“Traditionalism as a Theory: Sophia, Plato and the Event” – Alexander Dugin (2013)

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 8 of In Search of the Dark Logos: Philosophico-Theological Outlines

(Moscow: Academic Project/Department of the Sociology of International Relations, Faculty of Sociology, Moscow State University, 2013).



Mark Sedgwick and his hypothesis on Sophia Perennis

In his book, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century [1], the contemporary scholar and historian of Traditionalism, Mark Sedgwick, based on research into the philosophical sources of the worldview of the founder of Traditionalism, René Guénon, advanced the hypothesis that the Traditionalist movement, in its assertion of Sophia Perennis (Philosophia Perennis) and the “Primordial Tradition” as its foundational theory, is based not on some “mythical”, exotic, “Eastern” sources, but on none other than the Western philosophical tradition, whose roots can be traced back to the Renaissance Platonism of Gemistus Plethon, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Agostino Steuco, etc. The current which took shape in this circle elevated the figure of Sophia and the corresponding notion of “Primordial Theology” (as in Steuco’s Prisca theologia), and the content of this “primordial theology” boiled down to Platonism, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism, which were rediscovered in Western Europe thanks to translations from Greek of a broad spectrum of these currents, whose texts were brought by the Greek Gemistus Plethon from Byzantium in the final period before its final fall. Although Sedgwick’s thesis has seemed to many Traditionalists to be “disrobing”, overall this analysis of the intellectual circles of the Renaissance Neoplatonists and their ideas demonstrates a considerable convergence with Guénon’s views and those of his followers. 

In turn, the works of the English Dame Frances Yates dedicated to these very same intellectual currents of the European Renaissance and Modernity [2] have shown just how enormous of an influence Platonism exerted on the formation of the philosophical, scientific, and political views of this transitional epoch. Both Sedgwick and Yates show how a significant number of the founding fathers of the modern scientific view of the world were in fact largely inspired by mystical-religious ideas and Neoplatonic theories, even though only one side of their works – that tied to empiricism, rationalism, mechanism, etc. – would make it into the scientific canons of Modernity, while the mysticism and “Perennialism” of the Renaissance would be left “behind the scenes” or alternatively interpreted in naturalistic, pantheistic, or deist directions. A prominent example of this is Issac Newton, who was both an alchemist and a Kabbalist on the one hand and, on the other, the founding father of mechanistic physics and rationalist, empiricist natural science. The historian of religions Mircea Eliade, who in his youth participated in the Traditionalist movement, developed this perspective with the proposal that we view the rational-scientific and progressist topography of the philosophy of Modernity as a product of the secularization of European Hermeticism. 

These considerations led Sedgwick to reconsider the influence of Traditionalism on philosophy, science, and to a certain extent politics in the 20th century. This movement, lying at the heart of Modernity and appearing in new form as the philosophy developed by René Guénon, Julius Evola, and a broad circle of thinkers on which the former had decisive impact, was much more significant and important than can be judged on the basis of mere superficial familiarity with the subject. At the same time, they appear to be somewhat more modest and even, to a certain extent, marginal. At the source of Modernity lies Platonic universalism, which became the ideological grounds for proclaiming the universalism of the rational philosophy of post-Medieval Europe. Gradually, the bulk of attention came to be drawn towards the technological side of this movement, towards pure empiricism and rationalism, while the metaphysical dimension was neglected and written off as one of the costs and remnants of “Medieval irrationalism.” However, following this scheme, it turns out that with the exhaustion of the technocratic, rationalist philosophy, Baconist scientism, and Cartesian dualism of the epoch of Modernity, this second side, which had long since receded to the periphery, began to make itself known again. Guénon’s Traditionalism became its developed manifesto. Hence the growth of Traditionalism’s significance in correlation with the ever broader and deeper consciousness of the “crisis of the modern world.” Thus, in the transition to Post-Modernity, Modernity has once again remembered its “occult roots.” The Enlightenment, now called into question, has turned towards its “Rosicrucian” beginning. 

This hypothesis of Sedgwick and Yates, shared by a number of other authors, is productive. In the very least, it raises the status of Traditionalism to that of one of the most important philosophical currents to emerge in the critical moment of the exhaustion of the agenda of the classical scientific rationality of Modernity and with the formation of the first Post-Modern theories subjecting Modernity to deconstruction. If we recognize that at the very heart of Modernity, which claimed rationalism and the theory of progress to be the foundations of its universalism, there lies a set of irrational views that appeal to deep antiquity for substantiation, i.e., the Platonic-mystical and Hermetic universalism of the Perennialist and Sophiological shade, then Modernity itself appears under a completely different light, and Post-Modern critics thereby acquire yet another argument, namely, that Modernity was not at all what it claimed to be, but was merely a poorly disguised, masked version of the traditional society which Modernity sought to overcome, annul, and dismantle. 

On the other hand, Traditionalism itself thereby appears to be a phenomenon that is critical of, but nonetheless related to Modernity. It is not simply the “continuation of Tradition” by inertia, but an altogether specific and original critical philosophy which refutes Modernity and subjects the latter to merciless critique on the basis of a special, complex set of ideas and theories which, taken together in their sum, constitute a “Perennialism” or “universal esotericism” which, it ought to be noted, does not coincide with any one single really existing historical tradition. Thus, we are only one step away from recognizing Traditionalism to be a “construct.” The revolutionary, critical, and modern potential of Guénon’s philosophy was rightfully noticed by the Traditionalist René Alleau, who proposed to consider Guénon alongside Marx as one among the constellation of radical revolutionaries and critics of modern civilization.[3] 

From Prisca theologia to René Guénon

A number of various, altogether interesting conclusions can be extracted from Sedgwick’s analysis.[4] Here we will fixate on merely one point, that of the conceptual unity of 20th century Traditionalism (Guénon, Evola, etc.) and Renaissance Platonism (Plethon, Ficino, Steuco, etc.). Both of these philosophical currents can be generalized with the notion of “Perennialism.”

If we can historically trace Guénon’s philosophical inspirations back to the Renaissance, which Guénon himself harshly criticized for misunderstanding the sacred civilization of the Middle Ages, and if we can find there the first formulations of Sophia Perennis or the Prisca theologia which compose the foundation of Traditionalist philosophy, then in it becomes completely obvious that these currents came to Western Europe in the Renaissance from the much deeper past and, to a certain extent, from a different cultural context (more specifically, the Byzantine-Greek). Of course, Platonism was well known in Medieval European Scholasticism, but it had long since yielded to Averroism and Aristotelianism enshrined virtually dogmatically in the realism of Thomas Aquinas. Hermeticism had existed in the form of alchemical currents and esoteric fraternities, but in the Renaissance these tendencies surfaced in rather vivid and magistral form, such as in the forms of open Neoplatonism and philosophically-formulated Hermeticism (with numerous direct or indirect polytheistic elements), which claimed to be not merely a secret tradition parallel to the dominant Scholasticism, but a foundational, universal worldview. Renaissance Platonism and Hermeticism directly opposed Catholic Tomism and formulated the agenda of Renaissance Humanism. This humanism was magical and sacred: man was understood to be the “perfect man”, the Platonic philosopher, the Angel-Initiator. 

The Renaissance Platonists appealed directly to the works of Plato, Plotinus, Hermes Trismegistus, and the broader corpus of Neoplatonic and Hermetic theories, many of which were freshly translated from Greek. Platonic humanism was reformed into a conceptual, theoretical bloc and began its offensive against previous philosophical and theological constructs. The Neoplatonists justified their claims to truth by emphasizing the antiquity of their sources and by claiming to propose a philosophical paradigm which could generalize different religious confessions, and as such was more universal and more profound than the Catholic religion of Europe. This synthesis came to include, in the very least, Byzantine Orthodoxy, but the reform program of Gemistus Plethon was even broader, proposing a restoration of “Platonic theology” as a whole and a return to certain aspects of polytheism. Platonism, like Hermeticism, was seen not simply as one philosophical or religious tendency among many others, but as “universal wisdom” capable of serving as a key to the most diverse philosophies and religions, as a common denominator. This idea of a meta-religious generalization became the most important notion of the Rosicrucian movement and, later, European Masonry (as shown by Yates). 

This universalism was substantiated by references to “Perennialism”, to the existence of some kind of exclusive instance in which all of world wisdom, independently of historical peripeteia, is present and preserved in its “paradisal”, primordial state. This “perennial wisdom”, Sophia, was the point of departure that allowed one to examine specific religions and philosophies as individual and historically conditioned constructs, thus laying claims to a universality transcending any and all individualities. This Sophia was knowable and, as follows, he who participated in her, loved her, and identified with her received access to “absolute knowledge.” Renaissance Humanism was therefore Sophiological. Sophia was treated as the Angel of humanity, the latter’s living and eternally present, eternally youthful archetype or eidos. 

It is by all means possible that European Modernity’s claims to the universalism of its values are to be sought in precisely this source. As Catholic ecumenism was abandoned, the cultural messianism of the West demanded new substantiation, and such was found in “Perennialism”: the new Europe, post-Medieval Europe, conceived itself to be the privileged region of the revealed, eternal Sophia, and on these grounds the Europeans of Modernity acquired their mandate to newly master and conquer the world, seeing themselves as not merely raptorial colonizers, but as the bearers of higher universal knowledge. This explains the special incandescence of the era of geographical discoveries and (Francis Bacon’s) call to discover Atlantis not only in the new colonies, but in the Old World itself. Thus, Renaissance Platonism and its corresponding Perennialism ought to be considered a most important factor in the formation of the structure of Modernity as a whole. The profane universalism of progressist and rationalist Europe has its roots in the sacred super-rationalism of the Renaissance Platonists oriented towards eternity and deep antiquity. 

The construct of Sophia 

The “constructivist” character of Renaissance Neoplatonism is obvious to us. We can easily trace how and on what sources it was constructed. The Hermetic Poimandres and Asclepius attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, as well as the cosmological and anthropological dialogues of Plato (the Timaeus, the Republic, the Laws, the Symposium, etc.) were taken to be universal and interpreted in the spirit of the Neoplatonic systematizations of Plotinus and his followers. Neoplatonism situated Sophia as its main content, its systematized philosophical hologram. And it is through this prism that other religions and philosophical systems were interpreted as individual cases of a generalized perennial(ist) paradigm. René Guénon acted in approximately the same manner as he employed a system of definite metaphysical, cosmological, and anthropological views to examine various traditions, religions, and the modern world itself as a denial of these views and, in its final phase (the opening of the egg from below) a parody of them. Not a single religion, theology, or philosophical system contains the paradigmatic matrix with which Guénon operated. But it is with the aid of this matrix, taken from somewhere else, that historical religions, theologies, and philosophers were altogether successfully treated and interpreted by him. Guénon based himself on the “Primordial Tradition”, sanātana dharma, or Sophia Perennis, and he drew his knowledge directly thither. The Renaissance Platonists acted in precisely the same way. 

With Sophia, both the Renaissance Platonists and Guénon in the 20th century deconstructed everything else. The very algorithm of their deconstructions was, in turn, represented by a construct: the construct of Sophia.

The “Dark Logos” of Neoplatonism

The artificial character of Renaissance Perennialism is rather transparent. But here the question should be posed: how does this Renaissance Platonism, which lies at the origins of 20th century Traditionalism, relate to the Platonism on which it was constructed? In other words, was this constructivist nature a quality of the Renaissance anticipating Modernity, or did the very material upon which Renaissance Sophiology was constructed lend any definite grounds to this approach and display any convergent qualities?

With regards to Neoplatonism (from Plotinus and Porphyry through Iamblichus to Proclus and Damascius), this is nearly obvious: Neoplatonism presented a construct developed on the basis of the main ideas of Plato, but in synthesis with other Hellenistic and Middle Eastern philosophical, religious, and mystical systems. This Neoplatonism was distinguished by its extraordinary inclusivity: it selectively incorporated Platonic re-interpretations of Aristotle (and accordingly, a re-thinking of the Stoa), Orphism, Pythagoreanism, Egyptian Hermetism, cults from Syria and Asia Minor (theurgy, the Chaldean Oracles), and Iranian dualist doctrines and Chaldean astrology. On the basis of Plato’s Parmenides and his main hypotheses, Proclus constructed an elaborate “Platonic theology” which was carried on and substantially re-interpreted by Damascius. The latter’s commentaries on the Timaeus thoroughly and in great detail described a synthetic cosmology built on the principle of noocentrism. 

The system that the late Neoplatonists of the Hellenistic era built with their open metaphysics and apophatic, dialectical Logos can, without a doubt, be fully considered to be an earlier version of the “Perennialism” which we encounter in the Renaissance. In Proclus’ works, particularly his exegeses, we can see the skeleton of all the later derivations of Neoplatonism, both religious and philosophical. His theories and methods can unmistakably be sensed in the Areopagites and, further, in the whole tradition of “mystical theology” which became so widespread in the West (from Scotus Eriugena to Meister Eckhart, Henry Suso, and Jakob Böhme) as well as in the East. We can find the dialectic of the uncreated One developed by Proclus in the works of the Islamic thinkers of Al-Falasifa, in Ibn Arabi and the Ishraq school, whereby it defined the dramatic picture of Ishmailite theology and eschatology. Moreover, the classical method of Kabbalistic interpretations of the Zohar and early Kabbalah fully reproduced Proclus’ fixation on certain words and phrases (and their numerological equivalents) in Plato’s dialogues which at other times seemed only secondary. Henry Corbin rightly noted that the Parmenides was for Proclus the Theogony, on the basis of which he would later develop his Platonic Theology. Plato’s Parmenides was a kind of Bible or Sacred Scripture for negative, Neoplatonic, apophatic theology.[5] Every word of Plato’s was subjected to detailed and comprehensive hermeneutics. The idea that Plato was the “sail” of the Divine became a Neoplatonic dogma in its own right.

Neoplatonism conceived itself to be a universal tradition on the basis of which one could interpret all existing religions and philosophical systems. It was the religion of the Logos, a noocentric cosmology and apophatic metaphysics claiming the ability to interpret any and all forms of polytheism, symbolism, and theurgic rites. Following the Greek Neoplatonists, this idea penetrated other religious environments as well, such as in the works of al-Farabi and Ibin Sina, the Sufis, the philosophers of the Ishraq school, the initiatic verses of Rumi and the diaries of Ruzbehan Baqli, to the synthetic doctrines of Haydar Amoli or Mulla Sadra. Something analogous can also be encountered in Kabbalah, as well as in Christian mysticism (with some reservations). Everywhere we look, we encounter the idea of Sophia Perennis and spiritual universalism, reproducing in one form or another the noocentric, and at times paradoxical and dialectical, “Dark Logos” of the Neoplatonists. This Logos is “dark” because it postulates the pre-existential nature of the Principial (the One), the vertical of the Logos is opened upwards, and because it constantly and repeatedly upturns the strict laws of Aristotelian reason with its foundational principles of triumph, denial, excluding the third. Instead of logical clarity, we are dealing here with a paradox, an aporia, or a super-rational ambiguity (amphibole) which is evasive, demanding of the high art of dialectics, and which leads the “philosopher” (whether the Sufi, the adept, or the initiate) through the dizzying chain of insights and initiations, upon each new link of which consciousness collapses and is recreated anew. 

Having established this state of affairs, we can easily extend the history of Renaissance Platonism and its Perennialist construct of Sophia even further back than a millennium. Gemistus Plethon and his Neoplatonic reform in Mystras on the eve of the fall of the Byzantine Empire can be seen as a link in the direct transmission of this tradition from the last Diadochi of the Athenian Academy expelled by Justinian, to Michael Psellos, to the unsuccessful Neoplatonist deemed heretic John Italus, and to the Florentine circle established by Marsilio Ficino around Prince Cosimo Medici. In addition to the Greek branch, we can also consider the “Islamic trace”, where the Dark Logos of apophatic “Platonic theology” became the common denominator of a wide range of different currents representing the heights of Muslim philosophy, theology, and culture. Another route ran through Jewish Kabbalah, which was structured according to the very same algorithm. Finally, in the Latin world, we can see the numerous streams of Hermeticism, alchemy, mysticism, as well as all Gnostic sects and millenarian currents (in the spirit of the doctrine of the Three Kingdoms of the Calabrian Joachim de Flore) which flowed into the revolutionary ocean of the Reanissance. Still further from the Renaissance, following Sedgwick and Yates and numerous other authors studying modern mystical and occult orders, lodges, and sects, we can trace the line of the dark Logos through even more reliable and well-researched material, from Giordano Bruno to the Rosicrucians, Masons, mystics, and the representatives of “occultism” among whom Guénon discovered it and laid it at the heart of his completely original and extremely influential Traditionalist philosophy. 

Thus, tracing the genesis of this construct of Sophia leads us to the history of the Logos  as it has unfolded in the periphery of Western European culture and, as Corbin has shown, in the center of the Islamic spiritual tradition (where the “Dark Logos” was not exclusive and one, but was adjacent to and sometimes sharply rivaled rationalist kalam, Asharite atomism, Fiqr, and Salafist purism). The difficult reception of Kabbalah in the Jewish world and its nearly full and final acceptance as a flawless orthodoxy make up yet another page in this history. Jewish Kabbalah fell into the sphere of interests of the Renaissance Neoplatonists, and in the works of Pico della Mirandola and Reuchlin (and later of Knorr von Rosenroth) we can detect the outlines of a project to establish a “Christian Kabbalah.” Further, once again through Masonry and Hermeticism, Kabbalah reached Fabre d’Olivet, Eliphas Lévi, Papus, Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, and Guénon himself. In Guénon and in his “revolutionary” Perennialism, all of these numerous streams come together to compose the most modern, capacious, and systematized worldview. 

Theory as Homeland

Now we are left with posing a final question, namely: To what extent did the Neoplatonists of the first centuries of our era create something completely unique and original out of the texts, ideas, and traditions associated with the name of Plato, and to what extent can we find something similar in the works of Plato himself? Here the works of the great scholar of Plato, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism, the French curé André-Jean Festugière, come to our aid.[6] Festugière draws our attention to the meaning imbued in the notion of “Theory” (θεορία) in Plato’s era and in his own philosophy. Originally, this notion meant an “inspection”, “survey”, “contemplation”, “meditation”, or “observation.” In Ancient Greece, in philosophical milieus, it bore two subtle terminological nuances: 

  1. A “theory” was a survey of the cultures and societies of different peoples, among whom the philosopher should travel and dwell as part of his preparation for a new life (hence why we constantly read of the travels of philosophers to other countries: “traveling” is a purely philosophical occupation). 
  2. By analogy with the survey of different peoples, societies, and their religious and ritual systems, a “theory” was a survey of different systems and ideological connections leading to a higher principle.

This connection between traveling and theoretical contemplation is extremely important. Theory is the contemplation of that which is different, taken to culminate in a common, universal model. Plato’s doctrine of ideas itself is directly associated with contemplation. The contemplation of ideas is active “theorizing”, or the distinguishing of common and unchanging paradigms as well as constantly changing phenomena. Just as the Hellenic philosophical traveler studies the religions and customs of different Mediterranean societies, seeks correspondences with the Greek religion and Greek traditions, establishes analogies and, when necessary, replenishes his own religious views and his language, so does the Hellenic philosopher contemplate ideas, the universals of the infinite order of things and phenomena. There are many societies, religions, and cults, and the contemplative traveler strives to deduce from his survey that which is common, that which he has already identified in the places he has been and in the new, still unknown countries and lands in which he finds himself. The case is strictly the same with immersion into the world of ideas and in the process of comparing them with the world of phenomena. Contemplation and theory are the construction of the common, the culmination of a model. 

In Plato, this acquires a distinct and salient character. Theory as construction is simultaneously illumination, enlightenment, and absorbing the rays of the Good. Ideas are indifferent to things, but they are not indifferent to those who strive to theorize, whom they passionately rush to meet, in excelsis. The field of theory thus transforms into the space of epiphany, where ideas are not only reflected, but acquire a specific being and are embodied in the theoretical existence of the philosopher. By traveling to temples and shrines to various gods and by being present at different rituals, the theoretician (the one who contemplates) prepares to meet with the real God for whom all the different gods of different cults serve as masks, names, and messengers (angels). In different rites and sacred ceremonies, the philosopher rushes to the main philosophical rite, the rite of rites, where the main realization to be accomplished is the discerned merger of the noetic cosmos with the aesthetic cosmos, the “fulfillment of all fulfillments”, the magical meeting of God with the raging sea of multiplicity. Later, this ritual of all rituals would be conceptualized by the Neoplatonists as theurgy. 

Plato’s Theory is therefore not simply a preparation for something – for political activism or sacred rites – but is a higher form of reality, the ultimate expression of concentrated praxis. Contemplation is thus the work of the gods, and is their blissful rest and the source of higher pleasure. Theory is the place where being, dispersed into multitude and elusive in difference, is tied together into the knot of intense concentration, finding in itself elastic unity and bright clarity. The contemplative philosopher stands above the priest and the king, for he rises to the zone of pure divinity, un-diluted by any additional functional burdens and completely free from multiplicity, both temporal (the change of moments) and spatial (the change of places). The culmination of this journey is the return to the philosophical Homeland, where there is no more time or relative forms. Theory is the Homeland. None other than nostalgia for it pushes the philosopher to travel through both countries and the networks of light-like ideas in search of the point of Sophia, whom the philosopher loves with all his being. 

This understanding of Theory illustrates how Plato’s philosophy was that very synthetic universalism which generalizes different philosophical systems and knowledge just as the traveler generalizes the experience of the societies he witnesses. Plato’s works therefore present not one point of view to one or another question, but always several; they become material for contemplation and, like steps, they lead to a higher synthesis. At the peak of this synthesis, ideas begin to live beyond the discursive Platonic text and reveal themselves directly to those who have followed Plato and the personages of his dialogues to the very end, where the stairs leading to the sky end. There dialogue ends, but theory does not. Now the philosopher must take one more step, this time without Plato and texts – this is the step of thought, the step of illumination, the step of contemplation. The step into the sky. Only there does real Platonism – the “secret doctrine” – begin. It has not been transmitted to anyone; it can only be discovered independently, through the sacred experience of theory.

Open Philosophy 

As the formulator of theory, as the guide to the geography of ideas, Plato created a consciously open philosophy, in which the main point is not uttered, but must be sought and experienced independently. Hence the term “philo-soph”, or “lover of Sophia”, of Wisdom. If the question at hand was simply who bears this Wisdom, we would be dealing with a closed system, that is, something individual. Wisdom cannot be learned, it is not a given. One can only break through to it upon enormous labor and at the cost of incredible efforts. Philosophy is the realm where minds and hearts gather together in passionately thirsting for Wisdom, whey they are fallen in love with Sophia and are excited contenders for her hand. No one has any guarantees. There is only Love. Led by Her, they embark on their journey, towards contemplation, towards theory. They settle in the vicinity of Sophia and inch ever closer to her. They seek the universal, and thereby themselves become more and more generalized, eidetic, and less and less individual. Philosophers construct themselves in the vicinity of Wisdom. Purifying themselves in Her rays, they reveal evermore distinct contours. 

In the case of Plato, this means that we are dealing with the Logos as such, for the Logos is in its nearly original form, is still undefined, and is open to being opened or closed, understood in one way or another, or conceived and outlined in one or another vector. In Plato, philosophy is the sharp impulse of nearing Sophia Perennis, the leap into the ocean of eternal light, it is contemplative and divine praxis. In this sense, philosophy is higher than religion and myth, insofar as religions and myths are but testimonies to the main actor – Saint Sophia. Therefore, Plato himself can be called a “Perennialist” and, correspondingly, a Traditionalist. It does not matter whether Plato adhered to Greek civil piety and offered sacrifices to the gods and heroes of his polis. Such was part of a much more important and significant philosophical cult: the cult of Sophia, the cult of the pure Logos. 

Plato as an Event

Let us pose the final question. Did “Perennialism”, Traditionalism, universalism, and the philosophical cult of Sophia all begin with Plato’s Theory? With his doctrine of ideas? With his Timaean cosmology? 

For Guénon and Traditionalists, such a personification would be a scandal. But upon fully recognizing Plato’s direct connection to the “Primordial Tradition”, Traditionalists would undoubtedly begin to see Plato as a link in the golden chain of initiates which stretches back to the dawn of creation, to the earthly paradise, and which has become increasingly difficult to access, closed, and exclusive in our time, the Kali Yuga, the “end times”, the era of the “great parody.” Traditionalists understand “perennialism” literally and even somewhat naively. Such can by all means be seen as a symmetrical response to the just as literal and even more naive historicism which predominates in Modernity. Yet in the vicinity of eternity, “before” and “after”, “now” and “then” are not so important. Indeed, they have no meaning. What is important is what. Plato, like Zarathustra in Iran, might have been both an historical figure and a sacred personage, like al-Khidr or the Angel-Initiator. Perhaps there are multiple Platos. And this means that Plato’s spirit can be called upon (as Plotinus did in the temple of Isis); he can be appealed to. His return can be awaited, for there is no irreversibility in eternity. In eternity, everything is reversible – everything has even already been reversed. In the most rationalized form, one could accept that Plato merely transmitted knowledge that he had acquired along the chain of initiation, and in this sense was their ordinary re-translator who became world famous only by virtue of the importance of the truths he voiced, as a kind of philosophical prophet. 

Yet Plato can be approached in other ways as well, for example, as an Event in the spirit of the Heideggerian Ereignis. This would distance us from both the “Perennialists” and the “historicists.” Plato happened and philosophy happened. Sophia was designated and the philosophical geography was marked. If this was supposed to have happened, then it would have happened no matter what – whether by way of Plato or someone else, should we be reproached on this matter. But perhaps it would be better to think differently: if Plato did not exist, there would be nothing else. In particular, there would be no notes in the margins of his texts. There would be no philosophy. If Plato was in fact divine, then he cannot be subordinated to any mechanical necessity. Nothing can oblige him to be. Further, if he had not risked everything to become Plato, his philosophy would have been negligible. Thus, Sophia might not have been. Or in other words: instead of Sophia, instead of the secret bride of the order of lovers, something else could have been revealed to Plato.

Plato’s exceptionality (although perhaps this is just as wrong and does not correspond to the truth) is more existentially attractive and productive than his link in the chain, even if it is the golden one. Plato’s divinity lies in that he was human.

Modern Traditionalism is, of course, more adequate than profane academic philosophy and is more prosperous than Post-Modernity. But all the signs of Traditionalism’s transformation into a convention, a routine, into a “scholasticism”, of its conscious quenching of any living movement of the soul or heart, are glaring. Here it is discovered that “Perennialism” is a construct and always was such from the very beginning. The appeal of a Traditionalist towards really existing tradition decides nothing, just as Plato’s reverence for his paternal gods did not exhaust his philosophy. 

Traditionalism is something other than tradition. It is a breakthrough to that which is the tradition of traditions, the secret grain, the theory. But being a theory, a construct, it needs to be continuously recreated. A construct is not so bad if the matter at hand is something rooted in the light nature of man himself. By creating, man creates himself. Therefore, Traditionalism must either happen or disappear. Its claims are too enormous and its bar has been set too high by Guénon and the Sophiologists on whom he constructed his doctrine. “Perennialism” means that Sophia is Perennis: she is here and now. But how can we relate the fact of the Kali Yuga, our God-forsaken “now” and the dustbin of the modern Western-centric global world, our vile, desolate “here”, with the rays of the Angel-Initiator, the light of Great Love, and the nature of man as a winged divine being? The Gnostics offered a dualist answer which often seems to be the only one acceptable and applicable to us. But is this not simply a recognition of our own weakness, of our own personal inability to transform the “Cover” into the “Mirror”, Absence into Presence, apophany into epiphany, and occultation into revelation? Is this not the signature on the warrant for the death of the Logos, the insuperability of Western nihilism, or the recognition of the closed, self-referential world to be the only possible and real? 

Traditionalists frequently speak of the “great parody” that is the modern world. This is true, but are they themselves not a parody? After all, not only Guénon, but the Neoplatonists, and Plato himself can all be parodied. 

The discrepancies between Traditionalism and Heidegger did not hinder Henry Corbin from engaging Neoplatonism in Islam with love and delicate refinement over the course of his life. Such is the behavior of a living person who responds to Sophia’s whisper no matter where it resounds.

Today this whisper is more silent than ever. But it cannot be so quiet as to be indistinguishable at all. We must learn to listen to silence, for silence sometimes conveys extremely meaningful things. 



[1] Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

[2] Frances Yates, The Art of Memory (Saint Petersburg: 1997); Ibidem., The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (Moscow: Aleteia, Enigma, 1999); Ibidem., Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2000). 

[3] Réné Alleau, De Marx à Guénon: d’une critique ‘radicale’ à une critique ‘principielle’ des societés modernes (Paris, Les dossiers H., 1984).

[4] Some aspects of this question have already been treated in Alexander Dugin, Postfilosofiia (Moscow: Eurasian Movement, 2009).

[5] Henry Corbin, Le paradoxe du monothéisme (Paris, 1981).

[6] André-Jean Festugière, Contemplation et vie contemplative selon Platon (Saint Petersburg: Nauka, 2009).

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).


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:



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.


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.”



[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.

The Metaphysical Factor in Paganism

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 


Appendix to Ways of the Absolute (2nd ed., Moscow: Arktogeia, 1999). Text originally written in 1990. 


Those traditions which it is customary to call “pagan” are characterized not so much by an actual polytheism as by an immanentism which permeates all of their aspects. In the opinion of the monotheistic religions, the theological sinfulness of “paganism” is obvious: it ignores (whether consciously or inertially) the one transcendent and apophatic (i.e., formulated in negative terms) principle, the recognition and unconditional worship of which constitutes the sine qua non of monotheism. Among the three monotheistic religions, Judaism and Islam hold to this line altogether consistently, whereas Christianity alone takes significant steps in the other direction by asserting the central figure of its cult and dogma to be the immanent hypostasis of the Divine, God the Son. At the same time, Christians have also inherited the Abrahamic argumentation of the other branches of monotheism against “pagans.”

Yet, in our opinion, it would be wrong to reduce all of the differences between monotheism and non-monotheism to the recognition of the supremacy of the transcendent principle, since within the monotheistic traditions themselves there have unceasingly appeared currents which, while unconditionally recognizing the justness of transcendentalism, confer a special metaphysical value to immanent realities, thus being de facto in solidarity with the “pagan” position. We have in mind first and foremost the esoteric dimensions of the Abrahamic religions (Sufism and extreme Shi’ism in Islam, Kabbalah in Judaism, and Hesychasm in Christianity), where the accent invariably falls on the immanence of the Divine Presence. Thus, without ignoring the transcendence of the transcendent, the immanent can be metaphysically accented.

What are the deep reasons which condition this?

An answer to this crucial question would not only rehabilitate paganism, but would also illuminate the most mysterious and secret sides of the “non-pagan” traditions. In one of his public lectures, Geydar Dzhemal precisely defined this problem when he noted that there is a profound opposition, one which has determined the dialectics of sacred history over the last millennia, between the Abrahamic concept of faith as a super-ethical volitional act turned “from here to there”, and the “pagan” concept of the Empire as an expression of the immanent divine force running “from there to here.” The monotheistic inspiration undermines the immanent grounds of the Empire, while the “pagan” force of immanent sacrality in turn deprives monotheism of its uniqueness and uncompromising nature. If the metaphysical truth of transcendentalism is obvious, then where do pagans find justification for their doctrines? What is the secret of the immanent Empire?

Without claiming to offer a complete (much less exhaustive) exposition of this most complex problem, we shall express a few considerations which might help somewhat clarify the essence of the matter. The sphere of the immanent is always de facto a sphere of multiplicity regardless of whether the question at hand concerns the real multiplicity of the manifest or merely the primordial duality of being and non-being inherent to the highest region of ontology, where pure being confronts the transcendent and the non-being encompassing it. This whole sphere is subject to the law of “metaphysical entropy”, according to which every logically ensuing metaphysical modality must obviously be lower in quality than the previous, that is to say inferior on the level of “metaphysical energy.” Monotheism begins with this statement and affirms the principle of transcendent unity, which confronts the whole volume of immanent multiplicity. This principle is organically connected to non-being, since transcendentalism inversely correlates to the sphere of the immanent, which means on the higher plane pure being that encompasses and synthesizes everything immanent. This apophatic, negative unity of non-being is the most logical, metaphysical response to the fact of “entropy.” Remaining within the framework of this picture of metaphysics, asserting anything else as a higher reality is simply absurd, since such would be tantamount to denying the finiteness of being and denying death which, in reality, exists as a quality dominating all metaphysical levels with the exception of non-being itself, which corresponds to the deepest essence of death itself. The most vulnerable point of transcendentalism is the very foundational picture of metaphysics and its basic postulate, the fact of entropy.

Many “pagan” traditions, especially the most metaphysically developed of them – Hinduism – are perfectly aware of the impeccable logic of monotheistic metaphysics, yet still carefully avoid the use of the term “monotheism” with regards to themselves. But by abandoning the upper pole of monotheism, they also renounce its lower immanent component, namely, the understanding of being as multiplicity, as a sphere of entropy. Both poles are thus denied with the same persistence. On the doctrinal level, this can be seen most easily of all in the relationship of both doctrines to the emergence of being. Monotheism in all of its variants is inevitably associated with “creationism”, i.e., the conceptualization of creation as alienation. Paganism in turn invariably insists on “manifestationism”, i.e., on the concept of manifestation and the self-discovery of the principle in being. The essence of the difference between these two traditions lies in the determination of the relationship between being and its hidden source in non-being. Creationism argues that being (and in rarer cases, the cosmos or even the visible universe) arose as a result of the separation of “part” of non-being, a part doomed from the first moment of creation to relate to its source as towards something different from itself. Creationism thus postulates a fundamental and “naturally irremovable”, radical Otherness of creation from its transcendent creator.

Manifestationism, on the other hand, denies this radical Otherness, instead asserting the oneness and substantiveness of the manifest and its unmanifest source. Being here is understood not as part of metaphysically preceding non-being, but as its being-other, as its means of “existing” (naturally, the word existing here is used here as a not too appropriate metaphor).

Thus, if in the first case the very unknowable essence of the Creator is the absolute answer and absolute completion of metaphysics, then in the second case the supremacy of the source of manifestation over itself is relativized, and the problem of being as a fact is not annulled, but rather remains a constantly open question (as in Parmenides’ thesis “Being cannot not be”). In this pagan perspective, there is no horizon of death, since death decides nothing, but only postpones or transfers the same question to a new level. Pagan traditions emphasize the consequence of this inner logic to be an aspect of the transmigration of beings that is conditioned by the fatal inevitability of the problem of being, which is not annulled by returning to the source.

This non-monotheistic approach does not place the manifest above the un-manifest, but merely radicalizes the question of the aim of manifestation, its mission, and the message it contains. It takes this question to its final limits. The finiteness of being is not assigned any decisive importance here, since the non-absoluteness of this finiteness is fixed and does not give any satisfactory answer to the reason and meaning of its emergence. In this perspective, being itself ceases to be the reign of descent and entropy and becomes the expression of some kind of special, metaphysically un-obvious truth. It is precisely for this reason that the principle of oneness thus loses all of its significance and, from a redeeming transcendent horizon, turns into some kind of self-evident statement, a statement of the obvious, the true, but the insufficient. On the other hand, multiplicity itself acquires a purely qualitative character: it is no longer a diluted and “entroping” unity, but the fabric of the gnostic message, in which every detail and every symbol is important and irreplaceable. Thus arise the “gods”, “angels”, and “messengers”, the spokesmen of the special gospel, the sender and addressee of which remain metaphysically unknown within both being and non-being. Thus arises as the crown of pagan metaphysics the notion of “Atman”, the subject, the living, immanent “god”, the qualitative which cannot be exhausted by the determining of being or non-being, that which participates in both but is not identical to one or the other. The subject is the special figure of the non-monotheistic tradition; it is the center of the imperial worldview, the concentration of its essence.

Thus, the subject is the summative, synthesized term of paganism without which the pagan perspective simply loses its raison d’etre. This subject coincides in essence with the two other emphatically immanent modalities of Tradition defined by the terms “spirit” and “light.” It is no coincidence that where traditional doctrines emphasize the terms “light”, “spirit,” and “I”, we are dealing with what monotheism frequently defines as “pagan heresy” or the “heresy of paganism.” This can be seen in the names of various gnostic groups, such as the Brotherhood of the Free Spirit, the Children of Light, etc. In addition, the very Sanskrit term Atman means both “spirit”, “I”, and “self.” It is also curious that, beyond Abrahamic, creationist monotheism’s cursing of “pagans and gnostics”, even the Zoroastrians found their “light gnosis” of Mani to be “heretical.”

However, the “light of the subject” is not an analogue or even a synonym of the “light of being.” It is a completely different light of an absolutely different quality. It is the “light of the problem” born out of the fact of the co-existence of being and non-being regardless of whether this existence is real (i.e., when being de facto is) or potential (i.e., when being is de facto “already not” or “not yet”). Hinduism specifies that alongside the Atman (the subject in being) there is the Paramatman (the subject in non-being). Thus, gnostic-“pagan” immanentism is an immanentism of an altogether different nature, one which is irreducible to any one of the modalities allocated by monotheism.

But does this immanentism remain really immanent? After all, in contrast to the strictly monotheistic optic, this immanentism cannot be satisfied by the transcendent member of the monotheistic dyad (the creator) as the metaphysical final and supreme. However, it does not follow that creation is not a final and exhaustive answer for immanentism. The immanentism of the “problem of light” can be explained by the need to merely fix the very fact of being, thereby not allowing it to disappear in the inexorable logic of monotheistic “ethics.” Here being serves as none other than “proof” of the non-absoluteness of being, and both being and non-being are no longer divorced (as in monotheism), but are fused together, thus becoming one and the same pole of the problem facing a complete Other, without which and outside of which this great problem would not exist. If this is so, then immanentism becomes in fact an expression of the highest and most convincing metaphysical transcendentalism, in which the transcendent quality is borne not out of the monotheistic Creator (who is metaphysically identical to non-being), but something beyond him himself, something so distant and great that it assigns to cause and effect equal metaphysical rights, thereby by making both into but a lower pole of the problem that is turned into the absolute and unattainable top.

In this perspective, the whole “pagan” (or more precisely, immanentist) complex acquires an altogether special meaning. Manifestation and its structure, which are accentuated and thoroughly deciphered by “paganism”, cease to be a not so important consequence of the Creator, who is valuable only relatively and with certain reservations. Rather, these questions become the text of the problem that is of equal significance to both creation and the Creator himself. Hence logically arises the goal of manifestation which, by the very fact of its presence (or the possibility of its presence), testifies (with the means of qualitatively lower principles compared to the principle of non-being) to something that is incomparable and eternal and which is superior to this non-being.

It is precisely in this sense that the “pagan” universe is theomorphic or, even more precisely, “angelomorphic.” Its elements are essentially revelations of the “world of light” beyond non-being, beyond the Creator. If we attentively examine the quality of this angelomorphic, “pagan” universe, we see that there is no opposition between the gnostic “anti-demiurgic” pathos and the immanentist accents of “paganism.” The “anti-demiurgism” of the gnostics can be explained by the rejection of the understanding of the actuality of the Creator as a single answer to the question of the purpose of creation. Such “anti-demiurgism” is polemical and takes aim first and foremost at monotheistic metaphysics, at the very founding logic of this metaphysics. From this perspective, the gnostics were essentially extreme transcendentalists. But the negative nature of the demiurge – or, more precisely, his complete dissatisfaction with the quality of the universal answer – does not diminish anything in the mission of manifestation, which in and of itself is the gnostic attack against its creator, its author. The sign that is encrypted in the cosmos and worshipped in “paganism” is immanent and visualized only as immanent. But this “pagan” immanentism is actually equivalent in its conclusions and in its very logic and source of impulse to gnostic transcendentalism. After all, there can be no suggestion that non-being is insufficient within its own pure self-identity. Such an argument could be drawn up only out of the deep deciphering of its antithesis (being), which reveals its dissatisfaction on the one hand (as the Creator of something imperfect) and on the other reveals certain transcendent potentials which remain problematic and hidden under the metaphysical status quo, but which could also awaken in the form of the light dimension of the universe, as the resurrecting immortal spirit, the eternal “I” of the Savior.

The gods of “paganism” are the subjective parameters of manifestation. They are not so much self-sufficient and self-satisfying principles in the likes of the God of monotheism as much as they are angels in the etymological sense, i.e., “messengers”, “spirits.” In accordance with this logic, John the Theologian, in his most esoteric gospel, utters a phrase which is completely alien to orthodox creationist monotheism: “God is spirit.” Within the framework of pure monotheism, such a downgrading of the principle, the source of all things spiritual and material, to merely one modality, to the spirit, sounds akin to blasphemy. In the pagan perspective, on the other hand, it is difficult to say anything more true and more just. It is no coincidence that it was John the Theologian who became the patron of European Christian esotericism.

In the Christian perspective, the Holy Spirit is the Consoler, the Paraclete, the main deputy in being of other hypostases which are absent in a given moment. For example, before the coming of the Son Christ, he “speaks through prophets”. After Christ’s Ascension, he “consoles and instructs” the once again orphaned world. Only thanks to him are the mysteries of the Church realized. The Holy Spirit of Christianity is the most immanent hypostasis of the Divine, and it is the identification of this hypostasis with the essence of the Divine that is beckoned by John the Theologian’s formula.

Finally, there is one final metaphysical aspect of paganism which ought to be emphasized. Every paganism is necessarily eschatological. This statement may surprise some, given that it outwardly contradicts the above. After all, the “pagan” approach to metaphysics is not obliged to especially accentuate the problem of the end of the world, the end of being, insofar as the absorption of manifestation by the principle not only says nothing to “metaphysical paganism”, but only “annoyingly” postpones the resolution of the great problem without adding anything substantive to it.

However, there is one fundamental consideration which makes eschatologism a necessary and extremely important component of immanentist tradition as a whole, which indeed has a place in the majority of historical “pagan” traditions, especially Aryan paganism. The eschatologism of immanentist doctrines is radically different from the monotheistic positive appraisal of the end of being to be the end of illusion and, as follows, an element of the absolute, unbroken fullness in the bosom of the principle of non-being.

Paganism envisions for the end times not a return to a unity lost in manifestation, but a return to primordial duality. It is no accident that Zoroastrian cyclology calls the final stage of sacred history vicharishn, literally “separation.” Only at the moment of contact between being and non-being is the pagan revealed the whole depth of his doctrine, with all the paradoxical implications. This border realized at the final point of manifestation is the point of departure for the questioning of the subject, who here can only view both metaphysical realities (both exhaustive being and incumbent non-being) as something that does not principally satisfy him, hence his turn to the source which might be beyond both being and non-being.

On the pragmatic level, eschatologism is an essential feature of metaphysically fully-fledged paganism, since the true immanentism of authentic tradition cannot and should not be a doctrine of absoluteness and the non-transcendence of “this world”, which would render it an anti-tradition and anti-nomist materialism. For the subject of pagan immanentism, being is not the final sought-after shore or “paradise.” Rather, it is a symbol of the fact that non-being itself is not this “paradise.”

Thus, pagan tradition has no illusions as to the finiteness of being. On the contrary, this finiteness and non-absoluteness, taken and recognized as such, is attractive to this tradition in being. Hence, eschatology naturally becomes the center of the pagan worldview, guarding pagan metaphysics from fetishism and the inertial worship of being.

The true “pagan” Empire, as well as the true ‘pagan’ subject, are necessarily eschatological. The power which emanates “from there”, on which every true Empire rests, is not a banal affirmation of the identity of being with itself. The “pagan” component in metaphysics is charged with a paradoxical and truly transcendent “energy” which leads much further than the impeccable and unique, yet limited power of faith. This is made especially clear in the critical moments of the unfolding of being, in radical eschatological moments – only then can pagan metaphysics fully demonstrate its deepest foundations.

The Star of the Invisible Empire: Jean Parvulesco

Author: Alexander Dugin

Source: Open Revolt

Article first published in 1994 in the newspaper Zavtra, re-published in Alexander Dugin, Knights Templar of the Proletariat (Moscow: Arktogeia, 1997). 


Profession: Visionary

Jean Parvulesco is a living mystery of European literature. A mystic, poet, novelist, literary critic, expert in political intrigues, revolutionary, and friend and confidant of many European luminaries of the second half of the 20th century – from Ezra Pound and Julius Evola to Raymond Abellio and Arnaud Breker.

Parvulesco’s true identity remains a mystery. A Romanian who fled to the West in the 1940’s, he became one of the most prominent French stylists of modern prose and poetry. But whatever his works might have been, from tantric dances to complex occult novels to biographies of his great friends (especially The Red Sun of Raymond Abellio), Parvulesco’s real vocation is that of a “visionary”, a direct and inspired contemplator of the spiritual spheres which reveal themselves to the chosen behind the gloomy and flat visibility of the modern profane world.

At the same time, Parvulesco has nothing in common with the vulgar representatives of the modern neo-mysticism that is so widespread today as a kind of instrumental compensation for the techno-information routines of everyday life. Parvulesco’s vision is dark and tragic; he has no illusions as to the hellish, infernal nature of the modern world. In this sense, he is akin to a Traditionalist. The infantile optimism of the Theosophists, occultists, and pseudo-mystical “conserves” of New Age are extremely foreign to Parvulesco. But unlike many Traditionalists of an “academic” temperament, he does not restrict himself to skeptical lamentations of the “crisis of the modern world” and bare, marginal condemnations of the material civilization of the end of the Kali Yuga. Jean Parvulesco’s texts are full of the Sacred, which speaks directly through them, on the dreamlike, almost prophetic level of a strange revelation, a “visit” which makes its way from the higher spheres through the magical blockade of dark energies which fill today’s world and the collective and cosmic psyche.

Parvulesco is an authentic visionary. He is sufficiently profound and doctrinally honed, enough so as to not lead one to mistake the first phantoms of subtle reality for “messengers of light.” At the same time, he strains his intuition to the extreme in a dangerous and risky “journey inward” towards the “center of the Black Lake” of the modern spirit, so as to go without fear beyond the limits of fixed rational and dogmatic norms (hence the multi-leveled paradoxes which saturate Parvulesco’s books).

Parvulesco’s message can be defined in the following manner:

The Sacred has disappeared from the daily reality of the modern world, and it is completely obvious that we live in the End Times. This Sacred has not disappeared (since, being eternal, it cannot disappear), but it has passed into the nocturnal, invisible matrix and is now ready to descend upon the human, physical cosmos in a terrifying apocalyptic moment – the apogee of history, the point at which the world, having forgotten its spiritual nature and disowned it, will be forced to confront it in the harsh flash of Revelation.

This has not happened yet. Humanity is fast asleep in its dark, material illusions, while only the chosen, the visionaries, the members of the secret brotherhood, the Apocalyptic Order, are watching awake, secretly preparing the path for the coming of the Final Hour, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Great Empire of the End.

Parvulesco considers himself to be not a writer, but a herald of this Invisible Empire (thus is titled his final book – The Star of the Invisible Empire), a speaker of the Occult Parliament of the planetary elite of the “awakened.” His personality doubles, triples, and quadruples in the characters of his novels, where the author himself is at work alongside his counterparts, his occult doubles, real historical figures, otherworldly shadows, the shells of the “outer twilight”, and the secret agencies of occult intelligence services.

Parvulesco unveils not merely a scenography of individual phantasies or memories, but a whole parallel world. The populations of his texts are genuinely frightening; their strange (quite often dark) humor sometimes reaches the sacred relics of religion, dogma, and canons, thereby awakening and freeing their their inner, secret essence from the stupid fetishistic veneration which kills the spirit. Following the prescriptions of Tantra, Parvulesco makes language come alive, he makes it rapid and “operational.” This is why his texts are more than literature. They are magical spells and scandalous revelations. They are provocations of events and predictions of their meaning. They are immersion into the Ocean of Interiorness, into the underground tunnels of the Hidden, into the frightening empire of that which dwells inside each of us. This is why Parvulesco can at times be just as frightening as any true genius. He attentively and scientifically studies us from within, and his experiments at times overstep well-established boundaries. Parvulesco is a visionary anatomist.

In the Beginning was Conspiracy

Parvulesco answers clearly and paradoxically at once that reality is dual in nature. Secret agents of Being and Oblivion are present in all key spheres of governance in the modern world, directing all processes of civilization. The fabric of actual, concrete history is derived from the superimposition of these energetic vectors of two occult networks upon one another. Generals and terrorists, spies and poets, presidents and occultists, Church fathers and heresiarchs, mafiosi and ascetics, Freemasons and naturalists, prostitutes and blessed saints, salon artists and workers movement activists, archaeologists and forgers are all merely obedient actors in a saturated conspirological drama. Who knows what social identity hides a higher initiate. A robber or beggar often turn outs to be the curator of the President or the Pope, and a military commander or banker can be puppets of a salon poet, behind the grotesque and imaginative personality of whom lurks a cold master and architect of harsh political history.

Against Demons and Democracy

The Star of the Invisible Empire is Parvulesco’s final and key novel. It ties together all the threads of his previous books. It describes the nearing of the final denouement of the transcendent meta-history of which our author has been a chronicler. Here is his résumé:

All across the planet, especially in France and Portugal (as well as Peru and Mexico), and in the magical “acupuncture points” of the occult West, the agents of Oblivion have erected black pyramids – physical and supra-physical installations designed to facilitate the direct invasion of the world by demonic energies, the hordes of the Gogs and Magogs. This apocalyptic project bears the secret name “Project Aquarius.” Corresponding to the relevant astrological symbolism, the “Age of Aquarius” dawns and carries with it not joy and harmony (as the agents of Oblivion try to reassure humanity), but decomposition, decay, chaos, death, and “dissolution in the lower waters.” The hero of Star of the Invisible Empire, Tony d’Antremont, describes his prophetic vision of the onset of the “Aquarian epoch” thusly:

I see, together with Lovecraft, the swarming of gigantic, repulsive masses, moving in endless waves, advancing on the last, residual crystal structures of the resistance of the spiritual elite; I behold in the ecstatic powerlessness of my hallucinatory awakening a flickering black foam, a foam of black dissolution, the terror of the democratic stench, and the terrible apparatuses of these convulsing corpses which – in the make-up of dirty whores with deceitful smiles, with the Californian beach smile of European anti-fascists, with the smile of mannequin whores from glittering showcases (I would define them as such) – are preparing our final defeat, are leading us whither not even they know or, rather, know all too well, all along the way sucking the bone marrow out of us; these are the hallucinatory leaden cloaks of Human Rights, the fecal-vomit emissions of Hell – although by saying such I am insulting Hell.

The servants of Aquarius, by opening the way to the human world for the black “shells” of the outer twilight, are striving to present their counter-natural advent as a blessing, as salvation, as the peak of evolution, while hiding their essence, the Vomito Negro (“Black Vomit”) under the political and Spiritualist slogan of the New Age or New World Order.

Against the conspiracy of Aquarius, in which the whole terrifying “meta-galactic” network of the agents of Oblivion seeking their final embodiment in the “New World Order” is concentrated, are fighting those who represent the Western order of Atlantis Magna. The Woman, known under the mystical name Licorne Mordore, or the “red-brown Unicorn”, plays a special role in the rituals of this order. In physical reality, she bears the name Jane Darlington. However, the true nature of this woman fundamentally transcends the limits of individuality. Rather, she represents some kind of sacred function distributed among all women of the order, whose personal and everyday relationships reflect the ontological hierarchy of being itself (one of them corresponds to the spirit, another to the soul, and another to the body). The men of the order, including the main hero Tony d’Antremont, are also hardly individuals in a strict sense: the descriptions of death and adultery which fill Parvulesco’s novel illustrate the purely functional essence of the main characters. The ritual death of one merely activates the conspirological activities of another, and when their women are unfaithful to them, they find that they remain true to one and the same essence. Thus, Atlantis Magna weaves its continental network of struggle against the conspiracy of Aquarius. On the higher, transcendental level, this means the ritual tantric realization of the eschatological Phenomenon corresponding to the coming of the Consoler and the Wife. Only on this level can those who are building the “black pyramids” be defeated.

The preparation and organization of the most mysterious ritual of the “red circle” constitutes the main trope of the novel. On their way to accomplishing this procedure, the members of Atlantis Magna embark on symbolic journeys, analyze mystical texts, seek the true causes behind political transformations, explore the oddities of the history of various ancient European ancestral lines, they decipher esoteric ideas (appearing like information leaks in ordinary tabloid literature), experience love-filled and erotic relationships, are subjected to assassination attempts, and become victims of kidnapping and torture. But all of this concrete flesh of the fascinating, detective-like novel is a continuous reading and clarification of the interconnected visionary reality of the Final Event of history, the manifestation of the Great Eurasian Empire of the End, the Regnum Sacrumor Imperium Sacrum, whose reflections are discernible in all aspects of the modern world.

On the level of political conspiracy, the novel’s heroes operate actively and decisively. The spiritual resistance to New Age and neo-Spiritualism, for whose representatives (from Alice Bailey to Teilhard de Chardin and Sai Baba) Tony d’Antremont proposes to arrange an “occult super-Auschwitz, a super-Majdanek”, is projected onto political opposition to the New World Order, Americanism, and Liberalism, a confrontation which forces the “agents of Being” to weave a network of global conspiracy with all those political forces opposed to globalism. Palestinian terrorists, underground European neo-Nazi groups, social revolutionaries and Red Brigades, the descendants of aristocratic families who hate “democracy” and secretly wish to end the liberal epoch, members of the Italian mafia, Gaullists and Francoists, Third World revolutionaries, shamans from America and Asia, communist leaders, and German bankers all become participants in a geopolitical project aimed at the establishment of a final Eurasian Empire. Diplomatic receptions, foreign trips, confidential talks, and intelligence gathering make up the political aspect of the conspiracy of the “agents of Being” and a special storyline of the novel, superimposed over occult conversations and the long esoteric monologues of the story’s heroes.

Parvulesco’s novel is not structured along the traditional logic of a complete narrative. It is altogether characteristic that the novel comes to an abrupt end mid-word on page 533. All the preceding contents have brought the reader close to the eschatological denouement of the occult war, but here the literary world ends, and actual reality begins. The majority of the novel’s characters are historical figures, some of whom have died, while others are still alive. The books and texts cited in the tale really exist. While many of the book’s episodes and retold legends are fictional, many are not. One characteristic detail is that the majority of the names mentioned are provided in parentheses with dates of birth and death.

After reading Star of the Invisible Empire, a natural question arises: What exactly have we just read? A novel? Fiction? Fantasy? Surreal literature? Or, perhaps, an esoteric tract?

Or is it a real revelation of the true background to modern history, seen from the standpoint of metaphysical fullness in all its volume, beyond hallucinations which are in essence all banal, everyday views explaining nothing and extremely far from the truth?

In the dedication that adorns the copy presented to me, Jean Parvulesco himself called his novel a “most secret and most dangerous initiatic novel in which Absolute Love presents its final weapon of Absolute Power and lays the occult foundations for the future great Eurasian Empire of the End, which will be akin to the Kingdom of Heaven, Regnum Sanctum.”

Nothing more nor less.

The Red-Brown Shiva

During one of our discussions, when I was telling Parvulesco about the meaning of the term “ours” in Russian political terminology, Parvulesco became very animated and showed me a place in one of his early novels (from the mid 1970’s) in which he providentially employed the very same term in a strikingly similar sense. For him, “ours” are the members of the conspiracy of Being, a secret network of agents of influence who are united by a common occult goal beyond political differences, and who stand against the cosmopolitan and profane civilization that has been established on the planet.

Moreover, my Italian friends once sent me the copy of an article of Parvulesco’s from the late 1960’s in which he spoke of “Eurasianism”, the geopolitical project of a Continental Bloc, the need for a Russo-German alliance (a renewed Ribbentrop-Molotov pact), and even the need to merge red and brown into a single revolutionary, anti-globalist front! It is altogether strange how the texts of this amazing man – which remain popular only as literary works while provoking the condescending smile of “academic” Traditionalists – pre-emptively described many years ago with an almost prophetic clairvoyance precisely that which has become a political fact only in recent years – in Russia, far from Europe.

All of this leads to quite disturbing thoughts as to the true nature of this genius writer. Who are you, in the end, Mr. Parvulesco? The commander of Altavilla? Whoever he is, Parvulesco is undoubtedly “red-brown”, not least because his sympathies are with the mysterious female figure whom certain really existing initiatic societies call the “Red-Brown Unicorn.”, Licorne Mordore. It should be noted that the French word mordoré means, more precisely, “red-brown with gold or a golden tint.” Besides this squeamish and derogatory term “red-brown” which has long since branded the most interesting political forces in Russia, there is also the royal, regal shade of this color – the final, eschatological coronation, with Alchemical Gold, of the great, continental Eurasian Revolution. This Revolution is being prepared and carried out today by “ours” – the secret and overt agents of Being. Yet another personage of sacred tradition is bestowed this color: the Hindu god Shiva, who is liturgically called the “red-brown” and “the terrible.” This god’s character is close to the element of our Red-Browns. Yes, this element is terrible and destructive in its outer manifestation. But the terrible red-brown Shiva is the keeper of the secret of Eternity, that which is revealed in all its entirety in the End Times, when it denies with its “terrible” being the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. Red-brown Shiva is the patron of the tradition of sacred Love, Tantra – the very same Tantra to which one of Jean Parvulesco’s first books, La Miséricordieuse Couronne du Tantra (The Merciful Crown of Tantra), was dedicated.

The agents of the Inner Continent are awake. In the night sky of our repulsive civilization appears the magic Star heralding the imminent transformation of the Inner into Outer. This is the Star of the Invisible Empire, the Empire of Jean Parvulesco.


Noomakhia: Great India – Civilization of the Absolute

Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Wars of the Mind: Great India – Civilization of the Absolute
(Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

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Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Indo-Europeans of the Eastern Limits

Part I: Vedic Civilization

Chapter 1: Approaches to Understanding India

Chapter 2: India’s Pre-History

Chapter 3: The Indo-European Ecumene

Chapter 4: Indian Titanomachy

Chapter 5: Varna: Castes of the Great Subject

Chapter 6: Vedic Religion

Chapter 7: The Structure of the Sruti

Chapter 8: The Logos of the Upanishads

Chapter 9: The Religion of Dasa

Chapter 10: The Indian Structure

PART II: The Indian Historial

Chapter 11: Vertical history

Chapter 12: The Conventional History of India

Chapter 13: The Logos of the Sramana: Jainism and Buddhism

Chapter 14: The Mahajamapadas, the Maurya Empire, and Nastika

Chapter 15: The Bhagavad Gita and the Metaphysics of Vishnuism

Chapter 16: Sankhya: The Philosophy of Parkriti and the Awakening of the Snake

Chapter 17: Adi Shakti: Woman vs. Mother

Chapter 18: Brahmasutra: Counter-Strike of the Vedanta

PART III: India in the Middle Ages

Chapter 19: The Structures of the Medieval Historial

Chapter 20: Tantra

Chapter 21: The Three Crowned Kings

Chapter 22: Gondwana: Central and South India in the Middle Ages

Chapter 23:  Advaita Vedanta

Chapter 24: Anti-Advaita

PART IV: Buddhism: Mahayana – The Indian Philosophy of the New Beginning

Chapter 25: The Transformation of Buddhist Metaphysics

Chapter 26: Madhyamaka: How to Philosophize by Emptiness

Chapter 27: Yogachara

Chapter 28: Tathagatagarbha: Non-Duality on the Counter-Attack

Chapter 29: Vajrayana: Sin Transformed

PART V: The Post-Middle-Ages: Islam and India

Chapter 30: After the Middle Ages

Chapter 31: From the Ghaznavids to the Delhi Sultanate

Chapter 32: The Great Moghuls and the Transcendental Unity of the Traditions of Akbar

Chapter 33: The States of North-West India

PART VI: Towards Modernity: From Colonization to Independence

Chapter 34: The European Colonization of India

Chapter 35: Reformed Hinduism

Chapter 36: Fundamentalists and the Politics of Swaraj

Chapter 37: Sanatana Dharma: True Hinduism

Chapter 38: Modern India: Post-Colonial Legitimacy and Deep De-Colonization


Civilization as a Discursive Tool of Western Politics

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book on multipolarity…

The notion of civilization was introduced into broad scholarly circulation in the late 18th century by the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson, who meant by such a stage in the development of human society characterized by the existence of social classes, cities, writing, and other phenomena. The preceding stages, according to this thinker, were savagery and barbarism. In his Essay on the History of Civil Society, Ferguson remarked: “This progress in the case of man is continued to a greater extent than in that of any other animal. Not only the individual advances from infancy to manhood, but the species itself from rudeness to civilization.”[1] A similar approach was subsequently taken up by many scholars, especially in Soviet times, due to the fact that this view was maintained by Friedrich Engels. This imperative wields influence to this very day, hence such expressions as “civilizational approach”, and “civilized society”, etc. Around the same time, a similar idea was expressed by the English scholar, John Boswell.

The German sociologist Norbert Elias argued that the concept of civilization “expresses the self-consciousness of the West”, and: “By this term Western society seeks to describe what constitutes its special character and what it is proud of: the level of its technology, the nature of its manners, the development of its scientific knowledge or view of the world, and much more.”[2] Elias notes further:

But ‘civilization’ does not mean the same thing to different Western nations. Above all, there is a great difference between the English and French use of the word, on the one hand, and the German use of it, on the other. For the former, the concept sums up in a single term their pride in the significance of their own nations for the progress of the West and of humankind. But in German usage, Zivilisation means something which is indeed useful, but nevertheless only a value of the second rank.[3]

As is characteristic of the German school, Elias shares Spengler’s distinctions between culture and civilization, suggesting that civilization signifies a process or, in the very least, the result of a process. If civilization “plays down” national differences, insofar as the “concept of civilization has the function of giving expression to the continuously expansionist tendency of colonizing groups, the concept of Kultur mirrors the self-consciousness of a nation which had constantly to seek out and constitute its boundaries anew, in a political as well as a spiritual sense, and again and again had to ask itself: ‘What really is our identity?’”[4]

Examining the origins of the contrast between culture and civilization, Elias cites Kant’s 1784 Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View, which reads: “The ideal of morality belongs to culture; its use for some simulacrum of morality in the love of honor and outward decorum constitutes mere civilization.” In other words, according to Kant, civilization is a special kind of behavior, even if it is artificially created with the aim of legitimizing social status.

The sociogenesis of the notion of “civilization” is seen analogously in France. “The first literary evidence of the development of the verb civiliser into the concept civilisation is to be found, according to present-day findings, in the work of the elder Mirabeau in the 1760s.”[5]Maribeau wrote:

I marvel to see how our learned views, false on all points, are wrong on what we take to be civilization. If they were asked what civilization is, most people would answer: softening of manners, urbanity, politeness, and a dissemination of knowledge such that propriety is established in place of laws of detail: all that only presents me with the mask of virtue and not its face, and civilization does nothing for society if it does not give it both the form and the substance of virtue.

Elias thus summates:

Concepts such as politesse or civilité had, before the concept civilization was formed and established, practically the same function as the new concept: to express the self-image of the European upper class in relation to others whom its members considered simpler or more primitive, and at the same time to characterize the specific kind of behaviour through which this upper class felt itself different from all simpler and more primitive people.”[6]

This, let us note, means that people from the very same state or nation were seen as backward “barbarians” in the eyes of court-aristocratic and bourgeois circles. If earlier the upper class in all regions of Europe fundamentally opposed the lower strata, the “mobs”, then in the epoch of bourgeois revolutions, the idea appeared that all of society could be “finished up” and led to the state of “civilization.” It was often under this idea that the bourgeoning bourgeoisie fought against caste restrictions and everything that might interfere with their trade and interests. “The consciousness of their own superiority, the consciousness of this ‘civilization’, from now on serves at least those nations which have become colonial conquerors, and therefore a kind of upper class to large sections of the non-European world, as a justification of their rule, to the same degree that earlier the ancestors of the concept of civilization, politesse and civilité, had served the courtly-aristocratic upper class as a justification of theirs.[7] Thus, Elias argues that “civilization” was needed by the West in order to extend its power and influence to other regions of the world through a system of coercion and subordination in various forms. He emphasizes: “In this way civilizing structures are constantly expanding within Western society; both the upper and lower strata are tending to become a kind of upper stratum and the centre of a network of interdependencies spreading over wider and wider areas, both populated and unpopulated[8], of the rest of the world.”[9]

The “spread of civilization” is therefore the penetration of Western institutions and behavioral standards into other countries. Non-Western countries can voluntarily join this process insofar as they see the need for their own survival, the point of which is not only the borrowing of technical skills, but also forms of “civilized” behavior which allow them to enter the network of interdependencies. But the center of this network remains occupied by the people of the West.

 In fact, what Norbert Elias was describing is what is now called “globalization”, although the latter author arrived at these conclusions in the interwar period. In the present time, criticisms of Western civilization in its “exclusive form” have only intensified. For example, Raymond Aaron notes that “suspected, explicit racism could not endlessly resist the opening up of the greatness of other civilizations or the obvious fragility of European supremacy.”[10] Hamid Dabashi from Columbia University argues that the idea of Western civilization was for European nations a kind of umbrella structure asserting the universal identity of European national cultures and to “unify these cultures against their colonial consequences.” Dabashi thus surmises:

Islamic, Indian, or African civilizations were invented contrapuntally by Orientalism, as the intelligence arm of colonialism, in order to match, balance and thus authenticate ‘The Western Civilization.’ All non-western civilizations were therefore invented exactly as such, as negational formulations of the western, thus authenticating the western. Hegel subjected all his preceding human history into civilizational stages leading to the Western Civilization, thus in effect infantilizing, Orientalizing, exoticizing and abnormalizing the entire human history…[11]


[1] https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/ferguson-an-essay-on-the-history-of-civil-society; Accessed in Russian in: Бенвенист Э. Цивилизация. К истории слова Civilization. Contribution a l’histoire du mot // Общая лингвистика. — М.: URSS, 2010.

[2] Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 5.

[3] Ibid, 6.

[4] Ibid, 7.

[5] Ibid, 33-34.

[6] Ibid, 34.

[7] Ibid, 43.

[8] The Russian translations reads “colonized and un-colonized”: Норберт Элиас. О процессе цивилизации. Изменения в обществе. Проект теории цивилизации. Т. 2. М.: Университетская книга, 2001. p. 256.

[9] Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 381.

[10] Реймон Арон. Избранное: Измерения исторического сознания. – М.: РОССПЭН, 2004. С. 97.

[11] Dabashi Hamid. For the last time: civilizations. Rethinking civilizational analysis// Intern. sociology – L., 2001. – Vol. 16, N3 (Special issue), P. 364.

Noomakhia: England or Britain? The Maritime Mission and Positive Subject

Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Wars of the Mind: England or Britain? The Maritime Mission and the Positive Subject (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015).

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Introduction: England – The Homeland of the “Modern World”

Part I: England or Britain?

Chapter 1: From Britain to England: Ethnoi and States

Chapter 2: Anglo-Britain in the Middle Ages: Two Churches

Chapter 3: The Norman Invasion and the House of Plantagenet: The Franco-English Epoch

Chapter 4: English Theology

Chapter 5: Knights, Damsels, and Fairies in the Anglo-British Lai

Chapter 6: The Reformation

Chapter 7: English Thought at the Foundation of the Paradigm of Modernity: Locke’s Heartland

Chapter 8: Dreams on the Eve of Modernity

Chapter 9; The Yates Paradigm

Chapter 10: Pax Britannica: The Mercantile-Maritime Empire

Chapter 11: In Love with the Mind and in Trust of Feelings

Chapter 12: The Romantics: Gods and Titans in the Meadows of Green England

Chapter 13: Liberalism: The Positive Individual Subject

Chapter 14: Realism and Irony

Chapter 15: The Subtle Charm of Decadence: Pre-Raphaelites, the Dandy, and Satanists

Chapter 16: The 20th Century: Historial and Empire

Chapter 17: English Positivity

Chapter 18: Imperialism, Tradition, and Utopia in English Literature

Chapter 19: The British Invasion

Chapter 20: Conclusion

Part II: The Celtic Pole

Chapter 21: The Celtic Pole of Anglo-British Civilization

Chapter 22: Wales: The Titanomachy of Trees

Chapter 23: Scotland: The Drowsy Titans

Chapter 24: Ireland

“NOOMAKHIA – Geosophy: Horizons, and Civilizations”

Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

“A philosophical-methodological introduction and companion to the Greater Noomakhia cycle



Part I: The Basic Concepts of Geosophy

Chapter 1: The Horizons of Cultures: The Geography of Logoi

Chapter 2: Deconstructing Eurocentrism

Chapter 3: Defining Civilizations

Chapter 4: The Topography of Geosophy

Part II: Theories of Civilizations: Criteria, Concepts, Correspondences

Chapter 5: Proclus

Chapter 6: Joachim de Flore

Chapter 7: Giambattista Vico

Chapter 8: Johann Gottfried Herder

Chapter 9: Friedrich von Schelling

Chapter 10: Georg Hegel

Chapter 11: Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky

Chapter 12: Johann Bachofen

Chapter 13: Friedrich Ratzel

Chapter 14: Halford Mackinder

Chapter 15: Carl Schmitt

Chapter 16: Robert Graebner and Wilhelm Schmidt

Chapter 17: Moritz Lazarus, Wilhelm Wundt, and Alfred Vierkandt

Chapter 18: Franz Boas

Chapter 19: Oswald Spengler

Chapter 20: Richard Thurnwald

Chapter 21: Leo Frobenius

Chapter 22: Herman Wirth

Chapter 23: Marija Gimbutas

Chapter 24: Robert Graves

Chapter 25: Károly Kerényi

Chapter 26: Sigmund Freud

Chapter 27: Carl Gustav Jung

Chapter 28: Johan Huizinga

Chapter 29: René Guénon

Chapter 30: Julius Evola

Chapter 31: Mircea Eliade

Chapter 32: Ioan Culianu

Chapter 33: Georges Dumézil

Chapter 34: Pitirim Sorokin

Chapter 35: Gilbert Durand

Chapter 36: Nikolai Trubetzkoy

Chapter 37: Petr Savitsky

Chapter 38: Lev Gumilev

Chapter 39: Arnold Toynbee

Chapter 40: Fernand Braudel

Chapter 41: Samuel Huntington

Chapter 42: A Common Nomenclature of Basic Terminologies

Part III: Pluriversum: Geosophy and its Zones

Chapter 43: A Nomenclature of Horizons and the Plans of Greater Noomakhia

Chapter 44: The Logos of Europe: A History of Rise and Fall

Chapter 45: The Semitic Horizon

Chapter 46: The Horizons of the Two Americas

Chapter 47: The Eurasian Horizon

Chapter 48: The Iranian Logos

Chapter 49: The Indian Logos

Chapter 50: Chinese Civilization

Chapter 51: Japan and its Logos

Chapter 52: African Horizons

Chapter 53: The Horizons of the Pacific






Distributed Heartland: Towards a Multipolar Geopolitics

Author: Alexander Dugin

Transcript prepared/edited by Jafe Arnold

Dugin’s Expertise – Geopolitica.ru 

Today we must begin discussing a geopolitical problem which, in my view, is central to the construction of a multipolar world. Those who know geopolitics, know that one of the main laws or concepts of geopolitics is the notion of Heartland. All the classical schools of geopolitics – including the models of Mackinder, Spykman, Haushofer, Brzezinski, etc. – recognize a deep dualism between Heartland – the Continent, the Civilization of Land – and the Civilization of Sea, embodied today in the Anglo-Saxon world, first and foremost the US and its maritime policy. The Civilization of Sea, or Sea Power, attempts to surround Heartland – the Continent, Eurasia – from the sea and control its coastal territories. Sea Power strives to deter the development of Heartland, and thereby realize its domination on a global scale. As Mackinder said, “he who controls Eastern Europe, controls Heartland, and he who controls Heartland, controls the world.” This idea was subsequently developed by Spykman into: “He who controls Rimland (the coastal zone from Europe to China and South-East Asia), controls Heartland, and he who controls Heartland, controls the world.”

The fight to rule Heartland – by Sea Power from without, or in Heartland itself from within – is the main formula of geopolitical history, the very essence of geopolitics. Geopolitics is the battle for Heartland. All schools of geopolitics are founded upon and proceed from this model.

In the bipolar world of the Cold War, Heartland was represented by the Eastern camp, first and foremost the USSR, while Sea Power was the Western camp (Western Europe, the countries loyal to the West in the Middle East, etc.). Heartland, in the face of the USSR, lost this war in the early 1990’s, which marked the beginning of the unipolar moment. The defeat of Heartland in the Great War of Continents initiated the unipolar moment, a unipolar architecture in which the civilization of Sea and Sea Power achieved total domination. Fukuyama thus proclaimed the End of History. Sea Power ruled Heartland externally, such as by means of the Fifth Column at the head of Russian state, as was the case in the 1990’s. Heartland was blocked. Since Putin came to power, Russia has once again begun to step onto the path of sovereignty, and NATO has continued to blockade Russia. In the 1990’s, the battle against Heartland was won by Sea Power, and Heartland was “withdrawn from the system.” Thus began the unipolar moment: the global victory of Sea Power.

Today we often speak about a multipolar world and how Russia, despite its terrible losses, has preserved its identity, come to its senses, returned to itself, returned in history, and has ever so slightly squeezed itself out from under the total domination of the Fifth Column within Russia itself. At the same time, the unipolar domination of Sea Power has somewhat retreated, as Russia has won certain gains. It is obvious that Fukuyama declared the End of History and the global victory of liberalism prematurely. We were indeed close to this being the case, and we can say that we have lived in the unipolar world, but this unipolar world could not be made eternal, could not affirm itself, and thus became but a moment, an episode.

Just as the multipolar world arises, so does a contradiction. If we take into consideration only one Sea Power and one Heartland, then when it comes to speaking of a multipolar world, Russia cannot possibly be the only Heartland. Russia cannot achieve a multipolar world on its own. In the very least, multipolarity entails four or five of the most important poles in the world. Russia could be the center of this multipolar world or only one of its poles. But Russia cannot be the only Heartland.

Over the course of numerous discussions, conferences, speeches, lectures, and articles, I have come to the conclusion that it is high time to introduce the notion of an apportioned, or “distributed Heartland.” To this end, I think it is important to attentively examine the German geopolitics of the 1920-’30’s, which proclaimed Germany to be the European Heartland. Of interest to us is not so much Germany itself as the very possibility of considering an additional Heartland.

Naturally, there is the Russian, Eurasian Heartland, but it cannot assert itself as Land Power alone. As follows, it is necessary to look attentively into a European Heartland, a European pole: for example, a Franco-Germanic alliance, or the Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis. Continental Europe can be seen as one Heartland which could and should be friendly towards the Russian Heartland, while being an independent phenomenon.

A Chinese Heartland is an altogether different question. China, after all, is Rimland, a coastal zone. If we recognize China as bearing the status of a Heartland, then we are recognizing China as an independent strategic space. If we qualify China as Heartland, then we are emphasizing the conservative aspect of China – China as Land Power. But if China declares itself to be a Heartland against Russia, just as Hitler’s Germany declared itself to be the heart of Eurasia against Soviet Russia, then conflict will immediately arise.

If Russia retains the status of an independent pole, then this “distributed Heartland” acquires a completely different meaning. Then it is possible to consider such Heartlands as a Russian Heartland, as in all traditional geopolitical maps as the “geographical pivot of history”, and a European Heartland. We also arrive at considering a Chinese Heartland, and this means that we consider China as a traditional, conservative, independent, and sovereign state as it is today – and it will only become more so in the future. In the very least, it is important to reconcile the Chinese Heartland with the Russian Heartland, and partially even the European Heartland. But even this is insufficient to constructing a multipolar world. We necessarily have to consider an Islamic Heartland (covering the historical spaces of at least 3-4 empires, stretching from Turkey to Pakistan). The concept of a distributed Heartland can further be expanded to India, and projected onto Latin America and Africa as well.

As follows, there should be an American Heartland in the multipolar system. We have become too accustomed to thinking in the terms of classical geopolitics that the US and Anglo-Saxon world can only be Sea Power. In a multipolar world, America will not be able to play this role, its global maritime range will naturally be reduced, thereby changing the very nature of America. As follows, an American Heartland should arise which, in a multipolar system, should not be seen exclusively as in opposition to other Heartlands. The vote for Trump represented the contours of this American Heartland.

If we begin to conceive of Heartland as a distributed type of culture associated with the reinforcement of conservative identity, then “Make America Great Again” is the thesis of an American Heartland. Stop being a Sea Power, and you will be Great Again. As a Sea Power, you will be miserable, the Deplorables, but you will be Great Again when you become an American Heartland.

Distributed Heartland is the imperative of the new geopolitical model, of multipolar geopolitics. I think that this concept deserves very serious cogitation, pondering, and description. There should be a number of conferences, or an even entire volume devoted to this inevitable question. The efficacy of this concept of distributed Heartland is, in my opinion, extremely important, insofar as the construction of a multipolar world now demands clearer and more precise roadmaps.

In my opinion, the notion of a distributed Heartland is the main, most key moment in the development and materialization of the Theory of the Multipolar World.


The Gnostic

Author: Alexander Dugin

Source: Open Revolt 

Originally published in 1995 in Limonka, the official newspaper of the National Bolshevik Party.

The time has come to reveal the truth, to expose the spiritual essence of what boot-licking ordinary people call “political extremism.” We have confused them enough by changing the labels of our political sympathies, the color of our heroes, and by passing from fire to cold, from “rightism” to “leftism” and back again. All of this has been but an intellectual artillery barrage, a kind of ideological warm-up.

We have frightened and tempted the extreme right and extreme left, and now both, and others, have lost their way, strayed from the beaten tracks. This is amazing. As the great Evgeniy Golovin liked to repeat: “He who goes against the day, should not fear the night.” There is nothing more pleasant than when the ground is slipping out from under your feet. This is the first experience of flight. It kills vermin. It tempers angels.

Who are we, really? Whose menacing face is it all the more clearly peering out from the paradoxical, radical political movement with the terrifying name “National Bolshevism?”
Today we can respond without any ambiguity and vagueness. But this necessitates a brief excursion into the history of the spirit.

Mankind has always had two types of spirituality, two paths – the “Right Hand Path” and the “Left Hand Path.” The first is characterized by a positive attitude towards the surrounding world, in which harmony, balance, bliss, and peace are seen. All evil is but a particular instance, a local deviation from the norm, something insignificant, transient, having no deep, transcendental causes. The Right Hand Path is also called the “Milky Way.” It does not subject man to any particular suffering; it protects him from radical experiences, leads him away from immersion in suffering, and away from the nightmare of being. This is a false path. It leads to slumber. It leads to nowhere.

The second path, the “Left Hand Path”, sees everything in the reverse. There is no milky bliss, but black suffering; no silent calm, but the festering, fiery drama of split being. This is the “path of wine.” It is destructive, terrifying. Wrath and rage reign on it. In this path, all reality is perceived as hell, as ontological exile, as torture, as submersion into the heart of some kind of unthinkable catastrophe originating from the very heights of the cosmos.

If on the first path everything appears to be good, then on the second path everything appears evil. This path is monstrously difficult, but it is the only true one. On this path it is easy to stumble and even easier to disappear. It guarantees nothing. It entices no one. But only this path is correct. He who takes this path will gain fame and immortality. He who survives it will prevail and receive an award that is higher than being.

He who goes down the Left Hand Path knows that it will end. The dungeon of matter will collapse and be transformed into a heavenly city. A chain of initiates passionately prepares the desired moment, the moment of the End, the triumph of total liberation.

These two paths are not two different religious traditions. Both are possible in all religions, in all confessions, in all churches. There are no external differences between them whatsoever. They concern the most intimate parts of man, his secret essence. They cannot be chosen. They themselves choose a man to be their victim, their servant, their instrument, their weapon.

The Left Hand Path is called “gnosis”, “knowledge.” It is just as bitter as knowledge and it generates sorrow and cold tragedy. Once upon a time in antiquity, when mankind still attached decisive importance to spiritual things, the Gnostics created their own theories on the level of a philosophy, a doctrine, the cosmological mysteries, and on a cult level. Gradually people degenerated, stopped paying attention to the sphere of thought, and plunged into physiology in search of individual comfort in everyday life.

But the Gnostics did not disappear. They moved the dispute to a level of things understandable to modern citizens.

Some of them proclaimed slogans of “social justice”, developed theories of class struggle, and communism. The Mystery of Sophia became “class consciousness”, and the “struggle against the evil Demiurge, the creator of the cursed world” took the shape of social battles. The threads of ancient knowledge stretched to Marx, Nechaev, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Che Guevara. The wine of socialist revolution, the joy of rebellion against the forces of fate, and the sacred, berserker passion for total destruction of all that was black for the sake of obtaining a new, otherworldly Light.

Others opposed the ordinariness of everydayness with the secret energy of race, the noise of blood. Against mixing and deformity they raised laws of purity and a new sacrality, a return to the Golden Age, the Great Return. Nietzsche, Heidegger, Evola, Hitler, and Mussolini draped the Gnostic will in national, racial teachings.
It is quite right that the communists didn’t care much for workers, nor Hitler for Germans, but not out of cynicism. Both were obsessed with a deeper, more ancient, more absolute aspiration, the common Gnostic spirit, the secret and terrible light of the Left Hand Path. What workers, what “Aryans”… The point is totally different.

Other creative personalities summoned to the Left Hand Path, the path of gnosis, also floundered between “reds” and “blacks” and “whites” and “browns” in their spiritual quests. Entangling themselves in political doctrines, going to extremes, and yet unable to clearly express the metaphysical contours of their obsession, artists from Shakespeare to Artaud and from Michelangelo to Eemans, from the troubadours to Breton, have drunk the secret wine of suffering, greedily soaking up in society, passions, sects and occult brotherhoods the disparate fragments of a terrible teaching that leaves smiling impossible. The Templars, Dante, Lautréamont. They never smiled in their lives. This is a sign of a special chosenness, a trace of a monstrous experience of something that has been common for all Left Hand Pathers.

The Gnostic looks at our world with his severe gaze – the same gaze as that of his predecessors, the links in the ancient chain of the elect of Horror. A repulsive picture reflects in his eyes. A mad West in consumer psychosis. An East whose dullness and pathetic submissiveness disgusts. A sunken world, a planet lying on the bottom.

“In underwater woods, rush is useless and motion ceases…” (Golovin)

But the Gnostic does not abandon his cause. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever. Moreover, he has every reason to celebrate on the inside. Did we not tell the naive optimists of the “Right Hand Path” where their excessive ontological trust will lead? Did we not predict the degeneration of their creative instinct down to the grotesque parody that is today’s conservatives, who have reconciled with everything that horrified their more sympathetic (but no less hypocritical) predecessors just a few millennia ago? They didn’t listen to us. Now let them blame themselves and read New Age booklets or marketing handbooks.

We have forgiven no one. We have forgotten nothing.

We have not been deceived by the changes in social decorations and political (wanna-be) actors.

We have a very long memory. We have very long hands.

We have a very severe tradition.

The labyrinths of being, the spirals of thoughts, the whirlpools of anger…