Jouret, Luc (1947–1994)
Luc Jouret, cofounder of the Solar Temple (Ordre du Temple
Solaire), the occult group known because of the suicide of
some 50 members in several incidents October 3–5, 1994, was
born on October 18, 1947 in what was then the Belgian Congo,
Africa. His Belgian parents returned to their homeland in the
1950s, and Jouret attended the Free University of Brussels
from which he received his medical degree. During his college
years he also became a Marxist, a fact that placed him under
police surveillance. Two years after graduation, in 1976, he
joined the Belgian Army and became a paratrooper. While in
the army he participated in a famous action in Zaire to rescue
some Europeans whose lives had become threatened in the
newly independent nation.
Following his time in the army, he began a formal study of
homeopathy (a very popular form of medical treatment in
French-speaking Europe) and emerged as a homeopathic physician.
He traveled widely studying various forms of alternative
and spiritual healing. At the beginning of the 1980s he settled
in Annemasse, France, not far from the Swiss border. He continued
to lecture widely on holistic health and the paranormal
and invited those who responded to him into Amenta Club
(later renamed the Atlanta Club).
Among the groups for which he lectured was the Golden
Way Foundation, a New Age group in Geneva, Switzerland,
and he became close friends with the foundation’s leader, Joseph
Di Mambro (1924–1994). Di Mambro had been a Rosicrucian
and Jouret had in 1981 affiliated with the Renewed
Order of the Temple, an occult order founded in the 1970s by
Julian Origas (1920–1983). They soon discovered their mutual
interests and in 1984 together founded the Solar Temple. By
this time Jouret was traveling widely through French-speaking
Europe, Eastern Canada and Martinique as an inspirational
speaker. While Di Mambro directed the group from behind the
scenes, Jouret was its outward image and primary recruiter.
The Solar Temple wedded the Templars tradition to the
New Age. It drew its authority in part by an appeal to a lineage
of grand masters that was claimed to go back to the medieval
Order of the Temple that was suppressed at the beginning of
the fourteenth century. Di Mambro assigned members a significant
role as agents to bring the New Age into visible presence
in the world. The temple offered a program of personal spiritual
progress through the practice of occult disciplines and rituals
that invoked the power of the Great White Brotherhood to
bring forth the New Age.
Jouret led a growing organization through the 1980s, but in
the 1990s, troubles began to plague the temple. Members
began to depart, Di Mambro fell ill, and authorities in several
countries began to investigate its activities. Jouret and Di Mambro
became increasingly pessimistic, especially after Jouret was
arrested for attempting to purchase three handguns with silencers
in Quebec. The incident was widely reported in the
media and destroyed his reputation in Quebec.
In 1993 Jouret, Di Mambro, and several members traveled
to Australia. By this time they were beginning to discuss the refusal
of the public to evolve and bring in the New Age. They
began to put together a set of documents that would be mailed
out in October of 1994 detailing their rationale for their final
act in which they would escape the world to a higher dimension.
On October 3–5, 1994, Jouret and some 12 other members
of the temple died by suicide at two locations in Switzerland.
The night before he died, Jouret joined Di Mambro and
a small group of members in a lavish last meal together at a
local restaurant. Prior to their own death, the group assisted
other members who had taken tranquilizers to die. These
members were shot. The Solar Temple disbanded after Jouret’s
death, though a year later another group would commit suicide
and in 1997 five more died believing that they were following
the first group to a higher dimension.
Introvigne, Massimo. ‘‘The Magic of Death The Suicides of
the Solar Temple.’’ In Catherine Wessinger, ed. Millennialism,
Persecution, and Violence Historical Cases. Syracuse, N.Y. Syracuse
University Press, 2000.
Meyer, Jean François. ‘‘&43‘Our Terrestrial Journey is
Coming to an end’’ The Late Voyage of the Solar Temple.’’
Nova Religio 2, 2 (April 1999) 172–96.
Palmer, Susan. ‘‘Purity and Danger in the Solar Temple.’’
Journal of Contemporary Religion 11, 3 (October 1996) 303–18.
Wessinger, Catherine. How the Millennium Comes Violently.
New York Seven Bridges Press, 2000.

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