A SKEPITCAL LOOK AT FAMOUS OCCULTISTSBy David Wright Tillman
LIFESTYLES OF THE(NOT-SO) RICH AND (IN)FAMOUS!
"Champagne wishes and caviar dreams?" Not hardly! If you think the occult is a shortcut to wealth, fame, and power...boy did you get a wrong number!
Here are some mini-biographies of over 100 occultists, most of whom are authors of popular books on the occult. Before you plunk down money for one of their books, see if you think they could "make it work" first.
HERE THEY ARE! FROM MERLIN TO MANSON! FROM LAVEU TO LAVEY!
MERLIN THE WIZARD (Circa 500 A.D.)
His legend inspired occultists of future generations for centuries, and still does today. Merlin was the legendary "wizard" who supposedly aided the equally legendary King Arthur. In reality, the two never actually met. Arthur was probably a Saxon Chieftain who lived a century after Merlin, and their legends were combined centuries later.
The earliest legends of Merlin are far removed from the romantic legends most people are familiar with. One of the earliest accounts of Merlin is preserved in a late 15th century manuscript. In that account, Merlin is a naked, hairy madman (not a wizard) who declares he has been condemned for his sins to wander in the company of wild animals because he caused all the deaths in the battle fought "on the plain between Liddel and Carwannok." Toward the end of his life, Merlin was granted one last sacrament from a priest named Kentigern, and then later that day Merlin dies a horrible death at the hands of King Meldred's men. That’s a far cry from the long beards and pointy hats of later romantic legends!
Geoffrey of Monmouth invented the Merlin legend in his Historia Regum Britanniae writtten in 1130 A.D. Geoffrey combined existing legends of a northern madman named Myrddin Wyllt (or Merlinus Caledonensis), with a bard named of Aurelius Ambrosius, who went mad after seeing the horrors of war and fled to live in the woods. Poor Merlin was probably suffering from what psychologists would now call “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, rather than possessing magic powers.
Later writers further embellished on Geoffrey's stories, combining them with legends of King Arthur, and even making Merlin the child of an earthly mother and a demon father [The Encyclopedia of The Occult by Lewis Spence pg 274] giving him magical powers. But none of these stories are true, and the people who inspired the Merlin legend were actually a madman (or possibly even legends of two different madmen) who lived in the wilderness. Of course, this doesn't stop occult book publishers like Llewellyn Publications from shamelessly publishing books like The 21 Lessons of Merlin, which have no direct connections whatsoever to Myrddin Wyll or Aurelius Ambrosius, and are just simply made up out of thin air! Such books are fakes, and people who buy them are only fooling themselves while they make the people who sell such books a little richer.
The person known as Merlin did not have magical powers, he was just a madman who lived in the woods...probably a psychotic or perhaps even a schizophrenic.
JACQUES DEMOLAY (1244-1314)
The last leader of an order of fighting monks known as the Knights Templar. There has been a mountain of myth that has grown up about the Templars by both admirers and detractors alike. The Templars were an order of monks that defended Jerusalem before being driven out by Saladin. The Templars seemed to have escaped practically unharmed, suggesting they had cut a deal with Saladin. Legends have grown over the years about the Templars, including finding a treasure buried under the Temple in Jerusalem, finding the Ark of the Covenant only to bury it under a Church in Scotland for some reason, discovering some deep dark secret (such as Christ being married), and blackmailing the Roman Catholic Church with it are just a few of the myths.
Supposedly the Freemasons have retained the mysterious secrets of the Templars, but more than likely this is just unfounded legends and fake rituals written over the centuries to inject some mystery into boring lives.
What we do know about the Templars, is that they did have some wealth, but not the vast amounts writers today attribute to them. The idea that the Templars were the equivalent to billionaires is ludicrous! The Templars became skillful and shrewd traders with their Arab neighbors, which is how they made their wealth. There’s really no mystery to it.
After the fall of Jerusalem, Jacques DeMolay and the Templars returned to France in disgrace. During this time the Roman Catholic Church had moved it’s headquarters to France, under a Pope who is known in history as the “Anti-Pope”. Since Jerusalem had fallen into Muslim hands, and would remain so until the British Empire acquired it briefly after WWI, there was no real reason for the Templar Order to continue. King Philip wanted to merge the Templars with the Hospitalers, which would have put them under his control. Demolay, not wanting to cede his authority, balked at this idea and refused to do so. There were many rumors circulating around France the Templars had become heretics, and the charges may not have been completely unfounded.
Among the charges leveled against the Templars was that they engaged in homosexual acts. Historians have concluded that this charge was probably true, considering it sometimes happens when members of the same sex must live together for very extended periods of time. DeMolay confessed to engaging in homosexuality as well, but it is most unlikely that it was done as part of a “sex magic” ritual as modern day occult groups would have us believe.
Before DeMolay was arrested on charges of heresy, his spies tipped him off, and he then immediately burned a large pile of documents. If this account is true, it shows he must have had something to hide...but one will ever know what exactly that might have been. Under torture, DeMolay confessed to heresy, and later publically admitted it. Later DeMolay recanted his confession however, angering the King. Since people have been known to confess to anything under torture, it’s impossible to know which version of Demolay’s confession to believe.
Among the things the Templars confessed to was worshiping something called “Baphomet”. But what Baphomet was is a mystery. Some said it was a black cat, others said it was a human skull with the number 314 painted on it. Freemasons have a secret initiation ritual that takes place upon entrance into the 33rd degree in Scottish Rite, and the 10th degree of York Rite in which wine is drunk from a human skull, and apparently this is inspired by the Templar legend of skull worship.
What we know for certain is that Baphomet was not the goat head inside the pentagram with Hebrew letters on each point spelling out “Leviathan”. This was an invention of occult writers of the 19th century. You may also see a “crusaders cross” called Baphomet, but this too is wishful thinking.
Scholars have discovered Baphomet is actually a linguistic corruption of “Mohammed”, and believe the Templars may have become clandestine Muslims. This theory would certainly explain a lot, including why the Templars escaped Saladin unscathed.
While the Templars lived in Acre, a sacred relic to Muslims...the skull of Al-Hussein ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (the nephew of Muhammed) was in Palestine during the same period the Templars were in Palestine. This relic is sacred to Muslims, both Suni and Shia, and it is an object of venberation. It's quite possible this is where the stories of Templars worshiping a skull called Baphomet (Muhammed) originated from. Whether the Templars actually participated in venerating the skull of Al-Hussein ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, we will never know for sure, but we do know from accounts of other Christians in the area at that time that the Templars did pray with Muslims.
Bedouin Muslims seem to have tolerance for homosexual sex (although lesbians are killed on the spot), which possibly could be a reason the Templars would want to have become Muslims, if accounts of their homosexuality are true. Many of the Templars fled to Muslim controlled Spanish Cordova, which would suggest they were indeed Muslims, and perhaps that is the solution to the enigma. It’s also possible they escaped to Cordova thinking that could blend in with the Muslims, having knowledge of their language and customs.
If the Templar/Muslim theory was true, then we may owe a debt to King Phillip for not allowing the Templars to continue. If the Templars had gained control of France and the French Vatican, then they could have installed a Templar Pope who could have forced all of Europe to convert to Islam.
At any rate, DeMolay was not the possessor of some mysterious occult secret, and people belonging to modern day “Templar” orders (such as the O.T.O) have no direct connection to the original order at all.
ABRA-MELIN [ b. 1362? d. 1458? ]
ABRA-MELIN [ b. 1362? d. 1458? ] Supposedly an Egyptian mystic who instructed a certain "Abraham The Jew" in the ways of sorcery. Abraham the Jew supposedly entertained the kings of Europe with feats of magic, suggesting he was merely a stage magician.
More than likely, Abra-Melin and Abraham the Jew were simply literary inventions, and there’s no real evidence to suggest either actually existed. The only known account appears in the book The Sacred Magic of Abramelin The Mage...a book claimed to have been translated directly from Hebrew, although scholars doubt this completely. The book supposedly dates from the 12th century, but appears to have been written in the 18th century by a Frenchman, judging from the handwriting style and grammatical errors. It’s a common trick among occultists to claim an occult book is centuries older than it actually is.
In the book, Abraham supposedly travels the world and studies magic and meets a mysterious Egyptian mystic named Abra-Melin who gives him the ultimate secrets. The story of traveling around the world and into the Middle East to study the occult sounds similar to that of the Christian Rozenkrutz legend, and must have been a popular theme among occult legends of the day. The book’s system of magic isn’t Egyptian at all, and appears to be European Ceremonial magic. The book claims to give the invocations for Satan, Lucifer, Belial, and Leviathan, and the whole thing is obviously black magic under a thin veil. Abra-Melin was a popular form of magic with Aleister Crowley, who died a penniless drug adict, and this alone should convince most people it doesn’t work!
HENREICH CORNIELIUS AGRIPPA VON NETTESHEIM (1486-1535)
He wrote Three Books of Occult Philosophy (and possibly a fourth book) which was the basis for other works like The Magus by Barrett and to some degree rituals recorded in Regardie's book The Golden Dawn practiced by the now defunct order of the same name. Agrippa’s creaky book has been reprinted today and read by people thinking they can have magic powers.
Aggrippa claimed he had all sorts of knowledge about summoning the spirits and how to compel them to do one’s bidding, including finding buried treasure. In fact that’s about the only reason people got into the occult in those days; to find buried treasure. The occult was the get rich quick scheme of ancient times, and still is even modern times among some ethnic groups.
Even though many occultists today get excited about Agrippa’s book, it’s really nothing more than a book of silly superstitions. Aggrippa mentions the things you might expect to read in such a book, such as the correct way to remove the tongue from a frog for magic spells...while the poor frog is still alive (pg. 69 of the Llewellyn edition)! The tooth of a mole is also to be taken out while the mole is still alive, poor thing, and allegedly cures toothache (only it doesn’t really work). Hopefully the mole gets in a few good bites to whoever’s dumb enough to try it. If you see an ox treading corn, that’s good luck, seeing a mouse means danger, and seeing a snake means an enemy is talking abut you. (Pg. 163) It’s hard to believe anyone nowadays would take such silly superstition seriously, and yet some apparently still do!
While some might consider Agrippa a man of education, keep in mind he was educated 500 years ago, and that the world has gotten much more advanced since then. I’ve heard superstitious people who basically had no education from Third World countries tell me they believe in similar things as Agrippa.
Agrippa was employed by the Emperor Maximilian I, but as a soldier and not as an astrologer as later writers have tried to claim. His reputation as an occultist seemed to cause him to lose positions he was appointed to, rather than acting as an asset. Despite all this occult knowledge, he died at age 48 in 1532.
Toward the end of his life, Agrippa rejected the occult and returned to the Christian faith. Perhaps it was his loss of honors and income that made him relize the occult was geting him nowhere.
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