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Jos. Raemaekers

I am always on the hunt for new leads on Farwerck and so I once again bumped into the name “Jos. Raemaekers”. I connect the name to a writer with similar subjects as Farwerck (from folklore to esotericism), but never really looked into the man. Then I was rereading Bouwsteenen a Masonic periodical that also published texts by Farwerck and my eye fell on two texts of Raemaekers in a volume from 1928. One is called “Kinderspelen” (‘children’s games’), the other “Citroen” (‘lemon’). Especially the first is quite Farwerck-like. Many, many details, going from folklore to mythology and he even mentions guilds. Could Raemaekers be a/the inspiration for Farwerck?

The first thing to notice is that Bouwsteenen was an initiative of the mixed-gender (and hence “irregular”) Masonic organisation that Farwerck was a member of. It was not an internal publication, but would this mean that Raemaekers also was a member of Le Droit Humain? That question could be quickly answered with a firm: “no”. There are not many publications of Raemaekers to be found (I only found a little book called Schakels Uit Eén Keten (‘links of one chain’, 1926), published by the Grand Orient of the Netherlands (the “regular” Masonic organisation). He did write a lot in the periodical (this one is internal) De Vrijmetselaar (‘the Freemason’) published by the same organisation.

Digging through the archives, Raemaekers not only proves to be published from almost the first issues (De Vrijmetselaar started in 1906), but he is even listed as editor for some time. So we can safely say that Raemaekers was a member of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands.

What more is there to be found? Not all that much. Often Raemaekers signed his texts with “Jos. Raemaekers”, sometimes with “J. Raemaekers”. His last name seems to be rewritten to the more modern “Ramaekers” or “Ramakers” here and there. Him not being a very public person (or so it seems) makes it hard to find much information. “Jos.” seems to stand for “Joseph”. I have found a Joseph Raemaekers who lived in the right time-frame, born 1888 (a year before Farwerck), passed in 1969 (a year after Farwerck). This Raemaekers was married to Clementine Vanparys with whom he had two daughters. That is it for now.

The first issue of De Vrijmetselaar was published in May 1906. The first issue in which Raemaekers appears is the third issue. His text is about “The Academy of Rome in the 15th and 16th century”, a text of 18 pages.

In the next issue Raemaekers shares the volume with not only Dernier van de Gon (whom Farwerck often quotes) and… H.J. van Ginkel, one of the founders of the first mixed-gender lodge and the first Grand Master of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain! Farwerck was initiated in the lodge that Van Ginkel founded, so he is a good candidate for possible acquiescences between Farwerck, Raemaekers and possibly also Dernier van de Gon. (Raemaeker’s article is again a lengthy one and appears to be a follow-up of the previous text.

After another few texts of Raemaekers follows a massive text in three parts spread over three issues (year 3 (1908), issues 2, 3 and 4) about “Oude Symboliek” (‘ancient symbolism’). Raemaekers goes from Teutonic cults, Armanen (yep, a lot of Guido von List here), symbols, folklore, reference to other mythologies, etc., etc. This text would certainly have appealed to Farwerck (however I never noticed him referring to Armanen theories).

So can Farwerck have known Raemaeker’s texts? He does refer to several of his articles from De Vrijmetselaar published in 1918 and after in his first book Mysteriën En Inwijdingen In De Oudheid (‘mysteries and initiations in antiquity’, 1927). Could a member of Le Droit Humain get De Vrijmetselaar in these days like (s)he can nowadays? ‘Officially’ or not, Farwerck certainly did have access to some issues.

Would Raemaekers’ texts, or the man himself, have influenced Farwerck in his writings, pursuits and investigations? This is hard to say, but a fact is that, as we saw, Farwerck lists Raemaekers in some of his bibliographies. Also the two had similar interests seeing what the two wrote about, ranging from specific Masonic symbols, very specific subjects such as Raemaekers’ “die Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft”, a German ‘secret society’ that existed a century before the dawn of Freemasonry (and ranking Johann Valentine Andrea among its members!), Egypt, Egyptian mysteries, alchemy, Kabbalah, heretical Christianity and the like. The two men would certainly have things to talk about!

There is another interesting thing to note. In some texts Raemaekers proves himself to be influenced by Guido von List and similar thinkers who investigated the esoteric side of Teutonic symbolism. There were more people with such an interest living in that time. One was the poet August Heyting (1879-1949) who was one of the founders of the “Ario-Germanic Society” that Farwerck was a member of for the first few days. Also Heyting organised an Midwinter celebration with Farwerck’s lodge just after he had left. The two probably knew each other. Another such ‘Von List adept’ was E. Weggeman-Guldemont whom Heyting refers to every now and them, but who I have never ran into ‘in a Masonic context’ (neither looked for either though). Some sort of ‘circle’ of people interested in out Teutonic past and esotericism. Would these people have known each other?

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