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Welcome to the Secrets of the Occult Tradition of Finland! In this episode, Rudolf speaks to Vesa Iitti, one of the authors of an astonishing book on Finnish Occultism, its history, which is about a hundred years old, just like the young state of Finland. And regarding H.P. Blavatsky: Indeed, her theosophic movement was one of the early Western occultist movements that took roots in Finland.
Finland has long been viewed as the land of sorcerers and shamans. Exploring the rich history of Finnish occultism, Perttu Häkkinen and Vesa Iitti examine the significant figures and groups of Finland’s occult world from the late 19th century to the present day. They begin with Pekka Ervast, known as the Rudolf Steiner of the North, who was a major figure in Theosophy before starting a Rosicrucian group called Ruusu-Risti, and they look at the Finnish disciples of G. I. Gurdjieff and the grim case of the cult of Tattarisuo.
Investigating the relationship of nationalism and esotericism in Finland, the authors tell the stories of Sigurd Wettenhovi-Aspa, who thought that Finns were the root of all Western civilization, and of Yrjö von Grönhagen, who became a close friend of Heinrich Himmler and Karl Maria Wiligut. They also explore the history of Finnish parapsychology, the Finnish UFO craze, and the unique evolution of Freemasonry in Finland, showing how, when the Masonic order was banned, adherents created a number of other secret societies, such as the Carpenter’s Order, the Hypotenuse Order, and the Brotherhood of February 17–which later became hubs for the OTO and AMORC.
Unveiling both the light and dark sides of modern esotericism in Finland, the authors show how, because of its unique position as partially European and partially Russian, Finland’s occult influence extends into the very heart of left-hand and right-hand occult groups and secret societies around the world.
So, altogether, a wonderful discovery trip to a wonderful place, at the time of the year when the sun hardly ever sets in Europe’s North.
And in the intro, Inner Traditions Acquisitions Editor Jon Graham will also tell us why he was particularly interested to get that book translated into English.
Music played in this episode
Of course, this week’s music comes from Finland! And of course, as I, Rudolf, picked it, it is a mix of Hard Rock – typical Finnish stuff – and classical – well, this one typical Finnish stuff as well!
1) LEMPO – Korpiklaani
The foundation of Korpiklaani in 2003 in Lahti, Finland brought the traditional folk music back to life. No one could have foreseen that such a large audience would be interested in Finnish and English mythological texts!
(Track starts at [7:42])
2) FINLANDIA – Jean Sibelius
Finlandia, Op. 26, is a tone poem by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was written in 1899 and revised in 1900. The piece was composed for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Empire, and was the last of seven pieces performed as an accompaniment to a tableau depicting episodes from Finnish history. (Source wikipedia)