Hilma af Klint revisited. Part 2 – The Edelweissförbundet and The Five
- Published: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 19:53
Marty Bax – the Netherlands
[This article is reproduced with kind permission from the author, Dr. Marty Bax. It previously appeared here: http://baxpress.blogspot.com.br/2017/05/hilma-af-klint-revisited-part-ii.html The piece is not revised by Theosophy Forward’s editors]
The Five was not, by any means, a product of five women after they joined forces in the Stockholm Lodge of the TS. The history of The Five starts solidly, and about 10 years earlier, within a completely different group, the Edelweissförbundet (Edelweiss Society). This society has been mentioned in Af Klint’s biography, but only fleetingly, in a sort of names-dropping way. But this society and its aims have shaped course and contents of the later activities of The Five in the most essential manner.
Chapel of Edelweissfōrbundet Stockholm
The Edelweissförbundet was founded in December 1888. This is, in fact, parallel to the founding of the branch of the TS in Stockholm. And this must be the date which has mistakenly be identified as the date in which Hilma af Klint joined the Theosophical Society.
The prime actors in the Edelweissförbundet were upper class or prominent members of society, just as within the Theosophical Society: Count Carl Fredric Berndt von Bergen (1838-1897), the Irish-born countess Hulda Elizabeth Constance Mosander-Beamish (1836-1892); and the painter and female photographer (quite a novelty at that time) Bertha Valerius (1824-1895), who made business cards with photo-portraits for the royal family and later returned to portrait painting. After Hulda Mosander-Beamish' death in 1892 her daughter Huldine von Fock-Beamish (1859-1931) and her daughter Fanny Malin Huldine von Fock (1882-1958) continued the work.
Towards the end of the 1870’s Carl von Bergen became a critic of stifled Christianity – Sweden was and is almost exclusively staunchly Protestant – and promoted more liberal religious views, while at the same time opposing materialism and agnosticism. In the early 1880’s he struck upon modern theosophy through Helena Blavatsky’s writings and then moved into spiritualism, which he combined with meditation and a focus on esoteric Christianity. Von Bergen was the person who introduced August Strindberg to theosophy in 1884. In 1891 he founded a Swedish version of the English Society for Psychical Research.