Author: Alexander Dugin
Translator: Jafe Arnold
Foreword to Mysteries of Eurasia (Moscow, Arktogeya: 1991)
Sacred geography belongs to the category of those disciplines which are unknown to the vast majority of our contemporaries. The rampant collapse of the ideas of the European Enlightenment, in accordance with its mechanical nature, materialism, positivism, and pragmatism has transformed human consciousness so much in the last century that the gap with the world of Tradition and its laws has become final and irrevocable. This process of the West’s transition to the position of profanity was described by Rene Guenon in his works “The Crisis of the Modern World” and “The Reign of Quantity and Signs of the Times,” which have finally seen the light of day in Russian translation. Therefore, sacred geography and the studies associated with it, belonging entirely to the sphere of Tradition, are unlikely to be easily understood and, as follows, this book cannot count on a wide range of readers. Nevertheless, there always exists a certain number of people who are radically dissatisfied with the intellectual substitution of profane science and culture, who are searching for deeper, truer explanations, and who are striving to break free from cliche and trite opinions which do not clarify the essence of the problem. This means that the world of Tradition, its laws, its principles, and its logic are always of particular interest to a potential “intellectual elite” which is longing for the truth.
Sacred geography is a part of Tradition associated with the qualitative structure of space and the symbolism of parts of the world, continents, landscapes, etc. Tradition claims that the place in which this or that people lives, in addition to a physical dimension, also has a metaphysical dimension connected to some spiritual archetypes beyond the material. Just as man himself is composed of body, soul and spirit, so do countries, continents, rivers, seas, and mountains have their hidden, secret, mystical dimension similar in structure to the emotional and spiritual worlds of people. Consequently, the country in which this or that people lives is connected with this people and, accordingly, with the separate representatives of this people on a subtle level. They constantly engage in mutual influence, analogous to that which occurs between man and the environment on a physical level. But the “soul” of a country, its sacred dimension, interacts with the soul of the nation, with national sacrality, and this interface and interpretation is the sum of the reality which is called “civilization,” “cultural type,” or “geopolitical predisposition.” Thus, sacred geography explores the deeper mysteries of the history and laws of nations and peoples not in their existing, but in their archetypal, spiritual aspect. In a sense, it can be said that sacred geography is “secret geography” or “genuine geography” which studies, as all traditional sciences, not the world of effects, but the world of causes.
Orientation in a space is not only a task of sailors, travelers, and cartographers. It is an existential, spiritual task of each person. And it is no accident that sacred places of worship, temples, altars, and burial grounds, and even more broadly, any human constructs, are initially strongly correlated with the rays of light which are evident in relation to a sacred place, the directions of which have a fixed, symbolic meaning. Moreover, ancient religious rituals and gestures, which in traditional civilization were the same as the actions of a person in official, social life and at home, are strictly correlated with sacred space. Of course, the meaning of the symbolic significance of a spatial orientation may change depending on the varying traditions of a civilization, but some things remain universal and are maintained everywhere. For example, an appeal to the East has always had a meaning of sacred positivity. This is a country where the sun rises, a region of completeness and an abundance of the heavenly, spiritual Source. Therefore, to this day, Christian churches in particular always have the alter facing East. The West, on the contrary, is traditionally considered to be the boundary between the lands of people and the world of the dead, an entrance to the “underworld regions,” the lands of death.
The qualitative organization of space for organic human communities – for nations which are formed in a particular space and which absorb the sacred meaning of this space as an integral part of their national soul – bears even more importance. Thus, for example, Russians regard the fact of the location of “Holy Rus” on the plains as a sign of objective selection by God, and in ancient Russian legends there is a story in which the hero Yegory the Brave banishes the “mountains” to the periphery, thereby forming a paradise and rounded land chosen by God. The flat part of Russian territory is an essential element in the national mentality, and we can expect that at some point in history this “flat” archetype of the collective psyche will certainly let itself be known in one way or another.
This book, Mysteries of Eurasia, is titled such because its task is to study the sacred geography of precisely this continent and especially its central part, which long ago became the country of the Russians. Without a doubt, this is not a dry and detached study, because the author is far from indifferent to the fate of the soul of our people, the Russian people. The Russian people is considered here to be a subject of mystical Eurasia, its beating heart, its mysterious center. This is due to both subjective and objective principals. It is subjective insofar as the author is Russian and it is fully naturally that he feels a deep responsibility for his people, for their historical, spiritual path, and for their past, present, and future, as should be the case for every Russian. The objective reasoning lies in that Russia is located at the center of the Eurasian continent, and this central position, from a sacred point of view, is neither arbitrary nor accidental. The task at hand is understanding, in adequate terms, the validity of this center and its fateful meaning. In this case, the subjective and the objective merrily complement each other.
Russia is an Orthodox country. Consequently, the Christian tradition has a certain role on the thin, providential level just as it does for the Russian people and the territories on which it historically resides. Moreover, Russia remains the only independent Orthodox power, the “Third Rome,” to which, according to church doctrine, an eschatological mission within Christian civilization and the history of mankind is entrusted. Consequently, Russian Orthodox sacrality must have its own special, unparalleled features. These features cannot be reduced merely to the letter of church dogmas, although they do not contradict it. They have a special, esoteric and mysterious meaning, to the deciphering of which several chapters of this book are devoted. This is also one of the Mysteries of Eurasia and, quite possibly, one of the main ones.
This work is based entirely on the Tradition in the sphere of which the highest authority is Rene Guenon, an author whose profound works allow one to discover the salvational path to the realm of the Sacred in our dark age in which even religious institutions are often so profane that achieving true light through them becomes impossible. But Guenon and his works cannot be the final answer to all questions and unchanging catechisms, as some of his Western followers think. Upon clarifying his ideas and views on the true essence of Tradition, one should turn to Tradition itself, submerge oneself in it, and begin the Wise Deed of existing within the framework of the Sacred, the path of cognition, master its secrets, and take the path of initiation and spiritual realization. For Russia and Russians, following Guenon means appealing to Russian Orthodoxy and the sacred Russian tradition whose traces are preserved in icons, hagiographies, chronicles, temples, our legends, myths, fairy tales, sayings, the mysterious Russian language, our ancient literature, our national soul, and our great and glorious history. Such is the position of the author which, logically, should be the position of every Russian person who strives fully and consciously, spiritually and actively, and in thoughts, feelings, and deeds to be Russian.