The Dark Side of the Enlightenment Part 6

A king on the occult path

(Published in Grail World 71/2012)

In order to make a name for himself, the poorly educated Friedrich Wilhelm II. (1786–1797) turned to occultism - with serious consequences for his empire.

While the Age of Enlightenment moved reason into the center, numerous dark countercurrents arose, which also reached into the Prussian royal house. Friedrich Wilhelm II fell under the spell of magicians and occultists - a trap that once feared the end of modern Prussia.

Prussia's path to becoming the most modern state in the world

Here is the prehistory: The small, poor Electorate of Brandenburg, badly shaken by the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), had developed surprisingly well; with a lot of luck, but also with outstanding rulers.

Made the beginning Friedrich Wilhelm I. (1640-1688). This "Great Elector" implemented administrative reforms and took in Protestant refugees. In the Battle of Fehrbellin (1675) he was able to achieve a decisive victory over the Swedes, at that time the leading military nation in Europe.

His son Friedrich (1688–1713) was a lavish baroque prince who satisfied his vanities by having himself crowned King of Prussia in Königsberg in 1701 (cf. “Brief, concise, curious” page 352 “Apparent trivialities make history”). At first glance, this was a nonsensical measure that cost a lot of money. But in the long run, the glory of royalty outweighed the material sacrifices.

His son Friedrich Wilhelm I. (1713–1740) is known as the "Soldier King". He introduced an economical, exemplary administration. He was particularly interested in the military, which he promoted, and his son Frederick II (1740–1786) left behind as a valuable weapon.

As Crown Prince, Frederick II suffered badly from his father's brutal, downright cruel upbringing methods. He found some consolation in literature, philosophy, and music. He even wrote an "Anti-Machiavel", a pamphlet with which he wanted to refute the advice of the Florentine to the rulers. But soon after his coronation, Frederick II acted "Philosopher on the royal throne", power politics and belligerent. He forcibly wrested the province of Silesia from the poorly armed Austria-Hungary. Three wars were waged to secure this spoil. The third Silesian War, the “Seven Years War”, brought Prussia to the brink of defeat, which it escaped only by luck.

Within almost two centuries, the Electorate of Brandenburg became the Kingdom of Prussia, at that time the most modern state in the world. It was the first constitutional state (with restrictions) in European history which, for its citizens, was pleasantly different from the absolutism of other European monarchies. (See part 1 of this series).

Prussia had become an important European power, viewed with suspicion, but also widely admired and envied. Austria-Hungary did not want to get over the loss of Silesia. France lay in wait to appropriate parts of Germany. Relations with Russia were not free of tension. The typical problem of an internal power on which the Second German Empire failed.

After the death of “Old Fritz”, who should lead the Prussian state successfully in difficult times of upheaval? Frederick II had no children himself ...

The “philosopher” is followed by an occultist

According to the principle of inheritance, the nephew of the "Great King" was determined to be his successor: Friedrich Wilhelm II. (1786-1797). But this one was not a great talent. His education was also rather poor, not to be compared with that of his predecessor, in whose shadow he stood. Those who follow in the footsteps of a genius can hardly ever meet the high expectations. How should, how could, how would the not exactly outstanding Friedrich Wilhelm II make a name for himself?

He chose the most unfortunate path and turned to occultism. The secret sciences were supposed to enlighten him and magical means to lead to successes which were naturally closed to him. That couldn't go well. The judgment of an enlightened historian about the hapless king is correspondingly devastating:

“In Prussia, the old Fritz was followed by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II. The firm, enlightened despotism was followed by a slack seraglio government, which in every respect pointed and strived backwards. The king had received an inadequate education, and the immoral society of officers in which he passed his youth had dulled and corrupted his inherently weak character. Having reached the throne, it fell into the hands of clever obscurants and secret allies, such as Wöllner and Bischoffswerder, who completely seized the government and played the most disdainful ghost-spitting game with the monarch ”. (6, p. 363).

Under the influence of mysticism and drugs

The Illuminati secret society was persecuted in Bavaria. (Cf. “Short, concise, curious” page 363 “A root for conspiracy theories”). Worked in Koenigsberg Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), the most important philosopher of the Enlightenment. In France, the encyclopedia, the standard work of the Enlightenment in 35 volumes (published from 1751 to 1780), received great attention. And in Berlin a king was crowned who was guided by occult pseudo-scientists.

 Occult initiation into the ancient mysteries
The 17th century lodges formed strange assemblies. On the one hand, they were carriers of the ideas of the Enlightenment, of modern times. But some secret societies - whether they called themselves Rosicrucians, Illuminati or Freemasons, is irrelevant - exceeded the limits of "ordinary" Freemasonry. They developed high level occult systems and turned to the good or "white" occult sciences. Thus the aims of the Enlightenment turned into their opposite.
The first three degrees of Freemasonry offered a path to self-discovery. Only the higher grades, for example the "strict observance", the "Egyptian rite" invented by Cagliostro, the "hermetic masonry" or the "Scottish rite" (there were or are dozens of such high-grade systems, cf. 4, p. 396) promised initiation into the great mysteries of antiquity and the attainment of supernatural faculties.
Giovanni Barberi (1748–1821), who was involved in the trial of Cagliostro, wrote in 1791: “The system promises its followers to lead them to perfection through physical and moral rebirth; through physical rebirth, by virtue of the invention of the materia prima or the philosopher's stone and the acacia *) strengthening man in the powers of the earliest youth and making it immortal; through moral rebirth, since through the acquisition of a Pentagon **) it restores the human being to the state of the first innocence lost through original sin. The founder pretends that the Egyptian masonry came from Enoch and Elias and was spread by them in all parts of the world, but that over the years it has lost much of its purity and splendor. " (2, p. 91).
*) The acacia was a popular symbol of Freemasonry. Due to its supposedly incorruptible wood, it was considered a symbol of everlasting life.
**) From an esoteric point of view, the pentagon (pentagon) unites the even (two) with the odd (three) and thus eliminates the opposites.

Even when he was crown prince Friedrich Wilhelm II. Freemasons. He came under the influence of two high-grade Freemasons of the "strict observance"[i]who subscribed to the Rosicrucia[ii] in their most fantastic form (4, p. 912): To the clergyman Johann Christoph Wöllner (1732–1800) and the general Johann Rudolf v. Bischoffswerder (1714-1803). Both were addicted to the occult and impressed the heir to the throne with their magical arts. Bischoffswerder, "Accessible to every magical and alchemical fraud of his time", had healed him as a prince with a "medication from the order", whose "Supernatural properties" Miracles worked (4, p. 135). Bischoffswerder prepared artificial stimulants, the so-called "Diavolini", and thus made themselves indispensable. (6, p. 382).
Friedrich Wilhelm settled in Charlottenburg Palace in 1781 - as Ormesus Magnus - initiate into the mysteries of the Gold and Rosicrucians. He believed in the worst scam that Wöllner and Bischoffswerder produced. The two had the future king “Deeply entangled in the web of mystical religious jokes, so deep that she and her creatures dared to ape and frighten the easy-going majesty with the palpable deception of evocations. There is a story from the mouth of Countess Lichtenau[iii]by which we learn that Friedrich Wilhelm was put into the most ridiculous fear of death by such a ghostly citation, which was carried out with the most clumsy sleight of hand, and was shown to him by Marcus Aurelius, Leibniz and the Great Elector. " (6, p. 382).
For these shameful ideas "Rosicrucian stupidity and trickery" (6, p. 382) the fraudsters used apparatus (laterna magica) that the Leipzig swindler Johann Georg Schrepfer (or Schröpfer, 1739–1774) for his spiritualistic seances. Schrepfer was a particularly eccentric, notorious Freemason who died in front of eyewitnesses through a theatrically staged suicide. (4, p. 758).

But not all historians disparage Friedrich Wilhelm II so much. For example, writes Wilhelm Bringmann: “King Friedrich Wilhelm II never saw ghosts, neither real nor fake ones. He never reported to his friars that he had personally experienced ghost apparitions, but rather complained that he was unable to participate in such revelations. He envied people who said that of themselves and he would have given a lot to belong to the circle of 'beneficiaries' himself. " (1, p. 137).

 Against pure reason
“Nobody disputes that the king was a Rosicrucian. Nor can it be denied that Bischoffswerder and Wöllner were the leading figures within Rosicrucia. On the other hand, I dare to doubt that the superiors of the order really existed. The mysterious, imaginary, unknown superiors of the order signed their letters with their Rosicrucian pseudonym. Once they called themselves Hannageron, then Numen or Rosarius. Since they supposedly always stayed in distant countries on religious affairs, weeks, even months, often passed before their answers were received. The superiors of the order were certainly an invention of Wöllner and Bischoffswerder, in the beginning Duke Friedrich August (von Braunschweig, 1740–1805, Prussian general) belonged to the circle of letter-writing magi from overseas.
The structure and organization of the order up to the fictional superiors were Rosicrucian-specific, characteristic of this secret society, whose internal structure was taboo for everyone, sometimes even for friars ...
The whole Rosicrucian movement can only be understood from the time in which it originated. The Illuminati and the Rosicrucians at the same time produced rationalism and enlightenment as an emotionally understandable counterweight. While the atheistic train of the Enlightenment appealed to pure reason and tried to explain all phenomena of life in this way, the Rosicrucians switched on feeling and faith and saw in their work a commission from their creator. To be a Rosicrucian was therefore not necessarily something flawed, inherently negative. "
Hans-Joachim Neumann. ( 5, p. 164 f.)

The end of modern Prussia?

As king, Friedrich Wilhelm II entrusted Wöllner with high offices. Among other things, he appointed the ambitious Minister of Justice: “An ambitious man, more zealot (Greek: zealots = zealot) Mind, he issued his notorious religious edict after he had hardly become a minister; Through this and other measures, which his influence enforced on the king, he knew how to destroy almost everything that had entered the country in terms of enlightenment and a tolerant spirit under Frederick the Great. He has rightly been called one of the grave diggers of ancient Prussia. He also caused considerable damage to Freemasonry. " (4, p. 912).

Wöllner and his Rosicrucian circle feuded everything that looked to be cleared up. His unfortunate influence harmed what was once the most progressive country. Instead of reforms that were due, much of what had already been achieved was destroyed. The citizens were unsettled, the once exemplary rule of law administration suffered, and the army was rotting. A good decade of bad government under that twisted by occult delusions Friedrich Wilhelm II. was enough to set Prussia back decades.

His son and successor Friedrich Wilhelm III. (1797–1840) escaped the trap of occultism and did not become a Freemason. He separated from Wöllner and Bischoffswerder, but could not see clearly enough to turn things around. He was intoxicated by the nimbus of his great-uncle, the "old Fritz", and did not want to see how far the real Prussia had already deteriorated.

The once most modern state in the world received its receipt in the Napoleonic Wars for the most devastating defeat in its history. But Prussia was not yet lost, the Frederickian spirit had not died out. There were still great personalities in Prussia who saw what was necessary and at least partially enforced it, so that the almost submerged country could recover after the Napoleonic Wars. (Cf. “Brief, terse, curious” page 315 “A reformer in turbulent times”). Many of these reformers were Freemasons; for example Blücher, Fichte, Gneisenau, Hardenberg, Scharnhorst, v. Stone. Likewise the German Emperors Wilhelm I and Friedrich III.

(1) Bringmann Wilhelm, Prussia under Friedrich Wilhelm II. (1786–1797), Peter Lang, Frankfurt 2001.
(2) Freller Thomas, Cagliostro, Sutton, Erfurt 2001.
(3) Hagl Siegfried, Chaff and Wheat, Gralsverlag, Hart-Purgstall, 2004.
(4) Lenhoff Eugen / Posner Oskar / Binder Dieter A., Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon, Herbig, Munich 2000.
(5) Neumann Hans-Joachim, Friedrich Wilhelm II., Prussia under the Rosicrucians, Edition q, Berlin 1997.
(6) Scherr Johannes, German cultural and moral history, Agrippina, Wiesbaden

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