Alexander Dugin – “Counter-Initiation: Critical Remarks on Some Aspects of the Doctrine of René Guénon” (1998)

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translated by Eurasianist Internet Archive

Originally published in the journal Mily Angel #3 – Konets Sveta (‘Sweet Angel: The End of the World’, Moscow: Arktogeia, 1998). Subsequently republished as an appendix to the second edition of the book Puti Absoliuta (“The Ways of the Absolute”) in the Absoliutnaia Rodina trilogy (“Absolute Homeland”, Moscow: Arktogeia, 1999).

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Preliminary remarks: the necessity of correcting Traditionalism

The question of “counter-initiation” is the most shrouded and ambiguous in all of Traditionalist thought. Perhaps this is a consequence of the very reality which Traditionalists, following Guénon, denote with the term “counter-initiation.”

The meaning of counter-initiation is set out by René Guénon in his book The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times. In brief, we can say that Guénon understands counter-initiation to be the sum of secret organizations which, although in possession of initiatic and esoteric data, nonetheless direct their activities and efforts towards a goal which is the direct opposite of normal initiation. In other words, instead of striving towards the absolute, they head towards fatal disappearance and dissolution amidst the “reign of quantity” in its external twilight. In line with Islamic esotericism, Guénon called the hierarchs of counter-initiation Awliya es-Shaytan, that is to say the “saints of Satan.” In Guénon’s point of view, representatives of counter- initiation stand behind all the negative tendencies of modern civilization and are secretly administering the course of affairs down the path of degradation, materialization, and spiritual perversion.

According to Tradition, the logic of the cyclical process inevitably boils down to a trajectory of degradation, from the Golden Age to the Iron Age. As follows, there should be various conscious forces contributing to this process just as, conversely, the forces of true initiation and genuine esotericism try to impede this fatal decline by all means. This historical dualism of Guénon’s in no way affects the metaphysical unity of the Principle, insofar as it belongs to the sphere of manifestation, where the main law is that of duality. This duality at the very heart of manifestation is overcome only upon going beyond the manifest into the sphere of the transcendental. We cannot discard the dualism within the world. Thus, the role of counter- initiation is partly justified insofar as it is rooted not in arbitrariness, but in the very providential necessity tied to the laws of the universe.

 

This purely theoretical aspect of the doctrine of counter-initiation is completely flawless from a logical point of view and is confirmed by all the various doctrines of sacred traditions dealing with “demons”, “the devil”, “evil spirits”, the “Antichrist”, etc. But everything becomes much more complicated when we attempt to move from theory to practice and name specific organizations or secret societies as examples of counter-initiation. This is only part of the problem. Before we can clarify this subtle question, it is necessary to attentively examine what René Guénon meant by “initiation” and “esotericism.”

According to Guénon, the historical variance of sacred forms – religions, traditions, etc. – is a consequence of the differing qualities of the human and historical environments into which the rays of the One Non-Human Truth are projected. In other words, for Guénon, all traditions, as one approaches their center, transcend confessional differences and almost always merge into something unified. Guénon called this the “Primordial Tradition” (la Tradition Primordiale). It is this Tradition, according to Guénon, that constitutes the secret essence of all religions. In a certain sense, this is true. Any careful study of the symbolism of Tradition, its rituals and doctrines, leads one to the idea that all sacred teachings have some kind of common element or paradigm which is somewhat lost sight of when one arrives at more narrow dogmatic aspects and matters of detail. The thesis of the “unity of Tradition” is particularly convincing in current circumstances, as the modern world has built a civilization whose basis strikingly contrasts everything that might be called Tradition(al). In other words, Integral Traditionalism and the appeal to the One Tradition are reliable to the extent to that they contrast the modern world to all those civilizational forms that are founded on sacred elements. Indeed, there are many more similarities than differences between the various traditions and religions when compared to the contrasting backdrop of modern, completely de-sacralized civilization. This postulate is obvious. The question is: to what extent is this convergence in the face of a common enemy a consequence of esoteric unity?

In other words, is the difference between the most sacred traditions merely the result of faults in the cosmic environment at certain moments in the cycle? Are there not some deeper reasons behind this?

One glaring example of the relevance of such doubt can be seen in Guénon’s hesitation as to whether Buddhism should be counted an authentic tradition or not. Guénon initially relegated Buddhism to the category of antinomian heresies, but later recognized it to be a genuine tradition. The question at hand is not even that of Buddhism, but the fact that Guénon’s very own uncertainty exhibits a certain conditionality of his method whenever the matter at hand concerns concrete historical traditions and their dogmatic principles. If even Guénon could be mistaken on the question of Buddhism – which remained for him largely an abstraction, for the analysis of which Guénon relied on the opinions of his Hindu informants who, like all Hindu Traditionalists, are distinguished by their acutely anti-Buddhist orientations – then it cannot be excluded that such errors may occur in the case of other religions as well.

 

Our own studies have led us to the conclusion that Guénon was not quite right in his analysis in two other cases. Firstly, when Guénon denied the Christian Church an initiatic dimension – and he dated the loss of this dimension, present in early Christianity, to the era of the first Ecumenical Councils – he was clearly relying exclusively on the history and historiosophy of the Catholic branch (with the later deviation of Protestantism). Guénon clearly ignored the metaphysical and initiatic reality of Orthodoxy, which differs from Western Christianity sharply and on the most fundamental positions. Guénon equated Christianity with Catholicism and inappropriately projected the proportions of the Catholic organization, including the mystical nature of its rituals and theological specifics, onto Christianity as a whole. This rendered his views on the matter completely incorrect. [1]

Secondly, Guénon was quick to recognize Jewish Kabbalah to bear the quality of genuine esotericism which, in his opinion, is distinguished by universalism and is beyond any particularisms. But in fact, Kabbalah insists on the ethnic specialness of Jews, the uniqueness of their fate, and their metaphysical opposition to all other peoples and religions no less (if not more) than the Talmud and exoteric Judaism. This clearly contradicts Guénon’s definition of esotericism, according to which principles of universal unity and the merging of all spiritual and religious forms into a common concept should predominate. Even in its most transcendental aspects, Kabbalah affirms not unity, but a radical and indelible metaphysical-ethnic dualism.

Moreover, on a more general plane, Guénon’s assessments of certain peoples – such as the Ancient Greeks, the Japanese, the Germans, Anglo-Saxons, and Slavs – were at times so subjective and arbitrary that Guénon’s striving to base some of his conclusions as to the orthodoxy or non-orthodoxy of various traditional forms on these appraisals calls into question everything in Traditionalism related to the application of theoretical considerations to the practical sphere.

The absence of universal counter-initiation

The differences between religious forms can constitute far more of a profound factor than the conditions of exotericism, and can be rooted in metaphysics itself. If, by virtue of the specificity of their traditions, synthesis can be accomplished rather easily with Hinduism and Islamic esotericism (while all other traditions are interpreted in terms exclusively peculiar to them), then the matter stands somewhat differently with other religions. Hinduism and Islam allowed Guénon to construct a logical and non-contradictory picture, but one which becomes less apparent when we try to apply it to different religions and their specific approaches to metaphysics.

For Guénon and the Traditionalists who follow him, the situation is thus: the One Metaphysical Tradition, which constitutes the essence of universal esotericism, is the inner kernel of all orthodox traditions. Dogmatic religions and other forms of exoteric traditions are external shells covering in diverse ways this unity of content (esotericism and initiation). On the pole opposite of universal esotericism is “counter-initiation”, which entails not simply the rejection of this or that religious or exoteric form, but universalism itself. Thus, the very notion of “counter- initiation” is inseparable from the postulation of the esoteric unity of all traditions.

 

However, outside of esoteric Islamic and Hindu contexts, such logic cannot be accepted unequivocally, as the metaphysics of other traditions do not recognize any esoteric solidarity with other religious forms. In fact, the universalism of Sufism and Hinduism is not so obvious as it may seem at first glance. The price of recognizing the orthodoxy of other religious forms is affirming that they are “distorted”, and treating their dogma in the spirit and letter of the specific esotericism peculiar to Hinduism and Sufism. For example, the Hindu approach to Christology practically equates Christ with an avatar, which, in a purely Christian dogmatic framework, is equivalent to the “monophysite” view. Islam, on the contrary, proceeding from a strict monotheism, adheres to a “Nestorian” (“Arian”) Christological scheme. In both cases, the Orthodox Christian formula which ultimately leads to its own, altogether different metaphysical perspective is denied [2]. Thus, the universalism proclaimed by Traditionalists turns out to be not so total and unambiguous as one would like.

Furthermore, Hinduism bases its tradition on a formula that is inverse to that of the Iranian tradition, despite deriving from the same source. As is well known, even in the very names for gods and demons, there is an inverse analogy between Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. Moreover, Hinduism considers Buddhism to be a heterodoxy (a view to which Guénon himself adhered for quite a long time). As follows, these three Eastern Indo-European traditions cannot reach agreement with one another and seamlessly establish esoteric unity. Indeed, it is quite difficult to recognize any “esoteric rightness” on the part of those who call one’s gods “demons” and vice versa (the Devas and Asura in Hinduism and Zoroastrianism are of directly contradictory elements), or who radically deny the authority of the main sacred source (as Buddhists reject the Vedas, castes, and all the foundational doctrines of Hinduism).

The situation is even more severe in the Abrahamic context. If Islam recognizes some kind of legitimacy among the traditions of the “peoples of the Book” (Judaism and Christianity) and believes Muhammad’s mission to be the last word of “Abrahamism” which corrected all previous errors, then neither Christians nor Jews recognize even the slightest authenticity of other versions of Abrahamism, which are considered heresies, lies, and evil.[3] The example of the Zohar, the highest authority of Kabbalah, easily lends towards the conviction that hostility towards Islam and Christianity is not only the case on the metaphysical and esoteric level, but here it attains the highest metaphysical tension. Accordingly, Orthodox esotericism relates to Judaism (both exoteric and esoteric) just as harshly, seeing it not only as an Otherness of external religious form, but as the embodiment of metaphysical evil and the “tradition” of the Antichrist.

Thus, beyond Sufism and Hinduism (whose universalism is also not unlimited), there is no common esotericism. This means that traditions understand “counter-initiation” to be those sacred forms which openly contradict their own metaphysics. If the exoteric evil in this case is represented by the negative points stemming from the ethical-dogmatic specifics of a given religion, then the esoteric evil (counter-initiation) would be the metaphysics of a tradition that contradicts such. All of this incredibly complicates the question of counter-initiation, which ceases to be so obvious and transparent, and in fact becomes extremely confusing.

 

From the point of view of Orthodox esotericism, Judaism and Kabbalah are undoubtedly counter-initiatic.[4] From the Zohar’s point of view, the esotericism of the Goyim, especially the “descendants of Ishmael and Esau” (Muslims and Christians), is “the false teaching of the demon Samael” who “leaps on the serpent Lilith.” From the point of view of Hindu esotericism, Iranian dualism is rooted in the fact that Zoroastrians worship demons, the Asura, (Iranian Ahura), whom they (Hindus) call “gods.” Buddhist esotericists, meanwhile, are convinced that the initiatic doctrines of Hinduism are the ultimate evil, insofar as they only increase the attachment of beings to Samsara – after all, the higher divine worlds are distinguished in the Buddhist perspective by an even greater illusory quality than the worlds of humans, as the absence of suffering only alienates the prospect of achieving Nirvana. In Islamic civilization, the most radical representatives of manifestationist esotericism – such as al-Hallaj, Suhrawardi, etc. – were executed as malicious heretics.

How, in such a situation, can one discern any universal counter-initiation, trace its origins, and recognize the forces and organizations serving as its cover? If the universality of esotericism (in the very least, in our cyclical situation) is not obvious and proven, then how can we speak of any universality of “counter-initiation” being the inverse projection of such?

Inter- and intra-religious contradictions

On the one hand, there exist deep contradictions between traditional religious systems which pertain to the higher realms of metaphysics. On the other hand, these traditional forms are not immutable, but are subject to cyclical laws. Traditions pass through difficult periods of historical embodiment, among which, besides the natural stages of rise and fall, there exist even more paradoxical moments entailing the amendment of internal nature, alienation, and transformation into something essentially different while maintaining external attributes.

More often than not, these disturbing moments cannot be reduced to some “triumph of negative tendencies” as seen by the exoteric tradition and morality derived from the letter of sacred forms. For example, the Islamic tradition can degenerate without its authorities publicly denying the principle of monotheism or the mission of Muhammad, and Christians by no means need to worship other gods (or Satan) in order to break with the source and spirit of the Church. If everything were so simple, history would be an elementary, mechanical device with predictable functioning and an easily foreseen future. In fact, this is how many things are seen by those people distinguished by a naive (if not to say idiotic) view of the world, no matter whether they are “conservatives” or “progressives.” Only a deep understanding of the internal kernel of tradition, the real realization of its higher levels, allows us to isolate and grasp what is foremost and most essential, and that means accurately discriminating between the true axis of orthodoxy and alienation, deviation, simulation, and degeneration. There are no purely external criteria to this question. One should not overestimate the “devil” – if he were as simple as moralists think, he would hardly have been able to participate in human history so actively, for so long, and, most importantly, so unrecognizably.

For example, the schism of the Christian world into the Eastern and Western Churches was far from a purely exoteric event. Behind the schism lurk the most profound metaphysical reasons. The same is true for the Islamic world and the division into Shiites and Sunnis. The Sunni tradition (especially Wahhabism) believes in the high authority of Sultan Yazid, who killed Ali, i.e., Muhammad’s cousin who is the spiritual pole (qutb) for Shiites, the first Imam. Behind this contradiction lie much deeper discrepancies of a purely metaphysical nature. [5]

In a certain sense, things are no smoother in the case of Hinduism, in which Vishnuism and Shaivism are not so harmonious with relation to one another as might appear to be the case at first glance. For example, the traces of such a dualism can be seen in the Mahabharata, whose editing was, without a doubt, the work of Vishnuist circles. The Kauravas, the enemies of the Pandavas and the inveterate villains, are portrayed as inspired by Shiva and his retinue to the point that Shiva is considered to be a “subtle essence” in contrast to the metaphysical and purely spiritual nature of Krishna, the avatar of Vishnu. The parallel with the “devil” begs itself in this case, especially if we take into consideration Guénon’s indication that the “devil” belongs to the “subtle plane.”[6]

 

If we apply the Traditionalist approach to other sacred forms beyond Hinduism and Sufism, we find ourselves in a situation in which it becomes impossible to speak of counter-initiation as something universal and opposed to universal esotericism without falling into mythomania or moralistic dualism which, theoretically, should have been overcome insofar as we are considering the sphere of esotericism. In other words, every sacred form endowed with metaphysical uniqueness formulates in its own way its own theory of what “counter-initiation” is for it (and not only for it). At the same time, the positions of different traditions can coincide in some aspects, while in others they may diverge. Thus, we arrive at the affirmation of an absence of any one counter-initiatic doctrine or organization. Everything that is habitually included in the notion of “counter-initiation” turns out to be a plural, complex, and multipolar reality. The definition of the nature and form of a counter-initiatic doctrine thus derives from the metaphysical particularity of each concrete tradition.

There is no denying the fact that, in recent centuries, there has been a glaringly overarching, broad process which undoubtedly represents a clearly pronounced tendency towards the construction of an anti-traditional society based on principles which are radically opposed to the sum of those which constitute the basis of any tradition.

But there is one exception here: Judaism. In the religious and metaphysical perspective of Judaism, the last centuries, starting in 1240 and especially since 1300, are seen as the prelude to messianic triumph. The fall of Christian civilization and the political liberation of Jewry (not to mention the contemporary successes of political Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel) are seen as none other than the greatest metaphysical progress. Thus, on a matter over which the majority of traditions fully concur with one another, there is the exception of Judaism.

The external revival of confessional religions in recent years, following several centuries of active processes of de-sacralization and secularization, also fits poorly into Traditionalist logic. Although this [renewed] interest in religion is not as easily exposable of a parody as Neo- spiritualism and “New Age”, it is clearly not a true spiritual rebirth.

 

In short, the problem of the “deviation of esotericism”, or counter-initiation, is complicated not only by inter-confessional contradictions, whose origins can be traced back to metaphysics, but also internal transformations within these traditions relative to the stages of their history.

On top of all of this, there exist anomalous cases (Judaism, the new interest in religions in the West, etc.) which seemingly contradict the quite obvious tendency of progressive secularization on the basis of which Guénon attempted to substantiate his theory of counter-initiation and the latter’s planetary plan to prepare the “reign of the Antichrist.”

Counter-initiation and initiation are in solidarity with one another up to a certain point

Guénon’s concept of counter-initiation is based on a scheme to which he adhered in relation to more general questions pertaining to the structure of Tradition. Guénon constantly bore in mind the following tripartite model:

[Принцип-Периферия]

 

1. Principle

2. Intermediary space

3. Periphery

In the center of the circle (or at the top of the anthropological and cosmic hierarchy, the vertical) is initiation, authentic esotericism, the Primordial Tradition, the one metaphysics. This is the inner sphere, the sphere of the initiated beyond confessional differences – the sphere of those who are to be found beyond the threshold of genuine esoteric organizations.

On the periphery (the horizontal plane) are the profane and the un-initiated. For them, the oneness of truth is hidden behind a variety of forms and labyrinths of moral and ethical standards. These are ordinary people who are not conscious of the true nature of things and events.

Finally, lying beyond the periphery, at the lower point of the vertical axis, is a kind of “anti-center.” This is counter-initiation, the place of the “saints of Satan.” Counter-initiation unites various tendencies not in a light synthesis, but in a dark mixture of infernal parody.

This model is obviously transparent and convincing. But the first difficulties with it arise when we attempt to explain the historical and geographical localization of counter-initiatic centers. At this point, it turns out, it is quite difficult to distinguish such centers from properly initiatic societies and orders. Determining on which side of the periphery – the inner or outer, the upper or lower – can be found this or that initiatic organization reveals itself to be extremely difficult (if not altogether impossible), and all external criteria can easily be simulated. Guénon specified that true esotericism is always metaphysically oriented, while counter-initiation remains on the level of cosmology or the “subtle world.” However, an enormous distance separates the profane world and the world of metaphysical principles. In the early stages, it is absolutely impossible to predict for sure whether an initiate will reach the end of this path to the actual metaphysical levels, or whether they will get stuck in the intermediary spheres. And if they “get stuck”, then how do they then differ from those who represent “counter-initiation”?

In other words, up to a certain point, and rather far from the sphere of the competence of the profane, the paths of initiation and counter-initiation are not only parallel, but essentially one. With respect to the orientations of “above” and “below” (which at first might seem to be convincing criteria) it should be noted that they are not indicative in direct initiatic experience, since ascent in the borderline sphere between the worldly and otherworldly is often accomplished by means of descent, a departure which leads straight into the abyss.[7]

If one makes it to the end of this path, the adept attains effective metaphysical realization. If one goes astray, all the attributes of counter-initiation will be glaring.

 

In other words, out of this simple tripartite scheme arises a more complex and less edifying picture, in which the main emphasis is put not on the orientation of movement, but on the reality of the achieved result. Thus, the problem of counter-initiation boils down to an incomplete and imperfect esoteric realization, not some kind of primordially and strictly “Satanic-oriented” secret society aiming to create and strengthen an anti-sacral civilization. The anti-sacral civilization which indeed has been built and is being built today, should be seen as the result of the overlapping of many incomplete realizations, first and foremost of an esoteric nature, the solidarity of which is obvious to all those who have been left half-satisfied with incomplete tendencies in their own sacred form.

The preponderance of profanism, fed by overall degeneration, is only a consequence of the degeneration of initiatic organizations themselves which, contradicting their primordial orientation, are now content with intermediate surrogates and unrealized potencies instead of unceasingly and heroically striving towards the center of metaphysics. At the same time, that very “demonizing” force commonly referred to as “devilish” and “satanic” can hardly be held responsible for participating in this entire process. In fact, the most terrible and formidable results of perversion and de-sacralization are those achieved by people who have the best intentions and are convinced that they are orthodox bearers of the most obvious good. Every initiate who treats their spiritual path with affection, every cleric who considers his tradition and its dogma to be an ethical or moral convention, and every Traditionalist who settles down with reciting the phrases of their master, which are in appearance correct but rendered meaningless by the mental laziness of their followers – all of these types little by little build the structures of counter-initiation and sever the metaphysical apex from the pyramid of initiatic realization.

Those whom it is easiest to single-out as being “representatives of counter-initiation” on the basis of purely external criteria – e.g., open “Luciferians” or “Satanists” – sometimes exhibit tragedy, pain, non-conformism, and the ability to stare the terrible truth of apocalyptic reality straight in the eyes. Hence why they cannot fulfill the role of the main “scapegoats” for Traditionalists. Of course, some of them may be in solidarity with processes of de-sacralization, but this is more of an exception. More often than not, at least among those who take the matter seriously, the point is that, on the contrary, these types are still about rising up against de- sacralization; they stand against conformism with the degenerate world – a world to which many representatives of “orthodox” traditions, oddly enough, easily adapt and in which they manage to perfectly comfortably arrange themselves. More often than not, religious non-conformists (“heretics”, “Satanists”, etc.) are seeking the totality of sacral experience which the representatives of orthodoxy cannot offer them. This is not their fault, but their misfortune, and the true fault lies with those who have allowed authentic tradition to be turned into a flat facade behind which there is simply nothing. Perhaps it is none other than these “dubious” forces and groups who are grimly, desperately, perplexedly, stubbornly, yet heroically pursuing esotericism and initiation deep within reality, while the profane and the moralizing conformists who remain on the periphery of initiation are the ones hindering this path by all means.

 

If initiation and counter-initiation can be distinguished only in terms of the concrete experience of spiritual realization, then no external criteria can help on this matter. This conclusion begs itself especially if we recognize the universality of esotericism, a point on which Guénon insisted. This conclusion remains valid when we apply it to the esotericism of one sacred form taken individually. When we take into consideration the metaphysical contradictions which exist between different forms, then the matter becomes even more complicated.

From the Red Donkey to the Roman Pope

The main examples of counter-initiation to which Guénon pointed included the cult of the Egyptian god Set, whose remnants have survived since the most ancient times along with multiple snake cults in the Middle East. In Guénon’s perspective, the mysterious brotherhood of the Red Donkey (or Red Dragon) exists to this day and is secretly directing the main processes of civilization in an infernal vein. If we digress from the “detective” flavor of this conceptualization, another consideration presents itself: How could an esoteric group of people engaged in the sacred – albeit in such an infernal, serpentine, and possibly fragmentary dimension – have provoked the modern world’s complete ignorance of the sacred, and contributed to the widespread assertion of the primacy of quantity and the radically anti-initiatic approach characteristic of the modern way of life?

Compared to the maniacal system of global lies which we see in the modern mass media, secular utilitarian culture, and everyday lifestyles, any “snake-worshippers” would be an exotic and quite sympathetic group of romantic marginals. There must be a reality behind the anti-sacral aggression of the modern world which is much more formidable and much more thorough than the machinations of some exotic “black magicians.” It is hardly likely that the scraps of ancient cults, even the most sinister ones, could be responsible for the anti-sacral collapse of the modern world. It is hardly likely that a dark and obviously minute sect wields such universality to the point that, in theory, it is capable of effectively influencing the most important events of world history and, most importantly, shaping the prevailing intellectual climate. If something of this sort really has taken place, then such an organization could not possibly have remained unnoticed, and there would be in circulation certain information about it which, although distorted, approximate, and amiss, would nonetheless be extensive.

It is still another matter if we take the bearers of some kind of metaphysical tradition that is radically opposite to the dominant religious culture to claim the role of counter-initiation. For example, an altogether respectable and pious Pars (Zoroastrian) could end up in India and, in one way or another, gain access to influence over the most important spheres.[8] In the context of Hinduism, he would fulfill an openly counter-initiatic function, insofar as Zoroastrian metaphysics is founded on the principle of Dvaita, whereas the metaphysical axis of Hinduism is Advaita. Such metaphysical subversion would be much more destructive than, say, the antinomies posed by radical Shaivist sects who, while being ethically questionable for their ritual devouring of people, sinister necromantic practices in wastelands and cemeteries, their Tantric orgies, etc., do not call into doubt the main metaphysical line of Advaita-Vedanta – on the contrary, they strengthen, affirm, and defend it.

The activities of a Kabbalist Jew within, say, the Islamic tradition or a Christian country, would bear the same counter-initiatic character, and the (negative) efficiency of such would be higher in relation to the depth and sophistication with which the Kabbalist understands the metaphysics of his own tradition (and vice versa).[9] Strictly speaking, an Orthodox metaphysician who is perfectly conscious of all the metaphysical implications of the dogma of the Trinity and who understands the whole depth of the contradictions between the Christian Gospel and the alienated creationism of Judaism and Islam, would by the will of fate become involved in the most important cultural-religious questions in the countries and cultures associated with the strict Abrahamic tradition, and could all together deal irreparable damage to their official ideology (and its limits in culture and politics) – naturally, this would be “damage” from the point of view of the stability and preservation of Abrahamic creativity in its older form. In practice, the presence of such overt or covert religious (and esoteric) groups in different states is an obvious fact, while the “snake-worshipers” are either completely unknown or are extravagant marginal oddities.

Now let us turn to Western civilization, which is the cradle of anti-sacral tendencies. In the West, the counter-initiatic tendencies which produced the monstrous result that we see today developed in several stages. The first stage, associated with Orthodox eschatology, was neglected by Guénon, who had a clearly inadequate opinion of the Christian tradition. This first stage consisted of the fall of Rome from Orthodoxy, the changing of the Symbol of Faith by Charlemagne, and the transition from the Orthodox and eschatological concept of the “symphony of powers” (associated with the metaphysics of the “withholder”, the Katechon) to the Papist (Guelphian) model, against which stood the Ghibelline Emperors of the Hohenstaufen who were just as dear to Guénon as they are to us. [10] Thus, the main sources of counter-initiation in the West should be sought in Catholic Scholasticism and the Vatican.

 

Unlike Orthodoxy, Catholicism lost its esoteric component, and this unleashed a whole spectrum of initiatic organizations of various stripes (Hermetic, proto-Masonic, etc.). Given that these initiatic organizations stemmed from an extra-Christian context (from pre-Christian cults and the Islamic and Jewish traditions), any alliance with the exoteric church was founded not on synthesis and organic unity, but on conformism and conventions. This Catholic civilization was so inorganic and unstable that even in its better periods (such as the Middle Ages), it harbored a number of dubious and at times openly counter-initiatic elements.

This unsustainable compromise was ultimately shaken, and both components of the Western tradition came into open contradiction. Catholicism rejected non-Christian esotericism and finally descended to the level of contradictory, secularized Judeo-Christian morality. Autonomous esotericism, in the form of Freemasonry, became a destructive, rationalistic apparatus in essence anti-Christian and anti-esoteric. These halves of the disintegrating ensemble were marked by counter-initiatic features: in the very least, in the majority of cases the spiritual path towards metaphysical realization could not be stopped at the first stages, but it was simulated, forged, alienated, and turned into its opposite. The very first and most significant chord of such degeneration was the rejection of the completeness of Orthodox metaphysics. This was the most decisive step in the direction of counter-initiation within the Christian world.

 

After having remained for quite some time within the realm of fully-fledged, unified (at once Orthodox and Catholic) Christianity, which had preserved the fullness of its authentic metaphysics and initiation, the peoples and states of the West eventually, in one catastrophic moment, severed this chain. This was enshrined in the introduction of the dogma of the Filioque and in the sacredly-unauthorized conferment of the status of “Emperor” to the Frankish kings before their kind – this destroyed the symphony of powers in the West. Catholic (and later altogether secularized-Protestant) moralism, plus the anti-clerical, bureaucratic, philanthrophic- demagogic rationalism of Masonry – all of this was much more counter-initiatic from the standpoint of fully-fledged Orthodox metaphysics than any splashes of anti-Church, pagan, or even “Luciferian” cults in the West, which perhaps represented but paroxysms of nostalgia for the complete and total Tradition, not even a hint of which had remained in the West since time immemorial.

This combination of Western anti-metaphysical Christianity (Catholicism and especially Anglo-Saxon Protestantism) with rationalistic Masonry (with the active participation of the Jewish factor, which played a significant conceptual role in the degradation of the West – after all, the fall of Edom, the “Christian world”, is the condition of the triumph of Judaic messianism [11]) is what lies at the heart of the poisonous paradigm of the modern world. The role of “Satanists” or “representatives of the Order of Set” in all of this is not only negligible, but generally naught, especially since the very fact of such an order’s existence is presumptive and based on extremely dubious evidence. Guénon cited the illustration of an artist from Cairo depicting a strange monster, the statue of which he allegedly saw in a secret sanctuary.[12] What would Guénon have said about the paintings of Dali, Ernst, or thousands of other avant-garde artists who depicted monstrous creatures on their canvases and told thousands of hallucinatory and narcotic tales?

Very telling in this regard is the story of Léo Taxil, the scandalous author of the late 19th century who was behind the forged revelations of the machinations of “Satanists.” For the Catholics, Leo Taxil described the secrets of “Satanic Freemasonry”, while for Masons he exposed the “perversions” and “black book magic” of the Catholic clergy. In fact, beyond his clearly adventurous personal aims, Taxil quite cleverly showed how representatives of both Western organizations (one embodying exotericism, the other esotericism) were not so much “devil- worshipers” as gullible fools. This grotesque idiocy on the part of both conservatives and progressives is perhaps the most expressive sign of the parody which Guénon himself called the easily recognizable “seal of the devil.”

In fact, Traditionalists and Guénon’s followers have not been able to avoid the same fate, as they uncritically repeat various (and often frankly disputable) maxims of the master and have reached the very same “scholastic parody”, the signs of which were clearly noticed by the much wiser and non-conformist, although no less controversial Baron Julius Evola.

 

The absence of counter-initiatic symbolism in the Primordial Tradition

Now a few words about the Primordial Tradition. From our point of view, the contours of this Tradition were outlined with amazing clarity in the works of the German Professor Herman Wirth, a review of whose book Guénon published in Études traditionnelles.[13] According to Wirth, all existing mythological plots, symbols, religious dogma and rituals, and moreover all human languages and alphabets, evolved from a single calendric proto-form: the Sacred Circle, accompanied by an arrangement of proto-runic signs.[14] This proto-form was a description of the natural phenomena observed by humanity at the North Pole on the ancient disappeared continent of Hyperborea (or Arktogaa). Thus, out of an abstract concept, the Primordial Tradition became a tangible and concrete reality of a paradigm whose main contours were extremely convincingly and voluminously revealed by Herman Wirth.[15]

What interests us in the Hyperborean calendric proto-form is that realm which is associated with the dark, nocturnal sectors, corresponding to the Polar Night and its related symbolism. This is the period of the winter solstice, or Great Yule, the main festival, symbolic and ritual center of the whole structure of the Primordial Tradition. Counter-initiation, according to Guénon’s definition, is related to the negative aspects of universal symbolism and, as follows, in the Hyperborean complex corresponds to those realities describing the state of the Polar Night, the decline of the sun, and other symbolic analogues of this event. The snake and wolf often function as such symbols, frequently imagined as swallowing the sun in the polar winter. This darkness is also identifiable with Mother Earth, from which all living beings come and whither all return to be reborn again.

This primordial picture, which is strictly cyclical and harmonious, preceded the division of this symbolic complex into positive and negative elements. The snake, the wolf, darkness, the underground realms (where the sun descends), death, and night do not have strictly negative significations. All aspects of the cycle are equally important and necessary – the sunset is just as sacred as the sunrise, and without the sun’s “dying” there can be no spring, no rebirth in the New Year. Therefore, the same symbols have both negative and positive aspects. This is an essential point: at hand is not an artificial theological concept seeking to consciously identify positive in negative and negative in positive (like the famous Chinese symbol of Yin-Yang), but rather a special state of consciousness which, in principle, does not know the very idea of negative.[16] It is precisely by virtue of this state that Tradition is indeed Primordial and Integral, that is, preceding any particular interpretation. The possibility for different interpretations of this primordial symbolism is embedded in the overall picture, and such interpretations are what constitute the content (and background) of historical religions and mythologies which evolved into stable symbolical and doctrinal complexes at the cost of metaphysically and ethically emphasizing only certain aspects of the one Hyperborean proto-form to the detriment of others.

 

It can be said that the “Hyperborean Tradition” was simultaneously dual and non-dual, trinitarian and unitary, monotheistic and polytheistic, matriarchal and patriarchal, sedentary and nomadic. Only later did it split into several branches separated from and opposed to one another.

The Primordial Tradition does not annul the metaphysical differences between traditions, since it is in this regard strictly neutral. It provides a general context; it employs a system of correspondences and symbolic series which allow one to explain the most mysterious and darkest aspects of symbolism, mythologies, religious doctrines, and sacred tropes. With regards to metaphysics, this Primordial Tradition is limited to being a mere statement of fact. The metaphysical question attains its real intensity in completely different conditions, those removed as far as possible from the Golden Age of the polar civilization. This, in fact, is why it is impossible to agree with Guénon on the esoteric unity of traditions, since they are not unified on a metaphysical level, but rather unified in the sense of descending from a single sacred cult-symbological complex, a universal language, the basic element at the origins of all the varieties of human culture and human religion. The use of this language can serve to express the most diverse theological and metaphysical constructs, but they all concern one and the same archetypal structure, which they merely interpret and whose metaphysical accents they re- arrange in different ways.

As follows, the symbolic complex which would be associated with counter-initiation, in its most universal aspect, should be that relating to the Hyperborean mystery of Yule. Strictly negatively interpreting this complex might lead to grotesque distortions, to the point that the most important and sacred aspects are treated as “counter-initiatic.” This, according to Herman Wirth, is what happened with the Christian tradition when it equated various “solar-thresholding” Hyperborean tropes with demonic realities, even though their symbolisms are strikingly reminiscent of the calendric history of the birth of the Son of God (the winter solstice). For instance, the demon’s tail was a vestige of the solar-solstice rune connoting the lower part of the polar year and the roots of the world tree. The cauldrons in which the demons cooked sinners were derived from the trope of the winter cauldron (or vessel) of the gods – the cauldron of the Celtic god Dagda which never runs empty. This is a typical winter-solstice motif (and the New Year rune itself was still called Dagda in the Normans’ time, and was depicted as a bowl or cauldron). The horns of the “devil” are a symbol of the spring Resurrection of the sun, as they are the symbolic analogue of the two raised hands – the spring rune “Ka.”[17] And so on.

These considerations show that it is impossible to judge the counter-initiatic character of one or another symbol or symbological complex on purely formal grounds, since in Hyperborean symbolism, which lies at the heart of all sacred symbolism, there are no such symbols.

Conclusion

Summating our brief analysis, it should be clear that it is necessary to radically reconsider Guénon’s theory of counter-initiation and carefully consider the various standpoints involved in this matter. This problem is closely connected to other theses of Guénon’s which, upon attentive study and application to concrete historical religions and initiatic schools, turn out to be too rough, inaccurate, or frankly erroneous. At the same time, this revision in no way tarnishes the high authority of René Guénon. Without his works and most important theses and interpretive models, the whole picture of esotericism and metaphysics would be hopelessly confused today. The point is not to debunk the master, as some of his ungrateful students, such as Frithjof Schuon, have sought to do. On the contrary, it is necessary to refine and hone the great intuitions of this genius human being in order to cleanse his teachings of all that has turned out wrong, and in order to make shine with new strength and freshness those aspects which are expressions of the purest truth. Guénon bequeathed to us an invaluable tool, an excellent methodology for studying Tradition. Thanks to him, we can determine the common denominators of the enormous materials of theology, the history of religions, initiation, etc., with which we have to deal, and which would otherwise remain hopelessly contradictory fragments defying any systematization (not to mention neo-Spiritualist reconstructions or the theories of profane historians and ethnologists).

 

Guénon remains the main and key author. But if, following serious reflections and the results of careful research, we arrive at conclusions which do not concur with his views but correct them, then it is pointless to try to hide and pretend that everything remains unchanged. The question of counter-initiation is highly important and extremely relevant. So is the question of the existence (or non-existence) of a real metaphysical unity of traditions. This text is merely an introduction to this problem, but as an outline for further research it is of colossal significance. We hope to develop this topic in subsequent works.

In the meanwhile, let us remark that an adequate view of counter-initiation, a clarification of its nature, essence, and “localization”, will lead us to the most horrifying secrets which, while hidden behind the dubious myth of the modern world, are ready to find their nightmarish, chilling incarnation in front of a hopelessly slumbering humanity drowsily wandering towards slaughter. Contrary to the naive stories of the “Order of the Red Donkey” and exotic and relatively harmless “Luciferians”, the true mission of counter-initiation is dizzyingly large-scale, effective, and ubiquitous. It is preparing a terrible fate for all peoples and civilizations. But in order to recognize this approaching catastrophe, it is necessary to look at things soberly and intently beyond the romantic haze of residual occultism and the “detective plot” of cheap horror novels.

Nothing rejoices the “enemy of humankind” more than the deafening stupidity of those who hastily decide to embark on the path of struggle against him without seriously weighing all the circumstances and assessing the whole volume of that unfathomable and terrible problem which St. Paul the Apostle called the “mystery of iniquity.”

 

Footnotes:

[1] We addressed this topic in detail in: Alexander Dugin, Metafizika Blagoi Vesti. Pravoslavny ezoterizm (The Metaphysics of the Gospel: Orthodox Esotericism, Moscow: Arktogeia, 1996). This work contains a detailed scrutiny of Guénon’s Christological views arising from his confessional belonging to Islam, not from any correspondences between their “univocal esoteric truth.” Generally speaking, despite the fact that Guénon wrote very little about the Islamic tradition, the majority of his theses on the esoteric question arose precisely out of his Islamic views on things. Hindu Advaita-Vedanta and Sufi Islam were most dear to Guénon. The specific approaches to esotericism proper to these two traditions considerably shaped Guénon’s preferences and analyses in the sphere of historical religions and their dogmas. Regardless of how logical or harmonic these two systems might be, they still far from exhaust all the possible variations of esoteric and initiatic doctrines.

 

[2] See: Dugin, Metafizika Blagoi Vesti.

[3] Christianity is counted among the Abrahamic traditions only in the Islamic perspective and some Judeo-Christian currents. Orthodoxy cannot recognize such a title insofar as it is clearly conscious of its internal spiritual nature as a Melchizedekian, pre-Abrahamic, and supra- Abrahamic tradition.

[4] Dugin, Metafizika Blagoi Vesti, chapter 41. [5] Ibid. `

[6] Is this too really the case? The logic of our analysis suggests that the matter is somewhat more complex.

[7] We can recall the case of Dante’s initiatic journey where, at the very bottom of the crater of hell, he began to descend down Satan’s body even lower, ultimately reaching not the center of the abyss, but the surface of the earth near Purgatory and the hill of earthly paradise. This category also contains a number of symbols which situate paradise under the earth, demons at the tops of the mountains, etc.

[8] For example, the husband of Indira Gandhi was a Pars (Zoroastrian).

[9] This is the case with the Dönmeh, the followers of the Jewish pseudo-messiah Sabbatai Zevi, who outwardly followed their leader in adopting Islam, but who, when heading the Turkish state in the 20th century, immediately abolished Islam as the state religion and proclaimed the creation of a “civilization of the Western type” in Turkey. Even though they were absolutely traditional with regards to their esoteric Kabbalist community and loyal to the general context of the Jewish Diaspora, the Dönmeh carried out what is from a purely Islamic perspective an anti-Islamic, profane mission.

[10] See Dugin, Metafizika Blagoi Vesti.

 

[11] See the article “The Messianism of Kabbalah: The Metaphysics of the Nation, the Messiah, and the End Times in the Zohar” in Mily Angel 3 (1998).

[12] Here is a fragment from Guénon’s letter to a certain Hillel in 1930 which describes this history: “Here behind al-Azhar (a university in Cairo) there is an old gentleman who strikingly resembles the portraits of Ancient Greek philosophers and produces strange paintings. He once showed us a drawing of a dragon with the head of a bearded man in a 16th century hat with six small heads from various animals protruding from his beard. It is especially curious that this figure clearly resembles an image found in Revue internationale des sociétés secrètes as an illustration of the book L’élue du dragon. This illustration is supposed to have been taken from some ancient book…But the real gem is that this gentleman claims to have seen this head elsewhere and painted it exactly like the original!”

[13] See: Mily Angel 1 (1991).

[14] See: Herman Wirth, “Das Heilige Jahr” in Der Aufgang der Menschheit (Jena: Eugen Diedrichs, 1928). Translated into Russian by Alexander Dugin as “Sviashchennyi God” and published in Mily Angel 3 (1998). See also Alexander Dugin, “Kosmicheskii Spasitel’” (“The Cosmic Savior”) in the same number.

[15] See Alexander Dugin, Giperboreiskaiia teoriia (“The Hyperborean Theory”, Moscow: Arktogeia, 1993).

[16] Contemporary linguistics divides types of thinking into two main varieties – “digital” and “analog.” “Digital” thinking precisely corresponds to profanism and materialism, operates with the abstract categories of “there is” and “there is not”, and functions according to the laws of formal logic (the law of the excluded third, the law of identity, etc.). Philosophers call this “classical rationality.” Analog thinking became a scientific category over the course of the study of archaic “primitive” peoples, cultures, and mythologies. Analog thinking corresponds to the world of Tradition and retains connection with traces of the Hyperborean tradition. It knows no “pure negation.” “Not” therefore means “another yes.” Pure absence is unimaginable, as the very concept of “absence” immediately evokes the image of “another presence.” Analog thinking first affirms the whole image, and only then deconstructs it into categories of “presence”, “absence”, “positive”, “negative”, and even “male”, “female”, “big”, and “small.” In analog thinking, there is no strict distinction between the subject of action and the object of action, between the substance and the attribute, the action and the substantive. Thus, in our example, the sun, its disappearance, and its absence act as something whole and integral. The affirmation of the sun already contains its negation (setting in winter), and the negation of the sun (winter darkness) is an affirmation which testifies to the meaning of the sun. On the basis of this logic, the primordial symbolism in principle was not subject to moral interpretation. It was a system of interrelated, integral, sacred elements, none of which is endowed with a value-priority. Everything in it was an expression of the one sacred Being, the Light of the World, at different stages of its cyclical pulse.

 

[17] See Dugin, “Kosmicheskii Spasitel’”, op cit.

Christian Metaphysics: The Essence of the Problem

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Introduction/chapter 1 of Metafizika Blagoi Vesti [The Metaphysics of the Gospel] (1994) in Absoliutnaia Rodina [Absolute Homeland] (Moscow: Arktogeia, 1999). 

Christianity is that tradition whose metaphysical dimension has been studied least of all. This is quite a paradox since one would think that such a deep study of Christianity, the religion of the West, would attract all those interested in metaphysics and who, following Guénon, are trying to make sense of the most profound aspects of Tradition. Nevertheless, the disputes surrounding Christianity in Traditionalist circles are, as a rule, limited to fairly secondary, practical issues regarding the virtual initiation of the sacraments, the absence of an idea of cyclical time, etc. In all of this, one can see a tacit consensus among Traditionalists that Christianity is nothing more than a reduced, incomplete tradition whose esotericism has been practically lost, and whose metaphysical content cannot be detached from the dense veil of exoteric scholastic theology and the hazy subjective intuitions of mystics. All attempts to identify any consistency between the basic principles of Christianity and the conceptual categories of other, more metaphysically developed traditions (primarily Hinduism) have yielded rather poor results and have been based on strained interpretations and biased urges to arrive at any cost at conclusions which match Guénon’s own ideas (this is clearest of all in the book by Abbot Henri Stéphane, Introduction à l’ésotérisme chrétien [1]). 

These circumstances, however, can be explained quite simply. The problem is that the Guénonian approach has spread only in narrow circles of the intellectual elite of the West, where by Christianity is usually understood, in the best case, Catholicism. But the specificity of Catholicism is such that, from the moment that the Western Church fell away from the Eastern Church, Catholicism built its dogmatic and intellectual foundation on a conscious rejection of the metaphysical content of Christianity. All the scholastic constructs were essentially an ambition to develop a slender theological doctrine while completely ignoring the ontological and metaphysical elements which were in fact present in the Christian tradition before the schism and preserved even afterwards. Of course, they survived exclusively in the Eastern Church, i.e., in the bosom of Orthodoxy. But Catholics, and even the most profound among them, seem to be unaware of this.

Orthodoxy, for its part, despite having preserved ontological and metaphysical wholeness, from a certain time onward could no longer assert its metaphysical content (i.e., actual Christian metaphysics) in clear categories. Shortly after the “Palamite disputes” when Orthodox esotericism experienced its last dazzling rise in history, this line was somewhat marginalized and “frozen”, as priority was given to the exoteric sides of the Church. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Russian theologians and even secular philosophers, intuitively surmising the special metaphysical nature of Orthodoxy, attempted to formulate certain principles for reviving the forgotten dimension of this tradition. However, most of these attempts did not yield serious results since none of them were familiar with the works of Guénon. Hence why only now, in our opinion, is it possible to acquire adequate knowledge of the most important proportions of the structure of fully-fledged metaphysics.

It can be said that although Western Traditionalists had the intellectual apparatus developed by Guénon, they did not have an adequate object for applying such, since Catholicism fundamentally prohibits one from going from the exoteric to the esoteric and metaphysical levels and, moreover, places insurmountable obstacles along the way. The Orthodox had and have a fully-fledged object, the Orthodox Christian Church Tradition and a full, irreducible dogma, but they have hitherto lacked an adequate metaphysical apparatus. Thus, for two opposite reasons, both in West and East the most widespread, well known, familiar, and close tradition – Christianity – has remained the most unknown, mysterious, and closed, all the while as Traditionalists rather well mastered Islamic metaphysics, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and even some archaic cults. The distant and exotic paradoxically became dearer to modern scholars nominally belonging to Christian civilization than “their own,” the familiar and close.

Be that as it may, Russians’ first acquaintance with the ideas of Guénon [2] now allows us to chart our way out of this impasse and to try to compare the overall metaphysical picture with the dogma of Orthodox Christianity. One should not be mistaken as to the simplicity of such a study. The near complete absence of references to Orthodoxy among Traditionalist authorities makes this task extremely difficult and risky. Nevertheless, without claiming final truth on this matter and all the while leaving the way open for alternative pursuits, we will try in this work to understand the metaphysical nature of Orthodoxy and, as follows, arrive at a formulation and recognition of the essence of Christian metaphysics.

 

Footnotes: 

[1] abbe Henri Stéphane, Introduction à l’ésotérisme chrétien, Paris, 1979.

[2] At the present moment, the following books of R. Guénon have been published in Russian: The Crisis of the Modern World (Moscow, 1992), The King of the World in the journal Voprosy filosofii from 1993; The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (Moscow, 1994), Fundamental Symbols of the Sacred Science (Moscow, 1996), and articles in the journal Milyi Angel No. 1, in the journals Voprosy filosofii, Literaturnoe obozrenie,  and Volshebnaia Gora (chapters from the books An Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power, and The Symbolism of the Cross, etc.)

 

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission.

The Rus of Rurik

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translators: Jafe Arnold, Nina Kouprianova

Chapter 1 of Tsarsky Rod (2016)  

“He who correctly explains the name of Rus will find the key to explaining her primordial history,” wrote the Polish historian A.R. Brueckner. What’s more, not only its primordial history, but the very “seed of its logos,” its meaning, and he will find the key to the Russian future. As the monk Andronik (A.F. Losev) wrote, “the Greek expression EIS ONOMA or EN ONOMAK, ‘in the name’, itself proves that a name is a certain situating of divine energies, and the immersion and residence in it of all created beings leads to enlightenment and the salvation of the latter.”

Today we are beginning to grasp, to understand our name. Our own name. Our name – “Russians” – transcends the division into Great Russians, Belarusians, Little Russians, and Rusyns. It is derived from Rus.

And now the first and oldest question: Where are you from, Rus? In her book, Prizvanie varyagov [The Calling of the Varangians], Lydia Grot says:

Scholars have long paid attention to the abundance of hydronyms in Eastern Europe, the formation of whose names involved the root component ras/ros/rus’ or rus. The most ancient of known names for the main river of Eastern Europe, the Volga, was Ra. This was maintained by Ptolemy (the middle of the second century A.D.) and has been discovered in Herodotus (the fifth century B.C.) with the same vocalization of the root ra-. The historian A.V. Podosinov believes that there are even more ancient names for the Volga. One of them was preserved on the ancient Iranian Avesta, the commonly accepted dating of which is believed to be the end of the second and first half of the first millennium B.C. The text on this artifact mentions a river called Ravjha (Rangha or Rankha) in which many Iranian scholars see the Volga. In the hymns of the ancient Indian Rig Veda (from the end of the second to the beginning of the first millennium B.C.), there is reference to the northern river of Rasa which scholars equate to the Avestian Rangha and the Volga. In one Greek treatise from the third or fourth century A.D., the authorship of which is attributed to Agapimeno, there is mention of the Volga in the form of Ros. In the space stretching from the Volga/Rasa/Ros to Neman/Ros’ (Rus) can be found Ros’ or Rusa, a river in the Novgorod province; Rus’, a tributary of the Narew; Ros’, the famous tributary of the Dnieper river in Ukraine; Rusa, a tributary of the Seym; the Ros’ of the the Emajõgi river; the Ros’ of the Oskol river; and Poruse, a tributary of the Polist, etc.

The presence of the land of Rus and the Rusians themselves on the territory between rivers with the names Ras/Rus/Ros’/Rus’ speaks to the fact that Rus was supposed to be the ancestral territory of a people bearing the same name.

But it is completely clear that this is not only and not so much of a matter of ethnonyms. The Rig Veda also contains the word rasa which stands for “liquid,” “juice,” or “main substance,” and in the Mahabharata means “water,” “drink,” “nectar,” or “milk” i.e.,  it possesses related semantics.

Another example: in studying the etymology of the river in the Novgorod region named Poruse, which in antiquity was called Rusa, some scholars have come to the opinion that the river’s name is ancient Baltic and descends from the root rud-s/roud-s meaning red. However, this is a root word with the same meaning as in Sanskrit, hence it could have been borrowed to Lithuanian (given their proximity). This word is also in the Russian language. In Sanskrit, the word rudhir means red, blood-red, or blood. The Indologist N.R. Guseva explains: “the meaning of red in Sanskrit traces back to the ancient route rudh which meant ‘to be red or brown.’ This ancient meaning can be juxtaposed to the ancient Russian words rodry, rudy, or rdyany which denoted the color red, as well as the ancient Russian word ruda – blood.”

But what is this “blood”? What kind of blood?

Lydia Grot concludes that the name Rus, from which many rivers in Eastern Europe received their names, was the sacred name of the ancestor of the Rusian people.

The entire Hungarian and Romanian region is covered with names reminiscent of Rus: Poiana Rusca, Ruskberg, Russ, Rusor, Rusanesti, Ruscova, Rusova, Ruspoliana, Rustina, Rutka, Rostock, Rossia, Rosaci, Roschina. Many villages’ names are conjuncted with oros or orosh, which in Hungarian is rus.  They can also include olah or vlah, i.e., Roman, Magyar, horvat, roman, and nemet. This serves as undeniable proof that the population, at least in the old days, distinguished between themselves Rus, Walachians, Croatians, and Germans.

But this is by no means limited to “Eastern Europe.”

Besides the conventional singling out of an “Eastern European” Rus (Kuyaba, Slaviya, Ar(s)taniya), the scholar of “paganism” (we employ this concept with a certain degree of reservation), M.L. Seryakov, also distinguished “another Rus” far in the West. Later, over the course of our narrative, we will see the proto-geopolitical meaning of this.

M.L. Seryakov points to the Primary Chronicle’s testimony of the existence of Rus on both sides of the Varangian sea, i.e., also in the “English land.” Of course, Seryakov stipulates that he is not speaking of Jutland which, in his opinion, was inhabited by the Angles before their relocation to Britain. He also refers to the Jewish Book of Yosippon (from the 10th century), whose author “places one Rus in the neighborhood of the Saxons and Angels, and the second on the Dnieper.”

This testimony is important because the “Russian-British drama” has dragged on throughout all memorable centuries. But more on this later.

***

The phrase “Ancient Rus” was artificial in its common usage (before the 17th century). It arose from the desire of the official historiography of the 19th and especially the 20th century to identify Russian history with the histories of other peoples and states. The very desire for such an identification, however, betrays the poorly concealed doubt in its subject. In one way or another, it must be recognized that the Russian state of the 8th-10th centuries which is discerned as the epoch of “Ancient Rus” (no more nor less up until Peter the Great) has no relation whatsoever to the ancient, i.e., classical world. Before us is a typical medieval state. As for the actual period of Russian antiquity, then, guided by the methods of positivist science, i.e., documents whose dating is always doubtful, it is difficult here and now to speak of anything at length. It is necessary to draw only the most general outline.

Certain revelations which, not coincidentally, appeared at the very beginning of the Second World War in the journal Bulletin of Ancient History, appear to us to be extraordinarily valuable. The author of the article “On the Question of the Origin of the word ROS, ROSIA”, Russia, M. Syuzyumov, merely summarized the Old Testament and in particular Byzantine evidence of this ancient sacred name which later became a generally accepted ethnonym. M. Syuzyumov writes:

“It can be asserted with full certainty that the ancient Russians never called themselves ‘rossians’. There is no such word in Russian language in ancient artifacts. Moreover, it can be assumed that even the Byzantine Greeks themselves hardly called the Russians ‘rossians’ in spoken language…Liutprand, the bishop of Cremona who visited Constantinople the mid-10th century, mentions the Russians in his work Antapodosis. He reports that the Russians received their name from the Greek word ROYSIOS (which means ‘red’) and that this name was given to the Russians for the particular color shade of their bodies…In the Greek translation of Ezekiel, one encounters more than once the name ‘ros’ in the form of ‘rosh’: ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him’ (Ezek. 38:2)…However, if one carefully follows the epithets of Patriarch Photios addressed to the Russians, then it turns out that Photios falls into an obvious contradiction. On the one hand, he calls the Russians  a world-famous people. On the other hand, about the same Russians in his second speech, Photios speaks of a people entirely unknown, ETNOS AFANES AL NASION, a mysterious, unknown ETNOS ASEOMOS, unclear people who are MEZE MEKHRI TES KAT EMON EPEL YSEOS GIGNOSOMENON, incomprehensible and unrecognizable upon approach. How can we combine his words TO TRYLLOYMENON, i.e., that they are those ‘about whom everyone speaks,’ ‘commonly-known’, and ‘infamous’ with his words that they are, AGNOSION, ‘unknown’ and AFANES, ‘shady’? If in mind is a concrete nationality, the Russians, who attacked Constantinople, then we are left with a contradiction, a genuinely irreconcilable one.

We will return to this “irreconcilable contradiction” again, and more than once. As for an “introduction to the problem,” let us recall the Varna caste system of Aryan society that was preserved (of course, in a diminished, rudimentary form) up until the French Revolution of the 18th century with its uprising of the “third estate” against the first (the aristocracy) and the second (the clergy). In the ancient Aryan (Japhetic) languages, sur, ms, kyr, syr, and sar meant not only the color red, but sun, gold, blood, (metal) ore, race, and generation (all of these concepts are essentially synonymous) and, of course, imperial power, the imperial-warrior, Kshatriya caste – in other words, the Golden Type or Royal Blood (Sang Royal). In addition, as noted in the 19th century by A.A. Kunik and V.R. Rozen: “Rus is from the Gothic hrodh, or glory (hence the definition of the Black Sea Goths as the Hrudgoths. This word was part of the name Rurik (Hrodhrekr) and originally meant the dynasty, only to then transition to mean the country where this dynasty ruled.”

Is it not interesting that in “Biblical Hebrew”, there is also this letter? Resh means head (including beheading) and prince, i.e., the ruler. The “mystery” of the “Rus race” (which is mentioned as the future race of the liberators of Tsargrad in The Tale of the Capture of Constantinople from the 15th century attributed to Nestor Iskander) is entirely explainable given that Byzantium did not develop dynastic elements. Anyone could become the emperor. At the moment of the fall of Constantinople, the Russians had an obvious, solid ruling princely dynasty. In this sense, the adjective “Russian” which has caused confusion among some modern authors becomes a quite natural designation for the royally anointed, the sovereign. Moreover, it turns out that for Russia the ethnonym and state name coincide with the name of its first ruling line. The meaning of this for Russian historiosophy, as for the Russian consciousness, cannot be overestimated.

There are just as many meanings and designations in the ethnonyms of the Slavs, or Novgorod Slavs called Slovene in Russian. In fact, we know from so-called “academic history” the names of the “Slavic tribes” – the Drevliane, the Vyatichi, the Poliane, Radimichi, etc. – who did not directly bear the name Slavs or Slovene and, despite the closeness of their languages, frequently did not understand one another.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” – everyone knows this beginning of the Fourth Gospel (John 1:1). The Word of God, or the Eternal Sacrifice slain before the beginning of time (here we cannot speak of time, but of aeonic dimension) is an image both ‘about’ and ‘before’ created from the red (ros) land of man (if we combine the Russian word for “word,” slovo and for “man”, chelovek, we have slovek). This is the “voiced image” (MEROIS or MERORIS) – the “first born from God” and the “first sacrifice” in one and the same name. The eternal sacrifice of the Son of God and God, the Second Face of the Holy Trinity, the “uncreated”, precedes the creation of created man in the sense known to him as materia prima. Jesus Christ from the heavens is the eternal Adam (the Red Clay) and is in one and the same name the new Adam and His Resurrected Flesh. Fallen Adam himself is in one and the same name the ruler, bestowing the names to creations, and the priest is the sacrifice of the mystery of Paradise (“fruit and prayer”). However, with the fall of the first man, the heavenly mystery was been deprived of its fruit and turned into bloody pagan sacrifice (all pagan cults, including the Dionysian), since for the restoration of the heavenly dimension and the new bloodless, Eucharistic sacrifice, the phenomenon of the sacrifice of the God-man himself in history was necessary. The pagan priests, however, and their Varna caste and tradition, preserved a corrupted memory of serving the God Word, of course in “shadow, not truth” in the words of Metropolitan Hilarion. The “shadow”, however, was so profound, down to the depths of the underworld, that it “demanded” human sacrifices as inevitable in a world outside of Christ. These dedicated priests originally, as far as is apparent, were originally Slavs or Slovene. It is from them, as some authors believe, that the ancient city of Slovensk probably received its name, which is precisely in the place of modern Novgorod (some trace it a bit further north and closer to a modern city on the Neva). “The Ilmen Slav sovereigns that founded Slovensk and Rus were the masters of all of Pomerania and even up to the Arctic Sea and along the great Pechora river and Vyma through the high, impassable mountains in the country of Siberia to the great river Ob and to the mouth of the whitewater river.”

One of the “gods” of the pre-Christian Slavic pantheon was Veles or Volos. Volosy, meaning “hair” in Russian, are an attribute of solar light, the king-priest (let us remember that the Word of God is the King and the High Priest). The first to draw attention to the anagram of the Volos-Word was the outstanding translator and writer Vladimir Mikushevich. In addition to a direct reference to the Adamic, heavenly rites even in “paganism,” before us is a direct indication that “Slav” or “Sloven”, i.e., the “voiced image” (MEROIS), is first and foremost a sacrifice and priest, albeit, of course, before the sacrifice, the God-Word, abolishes the “bloody, human sacrifice.”

Applying this to the “social structure” of the ancient society of the Slovene, there is the priest who is identical to a druid or sorcerer. Thus, the Slavo-Russian language is the royal, priestly language just as how in Europe, for example, the Franco-Celtic combination is a combination of free (francs) soldiers, i.e., the same people bearing light-brown hair and Celtic druids (kit-kchld – Chaldean – koldun) and the magi-“Slovene.” With the adoption of Christianity, the Varna caste division of Aryan society was, of course, cleansed of its “pagan abomination” and “mystery of iniquity,” i.e., specifically of blood sacrifices. Thus, it was miraculously transformed into the symphony of the Orthodox Empire and yielded the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Orthodox Priesthood. The concepts of “Russian”, “Slav,” “Frank,” or “Gaul” (hl-kl-klt), “Goth,” or “Celt” were gradually transformed into ethnonyms. This can only be realized upon setting aside the famous dispute between the “Normanists” and “anti-Normanists.”

The point is that both the Slavs and the Rus (like the Franks and Celts) ethnologically belonged to one Northern Aryan ethnos today known as the Veneti. In the days of old, one could stumble upon the name mentioned by Strabo – Vindelicum or Vendelicum (and the Baltic Sea was the Sinus Venedicus). Moreover, one of their names was Franks (the “free ones”) and the other was Slavs. As Eckhard wrote, “The Franks once dwelled near the Baltic Sea, where there is now the Vagria” (Franci olim ad mare Balthicum, ubu nune est Vagria). It should thus be clearly borne in mind that all of these ethnonyms are from later times. “The Franconian Slavs,” writes the 19th century Russian scholar Y.I. Venelin (Gutsa), “did not call themselves Vindelicum, just as they did not call themselves Slovene as the name existing only in ethnographic books. The very word Franks is a modern ethnonym derived from one of the names of the kings who ruled the ancient Vagria called Reges Francorum and who, according to Fredegar and the later chroniclers, were the descendants of the Trojan kings (the line of Priam). These are the Trojan Veneti settlers who formed the ruling, princely caste of whom Polybius wrote. According to him, they “differ little from the Celts, but speak their own language. The writers of tragedies often mention this people and speak of its many miracles.”

Everything thus turns out to be very simple: in the West they were called Franks, and in the East, Rus. This also renders clear the process of the transformation of the Varnas (the castes) into ethnoi (and not vice versa, contrary to Marxist and Liberal science) and renders it easier to trace the evolution of the remnants of the old law of the land.

The modern scholar of the history of law, M.A. Isaev, writes:

Rus could finally merge with the Slavs no early than the 12th century. The Russian Truth knew very well the Rusin opposed to both the Varangian Kyfling (the foreigner) and the Slav. This is a very characteristic feature of the Russian tradition. The sources of barbarian law usually secured legal position not only among different layers of the population, but also in different forms between ethnoi. The barbarian laws knew a similar differentiation between the conqueror peoples and, for example, the Romans, who continue to live according to jus Quiritium. But what distinguishes the Russian legal as well as cultural and state civilization among the whole lot of barbarian and ancient samples of Western European culture is the rejection of ethnic particularism as a principle of state life…

The latter is quite natural based on the Divine and Theophonic, not ethnic origin of royal (i.e., Russian) authority. Wherever authors more based in tradition do not literally, i.e., like “foreigners,” understand, for example, the Varangians (we will see below what this word meant among the ancient Aryans), the picture manifests itself more clearly, acquiring intelligible outlines.

The Primary Chronicle of the 15th century and the praise of the Russian language contained therein, the sources of which date back to the Kiev dome, says:

This will be known by all languages and all peoples that the Russian language is from nowhere and this holy faith and Russian alphabet was not introduced by anyone but God the Almighty, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imbued/breathed faith and the acceptance of baptism and other Church customs from the Greeks to [St.] Vladimir [the Great], whereas the Russian alphabet was given by God in Korsun [Chersonesos Taurica in Crimea] to the Russians, and from this philosopher Constantine learned it, from this he wrote books in the Russian language. […] That same Russian man was virtuous in thought and action, in pure faith he isolated himself, and from the Russian language came early Christians, and it is not known by anyone where it came from. [1]

A.G. Dugin writes: “The Russian monarchical tradition began, as is known, with the calling of Rurik from the Varangians to kingship over a group of Slavic and Finno-Ugric tribes. In the later period, descending from the first prince – Rurik – was the spiritual and genealogical justification of royal authority, its legitimacy and sacred legality. This tradition was so persistent and deep, so self-evident and absolute in Russians’ understanding, that it simply could not have been inconsistent with the indigenous archetypes of ancient forms of consciousness which, although they moved into the sphere of the unconscious, nevertheless did not lose their efficiency and validity. In our opinion, the calling of Rurik from among the Varangians was seen as a great, nationwide mystery embodying in itself the script of the supernatural origin of royal power which is characteristic for all ancient, traditional dynasties.”

Thus, Slavo-Russian means simply Divine-ruling. ROS and MEROIS. MEROIS is the “voiced image,” i.e., the voiced, or slovesny in Russian, and thus Slovensky – one of the names of the First Adam.

***

The modern world has an exceptionally short memory. While extolling “European civilization” as the kingdom of democracy, i.e., Laodicea (which sounds like the Greek synonym of the word laocracy, or rule of the people), it is forgotten that the history of the latter is the history of a mere three centuries. Moreover, the Russian liberals of the last century, dreaming of the “Novgorod Republic,” did not remember, did not know, and did not want to know of the sacred center of our ancient homeland which had nothing in common with their understanding of the “principles” of the French and American bourgeois revolutions as they envisioned and reflected upon in their minds.

It must be said that the most significant refutation of liberal forgetfulness is the historical and archaeological science of recent years that has paradoxically confirmed the Church Tradition (the chronicle tale Of the Slovene and Rus, the Christian Cosmography of Saint Cosmas Indikoplov and others), just as has practically all of the archaic Byliny, ancient Japhetic, and semi-fantastic corpus. A scholar of the Romans from the ’80’s and ’90’s of the last century who compared the results of historical-archaeological science with legend speaks of a place approximately covering the space between present-day Novgorod and St. Petersburg:

Great Slovensk. The ancient northern capital of the Japhites founded in 2409 B.C. and defunct after the rejection of the Apostle Andrew and the outbreak of hostilities by Princes Lalokh (Khalokh) and Lakhern against the ‘scepter of the Greek kingdom.’ In the 9th century, under the reign of Rurik, the northern capital was transferred down the river Volkhov and called New City, or Novy Grad. The works of the eastern geographers containing data related to the 50’s-’80’s of the 9th century speak of three groups of the Rus, the main of which was As-Slaviyu with its center in the city of Slava…usually identified with the Ilmen Slovenes and their center with the precursor of Novgorod, whose name has been preserved by eastern authors (see the works of A.P. Novoseltsev and V.Y. Petrukhin). The oldest part of Novgorod bears the name ‘Slavno’ which is consistent with the names in Arab sources. Based on this, it is clear that the expanses of Slovensk should, if not surpass, then at least match the square of the ancient part of Novgorod. However, contrary to common sense, the majority of Soviet archaeologists have identified such an enormous metropolis as Slovensk presented in sources as a small, princely ‘Rurik settlement.’ The real Great Slovensk, whose kilometer-long ramparts are covered by forest, remains unexplored and is not marked on archeological maps to this day.

Speaking of the history of Novgorod (from the 8th-9th centuries), much allows the assumption to be made that it was conceived of long before the official Baptism of Kiev as an Orthodox Christian city, as early Novgorodian Orthodoxy, with its special veneration of the Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, which also houses the genealogical mystery of (and indeed answer to) the House of Rurik itself.

Conventional historiography depicts the baptism of the land of Novgorod as the deed of the famous Dobrynya Malkhovich, the “uya” (uncle) of Saint Vladimir, done “by fire and sword”, and Novgorod itself and the Russian North in general as “pagan Wandea.” However, an attentive reading of local Novgorodian literary sources reveals a significantly more complex picture. Let us recall that in ancient times, Northern Rus was an integral part of Northern Europe as a whole in which the confrontation between Christianity and “paganism” – before the mass genocide orchestrated in the 9th-10th centuries on the order of the Carolingian papacy – did not acquire such tragic severity as in the Roman Empire. Let us also recall that behind the “round table” of King Arthur, the Druid Merlin sits adjacent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in the Edda both pre-Christian cosmogony and Christian historiosophy coexist. Only under the Carolingians did the destruction of entire ethnic groups, such as the Saxons and Bretons, begin on religious grounds…

And yet was the Russian North “pagan” or Christian on the eve of the official Baptism of Rus?

In the Tale of Bygone Years that Passed in Great Novgorod, it is said:

In the age of our pious Russian great princes living in Novgorod and voluntarily at peace with all the lands, the Germans [foreigners] sent their envoys from all 70 cities. They bowed to the earth in front of the archbishop of Novgorod, and the local government, and military, and the entire city of Novgorod and said, “Dear neighbors! Give us a piece of your land in the middle of Great Novgorod where we can place a shrine according to our own faith and customs. [2] 

The Novgorodians responded, saying:

By the grace of God and that of the Most Pure Mother of God and our father, the archbishop, through blessing and prayer, in the birthplace of our lords, great Russian princes in Great Novgorod, there are only Orthodox churches of our Christian faith here. After all, how can light and darkness join forces? How can your shrine be built in our city? […] Mayor Dobrynia, blinded by a bribe and taught by the Devil, ordered to move the Church of St. John the Baptist to a different location and gave its place to the Germans [foreigners]. […] And when the Germans [foreigners] built their own church [of a different faith], they hired Novgorod icon painters and ordered them to paint the image of the Savior on the southern wall at the top in order to appeal to and seduce [Orthodox] Christians. And when these icon painters painted the image of the Savior in the [foreign] church without informing the archbishop about this, and took off the covers, then immediately at that moment came rain and hail, and the place where the image of the Savior was painted was knocked out by hail and washed away by rain without a trace. [3] 

At first glance, the Tale of Bygone Years was compiled and written by the zealots of piety. However, a reading of the commentary to it written by L.A. Dmitriev leaves one to think somewhat differently about its origins and – especially! – the reasons for its emergence and distribution. Dmitriev writes:

This tale dates figures among those landmarks of Novgorodian literature at the heart of which lie oral traditions of local origin…V.L. Yanin believes that the ‘there exist visible signs of the reliability of this legend.’ The legend itself apparently appeared very early, no later than the 12th century, but the tale was written down considerably later. E.A. Rybina noted that the Khutyn abbot Zacchaeus is named in literature dated to the years 1477-1478. Accordingly, the Tale of Bygone Years could not have been written earlier than the second half of the ’70’s of the 15th century. The pronounced anti-Boyar orientation of the Tale of Bygone Years, the words in its beginning on the independence of Novgorod, and the clearly evident condemnation of Novgorodian customs – all of this speaks to the fact that it was written after Novgorod’s loss of independence, i.e., once again no earlier than the late ’70’s of the 15th century. We cannot say what the thrust of the original legend of Dobrynya was, but the character of the Tale of Bygone Years is evidence that this work was forged in a democratic environment, and religious motives are no longer at the fore in the Tale…

But if not religious motives, then what kind? Let us pay attention to the words of this historian, namely, that this work was created in a democratic environment.

The book of the Novgorodian historian and archaeologist of the last century, Vasiliy Peredolsky, which we shall have to repeatedly cite (the book was published only in Novgorod in 1898 and has never been reprinted, neither before nor after 1917) indeed speaks of several mysterious temple (and not only temple) buildings somehow subsequently destroyed over the course of approximately the 8th-16th centuries. First and foremost, this most inquisitive historian, who was also the author of studies on the prehistoric tombs of the Novgorodian Slavs, points to the existence in Novgorod at least until the 13th century of an Orthodox church named after the Apostle Peter whose services were held in Latin. This church is also mentioned in the famous The Questions of Kirik. During the war with the sword-bearers, i.e., the Catholics, this temple was not disturbed but, moreover, all Novgorodians came to it for sacrifices. “Was it not Fryazian, i.e., did it not at all belong to the Christians of Roman Orthodoxy, the Fryazians, and did its original appearance have no relationship to the centuries before the division of the Church into East and West?” According to V.S. Peredolsky, this church standing on the corner of Malo-Mikhailovksaya and Nutnaya streets was destroyed. Overseas merchants established the Orthodox Pytatnitskaya church in 1156. The first Novgorodian church in general was thus, according to Peredolsky, the Orthodox church of St. Lazarus established in the pre-chronicle times (i.e., in the 9th-10th centuries at latest), and was completely destroyed. After the destruction of the temple, in its place remained Lazarev Hill on the Volkhov, upon which the temple was rebuilt in the 18th century in honor of the same saint. This Novgorodian historian also tells us that then, i.e., before the construction of the churches of Saint Elijah and Saint Sophia and before the famous Dobrynin campaign unleashed upon the “pagans” with “fire and sword,” an Orthodox church of Saint Mary Magdalene (who according to the Gospel of John and more detailed interpretations of the ancient Western exegetes was Saint Lazarus’ sister) stood in Novgorod. Peredolsky does not say where this church stood and what subsequently happened to it. However, his analysis of the history of the other churches points to certain peculiar points.

In the official chronicle, it is said: “In 1194 was established in Great Novgorod a wooden church of the Holy Trinity on the Sofia side, on Redyatin street of Shchetishcha Yugorsha which is now called Novinka.” In the same parchment book under the year “6673 since the Creation of the World”, it is written: “there was built the Church of the Holy Queen of Shchetitsinita.”  Soon after the name of this church was changed to the Church of the Holy Trinity of Shchetinitsa. But in honor of what queen was the church built and why was its name changed? It was officially claimed that it was erected by German merchants from the city of Stettin. However, in 1194 they could not have built an Orthodox church. In such a case, what was meant was clearly not the city of Stettin (Szczeczin), but a holy queen covered in shchetina, or “bristles.” The merging of pre-Christian with Christian symbolism is obvious in the name of the church. Here one can, of course, recall the ancient Hyperborean totem of the White Boar traceable back to the “primordial tradition.”

If we recall the purely northern location of the lands of Novgorod, the “Land of Saint Sophia” as the Novgorodians themselves called them, then we have an unexpected confirmation of the guesses of some contemporary authors. A.G. Dugin, whom we have already cited, wrote in particular: “But this country, as we have already said, was also called Varakhi, the ‘land of the Wild Boar,’ which corresponds exactly with the Greek root bor, i.e., north, or the country of Hyperborea (‘lying in the far north’)…And it is no accident that, according to Ancient Greek sources, the Hyperboreans sent symbolic gifts of wheat to Delphi via the Scythian and more northern Russian lands. It is curious that the word varakhi reminds us also of varyagi, i.e., the legendary people who gave the Russians a sacred monarch.”

In antiquity, both a woman’s comb for long hair and long hair itself were called bristles. The ancient Christian legend of Saint Mary Magdalene describing her voyage to Rome and Gaul (together with the righteous Lazarus, St. Martha, St. Joseph of Arimathea, and St. Maxamin) took particular note of her ascetic life in Sainte Marie de la Mer in southern France, where the saint appeared with long, ankle-length, reddish-brown hair. But is such a reference to the Land of the Wild Boar and the equally-apostle woman who bore the world not incompatible? Let us recall the ancient art of “making the incompatible compatible” which penetrated the entire medieval worldview and all of science from the apophatic theology of the Eastern Fathers to Western alchemical investigations. Let us also recall that the image of the “long-haired woman” or even “queen” in folk legends often bears an obviously chthonic-infernal shade. This should not surprise us. Traditional, sacred symbols are always twofold, just as the ‘smart light’ for the holy turns out to be the flames of hell for the sinner. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is the day for flowering the fern and “rusalli merrymaking” (which was repeatedly pointed out in the lectures of V. Mikushevich), and so on.

What can be said of the mysterious “Shchetsinitsa”? This is the Slavic Marena, Marina, Mara, mora, kikimora, the French Cauchear (female kind). For the Carpathian Rusyns, this is lisova panna, nyauka, perelestnitsa, vtreshcha, mayka  a young woman with long hair but backless and with exposed entrails. This is the divje devojka, the mistress of the reindeer who nurtures them with milk. To her come the young, but they leave as the very old…According to the “Golden Legend”, Mary Magdalene was of the Japhetic royal family (her parents were Sir, i.e., Kir, and Eucharia) who ran from Herod, and in the canonical Gospels the Savior casts seven demons out from her (Luke 8:2), i.e., precisely those Japhetic “deities” who she, as princess, could serve.  Such a figure so teeming with canonically unconfirmed (but nowhere denied) dualistic characteristics could, among other things, have affected the fate of the most ancient temple built in her honor still during the time of the united church before it was later destroyed and, as part of the gradual “moralization” and institutionalization of a consciousness, she acquired new names – the “Holy Queen of Shchetitsinita” and the “Holy Trinity.”

No fewer mysteries are to be found in V.S. Peredolsky’s reference to two ruined monasteries. The first of them was destroyed in approximately the 10th century which bore the name of Zverinsky Monastery. The second suffered such a fate in the 16th-17th centuries – the monastery of Saint Arcadia or the Arkadsky Monastery in the place of which also existed the similarly destroyed village of Arkazha. What’s more, the location around the former Zverinsky Monastery also bore the name Zverinets up until the 18th century. Herein are revealed the mysteries of these names (and the causes of the monasteries’ ruin), and here it is sufficient to offer a few most general observations. Homer referred to the Arcadians’ role in the siege of Troy and how later the Priam line of Trojan kins moved to the North through Arcadia. The Arcadians themselves claimed that they descended from the fabulous deity of the land of Arkas which translates to mean “bear.” According to mythology, Arkas was the son of the nymph Calypso, the main star of Ursa Major (the star of Arkas “heads” the Ursa Minor). Artaios (the “bear-like”) is an epithet of the Celtic Mercury (the Gaelic arto – bear; Greek ARKTOS – the name of the Centaur). The name of Hesiod’s centaur is ARKTOYROS, a designation of Arcturus, the guard of of Ursa Major in the Boötes constellation. The bear is the ancestor and the pervotsar (“first-king”), hence the Celtic King Arthur as well as the “secret,” “unpronounced” names of the beast – urs, rus, syr = tsar. At the same time, in Christian symbolism, the bear, like the lion, is a symbol of royal authority. Artos is the blessed Paschal bread distributed in the Orthodox Church on the Saturday of Bright Week in memory of the Risen King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The North, the Arctic, is the polar paradise, the land of the bear (ber, bjorn) and the white boar, the unity of the King and High Priest, the military element and the spiritual, the red and white castes. Understood in a meta-historical and eschatological perspective, the symbolism of such unity is genuinely Orthodox. It was revealed and then found expression in the famous images of the Reverend Sergey on Makovtsa and the Reverend Seraphim of Sarov who nurtured the bear in the forests of Russian Paradise – Diveeva.

As regards the Zverinsky Monastery, in the local Novogorodian dialect only the bear was called a beast (zver) and the name Rus (Urs) was taboo, never to be pronounced even in Christian times. In Latin, urs remained. The very name of the beast, “bear”, or in Russian medved is clearly a euphemism. In remote areas in the North and Siberia, hunters to this day still cautiously call a bear “that” or “the main one” or even “forest Archimandrite.”….Saint Urs from Ravenna can still be found among the Latin saints.

A certain semantic tie between the two “bear” monasteries and the church of the semi-folkloric “Holy Queen of Shchetitsinita” cannot escape our attention. After all, the bristle, schcetina, is an attribute of the boar. In the Golden Bristled Pig tale, for example, it brings prosperity and belongs to Baba Yaga. In any case, we believe that there apparently exists a link between the destruction of the churches of Saint Lazar and Saint Mary Magdalene (perhaps the “Queen of Shchetitsinita”) and the Arkad and Zverinsky monasteries. It is so obvious that it can be considered proof of the existence of Christian temples in the epoch of the still united – Orthodox! – church during the period that preceded the baptismal campaign of Dobrynya Malkhovich hitherto famously described as accomplished “by fire and sword” and as having met widespread resistance from the Novgorodians. Thereafter, this resistance was often represented as the resistance of the “Russian people” to allegedly “foreign” Orthodoxy. Moreover, the question begs itself: what kind of “paganism” did the “son of Malekh Lyubechanin” fight? We stand before the fact that at the time of Rurik’s calling to rule, the Russian North-West (the land of Rus and Sloven) was fully, if not to a considerable extent Christian, Orthodox. The worship of ever since unknown saints was observed there.

As an example which could serve as a further guide and key to the Introitus Apertus ad Occulusum Regis Palatium, we can refer to the testimony of the so-called Old Russian treasure found in 1892 in the Seltsa district of the Old-Russian district. Among the images on the coins of this treasure dating back to the 12th-13th centuries, V.S. Peredolsky discovered an unknown martyr in a hat like in the case of Boris and Gleb, with a cross and two lilies on both sides of the image. Who is this clearly royal martyr with lilies who was unknown to later Russian history?

We will come back to this. In the meantime, let us recall how in 679, in the Ardennes not so far from Novgorod, per dolum ducum et consensuum episcoparum (“with the participation of the leaders and consent of the bishops”), Dagobert II, the last truly reigning representative of the Merovingian dynasty, was killed under an old oak tree near a stream while hunting. He was killed on the orders of Pepin of Heristal, his own attendant, the grandfather of the future usurper of Pepin the Short, the founder of the “second” Carolingian “race” of the Frankish kings. Soon, however, the remains of the king turned out to be miracle-working and even defended the city of Stene from a Viking attack. One hundred years later, the martyr king was canonized by a meeting of Frankish bishops without the Pope’s approval. The spring of Saint Dagobert can be found in the Verdun forest in the Ardennes to this day and is revered as a shrine. However, Dagobert was put on the official list of French kings only in the 17th century and is absent in some French textbooks to this day.

We meet the cult of “unknown saints” as it once was directly preceding the history of ancient Novgorod in Europe (part of which in those ages was Northern Rus, named in some chronicles “Bretania”. G.P. Fedotov, who wrote a series of outstanding works on medieval studies alongside his passion for “Christian socialism”, summarized his observations on these phenomena in the following way:

Question can be raised as to such a peculiar phenomenon as the veneration of nameless saints confined to ancient tombs. This is the moment of transition from popular cult to canonization by the church, the transitional moment in the established biography of a saint. When did the church close its altars to these unknown, chosen representatives of the people’s faith?…In the least, the Carolingian Renaissance finds this cult to be still alive in order to inflict a fatal blow upon it…The age of Carolingian “enlightenment” apparently put an end if not to popular worship, then to the church’s reception of nameless cults…In the 17th century, Mabillon tells of a place in his contemporary France where a cult of unknown saints emerged. But this cult repressed by the Carolingian church could never rise again.

Indeed, the Carolingians themselves and the Roman “Catholic” Church that they produced, and the clergy of the Roman diocese, might have thought so.

But centuries pass and

The worm and mob will learn of the Lord

By the flower growing out of his hand

And “worm” and the “mob” – this is a democratic environment.

***

[1] Translated from Old Church Slavonic by Nina Kouprianova

[2] Translated from Old Church Slavonic by Nina Kouprianova

[3] Translated from Old Church Slavonic by Nina Kouprianova

 

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission. 

The Dormition of the Mother of God

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

Chapter 13 of Mysteries of Eurasia (Moscow, Arktogeya: 1991) 

Theological symbolism

The “Dormition of the Mother of God” is one of the most revered icons in Rus. It is this icon that was first miraculously delivered from Constantinople to Kiev where it consecrated with its divine presence not only the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, but all of Holy Rus, the new (and final) bastion of Orthodoxy.

In the traditional depiction of this icon, we see on the lower level the Virgin falling into slumber on her deathbed surrounded by saints, and on the middle level we see the figure of Jesus Christ standing, holding the soul of the Virgin Mary in the form of an infant in his hands.

In considering the symbolism of this depiction, it is necessary to immediately point to the reverse analogy between the central figure of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the classical “Mother of God” icon. If in the traditional depiction of the Mother of God (for example, the “Vladimir Mother of God”, “Kazan Mother of God,” etc.) we see the ‘adult’ Mother of God holding Jesus, then in the Dormition of the Mother of God we see the inverse: the ‘adult’ Jesus Christ and the ‘infant’ Virgin Mary. Explaining this contrast will help us discover the universal, ontological character of the Christian tradition which, like any fully-fledged tradition, in addition to a historical aspect bears a deeply metaphysical, supra-historical charge directly tied to the spiritual understand of reality at large.

Thus, the very fact of the Incarnation of the God-Word in the material, human universe necessarily implies a certain “diminishment” of the fullness of the second hypostasis of the Holy Trinity, not an essential “depreciation” (the Trinity always remains self-resembling), but an external, apparent, visible depreciation. Christ is described in the Gospel as “suffering.” In the First Coming, the true nature of the Son remains veiled, hidden, and can only be guessed by chosen disciples. But for subsequent generations of Christians, defining this divine nature becomes the basis of Faith – Faith, not Knowledge, since Knowledge is associated with the ontological obviousness of a certain sacred fact, and the obviousness of the Son’s divinity manifests itself only at the moment of the Second Coming, the Coming of the Sacred in Power, in Glory, i.e., in his original ‘non-diminished’ quality. Therefore, the classical image of the Mother of God with the infant has a symbolic meaning that is central to prayer and Church practice. In this icon, as in the sacred map of reality, a ‘diminished’ spiritual center is shown surrounded by the human or, more broadly, material cosmic nature which externally ‘surpasses’ this center, is ‘predominant’ compared to it, and is ‘bigger’ than it is. The Mother of God with the infant describes the ontological status of the world between the First and Second Coming where the Son is already revealed to the world, but in a ‘diminished’ quality thereby demanding Faith, personal effort, and spiritual devotion on the part of believers for ‘dynamic,’ willed transformation of Faith into Confidence.

The Dormition of the Mother of God icon presents us with the inverse proportion. Rising above the concrete historical fact of the Virgin Mary’s personal death, the Orthodox tradition here offers a prototype of an eschatological situation, valuably pointing to the meaning of the sacraments of the End Times. The depiction of Christ holding the infant Virgin in his arms describes the true proportions of the spiritual world in which the Center, the Pole of Being, the God-Word is presented not as diminished, but in its full metaphysical extent. In the heavenly world, the ‘diminished’ is the ‘material,’ the ‘earthly’ cosmic portion, while the Spirit itself appears in its entirety. Here the Word is omnipresent and obvious and all-fulfilling.But the material world is not simply destroyed in heavenly reality. It is transformed, it is ‘drawn’ to the spiritual regions and rises to its heavenly and supra-material archetype. Hence, in fact, the special term ‘dormition’ (a calque from Greek “koimesis,” or sleep, rest, lie; in Latin ‘assumptio”) in contrast to the usual word ‘death.’ Dormition means ‘solace’, i.e., the transition from the state of ‘unrest’ inherent to material, physical reality to a state of ‘peace,’ in which all things abide in the regions of Eternity. Thus there is not ‘destruction,’ but ‘final disappearance’ understood by the word ‘death.’ It would be interesting in this regard to pay attention to the Russian etymology of the word ‘uspenie’ (dormition), which is akin to the Ancient Indian term ‘svapiti’ (literally ‘to sleep’). This Indian term literally means ‘to enter oneself’ or ‘dive into one’s inner self.’ As follows, our word ‘uspenie’ etymologically means ‘entering the inner world’, the ‘inner ‘world’ being a synonym for the ‘spiritual’ or ‘heavenly’ world. In the troparion for the celebration of the Dormition of the Mother of God, it is said: “in falling asleep she did not forsake the world.” This refers not only to the compassionate participation of the Mother of God in worldly affairs after her departure, but also the fundamental ontological event of the ‘casting of the material world’ into the spiritual sphere as a result of a special, unique sacred event. What metaphysical event is symbolized by the Dormition of the Mother of God?

This event is the End Times. It is at this moment, the moment of the Second Coming, that happens the final affirmation of true spiritual proportions in correlation to the material and the spiritual. The ‘material’ (the Virgin Mary) turns out to be an infinitesimal point in the Infinity of spiritual Light, the Light of the God-Word, Christ. Consequently, the Dormition icon reveals to the Christian the deep mystery of the End Times, which is not a global catastrophe, not the destruction or disappearance of the physical world as is seen most often by those who are only superficially familiar with Orthodox eschatology, but the essential and total restoration of the normal, natural, harmonious ways of being where the spiritual, heavenly Light completely incorporates the physical, material darkness. Therefore, from a Christian perspective, the End Times is the single most important event of an entirely positive, salvational meaning. The End Times is not a catastrophe, but the end of catastrophe since, from a spiritual point of view, any ‘unrest’, ‘worrying’, or ‘movement’ is essentially catastrophic for the spirit and, in addition, signifies the triumph of inferior, Satanic forces. The End Times, the End of the World, and Judgement Day act as something repulsive and negative only for the enemies of God, only for those who identify their fate with the dark course of restless, demonic fate. For believers, on the contrary, this is salvation, a celebration, and transformation – the universal and final ‘dormition’ of matter together with the universal and final ‘awakening’ of the spirit.

Thus, we can now distinguish three levels in this spiritual teaching manifesting such abundant wisdom in the icon of the Dormition.

  1. Historically, this icon tells of the death of the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and her subsequent mercy for the believers and suffering of this world.
  2. Ontologically, it embodies the affirmation of true spiritual proportions of material reality in the larger picture of being, where the spirit fills everything while physical reality is ‘diminished’ to an infinitely small point.
  3. Eschatologically, it points to the meaning of the End Times, i.e., the restoration of true existential proportions and the affirmation of the absolute triumph of the Heavenly, Divine element. The ‘diminishing’ of matter in the End Times does not mean its destruction, but its ‘induction’ into the fullness of light and peace.

Universal symbolism

The symbolism of the Dormition icon (if we juxtapose it to the Mother of God icon) also has analogies outside of a Christian context. The clearest such similar spiritual concept of the structure of being is reflected in the Chinese symbol of Yin-Yang, in which the white dot against the black background signifies the diminishing of the spirit in matter, while the black dot against the white background is, conversely, matter in spirit. However, the Chinese tradition is characterized by contemplation and and the absence of an eschatological orientation. Thus, the Chinese are inclined to consider this symbol as a sign of eternal harmony while Christians see ontological plans in an historical and eschatological perspective, hence Christianity’s distinctly ‘dynamic’ character supposing the personal, volitional engagement of man in the outcome of the fate of the spirit. The Chinese believe that this volitional aspect is not so important insofar as the Tao ultimately arranges everything in the best way. Undoubtedly, similar symbolism can be found in many other traditions in reference to the correlations between the material and spiritual worlds, but the Chinese example represents something so clear and comprehensive that all similar parables can be reduced to it.

The sacred sign of Russia

The fact that the icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God was the first to be miraculously brought to Russia and the fact that its presence graced the Kiev-Pecharsk Lavra (which was the first center for the spread of Orthodoxy in Russia) leaves one to believe that Russia is under the special patronage of this icon. The Russian Orthodox tradition and Russian Church believe this. If we take into account all of the theological and ontological, as well as eschatological content of this icon’s message, then it is only natural to associate it with the sacred mission and spiritual fate of Russia itself.

On a historical level, such symbolism, applied to Russia, points to the constant participation of the Mother of God in the history of the Russian state, not only during periods of its fully-fledged Orthodox existence, but also during the dark periods of neglect and decline. As if it were a fulfillment of predestination that began with the spread of the Orthodox faith throughout Russian lands, approximately over the thousand years following the founding of the Kiev-Pecharsk Lavra to the moment of the collapse of Orthodox order in Russia, the Mother of God was a believer and declared that ‘henceforth She takes responsibility for Russia and sovereign Power therein.” The icon known as “The Sovereign” is dedicated to this. “And in falling asleep she did not forsake the world.”

On an ontological level, our symbolism might very well explain the cultural and psychological specificity of Russian Orthodox civilization, which was always contemplatively-oriented, drawn by the spirit to the heavenly sphere where true proportions are set once and for all, while sometimes neglecting earthly, practical, material things which seemed to the religious consciousness of Russians to be just as infinitesimal as the tiny figure of the Mother of God in the hands of the Savior.

Finally, on the eschatological level, the idea of Russia’s mission being tied to the End Times is clearly present in Orthodox thought. Hence, in particular, the rise of the idea of “Moscow as the Third Rome” or “Last Rome” who is destined to stand until the final moment of earthly history. If the Dormition icon ontologically describes the ideal essence of the Russian Orthodox soul, then in eschatological terms it points to the active side of Russian civilization, the mission it is destined to fulfill in human history. This mission is, without a doubt, connected to the realization of the End Times and the providential preparation of the Second Coming.

It is also important to recall the omens sent to Saint Anthony of Kiev before the construction of the first and main temple of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in honor of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God. Anthony prayed to God to send him a sign pointing out the place where a church should be built. In the morning, all of the ground was covered with dew, but in one place the earth was left completely dry. The next day, the miracle was repeated, but in the reverse order. The dew was nowhere to be found other than in the place where there had been no dew the day before. Finally, when the saint was gathering firewood, Fire rained down from the sky and set it alight. After this, no doubts remained as to the place to be chosen.

All three of these miracles have a strictly symbolic and doctrinal interpretation connected to the spiritual meaning of the Dormition. The dry place of the future Church in the middle of the dew-covered space is symbolically identical to the icon of the Mother of God in the which the fiery, dry, light element, Christ, is surrounded by the wet, earthly element, the Virgin Mary. The next day, the opposite occurs, which is the essence of the Dormition icon in which the dryness (i.e., fieriness, spirituality) of the earth surrounds a small, wet space (matter). The third miracle directly concerns the secret of the End Times, when the prepared firewood (the Church of true believers) will be lit on fire and transfigured by heavenly light force, the force of the Second Coming.

In this mysterious story of the founding of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is captured the deepest prophecy of the fate of Russia, the fate of Christianity and Orthodoxy, and its glorious and great future.

 

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission. 

Mysteries of Eurasia: Continent Russia

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 1 of Mysteries of Eurasia (Moscow, Arktogeya: 1991/1999)

 ***

The country within

Land-masses hold symbolic meanings which are as much linked with cultural stereotypes as with real-life experiences. Europe holds different meanings for the European who lives there, for the American who originated from it, for the African who is freeing himself from its influence, for the Pacific islander, and so on. Stereotypes of the continents have not remained purely and simply products of cultures born of more or less accurate knowledge, more or less lively feelings and more or less clear awareness. They have sunk into the unconscious with so strong an emotional charge as will emerge in dreams or in spontaneous reactions, often linked with unconscious racism. At this point a continent will no longer represent one of the Earth’s five land-masses, but will symbolize a world of images, emotions and desires. For example, Dr Verne has clearly shown in the analysis of one of his patients’ dreams that she did not regard Asia as a memory of, goal of, or desire for intercontinental travel, but as a symbol of ‘the return to something holy, to the world of the absolute, the mystery of out of the body experience, the way towards the oneness which bears the message of the true and real’. Asia had become an inner continent, like Africa, Oceania, or Europe. These continents and what they symbolize will differ from person to person. This inner dimension may fasten upon any place, be it town or locality; what is important is to know what it means to each individual, what images, feelings, emotions, and prejudices it carries, since these comprise the subjective truth of the symbol. Geography generates as much geosociology and geoculture as it does geopolitics.”[1]

Such is the content of the entry “Continent” from the French Dictionary of Symbols by Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant. We have permitted ourselves to give such a long quotation in full since it immediately defines the plane upon which our study will unfold. Often amidst a rise of national feeling and even racism, and in flashes of patriotism among different peoples, irrational elements stand out on the surface which, at first glance, cannot be explained by logical reasoning or an analysis of egotistical motives behind such an ideological complex. The awakening of national, racial, or continental memory often occurs without any external reason. Deep archetypes of the unconscious simply and suddenly burst and, like a chain reaction, awaken the whole complex of a collective worldview that seemed to be long gone. Examples of this include the stability of Celtic-Irish, Jewish, Korean, African, and Japanese nationalisms which continue to live and grow despite all the social and historical preconditions objectively contributing to their extinction.

In principle, this is exactly the same case with the “enigma of Russian patriotism.” Mystical Russia, the “White India” of Klyuev, the “Holy Rus” which Yesenin set above Paradise and which Tyutchev equated to a religious principle in which one has to believe – imagine how absurd “Holy Australia” or “Faith in the Czech Republic” would sound! – is undoubtedly a deep reality of national psychology, an “Inner Continent” synthesizing in itself the worldview of a giant nation. The memory of “Continent Russia” may lurk and sleep in the depths of consciousness for many long years, but sooner or later it will come to life and, when the time of Awakening arrives, it will become a storm, a vortex, a scream.

However, the psychological reality of “Inner Russia,” in order to be effective and specified, should have an archetypal structure fully corresponding to objective historical processes and geographical areas. In this way, it is not merely a passive reflection of the external, but a paradigm which forms and structures the surrounding temporal and spatial space. In this regard, the famous historian of religions, Mircea Eliade, keenly observed: “Nature is something determined by culture (culturalmente condizionata); some of the ‘laws of nature’ vary depending on what the peoples of this or that culture understand by ‘nature.’”[2]

Russian Sweden

What is the archetypal structure of “Inner Russia?” On what is the concept of “Holy Rus” based? What are the origins of the complex of the imperial God-bearing people? We can find traces of this ancient tradition in the linguistic archetypes that date back to the formation of Indo-European unity and which, with remarkable resistance, are preserved in toponyms, myths, legends, and even in the ordinary correspondences between symbols and words. In addition, this entire complex of purely religious symbolism is closely linked with this ancient tradition. Otherwise, the baptism of Rus could not have happened so harmoniously and easily. The totality of Christian doctrine, in its ritualistic and symbolic paradigm, is consistent with the logic of older cults which were not abolished but transformed by Christianity into a new synthetic unity. The cycles of Russian lives and the specifics of Russian Orthodoxy present us with thousands of pieces of evidence of this. One canonical example of this is the summer festival of the prophet Elijah, who became the Orthodox expression of the old Aryan “god” of thunder, sky, and light, Il (from the same root of the ancient Russian word for “sun,”, solntse, which in old Aryan means “good light”).[3] Let us consider some aspects of the archetypal combinations which define the logic of the Russian national mentality. We will start with the concept of “Holy Rus.”

It is curious to note that evidently long before the arrival of the Slavs to the territory of Russia, the region of the Southern Russian steppes from the Black Sea to the south of the Urals was named by the Aryans inhabiting it “Dwelling of the Gods – Great Sweden” or “Cold Sweden,” and only much later did this shift with the Germanic tribes to Scandinavia, which became “Dwelling of people – Little Sweden.” The sacred rivers of the ancient Aryans flowed into this “Great Sweden”: the Don (Tanaquisl or Vanaquisl – “the branch of the river where the Vanir live”) and the Dnieper (Danapru or, in Greek, Borisphen). The very Russian word for Sweden, Shvetsiia – Sweden, Suetia – most likely meant “bright, white, luminous.” And this Indo-European root szet is possibly, and quite logically, etymologically similar to the Russian word for holy, svyaty. In addition, the Hindu tradition to this day still remembers Śveta-dvīpa, the “White Island” or “White Continent” lying to the North of India.

In most cases, Śveta-dvīpa meant the symbolic island of Vārāhī, the place where the Hindus’ ancestors originally resided at the North Pole. By analogy, it is appropriate to transfer this name to the territory of the temporary settlement of the Aryans before their migration to India. That the ancestors of the Hindus – the carriers of the Vedantic tradition in its earlier form – lived for a certain period of time on the territory of what is now Southern Russia is confirmed by modern archaeological excavations. Therefore, the light, white holy country was associated in ancient times with the Russian lands, a view which could take deep root in the consciousness of peoples, such as the Aryans, contact between whom was maintained even after their linguistic and traditional unity was destroyed, as well as other indigenous paleo-Asiatic peoples who on more than one occasion have demonstrated the unique capacity to preserve the mythological complexes which they received from the Indo-Europeans for entire millennia.

The second component of the combination of “Holy Rus” is the very name “Rus.” One of the most likely and acceptable etymological interpretations of this word is the Aryan root ros (compared with German rot, Latin russus, French rouge, English red, and Sanskrit rohita) which means red, ginger, or pink. It is entirely unimportant if Russia was named after a Slavic or Scandinavian tribe. The main point is that, on a subconscious level, red is closely associated with Russia, and was one of the favorite colors of the Russian princes, and the very Russian word krasny, besides denoting the color red, in the ancient Slavic language meant “beautiful”, “distinguished,” etc. It is also curious that another Russian word for designating the color red is chermny, which is etymologically close to the word cherny for black. In ancient Indian, the root krisna also meant “black” and “beautiful.” It cannot be ruled out that this etymological connection was somehow imprinted in language associations and in half-effaced semantic structures of linguistic thinking lending the meaning of the word red a kind of semi-conscious connection with the word black (i.e., “distinguished,” “clearly defined,” etc.). If we combine these two lines, then we see that the concept of “Holy Rus” might be translated into the colorful symbolic dyad: “white – red” or even “light – dark.” And, not incidentally, the combination of “white-red” was one of the most common among Russian princely heraldry, national costumes, ornaments, paintings, etc.

Khvarenah – Royal happiness

One of the most significant aspects of “Inner Russia” was the sacred mission of the Russian monarch. Holy Rus always had its sacred center. Just as it had its capital (first Kiev, then Moscow), it also had a living and personified pole of national sanctity: the Tsar, the Anointed by God. Interestingly enough, some of the Turkic peoples preserved the tradition of venerating the Russian monarch up into the 18th century. For example, the Buryats believed Catherine to be the incarnation (embodiment) of the White Tara, one of the greatest Bodhisattvas of Lamaism. Such  universal importance assigned to the monarchy within the framework of the Empire once again shows that Russia has never recognized itself to be something purely ethnic. By contrast, she is a reality of a higher level, a reality of the geosacred Tradition in which different peoples had their proper place. Therefore, the Russian White Tsar was simultaneously the Tsar of all ethnoi inhabiting the Empire.

The Russian monarchical tradition began, as is known, with the calling of Rurik from the Varangians to kingship over a group of Slavic and Finno-Ugric tribes. In the later period, descent from the first prince Rurik was the spiritual and genealogical justification of royal authority, its legitimacy and sacred legality. This tradition was so persistent and deep, so self-evident and absolute in Russians’ understanding, that it simply could not have been inconsistent with the indigenous archetypes of ancient forms of consciousness which, although moved into the sphere of the unconscious, nevertheless did not lose their efficiency and validity. In our opinion, the calling of Rurik from among the Varangians was seen as a great, nationwide mystery embodying in itself the script of the supernatural origin of royal power that is characteristic of all ancient, traditional dynasties.

Let us try to clarify the sacred underpinnings of this mystery which confirmed the sacred-dynastic center in the space of “Inner Russia.” First of all, we can refer to Zoroastrianism, in which the mystical side of royal power was elaborated in detail and had a significant impact on the structure of the consciousness of the peoples who have inhabited the ancient Russian lands. Zoroastrians believed that the emperor has a special, more than merely given, right to rule. This sanction is embodied in the possession of a light-bringing force – Khvarenah. Khvarenah (or farn) is a condensed light energy which renders a person equal to a god. The symbol of Khvarenah was traditionally believed to be the falcon Vargan and sometimes the ram. On the other hand, Khvarenah was identified with the element of fire, which only naturally strives upwards towards heaven. Every Iranian king had his own personal fire symbolizing the possession of Khvarenah.

If we return to Rurik, called from among the Varangians to kingship, we see that he etymologically embodies this entire complex of Zoroastrian ideas (and apparently, some common Aryan ones). Rurik, in Scandinavian, means “falcon,” that is, the predominant symbol of Khvarenah. In addition, the word rurik is startlingly close to the Old Church Slavonic rarog, i.e., “fire” or “spirit of fire” (in fact, the old Church Slavonic rarog also meant “falcon”). With the baptism of Rus, Tsar Rurik also became anointed by God, endowed with the power of Christ, and referred to as the “Lamb.” Thus, the idea of the Christian monarch was the spiritual development and sacred confirmation of the ancient monarchical tradition perceiving the calling of Rurik as a nationwide acquisition of heavenly blessing, or Khvarenah. In this case, as in many others, Christianity did not abolish, but rather exalted and confirmed the ancient, pre-Christian faith.

Now about the Varangians. Without entering into the debates over the ethnic identity of this tribe (which is unimportant for us), we will try to identify the symbolic meaning of this name. Zoroastrianism once gave us some keys, so we turn to it once again. The word “Varangian”, in terms of sound and possibly also in terms of origin, is close to the name of the Zoroastrian god Varhorn (or Verethragna). Varhorn is one of the seven supreme “gods” of Mazdaism, the god of victory. It was none other than this god who was believed to be the fundamental carrier and bearer of Khvarenah, and he was traditionally associated with the falcon Vargan (compare: vargan, varingr, i.e., varyag which is Russian for “Varangian” or “viking”), as his constant companion or even his incarnation. Thus, the Varangians, in addition to their historical specificity, could represent some kind of symbolic meaning, the embodiment of full Khvarenah, royal happiness, one precious part of which – Rurik-Falcon – descended, like manna, on the grace-hungry tribes. But the mythological, etymological chain doest not end there. The word varyag is also quite comparable with the Sanskrit root svar, or “sky,” “sunlight,” (in fact, it is also very close to the Persian hvar from which Khvarenah is derived). It is possible that the Russian word for north, sever, is also related to svar, as the North was considered to be of a “heavenly, divine orientation” by the ancient Aryan peoples. Therefore, the correlation between the Varangians, the North and the sky perfectly corresponds to the very mysterious logic of the calling of the first Tsar.

It is possible to go still further. Varharn is the Persian equivalent of the Sanskrit word vritra-han, i.e. “Slayer of Vritra,” the epithet of the Heavenly Tsar, the god Indra. Indra is the Hindu archetype of all kings, who dwells and is found, according to traditional Hindu cosmography, in the sky – svar. The very name “Indians” and “Hindi” is by all means likely the theophoric (god-bearing) name of the “people of Indra,” and therefore a god-bearing people. The Varangians, for their part, as one of the Indo-European tribes, could have essentially been the theophoric people of Vargan or Vergarn-Veretragna, i.e., essentially the same as Indra, the “Slayer of Vritra.” Nor can it be excluded that the distant echoes of these mythological correspondences, living on in the depths of the national unconscious, gave rise to the concept of Russia as the “White India” among poets of a folk-mystical orientation, such as Klyuev and Yesenin. The Russian monarchical emblem, the Byzantine, two-headed eagle, can also be compared to Falcon-Rurik, the carrier of the magical power of Khvarenah. Another curious detail is that Moscow, the capital of the Russian state and the seat of the Russian Tsar, has as its emblem St. George slaying a serpent (the emblem of Prince Yuri Dolgoruky). Varharn (the god of Khvarenah) is first and foremost the god of victory, and St. George is also the victory-bearer. In addition, the very name Varharn-Veretragna, as we said above, means “Snake-Slayer,” or “Slayer of Vritra,” and St. George is usually depicted as killing the Serpent. It is also characteristic that Iranian mythology contains a number of tales depicting a struggle between a solar hero (Kersaspa, Traeton, etc.) and a Serpent or Dragon, the conflict of which is over the right to possess the mystical power of Khvarenah, a right for which the opponents challenge each other. Thus, the combination of these symbols in the coat of arms of the capital – the residence of the Tsar – along with the eagle as the symbol of Russia in general, yield the paradigm of the ancient structure of the monarchical mystery.

Another traditional symbol of royal authority and the state is the orb mounted with a cross – the symbol of the earth in ancient astrological texts. The state of the Russian Tsar, naturally, is identified with the Russian land. And here once again we are talking about “Inner Russia,” which we spoke about in the beginning. It is especially important that in the national sacred tradition, it is precisely the Tsar, the Anointed by God, the messenger of heaven, and the bearer of supernatural fire, who protects and keeps in his hands a gigantic land (hence the title “autocrat” from the seven secret saints of the Christian tradition on whom the whole weight of the world rests).

All of Russian history is permeated with the deepest understanding of the sacred role of the Tsar. This understanding contributed to a much more religious relationship between the Orthodox and the monarch than that seen between the Catholics and their kings.[4] Moreover the Orthodox idea of the Tsar sharply differs on a theological level from the corresponding Catholic concept. In Russia, there was never a division between purely spiritual life, subordinated to the spiritual hierarchy, and purely secular life, subordinated to kings, as in the case of the Catholic West. In the idea of Holy Russia and Tsarist Russia, all levels of the sacred way of life are combined. The Church, as the spirit of Russia, did not set itself above the Tsar, but recognized his supernatural and legal authority, and gave blessing to his power, without which the state would have lost its sacred pole. Thus, the “inner continent,” Russia, had its “inner center,” the sacred monarch. Their merging (their symbolic hierosgamos) accounts for the specific Russian fate and the deep dimension of Russian history.

The mystery of the pole

Now we would like to mention a study by the French Traditionalist Gaston Georgel devoted to historical cycles and the logic of the cultural development of ancient civilizations, which bears direct relevance to our topic. Georgel’s book under consideration is called Rhythms in History.[5] In this extremely interesting work, there is a small section which examines the patterns of the movement of the centers of this or that ancient civilization around the Eurasian continent. Without delving into the essence of the author’s interpretation of certain patterns, we will simply provide the facts which are given and which have direct relevance to “Inner Russia.” Studying the geographical location of the centers of ancient civilization, Georgel noted one astonishing peculiarity. Starting with Elam (around 4,000 B.C.) and finishing in our times, we can observe a shift of certain cultures from East to West. Georgel endeavored to draw a single line connecting the ancient center of Elamite civilization, located not far from the town of Kelat, the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, Greek Athens, and French Paris. The result exceeded all expectations.

screen-shot-2018-07-26-at-12.21.58-pm.png

The arc connecting these centers turns out to divide them almost exactly into sectors of 30 degrees. According to the author’s notes, at exactly 30 degrees along the eclipse, the point of vernal equinox moves over a period of time equal to 2,160 years, that is, the time separating the epochs of these cultures is 4,000 years up to Elam, 2,000 up to Ur, a bit more than 2,000 years ago to Athens and, finally, to the contemporary “capital of Europe”, Paris. The arch extending over the East at 30 degrees leads to the location of the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, and the same arc of the same curvature, merely belonging to a circle of a larger radius, connects Jerusalem and Rome. But where does the center of this circle reside? Here once again is a strange thing: it lies at the intersection of the Meridian at 60 degrees east of the Arctic circle, i.e., on the territory of Russia, North of the Ural mountains (let us note that Moscow is located near to the radius which connects Athens with the center of the circle). It is with this, in fact, that Georgel ends his account.

We can go one step further and point to even more bizarre patterns. It is generally known  that the line of the North Pole is the projection of the circle of the celestial sphere, along which the North Pole of the World shifts (due to a phenomenon termed in astronomy the precession of equinoxes) around the pole of the eclipse. But if the celestial sphere is stationary, then the globe rotates in space relative to it, or more precisely, relative to the eclipse plane which is identical to the plane of the orbital rotation of the earth at 23.5 degrees. This shift of 23.5 degrees is fixed on the line of the Arctic circle. If we compare the point of the North Pole of the earth with the current north star – Alpha Ursae Minoris – then the center of the eclipse, and hence the true pole of the sky (the most immobile of all, as the earth’s axis makes a circle around it over a vast period of time – 25,960 years), will be projected on the line of the Arctic circle. But how can we determine which exact point?

Here the first globes of the Renaissance era come to our aid, on which at the same angle of 23.5 degrees, a projection of the eclipse inclined towards the earth’s equator and marking respectively the northern Tropic of Cancer and the southern Tropic of Capricorn was marked. What is important is on what meridian the projection of the sign of Capricorn is placed, which then allows one to logically determine the order of the projection of constellations on the globe, as well as to find in the Arctic circle the point corresponding to the center of the eclipse. All old maps and globes answer this question unambiguously: on the basis of late Medieval and Renaissance geographical knowledge, the sign of Capricorn, the southernmost point of the eclipse, is projected on the meridian which passes through the Ural mountains (the Ripheans, as the Greeks called them), the symbolic border between Europe and Asia. On this very meridian, 60 degrees East longitude, Gaston Georgel conducted his study of the geography of ancient civilizations! This means that the pole of the eclipse, the true celestial pole, when projected onto the globe, corresponds to the pole of the circle around which the focus of civilizations shifts over millennia.

screen-shot-2018-07-26-at-12.22.07-pm.pngIf today we are now capable of making similarly logical inferences on the basis of an elementary knowledge of astronomy and geography, then why should it be excluded that the  ancients, holding such knowledge (this is proven by a swathe of modern research on the ancient observatories of the Chinese, Sumerian, Celtic, and other traditions), and not being burdened by technocratic and agnostic prejudices, were perfectly well aware of the correlations between the earth and the sky, and built on these correspondences their sacred geography and the logic of their sacred history? It is most likely that the completeness of this synthetic knowledge gradually drifted into the realms of mental archetypes, fairy tales, fables, and legends, manifesting itself most openly in especially rotary periods in the history of mankind.

Russians and Hyperboreans

This French Traditionalist’s empirical discovery of the hypothetical pole of civilizations might help explain not only a number of enigmatic facts of humanity’s past, but also yield the keys to understanding one of the most strange secrets of our time – the secret of “Russian patriotism”, which can in no way be reduced to the banal nationalism of a particular ethnic group. “Russian patriotism,” in its deepest dimension, is universal and “pan-human” has F.M. Dostoevsky said, himself connected with the “inner continent,” with the central continent located in the vicinity of the fixed point of the “wheel of life,” the circle of the wandering human soul. And perhaps it is only appropriate that the city closest to the point of this Northern center was the city of Inta, which is similar to the name of the Peruvian sun god Inti and the Aryan Indra. Moreover, if we project celestial constellations onto land on the basis of the above-mentioned correlations, then our center, as well as the center of the eclipse, falls on the constellation of the Dragon, the eternal enemy of Indra and the “sun gods” of victory.

Interestingly enough, the abode of Indra in Hinduism is believed across various accounts to be in the North-East, and the name of Indra’s elephant, Airavata, coincides with the Jain name of the northernmost countries on earth. But this land, as we have already said, was also called Varahi, i.e., “land of the Wild Boar,” which precisely corresponds to the Greek root bor, i.e., “North”, the country of Hyperborea (“lying in the Far North”), the abode of the Sun of Apollo, who is also a “dragon slayer.” It is no coincidence that Ancient Greek sources tell of the Hyperboreans sending symbolic gifts of wheat to Delphi via the Scythian and more Northern Russian lands. It is curious that the word varahi reminds us also of varyagi, i.e., the legendary people who gave the Russians the sacred monarch.

In legends of the Hyperboreans, the “herbal” nature of their gifts, such as ears of wheat, is always emphasized. The ancient tradition believed that agriculture was the most important ancient occupation of people, prior to livestock breeding. The metaphysical view of the ancients on this reflects a fundamental peace and fixation (the sedentariness of farmers) which is put above dynamism and variability (nomadism and pastoralism). Moreover, the most characteristic occupation of Russians has always been agriculture. In this regard, the following fact is of interest: one of the old names for the Slavs in general was vene or Venety, as was one of the names of one of the Slavic tribes. And to this day, the Estonians and Finns still call Russians vene. In all of this it is impossible not to notice the obvious parallels with the Vanir of the Nordic sagas. The Vanir are the group of gods engaged in agriculture (in contrast to the nomads and pastoralists of the Aesir), who embody the traits of sacred peace-loving and, according to the ancient sagas, inhabited the lower reaches of the Dnieper and the Don. Here it is appropriate to recall that one of the favorite and most frequent Russian names is Ivan. Although the latter is derived from the Hebrew name John, it can be assumed that the self-designation of the Slavs survived in this Christian form. Moreover, there is a peculiar symbolic coincidence between the gospels’ tale about the head of John the Baptist and the ancient Germanic myths of the Vanir and the head of the giant Mimir, which the Vanir cut off and sent to the Aesir. This same story of beheading is central in the life of John the Baptist. Just as Odin, the leader of the Aesir, enlivens the severed head of Mimir, which foretells him of the beginning of the Final Judgement (Ragnarokr), so do the Christian parables tell us of the miraculous finding of the talking head of John the Baptist. Here it should be added that the warning of the Final Judgement from the head of Mimir is a direct parallel to the eschatological warning of the prophet John about the coming of the Messiah.

In our opinion, all of this can be explained by the existence of a united, primordial mythological complex that was rooted in the Indo-European peoples in primordial times. Historical outbreaks of this complex are always correlated with certain cyclical patterns and certain territories. The “inner continents” and their mythologies could slip across the planet together with their tribes, their bearers. They could be clearly fixed at certain places of the earth. They could be transferred from people to people. And finally, they could be integrated into different religious structures, thereby composing the archetypal unity of traditions. For us, the most important in all of this is identifying the specific logic of the archetypal tradition and its spiritual and symbolic content. The ethnoi which in this or that period became bearers of this Tradition soak in it, turning into theophoric (god-bearing) or idea-bearing ethnoi, thus becoming the earthly body of some kind of heavenly entity, a living idea, or an archangel.

Whatever might be the fleeting historical reasons behind the sacred association of these lands, and whatever peoples might have inhabited them, “Inner Russia” was, in its deepest dimension, identified with “earthly paradise”, with the territories of the Golden Age and, moreover, the symbolism of Hyperborea, Varahi, and the Vanir-Ivan tillers. Across the most different traditions, “Inner Russia” is constantly associated with none other than the ancient homeland of the free, immortal ancestors. To speak of a “national identity” of Paradise is quite ridiculous. It is for this reason that every upsurge in the unconscious archetypes of “mystical patriotism” in the Russian people has never been comparable to any ordinary, small nationalism. The Russians themselves call “Russians” all those who are in solidarity with them in their deep intuition of the sacrality of the lands upon which they live. This fundamentally distinguishes Russians from other peoples and, in particular, from other Slavs, who are much more soberly and rationally conscious of national boundaries. Although something of the sort has always been characteristic of truly imperial peoples, in Russia this was and is revealed in a special form with a special force.

Mystical Russia

Let us draw a few conclusions:

The self-consciousness of the peoples and nations traditionally inhabiting the territory of Russia is fundamentally connected with the specific, sacred geography of this territory.

In the complex of sacred geography, the lands of Russia occupy a central place in accordance with the ancient logic of astronomical and astrological correlations.

Consciousness of the uniqueness of Russia from the perspective of sacred geography largely determines the mystery of “Russian patriotism.”

“Russian patriotism” is imbued with a cosmic fate and is not only a fact of history. He who lives and learns Russia lives and learns the secret bequeathed to distant generations of ancestors who fought under the banner of Alexander the Great, galloped across the steppes among Tatar cavalry, worshipped the the Son of God in Byzantium, lit the sacred fires on the altars of Ahura-Mazda, listened to the teachings of the druids under the oaks of Europe, beheld in spiritual ecstasy the eternal dance of Shiva-Nataraja, built the ziggurats of Assyria, destroyed Carthage, and sailed the seas in boats with the curved neck of the Hyperborean Swan at the nose, always remembering the Heart of the World, the “golden heart of Russia” (Nikolai Gumilev) and “Mystical Russia.”

We are approaching an important spiritual milestone. Global forces are stretched to the limit, and in many ways the fate of our country today determines the fate of the planet. Therefore, it is important to break through to the depths of the sacrality of Russia and its prehistoric roots in order to understand its strange and sorrowful path, and to muster strength for the revival of this Holy Country and the rebirth of Continent Russia together with its secret, permafrost-covered center.

***

Footnotes:

[1] Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant, The Dictionary of Symbols (London: Penguin, 1996), 233.

[2] Mircea Eliade, L’épreuve de labyrinthe. Paris, 1985.

[3] See Alexander Dugin, The Metaphysics of the Gospel, Chapter 36.

[4]  From a theological point of view, there exists a huge difference between Tsar, King, and Prince. The Tsar is the Emperor, the Basileus, the head of the church-going Orthodox Empire who unites under his reign a number of countries, kingdoms, and principalities. The principle of the Emperor-Tsar is associated not only with temporal power but also with the mystery of “Katechon,” “the one who withholds,” while royal dignity belongs to an ontologically different, lower, secular and administrative level.

[5] Gaston Georgel, Les rythmes dans l’Histoire. Belfort, 1937.

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission.