We have explored at length Victorian era spiritualities such as Spiritualism, Theosophy, The Golden Dawn amongst others, but we have yet to touch upon interesting versions from the Dieslepunk era of the 1920s through the 1940s.
We begin to correct that absence today. Welcome to Adonism, founded in 1925 by Franz Sattler.
Before commencing let’s give a quick snapshot of the esoteric and alternative spiritual landscape of the 1920s. The two fallen giants who ruled the landscape were Theosophy and Golden Dawn inspired western occultism. Theosophy was technically still around, but its founder, Helena Blavatsky had died and the new head of the society, Annie Besant was driving away old Theosophists in droves. The Golden Dawn had long since expired but groups carrying on their legacy were all the rage and a highly divisive, almost unbearably egotistical but extraordinarily influential Aleister Crowley was in his heyday and a force to contend with.
Upon this scene came the German “neopagan” religion of Adonism. Inspiration from both Theosophy and the post Golden Dawn method of degrees and magical practice can be seen and traced, but it was also quite original. It probably inherited a very gnostic mythology from theosophy and we’ll start there first.
Gnosticism is an ancient pre-Christian religion which ended up embracing Christianity wholeheartedly. During the first few centuries of Christianity’s existence it and the more Orthodox/Catholic version fought it out tooth and nail to be the main mode of the religion. Gnosticism lost.
Gnosticism poses that the god who created our universe is in fact a tainted/evil/bad god and there is another god beyond that who is the true Light. This simply idea is a key doctrine to numerous more modern spiritualities, Adonism amongst them.
Adonism claims that there are 5 main gods above all others: Belus, Biltis, Adonis, Dido and Molchos.
Belus and Biltis are the parent gods. These are primordial and emerged from the primal Chaos from which all things spring. They had a son, Molchos. Molchos is a bad god. He created a world but this world was nightmarish and full of deformed monsters. When his parent Belus and Biltis caught wind of this they destroyed it.
Belus and Biltrus then went on to have two more children, really nice ones this time, Adonis and his sister Dido. They like to have sex. Adonis then created our world and it was good. He created humanity specially, basing them on the likeness of him and his sister.
But along came Molchos. Molchos was jealous of the awesome world Adonis created, so he killed Adonis and took control of the world. Thus the world became tainted. However, borrowing from Egyptian mythology, Dido managed to resurrect her brother and he tried to protect humanity from Molchos.
Molchos is the inventor of monotheism. He is the god of the Bible, who attacks people with plagues and sickness. He has sent false prophets such as Moses, Jesus and Muhammad to convert people to monotheistic worship and worship him under his many guises such as Jehovah, Allah and Ormuzd (the god of Zoroastrianism.) Chtristianty, Judiasm, Islam, all monotheistic religions are false religions spread by the eveil one, attempts to subvert the truth and demonize the good Adonis by painting him as Satan.
Through the domination of these monotheistic religions, Adonists believe that Molchos maintained control of the world, but that in 2000 CE, Adonis will face Molchos in a final battle, defeating him and bringing about a Golden Age, which will last until the universe is once more subsumed under Chaos. As is usual these types of predictions, Adonis seems a little late in getting his act together and sticking to the schedule.
The most important virtue of Adonism is tolerance and the area in which he can practice it is boundless”, and also holding to a personal maxim: “To understand everything means to pardon everything”. Adonism also promotes sexual intercourse as being key to its religious practice.
All this was the brainchild of Franz Sattler and he officially began Adonism in 1925. The beginnings of it however stem back to his time in a WWI prison camp. He was German, but born in northern Bohemia (what is today the Czech Republic) and a member of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. He was not a soldier, but when the town he was in, Saloniki, was taken by French forces, he and his wife were sent to an internment camp where he spent some time.
He struck up a close friendship with the camp’s chief officer, M. Parizot, who was actively involved in the Theosophy an who got Franz greatly interested in it and things esoteric. Their discussion were so interesting and Franz’s interest so piqued that Parizot had his entire esoteric library transferred to the prison camp so Franz Sattler could read them. And read them he did.
Sattler was released in 1919. He ended up in Germany in 1922, but was caught doing spy work on behalf of the newly formed Czechoslovakia. He was imprisoned for 4 years. During this time he wrote down his esoteric ideas, wrote two books, The Book of Oriental Secrets The Magical Bible, and created Adonism.
He got out in 1926 and immediately created the Adonistic Society (which according to its by laws was begun in 1925, a year before he actually got out). However esoteric societies always play hard and fast with their origins. Like every single other movement of the 200-300 years, EVERY ONE mind you, he backdated the origins of his religion to the ancient Chaldeans, Phoenicaians, Persians, Egyptians and Greeks. You cannot find an esoteric order, including Wicca, that does not backdate their origin stories. It is standard practice, it is always bullshit and it’s just the way it’s done.
The Adonistic Society survived up until the Nazis came along and made illegal every secret and esoteric society (we can discuss the relationship between the Thule Society and the SS at a later date). Sattler however was plagued by financial scandals. The guy was shady as hell. ”In 1929 he began magical cures and other items which included talismans, love potions and even powder that allegedly belonged to the dailai Lama to supplement this income, as well as founding a stock company called Olbia-Gold, through which he defrauded stock holders by telling them that he had discovered a gold treasure at the foot of Mt. Olympus in Greece. With all these money-making activities that he was involved with, he became embroiled in a financial scandal in 1932.”
That’s it for Adonism, although it’s amkr on history was made because it was incredibly influencial on those who were to become the major German esoterics, including Friedrich Quintscher and the famed and and still active Fraternis Saturni.