One of many esoteric secret societies in pre-Revolutionary France, the Society of Universal Harmony (Société de l’Harmonie Universelle) was founded in 1782 by Nicolas Bergasse and Guillaume Kornmann, two leading Parisian disciples of Franz Anton Mesmer, the charismatic Austrian physician and inventor of Mesmerism. Bergasse and Kornmann, on behalf of the Society, paid Mesmer the substantial sum of 2400 louis d’or for all the secrets of his method. Those secrets became the teachings of the Society, given out to members in stages as they advanced through the degrees of the Society.
During its short lifetime, the Society was enormously successful, and established lodges throughout France. Its career came to an abrupt end with the coming of the Revolution, however. The tidal wave of political and social change that washed over France between 1789 and 1815 left the Society in tatters, and those of its former members who survived the Terror, the Napoleonic Wars, and the ordinary attrition of a troubled quarter-century with their interest in secret societies intact, joined new orders thereafter.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006