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Eklektischer Bund

I don’t have a very clear picture of Farwerck’s Masonic network. I know that in the Netherlands he was acquainted with Freemasons outside his own organisation, most notably Denier van der Gon and probably Raemaekers. Farwerck was also involved in the foundation of lodges abroad, but in the cases of the Goethe lodge in Frankfurt and the Dubrovsky lodge in Prague, Dutch fellow-Esperantist brother Faulhaber was involved. In Frankfurt the fellow-Esperantist Schwalhaber who would later come to lecture in the Netherlands was involved as well. Once there were foreign lodges, these were involved in the foundation of other lodges, also in other countries, and Farwerck, initially in his capacity of representative for the foreign lodges and later as Grand Master of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain, was directly and indirectly involved with these lodges.

In 1930 Farwerck and another member of his organisation, made a tour along new and to-be-founded lodges in Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Wien/Vienna and Frankfurt. In the last city he also lectured at a lodge of the Eklektischer Bund. Subject: the Scottish Rite. Apparently, Farwerck also had contacts outside his own organisation abroad.

The lodge where he had his talk was member of a grand lodge with a peculiar name: Große Mutterloge des Eklektischen Freimaurerbundes, or ‘Grand Mother Lodge of the Eclectic Masonic League’. There isn’t much information about this organisation outside the German language, so I will bring you up to speed a bit.

It is not like this organisation was a tiny and short-lived organisation. It was founded as early as 1741 and only had to close down in 1933 when the National Socialists came to power. Thus the organisation has been around for almost two centuries. That is much longer than many other organisations. When it had to close, there were 24 lodges and about 3500 members. What is also somewhat remarkable, the grand lodge apparently was deemed “regular”, so they will not have recognised Farwerck as a Freemason. Be that as it may, a “regular” grand lodge of almost two centuries old, why is there so little information?

The name and the seal refer to a “mother lodge” probably meaning that in Frankfurt the first lodge was founded. A bit of a strange name for a grand lodge. This is probably why references are usually shortened to “Eklektischer Bund”. Things will become a bit clearer in what follows.

“Eclectic” and “regular” are not terms that we’d nowadays would connect in Freemasonry. “Eclectic” has a bit of a ring of ‘we want to do things differently from the rest’ and that often means that an organisation will be “irregular” in the eyes of many ‘old school’ organisations. I suppose, in 1741 the term “eclectic” had a bit of a different ring to it. In the same century an “Eclectic Society” was founded in the UK by church members. The Bund seems to have chosen the name based on the “Eklektischen Rundschreiben” (‘eclectic circular’) that was sent to organisations that were present at the convent of Wilhelmsbad in 1782 (which spelled the end of the Strikte Observanz).

The German Wikipedia places the Eklektischer Bund in the tradition of Freemasonry where focus was laid on Templar traditions, such as the mentioned Strikte Observanz. Johann Peter Gogel supposedly was a German representative of the United Grand Lodge of England, which organisation together with the Großen Landesloge (‘Grand Country Lodge’) chartered the lodge l’Union in Frankfurt am Main. Later Franz Dietrich von Ditfurth (1783-1813) who had been a member of the Strikte Observanz and of the Bavarian Illuminati, wanted to unite occult Masonic lodges worldwide and came to the “Eklektischen Freimaurerbund” joining 53 lodges in 1789. “The name comes from the proposal to take the best from all systems and develop a new teaching system from it. The federation gave itself a uniform law network in 1788.”

During the reign of Napoleon the Bund ceased activities. Apparently, somewhere along the line, contact with London was broken (maybe when Gogel passed away). Wikipedia continues:

Working under the Grand Lodge of London was of little use to the Brethren of the Eclectic Federation, as London itself founded lodges in Frankfurt in contravention of existing treaties and also violated other parts of the treaty. In 1823, under the leadership of Leonhardi, the brothers founded an independent grand lodge from the federation, which they called the Grand Mother Lodge of the Eclectic Federation of Freemasons. Georg Franz Burkhard Kloß became the second Grand Master in 1836. Although all member lodges were free to work on high degrees, they purposefully declared war on chivalry, superstition, astrology and obscurantism of all kinds.

So here we have the actual start for the “Grand Mother Lodge”, which makes its lifespan considerably shorter, but still well over a century. The occult edge was dropped too. Later a Christian ritual was adopted and when that was abandoned again, a few lodges split off to found their own “Große Freimaurerloge „Zur Eintracht“” (‘Grand Masonic Lodge, to unity’).

The rituals of the Eklektischer Bund are still in use in two lodges in Hamburg and Frankfurt.

Much more information can be found here in German (don’t miss the paging links below).

Such was an organisation outside his own that Farwerck appeared to have been in contact with. Ironically the organisation had followed in offering only the three ‘blue’ degrees (including the Royal Arch) and Farwerck came to lecture on the Scottish Rite.

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