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For thousands of years the entire world has been worshiping Saturn. The cult has never stopped and its rites are still present to this day. Saturn, dubbed the “Lord of the Rings”, is the reason why we exchange rings at weddings or put halos on the heads of godly people. Since ancient times, sages gazed at the stars, admiring their heavenly glow and attributing them godly powers, based on their effect on humans. Before the Great Flood, Saturn was regarded by all mankind as the supreme god and ruler of the kings.
Occult researchers affirm that Saturn ruled the kingdom of Atlantis and became the divine ancestor of all earthly patriarchs and kings. The cult has been perpetuated through numerous gods during Antiquity. Chronos, or Saturn, Dionysos, Hyperion, Atlas, Hercules, were all connected with ‘a great Saturnian continent;’ they were kings that ruled over countries on the western shores of the Mediterranean, Africa and Spain.
Saturn in Semitic Civilizations
In Egyptian mythology Isis is considered Saturn’s eldest daughter: “I am Isis, Queen of this country. I was instructed by Mercury. No one can destroy the laws which I have established. I am the eldest daughter of Saturn, most ancient of the Gods”. Semitic civilizations referred to the god Saturn as “El”. The supreme deity was represented by a black cube. Ancient Hebrews represented Saturn with the six pointed star, which later became the Star of David (it also had many other esoteric meanings).
Saturn in Western Civilizations
In western civilizations Saturn always had a negative, if not evil significance. In ancient times, it has been called “The Greater Malefic” which was opposed to Jupiter, “The Greater Benefic”. Saturn is esoterically associated with man’s limitations, restrictions, death and decay.
The Greeks and the Romans worshiped Saturn. His Greek name was “Kronos”, the ruler of time, time being the main factor inevitably leading to the death of mortals. Traditional representations of the “grim reaper” originate from the attributes of the god Saturn, who held the sickle with which he slain his father.
Saturn and Satan
Saturn has also been associated with Satan and this, for numerous reasons. First, many authors argue that the word Satan is derived from the word Saturn. Second, Saturn is associated with the color black as well as Satan. Third, Ancients considered Saturn to be the farthest planet from the sun , the latter being associated with the principle of Good. (Note that Pluto never was considered a planet). Saturn is consequently the celestial body that is the less exposed to the sun’s divine light and thus associated with the coldness of the principle of Evil. Finally, the “great god Pan”, the horned deity, represented Saturn in ancient paganism. This half-man half-goat creature is considered the ancestor of our modern depictions of Satan. Pan was depicted with horns due to the fact it represented Saturn, the ruler of the house of Capricorn which symbol is a goat.
Pan was the controlling spirit of the lower worlds. He was portrayed roaming through the forests, penis erect, drunk and lascivious, frolicking with nymphs and piping his way through the wild. We might say he ruled the lower nature of man, its animal side, not unlike Satan. It is the necessary counterpart of the principle of Good. Masonic authors clearly associate Saturn with Satan. Saturn is the opposite to Jupiter; his symbol is the cross above the sign of Luna. He is the Satan, the Tempter, or rather the Tester. His function is to chastise and tame the unruly passions in the primitive man.
The Fraternitas Saturni
Despite acknowledging its association with Evil, secret societies find the veneration of Saturn necessary to obtain illumination. Example of a secret society worshiping Saturn’s principle is the “Fraternitas Saturni” (The Brotherhood of Saturn). This occult organization openly embodies the hidden side of Saturn worship. The order is still onre of the most active and important magical society today, but from its formal beginnings around 1926 until 1970 it was almost totally secret. The Brotherhood of Saturn holds a unique place in the history of the revival of the Western magical tradition.
The Fraternitas Saturni (FS), the Brotherhood of Saturn, has become known through descriptions which emphasize the magical aspects of this lodge’s work or else its darker side. The FS preserves a vibrant Thelemic current of magical tradition and practice. Fraternitas Saturni is (or was) the most unabashedly Luciferian organization in the modern Western occult revival, and its practice of sexual occultism perhaps the most elaborately detailed of any such lodge. The FS represents a unique blend of astrological cosmology, neo-Gnostic daemonology, sexual occultism, and Freemasonic organizational principles.
The three most unique aspects of FS doctrine are:
- The astrosophical teaching of Saturnus as the Demiurge ruling over the present stage of cosmic evolution
- The Luciferian aspect of the Dark Light
- The teachings of sexual occultism
A History of the Brotherhood of Saturn
It is held that there were Saturnian Brotherhoods working as early as the end of the 1600s in Sweden, Denmark, and Poland. Also, it is indicated that there is a mystical connection between he Greco-Roman Saturnian Principle (fatum, fate) and the old Germanic high god, Wotan, whose name is also spelled in these documents as “Fuotan”; hence the link with fatum.
Later, it was emphasized that the Brotherhood had its origins in the rituals of the Roman Saturnalia (which takes place around December 27th), which made clear the FS’s tendency away from the Christian world-view and toward a darker side of things. At one point, apparently between 1927 and 1933, there was a provision of the group that only “Christians” (i.e., non-Jews) could be initiated and that all neophytes had to acknowledge the basic “Nordic” ideology of the lodge. This is mentioned to indicate the underlying belief that the FS itself has its mystical origins in the North, and that there was indeed an early Saturnian Brotherhood in the Scandinavian region whose history remains quite obscure. It was to these dim roots that the early FS traced its origins. As far as the Scandinavian Brotherhood of Saturn that was supposed to have been working during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries is concerned, all that is said is that it was active in alchemy and in mathematical and Pythagorean mysticism, and that this group was probably based on an even earlier brotherhood in the region.
Saturnian Brotherhood was revived in Warsaw by the mathematician and mystic Joseph Maria Hoëne-Wronski (1776-1853). This lodge have had outer courts in Krakow, Posen, and Thorn. Ultimately these lodges were destroyed by various wars.
Hoëne-Wronski spent most of his life as a Polish expatriate in France, where he is generally held to have been the magical initiator of Alphonse Louis Constant, or as he was better known, Eliphas Levi. Hoëne-Wronski was indeed an “occult master” involved with the ideas of the Kabbalah, Gnosticism, and the teachings of Jakob Boehme, but he was also a well- respected (if a bit eccentric) mathematician and philosopher of his day. He was also dedicated to romantic social reform movements, and was the leader of a group called the “Antinomian Union.” Among other things, Hoëne-Wronski held that humanity was to pass through five evolutionary stages, and that his theories would open the way to the fifth and final stage. Perhaps the most important of Hoëne-Wronski’s theories was his Principle of the Absolute, which held that knowledge of truth was possible through human reason combined with a secret mathematical formula. Related to this was Law of Creation, which posited that man could “create reality” from the sum of his sense impressions, combined with a mathematical formula.
Besides the O.T.O. there was another group that had attracted Crowley’s attention in 1925 — the Pansophical Lodge, or Pansophia. It became formalized as the “Grand Pansophical Lodge.” Important initiate of this lodge was Karl Germer (Br. Saturnus), who was also the paid personal secretary of Heinrich Tränker. Tränker was the head of a whole eclectic, occult, “pansophical” movement made up of several orders, lodges, and societies. Some of his authority was derived from Theodor Reuss. It was from contact between this group and Crowley that the Fraternitas Saturni came to be founded in 1928.
The “Pansophical Society” was a study group founded just after the war in Berlin. Their areas of interest included Gnosticism, the ancient mysteries of Greece, Egypt, and Babylon, as well as problems of philosophy, religious history, metaphysics, depth-psychology, “cosmosophy,” and the Kabbalah. In the early 1920s, Tränker founded a Collegium Pansophicum. This organization, gave Tränker’s work a more Masonic, orderly cast, and acted as a background for the publication of some of Tränker’s occult works. In 1921 all the Pansophical streams governed by Tränker were brought together in the Grand Pansophical Lodge (of the Light-Seeking Brethren) of the Orient-Berlin.
Besides Tränker, one of the leading members of this lodge was Karl Germer (Frater Saturnus), who was Tränker’s secretary and who later became the Grand Treasurer General of Crowley’s O.T.O., and eventually Outer Head of the Order upon Crowley’s death in 1947. With regard to the quasi-Masonic background of the FS, these are the supposed German origins of Die Goldene Dämmerung —the Golden Dawn – magical order founded in England in 1888. Its own tradition holds that its authority was derived from a German order of the same name.
One historical factor that may have led to this was the traditional presence of “Secret Chiefs” (Superiores Incogniti) in the Masonic Order of the “Strict Observance,” active since the middle of the eighteenth century. There were sufficiently deep and long-term, network-like connections between the German and English Masonic and quasi-Masonic groups to warrant the idea that these Secret Chiefs were thought to be akin to those of the Masonic Strikte Observanz. As a feature of organization and doctrine this concept is inexactly reflected in the FS as the GOTOS entity — the guiding force of the order embodied in the 33°, which is actually the superhuman Saturnian Demiurge.
In 1925, the most important event leading to the emergence of the FS took place. Master Recnartus invited Aleister Crowley to his house in Weida in Thuringia, Germany. The purpose of this meeting was to confer the leadership of the groups controlled by Tränker onto Crowley. During the months and years following the meeting at Weida, Gregor A. Gregorius must have been studying and assimilating Crowley’s teachings, as well as those of the Pansophists, Rosicrucians, and others in his environs. In 1926, the Pansophical Lodge was ritually closed and dissolved. On the following May 8, five Fratres founded the Fraternitas Saturni. This was to be a magical order which accepted the Law of Thelema, but which was to be totally independent of any other magical order. A few days later Gregorius wrote to the Beast, informing him of the aims of this revived Saturnian Lodge. A full one-third of the members of the Pansophical Lodge became the core of initiates of the FS. The actual accomplishment of Gregorius and the FS was a more or less cohesive synthesis of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Luciferianism, astrological mythology, Crowleyanity (or Thelemism), sex-magical practices of the old O.T.O., various Indian yogic systems, and medieval and modern doctrines of Alchemy and Ritual Magic.
Doctrines of the Brotherhood of Saturn
Doctrines and teachings concealed within the magical lodge Fraternitas Saturni are wrapped in the dark cloak of the Demiurge Saturnus, and are truly revealed only to those elect of Saturn who are able to comprehend and understand the Saturn-Gnosis. This gnosis is sometimes dark and foreboding. It uncovers the dark side of the Aquarian Age—an age to be ruled by Saturn. But it is also enlightened by the “higher octave” of Saturn—Lucifer—and by the dark light of Saturnian yoga, or sexual mysticism and Cosmosophy.
The teachings of the FS are highly eclectic. This is understandable given the lodge’s “pansophical” origins. “Pansophical” here means “wisdom that encompasses all other forms of wisdom.” In the early part of the twentieth century there were several “-sophies,” all based on analogy with Blavatsky’s Theo-sophy. There was the “ariosophy” of von List, von Liebenfels and others, and the Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner. The original pansophy of Heinrich Tränker was an attempt to synthesize all forms of occult teachings then in practice. This, however, proved a difficult task, as there seemed to be no unifying element or central focus for the maelstorm of occult lore swirling around in the pansophical movement.
It was the Fraternitas Saturni, directly or indirectly through the acceptance of the Aeonic Law of Thelema, which provided the necessary elements of cohesion to the pansophical approach. In this chapter we will concentrate on those things which make the FS teachings unique and give them definite shape. Underlying all of this is the usual post-Theosophical mixture of Eastern and Western doctrines and practices to be found in quasi-Masonic orders of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, e.g. the Golden Dawn and its derivatives. The elements that make the FS unique are its focus on the Saturn archetype, the Saturnian mythos of a new aeon based on an astrological process, and an unabashed Luciferianism. Further aspects which, although not unique to the Brotherhood, added to the lodge’s working focus are: the doctrines and practices of sexual magic (principally taken over from the O.T.O.), and the Law of Thelema, which had been formally accepted from the Master Therion (Aleister Crowley) at the inception of the FS.
From the standpoint of existing magical and mystical traditions, the FS is a mixture of Eastern and Western streams. From Eastern (really Indian) ideologies come the themes of awakening of thechakra system in the magician,1 the laws of reincarnation and karma,
and the practice of tantric sexual mysticism. From various branches of the Western tradition come the doctrines of Ritual Magic, Astrology, Rosicrucianism, Gnosticism and, of course, the overriding Masonic form of the lodge’s organization and ritual. The documents indicate that the Eastern influence became stronger after the reorganization of the lodge. Within the FS teachings, special emphasis is placed on crystal and mirror magic, pendulum magic, and “daimonic magic.”
The Saturnian Archetype
The gnosis of the FS is a complex set of magical doctrines. These include a special path of initiation as well as a complete astral or planetary cosmosophy and a Luciferian element. In many regards the Saturn-Gnosis is in accordance with what is known of the Ophite and Barbelo Gnostic sects of antiquity. Gnosis is a form of knowledge concerning the cosmos to which the individual feels called, or “elected,” and which is based not on the belief in certain dogmas but rather on deep personal experience. The teachings, practices and rituals of the FS are intended to provide just such an initiatory experience. From the perspective of FS teachings, the essences of the planets are complex entities. The central focus of the Brotherhood is the Saturnian complex, which we will refer to here as an “archetype.” From an aeonic perspective, the planetary complex surrounding Uranus is also important in FS teachings.
A review of any modern astrological text will show what the common views of Saturnian characteristics are: practical, cautious, constructive, responsible, patient, ambitious, thrifty, reliable and self-disciplined. Negative characteristics might include: mean, narrow- minded, severe, aloof, dogmatic, heartless, and cruel. Some of the older characteristics of Saturn were taken over by Uranus. Again, a review of standard texts will show certain Uranian characteristics: humanitarian, friendly, kind, independent, original, inventive, strong- willed, versatile, loathing restriction. Negative characteristics might be: eccentric, perverse, rebellious. A synthesis of all these characteristics will basically give the entire picture of the Saturno-Uranian complex as it is projected in the ideology of the FS.
In the Saturn-Gnosis the planet and archetype of Saturnus is the focal point for the manifestation of the Demiurge. This Demiurge is identified with Lucifer— the Bearer of Light — as the higher octave of Saturn. In this capacity it is the “Guardian of the Threshold” to higher initiation and being. According to secret FS teachings, Saturnus is the Great Judge that manifests justice; he also brings reason and intelligence, and governs all standards of weights, measurements, and number. He is the Lord of the Seven Dwellings (= planetary genii of the outer realm), and governor of the revealed world and lord over life and death, and over the light and darkness. Saturnus is seen as the breaker of cosmic order and unity — thus he instituted death, causing regeneration and change to come into being. One of the ways in which he broke the cosmic order was in the revelation of divine secrets to mankind. For this he was punished. Thus in many ways Saturnus is identical with Prometheus of Greek tradition, and is certainly to be identified as well with the Serpent of Paradise.
This Demiurge Saturnus is identified with the number 666. He is the Beast 666, manifest in the Man (or Men) 666, and in the Living Center of the Sun—Sorath 666. Saturn is seen as the tester and judge, and ultimately as the initiator into higher knowledge and power. This capacity is further amplified by the underlying Uranian influence.
Besides these general teachings on the nature of the Demiurge Saturnus, the FS has a special doctrine, particular to it, concerning an entity attached to the planet Saturn and active on the Earth, called the GOTOS. This is the specific egregore or daimonion of the Brotherhood, of which the Grand Master 33° is the personal representative. The GOTOS functions in a way similar to the way the Secret Chiefs worked in the Golden Dawn system. The belief of this system of lodges having hidden, praeterhuman intelligences at their esoteric heads is commonly held in the FS. Members would, for example, say that Baphomet was the lodge daimonion of the Knights Templar.
The name GOTOS is actually a formula made up of the initial letters in the official name of the 33°: Gradus Ordinis Templi Orientis Saturni.12 The daimonion GOTOS is understood as a preexisting entity, but it is also used as the egregore of the lodge. An egregore is a sort of “group spirit” or thought-form magically created by a community of people from its collective ideals. The egregore can be seen as a collective hypnotic suggestion which can be experienced directly, if subjectively, by the participants in rituals wherein the egregore is invoked. This tends to take on objective reality as the experience of the egregore becomes an experience that is shared within lodges. GOTOS guides the initiate toward divinity. It has a dark and light aspect and stands beyond all notions of good and evil. This is related to the Absolutum.
The initiate who has been informed by the GOTOS will combine the Apollonian and Dionysian within him — he will put the Apollonian in the center of his world-view, but will joyously observe the sacramental daemonic liturgy of life and death. The magical synthesis of this duality is thought to make it easy for the initiate to “change raiments” (i.e., to die), as he passes from one plane of being to another. The egregore is intended to work in a particular magical way. It is a kind of “battery” which can be charged with the psychic energy of the lodge. This “battery” is given a particular form, which acts as an access-key to its power. When members of the lodge have need of the accumulated and stored magical energy, they can “tap into” it if they have the proper ritual keys. In the ritual practice of the FS, the GOTOS is especially charged during the Easter Lodge when, through the formation of the magical Chain of Brotherhood, energy is circulated to the GOTOS. In trance states certain initiates of the FS could actually gain “astral” visions of the humanoid appearance of the GOTOS.
The Lodge Concept
The Brotherhood of Saturn characterizes itself as a “just, enlightened, perfect, secret, magical, ritual lodge.” Each of these terms further defines and clarifies the nature of the FS.
It is “just” or “righteous” in that all initiates are ethically trained in order to become balanced, productive and most importantly conscious members of the lodge and of society as a whole. In Masonic terms, the new initiate is compared to a rough-hewn stone which is to be finished by the mason. By “enlightened” it is meant that the FS is of Gnostic origin, i.e., it is involved with the effort to gain direct experience and vision of the divinity. True to Gnostic doctrine, the FS holds that this understanding must come from outside the limitations of normal deductive or inductive logic. Magical work is made up of experience and only the elect may ever truly understand it.
The FS is a “secret” lodge in that the public identities of the members are supposed to be unknown to the other members. Each new initiate is given a lodge- name which he or she is to be known by in lodge- related affairs. During the ritual lodge work which takes place when a new initiate is received, his public name along with his lodge name are burned together in the brazier to bind them together “astrally.” “Ritualistic” means that the lodge celebrates certain ritual ceremonies at appointed times as an integral part of its overall work. The most sacred night is that of “Good Saturday” — when in the lore of the Christians it is said that Christ was in the Underworld preaching to the “good pagans.”
The word “magical” here denotes the idea that the lodge works with invocations and evocations of entities from beyond the mundane realm.
It is a “Brotherhood” in that the bonds made within it are intended to continue beyond death on the “mental plane.” In the concept of Brotherhood both men and women are included. Quite often Brothers and Sisters place three points either before or before and after their lodge names. This is an exhortation “to work in the triplicity: Harmony-Justice-Fraternity.” Among the highest aims of the FS is the spiritual perfection of its initiates. But this is not really seen as an end in itself, but rather as a means to the elevation of the consciousness of the lodge as a whole, which in turn leads to a sympathetic raising of consciousness in the world outside the lodge. An esoteric aim of the lodge especially pursued by the High Grade Masters (30°—33°) is the binding of the so-called “outer lodge,” i.e. the FS as it is known in the world, to the “inner lodge” which exists on the “mental plane.” It is from this inner lodge that the High Grade initiates are to receive instructions for magical work to be disseminated within the order. Through this interaction, the two lodges, the inner and outer, begin to reach higher and higher levels of harmony. Additionally, the FS, as a Thelemic order, is concerned with activating the Law of Thelema on this planet. In the higher grades it is taught that the higher sense of the Law of Thelema involves the binding of humanity closer to the Saturnian influence.
The Way of Saturn
The path of Saturnian initiation is one often wrapped in darkness in which the initiate finds the light. It is one of solitude (as the FS has come to recognize the existential problem of modern humanity), which it has incorporated into its program. As an order the FS provides a definite initiatory path and curriculum which is particular unto itself. Despite the recognition of the initiate’s lonely path, the FS tries to provide a magical environment in which the individual can most clearly find his or her way to the Guardian of the Threshold — and beyond.
The cultivation of solitude is a primary task of the Saturnian brother or sister. As the initiate has chosen a pathway to higher knowledge through the Saturnian sphere, he has naturally isolated himself from the mass of humanity. By so doing he has also liberated himself from a vast number of the influences of the masses, influences that are detrimental to his initiatory progress. The initiate’s need for this spiritually undifferentiated humanity becomes less and less as his progress accelerates. So despite his solitude (and more to the point, because of it) he is happy as a self-contained individual. Because he stands more and more outside the standards of common human measurements and evaluations, the Saturnian brother has progressively less spiritual need of common human society. The solitude is a joyous one, mainly because the initiate is always conscious of, and focused on, his initiatory aims.
This cultivation of magical and initiatory solitude, when applied to the FS as a body, manifests as an elitist philosophy. As a link in the self-contained Chain of Brotherhood, the initiate is not only able to overcome in perfect serenity all difficulties that might arise in life, but also to put behind him all the doctrines and dogmas of the outmoded religions. Through years of concentrated meditative and contemplative work in which he has been very severe with himself, the chela acquires the Saturnian attributes of seriousness, concentration, and critical thinking, as well as the Uranian qualities of intuition and knowledge. One of the first steps in this training is the rejection of speculative fantasies, and the concentration on fact and intellectual pursuit. This, it would appear, is the best foundation for more occult or magical practices. Eventually, by following the magical curriculum of the FS, the brother or sister will become the master of all spheres of activity and endeavor. The initiate will become master of both the dark and white lights, and will be able to command the daemons of the nether regions as well as the angels of the mental spheres.
The Luciferian Principle
Although in later times the Luciferian aspect of the Fraternitas Saturni might have been toned down — especially in materials meant for public consumption — the ideology was permeated with this Luciferian Principle. The FS has its own mytho-magical understanding of what the nature of this entity is, how it relates to the order’s astrosophy, and to the initiatory work of the order. Gregorius, although not as ingenious a poet or artist as Crowley, was nevertheless more straightforward in his approach to the role of darkness and the Luciferian light than was the Master Therion.
In the FS, Lucifer is understood as the Light Bearer for mankind. As a result of being given this light by Lucifer, which continues to be reborn in every generation of humanity, mankind will be able to take a measure of egocentric power from the solar Logos. In this way Lucifer is the savior of humankind, at least for that part of humanity that has been able to comprehend his Principle. The essence of the Saturnian cult is the effort to understand this entity and to consciously make use of its power in the service of the solar Logos (Sorath).
The FS preserves a gnosis of the shadow side of the light, the “nightside of being.” In Kabbalistic terms this is known as the qliphothic realm. However, and this is the pivotal point, at the same time the FS tries to cultivate the highest ethical standards when dealing with these forces. This is another instance of the Saturnian tendency to synthesize opposites into a dynamic process.
Lucifer is identified with the “higher octave” of Saturn (in Astrology this is also equated with the planet Uranus, the planet of rebellion). In this planetary position, Saturn-Lucifer has been able to rule all the planetary entities within its orbit, being especially forceful on the planet Earth. Again the Earth is the main field of contention between the Solar Logos and the Luciferian Principle.52 The initiate struggles toward a harmonious arrival at the Theonium of Saturn, and not toward the Sun, because the Sun would destroy and consume him. The Saturnian sphere offers enlightenment, control, and independence. This always returns to the essentially complex structure of that which is called Saturn. It must always be remembered, for example, that the Saturnian sphere contains the seed of the Chrestos-Principle. Transformation in the Luciferian Light is not completely manifested in the grade system of the FS until the 33°. The complete name of this degree makes the nature of this attainment clear: “Gradus Ordinis Templi Orientis Saturni im Orden des dunklen Lichts” (i.e., Grade of the Order of the Eastern Temple of Saturn in the Order of the Dark Light).
Cover Art: “Saturn Devouring his Son” By Francisco Goya
Also of note was Peter Paul Reubens “Saturn Devouring his Son” which may have inspired Goya.