Introvigne and the Lodge of Thebes
"The True Face of Secret Societies: Inquest into the Mysterious Group of Thebes"

One of the strangest episodes in the history of CESNUR involved Massimo Introvigne as co-founder of the secretive "Lodge of Thebes", a very small group of political and magical extremists who for a short period tried to unite the quarrelsome world of French occultists. Introvigne, while indirectly confirming the episode, later made it clear that his intentions were purely scholarly. One is left wondering why a "scholar" would be allowed into secret meetings primarily aimed at strategic planning; at the same time, one wonders how far "participant observation" by scholars can be stretched.

The translation is quite rough, and the article also contains a few minor mistakes which we shall point out in a later edition, but it in the meantime it is a useful document.

by Serge Faubert
from L'Evenement du Jeudi (4 November 1993), pp. 44-52
Abridged translation by Jeffrey Bale, published in Hitlist, March-April 2001, pp. 96-97.

remi boyer

Rémi Boyer
The picture comes from the website of a rival lodge and originally was titled "profano-remi-boyer-imbecil.jpg"

  Paris, a weekend last May. The few masons present in the locale of the Grand Orient de France (GOF) barely paid attention to the 30 or so people who hurried, early in the morning, toward one of the meeting rooms. The faces passing through the hall were not familiar to them, but then one cannot know all of the "brothers". In any case, the small group had presented an official authorization form to the custodian bearing the signature of a high-ranking member of the obedience. So why worry about it?

However, there were some who were worried. None of the visitors belonged to the Grande Orient. They were non-masons [des profanes]. And what a group of outsiders! Several old veterans of the extreme right, a former Red Brigadist, a respectable Italian university professor closely linked, at the same time, to the Vatican and to French [Catholic] integralists, a leader of a non-governmental organization and activist concerned with children, a Belgian intellectual close to the national-Bolsheviks (the "red-brown" Russians), a sympathizer of Holocaust denier Professor [Robert] Faurisson…And yet the members of the Grande Orient had had a narrow escape. The leader of an extreme right national-Bolshevik organization, out of consideration for the group, had not come. In contrast to the preceding year in which, during the course of a meeting also held in the Grande Orient, he had made a brilliant presentation on…sexual magic.

Yes, this very mixed and select group occupied itself with magic as well. It was its very reason for existence. Its name? The Group of Thebes…[in this context Thebes is a reference to] the capital of the empire of the [ancient Egyptian] Pharaohs… who, to believers in the esoteric tradition, held the secrets of the universe…

A secret society besides, it is said. But the Group of Thebes is not a school of mystery like the others. The originality of this organization is that it gathers together the leaders of occultist groups or personages recognized in the small world of the initiates. A college of chiefs of some sort, whose existence is even more secret than that of the societies they direct…

The linchpin of the group is Rémi Boyer…[An employee of a Swiss non-governmental organization in his thirties who was obsessed with occultism from an early age,] Boyer decided to work toward federating the small world of esotericism… After holding a couple of meetings and attempting to organize a federation of esoteric grouplets, including New Age cults and chivalric orders, under the rubric Arc-en-ciel [Rainbow], he changed his approach and tried to organize] "another type of structure which, this time, brought together individuals. He worked on this with one of his close associates, Jean-Pierre Giudicelli, the second pillar of the Group of Thebes.

Giudicelli had authority in esoteric circles…He headed the French section of Myriam, a Luciferian obedience whose teachings made an appeal to the sexual impulses of its adepts…This Corsican was well over forty, a sympthizer of the pro-independence FLNC [Front de Liberation National Corse], and also still a fascist: a former member of Ordre Nouveau, he took part in the neo-fascist group Troisieme Voie until the end the 1980s, and was conspicuous among the assistants [assesseurs] of the Front National in Nice after the legislative elections of 1986…[This is in contrast to the politics of Boyer, who is an active supporter of liberal human rights organizations. Boyer defended his collaboration with Giudicelli by insisting that] "that which brings us together is more important than that which divides us"… In short, magic is above politics.

[The three objectives of the Group of Thebes, as set down by Boyer and Giudicelli, were to] "preserve the authentic traditional paths", "verify the effectiveness of initiatic techniques", [and] "intervene in the esoteric scene"…it was a matter of warding off the fanatics of every shade and other disciples in search of gurus. The Group of Thebes wanted to be a club of serious people anchored in tradition and orthodoxy. The Khmer Rouge of alchemy. In order to work in peace, the most absolute secrecy had to be observed: "the group will not function according to the work modalities typical of the profane world (no declared statutes, no bank account opened in its name, no direct interventions)…" During the process, a second structure was created: the Circle of Alexandria. An antechamber of the Group of Thebes, it was intended to welcome the pretenders and the guests. However, "the Circle of Alexandria's associate members and guests were unaware of the name Group of Thebes."

On 3 June 1990, in Paris, the foundation meeting [of the Group of Thebes] was held. Fifteen or so participants attended this first conclave. Among them, a heavyweight: the Italian Massimo Introvigne. This Turinese university professor is the author of a book on magical movements…and director of the Center for the Study of New Religions (CESNUR), an observation post presided over by the Archbishop of Foggia, Monsignor [Giuseppe] Casale. In effect Introvigne is one of the principal leaders of Alleanza Cattolica, a traditionalist community which, while it has remained very close to the Vatican, has long maintained friendly relations with Monsignor Lefebvre.

[Among the respectable participants] were Gerard Kloppel, international grand master of Memphis Misraim lodge, a masonic obedience that claims 7000 members - 1000 in France - who arrived with his wife. The Templars of Circe sent their number two man, Jean-Marie Vergerio. This would be his only appearance, since upon further reflection the Circe Templars preferred to pursue their path separately. With one exception: the chancellor in Greece of the Templar obedience Triantaphyllos, Kotzamanis.

But alongside these honorable erudites or initiates, several less recommendable persons appeared. Like Georges Magne de Cressac - one of the loyalists of Giudicelli, the co-founder of the Group of Thebes - who had participated in the organization of a Robert Faurrison meeting in Limoges on 10 September 1987. Or the Belgian Jean-Marie D'Asembourg. One turns up his name in the patronage committee of the Russian politico-esoteric journal Milii Angel. Who is the editor and patron of this journal? Alexander Dugin, the number two man in the Russian National-Bolshevik Front.

However, these two rascals [lascars] are only retired pensioners on half pay [demi-soldes] compared to the most controversial figure of the Group of Thebes, Christian Bouchet. A former leader of the Comités d'Action Republicaines - a satellite organization of the RPR - this Nantes native rejoined Alain de Benoist's GRECE at the beginning of the 1980s, then the extreme right group Troisième Voie, headed by Jean-Gilles Malliarakis. A formation which, in spite of its small number of adherents, was always distinguished by its activism and by a discourse which was both anti-American and anti-Soviet. In July 1991, the organization broke apart. Bouchet quit Troisième Voie and brought a group of militants along with him.

Several weeks later he founded Nouvelle Resistance (NR), a national-Bolshevik organization. His principal adversary: the United States, the incarnation of the capitalist system, which he accused of destroying the identity of peoples. All those who resisted American power and industrial society could thus become potential allies. A profession of faith which has led NR, in addition to its ongoing campaigns against Euro-Disney and McDonald's, to infiltrate [groups of] young ecologists (see Les Événements du Jeudi #428) and the Committee for Lifting the Embargo Against Iraq (see ibid #463). On the international level, the organization is linked to the Russian National-Bolshevik Front - Bouchet has personally gone to Moscow several times - but also to a myriad of small European "red-brown" groups who have joined together in the European Liberation Front.

How did Bouchet find himself integrated into the Group of Thebes? Quite simply, this history student is one of the most knowledgeable experts on, and biographers of, Aleister Crowley, one of the Popes of esotericism. It is to [Crowley] that he devoted his master's thesis, which has since been published. An exegete of Crowley, Bouchet is likewise his disciple. He is a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), the obedience founded by the English magician. A group which, by its own admission, has never exceeded fifteen members in France.

Giudicelli, Georges Magne de Cressac, Jean-Marie d'Asembourg, Christian Bouchet…[Perhaps someone will now become alarmed enough to protest.] Professor Massimo Introvigne, for example. But no, the theologian isn't troubled. "One is aware of encountering extremists in that milieu," he explains. "Esotericism demands an absolute commitment, something which is rarely made by politically lukewarm people. Besides, you know," continues the scholar, "I am above all a researcher. For me the Group of Thebes is a marvellous terrain for study." [As for Gerard Kloppel, he is] delighted to count "high-ranking policemen" among the leaders of Memphis Misraim. Certain sources inside the Group of Thebes likewise took account of the presence of a DST [the French equivalent of the FBI] official among the leaders of Memphis Misraim. Without, however, being able to determine if he was or was not on an infiltration mission…

It is therefore not surprising that as the months passed other political fanatics joined the Group of Thebes. Thierry Roche, for example, president in 1988 of the Kemit association, a satellite of GRECE. Or even Paolo Fogagnolo, a former member of the Milanese column of the Red Brigades. After he was incarcerated, the Sefira - the equivalent of the Virgin in the esoteric tradition - appeared before him. It's also true that during this period the revolutionary was observing a prolonged hunger strike…Today the animator of Radio Popolare, the station of the Milanese branch of Rifondazione Comunista, Fogagnolo heads the Fraternita Rosa Croce Dorei ed Antica and its profane branch, the political-philosophical group Prometheus. Its purposes: "…to sensitize the masses to the fact that revolutionary communism should be wedded to spiritual sacredness, like Christianity at its origins…to practice alchemy in its diverse aspects…to make a revolution." A vast program.

For its part, the Group of Thebes wishes to be more traditionalist. There one is above all in favor of magic. The "operating groups", i.e., the workshops, multiply. On the menu, "Incantations and Words of Power", "Spiritual Hierarchies", "Angels and Demons", "Magic Wands", "The Dangers of Practical Magic"…Another satellite organization is created: the Centre International de Recherches et d'Etudes Martinistes (CIREM), charged with diffusing those communications of the group that are accessible to the profane. Its journal, L'Esprit des Choses, nevertheless contains some surprises. In issue #4-5, dated Spring 1993, one can find an article entitled "Pensées sur le Christ et le christianisme" which is written by Sri Chinmoy, a guru who flatters himself, among other things, for having written 843 poems in 24 hours, painted 140,000 pictures since birth, and composed 6000 musical pieces…

One also finds the extreme right leader [Bouchet, who appeared at a 1992 CESNUR conference in Paris] at the head of an internal commission called Tradition et Politis. Its object: to study the "different models of society which have been proposed by initiatory societies since Antiquity." A workshop whose sessions must have been very animated, since the second coordinator of the group was none other than Paolo Fogagnolo, the former Red Brigadist.

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