Creation and Completion – Essential Points of Tantric Meditation by Jamgön Kongtrul

I have read Creation and Completion – Essential Points of Tantric Meditation by Jamgön Kongtrul, also known as Jamgön Kongtrul the Great, who lived between 1813 and 1899 CE. The best part of the book, at least from my perspective, is the valuable commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Many older esoteric texts can be a bit hard to comprehend, especially since certain aspects of the them might be lost in translation. This is why the commentary is so appreciated.

Tibetan Buddhism and Deities

In the introduction, Sarah Harding notes that many Tibetan Buddhist spiritual practices center around various deities. This may come as a surprise to those who view Buddhism as a nontheistic religion. This is also why some other Buddhist schools have considered Tibetan Buddhism as corrupt and untrue to its original form. However, as Sarah Harding notes, these deity practices are deeply rooted in the very foundations of Buddhist thought. In my own humble opinion, a spirituality with a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses will always be more appealing than one without deities.

Transformation of Desire

Jamgön Kongtrul shares the following accessible technique for dealing with desire. I do not believe that any of my esteemed book-review readers are still under the yoke of pornography; but if you are – try to transform that desire into a deity (i.e. visualise a deity) the next time it comes to you!

‘The uncommon approach of mantra is to transform afflictive emotions.
When the desire arises, you meditate on Amitabha
or a deity such as Heruka in union.
The desirous thought is transformed into the deity.
The other deluded emotions are treated in the same way.’

Jamgön Kongtrul – Creation and Completion . Page 37.

In the notes, the following is mentioned regarding the two deities mentioned above:
Amitabha: Boundless Light, the name of a buddha – the head of the lotus family – that is associated with the transformation of desire into the pristine wisdom of discernment.
Heruka: a general name for wrathful meditational deities, and also a name for Cakrasamvara or ‘Wheel of Sublime Bliss,’ one of the Tantric deities particularly associated with desire.

Virtue! Virtue!

At the end of the text, Jamgön Kongtrul states the following. I thought it was a beautiful passage worth sharing:

‘At the request of the spiritual friend Karma Palden, an attendant of the fourteenth Omniscient Lord of the Victorious Ones (Karmapa), and whose mind is totally devoted to the definite meaning, I, Karma Ngawang Yönten Gyamtso, bearing merely the signs of a Buddhist monk, at the age of twenty-seven, gradually dictated this text, and he transcribed it. May it send forth glorious healing qualities for the doctrine and for beings. In all times and directions may glory prevail. May the glorious blaze of good fortune adorn the world. Virtue! Virtue!

Jamgön Kongtrul – Creation and Completion . Page 81.

Confronting Fear – A Note on Batman

In the commentary section, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche talks about the teachings of Machig Labdron – a female Buddhist monk who lived between 1055-1149 CE. He notes that her approach is one of severance rather than pacification.

‘Rather than pacifying thoughts, you actually provoke the most difficult ones. In severance practice, you work especially with fear. You go to places where you feel unsafe, typically to charnel grounds. You trigger intense fear, and you cut through it.’

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Reading this made me think of Christopher Nolan’s masterwork BatmanBatman Begins in particular, where Bruce Wayne is presented with his fears (bats) in a monastery in the Himalayas. I wonder if Nolan took inspiration from the teachings of Machig Labdron. Epic stuff in either case!

Tantras and Sutras

In the commentary, the following passage appears in regard to the Tantras and Sutras:

‘First of all, all of the Buddha’s teachings are included within two paths. They are the stable and gradual path of the sutras and the quick and especially effective path of the Vajrayana, or the tantras. Both of these take as their root the taming of the mind, or pacifying the thoughts and kleshas that afflict out minds’

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

He goes on to note that the Sutras teach rejection or abandonment of the kleshas – you must relinquish attachments. The Tantra approach, on the other hand, is one of transformation – transformation of desire into something pure. This is also the meaning of the title of the previous book I reviewed; Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire by Lama Yeshe (review).

Conclusion

At 153 pages and written in an accessible language, the book serves as a good further introduction to the topic. The book was a good follow-up to the aforementioned Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire by Lama Yeshe. I can recommend the book for anyone interested in Buddhism in general and Tantra in particular.

Onwards and upwards!

Introduction to Tantra by Lama Yeshe

I have read Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire by Lama Yeshe. As the title suggests, the book is an introduction to Tantra – which is an often misunderstood path of Buddhism. The book is concise and easy to understand, which makes it a good starting point for those interested in the topic.

The Tantric Approach to Pleasure

Tantra has a different approach to pleasure than some other religious traditions. Lama Yeshe states it beautifully in the following passage:

‘Tantra’s approach is very different. Instead of viewing pleasure and desire as something to be avoided at all costs, tantra recognizes the powerful energy aroused by our desires to be an indispensable resource for the spiritual path. Because the goal is nothing less than the realization of our highest human potential, tantra seeks to transform every experience – no matter how “unreligious” it may appear – into the path of fulfillment. It is precisely because our present life is so inseparably linked with desire that we must make use of desire’s tremendous energy if we wish to transform our life into something transcendental.’

Lama Yeshe – Introduction to Tantra. Page 9.

The Tantric View of Mind and Body

In the chapter Arising as a Deity, Lama Yeshe shares the following valuable insight:

‘According to tantra we cannot say that the mind is more important than the body or that the body is more important than the mind. They are of equal importance. In tantric practice the body is understood to be like a plot of ground containing untold mineral wealth. This body of ours, for all its suffering nature, contains the most valuable of natural resources: kundalini gold, kundalini oil!’

Lama Yeshe – Introduction to Tantra. Page 127.

This attitude to the body makes, in my humble opinion, a spiritual teaching worth listening to. I am always very sceptical of any spiritual teaching that neglects the importance of the body.

Against the Modern View of the Human

The author shares the following profound take on the modern scientistic view of humanity:

‘Many people feel that humans are little more than monkeys and that the human mind is nothing but a series of chemical reactions and electrical impulses in the brain. Such a view reduces us to lumps of matter and dismisses any notion of a higher dimension to human existence. For people who truly believe in such a narrow view of what it means to be human, what is the purpose of remaining alive? Perhaps it is merely to experience as many sensations of pleasure as possible before we decay back to our basic nature: dust. Such a depressing outlook may account for much of the alienation in modern society.’

Lama Yeshe – Introduction to Tantra. Pages 29-30.

As we know, depression and all manner of ills ail humans in the age of atheism. A good first step is to rid ourselves of said scientistic attitude. Reject atheism, embrace the metaphysics!

The Heart Chakra and Bodisattva

Although the author does not discuss the Chakras at length, he does note that the Heart Chakra (the green one) is the most important one for the Tantric path. The Heart Chakra is associated with compassion and love. The author also notes that the Heart Chakra is the home of our subtle mind: the priceless treasure of all tantric practitioners. A point that is emphasised throughout the importance of being driven by compassion and the desire to help others. In the glossary the following concepts are clarified:

Bodhichitta: the altruistic motive of a bodhisattva; the wish to attain enlightenment in order to benefit others; the fully open and dedicated heart.

Bodisattva: someone whose spiritual practice is directed toward the achievement of enlightenment; one who possesses the compassionate motive of bodhichitta.

I could, if I may be so bold, perhaps refer to myself as a Bodisattva – my great work is certainly motivated by great compassion!

Visualisation Exercises

Visualisation meditation exercises are presented and emphasised as an integral part of Tantra. The author notes the following in the chapter titled Inspiration and the Guru:

‘When we visualize our spiritual guide as the meditational deity we should think especially about his or her great kindness and concern for us.’

Lama Yeshe – Introduction to Tantra. Page 93.

Reading this made me think of the following quote by Emperor Julian:

‘I feel awe of the gods, I love, I revere, I venerate them, and in short have precisely the same feelings towards them as one would have towards kind masters or teachers or fathers or guardians or any beings of that sort.’

Emperor Julian the Blessed

Conclusion

At 141 pages, the book is of a good length for an introduction. Sometimes, I wish certain books would be shorter; this time, however, I wished that it had been longer. I mention this as a compliment to the book; it simply means that I found it interesting! I look forward to reading more about Buddhism and Tantra.

Onwards and upwards!

The Path of Cinnabar by Julius Evola

I have read The Path of Cinnabar by Julius Evola, which is his autobiography. In the book, he discusses some of his ideas and the events surrounding the publications of his books. He lived during tumultuous times, to say the least, and even if the book does not contain overly many personal stories, it is still interesting from that perspective. Most of the thoughts presented in the book will be familiar to those who have read his other works. I have discussed these books and thoughts in other reviews – which can be found here: Book Reviews.

Evola’s Background

Evola shares precious few notes regarding his personal life; the book follows his intellectual and spiritual journey and the corresponding works. However, he shares the following interesting insight:

‘As for my character, it is chiefly defined by two dispositions. The first is an impulse towards transcendence, which manifested itself from my early youth./…/ A spontaneous detachment from what is merely human, from what is generally regarded as normal.’

Julius Evola – The Path of Cinnabar. Page 6.

‘The second significant trait of my character might be described, in Hindu terms, as my kshatriya bent. In India, the word kshatriya was used to describe the human type inclined to action and performance: the ‘warrior’ type, as opposed to the religious, priestly and contemplative type of the brahma.’

Julius Evola – The Path of Cinnabar. Page 7.

As I noted in my review of Men Among the Ruins, Evola served as an artillery officer during World War 1, and applied to join the war effort on the Eastern Front during World War 2, but since he was not a member of the Fascist Party those wishes did not come to pass. As we have noted in several of the previous reviews, a reoccurring point in Evola’s thought is the distinction between the kshatriya and the brahman.

In the introduction, Evola also mentions that Nietzsche served as an inspiration with regard to his anti-Christian sentiments. He also notes that he grew up Catholic but always felt an ‘utter indifference’ for Christianity.

Another thing to note about Evola’s personality is that he ‘made a point of not receiving any degrees’ since he could not stand to be called Doctor or Professor (he would still be called thus later on though). This was due to his anti-bourgeois sentiments.

Evola’s Dadaist Phase

Evola had, and this may be surprising to some, a Dadaist phase. Dadaist ‘art’ is anything but beautiful and should, in my view, not be called art. I asked my friend Tom (Survive the Jive) how it was that Evola, at any stage of his life, would find an appreciation of degenerate art. Tom answered me thus: ‘Because he hated bourgeois sensibilities and Dada was a deliberate affront to them.’ This makes perfect sense when taking his world view into account.

‘What attracted me to Dadaism was its radicalism: Dadaism was not merely conceived as a new avant-garde artistic tendency; rather, it stood for an outlook on life which expressed a tendency towards total liberation, conjoined with the upsetting of all logic, ethic and aesthetic categories, in the most paradoxical and baffling ways.’

Julius Evola – The Path of Cinnabar. Page 19.

Evola would eventually move past this state, however:

‘The movement I had joined out of my high esteem for Tristan Tzara was destined to accomplish few of the things I had sought to find within it. While Dadaism certainly embodied the extreme, unsurpassed limit of all avant-garde artistic currents, it never consumed itself in the fire of a ‘leap of boundaries’ beyond all art forms and similar forms of expression. Dadaism was soon followed by Surrealism, which, in my opinion, gave proof of its regressive character.’

Julius Evola – The Path of Cinnabar. Page 22.

Evola’s Book Recommendations

The book contains an appendix in which a few interviews are included. In a question regarding his books, Evola responds with the following:

‘Young people chiefly interested in my work for political reasons should stick to Revolt Against the Modern World, as it provides both a general overview of the world of Tradition and the modern world, and gives the reader an idea of a ‘metaphysics of history’ in contrast to mainstream historiography. One might also turn to The Mystery of the Grail and Men Among the Ruins.’

Julius Evola – The Path of Cinnabar. Page 257.

This was quite interesting to note since I gave the same top three recommendations in my review of Revolt Against the Modern World. I talk more about where to start with Evola in the following video: Starting With Julius Evola.

Conclusion

I would recommend The Path of Cinnabar to those who have read a good number of Evola books. I found it interesting to get to know more about the context in which the books were written. However, may the spirit of Evola forgive me for saying so, the chapter titled The Speculative Period of Magical Idealism is quite uninteresting in my humble opinion – the subsequent chapters are much more interesting, so if you decide to read it, do not be disheartened by that chapter. Evola’s philosophical writings are not nearly as interesting as his other writings (esoteric, historical, societal etc.).

Thank you for reading this book review; it will actually be the last one for a while. I will now focus all of my writing on my upcoming book – which will be out sometime next year. Onwards and upwards!

Recognitions by Julius Evola

I have read Recognitions – Studies on Men and Problems From the Perspective of the Right by Julius Evola. The book contains a collection of essays that Evola wrote towards the end of his life. As the subtitle suggests, many of the essays discuss other thinkers and authors. The essays are, moreover, quite diverse in terms of topics. They are also, in my humble opinion, quite varying in terms of how interesting and insightful they are. As I might have mentioned before, the esoteric and historical observations of Evola are more interesting than his philosophical ones. Regarding the edition, I must give credit to John Bruce Leonard, the translator, for the amount of informative footnotes that help the reader understand the context of certain references (i.e. to persons and books, etc.).

The Fifth Estate – The Forces of Chaos

In an interesting essay titled The Advent of the “Fifth Estate”, Evola discusses the Four Estates and, interestingly, also a Fifth Estate. The Four Estates are, as may be familiar to some, the following:

  • The First Estate = spiritual and sacral authority.
  • The Second Estate = the warrior aristocracy.
  • The Third Estate = the bourgeoise.
  • The Fourth Estate = the working masses.

The French Revolution can be classified as a revolution of the Third Estate. The Bolshevik Revolution can be classified as a revolution of the Fourth Estate. What, then, might the Fifth Estate be? Evola explains it thus:

‘The four-part descent in level of civilization and of social organizations is a reality; likewise is the emergence, upon the point of reaching the final step, of the nether forces, the forces of chaos, which in a certain sense cannot be said to belong to the properly human world, and which can perhaps best be comprehended by the formula of the advent of the Fifth Estate.’

Julius Evola – Recognitions. Page 30.

Evola on Christianity and Catholicism

In the essay titled Quo Vadis, Ecclesia?, Evola discusses the future of the Catholic Church as well as Christianity in general. In the essay he takes issue with the growing ‘progressivism’ of the Church after the Second World War. As is known, the Church has become increasingly Left-wing over the last few decades (even more so now than during Evola’s life). Evola writes about Christianity in many other books (as we have seen in our previous reviews). Below are some quotes that can serve to illustrate his relationship with Christianity and Catholicism quite well:

‘From the sociological point of view original Christianity was effectively socialism avant la lettre; with respect to the classical world and civilization it represents an egalitarian revolutionary ferment. It leveraged itself upon the mood and the needs of the masses, of the plebs, of the disinherited and of the traditionless members of the Empire; its “good news” was that of the inversion of all established values.’

Julius Evola – Recognitions. Page 112.

We have encountered Evola’s critique of Christianity as a doctrine for the Lower before. The quote continues:

‘This background of Christianity and its origins was more or less limited and rectified with the formation of Catholicism – thanks, in grand part, to a “Roman” influence. This overcoming was manifested also in the hierarchical structure of the Church; historically it had its apogee in the Medieval Period, but its orientation did not fail in the period of the Counter-reformation – not, finally in that which was called “the alliance of the throne with the alter,” Catholicism’s consecration of legitimate authority from the heights, according to the rigorous doctrine of Joseph de Maistre and Doneso Cortes, and with the Church’s explicit condemnation of liberalism, democracy, and socialism – and lately, in our century, in the period of modernism. But now this entire valid superstructure of Catholicism seems to crumble and to bring the emergence precisely of the promiscuous, anti-hierarchical, “social” and anti-aristocratic substrate of Christianity.’

Julius Evola – Recognitions. Page 112, 113.

In The Path of Cinnabar (which will be the subject of a coming review), Evola discusses the topic further:

‘And while I recognised Catholicism as a positive religion, I also personally witnessed the disgraceful effects of its dissolution into emotional, sentimental and moralistic forms in the context of modern bourgeois society, which is marked by Catholicism’s lack of interest in emphasising true holiness and transcendence, symbols, rites and sacraments.’

Julius Evola – The Path of Cinnabar. Page 9.

In another passage in The Path of Cinnabar, Evola notes the following in regard to the influence René Guénon had on his views on Catholicism. The book Evola refers to below is The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism.

‘What was new in this book was my willingness to acknowledge the ‘traditional’ side of Catholicism. Nevertheless, I could not avoid expressing certain reservations. Firstly, I maintained that Catholicism ought to be distinguished from primitive Catholicism, and that the latter is to be held in lesser esteem.’

Julius Evola – The Path of Cinnabar. Page 130.

As the quote above shows, Evola had a healthy appreciation for Catholicism – i.e. Christianity that underwent a thorough Romanisation and Germanisation (as we have discussed in previous reviews). Below is another quote that illustrates Evola’s view of Catholicism – which can best be summarised as good but not good enough.

‘Whoever is traditional by being Catholic, is not traditional but halfway.’

Julius Evola – Recognitions. Page 120.

Evola on Contrarians

In the essay titled Biological Youth and Political Youth, Evola states the following in regard to contrarians:

‘Many feel the need to agitate in order to feel their individuality, their own importance; they must counterpoise themselves at all costs to something or to someone.’

Julius Evola – Recognitions. Page 45.

I thought this quote would be good to share considering the amount of contrarians that are drawn to dissident politics in the current year as well. It seems that for some, being in opposition to anyone is more important that promoting a good message. As I have mentioned before, I am not a contrarian; I am merely, by necessity, forced to be a political opponent to the regime – as is the duty of every self-respecting European man.

The Colour Red

In the chapter titled The Inversion of Symbols, Evola (correctly) laments the subversion of the colour red, which, regrettably, has become associated with Communism. As we have noted in previous books by Evola, the colour red has traditionally been associated with both regality and action – as opposed to the white of priestly contemplation. The colour purple has always been associated with royalty and has, fortunately, not been contaminated by any associations of the Left-wing. On a personal note, I like the colour red and deem it appropriate to take back this sacred colour. Many Legio Gloria garments are in Burgundy red.

Conclusion

Recognitions is 311 pages long and is written in Evola’s typical fashion. As mentioned above, the essays vary in terms of how interesting they are – in my humble opinion, the essays dealing with history and spirituality are much more interesting than the ones dealing with the philosophy of others. Overall, the book is insightful and I can recommend it for appreciators of Evola. I would probably recommend reading Metaphysics of Power or The Bow and the Club before Recognitions – both of those titles follow a similar structure (being collections of essays).

Lastly, I discuss Evola’s teachings in Podcast Episode 24. Julius Evola for those who are interested in his views and my perspective upon them.

Human, All Too Human by Friedrich Nietzsche

At long last, I decided to read Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human. I bought the title in a bookshop in Galway a lifetime ago (nine years!), since then it has patiently waited for me to partake of its wisdom.

First Impressions

Since this is the only Nietzsche book I have read thus far, I will content myself with sharing my first impressions. I will elaborate more generally on his teachings later on when I have read a few more of his works. Perhaps Human, All Too Human was not the best starting point for Nietzsche’s teachings, but it had to serve as my starting point nonetheless.

To summarise my first impressions, I must regrettably say that I did not find it all too inspiring or insightful. Perhaps I have been spoiled by reading so many interesting works by Evola and Flowers (and, recently, Eliade).

The book is quite dense (in the sense that it takes a lot of concentration to digest what he writes). This is true for many of Evola’s works as well. Yukio Mishima’s Sun and Steel (review) also presents the same challenge. The difference, however, is that reading Evola makes me want to create an esoteric knightly order of European gentlemen. When I read Sun and Steel, I wanted to train in the sun. Human, All Too Human did not evoke any similar high-thumos sensations.

The book consists of 638 maxims (some shorter, some longer), which mainly concern human behaviour. The observations are quite cynical and not overly profound.

Nietzsche, Christianity, and Metaphysics

Nietzsche’s anti-Christian sentiments are well known. He is not only anti-Christian, however; he is also anti religion and presents metaphysics in the same way one imagines a smug atheist would. In my humble opinion, we need more metaphysics, not less. Nietzsche was, of course, a product of his own time and upbringing. His father was a Lutheran pastor – it is interesting how many anti-Christian individuals come from religious households. In regard to metaphysics, he states the following (such a world = the metaphysical world):

‘No matter how well proven the existence of such a world might be, it would still hold true that the knowledge of it would be the most inconsequential of all knowledge, even more inconsequential than the knowledge of the chemical analysis of water must be to the boatman facing a storm.’

Friedrich Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human. Page 147.

The sentiment above is not one that is congruent with the mentality of one who seeks to ‘conquer the world through his power’ – a reference to a quote that Evola shares from Tantrattva 1:27 in his The Yoga of Power (review). Instead of this unheroic view of metaphysics, it is better to fully embrace the spiritual paths of our Indo-European ancestors – which Stephen E. Flowers shares with us in his works – in The Nine Doors of Midgard (review), for example.

View of Christianity

Nietzsche shares the following sentiment about Christianity in the chapter titled Religious Life:

‘Christianity wants to destroy, shatter, stun, intoxicate: there is only one thing it does not want: moderation, and for this reason, it is in its deepest meaning barbaric, Asiatic, ignoble, un-Greek.’

Friedrich Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human. Page 85.

We will encounter a more profound critique of Christianity in other works by Nietzsche (some trusted friends have recommended a few titles to me) – this critique is especially interesting as it pertains to his teachings on Slave Morality and Master Morality. He critiques Christianity in other maxims as well; none of the maxims provide a deeper analysis, however.

Art and Religion

In maxim 150 (page 105), Nietzsche states that ‘Art raises its head where religions decline.‘ This is clearly not the case. One simply has to look at the great cathedrals to see how faith can inspire beauty. Great art comes from passion, not reason. One can also turn the gaze to India to behold the beauty that profound metaphysics can generate. One could even argue that a lack of solid metaphysical underpinnings in a society gives rise to soulless architecture (i.e. modern architecture).

Luther, the Emperor, and the Pope

Since we have encountered the conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope before in Evola’s works, I thought it would be a good idea to share the following interesting insight by Nietzsche:

‘The fact that Luther survived at the time, and that his protest gathered strength, lay in the coincidence of an extraordinary political configuration: the Emperor protected him in order to use his innovation to apply pressure against the Pope, and likewise the Pope secretly favoured him, in order to use the imperial Protestant princes as a counterweight against the Emperor.’

Friedrich Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human. Page 147.

Discussions about Luther are always interesting since the repercussions of his work had such an impact on the trajectory of European civilisation. I have elaborated on Luther before, but to briefly summarise: I regret the division the Protestant Reformation caused, but he was also correct and courageous for confronting the corruption of the Catholic Church. In that sense, he was a brave man that I can admire.

Homer and Panhellenism

In maxim 262 (page 161), Nietzsche notes the following regarding the great Homer:

‘Even now, the greatest fact about Greek culture is that Homer became Panhellenic so soon. All the spiritual and human freedom the Greeks attained goes back to this fact. But at the same time it was also the actual doom of Greek culture, for, by centralizing, Homer made shallow and dissolved the more serious instincts of independence.’

Friedrich Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human. Page 161.

In my humble opinion, it was great that Homer’s work became Panhellenic. Panhellenic sentiments allowed Greece to stave of the Persians. The influence of Homer also fuelled Alexander’s quest for godhood, glory, and conquest. I also welcome the influence Homer has had (and continues to have) on European civilisation.

Can I Recommend the Book?

At 267 dense pages, Human, All Too Human is not a light read (especially since many passages may require re-reading) nor is it particularly interesting. As mentioned above, Evola is not light reading either, but his teachings are interesting and inspiring enough to make the reading worth it. In a recent video, I mentioned that Evola’s Ride the Tiger is perhaps his most uninteresting book (and definitely not one to start with), and I do not judge Evola solely based on that book. Therefore, I will not judge Nietzsche solely on this book either.

Moreover, since I have now read one book by Mircae Eliade and one book by Friedrich Nietzsche, a brief comparison is in order – Eliade’s The Myth of the Eternal Return (review) at 162 pages contains a great many more interesting insights than Human, All Too Human does at 267 pages.

I would not recommend Human, All Too Human unless you are a Nietzsche connoisseur – especially considering the number of interesting books that I have read and reviewed as of late.

The Mysteries of the Goths by Edred Thorsson

I have read The Mystery of the Goths by Edred (Thorsson) – Stephen E. Flowers. As is the case with his other books that I have reviewed, it is well-written and full of interesting insights.

Visigoths and Ostrogoths

The author notes that the names Visigoths and Ostrogoths do not actually refer to West Goths and East Goths respectively, but rather that the Visigoths are ‘the good and noble Goths’ and the Ostrogoths are ‘the Goths Glorified by the Rising Sun.’ As is evident by the title of the book, the Goths are the main topic of the book, but the author also elaborates on certain other Germanic tribes and their relationship with the Goths.

Arian Christianity and the Goths

The author elaborates on the Gothic conversion to Arian Christian. Arian in this sense should not be confused with Aryan (Indo-European); it refers to Arius of Alexandria (AD 256–336). In essence, Arian Christianity views Jesus as subordinate to God. This view would lose to the prevailing Christian view of Jesus as a part of the trinity. Early Church history is full of fascinating theological disputes and heresies – they really took infighting to the next level!

The Arianism of the Goths would lead them into conflict with the Catholic Church. Related to this, the author mentions something interesting, namely that the Visigothic legacy in Spain is honoured, as can be seen when looking at Spanish men’s names: Alfonso, Rodrigo, Fernando (among others). In France, however, the Gothic heritage is not honoured in the same way. This is because the Franks (backed by the Catholic Church) defeated the Goths, and thereby gained control over what would become France. The conflict between Paris (the Frankish north) and the south of France would continue during the Middle Ages – as is detailed by Otto Rahn in his Crusade Against the Grail. I talk more about this conflict in Podcast Episode 9. The Pinnacle of Civilisation –France and will return to it in coming episodes as well.

The pre-Christian spirituality of the Goths was very similar to that of other Germanic peoples, and, more generally, to other Indo-Europeans. The author elaborates more on the topic in the excellent book The Nine Doors of Midgard (review).

Attila the Hun – The Germanic Name Attila

The story of the Gothic people is interlinked with that of the Huns – their allies and enemies. Interestingly, the author notes that the name Attila is of Germanic origin:

‘The degree to which the Hyns were open to foreign influence is reflected in their personal names. A study of these names by Prof. Otto Maenchen-Helfen (pp. 385-442) shows that a surprising percentage of them are of Germanic and Iranian origin, although, of course, their own native Turkic names predominate. Among the Germanic names are Attila. This is a specifically Gothic name. Atta is a familiar form of “father,” as we see the Gothic translation of the “Lord’s Prayer” begins with the phrase Atta unsar – “our daddy.” To this stem has been added a diminutive suffix, –ila. Att-ila means literally “little father.”

Edred – The Mysteries of the Goths. Page 21.

This knowledge sheds some light on the relationship between the Huns and their Germanic neighbours. A simplistic narrative is that the Huns were an all-dominating force that drove all others before them. A more nuanced perspective is to view the Huns as the primary force of the region, but still a force that needed to cooperate and ally with its neighbours. A thorough discussion regarding the relationship between the Huns and the Goths is, of course, beyond the scope of this article, and we are bound to return to it at a later point.

The Greek Origins of the Kabbalah

The author mentions that the Hebrew Kabbalah has its roots in Greek esotericism.

‘By the time the Goths encountered the Greek world in the 2nd century, the Greeks had already developed an elaborate and sophisticated numerological philosophy and esotericism. This was pioneered at the earliest stages by philosophers such as Pythagoras, who lived around 500 BCE. This Greek form of esotericism was absorbed by the Hebrews and became a mainstay of their esoteric tradition known as the kabbalah, “tradition.”’

Edred – The Mysteries of the Goths. Page 82.

This can be worth keeping in mind when studying Western esotericism in general. Moreover, this is especially important when discussing Christianity’s role in shaping European civilisation – much (perhaps even most) of Christianity is based upon Pagan traditions. A good example to illustrate this is how angels are portrayed: a European angel is beautiful and good; a Biblical angel looks like a nightmarish horror.

The Hidden Treasures of the Goths

In a chapter titled The Hidden Treasures of the Goths, the author discusses various famous Gothic treasures. Among those is the treasure of Alaric, which he acquired upon occupied Rome.

‘Alaric’s sacking of Rome was not a particularly violent act. The Visigoths simply took possession of the city and in an orderly fashion excised the Roman treasury.’

Edred – The Mysteries of the Goths. Page 93.

Describing the sack of Rome as such makes perfect sense when viewing the event from an ethnographic perspective. An orderly acquisition of wealth is, it must be noted, more in tune with the Germanic spirit than mindless pillaging.

Where did the treasure end up? Archaeologists have noted a large influx of gold into Scandinavia during the 400s (an influx which does not appear to be correlated to an increase in mining). Therefore, it can be surmised that the gold came from the Visigothic reserves. It makes sense that the Goths on the continent would send part of their treasure back to their kinsmen in Sweden.

Pictured below: not a Visigothic treasure, but the Sword and Shield of Carl Gustaf Wrangel. The sword and shield were taken as spoils of war by Wrangel from Voivode Jan Zamoiskij following the Battle of Warsaw in 1656. The set was, according to some sources, initially a gift from the Ottoman Sultan Murad III to Stephen Báthory – King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Prince of Transylvania. I thought the picture and story fitted this article!

Conclusion

At 128 pages, The Mystery of the Goths is concise yet full of interesting insights. I, for one, would welcome a new edition with more pages – the topic definitely deserves it. That being said, I can definitely recommend the book for anyone interested in the Goths (I cannot imagine anyone who is not).

Onwards and upwards!

The Myth of the Eternal Return by Mircea Eliade

I have read The Myth of the Eternal Return – Cosmos and History by Mircea Eliade. Since the teachings of Eliade were heavily featured in Dr. Charles William Dailey’s excellent book The Serpent Symbol in Tradition (review), I deemed it reasonable to start with Eliade’s work. Eliade himself recommends The Myth of the Eternal Return as a starting point to his teachings.

The book contains the following four chapters:

  • Archetypes and Repetition
  • The Regeneration of Time
  • Misfortune and History
  • The Terror of History

Archaic Man, In Illo Tempore, and Archetypes

For those familiar with Julius Evola, René Guénon, and the term Traditional man, it can be worth pointing out that Eliade refers to the same (Traditional) as Archaic man. The author notes that the chief difference between Archaic man and Modern man (with his strong imprint of Christianity) lies in the fact that Archaic man is connected with the Cosmos and the cosmic rhythms, whereas the Modern man is connected only with History.

Eliade frequently uses the term ‘in illo tempore,‘ which is Latin for ‘in that time’ and denotes time before recorded history. Another term he uses is ‘illud tempus‘, which refers to sacred time and space (the time of origins, the time when the world was first created).

Moreover, he notes that his use of the term archetype is not the same as the meaning used by Carl Jung. Instead, he uses the term archetype to denote an ‘exemplary model’ or ‘paradigm.’

Archetypes and Repetition

In the first chapter of the book, Archetypes and Repetitions, the author discusses the Archaic man’s attitude towards Creation and towards the cyclical nature of the Universe and of Time itself.

‘In the particulars of his conscious behaviour, the “primitive,” the archaic man, acknowledges no act which has not been previously posited and lived by someone else, some other being who was not a man. What he does has been done before.’

Mircae Eliade – The Myth of the Eternal Return. Page 5.

Eliade notes that every creation repeats the pre-eminent cosmogonic act – the Creation of the world. He gives an interesting example with the Scandinavian colonisation of Iceland, in which the colonists regarded the cultivation of the land not as human or profane work, but as a repetition of the primordial transformation of chaos into cosmos by the dive act of Creation. He goes on to note that in this world view, a territory occupied for the purpose of being inhabited undergoes the transformation from chaos into cosmos. He gives the example of the Portuguese explorers, who put up crosses along the coasts where they passed – a practice detailed in Roger Crowley’s excellent book Conquerors – How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire (review). Moreover, he notes that the Archaic man gave most activities a sacred meaning:

‘To summarize, we might say that the archaic world knows nothing of “profane” activities: every act which has a definite meaning – hunting, fishing, agriculture; games, conflicts, sexuality, – in some way participates in the sacred. As we shall see more clearly later, the only profane activities are those which have no mythical meaning, that is, which lack exemplary models. Thus we may say that every responsible activity in pursuit of a definite end is, for the archaic world, a ritual.’

Mircae Eliade – The Myth of the Eternal Return. Page 27-28.

From this perspective, we could say that whenever we pray in the Temple of Iron we repeat the primordial act of creating cosmos from chaos. It can also be seen as Mithras’ struggle against the cosmic bull that he sacrifices. There are plenty of spiritual examples to choose from – in any case, praying in the Temple of Iron (strength training) is an act of overcoming yourself in order to create something higher (from chaos to cosmos).

Archetypes and Heroes

Reading the about the repetitions and Archetypes of Archaic man led me to think about a Twitter post I stumbled upon a while back, which basically said that LARPing (LARP = Live Action Role Playing) is a powerful spiritual tool that has been used by great men throughout history: Napoleon LARPed as Caesar, who LARPed as Alexander, who LARPed as Achilles, who LARPed as Hercules.

Thus, one can say that the Archetypal acts of repetition does create new history (even if viewing history as cyclical). This, in turn, led my thoughts to the profound quote by Yukio Mishima that appears in Sun and Steel (review), which is worth sharing in this context as well:

‘The cynicism that regards hero worship as comical is always shadowed by a sense of physical inferiority. Invariably, it is the man who believes himself to be physically lacking in heroic attributes who speaks mockingly of the hero.’

Yukio Mishima – Sun and Steel

The Act of Creation

The author notes that for Archaic man, many of the rituals he partook in were repetitions of the act of Creation. By following an already established pattern, he could find his role in the Universe (perhaps many nihilists of our Modern World could benefit from such a mindset). The view of cyclical time and the repetition of the act of Creation can explain the concept of the Eternal Return (i.e. the title of the book).

‘Every New Year is a resumption of the time from the beginning, that is, a repetition of the cosmogony.’

Mircae Eliade – The Myth of the Eternal Return. Page 54.

Periodic ceremonies could entail the expulsion of demons, diseases, and sins. This could take shape in the form of fasting, ablutions, and purification. Fasting has, as I detail in Dauntless, a number of health benefits – primarily autophagy (which is basically the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells). Fasting can also be used as a way to attain a certain mental clarity.

Two Views of Time – Cosmic Cycles and History

A central theme in the book is the two different views of time: Cosmic Cycles and History. As most readers are probably aware, the cyclical view of time is connected with Indo-European spirituality – Vedic tradition presents the four ages: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga (which we are in now). In Germanic tradition, Ragnarök is the event that ends the world – which will then be reborn. Christianity views time as History with a linear progression. Eliade notes that early Christian writers opposed the myth of the eternal return (cyclical time and periodic regeneration of history) but that it still found its way into Christian philosophy to a certain degree. This is an interesting discussion in the book, and the full implications of it lie beyond the scope of this article.

As I noted in a video (Paganism or Christianity. Should You Become a Catholic?) a few years back, the cyclical view of time is, one could argue, more natural for a European, who witnesses the cycle of the year – as opposed to the more static nature of the desert.

Misfortune and History and The Terror of History

In the chapter titled The Terror of History, the author elaborates on how humanity has dealt with History in the form of catastrophes and, generally speaking, bad times.

‘The foregoing chapters have abundantly illustrated the way in which men of the traditional civilizations tolerated history. The reader will remember that they defended themselves against it, either by periodically abolishing it through repetition of the cosmogony and a periodic regeneration of time or by giving historical events a metahistorical meaning, a meaning that was not only consoling but was above all coherent, that is, capable of being fitted into a well-consolidated system in which the cosmos and man’s existence had each its raison d’être.’

Mircae Eliade – The Myth of the Eternal Return. Page 142.

In essence, one could say that the suffering became bearable if it had a meaning. This makes perfect sense and is an insight which can be useful to keep in mind. This brings to mind the Rune Hagalaz, which is a Rune of both destruction and creative destruction. The practical application of it can be to view any negative event as also bearing the seeds of something positive to come. I will elaborate on this at length later on.

Conclusion

At 162 pages, the book is quite concise and can be read and digested within a reasonable time frame. Even so, it is densely packed with interesting insights – an impressive amount of insights for so few pages! Thus, I can recommend it for those interested in Traditionalism, myth, and spirituality.

I look forward to getting further acquainted with the thoughts of Mircea Eliade!

The Nine Doors of Midgard by Edred Thorsson

I have read The Nine Doors of Midgard – A Curriculum of Rune-work by Edred Thorsson (Stephen E. Flowers). Reading this was a natural follow-up to the previous books I have reviewed: Icelandic Magic (review), Rune Might (review), and Revival of the Runes (review).

The Nine Doors of Midgard – A Curriculum of Rune-work is, as the subtitle suggests, a guide for practical applications of Rune magic. As I have stated before, I appreciate the amount of practical techniques Flowers presents in his works; I am always in search of techniques I can add to my meditations. Thus, I can, without further ado, highly recommend the book for anyone who wishes to start practising rune magic. For those who are unsure about the term magic, I discuss it briefly in this video: A Heads Up – Also, What Do I Mean By ‘Magic’?

As the title of the book suggests, the curriculum consists of nine doors – each door is a period of training, the training gets more complex for each door (and is dependent upon the training of the previous doors.

The Raido Rune Poem

The author presents a number of rune poems, each gives some insight into the mystery of the corresponding rune. One of the poems dear to my own heart is the following:

[Radio] Riding is in the hall
to every warrior easy
but very hard for the one who sits up on a powerful horse
over miles of road.

Paul Waggener mentions this poem in his Rune course as well. I, too, appreciate the wisdom in it. The insight is similar to the one presented in the great speech ‘The Man in the Arena‘ by Theodore Roosevelt. In its essence, it highlights the difference between talking about the things you will or could do and actually embarking upon a quest. This poem can be useful to keep in mind when dealing with doubts or detractors. You will find that those who are riding on a powerful horse (i.e. being on their own quests) are not the ones trying to denigrate your own efforts. Keeping this poem in mind is also valuable if you feel like things are not quite going exactly according to plan, they seldom do! As the poem says: riding (being on a quest) is hard. If it is not hard – time to set a higher pace!

A Beautiful Blessing

Under the title The Meal Stave, the author presents the following beautiful blessing to be used for drinks:

‘Drink of power, loaded with the force of life – flow into me and fill my being with energy without bound!’

Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 32.

As I write this, I am enjoying my daily espresso and decided to bless it with the words above. Blessings like this have the added bonus of bringing gratitude (a high-vibration emotion) to one’s consciousness. In blessing my drink, I appreciate it more. Gratitude leads to happiness.

Biology of the Runes

The following no-nonsense explanation is given regarding the use of the Runes. I have mentioned blood memory in several Podcast episodes, and this ties into the concept quite well:

‘But why the Runes and not Chinese characters or Egyptian hieroglyphics? Most Gilders know the answer here. Because we are of Wōden (descended from him as our ancestral sovereign god-head), it is through his gifts – in their original forms – that we will most easily gain access to the hidden magical realms of ourselves and of the objective universe.’

Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 42.

Germanic Soul and Metaphysics

The author notes that Asgard is the realm of consciousness and that focus on this realm is the highest form of consciousness. The nine realms of Germanic cosmology are connected to different aspects of the human being; this is a highly interesting discussion, and one that is relevant to many of the workings detailed in the book (I will meditate further upon these concepts and elaborate on them at a later point).

Moreover, he notes that ancient Germanic psychology does not only speak of a single soul but of a number of them, which are connected to the cosmology and together make up a whole person. As we have noted before, the author is not a fan of Christianity, and shares the following critique of the Christian view of the soul:

‘The “substance” in which the Runer works is the soul or psyche. The soul has become less and less well known in our culture as Christianity – with its primitive, unsophisticated, and confused psychology – slowly destroyed our knowledge of our souls and thus of ourselves.’

Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 22.

On a personal note, I am greatly delighted to have discovered the depth and complexity of ancient Germanic metaphysics. Up until recently, I was unaware of this – thus, I can conclude that it was a good call to follow Odin’s encouragement and continue to seek spiritual wisdom. As I mentioned in a recent Podcast episode, I was hit by a certain energy a while back. The energy caused my hunger for knowledge to increase greatly. I cannot explain it in any other way than as a blessing from Odin.

Becoming familiar with the various realms is important when it comes to the practical applications of the Rune magic, as noted in the quote below. Moreover, this shift of consciousness is sometime the goal with certain meditations.

‘The normal ego-consciousness, the subjective I-focus of the self, is in or near the center of the soul, in or near the Midgard-center. Since this is where the magician normally lives, this is indeed the ideal center for this focus. However, when there is magic to be worked, this center can be shifted from the center to the apex of the soul – to the Asgard-center, if you will.’

Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 162.

Elemental Breathing

The author presents several useful meditation techniques. One of those is Elemental Breathing, which (briefly summarised) entails visualising yourself being surrounded by a sphere filled with an element (fire, for example). Your body is a vacuum within that space. As you breathe, visualise the element entering you with each breath. Breathe until you have absorbed all of the fire. I will experiment with this meditation both in the Temple of Iron and in other settings.

The author notes that in the Indo-European system (from which the Germanic and Indic systems are derived) breath was considered a source of spiritual power. This is worth keeping in mind when doing pranayama exercises – they are not foreign to us, which can be good to point out should someone say that they belong to another spiritual tradition.

Conclusion

As stated above, I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Runes and/or Germanic cosmology and metaphysics. It contains both interesting insights as well as plenty of instructions for practical applications of Rune magic. I enjoyed reading it and will continue to experiment with the techniques. Thank you, G, for the recommendation.

Onwards and upwards!

Hymns for the Gods – From Olympus to Asgard

I have had the pleasure of reading Hymns for the Gods – From Olympus to Asgard, published by Heliotroph Books. As the title suggests, the book contains hymns to the Graeco-Roman and Germanic Gods. It also contains an insightful introduction in which God, polytheism, metaphysics, and relevant topics are discussed. Thereafter, a number of Gods are introduced and hymns that can be recited (sung) to them are presented. Many of the hymns are quite beautiful, I might add!

‘We affirm that the mystic and perennial truths elucidated by the Orphic, Platonist, Asatru, and Vedic traditions are in fact uniquely and providentially suited to addressing the problems of modernity and post-modernity because they teach us the proper relationship of our selves to our experience, our selves to others, our selves to our spaces, and our selves to their source and cause. They lift our eyes upwards to reveal the fantastic and mysterious motions of the web of forces above us and give us the opportunity to live our lives attuned to that divine clockwork instead of being mindlessly tossed about by it.’

– Hymns for the Gods

Plato’s Tripartite Soul

The author introduces Plato’s theory of the soul, which we encountered in our review of The Practical Art of Divine Magic by Patrick Dunn (as well as in my video: Lose Fat With Plato – Mental Technique to Resist Cravings).

In essence, Plato presents the soul (or psyche) as being divided in three:

  1. Logos – the rational charioteer. The head.
  2. Thumos – the white horse of will and spirit. The heart and solar plexus.
  3. Epithymetikon (Eros) – the black horse of desire. The belly and genitalia.

Note: in my own work, I use the term Thumos to mark spiritedness, the Faustian spirit, the Homeric yearn for glory.

Poseidon’s Prayer

Below is a beautiful prayer that appears in the book (the other prayers and hymns are in a similar style):

‘Poseidon of the waters,
God who sends the rollings waves,
May you with royal power
Spur my soul to greater works,
And, tireless with stallion’s might,
Grant us lives so full of life,
Abounding with your blessings’

– Poseidon’s Prayer

Helios and Julian the Blessed

In the description of Helios, the author notes that Zeus-Helios was the favourite god of Julian the Blessed. Julian is perhaps more commonly known as ‘Julian the Apostate’, which is the name given to him by Christians. Julian was emperor between 361 and 363 CE and attempted to restore Paganism to the Roman Empire (hence the aversion Christians have felt towards him throughout the centuries). Julian the Blessed sounds good, so I will use it henceforth when referring to him.

My Pantheon

On a personal note, Helios has always been close to my own heart. My pantheon is otherwise dominated by Germanic gods. This is something I will elaborate on at length later on, but what we can say for now is that I am, as keen readers of my book reviews may have noted, looking for the Indo-European roots of the gods. Thus, I do not view Helios as a foreign god, nor do I necessarily view some of the Vedic gods as particularly foreign – especially since we noted the following in Revolt Against the Modern World (review):

‘In relation to the Aryan element, in India the attribute used for salvific deities and heroes is hari and harit, a term which means both “the golden one” (in relation to the primordial cycle: Apollo, Horus, etc.) and the “blond god.”’

Julius Evola – Revolt Against the Modern World. Page 245.

Hermes

In the description of Hermes the Messenger, the author shares the following insight, which I found interesting:

‘As the bridge between higher and lower, matter and Intellect, Hermes is the leader, the serial fountainhead, of Soul in the specifically Neoplatonic sense. This is because Soul is the intermediary between the unchanging Intellect and ever-changing matter and therefore becomes the first layer of godhead which could be said to be mobile, interacting with time and space but not contained by them.’

– Hymns for the Gods

Speaking of the Soul and Neoplatonism, Keith Woods recently made an interesting video on the subject, which can be watched here: The Ascent of the Soul in Neoplatonism.

Conclusion

Hymns for the Gods is rather concise and therefore does not present a great time investment. It can be viewed as a handbook that can be used alongside one’s worship. The cover is also really nice – great work by Brendan Heard of the Aureus Press! I can definitely recommend the book for someone interested in the subject.

Revolt Against the Modern World by Julius Evola

If you have not already read my review of Men Among the Ruins, I recommend that you do so before reading this article, as it contains a more general overview of Evola’s work.

I have read Julius Evola’s magnum opus – Revolt Against the Modern World. Many of the teachings in the book will be familiar for those who have read other works by Evola. If you have not read any of Evola’s books, I would recommend starting with Revolt Against the Modern World, as it gives a good overview of many of the topics which he deals with in more detail in other works.

I asked Modern Platonist, a fellow Evola appreciator, about his top-three Evola titles, and he responded thus: Revolt Against the Modern World, Pagan Imperialism, The Hermetic Tradition. I wrote a review of The Hermetic Tradition but have yet to read Pagan Imperialism. My own top-three titles (at the time of writing this at least) are Revolt Against the Modern World, Men Among the Ruins (review), The Mystery of the Grail (review). That being said, many of his other works contain valuable insights – for those interested in magic the Introduction to Magic books are recommended (review of part one, review of part two and three). Metaphysics of Power (review) is recommended for those interested in his social commentary. I will update this list as I read more of his books!

Below are some insights found in the book. Also, many of the insights found in Revolt Against the Modern World have been the subject of discussion in previous book reviews.

The Crisis of the Modern World

It is clear for anyone to see that something is profoundly wrong with modern society. There are aspects of modernity that are positive, but in order to diagnose the faulty parts, a thorough analysis is in order. Evola, as a critic of modernity, comes in handy in this regard (which is one reason that makes his books relevant today). In order to heal that damaged parts of our time, we need to understand the underlying causes.

This is, of course, a topic that is beyond the scope of this article, but a short summary of some of the issues that plague the modern world could be the following: rootlessness (no sense of belonging), nihilism and materialism (‘God is dead’ in Nietzsche’s words), no sense of purpose or order. A clear symptom of the disease is mindless killings – mass shootings, for example. The number of people on anti-depression medications is also telling.

Vocation and Caste

A good point Evola elaborates on is that of vocation and caste. In the days of old, a young man could find a certain safety and belonging in simply following in his father’s footsteps. The cobbler’s son grew up to become a cobbler. The farmer’s son to be a farmer. The merchant’s son to be a merchant. Perhaps this did not always leave much in the way of upward mobility, but at least it gave people a sense of belonging. Contrasted with today’s rootless society, where a young man is considered lucky to even have a father.

In regard to vocation, it could be said that there is a certain beauty and purity in not only having a profession, but having a vocation. Imagine the medieval blacksmith whose vocation it was to be a blacksmith – he could seek perfection within his trade. This is, of course, possible for some people today as well, which is good, but for many it may be hard to find such vocation – especially since no clear guidelines are given when growing up.

In regard to caste, it can be good to point out that being of a lower caste is not bad – what is bad is to be casteless (an outcast). Evola discusses caste at length in the book (and touches on the topic in other books as well).

In the chapter titled The Doctrine of the Castes, Evola includes the following insightful quote from Plato:

‘If we say that people of this sort ought to be subject to the highest type of man, we intend that the subject should be governed not to his own detriment but on the same principle as his superior, who is himself governed by the divine element within him. It is better for everyone to be subject to a power of godlike wisdom residing within himself, or failing that, imposed from without.’

Plato – Republic

This is a good quote to remember when pursuing excellence – be governed by the divine element within yourself!

The Golden One

To my great delight, I noted the following passage in the chapter titled Tradition and Antitradition, which I thought would be interesting to share:

‘In relation to the Aryan element, in India the attribute used for salvific deities and heroes is hari and harit, a term which means both “the golden one” (in relation to the primordial cycle: Apollo, Horus, etc.) and the “blond god.”’

Julius Evola – Revolt Against the Modern World. Page 245.

Note: I claimed the title of The Golden One in 2014 and not in relation to this passage by Evola. I will elaborate on this in my coming book.

Saint Bernard and Germanised Christianity

In the chapter titled The Greater and Lesser Holy War, the following beautiful quote appears:

‘Whether we live of die, we belong to the Lord. What a glory it is for you to emerge from the battle crowned with victory! But what a greater glory it is to win on the battlefield an immortal crown… What a truly blessed condition, when one can wait for death without any fear, yearning for it and welcoming it with a strong spirit!’

Saint Bernard – De laude novae militiae

This quote illustrates quite clearly the Germanisation of Christianity, something Evola discusses in several books. Many of the thoughts in the chapter are elaborated on in the book Metaphysics of War. I have not reviewed it, but I refer to it in Dauntless. In the quote above, it is clear that Saint Bernard is invoking a Pagan warrior-spirituality.

Overpopulation

In the chapter titled The Decline of Superior Races, Evola discusses the issue of overpopulation. The chapter begins thus:

‘The modern world is far from being threatened by the danger of underpopulation /…/ The truth is that we are facing an opposite danger: the constant and untrammeled increase of population in purely quantitative terms.’

Julius Evola – Revolt Against the Modern World. Page 167.

The topic is as relevant today as when Evola wrote the book. There is, of course, the issue of low European birth-rates. However, the focus must not be taken away from the real issue at hand – mass immigration into Europe from the Third World. When looking at humanity as a whole, it is hard to find a compelling argument as to why more humans would be desirable. A sound eco-system, clean rivers and oceans, a thriving wild-life; these are desirable – and an increasing human population stands in opposition to this.

Conclusion

As stated in above, Revolt Against the Modern World is Evola’s magnum opus, and makes for a great introduction and overview of his teachings. At 369 pages, it will take its time to read through but it is time well spent.