This is a collection of the most notable works of Arthur Waite, the British researcher and writer of occultism and magic. The presented here book presents the history and development of such occult phenomena as sorcery and necromancy, religious attack on freemasonry, Goetic Theurgy, and more. Waite was known as a Rider–Waite–Smith Tarot deck creator. This collection also includes the first book where Waite laid out his theory and practice of the Tarot deck with authentic illustrations.
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The term Modern Satanism is not intended to signify the development of some new aspect of old doctrine concerning demonology, or some new argument for the personification of the evil principle in universal nature. It is intended to signify the alleged revival, or, at least, the reappearance to some extent in public, of a cultus diabolicus, or formal religion of the devil, the existence of which, in the middle ages, is registered by the known facts of the Black Sabbath, a department, however, of historical research, to which full justice yet remains to be done. By the hypothesis, such a religion may assume one of two forms; it may be a worship of the evil principle as such, namely, a conscious attempt on the part of human minds to identify themselves with that principle, or it may be the worship of a power which is regarded as evil by other religions, from which view the worshippers in question dissent. The necessity for this distinction I shall make apparent in the first chapter of this book. A religion of the darkness, subsisting under each of these distinctive forms, is said to be in practice at the present moment, and to be characterised, as it was in the past, by the strong evidence of miracles,—in other words, by transcendental phenomena of a very extraordinary kind, connecting in a direct manner with what is generically termed Black Magic. Now, Black Magic in the past may have been imposture reinforced by delusion, and to state that it is recurring at the present day does not commit anyone to an opinion upon its veridical origin. To say, also, that the existence of modern diabolism has passed from the region of rumour into that of exhaustive and detailed statement, is to record a matter of fact, and I must add that the evidence in hand, whatever its ultimate value, can be regarded lightly by those only who are unacquainted with its extent and character. This evidence is, broadly, of three kinds:—(a) The testimony of independent men of letters, who would seem to have come in contact therewith; (b) the testimony volunteered by former initiates of such secret associations as are dedicated to a cultus diabolicus; (c) the testimony of certain writers, claiming special sources of information, and defending some affected interests of the Roman Catholic Church.
My purpose in this book is to distinguish, so far as may be possible, what is true from what is false in the evidence, and I have undertaken the task, firstly, because modern mystics are accused, en masse, of being concerned in this cultus; secondly, because the existence of modern Satanism has given opportunity to a conspiracy of falsehood which is wide in its ramifications, and serious on account of its source; thirdly, because the question itself has awakened considerable interest both within and without transcendental circles, and it is desirable to replace hazy and exaggerated notions by a clear and formal statement.
I have connected the new diabolism with France in my title, because the evidence in each of its kinds has been filed by French writers, and we have no other source of information. So far as that evidence is sound, we have to thank France for producing it; but, on the other hand, should it prove that a whole city of invention has been constructed, “with all its spires and gateways,” upon a meagre basis of fact, it is just that French imagination should have full credit for the decorative art which has adorned this Question of Lucifer.
The plan of my work had been sketched, and a number of chapters written, when I found myself to some extent preceded by a writer well known to occultists under the pseudonym of Papus, who has quite recently published a small brochure, entitled Le Diable et L’Occultisme, which is a brief defence of transcendentalists against the accusations in connection with Satanism. I gladly yield to M. Papus the priority in time, which was possible to a well-informed gentleman, at the centre of the conspiracy. His little work, however, does not claim to be either a review or a criticism, and does not therefore, in any sense, cover the ground which I have travelled. It is an exposition and exoneration of his own school of mystic thought, which is that of the Martinists, and I have mentioned it in this connection in its proper place.
If a short time ago that ultimate and universal source of reference, the person of average intelligence, had been asked concerning Modern Diabolism, or the Question of Lucifer,—What it is? Who are its disciples? Where is it practised? And why?—he would have replied, possibly with some asperity:—“The question of Lucifer! There is no question of Lucifer. Modern Diabolism! There is no modern Diabolism.” And all the advanced people and all the strong minds would have extolled the average intelligence, whereupon the matter would have been closed hermetically, without disquieting and unwelcome investigations like the present.
The Great Teacher of Christianity beheld Lucifer fall from heaven like lightning, and, in a different sense, the modern world has witnessed a similar spectacle. Assuredly the demon of Milton has been cast down from the sky of theology, and, except in a few centres of extreme doctrinal concentration, there is no place found for him. The apostles of material philosophy have in a manner searched the universe, and have produced—well, the material philosophy, and therein is no question of Lucifer. At the opposite pole of thought there is, let us say, the spiritualist, in possession of many instruments superior, at least by the hypothesis, to the search-lights of science, through which he receives the messages of the spheres and establishes a partial acquaintance with an order which is not of this world; but in that order also there appears to be no question of Lucifer, though vexed questions there are without number concerning “unprogressed spirits,” to say nothing of the elementary. Between these poles there is the flux and reflux of multitudinous opinions; but, except at the centres mentioned, there is still no question of Lucifer; it has been shelved or dropped.
The revival of mystical philosophy, and, moreover, of transcendental experiment, which is prosecuted in secret to a far greater extent than the public can possibly be aware, has, however, set many old oracles chattering, and they are more voluble at the present moment than the great Dodonian grove. As might be expected, they whisper occasionally of deeds done in the darkness which look weird when exposed to the day. The terms Satanism, Luciferianism, Diabolism, and their equivalents, have been buzzed frequently, though with some indistinctness, of late, and in accents that indicate the existence of a living terror—people do not quite know of what kind—rather than an exploded superstition. To be plain, the Question of Lucifer has reappeared, and in a manner which must be eminently disconcerting to the average intelligence and the advanced and strong in mind. It has reappeared not as a speculative inquiry into the possibility of a personal embodiment of evil operating mysteriously, but after a wholly spiritual manner, for the propagation of the second death; we are asked to acknowledge that there is a visible and tangible manifestation of the descending hierarchy taking place at the close of a century which has denied that there is any prince of darkness.
Now there are some subjects which impress one at first sight as unserious, but we come to regard them differently when we find that they are being taken seriously. We have been accustomed, with some show of reason, to connect the idea of devil-worship with barbarous rites obtaining among savage nations, to regard it, in fact, as a suitable complement of the fetish. It seems hypothetically quite impossible that there can be any person, much less any society or class of persons, who, at this day, and in London, Paris, or New York, adore the evil principle. Hence, to say that there is Black Magic actively in function at the present moment; that there is a living cultus of Lucifer; that Black Masses are celebrated, and involve revolting profanations of the Catholic Eucharist; that the devil appears personally; that he possesses his church, his ritual, his sacraments; that men, women, and children dedicate themselves to his service, or are so devoted by their sponsors; that there are people, assumed to be sane, who would die in the peace of Lucifer; that there are those also who regard his region of eternal fire—a variety unknown to the late Mr Charles Marvin—as the true abode of beatitude—to say all this will not enhance the credibility or establish the intelligence of the speaker.
But this improbable development of Satanism is just what is being earnestly asserted, and the affirmations made are being taken in some quarters au grand sérieux. They are not a growth of to-day or precisely of yesterday; they have been more or less heard for some years, but their prominence at the moment is due to increasing insistence, pretension to scrupulous exactitude, abundant detail, and demonstrative evidence. Reports, furthermore, have quite recently come to hand from two exceedingly circumstantial and exhaustive witnesses, and these have created distinctly a fresh departure. Books have multiplied, periodicals have been founded, the Church is taking action, even a legal process has been instituted. The centre of this literature is at Paris, but the report of it has crossed the Channel, and has passed into the English press. As it is affirmed, therefore, that a cultus of Lucifer exists, and that the men and women who are engaged in it are neither ignorant nor especially mad, nor yet belonging to the lowest strata of society, it is worth while to investigate the matter, and some profit is possible, whatever the issue.
If the devil be actually among us, then for the sake of much which has seemed crass in orthodox religion, thus completely exonerated; for the sake of the fantastic in fiction and the lurid in legend, thus unexpectedly actualised; and, further, as it may be, for the sake of our own souls, we shall do well to know of it. If Abaddon, Apollyon, and the Lord of Flies are to be understood literally; above all, if they are liable to confront us in propria persona between Free Mason’s Hall and Duke Street, or between Duke Street and Avenue Road, then the sooner we can arrange our reconciliation with the one Church which has consistently and invariably taught the one full-grown, virile doctrine of devils, and has the bonâ-fide recipes for knowing, avoiding, and at need of exorcising them, why the better will it be, more especially if we have had previously any leanings towards the conception of an universal order not pivoting on perdition.
If, on the other hand, what is said be of the category of Ananias, as distinguished from what alchemists call the Code of Truth, it will be well also to know that some portions of the old orthodoxies still wait for their deliverance from the bonds of scepticism, that the actual is to be discriminated from the fantastic by the old test, namely, its comparative stupidity, and that we may still create our universe about any pivot that may please us.
I am writing ostensibly for transcendentalists, of whom I am one; it is as a student of transcendentalism that I have been led to examine this modern mystery, equipped as it is with such portentous phenomena. Diabolism is, of course, a transcendental question, and black magic is connected with white by the same antinomy that connects light and darkness. Moreover, we mystics are all to some extent accused by the accusations which are preferred in the matter of modern diabolism, and this is another reason for investigating and making known the result. At the same time, the general question has many aspects of interest for that large class which would demur to be termed transcendental, but confesses to being curious.
The earliest rumour which I have been able to recall in England concerning existing occult practices to which a questionable purpose might be attributed, appeared in a well-known psychological journal some few years since, and was derived from a continental source, being an account of a certain society then existing in Paris, which was devoted to magical practices and in possession of a secret ritual for the evocation of planetary angels; it was an association of well-placed persons, denying any connection with spiritualism, and pretending to an acquaintance with more effectual thaumaturgic processes than those which obtain at séances. The account passed unchallenged, for in the absence of more explicit information, it seemed scarcely worth while to draw attention to the true character of the claim. The secret ritual in question could not have been unknown to specialists in magical literature, and was certainly to myself among these; as a fact, it was one of those numerous clavicles of the goëtic art which used to circulate surreptitiously in manuscript some two centuries ago. There is no doubt that the planetary spirits with which the document was concerned were devils in the intention of its author, and must have been evoked as such, supposing that the process was practised. The French association was not therefore in possession of a secret source of knowledge, but as impositions of this kind are to be à priori expected in such cases by transcendentalists of any experience, I for one refrained from entering any protest at the time.
Much about the same period it became evident that a marked change had passed over certain aspects of thought in “the most enlightened city of the world,” and that among the jeunesse dorée, in particular, there was a strong revulsion against paramount material philosophy; an epoch of transcendental and mystic feeling was, in fact, beginning. Old associations, having transcendental objects, were in course of revival, or were coming into renewed prominence. Martinists, Gnostics, Kabbalists, and a score of orders or fraternities of which we vaguely hear about the period of the French Revolution, began to manifest great activity; periodicals of a mystical tendency—not spiritualistic, not neo-theosophical, but Hermetic, Kabbalistic, and theurgic—were established, and met with success; books which had grievously weighted the shelves of their publishers for something like a quarter of a century were suddenly in demand, and students of distinction on this side of the channel were attracted towards the new centre. The interest was intelligible to professed mystics; the doctrine of transcendentalism has never had but one adversary, which is the density of the intellectual subject, and wherever the subject clarifies, there is idealism in philosophy and mysticism in religion. Moreover, on the part of mystics, especially here in England, the way of that revival had been prepared carefully, and there could be no astonishment that it came, and none, too, that it was accompanied, as it is accompanied almost invariably, by much that does not belong to it in the way of transcendental phenomena. When, therefore, the rumours of Black Magic, diabolism, and the abuse of occult forces began to circulate, there was little difficulty in attributing some foundation to the report.
A distinguished man of letters, M. Huysman, who has passed out of Zolaism in the direction of transcendental religion, is, in a certain sense, the discoverer of modern Satanism. Under the thinnest disguise of fiction, he gives in his romance of La Bas, an incredible and untranslatable picture of sorcery, sacrilege, black magic, and nameless abominations, secretly practised in Paris. Possessing a brilliant reputation, commanding a wide audience, and with a psychological interest attaching to his own personality, which more than literary excellence infuses a contagious element into private views and impressions, he has given currency to the Question of Lucifer, has promoted it from obscurity into prominence, and has made it the vogue of the moment. It is true that, by his vocation of novelist, he is suspected of inventing his facts, and Dr “Papus,” president of the influential Martinist group in French occultism, states quite plainly that the doors of the mystic fraternities have been closed in his face, so that he can know nothing, and his opinions are consequently indifferent. I have weighed these points carefully, but unless the mystic fraternities are connected with diabolism, which Papus would most rightly deny, the exclusion does not remove the opportunity of first-hand knowledge concerning the practice of Satanism, and, “brilliant imagination” apart, M. Huysman has proved quite recently that he is in mortal earnest by his preface to a historical treatise on “Satanism and Magic,” the work of a literary disciple, Jules Bois. In a criticism, which for general soberness and lucidity does not leave much to be desired, he there affirms that a number of persons, not specially distinguished from the rest of the world by the mark of the beast in their foreheads, are “devoted in secret to the operations of Black Magic, communicate or seek to communicate with Spirits of Darkness, for the attainment of ambition, the accomplishment of revenge, the satisfaction of their passions, or some other form of ill-doing.” He affirms also that there are facts which cannot be concealed and from which only one deduction can be made, namely, that the existence of Satanism is undeniable.
To understand the first of these facts I must explain that the attempt to form a partnership with the lost angels of orthodox theology, which attempt constitutes Black Magic, has, in Europe at least, been invariably connected with sacrilege. By the hypothesis of demonology, Satan is the enemy of Christ, and to please Satan the sorcerer must outrage Christ, especially in his sacraments. The facts are as follow:—(a) continuous, systematic, and wholesale robberies of consecrated hosts from Catholic Churches, and this not as a consequence of importing the vessels of the sanctuary, which are often of trifling value and often left behind. The intention of the robbery is therefore to possess the hosts, and their future profanation is the only possible object. Now, before it can be worth while to profane the Eucharist, one must believe in the Real Presence, and this is acknowledged by only two classes, the many who love Christ and some few who hate Him. But He is not profaned, at least not intentionally, by His lovers; hence the sacrilege is committed by His enemies in chief, namely, practisers of Black Magic. It is difficult, I think, to escape from that position; and I should add that sacramental outrages of this astonishing kind, however deeply they may be deplored by the Church, are concealed rather than paraded, and as it is difficult to get at the facts, it may be inferred that they are not exaggerated, at least by the Church; (b) The occasional perpetration of certain outrageous crimes, including murder and other abominations, in which an element of Black Magic has been elicited by legal tribunals. But these are too isolated in place and too infrequent in time to be evidence for Satanic associations or indications of a prevalent practice. They may therefore be released from the custody of the present inquiry to come up for judgment when called on; (c) The existence of a society of Palladists, or professors of certain doctrines termed Palladism, as demonstrated, inter alia, by the publication of a periodical review in its interests.
M. Huysman’s facts, therefore, resolve into acts of sacrilege, indicating associations existing for the purpose of sacrilege, which purpose must, however, be regarded as a means and not an end, and the end in question is to enter into communication with devils. Independently of M. Huysman, I believe there is no doubt about the sacrilege. It is a matter of notoriety that in 1894 two ciboria, containing one hundred consecrated hosts, were carried off by an old woman from the cathedral of Notre Dame under circumstances which indicate that the vessels were not the objects of the larceny. Similar depredations are said to have increased in an extraordinary manner during recent years, and have occurred in all parts of France. No less than thirteen churches belonging to the one diocese of Orleans were despoiled in the space of twelve months, and in the diocese of Lyons the archbishop recommended his clergy to transform the tabernacles into strong boxes. The departments of Aude, Isère, Tarn, Gard, Nièvre, Loiret, Yonne, Haute-Garonne, Somme, Le Nord, and the Dauphiny have been in turn the scene of outrage. Nor are the abominations in question confined to France: Rome, Liguria, Salerno have also suffered, while so far off as the Island of Mauritius a peculiarly revolting instance occurred in 1895.
I am not able to say that the personal researches of the French novelist have proceeded beyond the statistics of sacrilege, which, however, he has collected carefully, and these in themselves constitute a strong presumption. M. Huysman is exhaustive in fiction and reticent in essay-writing, yet he gives us to understand explicitly that the infamous Canon Docre of La Bas is actually living in Belgium, that he is the leader of a “demoniac clan,” and, like the Count de St Germain, is in frequent terror of the possibilities of the life to come. An interviewer has represented M. Huysman as stating that his information was derived from a person who was himself a Satanist, but the revelations disturbed the sect, and the communication ceased, though the author had originally been welcomed “as one of their own.” But it is clear to my own mind that for his descriptions of the orgies which take place at the assemblies of modern black magicians, M. Huysman is mainly indebted to documents which have been placed in his hands by existing disciples of the illuminé Eugene Vintras, and the “Dr Johannes” of La Bas. Vintras was the founder of a singular thaumaturgic sect, incorporating the aspirations of the Saviours of Louis XVII.; he obtained some notoriety about the year 1860, and an account of his claims and miracles will be found in Éliphas Lévi’s Histoire de la Magie, in the same writer’s Clef des Grands Mystères, and in Jules Bois’ Petites Religions de Paris. He left a number of manuscripts behind him, recounting his life-long combats with the priests of black magic—a series of fervid narratives which savour strongly of hallucination, but highly picturesque, and in some quarters accepted quite seriously.
In like manner, concerning the existence of Satanic associations, and especially the Palladium, M. Huysman admittedly derives his knowledge from published sources. We may take it, therefore, that he speaks from an accidental and extrinsic acquaintance, and he is therefore insufficient in himself to create a question of Satanism; he indicates rather than establishes that there is a question, and to learn its scope and nature we must have recourse to the witnesses who claim to have seen for themselves. These are of two kinds, namely, the spy and the seceder—the witness who claims to have investigated the subject at first hand with a view to its exposure, and those who have come forward to say that they once were worshippers of Lucifer, worshippers of Satan, operators of Black Magic, or were at least connected with associations which exist for these purposes, who have now, however, suspended communication, and are stating what they know. In the first class we find only Doctor Bataille; in the second, Diana Vaughan, Jean Kostka, Domenico Margiotta, and Leo Taxil.
Finally, we have, as stated in the preface, some testimony from writers representing the interests of the Latin Church, in a special manner, and speaking with the authority of that Church. The most important of these is the late Archbishop Meurin. At the same time, M. Huysman apart—who occupies much the same quasi-religious position as that which attached a fleeting interest to the personality of Mr W. H. Mallock—all writers and all witnesses are, or assume to be, at the present time, convinced and zealous Roman Catholics.
I have already stated that the purpose of Black Magic is simply and obviously to communicate with devils, and if we interrogate our sources of knowledge as to the object of such communication, it must be admitted that the response is vague. Perhaps the object will best be defined as the reinforcement of human ability by diabolical power and intelligence for the operation of evil along the lines of individual desire and ambition. For the fulfilment of what is good man aspires towards God, and to fulfil evil he attempts to conspire with Satan.
It must, however, be observed that modern devil-worship, as exposed by its French experts, has two aspects, corresponding to the distinction already laid down in my preface. There is (a) devil-worship pure and simple, being an attempt to communicate with evil spirits, admitting that they are evil; (b) the cultus of Lucifer, star of the morning, as distinguished from Satan, on the hypothesis that he is a good spirit. It will be seen very readily that the essence of diabolism is wanting in the second division, namely, the Satanic intention, so that it belongs really to another category, though the classification may be accepted for the moment to prevent dispute at the beginning of a somewhat complex inquiry. The first division is, in any case, Satanism proper, and its adepts are termed Satanists; those of the second division are, on the other hand, Luciferians, Palladists, &c. The two orders are further distinguished as unorganised and as organised diabolism. The cultus of Satan is supposed to be mainly practised by isolated persons or small and obscure groups; that of Lucifer is centralised in at least one great and widespread institution—in other words, the first is rare and sporadic, the second a prevalent practice. We accordingly hear little of the one, while the testimonies which have been collected are concerned exclusively with the other. It is possible, in fact, to dismiss Satanism of the primary division in a few words, because materials are wanting for its history. It is founded on orthodox Christianity; it acknowledges that the devil is a lost angel, but it affirms that the God of the Christians has deceived His believers, has betrayed the cause of humanity, has exacted the suppression of the nature with which He Himself has endowed it; they have therefore abandoned a cruel and tyrannical Master, and have gone over in despair to His enemy.
Satanism of the second division, its principles and its origin, will be described in the second chapter.
The identification of the cultus of Lucifer with devil-worship pure and simple is not, as we have seen, at first sight an entirely just proceeding, but at the same time it is inevitable. As already observed, the source of all our knowledge concerning Modern Diabolism exists within the pale of the Catholic Church; the entire literature is written from the standpoint of that church, and has been created solely in its interests. Some of that literature has been put forth with the special marks of high ecclesiastical approbation, and to some this guarantee is wanting, but the same spirit informs the whole. To insist on this point is important for many reasons which will become apparent at the close of our enquiry, and for one which concerns us now. It is impossible for the Catholic Church to do otherwise than brand the cultus of Lucifer as identical with that of Satan, because, according to her unswerving instruction, the name Lucifer is an equivalent of Satan, and, moreover, the Luciferian cultus is so admittedly anti-Christian that no form of Christianity could do otherwise than regard it as a worship of darkness and evil. While, therefore, the adoration of a good principle under this discredited name may in one of its aspects be merely an error of judgment, and not the worship of a devil, apart from other facts which destroy this consideration, we must all agree that from the standpoint of Christian and Latin orthodoxy the Luciferian is a diabolist, though not in the sense of the Satanist.
The doctrine of Lucifer has been tersely described by Huysman as a kind of reversed Christianity—a Catholicism à rebours. It is, in fact, the revival of an old heresy founded on what we have most of us been accustomed to regard as a philosophical blunder; in a word, it is a Manichæan system having a special anti-Christian application, for while affirming the existence of two equal first principles, Adonaï and Lucifer, it regards the latter as the god of light and goodness, while the Christian Adonaï is the prince of darkness and the veritable Satan. It is inferred from the condition of the world at the present time that the mastery of the moment resides with the evil principle, and that the beneficent Deity is at a disadvantage. Adonaï reigns surely, as the Christian believes, but he is the author of human misery, and Jesus is the Christ of Adonaï, but he is the messenger of misfortune, suffering, and false renunciation, leading ultimately to destruction when the Deus maledictus shall cease to triumph. The worshippers of Lucifer have taken sides in the cause of humanity, and in their own cause, with the baffled principle of goodness; they co-operate with him in order to insure his triumph, and he communicates with them to encourage and strengthen them; they work to prepare his kingdom, and he promises to raise up a Saviour among them, who is Antichrist, their leader and king to come.
Such is the doctrine of Lucifer according to the testimony of witnesses who have come out from his cultus; it is not an instruction which à priori would seem likely to commend itself to a numerically powerful following, but the society which is concerned with its propagation is affirmed to have spread over the whole world, and to be represented in all its chief cities. It is that which we have already found mentioned by M. Huysman as possessing a demonstrated existence and being a proof positive of modern Satanism, namely, the Palladian Order. Having broadly ascertained its principles, our next course is to discover its alleged history, and here it is necessary to admit that it is a matter of some difficulty to place the position in such an aspect that it will be a tolerable subject for inquiry among readers in England. The mystery of modern Diabolism and the Cultus of Lucifer is a part of the mystery of Masonry as interpreted by an Anti-Masonic movement now at work in France. The black magic, of which we hear so much, involves a new aspect of the old Catholic Crusade against the Fraternity of the Square and Compass, and by the question of Lucifer is signified an alleged discovery that Masons diabolise.
Now, we are all well acquainted with the historical fact that the Latin Church has long been hostile to Masonry, that popes have condemned the order, and have excommunicated its initiates. Having regard to the position of the brotherhood here in England, most of us have been content to infer in this respect that the ripe old age of the Church is passing into a second childhood; some, however, have concluded that there may be more in Continental Freemasonry than meets the English eye, and here the Church herself comes forward to assure them that the fraternity abroad is a hotbed of political propaganda, and is responsible for the most disastrous revolutions which have perplexed the modern world; that it is actually, as the exploded Robison described it, a conspiracy against crowned heads; and that it is at the present time the most potent, most secret enemy which checkmates and hinders herself.
It is now further affirmed that behind the Masonry of to-day—here in England posing as a benefit society, and political or not upon the Continent, but everywhere disclaiming any connection with a religious propaganda—there is affirmed to be another Masonry, of which the ordinary Mason knows nothing, secretly directing the order, and devoted to the cultus of Lucifer. This organisation, which has sprung up within recent years, is largely, though not exclusively, recruited from Masonry; it works through the powerful Masonic apparatus, and, according to the evidence which has been put in, it has obtained a substantial and masterful control over the entire Fraternity. It has focussed the raw material of Masonic hostility towards the Catholic Church; as it is anti-Christian in religion, so is it revolutionary in politics; and once more, it is called the Palladian Order.
This exceedingly grave and important accusation, together with its side issues, has perhaps all the more claim on our consideration because, apart from actual diabolism, which is in itself so paralysing as almost to arrest discussion, it conflicts with all that we know or believe concerning the Masonic constitution. Let me briefly collect the points. (a) Masonry possesses a secret directing centre—which has been strenuously denied by the Fraternity. (b) It has a religious mission and a doctrinal propaganda—which has also been invariably denied. (c) It is concerned with political objects—which, for the most part, is denied. (d) It has a transcendental teaching—which is generally denied, and (e) is concerned largely with transcendental practices and phenomena—which would be denied absolutely, had the question been seriously raised till this day. (f) It initiates women—which, except in a very secondary, occasional, and insignificant manner, is in toto and at all times denied. The last point is brought within the scope of our inquiry because the Palladium is an androgyne order.
Now, it will be fairly well known to many who are not within the ranks of the fraternity that the Grand Lodges of every country are supposed to be autonomous, and that there has been no previous impeachment of this fact; that, ostensibly at least, there is no central institution to which they are answerable in Masonry. Individual lodges derive from a single Grand Lodge and are responsible thereto, but Grand Lodges themselves are supreme and irresponsible. It will be known also that the Masonic system in England differs from that of France, that the French rite has always occupied a somewhat heterodox position, and that since the Grand Orient expunged the Grand Architect of the Universe, so to speak, from its symbolism, official communication has been suspended by the Grand Lodge of England. It will be known further that outside recognised Masonic systems many rites have arisen which are only Masonic to the extent that their point of departure is from the Master-grade. As a special instance may be cited the Supreme Oriental Rite of Memphis and Misraïm. In England the Lodge meetings of these rites are never suffered to take place in the great central institution of Freemasons Hall; in France, the Grand Orient has consistently forbidden its members to participate in the Memphis system. To hold Masonry responsible for irregularities or abuses which from time to time may obtain in these fantastic developments from the parent institution, would be about as just and reasonable as to impeach the Latin Church on the score of corruptions now existing in the heresies which have separated from her.
Having established these points in view of the result of our inquiry, let us now trace the manner in which a supreme authority, frequently termed by the accusers Universal Masonry, is alleged to have grown up. Upon this subject not only the most complete information but the only formal narratives are provided by the later witnesses, so that the following account, while in no sense translation, is based exclusively upon the works of Domenico Margiotta and Dr Bataille.
On the 20th of May, 1737, there was constituted in France the Order of the Palladium, or Sovereign Council of Wisdom, which, after the manner of the androgyne lodges then springing into existence, initiated women under the title of Companions of Penelope. The ritual of this order was published by the Masonic archæologist Ragon, so that there can be no doubt of its existence. At the same time, so far as I am aware, there are few materials forthcoming for its history. In some way which remains wholly untraceable this order is inferred to have been connected by more than its name with the legendary Palladium of the Knights Templars, well known under the title of Baphomet. In any case it failed to spread, and it is uncertain whether the New and Reformed Palladium, also an androgyne order, with which we shall presently be concerned, is a metamorphosis or reconstruction of the original institution, but a connection of some kind is affirmed. For a period exceeding sixty years we hear little of the legendary Palladium; but in 1801 the Israelite Isaac Long is said to have carried the original Baphomet and the skull of the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay from Paris to Charleston in the United States, and was afterwards concerned in the reconstruction of the Scotch Rite of Perfection and of Herodom under the name of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite, which subsequently became widely diffused, and it is stated that the lodge of the thirty-third degree of the Supreme Council of Charleston has been the parent of all others, and is therefore, in this rite, the first supreme council of the entire globe.
Eight years later, on the 29th of December 1809, a man of great importance to the history of Freemasonry was born in the city of Boston. Albert Pike came of parents in a humble position, who, however, struggled with their difficulties and sent him to Harvard College, where he duly graduated, taking his degree as M.A. in the year 1829. He began his career as a schoolmaster, but subsequently led a romantic and wandering life, his love of untrodden ground leading him to explore the Rocky Mountains, then very imperfectly known. In 1833 he settled in Arkansas, and, drifting into journalism, founded the Arkansas Advocate, wherein his contributions, both prose and verse, but the latter especially, obtained him a reputation in literature. The admission of Arkansas into the confederation of the United States was in part his work, and from this period he began to figure in politics, becoming also the recorder of the Supreme Court in that state. One year after the civil war, in which he took active part, Pike removed to Memphis in Tennessee, where he again followed law and literature, establishing the Memphis Appeal, which he sold in 1868, and migrated to Washington. His subsequent history is exclusively concerned with unwearying Masonic labours.
Now, it was at Little Rock in Arkansas that Albert Pike was first initiated, and ten years later, that is, in 1859, he was elected Sovereign Commander Grand Master of the Supreme Council of Charleston. Having extraordinary powers of organisation, he became a person of wide influence in the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite, and a high authority also on the ritual, antiquities, history, and literature of Masonry. Under his guidance, the Scotch Rite extended and became dominant. Hence, when the Italian patriot Mazzini is said to have projected the centralization of high grade Masonry, he could find no person in the whole fraternity more suited by his position and influence to collaborate with him. Out of this secret partnership there was begotten on September 20, 1870—that is to say, on the very day when the Italian troops entered the Eternal City—a Supreme Rite and Central Organisation of Universal High Grade Masonry, the act of creation being signed by the American Grand Master and the Italian liberator, the two founders also sharing the power between them. A Supreme Dogmatic Directory was created at Charleston, with Pike at its head, under the title of Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry. Mazzini took over the Supreme Executive, having Rome as its centre, under the title of Sovereign Chief of Political Action.
If we now recur to the statements that the genuine Templar Baphomet and the skull of Jacques de Molay had been deposited at Charleston for the space of seventy years, and that Albert Pike was Grand Master of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite in that city, we shall understand why it was that the new institution was termed the New Reformed Palladian Rite, or the Reformed Palladium. Subsequently, five Central Grand Directories were established—at Washington for North America, Monte Video for South America, Naples for Europe, Calcutta for the Eastern World, and Port Louis in Mauritius for Africa. A Sovereign Universal Administrative Directory was fixed at Berlin subsequently to the death of Mazzini. As a result of this astute organisation, Albert Pike is said to have held all Masonry in the hollow of his hand, by means of a twofold apparatus—the Palladium and the Scotch Rite. During all his remaining days, and he lived to a great age, he laboured indefatigably in both causes, and the world at the present moment is filled with the organisation that he administered.
Four persons are cited as having been coadjutors in his own country—his old friend Gallatin Mackey, in honourable memory among Masons; a Scotchman named Longfellow, whom some French writers have ludicrously confused with the poet; one Holbrook, about whom there are few particulars; and, finally, Phileas Walder, a native of Switzerland, originally a Lutheran Minister, afterwards said to have been a Mormon, but, in any case, at the period in question, a well-known spiritualist, an earnest student of occultism, as were also Holbrook and Longfellow, and, what is more to the purpose, a personal friend and disciple of the great French magus Éliphas Lévi. Albert Pike was himself an occultist, whether upon his independent initiative, or through the influence of these friends I am unable to say. Miss Diana Vaughan, who is one of the seceding witnesses, affirms that it was an early and absorbing passion. However this may be, the New Reformed Palladium was kept most rigidly separate from all other Masonry, the Scotch Rite included; that is to say, no initiate of even the highest grade had, as such, the right or opportunity of entrance into the occult order, which, at the same time, was chiefly recruited, as already stated, from the higher ordinary grades, but the recipients of the new light became silent from the moment that it was imparted. Now, it was exclusively in the Palladian order that Albert Pike and his confidants propagated transcendental religion, as it is said to have been understood by them. In other words, while the Scotch Rite continued to speculate, the Palladium betook itself to magic and succeeded so well that there was a perpetuity of communication between Charleston and the unseen world. It does not appear from the evidence either when or why Albert Pike and his collaborators transferred their allegiance from the God of the sages to Lucifer. The Catholic Church regards all magic as diabolism, and makes or tolerates no mystic distinction between the black and white departments of transcendental practice, but the specific character of the Palladian cultus is so clearly defined in the depositions that it cannot pass as a presentation of magical doctrine distorted by prejudice. It is almost stripped of correspondence with any existing school of occult teaching, and it is either the true statement of a system founded by Pike, or the deliberate invention of malice. The thaumaturgic phenomena tabulated in connection therewith are of an extremely advanced kind, including the real and bodily presence of Lucifer at frequent and regular intervals.
When Mazzini died he indicated to Albert Pike a possible successor in Adriano Lemmi, who became in due course the chief of the Executive Department, and when in the fulness of years the pontiff of Luciferian Freemasonry himself passed on to the higher life of fire, which is the Palladian notion of beatitude, and in the peace and joy of Lucifer, the sovereign pontificate itself, after resting for a short period upon incompetent shoulders in the person of Albert George Mackey, was transferred to the Italian; the seat of the Dogmatic Directory was removed to Rome; a split in the camp ensued, inspired by a lady initiate, since famous under the name of Diana Vaughan, and to this we owe most of the revelations. Furthermore, with the death of Albert Pike the cultus of Lucifer is said to have undergone a significant transfiguration. For him the conception of Satan was a blasphemous fiction, devised by Adonaïte priestcraft to obscure the veridic lustre which inheres in the angel of the morning-star; but this view represented, as it is said, rather the private opinion of the Masonic pontiff, impressed by his strong personality on the lodges he controlled, and propagated by the instruction of his rituals. The more discerning among his disciples regarded it as the besetting weakness of their grand old man, and surreptitiously during his life-time the cultus of Satan pure and simple, that is, of devil-worship, the adoration of the evil principle as evil, was practised at numerous Palladian centres. After his death, it is said to have unmasked altogether, and Adriano Lemmi himself is depicted as an avowed Satanist.
Now, I believe it will fairly interpret the feeling of all readers to admit that when the authority of a great church has been brought into operation to crush a great institution by charges which most seriously discredit it—which represent it as diametrically and in all respects opposite in its internal nature to its ostensible appearance—we must by no means make light of the impeachment; we must remember the high position and the many opportunities of knowledge which are possessed by such an accuser; we must extend to that accuser at least the common justice of an impartial and full hearing; à priori considerations of probability and inferences from our previous knowledge, much less from opinions obtained at second-hand, must not be permitted to prejudge a case of so great importance; we must be prepared, if necessary, to admit that we have been egregiously deceived; and if the existence of Palladian Masonry can be proved an undoubted fact, we must assuredly do full honour to the demonstration, and must acknowledge with gratitude that the Church has performed a service to humanity by unveiling the true character of an institution which is imposing on a vast number of well-intentioned persons within its own ranks, who are admittedly unaware of the evil to which they are lending countenance and support. On the other hand, the same spirit of liberality and justice will require that the demonstration in question shall be complete; in support of such terrible accusations, only the first quality of evidence can obviously be admitted.
In the chapters which follow immediately, I shall produce in succession the evidence of every witness who has anything to tell us about Palladism, including those whose experience is of a personal kind and those whose knowledge is derived. Where possible, the testimony of each witness will be weighed as we proceed; what is unconvincing or irrelevant will be dismissed, while that which is important will be carried over to the final summary. In two cases only will it be found necessary to reserve examination for special and separate treatment.
That the witnesses of Lucifer are in all cases attached to the Latin Church, whether as priests or laymen, is no matter for astonishment when it is once realised that outside this Church there is no hostility to Masonry. For example, Robison’s “Proofs of a Conspiracy” is almost the only work possessing, deservedly or not, any aspect of importance, which has ever been penned by a Protestant or independent writer in direct hostility to the Fraternity. Moreover, Catholic hostility varies in a vanishing direction with distance from the ecclesiastical centre. Thus, in England, it exists chiefly in a latent condition, finding little or no expression unless pressure is exercised from the centre, while in America the enforced promulgation of the Humanum Genus encyclical has been one of the serious blunders of the present pontificate as regards that country. The bibliography of Catholic Anti-Masonic literature is now, however, very large, nor is it confined to one land, or to a special epoch; it has an antiquity of nearly 150 years, and represents most of the European continent. That of France, which is nearest to our own doors, is naturally most familiar to us; it is also one of the most productive, and may be assumed to represent the whole. We are concerned with it in this place only during the period which is subsequent to the alleged foundation of the New and Reformed Palladium. During this period it falls obviously into two groups, that which preceded any knowledge of the institution in question and that which is posterior to the first promulgation of such knowledge. In the first we find mainly the old accusations which have long ceased to exert any conspicuous influence, namely, Atheism, Materialism, and revolutionary plotting. Without disappearing entirely, these have been largely replaced in the second group by charges of magic and diabolism, concerning which the denunciations have been loud and fierce. One supplementary impeachment may be said in a certain sense to connect both, because it is common to both; it is that of unbridled licence fostered by the asserted existence of adoptive lodges. We shall find during the first period that Masonry was freely described as a diabolical and Satanic institution, and it is necessary to insist on this point because it is liable to confuse the issues. Before the year 1891 the diabolism identified with Masonry was almost exclusively intellectual. That is to say, its alleged atheism, from the standpoint of the Catholic Church, was a diabolical opinion in matters of religion; its alleged materialism was a diabolical philosophy in matters of science; its alleged revolutionary plottings, being especially directed against the Catholic Church, constituted diabolical politics. Such descriptions will seem arbitrary enough to most persons who do not look forth upon the world from the windows of the Vatican, but they are undeniably consistent at Rome.
Of actual diabolism prior to the date I have named, there is, I believe, only the solitary accusation made by Mgr. de Ségur, and having reference to a long anterior period. He states that in the year 1848 there was a Masonic lodge at Rome, where the mass of the devil was celebrated in the presence of men and women. A ciborium was placed on an altar between six black candles; each person, after spitting and trampling on a crucifix, deposited in this ciborium a consecrated host which had been purchased or received in church. The sacred elements were stabbed by the whole assembly, the candles were extinguished at the termination of the mass, and an orgie followed, similar, says Mgr. de Ségur, to those of “Pagan mysteries and Manichæan re-unions.” Such abominations were, however, admittedly rare, and the story just recited rests on nothing that can be called evidence.
During the years intervening between 1870 and 1891 we may search the literature of French Anti-Masonry in vain for any hint of the Palladium. In 1884 the collaboration of Louis D’Estampes and Claudio Jannet produced a work entitled “Freemasonry and the Revolution,” which affirms that the immense majority of Masons, including those who have received the highest grades, do not enjoy the confidence of the true secrets, but the establishment of atheism in religion and socialism in politics as designs of the Fraternity are the only secrets intended.
The New and Reformed Palladium connects with the Order of the Temple by its supposed possession of the original Baphomet idol, but in 1882 this was entirely unknown to Mgr. Fava, who denies all the reputed connection between Templars and Masons, and traces the latter to Faustus Socinus as founder, following Abbé Lefranc in his “Veil raised for the Curious.” A mystic and diabolic aspect of the Fraternity is so remote from his mind that in his “Secret of Freemasonry” the Bishop of Grenoble affirms that its sole project is to replace Christianity by rationalism.
The third and concluding volume of Père Deschamps’ great compilation on “Society and the Secret Societies,” supports, on the contrary, the hypothesis rejected by Fava. It recites much old knowledge concerning adoptive lodges, the Illuminés, the Orders of Philalethes, of Martinez Pasquales, and of Saint-Martin, on which subjects few writers indeed can say anything that is new; but while specially devoted to the political activity of the Fraternity all over Europe, Deschamps tells us nothing of the conspiracy which produced the New Palladium, though the alleged collaboration of Mazzini gave it a strong political complexion; of Pike nothing; of Diabolism still nothing. I may add that his work claims to be verified at all points.
In the year 1886 another ecclesiastic, Dom. Benoit, published two formidable volumes on “Freemasonry and the Secret Societies,” forming part of a vaster work, entitled “The City of anti-Christ in the Nineteenth Century.” Like D’Estampes and Jannet, he distinguishes between a small number of initiates and a vast crowd of dupes who swell the ranks of the Fraternity. “Many Masons ascend the ladder of the grades without receiving the revelation of the mysteries.” The highest functions of most lodges are said to be given to the dupes, while the ruling chiefs are concealed behind humble titles. It is further represented that in certain countries there are secret rites above the ordinary rites, and these are imparted only to the true initiates, which sounds like a vague and formless hint concerning a directing centre; but so far from supposing that such an institution may exist in Masonry, the author affirms that unity is impossible therein:—“Image of hell and hell anticipated, Masonry is the realm of hatred, and consequently of division. The leaders mutually despise and detest one another, and universally endeavour to deceive and supplant each other. A common hatred of the Church and her regular institutions alone unites them, and scarcely have they scored a victory than they fall out and destroy each other.” The first seeds of the Manichæan accusation are found in the second volume, but the term is not used in the sense of Albert Pike’s Luciferian transcendentalism, but merely as an equivalent of Protestantism coloured by the idea of its connection with the Socinian heresy. In conformity with this view, Dom Benoit attaches himself to the Templar hypothesis, saying that the Albigenses and the Knights of the Temple are the immediate ancestors of Masonry. But the point which is of most interest in connection with our inquiry is where Dom Benoit asserts that Satan is the god of Freemasonry, citing an obscure grade in which the ritual is connected with serpent-worship, and another in which the recipient is adjured “in the sacred name of Lucifer,” to “uproot obscurantism.” It is, however, only a loose and general accusation, for he says also that the Masonic deity is “the creature,” that is, humanity, the mind of man, human reason; it is also “the infamous Venus,” or the flesh; finally, “all divinities of Rome, Greece, Persia, India, and every pagan people, are the gods of Masonry.” This is merely indiscriminate defamation which is without force or application, and the writer evidently knows nothing of a defined cultus of Lucifer existing in the Lodges of the Fraternity. So also when he elsewhere states that sexual excesses are sometimes accompanied in Masonry by Eucharistic profanations, he has only Mgr. de Ségur’s out-of-date narrative to support him, and when he hints at magical practices, it is only in a general way, and apparently referring to acts of individual Masons. In one more significant passage he records, as a matter of report, that apparitions of the demon have occurred “recently” in Masonic assemblies, “where he is said even to have presided under a human form.” While there is no mention of Palladism and none of Pike in his treatise, we may regard Dom Benoit as a herald of the coming accusation, speaking vaguely of things half heard.
Some time previous to 1888, Paul Rosen, a Sovereign Grand Inspector-General of the 33rd and last degree of the French rite, had come to the conclusion that the mysteries of Freemasonry are abominable, and in that year he published a work, entitled “Satan and Co.,” suggesting that in this case a witness to the desired point had at last come forward, and, as a matter of fact, the writer does take us a few paces beyond the point reached by Benoit. So far as I am aware, he is the first French anti-Mason who mentions Albert Pike, with one exception, to be considered separately in the next chapter. He describes him as the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Mother Council of every Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite, and he tells the story of the foundation of that Rite, but he knows nothing of Isaac Long, the Palladium, or the skull. He cites also certain works which Pike wrote for the exclusive use of initiates, apparently of the higher grades of these rites, namely, “The Sephar H’Debarim,” “Ethics and Dogmas of Freemasonry,” and “Legenda Magistralia.” But so far from accrediting the order with a supernatural aspect, he affirms that its war-cry is annihilation and anathema thereto. The end of Freemasonry is, in fact, social anarchy, the overthrowal of monarchical government, and the destruction of the Catholic religion. The Satanism imputed to Freemasonry by Paul Rosen is therefore of an arbitrary and fantastic order, having no real connection with this inquiry. Two years later the same author published a smaller volume, “The Social Enemy,” which contains no material of importance to our purpose, but is preceded by a Pontifical Brief, conveying the benediction of Leo XIII. to the writer of “Satan and Co.”
We pass now to the year of revelation 1891.
For over ten years past Leo Taxil, that is to say, M. Gabriel Jogand-Pages, has been the great accuser of Masonry, and he possesses an indistinct reputation in England as a man whose hostility is formidable, having strong points in his brief. During the entire period of his impeachment, which is represented by many volumes, he has uniformly sought to identify the Fraternity with the general purposes of Lucifer, but until the year 1891, it was merely along the broad and general lines mentioned in the last chapter. Now, in presence of such attributions as, for example, the Satanic character of tolerance in matters of religion, I, for one, would unconditionally lay down my pen, as there is no common ground upon which a discussion could take place.
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