Thursday, July 12, 2018

White Ladies: a female secret society

Last week I found a very interesting article in a German magazine, about a secret society composed exclusively by women that has been maintained through the centuries: the "White Ladies" or "Ladies of the White Rose".
I took the trouble to try to transcribe it.

The White Ladies is a female secret society whose origins can be traced back to the ancient world.
It is an organization composed exclusively by women, and its logo is a white rose, since in its early stages who belonged to this organization used this flower to identify themselves, and that would have given rise to its modern name.

While there are no documents to support its existence until well into the Middle Ages, there are indications that its beginnings are linked to the cults of Aphrodite in Greece.
The society would have persisted taking as an object of worship to Venus, already in Rome, and through it they would have spread throughout a good part of Europe.

However, it is not until the beginning of the thirteenth century that evidence can be found of the existence of this secret society, mentioned in documents of the period in which the house of Hohenstaufen the Holy Roman Germanic Empire, found in the monastery of Rupertsberg, in which it alludes to the "Ladies of the White Rose" (Damen der Weißen Rose), and stories are mentioned that would place the same Countess of Rheineck, Gertrude von Nordheim, a noblewoman famous for her great beauty, such as Große Mutter, Great Mother, of the Ladies of the White Rose.

The organization would be harshly persecuted by the Church, under the accusation of the practice of witchcraft, which is why it would be practically disarticulated, and the surviving members would disappear.
However, it is known that various groups would remain in hiding, and would no longer publicly identify themselves, maintaining the identity of their members in the strictest secrecy.
It will not be until the eighteenth century that there would be news of different groups of "Ladies of the White Rose" in countries such as Italy, Spain, Germany or England, although the existence of groups in most of the countries of Europe, and the emergence in the nineteenth century of similar groups in America.

The name "White Ladies" would be a variation suffered through the centuries of the "Ladies of the White Rose", although by the secret nature of these groups, and the long period of isolation due to the persecution suffered, they would have originated different denominations, being the best known: "White Ladies", "White Roses", "Ladies of the White Rose", "White Lodge" and "Lodge of Venus".

It is estimated that only here in Germany, Damas Blancas would have more than 2,300 members today, although this information has been questioned since there has been a debate between those who say that this organization has never existed and it is a question of popular tradition, who argue that it did exist but was dismantled during the Middle Ages, and who argue that there is evidence of various active groups to this day.

Do not confuse the White Ladies with the Ladies in White; the latter is about a Cuban anti-Castro organization that has no ties of any kind with the White Ladies.

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