Return to Orders of the Lion and Eagle

Franz Hartmann

Dr. Franz Hartmann, 33° 90° 95° IX°

(1838 – 1912 e.v.)

by T. Apiryon

Copyright © 1995 Ordo Templi Orientis. All rights reserved.

Franz Hartmann was a Bavarian-American physician, occultist, and one of the co-founders of O.T.O., along with Carl Kellner, Theodor Reuss, Henry Klein and Charles Détré. He served in the Bavarian artillery in his youth and then studied Medicine and became a physician. He emigrated to America in 1865, obtained U.S. citizenship and qualified as an M.D. He travelled as a doctor to various cities, and served for a time as a coroner in Georgetown, Colorado. During his travels, he visited a number of Indian tribes and researched their religious beliefs. He developed an interest in Spiritualism, and became active in the Spiritualist circles of New Orleans. He joined the Theosophical Society in 1882, and in 1883, he was invited by Colonel Olcott to come to the T.S. headquarters in Adyar, India. He remained in Adyar until 1885, and was appointed to the eight-member governing board of the T.S. headquarters. During his stay, Hartmann allegedly received up to ten personal letters from the “Mahatmas.”

While Blavatsky and Olcott were away in Europe in 1884, the Society for Psychical Research came to Adyar to investigate the claims of “psychic phenomena.” The report was unfavorable, and Hartmann became enmeshed in the internal politics which resulted. Hartmann left Adyar in 1885 and returned to Bavaria, where he met Carl Kellner. He and Kellner collaborated on the development of the “ligno-sulphite” inhalation therapy for tuberculosis, and Hartmann established a sanitarium near Salzburg to administer this novel treatment technique. While in Austria, he became increasingly involved in the Viennese Theosophical circle centered around Friedrich Eckstein, where he may have had his first contact with Theodor Reuss. Through contacts in the Eckstein group, he was introduced to an elderly Austrian weaver (name unknown) who claimed to be a lineal Rosicrucian initiate, and became this man’s disciple.

In 1902, Hartmann assisted Reuss in obtaining warrants from John Yarker to form a Sovereign Sanctuary in Germany for the Masonic Rites of Memphis and Mizraim, and to form a German Grand Orient for the Cernau Council Scottish Rite. Hartmann initially held high offices in both the Sovereign Sanctuary and the Grand Orient. In 1906, Reuss combined the two organizations under the umbrella of Kellner’s Ordo Templi Orientis, and Hartmann was given the title of “Honorary Grand Master of the Sovereign Sanctuary.”

Hartmann was one of the most prolific writers on occultism of his time, and was the author of The Life and Doctrines of Paracelsus (1887), An Adventure among the Rosicrucians (1887), Magic, White and Black (1888), The Principles of Astrological Geomancy (1889), In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom (1890), The Talking Image of Urur (1890), The Life and Doctrines of Jacob Boehme (1891), Occult Science in Medicine (1893), Among the Gnomes (1895), The Life of Jehoshua (1909), and Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians (1888), which is included in Section 1 of the A:. A:. reading list.


  • Blavatsky, Helena P.; Letter to William Quan Judge dated 1 May 1885, published in Theosophical History, Vol. V, No. 2, April 1994, with notes by Michael Gomes
  • Howe, Ellic; “Theodor Reuss: Irregular Freemasonry in Germany, 1900-23” in Ars Quatuor Coronati, Feb. 1978
  • Reuss, Theodor; “Ordens-Bekanntmachungen” in Oriflamme, Berlin and London, December 1910
  • Reuss, Theodor; “Unser Orden” in Oriflamme, Jubelaeums-Ausgabe, Ludwigshafen 1912
  • Shepard, Leslie (Ed.); Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 2nd. Ed., Gale Research Co., Detroit MI 1984
  • Webb, James; The Occult Establishment, Library Press, LaSalle, Illinois 1976

Originally published in Red Flame No. 2 – Mystery of Mystery: A Primer of Thelemic Ecclesiastical Gnosticism by Tau Apiryon and Helena; Berkeley, CA 1995 e.v.

Permanent link to this article: