The Yoga of Power by Julius Evola
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.