Thule, the Priory of Sion, and Otto Rahn
Oct 24, 2004
Author: John M.
Conspiracy buffs have long been interested in the Nazis for their occult connections, and in recent years the south of France has garnered interest for a quite different supposed occult conspiracy, yet the two are rarely connected.
In an interview with Peter Levenda, Dagobert’s Revenge Magazine hit on the figure of Otto Rahn, grail researcher, who, after having completed a book on the grail mysteries of south France for the Nazis mysteriously died in the Pyrenees. It was also pointed out that around the time that Otto Rahn, who was a skilled mountain climber, was in all probability killed by the Nazis, a figure by the name of Karl Maria-Wilgut, known as Weisthor, who was a mystic employed by the SS, was relieved of his duties and gradually retired from public life.
In the article, the story was left as one of the many mysterious deaths surrounding whatever lies around Rennes-la-Chateau, but the truth of the matter can indeed be reconstructed, and gives some good insight into the forces at work in these two realms.
To start with, I¹ll declare in advance that I basically believe the account of what the Priory of Sion is all about that Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince put forward in The Templar Revelation. Recapping the book, their basic contention is that John the Baptist and Jesus were both missionaries from Egypt who were trying to introduce of mystical religion into Judea, possibly building on the presence of a matriarchal past which Judaism shows traces of. Mary Magdalene functioned as a sort of Tantric partner for Jesus within the Egyptian mysteries. She escaped after Jesus’ death to the South of France where the Romans had an outpost, the area which would thereafter be known as Provence - the Province. After inculcating her belief system to the natives they carried on the tradition, going underground when Christianity came into the picture. During the Middle Ages the Knights Templar were founded to go to the holy land and bring back any shards of knowledge relating to the teachings of the Magdalene. They were successful and made contact with surviving Johannite groups as well as, in all probability, heretical Muslim mystics. The synthesis that followed formed the basis for the Priory’s belief system, which found practical expression in an initiatory system similar to Masonry and in a sense stemming from it. That’s the Priory of Sion.
Now that this large pill has been swallowed, let’s fast forward to the early part of the twentieth century. Now according to Levenda and to Nicholas Clarke-Goodrich (author of The Occult Roots of Nazism), what the Ariosophists of the time came up with was strikingly similar to what was going on in the South of France, only for them all of it was based in a Germanic past and in Northern mysteries, instead of in Egyptian and Greek mysteries. Lanz von Liebenfels believed that the original Christianity was Odinist in character, and that this Christ figure was much more life-positive, if you will, but that the true Odinist character of Christianity had been distorted by the Jews after the fact, giving rise to the semi-Germanic faith which he believed contemporary Christianity was. With Christianity reconciled to Germanic Paganism, Liebenfels had no problem in adopting the Templars as examples to be imitated by the Aryan volk and, correspondingly, formed the Order of the New Templars, which reinterpreted the grail myths in a Germanic tone. Liebenfels also believed, among other things, that the original home of the Germans was a lost isle called Ultima-Thule, and that the Germans were the products of a union between the gods and primitive man, whereas the Jews and others were purely the products of primitive man. He called this belief Theo-Zoology. About the same time as Liebenfels (who counted Hitler among his admirers) was going into all of this a man by the name of Guido von List was combining Germanic paganism with Theosophy to create a whole system of occult practices based on Theosophical interpretation of the Runes, which became the Armanen system. He gained the insight into the runes at the same time that he started having visions indicating a pre-Christian Germanic past. In this version, Germans were actually the original inhabitants of Europe, and had been ruled by a powerful theocratic government formed around the Germanic mysteries, which he termed the “Armanen brotherhood.”
Now List, through mixing Theosophy with German paganism, was able to create what can only be described as a sort of German Buddhism, with Rune Yoga, Rune mantras, and Rune mudras even (hand signs to use while meditating), along with an initiatory system via his revived Armanen brotherhood which, combining these elements, could be said to resemble a sort of esoteric Masonry.
So far the parallels are quite interesting: the Priory of Sion claims that the official account of early Christianity given by the Church is wrong, and associates itself with Johannite groups that claim that the real teaching was a Gnostic esotericism with it¹s origin in Egypt; the Ariosophists also claimed that the official account of Jesus was wrong, and that the real Jesus was more life positive, we shall say, with his real teachings rooted in a non-Judaic paganism. Both groups were involved with orders of knights, and for a similar reason it would seem: to present through the knights and the grail quest an alternative set of values and beliefs from that of Christianity. The only difference is that the Priory of Sion focuses its study on Middle Eastern, Egyptian, and indigenous Frankish paganism (as a sort of accompanying theme.)
It gets much more interesting though when the figure of Baron von Sebbetendorf, the founder of the Thule Society, is added to the mix. The Baron was the link between the small groups that von Liebenfels and List founded and the Nazi party; in fact the Nazi party was founded as the workers’ section of the Thule Society - during a concerted effort to reach out to workers from what was essentially an aristocratic affair, according to Levenda. The Baron distinguished himself by the fact that, unlike the other two, he actually had contact with living esoteric traditions and incorporated them into his system. We can actually know quite a bit about what the Baron was after, because he made it known that the teachings he had originally came from Bektashi dervishes that he encountered while serving on at a diplomatic post in Turkey.
He believed that the Islamic mysteries of the Bektashis were actually German mysteries that were somehow scrambled and dispersed. Actually, this isn’t that unlikely a possibility: the Bektashi order of dervishes were actually secret Shiite Muslims acting within an officially Sunni society. And where did Shi¹ia esotericism start? In Iran. In fact, Shi’ite Islam incorporates a substantial amount of Zoroastrian and Gnostic thought within its official beliefs, not to mention it¹s esotericism and any secret brotherhoods, although it’s all been Islamicized. And, to make a comparison, the sort of intellectual ferment that created the Bektashis, compared in terms of content with the Egyptian mysteries, although they weren’t the same thing. Bektashi beliefs and practices are actually not secret, as some careful scholars have compiled books detailing Bektashi belief and, in one case, a Bektashi Catechism, although you’d probably only find these studies in university and college libraries. A glance through the Bektashi catechism in the book I saw revealed that they believe in a graded system of worlds patterned on the spheres of the planets and that the goal was, in part, to ascend through the spheres through mystical practice, in addition to more Islamic features.
So this is what Sebbetendorf brought back with him from Turkey: a system of thought which was both mystical and rooted in Indo-European concepts, things which had been long known about in Iran since the middle of the 19th century. He then combined it with the Germanic Christianity of Liebenfels and possibly the Germanic Theosophy of List to create the Thule society and its secret inner order, the Germanen Orden. Then Hitler got involved, and the rest is history. Sebbetendorf actually returned to Germany after Hitler had won power and composed a book on the origin of the Nazi ideology, but, after the Nazis refused to give him any credit for his work, he returned to Turkey and committed suicide.
Which brings us up to Otto Rahn and Karl-Maria Wilgut. Rahn was probably a straightforward Grail researcher, but Karl-Maria Wilgut takes some explaining. Like Sebbetendorf, Wilgut was part of the second wave of Ariosophists. In his case, Wilgut relied on a combination of List’s theories of Germanic origins in Europe and Liebenfel¹s Germanic Christianity in order to construct a fantastic history of a supposed line of Secret Kings of the Germans, which had continued the Odinist Christianity in secret all through the ages.....ending with Karl Maria-Wilgut as the current Secret King. Himmler, according to Levenda, took Wilgut very seriously and in all probability thought that he had found the actual secret king of the world. Wilgut was given an SS rank and his occult ideas were incorporated into the SS¹s ceremonial jewelry and rituals. He was then set out to do research on the secret Germanic past of Europe. This only stopped when the already
gullible Abwehr people in charge of this research refused to take what he was sending them seriously.
How does this relate to Otto Rahn? Well, before going to that it’s useful to compare Wilgut’s theory of Secret Kingship with the Royal Line that the Priory of Sion is supposedly tending to and protecting. Again, you have the pattern of something which was independently thought up by Germanophiles matching the actual belief of an institution really existing in southern France, which conceives the idea, however, in radically different terms having nothing to do with Germans.
Now put into the mix Otto Rahn, a Grail researcher with financing from the Nazis, hired to find Grail-related information which confirmed Nazi occult ideas. Rahn, who is reporting to people thoroughly familiar with the Ariosophists, is down in Southern France poking around the area in which the Priory of Sion actually exists. Suddenly this expert mountaineer is found dead on an easy mountain pass, and the person claiming to be the Secret King of the Germans is quietly relieved of his duties.
Could it be that what Otto Rahn found was the actual truth of the Grail, but
that when it was found not to have anything to do with German supremacy, the Nazis killed Rahn to keep him from talking, and relieved Wiligut out of embarrassment?
My personal opinion is: yes.