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|Born||February 16, 1915
|Died||April 29, 1983
|Era||20th century philosophy|
|Main interests||Esoteric Christianity, Yoga, Astrology|
|Notable ideas||Archeosophy, Archeosophical Society|
Tommaso Palamidessi (Pisa, February 16, 1915 – Rome, April 29, 1983) was an Italian esotericist. Precociously attracted by astrology, parapsychology and yoga-tantric doctrines, he was led by his manifold interests in the field of the occult and by his intense spiritual pursuit to build up an original form of Esoteric Christianity, which he called Archeosophy. In 1968, he founded in Rome the Archeosophical Society, which is still active and counts a few thousand members both in Italy and in the rest of Europe (mainly in Germany, Portugal, and France).
Youth and studies
Born in Pisa on 16 February 1915 to Carlo Palamidessi, Senior Officer of the Army and the poet Luigia Tagliata, in 1920 Tommaso Palamidessi moved to Sicily. Since he was a child he studied astronomy, astrology, botany, medicine and religion and as an adolescent he traveled to Tripoli and Tunis to deepen his knowledge of Islamic Sufism.
From 1933, when he moved to Turin, he applied himself to intensive research into astrology, alchemy and Tantric yoga, extrasensory experiences, favoured by his mediumistic predisposition, Egyptology and the study of hieroglyphs - the latter carried out in collaboration with the director of the Egyptian Museum of Turin, Ernesto Scamuzzi. He also has out-of-body experiences, bilocations and remembrances of his past lives.
His publications about Tantric yoga include: The Occult Powers of Man and the Indo-Tibetan Tantric Yoga, Sexual Technique of Tantric Yoga; The Erotic Power of Kundalini Yoga; Yoga not to Die. During these years, he also wrote an extensive unpublished commentary on Egyptian theurgy and The Book of the Dead.
The forties and astrological works
Towards the end of the 1940s Palamidessi, as mentioned, began to teach astrology and yoga. He became one of the first Italian Astrological authors of the 1900s. In the catalogue of the National Library Service only six treatise of astrology written by Italian authors appear from 1900 to 1939. For the most these are general introductions and often mixed with chiromancy, physiognomy and occultism. In these years Tommaso Palamidessi wrote six astrological treatise: The Course of Stars and Man's Diseases; Medicine and Sidereal Influences; Mundane Astrology (1941); Cosmic Influences and the Precocious Diagnosis of Cancer (1943) Earthquakes, Eruptions and Cosmic influences (1943) and not forgetting the Perpetual Effemerides (1941)
In Italy during the 1900s the first volumes dedicated to two once glorious disciplines : World astrology and medical Astrology are treated . At the time, Palamidessi established contacts with exponents of the Hamburg Astrologic School, to whom he dedicated an article in the journal Astral Language . Among the foreign contacts of Tommaso Palamidessi we can mention the French, such as, Alexandre Volguine ( 1903-1976), Henry Joseph Gouchon (1898-1978) and Jacques Reverchon (1909-1985). Like Reverchon, Gouchon gravitates around the journal Cahiers Astrologiques (1938-1983) founded by Volguine. We can certainly add the English Francis Rolt-Wheeler (1876-1960), a curious and polyhedral figure, writer and Anglican priest with which Palamidessi held a collaborative relationship.
In 1947 Tommaso Palamidessi married Rosa Francesca Bordino (1916–1999) who did stand by him for a lifetime and gave him a daughter, Silvestra (1948–1996). In 1949 a radical spiritual crisis drove him to a deep conversion to Christ and consequently he decided to suspend his yoga publications.
In 1953 he moved to Rome with his family and contributed to various newspapers, among which it is worth mentioning his collaboration with the Tribuna Illustrata, the most ancient Italian weekly magazine where he wrote a section about esotericism and astrology until 1969 when the magazine disappeared. He visited the monasteries of Kalambaka, Thessaly and Mt. Athos in 1957 and Jerusalem in the Easter of 1966 where he had special revelations on the Mt. Golgotha and in Gethsemane.
In Alexandria of Egypt he rediscovered archaeological sites that he had already seen during his paranormal experiences by which he had remembered to have been Origen (185-254), instructor at the Didaskaleyon, school of Christianity founded by the evangelist St. Mark in Alexandria. The study of Patristics did consolidate his faith in what he regarded the authentic Esoteric Christianity. By this time his formulation of a new doctrinal synthesis for the spiritual awakening of man and woman took shape in Archeosofica.
The foundation of Archeosofica
On 29 September 1968 Tommaso Palamidessi founded Archeosofica, Esoteric School of High Initiation in Rome. The foundation of Archeosofica was rooted in Palamidessi's spirit of collaboration toward spiritual realizations. Indeed Tommaso Palamidessi founded Archeosofica as
a free school for free scholars, who must not feel like pupils nor apprentices, but brothers who listen to the living voice of other brothers.[...]
It is a call addressed to all, and it does not matter if they belong to the different communities (Theosophists, Anthroposophists, Martinists, Rosicrucians, Catholics, Yoghists, etc.). The Brotherhood is only one, and it can have only one verb: Love one another; only one Master: Jesus the Christ.
In the following years, he journeyed to India, Kashmir, Nepal China, South America but from 1968 forth his efforts was consecrated above all to the nourishing of the archeosophical doctrine and to the organisation of the many groups of study and experimentation that have soon spread all over Italy. Then in 1973 he founded a cultural association namely Archeosophical Society with the aim of developing and diffusing Archeosophy all over the world.
Definition of Archeosophy
Archeosophy is the integral knowledge, it is the archaic wisdom or, in other words, the Science of the Principles. As already said, this word stems from the Greek terms archè (principle) and sophìa (wisdom). Archeosophy facilitates the knowledge of the superior worlds through the development in man of new senses defined as spiritual.
Archeosophy is not only a philosophy that explains the origin and the end of man and of the cosmos of which he is a part, but it is first of all a pure experimental method; it never loses sight of the fact that philosophy has been the surrogate, often unreliable, for the moral and intellectual support of man, who watches impotently at his and others' caducity from birth to death. It holds that philosophy was born when man lost his spiritual contact with the Absolute or Arkè, that is as soon as his dialogue and life of union with God became increasingly obfuscated, fragmentary and doubtful. Philosophy became, in a sense, the instrument for formulating the working hypothesis, the theoretical way to return to the Arkè, full of strident contradictions.
Therefore Archeosophy, before being a philosophy, is continuous experimentation, deep knowledge of ourselves (gnosis), of nature and of God; it is the reinstatement in the Primordial Tradition, as a true, real and living contact with the supersensible worlds.
— Tommaso Palamidessi, Archaic Tradition and Foundations of Archeosophical Initiation, 1968
The archeosophical ascesis
The archeosophical ascesis aims at solving the religious problem of a correction of human life that does not rely on either one's whim or on chance but on a solid spiritual Science and on techniques of spiritual awakening and interior transmutation. The program includes special gymnastics, breathing techniques, psycho-dynamic actions on hormones and nerve plexus in order to ascend to what corresponds to body and, though not being body, makes up the whole of the energetic bodies permeating the organic one with the purpose of finally reaching the causal body where the immortal I resides. Out-of-body experiences (in order to have a direct, personal experience of spiritual worlds), methods of meditation on the centres of force directly linked with the three principles of the immortal Ego (such as the meditation on the heart defined by Palamidessi as cardiognosis or "inner knowledge of one's heart) and exercises of remembrance of some past lives are part of the itinerary of self-awareness and of the journey towards God. suggested by Archeosofica.
In his treatise Tecniche di Risveglio Iniziatico (Techniques of Initiatic Awakening) (Ed.Mediterranee 1975) Tommaso Palamidessi presents a program of integral ascesis where techniques of meditation on the centres of force and on the divine names on the one hand, an intense inner life devoted to transcendence, on the other and finally a cautious use of astral influences in order to determine the most convenient moments for the ascetic practices, converge on the unique purpose of granting a spiritual regeneration in a Christic sense.
The artistic ascesis
A special form of ascesis is carried out through art. Deeply interested in the mystical, theological and artistic tradition of the Orthodox Church, Tommaso Palamidessi brings back to light the technique for preparing and painting a sacred icon. The work he dedicates to this subject, L'Icona, I colori e l'Ascesi Artistica (tr.: Icon, Colours and Artistic Ascesis) (published posthumously in 1986) is a real handbook which aims at starting the reader off on the personal preparation of a sacred icon and on meditating on it. By following the rules of the chromatic symbolism as well as the traditional geometry of sacred art, the artist can make of his own icon a "castle of meditation", by which he transcends the formal aspect of the image and becomes sensitive to the divine archetypes hidden behind it. In this sense the icon has a sanctifying effect on the conscience of the artist.
Another important key for the mystic and initiatic self-realisation included in the ascetic program of Archeosofica is linked with the discoveries made by Tommaso Palamidessi over sacred music and its importance for the catharsis and the awakening of the spiritual centres in the regenerated Man.
- Il Corso degli astri e le malattie nell'uomo: trattato teorico-pratico di cosmopatogenesi con 22 figure, Milan: F.lli Bocca, 1940 (2nd ed. Archeosofica 1985).
- La medicina e gli influssi siderali, Milan: F.lli Bocca, 1940.
- Astrologia mondiale: il destino dei popoli rivelato dal corso degli astri, Turin: T. Palamidessi, 1941 (2nd ed. Archeosofica 1985).
- Gli influssi cosmici e la diagnosi precoce del cancro, Turin: T. Palamidessi, 1943.
- Terremoti, eruzioni e influssi cosmici, Turin: T. Palamidessi, 1943.
- I poteri occulti dell'uomo e lo yoga tantrico indo-tibetano, Turin: Spartaco Giovene, 1945 (2nd ed. Archeosofica 1988).
- La tecnica sessuale dello yoga tantrico indo-tibetano, Turin: Edizioni Grande Opera, 1948 (2nd ed. Archeosofica 1988).
- La potenza erotica di kundalini yoga: lo yoga del potere serpentino ed il risveglio dei ventuno chakra, Turin: Grande Opera, 1949.
- Lo yoga per non morire: metodi sperimentali indù per realizzare l'immortalità autocosciente, Turin: Grande Opera, 1949.
- L'alchimia come via allo spirito: l'autorealizzazione magica e la psicologia del profondo, svelate dalla tradizione ermetica, Turin: Grande Opera, 1949 (2nd ed. Arkeios 2001).
- Gli astri nella diagnosi e cura del cancro, Turin: Ed. Grande Opera, 1949.
- Tecniche di risveglio iniziatico: i centri di forza e la metafisica sperimentale, Rome : Edizioni Mediterranee, 1975 (2nd ed. 1983).
- Archeosofia, en 5 volumes, Rome: Archeosofica, 1985-1988.
- Il libro cristiano dei morti, Rome: Arkeios, 1985.
- Le basi della teologia sofianica : nuove indagini bibliche, Rome: Arkeios, 1986.
- L'icona, i colori e l'ascesi artistica: dottrina ed esperienze per una Via verso l'autosuperamento ed una coscienza divina nell'arte, Rome: Arkeios, 1986.
- Ricettario Erboristico, Rome: Arkeios, 1987.
- Article « Archeosophy » by P.L. Zoccatelli in Peter B. Clarke (ed.), Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements, London - New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 38-39.
In Italian, German and French:
- Günter Bartsch, « Archäosophie – das neue Gralsrittertum », in Materialdienst der Evangelische Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen, 1989, 12, p. 369–371.
- Massimo Introvigne, Il Cappello del mago.I nuovi movimenti magici, dallo spiritismo al satanismo, Milan: Sugarco, 1990, p. 330-332 (French translation: La magie: les nouveaux mouvements magiques, Paris : Droguet et Ardant, 1993).
- Cecilia Gatto Trocchi, Magia ed esoterismo in Italia, Milano:Mondadori, 1990, p. 142-145.
- Antoine Faivre, L'ésotérisme, Paris : PUF, 1992, p. 102.
- Massimo Introvigne - Pier Luigi Zoccatelli (editors), Le religioni in Italia, Elledici - Velar, Leumann (Turin) - Gorle (Bergamo), 2006, p. 842-844.
- Francesco Baroni, « Tommaso Palamidessi et l'Archéosophie », in La Tentation du secret, Groupes et sociétés initiatiques entre ésotérisme et politique du XVIIIème au XXème siècle, Politica Hermetica n° 21 (2007), p. 120-135.
- Francesco Baroni, "Julius Evola e Tommaso Palamidessi. Con una lettera inedita di Julius Evola", 2009 (http://www.fondazionejuliusevola.it/Documenti/Evola_Palamidessi.pdf).
- Francesco Baroni, Tommaso Palamidessi e l'Archeosofia. Vita ed opere di un esoterista cristiano, Foggia: Bastogi, 2011.
- Tommaso Palamidessi (biography), from the Official Site of the Archeosophical Society founded by Palamidessi in 1968
- (Italian) The article about « Archeosophy » in the website of CESNUR (the Center for Study on New Religions)