Occultism and Traditionalism in Twentieth-Century Italy with Christian Giudice

Christian Giudice, a scholar of modern occultism and Traditionalism, joins us in podcast episode 185 to discuss his dissertation entitled Occultism and Traditionalism: Arturo Reghini and the Antimodern Reaction in Early Twentieth Century Italy.

Christian Giudice is a PhD scholar at the University of Gothenburg. His thesis analyses the interaction between Modernity and its impact on the Occult milieu of early twentieth-century Italy, focusing on Arturo Reghini (1878-1946) as a case study.  Reghini was actively involved in most of the occult manifestations on the Italian peninsula during his lifetime. Thus he represents a fundamental figure if we want to better understand the convoluted period leading up to the Great War and the rise of Benito Mussolini.

Giudice obtained an BA Honours Degree in Literae Humniores (Classics) from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford (2001) and more recently an MA with distinction in Western Esotericism, with a thesis focusing on Kenneth Grant and post-Crowleyan magic (2011). In 2012 he was elected Student Representative for ESSWE (European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism) for the year 2013. His other research interests include Traditionalism in a wider perspective (Guenon, Schuon, Evola, Coomaraswamy), Thelema and its developments after the death of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), fin de siecle Occultism in England, France and Italy, Occultism and the visual arts.

For a list of publications see: https://gu-se.academia.edu/ChristianGiudice

Arturo Reghini was born in Florence on 12 November 1878. Since a very young age his interest in the occult was noticeable and in 1898 he was among the founding members of the Theosophical lodge in Rome. Having obtained a degree in Mathematics at Pisa University, Reghini frequented the cultural milieu of the Florentine Scapigliatura, lecturing, frequenting literary cafes and writing on seminal journals such as La Voce and the futurist Lacerba.

In 1910 he claimed to have been initiated to an ancient Pythagorean initiatory school by Amedeo Armentano. After WWI, in which Reghini voluntarily enlisted, along with many other traditionalist thinkers  gravitating around him, in the 1920s, Reghini founded journals which allowed him to express his views on occult, political and literary topics, being the editor in chief of Atanor, Ignis and Ur.

These journals were fundamental in circulating ideas which would influence many thinkers who are nowadays better known than Reghini himself: among the authors collaborating with Reghini we thus find Rene Guenon (1886-1951), Julius Evola and Aniceto Del Massa (1898-1975).

Reghini’s involvement with Freemasonry was constant between 1902 and 1925, the year in which masonic organizations were banned in Italy. It is within the folds of fringe masonry that Reghini found fertile ground for his ideas concerning a reform of modern Freemasonry, which invoked a return to its spiritual origins, considered to be Mediterranean by the Florentine thinker. Reghini’s involvement with Eduardo Frosini (1879 – ?) is well documented in this regard.

The Lateran Accords of 1929 between the Fascist regime and Pope Pius XI put an end to Reghini’s, and other traditional thinkers, to influence the newly-born political cabinet. Reghini then seemed to become isolated from the activities of the Roman cultural milieu, moving to Budrio to teach mathematics in a private school and to pursue his studies on Pythagoric numbers, for which he received recognition from the prestigious Accademia dei Lincei in 1931. He died in 1946, leaving a legacy, which only in recent years has been picked up by Italian scholars.

In the members’ only site at https://chamberofreflection.com, Christian Giudice, Rudolf, and I continue the interview, focusing on Italian occultists infiltration of Masonic lodges in order to spread their ideology. Join us for that fascinating conversation by signing up at the Chamber of Reflection or via Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/occultofpersonality.

Arturo Reghini & Roman Traditionalism @ https://reghini.com/ and on Facebook

intro music – “Awakening” by Paul Avgerinos

outro music – “The Limb of the Fiend” by Harlan Williams

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