Nietzsche – Der Zeitgemässe by Julien Rochedy

The author, Julien Rochedy, introduces the teachings of Nietzsche and puts them into the context of our current struggle. Interestingly, Nietzsche himself said that his work should be appreciated 100 years after his death – which is now, and this turned out to be a good prediction.

Rochedy also discusses Nietzsche’s life (i.e. when and under which circumstances he wrote his most important works) as well as clearing out some misconceptions about the man:

  • Nietzsche was indeed sickly later in his life, but was in good physical and athletic condition in his youth (he also spent time in the Prussian army).
  • Nietzsche did not, as some believe, triumphantly proclaim the death of God. Rather, a character of his laments the death of God. Thus, it is more a warning of atheism than a celebration of it.
  • Nietzsche also warns about nihilism, and encourages the new aristocracy (that will save European civilisation) to revolt against it.
  • The Overman (Übermensch) is not something that you are born as, but rather something you become. ‘Man is something to be overcome.’ A common misconception is to link the concept of the Overman with eugenics.
  • Eugenics is good, but Nietzsche’s concept of the Overman does not refer directly to it, but rather to do with the overcoming of oneself. That being said, Nietzsche presented the path of the Overman as a viable option for but a few. This reminds us of Evola’s Aristocrats of the Soul.
  • Nietzsche started out as a German Nationalist, but would later come to a more pan-European vision (similar to yours truly).

The book is in German (it is also the first book in German I have read), so I am certain I missed a few insights and nuances, but I found it interesting and understandable enough to recommend it to those who are interested in Nietzsche.

Temple of the Cosmos by Jeremy Naydler

I have had the pleasure of reading Temple of the Cosmos – The Ancient Egyptian Experience of the Sacred by Jeremy Naydler. I read the book per the recommendation of Mer-Rekh on Twitter. I can right away state that the book is highly interesting. Up until now, I had not delved deeper into the religion and metaphysics of the Ancient Egyptians, but their Gods have always had a certain place in my heart – not in the same way as the Indo-European Gods, but a place nonetheless. I had the great fortune of playing Age of Mythology in my younger years (which instilled a love for mythology). I am no stranger to Egyptian history and have always viewed the civilisation with admiration.

Whenever I review books, I note down particularly interesting pages and passages which contain insights that I wish to share. This book contains a spectacular amount of those! Below are but a few.

A Divine Land

The author notes that the Ancient Egyptians were much more connected to the divine (spiritual, metaphysical) than modern man. The two quotes below explains this quite well:

‘The physical universe had a “vertical dimension”; it reached up into, and included within itself, spiritual realities that for the modern consciousness are no longer a living experience.’

Jeremy Naydler – Temple of the Cosmos. Page 2.

‘The Egyptians themselves did not experience any gulf separating the spiritual from the physical realm. There was little in nature that could not effectively communicate a divine power. The starts, sun, moon, wind, and earth – all were gods or expressions of gods to them. Animals, plants, trees, serpents – all were capable of mediating a divine presence. For the Egyptians the natural world was full of gods. And the world of physical objects could equally become filled with divine powers.’

Jeremy Naydler – Temple of the Cosmos. Page 133.

Statues and Idols

On the same page as the passage above, the author explains that the Egyptians never worshipped idols and that idolatry was not an issue. The reason for this is that the concept of an idol (i.e. a mere physical object) was unconceivable for the Egyptian mind – the physical and metaphysical did not have the clear distinction as they would come to have in later centuries. The concept of an idol was introduced by the Israelites. We encountered a similar discussion regarding idolatry in our review of The Agni and The Ecstasy by Steven J. Rosen. Also interesting to note is that the Egyptians ensouled statues in rituals.

Horus and Seth – The Two Lands

A central conflict in the Egyptian cosmology is that between Horus and Seth. Horus is connected to the life-giving powers of the Nile; Seth is connected to the death of the desert. The conflict is thus between creation and destruction – order and chaos. This conflict was seen in the very landscape itself with the annual rise and decline of the Nile. Just as the Germanic weltanschauung was intertwined with the cycles of the year, so was the Egyptian (although these cycles are, of course, quite different).

‘From the beginning, the Delta was the domain of Horus while Upper Egypt was the province of Seth, the great opponent from whom the imperiled life and fecundity of the Nile valley had annually to be won. Seth ruled the desert; the desert was Seth’s land. And Seth was eternally opposed by Horus; eternally combatted and defeated.’

Jeremy Naydler – Temple of the Cosmos. Page 2.

The author goes on to note that Egypt was referred to the Two Lands not only because of the distinction between the North and the South, but also because of the contrast between the fertile Black Lands of the Nile (black = fertile soil) and the Red Lands of the desert. Metaphysically speaking, there was also the distinction between the spiritual realm on the one hand and the world of lifeless matter on the other.

‘Horus rules in opposition to Seth. Horus is the protector of life, the guarantor of order and harmony on earth. Seth is the destroyer of life, the instigator of disorder and chaos.’

Jeremy Naydler – Temple of the Cosmos. Page 71.

Horus was associated with the king; Seth with enemies.

East and West of the Nile

The author notes that the physical geography of Egypt played a role in their metaphysical conception of the world. The rise of the sun – the daily rebirth of Ra – was in the east. His descent into the realm of the dead was in the west. Therefore, mortuary temples and similar structures had to be on the western side of the Nile (the side of the dead).

A Beautiful Poem and an Epic Quote

As loyal readers will know, I am always on the lookout for beautiful poems and epic quotes. To my great delight, I found several in this book. Below is a hymn to the Sun-God Ra:

‘Splendid you rise, O living sun, eternal Lord!
You are radiant, beauteous, mighty,
Your love is great, immense.
Your rays light up all faces.
Your bright hue gives life to hearts,
When you fill the Two Lands with your love.’

Temple of the Cosmos. Page 2.

In the chapter titled The Marriage of Myth and History, the author notes that historical events were often presented as mythological. The Battle of Kadesh was a historical battle between the Egyptians under Ramesses II and the Hittites under Muwatalli II. Below is an epic quote which tells of the battle in a mythological fashion:

‘I was like Ra, when he rises at dawn.
My rays, they burned the rebels’ bodies,
They called out to another:
“Beware, take care, don’t approach him…
Anyone who goes to approach him,
Fire’s breath comes to burn his body.”
Thereupon they stood at a distance,
Kissing the ground before me.’

Battle of Kadesh Inscription (the quote appears on page 115 in Temple of the Cosmos).

In the same chapter, the author notes that Egypt’s enemies – Ethiopians to the south, Libyans to the west, Asiatics to the east – became symbols of the archetypal enemy that the king of Egypt had to eternally defeat. In this chapter, he also refers to the teachings of Mircea Eliade, whom we have encountered before – in our review of The Myth of the Eternal Return, for example.

Religion and Magic

The author notes that for the Egyptians, religion and magic were not separated – religion was magical. Moreover, he notes that, generally speaking, it was necessary to be a magician in order to hold office of state. This makes perfect sense with the knowledge of how important spiritual matters were for the people – a ‘separation of church and state’ would have been an absurd proposition! He also elaborates on the importance of Egyptian magic to the later Western Esoteric tradition. He shares the following quote by Jakob Böhme (1575–1624), a German philosopher and mystic:

‘Magic is the best theology, for in it true faith is both grounded and found. And he is a fool that reviles it, for he knows it not, and blasphemes against both God and himself, and is more a juggler than a theologian of understanding.’

Jakob Böhme (the quote appears on page 122 in Temple of the Cosmos).

He also shares the following quote by good old Paracelsus (1493–1541):

‘Magic is the greatest wisdom and the knowledge of supernatural powers… acquired by obtaining more spirituality and making oneself capable to feel and to see the things of the spirit.’

Paracelsus (the quote appears on page 123 in Temple of the Cosmos).

We encountered both Jakob Böhme and Paracelsus in our review of Evola’s The Hermetic Tradition.

The Hieroglyphs

In the chapter titled The Theology of Magic, the author notes that the hieroglyphs were the product of a different mentality than the modern (more profane) one – therefore, it is a misconception to only view the hieroglyphs as symbols without a deeper meaning. In this sense, they remind us of the Runes – which all contain deep mysteries and teachings (I will elaborate at length about the Runes in my upcoming book).

Ka – Ancestral Vital Energy

The book contains many interesting passages about the various metaphysical elements of a person. Elaborating on these lies beyond the scope of this book review; but one metaphysical element of particular interest is the Ka – the source of a persons vital energy. This energy was (for the common people) bestowed by an extraneous source:

‘This was the ancestral group that existed in the spirit world as a source of power at one with ka energy. It was the ancestors who directed this energy toward the physical realm, thereby infusing not only human beings but also animals and crops with vitality.’

Jeremy Naydler – Temple of the Cosmos. Page 193.

One could say that the Egyptian dead were not really dead, but influenced the living world in a sense. The author notes that ‘going to the Ka‘ was an experience of becoming absorbed into the ancestral group.

Supremely interesting!

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

In case you encountered Thoth’s War Elephant of Enlightenment on Telegram, Twitter, or Instagram and wondered where he is from, I can reveal that the picture you see is a screenshot from Assassin’s Creed: Origins. AC: Origins is one of the better games in the franchise, and a game I can recommend for those who are into gaming and Ancient Egypt. The game is not set in the Ancient Egypt of the native Egyptian pharaohs, but rather Egypt during the Hellenistic era – in any case, the aesthetics and setting are great!

Conclusion

As noted in the introduction, I thoroughly enjoyed this fine tome of knowledge and can definitely recommend it not only for those interested in Ancient Egypt, but also to those interested in spiritual matters in general. The book is 286 pages and written in accessible language. Great stuff!

The Fraternitas Saturni by Stephen E. Flowers

I have read The Fraternitas Saturni – History, Doctrine, and Rituals of the Magical Order of the Brotherhood of Saturn by Stephen E. Flowers. The book is, as the subtitle suggests, about the history, doctrine, and rituals of the Fraternitas Saturni. The brotherhood was founded in 1926 by Eugen Grosche (1888–1964), also known by his occult name of Gregor A. Gregorius, and exists to this day. In my humble opinion, the most interesting part of the book concerns the brotherhood’s view of Lucifer.

Saturn, Lucifer, Satan

‘The elements that make the FS unique are its focus on the Saturn archetype, the Satunian mythos of a new aeon based on an astrological process, and an unabashed Luciferianism.’

Stephen E. Flowers – The Fraternitas Saturni. Page 41.

The author notes that in the Saturn Gnosis, the planet and archetype of Saturnus is the focal point for the manifestation of the Demiurge (Demiurge = Creator God). This Demiurge is identified with Lucifer as the ‘higher octave’ of Saturn, whereas Satan is the ‘lower octave’ – the Saturnian brother should focus on the higher octave to remain fully conscious and independent. According to secret teachings of the Fraternitas Saturni, Saturnus is the ‘Great Judge’ that manifests justice, as well as being a bringer of reason and intelligence. Saturnus is, moreover, the ‘breaker of cosmic order and unity.’ He instituted death, thus causing regeneration and change to come into being. One of the ways he broke the cosmic order was in the revelation of divine secrets to mankind. Therefore, in the view of the Fraternitas Saturni, Lucifer is the ‘Good God’ who brought the Divine Light to mankind – he is the embodiment of enlightenment and reason. Lucifer in this context takes on a similar shape as Prometheus of Greek myth (who brought the divine fire, or higher consciousness, to mankind).

‘Gregorius was always anxious to point out that this Lucifer mythology was in fact older than the ignorant misunderstandings and willful distortions of the Judeo-Christian tradition.’

Stephen E. Flowers – The Fraternitas Saturni. Page 62.

Perhaps Otto Rahn was inspired by this view of Lucifer; it is not an impossibility since he was active during the same tumultuous time in Germany. As we saw in Lucifer’s Court, Rahn believed Lucifer to be an ancient Indo-European God (equivalent of Balder among the Norsemen and Apollo among the ancient Greeks).

‘I believe that I just saw God on this road! He came riding like a knight, beautiful and strong. His blond hair fell around his bronzed face and his bright eyes shone. […] Peire Vidal, you have met Lucifer, whom you call Lucibel!”’

Otto Rahn – Lucifer’s Court

Weimar Degeneracy

In the appendix of the book, a chapter titled An Outline of Adonism is included. Adonism was connected to, although not in any official capacity, the Fraternitas Saturni. In essence, the adherents of ‘Adonism’ were degenerates (i.e. similar to modern-day Leftists). They profaned the sacred name of Adonis by connecting it to ‘sexual liberation’ and radical Left-wing policies (abolishing of marriage as the societal norm, for example).

An Epic Poem

As an aspiring poet, I am always on the look-out for beautiful and epic poems to serve as inspiration. Here is the first part of a poem by Gregor A. Gregorius.

‘Thou must affirm the God in Thee,
for every doubt takes power from Thee.
Every hour of Thy divine knowledge brings
Thee a step higher in Thy journey.
Thou canst unfold the spark,
that God bestowed on Thee, to a pure flame
that makes worlds fall and rise again,
God is in Thee! – Thou art Thyself God!’

– Gregor A. Gregorius

As any loyal reader of these book reviews will know by now, I do not endorse the teachings of every person I quote. The passage above is merely a part of a beautiful poem – it does not mean that I endorse Gregorious as a person.

Illuminati and the Rosicrucians

Also included in the appendix of the book is a chapter on the Bavarian Illuminati (founded 1776) and the Rosicrucians (founded ca. 1604). The reason for including a chapter on these two different organisations is due to their importance to the later occult revival to which the Fraternitas Saturni was heir. The quote below summarises the difference between the two quite well:

‘Rosicrucians are spiritual and mystical, whereas the Illuminati were purely materialistic and rational. The Rosicrucians are children of the Renaissance and Reformation while the Illuminati are the offspring of the Enlightenment.’

Stephen E. Flowers – The Fraternitas Saturni. Page 171.

A longer discussion of the two organisations is beyond the scope of this review, but we will most likely return to the topic in coming articles.

Conclusion

Since I have read quite a few of his books by now, I am confident in recommending everything by Stephen E. Flowers – including this fine book. It is 181 pages and written in accessible language. Good stuff!

Aleister Crowley’s Four Books of Magick – Liber ABA

I have read Aleister Crowley’s Four Books of Magick – Liber ABA. Having encountered him in several other esoteric books, I decided that it would be reasonable to read his own words. The edition I read is edited by Stephen Skinner and contains an interesting foreword as well as many helpful footnotes. The footnotes are especially helpful since most of the book is rather unstructured.

As is selbstverständlich (roughly translated from German as ‘self understanding’; another translation would be obvious) for my loyal readers, I do not endorse Aleister Crowley as a person (i.e. his degeneracy and drug use). I, a humble seeker of esoteric knowledge, merely seek to present the grimoire at hand.

Mysticism vs Magic

In the introduction, Stephen Skinner shares the following explanation regarding the difference between mysticism and magic:

‘Mysticism relates to improving one’s mind or soul while striving for something like Samadhi or union with god. This can only be experienced internally. Magic, however, is concerned with making changes in the external world, securing the love of someone otherwise unobtainable, or a rapid job promotion, obtaining treasure, or an impossibly elusive book. The two methods are not interchangeable, just as their objectives are very different.’

Stephen Skinner

Spirit or Psyche?

Another interesting insight presented in the introduction is Aleister Crowley’s indecisiveness regarding the nature of magical operations.

  • The Spirit View. Up until and during the 19th century, magic was seen as a collaboration between the magician and a god, angel, demon, or spirit.
  • The Psyche View. The 20th century view of magic was one influenced by science, albeit a soft science – in the form of psychology. The view is that everything magical takes place in one’s own psyche.

Crowley, being a child of his time – Victorian England – with its love for all things scientific, wanted to present magick (magick being his spelling of the word) as a science. This becomes clear when reading the book. This would present an issue since it was his Holy Guardian Spirit, Aiwass – an entity outside of his own psyche – that presented him with the insights required to start Thelema (his new religion).

‘Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.’

Aleister Crowley

My own take is that the Spirit View is more heroic; it also makes more sense. The Psyche View is a bit too atheistic for my taste! We will return to this interesting topic at a later stage.

The Five Glaciers

In part one of the book, Crowley elaborates on meditation and yoga. This is the best and most accessible part of the book. He shares a beautiful image that he learned in India in regard to stilling the mind:

‘That image is that of a lake into which five glaciers move. These glaciers are the senses. While ice (the impressions) is breaking off constantly into the lake, the waters are troubled. If the glaciers are stopped the surface becomes calm; and then, and only then, can it reflect unbroken the disk of the sun. This sun is the “soul” or “God.”’

Aleister Crowley – Four Books of Magick. Page 85.

In the same part, he shares another epic quote from the Dhammapada (a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form):

‘An ill-thatched house is open to the mercy of the rain and wind;
So passion hath the power to break into an unreflecting mind.
A well-thatched house is proof against the fury of the rain and wind;
So passion hath no power to break into a rightly-ordered mind.’

Dhammapada

Aleister Crowley’s Description of Himself

Crowley shares the following description of himself. He describes himself in grandiose terms in other sections of the book as well. On a personal note, I like this. Degenerate as he was, he was still accomplished in certain matters (especially mountaineering), and there is no reason to pretend to be humble when one is in fact not.

‘Myself, age 28½. In good health, fond of out-door sports, especially mountaineering and big-game shooting. An Adept Major of the A∴A∴ [Argenteum Astrum, which is Latin for Silver Star] but weary of mysticism and dissatisfied with Magick. A rationalist, Buddhist, agnostic, anti-clerical, anti-moral, Tory and Jacobite. A chess-player, first class amateur, able to play three games simultaneously blindfold. A reading and writing addict.’

Aleister Crowley – Four Books of Magick. Page 687.

Something to note with Aleister Crowley is that his father was a devout member of the (Christian) Plymouth Brethren. As I noted in my conversation with Styxhexenhammer666 (listen to it here), it seems that many with anti-Christian attitudes come from strict Christian households. His anti-Christian sentiments become clear when reading the book.

An Amusing Anecdote

Crowley shares the following amusing anecdote. Frater Perdurabo = Aleister Crowley.

‘His need to check the vampiring of a lady in Paris by a sorceress once led FRATER PERDURABO to the discovery of a very powerful body of black magicians, with whom he was obliged to wage war for nearly 10 years before their ruin was complete and irremediable, as it now is.’

Aleister Crowley – Four Books of Magick. Page 309.

His style of writing, it must be admitted, is entertaining. He is also politically incorrect, which is refreshing and fun. Some other similar anecdotes appear throughout the book.

Conclusion

The tome is quite massive, physically speaking; length-wise it is around 700 pages, depending on how you count (the appendix section is quite extensive). The text is quite spaced out and there are plenty of illustrations, so the book does not contain 700 pages of dense text. Even so, reading it presents quite a time investment. The edition itself is beautiful; it is a nice hardcover with an aesthetically pleasing front.

Can I recommend the book? It depends on whether you view Crowley as an interesting man or not. If not, then I would not recommend reading the book, especially since there are so many other interesting esoteric works out there – I would first and foremost recommend the works of Stephen E. Flowers. Moreover, large parts of the book do not make much sense. For those who are interested in Crowley’s own rituals and philosophies, however, the book is a good addition to one’s arcane library.

Onwards and upwards!