Wednesday, February 07, 2007
A look at modern Rosicrucianism and Neo-Catharism is incomplete without a look at Antonin Gadal. He is the keystone that holds up the arch of this modern philosophy, so to speak.
According to the History page in the website of the Rosicrucian group Lectorium Rosicrucianum (or International School of the Golden Rosycross) the organization was founded in 1924 by Z. W. Leene (1892-1938) and his brother J. Leene (1896-1968). It was the Dutch division of the Rosicrucian Fellowship founded in California in 1909 by Max Heindel. Mrs. H. Stok-Huizer (1902-1990) joined the Leen brothers in 1930. In 1935 they broke with the Rosicrucian Fellowship.
Leen and Stok-Huizer have co-authored books under the pseydonymns of Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri. It was the meeting with Antonin Gadal that grounded the modern movement.
Gadal, a Frenchman born in 1877 near Montsegur in the heart of what had been Albigensian territory, lived near an old historian, Adolphe Garrigou, and learned from him what there was to know about Catharism. When Garrigou died, Gadal carried his torch.
Wikipedia describes Gadal as "a French mystic and historian who dedicated his life to study of the Cathars in the south of France, their spirituality, beliefs and ideology." He worked as a school teacher, and subsequently for the Tourist Board of Ussat Ornolac. His free time found him exploring the numerous caves in the region looking for information about the Cathars. His books include THE INHERITANCE OF THE CATHARS and ON THE TRAIL OF THE HOLY GRAIL, both of which are published by Rosycross Press. He died in 1962.
According to the Antonin Gadal website, Gadal was "obsessed by the Cathar 'preremberance', a Gnostic term that evokes the idea of a subconscious link with the reality of an inner spiritual world, beyond appearances. A lost and forgotten kingdom of light."
The website claims that Gadal was "Helped by a priest who had a passion for research" and "was able to have access to the Inquisition archives..." The name of the priest is not given.
Gadal's view of the Church as expressed in this webpage:
He had to recognize how much the original concepts of Christianity, founded on purity, love, the rebirth of the soul, sanctification and the Spirit, had been slowly perverted, adapted to the desire for power of the Church and conformed to the world.
How often, since Vatican II, have we heard about RCIA, the Christian "Initiation", a term that was not used prior to the Council. Gadal pursued the history and meaning of Cathar initiation as he found evidence of it in the caves:
He wanted to reveal the hidden, pure side of a Christianity that was lived as a path of initiation by men and women who were seized in their soul by 'the Christ Spirit'.
Gadal believed that all peoples have searched for the same source of wisdom, a source he called the "Paraclete"
A circle of friends gathered around him included:
colorful people: an occultist; inspired writers such as Maurice Magre; intellectuals such as Déodat Roché who was also looking for the secret of the Cathars; Countess Pujol-Murat, descendant of the famous Esclarmonde de Foix; the poet and philosopher René Nelli, a friend of André Breton - for whom 'Monségur was still aflame' (still consumed by the spirit of intolerance); and, of course, Antonin Gadal.
His circle of friends also included Catholic priests and bishops:
Isabelle Sandy, a local writer, with Countess Pujol-Murat, with P.A. Ladame, a Swiss writer who had a great veneration for the Cathars, with Christian Bernadac, a writer, and his family, with Fauré-Lacaussade, a local historian. He was also helped in his historical work by Catholic priests such as Father Glory, whom the persecutions inflicted on the Cathars by the religious authorities of the Middle Ages made deeply indignant.
Thanks to these priests, and even to bishops who were willing to help him, Gadal had the records of the Inquisition in the Sabarthes wide open to him.
It would certainly be interesting to learn who these priests and bishops were. Unfortunately the composers of this website have chosen not to tell us.
Gadal wanted to "reconstitute part of the history of the Cathar priesthood" and to discover the "links that bound them to the ancient Gnostic source of Christianity". Among those interested in Gadal's work were Anglo-German occultists such as Walter N. Birks.
Gadal had another member of his circle of friends...Otto Rahn.