A Response to Collin Cleary’s Summoning the Gods"/>
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The Gods are Still Here:
A Response to Collin Cleary’s Summoning the Gods

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French translation here

“The problem with our modern, Western pagans is that they do not genuinely believe in their gods, they merely believe in believing in them” (Cleary, Summoning the Gods, 21). Collin Cleary is probably right about this. In Summoning the Gods, published by Counter-Currents in 2011, he offers very valuable criticism of neopaganism as essentially modernist because of its “rationalist, reductionist, and man-centered” explanations of the gods (p. 2). In this, I am in agreement. However, Cleary’s argument for the way in which we are “closed” to the gods and how we might go about becoming “open” to them seems to make the problem greater than it really is. How did our ancestors experience the gods? How can we come to experience them once again? To find out, why not turn to the world’s one billion Hindus, the remaining survivors of Indo-European paganism?

“My ancestors believed, but I do not know how they believed. I confess that I do not know what it is like to live in a world in which there are gods” (p. 21). Cleary expresses his own experience of being “closed” to the gods, by which he seems to mean being unable to experience the divine (p. 1) or lacking a sense of awe of natural forces (p. 31). This closedness, he argues, is a fundamental problem for neopagans. In “Knowing the Gods,” he writes, “All of our efforts to explain what the gods ‘really’ are, or what our ancestors ‘really’ experienced, are thoroughly modern. It is part of the modern mindset to insist that everything can be explained, that everything is penetrable and knowable” (emphasis in original, p. 14). This impulse is one of the causes of our being closed. We must, therefore, resist explanation and find ways to open ourselves to the gods in order to reestablish an authentic paganism.

This insight is one of the great strengths of Summoning the Gods. Unless we reject modernism and adopt belief in the gods, neopaganism will remain largely a lifestyle choice, something incapable of transforming the West. While I clearly value Summoning the Gods, Cleary is, I argue, creating a larger problem than necessary. We have no need to speculate about the experiences of our ancestors or, despite any other value it might have, develop a phenomenology of the experience of the divine in order to start a grueling crawl back to “openness.” Hindus can answer these questions for us.

Today, one billion Hindus continue to worship and believe in Indo-European gods. They still turn to bone fide priests to carry out the fire sacrifices. They continue the Indo-European tradition of privileging the oral tradition whenever they sit before bone fide teachers and listen to the chanting of the Bhagavad Gita or Upanishads. Their priests, acharyas, and yogis continue to transmit spiritual authority through the generations. I am certainly aware of how modernity is encroaching upon Hinduism, but, nonetheless, the world’s Hindus provide us with an example of widespread “openness” to the gods. They provide us Westerners with an example of how to believe in the gods and, an issue that Cleary doesn’t deal with in Summoning the Gods, how to worship them.

Cleary is critical and perhaps even dismissive of Hinduism, despite his acceptance of using Hinduism, or at least the Vedas, as a means of illuminating European paganism. But his dismissal is based on a misunderstanding of what he calls the “mysticism” of Hinduism. Cleary defines mysticism as the Will’s attempt to “bridge the gap between human and divine” (p. 16). This results in men seeking union with God, which Cleary argues is a way of men saying they are the same as God and, in so doing, lower God to the level of man.

This is not, however, how Hindus see or experience this union. The drop of water, as one acharya taught me, that falls into the ocean is made of the same stuff as the ocean and unites with it, but the drop is not the same as the ocean. The ocean is far greater. The single drop does not lessen the greatness of the ocean when the drop rejoins it. The same is true of man and God. The “mysticism” of the Upanishads is not a backdoor to “Titanic humanism.” Ironically, Cleary recommends yoga as a means of becoming “open” to the gods. But this is the very method by which one may attain the union with God that Cleary denounces.

I suspect that Cleary’s misunderstanding of Hinduism comes from not contending with the competing conceptions of God as either transcendent or immanent. The transcendent God of the Abrahamic religions is a creator god who is distinct from his creation. The immanent God is not distinct from creation; creation is an expansion of that God. This is the divinity of the Indo-European pagans. The immanent God, called Brahman by Hindus, includes the totality of all things within itself. The planets and all life are crystallizations of a fragment of God. All things are made of God-stuff. Even the gods are crystallizations of the immanent divine.

When you dream, all characters and objects within the dream are projections of yourself. You are not the “you” in the dream. That “you” is a limited fragment of your consciousness by which you can enter into the dream and experience it. And you do the same through the other characters in your dreams as well. They are all projections of “you.” This relationship between your waking self and your dreams is an analogy for the relationship between God and creation.

Cleary is aware of the distinction between the divine transcendence and immanence; he refers to it in his valuable critique of Alain de Benoist’s On Being a Pagan (p. 63). Moreover, Cleary expresses at least a hesitant acceptance of the immanence of God when he describes the phenomenology of the experience of the divine as an awe or awareness of the divine in all objects (pp. 28, 30–31). His misunderstanding of the “mysticism” of Hinduism, however, seems to reflect the assumption of a transcendent God in which an individual man unites with a singular, distinct God, as if it was two drops of water that were uniting, rather than a single drop being absorbed into a great ocean. To gain openness to the gods and to learn to believe in the gods the way our ancestors did, we must reorient our thinking about God away from the transcendent God of the Bible and toward the immanent God of the Indo-Europeans.

I state above that Cleary seems to have a hesitant acceptance of the immanence of God. I suspect that he is either inconsistent in his belief or, as he states in “Summoning the Gods” (p. 21), does not actually believe in God or the gods at all. I say this because it seems that Cleary, despite his criticism of the modernism of neopagans, does not himself escape rationalist explanations of the gods. He attempts to preempt exactly this criticism by saying that he does not explain the gods; he provides only a phenomenology of the experience of the divine (p. 38). I’m not convinced.

He seems to offer an explanation, not necessarily of the gods, but of the origins of our belief in the gods when he relates openness to an awe of natural forces. This explanation does not require that the gods, in any meaningful sense, even exist. I agree with him that he is not reducing the gods, by whatever definition, to subjective experiences (p.  38). Something is there, but the “it” that Cleary identifies seems to be merely natural forces, though that is a vague term and perhaps ultimately meaningless. I fear that what Cleary offers us is not a way to come to believe in the gods, but, instead, just a way of being in awe of nature and calling it God. Perhaps it is a common danger that a belief in an immanent divine can degenerate into mere nature worship.

I agree with Cleary on the need for the revitalization of paganism in the West. I also agree with him that we cannot go back to some pure, original religion of our ancestors, a thing that never existed. We must, instead, move forward into a new paganism. On how to do so, I disagree with Cleary. We need not reinvent paganism, as if to recapitulate the millennial-long process by which the myths and rituals of the Indo-Europeans were created. Getting back to nature and doing drugs or yoga is insufficient. What we require is the transmission of these rituals and even awareness of the gods themselves from those possessing the spiritual authority to provide such transmission. European paganism is dead because the lines of transmission are long lost. Cleary, by his own admission (p. 21), does not possess the necessary spiritual authority. I have not seen any evidence of the reconstitution of this authority among any other neopagans either. But there are pagans to whom we can turn for such authority: the priests and swamis of Hinduism.

Not only does Cleary dismiss Hinduism in general, he specifically denounces the primacy of the priest function. He asserts that the Upanishads represent the “destruction of the religion of the warrior and the exalting of the priest as supreme over even the gods” (pp. 16–17). I have already argued against the last part of this claim, that priests see themselves as even equal to God. As for the first part of his claim, the Rig-Veda itself can be read as establishing the supremacy of the priest function above that of the warrior. In 10.90 of the Rig-Veda, it was the mouth that became the brahmin and the arms that became the warriors. This can be readily seen as the brahmins as the ones who direct the warriors and everyone else as well.

In East and West, René Guénon argues, rightly I believe, for a hierarchy of knowledge in which metaphysics is supreme over logic, which is itself superior to religion and science. And who is it that can show us metaphysics, which includes knowledge of the nature of the gods and man? Those of the priest function, the brahmin. In Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power, Guénon points out the necessity of a proper ordering of society. Again, the priest caste must be the directing force in order to provide a society with correct metaphysics as a foundation, otherwise the society, as we have seen so clearly in the modern world, will degenerate into chaos. While today, we are under the governance of the producer caste, it is little better to, as Cleary would have us, exalt the warrior caste. To strive for a new paganism is to assert a return to true metaphysics as a new foundation for the regeneration of the West. We cannot establish that foundation without the influence of true spiritual authority.

Cleary seems in “The Missing Man in Norse Cosmogony” to acknowledge the proper ordering of the three functions. There, he relates three forms of odhr or ecstasy to the three functions as they are present together within Odin (p. 124). Of this he says, “These forms of odhr exist, of course, in a hierarchy, with the highest and purest being religious odhr,” which would indicate an acceptance of the priest function as supreme.

So, if we of the West are to reestablish paganism and a true belief in the gods, then let us turn to those with the spiritual authority to guide us, let us turn to the example of Hinduism. It is among Hindus that we continue to find the openness to the gods that Cleary strives for. They can show us how to believe in Odin once again. Moreover, they can show us how to worship him once again. Neopagan worship consists of non-authoritative and unbelieving attempts at reconstruction on the one hand and a mélange of Masonic and romantic imaginings on the other. But Hindus continue to carry out authoritative sacrifices to the gods. Let us join them or at least learn from them.

 

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35 Comments

  1. Posted January 16, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    A very interesting critical response. I too felt that there was something a little off, a little ‘Christianized’ as I would say, in the denigration of ‘mysticism’ and am glad to see it discussed here.

    I wouldn’t presume on Dr. Cleary’s role in replying, but I was struck by the discussion toward the end, of the contemplative/warrior split, as manifested in what Evola calls the “personal equations” of himself and Guenon [and Traditionalists generally; as I noted in my earlier Interview on this site, you could read everything published in English by Guenon, Schuon and Co. and never find Evola so much as mentioned]. I would suggest that the fact that this issue of ‘primacy’ is still being hashed out 80 years later is evidence for Evola’s view that it reflects personal proclivities rather than an issue of scholarship or history.

    I was struck because I have just been finishing a essay on Traditional themes in the films of Rob Zombie which brings up this point. [For those who have seen them, the Firefly family of maniacs is a Warrior Caste doing battle with the usurping Priestly Caste of ironic hipsters, indie film makers and vengeful cops].

    I would like to point out that Evola’s discussion is far more nuanced and subtle than Warrior Good Priest Bad [itself, a rather Abrahamic perspective, is it not?] First of all, and most importantly, for Evola, Traditional society [we can use the singular since this is a ‘principial’ or metaphysical model] was founded and subsequently ruled by a Sacred Regality or Royal Sacrality, i.e., a person or order in which the roles of Priest and Warrior are NOT YET distinguished.

    Priests were merely those who administered the royal christening, as conduits of the divine blessing. Only later, in more decadent times, did Priests arise who, lacking Mandate of Heaven themselves, arrogantly usurped power on the grounds of some special “knowledge” possessed only by themselves. Needless to say, the Warriors who subsequently took power in their place were themselves decadent, promoting an equally unbalanced excess of thymos over nous. The ‘Heroes’ Evola takes from Hesiod are those who seek to regain the Primal Knowledge, reuniting the two powers.

    If we must discuss scriptures, and traditions, Evola points out that India, for example, is not only the land of monks and the Vedanta, but also of the Bhagavad Gita, in which the warrior Arjuna is instructed by the warrior Krishna. As for the Upanishads, whatever cosmogonic doctrine it may contain, as you cite it, it is also a vast literature in which monks and sanyasins humbly beg Kings and Warriors for metaphysical instruction. And is not the Buddhas of the Kshatriya caste? [No wonder Guenon considered Buddhism to be un-traditional!]

    However, I believe Evola’s most subtle point is that the higher stages of knowledge, the aim of the monk’s contemplation, are precisely ACHIEVEMENTS, the results of ACTIONS [thus ‘karma’], thus rendering the action/contemplation distinction ultimately null. Thus Mohamed praises “the Greater Holy War” as also manifested in the Templars and Grail Knights, and even Sufi esotericism distinguishes stages [actions] and stations [permanent acquisitions] of contemplation.

    What makes this issue important is that however unbalanced in terms of Primal Tradition, the warrior’s way [ugh, how ‘new age’ is that!] is the most appropriate for our time in the Kali Yuga.

    This is why Alchemy, which Evola considered the primal Tradition [precisely because it is found in every other ‘tradition’, which is exactly why Guenon argued it was a secondary, merely cosmological form; personal equation again!], is called the Royal Art.

    Here in NYC, the archbishop was recently elevated to the Cardinalate. The tabloids had explanations of this strange, ‘religiousy’ business, so unlike the straightforward nature of real American storefront preachers. We were informed that the Cardinal wears red ‘to symbolize his purity’. How Evola would have laughed! The red signifies the final stage of the alchemical process, and the subordination of it to the lower, White level [the Pope] shows how Christianity has inverted the values of Tradition. The Pope, of course, being originally the Pontifex Maximus, the Great Bridge Builder, of the Roman Tradition; both priest and king, like the Chinese Emperor bringing Heaven and Earth together as the Third Term [as even Guenon sees in his book The Great Triad].

    Cf. also the Red Cross of the Templars, another Order of priestly regality. The Great Edward Herrmann, whom I briefly discuss in my earlier essay here, “The Gilmore Girls Occupy Wall Street,” narrates a History Channel doco on the Templars and solemnly intones for all the WASPs in the audience: “But how could monks be soldiers?” It is, of course, the Traditional Norm, and the pale, withdrawn, unworldly monk the Christian deviancy. As the Hermit says in Parzival: “Whoever heard of the Grail won by fighting!” when Parzival has just done exactly that.

    • Jaego Scorzne
      Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Red to symbolize purity – yes, ridiculous. White is the color of purity and all color the crucifixation of Light. Of course it is often too bright and must be experienced as the Divine Darkness or the Dark Tresses of the Beloved.

      We love Blondes because Gold is of the Sun – the color of it’s union with matter. In some moods I prefer Scarlett Johanson and in others Penelope Cruz.

    • Jonson Miller
      Posted January 17, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      James,

      Thanks for your comments. My comment is in response to both the above comment and your response to John Morgan.

      You’re absolutely right that the priest/warrior split isn’t so simple as I portrayed it. And any Brahmin would acknowledge that the way of action is legitimate path to liberation. But, for governing, the important thing is metaphysics. Along the lines of what Morgan said in his response to you, it needn’t be that the Brahmin give orders and rule as actual kings. In fact, it shouldn’t be so. They provide the metaphysics or spiritual principles upon which to order a society. It must then be left to the warriors to actually govern based on those principles.

  2. Posted January 16, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    As far as the appropriateness of the Way of Action to us in the Kali Yuga, I should have been more clear that this relates to my earlier comments, and also in my Interview, about the ‘discovery’ of Evola’s writings. Evola himself had reached an impasse in the contemplative position, having pursued the study of German Idealism [the Italians he considered bunglers, derivative and even worse, bourgeois] to the point of affirming the sole reality of the Absolute Individual, a kind of solipsism on steroids.

    The discovery of Guenon’s work on Tradition gave him, he says in his autobiography, the way to ‘re-enter history’ [viz, to return to reality] by conceiving of the AI as the founder of Traditional society.

    In the same way, I found Evola’s POV a way to get out of the purely contemplative, withdrawn world of the Traditionalists, who seem to have reached an impasse of passivity regarding the modern world. Tom Moore’s Jungian ‘soulfulness’ [vs. abstract Spirit] was a similar means of escape, for me, from an airless kind of mental withdrawal from the world. More importantly, and generally, it gives the Traditionalist a task to accomplish, rather than just an excuse to sit around bemoaning the Kali Yuga.

  3. Donar Van Holland
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    To me the Hindu gods, like the Hindus themselves, are far too remote to connect to. Therefore I find it impossible to accept the spiritual authority of a Hindu priest.

    Besides, I have a different conception of Germanic religion altogether. Germanic religion is a folk religion. This means a religion in which the folk (our ancestors and we ourselves) is deified. That is the context of a concept like the “Herrenvolk”.

    Accordingly, the gods are not so much deified natural forces, as deified human beings. There is a close connection with the cult of the ancestors. The gods are a kind of mythified “super-ancestors”. You might also say that they stand for the mass of our ancestors of whom we do not have any personal knowledge.

    This is why they can die, this is why they display so many human character traits (and flaws!). This is also why they are experienced as immanent. And very important: this is why they are bound to our folk: they really are family!

    The story of Heracles is exactly the story of all the gods: they have been deified because of their great deeds. And their spouses were deified along with them. The heroes who are allowed to join Wotan in Valhalla after fighting valiantly are an example of the same concept. They are deified and share the same habitat with the gods. Like the Olympus.

    Even Jesus was seen as a deified hero when our forefathers took on the Christian faith, because they accepted it in the form of the heresy of Arianism. The Christian saints also exemplify this idea.

    Our Germanic forefathers DID have a truly transcendent concept of the divine too, however. Behind all the stories of gods/heroes stands FATE.

    Fate is like an unpersonal “Will of God”. Fate is immutable, you can not pray to fate, you can only try to understand what it means for you, and then chose your path in life. The gods are also subject to fate. We might draw a parallel with the Chinese Tao or the Indian Brahman.

    As a religious practice, we can try and question Fate, through the Runes for example. For help, counsel, strength and inspiration we can call upon the spirits of our folk.

    This can mean ritual calling on the gods and/or our historical ancestors. But studying their histories, admiring and trying to connect to their deeds, their culture, their preferences, their music can also help. And of course white nationalism and having white babies. In short: immersion in our divine folk.

    As an aside: the basic mistake the Jews have made is to confuse their own deified hero Yahweh with the eternal Divine Tao/Brahman/Fate. They may be the chosen people according to THEIR ancestors, but that does not mean that the Divine agrees…

    • Erik Nordman
      Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      Germanic religion is a folk religion. This means a religion in which the folk (our ancestors and we ourselves) is deified. That is the context of a concept like the “Herrenvolk”.

      Accordingly, the gods are not so much deified natural forces, as deified human beings. There is a close connection with the cult of the ancestors. The gods are a kind of mythified “super-ancestors”. You might also say that they stand for the mass of our ancestors of whom we do not have any personal knowledge.

      The best summary of my own spirituality to-date! Kudos.

  4. Sandy
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    While I am accustomed to C-C mocking the Christians for turning to the Jews as their “elders brothers,” I never thought I would read in C-C a similar phenomenon being suggested for the pagans. I can hear it now – those Odinists are nothing but damn Hindoos! Welcome to the club.

  5. George Peterson
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    As in many other areas, I believe that Plato and the Platonic tradition are overlooked by the contemporary far right when it comes to the issue of paganism. Plato is falsely accused of a great variety of things, and unfairly criticized by many, including Nietzsche. The fact is, Platonism offers an approach to the Indo-European gods that is both mystical and rational, firmly centered in metaphysics, and more directly connected with European history and culture than Hinduism. Anyone who is interested in the subject should check out Thomas Taylor, an early 19th century Englishman and pagan Platonist who wrote extensively and superbly on the subject, translating a great amount of ancient material.
    Here is one of his translations, an ode by Julian the Apostate:
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/toj/toj02.htm

  6. Jaego Scorzne
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard that a traditional Odinist Priest was found living deep in the Icelandic Wilderness. He had inherited it from his father. A CD was made of his chanting – which I found boring in the extreme. Don’t know if he’s still alive and/or if he passed it on to any of the young Odinist seekers.

    • Jaego Scorzne
      Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Oh I should see if I still have it – a Current 93 I believe. Might be able to sell it on Amazon. Black is beautiful but green is better as Father Divine used to say.

      When are we going to see an article on Crowley and his relation to the great Tradition? Guenon thought the Occult Tradition a corruption when separated from the Religious Traditions. Evola felt the same about Masonry. Crowley was certainly a Racist though and might deserve a hearing on that score at least. Also his Teacher and Brother Alan Bennett was one of the great pioneers of Buddhism in the West.

      • Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you’re talking about Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson. The album is Current 93 Present: Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson “Edda”. He wasn’t exactly a recluse as he ran an Odinist organization in Iceland during the 1970s and ’80s. He also makes appearances on albums by Burzum and Psychic TV. According to Wikipedia he even released his own album in 1982.

  7. Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    As a White practitioner of Hinduism living in India, I admit I’m biased, but this really is one of the most interesting essays I’ve seen on CC. I fully agree with everything you said. We cannot say that the Vedic tradition in India today, which has undergone centuries of influence from both Christianity and Islam as well as other faiths, is entirely the same as it was at the time of the Rig-Veda, but it certainly comes much closer than any other living tradition. If someone really wants to move from theory to practice in terms of “paganism,” there’s really no alternative to Hinduism in today’s world, even if one only views it as a stopover whilst looking for something more authentically European (if such is possible).

    I also tend to agree with your criticisms of the book, although I’m not certain that Collin is as hostile to Hinduism as you suggest. But he is hardly alone in claiming that the kshatriyas once ruled over the brahmanas – this is an odd idea which was introduced by Evola, and even Ananda Coomaraswamy, in his review of the book which was published when the book first came out in Italian, took issue with it at the time, pointing out that there is no evidence for this idea. Unfortunately, however, this idea has propagated out into the neo-pagan movement, and there’s this idea in Heathenism that one must be a “warrior” in order to be authentically European, conjuring images of mead-drinking men in horned helmets slaughtering their enemies. As you point out, however, a successful society based on traditional grounds must have all the castes – with the brahmanas at the top. A society with kshatriyas at the top would be like a body that is ruled by the arms rather than the brain.

    So I would urge all Western pagans to immediately move to India and live in an ashram here for a couple of years. :^)

    • Posted January 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Great to have your on-the-spot report, John!

      “But he is hardly alone in claiming that the kshatriyas once ruled over the brahmanas – this is an odd idea which was introduced by Evola, and even Ananda Coomaraswamy, in his review of the book which was published when the book first came out in Italian, took issue with it at the time, pointing out that there is no evidence for this idea.”

      Ironically, it was AK who, along with Marco Pallis, managed to argue Guenon into accepting the Kshatriya tradition par excellence, Buddhism, as orthodox. I wonder, in the name of consistency, if you would prefer Guenon had stuck to the views of his Hindu Brahmin teachers, and regard Buddhists as heretics no better than materialists and atheists?

      If Evola refused to accept AK’s charge of “lack of evidence” it was likely because the Golden Age in question is pre-historical, that is, precedes the limits of our positivist archeologists abilities. Here, he would no doubt refer back to Guenon, who in Reign of Quantity pours scorn on “The Limits of Geography and History.” Our primordial ancestors were made of finer stuff, and neither they nor their culture [buildings, pots, etc. so loved by “scientists”] have left any material traces.

      Evola would not say he introduced the idea, he was at great pains to trace its periodic re-emergence in the medieval Emperor cult, the Grail, etc. And of course, Guenon himself devoted a book, and many references elsewhere, to the Traditional notion of the King of the World [or chakravarta, if you prefer], Prester John, perhaps based on muddle knowledge of Genghis Khan. King, note, not High Priest.

      “As you point out, however, a successful society based on traditional grounds must have all the castes – with the brahmanas at the top. A society with kshatriyas at the top would be like a body that is ruled by the arms rather than the brain.”

      Of course, those are two points; the issue is, why Brahmins at the top? Obviously that’s what the Brahmins say! Can we get out of this biased, subjective impasse? Yes!

      I must re-iterate that Evola’s view is that the hierarchical top of Traditional society [Guenon refers to modern societies as being decapitated, hence the topless pyramid on the US dollar bill], to which all is ordered, is a Sacred Regality; the Silver Age represents the usurpation of the Priests [hence, a lunar, feminine society, characterized by religion in our modern sense], the Bronze age to a revolt by the warriors, but characterized by brutal strength.

      This purely logical — or as Guenon would says, ‘principial’ — implication is why he is unimpressed by the lack of historical evidence. It’s existence is implied by its effects in history, just as astronomers can predict a planet by noting perturbations in the orbits of known planets.

      So defined by the Brahmins themselves, of course no society could be ruled by a Conan-esque thug. But by the same token, no society can be run by mere Priests [eg, the mythical, in the bad sense, of “no evidence”, gyneocracies]. That’s why the warriors take over, then the warriors are outwitted by the merchants [rule by Judaic-Protestant capitalists] etc.

      No society or individual can be “ruled by the brain” as such. As de Maistre, and Schmitt, knew, authority is absolute or it is nothing. Priests rule only until the soldiers decide otherwise; ask Mubarak. Only the Priestly Regality, the Pontifex Maximus, can rule without question, through the power of his mana.

      This is exactly what Guenon was criticized for, even among Traditionalists such as Schuon: he was called “an eye [viz, brain] without a heart.”

      “Unfortunately, however, this idea has propagated out into the neo-pagan movement, and there’s this idea in Heathenism that one must be a “warrior” in order to be authentically European, conjuring images of mead-drinking men in horned helmets slaughtering their enemies.”

      Exactly right! Our ancestors, from the Iliad to the Sagas, are warriors who are expected to not just slaughter the enemy but then spontaneously extemporize a poem on the subject! A blurb ont he back of Mitchell’s new trans. of the Iliad says “it’s remarkably macho, like rap music,” which is a ridiculous comment on many levels but does hit this point: kill, then bust some rhymes. Such poet-warriors were, as Dr. Cleary would perhaps say, “open to” the numinous mana of poetry, religion, and statecraft.

      Evola does not privilege the warrior as such, but only in the context of the Western spirit; which I think is what Dr. Cleary is getting at in his own reply below. Given that the West must have an ideal of Action, he is trying to refute the idea that the warrior is somehow a freak of decadence, but rather is equally, but no more, one-sided as the Priest.

      • Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Dear James,

        Thanks. I had actually posted my comment before I had read your first one. Sorry.

        “Ironically, it was AK who, along with Marco Pallis, managed to argue Guenon into accepting the Kshatriya tradition par excellence, Buddhism, as orthodox. I wonder, in the name of consistency, if you would prefer Guenon had stuck to the views of his Hindu Brahmin teachers, and regard Buddhists as heretics no better than materialists and atheists?”

        Guenon did regard Buddhism as a Hindu heresy, at least until Coomaraswamy persuaded him, as I recall. Would I prefer that Guenon had retained that view? I don’t have very strong feelings on the matter. I don’t have a very high regard for Buddhism myself, but that’s primarily because I think it lends itself too easily to Western New-Age nonsense, but that may or may not be a fault in the tradition itself. While Buddhists are, generally speaking, not well thought-of amongst Hindus today because it is felt that they are disrespectful toward the gods and the Vedas, and also because many of them eat meat, Lord Buddha himself is also included as a deity in the Vedic pantheon. The Hindu view of Buddhism as a religion, as it’s been explained to me by Vaishnavas, is that Lord Buddha was sent into the world at a time when the brahmanas were misusing the Vedas to justify their corruption, such as exploiting the masses. So Buddha taught a doctrine that temporarily negated the Vedas, which in turn caused the corrupt brahmanas to be overthrown. But once that task was done, an Indian King (I forget his name) restored the Vedic tradition, which had then been renewed. Although I’ve never heard a Hindu say that a Buddhist is as bad as an atheist (even though I’ve occasionally heard them refer to Buddhist Enlightenment as “spiritual suicide” since one loses one’s individual identity in it).

        “Evola would not say he introduced the idea, he was at great pains to trace its periodic re-emergence in the medieval Emperor cult, the Grail, etc. And of course, Guenon himself devoted a book, and many references elsewhere, to the Traditional notion of the King of the World [or chakravarta, if you prefer], Prester John, perhaps based on muddle knowledge of Genghis Khan. King, note, not High Priest.”

        Yes, I haven’t read that one yet. I know that’s what Evola would say, and he may have been correct, but given the information we have it’s not supported. It’s rather like people who say about present-day Catholicism, “I’m sure that’s not what Jesus taught.” That might be true, but we have no way of knowing what Jesus taught. Fortunately, we at least have the Gnostic and other sources which show that there were other types of Christianity, but it’s still debatable as to which movement is the real deal. But I know of no evidence to support that the brahmanas were ever subservient to the kshatriyas. And I don’t believe Evola had any, either. That doesn’t invalidate his work, but it’s not Hinduism.

        “Of course, those are two points; the issue is, why Brahmins at the top? Obviously that’s what the Brahmins say! Can we get out of this biased, subjective impasse? Yes!”

        Well, again, all we have are the texts as we have them today. But the brahmanas are at the top even in the Vedas, so if they usurped that position, the corruption runs very deep.

        “So defined by the Brahmins themselves, of course no society could be ruled by a Conan-esque thug. But by the same token, no society can be run by mere Priests [eg, the mythical, in the bad sense, of “no evidence”, gyneocracies]. That’s why the warriors take over, then the warriors are outwitted by the merchants [rule by Judaic-Protestant capitalists] etc.”

        It’s not as black-and-white as that. In the traditional Vedic state, the realm is always ruled by a kshatriya King. He has ultimate authority in political and military matters, although he rules under the guidance and sanction of the priesthood. So it wasn’t really all that different from Medieval Europe. As for the usurpations you mentioned, that’s true, but those aren’t seen as positive developments, but as degeneration. The Communist state is considered the lowest form, since it is rule by the shudras (servants). In capitalism there is at least rule by the vyashas (merchants), somewhat more desirable. But the best form of society in any age is the traditional form – even if it might not be possible to realize it due to the conditions of the age.

        “Exactly right! Our ancestors, from the Iliad to the Sagas, are warriors who are expected to not just slaughter the enemy but then spontaneously extemporize a poem on the subject! A blurb ont he back of Mitchell’s new trans. of the Iliad says “it’s remarkably macho, like rap music,” which is a ridiculous comment on many levels but does hit this point: kill, then bust some rhymes. Such poet-warriors were, as Dr. Cleary would perhaps say, “open to” the numinous mana of poetry, religion, and statecraft.”

        Ancient Greece and Rome and so on certainly had a priesthood that had a lot of influence. My point is that we can’t just have the warrior and leave out the rest of the structure. I also feel I should point out that, according to most estimates, the Kali-Yuga has been running now for about 5,000 years. That means that ALL of recorded Western history falls into it, and therefore, if one accepts it, Greek, Roman and Nordic culture were all part of the same degenerative process. In the Bhagavata Purana, which is one of the most important texts, it is actually said that present-day Europeans are the descendants of a tribe of kshatriyas who were exiled from India millennia ago by a tyrant King, and then deviated from the tradition.

        This might also be the result of my own “personal equation,” since I’ve always felt more brahminical than kshatriya-like, in spite of youthful longings to the contrary. I think most intellectuals are that way, even though they find the bluster of the warrior more attractive. Battlefields are sexier than temples and libraries.

        –John

  8. Collin Cleary
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    First of all, I’d like to thank Jonson Miller for his thoughtful response to my book SUMMONING THE GODS.

    Unfortunately, he misunderstands a number of the points I make (particularly the argument of the essay “Summoning the Gods”). Instead of going through and responding to each thing Miller says, I am going to confine myself to what I see as the most serious problem with his response.

    As Greg Johnson’s Introduction makes clear, the central problem I deal with is the question of how to recover what I call “openness to the gods.” This openness was (I believe) possessed by our ancestors, who experienced themselves as living in a world permeated by the presence of the gods. We, however, have lost this openness; we are closed. In part (as the book makes clear) I take the position that our ancestors possessed a special “openness” that we have lost, simply because I reject as implausible the idea that they consciously “invented” their gods. My belief is that our ancestors were open to SOMETHING REAL that we are now closed to. The problem I have set for myself is trying to achieve a philosophical understanding of what openness to the gods consists in, how the closing has come about, and what we can do to undo closing and open again.

    Now, Miller thinks that I have exaggerated this problem of closing, and of recovering openness. If anything, I think that I have understated it. (Miller should read, if he has not already done so, my essay “What Is A Rune?” which states the problem of recovering the standpoint of our ancestors in even stronger terms than it is given in SUMMONING THE GODS.)

    Miller’s solution is for us to become Hindus, because the Hindus (at least some of them) are still open to the gods. The problem with this suggestion, however, is that we are not and never will be Hindus. And no Westerner who “converts” to Hinduism will ever (truly) be a Hindu either. I have a great respect for Hinduism (which I thought was obvious from my work, but apparently not obvious to Miller), and I find its connections to other Indo-European traditions quite fascinating. But over the course of many centuries, these traditions diverged greatly – indeed until their connection was no longer clear or obvious and had to be “discovered.”

    Though the Hindu tradition is very distantly related to our tradition, it is quite alien to us. This is partly because it contains an enormous amount of admixture from non-Indo-European sources. But it also has to do with the fact that the Hinduism we know today was developed in a lifeworld very remote from our own. Hindu iconography is extremely alien to me, and often grotesque. (Ganesha is good example; I simply can’t relate to an elephant-headed god.) Ditto their sacred language, music, art, pageantry, etc. I appreciate it – but in the same sort of detached way that I appreciate Picasso. I feel little kinship with it, though I know that we and the Indians are distant (very distant) kin.

    To say the least, for Indians (i.e., Hindus) the situation is quite different. Their iconography, their language(s), their music, their art are not only familiar to them, they speak to them and move them – and, presumably, open them to the divine – in ways they never can with us. It is a bit naïve to imagine that a Westerner can adopt Hinduism and have the same sort of religious experience that a born Hindu can. And it is highly unrealistic to imagine that conversion to an alien religion can solve the problem of our Western loss of openness.

    The deeper and more serious problem with Miller’s response lies in what it suggests of his own attitudes about religion in general. In brief, he seems to have unwittingly bought into one of the major assumptions of the New Age “spirituality” movement: that religions are more or less like overcoats that we can put on or discard at will. We slip one on — perhaps not even remembering that we slipped it on, because we were very young then. It warms and comforts us for awhile. Then we outgrow it, or it simply ceases to please us for one reason or another. Or, worse yet, we lose it. So we look for a new one (perhaps, we may hope, a better one) and try it on for size.

    You can do that with overcoats, and one coat (or one style of coat) can clothe many very different people. Really, it doesn’t matter what person is inside the coat, so long as they’re not too large for it. But it is not so with religions. It really matters who the people are “inside” the religion, because religions flow from particular peoples, living in particular lands, having particular experiences. Hinduism is the ethnic religion of a people very different from us; it is THEIR way of achieving openness to the divine, not ours. The problem of our loss of openness might indeed be solved if we could become a different people. But we can’t do that and we don’t want to.

    No, the loss of Western openness to the gods is a problem that only we ourselves can address and, potentially, solve. The solution is finding a way back into believing in the gods of OUR tradition – not aping belief in the gods of an alien tradition. Contra Miller, the Hindus can’t teach us how to believe in Odin again, because they don’t worship Odin. He is OUR god and he reflects certain features of OUR soul that are unique to us. The Indian soul is quite different. (It is not wrong or bad; it is just different.)

    My own approach to understanding openness to the gods (and closedness) owes a lot to Heidegger. What I argue is that openness to the gods begins with openness to the being of things. In the modern world, we have essentially lost this openness to being by adopting the attitude that all things are merely “potential” waiting to be actualized, perfected, or made over by us. I argue that openness to being begins with an openness to the natural world – but I don’t, contra Miller, argue that the gods are merely “natural forces.” (In fact, I explicitly reject this theory.) How do the gods show up for us, once we are open to being? And what are the gods, anyway?

    I attempt to address these questions in my essay “Summoning the Gods,” through what I call a “phenomenology of divine presence.” Miller is quite wrong to argue that we don’t need such a thing because another people (the Hindus) experience divine presence every day. The trouble is that not only do WE not experience it, we don’t even know WHAT IT WOULD BE to experience it anymore. My essays “Knowing the Gods” and “Summoning the Gods” are attempts to describe what divine presence is, and how we might recover openness to it. I appreciate Jonson Miller’s commentary (and the kind things he says about my work), and up to a point I share his fascination with Hinduism. But I do not think he has understood the argument of those two essays.

    • Donar Van Holland
      Posted January 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      I myself have also struggled at times with Heidegger, and I must say I am always struck with awe if people seem to understand him… Therefore, I would like to ask a naive question: how can one experience a dead god? After all, in Ragnarök Odin, Thor, Tyr, Heimdallr etc. have all fallen. Can one still pray to a dead god?

      • Collin Cleary
        Posted January 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Is the story of Ragnarok history, or a foretelling of the future?

      • Donar Van Holland
        Posted January 17, 2012 at 5:04 am | Permalink

        Ragnarök is described in such graphic details, that it reads like a history book. On the other hand, in the Völuspá, Odin hears the story from a völva, so this indicates that it is a prediction. Maybe Ragnarök is happening all the time.

        The problem for me remains the same: a mortal god can hardly be called a “real” god.

        But maybe you can integrate this death, not as as an event, but maybe as an aspect of the being of an ever-present god? Rather like the time Odin spent hanging on Yggdrasil?

        However, for me the importance of divination, both for humans AND for the gods, points in a different direction: Fate is the real God in Germanic religion, ruling everything and everyone.

        We admire the courage and strength of the heroes and gods, but Fate is not swayed by these virtues. Yet, a hero does not give up, he will fight on. Germanic religion stands for the deeply tragic war between the pride of the warrior and Fate.

      • Donar Van Holland
        Posted January 17, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

        Addendum:
        If I suggest that maybe Ragnarök is happening all the time, I mean that the story by the völva is more like an analysis of the situation in the world, than a precise predetermined description of future events.

        This would also leave some room for alternative actions and maybe a different outcome. Such ideas are in line with the usual concept of divination.

    • Posted January 17, 2012 at 2:13 am | Permalink

      “Miller’s solution is for us to become Hindus, because the Hindus (at least some of them) are still open to the gods. The problem with this suggestion, however, is that we are not and never will be Hindus. And no Westerner who “converts” to Hinduism will ever (truly) be a Hindu either. I have a great respect for Hinduism (which I thought was obvious from my work, but apparently not obvious to Miller), and I find its connections to other Indo-European traditions quite fascinating. But over the course of many centuries, these traditions diverged greatly – indeed until their connection was no longer clear or obvious and had to be “discovered.””

      I would agree that we can’t pretend that the Vedic tradition is the same as the European tradition, but they were certainly very similar. It is recorded (I forget where) that when some Romans came to India, they commented on the fact that the Hindus worshipped the same deities but had different names for them. There is also the case of the Greek ambassador Heliodorus, who converted to Vaishnavism several centuries BC. Beyond these facts, however, the question is what is the alternative? Do we go back to Christianity in the hope that it was sufficiently Germanized, to use Russell’s term? Do we try to revive the Heathen religions, which is like trying to rebuild a skyscraper from a few bricks that we find strewn here and there? From a traditionalist perspective, both Guenon and Evola regarded the latter as a hopeless task.

      “Though the Hindu tradition is very distantly related to our tradition, it is quite alien to us. This is partly because it contains an enormous amount of admixture from non-Indo-European sources. But it also has to do with the fact that the Hinduism we know today was developed in a lifeworld very remote from our own. Hindu iconography is extremely alien to me, and often grotesque.”

      I’m confident that if you stepped into a time machine and attended a Blot at some ancient Nordic temple, you would find it just as alien and perhaps even repulsive. Although I know you already agree from your other essays. But why not look for knowledge in a branch of the same tradition that has survived in the modern world, rather than one that has been dead for over a thousand years? I’ll bet you’d find modern-day Hindus far less alien than the ancient Norsemen.

      “To say the least, for Indians (i.e., Hindus) the situation is quite different. Their iconography, their language(s), their music, their art are not only familiar to them, they speak to them and move them – and, presumably, open them to the divine – in ways they never can with us. It is a bit naïve to imagine that a Westerner can adopt Hinduism and have the same sort of religious experience that a born Hindu can. And it is highly unrealistic to imagine that conversion to an alien religion can solve the problem of our Western loss of openness.”

      We don’t have to imagine it, since it’s already happening. I have met White people from both America and Europe here in India who have been practicing some form of Hinduism for decades. They have attained levels unknown even to most native Hindus. Now of course I can’t verify what’s actually going on with them spiritually, but if it’s all BS they make a very convincing display. Now I would never suggest that the answer is to try to convert the West en masse to Hinduism. It’s only ever going to be palatable to a small number of people. But, then again, so are Asatru and Heathenism and the like. So I don’t see it as any less valid of a choice. It seems just as likely that one will experience an epiphany while chanting the names of Krishna or Kali as praying to Odin.

      Here’s a radical suggestion: since the religions of our forefathers are lost to us and exist only in a past that is alien to us, perhaps the answer is to throw ourselves into a situation where we lose all our bearings and are forced to reassess all our beliefs, perhaps rediscovering some lost reality? That seems rather Heideggerian. We can quote books and various authorities and experts until we are blue in the face. I can tell you that, having never left North America previously, I came to India to live in a Hindu ashram, which I did for two years. I was forced to re-evaluate every aspect of my life. I don’t just mean intellectually speaking, but down to things like how I ate, slept or went to the bathroom. At first it seemed wholly alien, and somewhat disturbing. But, after a while, once I learned enough and entered the right mind-set, I felt quite at home. Now, yes, there are elements of it, especially some aspects specific to Indian culture, that never quite sat right with me. But I probably grew more as an individual in the course of two years, and in developing an understanding of what spirituality really is, than in the entire previous 20 years of my life combined. You can tell me that I never really achieved “openness” – I’m still not entirely sure myself. But I certainly feel I came closer than I ever did after any amount of reading or from years of mental speculation.

      So I wasn’t entirely joking above when I said that the answer is for everyone to move to India for a while. I realize it’s not possible for most people, but it would be extremely valuable.

      “The deeper and more serious problem with Miller’s response lies in what it suggests of his own attitudes about religion in general. In brief, he seems to have unwittingly bought into one of the major assumptions of the New Age “spirituality” movement: that religions are more or less like overcoats that we can put on or discard at will. We slip one on — perhaps not even remembering that we slipped it on, because we were very young then. It warms and comforts us for awhile. Then we outgrow it, or it simply ceases to please us for one reason or another. Or, worse yet, we lose it. So we look for a new one (perhaps, we may hope, a better one) and try it on for size.”

      I think you’re assuming that any White person who embraces Hinduism must be doing so as a fad and could not be serious about it. I think that’s a mistake. Mr. Miller (who I don’t know) seems to be beyond the phase of just saying, “Try this, it’s cool.”

      “No, the loss of Western openness to the gods is a problem that only we ourselves can address and, potentially, solve. The solution is finding a way back into believing in the gods of OUR tradition – not aping belief in the gods of an alien tradition. Contra Miller, the Hindus can’t teach us how to believe in Odin again, because they don’t worship Odin. He is OUR god and he reflects certain features of OUR soul that are unique to us. The Indian soul is quite different. (It is not wrong or bad; it is just different.)”

      Again, I’m relying on the traditionalists here, but if the esoteric core of religions is the same, can we really speak of an alien god or of our god? Aren’t they just exoteric forms? Also, by your logic, then the Romans who worshipped Mithras were actually wasting their time, since Mithras was originally a Persian deity. I think even Evola would take issue with that.

      –John

      • Donar Van Holland
        Posted January 17, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

        If we assume that the esoteric core of all religions is the same, we are back with universalism. An important effect of universalism is multiculturalism. Your idea that white people should move to India and adopt the Hindu way of life points in that direction. To read this suggestion on a white nationalist web site is interesting, to say the least.

      • Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Donar, I’m sorry, I had assumed that everyone who would be reading this would be familiar with the basics of traditionalism. In traditionalism, the esoteric core at the heart of all authentic traditions is held to be the same, even though it is manifested differently in different cultures at different times, for different purposes. Therefore, there is no universal multiculturalism. Guenon, who initiated traditionalism, believed that Catholicism was the best option for Europeans, but felt that the Church had become too corrupted by modernity, and thus he began looking for other options. He settled on Islam for himself due to his own circumstances, although never recommended this to others. If we accept, as most “pagans” do, that Christianity is no longer a viable option for those interested in preserving the West, and yet that spirituality is essential, then, like Guenon, we are forced to consider other options. The Hindu/Vedic tradition is of the same root as the European tradition. Therefore, in today’s world it is the only living Aryan tradition, apart from Buddhism and Zoroastrianism (the latter of which does not accept converts).

        As for your taking issue with my recommendation for traditionalists to go to India, I was not necessarily saying that all Western traditionalists should remain in India or even necessarily become “Hindus.” My point was rather that a stint in India would probably be invaluable in terms of teaching Western traditionalists what has been lost, and to show possibilities for how it can be found again. I’m not suggesting that all White traditionalists should try to become Indian, which would be absurd. I definitely consider myself a traditionalist first and a “White nationalist” (not sure I easily fit into that category, either, since I’m more of a communitarian) second, but since race and culture are manifestations of Tradition, both elements are equally essential, at least in my view.

      • Donar VanHolland
        Posted January 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Dear John Morgan, thank you for your kind reply. I was aware of some Traditionalist thinking, having read – and appreciated – “Man among the ruins” and “Grundrisse einer faschistischen Rassenlehre”.

        Sorry, my reaction was a little bit too much troll-like (though rather appropriate if one is discussing Norse religion). For I really was already aware of the universalist tendencies in Traditionalist writings. Your suggestions regarding Hinduism acted as a kind of wake up call, however.

        One of the reasons why Christianity is not acceptable to many white nationalists is exactly its universalist pretensions. Furthermore, universalism is blamed for a lot of today’s ills.

        From what you write, this wholesale condemnation of universalism seems inappropriate. But then it might be worthwhile to expound more on legitimate vs. non-legitimate universalism. Is there any literature that you would recommend?

        Still, it must be rather worrying for many white nationalists if the direct link between race and culture is severed and replaced by Tradition as a mediator (“race and culture as equally important manifestations of Tradition”). No biologistic racialism here! Which of course is in line with Evola’s work on race.

        As I myself consider the role of Fate in Germanic religion more important than the gods, I do not need the gods of Hinduism to get a feeling for the Germanic gods. Buddhism on the other hand, seems a tradition that complements this feeling of Fate perfectly.

        So I have chosen Buddhism, but not in the nihilistic, lethargic form that is thought in many schools today. The interpretation of Ananda Coomaraswamy however, I find quite acceptable from a Germanic point of view.

        As an aside, I found this website about a Traditionalist interpretation of Buddhism very interesting: aryan-buddhism.blogspot.com.

    • Jonson Miller
      Posted January 17, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Collin,

      I’m very glad that you responded. I hoped that my essay would prompt a response and hopefully get others to engage your book.

      The solution I proposed wasn’t necessarily that Westerners become Hindu, though I find that perfectly acceptable as well. Instead, I suggested that, at the very least, Western pagans might learn from Hindus, still practicing an authentic form of worship, how to engage in the worship of pagan gods. I proposed this as an alternative to reconstructionism. I didn’t mean that Hindus could literally teach us how to worship Odin, but, rather, that they might show us, to start with, what worshipping him would even mean.

      As for whether or not Westerners can become Hindu and have authentic and profound religious experiences, I agree with John Morgan on this. There certainly seem to be plenty of examples of people doing exactly this.

      Besides, our European ancestors had to “convert” to Indo-European paganism at some point. If the geneticists have anything to say about it, then my direct patrilineal and matrilineal lines were in western Europe by 20,000 years ago. They were not Indo-Europeans by blood. Indo-European culture and gods came to us. We adopted that culture at some point. I imagine it didn’t usually happen by sudden conversion. It was probably a slower, more organic process, but, nonetheless, there is no pure ethnic religion to which anyone can turn. The best we Westerners could probably do, if purity was our primary concern, would be to return to the Catholic and Orthodox churches. And I can understand the attraction to that.

      As for the role of non-I-E sources in Hinduism, that’s not unique to Hinduism. The Greeks also incorporated non-I-E sources into their paganism. Perhaps this is true of all I-E peoples, since the I-E religion was necessarily grafted onto a non-I-E trunk for all peoples except for the original proto-I-E peoples. I suppose you could argue that the non-I-E bases of European paganism are less alien, since their our non-I-E bases, but, I have to agree with Morgan once again, I have to imagine that we’re quite alienated from our pagan ancestors. But, that’s exactly the problem that you and I agree on. The question is then how to reorient ourselves towards what was valuable in their paganism, knowing, as we both do, that we can’t simply go back.

      • Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Mr. Miller, unsurprisingly, I agree with everything you wrote. I also found your idea that the I-E tradition was brought TO Europe, rather than the other way around, intriguing – you must be aware of the “out of India” approach to the Aryan Invasion Theory debate. On Thursday, I will actually be attending a lecture by Srikant Talageri, one of the primary exponents of this theory, at IIT Bombay, and am looking forward to learning more about it.

        At any rate, if you wish, please feel free to contact me privately – I imagine we would have a lot to discuss. Greg has my address.

      • Jonson Miller
        Posted January 18, 2012 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        John,

        I am aware of the out of India theory and have read a little by or about Talageri some time ago. One of the men at my temple insists upon it. (I’m sure more there do as well.) I can hardly blame Indians for placing themselves at the center of their history. But I didn’t intend to endorse this particular theory. I’m quite comfortable with the origins of the Indo-Europeans north of the Black Sea. But this is a good reminder for me to read more about the out of India argument.

        When I wrote about I-E culture spreading to Europe, I really meant western Europe where my ancestors lived for most of the last 20,000 or so years. I can’t think of anyone, other than Hans Gunther, off-hand who has advocated a western European origin or at least a German Invasion Theory of the Indo-Europeans since the late 19th century.

        When I wrote “we” in this regard, I was being sloppy. I was really commenting from the perspective of only my direct ancestors rather than any abstractions like “Europeans” or “whites”. But what I said surely applies to western Europe in general.

      • Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Dear Donar,

        I share concerns about the idea of any universalist religion. However, as I wrote earlier, once you reject Christianity, you’re basically left with two choices: become an atheist or agnostic, or look for something else. Hinduism, to me, seems like one of the best alternatives, for reasons I already outlined. However, I would not consider traditionalism as a form of universalism since its idea that the esotericism of all religions is the same is not really universalism, since Guenon also believed that the way in which it manifests in each culture is important. He never urged Europeans to become Hindus or Muslims, even though he regarded the Catholic Church as being essentially worthless at the present time, from a traditionalist point-of-view.

        As for the race issue, it’s not at all the case that traditionalists eschew biology. While Evola regarded one’s “spiritual race” as more important, he by no means thought that biology was unimportant. The problem is that most of his racial writings have not yet been translated. “The Elements of Racial Education” has, however, and it gives a good discussion of Evola’s views on this. Even Schuon, who was the most “liberal” of the “Big Three” traditionalists, wrote a book entitled “Castes and Races” in which he comes out in favor of racial identity and opposes race-mixing.

        You asked for literature recommendations. Guenon’s “East and West” and “Crisis of the Modern World,” as well as Schuon’s “Transcendent Unity of Religions” are good places to read about the esoteric vs. exoteric aspects of religion and their significance.

  9. Posted January 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    “In the modern world, we have essentially lost this openness to being by adopting the attitude that all things are merely “potential” waiting to be actualized, perfected, or made over by us.”

    Now, who are those folks with the abstract god without a name, in whose ‘name’ they go about the world, trying to “fix” things [“tikkun olam”]?

  10. Jaego Scorzne
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    How to reconcile the conflict between the two higher castes? Well ideally, each higher would retain the best of those below it. This seemed to be Plato’s ideal: the Philospher King would be both a fighter and a thinker and beyond those – a Contemplative who would have to be asked to step forward to rule since he’d really rather not.

    Now this would be hard to be put into practice and most people, even great ones, are specialized to some degree or other. Is this not another way of describing Kali Yuga – short life and specialization – even physically? Who could not be entranced by the stories that in old Bali, each man was like a king of his own realm and that the King would talk to them as equals? How has that island survived in a Muslim sea?

    The answer Dante put forward seems more practical: in contrast to the usual understanding that the Pope was the Sun and the King the Moon, Dante put forward the Doctrine of the Two Suns: both King and Pope as Divinely Chosen and equal in Dignity within their own Spheres. But the age was already late and the Europe he wanted with an Emperor was already fading into the distance with the begining of nation states. Evola talks about this conflict in his Grail book and he says that historically it is roughly seen as the struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibbelines.

  11. Jaego Scorzne
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Remember: the Ksyatria is by definition a thinker and a planner. Hence he can also administer and judge as well as fight. Mere strength and pugnacity are the province of the Sudra. Or as Leonidas said, you have many soldiers but few warriors.

    In old Bali, although specialized into higher and lower, many retained enough of the Primordial Intuition to communicate as Equals or as one Star to another. For in the Satya Yuga, the castes will have outlived their usefulness.

    • Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:22 am | Permalink

      Jaego, you just pointed out an important fact. In Western culture, the modern conception of the traditional warrior is of a wild, barbaric man who can scarcely be contained by any authority. I believe that this idea of the “warrior” is just an outgrowth of modern liberal capitalism projected backwards. The ancient kshatriyas are said to have been men of supreme discipline, humility and piety. They could be wild in battle, but the rest of the time were masters of self-control. The ancient Crusaders were like this, and we still see traces of something similar in the samurai and, I would argue, to a lesser extent in the jihadis. These are men who see themselves as carrying out a sacred duty, and put their own interests second.

      I think it’s also worth pointing out that in the Vedic scriptures it says that anyone born in Kali-Yuga is a shudra, so all of this is beyond the reach of all but a very few.

      • Jaego Scorzne
        Posted January 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        What exactly does it mean “to practice in Hinduism”? I’ve heard that many Temples don’t allow Whites in. I mean to study with a great Master who is dead to the world is one thing, but to become part of the Culture is a whole nother thing.
        I read about a German Doctor who went to live with Mother Anandamayima. He was treated as trash by the Orthodox Hindus there. After one such incident, Ma sat with him and comforted him. But both knew that she would do nothing to remedy it: part of her work was to be a center of Hindu Culture and that meant practicing stringent caste rules. And Whites are outcasts by definition. He was there because of Her and that was the price. He wasn’t integrating into the Culture and probably had no interest in doing so. Pure Esotericism is beyond that.

        Of course the Hindus have bent the original rules for their own benefit. Originally they couldn’t even leave India without losing caste. And they have accomodated large numbers of Western Seekers – it’s profitable and flattering. But the number they respect is small indeed. Most have to leave every couple of months to renew their visa.

        Of course the Whites often have only the dimmest ideas of what they’re about. The Rajneesh Ashram was deeply hated by the locals. And local boys are always hitting on the Yoga Chicks who refuse to dress modestly. Or even if they do – Western Women’s reputation precedes them.

        Or is all this changing before your very eyes? No sarcasm, India is deeply in flux I know. I love Hindu Kirtans because Western Religious Music, although very beautiful, does not employ rhythm – which is a cosmic principle that can unite the higher with the lower if used skillfully. Hinduism has a wonderful physicality. Christianity talks about incarnation, but for me, Hinduism does it better except for the Eucharest. Pope Benedict specificially commented that the Dionysian has no place in Christianity.

  12. Robert
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t Evola say Tantra is the only way in the Kali Yuga?

    • Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Robert – yes, he did, although his ideas on the matter are a mixture of Vedic and Buddhist Tantrism, and not pure Hinduism.

      • Posted January 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        Dear Jaego,

        “What exactly does it mean “to practice in Hinduism”?”

        It means to study the texts, observe the rites and regulations and perform the practices. It’s not any different from any other religion.

        “I’ve heard that many Temples don’t allow Whites in.”

        That used to be true, but, with the exception of a few cases, is not anymore. It’s changed a lot in recent decades, in large part because Indian Hindus have now seen significant numbers of Whites coming here and practicing sincerely, oftentimes more so than the Indians themselves. I have been inside several temples in south India that used to be restricted. It is true that you have to apply for permission to go inside in advance, and sometimes you have to sign a document stating that you’re vegetarian and so on, but it’s certainly possible.

        “I mean to study with a great Master who is dead to the world is one thing,”

        This is a misnomer that many Westerners have about gurus, is that they all try to be ignore the outside world (not quite the same thing as being “dead to the world”). This is only partially true. Many gurus are community leaders or otherwise active in real-world projects. In ISKCON, there is a big initiative underway to build varnasrama (caste) communities on farms which can be independent, and therefore survive any future economic collapse. This is the kind of thing that the Right should be doing and isn’t, as I outlined in my CC articles on Islamism and “Leader-ful Resistance.”

        “but to become part of the Culture is a whole nother thing.”

        Some Westerners try to adopt the culture wholeheartedly. Some even succeed. I myself never attempted it, even when I was at the ashram, as I have no desire to become an Indian, and I don’t believe it’s necessary.

        “I read about a German Doctor who went to live with Mother Anandamayima. He was treated as trash by the Orthodox Hindus there. After one such incident, Ma sat with him and comforted him. But both knew that she would do nothing to remedy it: part of her work was to be a center of Hindu Culture and that meant practicing stringent caste rules.”

        I don’t know when that happened, but as I said, I think it would be much less likely today. I have never experienced it. Hindus in India today are usually pleased when they see Whites practicing their religion, since it validates their idea that there must be something good in it, against all the attacks of Christians, Muslims and secularists. There is some scriptural basis for this prejudice, since it is said that the people with the best karma are always born Indian, but at the same time, it also says that anyone born in Kali-Yuga, Indian or not, is a shudra (servant, the lowest caste), which has been used to justify the bringing of Whites into the fold by some groups.

        “Of course the Hindus have bent the original rules for their own benefit. Originally they couldn’t even leave India without losing caste. And they have accomodated large numbers of Western Seekers – it’s profitable and flattering. But the number they respect is small indeed. Most have to leave every couple of months to renew their visa.”

        I take issue with your cynical view that this must all be about “profitability.” There have been many sincere teachers from India who made great sacrifices to bring the ideas to the West. As for the idea of losing caste – again, in Kali-Yuga, many of those restrictions are abrogated, since everywhere is corrupt, to a greater or lesser extent. India is today one of the biggest beef exporters in the world, for example, which goes against one of the fundamental tenets of Hinduism. As for the visa thing, that’s not at all true. If someone is living in India and has to leave every couple of months, they haven’t studied the visa system here very carefully. If you’re here studying yoga, it’s not difficult to find a group that will sponsor you so that you can stay as long as you want. The visa system has nothing to do with some prejudice against Whites, anyway – it’s more an effort to keep people who have no means of support out, as happened in the ’60s/’70s with the hippies.

        “The Rajneesh Ashram was deeply hated by the locals.”

        And rightfully so. Osho was a demagogue cult leader. He could in no way be described as a Hindu in the conventional sense, by the way. Also, Osho’s ashrams are still in operation here. All the open sex and so forth keeps a lot of Westerners coming.

        “And local boys are always hitting on the Yoga Chicks who refuse to dress modestly. Or even if they do – Western Women’s reputation precedes them.”

        Yes. It’s a problem, although one caused by the image that the West presents of itself to the rest of the world in its cultural exports, as a place where sex is readily available. However, if a “yoga chick” isn’t dressing modestly, then she hasn’t yet inculcated the essence of yoga, anyway.

        “Or is all this changing before your very eyes? No sarcasm, India is deeply in flux I know.”

        Yes, India is changing dramatically, at least in the cities. Here in Mumbai, you can find McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, coffee shops, and enormous air-conditioned shopping malls. I’ve been told that even 15 years ago, such things were unknown here. India is modernizing rapidly, which is bringing both good and bad effects.

        “I love Hindu Kirtans because Western Religious Music, although very beautiful, does not employ rhythm – which is a cosmic principle that can unite the higher with the lower if used skillfully. Hinduism has a wonderful physicality. Christianity talks about incarnation, but for me, Hinduism does it better except for the Eucharest. Pope Benedict specificially commented that the Dionysian has no place in Christianity.”

        Yes, I agree. Recall Nietzsche’s comment that he could only worship a god who can dance – it’s too bad he didn’t know about Krishna or Shiva.

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