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Sangro di San Severo, Raimondo di

(1,061 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Sangro di San Severo, Raimondo di, * 30 Jan 1710 (Torremaggiore (Foggia, Italy)), † 22 Mar 1771 (Naples) One of the significant figures in the early history of Italian → Freemasonry, Prince Raimondo di Sangro di San Severo was born into one of the most illustrious families of the Naples aristocracy, with family connections extending to European royalty dating back to the Middle Ages. A pupil of Jesuit schools in Rome and Naples, di Sangro emerged in the 1730s as an inventor in several different fields, from firew…


(1,919 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
→ Catharism, the dualistic medieval Christian heresy, disappeared in the early 15th century, and was occasionally remembered only by Church historians until the Enlightenment, when anti-Catholic philosophes lionized Cathars as victims of Catholic intolerance. Later, in the 19th century, Romantics linked Catharism to the legend of the Holy → Grail. In 1846, for instance, historian Charles-Claude Fauriel (1772-1844) interpreted the word “Monsalwaesche”, the name of the mythical Grail castle in the 13th century Parzival written by Wolfram von Eschenbach (1170-1220), as …

Scaligero, Massimo

(489 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Scaligero, Massimo (Antonio Scabelloni), * 17 Sep 1906 (Veroli (Province of Frosinone, Italy)), † 26 Jan 1980 (Rome) One of the most distinguished members of the Italian Anthroposophical Society [→ Anthroposophy], Scaligero was born as Antonio Scabelloni in Veroli (not far from Rome) on September 17, 1906. As a teenager, he became interested in yoga and in different forms of Western esotericism, and in 1921, while on vacation in Sardinia, had a mystical experience of the universe as light and energy. He subsequen…


(2,288 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Theologically, Satanism has been defined as a religious or philosophical system which professes or manifests a hatred of Christianity. Historians and religious studies scholars usually adopt a different definition, and limit Satanism to the adoration, in an organized and ritual form, of the figure known in the Bible as the Devil or Satan. According to this definition, therefore, early modern → witchcraft cannot be defined as Satanism: whatever it was, it was not an organized form of Devil worship. Organized Satanism is a modern phenomenon. Its first incarnation was in the …

Kremmerz, Giuliano

(888 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Kremmerz, Giuliano (ps. of Ciro Formisano), * 8 Apr 1861 (Portici (Naples, Italy)), † 7 Apr 1930 (Beausoleil (France)) Ciro Formisano was born in Portici, near Naples, in 1861. While working as a high school teacher and left-wing journalist, he became involved in the important occult [→ occult / occultism] and Martinist [→ Martinism: Second Period] underground of Naples and was befriended by the older occult teacher Giustiniano Lebano (1832-1909). Through Lebano, Formisano then met Leone Caetani (1869-1935), a wel…

Deunov, Peter Konstantinov

(959 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Deunov, Peter Konstantinov, * 11 Jul 1864 (Hadurcha (presently Nikolaevka) (Bulgaria)), † 27 Jan 1944 (Izgreva (Bulgaria)) Deunov was born in a rural Bulgarian village in 1864, and went on to attend the American School of Theology and Science, run by American missionaries in the Danubian city of Svishtov. In 1888 he went to the United States, where he took courses at several Bible colleges and universities, including Boston University. He also became acquainted with several Theosophical and Rosicrucian bodies. In 1895, Deunov returned to the Bulgarian city of Varna, where i…

Rijckenborgh, Jan van

(804 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Rijckenborgh, Jan van (ps. of Jan Leene), * 16 Jan 1896 (Haarlem (The Netherlands)), † 17 Jul 1968 (Santpoort (The Netherlands)) Jan Leene who, under the pen name of Jan van Rijckenborg, became the founder of the Rosicrucian movement Lectorium Rosicrucianum, or the International School of the Golden Rosy Cross, was born in Haarlem (The Netherlands) on October 16, 1896. His father was a textile merchant, and Jan became his successor when he finished his High School studies. Although the Leenes were a strict Dutch Ref…

Martinism: second period

(2,505 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
→ Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin created neither an Order nor a society. Whether or not an “apostolic succession”, originating from him, reached into the late 19th century, remains a matter of some debate. In the 1880s, two well-known figures in the Paris esoteric milieu, namely magnetist Henri Delaage (1825-1882) and librarian Augustin Chaboseau (1868-1946), claimed independently to have received such a succession, through an unbroken lineage of “Unknown Superiors” (Supérieurs Inconnus) dating ba…

Huysmans, Joris-Karl

(716 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Huysmans, Joris-Karl (Charles-Marie-Georges), * 5 Feb 1848 (Paris), † 12 May 1904 (Paris) One of the most celebrated novelists of the 19th century, Huysmans was baptized with the names Charles-Marie-Georges, but later in life adopted “Joris-Karl” as his christian name in acknowledgement of his father's Dutch origins. A civil servant, in the 1870s he publishes his first novels, abandons his family's Roman Catholicism and becomes a protégé of Emile Zola (1840-1902), the patriarch of French literary positivism. In 1884, Huysmans publishes his most famous novel, À rebours, and breaks…

Cagliostro, Alessandro di

(2,372 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Cagliostro, Alessandro di (ps. of Giuseppe Balsamo), * 2 Jun 1743 (?) (Palermo (Sicily)), † 26 Aug 1795 (San Leo (Rimini)) A legendary Italian adventurer and magus, the self-styled Alessandro Count of Cagliostro first appeared in London in 1776. He claimed to have been born in a noble Italian family in 1749, and to have been initiated into the highest esoteric secrets by a Master Althotas in Malta. In London, he rapidly gained popularity for his accomplishments as a healer, and was initiated into → Freemasonry in 17…

Fabré-Palaprat, Bernard-Raymond

(1,005 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
Fabré-Palaprat, Bernard-Raymond, * 1773 (Cordes (Tarn)), † 18 Feb 1838 (Pau (Southern France)) Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat was the founder of modern neo-Templarism [→ Neo-Templar Traditions]. Although he styled himself a “medical doctor”, he was actually educated in a Catholic seminary but was unable to complete his training there because of the French Revolution. He later worked as a pedicure performing small surgical operations (an activity not requiring a formal medical education at that time). After the Revolution, Fabré-Palaprat joined Paris → Freemasonry in …

Grail Traditions in Western Esotericism

(1,756 words)

Author(s): Introvigne, Massimo
According to most contemporary scholars, the Grail mythology in the Middle Ages was not connected to extra-Catholic esotericism, but either to a Roman Catholic eucharistic spirituality or to a literature designed for the purpose of providing (non-esoteric) entertainment. After what the Italian historian Franco Cardini called ‘the eclipse of the Grail’, the myth resurfaced in the 19th century in the Romantic literary and artistic milieu [→ Romanticism], particularly that of the composer Richard W…


(9,838 words)

Author(s): Edighoffer, Roland | Introvigne, Massimo
Rosicrucianism I: First half of the 17th Century The phenomenon known as “Rosicrucianism” has its origin in 1614, with a volume that appeared in Kassel, Germany, containing three texts: Allgemeine und General Reformation der gantzen weiten Welt (Universal and General Reformation of the Whole Wide World), Fama Fraternitatis, Deß Löblichen Ordens des Rosenkreutzes, an alle Gelehrte und Häupter Europae geschrieben (The Fame of the Fraternity of the Praiseworthy Order of the Rose-Cross, Written to all the Learned and Rulers of Europe), and Auch einer kurtzen Responsion (Also a Short…