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Walhalla-orden was a secret society founded in the early part of 1783 in the Suomenlinna island fortress outside Helsinki, Finland by Johan Anders Jägerhorn along with Gustaf Adolf Reuterholm. It is thought to have been instrumental in setting in motion forces that eventually caused Finnish independence.

Contents

Origins

It began as an off-shoot of an obscure Swedish quasi-masonic secret society called La Constance, created to bolster loyalty to the Swedish Constitution of 1772. However, the Swedish counterpart withered quickly, while the Valhalla society took root in the Suomenlinna (Sw. Sveaborg) fortress. In addition to the originating lodge in Sweden, they had a cabin called Cabin of the Holy Axel based in Åbo.

Historical context

Walhalla-orden was hardly unique to its period in Sveaborg; quite the contrary, besides A masonic lodge and Walhalla-orden, there were a number of societys of the like; a British inspired secret society of "kirvesmiehet" called Saint Carolinus' cabin and another unconnected society called Brothers of February the Seventeenth. On the frivolous side, there was also a "secret society" called "hypotenuse" society, which was primarily oriented around marathon-drinking; registering every shot of punch as a "working" in the meeting minutes.

Name

The walhalla orden originally was preceded by a lodge taking the name of an early ancestor of Jägerhorn, namely Rutger Ingesson, who according to legends inspired by the Song of Roland was a crusader knight in the troops of Erik the Holy. In fact there was a brief time during which "St. Eriks" cabin was the Finnish locus of activities.

Symbology

The symbology it adopted drew from Gothic revivalist notions of ancient scandinavian roots, and the lodges for instance were called by a more archaic Scandinavian name. Even though the initiation ceremonies centered on a five part play expressing the history of the creation of the Swedish nation in allegorical fashion, the symbolic organizational structure was entirely Finnish without reference to Swedish counties or emblems.

Development

It had begun on a strict loyalist foundation and stayed nominally in support of the constitution, but in actual reality the society quickly consisted mainly of officers stationed there who had a grievance with Gustav III, and the strong expectation of the conversations being oath bound to remain confidential, means that it is inevitable that many seditious matters were broached, in one form or another, and it is a fact that nearly all of the people implicated in the Anjala conspiracy, including its leadership, were members of it.

Activities

Though only few fragments of encrypted correspondence remain, and the archives likewise will have been burned to protect the members later implicated in plotting nefarious in the view of the crown (such as the Anjala conspiracy), it is thought that Walhalla society may have been the first time the thought of Finnish independence was mentioned as a serious idea. Indeed in the society, people floated the idea of Finland becoming a protectorate of Russia. [1]

References

  1. ^ Alanen, Aulis J. (November 1964), Suomen Historia - Suomen Historia Kustavilaisella Ajalla, X, Helsinki & Porvoo: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö  
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