Friday, August 24, 2012

A Secret History of Swedish Magic

A Secret History of Swedish Magic

By Dr. Ivar Michael Praetorius, MD., ILL., LIInd Grand Master

"Est Opus Occultum Veri Sophi Aperire Terram Ut Germinet Salutem Pro Populo"
Location and Building

The Stockholm Chantry of the Magical Brotherhood of the Kingdom of Sweden (we have been called by many other names, but this is the correct translation from the Latin) is located in the Old City of Stockholm, on the northern end of Prästgatan ("Priest Street"). Until the 1980s, the narrow and winding street had changed very little since the middle Ages; now it is a tourist attraction. Despite its proximity to the bustling Västerlånggatan and the Royal Palace, it can seem remarkably empty and silent late at night after the restaurants have closed. The surrounding buildings tower over it, causing traffic noises and voices to echo in the silence. Most windows have ornamented cast-iron bars or closed shutters. Low, locked doors lying slightly below street level lead to unseen courtyards. This is one of the oldest parts of Stockholm and least altered, which in part accounts for the "ghost stories" that continues to collect around it.

The Chantry building itself can be found at the northernmost section where the street abruptly comes to a dead end. A dingy green-painted door is all that greets the eye of the visitor from outside. Within, a dark and narrow passageway leads into a cobbled courtyard. The crooked building that rises up on either side is quite old, but has been renovated several times. However, despite some modernization, it remains cold in winter and reeks of drains and mould in the heat of summer. Inside it, the sensation of age and claustrophobia is even stronger. Small barred windows send dust-filled beams of pale light into the shadows. The doorways are low and narrow, the walls either chalked white or covered with flaking paint. No two rooms are the same, corridors meet at odd angles, staircases sometimes end in blank walls, and the air is stale and always smells slightly musty. There is still no central heating, just large fireplaces in some rooms with electric radiators in them. Electricity was installed in the building in the1920s, resulting in great clunky light-switches and snaking wires ineptly painted over visible on the interior walls. Occasionally occult symbols can be discerned where they were etched into the stone or wooden door-panels as wards of protection. Some may be very old indeed.

I shall never forget my first impression of the place, when as a youth I was first invited inside by my mentor and preceptor, Grand Master Frederik Wilander in the mid-1970s. In those days there were still many books stuffed into the ancient, wood-worm-rotted cases, faded brocade curtains still overhung the windows, and portraits of past Masters adorned the walls, lending it something of the look of an antique college hall. In that era, old Mrs Krook, Wilander's mother-in-law, was still alive (though well into her nineties), and, bent over nearly double by scoliosis, would bring her servants in with her on Fridays and Saturdays to open up the kitchens. Soon the smells of simple Swedish fare would fill the building: cabbage soups and korv, boiled potatoes shot with pellets of clove, and sugared bread puddings. Often she would be accompanied by Wilander's wife (her daughter, Fairgun), a notable beauty in her own day, and on one memorable occasion, Wilander's daughter, Frikka, who lived in Helsinki. Though Frikka was old enough to be my mother she lives on in my memory as the loveliest woman ever to walk the Earth and from whose exquisite form emanated the vapours and harmonies of the Divine. Sometimes Wilander himself would take me aside and speak to me of his hopes and dreams for the future of the Chantry. I have endeavoured to do my best to fulfil them, but to no avail. Gradually, membership has dwindled, and the good-fellowship of the past has yielded first to bitterness and acrimony, then to desertion and indifference. Over the years, I have entertained high hopes of many of my apprentices, one in particular, for I too require a successor - but these hopes have all been dashed. I once thought in the person of Anders Sandberg that I had found the perfect protégé - but first his disappearance and then subsequent plagiarism, and (despite his Sacred Oath) betrayals of our most ancient and terrible secrets, have filled me with nothing but despair for the future.

Now the building sits empty. In the 1980s a major part of the library, along with the museum of rare and arcane objects, was moved to an underground warehouse in the suburbs, where our collections and archives could be stored safely and anonymously far from the prying eyes of tourists and property developers. This process was initiated by my predecessor, the immortal Wilander, who was by training a chemical engineer and devoted himself to the preservation and restoration of rare manuscripts. I well remember a conversation we had on the subject, when I first inspected the temperature and humidity control system that he had personally designed and installed, which employed ultraviolet lamps inside a row of air purifiers to discourage mildew and decay.

Did I have any idea, he asked me, leaning puckishly on his cane, where this technology had been developed? When I replied that I did not, the great man informed me that it had been installed for Generalissimo Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain, in order to indefinitely preserve the corpses of Juan and later Eva Peron against their eventual return to and burial in their native land of Argentina. Franco, he told me, was the first to think of woven coconut-fibre matting, and was, in his opinion, a genius of entropic retardation. Bearing such innovations in mind, I have faithfully completed my dear friend's self-appointed task.
Prästgatan, ca. 1890.
The Chantry is now used largely as a private meeting-hall and place of ceremony. Its resonances, needless to say, are of such potency that it has supplanted the Temple of Odin in Uppsala as a major locus of etheric power in Sweden. At the end of the old passageway, a guard-room once stood beside the front entrance hall; others were located on upper floors overlooking the street. Long-abandoned, the dank and crumbling cellars were long known among the few remaining Brothers as "the Kingdom of Norway", because only rattus norvegicus holds dominion there. The second floor contained a banquet hall, a laboratorium and a kitchen. The librarium was located on the third floor. All are now empty. Parts of these and the upper dormitorium floors are, alas, also off-limits, the doors locked or sealed up, because they are now too unsafe to be used. However, a small tower with an observatory remains, looking out towards the Royal Palace and the Palace Church. Its uppermost storey has been walled off; even at midsummer, icicles form on the rough wooden ceiling beneath it.

Once upon a time this building was the repository - and in some cases the actual setting - for all that I am about to reveal to you. Which is The True and Secret History of Occult Magic in the Most Noble & Ancient Kingdom of Sweden:

Prehistory and the Age of Vikings

Theosophy postulates five "root races", the first one composed of fire and mist; in this, as in so many of its teachings, it is incorrect. In fact, there have been only four. At the Dawn of Man, the fertile northern lands that were someday to become known as "Sweden" were settled by the true "First Race". At that time the pull of the Earth's original moon was weak, and these early humans seldom grew over a half-meter high. There is ample evidence that their brains were structured differently than our own, perhaps lacking a neo-cortex but including a much greater pineal bulb, resulting in what we would today consider advanced "extra-sensory" powers. This manifested itself in the ability to telepathically hear voices, communicate with animals, raise storms, and otherwise control nature. Descendants of these beings survived in remote places well into the Middle Ages, when they were called "Halflings", "Nissar", or "Tomtar" by our Swedish ancestors. The internationally best-selling Swedish author Axel Munthe was visited by one of these as late as the early 20th century. A complex of their shrines can be found today on the Island of Malta, as well as rock-carvings in Lapland.

The rise of the "Second Race" of Man was prompted by two events: the capture of a second moon, that which we regard today as the earth's sole satellite companion, and the retreat of the glaciers from Europe. Peoples of this vast Neolithic culture followed the warming climate into the far north, sometimes clashing with and sometimes interbreeding with the retreating indigenous "Halflings". It was from them that the modern Sami or Lapps, known to our ancestors as "Skraelings" received their magical lore. Then, in response to increasing tidal fluctuations and weakening gravity from the baleful influence of the two warring moons, came the Third or "Hyperborean" peoples, a race of pale-skinned giants. Both men and women alike often grew to heights of a meter and a half, as many discovered skeletal remains and mummies have proven. This race, which is sometimes called "Atlantean" or "Lemurian" by modern occultists, became horsemen, invented bronze and woven textiles, and erected heroic cities of stone throughout the world, the remains of which can be seen from Baalbek in Lebanon to Tiahuanaco in Bolivia.

Many of their mummies, wearing woven tartan cloth, have been excavated in Cherchen, China, though thousands more have been destroyed by order of the Chinese government, which has hindered the study of these remarkable beings. However, smuggled DNA samples have linked them to northeast Europe - as well as to Sweden itself. The memory of this age, called the Hyperborean, was revealed in a series of drug-induced visions to the American writer, Robert E. Howard, who was the first to make a crude yet vivid depiction of it in his "Conan" stories. It ended with the vibration-induced destruction of the First Moon, which caused a massive rise in the Earth's sea level, destroying the nation known to Plato as "Atlantis" and with it much of Hyperborean culture. The survivors of the cataclysm mated with their "Second Race" slaves and produced our own modern "Fourth Race". Yet there is much evidence that many Hyperborean characteristics - the great height, the pale skin, and light hair - survived among those who came in time to be called the Svea and the Goths: the direct ancestors of the Swedish nation.

Like the Celts to whom they were distantly related, these simple, noble folk were ruled by a college of Druid-like mages, advising the people how best to survive the harsh climate in the north, interpreting the will of the gods, protecting them from demons and hostile spirits and helping with the crops, fishing and hunting. It was a very utilitarian lore, with more practical uses than metaphysical ones. While the mages in the more civilized lands to the south were already creating great philosophical systems and struggling to heighten their own spiritual awareness, the northern mages had to bargain with the spirits to grub for food and use their magical powers to protect their people from wild animals - and worse!

The worship of the Old Gods seems to have been heavily influenced by Teutonic and Druidic cult practices, many of which, half-understood, had survived since before the Hyperborean era. During the ceremonies at the temple of Uppsala, animals and thralls were hanged from great oaks, and the priests sprinkled the idols of the gods with the blood from the sacrifices. Afterwards everybody celebrated, that is to say, became drunk and exchanged sexual partners, so as to ensure continued fertility and good crops.
Von Rosen's Gotland Stone. Odin at upper right.
In the 11th century, German cleric Adam of Bremen wrote in horrified detail about the main pagan temple of the Swedes at Uppsala and the gory cult of Odin, Thor and Frey that took place there. He used the word templum, "temple", to denote this structure, but on one occasion also triclinium, "dining hall". Most scholars today agree that what Adam was describing (at second or third hand) was in fact nothing like the Greek or Roman temples of the Mediterranean. Instead, the royal pagan cult at Old Uppsala took place in great single-story wooden long houses. Two massive foundation platforms of such feasting halls are still visible near the great barrows. The “temple" of Old Uppsala thus had much more in common with the mead hall of king Hrothgar in the Beowulf poem than with the Parthenon or Pantheon.

The interesting account of Uppsala preserved by Adam of Bremen in his History (iv. 26) describes the temple as one of great splendor and covered with gilding:

"In it stood the statues of the three chief deities Upsala. Thor, Odin and Fricco (by whom he probably means Frey). Every nine years a great festival was held there to which embassies were sent by all the peoples of Sweden. A large number of animals and even men were sacrificed on such occasions. In the neighborhood of the temple was a grove of peculiar sanctity in which the bodies of the victims were hung up. After the introduction of Christianity the importance of Uppsala began steadily to decline, and owing to its intimate associations with the old religion the kings no longer made it their residence."

The pagan cult at Old Uppsala ended in the late 11th century, and we don't know how long the great halls were left standing. But in the 1130s Old Uppsala became an Episcopal see, and a Romanesque cathedral was built there, the chancel of which is still standing as a rural parish church. Choosing this particular site for the cathedral meant to appropriate, ostentatiously, the deep roots and legitimacy of the main cult center of ancient Sweden.
This site at Uppsala, recently rediscovered and unearthed by archaeologists, was for several thousand years the most potent and powerful locus in all of Sweden - and possibly Scandinavia itself - as it is the seat of the three most powerful living gods of Norse mythology, whom many believe to have reawakened or even to have been reborn on Earth as avatars. The exchange of sexual partners during ritual orgy (often accompanied by human blood sacrifice, as evidenced by the aged slaves found strangled and drained of blood in Danish peat bogs) in order to insure fertility and increase the gene pool by mating with visitors and even strangers, is as old as humanity itself, and continued to be publicly celebrated in rural communities across Europe well into the 18th Century. It is a myth that the Catholic Church was inimical to this practice; in fact, they encouraged it, and local priests were even given "fertility quotas". It was in fact the more strait-laced Reformed Churches that stamped it out, often under the guise of witch-trials, from which Skåne, or southern Sweden, particularly suffered. The rural planting and harvest orgies are even reflected in the Biblical Succoth - and continue to this day as part of formalized occult magic ritual, as well as casual "wife-swapping" or Western "youth culture" raves. The old devils die hard!

During this time some types of magic were employed by people on a constant basis, as we today use technology. This magic was usually simple, and often of a protective nature to ward against malevolent spirits, tomtar, the dead, injuries, accidents and bad luck. The runic alphabet was regarded as magical, and to be able to inscribe runes was regarded as a kind of magic. Another type of magic was the galders, songs sung in a high-pitched voice. These are reflected in the magical "chants" of Lapp and Finnish sorcerers and wizards in the Prose Eddas and Kalevala. In the northern region of Scandinavia the Lapps still somehow survived. They were a nomadic people of reindeer herders. Their shamans, the “Nojds”, were reputed to be both powerful and dangerous. While most magic were regarded as positive by the Vikings ("A brave man with a good sword can take tackle most things - including magic"), the unearthly powers of the Lapps were regarded with suspicion and fear, particularly their chants or runor, which were used as weapons of enchantment. The Christian hymn was originally an attempt to adopt - and defeat - this magical means of projecting power.

Officially, the Lapps were converted to Lutheranism in 1501 by the Swedish monk Lars Laestidius, but they continue to this day to entertain many traditional magical beliefs alongside the faith imposed upon them. They believe, for instance, that all things, living or dead, are inhabited by spirits, and they still consult a shaman when these spirits become antagonistic to them. They call these spirits uldas, and believe that they live underground, all over Lapland. Many keep dogs and reindeer and, like the British "fairies", have the power to appear as humans, whom they dislike. The Lapps are therefore careful never to intrude upon the uldas and take great care not to venture underground or pitch their tents near a "fairy-knowe". Occasionally an ulda will appear to a human in a friendly or even seductive guise; it is believed among the Lapps that it was an ulda who first taught them to chant, or yoik.

These uldas are known by many names to the rest of the world, and are called "Invisibles" by the Adept. Some are animal or nature spirits, others mere elementals or the ghosts of the restless dead, still others are what we might term malevolent spirits or demons. Their voices can sometimes be captured on magnetic tape, employing a method developed by the Latvian scientist Konstantin Raudive ( working in Uppsala, Sweden (only a few hundred metres from the ancient temple) in the 1950s. He found that when a crude capacitor or diode box was connected to a tape recorder instead of a microphone, sometimes ghostly voices appeared on the tapes afterwards uttering intelligible phrases in a number of languages. Later, he expanded this technique to include empty frequencies on the radio dial, and his followers have produced clear sounds and images in recent years using videotape. Their results formed the basis for the film "White Noise". The Adept, of course, as in the case of the great Emmanuel Swedenborg, can communicate with them directly and even form lasting and mutually beneficial relationships - though he must always take care never to be tricked or deceived.

The Seven Kings
"The Procession of the Seven Kings" was a pro-peace demonstration that took place in the streets of San Diego and the grounds of the Point Loma headquarters in 1914 and 1925. It was part of an international event known at the Congress of the Parliament of Peace and Universal Brotherhood, founded to promote international peace. The Procession of the Seven Kings was inspired by a Swedish legend supposedly telling the story of seven kings from countries who meet under seven beech trees that grow from one root and establish permanent peace. However the truth was in fact far different: it was a pagan Druid-like ceremony of homage, accompanied by blood-sacrifice, to Odin. The true story was employed by the English antiquarian, occult historian, and ghost-story writer M. R. James in a celebrated short story.

The seventh and most powerful of these magical kings was the King of Uppsala, who was called "Aun" or "On". We know this because he is mentioned in the great epic poem Beowulf, which modern scholars now accept to be an accurate poetical allegory relating the early history of the Getae or Goths. According to Sir James George Frazer in "The Golden Bough":

"When once kings, who had hitherto been bound to die a violent death at the end of a term of years, conceived the happy thought of dying by deputy in the persons of others, they would very naturally put it in practice; and accordingly we need not wonder at finding so popular an expedient, or traces of it, in many lands. Scandinavian traditions contain some hints that of old the Swedish kings reigned only for periods of nine years, after which they were put to death or had to find a substitute to die in their stead. Thus Aun or On, king of Sweden, is said to have sacrificed to Odin for length of days and to have been answered by the god that he should live so long as he sacrificed one of his sons every ninth year. He sacrificed nine of them in this manner, and would have sacrificed the tenth and last, but the Swedes would not allow him. So he died and was buried in a mound at Uppsala. Another indication of a similar tenure of the crown occurs in a curious legend of the deposition and banishment of Odin. Offended at his misdeeds, the other gods outlawed and exiled him, but set up in his place a substitute, Oller by name, a cunning wizard, to whom they accorded the symbols both of royalty and of godhead. The deputy bore the name of Odin, and reigned for nearly ten years, when he was driven from the throne, while the real Odin came to his own again. His discomfited rival retired to Sweden and was afterwards slain in an attempt to repair his shattered fortunes. As gods are often merely men who loom large through the mists of tradition, we may conjecture that this Norse legend preserves a confused reminiscence of ancient Swedish kings who reigned for nine or ten years together, then abdicated, delegating to others the privilege of dying for their country. The great festival which was held at Uppsala every nine years may have been the occasion on which the king or his deputy was put to death. We know that human sacrifices formed part of the rites."

The image of these lost "Nine Kings", of course, inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to imagine them as wraiths under the psychic control of their brutal "father", Aun - or Sauron (Sire = father). This belief, that one can purchase a renewal of life by sacrificing a son, is an ancient one dating back to the story of Isaac and the well-known public rituals of the Carthaginians. It is, of course, in magical terms, entirely correct, though difficult to achieve in the modern world, where so few children are now born to Initiates. However, the "ultimate rite" of Mithras - the murder of the person one loves most - can achieve a somewhat similar effect, and both Alexander the Great and the Emperor Hadrian were reputed to have performed it. In 1971 my own Wallenberg family was rumored to be implicated in such a rite when my mother's cousin "Dodde"
Marcus "Dodde" Wallenberg.

forced his own son Marc to commit suicide, supposedly over a bank acquisition.
Marc Wallenberg.

An Example of Effective Blood Sacrifice

As a child, I often was invited to family holidays at Täcka Udden, the white castle near owned by Dodde Wallenberg on the Royal Djurgården Park in Stockholm. I am not a Wallenberg by name - my father was a poor Lutheran priest and schoolteacher - but my mother was Marcus' first cousin and so we were included in all  the "clan" festivities and financial deliberations, though I was often mocked, particularly by Jacob and Marc, cousins of my own age, both for my father's imprisonment and for my heavy girth. Their callous nickname for me was "Fjärten, or "Farty" in English. Often I was driven by their cruel mockery to flee outdoors and play by myself, for I have always loved Nature. Nearby, in the park, there was a well-known “fairy knowe” or neolithic burial mound, from which every time I passed by, I seemed to hear a child's voice calling from inside. One day, I asked one of the gardeners, "Gubben Per", if we children were allowed to play "down there". He looked very surprised indeed and told me the following tale: In the 17th Century (he said) a plague epidemic swept over Stockholm, to which thousands of persons fell victims. Many people fled to the forests, or to other regions. The churches were deserted, and those remaining were not enough to bury the dead. At this stage an old Finn came along, who informed the few remaining inhabitants of the city that they need not hope for a cessation of the scourge until they had buried some living thing.

This advice was followed. First a cock was buried alive, but the plague continued as violent as ever. Next, a goat, but this also proved ineffectual. At last a poor boy, who frequented the neighborhood, begging, was lured to a wood-covered hill beside the bay waters. Here a deep hole was dug, the boy meantime sitting near, enjoying a piece of bread and butter that had been given him. When the grave was deep enough, the boy was dropped into it and the diggers began hurriedly to shovel the dirt upon him. The lad begged and prayed them not to throw dirt upon his bread and butter, but the spades flew faster, and in a few minutes, still alive, he was entirely covered and left to his fate. Whether this stopped the plague is not known, but many who after night pass the hill, hear, it is said, a voice as if from a dying child, crying, "Buried alive! Buried alive!"
Sweden is rich in such ghost stories and folk tales - all with a practical bent! For this simple, earthy connection to the soil and its mysteries, to the magical ley lines running through it (that were later utilized by the Knights Templar, as on the island of Bornholm, for reference grids to their famous "round churches"), and to the beautiful natural landscape of Scandinavia that has proved the inspiration for so many dreamers and mystics, such as the great Swedenborg, was once a notable feature of the Swedish character. Today it is all but lost. Not so in the early era of our noble ancestors, the Vikings. Though these have been much vilified of late in academic circles as pirates and plunderers - ironically echoing the clerics of the Middle Ages in their credulous reporting - Vikings were in reality great explorers, inventors, sailors, craftsmen, and traders. Further, it is their descendants who were responsible for the evolution of that foul abomination, the modern democracy.

The Viking kings of Sweden are said to have been descended from Ivarr Viifaami, after whom I am named. The most prominent figures in this family are Haraldr Hildittinn Ivarr's grandson and his nephew Sigurar Hringr. The story of the battle between these two at Bravik, in which Haraldr lost his life, is one of the most famous in northern literature. Other northern authorities such as Saxo Grammaticus and the Hrolfs Saga Kraka represent the Swedish kings in a very unfavorable light, as niggardly and addicted to sorcery. So we see that in those days, ancient Swedish magical (as well as financial) traditions were still being scrupulously observed. About the year 830 the missionary bishop Ansgar made his first expedition to Sweden. He made his way to Birca on the Malar. He appears to have met with considerable immediate success in his missionary enterprises, although there is no evidence to show that the churches he founded long survived his death, and no serious mission seems to have been attempted for more than a century afterwards. This first attempt then had failed, but soon other missionaries soon arrived. Papal Legates were probably among them, and inevitably a struggle ensued between the pagan mages and the Christian orders. As yet, there was no Inquisition or Jesuit Order, but similar duties were often undertaken by Legates and the bishops under their command. The struggle continued for several centuries, but Christianity slowly became the religion of the kings and leaders and later the rest of the inhabitants. Both groups adapted to each other, and the native magicians were forced underground to continue their activities with support from the populace, very much in the same manner as herbalists and midwives, while the Church consolidated its formal political authority.

Christianity and the Middle Ages
The Magical Brotherhood of the Kingdom of Sweden, the clandestine order dedicated to Hermetic and occult magic, was founded on the Midwinter Solstice, 1346, by Cornelius Beurraeus, Sten Knutsson and Olaus Gripius, three clerics and secret pagan mages. It was the first such fraternity in Stockholm, then more a Hansa German city than a Swedish. The original location of the Chantry is not known, but is believed to have been in the eastern side of the city, near the harbour. A few years afterward the Vatican sent a number of "White Brothers" who resided in the Dominican abbey to combat the influence of the hermetic mages. Certainly a number of these warrior-priests had extensive experience of persecuting Cathars during the aftermath of the Albigensian Crusades and the suppression of the Knights Templar, and several may have been formal Inquisitors. With them, in addition to books on witchcraft and devil-worship, came bloodied instruments of torture from Italy and Provence. Therefore, from the first, the Chantry began its existence in a state of fear and hiding, both on a physical and occult plane.

Gradually over the next century, the enmity between the two groups was forgotten. Increasingly, European Catholic priests were replaced by native Swedes and Danes. The White Brothers tended to the souls of the faithful while the Adepts studied the arcane arts and grew rich from trade with the continent. Neither group had much to do with politics, which proved to be a fatal oversight. When the young noble Gustaf Vasa launched a successful uprising against the Danish king, neither took sides. In fact, the Adepts discreetly supported him, together with their German merchant contacts, and may have actually tipped the balance with their ability to cast weather spells for Baltic shipping. But they soon realized something was very wrong. The new king began to abrogate centralized power to himself, and administrators loyal to the king searched the lands for unpaid taxes, insurgents and mages. Soon after, the Reformation was brought to Sweden.

The Chantry was taken completely by surprise, and lost most of its political power and magical artifacts before its members knew what was happening; by then it was too late. Foreign Alchemists, Germans and Flemings, had firmly established themselves in holding the reigns of government. The White Brothers, hard-pressed by the crisis in the Church precipitated by Luther, sought help from the equally desperate mages. They joined forces, and the surviving White Brothers formally joined the Chantry in 1573. The Chantry had bought the house on Priests' Street in 1499 to serve as a bolt-hole and warehouse. This impoverished part of town was called "Hel" and had a dark reputation in part due to the large number of dead bodies stolen from its cemetery for anatomical study and use in ritual by the Chantry brothers. For several decades the Chantry stubbornly held out while the Alchemists, under the aegis of the Throne and the new Lutheran hierarchy, began reforming society. Finally they found and destroyed the old Chantry building, and the Brotherhood was scattered. Several who were caught died unspeakable deaths. We are told by the old texts that much of "Hel" was rendered a deadly inferno.

For a period there was no organization of the mages of Stockholm or Sweden at all. The Reformation strengthened its power and went on with its business hindered only by the bitter wars against Catholic Europe. But in 1606 the Chantry was founded anew by the legendary Johannes Bureus. Because he seemed to have suspiciously many contacts among the Alchemists, at first his motives were universally distrusted. However, the first waves of persecution among the Alchemists themselves were now being felt in England, in France, and in Germany as those more arcane and mystical among their number began to run afoul of ecclesiastical authority. Several in Sweden even defected to the Magical Brotherhood. However, it was to be many years before it regained its former power, in spite of the genius and magical powers of the incomparable Bureus.

Gustav Vasa and the Reformation

Under the mantle of Lutheranism, Alchemists had triumphed overwhelmingly on the European continent. Even among their former enemies, the Catholic Church, mere lip-service was now paid to the suppression of "Science". The Vatican had become utterly seduced by the creature comforts it brought with it. Employing the invention of the printing press, Alchemy had spread its technology and philosophy far and wide, and had used the Reformation to finally crush the power of Rome's innermost resistant cabal. I must take a moment now to define this activist group and its aims, which remain to this day antithetical to those of both holy mystics and magicians. There is a vast public confusion over the terms "Alchemy" and "Magic", which are twinned in popular perception. This is not surprising, since so many of the earliest practitioners, such as Paracelsus and Henri Cornelius Agrippa, were disciples of both - and as such, were persecuted by both Catholic and Calvinist authorities. Briefly put, one can define "Magic" as the attempt to influence what we see as "reality" entirely on an occult or spiritual plane; in this, in fact, it is little different than religion, because after all, prayer is the ultimate act of magic.

The concept of physical immortality is therefore rejected in favour of gaining spiritual immortality and wisdom either through redemption, occultation, or else through the cycle of death and rebirth. Religion and magic, therefore, can both be said to be "naturalistic". "Alchemy", on the other hand, is entirely "humanistic" and as such has a two-fold mission: firstly to hasten the "evolution" of society into a utopian state through the medium of science and the building of huge cities, and secondly, to confer upon the alchemist the gift of physical immortality since it does not allow that of the human spirit. It is only the beginner who imagines that he may merely transmute iron into gold - the chymical adept is attempting to free the body forever from the spirit, so that it may never die. Thus, Alchemy is the true grandfather of all we have witnessed in the world for the past several centuries: the triumph of materialism, political revolution, the destruction of the church, and ultimately the denial of the existence of the soul.

The grand-child of this materialistic philosophy is the modern socialist state, which permits no belief in the arcane, is hostile to religion, and ultimately dedicated to the destruction of all magic. It has even infected Islam with its ideology, which now persecutes its own mystics and destroys its own past with the same nihilistic zeal as the KGB of the former Soviet Union. This compulsory collective amnesia has resulted in the loss of a millennium of recorded lore. The ultimate aim of the modern Alchemist? To forestall the natural cycle of reincarnation by preserving his "memories" on a computer hard drive! This is the very opposite of humanism, for it will result, if successful, in a world of chimeric mechanical monsters. It is ironic indeed that the seeds of this robotic world-view were first sown in the Renaissance, but it properly owes its brutal logic to ancient Rome.

Even in 16th-Century Sweden one can now see the beginnings of this cruel mechanistic philosophy. In Germany, many Alchemists had already taken control of the emerging trading houses, and had become interested in the backward land to the north for its mineral riches. In fact, in those times most Alchemists were simply what we now call chemists or geologists - theirs was a practical, scientific passion for ore and what might be smelted from it for profit. When Gustaf Vasa asked the merchants of Lübeck for help, they gave him both economical and military support. They also sent one or two their chief adepts to Sweden. With the aid they afforded him, Gustaf Vasa succeeded in becoming king of Sweden in 1523. One of these, Olaus Petri, a former Catholic priest who had converted to Lutheranism, had been present in Sweden a few years, and quickly had the ear of the king. He actually imported administrators and overseers from Germany, and there were several "witch-hunters" among them. One, Georg Norman, traveled around in some provinces, appointed and deposed local administration, interrogated priests, confiscated relics, taxes and artworks, all in order to root out influences of the Old Church - and the old magics.

After the death of Gustaf Vasa there followed a period where the Vatican, the Chantry, and the Alchemists magically warred with each other. They manipulated different nobles and political factions, sometimes using forbidden sorcerous methods (which caused the demonic possession of Erik XIV, the eldest son of Gustaf Vasa). It was in this dreadful time that the Chantry building was destroyed and the Brotherhood murdered or dispersed. The Alchemists managed to create a state-controlled church in 1592, but the Vatican controlled the new king Sigismund, who was Catholic. However, he was soon forced into exile, and the Lutheran nobles installed Duke Karl Vasa, the youngest son of Gustaf Vasa, onto the throne. Karl IX turned out to be completely loyal to the Alchemical cause, and Rome's political power in the Baltic was at last utterly destroyed. The new king continued the efforts of his father, and encouraged the development of new technology and the immigration of the Walloons, Dutch experts on metallurgy - many of whom later settled in the Finnish territories. Among them, a few Undead members - Alchemists who had already yielded to the mistaken age-old notion that vampirism can bring about true immortality - arrived and began their work. Under Karl IX, Swedish control and taxation expanded northward, and the Lapps were persecuted by the Church and state. The Lutheran Church confiscated their magic drums and did its best to convert them to Christianity and destroy all pagan elements in their culture.

[A brief note on vampirism: this practice, because it can indeed preserve the physical body for centuries (if not forever), enjoyed a great vogue during the 18th Century. Several European kings and queens became addicted to it, resulting in occasional madness and porphyria, as in the case of England's George III. Others, like Marie Antoinette, merely bathed in the blood of virgins for cosmetic reasons. But it is a notable magical fact and no fiction, that while the body's tissues may preserve a curious, almost super-human vitality from drinking blood, the human brain cannot. Over time, it withers and dies, and is inhabited like a ruined castle by the will of a malevolent spirit or demonic elemental; indeed, there are many credible and graphic accounts of several spirits battling at once for possession of an Undead body - and I, myself, have unfortunately observed first-hand such a process in one near to me. I can testify that at the end there is no trace of the precious and sacred human soul, not even mere cellular memory, left behind. Far wiser it is to partake only of certain vegetable or philosophical matter which, as Agrippa has it, "spoiled not nor do not decay", thus prolonging a natural life to its allotted span in full mental clarity and physical vigor, and then in the end, like the great Swedenborg, simply trust in one's Maker. However, the fear of physical death can drive many powerful Alchemical adepts to take this course even in the modern world: some, like Stalin, have died in the middle of the transformation.]

With the accession of Karl IX., and the consequent development of the Swedish military, a new generation of Swedish mages arose. One managed to masquerade as an Alchemist and even a tutor to princes, while secretly reviving the Stockholm Chantry. This great man was the royal librarian, Johannes Bure or Buraeus (1568-1652), who spent most of a long life in a protracted “wizard war" with the evil Danish Alchemical sorcerer, Ole Worm.
Bureus studied all the sciences then known to mankind, and compounded them all into a sort of Rabbinical cultus of his own invention, a universal philosophy in a multitude of arcane volumes written in a secret magic code. But he was also a patient antiquary, and advanced the knowledge of ancient Scandinavian mythology and language considerably, as well as expanding the frontiers and preserving the very existence of the Swedish magical tradition. He awakened curiosity and roused a public sympathy with letters; nor was it without significance that two of the greatest Swedes of the century, Gustavus Adolphus and the poet Stjernhjelm, were his pupils.
In the person of Johannes Thomae Agrivillensis Bureus (Johan Bure, 1568-1652), was realized in near-perfect intellectual balance a profound knowledge of pre-Christian religion and mythology on the one hand and a brilliant post-Renaissance self-education in magical systems such as Hermetic lore, the Kabbalah, and medieval folk magic on the other. This enabled him to perpetuate the great deception that resulted in the preservation and salvation of the Swedish Chantry. Bureus was born in 1568 in åkerby, near the famous magical locus of Uppsala, the son of a Lutheran parish priest. He received a sound education in Uppsala, Stockholm, and later he studied in Germany and Italy. In 1595 he studied theology, in 1602 he became a professor and from 1603 on, the Royal Antiquarian. In the course of his studies, Bureus learned Latin and Hebrew. In 1591 Bureus inherited a medieval magic grimoire from his father-in-law Mårten Bång, who was beheaded soon after (it is believed he was the "Hidden" Grand Master of the suppressed Chantry), and thus became interested in Kabbalah.

Also Bureus was interested in astronomy, which may have led to another interest of his: Rosicrucianism. Bureus' Danish colleague and later bitter rival and enemy, the Danish mage Ole Worm (Olaus Wormius, 1588-1654), together with such luminaries as the Frenchman Guillaume Postel, and the fabulous Danish wizard Tycho Brahe, friend to John Dee and inspiration for Shakespeare's "Prospero, witnessed the birth of a 'new star' or supernova in 1572 - along with a group of German university students who would later become inspired to write the famous Rosicrucian manifestoes. Bureus (and Worm and Brahe) were initially captivated by these Paracelsian writings aiming for world reform based on alchemy and spiritual revolution. But Bureus recovered from this spurious infatuation and secretly recanted; nonetheless his bona fides in Alchemical circles had been established, and this was to allow him the freedom to continue his magical studies. Some of his diaries have been published by the University of Stockholm, thereby making his ground-breaking work on magical runes known to the world. His more dangerous occult works remain the private property of the Chantry.

In 1593 Bureus was appointed editor of religious texts in Stockholm. Just before he moved there, Bureus ran into a rune stone that awakened his curiosity. He lived in an area that has many rune stones, but he never really noticed them before he saw the stone in front of the Cistercian cloister of Riddarholm. He was captivated by the strange scripts and wanted to learn how to read them. Therefore he traveled to the backward province of Dalarna and learned to read the runes from the local farmers. In 1599 and 1600 Bureus made an extensive trip through his native country to find more rune stones so he could write down, translate and interpret the texts. King Karl IX even assigned him to translate certain stones. Later, ancient texts were bought from Iceland. After his trip, spent making notes of all the rune stones he could find, Bureus wrote several books about the runes, including one with information about the different stones he had encountered (Monumenta Sveogothica Hactentus Exculpta, 1624). Bureus was not the only man in his day studying rune magic, because his Danish contemporary Ole Worm took up the same work in his own country. But now the two former friends came to a bitter parting of the ways. Ostensibly, their quarrel was over the meaning and origin of the ancient alphabet, but this was merely a pretext. Worm had begun to suspect Bureus of treason to the cause of the Alchemists and so attacked him in a series of fierce publications - as well as with potent necromancy on the etheric plane. Without constant vigilance and efficacious warding spells the Swedish cause would have been doomed.

Bureus was the first person to scientifically study the language of the runes. He even wrote a small booklet called Runa: ABC-boken (1611) to allow other people to understand the language. In this booklet Bureus gives his own set of runes, but also -for example- the Lord's Prayer in runes.
The first group of five runes referred to the progenitor, the second to the generation and the last to the generated: thus God, creator, creation, a traditional Hermetic triune, reflected in Norse myth as well as the Holy Trinity. In this, Bureus remained influenced by Postel, who was obsessed by the search for the original or perfect language, the single universal tongue spoken all over the world before the confusion at the Tower of Babel. For many Renaissance thinkers that original language was obviously the language of the Old Testament and the Kabbalah: Hebrew. Postel wrote a book how the entire Hebrew script came from the single (and smallest) letter Yod. Also common was the idea that Japheth, a son of Noah, was the last man to possess the original language, which became known as the "Japhethian language". Another common supposition was that the original language came from a single original land. In the case of Bureus, this original land was Plato's Atlantis and this land was his beloved Scandinavia. Scandinavia was known to be the land of the Hyperboreans who had migrated to the Baltic shores before the fall of the Tower of Babel and who thereafter possessed the original, uncorrupted culture and spirituality of mankind. The name "Scandinavia" itself was derived from Noah's son and grandson Japheth and Ashkenazi (giving them the name Skanzea when spelled backwards). Addressing himself to the Rosicrucians, Johannes Bureus proclaimed that the north was distinct in culture and knowledge, that much of this Hyperborean tradition was preserved in the Gothic-Scandinavian Runes, and that a northern wisdom existed that could ensure salvation to those who sought it. He also believed that it had informed the Greek alphabet, as well as its mythology.
Following further the comparison of Northern and Greek mythology Bureus wrote:

"Thor was God the Father, or Lumen, the Themis lex divina and the Thora lex judeorum, and even Jupiter Mandragora. Othin was the Son, or the Verbum Dei, the sapientia of the Pythagoreans, Mars, and Hercules, Freya was identical with the Holy Spirit, or the foecunditas universi, the bonitas divina, the Diana of the Ephesians..."

To these three gods, Bureus linked three of his runes. The "Thors" (rune alphabet above) is equated with the Norse god Thor. This force is actually androgynous. Bure points to an image of Thor found in Uppsala, which is masculine in the upper body, feminine below. Thor is linked with Jove (Jupiter) and hence to Jehovah. This rune is the middle figure of the upper face of the cube on the cover of Flowers' booklet. It has been turned 90 degrees to the left. The same Bureus does with the two runes on the left and the right. The left rune is for Odin and the right rune Freya. Above and below are the runes R and U and U and R (the positioning of the "futharks" was later analyzed by Professor Sigurd Agrell, a distinguished Chantry member, in the 1930s, yielding an entirely new runological divination system).

In this manner Bureus produced his most famous work, his ABC-bok, an example: the runic cross. This figure has a many-layered explanation. The reader can easily see Christ hanging on the cross; his head ("Thors" rune), arms (the Odin and Freya runes of above), etc. The seven runes forming Christ are linked to the days and planets. Also one can follow the lines of the runes and this form some kind of hieroglyphic figure, a bit like an upside-down Monas Hieroglyphica (with some imagination) and indeed, Bureus was heavily influenced by this short text and the symbol of John Dee (1527-1608). But all of this leads to the penultimate power of the runes, which is the secret calculation of time itself. As in Kabbalistic systems, each letter has a numerological value, and Bureus had the habit of playing with this in order to refer to years in which great and apocalyptic events would occur. Bureus was working on his final, greatest masterpiece when the poisonous sorceries and cruel attacks of his enemies destroyed his frail body. He died entirely crippled in 1652. During his lifetime there was rampant speculation that he was in fact the reborn avatar of Wieland, the smith-god of Norse mythology, owing to his practical brilliance and the reputed beauty of his wife and daughters. How often have I wondered the same thing about my great friend and mentor, Frederik Wilander? In him almost certainly was reincarnated the eternal spirits of both Wieland and Bureus; like both of them, a god-like emanation of supernatural power struck one almost like a physical blow in his presence. Like both of them, too, he was lame and walked everywhere with a cane, a Vulcan married to a Venus; I can personally testify to the divine beauty and hypnotic enchantments of both his wife and daughter. Wilander, of course, ably served for many decades as Grand Master of the Chantry until the hour of his resignation, at which time I was myself most unwillingly forced to take up his duties. How often and how bitterly have I wished him here again to share them!

Lions of the North

The Thirty-Year War or "Wars of Religion", which erupted in 1618, may well have been the most horrifying conflict the world was to know until 1939. Whole populations were decimated by massacre, pestilence, and plague, others fled in mass migration, while nations shifted boundaries over and over, and tiny sovereign states were erased from history as the bitter battle spread halfway across the world. Ostensibly, it was war between Catholic and Protestant; yet such was the maze of alliances and supernatural actors on the stage that Lutheran Sweden found itself allied with the Catholic de-facto ruler of France, Cardinal Richelieu, perhaps the greatest necromancer of his age - as well as secretly the father of Louis XIV of France. In Sweden, the Chantry and the agents of the Vatican became united against the Alchemical threat of the Reformation. The Alchemist-controlled Protestants in Germany initially suffered heavy setbacks, and the rulers of Sweden committed themselves to succour them. King Gustaf II Adolf, the legendary "Lion of the North" and pupil of Bureus, quickly captured several major cities in northern Germany and Poland. Aided by the Alchemical propaganda machine, his fame rapidly spread across the continent, and Protestants everywhere viewed him as their new savior.

As the lightning victories of the Swedish (and Finnish) "Blue Boys", as his soldiers were called, followed one upon another, his strategy and tactics were studied by them as well; Oliver Cromwell later credited all of his military success to his emulation of the Swedish general-king. In addition, King Gustaf was supported in this venture by the evil genius Axel Oxenstierna, the highest ranking and most influential Alchemist in Sweden at that time. This brilliant administrator and social engineer, who would have certainly become a Grand Master and sage for the ages had he pursued his originally spiritual calling, subtly manipulated the king and infatuated him with visions of military glory, while building up the largest and most effective army in Baltic history. Unfortunately, this adventure was to cripple Sweden economically and, along with epidemics of the plague, devastate her man-power for the next century, And on the opposing side was the demon-possessed magician-brigand of the established Church, the Czech Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, who had obtained his wealth and position by converting from Protestantism to Catholicism in order to marry a wealthy woman and who had then sacrificed her to Satan in an occult ritual. Initially this was the basis of his occult powers; later, it was also widely thought that he had also discovered, from the torture of high-ranking prisoners, the Alchemists' secret of extracting gold from lead.
By a combination of brilliant military victories and occult sorceries, Wallenstein had become Governor-General of all the Catholic League forces, threatening the power of the Holy Roman Emperor himself. During the Battle of Lützen, he was actually defeated by his great arch-rival and enemy Gustaf Adolf, yet his mages were able to spread a thick fog over the battlefield and magically lure the king away from his army, where he was murdered by a detachment of Croat vampires garbed as hussars. However, the Vatican had overrated the importance of the king, and his death was only a temporary setback to the Alchemists' cause. In 1635 Oxenstierna negotiated personally with Cardinal Richelieu, and Sweden was yielded several German cities and substantial revenues in exchange for a withdrawal. During this time, the strife degenerated into plundering and chaos, as the different factions fought each other. Old allies turned on one another, and traditions dissolved. This long war truly marked the end of the old systems of magic in Europe; Alchemy was everywhere triumphant and even the "magicians” who arose in its aftermath, such as Casanova and Cagliostro, were mere charlatans armed with an elementary acquaintance with medieval Alchemy and stage magic. An age had passed. Only Bureus, like a wounded lion in his lair, protected the ancient knowledge in the North. And every day the assault upon him by occult forces - and by the human agents of Oxenstierna, who had created the first secret police state, later to be copied by Prussia (and its heir, Nazi Germany) - grew greater, and the noose closed more tightly around him.

As for Wallenstein - his fate is well-known to history. Dreaming of ruling all of Catholic Europe as Satan's Vicar and believing he was invincible due to his vampirism, he plotted openly to supplant the Emperor. Forced into retirement, he treasonously intrigued with the Protestants and was on his way to join the Swedish army when he was intercepted by a detachment led by a Vatican Irish Inquisitor-General who called himself "Captain Butler". During a ritual of exorcism Wallenstein was killed by a pike-thrust through the heart - but when this organ proved resistant, it was hacked from his chest and sent first to Vienna inside a lead-lined casket, then to Rome, where it existed for nearly two centuries, like the body of Josef Stalin, in a state of miraculous preservation.

The new ruler of Sweden was now the daughter and only child of Gustaf II Adolf, Christina. She was too young to be crowned after his death, and so Oxenstierna appointed a committee to rule Sweden in her place. In practice, the Alchemists had now gained total authority and only Oxenstierna controlled them. They were now free. like the later "Roundheads" of Britain or the Puritans of New England, to create their own Utopia. Another important necromancer at this time was the wealthy Dutch merchant Louis de Geer, who in 1627 arrived in Sweden. He was almost certainly the representative of the secret Rosicrucian Brotherhood, who, heirs to the Swiss treasure and lore of the Knights Templar, were soon to evolve into the Freemasons. Even before he arrived in Sweden de Geer had substantial control over the economy. He supervised the production of weapons and the mining industry. Under his direction the Walloons modernized and expanded it and made the Swedish iron production extremely profitable.

From earliest infancy Queen Christina was interested in the arcane arts - and at the same time in Alchemical science. Another, second secret war was taking place within her breast. There is ample evidence that, like her father before her, she had been tutored by the now ancient and chronically ailing Bureus, who,  hunched over and shambling along on his crippled leg, swept the floors of the Royal Palace with his long white beard as he hobbled to keep each appointment with the precocious child-queen. He knew that the fate of magic - and of Sweden - might lie in the balance, for his ability to foresee the future through his rune-casting had warned him of what dangers were to come. While we know that Bureus dedicated to Christina a manuscript copy of his speculations on the mystical origin of the Runes, his Adulruna Rediviva, in 1643 and a copy of his great apocalyptic work, the Roar of the Northern Lion, in 1644, it is not known whether he showed her his reply to the Rosicrucian Fama, his Fama e Scanzia Redux of 1616, in which he subtly refutes the doctrine. Perhaps influenced by spiritual readings, Christina wanted to institute an Order of Immanuel in 1646, but her Alchemical advisor Johann Adler Salvius said it would be regarded as foolish and the idea never materialized.

Worried by her interest in the spiritual (which was later to manifest itself in a sudden conversion to Catholicism), Salvius hit upon the idea of inviting to Sweden the foremost apostle of the New Age, the French philosopher Rene Descartes, in the hope that this towering intellectual figure (and secret Rosicrucian) would be able to curb her mystical yearnings. Prior to that that, Christina had also been approached by the alchemist Johannes Franck, who described her future reign as the fulfillment of Paracelsus’ prophecy of a return of Helias Artista and of Sendivogius’ vision of the rise of a metallic monarchy of the North. With these visions in store Franck urged on the Queen to start searching for the ruby red powder of the philosophers. He expressed these hopes in the tract that he offered her: Colloquium philosophcum cum diis montanis (Uppsala 1651). At about this time she induced the Greek specialist Johannes Schefferus to write a history of the Pythagoreans, which was published in Sweden a decade later as De natura et constitutione philosophiae Italicae seu pythagoricae (Uppsala, 1664). Christina’s preference for Greek manuscripts was criticized by Descartes when he visited Stockholm in 1650. Christina said in reply that she thought his ideas were already formulated by the sceptic Sextus Empiricus and by St. Augustine. She also read a copy of Iamblichus’ De mysteriis aegyptiaca, a text that uses Platonic and Hermetic sources in its descriptions of theurgy and divination, methods of coming into contact with gods and demons.
The terrible secret to the mystery of the death of René Descartes has been known only to a few Adepts of the Stockholm Chantry, and I may not fully betray it to the world. However, I can state the following: at the time of the offer from the Swedish Court, Descartes, who was living in impoverished circumstances in Holland. Condemned by the Catholic Church, the last vestiges of whose moral authority he had personally helped to destroy, he had ample cause to fear for his life, despite the protection offered by his powerful sponsors. Public murder of "enemies of the Church" by suicide-killers, most of them former priests, was a common weapon during the Wars of Religion - the Vatican had adopted the tactics of the ancient Muslim Assassins sect. Sweden seemed a perfect haven; moreover, the extravagant Christina, whose reckless spending was to bring her nation to the brink of bankruptcy, was offering a generous pension. At first Descartes was unwilling to go, but Salvius and his masters threatened him and he finally accepted the offer and traveled to Sweden. After a short time in the country he died on February 11, 1650 in Stockholm, The cause of death was initially said to be pneumonia - accustomed to working in bed until noon, he may have suffered a detrimental effect to his health due to Christina's demands for early morning study. Others believe that Descartes may have contracted pneumonia as the result of nursing a French ambassador, ill with the aforementioned disease, back to health. However, letters to and from the doctor Eike Pies have recently been discovered which indicate that Descartes was poisoned by arsenic. Certainly, this is correct; however, the secret of his murderers' identities and motives must go with me to the grave. Certain it is, however, that the Brotherhood was implicated.

As a Roman Catholic in a Protestant nation, Descartes was interred in a graveyard mainly used for unbaptized infants in Adolf Fredrikskyrkan in Stockholm. Later, his remains were taken to France and buried in the church of Sainte-Geneviève-du-Mont in Paris. The memorial erected to him in the 18th century remains here in a local church. Swedish philosophy - that is to say, the propagandizing of the Modernist Alchemical Utopia - can be properly said to have begun with this introduction of Cartesianism. The villain of the movement was J. Bilberg (1646-1717), who, in various theses and discussions, defended the "new" ideas against the classical Aristotelianism and erudition of several Chantry members who, like their master Bureus, masqueraded as orthodox churchmen and academics. A. Rydelius (1671-1738), an intimate friend of Karl XII, later endeavoured to find a common ground for the opposing schools, but by then, of course, Sweden was lost. However, the Chantry itself survived as the result of the queen's earlier, esoteric conversion - not her well-known (as dramatized by Greta Garbo) embrace of the Catholic Church - but her rejection of the Chymical Wedding, which Salvius had pressed upon her in a transparent attempt to interest her in marriage and the production of an heir to the throne. The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz (Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459) was edited in 1616 in Strasbourg, and its anonymous authorship is attributed to Johann Valentin Andreae. It is the third of the original manifestos of the mysterious "Fraternity of the Rose Cross" (Rosicrucians). It is an allegoric romance divided into Seven Days, or Seven Journeys, like Genesis, and tells us the manner in which Christian Rosenkreuz was invited to a wonderful castle full of miracles, in order to assist the Chymical Wedding of the king and the queen, that is, the husband and the bride. To no avail did Salvius protest that this text merely symbolized the union of the male and female ores or principles embodied in the Great Work; Christina maintained a pathological aversion to heterosexual carnality, considering herself masculine and thus fearful of "another man's" penetration. Here is the offending passage:

"Meantime the King and Queen for recreation's sake, began to fall to play together. It looked not unlike chess, only it had other laws; for it was the Virtues and Vices one against another, where it might ingeniously be observed with what plots the Vices lay in wait for the Virtues, and how to re-encounter them again. This was so properly and artificially performed, that it were to be wished that we had the like game too. During the game, in comes Atlas again, and asks his report in private, yet I blushed all over, for my conscience gave me no rest; after which the King gave me the supplication to read, and contents whereof were much to this purpose. First he wished the King prosperity, and increase; that his seed might be spread abroad far and wide."
Descartes and Queen Christina.
And thus, because of these few symbolic phrases, a kingdom - and the destiny of occult magic in Europe - was forever changed. As a result of her estrangement from the statecraft of the Alchemists (and their marital plans for her), Christina secretly turned to the Catholic Church. At the same time, ironically enough, she became even more frantic to unlock the secret of the Philosopher's Stone, not merely from a desire for physical immortality but also from sheer greed for gold, since her expenditures had by now become staggering. And when the enfeebled Bureus died two years after Descartes--crudely murdered in a revenge slaying by a Livonian assassin reputed to be a lycanthrope--the Swedish queen became the first (and only) woman Grand Master of the Stockholm Chantry. Which, alas, she then proceeded to pervert to the ends of the Great Work which obsessed her; Queen Christina’s practises in alchemy now preoccupied the rest of her adult life. As we have seen, it was at first directed by the Rosicrucian connections of Salvius. The original Rosicrucians' pamphlets of 1614 had spread high expectations for a New Age and a universal reformation of the arts and were widely circulated among the Alchemical Brotherhood across Northern Europe. The Rosicrucian elements that were to surface in Italy, however, appear to have grown out of a purely alchemical interest where the transmutational operations promised a future restoration of the "golden age" and was best expressed in poetry. Christina's need was for gold. And this need persisted even after her stunning abdication of the throne in 1654 and subsequent official conversion and flight to Rome.

And once in exile she proved to be not personally averse to donning the boots and apron of a common labourer and dirtying her own hands with flasks and alembics. We know that she became expert in many aspects of the Craft. Indeed, there exists a drawing with comments in her own hand that shows some alchemical distillation equipment, part of her large personal library that was preserved in Italy. One of the most arcane was a French manuscript in her collection called Veritas Hermetica (Ms. Reg. Lat. 1218). This text has a few lines on the gathering of dew and its processing and refers to "Fratres Rores Cocti"--brothers of cooked dew. Christina also owned some forty alchemical manuscripts by the foremost medieval authors, as well as practical handbooks. They included works by Geber, Johan Scotus, Arnold de Villa Nova, Raimund Lull, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Benard Trevisano, George Ripley, George Anrach d’Argentine, Johan Grasshof and a Rosarium Philosophorum - with its alchemical imagery of merging the solar-King and the lunar-Queen into a hermaphroditic union. It was this physical transformation, quite literally a penis grown by the Philosopher's Stone - which the hermaphroditic Christina secretly wished from life. In this she anticipated the crass surgical "sex-change" operation of modern "Science" by some three hundred years.
Yet for her, it was never to be. In a letter to Azzolino in Hamburg in March 1667 she wrote of the report of a successful transmutation performed by a Dutch peasant. The learned doctor Helvetius, who formerly had been sceptical towards alchemy, was present and now guaranteed its fulfilment. With one grain of the projection powder one was able to convert "500 livres" of lead, that is 250 kg, into 24 carats of gold. This is far out of proportion as the tradition teaches us that the real weight is perhaps one grain to 15 g of gold. Her letter did not say that the result was obtained through a multiplication process. She added that while alchemy had recently been degraded by charlatans, it remained as the royal science. True to her Platonic philosophy, she continued to hope anew at each fresh report of such a transmutation that her own phallic transformation lay just ahead. However, the "philosophy" involved was not the modern rationalism of Descartes but rather the age-old philosophia perennis and the theory of alchemical transmutation. The yearnings, in short, of an aging spinster trapped in a fleshly shell of the wrong gender.

Needless to say, the sudden disappearance of its royal Grand Master - along with all its treasure and a certain number of its rarest and most precious manuscripts - shattered the Chantry. For some years, the Stockholm Brotherhood had suffered increasing rivalry from its smaller Uppsala, and later Lund, chapters. Because these were centred around Sweden's two great universities, they tended to attract rationalist clerics and pedants like Bilberg and Rydelius; in addition Gustaf II had founded the port city of Gothenburg on the west coast to serve as a "New Jerusalem" to the aims of the Alchemists. This was planned, like Philadelphia in the American colonies, as a "solar" or masculine city - in direct contrast to the older "lunar" or female cities, such as Stockholm or Malmö. The 17th Century saw a fierce repudiation of all "female principles" in science, religion, and society in general; this was best expressed by the English poet William Blake, who elucidated the widely held belief that the first millennium of Christianity, in conjunction with feudalism and the suppression of science, had been a "female epoch". He saw the New Age, particularly in America, as belonging to male principles, which were embodied in rationalism, science, secular law, and city streets aligned with the sun and laid out in straight grids. This Masonic philosophy was later employed by George Washington when he designed the capital city named after him. The shibboleths of the Old World, including marriage, sexual fidelity, and most particularly, the old Cabbalistic moon-magics, were to be swept away by Progress. And certainly this was the case in Sweden. Increasingly, the ancient country practises of herbalism, midwifery, and nature-magic were forgotten and ignored, as Alchemy consolidated its new powers under the mantle of "Science". And, within a decade, there arrived in Scandinavia the first black-clad storm troopers of the new church: the Witch-Finders.

European witch trials had taken place between the years 1450 and 1700 but occurred with the most frequency in the 17th century.  The inquisitors Henricus Institoris and Jakob Sprenger had written a text called Malleus maleficarum (“Häxhammaren” or The Witch Hammer) in 1487. This was a guidebook on how to disclose, convict and condemn witches. The Häxhammaren made women a prime target for the witch hunters by focusing on their tendency for witchcraft and devil-worship, but men, especially former priests, were persecuted as well. The witch-hunts began in the ancient Albigennsian regions of Europe - Provence, Savoy, and Northern Italy - and spread throughout the continent, particularly to Germany. Historians estimate as many as 100,000 men and women may have been tried and executed, either by beheading or being burnt at the stake.

The Witch Trials
The most notorious and feared of the Lutheran Witch-Finders in Sweden were Laurentius Hornaeus and his brother Petrus, under the direction of Johannes Wattrangius; all three were all ministers in Ytterlännäs Parish. The Church was responsible for conducting the witch-hunt and for converting them back to Christianity: The secular authorities were responsible for delivering a conviction in a court of law. A special Witchcraft Commission was established for this purpose. It was the responsibility of the Commission to see to that the witches and ogresses, as well as male witches, or "warlocks", were caught and sentence to death. As the result of their rabidly brutal investigations, witch trials and executions began in 1668 and lasted 8 years, ending in 1676. They were most concentrated in a belt reaching from the province of Bohuslän on the west coast, across the provinces of Värmland and Dalarna to Hälsingland and Ångermanland on the east coast, as well as the capital city. Along with Stockholm, Torsåker probably suffered the most. Most Swedes first knew of this when 6 women were sentenced to death for witchcraft in Lillhärdal, in the province of Härjedalen. All of them were accused of abducting children and taking them to "Blåkulla" (the place of the devil in Nordic tales) and for having intercourse with the devil. The news of the witch trials in Lillhärdal soon spread like a wildfire all over Sweden. The witch-hunts were no longer just a terrifying rumour; they were fact.

These prosecutions were particularly traumatic for the conservative rural Swedes because they relied on a large number of children as witnesses. In toto there were at least 300 women executed for witchcraft in Sweden, but this masks the greater persecution of the Stockholm Chantry. No one knows the exact number of mages, defrocked clerics, and academics, some mere students, who fell afoul of the Witch-Finders and were cruelly murdered, some under ritual conditions. It could be that as many as 100 died or disappeared. Another few women were also legally convicted. However, they were not executed, due in part to the courage and ardent support of a single brilliant man. Thanks to his efforts, there was a decline in the witch trials after 1676, and the last woman sentenced to death for witchcraft in Sweden was executed in 1704. However, the punishment for witchcraft was not abolished until 1779.

There is only one registered case in Sweden where the witch was burned alive. Malin Matsdotter or "Rumpare-Malin", as she was called, was sentenced to death by burning on a bonfire. The sentence was carried out on 5 August 1676, in Stockholm. On that same day and at the same place another woman was executed for witchcraft with Malin. She was Anna Simonsdotter Hack or "Tysk-Annika". However, she was beheaded before she was placed on the bonfire. Those two women were the last ones to be executed for witchcraft in Stockholm. Anna Hack, a German, was married to one of the Chantry mages (his body was never found). Malin was the Chantry building's charlady. This was perhaps the darkest period for the Brotherhood; so dispersed and scattered were its members, so looted its treasures, so lost and destroyed its records, that we now have only the sketchiest idea of its membership, and for a period of over two decades, we don't actually even know the names of any of the Grand Masters who succeeded Queen Christina. Magic, it was said across Europe and the New World, was dead. And this was very nearly so. However, Swedish magic - and the Chantry - was saved by the intervention of a single remarkable man, one whose unique and diverse talents have made him famous down to the present day; in fact, there is even a mineral named after him. In such a small nation as Sweden, it is truly remarkable that four such protean geniuses should have been produced over the course of a few short centuries, yet it is the truth. The first (as we have seen) was Johannes Bureus, the third the immortal Emmanuel Swedenborg, and the fourth, of course, my friend and mentor Frederik Wilander. But the second, in that blazing and fearful summer of 1676, was Urban Hiärne.
At first sight, no man might have seemed a less likely candidate to the few remaining mages of Sweden for their new saviour than Dr. Urban Hiärne. He was after all, a medical doctor who had grown rich pioneering the mineral springs health spa, that most fashionable of aristocratic indulgences. In addition, he was well-known minerologist (he discovered "Hiärnite), an Alchemist who spent his life trying to discover the Philosopher's Stone, a devout Lutheran, and initially a supporter of witch-burnings. But while witnessing the dreadful fate of Malin Matsdotter, he was suddenly struck by a deep spiritual revelation: that the persecution of witches was entirely and falsely agitated by the phenomenon we now call "mass hysteria". To Hiärne, this had a deeper and more mystical explanation. Already a devoted student of Paracelsus, he set out to explore the hidden esoteric implications of Kabbalistic magic. It was a quest that was to preoccupy the rest of a long and fruitful life and which would lead him to resurrect the Stockholm Chantry and act as its guide and its shield.

His first act was to defend the remaining accused witches; thanks to his tireless efforts - and he had many allies among the Rationalists - he was able to halt the epidemic by logically exposing the testimony of their accusers as fraudulent and hysteric. This act of common sense resonated deeply among Swedes of every class, who detested barbarity. However, a devout Biblical literalist, he never doubted for a moment the existence of witchcraft. And he soon had cause to know even better, when the surviving Chantry records came under his aegis.

Hiärne was born December 20, 1641 in Nyen, Ingermanland or Swedish "Ingria" (modern St. Petersberg, Russia), the son of a Vicar, Erlandus Jone Hiärne and Christina Schmidt, who was of German extraction. He studied first at the university in Dorpat (Tartu, Estonia), but due to the ongoing war he fled to Sweden, and begun to study medicine in Uppsala in 1658, where he became disciple to Olof Rydelius and Petrus Hoffvenius, whom he initially supported in their fight for Cartesianism. This formed the basis for the trust the Alchemists and Rosicrucians placed in him and why he was later able to hoodwink them so thoroughly in regard to the existence of the Chantry and his researches into the occult--even when later in life he gave a public lecture in 1709 exonerating Paracelsus!

Graduating from Uppsala with a degree in medicine, he first became Count Claes Tott's personal physician in Riga, then traveled to Holland in 1667. During the next few years, he joined northern Europe's leading research center for medicine, and was accepted into the Royal Society. 1670 he finally became a full medical doctor in Angers, France, with the dissertation obstructione lacteorum vasorum et glandularum mesenterii. But his primary interest was the efficacious effects of mineral baths, which later led to a second career as a noted geologist and chemist. In those times it was believed that mineral baths could cure gout, digestive disorders, kidney and gall-bladder stones and other obstructions. In 1678 in Medevi, north of Motala, Sweden, he found the mineral-containing source he had long searched for. In terms of his future career, this was almost like finding the Philosopher's Stone! During Hiärne's supervision Medevi became a spa town like Baden-Baden or Bath. He founded a hospital with 200 rooms, as well as a bath pavilion and a church.

Yet there was another side to this Prometheus. Somehow he found the time, even during the period of his youthful studies, to write. Hiärne is considered the first to have introduced "bukoliska" or bucolic poetry to Sweden (a revival of the sentimental "pastoral odes"of Ancient Rome), and, as the author of the first published Swedish novel, he is also the father of Swedish fiction. This book was his autobiographical Stratonice. It was common in those days for all writers, including Shakespeare, to mask works of narrative fiction with classical titles and characters; Stratonice was one of the Trojan women awarded as trophies to their Greek victors. In real life the name referred to the beautiful young noblewoman, Lady Margareta Bielke (born in 1622, died 1655, married in 1643 at Stockholm), more specifically, the experiments conducted by the narrator, Hiärne himself, to seduce her at the age of twelve. In fact, it is a Chymical allegory cloaked as romance, though indeed it might seem to modern eyes a cross between Lolita and Liaisons Dangereuse when stripped of its arcane symbolism. Certainly her powerful family must have understood this, since she had by now been dead for 10 years after marrying one of the realm's most powerful Alchemist noblemen, Erik Oxenstierna, son of Sweden's wily old "Lord Protector", Axel, who had finally died in 1654. Why else would they have failed to prosecute its author upon publication? Because they acquiesced in the acknowledgement of its allegorical reality!

Here I must confess to a personal stake in the argument. My own adolescence was sullied with wild charges of "playing” with little girls when I was home from England on school holidays. In retrospect, I can see that I was actually attempting crude symbolic Chymical Weddings of my own, whose deeper spiritual significance was half-glimpsed and uncomprehended at the time even by me, under the guise of a boy's naturalistic curiosity. Of course, these allegations were nonsensically blown up and distorted far out of recognition; there may have been a few youthful experiments of a purely innocent sort, but the taunts and accusations with which they were greeted left a lingering hurt. In addition, I was at that age still deeply scarred by a scandal, now mercifully long-forgotten, involving my father. A few words, therefore, on this sordid business.

As I have stated before, I was the son (like my personal "gods", Hiärne and Swedenborg) of a Lutheran minister and schoolteacher named Matthias Praetorius. Mine is a musical heritage; Michael Praetorius, a contemporary of Bureus, was Sweden's first great composer, and his descendant Jacob almost as well-known. Of course, the Praetoriuses were neither as wealthy nor as famed as the Wallenbergs, into which family my father married - indeed, he was by their standards quite poor. It is fair to say, that despite the social differences between my parents (they never shared a bedroom, nor sadly for long a home), I worshipped my father, a kindly, gentle, bespectacled presence, and from earliest infancy memorized as much of the Bible as I could, burning with the ambition to follow in his footsteps as a man of the cloth. Therefore it came as quite a shock to me at the age of 8 when, perhaps overly inflamed by aesthetics, he was arrested for molesting a small boy on the grounds of the Carl Milles sculpture museum. In the early 1960s pederasty was still considered a serious crime and in some cases lengthy prison sentences were even handed down to criminals; not even the Wallenbergs' considerable clout could hush up the lurid newspaper accounts of his trial nor commute his sentence. My mother divorced him soon after, and, understandably, I was not allowed to see him again. My mother, known as "Bobo" to her inner circle of confidantes, never remarried, but was to spend the rest of her life developing commercial real estate in the resort areas of southern France and sponsoring violent and delinquent young women on work-release programs from prisons. When I was 12 I was sent off to boarding-school in England and subsequently saw little of her.

But back to Hiärne. Many of his works have been preserved and these include plays as well as poems are. The tragedy Rosimunda (which originally is the old Lombardian heroic tale of Rosamunda, who kills her husband King Alboin after he puts her father, King Kunimund to death and forces her to drink from a goblet made from his cranium) is also about Margareta Bielke, with whom the over-sexed Hiärne was passionately obsessed.  Being over-sexed, it seems, was common among Swedish men of that century - and such a condition was to plague Swedenborg as well (mercifully, it does not seem to be a problem for Swedish men today - quite the reverse!) Rosimunda is said to be the first tragedy written in Sweden and staged as a play in Uppsala 1665, with Karl XI in the audience; the critic Sven Stolpe's cruel comment that it should be avoided "with discreet silence" does rough justice to the genius of this towering colossus.

After Hiärne's successful venture with hydrotherapy at Medevi he was a "made man" in society, and he founded more health resorts, as well as Sweden's first scientific institute (for mining), in Sätra. His discoveries and treatment methods are preserved in several scripts, in which he shows the strong influences of Paracelsus and the other great alchemists of yore. Hiärne became with this Sweden's first domestic chemist, and was engaged at Bergskollegium as extra general assessor for mines, in charge of testing for purity. In 1684 the "Laboratorium Chymicum" (chemical laboratory) was established out of the king's own pocket at Bergskollegium, where Hiärne became general assessor. Later in that same year he became Karl XI's Royal Physician, and the following year thereafter for the widowed Queen Hedvig Eleonora. On January 3, 1689, he was raised to the nobility, modestly keeping his own name, and was seated at Riddarhuset (the Swedish House of Peers in Parliament).

By now Hiärne was a wealthy man indeed and one of the most famous in the kingdom. This allowed him not only to protect the Chantry from persecution, but also to build himself a private laboratory on Kungsholmen for his occult researches, and it was there that he created his own medicines from secret recipes and formulae. His tincture "Elexir amarum Hiärneri" or "Hiärnes Droppar", a distillation resulting from his attempts to synthesize the Philosopher's Stone, was said to cure most diseases and to halt ageing - and was sold for centuries in pharmacies, even to the early years of the 20th Century. After all these triumphs in the mundane world, Hiärne began to write his great work on occult science, but this manuscript, sadly unfinished, disappeared from public knowledge. A copy has been preserved by the Chantry. Its fundamentals are Platonic and Hermetic in the strictest Paracelsan tradition; white fire and essential salts form the world's primal force and primal matter. Many are the happy hours that I myself have spent poring over the pages of this magnificent volume, searching for the true meanings that lie behind its rich and allusive allegorical prose, in an attempt to deduce its penultimate conclusions. Indeed, such was his admiration for Paracelsus, that he publicly defended him against von Block in a published speech in 1709, where he also acknowledges his debt to Pythagoras, Kabbala and occult magic! The gauntlet had been thrown down to the Alchemists and the Rosicrucians who controlled Europe, yet such was the degree of ignorance that now prevailed in this new "Age of Reason", that few even recognized the challenge - or, apparently, felt any need to address it.
One who did was the puritanical Bishop of Skara, Jesper Swedberg, known to history as the father of Emmanuel Swedenborg. Outraged by what he considered to be Hiärne's thralldom to witchcraft and the Black Arts and entrusted by the Church with the persecution of Sweden's few remaining mages, Swedberg launched a series of blistering published attacks against Hiärne, ostensibly over a disagreement concerning the proper spelling of several old Swedish words. In time this feud became so brutally coarse and obscene in print that the country's Public Censor was forced to intervene. In this quarrel the Bishop was fully supported by his son Emmanuel (at that time still a devout Reformation Rationalist); it is incredibly ironic that this young man, just turned 21, was to become in time the greatest Grand Master of us all! But the bitter affair, along with the frustrations of the Great Work (and  we know from his writings just how tantalizingly close he came to success), were at last taking their toll on Hiärne, sapping his powers along with the passage of years despite his reliance on the "Droppar" that had kept him miraculously vigorous and well-preserved. In 1720 he bade farewell to all his official posts and devoted himself entirely to his Craft and the inner workings of the Chantry. His last years were characterized by a series of brooding pamphlets on the shortcomings of government and organized religion. The great man died, surrounded by family members, on March 10, 1724.

As I have earlier noted, Urban Hiärne was physically over-sexed. It was said of him that he required the act of sexual congress twice and sometimes thrice a day as the result of his tinctures. This is not at all unusual for those who pursue the Hermetic Art; magicians tend, like priests, either to be celibate or else profligate in their fleshly needs, for purely mystical purposes (as either may, in its season, free the spirit for higher tasks). A practical man, Hiärne was married three times. His first wife was Maria Svahn, who died in 1690. After two years as a widower he remarried Catharina Bergenhielm in 1692, and after her death, Elisabeth Cederström in 1703. He had 26 children by these three women, and perhaps as many again by serving-maids and youthful mistresses. He was buried with his wives, all of whom he outlived, in Bromma Church. Sweden shall not soon see his like again.

The Golem of "Great Sweden"
Axel Oxenstierna and Karl XI had turned Sweden into an Empire, the largest and most militarily powerful political entity in the Baltic region in the mid-17th Century. But this expansion had come at a price. Ruined by the personal extravagances of Christina and the military budgets of her successor, Karl X, the finances of the state had fallen deeper and deeper in debt, trade and farming suffered serious reverses owing to manpower shortages, crop failures, and epidemics of the Plague, and the nation's rulers became gradually opposed to continued expansion. But it was the dream of the Protestant Alchemists to forge Sweden into a great military power to act as a bulwark against the nascent Orthodox Russian Empire, into which the Freemasonry of dreamers like Tolstoy had not yet penetrated. Unfortunately, they could not control Sweden's envious neighbour, the Kingdom of Denmark, which entered into a secret pact with Catholic Poland and Orthodox Russia to carve up the Swedish possessions. In reaction, the Swedish court became divided into two factions, one desiring conquest and expansion, the other favouring trade and consolidation. The struggle, at first merely political, became steadily bloodier and more violent. Shortly after the death of King Karl XI, the royal palace, housing the Swedish Alchemists' most sensitive documents, was destroyed in by arson. With the accession of the youthful militarist Karl XII, the adherents of empire had won. Or so it seemed. In fact it was Urban Hiärne and the secret Brotherhood of mages of the Stockholm Chantry who in fact for a time controlled the new king. And herein, revealed by the Chantry's own chronicles, lies perhaps the most astounding tale in all of Sweden's occult history.

The prince later known as King Karl XII was born in 1682 to the absolute monarch, Karl XI and his Danish queen. Little Karl was a bright but sickly child and despite the constant attentions of the Court Physician, Dr. Hiärne, died around the time of his tenth birthday probably from a pleurisy. This event plunged the monarchy into fresh turmoil. Prince Karl was the royal couple's only son, and in the event of the king's death (he had fought an almost constant war with Denmark during the 1670s from which he had emerged brilliantly victorious) he would now be succeeded by his infant daughter, also named Hedvig (or "Ulrike" in Swedish) Eleanora after her mother, who is known as "the Elder". By no means did he desire to see another Queen Christina on the Swedish throne. Therefore he begged Hiärne to revive the dead boy - and this the learned Doctor did. He had succeeded the month before in isolating a single red grain of what he was sure to be the "First Principle"; employing this, his tinctures, and the revivification rites outlined in Agrippa and the Kabbalistic "Book of Raphael” in an exhausting two-day ritual in a cellar near the Chantry building, he succeeded in bringing the pale, pitiful child's corpse back to life - at a terrible cost, however. The procedure requires splenetic blood from a close living relative; in the course of donating this, the king himself became slightly infected. This turned into a stomach cancer that slowly, over the course of the next few years, was to spread throughout his body and eventually kill him. However, this sequence of events was not immediately evident at the time, and Hiärne's miraculous medical feat was greeted with the deepest gratitude by the royal couple; indeed, the Chantry's sealed royal grant (now lost) "in perpetuum" dates from this event.

But it soon became evident that the young prince was by no means the same gentle, book-loving lad who had died in his mother's arms. This new Prince Karl was almost utterly silent and had little or no interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, Swedenborg, who knew him well, was later to assert that he was able to count only to eight. His health was perfect and his physical strength and endurance super-human. His sole interests now lay in blood-sports and in war. Almost his first act upon returning to life was to seize a gun and kill a bear with it - this from a child who could never stand the noise of weapons being fired. But worse was to follow. The queen observed with horror that her son did not actually recognize her; he would gaze at her with exactly the same cold, blue-eyed indifference with which he regarded servants or animals. It soon became apparent to Hiärne, versed as he was in magical lore, that the child's spirit (which still even today occasionally haunts the cellar, now part of a fashionable restaurant called "Von der Lindeska") had not remained with its corporeal host, which was now inhabited by some sort of elemental or Biblical "dybbuk". These spirits are very primitive and bloodthirsty but are also as suggestible as children and can easily be controlled with the proper spells, so the mages of the Brotherhood took it in turns with Hiärne to oversee the creature's good conduct. This worked well enough while it remained in Sweden, but the further abroad it travelled, the weaker their magical control over it became.

In 1697, Karl XI died, and within a few short years, with all its neighbouring states allied against it, the great military machine he had created was forced to go to war. At the head of the Swedish army rode an Undead corpse possessed by a dybbuk, under the constant instruction of three sober scholars riding behind him in a closed wagon containing a small library of military treatises. At first this strategy worked brilliantly. The golem King Karl began its 18-year-long war with a quick landing in Denmark, thus forcing the Danish King Frederick IV (his cousin) to renounce his claims for the German province of Holstein-Gottorp. Thereafter it defended the fortress of Narva in Estonia by means of a brilliant victory against the Russian army in November of 1700 and then led its army through Sweden's Baltic provinces, Courland and Poland into Saxony, where in 1706 it forced King August II (called "the Strong") to abdicate from the Polish Throne in the Armistice of Altranstädt. Meanwhile, "Kung Karl" forced the Polish Sejm (Parliament) to accept his pro-Swedish candidate, Stanislas Leszczynski, as the new Polish King. All this, of course, was the strategy agreed upon at court and implemented by the three mages, acting as puppet-masters and spurred on by a steady stream of messengers from Hiärne in Stockholm.

The creature, however, seemed possessed by a perverse desire to stray as far from his throne as possible. Already the Swedish soldiers had noticed its strange, otherworldly qualities. For one thing it abstained utterly from alcohol and women. For another, it evinced no fear during combat, scarcely seeming to notice the salvoes of lead bullets flying on every side and disdaining ever to take shelter. Contemporary accounts report its seemingly inhuman tolerance for pain and utter lack of emotion. Meanwhile, Tsar Peter the Great of Russia had reoccupied the Baltic provinces and had raised a new large army in Russia. These occupied areas included the former Swedish fortress of Nyen, birthplace of Urban Hiärne, the easternmost fortress of the Swedish "fortress chain" from Stade to Nyenskans. Peter razed the fortress and there he founded his new capital, St. Petersburg. The commands of the mages were specific: "Kung Karl" was to open negotiations with the Tsar and cede the lands already lost in return for territorial concessions farther west.

Unfortunately one of the three died of dysentery; instead of heeding the instructions of his two colleagues, the creature decided to order his army to march on Moscow. At first there was some initial success, but then the Swedes were forced to turn southwards and try to defeat the Russian main army in open-field battles - and like a table-top army of lead soldiers, they marched on and on, following the bizarre royal figure, which several observers have likened to a wax-work dummy, that rode ever ahead of them. A second mage was killed by a stray bullet; now any control over the creature's actions was haphazard at best. At last the Russian army took its stand at the town of Poltava in the Ukraine in the early summer of 1709 just as Urban Hiärne was delivering his famous speech in defence of the occult. The Swedish army was tired and battle-weary, General Lewenhaupt's corps had lost its artillery and its baggage in a battle at the Ljesna River in September 1708, and just a few days before a piece of shrapnel had destroyed the creature's foot, and though it felt no pain, it now had to be carried on a stretcher between two horses. Therefore, Field-Marshal Carl Gustaf Rehnschiöld was in effective command of the Swedish army during the battle of June 28th.

This battle was called Poltava; it was an utter disaster and marked the end of the nation's imperial ambitions. Thousands of Swedish soldiers were taken prisoner, many dying in Tobolsk and other Siberian towns where they were imprisoned, sometimes for decades afterwards. The shattered remnants of the Swedish main army retreated southwards and finally capitulated at the River Dnjestr outside the village of Perevolotjna on July 1st. "Kung Karl" himself had to seek shelter in Turkey and lived under virtual house-arrest for about six years in assigned quarters at Bender. The creature struck visitors as hollow-eyed and vacant, but seemed unaware of its fate. In fact, it still appeared an imposing physical figure to the locals, with its vigour undiminished, The Turks had a nickname for it: Demirba? ?arl - or "Woodenhead Karl". By now it was all but beyond the control of the sole surviving Chantry Brother, whom I have identified as Petrus Rosendahl. It was now his great fear that, rudderless, as it were, the creature would fall easy prey to possession by a local wizard or dervish, or even a djinn. He knew that the Sultan had summoned all of the most potent necromancers of the Ottoman Empire to him for this express purpose. So far at least, the creature appeared impervious to all such assault and, indeed, appeared not to notice the magical tempest swirling about it in the ether. All of this Rosendahl exhaustively communicated to Hiärne in a series of missives I have only recently unearthed in our archives.

Any diplomatic overtures to the Sublime Porte by the Swedish Court had fallen on deaf ears. The only hope for their monarch's rescue lay once again with Urban Hiärne. But by 1714 he was now too old and frail to undertake such a journey; moreover, he was reluctant to absent himself for so long since he was daily under attack from the Church and his influence gradually waning. Thus in his own stead he despatched his son Erland, arming him with the most potent magics then known in the world. In Germany met with Emmanuel Swedenborg, son of his father's arch-enemy, who was then studying there. What was said between the young men we do not know, but it seems very likely that some sort of informal truce was arranged between them, which often is the case when travellers of the same nation meet abroad by chance. If so, this was certainly to stand both parties in good stead in the future. With him, Erland carried a draft for an enormous amount of gold, raised by what mysterious means we know not from his bankrupt land. But this may be yet more evidence for Hiärne's "red powder". This time the Grand Turk was willing to part with his "Woodenhead", and the mannequin-king was allowed to return to Sweden, this time under the firmest guidance.

But the Sweden the golem returned to would have been all but unrecognizable to it, had but it possessed the faculties to discern the changes. Stripped of most of her eastern provinces, filled with refugees, harried by Norway and Denmark in the west and raids from Russia all across Finnmark, haunted by the ghosts of her lost armies and the loss of thousands of her young men, racked by rural starvation and national bankruptcy, Sweden was in no mood to greet her lost king with anything but curses and sullen resentment. Under Erland's astute direction, the creature made every attempt to appear affable, and instructed Swedenborg and the mechanical genius Christopher Polhem to build war-ship canals and flying machines. It also wanted to introduce an "octal" numeric system, rather than the traditional "decimal", to Sweden. Before this could be implemented, "Kung Karl" was shot from behind in 1718 at the Siege of Fredriksten (on the Norwegian border) and died. When extracted, the bullet was found to be made of silver and containing a drop of Holy Water.

The Sons of Ether

It now becomes necessary to redefine the two combatants in the great occult wars of Sweden - and indeed across Europe and the New World - for the term "Alchemy" had by now become almost meaningless. Just as Luther, Calvin, and Henry VIII had smashed the power of the established Church and Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton had destroyed the Hermetic traditions of Magic, so Alchemy had become the victim of its own success, transmuted into Chemistry, Geology, Physics, and Astronomy. From thenceforth the struggle was to be between the forces of the Material and those of the Magical. At first glance the contest would seem to utterly unequal. One hand were arrayed all the servants of the modern world: the hereditary caste of rulers, who by now, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and Muslim alike, had been seduced by the new false idol of Science and were committed to political stasis, which literally means the preservation of the state, and to their status quo within it: their legions of lackeys - soldiers, engineers, scientists (who, toppled from their dizzying glory of the 17th Century, were to function merely as retainers): wealthy industrialists, typified in Sweden by men such as Polhem, the grandfathers of the 19th-Century "capitalist": the Church, committed to preserving its tenuous privileges by whatever means necessary: and even the radical utopians among student and faculty and the malcontent intellectual found in every small European city - these would someday become the social revolutionaries and ideologues of our own past century, but for now they were united with all the others in the suppression of the mystical.

And on the other side? A few bearded, mumbling old men hunched over dusty books and a handful of beardless, restful dreamers who sought to learn their wisdom. Yet, within half a century they were to be joined in this exile by the few remaining Alchemists, for, after all, the two schools of the Great Art had once been one. As with religion, it seems to be the fate of all mystical brotherhoods, like the Biblical brothers Jacob and Esau, to devolve first into schism - and then into bitter internecine war. Once upon a time all occult magical systems had been Hermetic and Kabbalistic, united by the persecution of the Church. Then, seduced by the blinding gold of Aristotlean science, the Alchemists had set off on their own path, and the mages, seduced in their own turn by the siren song of shamanistic folk-magic and sorcery, had remained fixed on their own. Soon, the two traditions, driven underground yet again, would be made whole anew. And now that it no longer had any connection with the Mundane, but rather had been driven deep into the shadows, Alchemy once more became the province of the Occultist. Like Hiärne, most Swedish occult magicians in the ages to come (including Swedenborg and August Strindberg) would be alchemists as well.

The story of those future ages begins - and all but ends - with but a single, portentous Name of Power: Emmanuel Swedenborg. Perhaps the Gargantua of his century, certainly the greatest man Sweden has ever produced, he began life (born a year after Newton published his great work establishing physics) the son of a humble Lutheran bishop. It has often been said of me by my admirers in the Brotherhood that I must surely be his reincarnation; naturally, modesty compels me to debate this notion, but it is true there are many similarities between us. We greatly resemble each other facially. As earlier stated, I too was the son of a cleric, one who surely would have, if he had not run afoul of the hysteric modern aversion to Classical Platonic love, become a bishop himself in due course. Again, like Swedenborg, I too was an ardent rationalist in my youth, only abandoning this childish illusion after repeated visitations from the spirit world. Like him, I was educated in England and later took a medical degree at Leyden in the Netherlands. Both of us became Grand Masters of the Chantry, and both of us, initially over-sexed and driven nearly mad by this insatiable, yet all-too-human, physical itch, were later to renounce all carnality in our deeper spiritual quest, channelling the pent-up energies of the life-force into dizzying ecstatic trances.
Emanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm, January 29, 1688, and died in London, March 29, 1772. Swedenborg’s connection with the Pietist movement probably began in his childhood, when he imbibed a few primary pietistic notions from his father, Jesper Swedberg, who, though a Lutheran bishop, was by no means unsympathetic both to Cartesianism and the "Old Church" traditions of his own rural background. The Pietists, among other beliefs, held that angels, demons, and spirits really existed and could affect our daily lives. The Bishop's precocious little son repudiated the extreme orthodox form of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and insisted that a good life is necessary to salvation. But as he grew up his religious interests were eclipsed by an overwhelming devotion to science, and it was not until middle age that they again became prominent in his life. It is significant that it was during the hectic period following Dippel’s visit to Stockholm, when pietistic clamour filled the air that he began to have the strange dreams and visions, which finally changed the course of his life. And although he was personally antagonistic toward this later Pietism, with its hysteria and extravagances of all sorts, yet it is undeniable that the influence of Dippel’s teachings can be found, both in the mystical natural philosophy of Swedenborg’s Economy of the Animal Kingdom and in the later theological works. Despite years of activity as a mining expert and also as a member of the Swedish Parliament, Swedenborg was a man of ideas far more than of action. His powerful mind moved steadily over the field of human knowledge. Combining scientific investigation and philosophical reflection, he made his way to the frontiers of inquiry in mineralogy, metallurgy, physics, anatomy, physiology and psychology, often projecting ideas, which have only recently been verified by empirical science. The range and the penetration of his studies were so great that only specialists in these various fields can fully assess his contributions.

Nor was that all. The editor of Sweden's first scientific journal, he anticipated the nebula theory of solar and planetary creation. His explorations of the brain predate many "discoveries" not revealed until the 20th century. He published several scientific tomes, wrote erotic poetry, travelled across much of Europe, hobnobbed with royalty and, when he wasn't occupied with his duties as Assessor in the Swedish Board of Mines or his responsibilities as a member of the Diet, thought a great deal about the infinite, God and man's place in the cosmos. Inventor, anatomist (his medical studies were my own initial inspiration to obtaining a medical degree; I have never practised), mineralogist, philosopher and ethicist, Swedenborg applied himself to more intellectual tasks than most university faculties. He discovered a lunar method of establishing longitude at sea, devised new ways of constructing canal locks and docks, and designed a submarine, an aeroplane and a machine gun. It was during this period of fantastic productivity that he became friends with Christopher Polhem, who was to exert a profound influence on his scientific development.
Cristoffer Polhem (Polhemus).
Why then is this Scandinavian Da Vinci not better known? Because in 1744, when Swedenborg was in his mid-fifties, he went through a profound psychological and spiritual crisis, culminating in his own entrée into the spirit world. Swedenborg abandoned his scientific work and, for the remaining years of his long life, devoted himself to what he considered his destined task: the deciphering of the hidden, "internal" sense of Scripture, the full explication of which would usher in the New Church and Christ's second coming - not a physical return, but the unveiling of the Bible's true message, hitherto obscured by Catholics and Protestants alike. In the latter thirty years of his life he devoted all his powers to questions of religion, restating Christian teaching and expounding the Scriptures. Again it can be said of this labor, that theologian and biblieist have yet to evaluate it fully. Collected in his gargantuan Arcana Caelestia ("Heavenly Secrets"), this esoteric exegesis informs many of the themes we find in Blake's poetry. These include matter-of-fact accounts of his visits to Heaven, Hell and the purgatorial realm between. The etheric plane of the Invisibles.

In dreams, trance and meditative states lasting several hours, techniques which I too have naturally practised all my life, Swedenborg entered the spirit world and there spoke with angels, evil spirits, the inhabitants of other planets and the dead, and his descriptions of the life beyond, for all their dry factuality--not to mention sheer strangeness - often ring with the powerful poetic force of absolute Truth. For example, in Heaven, he tells us, no matter which way they turn, angels always face God. Space and time do not exist there; distances are measured by angels' affinity to one another. As we know, Swedenborg was no stranger to sex (like Urban Hiärne - and like myself in earliest youth - he required some form of it several times a day), and in Heaven the delights of conjugal love are exquisite, our spirit forms experiencing sensations of which our dull, earthly bodies are ignorant. Conversely, Hell is a realm of "scortatory love", a concept which may be rooted in the man's cruel rejection by his one true love, a Miss Hope Pelham, who callously and capriciously cancelled their engagement to be married. Shattered by this experience, he remained for the rest of his life a bachelor, though his sexual proclivities were well-known. That Swedenborg saw the soul's highest, divine happiness as comparable to a sexual orgasm, may explain why for years he published his books anonymously abroad, anxious to avoid censure.
In his own country Swedenborg’s influence was felt in both the religious and the occult. During his lifetime he won adherents among the clergy and in the universities but persecution by the firmly entrenched Materialists. State Lutheranism prevented the growth of a Swedenborg sect. However, a movement known as "Skara-Swedenborgianism", originating among the high ecclesiastics of the diocese of Skara (where his father Jesper was bishop) and spreading to the Universities of Lund and Uppsala, found enough adherents in high places to stem the tide of ecclesiastical opposition and to exert a liberalizing effect on theology. This movement later became the "Swedenborgian Church" in America. It was also through this group that Swedenborg began to influence Swedish philosophy and literature. His disciples called themselves the "Sons of Ether". It was during this period of intense persecution that some of these were to join the Chantry, and Swedenborg himself took over from the dying Erland Hiärne as Grand Master in June, 1747, returning from London to be sworn in. In doing so, he also gained access to the Chantry's voluminous library of ancient Hermetic and Kabbalistic texts, some in Hebrew, which the great man then proceeded to teach himself.

Now for the first time he openly began to practise his psychic powers of divination and prophecy, There are many anecdotes concerning his predictions, most notably in the company of the Queen, Louisa Ulrike (sister of Frederick the Great). The most famous of these took place on July 29, 1759, when during a dinner in Gothenburg, he excitedly told the party at six o' clock that there was a fire in Stockholm (405 km away), that it consumed his neighbour's home and was threatening his own. Two hours later, he exclaimed with relief that the fire stopped three doors from his home. Two days later, reports confirmed every statement to the precise hour that Swedenborg first expressed the information. Mercifully, the Chantry building was spared, situated as it was on Prästgatan, by now a neighbourhood almost entirely of medieval stone buildings, but many Brothers lost their homes in the Great Stockholm Fire. It was because of this event that the Chantry's dormitorium was expanded, which later gave rise to wild accounts of Bacchanalian orgies similar to those of England's "Hell-Fire Club". Some of these slanders, I am sorry to say, can nowadays be found on Swedish websites.

Swedenborg was to spend the next 25 years of his life living in Stockholm, London, and Holland, while he pursued his researches, resulting in the publication of 14 volumes. Increasingly, he was reviled at home; one of Sweden's most prominent authors, Johan Henrik Kellgren, called Swedenborg "nothing but a fool", a view shared by the Materialist establishment. And a heresy trial was initiated in Sweden in 1768 against Swedenborg's writings and two men who promoted his ideas. The Enlightenment was striking back. Disheartened, Swedenborg fled abroad yet again, dying of a stroke in London in 1772. That same year saw a bloodless coup d' etat, by Sweden's glamorously handsome young King Gustav III. This was a time of intense change and intellectual ferment across the world, which was soon to result in first the American and then the French Revolutions. The new heirs of the Rosicrucians were the Freemasons, who had spread their lodges across Europe and America. Though many had flirted with the spiritualism of Swedenborg, a Rationalist backlash had taken place, and it was the Masons who were the power behind Gustav III's arrogation of constitutional powers. In fact Gustav openly became a Freemason in 1780 and introduced the Rite of Strict Observance into Sweden. That year, he named his brother, the Duke of Sudermania (later Karl XIII), to the office of Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of Sweden. In return The Grand Lodge conferred upon him the title "Vicarius Salomonis" (Vicar of Solomon).
The crisis that had propelled him to power was precipitated by a stalemate between Sweden's two rival political groups, the "Caps" and the "Hats", who represented bitterly opposed positions, particularly in foreign policy. It was the Caps who had tried to limit the powers of the king to the status of a mere figurehead - and he and the Hats struck back. The new regime trumpeted its liberalism, as it attempted to bring Sweden closer to the rest of Europe, especially France. Gustav himself was an avid Francophile and imported French culture and philosophy in order to provide a counterweight both to Sweden's new home-grown mysticism and to the Caps' stubborn reluctance to resist Russian aggression, which was eventually to result in the loss of Finnmark. However, the cause of royalty in Europe, no matter how liberal, was to undergo a shocking trauma with the French Revolution of 1789. What had begun as a Masonic plot to seize power had spiralled out of control, and now Jacobin cells had sprung up all over Europe with the express aim of destroying all of its monarchies. With these events, the history of the Chantry enters another dark period of turmoil and persecution.

On March 16, 1792, King Gustav III had returned to Stockholm, after spending the day at Haga Palace outside the city, to dine and visit a masquerade ball at the Royal Opera. During dinner, he received an anonymous letter that contained a threat to his life, but since the king had received numerous threatening letters in the past, he chose to ignore the warning. After dining, he left his rooms to take part in the masquerade. Soon after entering, he was surrounded by Johan Jacob Anckarström, a disgraced army captain, along with his two co-conspirators, Claes Horn and Adolf Ribbing, who were wearing black masks. They greeted him in French with the words "Bonjour, beau masque". Anckarström moved in behind the King and fired a pistol-shot into the left side of his back. The King jumped aside, crying in French "Ah! Je suis blessé, tirez-moi d'ici et arrêtez-le" ("Ah! I am wounded, take me away from here, and stop him!") The King was immediately carried back to his quarters, and the exits of the Opera were sealed. Anckarström was arrested the following morning, and confessed to the murder, although denying a conspiracy until informed that Horn and Ribbing also had been arrested and confessed in full. Anckarström was a Satanist who believed that he was performing a magical rite ("The Death of the King") that would ensure his own immortality; Horn and Ribbing had been funded by the Jacobins, who had falsely convinced them that the king's murder would be the signal for a general uprising by the commons. The murder weapon was loaded with two balls, five shot and six bent nails.

Martin Bezelius, then Grand Master of the Chantry, was summoned at once to the king's bedside at the royal palace, where he in vain attempted the healing remedies of Urban Hiärne upon him. They were to no avail; Gustav III died of his wounds on March 29, and on April 16 Anckarström was sentenced. He was stripped of his estates and nobility privileges. He was sentenced to be cast in irons for three days and flogged, and his right hand was cut off before he was decapitated - this was the ancient "Hand of Glory" (the hand of a criminal is believed to possess immense occult power. The hand of a regicide is the ultimate such artifact - and the Hand itself is perhaps the most precious of all the Chantry's arcana). The execution took place on April 27, 1792.

[As an historical note: The assassination of Gustav III became the basis of an opera libretto by Scribe set to music by both Daniel Auber in 1833, and by Giuseppe Verdi in 1859, as Un Ballo in Maschera ("A Masked Ball"). In the opera, Anckarström's motivation is changed to jealousy over his wife Amelia, whom Gustav is portrayed as being in love with. Indeed, Anckarström is depicted as being Gustav's close friend before he decides to kill him--and in the opera, Gustav pardons him with his last breath. In the censored version of the libretto, set in Colonial-era Boston, he is called Renato (Rene).]
Gustav IV Adolf, the son of the king, was only 14 and thus not yet old enough to ascend the throne, so his uncle Karl (later Karl XIII) became regent. Moreover, it was rumoured that Gustav Adolf was actually the biological son of Count Adolph Fredric Munck of Fulkila, whom he greatly resembled. Karl was a near-idiot - in fact, when he finally was awarded the crown in 1809, after the deposition of the rabidly incompetent Gustav IV, he was hopelessly senile - and soon became utterly dependent on his principle advisor, Baron Gustaf Adolf Reuterholm, one of the most powerful Freemasons in northern Europe; indeed, after he later was banished from Sweden, he assumed the name "Tempelcranz". For the next four years, Reuterholm acted as virtual dictator of Sweden, closing academies and persecuting any he suspected of spreading the new creeds either of democracy or of mysticism. Bezelius was arrested, along with Armfeldt and Toll (Gustav III's tutors and advisors) but swallowed poison before he could betray the secrets of the Brotherhood under torture. The next Grand Master whom history records is Magister Paulus Lindhorst, who would later be immortalised by E.T.A Hoffman in the story The Golden Pot. This is an allegory about a young man named Anselmus, who is first tempted by "Veronica" and a career in the Civil Service (representing Materialism), then by "Serpentina" the daughter of the magician Dr. Lindhorst (representing the Occult). In the end he chooses the Occult - that is to say the path of imagination - and marries the daughter, who was in real life named Sabina. Anselmus Berg, of course, succeeded Magister Lindhorst as Grand Master, according to the archives. Berg is also celebrated in Chantry annals as the first man to achieve utter invisibility.

The Industrial Revolution
The 19th century marked the triumph of the "Industrial Revolution" as Sweden, now a small bourgeois nation well outside the mainstream of history, found herself reshaped completely. This era also saw the rise of my own maternal ancestors, the Wallenbergs, who had first arrived in Sweden in 1766 in the person of Jacob Wallenberg, a German who went to sea in 1760 and became a world traveller. Jacob praised the British for their tolerance of Jews and Catholics and wondered why Sweden could not accept these minorities as well when he arrived on her shores.

Less liberal in spirit was his great-nephew, André Oscar Wallenberg, who founded Stockholm’s Enskilda Bank, sometimes called Enskilda Banken or SEB. Faced with a financial crisis at one point, he blamed it on a conspiracy that included “the Jews” (by whom he may have meant the Kabbalists and the Chantry, as Sweden had only a few thousand Jews at most; however, he became a member of a secret anti-Semitic organisation that would predate those of the next century). In 1857, Enskilda Bank began to employ women, claiming to be the first bank in the world of doing so. Thus Sweden was a pioneer in the worldwide Materialist conspiracy - only coming to full fruition in recent decades - of substituting women for men as industrial wage-slaves, under the theory that women make far more docile workers, live longer, labour for lower wages, and are far less likely to unionize. The sad results of this Utopianist plot can be seen everywhere in the Western world today, as men become increasingly marginalized and idle and their "masculine virtues" reviled, while women usurp their traditional (and sometimes actual biological) functions. This tenet of modern socialism also represents the triumph of the "female principle" in society that Blake described. For man, only Magic remains as a potent weapon in this gender war. Hence the sudden popularity of "Satanism", Thelema, the "O.T.O.", and other "online" cults to which young men are now flocking. Alas, they will find all too little of the True Craft there.
From its very beginnings, Stockholm's Enskilda Bank existed mainly as a servant to industry, and soon banker's drafts were introduced to simplify the conveyance of payments. Towards the end of the 1800s, the Bank played an active role in industrial construction, both as a lender and as an initiator. The bank took over or participated in bond loans of over SEK 80 million to the state, municipalities, industry and railways. The Göta-Canal project was the crowning achievement of these early years. It connected the eastern and western parts of Sweden, giving some economical and military advantages. But it also dispersed the knowledge of modern technology and management, thus laying the foundations for more Industrial "progress". The railroads became the cornerstone of the development; these brought the far-flung and culturally dissimilar provinces of Sweden closer together, thus removing the ancient differences between them. They also disrupted the natural ley-lines with rails, leading straight to Stockholm and other large cities. The Invisibles were hindered and increasingly confined by the web of cold iron (to which, like the "fairies" of lore, they are antipathetic), and around the railways new communities collected, designed utterly on "solar" Materialist principles. Thus, ironically, while city-planning, architecture, and civic rites became more masculine--and therefore inimical to the nocturnal Moon-magic traditions, with their twisted cobbled lanes and organically constructed townships--society itself was already becoming feminized, which would ultimately result in the rise of the modern "nanny-state".

The 19th Century also saw a significant population increase, which the writer Esaias Tegnér in 1833 famously attributed to "the peace, the (smallpox) vaccine, and the potatoes", with the population doubling between 1750 and 1850. As the Industrial Revolution progressed during the century, people gradually began moving into cities to work in factories, and some became involved in Socialist unions. Dispirited by their "Brave New World", which kept them largely living at subsistence level and robbed them of any opportunity for advancement, many looked towards America for a better life. It is believed that between 1850 and 1910 more than one million Swedes moved to the United States. In the early 20th century, more Swedes lived in Chicago than in Gothenburg (by now Sweden's second largest city). During this period, perhaps because of its growing isolation from the Invisibles (but more likely because of its dependency on Science in everyday life), the Chantry became a sort of gentlemen's club for dozing academics and bored aristocrats; little magic of a practical nature was attempted, and no profound discoveries were made inside its archives. The list of mediocre Grand Masters makes for profoundly depressing reading. This was to change in 1874 with the advent of another well-known Adept - and soon-to-be Grand Master, the novelist, playwright, and alchemist, August Strindberg.
A native of Stockholm - he grew up in my own Nortullsgatan-Sveavägen neighbourhood - Strindberg studied chemistry first in Lund, then later at Uppsala. His studies quickly led him on the path of Kabbalistic Alchemy, and in Uppsala, he founded "Runa", a small literary club with friends who all took pseudonyms from Nordic mythology; Strindberg called himself Frö after the god of fertility. Often the group would meet on the grounds of where the ruined Temple of Odin was reputed to lie. He spent a few more semesters in Uppsala, finally leaving in March 1872 without graduating. He would often ridicule Uppsala and its professors, as when he published Från Fjerdingen och Svartbäcken in 1877, short stories depicting Uppsala student life. After leaving university for the last time, he embarked on his career as a journalist and critic for newspapers in Stockholm wrote the historical drama Master Olof, about the introspective Swedish Protestant zealot Olaus Petri, who had been a long time persecutor of the Chantry. This must surely have marked Strindberg's first awareness of our Brotherhood, though he may have heard some rumours of its existence in Uppsala.

But he was not inducted into it until 1874, when he became an assistant librarian at the Royal Library. Within a few short years, owing to his protean genius and raw energy, he would attain the Brotherhoods' highest honour. In 1879 (aided, some claimed, by demons he had conjured up), he achieved an instant fame with the publication of his novel The Red Room. By then he had been married for two years to the beautiful Baroness Siri von Essen, whom he had seduced by means of a magical sweetbread ("The Cake of Light") while she was still the wife of Baron Carl Gustaf Wrangel, a brother-member of the Chantry. Siri was a member of the Swedish aristocracy of Finland, as well as a highly successful stage actress. By the time of the marriage Siri was seven months pregnant; the child died and they later had three more children, one of whom, Kristin (another daughter, Karin Smirnov, was a well-known Communist activist who married a Soviet agent), wrote an account of her parents' stormy life together. Strindberg was tormented by jealousy and often reproached Siri for imagined infidelity; indeed, during periods of madness he accused Wrangel of being the true father of his children, a theme he revisited in his writings over and over again.

This may have been the result of the occult sex-magic rituals in which the three continued to participate along with other Chantry members and their wives or mistresses who belonged to the ultra-secret "Guild of Bacchus". Some of these rites were similar to those later described by Aleister Crowley. Siri von Essen herself had always encouraged Strindberg's interest in the occult and his stewardship of the Chantry, often visiting it herself, sometimes in his absence. The two also became interested in spirit photography (a popular craze at that time owing to the novelty of the double exposure); Strindberg's "celestographs" and "crystallizations", which were "photographed" without using a lens, anticipated the experiments of the Surrealists--as well as the ferro-magnetic audio recordings of Raudive. Below is a conventional photograph of Siri taken by Strindberg as an experiment in telepathic communication through an "alchemical photographic process".
Siri von Essen Strindberg, in psychic contact.
And now the tale takes a dark and gloomy turn into perhaps the Chantry's most shameful period, one which once again nearly marked its utter demise. It begins in 1883 with the sudden and meteoric arrival in Stockholm of a "society vampire" who called himself "Count Orlando Staaf". To understand the phenomenon of his acceptance into polite society (it was said that he was welcome in the Royal Palace itself), one must appreciate the social history of that entire century--and its curious philosophical schizophrenia. As religion and "superstition" were routed and the Materialism of the Industrial Revolution became universal and taken for granted, educated people everywhere became intensely credulous and even masochistically worshipful of any strange and wondrous claim to the supernatural--or especially in the case of Vampirism, the superhuman. Dr. John Polidori's "Lord Ruthven" was the first literary vampire of the age, and a host of imitators in every language were to follow, culminating in Bram Stoker's Count Dracula in 1897. In 1870 John Sheridan Le Fanu had introduced the first female vampire (a woman sucking the life from men) in Carmilla, an image which was to haunt Strindberg's writings all his life. The concept of the "society vampire"was as old as Cagliostro or even the Comte St. Germain, whom Staaf was alleged to be. Though this semi-mythical figure was reported to have died in 1784, there were rumors of sightings in Paris in 1835, in Milan in 1867, and in Egypt during Napoleon's campaign. Napoleon III kept a dossier on him, but it was destroyed in a fire that gutted the Hotel de Ville in 1871. Theosophist Annie Besant said that she met the Count in 1896. C. W. Leadbeater claimed to have met him in Rome in 1926, and said that St. Germain showed him a robe that had been previously owned by a Roman Emperor and told him that one of his residences was a castle in Transylvania. Guy Ballard claimed he met the Count on Mt. Shasta and that he introduced him to visitors from Venus and published a book series about his channelings; Ballard founded the "I AM" Activity as a result. And on January 28, 1972, ex-convict and lover of singing star Dalida, Richard Chanfray claimed to be the Count of St. Germain on French television.

There is no evidence that Staaf himself ever personally made any such claim. No photographs of him exist, but he was said to be a slight figure of middle height, with waxen pale skin, and a cold and haughty demeanour. Effortlessly fluent in all European languages, he spoke an archaic, old-fashioned Swedish with great precision. He revealed little of his youth in Sweden; no one could be found with any actual memory of him, and no record was ever found of his family's former land holdings. He was never seen to eat or drink publicly; at banquets, he would sit and regale the company with witty stories and anecdotes from history, occasionally making verbal "slips" such as: "and then King Louis [XV] said to me", from which he would then quickly recover. The rumour rapidly spread that Staaf was hundreds of years old and had found the secret of eternal life. He was soon invited to join the Chantry, the single most foolish mistake the Brotherhood had ever made in its 500-year history. Already suspicious and resentful of Staaf's celebrity, Strindberg detested him from the start.

However, his petulant tirades against him in the privacy of the Chantry's innermost sanctum (a summary of which has been preserved), did his cause more harm than good, as the feeling of the Brotherhood was generally one of excitement at the prospect of gaining such an illustrious member, one of legendary status as an alchemist and one who had, moreover, been eyewitness to critical historical events since the ancient-most times. In his 1969 book Esoteric Course of Kabbalah, Samael Aun Weor claims that St. Germain was able to speak any language, and to create diamonds from lead (which Staaf supposedly handed out like party favours) through the Art of Alchemy. Indeed, the author claims that Saint Germain knew and worked with one of the ultimate secrets of Alchemy, the sexual transmutation enabled by white sexual ritual magic. Seduced by these heady prospects - plus the age-old promise of immortality - a majority of the membership rejected Strindberg's demand that the invitation be rescinded. In response, Strindberg lapsed into a baleful anti-Semitism (Europe had recently seen a fashionable rehabilitation of this antique prejudice, engendered by the broadsides of Wagner, Gobineau, and others in print), and accused Staaf of being "The Wandering Jew".

By this time in his life Strindberg was also having serious mental problems. This accusation, which had begun as an idle insult, born of hurt and anger, took root in his mind and became an obsession. Partly because of this incident and partly in response to critics of his mammoth Svenska Folket, a critical history of Sweden published that same year, Strindberg further explored anti-Semitic themes in his next work, Det Nya Riket ("The New 'Reich' or Kingdom"). To escape the uproar he had stirred up, Strindberg resigned as Grand Master (the first such resignation in Chantry history since the abdication of Queen Christina) and moved to France with his family. Between the years 1884 and 1887 he lived, with short interruptions, in Switzerland. Under the strain of severe financial and marital difficulties, Strindberg began to show symptoms of emotional illness. Feelings of persecution were stimulated by the heavy drinking of absinthe. Eventually he started to believe his wife wanted to have him locked away in a mental institution. She left him soon after, taking their children with her.
Siri von Essen Strindberg.
In Stockholm, meanwhile, a mysterious and bloody reign of terror was about to begin. It began with the disappearance of a young servant girl. Anna or Annika Durling, and the subsequent discovery of her body, covered with knife wounds and nearly drained of blood, inside Riddarholm churchyard. Scarcely a week later, a second girl, this time the schoolgirl Ulla Fossum, also disappeared. Hysteria gripped Stockholm when a third woman, this time a prostitute called "Röd Liza", was found dead in an alley in Gamla Stan ("Old Town", not far from the Chantry). By now newspaper accounts were being censored, but the radical journal Tiden reported that her corpse was missing "certain organs". Suspicion now centered on a foreigner, specifically an unnamed Polish doctor, who seems to have, quite sensibly, departed the country swiftly. From the Aftonbladet, October 12th, 1884:

"The murderer of Stadsholmen has as yet managed to avoid detection. It is said that the prime suspect is now a foreigner who was living not far from Stora Nygatan when the murders took place. He has been reported to the police by a servant woman who he has been living with and is at present under close surveillance."

Less remarked upon were the disappearances in the same of a number of Chantry members, most notable among them Rector Theo de Wrang, who had become de facto leader of the opposition to Staaf after the departure of Strindberg. Soon after, Staaf was elected Grand Master. For months, the inner circle of the Guild of Bacchus had become the "tail wagging the dog" of the Brotherhood. Increasingly, their sex magic rituals had become bloodier and more sadistic; a number of aristocratic members abruptly resigned, disturbed by this trend, among them Baron Wrangel. An avid yachtsman, he would spend a great deal of time sailing during the next decade, at one point refusing to come ashore for almost a year. Many of the older scholars scattered to other cities, where they lived in fear for their lives. The twenty-year old Chantry servant Elisabeth Gustafsdotter, a strapping farm-girl, fled at this time back to Gothenburg, reportedly taking with her documentary evidence of Staaf's involvement in the Gamla Stan murders. But Gothenburg wasn't far enough--she would later flee to London and change her name.

Over the next few years, the Chantry slowly became a slaughterhouse. Corrupted by Staaf's ravenous vampirism and dazzled by visions of physical immortality, a few of the count's acolytes in the Brotherhood, mostly younger men, would dangle the bodies of their victims from meat-hooks down in the cellars, often keeping them alive for weeks while they were slowly drained of blood. A legend persists of Staaf himself, roaring with laughter, installing a wine-tap in the throat of the white-haired Theo de Wrang, so that his blood could be imbibed at leisure. The veracity of this can never be proved, however, since so many of the Chantry's records were looted during this period or destroyed from neglect. But I have seen for myself the deep holes in the ceilings of the cellars where rusty iron hooks were once embedded--and directly beneath them, dark stains in the stone flagging which no amount of scrubbing can ever erase. The spirits of several of Staaf's victims remain restless and rooted to these subterranean caverns, though their identities, as well as their moods, remain unclear.

The long arm of Staaf, however, was no fiction. In 1889, in the Whitechapel district of London, a series of brutal and gruesome murders took place which history remembers as those of "Jack the Ripper". One of its victims was "Long Liz" or Lizzie Stride, a veteran prostitute. Her real name was Elisabeth Gustaffsdotter...

Below is the cover of Hwem är Jack uppskäraren?, anonymously printed in Kalmar, Sweden in 1889, which discusses the "Swedish connection" to the Whitechapel murders, as well as the "Ripper scare" of Stockholm. Its author is thought to be Tiberius de Wrang, Theo's son, who, uncertain of his father's fate, had begun investigations into the mystery of his disappearance.
In 1894, after years of painful struggle and almost universal rejection by his countrymen, August Strindberg had suffered a complete emotional breakdown that left him incapable of creative work. Vilified in his homeland for naturalistic works like Miss Julie and The Father, he had already been through two divorces -a third was yet to come - as well as many years of impoverishment and the loss of his three children from his first marriage. His second marriage, to the Austrian journalist Frida Uhl, had just ended bitterly. This meant estrangement from yet another child and the loss of Frida’s considerable dowry. At 45, penniless and alone, it’s unsurprising that Strindberg questioned the point of going on. Yet he was a man who possessed demonic persistence, and the route out of his impasse led through Paris - and alchemy. According to one account, by 1894, there were an estimated 50,000 alchemists in Paris alone. Exaggeration or not, in the last years of the 19th century, Paris was undoubtedly a place where occultism mixed with the avant-garde. Here, safe from Staaf's minions and public condemnation, he could proceed with the Great Work.

His first step was to prove the presence of carbon in sulphur, employing tongs and a makeshift furnace in his stove. The heat from the flames was so intense he soon suffered appalling burns, the skin on his hands “peeling off in scales.” After more experiments, the burns worsened, and his chapped, cracked hands, irritated by coke dust, oozed blood. The pain was intolerable, yet, convinced of his success, Strindberg continued. The next step was to show the presence of hydrogen and oxygen. But his apparatus was inadequate and his funds were dwindling. Destitute and in agony, Strindberg had reached another dead end. When the veins in his arms started to swell from blood-poisoning, friends collected money and put him in the Hôpital de Saint-Louis.

There, Strindberg made friends with a pharmacist who took an interest in his pursuits and allowed him to work in his laboratory. Urged on, he sent the results of his experiments to a firm of chemists to be analysed. Their tests proved positive: the sulphur he submitted did indeed contain carbon. More encouragement followed. A summary of Strindberg’s scientific work appeared in Le Petit Temps, followed by long articles on ‘Strindberg the scientist’ in the highly respected periodical La Science Français and the widely read Le Figaro. Soon Strindberg believed he had succeeded in extracting gold from iron. It was around this time that he came into contact with the Parisian alchemical underground and Gerard Encausse - better known by his occult pseudonym of "Papus" - published an account of his work in his periodical L’Initiation. “August Strindberg,” Papus wrote, “who combines vast knowledge with his great talent as a writer, has just achieved a synthesis of gold from iron.” His work, Papus continued, “confirms all the assertions of the alchemists.”

Yet this alchemical adventure wasn’t purely benign. Nurtured by his occult obsessions and his homesickness, Strindberg's self-chronicled "deranged sense impressions" started to get out of hand. At first he chalked his weird perceptual mutations up to chance and the vagaries of his unconscious, but increasingly he recognised in them the hands of occult intelligences: "the Powers" and "the Invisibles". They wanted him to return to Sweden and deal with Staaf, but he remained too fearful, feeling that he was no rival - not even in the realm of alchemy - of that vampiric figure who might or might be the legendary St. Germain. This inner conflict soon turned into a kind of waking dream--or nightmare. Strindberg talked to the Invisibles constantly, thanked them, asked their advice. He saw their work everywhere. Money appeared miraculously, allowing him to buy instruments. In a zinc bath that he used for making gold by the "wet method", he observed a remarkable landscape. There were “small hills covered with conifers… plains, with orchards and cornfields… a river… the ruins of a castle,” all formed by the evaporation of salts of iron. It was only months later, during a visit to his daughter, who he hadn’t seen for two years, that he recognised his vision as the landscape around his mother-in-law’s house. Making gold by the "dry method" produced its own terrors. After melting borax in terrific heat, all he found was a skull with two glistening eyes. On another occasion a chunk of charred coal revealed a bizarre formation: a body with a rooster’s head, a human trunk, and distorted limbs. It looked, he remarked, “like one of the demons that used to perform in the witches’ sabbaths of the Middle Ages.” Later discoveries included two gnomes in billowing garments embracing each other, and a Madonna and Child, done up in Byzantine style.

By now his addiction to absinthe may have been affecting his mind. As drunk in his day, absinthe contained oil of thuja, a powerful and addictive hallucinogen. Habitual use resulted in anxiety, fear, hallucinations, a sense of paralysis and paranoia. Strindberg's "supersensitive nerves" began to detect strange subterranean vibrations. The idea that he was the target of evil emanations originating from Stockholm obsessed him. Baffling coincidences appeared everywhere. Mysterious noises from the rooms next door tormented him, and he was convinced that someone was trying to kill him using an "electrical machine." He walked around Paris in a state of tense expectancy, awaiting “an eruption, an earthquake, or a thunderbolt.” Friends and acquaintances now became demons, either assassins from the evil Count or else manifestations sent by the Powers to show him the error of his ways, and each night he suffered anxiety attacks in which he endured the recurrent onslaughts of his torturers. The sound of pianos playing eerie, disturbing music followed him everywhere. At one point he was convinced that the Polish decadent writer Stanislav Przybyszewski had come from Berlin to kill him and drain the blood from his body on the express orders of Staaf.
A Strindberg "Celestograph".
Finally, a rereading of the works of Swedenborg convinced Strindberg that the Powers had consigned him to Hell in order to spur his spiritual evolution. By 1897, he had given up alchemy, utterly defeated, and wrote Inferno. In 1898, heavily influenced by Swedenborgian philosophy, he began work on To Damascus, perhaps his greatest play. His conversations with the Powers and the Invisibles, however, continued for the rest of his life, and he spent his last few years attempting to take photographs of them hovering above tall buildings.

The New Century
The young Tiberius de Wrang, ca. 1884?

The New Dawn of the Magical Brotherhood began early on a sunny morning, that of St. John's or Midsummer's Eve, in the summer of 1904. Passersby on Prästgatan might have have been pardoned if they scarcely noticed the trio that made its way to the Chantry gates, but perhaps something arresting about the three would have commanded their attention, after all. The leader, dressed in shabby. Travel-stained black clothing and carrying a heavy travel chest, had just disembarked from the Baltic-Orient Express after an absence from Sweden of some years; he had long grey hair and a stern, gaunt visage from which cold blue eyes glittered. This man was Tiberius de Wrang, who had spent over 20 years travelling the length and breadth of Sweden - and later Europe - interviewing eyewitnesses, studying the arcane, learning his Craft, recruiting followers - and, moreover, gleaning every scrap of information he could discover on the lives of the Comte St. Germain and the unholy creature who called himself Count Orlando Staaf. Behind him strode his two chief acolytes, the first a pale yet plumply healthy lad with gleaming black hair and a sturdy frame, who was carrying a pair of large suit-cases, the second an ethereally beautiful young girl with skin the colour of honey and long corn-silk hair, who had been entrusted with a small medical bag. These two young people, so tender in years, so open and trusting in manner, were a recently married couple, Oscar and Signe Krook. Their passionate interest in Rosicrucianism (by then the movement had definitively split from the Freemasons and had begun to re-explore its original mystic roots) had brought them together at university, where they had been married. Fired by the visions of Ibsen and Strindberg, as well as the reawakening folk-identity movements across Europe, they were to devote the remainder of their lives to the dream of a rebirth of the Swedish racial identity.

In those moments, however, as they stood outside the Chantry, gazing determinedly up at its darkened upper windows, they must surely have feared that the rest of their lives were likely be very short indeed. For the Chantry, seemingly empty and abandoned, was now the locus of a powerfully malignant penumbra and as de Wrang fumbled to fit the great key that was his father's last bequest to him, into the rusty lock of the front door, none of the three had any notion of what he might find inside. Thus, as the result of his voluminous researches, de Wrang had come prepared, quite literally, for anything. Among other magical weapons, he had obtained from Moscow eight silver crucifixes, one for each quadrant of earth and sky, from the very hands of the Patriarch. From Rome, he brought a precious vessel of Holy Water blessed by the Pope himself. And from Castle Rakoczi (where St. Germain was said to have been born), high in the Transylvanian alps, a chest of earth. But he was not so foolish as to neglect the need for a good brace of pistols, loaded with hand-forged silver bullets. We know every detail of what was to follow from the lips of Fru Signe Krook herself, whom I was privileged to know (and revere) in her extreme old age - though it must be confessed, in strictest truth, that she was often confused and tended to repeat every sentence three times.

What happened next was anti-climax: the key turned in the lock, but the door's hinges, completely rusted over, refused to budge. Finally, they were forced to simply force the door open. During the past decade, ownership of the building had changed hands several times after a local landlord had brought a lien against the vanished Brotherhood; but no amount of bribery or coercion could induce either engineers or workmen to go back inside it after a pair of city surveyors were found frozen to death in the cellars after a mild day. And so the property stood putatively empty and shuttered - which is why no one interfered with the three strangers as they forced their way in.

They found the place a shambles. Weeds choked the cobbles of the front passage; above, the window-mouldings and shutters of the Chantry windows were crumbled and peeling. Desiccated fragments of pages, some from the most precious and ancient tomes of the archives, littered the great hall like dead leaves, and water steadily dripped from the kitchens above to form a black, noxious pool on its ancient stone floor. Despite the warmth and brightness of the day, all was dim and chill inside. Undeterred, their pistols loaded and cocked, the three set out to explore this magical domain, subject of so many of their conversations during the months before. De Wrang himself, who had on several occasions visited the premises with his father as a boy of 12, retained a near-perfect memory of its geography; fearlessly, he led them from room to room, dangling a small gold pendulum before him into the tip of which had been affixed a tiny diamond reputed to have once been the property of Staaf. It swayed back and forth, from side to side - then seemed to tremble and twitch upward at the foot of the great central stairs. In later years, Signe was to well recall the expression on de Wrang's face when he turned to them to hiss, "He's here!" - as well as the stab of horror which transfixed her own breast. Yet, bravely, the three kept on.

They found no sign of life anywhere inside. Yet in the tower room, beneath the beams of the topmost storey, the pendulum, which De Wrang wore about his neck, was now standing straight up, and the air, filled with the foulest of aromas, was so cold that their breath misted in the air. A single narrow, crooked stairway led upward; guarding this with his very life, de Wrang stayed behind while the Krooks went back for further supplies, returning at mid-afternoon with a workman's barrow filled with bricks, mortar, and the tools of the bricklayer's art, as well as rope and a pair of stout ladders. Then, mixing the mortar with Transylvanian soil, they proceeded to wall up the top room in which they knew some aspect, either earthly or etheric, of the evil count still slumbered. Before dusk fell, they also hastened to clamber up the ladders to plaster over the windows and attach crucifixes to each of the walls and roof of the tower, so that nothing might escape from it. The sealed room remains to this day as they left it.

For nearly a century this tale, the most shameful in the Chantry's history, has been utterly taboo; I am the first to reveal it to the world. Better-known is the fact that the three mages, now united forever in amity by a bond that would never break, somehow managed to raise the funds needed to buy the building back again and even collect up and restore to some degree its desecrated library. News of this illustrious enterprise spread slowly through the remnants of the arcane community, and a number of older members drifted back, some generously contributing their own manuscript collections - or in a few cases, Chantry manuscripts they had hidden away in order to protect. The Brotherhood (for such it continued to be named, despite the acceptance of Fru Signe Krook and a few other lady members) slowly prospered, infused as it was by the exciting ideals of the new century. Foremost among these was the ideal of Nordic Reawakening through nationalist political groups, though it must be said that de Wrang himself, a Goetic Kabbalist, was tireless in his attempts to protect both the Chantry - and Sweden herself - from the powerful occult racial forces which, long-submerged by the Industrial Revolution, swirled almost visibly around Europe at this time and were soon to wreak the havoc of two world wars. His was the way of caution and neutrality, and his spells and wise counsels may have done much behind the scenes to steer Sweden's policies in this period. But the Krooks represented a younger, more idealistic generation; their sole ambition was to give birth once again to the pantheon of ancient Norse Gods, who would then walk the Scandinavian lands again as avatars and thus restore her Golden Age.
Fru Signe Krook, demonstrating the
"Von Rosen Craniometer", 1924.
In Fru Krook's case, this ambition was both literal and biological - through a combination of sex magic and ancient ritual on their holiest sites, she planned to give birth to all seven of the principal Norse Gods, one by one, and rear them on a country estate to be known as "Asgard"; her desire to bring this about was thoroughly explored in the minutest of detail in her popular epic poem, Should Seven Seeds in this Womb be Sow'n, which enjoyed cult status in the poetry circles of northern Europe (and later inspired the character of "Dorothy Merlin" in Pamela Hansford Johnson's "Cork Street" Trilogy). But, alas, the Krooks were never to be blessed with seven children, only two - of the divinity of which, however, there can be little doubt. I have never met Odin Krook, who was born in 1906 after years of ritual experimentation, but I have heard many stories of his early years from eyewitnesses. An intensely charismatic, yet deceitful and unruly child, possessed of a massive inner will and impatient with any form of study, he perhaps would have proved a great trial to the Krooks had they not been utterly convinced of his divine nature, which manifested itself in constant small combustions, disappearances of small objects and coins, and other poltergeist-like phenomena that occurred around him - culminating in the destruction of their "Asgard" farmhouse in a fire in 1919. By then Fru Krook had given birth to a second Avatar (after, she has told me several times, years of painful and arduous attempts), and thus, when Odin ran away from home at 14, never to be heard from again, the blow to his parents was somewhat cushioned. Through the Invisibles I have been led to locate him at last: thus I know that for many years he lived in Odense, Denmark, the prime locus of his particular genius, appearing to locals as a toothless alcoholic indigent. Obviously, this first procreative experiment of the Krooks was not a complete success, though Odin's presence has certainly wrought wonders to the town in terms of recent tourism and economic prosperity.

[A note on giving birth to Gods (since I realize that occultist terminology may prove confusing to lay readers): I have employed the terms "Invisibles", "Powers", "Gods", and "Avatars" in this history without taking the time to define them. In brief, an "Invisible" is a spirit which is accessible to the living in the mundane world - this spirit may be that of a person who has lived and then died, it may be an "Elemental", that is to say an unformed or unevolved entity too crude for human incarnation (the sort which sometimes inhabits cars or computers), an evolved animal spirit of varying degrees of intelligence or malignancy, or what we commonly term a "Demon". Invisibles inhabit the ether and may attempt at times to communicate with - or even occasionally possess - a human host. I have known many Invisibles; the two who have spoken to me most often and taken a generally kindly interest in me since infancy are named "Dona" and "Bagi".

A "Power" is an entity, like a God or a Devil, which may begin as a simple spirit but swells up to Divine stature through human belief. I am, like Swedenborg, a Christian (one may, like Rudolf Steiner or Pekka Ervast, easily and with no contradiction be an "Occult Christian"), yet as a reputable, if amateur, historian, I must admit that the purely documentary evidence for Jesus Christ's earthly existence is slender indeed, resting as it does on a single entry in Josephus which is now known to be a later insertion (in the case of the Slavic Josephus, the additional lines depicting Our Lord as a dwarfish hunchback are clearly a fabrication). But this does not matter to the mystic - and indeed, it is the degree of belief in Jesus, that we call "Faith", that guarantees His higher spiritual existence as a Saviour. Yet there are many other such "Powers" abroad in the mundane world, some of them human in origin, others entirely mythological. Sometimes, as has happened in this century in Finland, the Old Gods may be reborn as human "Avatars", with some of their ancient powers restored, as the result of an educational system that teaches every school-child about them as a means of forging a national "Identity" (and thus, subconsciously, belief) - and it was precisely this that the Krooks envied and desired to emulate in Sweden. If, Oscar Krook was reputedly fond of saying, everyone had just believed in Odin, then he wouldn't have run away.]

The Krook's second child, a girl named Fairgun (or "Fjorgynn") was unquestionably a genuine goddess. It is no coincidence that Sweden's period of greatest peace and prosperity coincided with her lifetime - and that of her daughter, Frikka (or "Freya"). Though I was not privileged to meet Fairgun until she was a woman in her sixties, nonetheless even I can testify to her palpable and evident divinity. It was said by many that in her youth that flowers would actually spring up wherever she walked barefoot - though obviously this phenomenon would be seasonal in Stockholm. Tall and icily blonde, she was yet of a simple, quiet disposition, as befits a "Mother Earth" Goddess; certainly her famously long silences in the Chantry were both haughty and regal. It is unclear exactly what future plans the Krooks had for her, since in order to produce an Avatar for the war-god Thor, for example, she would have had to mate with her older brother, but perhaps her parents simply intended to cross that bridge when they came to it. In 1929 (not 1949, as the perfidious Sandberg has falsely written), the heroic Tiberius de Wrang occultated, leaving Oscar Krook to become Grand Master in the first such orderly progression in over half a century. But with the restraining influence of de Wrang gone, the Chantry now became over-involved, at its cost, in mundane political movements. If any one criticism can perhaps be laid at the Krooks' door, it is that they seemed to have learned too little from the Brotherhood's own chequered past.

The Knights of the Hakkors
Oscar Krook. daughter Fairgun, and Frederik Wilander, 1938.
For if any clear lesson loomed large from the bloody reign of Orlando Staaf, it was that no secret society can for long tolerate a second secret society inside it. In the late 19th Century it was the "Guild of Bacchus" that had brought down the Chantry; in the 1920s and 30s, it was the "Knights of the Hooked Cross" that very nearly did the same. This was not entirely Oscar's fault; neither he nor Fru Signe had been born to aristocratic wealth, and both became easily swayed by the glamour of new acquaintances in this era that seemed to bring with them the promise of social advancement. And in the cases of two of these - the youthful, dashing von Fock and von Rosen families, who were intensely pro-German during the First War and would become ardent Nazis in the following years - this proved to be a siren's song. Frustrated by de Wrang's conservatism and Philosemitic Kabbalism (a Goetic mage depends on ancient Hebraic formulae to control and imprison anywhere up to several dozen highly hostile demonic spirits at any given moment and thus can scarcely afford the luxury of anti-Semitism), the Krooks secretly set up their own order-within-an-order, dedicated to idealising the ancient Viking and Nordic virtues. Now the cellars rang with shouts of "skål!" ("skull!"), the ancient Viking wassail accompanied by the drinking of mead from the skull of one's dead enemy. Several of these drinking vessels, no longer, I assure you, in use - I am a strict teetotaller - remain in the Brotherhood's private collection; to whom they originally belonged is a matter of dispute, though some may hail from Finland.

A late 18th-Century member of the Chantry during the Lindhorst era was Carl August Ehrensvärd, a notable painter and cartoonist, several of whose works at one time adorned the staircases. It therefore was natural that his descendant, a nobleman of the same name, would find easy admittance into the Brotherhood. It was he who was to be Krook's first confederate in the establishment of the Knights. In 1918, just as with the English, whose sympathies were engaged by the plight of their cousins in Ireland, and the Germans, with their lost colonies in danger in Poland and the soon-to-be Soviet Union, so Swedish nationalists were heavily involved in Finland. At one time Finnmark accounted for one-third of Sweden; its conquest by Imperial Russia had caused the flight of many hundreds of thousands of ethnic Swedes, but at least a million more remained behind. Now these were plunged into an ongoing civil war inside the newly independent Finland between "White" and "Red" - democrat and Communist. Almost universally, the Finland-Swedes, more educated and wealthy, were on the White side, and in that same year the Count had led a volunteer Swedish brigade implicated in a brutal massacre of Finnish civilians. On his return home he introduced Krook to the famous young aviator and future Finnish war hero Erik von Rosen. Von Rosen's family had been using a swastika, or hakkors in Swedish, which his father had originally seen on rune stones in Gotland while at school, as a personal owner's mark. Believing that the symbol signified good luck for the Vikings, he had it carved on all his luggage. After the Finnish civil war, he gave the newly independent state an aircraft, marked with his sign, a blue swastika on a white field. This was the beginning of the Finnish Air Force, which later adopted the "Von Rosen Hakkors" as their national insignia. So did Krook's "Knights of the Hooked Cross".

Through the young von Rosen, Krook now became acquainted with the illustrious father, the doctor, patron of the arts, explorer and expert on racial cranial classification, Count Carl Gustaf Bloomfield Eric von Rosen (born June 2, 1879 in Stockholm, died April 25, 1948 Skeppsholmen, Stockholm). Von Rosen was married to the Baroness Mary Fock, and another son of theirs, Baron Otto Karl von Rosen, was arrested in Norwegian Lapland in mid-winter 1917 on his way to Finland with a number of sugar-cubes, inside which were discovered tiny vials of anthrax synthesised by his father. This first-ever instance of attempted germ warfare was likely inspired by the race theories of I. Nesselius, a Swedish professor who in 1708 advocated the organized genocide of the Finns in a government bill. The elder von Rosen was also one of the founding members of Nationalsocialistiska Blocket, a Swedish Nazi political party whose titular leader was Colonel Martin Ekström. He was also soon to be the brother-in-law of Hermann Göring.
After the "Great War", Göring, who had been a flying ace and national hero, left Germany in embittered frustration to work as a commercial pilot for the fledgeling Svenska Lufttrafik airline. One night he flew Eric von Rosen in bad weather from Stockholm to Rockelstad, the von Fock family castle, which lies on Lake Båven in Sörmland. It was so cold that Göring actually landed the plane on the frozen lake, and then had to spend the night at the castle. There he met the sister of von Rosen's mother, the half-Irish Carin Freyin von Kantzow (nee von Fock), who was married to a Swedish military officer. They were to carry on an adulterous relationship until her divorce in December 1922. They married a few weeks after, despite their age difference (she was five years older than he). During these years Göring was an occasional guest at the Chantry and participated in a number of the Knights' Nordic-Revivalist rites. He was, however, despite his deep and lifelong appreciation of Norse mythology, utterly disinterested in the occult - and often in later years would privately mock Adolf Hitler for his reliance on it.
The Görings lived for a time in the suburbs of Munich, and then were forced to flee back to Sweden after the failed Beer Hall Putsch of November 1923. Göring had been shot through the testicles; this was before penicillin, and the wound never fully healed. Given morphine to deaden the chronic pain, he became so severely addicted that he twice underwent treatment in 1925–26 at the Långbro mental hospital in Sweden, and then returned to Germany in 1927 to become a deputy in the Reichstag for the Nazi Party. His wife was now too ill with tuberculosis to accompany him: she died of heart failure in 1931. Göring had admired the hakkors during his visits to the Chantry - as well as to von Rosens' castle, where it was forged into a metal plate over the fire place.  However, the swastika of the German Nazi party had been already adopted in 1920; two years before Göring met Adolf Hitler. Frederik Wilander often told me of his visits with Hermann Göring in Germany during the war years, when as a man of 30 he acted as a courier both for the N. S. B. and for Krook's Knights of the Hooked Cross in their contacts with the Thule Society, the Ahnenerbe, and the SS (as well as, on a number of occasions, for Jacob and Marcus "Dodde" Wallenberg - grandfathers to the two young boors who used to persecute me at Täcka Udden - in the disposal of property looted from Jews). Often he would be invited to stay at "Carinhall", the opulent Viking-style manor house Göring had built for himself outside Berlin and had made a mausoleum to the dead Carin. There, delighted to speak Swedish again with the shy young chemist from Stockholm, Göring would sometimes blurt out the most amazing indiscretions to him.

Frederik Anders Wilander was born in 1909 near the town of Porvoo (or Borgå in Swedish), Finland. His was a "Finland-Swedish" family; when he was lamed at the age of 15 in an incident involving a gang of anti-Swedish Finnish hooligans, he fled to Stockholm to live with a relative. Heartsick with nostalgia for his native land and secretly embittered at his crippling at the hands of the "Forest Finns", as he invariably referred to them (nevertheless, not a single public hint of impatience with his infirmity ever passed the lips of this uncomplaining, sunny-natured man), Wilander was naturally drawn to right-wing nationalistic causes. After all, they held the only hope for any sort of Swedish future for his family and fellow Finland-Swedes. Thus he became a sort of youthful mascot and errand-boy for the Svenska Antisemitiska Föreningen, or "Swedish Antisemitic Society", where he first met Oscar Krook. Krook had been persuaded to join in 1923 by Herman Göring and the von Rosens, who were charter members (and who contributed the swastika that was the society's symbol). Krook soon became fond of the cheeky, ruddy-faced lad, whom he fancied to be the reincarnation of Völundr or Wieland, the lamed smith of Nordic legend, and enrolled him as an apprentice at the Chantry, whose members swiftly adopted him. The Chantry was his "true family", Wilander was later to tell me with tears in his eyes. Krook, meanwhile, became ever-more deeply involved with such organisations, including the NSB and in 1934, Elof Eriksson's "Manhem Society". It was there that Krook was to meet the single most important recruit he was to bring into the Knights, Carl Ernfrid Carlberg, who would continue as the Chantry's protector and principal financier until his death in 1962.

At 18, inspired perhaps by his mystical affinity with Wieland - as well as his growing passion for alchemy - Wilander enrolled at Stockholm University and trained as a chemical engineer. In those years, study was his life - when he was not "burning the midnight oil" revising for examinations, he was usually to be found hard at work inside the Chantry building, which required a staggering amount of repair and upkeep. Many of the modern improvements to be found there now, including the electrical wiring, were the work of his own two hands. But increasingly, during the 1930s, there was a silent friction within its walls. De Wrang had never cared for the political leanings of his acolyte, but with his demise in 1929, Oscar Krook became Grand Master and thus was able to pursue his own course. Several of the older Philosemitic Kabbalists resigned, and the way lay clear for the Krooks' plans for the Chantry's future. The couple now viewed the Brotherhood as a springboard for their own dreams of a great "Nordic Rebirth" or reawakening; for better or worse, their star was now firmly hitched to that of Nazi Germany. Much has been written of the "Occult Reich" and of the Nazis' reliance, both individually and later, politically and militarily, on magic and occultism; there is no need for me to recapitulate it all in these pages, since its implications for Sweden are purely second-hand, like the vibratory echoes of some vast, distant explosion. Suffice it to say that magic was practiced in Berlin as a matter of state policy, sometimes openly, and sometimes quite effectively, as in the case of the "Indian Summer" of mild weather conjured up for the initial months of Operation Barbarossa--or, later in the war, the two successive divinations by pendulum of Mussolini's whereabouts after his arrest. I am myself not personally sympathetic to the Nazi's occultism, which I consider have being crude, demonic, disorganizing, and with the exception of the mass blood-sacrifice of the Holocaust, ineffective - with a single, major exception, which was Hitler's unprecedented Alchemical penetration of the Anti-Pleroma. This I will dwell upon at some length below.

My dear friend and mentor, Wilander, however, was a true believer. How can one reconcile such a history with one's personal feelings of friendship and gratitude? One cannot. The Wilander I knew was a kind and gentle old man filled with wisdom that he was always only too happy to impart to any who crossed his path. I have never witnessed him being rude to a Jew, even if any were to be found. And, it must be pointed out, he was still very much the simple Finland-Swedish country boy in those days; naive, impressionable, anxious for acceptance, grateful for any kindness, he fell easily under the sway of both of the dynamic and charismatic Krooks. And of course, under the spell of their beautiful daughter Fairgun, who was by now a maiden in her teens. Wilander could scarcely be blamed for losing his heart to this gossamer creature, more fairy than human in form, who seemed to float through Stockholm like a poet's opium dream. "I was," Wilander was often to tell me with a rueful twinkle, "her slave, Caliban to her Miranda." Indeed, his pet nickname for Krook, "Prospero", was to stick to the elder man, particularly as his personal fortune, under Carlberg's careful tutelage, slowly grew during the war years. They were, Wilander often said, great days for Sweden. And for the Krooks.

In 1930 Fairgun had at last come of age, and being the avatar of the Mother Goddess of Norse legend, her parents felt it was their duty to select for her a suitable mate. Their first choice, arrived at by a process of mystical conjuration, rune-casting (with the able aid of Professor Sigurd Agrell), and scrying the will of the Norns, was Ernst Prahler, the brilliant and talented former protégé of Tiberius de Wrang. Scion of a wealthy family and heir to a considerable fortune, Prahler was also a chemist; unlike the more modest Wilander, his contributions to the science had made him world-famous. Moreover, he was a brilliant pupil of the magical arts; not since Urban Hiärne had any Brother seemed so likely to find the secret of the Philosopher's Stone. Last (but, it seems, least), Fairgun herself had conceived a true passion for him - youthful, golden-haired, blue-eyed with the looks of a Hollywood leading man, Prahler appeared to all who knew him a veritable young godling, and fevered preparations began for the first wedding ever to be held inside the Chantry.

But it was not to be Prahler's. Four days before the ceremony, it was discovered that his mother was, in fact, Jewish. This news was particularly shattering to Oscar, who felt a deep sense of personal betrayal. Not only did he view his fraternal relationship--as well as the betrothal of his daughter - with Prahler to be at an end, he demanded the young man's expulsion from the Brotherhood. Oddly, his fellow-members baulked at this. Fairgun, meanwhile, was prostrate with grief and refused to eat or sleep. But most baffling of all, Wilander later told me, was Fru Signe's reaction; having invested so much of her personal efforts and social prestige in a Chantry wedding, she was grimly determined to bring one about on any terms. The night before it was due to take place, Wilander was approached by both of the Krooks, husband and wife, who, gravely reminding him of his debts of obligation to them--as well as his own mythic pedigree as an avatar - asked him to fill the despised Prahler's shoes. Naturally, Wilander, who had always loved their daughter with all his heart, acquiesced. Thus it was the following day that, both bedizened in the sober finery that characterized those dignified times, Wilander and his bride, tear-stained and hollow-eyed from weeping, met at the newly consecrated altar of Odin in the Main Hall to exchange their nuptial vows. A few months later, a daughter was born to them whom Oscar and Signe solemnly declared to be the goddess Frikka or Freya come back to life.
The last known photograph taken of Oscar
Krook (with pendulum), Spring 1946.

Oscar Krook died unexpectedly in 1947 of acute metal poisoning; he had for some years been a pioneer in the medicinal development of both heavy and precious metals in colloidal suspension, which he swallowed as a means of prolonging his life. Wilander naturally expected, as his son-in-law and spiritual heir, to be elected Grand Master; instead, much to his discomfiture, the membership elected Ernst Prahler. Generously, Wilander accepted this blow with the same saintly, smiling patience with which he had absorbed all the others that life had dealt him - and was, in fact, the very first to warmly congratulate Prahler on his accession. In the post-war years, the Socialist Swedish government was showing little political tolerance for the country's few small Nazi parties and the nationalistic aristocrats who supported them; thus Prahler was able to steer the Brotherhood away from such dangerous shoals and back toward the ideals of scholarship and the curating of the Arcanum. On the surface, the two men cooperated amicably, and Prahler and Fairgun remained close. When Prahler was found dead of a gunshot wound to the temple in 1949, Wilander later confided in me, he immediately assumed, perhaps erroneously, that Prahler had killed himself because he had begged Fairgun to run away with him, and she had refused him. But wisely, he held his tongue and said nothing. Again, Wilander was passed over for the Mastership - not that he was suspected of any foul play in the matter by his Brothers, but rather because they had united in resenting the interference of his mother-in-law, Fru Signe, in Chantry affairs. Her insistence that she was the "Mother of the Gods" and so should be given exalted rank within the Chantry, had caused a certain degree of alienation among its members, and indeed, I have read that she was actually banned for a time from its precincts.

Additionally, these events all happened at a time when Wilander was himself conducting delicate negotiations of an extraordinary kind back in Finland. Not yet having been born, I can offer no corroboration of his personal testimony; I can only repeat what Frederik Wilander affirmed and add in passing that never in all of the years I knew and was to be guided by this kindly and remarkable sage, did he ever impart to me a single falsehood. The tale he told me was this: Initially [said Wilander] he had been sceptical of the Krooks' claim of fathering and giving birth to two gods. Wilander had, despite his lifelong love of the occult, always owned a hard-headed, scientific temperament; it was this that made him such a dogged traveller on the twisting path of the Great Work. But his marriage to Fairgun had changed all that - sharing a home with an actual living, breathing Divinity had taught him the error of his doubts. There could no longer be any question that the Krooks had achieved their aim, though so far it seemed, aside from bringing peace and prosperity to Sweden, Fairgun had only succeeded in producing a single exquisite golden child, the goddess Frikka. The problem was, he explained, twofold - on the one hand, the very peace and tranquillity she had brought her native soil had eroded its warlike heritage, and on the other, the defeat of Nazi Germany had ended any hope of a cultic revival of personal belief in her. Therefore, she was still like a slumbering child in terms of her Greater Powers.

Not so the case among the hated "Forest Finns", he declared. After the two wars with the Soviet Union, a new race of Spartans had sprung up in the North, the cynosure of an admiring world for their pluck and courage. After half a century of education, every Finnish schoolchild knew his Kalevala by heart, and its gods and goddesses were commonly used both as literary and practical examples in everyday life and as supra-human symbols in nationalist expression. And now the Invisibles were telling him that a new Finnish father-god walked the land, an Avatar with reawakened powers and a zealous will. The Krooks' Theo-Eugenic experiments had, he felt, more or less reached a dead end; the only way that any God could be born to Frikka was to marry her off to the Finnish one. From their union would spring a true pan-Nordic Divinity, one who might in time reunite the two nations under one magical banner or device. This, of course, as he explained to me all those years later, was a bitter pill for him to swallow on many levels. He hated all Finns, and the thought of his beloved daughter, scarcely 19, being packed off to permanently live there, caused in him the profoundest sorrow. Fru Kook, however, was extremely excited by the prospect, though Fairgun--as well as Frikka herself - was apparently indifferent; although as he used to say with a shrug, "Gods are bad enough, but who can understand women?" In many ways, however, when Wilander's negotiations proved to be successful and Frikka was married later that year in Turku, I think it was at last a blow from which he never quite recovered.
I Am Born
The author, Ivar Michael Praetorius, at 8 months.
I was born in August of 1955 in Accra, Ghana, where my father was serving as a Lutheran minister and teacher. My mother had flown from Sweden to join him, and my birth took place, several weeks prematurely, in a taxi-cab on her way from the airport. This was an anecdote my mother never tired of relating, in the greatest detail, to any assembled company. My nativity was attended by several extraordinary heavenly signs, including a Perseid shower and a Grand Cross. Other than this, I shall divulge as little as possible of my life story, save for those incidents pertinent to the history of the Chantry, for I personally am of less than no importance, the lowliest of worms, one who has unwittingly betrayed my dear mentor in nearly every single one of his entrusted tasks. In short, due to my failure to assure the continuation of the Order, I have ended by being its very poorest Grand Master, perhaps even more lethal to the Chantry's eventual survival than Orlando Staaf.

This is not, however, entirely my fault, as you may come to agree. For the mundane world has changed almost unrecognizably since de Wrang and the Krooks first undertook their brave quest - and with it, the landscape of the occult. Consider the obvious facts: in 1904 there were perhaps a billion and a half human beings on this planet, each a fleshly host or vessel for a human spirit. Within these short hundred years or so, that number has quadrupled. In the intervening years a host of holocausts have taken place, as war and genocide have sent many millions into the spirit world en masse, a tsunami of unwilling spirits shocked and traumatized by having their allotted spans cut brutally short. These were the first to demand reincarnation during the post-war "baby boom" years - but they account only for a fraction of those alive today. Now the world is filled up with "first souls" - those of animals or local spirits, elementals, and even demons. The spirit world has become relatively depopulated, while the mundane has become a teeming bedlam where whores and gangsters prosper, and mass-murderers are revered. In such a cosmos, only saints and angels - and the shyest of ghosts and devils - refrain from rebirth; all the rest walk among us, wearing sunglasses and iPods and carrying knives and guns. What chance then has Spirituality in the face of such Materialism?

[Note: both Christianity and Islam deny Reincarnation or Metempsychosis; the soul's transmigration from one incarnation to the next, however, is a part of the belief-system of nearly every other historical religion, including Judaism, where it is called gilgul and considered to be a punishment. This may reflect the early influence of Buddhism. In Buddhism, the soul's karma, or evolutionary destiny, requires repeated reincarnation until it learns to escape the wheel of fleshly desires and thus achieves nirvana, which is a direct equivalent of Swedenborg's Heaven, where the enlightened spirit achieves an utter harmony with the Godhead. However, on a more primal level, belief in reincarnation (a staple element in all spiritualist movements) seems to be basic to human instinct, and is thus perhaps a "memory of the soul", wiser than any church's wilful doctrine.]

I was a precocious child, sickly, and highly sensitive. From earliest infancy I heard voices that told me unpleasant things. On one occasion I had a vision of a playmate with her hair on fire--a week later she died when her house burned to the ground. Another time, while on a family holiday, I dreamed that a neighbour child named Thomas appeared to me and spoke the word, "three". When we returned home, we learned that he had died of pneumonia on the third of the month. From thenceforward, spirit rapping, slamming doors, and ghostly noises were to occur frequently around me; for these reasons - and because of my physical appearance (I was a "redheaded" child with a tendency to overweight), I was tormented and persecuted by other children and soon learned the joys of solitude. My great joy in life from the age of 4 or 5 onward became reading; I taught myself the skill from my father's Bible and indeed was to have the Holy Book virtually memorised by the time of his tragic arrest and incarceration. In retrospect, I can now see that it was then that a great change came over me. From being a sweet and trusting child - despite the cruel torments of my neighbours - I instantly became sullen and morose, withdrawing inexorably into my own private world. This was to collide brutally with reality when at the age of 12; I was packed off by my mother to the English boarding school of Milton Abbey near the Dorset coast ( She scarcely could have arranged a greater trauma for me had she sought deliberately to do so.

Occupying the buildings and grounds of an ancient (and, I soon discovered, much-haunted) medieval abbey, the school's curriculum and educational philosophy had changed little since the days of Dickens. Chronically desperate for cash - I was admitted a year early for purely monetary reasons - the place was simply a "Borstal" for spoiled sons of the British aristocratic and industrialist arriviste classes too stupid, thuggish, or psychotic to be accepted into any other institution. My Wallenberg cousins might have felt quite at home there! In addition, because of its appalling academic reputation, it had become a haven for the laziest, venal, and sexually perverted teachers in all of Britain, foremost among them its sadistic headmaster, Giles Hughes-D'Aeth. I was informed, without irony, by a prefect on the day of my arrival that the school credo was: "Strength is gentleness, and discipline is good manners". He then hit me in the stomach. This was to set the tone for the next five years, which I spent in a state of terror, loneliness, and misery subject to the most cruel and sexually degrading torments my mostly dyslexic (and in some cases, actually illiterate) fellow-pupils could devise. My only escape lay in hours spent reading inside the school library, the one place I could be relatively certain of encountering few, if any, of the other boys. There I happened upon a small handbook that was to change my life; a pre-war introduction to stage magic.

Soon, this became my principal hobby, for I discovered that simple illusions, "magic tricks" and sleight-of-hand not only had the power to lull and confuse the brutish wits of my tormentors - it also helped to disguise and explain away the spirit rapping and other noises occurring around me for which I was often caned. Soon I was spending all my pocket money on books and new tricks, which I would doggedly practise whenever I was alone. It was my adolescent ambition to become the greatest Swedish stage magician since the immortal Nathan Leipziger. There was a small shop in Stockholm in the 1970s that specialized in selling cards and card tricks, and it was there that I spent most of my school holidays, as my mother was rarely home. It was there I first learned of the existence of "real magic"; Tor Persson, the shop's owner, was a devotee of Crowleyiana and owned a large library of popular books on the subject, most of them in English, which he sometimes grudgingly lent me. When finally I pressed him for more information, he took the pipe out of his mouth, and said, "Well, I suppose I better introduce you to Wilander." Who was Wilander, I wondered? Why, he was "Stockholm's only real wizard," I was informed. He would answer all my questions.

Why, of all the restless, troubled adolescents who routinely pester the occultist like stray dogs Frederik Wilander was to choose me for his apprentice, I shall never know. Perhaps he, too, heard the vibrations of the Invisibles that accompanied me everywhere; certainly there existed a palpable and immediate mystical bond between the two of us. I shall never forget the first occasion on which we met, on one of those dreary rainy days for which Stockholm's harbour area is famous. I approached the door of the Chantry, slowly, almost fearfully, my heart in my mouth. Deep inside I felt a mystic certainty of having reached a momentous event in my life, a parting of the roads if you will, that would profoundly alter it forever. But for better or worse? I could not know. At last I summoned the courage to take the brass knocker that guarded the front door in those days in my hand and gave it a timid clang. After a time, the door creaked open, and Wilander appeared with the kindly, beaming smile that I was to come to know so well. "Welcome, traveler," he said, and vanished. I followed him inside and looked about me as the door closed behind. And suddenly a tremendous certainty filled my being, almost with the force of a physical blow. I had at last come Home...

In the years that followed, I was to learn the mage's Art. Ironically, in terms of its rigid discipline and deprivation, nothing could possibly have served me in better stead than the combination of my hermitic temperament with the barbarous brutality of my schooling, and even my hobby, the repetitive deceptions of prestidigitation which were my only true pleasure - except, possibly, for a lengthy jail term. Wilander set me at once to my first task as a magic apprentice, which was to copy by hand my own personal text of the Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus. Thus each of its potent magical symbols would become fully visualized and kinetically emblazoned into my consciousness. But I was not to use ordinary pen and paper in this endeavour; oh no, I was to cut and shape my own quills, create my own ink, even stretch and scrape my own parchment from lambskin (though as Wilander pointed out, human skin, specifically that of babies, as in the library of Gilles de Rais, makes for the finest vellum). Thus, that enchanted summer, did I set off like Parsifal on my life-long Grail-Quest! And even in my final year back at school in Sixth Form, he and I kept in close connection on the Astral Plane. Often we would choose numbers or symbols to visualise in these etheric communications, then I would mail off a post-card with that written on it. Invariably, Wilander later assured me, it was the very number or symbol he had been visualising. This mystical connection was to persist for the rest of the great man's life - and, I feel, beyond.

I was gratefully graduated from Milton Abbey and returned to Stockolm in 1972, where I enrolled in medical college at the university. Increasingly, my anatomical studies, like those of Hiärne and Swedenborg, informed my progress in the Great Work of Alchemy. Unfortunately, a number of innocent naturalistic experiments with the Chymical Wedding, misinterpreted and misunderstood by the ignorant, caused my suspension from university, and ultimately I was to obtain my degree at Leiden University in the Netherlands. The last such incident was particularly cruel and unfair; the sweet young child I was looking after that afternoon for her parents (neighbours of my absent mother's), buying her sweets and taking her to Skansen, as I recall it, suddenly and slanderously misreported my actions upon her return. It was this same fanciful hysteria among the young that led to the Witch-Trials of a bygone era! But even in those dark times, as for so many before me, the Chantry afforded a safe haven.
The Chantry building on Prästgatan, much as it looks today.
My return to Stockholm was a triumph - and I was given a hero's welcome at the Chantry. But the 1970s had seen a gradual erosion in its membership, and the effects of the world-wide economic recession were now visible in their impact both upon the building itself and in the lives of the individual Brothers. When Fru Krook died at last, it was discovered that her debts were enormous; further, she had taken out a mortgage on the Chantry property itself in order to partially cover them. The legalities of this were uncertain, Wilander told me, but certainly the Brotherhood could not afford the notoriety of a court case. Never mind, I confidently assured him, I would assume all financial responsibility since I was myself now personally wealthy. Or so I believed. My own mother had died just a few months before as the result of a car accident on the Corniche (her companion had plunged the car they were both riding in into a ravine in some sort of jealous rage), and I was her sole heir.

Her property investments were highly complicated, so, in order to raise the cash necessary to buy the Chantry building outright, I assigned them to my banker cousins, confident in the conviction that the "family" would look after me. Nothing could have been more foolish. Sensing, no doubt, an opportunity to harm "Cousin Farty" one more time, Jacob all but swindled me of my inheritance. Naturally, he hid this transaction behind a pile of paper transfers and put on quite a show of patiently explaining my mother's liabilities and assets to me. But the upshot was that I was suddenly penniless! I later was privately interviewed by the journalist David Bartal for his book, The Empire: How the Wallenbergs Built Europe's Most Powerful Family Dynasty and divulged not only the details of this incident but several other "skeletons" in the family closet to him--but just try to find a copy of his book! You cannot - the Wallenbergs have bought them all up, even the ones in America. They would not hesitate an instant to do away with me, either; thus I must ward myself against them constantly with the most powerful of occult protections.

But, just as with the saintly religious ascetic, so too is money but dross for the occult mage, distracting him from his true path. I toyed for a season with the idea of opening a medical practice, but chronic nervous troubles, brought on by the obvious hatred and bigotry of the proctors sitting the board tests, precluded it. It was also during this period that I began to seriously over-eat. After I was forced to sell off my mother's Stockholm flat to pay off her creditors, I decided to move into the now near-deserted dormitorium of the Chantry, the better to pursue my researches into the arcane full-time. There was, I recall, in those days an ancient nervous white-haired Alchemist, too frightened to speak, who took all his meals in the form of tins and tetrahedrons delivered by Hem-Köp, a telephone home-shopping service, and in the chambers next to him a hypochondriac retired academic and practising vampire, who was never to be seen without an enormous electrical heating-pad stuffed beneath the shoulders of his corded seaman's sweater like a hunchback. Still, we shared many a merry jest at the expense of Cellini and Helvetius in the long evenings; truly, no journey is either a long or lonely one in such delightful fellowship. How I miss those days! But there came a time at some point in the late 1980s when my penury - and that of the Brotherhood itself - became almost too great a burden to bear. I had just completed the Trial of Odin, which involved my ritual death and then return to life after visiting the realm of the dead and gaining the Wisdom of the Guardian through rune-magic; my shadow had been taken from me in exchange and a new one had attached itself. This new shadow of mine was that of a teenaged boy who had died in infancy; slender and too youthful for my by-now broad girth, I felt that it drew stares whenever I went abroad in daylight. This only served to increase my natural sense of wariness and caution - as well as stimulate my life-long battle with my own too-sensitive nerves. By now, the Chancery was utterly abandoned to shadows, save for my own occupancy.

I Am Made Grand Master
Frederik Anders Wilander, 1909-2003.
In 1949, when Ernst Prahler had taken his own life, Wilander had been rebuffed once again for the Mastership. Instead, Prahler's protege, the drab and colourless Gustaf Adelswärd was elected. An elderly urban planner who had dedicated his life to proving the "hollow earth" theory, he did little but hasten the rapid decline of the Order. By 1962, when Carlberg died - and with him the last of the Chantry's regular income - Adelswärd had become hopelessly addled by Alzheimer's Disease and was forced to resign. It was then at last that Frederik Wilander became Grand Master, the position which he had for so very long so richly deserved. At first, he later told me, the 1960s seemed to offer great hope for a worldwide magical revival (and with it, that of Swedish Magic); Wilander was for a time in correspondence with the California occultists under Anton La Vey and the extraordinary British wizard Gerald Gardner. Then came the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and for a time there was a fresh wind brewing from the west that might blow away the musty cobwebs of state persecution and religious intolerance. All over the world young people were rejecting the Materialism of the older generation and "dropping out" to study folk-medicine, herbalism, Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, and Wicca. But it was to prove a false dawn. The hippie movement brought only sex cultists and drug-addicts into the Chantry - faced with the prospect of a police crackdown, Wilander was forced to close its doors to them.

In 1983, the Wilanders' daughter Frikka, who had returned from Finland to live with them in 1979, tragically and unexpectedly died of cancer. I was privileged to spend many hours in conversation with this lovely and gentle Goddess during those all-too-few years. She had given birth to two sons in two years after her marriage in 1950. The first, Wilander told me, was a monster, an Avatar born fully aware but powerfully evil, whom he referred to as "Tuuslar". He refused to have anything to do with the child, and would not set foot in Finland for fear of him. The second boy was named Donho Likkanen, and on him the old man doted. This grandson - who had actually lived in Stockholm during the two years I was at Leiden - had apparently fled Finland after committing some sort of crime that had shocked the nation; he was a wastrel, a spendthrift, a philanderer, and a drunkard. Wilander freely admitted this, saying that the "boy" (he was two or three years older than I!) was simply an unawakened Avatar like his mother and that, being a fertility god, this sort of behaviour was intrinsic to his nature. I never met the man - by the time I had returned he was off to Paris and then New York City in America - but I confess I resented his devastating effect on the warm and loving family that had adopted me into its own bosom. Again tragically, Fairgun died two years after her daughter, leaving Frederik a shattered man. It was then that he resigned the Grand Mastership to me, in order, he told, to pursue the goal of attaining the Philosopher's Stone with all of the remaining time and resources left to him.

Because, by 1985, we were both in the direst financial straits - and only the Hermetic secret of transmuting lead to gold offered us any sensible or realistic hope of a way out of them. The monthly pittance allowed me by the Wallenbergs barely covered the property taxes of the Chantry, and Wilander's once-comfortable estate was now entirely consumed by the costs of his underground storage warehouse. In those years, I became little better than an animal; at one point I was thieving rubbish from the streets with which to light fires inside the chancery after the electricity was cut off and eating from refuse bins and "dumpsters" behind restaurants. That winter was bitterly cold, and Wilander had stopped answering his door to visitors, so I was now utterly on my own. My weight, I remember, plummeted from 150 kg to less than 100, and my nervous troubles returned with a vengeance.

In spiritual terms, however, this was an important, even a necessary, time for me. The true mage, like the religious anchorite, must mortify the flesh - not in order to obtain any sexual satisfaction from it, but rather to reduce the importance of the physical world to nil. Any powerful wizard or warlock must be able to live at times like a wild dog, sleeping in doorways, devouring filth, even selling his body, in order to free his spirit and open himself to communication with the Infinite. Body and spirit are from the first born into an uneasy marriage; Kirlian photography, for example, often reveals "black holes" surrounding tumours or lesions: these are the junctions where the union is weakest, where the spirit is attempting to wrest itself free from corporeal gravity. Constant exposure to the elements completes the process naturally, so that there is no damage to the tissues. Of course, such a shamanistic life-style can drive some persons mad - it should only be attempted by the Adept.

Ironically, however, this was a period of sudden prosperity for Sweden. In the spring, driven to desperation by hunger, I began to entertain the tourists who now flocked to Gamla Stan from all over the world with exhibitions of "street magic", usually just simple card tricks, shell games, "mentalism", and sleight of hand - often I would remove coins from the ears of delighted children, for instance, or when the opportunity arose, from the pockets of their parents. Thus I survived until autumn, when I was unfairly arrested by the police over a misunderstanding involving a young German boy who had become lost and whom I was unsuccessfully attempting to return to his parents. Once again, I fell helpless victim to cruel and malicious lies, possibly instigated by hostile demons from the Ether. Mistrusting the advice of the lawyer assigned to me by the Wallenbergs (I knew how dearly they would love to see me put away forever, like my father before me!), I accepted instead the option of a year in a mental hospital as the lesser of two evils.

Certainly no one who has survived a British public school such as Milton Abbey need have any fear of prison - or of a mental ward, either. In the event, I found I quite enjoyed it. For one thing it was a great luxury simply to eat and be kept warm; for another, it was flattering to feel the attentions of a competent staff, so very like the household full of servants from my earliest childhood. Then, too, at last I felt safe from some degree from my enemies, who had obviously conspired to bring about this shocking humiliation - thus to some degree, they had been hoist by their petard! It was pathetically easy for one with my illusionist's training to avoid swallowing medication, which I either palmed or later regurgitated from my gullet, a Vedic technique employed by some magicians to vomit forth hard-boiled eggs, for instance, or lengths of fabric from their mouths when they cannot rely on other methods. Encouraged by my doctor, I even began to put on little magic shows for the other inmates and later for their families and visitors; it was after one of these events that I was approached by a local "talent agent", who signed me up as an attraction for children's parties upon my release (after the statutory six months, of course).

Now I could at last provide some aid to my dear friend and mentor, Frederik Wilander, whom I found to be living little better than I had been. He had sold off most of the furniture from his large flat on Odengatan, and despite the intervention of the Swedish social services (which I understand to be among the most generous in the world), was subsisting largely on tinned pet food. Moving into a pallet on the floor of Frikka's former bedroom (and how sweetly the resonances lingered from her sojourn there, along with many of her girlish clothes and possessions), I was able to assist him both with a proper diet and in the Great Work itself, thanks to the rabbits I now pulled from hats and the balloon animals I now twisted together in at children's birthday parties. How I delighted in bringing cries of pleasure to the lips of these delightful innocents, surely the purest and finest of God's creations! And Wilander, as he repeatedly assured me, was tantalizingly close to the Secret of the Stone...
The "Dragon Rouge", Thomas Carlsson at far right.
In those years, too, I was able too to effect a partial revival of the Chantry's fortunes, attracting a number of new recruits, mostly local university students. Two in particular, seemed to hold the hope of great promise for the future - only to dash my hopes with the bitterest of betrayal and disappointment. The first of these, Thomas Karlsson, I now realise was only flattering and currying favour with me in order to learn as many of the Brotherhood's secrets as possible. Lacking the self-discipline and spiritual gifts to pursue the True Path of Hermetic wisdom himself, he constantly sought to take short-cuts in order to facilitate his true ambition, which was to become a "rock-music" star. Soon after absconding from the Chantry, he began to set up a number of rival lodges in a number of Swedish cities (including Stockholm), which have collectively named themselves the "Dragon Rouge". Here they practice an elementary mix of Crowleyian and other magics, mostly, it seems, as a pretext for sex orgies and listening to loud music. This is no proper environment for the serious Adept, who will find little of lore but only the smothering embrace of the cultic inside it, and further, as even small children know, the Invisibles are repelled by loud noises (as well as bad smells). Which, of course, is why most humans make them.

But my second, far greater disappointment was that of my one-time apprentice, Anders Sandberg. Profoundly blessed with all the natural gifts of the scholar and the mage, I am convinced that someday he might have become a second Bureus, had the Fates allowed. Possessed of a universal interest in all things, boundlessly talented at every discipline he took up, there seemed no limit to what he might have achieved; in time, I am convinced he might have found the Philosopher's Stone himself. Instead, he became seduced by the senseless mechanistic lure of the computer. At first, this seemed a harmless hobby - I myself accepted the gift of an old desktop model from him in order to keep the Chantry's financial and membership records, and he taught me a few basic skills on it. At his behest I even employed it to begin writing a history of the Brotherhood, much to my future sorrow. Ultimately, I do not believe his desertion of the Chantry to have been the act of an evil person, merely an impatient and ambitious one. Rather than aiding me in the sacred trust of the upkeep and custodial maintenance of the historic old building, he chose instead to become an Oxford don, a foolish and short-sighted decision which he will, no doubt, one day bitterly rue. But truly, "There is none as blind as he who will not see..." More serious, however, was his betrayal of Chantry secrets, which he has prostituted in order to create some sort of "online role-playing game", whatever that may be, often employing language lifted straight from my own history and depicting past Masters and events in a fantastic and frivolous light. He at least omitted Wilander and me from this mockery, and for that small decency I must thank him.
"Sorcerer's Apprentice" Anders Sandberg.
And now, before my tale draws to its inevitable conclusion, it only remains for me to set down the astonishing sequence of events that befell as the result of Frederik Wilander's final revelation to me one night in the year 2002.

Hitler's Diaries
For Wilander, that great man, my closest and dearest friend and companion for three lonely decades as well as my teacher in all things, was dying at last. His had been a long life and a remarkable one; he had supped at the tables of the mighty, had tasted the humble pleasures of the scholar, and had consorted with the Gods. By contrast, my own life has been a trivial and useless little business. But now, he told me, his own was drawing to a close. He was now 93, and for some time had been increasingly frail and incontinent. He had also conceived a profound aversion to mirrors and would have none in the flat. Indeed, he had for some years avoided the sight of any reflection of himself at all, even in darkened windows or shop-fronts. I was about to learn the reason why.

He began by discussing with me the provisions of his will. To me would go the underground storehouse housing the Chantry's archives (indeed, its contents, he told me, were already the Brotherhood's - that is to say, my own - property), and I was also welcome to any and all of the texts and equipment in the dining room, which he had long ago turned into an alchemical laboratorium. The rest - the flat itself and an insurance premium - must go to his grandson, Donho Likkanen, in America. But there was one possession of his, more precious than any other, which he hoped the two of us, the grandson and I, might share in common. This was secreted inside a safe deposit box in a bank in the next block; his grandson had already been told and had memorised the deposit number and combination to the lock. This possession, he said, was a text; a text that contained a secret that would be meaningless to his grandson - only I myself could solve its riddle and explain it to him. And then the old man made me swear that whatever else I might do, I could never allow the secret to fall into the hands of the "Tuuslar", his other, evil grandson, the hidden ruler of Finland. "It would make him powerful enough to rule Sweden, too, maybe even all the world", he said. Used by now to the old man's eccentricities, this I swore.

However, I was naturally curious as to what his "secret" might be. This is the story Frederik Wilander told me (to the best of my memory):

In April of 1945, I was trapped in Germany on business. Luckily I was able to evacuate with Count Folke Bernadotte's Swedish Red Cross party during their "White Bus" rescue of prisoners from German concentration camps; otherwise I should likely have been interned by the Red Army. The night before I left, however, I received a personal gift by SS courier of a copy of Mein Kampf wrapped in plain brown parcel paper; I had met Adolf Hitler only very briefly once in person - when we had discussed his youthful fascination with the legend of Wieland the Smith - but I supposed he was long familiar with our work at the Chantry and the "Brotherhood of the Krooked Cross" founded by my father-in-law, Oscar Krook. He knew enough of me at any rate to mention Wieland. In parting, he said he would be sending me a copy of his autobiography, along with a "few notes and corrections" in his own hand. This had been several years earlier, however, and I confess I thought it odd that he should have remembered this kindly bequest to an unimportant foreign visitor at such a momentous and catastrophic time in his own personal life, as well as that of the German people [Hitler was to die by his own hand soon after, on April 30th, as Berlin fell to the Soviets]. I thought little of it at the time, but made sure to secret the volume, which was large-sized and bore a studio portrait of the young Hitler on its cover, securely in my bags so that there might be little chance of it being discovered on my return to Sweden.

Months later, I had leisure to examine the volume more closely. I discovered that it was not in fact a bound publication at all, but merely a loose collection of some 500 or so typed pages pressed together inside the binding of an old edition of Mein Kampf. He had been as good as his word; increasingly toward the end of the book there were more and more pencilled notes in his own handwriting - sometimes words would be crossed out and phrases entered instead in the margins, while other words or phrases might be underscored several times for emphasis. I had read the original book on its publication and recognized at once that this was a lengthier, revised version, almost certainly dictated aloud to secretaries and then retyped. Possibly he had simply read the original version itself aloud to them and then altered his thoughts and added new material as he went. It may well be that Rudolf Hess had deleted large portions of the original manuscript and this was Hitler's method of reinstating them. Whatever the case may be, it's almost certain there existed a carbon copy somewhere; however, this was either the original - or at least an original - copy.

I was still a young man myself, but I could discern that these were the thoughts of an older, more reflective personality, willing to acknowledge his past mistakes. It was also a brutally honest account, particularly sexually - he related in explicit detail every sexual impulse and thought he had felt since earliest childhood - but also regarding his spiritual and mystical quest, which in so many ways echoed that of our own inside the Brotherhood. Many of the darkest secrets of his life were revealed for the first time, including his belief that he was the reincarnation of the Roman Emperor Julian, as well as the occult ritual sacrifice of his niece, Angela Raubal, and many of the "inside stories" behind his extraordinary political and military decisions. However, little of that interested me, after I became aware of the central overriding theme of the book and of the industrial and technological efforts he had channelled his energies into in his waning days. Hitler had discovered the "Anti-Pleroma".

[Briefly, the Pleroma is a sort of Heaven-within-a-Heaven. In Kabbalistic and Hermetic tradition, if one accepts the existence of the Ether or "Afterlife" or Swedenborgian Heaven where all spirits dwell, the Pleroma exists as a mystical plane somewhere inside it, the realm of Ultimate Wisdom from whence Gods and Angels spring - and into which only they can return.]

Hitler called this realm "Mirrorland". He had first seen it when stopped on the highway from Munich to Berlin late at night on one of his innumerable commutes between the two cities. He had glanced up into the rear-view mirror and spotted a brightly-lit house on a hill behind him. The architecture of the house seemed very old-fashioned and odd to him, almost like an illustration from an old fairy-tale book; inside its windows he glimpsed a number of silhouettes in argument or debate. None of them were remotely human, but resembled fanciful beasts or demons. His first thought, of course, was that it was a fancy-dress ball, but turning to scan the horizon, he could see nothing. Neither his aide nor his chauffeur saw anything in the mirror, nor, when he sent them out to scour the countryside, did they see any sign of such a house. At this time Hitler was suffering from a great deal of stress and decided the incident had taken place solely in his imagination; however, a year later, he found himself on the same route, just after sunset. He directed the driver to pull off the road at precisely the same spot and again saw the house in the mirror, though it was darkened and now appeared deserted. This time the other occupants in the car were able to glimpse it as well.

From this point on, Hitler directed several secret departments in both the Ahnenerbe and the SS to attempt to discover exactly what it was they had seen that night. Many theories were put forth, but none satisfied him. During the war, research was accelerated and a special program launched to attempt the penetration of the "Mirrorland". Hitler came to believe that it represented an "alternative universe" analogous to the Pleroma but exactly its inverse. This concept of "inversion" was reinforced by experiments with concentration camp inmates, some of whom were partially projected into the Mirrorland by means of special machines, but would return with those parts of their bodies turned inside-out. For Hitler it became an obsession to invent a means whereby large numbers of men and materiel could be sent inside this new plane of existence, so tantalizingly near to our own, with their bodies and personalities intact. In essence, he planned its invasion. Inspired by Swedenborg's sketches, a prototype circular flying machine was developed to penetrate the Mirrorland and a factory in Northern Italy began to put these highly reflective "UFOs" into production. And in the final years of the war, as fresh military reverses made his situation ever-more desperate, he came to see this as his only means of escape - though increasingly, he became convinced that the creatures inside it had become aware of him and could spy on him from mirrors.

At the very end of the war, just before the Red Army took Berlin, I believe that Hitler was successful in attempting escape; certainly his notes indicate that the technical procedures had all been at last successfully tested. I have never been convinced that the skull the Russians kept in Moscow is Hitler's - and Eva Braun's dental plates were clearly faked on her supposed corpse (and badly, at that). Hitler's increasing illness and palsy I also believe to be the result of the biological and chemical preparations (administered by Dr. Morel) that he was undertaking in preparation for his journey aboard a "UFO" machine, which landed in the Reichschancellory garden and took him and his party away. Whether or not this attempt was successful, I cannot say. Further, what his fate might later have been inside the Anti-Pleroma is beyond my power to imagine. What concerns me in this matter is the actual existence of the Anti-Pleroma or Mirrorland itself, and I look to you to thwart its baleful influence on our everyday affairs - as well as to prevent the publication of this document to the world, should my grandson be so foolish as to try doing so.
Frederik Wilander sank into a coma in less than a week and died some months later. During that time, I paced the floors of his flat like a caged lion, my senses reeling. Dreadful enough that the spirit of my dear friend was already embarking upon its occultation; worse still, the horrifying revelation of the existence of the Anti-Pleroma, a place that, did it truly exist (and I confess I had my doubts), made "Hell" seem merely banal. But most hurtful of all was the old man's evident disregard for my feelings. After all we had been through together, why hadn't he willed this document to me - instead of his profligate playboy grandson, who by all accounts, had never once entertained a single serious thought in his head during the course of his entire wasted life? Feverishly, I sorted through his library, through the boxes that now held the former contents of his desk drawers, through all his notes and papers, for some numeric clue that might spring the locks of the bank's safety deposit box.

All to no avail. Dispirited, lonely, and miserable, I gave up the search and, the day after his death, packed up the few remaining contents of his makeshift laboratorium to take with me back to the Chantry. Among them was a cheap ceramic flask of the sort that once was used to hold rose-water; I tipped this over clumsily, and it fell to the floor and cracked open. A ruby-reddish powder spilled out from it, resembling a woman's facial cosmetic. I stared at this dully for a moment, and then set off to fetch the whisk broom. It was then that a sudden overpowering suspicion dawned inside my breast, swelling swiftly to a near-certainty. Had Wilander discovered the secret of the Philosopher's Stone after all? The ancient texts describe the powder in either of two colours: white or red, sometimes called "Phoenix". Feverishly, my usually steady fingers trembling with anticipation, I worked my first test on a little lead "tin soldier" I found half-melted inside a cigar box. Within the hour I had my answer: gold! Never even whispering a word about his incredible achievement to a single human soul, the old man had somehow succeeded! He had found the Stone.

Later, as I pondered the matter, after a half-dozen other successful small transmutations, in the solitude of the Chantry, I came to realize my predicament. How, by all the Powers, was I to dispose of a sufficient amount of gold to make myself financially solvent again? No reputable jeweller or merchant would buy gold from me in Sweden, and the owning or transportation of bullion was illegal, I knew nothing of crime - how could I ever hope to find a "fence" or smuggle gold bars out to a country where I could sell it? And even if I found out which criminals to approach in this venture - what then? What was to stop them from robbing and killing me - or imprisoning me in a tower to work my magic for their own gain, as Prinz Rudolf did to Kelley? No, I saw at once that I must proceed in this matter with the greatest deliberation. To succeed, I would have to employ all the tricks of the great stage magicians, of deception and misdirection - and, of course, mobility. I thought briefly of approaching Cousin Jacob, but saw at once the foolishness of such a venture; no, I now could rely only on myself and on my own keen wits in order to succeed.
I am no Nazi, nor even a racialist, yet I more than any know the magical call of blood and race to its like. Inside all of us are many voices, reaching back across the mists of time even to the First Ancestor; the name of each of us is truly "Legion". Inside my veins runs the blood of my illustrious banking ancestor, Knut Agathon Wallenberg - it took over 200 ml of my own to summon his spirit in magical rite, but as soon as I had allowed him free possession of myself, I realized at once what I must do. I held the title to the Chantry building free and clear; business was now booming in Gamla Stan, and I was able to mortgage it for a sizeable sum. Knut's second piece of advice was equally sound: if you cannot transact your business at home, find another place where the rule of law is weak and where greed and superstition reign. I travelled, therefore, to Riga, Latvia.

A magician of my experience can no longer travel across water - he has made too many etheric enemies. Mistrusting the iron rails of train travel, and unable to drive an automobile (I have never even attempted to learn how), I lavished great expense in hiring a car and chauffeur, in this case owned and operated by an immigrant Latvian of, as it turned out, broad criminal acquaintance. We first drove north to Kiruna, then, employing every warding spell at my command, swiftly and fearfully across Finland, then into Russia, and from thence at last to Latvia. There I rented a disused dental laboratory and hired a number of unemployed former KGB killers as "security agents", and in fact one of them, Gailis, now loyally stands guard outside my door even as I type these words. Deeply superstitious, he lives in mortal dread of my occult powers. Truly, a "prophet is without honour in his own land"; in Latvia, however, both I and my Euros were treated with the profoundest of respect, even reverence. Even, most gratifying of all, fear. But these, however delightful, were not the reasons that I (or rather, Knut Agathon) had selected Latvia for our destination. He had chosen the charming little country for its proximity to - and porous borders with - its neighbour to the north, the estimable nation of Estonia. For there dwelt Tiiu Silves, the "Cinderella of Talinn", and the world's largest dealer in reclaimed metal.
Tiiu Silves. At the time said to be worth more than the Gross National Product of Estonia.
The four of us, Petro the driver, Gailis, and Kaspars set out to Tallinn one evening with a single bar of gold hidden inside the car. I need not have bothered hiding it; the checkpoint at the small country road to Tartu was unmanned. We met the next day with Ms. Silves (I brought only Gailis to the interview; she was surrounded by over two dozen armed retainers), and to her I posed as the representative of a consortium of Scandinavian dentists, who, flooded by third-world immigrant patients with gold-alloy teeth, had no legal way to realise the full value of the extracted crowns and fillings. The bar I showed her was only a tiny sample of the reclaimed gold - in the coming months, I could supply her with several of these a week. She showed little interest in the proposition until I offered her a Tarot reading.

Allow me to state here that of all the women I have ever met in my life (with the sole exceptions of Fairgun and Frikka Wilander), I have never been exposed to as much raw female energy as that exuded by Ms. Tiiu Silves. Despite her bulk, she projects the astounding animal vitality and glowing radiance of a young virgin, admixed with the malignancy and malevolent power of the Hindu goddess Kali. In short, I was very scared of her. However, she found my reading (and predictions of her future) intriguing and at last agreed to a "deal". I think perhaps in retrospect she only did so because my operation was so small, and because Sweden was not a market that she already owned; had my supposed dental scrap emanated from the former USSR, for instance, I'm quite sure that, despite the very real affection that instantly sprang up between us, she would have tortured and killed me in an attempt to take it over. In the coming months, by ones and twos, I smuggled many hundreds of gold bars to her in Tallinn; she cheated me outrageously but nonetheless allowed me to become a very rich man indeed. I was careful to use some of this money (deposited as credit in German banks) to bribe her Ukrainian astrologer, on whom she relied for most of her business decisions. At the end of six months or so, I was the master of over 20 million Euros. On the advice of Knut Agathon, I incorporated myself as a Swedish dental supplies company, "Odentex S.A." and hired a firm of accountants to cloak my dealings behind a facade of legitimacy. As an unhappy child, one of my favourite novels was Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo; suddenly, I had become a second Dante! Now, for the first time in my life, I could do anything I wanted.

But why, I often wondered in those halcyon months, hadn't Wilander availed himself of the vast riches he had created? Perhaps he was too old. Or perhaps he simply trusted me, with that sly peasant cunning that was so much a part of his delightful nature, to carry on with this great wealth the project that lay nearest and dearest to his heart: that of resurrecting the Brotherhood. Returning to Stockholm, I set out to plan a course of action. Obviously, the answer lay in recruitment. But scarred by my earlier experiences with the likes of Carlsson, I was reluctant to hand over my empire to tyros like him and his tattooed, drug-addicted, sex-crazed, rock-musician cronies. This, I instinctively felt, was the sort of follower I should attract if I started a "web-site", for instance, to detail the workings of our Order. Instead, I bought and staffed a number of large country houses near Lund, Uppsala, Gothenburg, and Visby and began to hold parties and "retreats" for middle-class academics and hobbyists and their families. We would begin with discussions of the occult, then tell "ghost-stories" and hold "seances" and thus naturally progress from there to deeper and more arcane discussions; in this manner, I found it possible to take aside the likelier candidates in order to privately sound them out and intuitively judge the depth of their future commitment to the Art. Already I have found a few new kindred souls to take up some of the Chantry's affairs: "Mr. H" in Uppsala, for instance, and "Dr. Urban S." of Lund (who is descended from a family related to the great Hiärne himself!) It may be many years until I am able to find my successor here in Stockholm, though it is likely that I shall live for at least several hundred more, as I have for some time regularly taken a few grains of the "Phoenix" powder mixed into my food. I find that this has greatly stimulated my appetite in recent years; in fact, I am ashamed to say that I have become quite fat.

[A single spectre clouds my horizon. After Wilander's death, I made several attempts to contact his grandson regarding Adolf Hitler's "Mirrorland" diaries through the New York offices from which he now operates some sort of plumbing equipment or fixtures business. All were rebuffed. To my certain knowledge (I have opened a large account at the bank in question and placed several employees in my pay), he has not visited the bank to remove them. My own attempts to find the correct numeric combination to open the lock have met with failure. However, I now have discovered from his New York office manager that the prodigal grandson has suddenly made plans to return to Finland. The implications of this are horrifying, since he will likely reunite with "Tuuslar" after 30 years of absence. I cannot risk the diaries falling into his hands. Much against my better judgement, I must now return to Finland myself in an attempt to contact Donho Likkanen in person and, if possible, make him see reason.

This, for now, concludes my history. If all goes well for me in Finland I shall return within the week to open a new chapter on the Anti-Pleroma. It is devoutly to be hoped it will also mark a new chapter in Magic for all mankind!]

I affirm by all the Powers that everything I have here set down is the complete and utter truth. Given by my hand on this 23rd day of July in the Year of Our Lord 2006, in the most ancient and noble Kingdom of Sweden.

I. M. P.
Updated: 23-10-2013

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