The Serpent Symbol in Tradition by Dr. Charles William Dailey

I have read Dr. Charles William Daily’s excellent book The Serpent Symbol in Tradition – A Study of Traditional Serpent and Dragon Symbolism, Based in Part Upon the Concepts and Observations of René Guénon, Mircea Eliade, and Various Other Relevant Researchers. At 572 pages, with quite technical language, reading the book is a bit of a time investment. The author himself states, in the dedications, that his writing style is ‘stodgy’. I would not necessarily say it is stodgy, but rather, again, technical, and perhaps not as free-flowing as other works I have read. However, this is not a negative aspect in this context, as the style of writing makes the sometimes complex insights easier to understand. Another way in which the author emphasises certain points is to repeat insights in different contexts, which makes the Perennial aspects of various symbols clearer. The book contains a wealth of valuable insights. Below are just a few (among many) topics I thought to share.

René Guénon and Mircea Eliade

As stated in the subtitle of the book, the author draws upon the teachings of France’s René Guénon (1886–1951) and Romania’s Mircea Eliade (1907–1986). In the introduction of the book, the author gives a good background to each gentleman. Knowing a bit more about an author is good to better understand his worldview. For example, Guénon was fragile of health as a child, which might have caused him to view the contemplation of the Priest/Brahman as higher than the action of the Warrior/Kshatriya (which we have discussed in previous reviews). Guénon, alongside Julius Evola, is an authority on matters of Tradition and spirituality. He wrote numerous works which we are bound to return to as we continue on our esoteric journey.

Eliade, as described in the introduction of the book was a highly productive writer – celebrating with his friends his one-hundreth published article at the age of eighteen. He wrote many influential works, including Patterns in Comparative Religion (which is referenced in Taliesin’s Map, which I wrote a review of: Taliesin’s Map: The Comparative Guide to Celtic Mythology). He also wrote articles and book-length treatments on alchemy, approaching the subject as a spiritual doctrine (in a similar fashion to Evola). Reading about the productivity of men like this is inspiring and makes me want to set an even higher pace for myself – in this case to commence the writing of my second book (which I will talk more about at a later stage). Just as we will return to Guénon, we will return to Eliade in coming articles.
Pictured below: Mircea Eliade (left) and René Guénon (right).

Metaphysics and the Neoplatonic One

The author notes that for Guénon, metaphysics ‘is essentially knowledge of the Universal’, and that he makes a distinction between the Universal (Platonic Forms) and the Particulars. He also points out that Eliade views Platonic metaphysics as an expression of Tradition.

For Guénon, all religions are merely particular manifestations of the one metaphysical doctrine (Tradition*) that mingled with heterogenous elements – Particulars (thus creating differences). The author gives an example from Guénon’s Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, where Guénon notes that Bhakti Yoga is not in itself a metaphysical doctrine, but merely one expression of Tradition. According to Guénon, the serpent or dragon in Tradition symbolises ‘the indefinite series of cycles of manifestation.’

Note: when Tradition is spelled with a capital T, it denotes this view (also known as Perennialism), as opposed to a specific tradition that is not Universal.

The author contends that the metaphysical Principle (a reoccurring concept) of Guénon can be seen as the equivalent of the Neoplatonic One. The author shares the following quote from the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus (204–270 CE):

‘The Intellectual-Principle stands as the image of The One, firstly because there is a certain necessity that the first should have its offspring, carrying onward much of its quality, in other words that there be something in its likeness as the sun’s rays tell of the sun. Yet The One is not an Intellectual-Principle.’

Plotinus – The Six Enneads

The Serpent Guardian of Enlightenment

In chapter 14, the author notes that in certain myths (Herakles and the Golden Apples, for example) the serpent or dragon symbolises something that may be two opposing alternatives:

1. Achieving enlightenment/immortality/moksha (moksha is a Hindu concept of enlightenment or liberation).
2. An obstacle to (or a guardian of) enlightenment/immortality/moksha.

As we have noted in previous reviews, a hero with the power to subjugate the Dragon (Living Fire, ύλη (matter), Green Dragon, Quintessence, First Substance, Great Magical Agent) can use its powers to fuel his ascent to greatness.

The Caduceus

A symbol that may be familiar is the Caduceus, the Rod of Hermes (in Roman: Mercury). The author states the following in regard to its meaning:

‘I suggest that Hermes’/Mercury’s rod represents the ‘unity’ of the metaphysical ‘Principle’ that is ‘surrounded by’ its ‘polarization’ into two forces, one of which ‘ascends’ toward its unifying Source and the other of which ‘descends’ into the realm of ‘duality’ (‘chaos’).’

Dr. Charles William Daily – The Serpent Symbol in Tradition

Aryan Patriarchy and the Earth Mother

The Magna Mater, the Great Mother, the Earth Goddess, whom we have discussed before (for example here: The Yoga of Power by Julius Evola), appears in this book as well. The author notes that one interpretation (subscribed to by Joseph Cambell among others) of certain combat myths is the struggle between Indo-Europeans and the peoples they conquered. The celestial, patriarchal Indo-Europeans representing Order versus the chthonic, matriarchal natives representing Chaos. In Greece the Aryan (Hellenic) Zeus defeats a monster to establish a new social order. In India the Aryan (Vedic) god Indra does the same.

‘Every god has his enemy, whom he must vanquish and destroy. Zeus and Baal, Coyote and Ahura Mazda, Thor and the Lord of Hosts, are alike in this: that each must face a dreadful antagonist. Apollo’s enemy was the great dragon Python, whom he had to fight and kill before he could establish his temple and oracle at Delphi.’

Joseph Fontenrose – Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins

Guénon and Eliade do not view the use of symbolic weapons (such as the thunderbolt) and the vanquishing of serpentine antagonists in these socio-political terms, but rather as a manifestation of the metaphysical Principle in the physical world. I am not yet wise enough to give a definitive statement upon this, but it is reasonable to say that certain myths may pertain to a struggle between peoples and other similar myths regard the struggle of the individual for immortality or enlightenment (subjugating the dragon) – as mentioned above.

Thunderweapons and the Axis Mundi

Thor, Apollo, Zeus, Indra, and Marduk amongst other gods and heroes are often depicted as wielding thunderweapons (or variations thereof) in their battles against their monstrous (serpent or dragon) adversaries. The use of these weapons can be seen as harnessing of the power of Heaven. According to both Guénon and Eliade, these weapons can be representative of the Axis Mundi (the World Axis). The World Axis can be described as the metaphysical (transcendent) Reality at the centre of the universe.
Pictured below: Thor wielding the thunderweapon Mjölner.

Chinese Dragon-Emperor and the Axis Mundi

The author elaborates on the sacred symbolism of the dragon in Chinese tradition. He argues that the Far-Eastern Dragon did not symbolise the Chinese Emperor himself, but rather represented that which the Emperor controlled. The Emperor was a mediator between Heaven and Earth (a bridge between them), a controller of the Water – which is symbolically synonymous with the Dragon (for more regarding the Water, read this review: Julius Evola and the UR Group – Introduction to Magic: Volume 1 under the heading Knowledge of the Waters).

Guénon noted that for the Chinese people, traditionally, the Emperor symbolised the Axis Mundi.

Ouroboros – Anima Mundi – The Soul of the World

In chapter 9 of the book, the author refers to, amongst other works, Julius Evola’s The Hermetic Tradition (read my book review here: The Hermetic Tradition by Julius Evola). He elaborates on the Ouroboros, which may be a familiar symbol to many, and connects it to the Anima Mundi – the Soul of the World. Carl Gustav Jung defined the Anima Mundi as ‘the oneness and essence of the physical world’ and, moreover, stated that:

‘the Anima Mundi was conceived as that part of God which formed the quintessence and real substance of Physis [nature].’

Carl Gustav Jung – Mysterium Coniunctionis

Guénon noted that:

‘as symbol of the Anima Mundi, the serpent is most commonly depicted in the circular form of the Ouroboros.’

René Guénon – The Great Triad

Evola noted the following:

‘the alchemical ideogram of “One the All,” is O, the circle: a line or movement that encloses within itself and contains in itself both its end and beginning. In Hermeticism this symbol expresses the universe and, at the same time, The Great Work [of alchemy]. In the Chrysopoeia it takes the form of a serpent – Ouroboros – biting its own tail.’

Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition

I asked Styxhexenhammer666 (the free-speech champion) about his having the Ourobos as an avatar, whereupon he responded: ‘I use the Ouroboros as a symbol of completion and whole-ness. The snake is a cycle, which completes, winding and undulating and changing but always whole.’

Note: in the book, the author writes ourobos and anima mundi. I use my poetic powers to rewrite them as Ourobos and Amina Mundi – I capitalise them for aesthetic reasons.

Sacred Mountains

In chapter 13, under the title The Serpent, the Mountain, the Omphalos, and Sacred Stones, the author continues the discussion on the Axis Mundi. He notes that for Guénon, the ‘Tree in the Midst’ (or the ‘Polar Mountain’) is a common variant of the World Axis – Axis Mundi – that symbolises the metaphysical Principle in the art and myth of various cultures. The Yggdrasil of Norse myth comes to mind here. Guénon listed Montsalvat as such a Polar Mountain. Montsalvat features in the work of Otto Rahn and his quest for the Grail (read my review here: Crusade Against the Grail by Otto Rahn). Mircea Eliade said the following:

‘Mountains are often looked on as the place where sky and earth meet, a “central point” therefore, the point through which the Axis Mundi goes, a region impregnated with the sacred, a spot where one can pass from one cosmic zone to another.’

Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative Religion

Pictured below: The ruins of a Cathar castle – Château de Peyrepertuse – in France, near the Pyrenees, where the semi-mythical Montsalvat is said to be (which exact mountain Montsalvat is remains unknown).

Epic Quotes

Below are two quotes I found particularly appealing. Whenever I share certain quotes – which I titled as epic – I do so not only to provide a deeper understanding of the subject at hand, but more so to invoke a feeling. The quotes below should be felt rather than read. This will, hopefully, inspire a hunger for life that will fuel your quest for excellence.

‘Muchalinda, a prodigious cobra, dwelt amongst the roots. He perceived, as soon as the Buddha had passed into the state of bliss, that a great storm cloud had begun to gather, out of season. Thereupon he issued quietly from the black abode [of the hole that he dwelt in] and with the coils of his body enveloped seven times the blessed body of the Enlightened One; with the expanse of his giant snake-hood he sheltered as an umbrella the blessed head. Seven days it rained, the wind blew cold, the Buddha remained in meditation. But on the seventh, the unseasonable storm dispersed; Muchalinda unloosed his coils, transformed himself into a gentle youth, and with joined hands to his forehead bowed in worship of the saviour of the world.’

Heinrich Zimmer – Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization

‘Nagas are genii superior to man. They inhabit subaquatic paradises, dwelling at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and seas, in resplendent palaces studded with gems and pearls. They are keepers of the life-energy that is stored in the earthly waters of springs, wells, and ponds. They are the guardians, also, of the riches of the deep sea – corals, shells, and pearls. They are supposed to carry a precious jewel in their heads.’

Heinrich Zimmer – Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization

Quetzalcóatl

Quetzalcóatl – the Plumed Serpent – is mentioned in the book. Mesoamerican lore portrays Quetzalcóatl as a great educator and civiliser. In the Encyclopedia of Ancient Mesoamerica, Quetzalcóatl is said to have ‘revolutionised Toltec society, banning human sacrifices, corruption and cruelty.‘ Perhaps some Aryan adventurers landed in Central America in ancient times and established themselves as a ruling caste. I will not speculate further on the matter at this stage, but for those who are interested, I recommend watching the following video by Asha Logos: Conspiracy? Our Subverted History, Part 5.3 – The Oera Linda Book. Note, I do not personally subscribe to the legitimacy of the Oera Linda Book, but the video linked is worth watching.

Conclusion

As stated in the introduction, The Serpent Symbol in Tradition contains a wealth of insights and is well worth the time investment. On a personal note, reading it now fitted perfectly in relation to the other books I have read (and written book reviews on) as of late. For anyone interested in metaphysics and myth, I can highly recommend the book!

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.

Chakras

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).

Semen Retention

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.

Conclusion

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.

New Legio Gloria Releases – Underwear and Gothic Kings

At long last the Frey’s Organic Cotton Underwear is finally here. Now you can throw away your tight-fitting non-cotton underwear! These have been highly requested, and I have eagerly awaited them myself. Thus, I am happy to finally present them. As with most other garments, I asked myself what I want, I worked towards it, and here we are. Good times!

If you are unsure or between sizes, go with one size larger – it is better to have them a bit looser than a bit tighter. Also, since it is organic cotton, they will shrink a bit if washed in high temperatures.

The new t-shirt design is also close to my own heart. I told my trusted artist, Paszkál of Hungary, about what I wanted, and he delivered an inspiring artwork as always.

Alaric (370–410) and Theodoric (454–526) are among the greatest Gothic kings. Alaric stepped up to the challenge in the darkest hours of his people – leading the Goths from ruin to glory. The Rome that Alaric sacked in 410 was a far cry from the glorious city it had once been, and the spirit that led the Romans to glory had been long gone by this stage. I will elaborate more on this in a Podcast episode dedicated to the Goths and the Western Roman Empire.

Some scholars view Theodoric the Great as a Western Roman emperor in all but name (his title being king). One could thus also argue that he was a true heir of the Roman Empire (hence the laurel in the artwork on the garment).

Another famous Gothic king was also named Theodoric: Theodoric I, who, alongside the Roman general Flavius Aetius, defeated the Scourge of God – Attila the Hun – in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (June 20, 451). Much more about all of these kings can (and, again, will) be said!

The t-shirts are, just as the underwear, made in Poland with 100% organic cotton. The artwork on them is, as always, meant as a source of inspiration for you to become the best that you can be. And, in this case, to step up when the world seems full of darkness.

Since I did not mention this fine belt on this page upon its release, I thought to mention it now. The greatest powerlifting belt in the world. This is the same model as the one you may have seen in my training videos. My belt is from 2014 and is as good as new. It is a bit of an investment, but if you intend to do powerlifting for a long time, it is a great investment to make.

On a last note, I have received a few questions regarding the linen garments. I am happy to announce that a great release of numerous linen garments will be upon us in early May! The new releases are available here:

Two Models of Government by Dr Michael Arnheim

I few years back, I read Two Models of Government: A New Classification of Governments in Terms of Power by Dr Michael Arnheim. The central teaching presented in the book stuck with me as I found it profound and insightful. I mentioned the book in my Podcast episode on Vlad Dracula (available here: Podcast). Thus, I thought it reasonable to introduce the book here as well.

Historical Examples

The central thesis of the book is that a government of a nation is either a monarchy or an oligarchy or a mix of the two. The author presents a few historical examples.

  1. Monarchy taking up the whole pie. For example: The Roman Empire Principate and Napoleonic France.
  2. Oligarchy taking up the whole pie. For example: Classical Sparta, the Roman Republic, medieval France (the feudal system).
  3. A shared pie, with a larger sliced going to the monarchy and a smaller piece going to the oligarchy. For example: Ancient Greek tyrants, Louis XIV’s France. Louis XIV is also known as the Sun King – an exceptionally glorious title.
  4. A shared pie, with the larger slice going to the oligarchy and a smaller piece going to the monarchy. For example: Medieval France (listed here as well as above), England between 1066 and 1689, Japan for most of the time between 1185 and 1868.

Dracula and the Boyars

As I noted in the Podcast episode, Dracula, upon assuming power (his second reign), knew that he had to bring the boyars to heel. He did so in a brutal fashion, thus (roughly speaking) changing the Wallachian power-structure from being dominated by an oligarchy to being dominated by a monarch – in this case Vlad as voivode.

Conclusion

Much more can be said about the book, this shorter review can be seen as a complement to the Podcast episode. In conclusion, I can definitely recommend Two Models of Government for any student of history.

The Hermetic Tradition by Julius Evola

After reading the three volumes of Introduction to Magic (reviews here and here) by Evola and the UR Group, I decided to continue on the same esoteric path by reading The Hermetic Tradition. Whereas Introduction to Magic contains more of Evola’s (and his companions’) thoughts on matters of magic and metaphysics, The Hermetic Tradition draws more heavily upon the teachings of older mystics and alchemists (who will be presented further down). The book is still Evolian in its nature, so the style will be familiar if you have read Evola before.

Evola’s View of Hermeticism and Alchemy

Evola approaches hermeticism and alchemy (he sees them as one) in a spiritual fashion – which means that he is not interested in the material aspects of alchemy (i.e. the classic ‘turn lead into gold’ type of alchemy that may be familiar to some). Evola, as a seeker of Tradition and spiritual ascent, seeks to present the teachings of hermetic mystics throughout the centuries from this perspective.

Alchemy, in this view, is placed together with other hermetic disciplines – magic and astrology, for example. Magic, as we have discussed elsewhere, can be seen as mental techniques. Astrology is a topic we will return to – suffice to say that the planets feature quite prominently in the book. It can also be noted that astrology is one of the lost sciences (like physiognomy) that the modern world has cast aside.

Evola, in this book, shows that alchemy was not just the humble beginnings of the science of chemistry but a profound mystery-science in its own right. As illustrated by the quote below, he identified the true spiritual teachings as being hidden from the unworthy (and the Inquisition). This led mystics and esoteric masters to approach the Great Work, the Royal Art, in a spiritual fashion – whereas the materialistically oriented early scientists approached it in a profane fashion (i.e. in the sense that they were out for physical transformations as opposed to spiritual ones).

‘Much better then to speak of Mercury and Sulfur, of metals and puzzling things and impossible operations, better to attract the greedy attention and curiosity of of the “puffers” and “charcoal burners”, of those who then gave birth to modern chemistry; and best of all, in order to keep others from suspecting that the rare and enigmatic allusions were actually metallurgical symbolism referring to things of the spirit.’

Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 97.

The author of the foreword notes that Evola was influenced by an Indian alchemist – C.S. Narayana Swami Aiyar of Chingleput – who emphasised the importance of breath-work to achieve alchemical results. This is highly interesting. In my own meditations, I have found that entering a meditation by first doing a breathing exercise is greatly helpful. Wim Hof, the Dutch Iceman, has a good guided breathing-exercise. Interestingly, in a chapter titled The Path of the Breath and the Path of the Blood it is noted that focusing on the breath (the first key) and focusing on the blood (the second key) is an alchemical technique. Wim Hof encourages the practitioner to focus both on the breath and the blood in the breathing-exercise mentioned above.

Alchemical Work – the Great Work – the Royal Art

When reading the book and approaching the Royal Art from Evola’s perspective, which, in my humble opinion, is the correct way to approach it, it becomes clear that the whole art is one of ascending and transforming oneself in metaphysical matter. One could even say it is about finding God – God in this case is the One, the animating force of all life. We can also refer to this animating force by other names. This force can be described using a quote which may be familiar if you read our book review of Introduction to Magic: Volume 1:

‘The Wise spoke of it as a wonder and as a terror. They called it: Universal and Living Fire, ύλη (matter), Green Dragon, Quintessence, First Substance, Great Magical Agent. The principle of their “GREAT WORK”, since the Magistery of Creation and the Magistery with which man realizes himself according to the Royal Arts are one and the same. This Matter of ours is neither an abstraction of profane philosophy nor a myth or a fairy tale, but a living and powerful reality, the spirit and the vitality of the Earth and of Life.

Abraxas – Introduction to Magic: Knowledge of the Waters

When the alchemists (in this context) talk about substances and how to transform, separate, and combine them, they are referring to the inner forces in man (body, soul, spirit). Another insightful quote regarding this great force is the following:

‘We can also say that in the One the All, the “One” and the “All” now crystalize as two distinct principles. The “One” takes on the meaning of a center that manifests in the heart of chaos (the “All”) and affirms itself there as a principle of incorruptible fixity, stability, and transcendence. From the signature, of O—“the first matter” we move on to ☉, which is the ancient hieroglyph of the Sun.’

Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 33.

Soul, Spirit, and Body

In a chapter titled thus, Evola discusses these three concepts from an alchemical perspective. He notes that ‘man carries hermetically in his soul, the presence of a solar and golden force; in his spirit he carries that of a lunar and mercurial force ; and finally, in the body, the force of Salt 🜔 is expressed.

Jakob Böhme writes the following:

‘Everything that grows, lives, and moved in this world is in Sulfur, and Mercury is its life. And Salt is the corporeal essence of Mercury’s hunger.’

Jakob Böhme – De Signatura Rerum

When reading passages like this, it becomes clear that they are talking about the animating life-force. Many alchemical teachings are unclear at a first glance; this is to hide the teachings from the unworthy. The quest to find or create gold within oneself, to master the Quintessence and make the most out of the divine energy, is what we can take with us from alchemical studies. As we noted in Dauntless and in previous book-reviews, it is about taming the inner dragon and using its energy to fuel your own ascent.

Mithras and the Bull

As you, my dear reader, are probably aware of by now, I always enjoy the appearance of the Cult of Mithras in esoteric literature. Thus, I thought to share the following quote – which follows up nicely with what is mentioned above. Subdue and harness the primordial power within you:

‘We must awaken the force but not let it unseat us. The characteristic depiction of this ability is dramatized by the myth of Mithras who seizes the bull by the horns and does not let go despite the animal’s mad stampede until the bull, exhausted, gives up and allows himself to be led back to the “cavern” (the alchemical texts speak specifically and frequently of Mercury’s cavern), where Mithras gives it death. After its death there follows the symbolic emerging of vegetation from the earth, sprouting from the blood of the sacrificed animal.’

Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 113.

Immortality

Evola notes that the true alchemical immortality does not entail an immortality of the body. He also notes the following in regard to the immortality of the soul:

‘It was the vulgarization and abusive generalization of a truth valid exclusively for initiates — a vulgarization that began in some degenerate forms of Orphism and was soon fully developed by Christianity — that was to give birth to the strange idea of an “immortality of the soul,” and then extended unconditionally to the same for all souls.’

Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 96.

I am not yet wise enough to comment upon the immortality of the soul, but something that always struck me as unreasonable was the immortality of everyone’s soul. Thus, I thought to share this insightful quote. We will return to this discussion in coming works.

Guénon’s View of Alchemy – White Work and Red Work

The disagreement between Julius Evola and Réne Guénon (that we mentioned in the review of Introduction to Magic: Volume II & III) appears in this context as well. Guénon rejected the idea of alchemy as a complete metaphysical doctrine. Moreover, according to him, a true tradition could not have come from an Egypto-Hellenic origin. This is stated in the foreword of the book and no further explanation is given. Thus, I consulted Thomas Rowsell, who notes that Guénon was quite anti-Greek in the sense that he considered their polytheism to be a divergence from the primordial and monotheistic Tradition he imagined.

As we have already noted, Evola and Guénon disagreed upon who the highest spiritual authority was: the Warrior or Priest. Note, Evola and Guénon respected each other, and this is a minor disagreement that does not take up any space in this book itself. I just thought to mention it since we have encountered the disagreement before, and because it is interesting.

In alchemy, the Red Work is above the White Work. The Red (or Purple) embodies an active state (of the Kshatriya – Warrior), whereas the White embodies a contemplative state (of the Brahmin – Priest). The White Work (White Elixir) is not the final stage, because it lacks the Fire – the Fires of Saturn, the Gods of the Golden Age. Evola notes that to the Red stage is attributed the purple, the sceptre, the crown, and other symbolic elements of royalty and empire. An interesting comparison is the Catholic Church, where the Pope (the highest) wears White and the members of the lower levels of the church hierarchy wear Red.

‘There is a measure of legitimacy in connecting the White Work and the Red Work, respectively, to initiation into the Lesser and Greater classical Mysteries. The promise of both was immortality, which is, let us reiterate, something positive and very different from the vague “spiritualist” conception of simple survival. But the first immortality was only such in terms of “life,” even Cosmic Life, and therefore, ultimately, a conditional immortality linked to manifestation. The second, that of the Greater Mysteries, was a “supercosmic” immortality in the sense just indicated, and it was in the Greater Mysteries that use of the royal symbolism predominated.’

Julius Evola – The Hermetic Tradition. Page 186.

Thus, Evola connects the White Work to the Lesser Mysteries and the Red Work to the Greater Mysteries. We will return to these insights in coming works – when discussing the Mithraic and Eleusinian Mysteries.

Jakob Böhme (left) and Theophrastus von Hohenheim (right).

Cast of Characters

When talking about alchemy as it is presented in the book, it can be good to be familiar with a few historical individuals that appear frequently in it. As mentioned above, Evola presents the teachings of various spiritual masters. Below are some of them – you may recognise some, and you will probably encounter them again if you are interested in esoteric matters. I present these men in brief to emphasise the fact that alchemy was not merely a historical curiosity without merit but a study that interested high-capacity men.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535) was a German polymath, physician, legal scholar, soldier, theologian, and occultist. Evola refers to his De occulta philosophia.

Theophrastus von Hohenheim, also known as Paracelsus, (1493–1541) was a Swiss physician, theologian and philosopher; he has been given the honourific “the Father of Toxicology”. His contributions to science in particular highlight the fact that alchemy was not an art for charlatans, but often went hand in hand with science and metaphysis.

Jakob Böhme (1575–1624). In the book his name appears as Jacob Boehme (which is often the case in English literature). Böhme was a German philosopher, Christian mystic, and Protestant theologian. Many unenlightened Christians react negatively to terms such as magic and mysticism. They fail to recognise that many esoteric mystics have been Christians.

Cesare della Riviera, author of The Magical World of the Heroes (in Italian: Il mondo magico delgi heroi) (1605), which, according to the foreword of The Hermetic Tradition, was a decisive influence on Evola’s views on alchemy. Not much more is known about the author, but I mention him here since his work feature prominently in The Hermetic Tradition.

Hermes Trismegistus is a legendary Hellenistic (Hellenistic = the cultures that sprung up in the areas conquered by Alexander the Great, in this case Egypto-Hellenic) figure that originated as a combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god of wisdom Thoth. In The Hermetic Tradition, Evola refers to the Corpus Hermeticum on numerous occasions. The term hermetic stems from Hermes Trismegistus. Both this mythological character and the Corpus Hermeticum are important to alchemy and the hermetic art on the whole. Evola notes that Hermes (Trismegistus) ‘should not be considered an actual historical personage, but the special spiritual influence that defined the initiatic chain and the organisation‘ (the organisation he refers to is the Sons of Hermes). Hermes Trismegistus also appears in Islamic teachings (which was pointed out to me by a Muslim follower of mine on Instagram).

The Centres of Life – Chakras

In one chapter, a hermetic teaching named the Seven is presented. Evola refers to Plotinus (a Hellenistic Neoplatonist), who said that there are forces within us that are analogous to the powers of the different planets. Interestingly, Evola notes that the teaching of the Seven is seen in explicit terms in Hindu tradition in the form of chakras. We will return to the chakras in coming works – as they are an important component of meditation and yoga. Evola’s The Yoga of Power will be the subject of a coming book-review.

Related to the teaching of the Seven is a mystical Syrian text which talks about the Mirror. I found this passage powerful and useful:

‘The Mirror represents the Divine Spirit. When the soul sees itself in it, it observes the shameful things in itself and rejects them.’

The Hermetic Tradition. Page 62.

In alchemical terms, one could say this would be a purifying process – purifying one’s inner being (soul and spirit) from impurities (shameful aspects).

Conclusion

The Hermetic Tradition is a rather dense read, although not particularly thick (the book is 216 pages), it requires a certain level of concentration to digest. I re-read it upon finishing it to ensure I got the most out of it (I will most likely re-read certain chapters later on as well). Many of the alchemical teachings were purposefully hard to access (to keep the esoteric wisdom available only for the worthy) and since many of the teachings are from the Middle Ages, it is possible that some nuances were lost in translation.

I can recommend this book to true Evola-appreciators and aspiring mystics. If you are interested in magic and spirituality but are not used to reading Evola, I would recommend starting with Introduction to Magic instead.

Lastly, if you have not already done so, I recommend listening to Podcast Episode 18. The Divine Blessing for further discussions on the divine.

Patreon Removed My Account

Patreon just removed my account – I have supposedly not adhered to their ‘community guidelines’. I have asked them to supply evidence of when and where this happened.

I am not expecting an answer though. And, being honest, we all know what is going on here. It is always the same story. You can watch this video: Why They Hate Me, and read this article: Statement on the Legio Gloria Instagram Removal for further context.

I get censored for who I am, not for anything in particular I say.

This is a heavy blow (it directly impacts my ability to supply for my family – which tells you quite a bit about the people who work against us).

🎙The Greatest Podcast will thus no longer be available on Patreon. However, it is available on SubscribeStar (the same is true for the Physique Manufactorum).

Am I down and demoralised? Not at all, this only shows that my work has effect. In fact, I will increase the uploading frequency of the Greatest Podcast. My initial plan was to make one episode a month, but going forward it will be more often.

Adversity only strengthens my resolve.

I am extremely appreciative of everyone signing up to continue subscribing to the Podcast.

The Sword and Shield of Carl Gustaf Wrangel

The sword and shield were taken as spoils of war by Carl Gustaf Wrangel from Voivode Jan Zamoiskij following the Battle of Warsaw in 1656. The set was, according to some sources, initially a gift from the Ottoman Sultan Murad III to Stephen Báthory – King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Prince of Transylvania.

Picture: Skokloster, Sweden, Anno Domini 2020.

Taliesin’s Map: The Comparative Guide to Celtic Mythology

I have read Taliesin’s Map: The Comparative Guide to Celtic Mythology by J. Dolan. Taliesin was a Welsh seer-poet who is said to have tasted the liquid of poetic illumination – historical details of his life are sparse, so he remains a semi-mythological individual. He does not have a prominent role in the book, but the title of the book, Taliesin’s Map, fits rather nicely nonetheless.
The book is not only about Celtic mythology; the author compares myths from various Aryan traditions (Aryan = Indo-European) – primarily Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Roman, Iranic, and Indian. Below are some insights from the book I found interesting.
Note: if some of these topics seem unclear, it is natural. Many interpreters of religious traditions disagree with each other, and for each interpretation there are several that go against it. Religious tradition can be a bit of a jungle – the best way to navigate it is to simply read as much as possible and contemplate what sounds reasonable. When I am in doubt, I consult Survive the Jive.

Comparative Mythology

Comparative mythology basically means finding common themes in myths from different cultures – this ties into Perennialism, which I have mentioned before.
I have read quite a few books and articles that make rather far-fetched comparisons and speculations regarding religious traditions and myths. An example of this is Otto Rahn’s comparison between Balder (and Apollo) and Lucifer – more on this here: Lucifer’s Court – Book Review and Inspiring Quotes. Lucifer’s Court is a quite interesting book, despite some inaccurate claims, which is why I mention it here. I will not mention certain other books that are not as interesting. I point this out to emphasise the fact that many of the comparisons in Taliesin’s Map actually make a fair bit of sense.

The Heroes of the Iliad as Indo-European Gods

In the first chapter of the book, the author makes the case that, as the title suggests, the heroes of the Iliad can be seen as Indo-European gods. He connects many themes found in the Iliad with themes found in other mythologies. I found this chapter quite interesting. Below are some of the heroes he connects to gods.

Agamemnon – Varuna (The Terrible Sovereign)
Menelaus – Mitra (The Lawful Sovereign)
Ajax – Vayu (The Lord of the Wind)
Achilles Indra (The Thunderer)
Odysseus and DiomedesThe Horse Twins (Nasatya and Dasra)
Paris – Surya (The Sun)
Hector – Kali (The Demon of the Dark Age)
Helen – Ushas (The Dawn Goddess)

The mythological aspect of the Iliad is intriguing, as is the historical aspect. I am not in a position to make a statement regarding the historicity of the the Trojan War, but it is not far-fetched to assume that the war itself happened and that many of the details surrounding it have their roots in historical facts. This was certainly the view of the German businessman and archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822–1890), who mounted several expeditions in search of Troy. Below is the Mask of Agamemnon, discovered by Schliemann in 1876 at Mycenae. I will comment further upon the Iliad at a later stage.

Warrior Caste vs Priestly Caste

In the chapter The Great Lunar Cycle, under the title of Peredus as Horse Twin, the author discusses a reoccurring theme in various myths – the conflict between the warrior caste and the kingly/priestly caste. This ties into the disagreement between Evola and Guénon mentioned in this book review: Julius Evola and the UR Group – Introduction to Magic: Volume II & III.
Although the disagreement between Evola and Guénon is not strictly related to the context of the chapter in Taliesin’s Map, I thought to mention it since it is a reoccurring topic in discussions regarding religion and tradition.
This conflict appears in the Iliad between Achilles (warrior) and Agamemnon (king) and in the ancient Indian Mahabharata between Arjuna (warrior) and Yudhishthira (king). The author also mentions the legendary third king of Rome, Tullus Hostilius (warrior), who succeeded Numa Pompilius. The former viewed the latter’s pacifism as a weakening of Rome. More examples from the various Indo-European mythologies are given.

Trifunctional Hypothesis

The trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society, introduced by French mythographer Georges Dumézil in 1929, postulates a tripartite ideology (in French: idéologie tripartite) reflected in the existence of three castes – kings/priests, warriors, and producers/farmers.
Although the hypothesis has some merit, it does not apply to all Aryan societies. As Evola mentioned in a response to Guénon (read more here), the kings and (later) emperors of Rome simultaneously held the title Pontifex (the highest spiritual authority). Germanic kings were also from the warrior caste.
I mention this here since it can be good to be familiar with this concept prior to reading Taliesin’s Map.

The Ambivalent Nature of the Sun and Sun Gods

‘The Sun God heroes are always depicted as morally ambivalent, yet highly noble nonetheless. This is due to the way the Indo-European peoples viewed the Sun, as often inhospitable, even abusive, potentially exceedingly destructive, a psychopomp who draws souls down to their fates and then to the land of the dead, and yet as beautiful, life giving, a symbol of intellect and sovereignty, and associated with the elitist esoteric pursuit of immortality. ’

Taliesin’s Map. Page 34.

Over the last while, I have talked quite a bit about solar worship. Worth pointing out is that the Sun can indeed be seen as both benevolent and malevolent. For someone who lives in Scandinavia, it is virtually always benevolent. Especially for the particular Scandinavian phenotype that tans well and gets lighter hair as a result of sun exposure – as I pointed out in the latest Podcast episode when talking about the blessings of solar gods. On the other hand, for a redhead living in California (to give an example), the Sun will most likely not only be seen as benevolent.

The Golden Irish God Bres

‘Then she saw that it was a man of fairest appearance. He had golden-yellow hair down to his shoulders, and a cloak with bands of gold thread about it. His shirt had embroidery of gold thread. On his breast was a brooch of gold with the lustre of a precious stone in it.’

Description of the Irish god Bres. Page 39.

As we have previously noted, any good esoteric book must contain descriptions of golden gods. The context of this passage is in regard to a comparison between an Irish and an Indian myth, where a Sun god makes love to women – in the Irish case, the woman may be a representation of Ireland.

Rome and the Sabine Women

In a the chapter The Great Lunar Cycle, under the title of The Welsh “Aesir-Vanir War”, the author notes that there are similarities between the Welsh myth of the Mabinogi (also called Mabinogion) and the historical-mythic Roman ‘Rape of the Sabine Women’. The story of the Romans and the Sabine women may be a myth, but the story closely aligns with the modus operandi of the Aryan (Indo-European) Koryos – i.e. a band of young men entering a territory, conquering land and women, thus (in some cases) creating a civilisation (in this case Rome).

This is a highly interesting topic that we will return to. To learn more about the Koryos and Bronze Age Europe, I can highly recommend the videos of Dan Davis. Available on Odysee here: Dan Davis Author.

Mithraic Mysteries

By now, we are all familiar with the Mithraic Mysteries. The author begins the chapter The Mithraic Path of Immortality and the Mithraic Mysteries with a reference to an essay by Julius Evola titled The Path of Enlightenment in the Mithraic Mysteries, I will elaborate on this essay in a coming post (or Podcast episode or video). The author notes that there are two extremes in current scholarship regarding the Mithras Cult – one which denies any links to Iranic religion, and one that views it as a direct religious import. He then correctly emphasises the fact that both Roman and Iranian mythology share common Aryan origins:

‘Could it be that the Mithraic mysteries derived their general narrative framework from the archaic Indo-European mythological narrative itself, from the clearly central and important path of the great Sovereign of Justice, the Mitraic god?’

Taliesin’s Map. Page 506.

The deity in question has different spellings: Mithras, Mithra, Mitra etc. Mithras = the Graeco-Roman god. Mitra = the Iranian god. This can be good to keep in mind to avoid confusion!

Conclusion

At 525 pages, reading the book will be a bit of a time investment. Many chapters are also quite technical and detailed – which lends credence to some of the comparisons and takes. However, for someone who is new to this sort of material, it might be overwhelming. I enjoyed reading it and found many of the chapters insightful. If you are interested in mythology, I can recommend it.


You can follow the author at Telegram here: https://t.me/solarcult (the Telegram channel is also worth following).

Folktales in the Indo-European Tradition

Folktales in the Indo-European Tradition by Imperium Press is a 757-page behemoth of a book. Part of their Western Canon Series, it covers (as the name suggests) folktales from various Indo-European traditions. The book also contains beautiful illustrations. I can definitely recommend the book, it is a nice addition to any library, and will be especially useful for parents who wish to introduce their children to our stories.

Contents

  • Proto-Indo-European
  • Proto-Western-Indo-European
  • Proto-Germanic-Italo-Celtic
  • Proto-Baltic-Slavic
  • Proto-Celtic
  • Proto-Germanic
  • Proto-Romance

Some of the tales will probably be familiar – Beauty and the Beast and Little Red Riding Hood for example. Most others will perhaps not be as familiar. This is especially true in this day and age where many Europeans are ever more disconnected from their history and culture.

Julius Evola and the UR Group – Introduction to Magic: Volume II & III

I have read Introduction to Magic: Volume II – The Path of Initiatic Wisdom and Introduction to Magic: Volume III  Realizations of the Absolute Individual by Julius Evola and his companions of the UR Group. If you have not already read my review of the first volume, you can do so here: Julius Evola and the UR Group – Introduction to Magic: Volume 1. Also, if you are curious about the term ‘magic’, I elaborate on how I use it in this video: What Do I Mean By ‘Magic’?
At over 400 pages each, these two volumes contain many more interesting insights than shared here. These are just a few that I found particularly interesting.

Attempts to Influence Mussolini

As already mentioned in the previous book review (link above), the UR Group was active during the Interwar period. In the foreword to the second volume, it is mentioned that rites were done to influence Mussolini in a Roman Pagan direction. However, due to realpolitikal reasons, Mussolini sought an alliance with the Catholic Church (as was common for many Fascist parties throughout Europe at the time).
A woman who had participated in these rites prophesised to Mussolini in 1919 that he would become Consul. Consul was the highest political position in the Roman Republic (509 to 27 BC) – two Consuls were elected per term. In 1923, when Mussolini was the head of government, the woman approached him again and gave him a lictor’s bundle of rods with an antique Etruscan ax.
One of the members of the Ur Group, Dr Arturi Reghini, who had a strong desire to influence Fascism in a Pagan direction, expressed these views in his publications. Perhaps disappointed by the lack of progress done in this regard, he shared his opinions in an aggressive manner. Mussolini (under a pseudonym) actually responded to the criticism, which means that he felt strongly about the topic (since the publication only reached a niche audience; it was not a matter of a major newspaper criticising him).


After the war, Evola responded to accusations of being a Fascist by stating that he was a superfascista (meaning that he was beyond Fascism). Evola writes more about this in his book A Traditionalist Confronts Fascism, which I have read and can recommend for those interested in the views of Evola. I also refer to Evola in Dauntless in a chapter discussing racial materialism. Moreover, I composed a few thoughts on Evola in this article: A Few Notes on Julius Evola – Metaphysics of Power.

Evola and the Theosophists

In several essays, Evola makes critical comments about various other spiritual movements. He often comes with scathing remarks about the Theosophists, whose movement was cofounded by a Russian woman whose name may be familiar to some – Madam Blavatsky. Below are two quotes that illustrate quite well Evola’s attitude towards them.

‘Seen from the outside it is a blatant absurdity that shows the mental level of today’s spiritualist currents, especially the Theosophical ones. While they pretend to be proclaiming and revaluing the teachings of the ancient Wisdom, they indulge in democratic and humanitarian views, professing the gospel of more or less universal equality.’

Julius Evola – Introduction to Magic Volume III: Aristocracy and the Initiatic Ideal

‘Keeping in mind that esoteric science is simultaneously a regal and priestly art, Éliphas Lévi asks with good reason of anyone wanting to approach it: Do you feel a kingly nature within yourself? A priestly one? Such a question is not meant to demoralise, but indicates that one must at least have clear ideas about a basic human qualification. This is especially true in our time, when the type of the adept is lumped together with the often suspect type of the “occultist,” and of creatures like mediums, spiritualists, sensitives, and diviners who do not even attain the level of a sane and normal man. A certain natural aristocratic qualification, as the mark of a human type that is not just normal but superior, is the general premise for any participation in an initiatic order, which for that reason was restricted to an elite, and always will be.’

Julius Evola – Introduction to Magic Volume III: Aristocracy and the Initiatic Ideal

Evola vs Guénon – Spiritual Authority and Temporal Powers

Perhaps the two most famous writers on Tradition are René Guénon and Julius Evola. Although Evola had great respect for Guénon, he also disagreed with some of his teachings. In an essay signed by Ea (i.e. Evola) titled ‘Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power‘, Evola takes issue with Guénon’s statement that spiritual authority is tied to ‘knowledge’ and ‘contemplation’*, and to the priestly caste – whereas temporal power is tied to ‘action’ and the warrior or regal caste. *The citation marks around those words appear in the essay.


Evola, in response to this, points out that the kings and (later) emperors of Rome simultaneously held the title Pontifex (the highest spiritual authority). And Rome, as we all know, was a society that valued martial virtues – thus, in their case the spiritual path was the path of action.
Evola also points to the Eleusinian Mysteries, which conferred a higher dignity on the king than priests or sages. Similarly, the Cult of Mithras (which I have mentioned before) was an initiatic brotherhood mainly popular with military men.
In other books, Evola discusses the conflict between the Guelphs and Ghibellines during the Middle Ages. The Guelphs supported the Pope, and the Ghibellines supported the Holy Roman Emperor. We will return to both the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Guelphs vs Ghibelline conflict in coming articles, videos, and Podcast episodes.

Evola vs Jung

In one essay, Evola expresses his views on Carl Gustav Jung. I must confess that I found the following passage hilarious:

‘And in fact Jung has not understood anything, and has been handling things with which he should never have concerned himself.’

Julius Evola – Introduction to Magic Volume III: Esotericism, the Unconscious, Psychoanalysis

More scathing criticism from the Baron! I asked my friend John Morgan, an authority on matters of Tradition, about Evola’s views on Jung, and he responded thus:

He rejected psychology as a modern, scientifically-based movement, first of all. But additionally, he rejected Jung since he attributed the gods and the myths to being archetypes of human consciousness, rather than something that exists outside of and superior to human consciousness — i.e., being real in their own right.

On a personal level, I have not read enough of Jung to make a statement.

Right-Hand and Left-Hand Path

These two concepts can be summarised as being the dichotomy between white magic (benevolent) and black magic (malicious). The concepts of Right-Hand and Left-Hand paths appear in numerous spiritual contexts. In the essay Magical Perspectives, According to Aleister Crowley, Evola actually gives credit to Crowley. He says that the Satanic aspect of Crowley’s work was mainly a front and that Crowley was an accomplished spiritual master – who was ‘extraordinarily qualified’ to follow the Left-Hand Path. This is high praise coming from Evola!

I do, of course, follow the Right-Hand Path.

Ex Oriente Lux

In this essay, Evola takes issue with the notion that the ancient spiritual traditions that so fascinate Westerners come from the East. In the same essay, he also mentions the Dorian component of Hellenic civilisation.

‘The light that shines from Hindu or Persian civilisation did not originate in the Orient, because those civilisations were created by races that came from the West and the North in a distant prehistoric epoch.’

Julius Evola – Introduction to Magic Volume II: Ex Oriente Lux

‘The light of authentically Greek civilisation, namely that which it owes to the Dorians and Achaeans, descended from the North.’

Julius Evola – Introduction to Magic Volume II: Ex Oriente Lux

Any talk of Aryans is, as you may know, controversial in this age. However, that does not mean that we should not talk about them. In fact, it is useful to highlight this fact, especially since it helps us understand why many of us (myself included) have a certain affinity for both India and Persia. For more about India, read this article: The Agni and The Ecstasy by Steven J. Rosen.
For more information about the Aryan invasion of India, watch this video: Aryan Invasion of India: Myth or Reality? For more information about the genetic composition of ancient Greece, watch this video: JIVE TALK: Ancient DNA news: Greece and Italy.

Experiences Among the Arabs

In this essay, signed by Gallus, the author describes his experiences in North Africa, where he was stationed at a government post when Libya and Tripolitania were in Italian possession. The author notes that he was always interested in the esoteric and was drawn to the Arab world for its mysteries.
This essay evokes a certain sense of nostalgia. A nostalgia for the Arab world as it used to be in Western imagination. The Arab world of One Thousand and One Nights. The Arab world of mystics and beautiful architecture.
On a personal note, I would have liked to see more of these diary-like essays. This is something I will keep in mind for coming books of my own – giving a personal touch to the topic you are analysing. Putting teachings in a context undoubtedly make them both more interesting and accessible for the reader.
Related to this, the aforementioned René Guénon actually converted to Islam. We will return to the teachings of Guénon in coming articles.

Corrosive Waters

A reoccurring topic that is discussed in several essays, in all three volumes, is that of corrosive waters. ‘Regular’ waters can be said to be the non-harmful way of reaching spiritual insights. Corrosive waters entail the use of otherwise harmful substances (various drugs including alcohol) to reach spiritual insights. The authors caution against the use of these, but mention that they can be useful in some circumstances.


This reminds me of the use of steroids when it comes to gym training. The better and safer way to put on muscle is without corrosive waters (in this case steroids), but in some cases exogenous testosterone can be useful. What must always be emphasised, however, is that steroid use before the age of 23 is strictly prohibited, as it may damage your physical development. Testosterone replacement therapy for older men may be a good way to optimal health. On a personal note, I have never taken any such substances; if I ever do, it will be when or if my natural testosterone levels decrease by a significant amount. I elaborate more on this in Dauntless.

Conclusion

As with the first volume, I can recommend these two volumes for those interested in spiritual traditions and esoteric matters.
Lastly, if you have not already done so, I recommend you listen to Podcast Episode 18. The Divine Blessing (which deals with magic and spirituality).