The Occult Roots Of Modernism

The Occult Roots Of Modernism

The occult mania that crested in the decades before the First World War had been intensifying throughout the nineteenth century. Its manifestations included Theosophy, Spiritism, Swedenborgianism, Mesmerism, Martinism, and Kabbalism—elaborations of arcane rituals that had been cast aside in a secular, materialist age. Reinventions or fabrications of medieval sects proliferated: the Knights Templar, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (the habitat of Yeats), and various Rosicrucian orders. Péladan belonged to the Rosicrucians, who, following sixteenth-century tracts of dubious authenticity, believed in alchemy, necromancy, and other dark arts. The more élite these groups became, the more they were prone to furious doctrinal disputes.