After he had been expelled from the “Order of the Gold and Rosy Cross” in 1780, Baron Hans Heinrich von Ecker und Eckhoffen (1750-1790) laid the foundations of the “Asiatic Brothers of the Rosy Cross” in 1781, which he claimed was the “most powerful and wise order of Knights and Brothers of Light.”
The Knights of Light pretended that their origins lay with the Seven Wise Fathers who led the Seven Churches of Asia as mentioned in Revelation. The Order was apparently a sort of melting-pot of Christians, Jews, and also Muslims from Turkey, Persia and Armenia. This resulted in a synchretic admixture of the most diverse elements, mainly from the Qabalah and Gnosis.
After they had undergone various sorts of preliminaries, members were finally received into the illustrious purlieus of the truly Wise.
Similar to Theodor Reuss' later habits, people claimed that Ecker’s founding of his order had been a simple pretext for procuring money – he had apparently squandered his personal fortune and not repaid loans solicited from order members – neither accusation being true. But just as with Reuss, it seems that additional costs were payable upon any “promotion” to a higher grade in Ecker’s order. At the same time membership-dues were collected, on which the order lived. Nonetheless, there were many noble personalities and aristocrats in the ranks of the Asiatic Brothers.
Over the years a number of exposés were published, opposing the Order and betraying all its secrets. In 1785 a royal decree had been promulgated, dissolving all working alchemical lodges, and particularly the Asiatic Brothers. However, its Qabalistic and Gnostic elements influenced many later organisations.
Reuss took the inspiration for the outline of his VII° O.T.O. from an 1866 exposé of the Asiatic Brothers called “Der Signatstern”. The original ritual text used by Reuss referred to a priesthood, but the O.T.O. ritual introduces a feminine element by making one of the performers a High Priestess:
The Perfect Ceremony
Grand Inquisitor Commander
Prince of the Royal Secret
Sovereign Grand Inspector General
and last degree of
“The truly active members of the O.T.O. were called Hermetic Brothers of Light or Illuminati, which was historically confirmed by Fra. Peregrinus X° O.T.O. (Theodor Reuss) and Baphomet XI° O.T.O. (Aleister Crowley).” (H.J. Metzgers Statement of 9.1.1963).|
“The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor” was founded by Pascal Beverly “Randolph” (1825-8.10.1875), its inner circle calling itself the “Fraternity of Eleusis”. In 1886 the sole HBL known to exist, in Boston, was closed down, out of which grew the “Eulis Brotherhood”, which could have influenced Carl Kellner or the Frenchman Gérard Encausse/”Papus”.
On 22.1.1917, in his Manifesto "Anational Grandloge & Mystic Temple: Verità Mistica, Or. Ascona" , Reuss was still describing the O.T.O. as the “Hermetic Brotherhood of Light”. It is quite possible that this was merely another of Reuss’s frauds, as he admitted in a letter to Crowley that the description “Hermetic Brotherhood of Light” was only used on ‘tactical grounds’. Basically, by the “Asiatic Brothers of the Rosy Cross” Reuss indeed meant the “powerful and wise Order of the Knights and Brothers of Light”.
Heinrich Tränker also used this title at various times and places, for instance in his “2nd Fama” of 1930.
Reuben Swinburne Clymer viewed himself as a successor of the HBL.
Enthüllte Geheimnisse des .·. Mystischen Ordens der Ritter des Lichts.
Herausgegeben von Dr. Musallam.
Franz Sättler. Hekate. el-Khâf. Adonistische Gesellschaft. Adonismus. Adonistischer Verlag. — Berlin-Weissensee, No date.
The AdonistsFor just a few weeks in 1928, the Fraternitas Saturni [F.S.] was allied with the 'Adonistic Society', a sex-magical group founded on May 1st 1925 by Franz Sättler "Musallam" (1884-1942?) the guru of Franz Bardon, whose works on magic would later have an unaccountable success in both German and badly-translated English. The alliance was negotiated by Wilhelm Quintscher "Rah-Omir, Ophias, Chakum Kabbalit". On March 13th 1928, the alliance with the "Order of Mental Builders" (this was another name for the Adonists) split up; many members of it entered the F.S., and after January 3rd 1929 "purely businesslike" relations alone existed between the FS and the remaining Adonists.
In 1950, from the Adonists (who were, it seems, often closely concerned with "erotic questions") the Swiss Hermann Joseph Metzger (who went under the alias of 'Servius' among them) was able "to learn something, especially as far as organisation was concerned." From a certain unnamed Adonist professor, Metzger "learnt one day a week for two years, in an intensive way, about humanistic education and scientific theories, to degree level."
|Franz Sättler / Dr Musallam (ed.): "Der wahrhaftige feurige Drache" ("from a manuscript found 1522 in France"). Lucifer, Beelzebub, Astaroth. Adonistischer Verlag. Advertisement: "Der Signatstern". No place and no date.|
H.J. Metzger and the Fraternitas SaturniHermann Joseph Metzger, Outer Head of the Swiss Ordo Templi Orientis, was also inspired by the revelations contained in the “Signatstern” book.
In 1951 Metzger awarded the Grand Master of the Fraternitas Saturni, Eugen Grosche (alias Gregor A. Gregorius), a meaningless diploma bearing the text “We declare that as of this date, S.·.M.·. Gregorius = Honoris Causa = is a legitimately admitted member.”
[From: 'Materialien Zum O.T.O.']
Also to be found on this diploma is a motto in code: “The Truth is the Seventh Wisdom”, the letters being enciphered according to the ‘Templar Clerics’ code from “Der Signatstern”. But Metzger had confused the whole thing by only using half the code and mixing it up with another Masonic cypher.|
|Extract from Der O.T.O. Phaenomen RELOAD.|
Translated by Mark Parry-Maddocks.
English: Theodor Reuss and the Brothers of Light in the Seven Churches of Asia. The origins of Brotherhood of Light of Theodor Reuss.
Deutsch: Die Brueder des Lichtes der sieben Gemeinden in Asien. Theodor Reuss' Hermetische Bruderschaft des Lichtes.
Français: Les Frères de Lumière dans les Sept Églises d'Asie. Les origines de la Fraternité de Lumière de Theodor Reuss.
English version: O.T.O. — Early Years and Development.
Deutsche Version: Zur Geschichte des Ordo Templi Orientis.
Versione italiano: Ordo Templi Orientis — I primi anni e la sua evoluzione.
Traduccion castellano: O.T.O. — Original y su Desarrollo.
Theodor Reuss' O.T.O. rituals.
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More on these orders and their protagonists in: Andreas Huettl und Peter-R. Koenig: Satan - Jünger, Jäger und Justiz.