1 - Ancestry, blood and nature - The Mystical Origins of National Socialism

Historical Perspective

We must begin our journey in the convulsed but well-mapped territory of nineteenth- century Europe, in which arcane and esoteric concepts might be expected to be far removed from the complex political processes, intellectual rationalism and rapid industrialization occurring at the time. Nevertheless, the origins of the Nazi fascination with occult and esoteric belief systems can be traced to the political, cultural and economic conditions prevalent in Prussia and Austria in the second half of the century.


As noted by the British authority on the history of the Third Reich, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Austria in the late 1800s was the product of three major political changes:

'These changes consisted in the exclusion of Austria from the German Confederation, the administrative separation of Hungary from Austria, and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in the "Austrian" or western half of the empire.'

The German Confederation had been created by the Congress of Vienna to replace the Holy Roman Empire, and lasted from 1815 to 1866; it consisted of a union of 39 German states, with 35 monarchies and four free cities. Its main organ was a central Diet under the presidency of Austria. However, the establishment of the confederation failed to meet the aspirations of German nationalists, who had hoped for a consolidation of these small monarchies into a politically unified Greater Germany.

As a step towards the ascendancy of Prussia over Austria and the unification of Germany under Prussian dominance, Otto von Bismarck provoked the Austro-Prussian War in June 1866, using the dispute over the administration of Schleswig-Holstein as a pretext. In this conflict, also known as the Seven Weeks' War, Prussia was allied with Italy, and Austria with a number of German states, including Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Saxony and Hanover. Prussia easily overcame Austria and her allies. Austria was excluded from German affairs in the Treaty of Prague (23 August 1866).


The war notwithstanding, Bismarck considered Austria a potential future ally and so avoided unnecessarily weakening the state, settling for the annexation of Hanover, Hesse, Nassau, Frankfurt and Schleswig-Holstein. (These moderate peace terms were to facilitate the Austro-German alliance of 1879.) The war resulted in the destruction of the German Confederation, and its replacement with the North German Confederation under the sole leadership of Prussia.


The defeat of Austria was an additional blow to German nationalism: Austrian Germans found themselves isolated within the Habsburg Empire, with its multitude of national and ethnic groups. A look at the political divisions within the empire will give some idea of the extent of its multiculturalism. They included:

Austria; the kingdoms of Bohemia, Dalmatia and Galicia-Lodomeria; the archduchies of Lower Austria and Upper Austria; the duchies of Bukovina, Carinthia, Carniola Salzburg and Styria; the margraviates of Istria and Moravia; the counties of Gorizia-Gradisca, Tyrol and Vorarlberg; the crownland of Austrian-Silesia; Bosnia-Hercegovina; Lombardy (transferred to Italy in 1859), Modena (transferred to Italy in 1860), Tuscany (transferred to Italy in 1860) and Venetia (transferred to Italy in 1866); and the town of Trieste. (2)

As Goodrick-Clarke states, fears that the supremacy of the German language and culture within the empire would be challenged by the non-German nationalities resulted in a conflict of loyalties between German nationality and Austrian citizenship. This in turn resulted in the emergence of two principal nationalist movements: volkisch nationalism and the Pan-German movement, which we will discuss a little later.

The second major change was the Ausgleich ('Compromise') of 1867, whereby the Habsburgs set up the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The intention was to curb the nationalist aspirations of Slavs in both states, inspired by Slavs in the Ottoman Empire (including Serbs, Montenegrins and Albanians) who had taken advantage of the Turkish decline to establish their own states.


As noted by the American historian Steven W. Sowards,

'The former revolutionaries [of 1848] - German and Magyar - became de facto "peoples of state", each ruling half of a twin country united only at the top through the King-Emperor and the common Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of War'. (3)

However, according to Norman Davies, the Ausgleich only served to make matters worse:

There was no chance that the German-speaking elite could impose its culture throughout Austria, let alone extend it to the whole of the Dual Monarchy. After all, 'Austria was a Slav house with a German facade'. In practice the three 'master races' - the Germans, the Magyars, and the Galician Poles - were encouraged to lord it over the others.


The administrative structures were so tailored that the German minority in Bohemia could hold down the Czechs, the Magyars in Hungary could hold down the Slovaks, Romanians, and Croats, and the Poles in Galicia could hold down the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). So pressures mounted as each of the excluded nationalities fell prey to the charms of nationalism. (4)

The Ausgleich resulted in aspirations towards autonomy among a number of groups within the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the empire as a whole was home to eleven major nationalities: Magyars, Germans, Czechs, Poles, Ruthenians, Slovaks, Serbs, Romanians, Croats, Slovenes and Italians. The largest and most restless minority consisted of about 6.5 million Czechs living in Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia. However, their desires for autonomy were constantly frustrated by the Hungarian determination to preserve the political structure established by the Ausgleich.

German nationalism had been frustrated on two main occasions in the first half of the nineteenth century: at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and after the revolutions of 1848.


According to Goodrick-Clarke:

As a result of this slow progress towards political unification, Germans increasingly came to conceive of national unity in cultural terms. This tendency had begun in the late eighteenth century, when writers of the pre-Romantic Sturm und Drang movement had expressed the common identity of all Germans in folk-songs, customs, and literature.


An idealized image of medieval Germany was invoked to prove her claim to spiritual unity, even if there had never been political unity. This emphasis on the past and traditions conferred a strongly mythological character upon the cause of unification. (5)

He goes on:

The exclusion of Austria from the new Prussian-dominated Reich had left disappointed nationalists in both countries. Hopes for a Greater Germany had been dashed in 1866, when Bismarck consolidated the ascendancy of Prussia through the military defeat of Austria, forcing her withdrawal from German affairs. The position of German nationalists in Austria-Hungary was henceforth problematic. In 1867 the Hungarians were granted political independence within a dual state.


The growth of the Pan-German movement in Austria in the following decades reflected the dilemma of Austrian Germans within a state of mixed German and Slav nationalities. Their program proposed the secession of the German-settled provinces of Austria from the polyglot Habsburg empire and their incorporation in the new Second Reich across the border. Such an arrangement was ultimately realized by the Anschluss of Austria into the Third Reich in 1938. (6)

The idealized, romantic image of a rural, quasi-medieval Germany suffered under the program of rapid modernization and industrialization undertaken by the Second Reich. For many, who saw their traditional communities destroyed by the spread of towns and industries, the foundations of their mystical unity had become threatened. In addition, these anti-modernist sentiments resulted in the rejection of both liberalism and rationalism, while paradoxically hijacking the scientific concepts of anthropology, linguistics and Darwinist evolution to 'prove' the superiority of the German race.

A set of inner moral qualities was related to the external characteristics of racial types: while the Aryans (and thus the Germans) were blue-eyed, blond-haired, tall and well-proportioned, they were also noble, honest, and courageous. The Darwinist idea of evolution through struggle was also taken up in order to prove that the superior pure races would prevail over the mixed inferior ones.


Racial thinking facilitated the rise of political anti-Semitism, itself so closely linked to the strains of modernization. Feelings of conservative anger at the disruptive consequences of economic change could find release in the vilification of the Jews, who were blamed for the collapse of traditional values and institutions.


Racism indicated that the Jews were not just a religious community but biologically different from other races. (7)

The Volkisch Movement and Pan-Germanism

As mentioned earlier, the fears and aspirations of German nationalists led to the formation of two highly influential movements, volkisch nationalism and Pan-Germanism. The intention of the volkisch movement was to raise the cultural consciousness of Germans living in Austria, particularly by playing on their fears for their identity within the provinces of mixed nationality in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


The word volkisch is not easy to translate into English, containing as it does elements of both nationalism and a profound sense of the importance of folklore. The main principles of volkisch thought were the importance of living naturally (including a vegetarian diet); an awareness of the wisdom of one's ancestors, expressed through the appreciation of prehistoric monuments; and an understanding of astrology and cosmic cycles.


(As more than one commentator has noted, there is a distinct and rather sinister similarity between these principles and those of the modern New Age movement.)

The ideas of the volkisch movement were propagated through educational and defense leagues called Vereine. In 1886, Anton Langgassner founded the Germanenbund, a federation of Vereine, at Salzburg under the banner of Germanic Volkstum (nationhood).


The Vereine were particularly popular amongst young people and intellectuals; such was their popularity, in fact, that an unsettled Austrian government dissolved the Germanenbund in 1889, although it re-emerged in 1894 as the Bund der Germanen. Goodrick-Clarke estimates that by 1900, as many as 150,000 people were influenced by volkisch propaganda.

According to the historian of Nazism, Eugene Davidson, the followers of the volkisch movement:

believed the troubles of the industrial order - the harshness, the impersonality, the sharp dealing, the ruthless speculators - would only be exorcised by a return to Ur-Germanism, to the German community, the ancient Teutonic gods, and a Germanic society unsullied by inferior, foreign intrusions. Nations might endure such foreign elements, but a Volk was an organic unity with a common biological inheritance.


The culture-bearing Volk of the world, incomparably superior among the races, was the German; therefore, the only proper function of a German state was to administer on behalf of the Volk; everything international was inferior and to be rejected. A sound economy would be based on agriculture rather than on industry with its international, especially Jewish influences; and in religion, a German God would have to replace the Jewish God. (8)

Volkisch ideology was propagated through a number of racist publications, one of the most virulent of which was the satirical illustrated monthly Der Scherer, published in Innsbruck by Georg von Schonerer (1842-1921), a leader in the movement, whom Davidson describes as 'anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, and often ludicrous'. (9)


The anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic articles in Der Scherer were accompanied by drawings of fat priests and big-nosed Jews, the latter a prototype of the Jewish stereotype that would be later used in National Socialist propaganda.


In one picture, a Jew and a priest are sitting on a mound of writhing people, who represent the Volk, while another shows the Devil in Hell, with a sign saying:

'Spa for Jews and Jesuits.' (10)

Jews were consistently attacked from two directions: volkisch anticlerical groups linked them with the reactionary Church, while clerical anti-Semites linked them with volkisch heathenism.


Jews were therefore seen as,

'either godless socialists or capitalist exploiters ... and the hidden, international rulers of financial and intellectual life'. (11)

As we shall see later, these views would survive Nazism, and have extended their pernicious influence through various right-wing groups active today. One Catholic paper, Die Tiroler Post, wrote in 1906 that the goal of the Jew was world domination, while another, the Linzer Post, defended anti-Semitism as no more than healthy self-preservation. In the same year, the volkisch Deutsche Tiroler Stimmen called for the extermination of the Jewish race. (12)

If the volkisch movement attempted to raise German national and cultural consciousness, Pan-Germanism operated in a more political context, beginning with the refusal of Austrian Germans to accept their exclusion from German affairs after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. The movement originated among student groups in Vienna, Graz and Prague, which were inspired by earlier German student clubs (Burschenschaftern) following the teachings of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1850).


Jahn, a purveyor of volkisch ideology, advocated German national unity, identity and romantic ritual.


These groups advocated kleindeutsch (or 'little German') nationalism, which called for the incorporation of German Austria into the Bismarckian Reich. As Goodrick-Clarke notes,

'This cult of Prussophilia led to a worship of force and a contempt for humanitarian law and justice.' (13)

Georg von Schonerer's involvement with Pan-Germanism transformed it from a nebulous 'cult of Prussophilia' into a genuine revolutionary movement. Following his election to the Reichsrat in 1873, Schonerer followed a progressive Left agenda for about five years, before making demands for a German Austria without the Habsburgs and politically united with the German Reich. Schonerer's Pan-Germanism was not characterised merely by national unity, political democracy and social reform: its essential characteristic was racism, 'that is, the idea that blood was the sole criterion of all civil rights'. (14)

The Pan-German movement experienced something of a setback in 1888, when Schonerer was convicted of assault after barging into the offices of Das Neue Wiener Tageblatt and attacking the editor for prematurely reporting the death of the German emperor, Wilhelm I. He was sentenced to four months' imprisonment, lost his title of nobility (15) and was deprived of his political rights for five years.

When the Austrian government decided in 1895 that Slovene should be taught in the German school at Celje in Carniola, and two years later the Austrian premier, Count Casimir Badeni, ruled that all officials in Bohemia and Moravia should speak both Czech and German (thus placing Germans at a distinct disadvantage), the flames of nationalism were once again fanned throughout the empire. The result was that the Pan-Germans, together with the democratic German parties, followed a strategy of blocking all parliamentary business, which in turn led to violent public disorder in the summer of 1897.

By this time, Schonerer had identified an additional enemy in the Catholic Church, which he regarded as inimical to the interests of Austrian Germans.

'The episcopate advised the emperor, the parish priests formed a network of effective propagandists in the country, and the Christian Social party had deprived him of his earlier strongholds among the rural and semi-urban populations of Lower Austria and Vienna.' (16)

The association of Catholicism with Slavdom and the Austrian state could further be emphasised, Schonerer believed, by a movement for Protestant conversion; this was the origin of the slogan 'Los von Rom' ('Away from Rome'). The movement claimed approximately 30,000 Protestant conversions in Bohemia, Styria, Carinthia and Vienna between 1899 and 1910, (17) although it was not at all popular among either the volkisch leagues or the Pan-Germans, who saw it as 'a variation of old-time clericalism'. (18)


For that matter, the Protestant Church itself was rather dissatisfied with Los von Rom, and felt that its profound connection of religion with politics would make religious people uneasy. By the same token, those who were politically motivated felt religion itself to be irrelevant.

By the turn of the century, Pan-Germanism could be divided into two groups: those who, like Schonerer, wanted political and economic union with the Reich, and those who merely wanted to defend German cultural and political interests within the Habsburg empire. These interests were perceived as being radically undermined, not only by the Badeni language decrees, but also by the introduction in 1907 of universal male suffrage.


This could only exacerbate the growing German-Slav conflict within the empire, and was one of the main factors in the emergence of the racist doctrine of Ariosophy, which we will discuss later.


In 1853-55, Arthur de Gobineau had written an essay on the inequality of races, in which he had made claims for the superiority of the Nordic-Aryan race, and warned of its eventual submergence by non-Aryans. This notion, along with the ideas about biological struggle of Social Darwinism, was taken up at the turn of the twentieth century by German propagandists who claimed that Germans could defend their race and culture only by remaining racially pure. (19)

The volkisch nationalists and Pan-Germans found further inspiration in the work of the zoologist Ernst Haeckel who, in 1906, founded the Monist League to spread his racist interpretation of Social Darwinism. Seven years earlier, Haeckel's colleague, Wilhelm Bolsche, had written a book entitled Vom Bazillus zum Affenmenschen (From the Bacillus to the Apeman), in which he had described the 'naked struggle for dominance between the zoological species "Man"' and 'the lowest form of organic life [microscopic organisms]'.(20)


This 'struggle for dominance' was to have a profound effect upon the development of German anti-Semitism in the early years of the twentieth century. Hitler would later express his own anti-Semitism in these biological terms, in order to deprive Jews of all human attributes. On one occasion in 1942, for instance, Hitler said:

The discovery of the Jewish virus is one of the greatest revolutions the world has seen. The struggle in which we are now engaged is similar to the one waged by Pasteur and Koch in the last century. How many diseases must owe their origin to the Jewish virus!


Only when we have eliminated the Jews will we regain our health. (21)

German Theosophy

The revival of Germanic mythology and folklore in Austria in the last two decades of the nineteenth century was of enormous importance to the development of Nazi esotericism and cosmology, yet it must he viewed in the context of a much wider occult revival that had been taking place in Europe for about one hundred years. The central concepts of what would become Western occultism, such as Gnosticism, Hermeticism and the Cabala, which originated in the eastern Mediterranean more than 1,500 years ago, had been largely banished from Western thought by the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century.

At this point, it is worth pausing to consider the meanings of these concepts. Gnosticism (gnosis simply means direct knowledge), as practiced by early Christian heretics, contains two basic tenets.


The first is dualism, which can, according to Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, be defined thus:

Dualism, as the word itself suggests, presupposes an opposition, often a conflict, between two antithetical principles, two antithetical hierarchies of value, two antithetical realities. In dualism, certain aspects or orders of reality are extolled over others. Certain aspects of reality are repudiated as unreal, or inferior, or evil. In its distinction between soul and body, between spirit and 'unregenerate nature', Christianity is, in effect, dualist. (22)

The second tenet concerns the evil of matter:

Matter was rejected as intrinsically evil. Material creation, the phenomenal world, was deemed to be the handiwork of a lesser and malevolent god. In consequence, matter and material creation had to be transcended in order to attain union with a greater and truer god, whose domain was pure spirit; and it was this ' union that the term 'gnosis' signified ... [Gnostic] thinking had probably originated in the similar dualism of Persian Zoroastrianism. It was subsequently to surface again in Persia, under a teacher known as Mani, and to be called Manicheism. (23)

Hermeticism derives from Hermes Trismegistus ('the thrice-greatest Hermes'), the name given by the Greeks to the Egyptian god Thoth, the god of wisdom and of literature.


To the Greeks, this 'scribe of the gods' was author of all sacred books, which they called 'Hermetic'. The ancient wisdom of Hermes is said to reside in 42 books, the surviving fragments of which are known as the Hermetica. The books of Hermes were written on papyrus and kept in the great library of Alexandria. When the library was destroyed by fire, most of this wisdom was forever lost; however, some fragments were saved and, according to legend, buried in a secret desert location by initiates.

Hermetic works such as The Divine Pymander and The Vision describe the means by which divine wisdom was revealed to Hermes Trismegistus, and also contain discourses on the evolution of the human soul.


The Tabula Smaragdina or Emerald Tablet is said to contain the most comprehensive summation of Egyptian philosophy, and was of central importance to the alchemists, who believed that it was encoded with the mystical secrets of the Universe. Hermes Trismegistus is said to have been the greatest philosopher, king and priest, and was also a somewhat prolific writer, being credited with 36,525 books on the principles of nature.


A composite of the Egyptian god Thoth and the Greek god Hermes, both of whom were associated with the spirits of the dead, Hermes Trismegistus was the personification of universal wisdom. However, it is likely that the writings attributed to him were actually the anonymous works of early Christians.

The third element in the threefold foundation of Western occultism was the Cabala, the mystical system of classical Judaism. Translated from the Hebrew as 'that which is received', the Cabala is founded on the Torah (Jewish scriptures) and is a kind of map, given to Adam by angels and handed down through the ages, by which our fallen species may find its way back to God.


The primary document of Cabalism is the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), which was possibly written in the third century by Rabbi Akiba, who was martyred by the Romans. According to the Sefer Yetzirah, God created the world by means of 32 secret paths: the ten sephirot (or emanations by which reality is structured) and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Between 1280 and 1286, the Spanish Cabalist Moses de Leon wrote the Sefer ha-Zohar (Book of Splendour), the primary document of classical Cabalism. It is centered upon the Zohar, a body of teachings developed by the second-century sage Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai during his meditation in a cave near Lod, Israel. In the Zohar, God is referred to as Ein-Sof (without end), and as such cannot be represented or known by fallen humanity. The human goal is to realize a union with God and, since all of reality is connected, thereby to elevate all other souls in the Universe.

In the West, Cabalism came to form a principal foundation of occultism, with its magical amulets and incantations, seals and demonology, and its concentration on the power inherent in the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Christian occultists focused on the Tetragrammaton YHVH, the unspeakable name of God, through which it was possible to gain power over the entire Universe. (24)

The occult revival in Europe came about primarily as a reaction to the rationalist Enlightenment and materialism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This lamentably but necessarily brief look at its esoteric origins brings us to the emergence of Theosophy in the 1880s. The prime mover behind Theosophy was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891).


Her parents, Baron von Hahn, a soldier and member of the lesser Russian-German nobility, and Madame von Hahn, a romantic novelist and descendant of the noble house of Dolgorouky, led a somewhat unsettled life: the baron's regiment was constantly on the move. Madame von Hahn died in 1842, when Helena was eleven, an event which seems to have contributed to her waywardness and powerful sense of individuality.

At seventeen she married Nikifor Blavatsky, Vice-Governor of Yerevan in the Caucasus, and 23 years her senior in July 1848. The marriage failed after only a few weeks and Helena left her husband with the initial intention of returning to her father. However, she suddenly decided instead to leave her family and country behind, boarded a steamer on the Black Sea and headed for Constantinople. (25)


For the next 25 years, she wandered through Europe, Asia and the Americas. Although she may have had an allowance from her father, she also supported herself in a variety of ways, including as a bareback rider in a circus, a piano teacher in London and Paris, and also as an assistant to the famous medium Daniel Dunglas Home.


This is pretty much all that is known with any certainty about this period in her life: the rest is a confusing jumble of rumor, contradiction and legend, much of which originated with Blavatsky herself.

During a trip to the United States in 1873, Blavatsky observed the enormous popularity of Spiritualism. She had arrived with no money and had to live in a hostel for working women, doing menial jobs such as sewing purses. At about this time, she met Henry Olcott (1832-1907), whose New Jersey family claimed descent from the pilgrims.


Apparent financial difficulties forced Olcott to take up farming in Ohio, at which he seems to have excelled, gaining a position as Agricultural Editor of the New York Tribune, until the outbreak of the Civil War, in which he fought as a signals officer in the Union Army. When the war ended, Olcott headed to New York to study for the Bar, and established a law practice there in the late 1860s. (26)


In spite of a fair degree of success in his profession, Olcott seems to have been rather dissatisfied with his lot: his marriage was not happy, and eventually he divorced his wife. In search of some form of intellectual diversion, he became interested in Spiritualism.

As his interest in the subject grew, Olcott began to investigate individual cases of alleged psychic manifestations, including those occurring on the Eddy farm at Chittenden, Vermont. His investigation of the events at Chittenden (which included spirit materializations) were written up as articles for a New York paper, the Daily Graphic.


On 14 October 1874, Olcott met Blavatsky at the Eddy farmhouse during one of his many visits there. Blavatsky had been intrigued by the articles she had read in the Daily Graphic, and had decided to cultivate Olcott's friendship.

Greatly impressed with her apparent mediumistic skills, Olcott became Blavatsky's devotee and publicist. From then until 1875, when she founded the Theosophical Society, Blavatsky earned a comfortable living as a medium, only falling on hard times when the nationwide interest in Spiritualism began to wane. In 1877, Blavatsky published Isis Unveiled, an exposition of Egyptian occultism that, she claimed, had been dictated to her by spirits via a form of automatic writing, and which argues, essentially, for the acceptance of occultism (hidden laws of nature) to be accepted by orthodox science.


Its effect - the book sold widely - was to soothe the minds of those whose religious faith had been undermined by scientific rationalism, in particular the theories on evolution and natural selection of Charles Darwin. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the book was fiercely attacked in scholarly circles both for intellectual incompetence and out-and-out plagiarism, with one critic identifying more than 2,000 unacknowledged quotations. (27)

Central to the mythos Blavatsky constructed for herself was her experience of living and travelling for seven years in Tibet. (The number seven is of considerable magical significance, and is the number of years required for initiates into occult mysteries to complete their apprenticeship.) (28) She made the rather astonishing claim that she had studied with a group of Hidden Masters in the Himalayas, under whose guidance she had reached the highest level of initiation into the mysteries of the Universe.


It is, however, extremely unlikely that a single white woman with a considerable weight problem and no mountaineering experience could have made the arduous trip up the Himalayas, succeeded in finding these 'Hidden Masters', and done so without being spotted by the numerous Chinese, Russian and British patrols that were in the area at that time. (29)

One of the Tibetan adepts with whom Blavatsky studied was named Master Morya. She actually met him at the Great Exhibition in London in July 1851 (although she claimed to have met him in visions on numerous occasions previously). Master Morya was a member of the Great White Brotherhood of Masters, immortal, incorporeal beings who had achieved ultimate enlightenment, but had elected to remain on Earth to guide humanity towards the same goal.


We shall have a good deal more to say on the Great White Brotherhood in Chapter Five, but for now let us return to Madame Blavatsky.

In 1879, with the Theosophical Society not doing particularly well at recruiting converts, Blavatsky decided to go to India, a logical choice in view of the emphasis placed on eastern philosophy in Isis Unveiled. She and Olcott enjoyed a warm reception from various members of Indian society, including the journalist A. P. Sinnett and the statesman Alien O. Hume.


In 1882, they moved the society's headquarters to Adyar, near Madras. The new headquarters included a shrine room in which the Hidden Masters would manifest in physical form. However, while Blavatsky and Olcott were away touring Europe, Emma Coulomb and her husband, who had managed the household but been dismissed after repeatedly attempting to secure financial loans from the society's wealthy members, decided to take their revenge by publishing letters said by them to have been written by Blavatsky and which contained instructions on how to operate the secret panels in the shrine room, through which the 'Masters' appeared.

Unfortunately for Blavatsky, it was at this time that the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) decided to investigate the mediumistic claims of Theosophy. Needless to say, when the Coulombs' revelations of trickery came to light, the SPR issued a scathing report on Blavatsky and her claims.

Injured by the scandal and with her health failing (she would later die of Bright's Disease), Blavatsky left India and settled in London, where she began work on her second and (it is generally acknowledged) greater book, The Secret Doctrine (published in 1888). Comprising two main sections, 'Cosmogenesis' and 'Anthropogenesis', the book is nothing less than a history of the Universe and intelligent life.


The Secret Doctrine is allegedly a vast commentary on a fantastically old (several million years) manuscript called The Stanzas of Dzyan, written in the Atlantean language Senzar, and seen by Blavatsky in a monastery hidden far beneath the Himalayas.


The Stanzas tell how the Earth was colonized by spiritual beings from the Moon. Humanity as we know it is descended from these remote ancestors via a series of so-called 'root races'.

Lack of space prevents us from going too deeply into the contents of The Secret Doctrine. Suffice to say that at the beginning of the Universe, the divine being differentiated itself into the multitude of life forms that now inhabit the cosmos. The subsequent history of the Universe passed through seven 'rounds' or cycles of being.


The Universe experienced a fall from divine grace through the first four rounds, and will rise again through the last three, until it is redeemed in ultimate, divine unity, before the process begins again. (We would perhaps be well advised to resist the temptation to compare this scheme with the similar-sounding Big Bang/Big Crunch theory of universal evolution proposed by modern physicists: there is little else in the Stanzas that orthodox science would find palatable.)

Each of these cosmic rounds saw the rise and fall of seven root races, whose destiny mirrored exactly that of cosmic evolution, with the first four descending from the spiritual into the material and the last three ascending once again. According to Blavatsky, humanity in its present form is the fifth root race of Earth, which is itself passing through the fourth cosmic round. (The reader may thus find it a considerable relief that we have a long period of spiritual improvement ahead of us.)


The first root race were completely non-corporeal Astral beings who lived in an invisible land; the second race were the Hyperboreans, who lived on a lost polar continent (we will examine the important concept of Hyperborea in detail in the next chapter); the third root race were the Lemurians, fifteen-foot-tall brown-skinned hermaphrodites with four arms, who had the misfortune to occupy the lowest point in the seven-stage cycle of humanity. For this reason, the Lemurians, who lived on a now-sunken continent in the Indian Ocean, suffered a Fall from divine grace: after dividing into two distinct sexes, they began to breed with beautiful but inferior races, this miscegenation resulting in the birth of soulless monsters.


The fourth root race were the Atlanteans, who possessed highly advanced psychic powers and mediumistic skills. Gigantic like the Lemurians and physically powerful, the Atlanteans built huge cities on their mid-Atlantic continent. Their technology was also highly advanced, and was based on the application of a universal electro-spiritual force known as Fohat - similar, it seems, to the vril force (see Chapter Four).


Unfortunately for the Atlanteans, although they were intelligent and powerful, they were also possessed of a childlike innocence that made them vulnerable to the attentions of an evil entity that corrupted them and caused them to turn to the use of black magic.


This was to result in a catastrophic war that led to the destruction of Atlantis. (30)


The fifth root race, from which we today are descended, was the Aryan race.

Theosophy placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of reincarnation and the concept of hierarchy. Through reincarnation, the movement's followers could imagine themselves to have participated in the fabulous prehistory of humanity in a variety of magical, exotic and long-lost locations, while feeling assured that their souls were on a definite upward trajectory, heading for spiritual salvation and ultimate unity with God.


Of equal importance to the cosmic scheme were hierarchy and elitism. As mentioned earlier, the Hidden Masters or Mahatmas of Tibet, such as Master Morya and Koot Hoomi, were enlightened beings who had decided to remain on Earth to guide the rest of humanity towards spiritual wisdom. This concept, along with Blavatsky's own claim to hidden occult knowledge, is clearly based on the value of authority and hierarchy. Indeed, this value is illustrated by the fate of the Lemurians, whose miscegenation caused their Fall from divine grace.


The only section of that society to remain pure was the elite priesthood, which eventually retired to the wondrous city of Shambhala in what is now the Gobi Desert (more of which in Chapter Four) and which is linked with the Hidden Masters of Tibet. (31)

As we have already noted, the central tenets of Theosophy offered a way for people in the late nineteenth century to maintain their religious faith (or, at least, their faith in the existence of some form of spirituality in the cosmos) while simultaneously accepting the validity of new theories, such as evolution, that threatened to undermine their previously held world view.


However, for many people in Europe and America, scientific rationalism, rapid industrialization and urbanization presented another threat to their long-established way of life. As an antidote to the fears and uncertainties of modern life, Theosophy was particularly readily accepted in Germany and Austria.


As Goodrick-Clarke notes, it was well suited to the German protest movement known as Lebensreform (life reform).

'This movement represented a middle-class attempt to palliate the ills of modern life, deriving from the growth of the cities and industry. A variety of alternative life-styles - including herbal and natural medicine, vegetarianism, nudism and self-sufficient rural communes - were embraced by small groups of individuals who hoped to restore themselves to a natural existence... Theosophy was appropriate to the mood of Lebensreform and provided a philosophical rationale for some of its groups.' (32)

Interest in Theosophy increased in Germany with the founding of the German Theosophical Society on 22 July 1884 at Elberfeld. Blavatsky and Olcott were staying there at the home of Marie Gebhard (1832-1892), a devotee of occultism who had corresponded frequently with the famous French occultist and magician Eliphas Levi (Alphonse Louis Constant) (c. 1810-1875).


Its first president was Wilhelm Hubbe-Schleiden, then a senior civil servant at the Colonial Office in Hamburg. Hubbe-Schleiden, who had travelled extensively throughout the world and was a keen advocate of German colonial expansion abroad, was instrumental in gathering the isolated Theosophists scattered throughout Germany into a consolidated German branch of the society. Hubbe-Schleiden also did much to increase occult interest in Germany through the founding in 1886 of his periodical Die Sphinx, a scholarly blend of psychical research, the paranormal, archaeology and Christian mysticism from a scientific viewpoint.


As such it was firmly Theosophical in tone, and included contributions from scientists, historians and philosophers. (33)

Another great populariser of scientific occultism in Germany was Franz Hartmann (1838-1912), who had also led a highly eventful life in Europe and the Americas, following a number of careers such as soldier, doctor, coroner and mining speculator. Already interested in Spiritualism, Hartmann was converted to Theosophy after reading Isis Unveiled and decided to travel to Adyar to meet Blavatsky and Olcott in 1883.


So impressed was Blavatsky with him that she appointed him acting president of the Theosophical Society while she and Olcott travelled to Germany to start the branch there. Hartmann remained there until 1885, when the Theosophists left India following the Coulomb scandal.

Hartmann went on to found the occult periodical Lotusbluthen (Lotus Blossoms), which ran from 1892 to 1900 and was the first German publication to feature the swastika on its cover. (34) (In eastern mysticism, the swastika is a symbol with many positive connotations; we will examine it in detail in the next chapter.) The increased public interest generated by this periodical prompted a number of German publishers to issue long book series dealing with a wide range of occult and esoteric subjects, including the work of Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater who took over the Theosophical Society on Blavatsky's death in 1891.

The German branch of the society had been dissolved in 1885 when the Theosophists left India, but was replaced by a new society founded in Berlin in August 1896 as a branch of the International Theosophical Brotherhood in America, with Hartmann as president. Also on the executive committee was one Paul Zillmann, who founded the monthly Metaphysische Rundschau (Metaphysical Review) and who would later publish the works of the Ariosophists (whom we shall meet shortly). By 1902, German Theosophy, which had hitherto suffered from internecine rivalry, became far better coordinated under the two main centres at Berlin and Leipzig.

In 1906, a Theosophical Publishing House was founded at Leipzig by Hugo Vollrath, a disciple of Hartmann's, possibly to counter the new influence in occult circles of Theosophist Rudolf Steiner, whose mystical Christian stance did not endear him to Annie Besant whose own outlook was firmly Hindu. (Steiner would later leave and form his own Anthroposophical Society in 1912.)


The Theosophical Publishing House produced a large number of occult magazines and book series, in competition with other publishers such as Karl Rohm, Johannes Baum and Max Altmann who had turned their attention to this potentially lucrative field.

The public interest in occultism quickly grew in Vienna, which already had its own tradition of esotericism and interest in paranormal phenomena. New occult groups were founded, including the Association for Occultism, which had its own lending library, the Sphinx Reading Club and the First Viennese Astrological Society. (35)


In fact, it was in Vienna that the seeds of Germanic occult racism were most liberally sown. The public disquiet at economic change, scientific rationalism and rapid industrialization and the threat they appeared to pose to traditional 'natural' ways of life was palliated not only by occultist notions of the centrality and importance of humanity within the wider cosmos (of the essential meaningfulness of existence), but also by the volkisch ideology that assured Germans of the value and importance of their cultural identity.


This combination of culture and spirituality was expressed most forcefully through the doctrine of Ariosophy, which originated in Vienna.


The bizarre theories of Ariosophy constituted a mixture of racist volkisch ideology and the Theosophical concepts of Madame Blavatsky.


(As with the philosophy of Nietszche, Blavatsky's ideas were hijacked and warped by German occultists and it should be remembered that neither of these two would have advocated the violence and suffering that would later be perpetrated by the Nazis: indeed, Nietszche disavowed anti-Semitism and called German nationalism an 'abyss of stupidity'.)

The two principal personalities behind Ariosophy were Guido von List (1848-1919) and Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels (1874-1954), both of whom added the undeserved particle 'von' (denoting nobility) to their names. Born in Vienna to a prosperous middle-class family, List dreamed of the reunification of Austria with Germany, and hated both Jews and Christians for the attacks he perceived them to have made upon German culture, spirituality and territorial rights.


A journalist by trade, List also wrote novels about the ancient Teutons and the cult of Wotan, whose hierarchy he came to call the Armanenschaft, a name derived from his spurious interpretation of a Teutonic myth. According to the Roman author Tacitus in his Germania, the Teutons believed that their people were descended from the god Tuisco and his son, Mannus. Mannus had three sons, after whom the ancient German tribes were named: Ingaevones, Hermiones and Istaevones.


With no scholarly evidence to back him up, List decided that these names referred to the agricultural, intellectual and military estates within the Germanic nation. The word Armanenschaft derived from List's Germanisation of Hermiones, the intellectual or priestly estate, to 'Armanen'. List claimed that the profoundly wise Armanenschaft was the governing body of the ancient society.(36)

List's codification of his beliefs regarding the ancient and racially pure Teutons led to a profound interest in the symbolism of heraldry and the secrets allegedly contained in the runic alphabet, an interest that included the mystical significance of the swastika which he identified (at least in terms of its power and significance) with the Christian Cross and the Jewish Star of David. (As indicated earlier, we shall examine the origin and meaning of the swastika in the next chapter.)


By 1902, as a result of a period of enforced inactivity following a cataract operation that left him blind for eleven months, List had devoted much thought to the nature of the proto-Aryan language he believed was encoded in the ancient runes.

His occult-racist-mystical theories, including an exposition on the Aryan proto-language, did not find particular favor with the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna, which returned without comment a thesis he had sent. Nevertheless, the anti-Semitic elements in German and Austrian society began to take note, and in 1907 a List Society was formed to provide financial aid in his researches. List's spurious historiography and archaeology provided a pseudo-scientific basis for both racism and extreme nationalism, and enabled the German Volk to trace their ancestry back to the splendor and racial purity of the ancient Teutons and their cult of Wotanism.

The cult of Wotan arose primarily from List's beliefs regarding the religious practices of the ancient Teutons, whom he considered to have been persecuted by Christians in early medieval Germany. In List's view, the Old Norse poems of Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, the Eddas, were actually chronicles of the myths of the ancient Germans.


The Eddas were composed of songs, manuals of poetry and works of history telling the story of the ancient Teutonic pantheon of gods and the numerous secondary divinities who were their cohorts.


In fact, we have almost no record of the myths and beliefs of the ancestors of the Germans and Anglo-Saxons. According to conventional studies of mythology:

For the Germanic tribes of the West, the ancestors of the Germans and Anglo-Saxons, documentary sources of information are sparse. Latin historians like Caesar and Tacitus had at their disposal only second-hand information and they attempted to explain Teutonic religion in terms of Roman religion. For instance, Donar, the thunder-god, became for them Jupiter tonans.


Woden received the name Mercury and Tiw [the sky-god] was called Mars. The missionaries, monks and clerks who, from the eighth century, pursued their work of conversion and were at the same time the first to write the German language could, had they wished to, have given us a complete picture of German mythology in the early centuries. But their chief concern was to save souls. Hence they scarcely alluded to pagan myths except to condemn them.


We should know practically nothing of the old German beliefs if 'popular' tales and epics had not preserved much that pertains to secondary divinities, demons, giants and spirits of all sorts. (37)

In the Eddas, Wotan (whose name derives from the word in all Germanic languages meaning fury, and which in modern German is wuten, to rage) was the god of war, whom dead heroes met in Valhalla.


It was Wotan who gained an understanding of the runes after being wounded by a spear and hanging from a tree for nine nights, and who related the eighteen runic spells that held the secrets of immortality, invincibility in battle, healing abilities and control of the elements. In Norse legend, the runes are not only a system of writing but also possess an inherent magical power.


Goodrick-Clarke describes List as 'the pioneer of volkisch rune occultism', (38) since he was the first to link the runes of a certain written series with Wotan's runic spells.

'List attributed a specific individual rune to each of Wotan's verses, adding occult meanings and a summary motto of the spell. These occult meanings and mottoes were supposed to represent the doctrine and maxims of the rediscovered religion of Wotanism. Typical mottoes were: "Know yourself, then you know everything!" ... and "Man is one with God!" ' (39)

The central tenet of Wotanism was the cyclical nature of the Universe, which proceeded through a series of transformations: 'birth', 'being', 'death' and 'rebirth'. This cyclical cosmology was a primal law and represented the presence of God in Nature.


Since Man was part of the cosmos, he was bound by its laws and thus required to live in harmony with the natural world.

'A close identity with one's folk and race was reckoned a logical consequence of this closeness to Nature.' (40)

List also utilized Theosophical concepts in his development of Wotanism, in particular those of Max Ferdinand Sebaldt von Werth who wrote extensively on Aryan sexuality and racial purity. Sebaldt believed that the Universe was whisked into being by the god Mundelfori, and that its fundamental nature was one of the interaction of opposites, such as matter and spirit, and male and female. Aryan superiority could therefore only be achieved through a union of racially 'pure opposites'.


In September 1903, List published an article in the Viennese occult periodical Die Gnosis that drew heavily on this idea, referring to ancient Aryan cosmology and sexuality. The phases of this cosmology were illustrated with variations on the swastika, the Hindu symbol of the Sun, that List appropriated and corrupted to denote the unconquerable and racially pure Germanic hero.(41)

List was also heavily influenced by legends of lost civilizations and sunken continents, such as the fabled lands of Atlantis and Lemuria, and by the theosophical writings of Madame Blavatsky. He went so far as to compare the Wotanist priesthood with the hierophants of Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine. Theosophical concepts also formed the basis of his Die Religion der Ario-Germanen (1910), in which he devoted considerable space to the Hindu cosmic cycles which had inspired Blavatsky's concept of 'rounds' or cosmological cycles.


List identified the four rounds of fire, air, water and earth with,

'the mythological Teutonic realms of Muspilheim, Asgard, Wanenheim and Midgard, which were tenanted respectively by fire-dragons, air-gods, water-giants and mankind'. (42)

These realms lie at the centre of the Nordic creation myth. At the dawn of time, there was nothing but a vast, yawning abyss. Niflheim, a realm of clouds and shadows, formed to the north of the abyss, while to the south formed the land of fire called Muspilheim. When Ymir, the first living being and the father of all the giants, was slain in battle, his body was raised from the sea and formed the earth, Midgard. (43)


According to List, the Ario-Germans were the fifth race in the present round, the preceding four corresponding to the mythical Teutonic giants.

Wotanist doctrine held that the natural evolutionary cycle of the Universe was from unity to multiplicity and back to unity. The first stage of this evolution (unity to multiplicity) was represented symbolically by anticlockwise triskelions and swastikas and inverted triangles. The second stage (multiplicity back to the unity of the godhead) was represented by clockwise and upright symbols. In this scheme, the Ario-German was seen as the highest possible form of life, since he occupied the 'zenith of multiplicity at the outermost limit of the cycle'. (44)

List was a fervent believer in the lost civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, and claimed that the prehistoric megaliths of Lower Austria were actually Atlantean artifacts.

In his Die Ursprache der Ario-Germanen (The Proto-Language of the Ario-Germans) (1914), he included a chart comparing the geological periods of Earth with a Hindu kalpa (4,320,000,000 years), which also corresponded to a single theosophical round. We will have much more to say on the Ariosophist belief in lost civilizations later in this chapter, and in the next.

For now, let us turn our attention to the other principal personality in Ariosophy, List's young follower Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels, who founded the notorious anti-Semitic hate sheet Ostara and created the Order of the New Templars in 1907. Like his mentor List, Liebenfels had a middle-class Viennese upbringing, which he would later deny in favor of an imagined aristocratic background.

Liebenfels chose as a headquarters for the Order of the New Templars a ruined castle, Burg Werfenstein, perched on a cliff on the shores of the River Danube between Linz and Vienna. He was obsessed with the idea of a Manichaean struggle between the 'blond' race (characterized by creativity and heroism) and the dark 'beast-men', who were consumed with lust for 'blonde' women and who were bent on the corruption of human culture.


Two years earlier, Liebenfels had established the racist periodical Ostara (named after the pagan goddess of spring) that called repeatedly for the restoration of the 'blond race' as the dominant force in the world. This could only be achieved through racial purity, the forced sterilization or extermination of inferior races, and the destruction of socialism, democracy and feminism. (45)

These racist concerns led Liebenfels to conceive the bizarre notion of founding a chivalrous order based on the monastic and military orders of the Crusades.


As Goodrick-Clarke notes, Liebenfels had been drawn since childhood to,

'the Middle Ages and its pageant of knights, noblemen, and monks. His decision to enter the Cistercian novitiate owed much to these sentiments, and it is likely that his adult desire to identify with the aristocracy derived from similar fantasies.' (46)

Liebenfels's fantasies also included holy orders, which perhaps naturally resulted in an intense interest in the Order of the Knights Templar. This interest was fuelled by the medieval Grail Romances, which were at the time enjoying a widespread popularity due to their treatment by Richard Wagner in his operas. To Liebenfels and many of his contemporaries, such romances were significant in their painting of the Grail Knights as searchers after sublime and eternal values: this view provided a powerful antidote to the hated modern world with its rampant industrialization and materialism.

The most renowned and applauded Order in Christendom at the time of the Crusades was undoubtedly the Knights Templar, and Liebenfels developed a fantasy in which these knights became champions of a racist struggle for a Germanic order that would enjoy a hegemony over the Mediterranean and the Middle East.


According to Goodrick-Clarke:

In 1913 he published a short study, in which the grail was interpreted as an electrical symbol pertaining to the 'panpsychic' powers of the pure-blooded Aryan race. The quest of the 'Templeisen' for the Grail was a metaphor for the strict eugenic practices of the Templar knights designed to breed god-men. The Templars had become the key historical agent of [Liebenfels's] sexo-racist gnosis before 1914. (47)

At this point, it is worth looking very briefly at the history of the Knights Templar and how their rise and fall influenced Liebenfels's Weltanschauung (world view). The Order of the Knights Templar became one of the most powerful monastic societies in twelfth-century Europe, and came to symbolize the Christian struggle against the infidel.


In AD 1118, a knight from Champagne named Hugh of Payens persuaded King Baldwin I of Boulogne (whose elder brother, Godfrey, had captured Jerusalem nineteen years before) to install Payens and eight other French noblemen in a wing of the royal palace, the former mosque al-Aqsa, near the site where King Solomon's Temple had allegedly once stood in the Holy Land.


The Order later comprised three classes: the knights, all of noble birth; the sergeants, drawn from the bourgeoisie, who were grooms and stewards; and the clerics, who were chaplains and performed non-military tasks. (48) Choosing the name Militia Templi (Soldiers of the Temple), (49) they vowed to defend the mysteries of the Christian faith and Christians travelling to the holy places. The Order initially derived its power from St Bernard of Clairvaux, head of the Cistercian Order, and from Pope Honorius II, who officially recognized the Templars as a separate Order in 1128. (50)


It is believed that the Templars took their inspiration from the Hospitallers, who protected Catholic pilgrims in Palestine and pledged themselves to a life of chastity and poverty.

The Seal of the Templars showed two knights riding on a single horse - a sign of their poverty (at least in their early days); the design was retained for decades after the Order had become one of the richest of the time. (51) The vast wealth that the Templars were to acquire was partly the result of the Order's exemption from local taxes, coupled with their ability to levy their own taxes on the community.


The Templars honored their vow of poverty for the first nine years of their existence, relying on donations from the pious even for their clothes.


Their battle standard was a red eight-pointed cross on a black-and-white background; their battle cry was 'Vive Dieu, Saint Amour' ('God Lives, Saint Love'), and their motto was,

'Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da gloriam' ('Not for us, Lord, not for us, but to Thy Name give glory'). (52)

Over the next century and a half, the Templars amassed a truly staggering amount of wealth, property (with over seven thousand estates in Europe) and power, and had branches throughout Europe and the Middle East, all run from their headquarters in Paris.


This led to jealous rivalries, and during the Crusades rumors began to circulate that the Templars were not the pious Christian knights many believed them to be. Attention was focused on their secret rituals, which their enemies claimed were centered upon their worship of Allah; others suspected them of actually worshipping the demon Baphomet, practicing horrendous black magic rites involving sodomy, bestiality and human sacrifice, of despising the Pope and the Catholic Church, and various other crimes.

In 1307, King Philip IV of France, heavily in debt to the Templars, decided to use these rumors in an attempt to engineer their downfall. On 13 October, he seized their Temple in Paris and arrested the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and 140 Templars, whom he subjected to horrible tortures in order to secure confessions. Philip persuaded Pope Clement V to authorize the seizure of all Templar properties. Pope Clement abolished the Order in 1312 at the Council of Vienne, and transferred its properties to the Hospitallers, in return for the money Philip claimed was owed by the Templars. (53)

Jacques de Molay was promised life in prison if he made a public confession of the Order's crimes. Instead, he made a public proclamation of the Order's innocence of all crimes with which it had been charged, and for this he was burned at the stake. However, this was apparently not the end of the Knights Templar: there have been persistent rumours that those Templars who managed to evade capture fled to Scotland disguised as stonemasons and created the society of Freemasons.


It has also been suggested that a Templar named Geoffroy de Gonneville received a message from de Molay shortly before his death and took it to a group of Templars meeting in Dalmatia. The message stated that the Order would be revived in 600 years' time. Before disbanding, the Templars at this meeting allegedly created the Order of the Rose-Croix, or Rosicrucians.(54)

To Lanz von Liebenfels, the brutal suppression of the Knights Templar and the appropriation of their wealth and property represented the victory of racial inferiors over a society of heroic men. The result was racial chaos, the corruption of 'ario-Christian' civilization and the disorder of the modern world. (55) For this reason, Liebenfels decided to resurrect the Order in the form of his Ordo Novi Templi (ONT).


He described the Order as an 'Aryan mutual-aid association founded to foster racial consciousness through genealogical and heraldic research, beauty-contests, and the foundation of racist Utopias in the underdeveloped parts of the world'. (56)

The early activities of the ONT revolved around festivals and concerts, with hundreds of guests being shipped in by steamer from Vienna. They were routinely reported in the press, thus ensuring a wider audience for Liebenfels and the racist ideas presented in Ostara. Membership of the ONT was naturally restricted to those who could prove that they were of pure Aryan blood and who would vow to protect the interests of their (racial) brothers.

Two years before he founded the ONT, Liebenfels had published a book with the incredibly odd title Theozoologie oder die Kunder von den Sodoms-Afflingen und dem Gotter-Elektron (Theo-zoology or the Lore of the Sodom-Apelings and the Electron of the Gods). The word 'theo-zoology' was arrived at through the amalgamation of Judaeo-Christian doctrine and the principles of the then-burgeoning field of life-sciences.


Using the Old and New Testaments as departure points, Liebenfels divided his book into two sections, the first dealing with the origin of humanity in a race of beast-men (Anthropozoa) spawned by Adam. In his warped and bizarre view of antiquity, Liebenfels utilized new scientific discoveries such as radiation and radio communication, which at that time had a powerful hold on the public imagination.

Liebenfels applied these discoveries in his description of the gods, which held that they were not really gods at all, but higher forms of life (Theozoa) who possessed fantastic mental faculties including telepathy (which was actually the transmission of electrical signals between the brains of the Theozoa). Through the millennia, these god-men gradually lost these faculties through miscegenation with the beast-men of Adam, until their telepathic sense organs became atrophied as the pineal and pituitary glands of modern humanity.


As Goodrick-Clarke notes, (57) Liebenfels based this declaration in part on the work of the zoologist Wilhelm Bolsche (1861-1939), who in turn seems to have been inspired by Theosophy. At any rate, Liebenfels believed that the only way for Germans to reclaim their ancient godhood was through the enforced sterilization and castration of 'inferior races', to prevent the pollution of pure Aryan blood. (58)


The second section of Liebenfels's book concerned the life of Christ (whose powers were once again electrical in nature) and the redemption of the Aryan people, who had been corrupted by the promiscuous activities of the other races of Earth. This idea of the Aryan struggle against the pernicious vices of other races in effect replaced the traditional Judaeo-Christian concept of the struggle between good and evil.


Liebenfels argued for the most extreme measures in the pursuit of Aryan re-deification: since the poor and underprivileged in society were identified with the progeny of the inferior races, they would have to be either exterminated (by incineration as a sacrifice to God), deported or used as slave labour. This constituted the inversion of traditional Judaeo-Christian compassion for the poor, weak and handicapped in the new form of Social Darwinism, with its central tenet of survival of the fittest at the expense of the weakest.


These horrific methods of ensuring the survival of pure-blooded Aryans proposed by Liebenfels would, of course, become hideous reality in the Third Reich.

Although List's and Liebenfels's ideas were inherently hateful and violent, they remained just that: ideas. Many of their followers became more and more restless and dissatisfied with their lack of action against the perceived threat to the Aryan race from the various inferior beings with whom they were forced to share their nation, in particular the Jews, who were blamed for the perceived evils of urbanization, industrialization and the threat to the traditional rural way of life of the Aryan peasant-hero.


Many came to believe that the time for scholarly theorizing was past, that the time for direct action had come.

The Germanenorden

In May 1912, a meeting was held at the Leipzig home of Theodor Fritsch. At this meeting were approximately twenty prominent Pan-Germans and anti-Semites. Their purpose was to found two groups to alert Germans to the dangers to small businesses they perceived as arising from the influence of Jewish business and finance.


These groups were known as the Reichshammerbund and the Germanenorden (Order of Germans). Born on 28 October 1852, Fritsch, the son of Saxon peasants, had trained as a milling engineer, and had edited the Kleine Muhlen-Journal (Small-Mills Journal). In common with other activists of the time, his anti-Semitism arose principally from a fear of rapid industrialization, technology and mass production, driven by international Jewish influence, and the threat it posed to small tradesmen and craftsmen.

In spite of his political leanings, Fritsch decided against becoming a candidate for either of the two German anti-Semitic parties, the Deutsch-Soziale Partei and the Antisemitische Volkspartei, which had been established at Bochum in 1889, since he did not believe that anti-Semitism would prove successful in parliament.


As Goodrick-Clarke notes, Fritsch's,

'conviction in the ineffectiveness of parliamentary anti-Semitism proved to be correct. When more than one party existed after the Bochum conference, their competition led to a reduction in the number of successful anti-Semitic candidates at the Reichstag elections.' (59)

In addition, the merging of the two parties in 1894 as the Deutsch-Soziale Reformpartei resulted in a significant reduction in anti-Semitism in favor of 'an appeal to more conservative and middle-class economic interests'. (60) At this time, in the mid-1860s, racist writers such as the French aristocrat Comte Vacher de Lapouge and the Germanized Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain were influenced by biology and zoology, and were concentrating more on 'scientific' studies of race (although they were, of course, nothing of the kind).


It was these writers who identified the Jews as the greatest threat to the supremacy of the Aryan race, and attempted to back up their ideas with reference to physical characteristics such as hair and eye coloring, and the shape of the skull. (61) For de Lapouge, Jews were more pernicious than any other race because they had insinuated themselves so completely into European society, (62) while Chamberlain in particular did much to popularize mystical racism in Germany.


According to Stanley G. Payne:

Beyond the Aryan racial stereotype (tall, blond, blue-eyed) [Chamberlain] affirmed the existence of a special 'race soul' that created a more imaginative and profound spirit in Aryans and produced a 'German religion', though the latter was still (in part) vaguely related to Christianity.


The ultimate anti-Aryan and most bitter racial foe was the Jew. Chamberlain combined Social Darwinism with racism and thus emphasized an endless racial struggle on behalf of the purity of Aryanism and against Jews and lesser peoples [including Slavs and Latins], virtually creating a scenario for race war. (63)

In order to fulfill his ambition to create a powerful anti-Semitic movement outside the ineffectual parliament, Fritsch founded a periodical called the Hammer in January 1902. By 1905, its readership had reached 3,000. These readers formed themselves into Hammer-Gemeinden (Hammer-Groups), changing their name in 1908 to Deutsche Erneuerungs-Gemeinde (German Renewal Groups). '[T]heir membership was interested in anti-capitalist forms of land reform designed to invigorate the peasantry, the garden city movement, and Lebensreform.' (64)

The Reichstag elections of January 1912 saw a humiliating defeat for Conservatives and anti-Semites, who lost 41 of their 109 seats, while the Social Democratic Party increased their seats from 43 to 110. (65) In the Hammer, Fritsch favorably reviewed a violently anti-Semitic book entitled Wenn ich der Kaiser war! (If I were Kaiser!) by the chairman of the Pan-German League, Heinrich Class, and decided that the time was right to act in the formation of an anti-Semitic organisation that would not be subject to the control or influence of any party.

As already stated, at the meeting in Fritsch's Leipzig home on 24 May 1912 two groups were established:

  • the Reichshammerbund, which combined all existing Hammer-Groups

  • the Germanenorden, whose secret nature reflected the conviction of anti-Semites that Jewish influence in public life could only be the result of a secret international conspiracy and as such could only be combated by a quasi-Masonic lodge whose members' names would be withheld to prevent enemy infiltration. (66)

Germanenorden lodges were established throughout Northern and Eastern Germany that year, and called for the rebirth of a racially pure Germany from which the 'parasitic' Jews would be deported. By July, lodges had been established at Breslau, Dresden, Konigsberg, Berlin and Hamburg. By the end of 1912, the Germanenorden claimed 316 brothers. (67)


The main purpose of these lodges was to monitor Jewish activities; in addition, lodge members aided each other in business dealings and other matters.

The Germanenorden was heavily influenced by the doctrines of Ariosophy. Any German wishing to join the order was required to supply details of hair, eye and skin color, and also had to prove beyond any doubt that they were of pure Aryan descent. Anyone suffering from a physical handicap - and for that matter, anyone who looked 'unpleasant' - was barred from membership.


Ariosophy also inspired the emblems used by the Order.


According to Goodrick-Clarke:

'From the middle of 1916 the official Order newsletter, the Allgemeine Ordens-Nachrichten, began to display on its front cover a curved-armed swastika superimposed upon a cross ... Although the swastika was current among several contemporary volkisch associations in Germany, it was through the Germanenorden and the Thule Society, its successor organization in post-war Munich, that this device came to be adopted by the National Socialists.' (68)

The initiation rituals of the Germanenorden were somewhat bizarre, to say the least. Initiation would take place in the ceremonial room of the lodge, where the blindfolded novice would encounter the Master, two Knights in white robes and horned helmets, the Treasurer and Secretary with white Masonic sashes, and the Herald, who stood at the centre of the room.

'At the back of the room in the grove of the Grail stood the Bard in a white gown, before him the Master of Ceremonies in a blue gown, while the other lodge brothers stood in a semicircle around him as far as the tables of the Treasurer and Secretary. Behind the grove of the Grail was a music room where a harmonium and piano were accompanied by a small choir of "forest elves".' (69)

Upon commencement of the ceremony, the brothers sang the Pilgrims' Chorus from Wagner's Tannhauser, while the brothers made the sign of the swastika. The novice was then informed of the Order's world-view, and the Bard lit the sacred flame in the grove of the Grail.

'At this point the Master seized Wotan's spear and held it before him, while the two Knights crossed their swords upon it. A series of calls and responses, accompanied by music from Lohengrin, completed the oath of the novices.' (70)

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Germanenorden began to suffer problems, both with membership and finance. Many members of the Order were killed in action, and the Order's chief, Hermann Pohl, feared that the war would ultimately result in its destruction.


At that time, Pohl's leadership abilities were coming under attack from several high-ranking members who were becoming tired of the emphasis he placed on ritual and ceremony of the type indicated above. On 8 October 1916, representatives of the Berlin lodge suggested that Pohl should be relieved of his position, to which Pohl responded by declaring the formation of a breakaway order, the Germanenorden Walvater of the Holy Grail.


The original Order was then headed by General-major Erwin von Heimerdinger. (71)

Following the schism of 1916, the Germanenorden became seriously weakened, with many members confused as to its status (many assumed that it had been disbanded).

However, the end of the war in November 1918 saw attempts to revive its fortunes and influence.


Grand Master Eberhard von Brockhusen believed that the Order would benefit from a constitution, which he succeeded in establishing in 1921,

'which provided for an extraordinarily complex organization of grades, rings, and provincial "citadels" (Burgen) supposed to generate secrecy for a nationwide system of local groups having many links with militant volkisch associations ..,' (72)

In the post-war period, the Germanenorden's verbal violence was transformed into murderous activities against public figures. The new Republic was, of course, despised as a symbol of defeat, and it was the Germanenorden that ordered the assassination of Matthias Erzberger, the former Reich Finance Minister and head of the German delegation to Compiegne (one of the so-called 'November criminals') (73) who had signed the armistice.


His killers, Heinrich Schulz and Heinrich Tillessen, had settled in Regensburg in 1920, where they met Lorenz Mesch, the local leader of the Germanenorden. Since they had become interested in volkisch ideology after the end of the war, and were heavily influenced by its propaganda, the Order chose them to assassinate Erzberger, which they did in August 1921.

From 1921, the Germanenorden became the focus for right-wing and anti-Semitic sentiments in the hated Weimar Republic.


When Rudolf von Sebottendorff joined Hermann Pohl's breakaway Germanenorden Walvater in 1917, the seed of the legendary Thule Society was sown.

The Thule Society

The mythology surrounding the Arctic realm of Thule has its origins in another myth, that of Atlantis.


Although the 'lost continent' of Atlantis was held for centuries to have existed in the Atlantic Ocean 'beyond the Pillars of Hercules' (according to Plato in two of his dialogues, the Timaeus and Critias), this view was challenged in the late seventeenth century by the Swedish writer Olaus Rudbeck (1630-1702) who claimed that the lost civilizations, which had conquered North Africa and much of Europe 9,000 years before, had actually been centered in Sweden.

This curious notion was taken up in the mid-eighteenth century by a French astronomer and mystic named Jean-Sylvain Bailly (1736-1793) who came to the conclusion that the great achievements of civilizations such as Egypt and China were the result of knowledge inherited from a vastly superior antediluvian culture that had resided in the far North.


According to Bailly, when the Earth was younger, its interior heat was much greater, and consequently the North Polar regions must have enjoyed a temperate climate in remote antiquity. Combining this idea with his belief that such climates are the most conducive to science and civilization, Bailly identified Rudbeck's Atlanteans with the Hyperboreans of classical legend. The placing of this high civilization in the far north resulted in the Nordic physique (tall, blond-haired and blue-eyed) being seen as the ultimate human ideal.

The origin of the Nazi concept of Thule and the Thule Society can be traced to Guido von List, Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels and Rudolf von Sebottendorff (1875-1945). As we have already noted, all three added the particle 'von', suggesting noble descent, to their otherwise undistinguished names.


As Joscelyn Godwin observes in his study of Polar mythology, Arktos (1993),

'One of the hallmarks of master-race philosophy is that no one is known to have embraced it who does not consider himself a member of that race. And what is more tempting, having once adopted the belief that one's own race is chosen by Nature or God for pre-eminence, than to put oneself at its aristocratic summit?' (74)

As we have seen, in 1907, Liebenfels founded the ritualistic and virulently racist Order of the New Templars, which had the dubious distinction of serving as the prototype for Heinrich Himmler's SS (Schutzstaffel). Liebenfels was an avid student of Madame Blavatsky, who developed the notion that humanity was descended from a series of 'Root Races' that had degenerated throughout the millennia from a pure spiritual nature to the crude and barbarous beings of the present.


According to Blavatsky, the origin of the anthropoid apes could be explained as the result of bestiality committed by the Third Root Race of humanity with monsters. Liebenfels in effect hijacked this concept and twisted it in the most appalling way, claiming that the non-Aryan races were the result of bestiality committed by the original Aryans after their departure from the paradise of their northern homeland, a lost continent he called Arktogaa (from the Greek, meaning 'northern earth').

These ideas found favor with Guido von List, like Liebenfels a native of Vienna, who was instrumental in the development of the volkisch movement. As we saw earlier, this movement was characterized by a love of unspoiled Nature, vegetarianism, ancient wisdom, astrology and earth energies. List had already played a crucial role in the founding of the secret, quasi-Masonic Germanenorden, whose aim was to counter what its members saw as the corruption by Jewry of German public life that was clearly the result of a secret international conspiracy.


The Germanenorden was still active during the First World War, publishing a newsletter and placing advertisements in newspapers inviting men and women 'of pure Aryan descent' to join its ranks. It was in response to one of these advertisements that Rudolph von Sebottendorff met the leader of the Germanenorden, Hermann Pohl.

Sebottendorff had originally intended to be an engineer; however, having failed to complete his studies at the Berlin-Charlottenburg Polytechnic, and thus having little chance of qualified employment in Germany, he decided to go to sea. In 1900, after service on a number of steamships, and an abortive career as a gold prospector in Western Australia, Sebottendorff made his way first to Egypt and then to Turkey, where he immersed himself in a study of the Turkish people and cultivated an intense interest in occult science and ancient theocracies.

By 1916, Sebottendorff, now married, had settled in Bad Aibling, a fashionable Bavarian spa. At their meeting in Berlin in September of that year, Sebottendorff learned of Pohl's conviction that contamination by other races (particularly Jews) had robbed the Aryan race of its knowledge of magical power, and that this knowledge could only be regained through racial purity. On his return to Bad Aibling, Sebottendorff immediately set about organizing a recruitment campaign for the Germanenorden in Bavaria.

In 1918, Sebottendorff met an art student named Walter Nauhaus who had been badly wounded on the Western Front in 1914 and had been invalided out of the war. Nauhaus shared Sebottendorff's intense interest in the occult, and soon became an invaluable colleague in the Bavarian recruitment campaign for the Germanenorden.


It was Nauhaus who suggested that the name of the order be changed from Germanenorden to Thule Gesellschaft (Thule Society), in order, according to Goodrick-Clarke, to 'spare it the unwelcome attentions of socialist and pro-Republican elements'. (75)


The ceremonial foundation of the Thule Society took place on 17 August 1918.


The society met at the fashionable Hotel Vierjahreszeiten in Munich, in rooms decorated with the Thule emblem: a long dagger, its blade surrounded by oak leaves, superimposed on a shining, curved-armed swastika.

On the eve of the Armistice that signalled German defeat in the First World War, the Thule Society, appalled at the prospect of the Kaiser abdicating, not to mention the revolution in Bavaria which had seen the seizure of authority by the Soviet Workers' and Soldiers' Councils, held a meeting on 9 November 1918, at which Sebottendorff made an impassioned exhortation to his fellow Thuleans:

Yesterday we experienced the collapse of everything which was familiar, dear and valuable to us. In the place of our princes of Germanic blood rules our deadly enemy: Judah. What will come of this chaos, we do not know yet. But we can guess. A time will come of struggle, the most bitter need, a time of danger [...]


I am determined to pledge the Thule Society to this struggle. Our Order is a Germanic Order, loyalty is also Germanic. [...] And the eagle is the symbol of the Aryans. In order to depict the eagle's capacity for self-immolation by fire, it is coloured red. From today on our symbol is the red eagle, which warns us that we must die in order to live. (76)

The Thule Society continued to meet at the Hotel Vierjahreszeiten, while Sebottendorff extended its influence from the upper and middle classes to the working classes via the use of popular journalism.


He achieved this by purchasing for 5,000 marks a minor weekly newspaper, published in Munich and called the Beobachter, in 1918. Renaming the paper the Munchener Beobachter und Sportblatt, Sebottendorff added sports features to attract a more youthful, working-class readership for the anti-Semitic editorials that had been carried over from the paper's previous proprietor, Franz Eher. (In 1920, the Munchener Beobachter und Sportblatt became the Volkischer Beobachter, which would later be the official newspaper of the Nazi Party.)

On 26 April 1919, seven members of the Thule Society were captured by Communists and taken to the Luitpold Gymnasium, which had served as a Red Army post for the previous two weeks.


The hostages included Walter Nauhaus, Countess Hella von Westarp (secretary of the society) and Prince Gustav von Thurn und Taxis (who had many relatives in the royal families of Europe). Four days later, on 30 April, the hostages were shot in the cellar of the Gymnasium as a reprisal for the killing of Red prisoners at Starnberg. The killing of the Thule Society members had the effect of catalysing a violent popular uprising in Munich that, with the aid of White troops entering the city on 1 May, ensured the demise of the Communist Republic.

In 1918, Sebottendorff had succeeded in extending the journalistic influence of the Thule Society to the working classes by asking a sports reporter on a Munich evening paper, Karl Harrer, who had an intense interest in volkisch ideology, to form a workers' ring. This small group met every week throughout the winter of 1918, and discussed such topics as the defeat of Germany and the Jewish enemy.


At the instigation of Anton Drexler, the workers' ring became the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers' Party) (DAP) on 5 January 1919. In February 1920, the DAP was transformed into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP).


By that time, the party had already been infiltrated by an army spy whose orders had been to monitor its activities. Instead, he supported it, drafted new regulations for the committee, and soon became its President.


His name was Adolf Hitler.

The Edda Society

As we saw earlier in this chapter, Guido von List and his followers believed that the Icelandic Eddas were chronicles of the ancient Aryans. List's occult-historical system was elaborated upon by Rudolf John Gorsleben (1883-1930), a playwright-turned-journalist who was born in Metz and grew up in Alsace-Lorraine (annexed by the German Reich in 1871).


In this environment, in which people's loyalties were divided between France and Germany, Gorsleben was exposed to Pan-German nationalism and succeeded in tracing his ancestry back to a fourteenth-century noble family in Thuringia. (77)

At the outbreak of the First World War, Gorsleben fought first in a Bavarian regiment and then in a unit attached to the Turkish army in Arabia When the war ended he went to Munich, where he became involved with the Thule Society and right-wing politics. During an eventful three years, Gorsleben became Gauleiter of the South Bavarian section of the Deutschvolkischer Schutz-und Trutzbund, an anti-Semitic group that was competing with the early Nazi Party.


He formed associations with right-wing figures such as Julius Streicher, who would later edit the Nazi organ Der Stunner, and Lorenz Mesch, the Germanenorden chief who had been instrumental in the assassination of Erzberger.

Through his periodical Deutsche Freiheit (German Freedom) -later renamed Arische Freiheit (Aryan Freedom) - Gorsleben disseminated his occult racist ideas, which centered upon the concept of racial purity and the reactivation of the occult powers that every Aryan possessed but which had become atrophied. With these magical powers once more at their fullest, the Aryan would hold complete sway over the processes of nature, and would thus be in a position to dominate and rule the world.


He reiterated the volkisch notion that racial mixing was not only detrimental to the superior partner but also that a female could be tainted merely by intercourse with a racial inferior, and that all subsequent offspring, even if conceived with a racial equal, would likewise be tainted. (78)


With regard to the Eddas, Gorsleben believed that the Scandinavian runes contained an inherent magical power that provided those who understood their significance with a spiritual conduit through which could flow the force that drives the Universe itself.


By far the most powerful was the asterisk-like hagall rune, since within it could be found hidden all the other runes. In addition, Gorsleben was perhaps the first occultist to promote the magical significance of crystals, which he considered to be three-dimensional projections of the runes. According to this theory, the spirit of every human individual can be correlated to a specific type of crystal that can be apprehended through the faculty of mediumship.

In November 1925, Gorsleben founded the Edda Society in the medieval town of Dinkelsbuhl in Franconia. The treasurer of the society was Friedrich Schaefer, an associate of Karl Maria Wiligut, who would come to exert a great influence upon Heinrich Himmler. When Gorsleben died from heart disease in August 1930, the Edda Society was taken over by Werner von Bulow (1870-1947), who had designed a 'world-rune-clock' which illustrated the correspondences between the runes, the zodiac, numbers and gods.(79)


Bulow also took over the running of Gorsleben's periodical, and changed its name from Arische Freiheit to Hag All All Hag, and then Hagal.

Although the primary intention of the Edda Society was to conduct research into the ancient Aryan religion through the interpretation, via the runes, of Norse mythology, the history of the lost Atlantean civilization and the numerous prehistoric monuments of Europe, it nevertheless declared its allegiance to National Socialism in 1933, stating in an article in Hagal that the rise of Nazism was occurring in accordance with universal laws.


Hagal also included material on the ancestral clairvoyant memories of Wiligut, which were felt to be of extreme significance to an understanding of the ancient occult heritage of the Germanic people.

Interestingly, not all rune scholars subscribed wholeheartedly to the racist, anti-Semitic interpretation of the Eddas. For example, one rune occultist, Friedrich Bernhard Marby (1882-1966), synthesized rune scholarship with astrology after encountering the writings of Guido von List.


In his paper Der eigene Weg (established 1924) and his book series Marhy-Runen-Bucherei (begun in 1931), Marby emphasized the health benefits gained from meditation on the runes. He was denounced as an anti-Nazi by the Third Reich in 1936, and sent first to Welzheim concentration camp, and then to Flossenburg and Dachau, and was only freed when the camps were liberated by the Allies in April 1945.(80)

Although he lacked the virulently racist outlook of the other volkisch occultists of the period, Marby subscribed to a similar theory to that espoused by Liebenfels: namely, the essentially electrical nature of the cosmos, inspired (as noted earlier) by the recent discovery of radiation and the new uses to which electricity was being put.


In Marby's opinion, the Universe was awash with cosmic rays, which could be both received and transmitted by human beings. In addition, the beneficial influences of these rays could be increased by adopting certain physical postures in imitation of rune-forms (a practice with an obvious similarity to yoga).

In 1927, Siegfried Adolf Kummer (b. 1899) founded a rune school called 'Runa' at Dresden. Runa concentrated on the practice of ritual magic, including the drawing of magic circles containing the names of the Germanic gods and the use of traditional magical tools such as candelabra and censers. During these rituals, the names of runes were called out and rune shapes were traced in the air as an aid to the magical process.


Like Marby, Kummer was denounced by Wiligut, who considered their methods disreputable. (81)

Other occultists were more concerned with astrology and more overtly paranormal (in today's parlance) subjects than rune occultism. Georg Lomer (1877-1957) trained as a physician, but after encountering Theosophy turned his attention to alternative methods of medicine, particularly the use of dream symbolism and palmistry in the diagnosis of illness.


By 1925, Lomer had added astrology to his occult interests, resulting in a synthesis of pagan Germanic mysticism with astrology.


As Goodrick-Clarke observes:

'In common with the other post-war Aryan occultists, Lomer essentially used occult materials to illuminate the forgotten Aryan heritage.' (82)

The defining element in the occultism practiced in Germany and Austria in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the perceived evil and corruption of the modern world, particularly that of the despised Weimar Republic with its stench of defeat, weakness and decadence. For people like List, Liebenfels, Sebottendorff and their followers, the future of humanity lay not in industrialization, urbanization and international finance (which they saw as causing the destruction of traditional, rural ways of life and the brutalization of their ancestral homelands) but in the resurgence of ancient Aryan culture and the maintenance of racial purity.


For the Aryans were heirs to a fabulous mystical legacy stretching far into prehistory, all the way back to the lost realms of Atlantis, Lemuria, Hyperborea and Ultima Thule. From out of the mists of time shone this lost Golden Age of giants and god-men endowed with fantastic, superhuman abilities but who had been subsumed through miscegenation with inferior races - and were now gone.


The volkisch occultists hoped, through their activities, to forge a magical and cultural link with these lost times, and through racial segregation and later genocide re-establish the global hegemony of the Aryan Superman.

Having completed our survey of Germanic occultism as developed and practiced around the turn of the twentieth century, we must now leap back several thousand years into the past and turn our attention to that lost Golden Age itself.


We are about to enter the strange realm of crypto-history, which will require us to travel far from Germany in the inter-war years - indeed, far from the orthodox view of humanity's entire history. In this way, we shall be able to identify the mythological origins of volkisch occultism in the legends of the lost Aryan homeland.


In the following chapter, we will find ourselves traversing the icy fastness of the far North, as well as an ancient sea in what is now the Gobi Desert.


We shall also reacquaint ourselves with Madame Blavatsky and her theories of the Root Races of humanity; and, by the end of the chapter, we will have examined the origins, mystical significance and ultimate corruption of the swastika, at which point we will have prepared ourselves for the harrowing journey into the nightmarish world of Nazi occultism itself.

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