Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Order of St. Hubertus (and other assorted Bavarians and Bohemians)

Screen shot of IOSH homepage
Back in 2011 I made a facetious post about "evil Masonic braumeisters".  A little jest to be sure, but strangely prophetic.  Five years on and we're in a bit of a constitutional tizzy over how to best go about replacing our recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice.  Doesn't look like the congressional Republicans are going to budge and will block any Obama nominee until he's out of office and can no longer press the issue.

We'll get to the fraternities and alcohol in a minute.

Scalia died at what appears to have been a meeting (perhaps merely informal), of the Order of St. Hubert, an aristocratic order of hunters founded by one Count Anton von Sporck in 1695, a man who is also said to have dabbled in Freemasonry.  The order promotes hunting and sportsmanlike conduct, in addition to respecting animals and minimizing their suffering; responsible hunters, in other words.  These are teachings handed down by their namesake.

Reading about St. Hubert (656-727 CE), I came across a passage about the vision he had one Good Friday; he'd skipped Church to go hunting, a pursuit in which he'd become immersed after the death of his wife.  He had retired from the world to hunt.

Chasing a stag (or hart) on that day, he was astounded to see it stop and turn towards him; a glowing crucifix appeared between its antlers and a voice said to him:  "Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell". Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself and said, "Lord, what wouldst Thou have me do?" He received the answer, "Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you."

Hubert then sought out Lambert, Bishop of Maastricht, becoming his protege and successor.  Hubert embarked upon a life of piety and evangelism, becoming Bishop of Liège in 708 CE.  He laid down several principles for ethical hunting and wildlife management that are still highly-regarded among German-speaking hunters to this day.  He generally seems to have been a decent fellow and died peacefully in 727.

Drive Dull Care away with some Jäger shots
Hubert's vision of the hart made me think of the Jägermeister label; which I've been meaning to use in a post for years.  Finally the opportunity has arisen.  The Jäger label is indeed a reference to St. Hubert's vision.

But it does not only honor St. Hubert.  The label also represents the vision of St. Eustace, another patron of hunters.  Even the church says that Eustace is probably a spurious figure, as no evidence proves he ever existed, but his legend has become mixed with that of Hubert. 

This legend has it that Eustace was a Roman general.  Once, out hunting, he had a vision of a crucifix between a stag's antlers under pretty much the same circumstances as Hubert.  It seems Eustace's cult pre-existed that of Hubert, but it's possible they both have pre-Christian antecedents.  The stag (or hart, or hind) makes many appearances in various pagan mythologies.

According to the legend, after his vision Eustace converted to Christianity and baptized his family.  Eustace then went through a series of Job-like misfortunes, yet he always remained steadfast in his faith.  His patience served him well, for a time.  He was eventually restored to his position and reunited with his family.  But like many early Christians, the occasion arose where he refused to sacrifice to a pagan altar and thus he set the chain of events into motion that would lead to his martyrdom.  In this case he and his family were roasted to death inside a giant bronze bull (or ox) in 118 CE.

The refusal to sacrifice before a pagan altar is a common theme in the hagiographies of these early Christian martyrs.  St. Sernin of Toulouse (Hubert's birthplace) refused a pagan sacrifice and was killed by being tied to a bull (or ox) and dragged down the street until his head cracked open.  This road is now called the Rue du Taur and the site of his original tomb is a small church called Notre Dame du Taur.  The Matabiau quarter of Toulouse also takes it's name from this event and the big bell in a Toulouse-style carillon is known as the "big bull".

Anyway, Curt Mast, original distiller of Jägermeister, was an avid hunter and so named his drink appropriately; Jägermeister translates to "Hunting Master", a title familiar to Germans for centuries.

When the Nazis reformed the hunting laws in 1934 "Jägermeister" was applied to senior foresters, game wardens, and gamekeepers.  Hermann Göring, who was a particularly active hunter, was appointed Reichsjägermeister at that time, so when the drink was introduced in 1935, some people called it "Göring-Schnaps."  In addition to being an avid hunter, Mast was a local politician and joined the NSDAP on May Day, 1933.  He claimed it was political opportunism and a way to help his fragile business (he was never prosecuted after the war), but Mast did become pals with Göring, probably bonding over hunting. (source)

Now here's something I've just read and had already suspected:
Some historians have noted that Hitler and Göring’s hunting regulations actually had little to do with concerns for animal welfare and were merely part of a concerted attack upon the German aristocracy. Hitler and Göring had a dream of giving each of the Jägermeisters their own private hunting grounds as a symbol of their position of privilege within the Reich. Curt Mast became a Jägermeister and organised hunting parties for leading Nazi dignitaries at the Reichsjägerhof, Göring’s hunting lodge. Sensing an opportunity to rebuild his business interests on the back of his association with the new hunting fraternity, Mast re-branded the herbal liqueur that his company produced as the official drink of the hunt. (boldface added)

Göring's relationship to the Order of St. Hubert bears this speculation out:
In 1938, after Austria was absorbed by the German Reich, Herman Göring demanded membership on the Order [sic] and executed the Grand Prior when he was denied. At the end of the World War surviving members of the Order, were authorized by Halvor O. Ekern, chief political adviser of the US Armed Forces in Austria to use their sporting guns to provide winter food to the rural population, avoiding not only famine but helping to save the country from falling behind the Iron Curtain. (source)

The Order was Restituted on May 1st 1950 by Albert Franz Messany at the request of Chancellor Figi of Austria. In order to better reflect its new multi-national character it was redesignated as International Order of St. Hubertus.
Reichsjägermeister Hermann Göring --
1937 Hunting Exposition in Berlin
I wonder if  "helping to save the country" meant using their sporting rifles for more than hunting.  Could they have been re-armed in order to fight the Communists?  The aristocracy had a lot to lose to both the Communists as with the Nazis before them....

Despite the Nazi's attacks on the aristocracy and the apparent sympathy of Curt Mast, the hunting ethics espoused by Jägermeister, the Order of St. Hubert, and the Nazi reforms all kind of match.  There is an un-credited verse from a poem by outdoorsman Oskar von Riesenthal (1830–1898) on each bottle which the company translates as:
It is the hunter’s honour that he
Protects and preserves his game,
Hunts sportsmanlike, honours the
Creator in His creatures.
This is very much the same creed as the Order of St. Hubertus: "Honoring God by Honoring His Creatures". Jägermeister, as the story goes, was intended to go with "a toast with which every hunt would begin and end."

The symbolism of Hubert, patron of hunters is reproduced in the crests of various German hunting clubs to this day.  Thus it is so with the Deutsches Jägerverein, the Nazi-era German hunting organization.  Interesting how the swastika has replaced the cross.
Göring apparently took his role as Jägermeister seriously and sincerely threw himself into the reforms of German hunting laws.  This page shows a collector's one-of-a-kind Deutsches Jägerverein collar pin, custom-made for Göring himself, a collar pin with the antler/swastika motif we see on the flag above.  Göring posed for a painting wearing this collar pin and in his Jägermeister uniform, and this painting of him appeared on the covers of both Time and Life, in 1940 and 1939, respectively.

If Göring took his role this seriously, imagine his fury when he was refused membership in the Order of St. Hubert.  Furious enough to execute the prior, apparently.  This really is a medieval saga.  Whatever else you want to say about the Order, that their leader would die rather than admit Göring speaks volumes about their attitude towards the Nazis.  This was a microcosm of the tensions and conflicts in Nazi Germany, the uneasy relationship between the old aristocrats, the Church, and the Party.  Although anti-Bolshevism united them, the old guard must have resented this new Nazi power structure and the Church certainly couldn't have been happy with seeing a swastika replace the cross; this wasn't just a question of the hunting clubs.  It also reminds me that assassination attempts on Hitler were organized by aristocrats within the Army; Clause von Stauffenberg was one of the last conspirators, but a quick glance at the list of assassination attempts on Hitler between 1940 and 1944 -- and there are quite a few -- show that most were organized by members of the aristocracy, after the war began.  Before the war, there were also a few attempts on Hitler's life, but these did not seem to implicate the aristocracy.

I'm betting that when it was "restituted" in 1950, those Americans invited to join the Order of St. Hubert were neck deep in de-Nazification and anti-Communist activities.  Just a hunch.  Ambassadors, Generals, and "others", including the George Wood who established the American branch at the Bohemian Club in 1968.  It would be interesting to see what other groups the Order has links to, either within the arcane labyrinth of Catholic lay orders (Knights of Malta, Knights of Columbus, Opus Dei, the Jesuits....) or factions or within the intelligence community.

Something about that period between the Order's dissolution by the Nazis and their Postwar rebirth intrigues me.  A group of powerful men which spread out to include Americans at the highest levels of the Postwar occupation.  It seems a bit strange that five years after the war's end, ambassadors and generals were joining the clubs of their recent enemies, and 16 years later creating an American chapter at the site of the most elite group of men in America, the Bohemian Club.

What intrigues me in this context about the Bohemian Club (despite the name -- remember the Order is of Bohemian origin) is its tangential connection to another German organization called the Schlaraffia.  It would appear that a number of American elite groups have their roots in German culture.

The Schlaraffia is a fraternal society founded in Prague (Bohemia) in 1859.  It is a German-speaking club founded by people much like the founders of the Bohemian Club, people involved in the arts and theater.  Like the Bohemian Club, their symbol is an owl and their philosophy is one of fun; once stepping into their "castle", they remind themselves to leave dull care outside.  The Bohemian Club was founded in 1879 and we know the Schlaraffia existed in San Francisco in 1884.  Is it possible that they are connected, that the Bohemian Club was inspired by the Schlaraffia?  The latter conduct their meetings in German, so perhaps the B.C. was created to make a more accessible organization?  (I'd be remiss not to point out that Terry Melanson first made me aware of these connections).

I almost feel apologetic bringing it up, but I'd also like to mention the Skull and Bones, founded at Yale in 1832 by William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft (father of the future president and no small shakes himself).

Skull and Bones doings are largely unknown, but there is talk of a rebirth initiation ritual which involves the candidate lying in a coffin and recounting their sexual history.  There are photos of Bohemian Grove encampments where a similar ritual is enacted, a man lying in a coffin-shaped array of candles prayed over by robed figures.  This rebirth ritual is a fairly well-known element in various Masonic Rites.  The Schlaraffia has three grades, which also brings to mind Masonic organization.  What interests me here though, is that like the Order of St. Hubert, the Schlaraffia, and the Bohemian Club, the Skull and Bones has a connection to the German-speaking world.  Founder Wm. Russell allegedly got his idea for the Skull and Bones after returning from a trip to Germany, where quasi-Masonic secret societies were quite popular, some of which are said to have modeled themselves on the Illuminati (a group I have purposefully avoided in my writings on this topic thus far).  The Bavarian Illuminati was founded in 1776 at Ingolstadt, about 360 KM from Prague, basically a stone's throw from Bohemia.

Interestingly, there is another order, The Bavarian Order of Saint Hubert, a Roman Catholic dynastic order of knighthood founded in 1444 or 1445 to commemorate a victory on Saint Hubert's day.  There doesn't appear to be a connection to this order and the International Order of St. Hubertus, despite the name, but if we're looking to complete a Bavarian/Bohemia axis, I suppose there's value in following up on this.  St. Hubert was in fact the patron saint not only of hunters, but soldiers as well, which is logical.  At least one historical military unit used the horns and cross imagery:  the Royal Bavarian Jäger Regiment Nr. 1 (again with the Bavarians!). Jäger units were elite light infantry and the word in this sense can translate to "Ranger", which has the sense of both the US Army's elite units and forest rangers.  Think Aragorn in Lord of the Rings: aristocrat, woodsman, badass soldier, Ranger.  The first Jäger units were indeed recruited from gamekeepers, hunstmen, and foresters, people with both a knowledge of the woods and firearms, and who were also closely linked to the aristocracy who appointed them.  The first units of this type were formed in 1632 in Hesse-Kassel and in the modern German army the term is still used for elite Special Forces.

Crest of the 1st and 2nd Battalions and the 2nd  Reserve Battalion - Royal Bavarian Jäger Regt. 1

So, a lot of elements to ponder.  My German history is piss-poor, so I have probably missed some interesting connections someone else might have easily picked up on.  I did, however, think of one other thing, which is almost embarrassing to include; but what the Hell....

The Church of Satan has a rebirth ritual involving sexual rites and a coffin, called the Ceremony of the Stifling Air. Anton LaVey obviously cribbed his work from pre-existing Masonic Rites (like he cribbed everything in the Satanic Bible, from John Dee to Ayn Rand and Ragnar Redbeard).  Interesting time the 60's, especially 1966 (666 get it?); the same year George Wood was appointed Grand Prior, Anton LaVey launched the Church of Satan, on April 30th, which in the occult world goes by the German name of Walpurgisnacht....

Which brings me back to the question....who the f--k is George Wood?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Terry Melanson for recommending our articles on Conspiracy Archive. His take on the subject is, as usual, enlightening and filled with interesting facts and connections I didn't pick up on. Perhaps the biggest revelation is that Scalia was indeed a member of the Order! At least according to Austrian magazine Kurier. The American media is sitting on that one.

    Also, regarding George Wood. I've found out that America's most valuable spy in WW2 was German diplomat Fritz Kolbe. His code name at the OSS: "George Wood", according to Allen Dulles. Thing is, Kolbe died in 1971. So. While he was alive in '66 when the American branch was founded at the Bohemian Grove by one George Wood, Kolbe/Wood was dead when Wood became Grand Master in '75.

    I find this to be a really strange "coincidence" even if it's what it really is. Obviously, Kolbe/Wood can't be the same George Wood who became GM, but it's weird to begin with and I'm beginning to imagine increasingly weirder possibilities. It probably is true, but I'm still trying to link Kolbe with known Bohemians and/or members of the Order, as well as find more info on the George Wood who founded the American branch.

    We'll see if anything turns up; so far the record is silent, far too silent....


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