Krumm-Heller, Arnoldo (1876-1949)

views updated

Krumm-Heller, Arnoldo (1876-1949)

Arnoldo Krumm-Heller, a German esotericist who became an important figure in the spread of occultism in Latin America, was born Arnold Krumm-Heller in Salchendorf, Germany, on April 15, 1876. At the age of 16 he moved to Argentina to live with his brother on a ranch in the country's interior. He failed to make the connection when he arrived in South America and wound up in Chile working as a chemist. There he remained for the next two decades. Then in 1896 he began to travel extensively. He returned to Germany, where he studied with Franz Hartmann, noted Theosophist and occultist. Around the turn of the century he visited with Gérard Encausse, publicly known as Papus, and later attended the Masonic and Spiritual Conference that Papus organized in Paris in 1908. At that conference he was given authority and he accepted responsibility to spread the esoteric work in Spain and Latin America. Documents to this effect were received from both Papus and from Theodor Reuss, the head of the Ordo Templi Orientis. At some point he was also consecrated as a bishop in the Gnostic Catholic Church by H. C. Peithmann.

In 1910 Krumm-Heller settled in Mexico and began to study medicine. Prior to World War I(1914-18), he founded the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua and opened a branch of the Gnostic Church using a set of rituals supplied by Peithmann as well as the Gnostic Mass developed by Aleister Crowley. He developed the work for a decade and then in 1920 moved back to Germany. He settled in Marburg, where he established a printing business.

Marburg became the center of what had become an international Spanish-speaking esoteric work. He moved in occult circles and knew Aleister Crowley, Karl Johannes Germer, and Rudolf Steiner, who had founded the Anthroposophical Society. Then in 1936 a pamphlet began to circulate accusing Krumm-Heller and Reuss of being agents of a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy. At one point the Nazi government confiscated Krumm-Heller's library but did not arrest him. He left Germany and spent a year in Mexico, but returned to Germany, where he lived through World War II (1939-45). He remained in contact with the Rosicrucians in Latin America through friends in Sweden. Soon after the war ended he reactivated the international leadership of the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua, but lived only four more years.

Krumm-Heller died in Marburg in 1949. He did not appoint an international successor, but rather named a series of successors, each with a responsibility for a single country. Besides groups in Latin America, the fraternity had work in Spain and the Philippines. He had, at one point, issued a charter to H. Spencer Lewis, founder of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, but later withdrew it. He then established ties with R. Swinburne Clymer and the Rosicrucian Fraternity in Quakertown, Pennsylvania.


The Invisible Basilica: Arnoldo Krumm-Heller. April, 21, 2000.