Heinrich Traenker - Pansophia and the Ordo Templi Orientis

Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon

Heinrich Traenker — Bookseller in Germany

P.R. Koenig

In Germany, at the turn of the century during the founding chaos of Theosophy, Heinrich Traenker played a major role as publisher. He did not establish contact with Theodor Reuss until 1919 although he had been told about Reuss many years earlier by Franz Hartmann (another key figure in the development of Theosophy and once friend of Carl Kellner). Although they never met in flesh, Traenker became the X° for Germany through Reuss (10 May 1921 - C.S. Jones was also made a X° on the same day). Reuss also wrote two other charters for Germans in 1921: to Arnoldo Krumm-Heller who eventually erected his Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua, the A.·. A.·. and the Gnostic Catholic Church in South America (while still having his "Sumo Supremo Santuario" in Berlin-Heiligensee), and to Henri Birven who soon would be influential in the development of the Thelemic movement in Germany. Heinrich Traenker
Around 1920 Traenker created the "Pansophia", mainly a publishing project that was financially supported by Karl Germer who became co-owner in 1922. Another member of "Pansophia" was Eugen Grosche, who would go on to found the Fraternitas Saturni. Traenker never thought highly of Reuss and only after Reuss' death did he consider the O.T.O. a suitable addition to his collection of Orders. After Reuss' death he visited Reuss' widow in a vain attempt to buy the remains of his papers etc. The papers were eventually purchased by Hans Rudolf Hilfiker. Traenker gained insights into Reuss' files and discovered that there was no appointed successor to the office of OHO. He corresponded intensely with the American X° Charles S. Jones (all of his books have been translated and published in Germany by Traenker) and invited Crowley in 1925 in order to elect him a "World Saviour". Crowley upset Traenker so much that he called the police and withdrew his vote from the election. So from 1928 on, Traenker started to call himself OHO of the O.T.O., of the AASR, the Swedenborg Rite, the Golden Dawn, MM, the Rite of Heredom, the HBL, the Fraternitas Rosa Crucis, the Gnostic Church, and the Illuminates.

In 1930 he collaborated with A.M.O.R.C. which came to nothing whereupon he founded the "Societas Pansophia Universalis" in New York in 1932. Heinrich Traenker Universal Pansophic Society Societas Pansophia Universalis Pansophic Intellectualizer G.W. Surya
The sigil slightly reminds of Reuss's SOTOM. [28] Seal Sigill Siegel Heinrich Traenker Universal Pansophic Society Societas Pansophia Universalis Pansophic Intellectualizer
SOTOM Ordo Templi Orientis Hermann Joseph Metzger

Metzger's SOTOM–seal
Theodor Reuss SOTOM seal

Theodor Reuss's SOTOM–seal

Meanwhile Jones aroused the anger of Crowley through propagating the "Aeon of Truth and Justice" which led to the delicate expulsion of the Reuss-X° of the US (Jones) through the Reuss-X° of England and self-styled OHO (Crowley). As to the question of O.T.O. sovereignty, Crowley's friend Gerald Yorke, had a clear opinion as an expert, when he wrote in 1948 to Karl Germer, Crowley's heir: "Jones and Traenker's X°'s go back to Reuss and not to A.C. They therefore in the Constitution of the O.T.O. are the ones who establish the next O.H.O., and even if you are X° from Crowley, they can outvote you in a council to choose the new O.H.O. They could then appoint their own Treasurer General, and he could I think, lay legal claim to the effects and the copyright." [read the integral letter]
Jones died on 24 February 1950. But Traenker was still alive.

At the end of July 1950 the Swiss H.J. Metzger payed a visit to Traenker, who, because he saw himself as the successor to Theodor Reuss, was seen by Metzger as his "greatest adversary". Metzger did not dare acknowledge his own relationship with Traenker's enemy Eugen Grosche of the Fraternitas Saturni, because both Metzger and Grosche feared a court case, which could result in Traenker excluding them from the exchange of the secret papers, especially concerning the Supremum Sanctuarium of the O.T.O. In order to protect his own O.T.O. Metzger discussed with Grosche the the possibility of putting the O.T.O. under the protection of the FS in Germany where it would be incorporated as 18° in the then 33°-degrees scale of the FS. "Then the Lodge [FS] stands before [the O.T.O.], and he [Traenker] can not go against it. As part of an Association, it enjoys rightful protection." "The Johannism[asonry] [Craft] would head the first three degrees of the FS, then follows the Pronaos[degrees] of the FS, and in the Pentalphae degree [18°] members were admitted to the working of the O.T.O., since it is assumed that the O.T.O. includes the Johannism[asonry]. -

Alas, Metzger and Grosche would soon quarrel endlessly. Heinrich Traenker died only a few years later in 1956. The "Pansophic Rites" lived on in Eduard Munninger (1901-1965) who also considered himself a heir to Arnoldo Krumm-Heller's FRA in Austria.

This is an outline from the German "Das OTO-Phaenomen" (1994) and the English "O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick (1999).

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