Review: The Hermetic Science of Transmutation, by Giuliano Kremmerz

Giuliano Kremmerz (born Ciro Formisano, 1861; died (at least physically) 1930) was one of the most influential Italian Occultists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His writings have been translated into French and Spanish, but he remained largely unknown amongst Anglophone magicians as they were never translated into English – until now.

Giuliano Kremmerz, 1861 – 1930

“The Hermetic Science of Transformation: The Initiatic Path of Natural & Divine Magic,” was first written by Kremmerz in 1896, apparently in the hope that acquainting Italian readers with the power of the occult would lead to a new Renaissance of the mind. His reaction to the events of the subsequent twenty years betrays his bitterness that this did not happen. Anywho, the main points that Kremmerz makes, as I understand them, may be summarized thus:

  • The goal of the Magician is to Transform oneself into a God. But this is not the “become a living god” rhetoric that has blighted the credibility of modern occultism, for Kremmerz also stresses that the first duty of a magician after acquiring god-like power is to use it for the good of humanity in general, or one’s neighbour in particular.
  • Likewise, Kremmerz stresses continually that only Magicians who are pure in heart and intention can participate in the Divine Magic. Kremmerz’ morality is thus almost Christian in outlook, and he himself professes great admiration for the figure of Christ. But not so much for the Church, which he criticises for having lost the keys to magic, whilst yet clinging to meaningless dogma.
  • The key to this apotheosing is the Transmutation of the Sexual Force. However, far from entailing wild and reckless orgies, this actually entails careful conservation of the sex-force – even to the point where Kremmerz says that only absolute chastity can enable a participation in the Divine Magic. This results in Kremmerz’ sexual alchemy coming across as prudish compared to the smut of later authors such as Crowley, etc.
  • A consequence of actively attempting to make of oneself a God is that the Magician acquires the ability to perform works of Thaumaturgy.

Now that we have an actual work of Kremmerz in our hands, it is interesting to compare it with some of the lurid, and quite frankly disgusting, writings attributed to him which have been circulating on the internet and other places for several years (mostly in Italian), referred to variously as the Dossier Segreti or Corpus Totius Magiae.

In this “Hermetic Science…” book, Kremmerz speaks of his Myriam Fraternity, the aim of which is to perform works of Healing and purification.

Kremmerz does not however mention or even hint at the existence of the “Egyptian Order of Osiris,” which is the subject of the purported Corpus Totius Magiae.

I am reliably informed – by several different people – that the Corpus Totius Magiae is a hoax insofar as it claims to represent Kremmerz’ practices.[1] The present book, “Hermetic Science…” does however give an accurate flavour of the philosophy underpinning the Myriam work, without obviously giving away any of its secret rituals. Reading it myself, the difference in tone between “Hermetic Science…” and the Corpus Totius Magiae becomes one of sharp relief – as if no-one could believe they belong to the same organisation without epitomising the essence of DoubleThink. And yet, the most widely cited academic source, Hans Thomas Hakl in Hidden Eros,[2] seems to conflate Kremmerz’ own writings with the contents of the Corpus Totius Magiae uncritically.

(As an aside, it is within my personal knowledge that at least one Big-Name-Occultist has been duped by some passing salesman of magical charters into buying the Corpus Totius Magiae as The Ultimate Secrets of Magic. What bewildered me was not that he necessarily believed this to be the case, but that he paid good money for a document that had been floating around for free for several years on the internet. The moral of the story is – first learn to speak Italian, before buying something written in Italian).

In short, I would recommend this book purely on the basis that it forms a key link in our understanding the History of continental Occultism, and I look forward to more works by Kremmerz becoming available in English in the future.


Notes

[1] Whether or not the practices described therein are genuine at all, however, is another matter entirely.

[2] Hakl H T, Hanegraaf W J (ed.), Kripal JJ (ed.), 2008, “The Theory and Practice of Sexual Magic, Exemplified byFour Magical Groups in the Early Twentieth Century,” from “Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotericism,” Brill, Leiden / Boston.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Review: The Hermetic Science of Transmutation, by Giuliano Kremmerz

  1. Josef Kalicun

    Just letting you know that the Amazon book image is broken. The link to Amazon works fine.

    Josef

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