Some odd friends of Introvigne 

by Miguel Martinez

The open-armed ecumenism of the TFP - "Tradition Family and Property" - takes on surprising aspects. According to the French journalist, Serge Faubert ("Le vrai visage des sectes", L'Evenement du jeudi, 4-10.11.1993, pp. 44 ff.), Introvigne was one of the only fifteen founding members of a very secret 'Group of Thebes' (Groupe de Thèbes) which used to meet at the French Grand Orient, made up exclusively of leaders of various "Orders" (you can read a translation of most of the article here). The tiny group included quite an interesting variety of individuals: 

  • Massimo Introvigne, who attended the very first meeting of this lodge, on June 3, 1990.

  • Rémi Boyer, a former Rosicrucian (AMORC) who had created Arc-en-ciel, a federation of occult and New Age groups (including Sri Chinmoy, The Grande Loge indépendante des rites unis, the Institut pour une synthèse planètaire, the Ordre chevaleresque de la Rose-Croix, the Spiritual University of Brahma Kumaris). The Groupe de Thèbes was Boyer's second creation, for a smaller, and presumably higher, group of "initiates". Boyer, by the way, claims to be an "advisor" for the French Ministry of Justice. 

  • Jean-Pierre Giudicelli, leader of the French section of the Order of Myriam and inventor of a handy "elixir of long life", former Corsican nationalist and right-wing militant ("Ordre Nouveau" and "Troisième Voie").

  • Gérard Kloppel, world Grand Master of the Order of Memphis and Misraim.

  • Jean-Marie Vergério, leader of the "Templars of Circe".

  •  Triantaphyllos Kotzamanis, a.k.a. Tau Hieronymus, chancellor for Greece of a Templar group and World Grand Master of the Universal Orient of Traditional Rites.

  • The most interesting member of the Group of Thebes was certainly Christian Bouchet (as a militant atheist, Bouchet prefers to be called by his surname only). Bouchet was a prominent speaker at several CESNUR events: at the international CESNUR conference at Santa Barbara in 1991, and four times in France in 1992. This is rather amusing in the light of CESNUR's claim to represent "professionality" and "serene discussion". I have no idea whether Bouchet has any professional qualification beyond being a follower of Aleister Crowley (he does call himself an "ethnologist", unlike "sociologist" Introvigne). Bouchet, who has been a militant in the French far right since the 70's and leads a movement called Nouvelle Résistance which once boasted having 150 members, runs three separate magazines. For the general public, there is Lutte du Peuple, "People's Struggle", a rather hysterical publication which many people might qualify as "neo-Nazi"; then there is Vouloir ("Will"), a cultural publication largely devoted to studies on Nietzsche and Crowley; however, initiates have access to Thélèma, which means "Will" again, but in Greek: Thelema of course is Crowley's famous slogan. Bouchet is a member of one of the many offshoots of the Crowleyite OTO (">Ordo Templi Orientis). The Treasurer General of the Ordo Templi Orientis, Bill Heidrick, kindly advised su that Bouchet had been expelled from the O.T.O. in 1992, without having gone beyond the first degree. The quarrelsome Bouchet was also expelled from the right-wing movement Troisième Vie in October 1991 ("Mise au Point", circular dated September 21, 1991, quoted in Peter Koenig's site. 
  • Bouchet's political and religious opinions are of no interest here to me; what does interest me is how a person like Bouchet can appear as an academic scholar in the kind of "serene" and "professional discussion" CESNUR supposedly stands for. Here for example is a short review written by Bouchet: 

    "The first CD of the indus [industrial rock] group Dissonant Elephants, 'Our eyes like daggers', has a lot that appeals to us: [] the dust jacket shows the toad of Jerusalem on his cross with a red clown's nose" 
    ("Vient de sortir", Lutte du peuple, sett.- ott. 1995, p. 13)

    The reference is to Aleister Crowley's notorious toad-crucifying ritual. 
  • The Lodge of Thebes is not only for right-wing extremists; another member is Paolo Fogagnolo, who shares his time between the Agape Lodge of the O.T.O.A. (Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua) and the left-wing political group Chiapas Collettivo. Fogagnolo, for personal reasons, often prefers to use the surname of his mother, Salamina. He also boasts of being a close friend of Introvigne, and claims to be fighting against a world-wide interplanetary Fascist conspiracy using magic means. He enjoys quite a few titles - Sar-Thon, Chevalier du Christ, Sar Voluntas Divina, Patriarch for Italy of Krumm-Heller's Gnostic church, and even "Unknown Superior" of the Martinist Athenian Lodge of Sar Hieronymus (the source, as always, is the wonderful site of Peter Koenig).
    Inside sources in the complex world of Italian followers of the magic of Ciro Formisano, better known as Giuliano Kremmerz (1861-1930), allege that Introvigne gave Fogagnolo full freedom to write the chapters on the Kremmerzian and Croweyite movements in the book, Il cappello del mago, devoted to esoteric and magical movements in Italy. If true, this hardly speaks well of the scientific seriousness of the book.
    A more complete picture (it is hard to say how reliable) of the activities of this interesting friend of Introvigne was recently provided to us by other members of the "magic" milieu. Fogagnolo, originally a boy scout and the scion of a family of small industrialists near Milan, when he was quite young set up the "Lo Muscio Brigade", a group of anarchist terrorists which vainly tried to gain acceptance from the Red Brigades. Betrayed by a comrade, he in his turn immediately confessed to the police, involving both the guilty and - they say - the innocent. The step from political to esoteric adventures seems somehow quite logical.

    Bouchet appeared again in a conference on the "Roots and Evolution of Contemporary Paganism" in Lyons (February 3 and 4, 1996), where other speakers included Robert Amadou (a well-known Martinist, a priest of the "Syrian Church" and - according to Koenig, with excellent relations with prominent Freemasons in Zurich); right-wing extremists Arnaud d'Apremont and Charles Antoni, Rémi Boyer (again) as well as Renato del Ponte, an expert on Julius Evola. Massimo Introvigne, "director of CESNUR", was the star of the conference. 

    The comments of a participant at this conference clearly show the kind of image Introvigne has succeeded in projecting on his work - instead of hiding his own ideological affiliation, he shows how "although a Catholic", he is "forced" to objectively defend certain groups; at the same time, he is an academic expert: 

    "Introvigne is a Catholic, something which he has never hidden []. Yet his studies are of an exemplary objectivity and impartiality. []. Yet it may come as a surprise to see how Introvigne accepted an invitation to a conference which did not possess those requirements of 'scholarship' or 'seriousness' which he, as a scholar, must certainly appreciate. Introvigne himself realized how his presence could have caused some surprise []. Introvigne, in his first speech, explicitly said that accepting an invitation to a conference on neo-paganism where 'neo-pagans' were expected to speak, was 'not only a pleasure, but a duty', since the [recent] report of the [French parliament] commission of enquiry had described neo-paganism as socially dangerous since it was widespread among racist and anti-semitic right-wing circles" 
    (Marco Pasi, "Esoterismo e nuova religiosità", in Orion, Milan, March-April 1996, p. 51 ff.).

    Of course, nothing is ever entirely bad: Introvigne's activities in defence of the large cult multinationals certainly help to make life easier for eccentric but innocent groups which have as much a right to exist as any other, and which are profoundly grateful to this "Catholic scholar"; some of the young witches who feel honoured by the presence of such a great figure are very decent people. However, the gratitude of these minor movements is certainly not what keeps CESNUR running; nor are these admirers aware of the fate that awaits them should T.F.P.'s millennialist imaginings come true one day. 

    The articles of association of the "Group of Thebes" seem to have excluded any non-initiates from membership. This of course is no consequence to me; however it does cast some doubt on Introvigne's right to call himself a Catholic, considering the strict condemnation of Masonry. Four members of this Lodge, besides Introvigne himself, took part in the CESNUR conference in Lyon in 1992.  

    As usual, Introvigne avoided replying to these accusations; a reply was however written in a bullettin reserved to AC members only (Domus Aurea Informazioni, 5/10 sett. 1994, quoted in Sodalitium, n. 39, nov. 1994, p. 20 ff.) which accidentally leaked out. Introvigne claimed that he had written over fifteen books, accused Faubert of being a 'communist militant of a small Trotzkyite group', but did not deny membership in the Lodge. He also claimed to have the right to be called a "sociologist" since "until 1993" (this sounds better than "in 1991 and in 1992", as stated in his curriculum in Libertà religiosa, 'sette' e 'diritto di persecuzione') he used occasionally to teach Sociology of Religion in a seminary in the provincial town of Foggia (the archbishop of which was at the time president of CESNUR). Introvigne admitted that the leakage of inside information about the Thebes Group caused "objective harm to the scholars participating in the meetings of the Group". Apparently what Introvigne is trying to hint is that a group of fifteen picturesque individuals had the habit of meeting secretly, excluding any profane individual, only in order to let a militant of Alleanza Cattolica study them. 

    Introvigne was not always so friendly towards the French "Nouvelle Droite", from which Bouchet comes: Doctor Plinio had not yet given his new guidelines. Basically, his thesis in the past (Massimo Introvigne, "GRECE e Nouvelle Ecole", in Cristianitภn. 32, Dec. 1977) was that the "New Right" was actually leftist. Under the subtitle, "A stand-by ruling class for the Revolution", we find the following description of these French "neo-pagans": 

    "A 'cocktail' of evolutionism, neo-positivism, scientism, sexual revolution and clearly Masonic doctrines in an 'Indo-European' package: in the first place in order to subtly corrupt those young people who escape from social-communist and progressive conformity, favouring their transformation into 'anonymous revolutionaries'; in the second place, in order to prepare the pollution of any anti-Communist reaction and to try to satisfy its inevitable spiritual needs in an anti-Catholic and anti-metaphysical sense, in view of a dark and fatal neo-pagan mirage". 
    (p. 5)

    A friend of Introvigne's who is somewhat different from this Italian/French milieu, although in touch with it too, is Michael Bertiaux. Self-appointed Vudu Master, he is a specialist in the Crowleyite degrees from the XIth upward (the XIth degree is based on the interaction between sperm, blood, excrements and anal mucus, and is supposed to allow the generation of an astral being through homosexual intercourse). Bertiaux, who in the past had given patents to some of the individuals mentioned above, today says he is "very disappointed with occultists, esoterists, orders and fraternities, the most of them being lunatic, dogmatic, swindlers, paranoiac, egoistic, ignorant, etc.". There is a fascinating trace of the friendship between Introvigne and Bertiaux, which is well worth taking a look at.

    Michael Bertiaux