Early influences & history

Our initial Mystical Christian influences  derive from the the Franciscans (Fraticelli) of Sicily, the Joachimites (followers of Abbot Joachim of Fiore) in Southern Italy, , and later via certain Benedictine Monks  in Germany, who also drew on the Dominican Rhineland Mysticism of Hildegard of Bingen and Mesiter Eckhart.  Our Mystical Jewish influences originated with Spanish  Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia (1240-1292) whose tradition the Guardians follow to this day. He traveled to Israel, Syria, and Greece before settling in Sicily where he appropriated ideas from the Joachamites and Fraticelli Franciscans into his Kabbalistic tradition (Hames, 2012).  It is said that "Franciscan Friars studied with Abulafia in Sicily" and later "rescued him from prison". Of these "Guardians" (Franciscan superiors are called Guardians not Abbots) Abulafia said:  "I saw that the belonged to the pious among the nations, and the words of religious fools need not be heeded, for the Law of the Lord has been handed to the Masters of Knowledge"


The 'Platonic Academy' in Florence Italy was later established in the mid 1400's – mid 1500's under the patronage of Cosimo de' Medici Flavius Mithridates (Guiglemo Raymond Moncado) a Jewish Kabbalist from Sicily who converted to Christianity joined the Academy working under its leaders Pico Della Mirandolla and Marsilio Ficino translating a Kabbalistic Library from Sicily that contained texts by Abulafia and his student Joseph Gikkatilla.  Mirandolla and Franciscan Friar Francesco Giorgi Venteto (1466-1540) were the two founders of Christian Cabala at this time.


The teachings of Christian Cabala (Kabbalah) from Florence were taken to Germany in the early 1500's by Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522) who was a student of Mirandolla and Venteto in Florence. Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516) Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery of Spanheim was taught Kabbalah by Reuchlin and influenced by the Occultist Frater Basilius Valentinius  (Benedictine Prior of a Monastery in Erfurt, Germany). Trithemius's students were Paracelus and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535). Agrippa lectured at the 
University of Pavia (Northern Italy) on Hermes Trismegistus, Kabbalah, and the works of Reuchlin, Mirandolla and Ficino, and was taught mysticism by Paolo Ricci (AKA Camillo Renato), a Franciscan Friar born in Sicily.


The Guardians were  purportedly based in Frankfurt-Am-Main in Germany during the late 1700's. It is unverifiable if it was the same order as the Fratres Lucis (Brotherhood of Light) who were active in Frankfurt at the time. This order also integrated Jewish and Christian mystical traditions, and claimed a connection back to the Platonic Academy in Florence. The Fratres Lucis admitted prominent Kabbalists such as Ephraim Hirschfeld (died 1819) and Franz Thomas von Schonfeld (AKA Moses Dobrucshka). The Order's predominant areas of study were Kabbalah and Mystical Christian Theurgy. The kabbalistic scholar Franz Josef Molitor describes how the founder of the Frankfurt Fratres Lucis was initiated by "a Franciscan Friar who engaged in alchemical work, possessing occult knowledge received from a Kabbalistic mystical Sect". 


Mouni Sadhu & Michael Freedman 

Mouni Sadhu ('silent monk') was the pseudonym of Polish-German occultist Mieczyslaw Sudowski (Michael Sadau), who had been in a Rosicrucian group in Europe during the 1920's, studying the Hermetic tradition of Professor Gregory Ottonovich Mebes, a  leading Martinist,  Russian Grand Master of the 'Kabbalistic Order of the Rosy Cross' and 'The Hermetic Brotherhood of Light (descended from the Fratres Lucis in Frankfurt). The symbols of the order were a cross within a circle surmounted by a six pointed star and the 'Kleis' or key (a three barred cross with a circle at the top).  Members wore a monastic robe or habit with a hood, and a knotted cord or cincture about their waist. 

In 1935 Mouni Sadhu stayed at a society in Paris founded by renowned esotericist and Gnostic Bishop 'Paul Sedir', and was initiated into various French Occult orders including those associated with the renowned occultist "Papus". After WWII he immigrated to Melbourne, Australia where he resided until his death in 1972. During his life he had ongoing correspondence with Christian mystic Thomas Merton, and Theosophists C.W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant and spent years in India as a disciple of Ramana Maharshi at Arunachala, when the Benedictine monk Bede Griffiths was there. He wrote numerous books including a translation of Paul Sedir's "Initiations", a book on Theurgy, and a book entitled 'Tarot: The Quintessence of Hermetic Occultism'. 

During the 1960's Michel Tyne Corbold (AKA Michael Freedman) joined the Melbourne Sanctuary of the Society in 1959, and was a member of Mouni Sadhu's esoteric group. He became Senior Guardian in 1967 shortly before the previous Senior Guardian died. He had previously been an Anglican Minister, and became a renowned meditation teacher through his training in India. His spiritual name within the order was "Thamris Gnostes"

In 1969 Michael Freedman moved to Auckland, New Zealand with his wife, where he worked as a Psychologist. He opened the "Sanctuary of the Angels" and performed monthly Solar Ceremonial rituals, a weekly Mystical Mass, and ran esoteric study groups, meditation evenings and retreats. The order's training included courses on Mysticism, Tarot, Kabbalah, and High Magic, and from 1978 a free correspondence meditation course was published which was accessed by thousands of people. 

Freedman published New Zealand's leading esoteric journal 'Magic  Pentacle', wrote many articles, and translated Latin, Greek and Hebrew texts into English, including a version of the Kabbalistic 'Sefer Yetzirah', and one of Giordano Bruno's Latin manuscripts. Michael was close friends with Frater Fiat Lux (Frank Salt) a senior adept of the the Whare Ra Temple of the Stella Matutina (Golden Dawn) and  reportedly received initiation in that lineage also.  From the mid 1980's Freedman also placed a greater emphasis on a nature-centred spirituality that called on members to be Stewards of Creation.  

Mouni Sadhu (Michael Sadau/Sudowski)

Michael Freedman (Senior Guardian) 1929 - 1996

Michael Freedman in the Sanctuary of Angels