EDELWEISS SOCIETY

 

WORKS  |  OVERVIEW  |  EXHIBITIONS  |  PUBLICATIONS

 

SELECTED WORKS


 

OVERVIEW



EFportThe room of the Edelweiss Society around 1900 where the séances took place. On the left side of the table you can see the planchette used at the time for automatic spelling. It was a so-called Psychorette with a small trolley on wheels on which the hand was placed and which moved on a rail, thus tracing the letters of the alphabet.The Edelweiss Society (Edelweissförbundet) was a new religious community in Sweden based on Spiritualism and belief in reincarnation within the framework of Christianity. It claimed to offer a synthesis of Catholicism, Judaism and Spiritualism. It was founded in 1890 by Huldine Beamish (1836-1892). In the beginning, Huldine Beamish was the herald of the new teachings, which she received mainly in visions. Other mediums also contributed, most notably Mathilda Nilsson (1844-1923), who practiced automatic spelling of spirit messages using a planchette - a device that facilitates involuntary movements of the medium's hand placed on it to automatically spell out or directly write down spirit messages.

This brief description of the Edelweiss Society is limited to the aspect of interest to the CoMA: the fact that mediumistic drawing played a central role in the Edelweiss Society as a source of supernatural information. Huldine Beamish was already practicing it, and from then on it was a defining practice of spirit communication for decades with several mediums who were active in the Society.

The members were concerned with the ennoblement of people through their particular form of Christian Spiritualism. The spiritual messages of love, purity and simplicity, as well as prophecies and the spiritual tasks to which the initiates were to devote themselves according to the instructions of the spirits, were conveyed in the drawings through symbols, metaphors, analogies and emblematic elements.

Many mediumistic drawings can be found in the notebooks of the minutes of the spiritualist meetings, others on loose sheets of paper belonging to certain written messages from the spirits. In many cases, these drawings cannot be clearly attributed to a particular person in the circle. These unattributed drawings date from about 1900-1930, and a small selection is shown here.

The drawings that can be assigned to specific mediums of the group can be found under the names of the authors. Among the members who were particularly active in mediumistic drawing and whose works have survived are Huldine Beamish, Bertha Valerius, Maria Löwstädt, Axelina Hammarstrand, Jenny Ahlström and Dagmar Nyström. Huldine Beamish's successor at the head of the Edelweiss Society, her daughter Huldine Fock, who acted as a medium in the circle and, like her mother, received visions and messages from the spirits, also produced mediumistic drawings from time to time.

During their time as members of the Edelweiss Society (from 1896-1899), Cornelia Cederberg (1854-1933), Anna Cassel (1860-1937) and later Hilma af Klint (1862-1944), who belonged to the group "The Five", also developed into drawing mediums. Their mediumistic drawings, mainly in sketchbooks and on loose sheets, are in the Hilma af Klint Foundation.

Huldine Fock had five daughters, all of whom had more or less mediumistic abilities. Carin (1888-1931) and Elsa (1883-1932) were considered particularly strong mediums. Some of Carin's mediumistic drawings have also survived.

The two sisters Lucie Lagerbielke (1865-1931) and Mary Karadja (1868-1943), who played an important role in the history of the Swedish esoteric currents, were also associated with the Edelweiss Society for some time without ever becoming members. They were also active as drawing mediums. However, as their works were created outside the framework of the group, they are formally and stylistically of a completely different nature.


EXHBITIONS



2021 Eine Zeitreise zur Quelle der Inspiration (werksdialog #4: Monica von Rosen – Hilma af Klint) [A journey through time to the source of inspiration], Villa Blunk, Wriezen, Germany, September 12. – November 21, 2021

2020 Hilma af Klint und das wilde Zeichnen. [Hilma af Klint and the wild drawing.] Grisebach, Berlin, Germany, March 17 – April 11, 2020


PUBLICATIONS



Faxneld, Per. ”Kvinnligt ledarskap inom svensk spiritism runt år 1900.” In: Simon Sorgenfrei & David Thurfjell (eds.). Kvinnligt religiöstst ledarskap. En vänbok till Gunilla Gunner. Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2020: 123-136.

Faxneld, Per. ”Edelweissförbundet: En liten rörelse med stora ambitioner.”In: Kurt Almqvist (red.), Det esoteriska Sverige: Från Swedenborg till Strindberg. Stockholm: Bokförlaget Stolpe, 2023, 88–101.

Norgren, Amanda. Instruments of God: A study of women’s religious authority and political agency in the Edelweiss Society 1889- 1910. MA Thesis, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholms universitet, 2023.

Nyman, Anna. ”Edelweiss-Förbundet,” Sökaren, 1978, 8: 2-4.

Rhodin, Hans. Edelweissförbundets historia. MA Thesis, Uppsala University, 1985.

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