Posted on May 24, 2022
I have read Revival of the Runes by Stephen E. Flowers. Just as Icelandic Magic (review here) and Rune Might (review here) by the same author, it is highly insightful and interesting. I thought that the only reasonable course of action was to continue along the same path by reading more about the runes.
Stephen E. Flowers and Edred Thorsson
You may have noticed that Rune Might is authored by Edred Thorsson (Stephen E. Flowers’ pen name). Why does he write about the same topic under two different names? Simply put, it is to distinguish between his role as a scholar and as a magician. Stephen E. Flowers is the academic who presents certain topics in a more scholarly manner; Edred Thorsson presents them in a less restricted manner – allowing him some poetic license as well as some room to elaborate on certain magical practices as he sees them. On a personal note, I view this as a reasonable way to distinguish between the works. It must be noted that the style of the books is quite similar regardless of which name he uses.
Rune Might and Revival of the Runes
As you may have discerned from the information regarding the names above, Revival of the Runes focuses more on the runes from the perspective of a historian – Rune Might is more practically oriented. As I noted in my review of Rune Might, I appreciate practical instructions that I can implement, and experiment with, in my own meditations. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Revival of the Runes as well. The story of the runes is, to a large extent, also a story about the Germanic peoples. Moreover, in reading the book, I was introduced more thoroughly to certain Swedish scholars whose names I had previously only been familiar with in passing – such as Johan Bure (more on him further down).
Pictured below: yours truly in Uppsala, a place of both spiritual and scholarly importance. Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) was an important place for Pagan rituals, and Uppsala University (founded in 1477) has, as you may have surmised, always been an important place for all manner of studies and research.
The Shift From Elder to Younger Futhark
The Younger Futhark (of 16 runes – pictured below) was a shortened version of the Elder Futhark (24 runes) and was in use during the Viking Age (from about 800 to 1100 CE). The author notes that the motives behind the reform of the runic system – i.e. going from the Elder to the Younger Futhark – remain a matter of scholarly controversy. One theory is that the shift was done to shield the runes from the unworthy – on a practical level it was a way for runecarvers to preserve and promote their profession.
‘The newly reformed system also made runic texts more difficult to read, with single runes being made to stand for a variety of sounds. One might logically ask: Why was this obfuscation deemed necessary? Since the phenomenon did occur, and because it runs contrary to the normal and expected development of a writing system, we must assume that it was the result of a conscious plan. Here the simplest answer is probably the right one: The system was made more difficult so that it could not be casually learned by those outside the gild of runecarvers.’Stephen E. Flowers – Revival of the Runes
The author also notes that the Norse dialects became more phonetically complex at the time, meaning that a reduction of the runes was not a result of a linguistical changes. On a related note, the Germanic languages (Swedish and English for example) were more similar (basically identical) during the Viking Age than they are today.
Just as in Rune Might, the concept of Gothicism is presented, and the author notes that the legendary status of the Goths could be harnessed for European nations to increase their prestige. This is reasonable since the Goths left a great legacy.
I will elaborate on this at length in my upcoming book, but what we can note for now is the following: the nations that were infused with Gothic blood (from the Migration Era), primarily Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, would have a certain drive to pursue greatness in a Faustian manner. However, certain nations that were not touched by the Gothic migration (England and the Netherlands to name two) still had the same Faustian spirit of conquest and exploration. This is, in my humble opinion, due to the fact that it was the Indo-European (i.e. Steppe DNA) blood in the Goths that facilitated this spirit. The same Indo-European blood was, of course, present in the Saxons as well (as well as the ancient Greeks and Romans, as we have noted in previous articles). Moreover, as stated by Survive the Jive, it should be noted that there is no genetic difference between a migration era Lombard, Goth, Angle, or Jute. Thus, one can conclude that the adventure-seeking, glory-driven European spirit comes from a more distant past – i.e. from the Indo-Europeans.
Since we are on the topic, it is good to point out that there are no ‘pure’ Indo-European populations. Generally speaking, Europeans can be said to have three components: Indo-European, Early European Farmer, and Hunter-Gatherer. In conclusion, it can be noted that the Indo-European spirit can manifest itself as long as a touch of the blood remains. Moreover, I must add that this is an esoteric take on the spirit, not a comment on pure biology.
In my meditations on my own being, the following thought presented itself: perhaps the Indo-European spirit within me is particularly potent due to epigenetic factors. In my case, it may be that a great consumption of dairy products throughout my life, in addition to other factors, has facilitated the Indo-European spirit to dominate.
Again, this is a topic I will return to later on.
Theophratus Bombastus von Hohenheim (Paracelcus) appears in this book as well. He is introduced as one of the greatest intellectual heroes of the Northern Renaissance. We encountered him in relation to the arcane arts (in this case: magic, alchemy, and astrology) in our review of The Hermetic Tradition by Julius Evola (review here). Paracelsus was an inspiration for later Swedish mystics. In said Northern Renaissance, an interest for the runes was reignited. We will, as we continue on our esoteric path, most likely come across Paracelsus again.
The Swedish Mystic Johan Bure
In Rune Might, the author presents a number of German esoteric masters, primarily active during the early 20th century. In Revival of the Runes, the focus is on a number of Swedish men who were important to the survival and revival of the runes. Perhaps the most important one of these esoteric masters was Johan Bure, whose life is the main topic of the chapter titled From the Renaissance to the Baroque. In addition to his research on the runes, Bure was, to our great interest and admiration, a regular companion of Gustav II Adolf, also known as Gustav Adolf the Great. Gustav II Adolf was one of Sweden’s greatest kings and one of the most competent military leaders in history. Johan Bure instructed the king on matters of Swedish prehistory and esotericism up until the latter’s departure for Germany and the Thirty Years’ War. This royal patronage enabled Bure to pursue various esoteric paths:
‘This period was, of course, also rich with esoteric discoveries and explorations. Bure came under increasing attacks for his heretical ideas, but he was solidly supported by the royal house against any and all critics, the majority of whom were members of the Lutheran clergy.’Stephen E. Flowers – Revival of the Runes
The author notes that Bure’s esoteric works largely remain unpublished today, being stored away in archives in Stockholm, Uppsala, and Lund. On a personal note, I was actually admitted to the archives in Uppsala when I wrote a paper on the Swedish import of colonial wares during the 1700s. I will endeavour to get better acquainted with Bure’s teachings in the coming time. Pictured below: Johan Bure (to the right) and his mighty patron (to the left).
Controversies Surrounding the Runes
In a chapter titled The Rise of Contemporary Scientific Runology and the Re-Emergence of the Rune-Gild: Phase VI: 1975 to Present, the author discusses the view of the runes in later years. He notes that two opposing views came to prominence:
‘It might be said that from the early 1980s forward, there developed two schools of esoteric runology: the Blumian and the Edredian. The motto of the Blumian school would be: “Do your own thing” or “If it feels good, it’s right.” On the other hand, the motto of the Edredian school would be: “Verified tradition activated by experience leads to inner truth.”Stephen E. Flowers – Revival of the Runes
One could thus say that these disputes follow a similar pattern as today – where various ‘woke’ activists try to misconstrue the teachings of the ancients to suit their own political agenda. Survive the Jive made an interesting video on a similar matter which you can watch on Odysee: Good Walls for Bad Neighbours: The Meaning of Asgard’s Walls. On a personal note, I am more inclined to agree with the assessment of the Edrerian (as in Edred Thorsson) school – i.e. a healthy respect for the doctrines our ancestors.
Revival of the Runes is, just as Rune Might, a well-written and engaging book full of interesting insights. At 209 pages it is also not a big time-investment. For anyone interested in the runes, I can definitely recommend it. In closing, I will also add that I have grown fond of the writing style of Flowers and look forward to reading more books by him.
Posted on May 18, 2022
I have read Rune Might by Edred Thorsson – which is the pen name of Stephen E. Flowers. I first encountered his writings a while back when reading Icelandic Magic (read my review of it here: Icelandic Magic by Stephen E. Flowers), which I found highly interesting. Therefore, I decided to continue along the same path by reading this book. Gaining more insights into the runes also comes at a good point since I am currently meditating upon the Elder Futhark (as discussed in this video: Esoteric Masters – Vital Elements Review).
Just as Icelandic Magic, Rune Might contains plenty of practical instructions, which is great. There is plenty of theory to be had, and I suppose that you, my dear reader, are more interested in the practical applications of magic. This is definitely true for me – I aim to increase my knowledge of esoteric matters in order to set a higher pace in my great quest.
The Elder Futhark
The author presents the traditional runic systems, which are the following: the Elder (Older) Futhark (pictured below), the Anglo-Frisian Futhorc, the Younger Futhark, and the Armanic Futhork. The name Futhark simply comes from the sounds of the first six runes in the rune row (of each system respectively), as presented below:
- Fehu (f)
- Uruz (u)
- Thurisaz (th)
- Ansuz (a)
- Raido (r)
- Kenaz (k)
The Frisian Futhorc (33 runes) and the Armanic Futhork (18 runes), although similar to the Elder Futhark, present some of the runes in a different way, in addition to not containing the same number of runes. The Younger Futhark (16 runes) is simply a shortened version of the Elder Futhark (24 runes) and came into use during the Viking Age (around 800-1100 CE). Much more can be said about this, but on a personal note, I will mention that it is the Elder Futhark that I am meditating upon (I will return to this topic once I have meditated upon all runes therein).
In the introduction, the author introduces the concept of Storgoticism – Megalogothicism (stor = grand in Swedish) which was a popular cultural movement during the zenith of Swedish power (mainly the 17th century). He erroneously states the following, however: ‘the esoteric doctrine that the Goths (wrongly assumed to be the same as Swedes) were the once and future master race.‘ I was surprised to find such an obvious fault in the work of an otherwise excellent scholar. The Goths did, in fact, originate in Sweden, more specifically from the region of Götaland. The sacred island of Gotland shares a similar name. Survive the Jive elaborates more on the origins of the Goths at the end of this video: JIVE TALK: Ancient DNA news: Greece and Italy.
It must be noted though, that during the Gothic migration down through Europe they absorbed the DNA (primarily maternal) from other tribes they encountered – in true Indo-European fashion! We will return to the topic of the Goths in coming reviews and Podcast episodes.
German Esoteric Masters
In the chapter titled The High Tide of Rune Magic, the author presents a cast of characters that were important to the runic renaissance that took place in Germany during the early 20th century. As I have noted before, it is always interesting to read about the lives of the men whose teachings live on. I found an inspiring passage about one them – namely, Rudolf von Sebottendorf, who ‘traveled in various dark corners of the world collecting arcane lore.‘ Just reading that sentence conjures up the life-affirming spirit that European man needs today. Reading that passage certainly increased my own motivation for pursuing my arcane studies!
The author also presents Arnold Krumm-Heller, one of the most unique rune-crafters of the runic resurgence. Krumm-Heller went to Latin America (Chile, Peru, and Mexico) on a secret military mission in 1894. In Mexico he began his studies of the occult. He would go on to have an adventure-filled career too long to cover here. I note this to emphasise the fact that the occult has attracted men of power (in case anyone believed it was reserved for low-thumos men). The book introduces several other interesting esoteric teachers – an important one of those was a man named Guido von List (whom we shall return to in coming reviews).
In chapter 7, the author introduces the concept of rune yoga, which I found interesting since I have, as you most likely know, practiced yoga (i.e. mobility exercises) and meditation for quite some time. A number of postures and exercises are presented (some of which I will endeavour to experiment with in the coming time) with accompanying sounds and purposes (esoteric purposes as opposed to the yoga used for mobility).
It is noted that the best results are attained when the practitioner does the postures on bare ground, with bare feet, and in open air. This ties in well with the concept of grounding – i.e. connecting with the earth’s energies by walking barefoot. One can debate the science of grounding, but what I can say for certain is that it does indeed feel great to walk around barefoot in a beautiful environment. It is also worth pointing out that one should not let science interfere with esoteric matters – I will elaborate on this at length at a later time.
In the same chapter, the author describes the orientation and structure of the postures as presented by the German esoteric masters. A northward orientation provides a greater magical will, for example. More instructions are given for each posture, and I thought that the following passage would be interesting to share:
‘These theories are virtually identical to those of Indian tantric cosmology, with which the Germanic cosmology ultimately shares a common Indo-European ancestry.’Edred Thorsson – Rune Might
Various mantras connected to the rune-postures are also presented. For example: ‘Sing the rune-name KA and the formula KA-KE-KI-KO-KU while visualizing the influx of force from the solar and lunar coursing through the palms to the solar plexus and being grounded in the earth zone.’ I am unsure if I will try the mantra, but the visualisation sounds reasonable at least! I share this example as a way to illustrate roughly what these mantras entail.
Steads of Rune Might
Geomancy (earth magic) was a key component in the teachings of the German rune-magicians of the last century. Just as it is good to do the rune yoga in a certain way (as mentioned above), so does the place of the exercises matter. I am surrounded by these places of power – Steads of Rune Might – and, just as I noted above in terms of grounding, I can say for certain that some places have a special energy about them. This is a highly interesting topic that I will return to.
Rune Might by Edred Thorsson is a well-written and engaging book full of valuable insights. At 191 pages and with plenty of illustrations, it is not a big time-investment. I enjoyed Icelandic Magic greatly, and this book follows a similar style. For anyone interested in the esoteric side of the runes, I can definitely recommend it. My next review will be of Revival of the Runes by the same author (same topic but a different perspective).
Onwards and upwards!
Posted on May 15, 2022
It is with great pride and joy that I present the latest linen garments. I always set a high standard; even so, every once in a while, I am additionally happy with a release. This is one of those moments. I am the the first customer of the clothing, which means that the clothes must meet my own expectations and desires – I basically only wear Legio Gloria these days. A lot goes into a garment – look, feel, and material to just name a few aspects.
Ever since our first linen shirt (released in 2019), I have been a fan of linen – a fan on many levels! Linen looks good and feels good. It has a long and illustrious history, especially in Europe. Moreover, since we have delved into the esoteric as of late (with the book reviews), I can also note that linen is a sacred garment. I am not yet knowledgeable enough to point out exactly how, but I just know it on a deeper level – I feel in a similar way about wool. Perhaps I will return to the topic at a later time.
‘Legio Gloria products are high quality, smart and comfy. Linen is the best fabric for summer, wool the best for winter. Cotton acceptable. Polyester blasphemous.’Survive the Jive (via Telegram)
The statement above is a great endorsement from my favourite YouTube (and Odysee) channel. Feels great!
I posted the following to Telegram and Instagram, and deemed it reasonable to share here as well:
I, an artist, seek to imbue all my works (be it sculpting my physique or developing clothing) with as much beauty as possible. In order to do so, I endeavour to surround myself with beauty. The beauty I absorb can then be used for creative purposes. Architecture is a main source of beauty. People living in architecturally beautiful environments = happier. It is an easy concept. Upon regime change, a priority is thus to beautify cities (where possible) by replacing unaesthetic buildings with ones in classical style. The pictures above are taken in Uppsala, which, despite being populated by all manner of questionable characters, is a truly beautiful and sacred place.
Check out the new releases here: LegioGloria.com (you can also order Dauntless – The Wild Hunt Edition from the same webshop if you have not already read it).
Posted on April 23, 2022
I have read The Mystery of the Grail by Julius Evola. This book was at first just an appendix to Revolt Against the Modern World, but three years after its release Evola published The Mystery of the Grail as a book of its own – which is fortunate for us. On a personal note, I have always had a great affinity for the Grail legend, so perhaps I am biased in this regard, but I would say that this is one of Evola’s most interesting books. Something to be noted is that many of the perspectives presented in the book are elaborated on in other books as well, so being familiar with Evola beforehand may make the insights easier to understand.
Generally speaking, the more of Evola you read, the more sense his other works will make. As I mentioned in this video (Momentum Is King – Bombard Your Mind To Learn – Train Everyday), the more pieces of a puzzle you put down, the better grasp of the full picture you will get. Below are, as always, just a few insights I thought would be particularly interesting to share.
Guelphs and Ghibellines
A reoccurring theme in Evola’s work is the medieval conflict between the Guelphs (supporters of the Pope) and the Ghibellines (supporters of the Holy Roman Emperor). Understanding this conflict and Evola’s views on it is instrumental in understanding many of his other teachings. This is especially true for his disagreement with René Guénon, which we have discussed in many other reviews.
Evola, as we have noted before, viewed the Emperor – whether in the Roman Empire or the Holy Roman Empire – as the (rightful) highest spiritual authority, as opposed to the Pope. Therefore, Evola viewed the Middle Ages from a pro-Ghibelline perspective. Much more can be said about the historical context surrounding the Guelphs and Ghibellines, and we are bound to return to the topic at a later stage.
The Three Elements of Medieval Civilisation
In a very insightful chapter titled The Grail as a Ghibelline Mystery, Evola notes that medieval civilisation was shaped by three elements: Northern-Pagan, Christian, Roman. A certain segment in this chapter is so interesting that I found it reasonable to share most of it here. He states that the Northern-Pagan component played a decisive role in many aspects of social life, and perhaps more importantly for the topic at hand, that:
‘The feudal regime, the knightly morals, the civilisation of the courts, the original substance that engendered the crusading spirit are inconceivable without a reference to Nordic-Pagan blood and spirit.’Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 121.
And, in regard to the Goths and other Germanic tribes (i.e. Nordic-Pagan blood), he states that:
‘But while the races that descended upon Rome from the North should not be considered “barbarian” from this perspective (since it seems to me that they carried along values that were superior to those of a civilisation that was already decayed in its principles and in its people), we can still talk of a certain barbarism, which does not mean primitivity but rather involution, in specific regard to their spiritual traditions. I have already mentioned the existence of a primordial Nordic-Hyperborean tradition. In the peoples living at the time of the invasions we can find only fragmentary echoes and obscure memories of such a tradition, which leave a wide margin to popular legends and to superstition.’Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 121.
This is similar to what I have said in regard to the Goths as being the true heirs of the Roman spirit. As I noted in a recent article: The Rome that Alaric sacked in 410 was a far cry from the glorious city it had once been, and the spirit that led the Romans to glory had been long gone by this stage. I will meditate further upon this, but even at this stage one could argue that the spirit of Rome – which was founded by invading Indo-Europeans from the north – would have had more in common with the Goths than the people of the Roman empire during its waning years. I will return to this topic at a later stage, but what we can say now is that Rome during the early 400s was not the same Rome (bio-spiritually) as it was during its Golden Age (for more information on ancient Roman DNA, read this article: Ancient Roman DNA).
‘In any event, these memories were such that forms of a tough, warlike, and rough-hewn life prevailed over everything spiritual. The Nordic-Germanic traditions of the time, which were largely constituted by the Eddas, retained slight residues whose vital possibilities appear to have been exhausted and in which little was left of the wide scope and metaphysical tension that were proper to the great cycles of the primordial tradition. Thus we may speak of a state of involutive latency of the Nordic tradition. But as soon as contact with Christianity and with the symbol of Rome occurred, a different condition ensued; this contact had a galvanising effect. In spite of everything, Christianity revived the generic sense of a supernatural transcendence. The Roman symbol offered the idea of a universal regnum, of an aeternitas carried by an imperial power.’Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 121.
Thus, one interpretation could be that the spirit of Eternal Rome – Imperial Europa – was inherited by the Goths (and other Germanic tribes – the Franks in France for example) upon their invasion of Western Roman territories. This spirit would then give raise to the Middle Ages (which was a spiritual high-point for Evola, as he discusses elsewhere). One could envision the passing of a flame in terms of this spirit – the Imperial spirit going from Rome to the Holy Roman Empire, with Charlemagne being a particularly bright flame in this regard.
‘All this integrated the Nordic substance and provided superior reference points to its warrior ethos, so much as to gradually usher in one of those cycles of restoration that i have labelled “heroic” in a special sense. And so, from the type of the mere warrior the figure of the knight arose; the ancient Germanic traditions of war waged in function of Valhalla developed into the supranational epic of the “holy war” or crusade’.Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 121.
In inheriting this spirit, the Germanic peoples could elevate themselves – i.e. the lower warrior could transcend into the higher knight. Evola discusses the concept of holy war further in Metaphysics of War. I also elaborate on the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ crusade and jihad in Dauntless. There is an important lesson to be learned here – namely, that a high-thumos man guided by higher principles can elevate himself above his current state. Therefore, it can be said that adding a spiritual dimension to one’s life is a good decision.
‘A shift occurred from the type of the prince of a particular race to the type of the sacred and ecumenical emperor, who claimed that the principle of his power had a character and an origin no less supernatural and transcendent than that of the Church. This true renaissance, however, this grandiose development and wonderful transformation of forces, required an ultimate reference point, a supreme centre of crystallisation higher than the Christian though Romanised ideal, and higher than the external and merely political idea of the Empire. This supreme point of integration was manifested precisely in the myth of the Grail’s regality, according to the intimate relation it had with the several variations of the “imperial saga.” The silent problem of the Ghibelline Middle Ages was expressed in the fundamental theme of that cycle of legends: the need for a hero of the two swords, who overcomes natural and supernatural tests, to really ask the question: the question that avenges and heals, the question that restores power to its regality.’Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 121.
The question he refers to is a common theme in the Grail legend (i.e. that the hero must ask an appropriate question at a certain stage). The quote continues:
‘The Middle Ages awaited the hero of the Grail, so that the head of the Holy Roman Empire could become an image or a manifestation of the Universal Ruler; so that all the forces could receive a new power; so that the Dry Tree could blossom again; so that an absolute driving force could arise to overcome any usurpation, antagonism, laceration; so that a real solar order could be formed; so that the invisible emperor could also be the manifest one.’Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 122.
In conclusion it can be said that (as we have noted before) Evola viewed the Emperor (in this case the Holy Roman Emperor) as the rightful spiritual authority, just as the Pontifex in Rome had been, as opposed to the Papacy. It is worth pointing out that the rivalry between Emperor and Pope during the Middle Ages was not only in regard to spiritual authority, but also in terms of political power. As noted above, this is a deep and interesting topic which we will return to in other contexts.
Ancient Wisdom in Constantinople
Just as the imperial spirit went from Rome to its Germanic inheritors, so did another spirit of the classical world go to Constantinople. This spirit, in the form of classical knowledge and art, returned to Renaissance Italy during the final years of the Byzantine Empire (to save the treasures from the Ottoman conquest). This is not something Evola elaborates on in the book – it is merely a note of my own for the sake of clarity. We will return to this discussion at a later stage.
The Templars and the Crusade Against the Grail
Evola refers to Otto Rahn, whom we have discussed in these reviews: Lucifer’s Court – Book Review and Inspiring Quotes and Crusade Against the Grail by Otto Rahn as well as in Podcast Episode 9. The Pinnacle of Civilisation – France. In his discussion about the Cathars he notes that, in his view, the spirit of Catharism had little to do with the spirit of the Grail’s Templarism. From my understanding of Cathar doctrine, I am inclined to agree with this assessment. If one were to view the Templars, and other similar organisations such as the Teutonic Order and the Hospitallers, as spiritual descendants of the Indo-European Männerbund, then they are indeed quite different from the less militaristic Cathars. The life-denying attitudes of the Cathars are in sharp contrast to the heroic (in the Evolian sense) spirit of the Templars. The quote below ties in well with previous discussions regarding the Magna Mater (for example here: The Yoga of Power by Julius Evola).
‘But while in the Grail cycle the positive and virile aspect of an ancient, pre-Christian Nordic-Celtic legacy was resurrected, in Catharism what apparently reemerged was the negative, feminine, gynecocratic aspect, belonging to a different pre-Christian legacy, which I have characterised elsewhere as “Atlantic-Southern” and which should be considered as an alteration of the primordial tradition in the sense of the “cycle of the Mother.”’Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 139.
He goes on to note that the Cathars viewed the Catholic Church as ‘too Roman’ to be the Cathar ‘Church of Love’. To use modern political terms, one could say that the Cathars were ‘to the left’ of the Catholic Church. This is quite similar to how the discourse regarding Christianity looks today – plenty of criticism comes from ‘the left’ (in the form of atheists and anti-Europeans, etc.) as well as from ‘the right’ (i.e. Pagans).
In pointing this out Evola shows that the crusade against the Cathars and the attacks on the Templars (in the fateful year of 1307) were quite different in their nature.
I thought to add something that relates to this. On a personal note, I usually defend the Church and Christianity when attacks come from the ‘Left’ (i.e. from liberals and atheists etc.), but am receptive to criticism from the ‘Right’ (i.e. from Right-Wing Pagans) if voiced in a respectful and mature manner.
Philip the Fair and the Templars
In Metaphysics of Power (I wrote a shorter review of it), Evola elaborates on France’s Philip the Fair. Evola mentions Philip in this book as well. He does not have much good to say about him – he labels him a ‘secularised, profane, and despotic king who hated the aristocracy.’ I am not yet knowledgeable enough about medieval French history to comment upon whether Philip the Fair was a good king or not. His elimination of the Templars and opposition to the aristocracy can simply be seen as a way to solidify state power – which is natural and understandable.
Thunderweapons and the Axis Mundi
The concept of the World Axis – Axis Mundi – will be familiar for those who read my review of The Serpent Symbol in Tradition by Dr. Charles William Dailey. Evola mentions it in chapter 18, which is titled The Mystery of the Lance and of Revenge, in which he notes that the lance (like the scepter) often interferes with the symbolism of the Axis Mundi. He does not elaborate extensively upon the concept, but I thought it would be interesting to point it out since we encountered thunderweapons and the Axis Mundi in the aforementioned book.
René Guénon and the Freemasons
In the epilogue, Evola expresses his lament over the fact that Guénon views Freemasonry in a positive light. Although the discussion on Freemasonry is brief and not central to the book, I deemed it reasonable to share this here since we are bound to return to the topic in later reviews or Podcast episodes.
‘It is surprising to find in a very qualified expert in traditional studies, such as Guénon, the claim that together with Compagnionaggio, Freemasonry is almost the only organization in the West that currently may claim, despite its degeneration, “an authentic traditional origins and a regular initiatory transmission” (Apercus sur l’initiation [Paris, 1946], 40, 103.) Guénon apparently rejects the correct diagnosis of Freemasonry as a pseudoinitiatory syncretism promoted by underground forces of counterinitiation, a diagnosis that could be established even on the basis of his own views. How Guénon’s view of Freemasonry as a traditional organization could possibly be reconciled with his positive assessment of Catholicism, a sworn enemy of modern Freemasonry, still needs to be clarified.’Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail. Page 172.
Evola goes on to say that he has friends who are Freemasons, including Reghini – whose articles are included in Introduction to Magic (reviews here and here). He also mentions that he has some good things to say about the lodges that refrain from socio-political engagement.
As noted above, this is perhaps the most interesting book by Evola I have read thus far. The book is also helpful when it comes to understanding his view of the imperial spirit, and this, in turn, makes many of his other teachings more understandable. If you are interested in Evola’s writings, I can highly recommend the book.
I have read Dr. Charles William Daily’s excellent book The Serpent Symbol in Tradition – A Study of Traditional Serpent and Dragon Symbolism, Based in Part Upon the Concepts and Observations of René Guénon, Mircea Eliade, and Various Other Relevant Researchers. At 572 pages, with quite technical language, reading the book is a bit of a time investment. The author himself states, in the dedications, that his writing style is ‘stodgy’. I would not necessarily say it is stodgy, but rather, again, technical, and perhaps not as free-flowing as other works I have read. However, this is not a negative aspect in this context, as the style of writing makes the sometimes complex insights easier to understand. Another way in which the author emphasises certain points is to repeat insights in different contexts, which makes the Perennial aspects of various symbols clearer. The book contains a wealth of valuable insights. Below are just a few (among many) topics I thought to share.
René Guénon and Mircea Eliade
As stated in the subtitle of the book, the author draws upon the teachings of France’s René Guénon (1886–1951) and Romania’s Mircea Eliade (1907–1986). In the introduction of the book, the author gives a good background to each gentleman. Knowing a bit more about an author is good to better understand his worldview. For example, Guénon was fragile of health as a child, which might have caused him to view the contemplation of the Priest/Brahman as higher than the action of the Warrior/Kshatriya (which we have discussed in previous reviews). Guénon, alongside Julius Evola, is an authority on matters of Tradition and spirituality. He wrote numerous works which we are bound to return to as we continue on our esoteric journey.
Eliade, as described in the introduction of the book was a highly productive writer – celebrating with his friends his one-hundreth published article at the age of eighteen. He wrote many influential works, including Patterns in Comparative Religion (which is referenced in Taliesin’s Map, which I wrote a review of: Taliesin’s Map: The Comparative Guide to Celtic Mythology). He also wrote articles and book-length treatments on alchemy, approaching the subject as a spiritual doctrine (in a similar fashion to Evola). Reading about the productivity of men like this is inspiring and makes me want to set an even higher pace for myself – in this case to commence the writing of my second book (which I will talk more about at a later stage). Just as we will return to Guénon, we will return to Eliade in coming articles.
Pictured below: Mircea Eliade (left) and René Guénon (right).
Metaphysics and the Neoplatonic One
The author notes that for Guénon, metaphysics ‘is essentially knowledge of the Universal’, and that he makes a distinction between the Universal (Platonic Forms) and the Particulars. He also points out that Eliade views Platonic metaphysics as an expression of Tradition.
For Guénon, all religions are merely particular manifestations of the one metaphysical doctrine (Tradition*) that mingled with heterogenous elements – Particulars (thus creating differences). The author gives an example from Guénon’s Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, where Guénon notes that Bhakti Yoga is not in itself a metaphysical doctrine, but merely one expression of Tradition. According to Guénon, the serpent or dragon in Tradition symbolises ‘the indefinite series of cycles of manifestation.’
Note: when Tradition is spelled with a capital T, it denotes this view (also known as Perennialism), as opposed to a specific tradition that is not Universal.
The author contends that the metaphysical Principle (a reoccurring concept) of Guénon can be seen as the equivalent of the Neoplatonic One. The author shares the following quote from the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus (204–270 CE):
‘The Intellectual-Principle stands as the image of The One, firstly because there is a certain necessity that the first should have its offspring, carrying onward much of its quality, in other words that there be something in its likeness as the sun’s rays tell of the sun. Yet The One is not an Intellectual-Principle.’Plotinus – The Six Enneads
The Serpent Guardian of Enlightenment
In chapter 14, the author notes that in certain myths (Herakles and the Golden Apples, for example) the serpent or dragon symbolises something that may be two opposing alternatives:
1. Achieving enlightenment/immortality/moksha (moksha is a Hindu concept of enlightenment or liberation).
2. An obstacle to (or a guardian of) enlightenment/immortality/moksha.
As we have noted in previous reviews, a hero with the power to subjugate the Dragon (Living Fire, ύλη (matter), Green Dragon, Quintessence, First Substance, Great Magical Agent) can use its powers to fuel his ascent to greatness.
A symbol that may be familiar is the Caduceus, the Rod of Hermes (in Roman: Mercury). The author states the following in regard to its meaning:
‘I suggest that Hermes’/Mercury’s rod represents the ‘unity’ of the metaphysical ‘Principle’ that is ‘surrounded by’ its ‘polarization’ into two forces, one of which ‘ascends’ toward its unifying Source and the other of which ‘descends’ into the realm of ‘duality’ (‘chaos’).’Dr. Charles William Daily – The Serpent Symbol in Tradition
Aryan Patriarchy and the Earth Mother
The Magna Mater, the Great Mother, the Earth Goddess, whom we have discussed before (for example here: The Yoga of Power by Julius Evola), appears in this book as well. The author notes that one interpretation (subscribed to by Joseph Cambell among others) of certain combat myths is the struggle between Indo-Europeans and the peoples they conquered. The celestial, patriarchal Indo-Europeans representing Order versus the chthonic, matriarchal natives representing Chaos. In Greece the Aryan (Hellenic) Zeus defeats a monster to establish a new social order. In India the Aryan (Vedic) god Indra does the same.
‘Every god has his enemy, whom he must vanquish and destroy. Zeus and Baal, Coyote and Ahura Mazda, Thor and the Lord of Hosts, are alike in this: that each must face a dreadful antagonist. Apollo’s enemy was the great dragon Python, whom he had to fight and kill before he could establish his temple and oracle at Delphi.’Joseph Fontenrose – Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins
Guénon and Eliade do not view the use of symbolic weapons (such as the thunderbolt) and the vanquishing of serpentine antagonists in these socio-political terms, but rather as a manifestation of the metaphysical Principle in the physical world. I am not yet wise enough to give a definitive statement upon this, but it is reasonable to say that certain myths may pertain to a struggle between peoples and other similar myths regard the struggle of the individual for immortality or enlightenment (subjugating the dragon) – as mentioned above.
Thunderweapons and the Axis Mundi
Thor, Apollo, Zeus, Indra, and Marduk amongst other gods and heroes are often depicted as wielding thunderweapons (or variations thereof) in their battles against their monstrous (serpent or dragon) adversaries. The use of these weapons can be seen as harnessing of the power of Heaven. According to both Guénon and Eliade, these weapons can be representative of the Axis Mundi (the World Axis). The World Axis can be described as the metaphysical (transcendent) Reality at the centre of the universe.
Pictured below: Thor wielding the thunderweapon Mjölner.
Chinese Dragon-Emperor and the Axis Mundi
The author elaborates on the sacred symbolism of the dragon in Chinese tradition. He argues that the Far-Eastern Dragon did not symbolise the Chinese Emperor himself, but rather represented that which the Emperor controlled. The Emperor was a mediator between Heaven and Earth (a bridge between them), a controller of the Water – which is symbolically synonymous with the Dragon (for more regarding the Water, read this review: Julius Evola and the UR Group – Introduction to Magic: Volume 1 under the heading Knowledge of the Waters).
Guénon noted that for the Chinese people, traditionally, the Emperor symbolised the Axis Mundi.
Ouroboros – Anima Mundi – The Soul of the World
In chapter 9 of the book, the author refers to, amongst other works, Julius Evola’s The Hermetic Tradition (read my book review here: The Hermetic Tradition by Julius Evola). He elaborates on the Ouroboros, which may be a familiar symbol to many, and connects it to the Anima Mundi – the Soul of the World. Carl Gustav Jung defined the Anima Mundi as ‘the oneness and essence of the physical world’ and, moreover, stated that:
‘the Anima Mundi was conceived as that part of God which formed the quintessence and real substance of Physis [nature].’Carl Gustav Jung – Mysterium Coniunctionis
Guénon noted that:
‘as symbol of the Anima Mundi, the serpent is most commonly depicted in the circular form of the Ouroboros.’René Guénon – The Great Triad
Evola noted the following:
‘the alchemical ideogram of “One the All,” is O, the circle: a line or movement that encloses within itself and contains in itself both its end and beginning. In Hermeticism this symbol expresses the universe and, at the same time, The Great Work [of alchemy]. In the Chrysopoeia it takes the form of a serpent – Ouroboros – biting its own tail.’Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition
I asked Styxhexenhammer666 (the free-speech champion) about his having the Ourobos as an avatar, whereupon he responded: ‘I use the Ouroboros as a symbol of completion and whole-ness. The snake is a cycle, which completes, winding and undulating and changing but always whole.’
Note: in the book, the author writes ourobos and anima mundi. I use my poetic powers to rewrite them as Ourobos and Amina Mundi – I capitalise them for aesthetic reasons.
In chapter 13, under the title The Serpent, the Mountain, the Omphalos, and Sacred Stones, the author continues the discussion on the Axis Mundi. He notes that for Guénon, the ‘Tree in the Midst’ (or the ‘Polar Mountain’) is a common variant of the World Axis – Axis Mundi – that symbolises the metaphysical Principle in the art and myth of various cultures. The Yggdrasil of Norse myth comes to mind here. Guénon listed Montsalvat as such a Polar Mountain. Montsalvat features in the work of Otto Rahn and his quest for the Grail (read my review here: Crusade Against the Grail by Otto Rahn). Mircea Eliade said the following:
‘Mountains are often looked on as the place where sky and earth meet, a “central point” therefore, the point through which the Axis Mundi goes, a region impregnated with the sacred, a spot where one can pass from one cosmic zone to another.’Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative Religion
Pictured below: The ruins of a Cathar castle – Château de Peyrepertuse – in France, near the Pyrenees, where the semi-mythical Montsalvat is said to be (which exact mountain Montsalvat is remains unknown).
Below are two quotes I found particularly appealing. Whenever I share certain quotes – which I titled as epic – I do so not only to provide a deeper understanding of the subject at hand, but more so to invoke a feeling. The quotes below should be felt rather than read. This will, hopefully, inspire a hunger for life that will fuel your quest for excellence.
‘Muchalinda, a prodigious cobra, dwelt amongst the roots. He perceived, as soon as the Buddha had passed into the state of bliss, that a great storm cloud had begun to gather, out of season. Thereupon he issued quietly from the black abode [of the hole that he dwelt in] and with the coils of his body enveloped seven times the blessed body of the Enlightened One; with the expanse of his giant snake-hood he sheltered as an umbrella the blessed head. Seven days it rained, the wind blew cold, the Buddha remained in meditation. But on the seventh, the unseasonable storm dispersed; Muchalinda unloosed his coils, transformed himself into a gentle youth, and with joined hands to his forehead bowed in worship of the saviour of the world.’Heinrich Zimmer – Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization
‘Nagas are genii superior to man. They inhabit subaquatic paradises, dwelling at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and seas, in resplendent palaces studded with gems and pearls. They are keepers of the life-energy that is stored in the earthly waters of springs, wells, and ponds. They are the guardians, also, of the riches of the deep sea – corals, shells, and pearls. They are supposed to carry a precious jewel in their heads.’Heinrich Zimmer – Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization
Quetzalcóatl – the Plumed Serpent – is mentioned in the book. Mesoamerican lore portrays Quetzalcóatl as a great educator and civiliser. In the Encyclopedia of Ancient Mesoamerica, Quetzalcóatl is said to have ‘revolutionised Toltec society, banning human sacrifices, corruption and cruelty.‘ Perhaps some Aryan adventurers landed in Central America in ancient times and established themselves as a ruling caste. I will not speculate further on the matter at this stage, but for those who are interested, I recommend watching the following video by Asha Logos: Conspiracy? Our Subverted History, Part 5.3 – The Oera Linda Book. Note, I do not personally subscribe to the legitimacy of the Oera Linda Book, but the video linked is worth watching.
As stated in the introduction, The Serpent Symbol in Tradition contains a wealth of insights and is well worth the time investment. On a personal note, reading it now fitted perfectly in relation to the other books I have read (and written book reviews on) as of late. For anyone interested in metaphysics and myth, I can highly recommend the book!
Posted on April 1, 2022
After reading The Hermetic Tradition (review here) and the three volumes of Introduction to Magic (reviews here and here) by Evola and the UR Group, I decided to continue along the esoteric path by reading The Yoga of Power. Evola approaches yoga in the spiritual sense, so this book is not practical in its nature – he does not elaborate on various flexibility exercises. He is more interested in Hindu* metaphysics and the various spiritual paths derived therefrom.
*For more information on the term Hinduism, read John Morgan’s definition under the title God, Hinduism, Polytheism in my book review of The Agni and The Ecstasy by Steven J. Rosen (here).
Action vs Contemplation
Since we have discussed this theme – Kshatriya/Warrior/Action vs Brahmin/Priest/Contemplation – in previous articles, I thought the following quote from a Tantric text would be interesting to share. Evola notes that Tantric practices based on shakti-sadhana are suitable to our contemporary age (the Kali Yuga). He also notes that Tantrism does not reject ancient wisdom, but reacts to ‘hollow and stereotypical ritualism‘, ‘mere speculation or contemplation‘, and ‘any asceticism of a unilateral, mortifying, and penitential nature.’ Or, in short, a ‘degenerated brahmanism.’
‘It is a womanly thing to establish superiority through convincing arguments; it is a manly thing to conquer the world through one’s power. Reasoning, argument, and inference may be the work of other schools [shastras]; but the work of the Tantra is to accomplish superhuman and divine events through the force of their own words of power [mantras].’Tantrattva 1:27
As mentioned in previous articles, Evola held the action of the Kshatriya/Warrior above the contemplation of the Brahmin/Priest; therefore, it is no surprise that he would include such a passage in his work on Hindu metaphysics.
Although the quote above is rather epic and inspiring in its nature, a well-crafted argument should not be seen as unmanly – especially considering the metapolitical struggle we are all partaking in.
Pre-Aryan Goddess – Magna Mater
For those who listen to Caribbean Rhythms (read my interview with Bronze Age Pervert here), the Great Mother may be familiar. BAP often refers to her and the connected Longhouse – he contrasts said Longhouse with the adventurous and enterprising nature of the Aryan spirit. Evola mentions her cult, the Cult of the Great Mother, Magna Mater, in the beginning of the book when presenting the origins of the Tantras.
‘The ancient pre-Aryan understanding of Shakti as the magna mater, or mother of the gods – a sovereign divinity from whom every life and existence derives – undergoes a radical transformation as a consequence of the encounter with Aryan Upanishadic metaphysics.’Julius Evola – The Yoga of Power. Page 22.
Evola connects the pre-Hellenic (Hellenic = Aryan) Mediterranean goddesses such as Demeter with pre-Aryan (Aryan in the Indian context) goddesses such as Kali. He notes that in India the cult survived by going underground following the Aryan (Indo-European) conquest of the region. He contrasts the pre-Aryan religion with the virile and patriarchal spirituality of the Aryans (both in Greece and India) For more information about the Aryan Invasion of India, see the following video: Aryan Invasion of India: Myth or Reality?
Note: the word Aryan is not as commonly used today as it was during the time of Evola’s writings. Another word for the same group is Indo-European.
May the spirit of Evola forgive me for pointing this out, but he presents a erroneous* version of the chakras. Below is a concise summary of my view (which aligns with the commonly accepted view).
- Muladhara. Root Chakra (red) – Physical stability.
- Swadhisthana. Sacral Chakra (orange) – Sexuality, creativity.
- Manipura. Solar Plexus Chakra (yellow) – Confidence.
- Anahata. Heart Chakra (green) – Love, compassion.
- Vishuddha. Throat Chakra (light blue) – Communication.
- Ajna. Third Eye Chakra (indigo) – Intuition, imagination, magic.
- Sahasrara. Crown Chakra (violet or white) – Awareness, intelligence, connection to divine powers.
Evola presents the Root Chakra as being yellow, the Sacral Chakra as being white, the Solar Plexus Chakra as red, the Heart Chakra as dark grey, the Throat Chakra as a bright, shining white, the Third Eye Chakra as a dazzling white blaze. He presents the Crown Chakra without assigning it a colour.
*In my humble opinion, it is more reasonable to envision the chakras as described in the list above rather than to envision them as Evola presented them. A vivid green Heart Chakra makes more sense, aesthetically speaking, than a dark grey one, for example. Moreover, when doing certain meditation techniques (where one has to focus on each center/chakra) it is more helpful to envision them as having distinct colours.
Evola correctly points this out at a later stage:
‘In order to reach every chakra, it is a standard procedure, in yogic practice, to concentrate gradually the mental and imaginative focus on each of them, by recalling their meaning and by employing the symbols and mantras that traditional teachings attribute to them. In such a way the awakening power is properly led and induced to act.’Julius Evola – The Yoga of Power. Page 177.
Since the chakras are a part of many meditation exercises, it can be a good idea to learn them. In a way, the chakras are similar to the Norse runes (which I will elaborate on at a later stage).
A reoccurring concept that is discussed in the book is that of semen retention. I elaborate on this in Dauntless as well – where I title it Dragon’s Breath. Evola notes the following in regard to a specific ritual:
‘In hatha yoga sexual intercourse is considered a means to bring about a traumatic shift in the level of consciousness, as well as an effective opening to transcendence, but only when the intercourse is performed according to specific rules. These rules essentially prescribe the inhibition of the man’s ejaculation and the release of even the smallest quantity of semen inside the woman’s body. The semen should never be released.’Julius Evola – The Yoga of Power. Page 131.
Even though the yogic teachings are not talking about semen retention in everyday life for men in general, it is still interesting to note how semen retention appears as a phenomenon throughout time and space. To not release one’s Dragon’s Breath is a perennial truth that must be respected. In my view, one has to be mad to not respect this wisdom. The book contains more insights regarding the sexual nature of certain spiritual paths.
The Mind is the Cosmos
In the appendix of the book, in the chapter titled Bardo: Actions After Death, the following epic quote appears:
‘The Mind is the Cosmos. To the Enlightened One, this apparent duality has no existence, since neither samsara nor nirvana are two things apart from individualism, but merely two aspects of One, which is the All-Knowledge, All-Wisdom. Hence, as the texts teach, samsara and nirvana are, in this occult sense, said to be inseparable. Duality is present in appearance, but not in essence.’Evans-Wentz, Tibetan Book of the Dead, 166-67.
I am not yet knowledgeable enough in matters of Buddhism to comment further upon this. However, I thought it would be interesting to share the quote for future reference, since we are bound to return to these concepts at a later point.
The book contains many more interesting passages, the ones above are just a few I thought to highlight. On a personal note, I always enjoy the writings of Evola. There may be esoteric authors who are better suited to explain the various spiritual doctrines of the East – perhaps René Guénon. In terms of Western spiritual tradition, however, I view Evola as the primary authority.
Just as I noted in my review of The Hermetic Tradition, I can recommend this book to true Evola-appreciators. If you are interested in magic and spirituality but are not used to reading Evola, I would recommend starting with Introduction to Magic instead.
Posted on March 27, 2022
At long last the Frey’s Organic Cotton Underwear is finally here. Now you can throw away your tight-fitting non-cotton underwear! These have been highly requested, and I have eagerly awaited them myself. Thus, I am happy to finally present them. As with most other garments, I asked myself what I want, I worked towards it, and here we are. Good times!
If you are unsure or between sizes, go with one size larger – it is better to have them a bit looser than a bit tighter. Also, since it is organic cotton, they will shrink a bit if washed in high temperatures.
The new t-shirt design is also close to my own heart. I told my trusted artist, Paszkál of Hungary, about what I wanted, and he delivered an inspiring artwork as always.
Alaric (370–410) and Theodoric (454–526) are among the greatest Gothic kings. Alaric stepped up to the challenge in the darkest hours of his people – leading the Goths from ruin to glory. The Rome that Alaric sacked in 410 was a far cry from the glorious city it had once been, and the spirit that led the Romans to glory had been long gone by this stage. I will elaborate more on this in a Podcast episode dedicated to the Goths and the Western Roman Empire.
Some scholars view Theodoric the Great as a Western Roman emperor in all but name (his title being king). One could thus also argue that he was a true heir of the Roman Empire (hence the laurel in the artwork on the garment).
Another famous Gothic king was also named Theodoric: Theodoric I, who, alongside the Roman general Flavius Aetius, defeated the Scourge of God – Attila the Hun – in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (June 20, 451). Much more about all of these kings can (and, again, will) be said!
The t-shirts are, just as the underwear, made in Poland with 100% organic cotton. The artwork on them is, as always, meant as a source of inspiration for you to become the best that you can be. And, in this case, to step up when the world seems full of darkness.
Since I did not mention this fine belt on this page upon its release, I thought to mention it now. The greatest powerlifting belt in the world. This is the same model as the one you may have seen in my training videos. My belt is from 2014 and is as good as new. It is a bit of an investment, but if you intend to do powerlifting for a long time, it is a great investment to make.
On a last note, I have received a few questions regarding the linen garments. I am happy to announce that a great release of numerous linen garments will be upon us in early May! The new releases are available here:
Posted on March 22, 2022
I few years back, I read Two Models of Government: A New Classification of Governments in Terms of Power by Dr Michael Arnheim. The central teaching presented in the book stuck with me as I found it profound and insightful. I mentioned the book in my Podcast episode on Vlad Dracula (available here: Podcast). Thus, I thought it reasonable to introduce the book here as well.
The central thesis of the book is that a government of a nation is either a monarchy or an oligarchy or a mix of the two. The author presents a few historical examples.
- Monarchy taking up the whole pie. For example: The Roman Empire Principate and Napoleonic France.
- Oligarchy taking up the whole pie. For example: Classical Sparta, the Roman Republic, medieval France (the feudal system).
- A shared pie, with a larger sliced going to the monarchy and a smaller piece going to the oligarchy. For example: Ancient Greek tyrants, Louis XIV’s France. Louis XIV is also known as the Sun King – an exceptionally glorious title.
- A shared pie, with the larger slice going to the oligarchy and a smaller piece going to the monarchy. For example: Medieval France (listed here as well as above), England between 1066 and 1689, Japan for most of the time between 1185 and 1868.
Dracula and the Boyars
As I noted in the Podcast episode, Dracula, upon assuming power (his second reign), knew that he had to bring the boyars to heel. He did so in a brutal fashion, thus (roughly speaking) changing the Wallachian power-structure from being dominated by an oligarchy to being dominated by a monarch – in this case Vlad as voivode.
Much more can be said about the book, this shorter review can be seen as a complement to the Podcast episode. In conclusion, I can definitely recommend Two Models of Government for any student of history.
Posted on March 12, 2022
After reading the three volumes of Introduction to Magic (reviews here and here) by Evola and the UR Group, I decided to continue on the same esoteric path by reading The Hermetic Tradition. Whereas Introduction to Magic contains more of Evola’s (and his companions’) thoughts on matters of magic and metaphysics, The Hermetic Tradition draws more heavily upon the teachings of older mystics and alchemists (who will be presented further down). The book is still Evolian in its nature, so the style will be familiar if you have read Evola before.
Evola’s View of Hermeticism and Alchemy
Evola approaches hermeticism and alchemy (he sees them as one) in a spiritual fashion – which means that he is not interested in the material aspects of alchemy (i.e. the classic ‘turn lead into gold’ type of alchemy that may be familiar to some). Evola, as a seeker of Tradition and spiritual ascent, seeks to present the teachings of hermetic mystics throughout the centuries from this perspective.
Alchemy, in this view, is placed together with other hermetic disciplines – magic and astrology, for example. Magic, as we have discussed elsewhere, can be seen as mental techniques. Astrology is a topic we will return to – suffice to say that the planets feature quite prominently in the book. It can also be noted that astrology is one of the lost sciences (like physiognomy) that the modern world has cast aside.
Evola, in this book, shows that alchemy was not just the humble beginnings of the science of chemistry but a profound mystery-science in its own right. As illustrated by the quote below, he identified the true spiritual teachings as being hidden from the unworthy (and the Inquisition). This led mystics and esoteric masters to approach the Great Work, the Royal Art, in a spiritual fashion – whereas the materialistically oriented early scientists approached it in a profane fashion (i.e. in the sense that they were out for physical transformations as opposed to spiritual ones).
‘Much better then to speak of Mercury and Sulfur, of metals and puzzling things and impossible operations, better to attract the greedy attention and curiosity of of the “puffers” and “charcoal burners”, of those who then gave birth to modern chemistry; and best of all, in order to keep others from suspecting that the rare and enigmatic allusions were actually metallurgical symbolism referring to things of the spirit.’Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 97.
The author of the foreword notes that Evola was influenced by an Indian alchemist – C.S. Narayana Swami Aiyar of Chingleput – who emphasised the importance of breath-work to achieve alchemical results. This is highly interesting. In my own meditations, I have found that entering a meditation by first doing a breathing exercise is greatly helpful. Wim Hof, the Dutch Iceman, has a good guided breathing-exercise. Interestingly, in a chapter titled The Path of the Breath and the Path of the Blood it is noted that focusing on the breath (the first key) and focusing on the blood (the second key) is an alchemical technique. Wim Hof encourages the practitioner to focus both on the breath and the blood in the breathing-exercise mentioned above.
Alchemical Work – the Great Work – the Royal Art
When reading the book and approaching the Royal Art from Evola’s perspective, which, in my humble opinion, is the correct way to approach it, it becomes clear that the whole art is one of ascending and transforming oneself in metaphysical matter. One could even say it is about finding God – God in this case is the One, the animating force of all life. We can also refer to this animating force by other names. This force can be described using a quote which may be familiar if you read our book review of Introduction to Magic: Volume 1:
‘The Wise spoke of it as a wonder and as a terror. They called it: Universal and Living Fire, ύλη (matter), Green Dragon, Quintessence, First Substance, Great Magical Agent. The principle of their “GREAT WORK”, since the Magistery of Creation and the Magistery with which man realizes himself according to the Royal Arts are one and the same. This Matter of ours is neither an abstraction of profane philosophy nor a myth or a fairy tale, but a living and powerful reality, the spirit and the vitality of the Earth and of Life.Abraxas – Introduction to Magic: Knowledge of the Waters
When the alchemists (in this context) talk about substances and how to transform, separate, and combine them, they are referring to the inner forces in man (body, soul, spirit). Another insightful quote regarding this great force is the following:
‘We can also say that in the One the All, the “One” and the “All” now crystalize as two distinct principles. The “One” takes on the meaning of a center that manifests in the heart of chaos (the “All”) and affirms itself there as a principle of incorruptible fixity, stability, and transcendence. From the signature, of O—“the first matter” we move on to ☉, which is the ancient hieroglyph of the Sun.’Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 33.
Soul, Spirit, and Body
In a chapter titled thus, Evola discusses these three concepts from an alchemical perspective. He notes that ‘man carries hermetically in his soul, the presence of a solar and golden force ☉; in his spirit he carries that of a lunar and mercurial force ☿; and finally, in the body, the force of Salt 🜔 is expressed.‘
Jakob Böhme writes the following:
‘Everything that grows, lives, and moved in this world is in Sulfur, and Mercury is its life. And Salt is the corporeal essence of Mercury’s hunger.’Jakob Böhme – De Signatura Rerum
When reading passages like this, it becomes clear that they are talking about the animating life-force. Many alchemical teachings are unclear at a first glance; this is to hide the teachings from the unworthy. The quest to find or create gold within oneself, to master the Quintessence and make the most out of the divine energy, is what we can take with us from alchemical studies. As we noted in Dauntless and in previous book-reviews, it is about taming the inner dragon and using its energy to fuel your own ascent.
Mithras and the Bull
As you, my dear reader, are probably aware of by now, I always enjoy the appearance of the Cult of Mithras in esoteric literature. Thus, I thought to share the following quote – which follows up nicely with what is mentioned above. Subdue and harness the primordial power within you:
‘We must awaken the force but not let it unseat us. The characteristic depiction of this ability is dramatized by the myth of Mithras who seizes the bull by the horns and does not let go despite the animal’s mad stampede until the bull, exhausted, gives up and allows himself to be led back to the “cavern” (the alchemical texts speak specifically and frequently of Mercury’s cavern), where Mithras gives it death. After its death there follows the symbolic emerging of vegetation from the earth, sprouting from the blood of the sacrificed animal.’Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 113.
Evola notes that the true alchemical immortality does not entail an immortality of the body. He also notes the following in regard to the immortality of the soul:
‘It was the vulgarization and abusive generalization of a truth valid exclusively for initiates — a vulgarization that began in some degenerate forms of Orphism and was soon fully developed by Christianity — that was to give birth to the strange idea of an “immortality of the soul,” and then extended unconditionally to the same for all souls.’Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 96.
I am not yet wise enough to comment upon the immortality of the soul, but something that always struck me as unreasonable was the immortality of everyone’s soul. Thus, I thought to share this insightful quote. We will return to this discussion in coming works.
Guénon’s View of Alchemy – White Work and Red Work
The disagreement between Julius Evola and Réne Guénon (that we mentioned in the review of Introduction to Magic: Volume II & III) appears in this context as well. Guénon rejected the idea of alchemy as a complete metaphysical doctrine. Moreover, according to him, a true tradition could not have come from an Egypto-Hellenic origin. This is stated in the foreword of the book and no further explanation is given. Thus, I consulted Thomas Rowsell, who notes that Guénon was quite anti-Greek in the sense that he considered their polytheism to be a divergence from the primordial and monotheistic Tradition he imagined.
As we have already noted, Evola and Guénon disagreed upon who the highest spiritual authority was: the Warrior or Priest. Note, Evola and Guénon respected each other, and this is a minor disagreement that does not take up any space in this book itself. I just thought to mention it since we have encountered the disagreement before, and because it is interesting.
In alchemy, the Red Work is above the White Work. The Red (or Purple) embodies an active state (of the Kshatriya – Warrior), whereas the White embodies a contemplative state (of the Brahmin – Priest). The White Work (White Elixir) is not the final stage, because it lacks the Fire – the Fires of Saturn, the Gods of the Golden Age. Evola notes that to the Red stage is attributed the purple, the sceptre, the crown, and other symbolic elements of royalty and empire. An interesting comparison is the Catholic Church, where the Pope (the highest) wears White and the members of the lower levels of the church hierarchy wear Red.
‘There is a measure of legitimacy in connecting the White Work and the Red Work, respectively, to initiation into the Lesser and Greater classical Mysteries. The promise of both was immortality, which is, let us reiterate, something positive and very different from the vague “spiritualist” conception of simple survival. But the first immortality was only such in terms of “life,” even Cosmic Life, and therefore, ultimately, a conditional immortality linked to manifestation. The second, that of the Greater Mysteries, was a “supercosmic” immortality in the sense just indicated, and it was in the Greater Mysteries that use of the royal symbolism predominated.’Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 186.
Thus, Evola connects the White Work to the Lesser Mysteries and the Red Work to the Greater Mysteries. We will return to these insights in coming works – when discussing the Mithraic and Eleusinian Mysteries.
Cast of Characters
When talking about alchemy as it is presented in the book, it can be good to be familiar with a few historical individuals that appear frequently in it. As mentioned above, Evola presents the teachings of various spiritual masters. Below are some of them – you may recognise some, and you will probably encounter them again if you are interested in esoteric matters. I present these men in brief to emphasise the fact that alchemy was not merely a historical curiosity without merit but a study that interested high-capacity men.
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535) was a German polymath, physician, legal scholar, soldier, theologian, and occultist. Evola refers to his De occulta philosophia.
Theophrastus von Hohenheim, also known as Paracelsus, (1493–1541) was a Swiss physician, theologian and philosopher; he has been given the honourific “the Father of Toxicology”. His contributions to science in particular highlight the fact that alchemy was not an art for charlatans, but often went hand in hand with science and metaphysis.
Jakob Böhme (1575–1624). In the book his name appears as Jacob Boehme (which is often the case in English literature). Böhme was a German philosopher, Christian mystic, and Protestant theologian. Many unenlightened Christians react negatively to terms such as magic and mysticism. They fail to recognise that many esoteric mystics have been Christians.
Cesare della Riviera, author of The Magical World of the Heroes (in Italian: Il mondo magico delgi heroi) (1605), which, according to the foreword of The Hermetic Tradition, was a decisive influence on Evola’s views on alchemy. Not much more is known about the author, but I mention him here since his work feature prominently in The Hermetic Tradition.
Hermes Trismegistus is a legendary Hellenistic (Hellenistic = the cultures that sprung up in the areas conquered by Alexander the Great, in this case Egypto-Hellenic) figure that originated as a combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god of wisdom Thoth. In The Hermetic Tradition, Evola refers to the Corpus Hermeticum on numerous occasions. The term hermetic stems from Hermes Trismegistus. Both this mythological character and the Corpus Hermeticum are important to alchemy and the hermetic art on the whole. Evola notes that Hermes (Trismegistus) ‘should not be considered an actual historical personage, but the special spiritual influence that defined the initiatic chain and the organisation‘ (the organisation he refers to is the Sons of Hermes). Hermes Trismegistus also appears in Islamic teachings (which was pointed out to me by a Muslim follower of mine on Instagram).
The Centres of Life – Chakras
In one chapter, a hermetic teaching named the Seven is presented. Evola refers to Plotinus (a Hellenistic Neoplatonist), who said that there are forces within us that are analogous to the powers of the different planets. Interestingly, Evola notes that the teaching of the Seven is seen in explicit terms in Hindu tradition in the form of chakras. We will return to the chakras in coming works – as they are an important component of meditation and yoga. Evola’s The Yoga of Power will be the subject of a coming book-review.
Related to the teaching of the Seven is a mystical Syrian text which talks about the Mirror. I found this passage powerful and useful:
‘The Mirror represents the Divine Spirit. When the soul sees itself in it, it observes the shameful things in itself and rejects them.’The Hermetic Tradition. Page 62.
In alchemical terms, one could say this would be a purifying process – purifying one’s inner being (soul and spirit) from impurities (shameful aspects).
The Hermetic Tradition is a rather dense read, although not particularly thick (the book is 216 pages), it requires a certain level of concentration to digest. I re-read it upon finishing it to ensure I got the most out of it (I will most likely re-read certain chapters later on as well). Many of the alchemical teachings were purposefully hard to access (to keep the esoteric wisdom available only for the worthy) and since many of the teachings are from the Middle Ages, it is possible that some nuances were lost in translation.
I can recommend this book to true Evola-appreciators and aspiring mystics. If you are interested in magic and spirituality but are not used to reading Evola, I would recommend starting with Introduction to Magic instead.
Lastly, if you have not already done so, I recommend listening to Podcast Episode 18. The Divine Blessing for further discussions on the divine.
Posted on March 9, 2022
Patreon just removed my account – I have supposedly not adhered to their ‘community guidelines’. I have asked them to supply evidence of when and where this happened.
I am not expecting an answer though. And, being honest, we all know what is going on here. It is always the same story. You can watch this video: Why They Hate Me, and read this article: Statement on the Legio Gloria Instagram Removal for further context.
I get censored for who I am, not for anything in particular I say.
This is a heavy blow (it directly impacts my ability to supply for my family – which tells you quite a bit about the people who work against us).
Am I down and demoralised? Not at all, this only shows that my work has effect. In fact, I will increase the uploading frequency of the Greatest Podcast. My initial plan was to make one episode a month, but going forward it will be more often.
Adversity only strengthens my resolve.
I am extremely appreciative of everyone signing up to continue subscribing to the Podcast.