Grand Orient

Karl R. H. Frick on The Philalèthes

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 | Freemasonry, Philalèthes | 1 Comment

Gleichen report

Part of a briefing by Savalette de Langes sent to Chefdebien, in order to prepare the latter for his participation at the Congress of Wilhelmsbad. This report is about Baron de Gleichen (1735-1807). A simple cypher within the text identifies him as both an Élus Coëns and a member of the Amis Réunis Philalèthe of the 12 class. The Philalèthes recruited at Wilhelmsbad as vigorously as did the Bavarian Illuminati (of which Gleichen was a member: alias, Pomponatius).

The following sketch is translated from Karl R. H. Frick’s Die Erleuchteten: Gnostisch-theosophische und alchemistisch-rosenkreuzerische Geheimgesellschaften bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts, ein Beitrag zur Geistesgeschichte der Neuzeit (1973), p. 574 ff., originally included as an appendix at the end of McBean and Gabirro, A Complete History Of The Ancient And Primitive Rite (2002). There were a few mistakes with spelling and grammar, etc., so I’ve cleaned it up, while providing annotations, links and illustrations.

In regard to the entire milieu of high-grade Freemasonry during the Enlightenment, the Philalèthes are as noteworthy as they come. The Rite itself - more of a regime - and the Lodge ‘Amis Réunis’ from which it was founded, constituted a clearing house for all things occult or esoteric on the continent and beyond; Savalette de Langes and the Marquis de Chefdebien may even be described as engaging in Masonic espionage. There isn’t a single volume on 18th Century Freemasonry that doesn’t give the major details of the Amis Réunis and the Philalèthes. Members of the rite came not only from France, but from Germany, England, Italy, Austria, Sweden and Russia (and as was shown with the publishing of J. J. C. Bode’s diary in 1994, the Bavarian Illuminati had managed to officially join forces with it just two years before the revolution).

I’ve read more than a few accounts of the Philalèthes over the years, but this report by Frick - about as complete an introduction as as you’ll find - is by far the best.

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