The Ahnenerbe Forschungs und Lehrgemeinschaft, or the Society for Research and Teaching of the Ancestral Heritage, was founded in 1935 as an institute dedicated to research concerning the anthropological and cultural history of the Germanic race.
The initial aims of the society founded by Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Wirth, and Walter Darré aimed to rediscover the greatness of the populations of ancient Germany, giving ample space to popular purposes; his activities gradually began to expand thanks to the growing push given by theories around the myth of the superior race, of which the Germans would have been the direct descendants. Its leadership was entrusted to Wirth himself.
Therefore, much time and resources were devoted to investigating the possibility of a “historical”, “cultural” and “scientific” background to confirm the idea of the existence of a superior Aryan race. Initiatory orders were founded, usually linked to the elite bodies of the SS, with specific creeds and rituals.
Although Ahnenerbe was the soul behind the archaeological and research activities on German ancient history, her archaeological expeditions represent in popular culture one of the most easily identifiable elements of the esoteric side of Nazism. In particular, the figure of the “Nazi archaeologists” in search of ancient artifacts brought to the knowledge of the general public with the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at the beginning of the eighties, has risen over time to a real narrative stereotype.
Also in connection with the myth of the “Ancestral Ancestors”, a search was financed by the Nazis also with the aim of finding their residence, the mythical Agartha: among them, as we have seen, there were followers of the theory according to which there was a kind of world within the world, an underground world compared to ours, accessible only in certain regions. Between 1937 and 1938, therefore, an expedition was organized to Tibet in search of the origins of the Aryan race.
Similar expeditions were also organized to search for mythical objects believed to grant extraordinary powers and abilities to those who possessed them: for example, the Holy Grail and the Spear of Longinus.
In addition to the aforementioned Tibetan expedition, we should also mention other geographical expeditions which had the purpose of identifying the starting point of the Indo-European migrations. For this purpose, in the midst of the conflict, on 17 August 1942, mountaineers belonging to the SS climbed the summit of Mount Elbrus, planting the Nazi banner there, because that mountain was believed to be the seat of the ancient progenitor population of the Aryans. In the winter of 1938 – spring 1939, an expedition to Antarctica was also organized, in search of the access point to the underworld fabled by the “Hollow Earth Theory”.
The archaeologist Otto Rhan and, after him, the philosopher Alfred Rosenberg, searched in Montségur, near the Pyrenees, for the Holy Grail. It was perhaps believed that the sacred chalice, which had held the blood of Christ, could make the Third Reich omnipotent and immortal.
“The institute of the pendulum” and astrology
During the Second World War, occult practices, astrology and the like were widely used in Germany and Great Britain, in the belief that they could be useful for war purposes. In Germany, the SS hired a great many astrologers and occultists. Three of the best known, who worked during the conflict for Walter Schellenberg and substantially also for Himmler himself (who, as already mentioned, had developed a real fanaticism for the subject), were Ludwig Straniak (1879-1951), Dr. . Wilhelm Gutberlet (both experts in the use of the pendulum) and the astrologer Wilhelm Wulff (the so-called Pendulum Institute).
Along with Wulff, another famous Nazi German astrologer was Karl Ernst Krafft.
When Hitler, after the fall of fascism, ordered to locate Mussolini’s position by any means, the power of the pendulum was also employed. In Peter Levenda’s book, Unholy Alliance, the episode is told like this:
«Nevertheless, a certain “Maestro del Pendolo Sidereo” finally succeeded in locating Mussolini on an island west of Naples. It should be added that at that moment Mussolini had no contact with the rest of the world. It was in fact the island of Ponza where he was initially transferred. In other words, the “Master of the Sidereal Pendulum” managed to locate the most famous Italian prisoner of the twentieth century, apparently in exchange for nothing more than a decent lunch, a few drinks, a good cigarette, and a pendulum swinging on the map of the ‘Italy. It is also remembered that one of Hitler’s closest friends was the “Master of the Sidereal Pendulum” Dr. Gutberlet. No one is able to say whether it is the same “Master”.
In his The Zodiac and the Swastika, Wulff also claims that one of his first important assignments after being arrested by the Nazis was to locate Mussolini, who disappeared after his fall from grace in 1943. Wulff also claims to have discovered the answer exact – about fifty miles southeast of Rome – when no one knew it yet, the same island of Ponza of the “Maestro del Pendolo Sidereo”.
The architect Ludwig Straniak was also used by the Germans. He seems to have had a particular gift for locating objects on maps using the pendulum. As a test, the higher organs of the German Navy ordered him to find the Prinz Eugen, then at sea. Apparently they were particularly surprised to see the warship located, despite the fact that she was at the time engaged in a top secret mission off the coast of Norway. This episode seemed to impress them so much as to convince even the SS to rely much more on occult sciences.
In honor of logic, it seems strange that a powerful regime such as the Nazis persevered for 14 years in following, investigating and practicing occultism, investing enormous resources, time and energy, without having found any objective, repeatable and demonstrable benefits.
Other occultists of the Pendulum Institute would have been:
A. Frank Glahn (1865-1941)
dr. E. Klasen
Barone dr. Carl Ludwig von Reichenbach
prof. Karl Bähr
prof. dr. Leopold Oelenheinz
prof. Hellmut Wolff (1906-1986)
Thomas Charles Lethbridge (1901-1971)
Gli astrologi di cui le SS decisero di avvalersi furono principalmente:
Karl Ernst Krafft
Dr. Wilhelm Gutberlet
After the III Reich Fall
Following its massive use in warfare, the occult world present in Germany was seen, after 1945, as a legacy of the Nazi period and highly demonised.
It experienced new life through the work of Karl Spiesberger (Fratur Eratus) and from 1955 Armanen’s runic system and the use of the pendulum became even more fashionable in German salons than they were before the conflict.
With regard to post-war astrology in Germany, in addition to the more popular Western astrology, there is also a school of thought that deals with the Germanic astrological system based on runes and its use in predictions in the Nordic tradition of Odinism.
The Tempelhofgesellschaft was founded in Vienna in the early 1990s by Norbert Jurgen-Ratthofer and Ralft Ettl with the aim of teaching a form of Gnostic religion called Marcionism. The group identifies the “evil creator of this world”, or the demiurge, with Jehovah, the god of the Jews. They distribute leaflets saying, for example, that the Aryan race first settled on Atlantis, after its arrival from the star Aldebaran, information based on reading “ancient Sumerian manuscripts” of which, however, there is no evidence.
They claim that from Aldebaran the Aryans are able to obtain the Vril energy of the Black Sun. The basis of their teaching is the certainty that, given the extraterrestrial origins of the Aryan race, its divine mission is to dominate all the others.