Hermann Joseph Metzger
Metzger was born on 20 June 1919 at 21:25 o'clock in the farming
village Zezikon. There is nothing known about his childhood except that
he had a strong mother.|
On 15 October 1939 he moved from Lugano (the Italian speaking part of Switzerland) to Zuerich where he changed his address several times until his death in 1990.
He described himself in one of his first letters to Karl Germer: "Since my early youth I had to fight against peculiar difficulties. My family situation caused a lot of psychological complexes. I was raised so severly that my erotic impulses had been awakened very early ...
The political aspect of my life can't be separated from the religious one. Primarily I was catholic although rebellious already at the age of 12. After wanting to become a priest (which was supported by family's friends) I turned towards the crassest materialism, that is: atheism and communism - also rebelliuous against fascism and Nazism which I had studied at their sources in Italy and Germany. I was politically active (propaganda and organisation) for several organisations in Switzerland. Although feeling that my mission was based upon other grounds before, only my arrest in the political context opened my mind for the area of "suggestion" and "hypnosis" ...
Having become suspicious about each and everyone, I had to make up my mind. Broken minded, broken hearted and with a broken soul I had been left by friends, teachers and authorities — so having become humble and knowing that I know nothing I had to re-start from zero. ... At this time I met my fatherly friend Dr. P[inkus] and I swore to myself to sacrifice my future life for the movement and its spiritual development."
Friedrich / Frederic Mellinger described him thus: "While he has a keen and realistic
intelligence, he surprises with an attitude of a mystico-magical
miracle-man in modern attire. He reminds physiognomically of Groening,
the famous German healer a la Rasputin, only with more suave features,
a childish smile glorifying his rotten teeth of a Tibetan rodent."
Ellic Howe who also had met Metzger: "I find it difficult (or impossible) to take Metzger at all seriously. In fact I regard him as a harmless nonentity. In fact he is a fairly typical occultist."
|It was Felix Lazerus Pinkus who taught Metzger the art of hypnosis. Alias Peter Mano (the name concurred with the then famous stage hypnotisist Hermano who performed in Zuerich in 1938-39), Metzger tried to earn his money as a "stage magician" and became member of an artist guild in 1943 in Zuerich. The surviving members of that guild remember that Metzger has been known as "doing everything on stage". At the same time he drew horoscopes on a commercial basis.|
|The telephone directory mentioned Metzger's profession as "author". His first publication alias Peter Mano was the enthusiastic article "Mirin Dajo - seen differently" in the 1947 periodical "Die Arve" (Zuerich, no. 3, page 20). Mirin Dajo alias Arnold Gerrit Henskes (1912-1948) was a dutch fakir who had himself run through with floretts. 'Peter Mano' also wrote about "the astrology as timless psychology of the micro- and macrocosm". 1947 also was the year, when Pinkus and Alice Sprengel had died, Metzger had taken over Pinkus' "Psychosophische Gesellschaft" (continued also under the name "Genossenschaft Psychosophia"), had founded his own O.T.O. and had started to publish his magazine "Mitteilungsblatt des Psychosophischen Institutes".|
Old European Thelemites
25 September, 151. A certain Percy Hopkins, alleged student of medicine in Munich, alleged representative of a certain Donald McFarlane (alias Donald Waters) wrote to the Swiss O.T.O., allegedly on behalf of a "Self-Realization Fellowship" (S.R.F. - "founded in 1920 by Paramahansa-Yogananda") in California. On the headed stationary appeared: "O.T.O. — M.M.M. — S.R.M. — Section: Germany". "... We are busy finding people to carry the work on since 1948, based on the old documents ...". Obviously, Hopkins knew via McFarlane from Theodor Reuss' Golden Book that there was a Charter for Ida Hofmann, Alice Sprengel and Clara Linke. And now Metzger was expected to pay again for confirmations, new charters, fees and the like.
Hopkins and McFarlane were unaware of the Swiss Reuss-charter for H.R. Hilfiker and Laban de Laban nor the strange X° Reuss-charter for Hoffman and Linke (dated 1918), which was the alleged basis for Metzger's claim to the Reuss-O.T.O. McFarlane made a phone call to Metzger, who pretended to be busy. In the meantime, Metzger and Germer had decided that the S.R.F. was a fake and as a result Metzger did not react to a further letter from Hopkins dated 18th Ocotber, 1951.
The S.R.F. wrote to me in 1988 using the same logo on its stationary as they had in their correspondence with Metzger (but without the O.T.O.-etc. reference): "we have no knowledge of 'Reuss material' or the 'Old European Thelemites'."
|October 1951. Metzger travelled together with Annemarie Aeschbach first to Friedrich / Frederic Lekve in Hildesheim, then to Hamburg where Friedrich / Frederic Mellinger lived. Mellinger reported to Germer that 17 of Metzger's brethren had been initiated with the old Reuss rituals and that Metzger had received the IX° through Pinkus "in a very original form". Twelve years later, in a report to Sascha Germer, Metzger described the events: "In October 1951 Metzger received the IX° through Mellinger, witnessed by Aeschbach.". Indeed there exist nine forms, signed by Germer and Mellinger, for Metzger and his group! Germer also recognized his Charter from Reuss' group.|
21 December, 1951: Germer wrote to Metzger: "It would be good if you
would keep in mind that the person who prints LIBER AL in the necessary
format (a great work of most importance), has consolidated his
September 1954: Metzger printed The Book of the Law. Germer "was jubilant about this".
3 October, 1954: As a result of this, Germer gave Metzger a letter of privilege for all further enterprises: "You don't need to defend yourself: your work is what counts.".
Since March 1955, on the basis of above, Metzger was allowed by Germer to print "We, the authorized heirs to the Master Therion" on the inside of his beautiful publications of Crowley's books (which sometimes also contained prefaces especially written by Karl Germer).
Metzger wrote to the widows of the deceased German thelemic leaders in Europe, such as Crowley's self-proclaimed representative Friedrich / Frederic Lekve, and travelled to Hamburg to get the estate of C.H. Petersen (authorized by Germer to translate Crowley's books for Metzger). His work as a printer and his efforts to manifest a real Abbey of Thelema with the money of his Annemarie Aeschbach, caused Germer to hold high hopes for "the man who, as far as I can see, is chosen for a great and growing job"..
1 May, 1955: Metzger was appointed Custodian of the Areopag of the "World League of Illuminati" (the Order of Leopold Engel) and sought to join up with what he saw as the original source of the O.T.O. In his view, in 1902 the O.T.O. under Reuss had split off from the Illuminati.
October 1957: Metzger first became Bishop and then, in 1960, Patriarch of the Gnostic Catholic Church.
15 June, 1960: Germer wrote to Metzger: "Hindered from travelling, it was impossible to check things in Europe personall. I was restricted to your and others' letters until, through your action, you turned out to be the Sole Aspirant to the Crown. You know well enough how much we admired this."
Before long, however, Germer began to describe Metzger as "half-crazy" on account of his typographical blunder relating to The Book of the Law, and Marcelo Ramos Motta began to send long, imploring letters to Switzerland.
25 October 1962: Karl Johannes Germer died. Upon hearing of the death of Germer, on 6 January, 1963 Metzger proclaimed himself O.H.O. after a election by his fellow IX° lodge members.
The Abbey of Thelema in Stein, Appenzell
Alias Metzger alias Peter Mano, alias Paragranus alias Tabacum alias Nemos, Metzger wrote circa 40 articles, speeches, prefaces and essays for his 'own' publishing firm "Psychosophische Gesellschaft" which served at the same time as roof for his collection of Orders: O.T.O., FRA, IO, EGC and whatever (see note below), e.g. the "Movie Club Thelema" with its own movie theatre (in 1966, Kenneth Anger showed his films in Stein, personally being there as well), the "Bakery Thelema" (on the wrap paper of the bread: Crowley's Equinox book cover), the officially registered "Climate Station Thelema", the "Laboratory Thelema" (spices, oils and washing-up liquid for the vagina), the Restaurant and Hotel "Rose", the "Cultural Centre Thelema", the library with over 30,000 volumes since the early 1970s, a museum with thelemic trivia, the printing machines, a photo laboratory, an audio editing studio, a biotope with a little pond and the unsuccessful "Apiculture Thelema".
Metzger never had much money (e.g. in 1986 he paid taxes for 10,000 Swiss Francs income and 30,000 Swiss Francs capital: which shows him living far under the subsistence level) and had to be supported by the rich Annemarie Aeschbach. It was her who paid for everything in Stein, also for the specially erected chapel for the Gnostic Catholic Church of which Metzger was Patriarch since June 1960 (after Herbert Fritsche's death). When the church bell was brought into the Chapel, a ceremony was held, that is a march through the near village Stein accompanied by the village people. Since the early 1950s, the Gnostic Mass is regularly celebrated on Sundays.
The Swiss Army authorities did not supply any information (for data security reasons) but when Metzger served in 1956, Friedrich / Frederic Mellinger edited Metzger's magazine "Ex Oriente Lux". Metzger also published the serials "Equinox", the "Oriflamme", the "Oriflamme Lectures" and the "Ketzerbrevier".
Scandal in the yellow press
Not all members had been happy with Metzger's behaviour. See
Montenegro's correspondence with European Thelemites in the
Caused by Charles Mansons' involvment with Jean Brayton's Solar Lodge of the O.T.O. (a satellite of the dissolved 2nd Agape Lodge in California), the worldwide media reported on the O.T.O. and in 1969 the "Washington Post" wrote that a "Boy Tells of Chaining by Cultists". With this newspaper clip Metzger travelled to the American Embassy in Berne which reported to the Director of the FBI: "He stated that he was afraid that these people were giving his organization a bad name in the U.S., and he wished to emphasize that they had nothing to do with his society."
At the same time, Metzger's offshoot group in Germany run by Walter Englert attracted the attention of German journalists. A certain Horst Knaut researched also the Fraternitas Saturni and visited protagonists like Walter Jantschik, of course Metzger and his allies and many other Swiss and German occultists. Knaut published his "findings" in 1972 in soft porn magazines which led to police raids in Stein and caused the fall of the Swiss Abbey of Thelema.
Metzger and his lover Anita Borgert filed suit against Horst Knaut and dragged him through several Courts. But in 1976 Knaut had to pay damages only for his assumption that it was after the Gnostic Mass when the orgies took place. Eventually, Knaut published a book in 1979 (Das Testament des Bösen) where he summarized all his boulevard articles in the soft porn magazines. It is this book that inspires still today some of the anti-cult "researchers" who think that the O.T.O. groups are a nest of pedophiles and satanists.
After the Fall
In the 1970s there were more academics researching the O.T.O. than
there were members worldwide. Alongside the protestant priest
Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack: Karl Frick, Helmut Moeller, Oscar Schlag,
Fritz Bolle, Ellic Howe, Gerald Yorke, Francis King, Harald
The financial reserves of Annemarie Aeschbach seemed to be used up. Metzger distanced himself in the local church newspapers from the "madness of the madman Crowley" while parts of the unused countryside on the spot of the Abbey of Thelema was put up for public auction. The public seminars ended in 1980, as well as the publication of the Oriflamme magazine. Metzger's lover Anita Borgert left Stein, the Gasthof "Rose" was rented to the World Wildlife Fund and Metzger contacted the Swiss Lodgemaster of the Fraternitas Saturni, Hermann Gilomen whether he wanted to take over the whole Abbey. In vain, Gilomen considered the whole enterprise as too exhaustive.
They solved their problems nonetheless. Since 1982, Annemarie Aeschbach paid taxes for over half a million Swiss Francs, new members from the nearby Austrian border rejuvenated the Sunday breakfeasts at the tables in Stein but Metzger's health went downwards.
His second family apart from the O.T.O. in Stein was the Artist's Guild in Zuerich. His nickname there was "Why?" because this was his sole and only contribution at the discussions. (In 1971, the complete Guild was invited to Stein where they listened to the Rubber band sound and enjoyed their beer.) — In 1988, Theo Pinkus (son of Felix Lazerus Pinkus, Metzger's spiritual father) noticed that Metzger had suffered from a stroke and lost a lot of his memory. A puzzled Oscar Schlag told following anecdote: Schlag visited Metzger in Stein in July 1989. After a nice conversation Metzger turned towards Schlag and asked: "Do you know Oscar Schlag?"
In 1989 the Gasthof Rose was again maintained by Annemarie Aeschbach. Obviously the rejuvenation through Austrian members was successful.
Metzger died on 14 July 1990. 35 people attended the funeral ceremony, mostly young and seemingly wealthy members. The ceremony was not held in the chapel in Stein but in the official chapel in St. Gallen. Annemarie Aeschbach hired a trumpetist and an organist. The chief of the Artist's Guild honoured Metzger's work as a stage magician (something which upset Annemarie Aeschbach who later complained: "Metzger did not work with tricks"). The Order's members did not honour his life with exact dates, there were no thelemic key sentences nor the mention of the O.T.O. and the like. A young woman laid three roses on the coffin: "The white rose on your head means Wisdom, the red rose upon your feet is Strength and the pink rose on your heart is Beauty.". This is a paraphrased part of a Theodor Reuss ritual of circa 1921. It was also a shortened version of the ritual that Metzger had performed for his wife Rösli in 1972.
Like his wife's ashes, Metzger's ashes are kept on the altar of the Gnostic Chapel in Stein at the Abbey of Thelema.
Metzger died on 14th July, 1990, of a pulmonary embolism “after lengthy sufferings and great misfortunes.” He left a power vacuum out of which emerged two concurring camps within the Swiss O.T.O.. One was led by Markus Kumer, who made an unsuccessful bid to open the group to the public again with a “Society for Humanitarian Research” (doubtless adapting it to the prevailing ‘New Age’ zeitgeist). The opposing group was led by a teacher called Olaf Raederer; both Raederer and Kumer were then resident in Austria. But Annemarie Aeschbach, who had supported the Swiss O.T.O. financially since the early 1950s, rose to the occasion and assumed leadership for the time being, since Metzger had named his successor neither verbally nor in his Will. She transferred (with two removal lorries) all her household furniture and goods from Zuerich to Stein. The printing presses were dismantled and the “Aeschbach-Stiftung” was founded on 21st November, 1995.
In 1999, William Breeze sent a letter for Fraeulein Aeschbach to sign, which acknowledged him as O.H.O. of the Ordo Templi Orientis. Of course, Fraeulein Aeschbach had no intention of signing such a document and a month or so later she rewrote the letter, removing all mentions of the O.H.O., but agreeing not to pursue any copyright claims:
“The Psychosophische Gesellschaft is a registered association in accordance with SZGB, Art. 60ff. It was founded by Hermann Jos. Metzger in 1945.
“From the Bylaws § 2/ II Purpose:
“As a second purpose, the Psychosophische Gesellschaft, in accordance with the object of an upholding association, has taken on the talk to facilitate and maintain:
“a) The existence of the Ordo Illuminati, the World Federation of Illuminati.
“b) The tradition of the Gnostic Catholic Church
“c) Research Groups, Research Projects about initiatory currents which are related to the traditions named under a) and b) as, e.g., the ‘Ordo Templi Orientis’, the ‘Rosicrucians’, etc.
“Since 1954 we have published — on behalf of Karl Joh. Germer — works by Aleister Crowley in German under the Copyright ‘Genossenschaft Psychosophia’ and ‘Verlag Psychosophische Gesellschaft’, actually in the succession of ‘Thelema’ publishing house, Leipzig, Martha Kuentzel etc.
The OTO registered in California led by Grady McMurtry, today led by William Breeze had published works by Aleister Crowley in beautiful and original presentation during the last years. They have thus proven that they are both willing and able to deliver the literary work by Aleister Crowley in a worthy fashion.
“In order the simplify the handling of the copyrights, in order to leave them centrally in one hand, and being convinced that the OTO will fulfil its task diligently, we non-contentiously abandon any demand for the copyrights with respect to the works by Aleister Crowley on behalf of the OTO California currently led by William Breeze.”
And in October 1973, "Oriflamme" 138: "Thus in the 18th century those who followed the tradition of the Ordo Illuminatorum, who laid down the differing original elements in the Grades, understood themselves to be an Academia Masonica. The grades of blue, green, red, black and white white meant: the builders, who built the Temple; those who perfected the temple and who mastered technical sciences; the Rosicrucian chapter who studied nature and the secrets of creation; the Temple Knights, who defended the temple, and the Priestly grades, who tended the Graal in the temples. At the turn of the century, that is in the time between 1890 and 1920, was the time of the last great schisms. Since we are all called to and are based upon the historical ideals of the Order, we are under obligation to them. All other branches from this tree, whom we have reunited with the order since 1952, are cited on historical grounds, and in order to insure a correct understanding of the situation. The task we have undertaken is: to transfer the Order on to the next generation in all its purity; that was the grounds why the older Brothers ... — even those of the split off branches — have passed on this heritage to us."
Translation and adaption from a chapter on the Swiss O.T.O. Protagonists in "Das O.T.O.-Phänomen" (containing an interview with Hansruedi Giger) — German original online. This old version dates from 1994 and is completely updated and enlarged in Der O.T.O. Phänomen RELOAD from 2011.
See also Karl Germer's correspondence with Friedrich / Frederic Mellinger. And Thelema in Appenzell ?
Das Milieu des Templer Reichs - Die Sklaven Sollen Dienen. Hanns Heinz Ewers - Lanz von Liebenfels - Karl Germer, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller - Martha Kuentzel - Friedrich Lekve - Hermann Joseph Metzger - Christian Bouchet - Paolo Fogagnolo - James Wasserman. Unbequeme Aspekte in der Geschichte von O.T.O. und Thelema
English Version The Templar's Reich
Versiune romana: Reich-ul Templier
Of Booksellers And Other Grand Masters of the O.T.O.: Detailed biographies on Heinrich Tränker, Karl Germer, Henri Birven, Spencer Lewis, C.H. Petersen, Eduard Munninger — and their relation with the O.T.O. under Reuss, Crowley and Metzger — containing Henri Birven's "Obituary on Karl Germer" with interesting details about Crowley in Berlin in 1930
Eduard Munninger: Roses in Austria. The successor to Arnoldo Krumm-Heller
To the main page of Photographs and Documents
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More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan - Jünger, Jäger und Justiz