centurium, the cult of Adonism, the links between Thelema and the Fraternitas Saturni, and the rare teachings of Master Pacitius (Albin Grau), the visual genius behind the film Nosferatu. He also includes rare reports by Aleister Crowley concerning his interaction with some of the forerunners to the Order and letters from the Order’s founder, Gregor A. Gregorius, to the “Great Beast.”
Although in later times the Luciferian aspect of the Fraternitas Saturni might have been toned down--especially in materials meant for public consumption--the ideology of Gregorius himself was permeated with this Luciferian Principle. [. . . ] In the FS, Lucifer is understood as the Light Bearer for mankind. As a result of being given this light by Lucifer, which continues to be reborn in every generation of humanity, mankind will be able to take a measure of egocentric power from the solar Logos. In this way Lucifer is the savior of humankind, at least for that part of humanity that has been able to comprehend his Principle. The essence of the Saturnian cult is the effort to understand this entity and to consciously make use of its power in the service of the solar Logos (Sorath).(48)
Gregorius was always anxious to point out that this Luciferian mythology was in fact older than the ignorant misunderstandings and willful distortions of the JudeoChristian tradition. He claimed to have his knowledge from a pre-Christian and/or non-Christian sect of “Barbelo-Gnostics.”(49) In the FS Lucifer is the embodiment of enlightenment and reason; there are none of the destructive slanders against him as in the Christian tradition.
However he came by it, Gregorius does seem to have a correct interpretation of the relative roles of that entity referred to as the Light-Bearer (Greek Eos-phoros) and that referred to as “God.” Perhaps the oldest version of the Lucifer myth is that of the Greek Prometheus (“he who has foreknowledge”). Traditions differ on many details of the Promethean mythology, but what is essential is that Prometheus, wishing to help and preserve mankind (some say he even created mankind), brought the divine fire--or higher consciousness--and bestowed it upon men. This was the first enlightenment of humanity. Zeus, however, was angered and punished Prometheus by hurling him into the depths of Erebus. There he was staked to a mountain--an image prefiguring the crucifixion by hundreds of years. The point is that the “creator god,” here Zeus (in the Judeo-Christian tradition Jehovah), wants to keep humanity in subjugation and slavery to the “natural laws” which he has set up--but a rebel figure, here Prometheus (elsewhere Lucifer), befriends man and brings him the means to become as one of the gods. This is the fundamental idea underlying the Luciferian stance of the FS and its connection to pre- and non Christian attitudes toward the myth.
Because of the general domination of the Judeo-Christian mythic scheme in medieval and post-medieval European culture, the FS also, of course, deals with the Luciferian mythos from that standpoint, taking a decidedly Ophite (or Naassene) view. The myth is most readily available in the Judeo-Christian canon in Genesis 3. A close and objective reading of this myth cannot but prove the Saturnian point: that the Serpent (Hebrew: nechesh) is the friend and brother of Adam, while the Lord God (Hebrew: yahweh elohim) is only his keeper and shepherd. The rebel spirit Lucifer opened the way for man’s rebellion and hence his salvation; Jahweh would have held man in the eternal bondage of ignorance. The Serpent gave Knowledge (Gk. Gnôsis)--and thus is the true friend of mankind and his true liberator. Any other interpretation of the text of Genesis 3 would seem wildly imaginative.
Following basically Gnostic thought, the doctrines of the FS contain a Christology that is consistent with this view of the Eden myth. They would hold that the Ophite/Naassene teaching that the Serpent (Heb. nechesh) in the Garden of Eden and the Anointed One (Heb. messiach)--the Christos--are one in the same. This could be backed up with the Kabbalistic interpretation of nechesh =N.Ch.Sh. = 50.8.300. = 358 and messiach = M.Sh.Y.Ch. = 40.300.10.8. = 358. That both, according to the esoteric laws of gematria, render the sum of 358 demonstrates their essential unity. The Christos is a messenger and son of the Serpent, therefore, and not of the Creator. This Christos preaches gnôsis (knowledge) and not merely pistis (faith). The Serpent of Eden is further identified with the brazen serpent of Exodus and with the serpent-entwined staff of Hermes, the caduceus.(50) According to FS teaching, the Serpent of Eden may also be identified with Satana, the feminine aspect of Satanas. This in turn corresponds to the kundalini--serpent power--of Indian tantric lore. The truly beneficent principle is, however, identified as the Chrestos, not Christos. The Chrestos, the Good-One, is the designation of the beneficial solar entity.
Lucifer would also appear to have a central role in the origin of humanity, and in the origin of death. It is thought that Lucifer brought about physical procreation through a primeval sexual act with Cheva (Eve). With procreation came death; but of course without death there is no change, no evolution. Thus the opening of the gate of death, the act of “sinking into matter,” was a necessary step to link man to the current whereby Paradise can again he gained. But this time humanity will do it consciously and of its own will, and thus gain eternal life and wisdom. Then man will have truly become his own god--which is the path of Saturn.(51)
Also in accordance with its Gnostic heritage, the FS doctrines lay a strong emphasis on dualism. Not so much a good-versus-evil dualism, but rather a beyondgood-and-evil dualism summed up in the Saturn-Gnostic dictum Lux e tenebris--Light from the Darkness! In an article entitled “Saturn-Yoga,” Gregorius stated: “Without Darkness there is no Light. The Light shines in the Darkness and the Darkness is more powerful than the Light!”(52) This is an idea we have already met that simply states that the Light is held in a matrix of Darkness, that both are necessary to existence, and that it is the goal of the practitioner of Saturnian Gnosis to gain experience in, and mastery over, both the Light and the Darkness.
Stephen Flowers studied Germanic and Celtic philology and religious history at the University of Texas at Austin and in Goettingen, West Germany. He received his Ph.D. in 1984 in Germanic Languages and Medieval Studies with a dissertation entitled Runes and Magic.
“Stephen Flowers lets the cat out of the bag on the subject of the Fraternitas Saturni and takes us into the richly Faustian world of Germanic occultism from which the order emerged, created out of a heady brew of Freemasonry, astrology, Golden Dawn magic, Crowley’s Thelema, and much more. With its detailed descriptions of the order’s rituals and practices, this book is an eye-opener with a vengeance.”
– Christopher McIntosh, Ph.D., author of Eliphas Lévi and the French Occult Revival
“The Western esoteric tradition, from which this book’s subject emerges, has now gained acceptance as a branch of the Western canon worthy of scholarly inquiry and as a discipline deserving of its seat in the academy. Flowers casts light on one of the 20th century’s most secretive, intriguing (and misunderstood) occult orders, the Fraternitas Saturni. This is a fascinating and highly readable study of the Order’s tantric, astrosophical, and Nietzchean doctrines; their Gnostic sexual cosmologies and practices; their quasi-masonic structure; the Order’s enigmatic and innovative figures such as FS Grand Master Gregor A. Gregorius; and the influence of Aleister Crowley, Thelema, and the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) on the Brotherhood.”
– Stephen J. King (Shiva X°), Grand Master, Ordo Templi Orientis
“Germany’s contribution to the Western magical tradition reaches back, in modern form, to the medieval Grail myths, the founding of the original Rosicrucian Order and its many later derivatives, the quasi-masonic operations of the Bavarian Illuminati, Germany’s legendary influence on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and, of course, its role in the founding and early development of the Ordo Templi Orientis. The Fraternitas Saturni Order is heir to all of these, and Stephen Flowers, Ph.D., has devoted decades to expanding and deepening the research that led to his first groundbreaking book on the Order. This fourth revised and enlarged edition may at last represent the completion of that herculean task as it more deeply explores and communicates the Order’s mysteries to a yet wider audience. Critically, Flowers elucidates at length on the primary characteristic that makes the Fraternitas Saturni so unique--its dual emphasis on social lodge work and group ritual, balanced by its curriculum of disciplined individual practices that must be accomplished in silence by each member.”
– James Wasserman, author of The Mystery Traditions
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