Posted on July 28, 2022
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.
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!
Posted on July 26, 2022
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.
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.
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!
Posted on July 21, 2022
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:
- Logos – the rational charioteer. The head.
- Thumos – the white horse of will and spirit. The heart and solar plexus.
- 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.
Below is a beautiful prayer that appears in the book (the other prayers and hymns are in a similar style):
‘Poseidon of the waters,– Poseidon’s Prayer
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’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on July 6, 2022
I have read Men Among the Ruins by Julius Evola. Written after the Second World War as a commentary on social, political, and historical matters, it contains many interesting insights. Some have labelled Evola’s post-war writings as ‘black-pilled’ (i.e. negative and defeatist); I did not get this impression upon reading it. Instead, I found it to be a reasonable and measured observation of the world at the time. Compared to Ride the Tiger, Men Among the Ruins is, in my opinion, much better. Below are but a few of the interesting insights found in the book.
My Critique of Evola
Since I have reviewed and referred to Evola quite many times over the last year, I deem it necessary to point out a few things. Firstly, I am mainly interested in his teachings that pertain to matters of the spirit. I believe that Evola as a spiritual seeker has few rivals. As for his social and political commentary, they do not necessarily align with my own. Therefore, it is good to point out that those who are sceptical of his social commentary would do themselves a great disservice by not reading his esoteric works because of said scepticism.
I sometimes see young men invoke Evola as a way to be ‘uniquely radical’ or as a way to side-step accusations of being a Fascist. Moreover, to my great lament, I often see said younger men refer to Evola or other thinkers of the Right (of the German Conservative Revolution, for example) as a way to ‘look down’ on the ‘Plebs’ (especially in regard to Nationalism). I find this unwarranted sense of superiority laughable. I also find the disdain for one’s own people to be incongruent with the sense of love for one’s own that should be a driving force for any champion of Mother Europa – or any Nationalist for that matter. I am certainly frustrated with Europeans in general and Swedes in particular from time to time, but I still love them (again, the Swedish people in particular).
Moreover, I am a man of the people (of the middle class* that Evola so despises) and a man for the people. I am, of course, also an Aristocrat of the Soul, and I aspire to become what I refer to in Dauntless as a man of a new Countryside Aristocracy. Furthermore, I am, as I have mentioned before, an aspiring Enlightened Despot. I point this out so that no one will mistake my enthusiasm for Evola’s teachings with a disdain for my own people or for Nationalism (note: I do not refer to myself as a Nationalist to the initiated, as explained in Podcast Episode 7. Europa).
*The middle class is very broad in Sweden, Swedish society also has a certain level of upward mobility – both of these factors are aspects that I view as beneficial for the well-being of the people.
There are, of course, other aspects of Evola’s teachings which I do not endorse. I understand that you, my dear reader, understand this – I am merely pointing it out should nefarious elements seek to misrepresent my own teachings. To give an example, Evola would classify boxing as a vulgar display of American degeneracy (I am paraphrasing him here – he writes about this in The Bow and the Club). Had he been alive to witness the rise of MMA, he would most likely have labelled it as even more barbaric! And I do, as you know, recommend MMA (including boxing) as a form of training.
Furthermore, I am not opposed to Bonapartism or Caesarism (although Rome saw its glory days during the Republic). I am not opposed to a strong monarch with the love and support of the people. For more information about this subject, I wrote a short review of Two Models of Government by Dr Michael Arnheim. Moreover, in Metaphysics of Power, Evola voices his reservations about France’s Philip the Fair – the critique is not only based on Philip’s attack on the Templars, but also because he centralised power (at the expense of the aristocracy). I see no issue in Philip centralising power in this manner – heroic king Gustav Vasa of Sweden did the same. Perhaps I will elaborate on this topic at length in a coming Podcast episode!
Powerful Women – the High Priestess
Although not necessarily related to Men Among the Ruins, a common theme in Evola’s books is the dichotomy of the chthonic Earth Mother and the celestial Olympian Father.
Perhaps some would interpret Evola’s teachings as being hostile to women. Although I would not necessarily agree with this, I would like to note that Evola (from what I have gathered thus far) does not highlight certain powerful feminine archetypes – such as the High Priestess or the Queen. Although this is a topic that lies beyond the scope of this book review, it is good to note that there are archetypes a woman can strive for within a Traditional setting. Traditional here denotes eternal metaphysical principles – and not ‘Trad’ (which has become a bit of a ridiculous meme at this point). In essence, a High Priestess or Queen can become powerful via the love and loyalty she inspires in the men of the tribe or nation. This love and loyalty can be based on many different factors – on a more local level, it can be based upon favours and kindness. To give an example (that is not necessarily related to the archetypes of the High Priestess or the Queen): the gentle grandmother who is kind to her grandson and his friends (inspiring love). When they are young men she will potentially have a Männerbund to call upon should she be in danger.
Modern culture has made a mockery of feminine power – portraying women as having masculine power is only obnoxious and can, in some cases, present a young woman with a false sense of security, and it will certainly deprive the woman of any true power (based on love) she could have.
A powerful woman is not a ‘girl-boss’ that no one likes (let alone loves), nor is it someone who tries to emulate masculine archetypes (i.e. a Warrior). A powerful woman is the beloved Queen, Mother, and Priestess that can call on the loyalty of men who feel love (non-sexual) for her.
Lastly, an obvious example is, of course, the Mother, who can count on the loyalty of her sons and daughters.
Note: Evola discusses the role and archetypes of women in Revolt Against the Modern World (which we will review at a later point).
Evola and Christianity
Since I have mentioned some disagreements above, I thought it would be reasonable to also share something in particular that I appreciate with Evola. His view of Christianity is very measured and reasonable – and matches my own to a large extent (my views have, it must be noted, been influenced by his in this matter). Although not strictly related to any chapter in Men Among the Ruins, I deemed it reasonable to elaborate on this here.
A superficial critique of Christianity is often accompanied by a view in which Christianity and Paganism are seen as two competing sport-teams. A person harbouring said such superficial view of the matter could ask:
‘How can you admire the Teutonic Order that fought against Pagan Lithuanians?‘
Those who harbour these sentiments fail to realise a historical truth – that Europeans have fought in countless wars against each other since time immemorial. Is it right or is it wrong? It is what it is. At the present moment, it is good to promote a sense of European unity. But it is not reasonable getting upset over medieval conflicts.
The Teutonic Order, the Templars, and the Hospitallers are worthy of admiration because of the heroic ideals they embodied. These orders expressed themselves in congruence with the Indo-European spirit – the spirit of the initiatory Männerbund. I admire these orders because of this. That they wore crosses does not bother me – the Swedish flag also has a cross on it; I still find it beautiful.
Thus, the superficial critique of the Teutonic Order, the Templars, or Hospitallers would be to point to their crosses and say that they were on ‘Team Christianity’ (i.e. as in the view of the aforementioned sport teams).
In the notes (page 306) of Men Among the Ruins, the following is noted: ‘Concerning the Knights Templar, they had their own initiation and esoteric doctrine, reserved to higher degrees, which were not reducible to the mere Christian religiosity fostered by the Church.’ This can explain why Evola liked the Templars, despite not liking Christianity.
Evola During WW2
In the introduction of the book, Dr. H. T. Hansen notes that Evola wanted to fight on the Eastern Front against Bolshevik Russia. However, since he was not a member of the Fascist party, his application was delayed again and again, and even upon declaring his willingness to join the party (to be able to join the war effort), he was declined. He had many enemies in the party – which is perhaps not so surprising given his rather confrontative nature and his critical view of Fascism. Evola fought as an officer during the First World War, and his status as belonging to the Kshatriya (Warrior caste) is beyond dispute. I mention this here to emphasise the fact that he was someone who lived in accord with his teachings. This is, in my humble opinion, an important aspect to look at when judging any philosopher.
In the chapter Personality – Freedom – Hierarchy, the following interesting passage appears:
‘Ancient primitive man essentially obeyed not the strongest members of society, but those in whom he perceived a saturation of mana (i.e., a sacred energy and life force) and who, for this reason, seemed to him best qualified to perform activities usually precluded to others.’Julius Evola – Men Among the Ruins. Page 142.
I thought it would be interesting to share for my esteemed Podcast subscribers. In Episode 23. Beauty, I noted that Achilles must not be portrayed as a mere brute (as in Total War Saga: Troy) – but as a divinely blessed specimen with great martial prowess, but also full of charisma. Certain men have an ‘it’-factor; this ‘it’-factor can be explained as being saturated with mana, as mentioned in the quote above. This is a deep and interesting subject that we will return to in coming Podcast episodes as well as book reviews.
Nordic-Aryan – Indo-European
Evola often returns to the Aryans, which is the word he uses for Indo-European – the term I use (to avoid confusion). He defined the term thus:
‘It must be realized that in modern racial studies, “Aryan” and even “Nordic” do not in fact mean German; the term is synonymous with “Indo-European,” and is correctly applied to a primordial, pre-historic race from which were derived the first creators of the Indian, Persian, Greek, and Roman civilizations, and of which the Germans are only the final adventitious branches.’Julius Evola’s Autodifensa (Self-Defense Statement in court during a trial in 1951 – found in the appendix of the book).
Evola expressed a wish for Italy to reaffirm the Roman (Aryan) spirit as opposed to the ‘degenerated’ (his word) Mediterranean (Pelasgian) spirit. This was, as one can imagine, a quite controversial statement in the biologically heterogenous Italy of the post-war period. This, in addition to his affinity for Germany, landed him in trouble after the war. In several of his books, Evola emphasises the Indo-European blood and spirit. As we saw in our review of The Doctrine of Awakening:
‘We have to remember that behind the various caprices of modern historical theories, and as a far more profound and primordial reality, there stands the unity of blood and spirit of the white races who created the greatest civilizations both of East and West, the Iranian and Hindu as well as the ancient Greek and Roman and the Germanic.’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 14.
Moreover, some people associate the term Aryan with certain features (blond hair and light eyes for example). While it is true that many of the Indo-European tribes (the Dorian Greeks, for example) frequently had these features (as is evident in both DNA studies as well as in how the Ancient Greeks depicted their Gods and heroes), it is important to recognise that said features are not necessarily indicative of Indo-European-ness (Steppe ancestry, to be even more precise), and a lack of said features does not mean a lack of Indo-European blood.
Furthermore, it is reasonable to point out that the Indo-European (Aryan) origins of Roman and Hellenic greatness is a rather controversial topic, and it is not uncommon to see non-European Mediterraneans (i.e. individuals from the Near East) claim a closer kinship with ancient Greece and Rome than what Northern Europeans have. This video illustrates clearly that these claims are incorrect: JIVE TALK: Ancient DNA news: Greece and Italy. In regard to a metapolitical analysis as to why these faulty claims are made, one could say that it is both an attack on European Unity (in this case, north–south) and European (White) identity as a whole.
On a personal note, I do not use the term ‘Mediterranean’ (since it is often misused), and I am not as critical of certain Mediterranean elements as Evola is – he goes quite hard against them in Men Among the Ruins. Evola notes the following:
‘In the Mediterranean man there is a splitting between an “I” that plays the role and an “I” that regards his part from the point of view of a possible observer or spectator, more or less as actors do.’Julius Evola – Men Among the Ruins. Page 142.
Evola accompanies this passage with a footnote which reads as follows:
‘D’Annunzianism is one of the most characteristic phenomena of the “Mediterranean” style in regard to this particular trait. This is true when we consider not just an artistic component, but the overall style that Gabriele D’Annunzio exhibited in his life, even as a leader and a soldier.’Julius Evola – Men Among the Ruins. Page. 310.
In my humble opinion, Gabriele D’Annunzio embodied an Indo-European (Faustian, Aryan) spirit of greatness. His character can also be explained by the fact that he was an artist. Moreover, I must admit that D’Annunzio is an inspiration of mine, and a man I hold in high regard. This is not to say that I endorse everything he did – this is, of course, obvious to any of my regular readers, but I thought to point it out anyway for good measure.
The following quote by Yukio Mishima comes to mind when contemplating the life of Gabriele D’Annunzio.
“Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.”– Yukio Mishima,
Germany and Italy – The Holy Roman Empire
As we saw in our review of The Mystery of the Grail, a topic Evola often returns to is the medieval conflict between the Guelphs (the pro-Pope faction) and the Ghibellines (the pro-Emperor faction). Understanding Evola’s view of this conflict is the key to understanding his view of a great many other things – his positive view of Germany, for one.
Certain Italian Nationalists (contemporaries of Evola) viewed the Germans (during the Middle Ages) as foreign oppressors. Evola, on the other hand, viewed the Holy Roman Empire as the legitimate spiritual successor of Rome. He also viewed the Ghibelline Middle Ages as a spiritual high-point. The following quote illustrates this quite well:
‘Frederick I fought against the Communes not as a Teutonic prince but as “Roman” emperor, upholding the supernational and sacred principle of authority that was exclusively derived from his qualification and function.’Julius Evola – Men Among the Ruins. Page 184.
I will elaborate on this at length in my coming book, but a short summary of my not-yet-complete analysis is the following: Primacy amongst Indo-Europeans has gone from culture to culture. At one stage Sparta had it, thereafter it went to Alexander’s Macedon, thereafter to Rome, thereafter the Goths gained it, thereafter it went to Charlemange’s empire, and so on. Our quest today is to reawaken the spirit.
Imperium Europa and Christianity
Evola discusses Imperium Europa in Men Among the Ruins. This is, of course, a topic that is as relevant for any European gentleman today as ever. I discussed it in Podcast Episode 7. Europa and will return to it in coming episodes as well.
Evola notes that Christianity cannot be the unifying factor for Europe. The reasons for this are, among others, that:
- Catholicism is the faith only in some European nations.
- Becauce of the desacralisation and secularisation that has occurred in Europe.
- Because of Christianity’s universal nature.
These are all valid points. Perhaps a return to Paganism is the most reasonable course of action. Not the superficial Paganism – i.e. the other ‘sport team’ that we mentioned above in regard to the attitudes of some anti-Christians – but rather a sincere and solid foundation based on shared Indo-European metaphysics and the wisdom of Plato. I am not yet wise enough to set a clear course in this matter, so these thoughts are still in development. Moreover, to elaborate fully on these factors lies beyond the scope of this review.
Evola discusses the important concept of male initiation. We have encountered the topic before, most notably in our review of Kris Kershaw’s The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde. The following quote illustrates this quite well:
‘In fact, prior to this initiation, the member of the group, no matter what his age, was believed to belong to the same category that included women, children, and animals. Once the transformation occurred, the individual was incorporated into the Männerbund.’Julius Evola – Men Among the Ruins. Page 125.
Men Among the Ruins is a great book to read for those who wish to get a good view of Evola’s Weltanschauung. The edition I read by Inner Traditions (published in 2002) is 310 pages and includes a 106 pages long preface by Dr. H.T. Hansen as well as Evola’s Autodifensa.
Posted on June 28, 2022
I have, yet again, had the pleasure of reading a book by Stephen E. Flowers. The Magian Tarok – The Origins of the Tarot in the Mithraic and Hermetic Traditions is, as the title suggests, a book about the origins of the tarot. As regular readers of my book reviews will know, I have a particular affinity for the Mithraic Mysteries. Moreover, since we recently became familiar with the Hermetic Tradition, I deemed this book to be a natural next step.
As with many other magical traditions, Tarot has gotten a somewhat bad reputation due to its association with ‘New Age’ spirituality. However, as the author shows, the origins of the Tarot prove its magical legitimacy.
The Magian Tarok gives, in addition to other insights, a good overview of all of the 22 images of the Major Arcana. Each card can be seen as a mystery, archetype, or teaching – quite similar to the Runes. The picture below is from the Rider–Waite deck (perhaps the most common and well-known Tarot deck).
At the time of writing this review, I am meditating upon the Runes of the Elder Futhark*; after that, I will delve deeper into the Tarot.
The Visconti-Sforza Tarot
The author notes that the oldest verified Tarot images come from Renaissance Italy: the Visconti-Sforza Tarot of the fifteenth century. As the name suggests, it was most likely commissioned by the Sforza family, which ruled Milan from 1450 to 1535. The name Sforza will be familiar to Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition enjoyers – Francesco Sforza is the protagonist of one of the campaigns. Renaissance Italy is an interesting subject to study – both for the aspiring magician and for the historian. The author does not elaborate on the Sforza family beyond their relation to the Tarot; I merely thought it was interesting to point out.
Mithraists and the Tauroctony
Mithraism has, by some, been labelled as an early competitor to Christianity – the two religions were quite dissimilar though; Mithraism being an initiatory cult and Christianity one open to everyone (which is why it was popular among the lower strata of society). The author notes that the Mithraists were known for their loyalty to the emperor and empire – in sharp contrast to the Christians of the time. This is understandable since the Mithraic mysteries was, to a large extent, a cult for soldiers.
The author also comments on the Christian tactic of placing Christian celebrations on Pagan holy days (as a way to outmanoeuvre competitors). A primary example of this is the birthday of Mithras, which was celebrated on the 25th of December. Saturnalia was celebrated between the 17th and the 23rd of December. Jul (Yule – Christmas) is celebrated in Sweden on the 24th of December.
The Tauroctony (pictured below) will be a familiar image to readers of my book reviews. Although the cosmological meaning behind it lies outside the scope of this review, we can nonetheless share the following in regard to its connection to the Tarot.
‘It is not his conscious will to kill the bull, but he is forced by circumstance into doing so. But a greater good, previously hidden from him, is revealed through this act. This is why he is called the “Fool.” All acts based on the exploration of the unknown, based on the impulse to satisfy curiosities about what is hidden, begin in Foolishness.’Stephen E. Flowers – The Magian Tarok. Page 77.
The Fool is, appropriately (as is shown in the quote above), the first card (card 0 or 1) of the Major Arcana.
The Triple Mithras
‘“The Triple Mithras” refers to the images of Mithras flanked by the two torchbearers Cautes and Cautopates, who represent the rising and falling, waxing and waning powers of the sidereal manifestations of the god: the Stars, the Sun, and the Moon. Cautes is represented with a raised torch. He is also called Lucifer in Latin.’Stephen E. Flowers – The Magian Tarok. Page 42.
The insight presented above will be of interest to those who, like Otto Rahn, are interested in Lucifer. I have reviewed Rahn’s two books here: Crusade Against the Grail by Otto Rahn, Lucifer’s Court – Book Review and Inspiring Quotes.
Evola on the Mithraic Mysteries
The following epic quote appears in an essay by Julius Evola. I thought it was reasonable to include it in this review since it is relevant to the topic at hand.
‘The Mithraic mysteries lead to the very heart of the magical Western tradition – a world characterized by self-affirmation, light, greatness, regal spirituality and spiritual regality. In this path there is no room for escapism; or asceticism; or mortification of the self through humility and devotion; or renunciation and contemplative abstraction. Mithras’ path is one of action, of solar power and of spirituality, which is opposed to both the dull and dreamy orientalism and to Christian sentimentalism and moralism. It is said that only a “man” could proceed along this path; any “woman” would be consumed and broken by the “taurine strength.” The brightness of the hvareno, of the glorious and radiant Mithraic halo, arises only out of a frightful tension, and it only crowns the “eagle,” which was capable of “staring” at the Sun.’Julius Evola – The Path of Enlightenment According to the Mysteries of Mithras
In the chapter titled Magianism and Mithrism/Mithraism, the author introduces orthodox Zoroastrianism thus:
‘The philosophical moral dualism of the orthodox Zoroastrians was based not on world-denying emotions but rather on rational, world-affirming principles: the good and wise god (Ahura Mazda, or Ohrmazd) created a perfect world, which was beset and corrupted by evil entities, where humanity exists as the comrade and coworker with this Ahura Mazda to restore the good creation. Those things are classified as good which promote the happiness, well-being, prosperity, strength, courage, intelligence, and wisdom within creation; those things are seen as evil (or bad) which promote misery, sickness, poverty, weakness, cowardice, stupidity, and ignorance.’Stephen E. Flowers – The Magian Tarok. Page 22.
Reading this put a smile on my lips. If I may be so bold as to point out the following: the things classified as good are the things I have been promoting for a long time now. And, to no one’s surprise, my detractors do indeed promote the things that are seen as evil. I have said it before, and I will say it again – our current struggle is, to a large extent, between good and evil.
In the introduction, the author beautifully states the following regarding the limitations of science:
‘Science cannot answer the most basic and essential questions concerning the nature of the sender and receiver (their psyches) or of the system they use to communicate (language). What is it? Where did it come from? How does it work? It has been said by the wisest of men that nothing that has its origins in the human mind can be reduced to a set of logical, rational rules. The soul is not a compilation of chemical reactions – otherwise its mysteries would have long since been unraveled’Stephen E. Flowers – The Magian Tarok. Page 4.
In the same chapter, the author goes on to note that systems like the Tarot can be seen as mythic maps of the world and of consciousness. Much more can, of course, be said about the topic, and we will return to it at a later point.
Just as the other works by Stephen E. Flowers we have reviewed, The Magian Tarok is an excellent book full of valuable insights. For anyone interested in Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, or the Tarot, I can highly recommend it. At 168 pages, it does not require a great time investment. The book can also be used as a handbook for those engaging in Tarot – I will definitely refer to the book as I delve deeper into it!
Posted on June 26, 2022
I have read The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde by Kris Kershaw. Written in 1997 as a dissertation, it is 457 pages long and contains plenty of interesting insights. One could liken it to a gold ore that can be mined for said interesting and valuable insights!
A Call to Action
The dissertation truly deserves to be made into a well-structured book. The content is great. However, it is not particularly smooth to read (plenty of text is in the footnotes, for example). It would also benefit from a clear structuring with regard to chapters and headers. Significant parts of the book are in German (when the author is quoting authors writing in German). On a personal note, it gave me an additional opportunity to train my German (which I am now doing, as I mentioned in a recent video) – but those who do not read German will miss out on some references.
I am mentioning this because the excellent work of the author deserves to be reworked into the book it is destined to be. Thus, my hope is that one of our friends with publishing companies can reach out to Kris Kershaw (or her sons) and investigate the possibility of having the document published anew.
The Koryos and Male Initiation
Related to the topic of the book at hand, I highly recommend this video by Dan Davis: The First Berserkers: The Koryos | Bronze Age Warfare, which is a great introduction to one of the most important aspects of Indo-European culture. Understanding the Koryos, the Männerbund, and male initiation, is the key to understanding the Indo-European expansion – and in understanding the Indo-European expansion, one can understand world history itself. Male initiation for many of the Indo-European peoples consisted of the young men leaving the tribe to enter the liminal state – meaning that the young men were no longer part of home nor part of the adult male community. How long this state was varied between cultures and time-periods, but the main point was that the boy leaves the home and tribe, spends time doing arduous activities (raiding, hunting, fighting) in the wild, before (hopefully) returning triumphantly as a man – whereupon he enters the social structure as an adult man of the tribe.
On a personal note, I have contemplated the issue of male initiation in our current time quite a bit. As I detailed in Podcast Episode 21. The Swedish Army, a mandatory year in the army used to be a sort of male initiation in Swedish society during the last century. I count myself fortunate in having had the opportunity to do the military service. However, as I note in this video, the army does not necessarily turn boys into men, but it can help them build the habits and mindset required to become a man. Either way, the topic of male initiation is an important one that we will return to.
Since I shared the following on Telegram, I thought to share it here as well since it is relevant to the topic at hand:
Dan Davis’ excellent book Gods of Bronze – Godborn is a historically accurate description of the Eurasian steppes of the Bronze Age with mythological elements (the Hercules myth) that follows a group of adolescents who are out on their Koryos (their time in the liminal state).
Odin – The Chariot God
As the title The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde suggests, the role of Odin (the One-eyed God) is, alongside the Koryos and Männerbund, a central theme of the dissertation. The author notes that Odin as the Rider-God is well-known (he is commonly depicted riding Sleipner). Odin is also, the author points out, a Chariot-God:
‘Odin is indeed the Rider-God /…/ But he is also Reiðartýr, Chariot-god, reminding us that IE warriors and their gods were chariot drivers long before they became riders.’Kris Kershaw – The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde. Page 51.
In its day, the chariot was the gold standard of warfare – its development and use are vital to understanding the Bronze Age. The fact that Odin was known as a Chariot-God is of interest to those who study comparative mythology. For more about comparative mythology, you can read my review of Taliesin’s Map: The Comparative Guide to Celtic Mythology.
Odin’s son Thor is commonly depicted riding his chariot. Pictured below: Thor’s Battle Against the Jötnar (1872) by Mårten Eskil Winge. Jötnar = Giants (in this context, the enemies of the Aesir Gods).
Wolves, Dogs, Berserkers
The importance of the Wolf and Dog for the warrior is emphasised in the book. The author shares the following insight, which demonstrates the role of the Dog in the mythos of the tribe:
‘Ideally, both dog and warrior show a benign face towards their own people as their staunch defenders, while meeting their people’s enemies with hostility and aggression.’Kris Kershaw – The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde. Page 295.
The author goes on to note that the warrior is dangerous and can also pose a threat to his own people (as a dog out of control can). She also discusses the problematic nature of the infamous berserkers – using Starkad* as an example. This nature can briefly be summarised as follows: good to use against one’s enemies, not as good to have in a civilised setting.
The importance of the wolf in Indo-European mythology is known to most. Odin had two wolves, Geri and Freki, and, as the legend goes, the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were raised by a she-wolf. The author elaborates on the topic with more examples.
Survive the Jive (with memetic help from The Chad Pastoralist) made a video on Starkad which you can watch here: Starkad, the Sigma Male Viking Indo-European Lone Wolf.
Man–Boy Relationships in Greece
The author correctly points out the following in regard to the very misunderstood man-boy relationships of Ancient Greece:
‘The relationship between the mature warrior and the growing boy is one of nurturing and sponsorship; it has nothing to do with sex. It is, in fact, part of a rite of passage.’Kris Kershaw – The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde. Page 83.
‘It must be stressed that the relationship was between a man and a beardless boy and ended when the boy became an adult physically; that the man was the affectionate sponsor of the boy, concerned for his development and well-being; that sponsorship was a societal was a social responsibility; and that intercourse, far from being the purpose of the relationship, was rare and governed by ritual form: the nurturing love of the philetor must not devolve into lust, the boy must not be exploited or womanized.’Kris Kershaw – The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde. Page 83.
The author goes on to note that in the rare cases of intercourse, it was done between the thighs (standing) and not ‘in the body’ – the boy never ‘played the woman’. The importance of this topic is beyond the scope of this book review – suffice to say that nefarious forces are trying to misconstrue European history.
Heroes Greedy For Gold and Honour
The author notes the following:
‘To us, the Viking and Anglo-Saxon heroes seem greedy, but it must be remembered that “rings” were more than golden objects /…/ They [the heroes] were greedy for honor; as great herds of cattle had brought honor to their forebears, gold arm-rings brought honor and respect to them, and of honor and respect one can never have too much.’Kris Kershaw – The One-eyed God and the (Indo)-Germanic Männerbünde. Page 73.
It is common to encounter descriptions of a good Jarl as being ring-giver. A good Jarl should, of course, be a leader who can bring both wealth and glory to his followers. I elaborate on this in Dauntless.
On a personal note, my business ethic is the following: wealth gained from bringing value to my supporters is good. Thus, whatever product I present must bring value to the customer. This is also a good guideline for any content creator. Ask yourself: does this bring value to my subscribers? If the answer is no, then think of ways to add value. Moreover, as a consumer, ask yourself the following: does this content bring value to me? If you are watching a two-hour drama stream, then the answer will perhaps be no. If you are watching the aforementioned video by Dan Davis (or a video by Survive the Jive), the answer will most likely be yes.
What is stated above is not necessarily related to the topic at hand, but I thought to mention it for good measure. To conclude: wealth gained from supplying value is good. If you are in possession of wealth that has been accrued in a way that does not bring value – make sure to use that wealth to support those who do good work (content creators like the ones mentioned above, for example).
I wanted to write this review mainly as a way to encourage whoever has the possibility to do so to craft this work into the diamond it was meant to be. I would not necessarily recommend reading it as it looks right now, but when or if it comes out reworked into a book, then I will most definitely recommend it. If you are interested in these matters, I strongly suggest that you watch the videos of Dan Davis Author on Odysee or YouTube.
Posted on June 19, 2022
I have read The Practical Art of Divine Magic by Patrick Dunn per the recommendation of a trusted friend. It turned out to be a solid recommendation. The author discusses various, sometimes complicated, concepts and explains them in a very accessible way – making the book a good introduction to the metaphysics of antiquity. Since we have encountered Neoplatonic teachings in so many other books, reading this book was a natural next step. The book also contains some meditation techniques, as well as (like the title of the book suggests) practical instructions for worship of the Gods – in the author’s case, the Graeco-Roman Gods.
Neoplatonism and Theurgy
Neoplatonism is a term to denote the philosophers during Late Antiquity – the later years of the Roman Empire – who derived their metaphysical views from Plato (hence the name). A spiritual goal of the Neoplatonists was henosis – a sense of unity with the divine. Thus, they can be said to have belonged to the Right-Hand Path of magic that we encountered in our review of Lords of the Left-Hand Path by Stephen E. Flowers.
Theurgy basically means ‘god-working’ and is the practice of magic that looks upwards with the aim of unifying the human mind with the divine. One’s will is sent upward. An interesting quote shows the Platonic influence on Christianity.
‘The rise of Christianity did not kill theurgy; in fact, in many ways it invigorated it. Theurgic practices adapted well to the theology of Christianity and were sometimes incorporated wholesale. The gods became angels, the One became God, and the logos became Jesus. When the gospel of John begins “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” the Greek for “word” is logos. We could do a Neoplatonic translation of this just as easily, without having to modify the original Koine text at all: “In the beginning was the rational basis of the universe, and the rational basis of the universe was with the One, and it was also the One.”’Patrick Dunn – The Practical Art of Divine Magic. Page 5.
The author also notes that later Christian Neoplatonists such as John Dee and Henry Agrippa (whom we have encountered before) among others contributed with their philosophies to the practice of magic.
Plotinus on Statues
The author shares an insightful quote by Plotinus, a chief proponent of Neoplatonism:
‘IV. 3, 11. The olden sages, in seeking to procure the presence of the Gods by erecting temples and statues, seem to me to have possessed deep insight into the nature of the universe: They felt the All-Soul to be a Principle ever at our call; it is but fitly preparing a place in which some phase of it may be received, and a thing is always fit to receive the operation of the Soul when it is brought to the condition of a mirror, apt to catch the image.’Plotinus – The Ethical Treatises, being the Treatises of the First Ennead
The author notes that a statue is a site of contemplation of the One, through the intermediaries of the Gods. This is a good insight and a reasonable view of holy sites. We encountered another interesting view of statues in The Agni and The Ecstasy by Steven J. Rosen (read our review here). Pictured below, yours truly in San Ildefonso, Spain – a sacred place with beautiful statues galore!
Aristotle, Plato, and the Soul
I am not yet wise enough to give a definitive statement on the nature of the soul (one day I will!), but I thought the following passage would be interesting and relevant to share:
‘That the soul is a single thing, indivisible, comes from Aristotle, and this notion was a new one. Aristotle defined the soul as that first cause of thing, its purpose of being. The soul of a clock is to tell time. The soul of a dog is to be a dog. But the soul, for Aristotle, was merely the cause of the body; without the body, there was no soul, or need for one. Aristotle was responding to Platonism, which argues that not only is there a soul, it is the intermediary between the human consciousness and the world of Ideas, or Nous.’Patrick Dunn – The Practical Art of Divine Magic. Page 30.
The author goes on to describe Plato’s tripartite division of the soul: the driver (the rational part), and the two horses (Eros and Thymos) – which I elaborated on briefly in a video (Lose Fat With Plato – Mental Technique to Resist Cravings).
The Corpus Hermeticum that we encountered in our review of Evola’s The Hermetic Tradition (review here) is referenced in this book as well. Just as the teachings of the Neoplatonists are reoccurring in spiritual books, so is the wisdom of the Corpus Hermeticum. The quote below concerns astrology – a topic we will return to in coming book-reviews (or videos or Podcast episodes).
‘Each of us at birth, when we receive a soul, are taken under the wings of the daimones who are assigned that sign of birth, who govern each of the stars… So they, plunging into the two parts of the soul through the body, twist each to their particular energy; but the rational portion of the soul stands, unruled by the daimones, ready to welcome the divine.’Corpus Hermeticum XVI: 15. Translation by Patrick Dunn.
We will encounter and elaborate on daimones again, but what we can say for now is that the daimon (which is not evil but not always benevolent) should not be confused with the (evil) demon of Christianity.
The Olympic Games
In a passage concerning festivals, the author describes the Olympic Games in the following beautiful manner:
‘The games themselves were a tribute to Zeus, showcasing the most perfect and beautiful achievements capable of the human body. But not only physical achievement was displayed: artistic and poetic talent also had their competitions. The festival was an offering of human beauty to the gods.’Patrick Dunn – The Practical Art of Divine Magic. Page 115.
Keeping this in mind, one could argue that seeking physical perfection is an act of piety. Moreover, although the following quote is not from the book that is the subject of this review, it is highly fitting to include nonetheless:
‘/…/ Polynikes’ supreme physical beauty. In every aspect of his person, face as well as physique, the Knight was formed as flawlessly as a god. Naked in the Gymnasion, even alongside scores of youths and warriors blessed in comeliness and elevated by their training to the peak of condition, Polynikes stood out, without equal, surpassing all others in symmetry of form and faultlessness of physical structure. Clothed in white robes for the Assembly, he shone like Adonis. And armed for war, with the bronze of his shield burnished, his scarlet cloak across his shoulders and the horsehair-crested helmet of a Knight pushed back upon his brow, he shone forth, peerless as Achilles.’Steven Pressfield – Gates of Fire
At 314 pages and written in an easily digested manner (as opposed to some other esoteric books one might encounter), The Practical Art of Divine Magic can be read within a reasonable time-frame. The book contains several more interesting insights in addition to the ones presented above. As stated in the introduction, it was a good recommendation by a trusted friend that I can now recommend to others.
Onwards and upwards!
Posted on June 8, 2022
I have read Lords of the Left-Hand Path by Stephen E. Flowers. I have previously reviewed three other works by Flowers: Icelandic Magic (review here), Rune Might (review here), and Revival of the Runes (review here). Lords of the Left-Hand Path is, just as the aforementioned books, well-written and insightful. In fact, it is one of the most interesting books I have read as of late – and I have read quite a few books over the last year (not all of which have been subject to book reviews). Thus, I can, without further ado, recommend the book to anyone interested in esoteric matters.
The author details various religious movements from antiquity up until our own time. Although the focus is on the Left-Hand Path and Black Magic (more on these terms further down), the book also highlights other interesting aspects of cults and heresies over the centuries.
Christianity and the Crusades
As stated above, the book is highly interesting and insightful, and in recommending it, I must also point out the following: my main (and perhaps only) issue with the book is the author’s sometimes overly hostile view of Christianity. I am not a Christian myself and certainly have my issues with Christian doctrine (as detailed in Dauntless). However, I deem it necessary to refute the following point: ‘Besides the Crusades, which sent tens of thousands of Christians to their horrible and useless deaths, the church had committed a number of other acts that corroded its previously unquestioned position of spiritual authority.’
This is congruent with an outdated analysis of the Crusades as a religiously inspired war of zealotry against another faith. In actuality, the Crusades were a (late) military response to continuous aggression from the Muslim south. A more recent example is the French conquest of territories in North Africa – it was undertaken to put an end to the transgressions of the Barbary Corsairs who had plagued the shores of Western Europe for centuries (bringing European slaves to African slave-markets). In regard to the Crusades, one can also note that the lands that were conquered by the Muslims had previously been under Roman rule – both Pagan and Christian. Similarly, in Persia the Indo-European religious tradition was replaced by Islam.
In mentioning this, I do not wish to promote a Neo-Conservative Counter-Jihadist narrative – I merely wish to point out that the Crusades were a response to aggression. Therefore, the Europeans who died in the Crusades did not do so ‘uselessly’ – just as the European men who fought against Communism during the last century did not do so uselessly.
A large part of the bok concerns Satanism, more specifically Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan) and Michael Aquino (who started out as a Satanist before becoming a Setian). Prior to reading this book, I knew next to nothing about Satanism, and I still know too little to give a definitive statement. Once I start bringing on guests on my channel (either on YouTube/Odysee or in a podcast format), I will interview Styxhexenhammer666 about it for more insights.
At a quick glance, Satanism seems to be a somewhat vulgar response to certain manifestations of American Christianity – I can imagine that Satanism had a certain allure for someone coming from an overbearingly religious household. It is also worth to point out that Sweden has also had its fair share of strange Christian sects. On a personal note, I have grown up in an atheist environment with aspects of Nordic and Greek myth as well as some minor aspects of Christianity. This has led me to have a rather positive view of Christianity – at least in comparison to other Pagans (such as Flowers, as mentioned above). I have elaborated on this at length before, primarily in the Greatest Podcast.
The author notes that Ayn Rand’s Libertarian books were recommended on the Church of Satan reading list in the early 1970s. This is hardly surprising, given the individualistic nature of Satanism. Libertarianism is often a stage that one outgrows – which is evident by the number of former Libertarians who have progressed further along their ideological journeys and thus ended up on the Right. As for Satanism, it could be fair to say that it held a certain level of attraction for different kinds of people – some were drawn to the anti-social aspects, some were drawn to whatever was opposed to a Christianity that they wanted to escape, and for some it seemed that Satanism was a way to explore metaphysics and the esoteric. Michael Aquino, for example, was more interested in the spiritual aspect of the endeavour – disappointed in the ‘showman-y’ direction of the Church of Satan, he broke away from it to found his own Temple of Set (you can hear more about it in an interview with him here).
Lastly, I must point out that Satanism is not something I endorse. In the current year of 2022, being a Satanist is a very safe way to feel rebellious. In fact, it is a lot more rebellious, in the sense that you will take heat from the powers-that-be, to be a Christian. Moreover, the individualistic and Libertarian nature of Satanism is completely outdated in our time. Satanism has never had any appeal for me, and I view it as an expression of modern American culture.
Aleister Crowley – The Great Beast
The author introduces Aleister Crowley, one of the most influential occultists of the last century. We encountered Aleister Crowley in our review of Introduction to Magic: Volume II & III, in which Evola states that Crowley was an accomplished spiritual master – who was ‘extraordinarily qualified’ to follow the Left-Hand Path. Flowers, on the contrary, notes that Crowley was in fact a practitioner of the Right-Hand Path. A large part of the chapter titled The Occult Revival is dedicated to Crowley. We will return to his life and teachings at length in later reviews (or a Podcast episode). Below is Crowley’s definition of magic:
‘Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.’Aleister Crowley
The Right-Hand Path and the Left-Hand Path
As the title of the book suggests, the central theme is to present various religious and spiritual movements and individuals who have embarked upon the Left-Hand Path of magic. A good definition of the Right-Hand Path (white magic in the context below) and the Left-Hand Path (black magic in the context below) is the following:
‘In a precise sense, the distinction between white and black magic is simply that white magic is a psychological methodology for the promotion of union with the universe and pursuing aims in harmony with those of the universe, while black magic is such a methodology for the exercise of independence from the universe and pursuing self-oriented aims. Structurally, white magic has much in common with religion as defined above, while black magic is more purely magical in and of itself. This is why magic as a category of behaviour is often condemned by orthodox religious systems.’Stephen E. Flowers – Lords of the Left-Hand Path. Page 10.
The Tantric Paths
In The Yoga of Power by Julius Evola (read my review of it here), the concept of the Left-Hand Path is elaborated on in the chapter titled Pashu, Vira, and Divya: The Path of the Left Hand. The following quote illustrates it quite well:
‘There is a significant difference between the two Tantric paths, that of the right hand and that of the left hand (which are both under Shivas’s aegis). In the former, the adept always experiences “someone above him,” even at the highest level of realization. In the latter, “he becomes the ultimate Sovereign” (cakravartin = world ruler).Julius Evola – The Yoga of Power
The quote above is not included in my review of Evola’s book, but I thought to add it here since it is relevant to the topic at hand. I re-read the chapter mentioned above after reading Lords of the Left-Hand Path. It is good to re-read books or parts of books when you can approach the writings with a new perspective.
Indo-European Cosmology & Neoplatonism
In the chapter titled The Roots of the Western Tradition, the author discusses the roles of Pythagoras and Plato in regard to the Left-Hand Path, which gives weight to the subsequent chapters, given the importance of both gentlemen in Western esotericism (and philosophy in general). Moreover, the following quote found in the same chapter presents Indo-European metaphysics in a good way:
‘Whether we see it in India or Ireland, in Rome or Greece, the Indo-European cosmology – its understanding of the world-order – hinges of the theory that this world is a material reflection of another, more real one (for example, the realm of gods and goddesses), beyond which looms a yet more real world of abstract principles. In Ancient Greek terms, this is expressed in the intrinsic dichotomy between physis (nature) and psychê (soul).’Stephen E. Flowers – Lords of the Left-Hand Path. Page 62.
In a chapter titled The First Millennium, the author presents Neoplatonism and its chief proponent, Plotinus. He notes that Neoplatonism, with its roots in Platonic idealism, was a decisive influence on all schools of mysticism, such as the Judaic Kabbalah, Islamic Sufism, and various Christian traditions. This becomes apparent when reading esoteric literature due to how often references to the Neoplatonists are made.
At 441 pages, the book is a bit thicker than some of the other ones we have reviewed, but it is well worth the time investment. As already stated, I can highly recommend this book for anyone interested in these matters. I look forward to reading more books by Flowers!
Posted on May 28, 2022
I have read The Doctrine of Awakening by Julius Evola. Reading this book was a natural step after reading The Yoga of Power (read my review of it here). Evola was, as you may know, a Traditionalist and, generally speaking, wrote from a Right-wing perspective. Evola took issue with the faulty (i.e. ‘hippy’-like) interpretations of Buddhism that permeated the West (one could say that they still do). In the book, Evola emphasises the Aryan (i.e. Indo-European) and aristocratic (i.e. Kshatriya caste) origin of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha – the Enlightened One. It should be noted that the book can be read as a refutation of the aforementioned faulty interpretations of Buddhism. Therefore, it is, in my humble opinion, a good book to read for anyone who seeks a genuine understanding of Buddhism. I am not yet knowledgeable enough in regard to Buddhism to comment further upon many of the topics presented in the book – I will reread it later on when I have acquainted myself with more Buddhist texts. Even without any greater prior knowledge of Buddhism, The Doctrine of Awakening is interesting and contains plenty of unique insights as well as many truly epic quotes (some of which are listed below).
The Physical Aspect of the Buddha
‘Thou hast a perfect body, thou art resplendent, well born, of noble aspect, thou hast a golden colour and white teeth, thou art strong. All the signs that thou art of noble birth are in thy form, all the marks of a superior man.’Jātaka, 1.
This supremely epic and inspiring quote appears in the book to describe how Buddha appeared to kings. This descriptions comes from one of the oldest Buddhist texts, and paints a picture quite dissimilar to the rather round Buddha often seen depicted (in statues for example). You, my dear reader, must now excuse my hubris as I accompany this heroic quote with the following picture:
The Aryan-ness of the Doctrine of Awakening
As mentioned above, an important point Evola returns to in several chapters of the book is the Aryan-ness (Indo-European-ness) of Hinduism and, by extension, Buddhism. In the chapter The Aryan-ness of the Doctrine of Awakening, he elaborates on why he emphasises the Indo-European origins of Buddhism – he wishes to confront those who view the doctrine as one of Asiatic exclusiveness, i.e. one foreign to the European spirit.
‘We have to remember that behind the various caprices of modern historical theories, and as a far more profound and primordial reality, there stands the unity of blood and spirit of the white races who created the greatest civilizations both of East and West, the Iranian and Hindu as well as the ancient Greek and Roman and the Germanic.’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 14.
Here Evola refers to the Indo-Europeans. Evola uses the term Aryan; I use the term Indo-European to be more specific and to avoid confusion. I asked the knowledgeable Chad Pastoralist for a comment on the genetic aspect of the Indo-European legacy – he kindly wrote a highly interesting, in-depth answer which can be read at the end of this article. Evola’s quote continues:
‘Buddhism has the right to call itself Aryan both because it reflects in great measure the spirit of common origins and since it has preserved important parts of a heritage that, as we have already said, Western man has little by little forgotten, not only by reason of involved processes of intermarriage, but also since he himself – to a far greater extent than the Eastern Aryans – has come under foreign influences, particularly in the religious field.’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 14.
In this second part of the quote, one can surmise that it is Christianity Evola is referring to. A debate regarding which is more in tune with the Indo-European spirit – Buddhism or Christianity – would indeed be interesting. I am not yet knowledgeable enough to give a conclusive answer – perhaps I will include a chapter on the topic in my next book. What we can say for now, however, is that, as Evola himself has pointed out in his The Mystery of the Grail (read my review of it here), Christianity was thoroughly Germanised once it came into contact with the Germanic tribes. Thus, it can be fair to say that the origins of Christianity are more foreign than the origins of Buddhism – but that, as time went on, Christianity became more European, whereas Buddhism became less Indo-European.
Aryan Attitudes to Lying
In the chapter titled Rightness, Evola notes that nothing among the Aryan peoples was as ignominious as falsehood. In an Aryo-Persian text it is even said that killing is not as serious as lying. On a personal note, I never lie. I lead a life in which I do not have to lie – not to others, not to myself. In fact, as a conscientious person, you cannot lie to yourself; which means that shame will be yours if you behave in a way that does not correspond to your vision of yourself – regardless if anyone else knows. Honour is all.
A Great Mental Image
In the chapter titled Determination of the Vocation, Evola quotes from a text named Majjhima. The following is said about the willpower of the ascetic:
‘The ascetic is one who has gained mastery over himself, who “has his heart in his power, and is not himself in the power of his heart.” He is the master of his thoughts. “Whatever thought he desires, that thought will he think, whatever thought he does not desire, that thought will he not think.” As a perfectly tamed elephant, led by his mahout, will go in any direction; as an expert charioteer, with a chariot ready on good ground at a crossroad and harnessed to a thoroughbred team, can guide the chariot where he wishes; or as a king or a prince with a chest full of clothes, may freely choose the garment that most pleases him for the morning, the afternoon, or the evening – so the ascetic can direct his mind and his being toward one state or another with perfect freedom.’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 80.
With training, it is possible to gain a greater mastery over one’s mind. This mastery is a power that will be useful for any endeavour. Having his heart in his power – instead of the heart having him in its power – can be translated into being in control of any urge or temptation that goes contrary to one’s goals. Pictured below: yours truly choosing the garment that pleases me the most, just as I endeavour to choose the thoughts that please me the most.
The Demon of Desire
‘Hindus have the myth of Śiva, the great ascetic of the mountaintops, who with one glance of his frontal eye – the eye of knowledge – reduced Kama, the demon of desire, to ashes when he tried to disturb his mind.’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 112.
For anyone struggling with desires, this image will be useful. Invoke the image of Shiva destroying Kama should you be in need of overcoming an urge – this can be a potent technique for anyone still addicted to pornography.
The Awakened One
In the chapter titled Signs of the Nonpareil, Evola again draws upon the Majjhima to supply us with an inspiring description:
‘The Awakened One is he who is detached from life and death and who knows the way up and the way down, he is “bold, not knowing hesitation, a sure leader, pure of passion, resplendent as the light of the sun, resplendent without arrogance, heroic”; he is the Knower “whom no mania dazzles, no trouble conquers, no victory tempts, no spot stains”; he is one “who asks no more, and who, as a man, has mastered the ascetic art”: he is the “great being, who lives strenuously, free from every bond, no longer slave to any servitude”; he is “the Valiant One, who watches over himself, constant in his step, ready to the call, who guards himself within and without, to nothing inclined, from nothing disinclined, the Sublime One whose spirit is powerful and impassible”; he is the “Awakened One whom no thirst burns, no smoke veils, no mist clouds: a spirit who honors sacrifice and who, like no other, towers in majesty.”’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 210.
An ascended being of power completely in control of his own mind. Note: the pictures above and below are not of Buddha but of Shiva – they fitted the quotes aesthetically speaking!
Another epic quote that appears in the book is the following. The quote reminded me of another inspiring quote about Buddha and the prodigious cobra Muchalinda found in The Serpent Symbol in Tradition by Dr. Charles William Dailey (read my review here).
‘It is said that when Prince Siddhattha was sitting under the “tree of illumination,” resolved not to move until he had reached transcendental knowledge, he underwent an attack by the demoniacal forces of Māra, who was determined to move him from there, in the form of flames, whirlwinds, tempests, and fearful apparitions. But Prince Siddhattha remained unshakable and all these apparitions finally vanished.’Julius Evola – The Doctrine of Awakening. Page 116.
At 239 pages, The Doctrine of Awakening is not a long book. However, since the topics are quite heavy and Evola’s works are usually quite dense, the book will require a bit more time than many other books of the same length. As stated previously, the book is best read when already having an understanding of Buddhism – there are easier introductions to the subject. That being said, reading about the topic from Evola’s perspective makes it much more interesting and certainly gave me new and valuable insights. I look forward to reading more about Buddhism in the coming time!
Appendix – Indo-European Genetics
The following explanation was given to me by The Chad Pastoralist. If you are interested in these matters, I highly recommend that you follow him on Telegram (https://t.me/thechadpastoralist).
‘Northern Europeans on average are about 40-50% descended from the Yamnaya. The ‘Yamnaya-like’ or ‘steppe’ component of ancestry entered Northern and Central Europe via various Indo-European-speaking cultures such as the Corded Ware Culture and Bell Beaker Culture, which in itself was a Western branch of the Corded Ware Culture. Steppe ancestry entered Scandinavia via the Battleaxe Culture, which was a Northern branch of the Corded Ware Culture that had mingled with the Funnelbeaker Culture in Northern Europe. Modern English people receive around 47-49% of their ancestry from the steppe which was introduced via the Bell Beaker Culture around 4,300 years ago. Steppe ancestry reaches its peak in Britain at around 50% amongst the Irish and Scottish, and this number can also be found in Scandinavia.
In Southern Europe it varies. In Iberia steppe ancestry is about 31-40%, but over 90% of the non-Indo-European lineages were replaced by the Beaker folk just like they were in Britain. This ultimately means that regardless of what percentage of steppe ancestry an Iberian male may carry, if they have the R1b Y-DNA haplogrpup, they descend directly from a Beaker warrior from thousands of years ago.
In regards to Scandinavia, the Battleaxe Culture was an Indo-European-speaking culture that emerged as a Northern branch of the Corded Ware Culture. The Battleaxe Culture mingled with the Funnelbeaker Culture, which was an Early European Farmer culture rich in indigenous Western Hunter Gatherer ancestry. Due to a Founder Effect in Scandinavia, the I1 haplogroup, which is associated with the Western Hunter Gatherers theoretically speaking, had become the dominant Y-DNA haplogroup amongst that culture. Autosomally speaking, steppe ancestry outweighed WHG ancestry, and most Scandinavians today have a very high prevalence of steppe ancestry up to 50% and sometimes ever so slightly higher.
In India, steppe ancestry was brought into the area via the Sintashta Culture. The Sintashta was an Indo-European culture that had invented the spoked wheel specifically for chariot warfare, and they had the highest prevalence of blonde hair and blue eyes amongst several Indo-European groups. Most Indians today only inherit about 20% of their ancestry from the Sintashta, but some high-caste Indians carry haplogroups associated with a direct paternal Indo-European lineage.
In regards to the Yamnaya themselves, they were on average 55% descended from Eastern Hunter Gatherers, 35% from the Caucus Hunter Gatherers and the other 10% was minor amounts of Western Hunter Gatherer and Early European Farmer ancestry. These numbers fluctuated throughout history which has resulted in the present-day genetic make-up of modern Europeans, with Northern Europeans receiving most of their ancestry from the Yamnaya via their descendants (such as the Corded Ware Culture and Bell Beaker Culture). Southern Europeans receive Indo-European ancestry to an extent, but importantly via the Y-DNA haplogroup like R1b which specifies a direct unbroken paternal lineage back to the Steppe herders.’