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Adonism

Adonism is a Neopagan religion founded in 1925 by the German esotericist Franz Sättler (1884-c.1942), who often went by the pseudonym of Dr. Musalam. Although Sättler claimed that it was the continuation of an ancient pagan religion, it has been recognised by academics as being "instead the single-handed creation of a highly gifted and educated man", this figure being Sättler himself. Adonism is a polytheistic religion, revolving around a belief that there are five principal gods: Belus, Biltis, Adonis, Dido and Molchos. Adonis is the most prominent of these in the group's theology, being a benevolent figure that Sättler equated with the Christian figure of Satan. In contrast to Adonis, Molchos is believed by Adonists to be malevolent, and to be responsible for the enslavement of humanity through monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam: the religion therefore has "a pronounced anti-Christian bias".

Born into the Bohemian region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Sättler proved himself to be a talented linguist, gaining a doctorate in the subject and publishing the world's first Persian-German dictionary. Subsequently travelling across much of Europe, he was imprisoned by the French during the First World War, where he first came across Theosophy and the occult, topics which greatly interested him. Briefly becoming an intelligence agent for the Czechoslovak government, he was again arrested and imprisoned, this time in Germany, and whilst imprisoned here he began formulating some of his esoteric ideas and writing books on the subject. Released in the mid-1920s, he went on to begin propagating Adonism through the foundation of his Adonistic Society. Sättler would face legal trouble and a public scandal due to his beliefs in the 1930s, leading to him renaming the Society the Alliance of Orion, before it was eventually shut down by the Nazi government in 1939. Sättler himself disappeared in the early years of the following decade, with some believing that he was executed by the Nazi authorities.

Scholar Hans Thomas Hakl stated that "The influence of Adonism... on the German magical scene is substantial. It definitely influenced the German magus Friedrich Wilhelm Quintscher (1893-1945)... and also the Fraternitas Saturni, the most interesting occult fraternity in modern Germany". Many of the group's adherents have also claimed that Adonism was an influence on the German magician Franz Bardon (1909–1958), although this remains debatable as Bardon's magical beliefs differed to "a noticeable degree". Hakl would also compare Sättler with two of his contemporaries in the European occult movement of the early twentieth century, the Englishman Aleister Crowley and the Armenian George Gurdjieff, but noted that he never received the posthumous fame that these two experienced.