Grave in Hallein / Austria
pre-Ordo Templi Orientis
It is my conviction that Carl Kellner had as much to do with the O.T.O. as Rudolf Steiner (or Franz Hartmann or the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light) :
Of course, they both knew Theodor Reuss personally and they shared mutual interest in Yoga, but to render this common interest as the basis for either Steiner or Kellner as ancestors of the O.T.O. is historically unproven.
It was only after Kellner's death in 1905 that Reuss started to develop a study group that was later called O.T.O. — Maybe this group consisted of yoga practitioners of Kellner's private circle, maybe this group was made up by members of the many para-masonic organisations to which both Kellner and Reuss belonged. But all this is in NO WAY evidence of Kellner being either the founder of the O.T.O. or the man who inspired it.
It was 7 years after Kellner's death [!] that Theodor Reuss published that Kellner was the co-founder of the O.T.O.
On the 9th of June, Kellner's body was taken to Hallein for the funeral in a splendidly-appointed hearse, and was then buried in the family grave at Oberalm. But in 1907, his remains were exhumed and cremated at Munich; the ashes were then placed in an elaborate monument built in his honour at the Hallein cemetery.
Carl Kellner's monumental tomb may still be found in the cemetery at Hallein; it is doubtful if anyone pays it much attention nowadays, unless it is to notice the rather unconventional symbols with which it is decorated. The themes of this ornamentation seem to have been strongly influenced by the ideas of Kellner's successor Theodor Reuss. There can be little doubt that Reuss had made a substantial donation towards the design and building of the tomb, because in 1907 no issues of his magazine the Oriflamme appeared — there wasn't enough left in the Reuss coffers to subsidise any publishing that year. The monument was designed by the artist Wilhelm Heyda in a not unpleasing Art Nouveau style. It features two praying angels, and pendant decorations of Templar crosses, triangular 'pyramids of fire', and two pillars inscribed 'Jachin' and 'Boaz'. But its most important decoration is a sort of cult-icon in the form of a sculpted image of the Virgin Mary, placed atop a sort of altar. It was obviously designed in accord with ideas that Reuss promulgated within the O.T.O, for this Mary, depicted in a strongly Art Nouveau manner, resembles not so much the Virgin of Christian iconography, but the goddess Maya. She is shown standing upon a crescent moon, a symbol of the freed soul overcoming the bonds of matter; but this could also be taken as a symbol of a 'mystic marriage' — body and mind cannot unite without the soul. Her pose is worthy of remark as well: she holds the infant Jesus towards the lower half of her body, and the child stretches out its arms in the form of a cross. This strongly resembles the attitudes in which the Virgin and Child were depicted by the heretical Bogomil sect; yet the symbolism is plain enough — she embodies the
life-affirming qualities of love.