Petr Savitsky – “Eurasianism” (1925)

Author: Petr Savitsky

Translator: Jafe Arnold

First published in the journal Evraziiskii vremennik [The Eurasian Chronicle] in 1925, abridged version re-published in and translated from: Alexander Dugin (ed.) et al., Osnovy Evraziistva [The Foundations of Eurasianism] (Moscow: Arktogeia, 2002). 

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I.

The Eurasianists are representatives of a new element in thinking and life; they are a group of figures actively working to radically transform hitherto predominant worldviews and life-systems, and to do so on the basis of a new approach to the root questions that define life, an approach which has arisen out of everything that has been endured over the past decade. At the same time, the Eurasianists have proposed a new geographical and historical understanding of Russia, as well as that whole world which they call Russian or “Eurasian.”

The Eurasianists’ name is of geographical provenance. The point is that they, the Eurasianists, have – where previous geography has counted two continents, “Europe” and “Asia” – discerned a third, middle continent on the mainland of the Old World, that of “Eurasia”, from which they derive their name…

In the opinion of the Eurasianists, the notion of “Europe” as a totality of Western and Eastern Europe is, in a purely geographical sense, inane and farcical. In the West, in terms of geographical outlines, one finds the richest development of coasts, the thinning of the continent into a peninsula, an island; whereas in the East there is a solid, continental mass whose only disconnect is to be found towards the sea coasts. Orographically, the West is constituted by a most complex arrangement of mountains, hills, and lowlands; whereas the East is home to the enormous plains whose outskirts alone are edged by mountains. Climatically, the West is of a seaside climate with a relatively small difference between winter and summer. In the East, this difference is sharply pronounced with hot summers, harsh winters, and so on and so forth. It could be rightfully said that the Eastern European, or as the Eurasianists call it, the “White Sea-Caucasian” plain is in its geographical nature much closer to the West-Siberian and Turkestan plains lying to the East than it is to Western Europe. These three plains, together with the elevations separating them from one another (the Ural Mountains and the so-called “Aralo-Irtysh” watershed) and bordering them from the East, South-East, and South (the mountains of the Russian Far East, Eastern Siberia, Central Asia, Persia, the Caucasus, Asia Minor), represent a special world, one which is united in and of itself and geographically distinct from the countries lying both to the West, East, and South of it. If you apply the name “Europe” to the first and the name “Asia” to the second, then the world just named, as the middling and mediating world, will bear the name “Eurasia.”

The necessity of distinguishing on the mainland mass of the Old World not two, as hitherto done, but three continents is not some mere “discovery” by the Eurasianists. Rather, this discernment also arose out of views previously expressed by geographers, especially Russians (for example, Prof. V.I. Lamansky in his work of 1892). The Eurasianists sharpened this formula and once again gave to this “seen” continent the name that was once attached to the whole landmass of the Old World, to both old “Europe” and “Asia” in their totality.

Russia occupies the main space of the land of Eurasia. The conclusion that Russia’s lands are not split by two continents, but rather together constitute a certain third, independent continent, is not only of geographical significance. Insofar as we also ascribe to the notions of “Europe” and “Asia” some kind of culturo-historical content, and as we think of “European” and “Asian” or “Asiatic” cultural circles as something concrete, then the designation of “Eurasia” also acquires the meaning of a compressed culturo-historical character.[1] This designation indicates that Russia’s cultural being, in its internally comparable proportions, has come to include elements from the most diverse variety of cultures. The alternating influences of the South, the East, and the West, have consistently prevailed in the world of Russian culture. The South manifested itself in these processes mainly in the paradigm of Byzantine culture, whose influence on Russia was long and fundamental. The special intensity of this influence can be seen in the era from approximately the 10th to the 13th centuries AD. The East, in turn, acted mainly in the form of “steppic” civilization, which is conventionally considered to be characteristically “Asian” (“Asiatic” in the above sense). The example of Mongol-Tatar statehood (Genghis Khan and his successors), which managed to master and govern an enormous portion of the Old World for a definite historical period, undoubtedly played a positive role in the creation of Great Russian statehood. The lifestyle of the steppes of the East also exerted broad influence on Russia. This influence was particularly strong from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Starting with the end of the latter century, the influence of European culture prospered and reached its height by the 18th century. Among the categories which, while not always precise, nevertheless highlight the real essence of the division of the Old World’s cultures into “European” and “Asiatic-Asian”, Russian culture belongs to neither one nor the other. Russian culture combines elements of both and converges them towards a certain unity. Therefore, from the point of view of specifying distinctions between cultures, the qualification that Russian culture is “Eurasian” expresses the essence of the phenomenon more than any other…Of all the cultures of the past, two of the greatest and most versatile cultures known to us were genuinely “Eurasian”: (1) Hellenistic culture, which combined elements of the Hellenic “West” and ancient “East”, and its continuation, (2) Byzantine culture in the broader Eastern Mediterranean cultural world of late antiquity and the middle ages (these prosperous realms both lie exactly South of the main historical core of the Russian regions). The historical connection between Russian and Byzantine culture is highly noteworthy. The third great “Eurasian” culture was to a certain extent born out of the historical succession of the two preceding ones.

The “Eurasian”, Russian cultural environment, in terms of the geographical, spatial terms of its existence, received its grounds from and, as it were, strengthened the skeleton of historical culture from another “Eurasian culture.” With the subsequent, successive superposition of Asiatic-Asian (the influence of the East) and European (the influence of the West) layers on Russian soil, this quality of Russian culture was strengthened and affirmed.

By defining Russian culture as “Eurasian”, the Eurasianists act as the conscious bearers of Russian cultural identity. On this matter, they boast even more precedents and predecessors beyond purely geographical definitions. All those thinkers of a Slavophile orientation, including Gogol and Dostoevsky (as philosophers and authors), ought to be recognized as such. The Eurasianists, in the chain of ideas, are the heirs to the powerful tradition of Russian philosophical and historiosophical thinking. This tradition most immediately traces back to the ‘30s’ and ‘40s of the 19th century, when the Slavophiles began their activities.[2] In a broader sense, a number of works of Old Russian literature, the oldest of which date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, should be counted as part of this tradition as well.

When the fall of Tsargrad [Constantinople] in 1453 sharpened Russians’ consciousness of their role as the defenders of Orthodoxy and the heirs to Byzantine cultural succession, Russia gave birth to ideas which, in a certain sense, can be considered the precedents for later Slavophile and Eurasianist ideas. Such “pioneers” of Eurasianism as Gogol or Dostoyevsky, as well as other Slavophiles and associated thinkers like Khomiakov, Leontyev, and others, surpass the contemporary “Eurasianists” in terms of the sheer scale of their historical figures. But this does not annul the condition that they and the Eurasianists share the same thoughts on a number of questions, and that the Eurasianists’ formulation of these thoughts has been more accurate than their predecessors. Insofar as the Slavophiles relied on “Slavdom” as the element that defines the culturo-historical uniqueness of Russia, they took up positions which are difficult to defend. Without a doubt, there is a culturo-historical and, above all, linguistic connection between Slavic peoples. But as an element of cultural uniqueness, the notion of Slavdom, in its empirical content as it has developed up to the present time, has little to offer.

The creative revelation of the cultural identity of the Bulgarians and Serbo-Croat-Slovenians belongs to the future. In a cultural sense, the Poles and Czechs belong to the Western “European” world and represent one of the latter’s cultural regions. Russia’s historical uniqueness clearly cannot be defined as exclusively, or even predominantly, belonging to the “Slavic” world. Intuiting this, the Slavophiles appealed in thought to Byzantium. But while emphasizing the importance of Russia’s ties with Byzantium, Slavophilia did not and could not offer a formula that fully and proportionately expresses the character of the Russian culturo-historical tradition and which captures the “oneness of nature” of Russia and its Byzantine cultural continuity. “Eurasianism” expresses both to a certain extent. The formula “Eurasianism” takes into account the impossibility of explaining and defining the past, present, and future cultural uniqueness of Russia in terms of any preferential appeal to the notion of “Slavdom”; it also points to the source of this uniqueness in Russian culture’s combination of “European” and “Asiatic-Asian” elements. Since this formula affirms the presence of the latter in Russian culture, it establishes the connection between Russian culture and the broader creative world of “Asiatic-Asian” cultures in their historic role, and this connection is exhibited as one of the strong sides of Russian culture, and it compares Russia with Byzantium, which in this very sense also wielded a “Eurasian” culture…[3]

II.

Such, in brief, is the place of the Eurasianists as conscious expounders of Russia’s culturo-historical uniqueness. But the Eurasianists’ doctrine is not limited to this recognition. Rather, with this recognition they substantiate a common concept of culture and derive from this concept concrete conclusions for interpreting what is happening in the present. First we shall present this concept, and then move on to conclusions concerning the present time. In both cases, the Eurasianists feel themselves to be the successors of the ideological cause of the above-named Russian thinkers (the Slavophiles and adjacent thinkers).

Independently of the views expressed in Germany (by Spengler), but approximately simultaneously with the appearance of the latter, the Eurasianists put forth the thesis of denying the “absoluteness” of modern “European” (i.e., in common terminology, Western European) culture, of denying the claim that the latter’s qualities constitute the “perfection” of the whole hitherto process of the cultural evolution of the world. Until altogether recently, the affirmation of such “absoluteness” and such a quality of “European” culture was firmly insisted upon, and today persists in the brain of “Europeans”; moreover, this assertion has been blindly accepted in the form of a faith by the higher circles of “Europeanizing” societies and peoples, particularly by the greater part of the Russian intelligentsia. The Eurasianists have challenged this situation with the recognition that many of the achievements and structures of “European” consciousness, especially those of an ideological and moral nature, are relative. The Eurasianists have noted how the European has time and again called “savage” and “backwards” everything which can by no means be objectively seen as standing below its own achievements, and everything which is simply not similar to the European’s own manner of seeing and acting. Even if it were possible to objectively show the superiority of the latest science and technology in some fields over all the other achievements of this type accomplished over the course of observable world history, it is still essentially impossible to offer any such proof when it comes to matters of ideology and morality. In light of the internal sense of morality and freedom of philosophical conviction which, for the “Eurasian” concept, are the only criteria for evaluating the ideological and moral fields, the much younger and more modern Western European turns out to be not only not superior but, on the contrary, inferior in comparison with the corresponding achievements of various “ancient”, “savage”, and “backwards” peoples. [4] The Eurasianist concept signifies a decisive rejection of culturo-historical “Eurocentrism”, and this rejection stems not from some emotional worries, but from certain scientific and philosophical preconditions…One of the latter is the rejection of the universalist perception of culture which reigns among modern “European” notions. This universalist view encourages Europeans to indiscriminately qualify certain peoples as “cultured” and others as “un-cultured.” It bears recognition that in the cultural evolution of the world we encounter “cultural environments” and “cultures”, some of which have achieved a great deal, while other less. Yet determining precisely what a given cultural environment has achieved is only possible upon distinguishing between branches of culture.

A cultural environment which is low in some sectors of culture might time and again prove to be higher in others. There can be no doubt that the ancient inhabitants of Easter Island in the Great [Pacific] Ocean “lagged behind” the modern English in very many branches of empirical knowledge and technology, but this did not prevent their culture from manifesting a measure of originality and creativity against which the sculpturing of modern England can lay no claims. Similarly, Muscovite Rus of the 16th-17th centuries was behind Western Europe in many industries, but this did not hinder it from creating a “self-initiating” epoch of artistic creativity, from developing its own unique and remarkable types of “towered” and “patterned” churches which cannot but force one to admit that, in terms of artistic creation, Muscovite Rus stood above the majority of Western European countries of its time. The same is the case in other eras of the existence of this very same “cultural environment.” Muscovite Rus of the 16th-17th centuries gave birth, as previously said, to a “self-initiating” era of church building, but its developments in iconography marked a clear decline in comparison to the achievements of Novgorod and Suzdal in the 14th and 15th centuries. We have cited such examples from the sphere of fine arts as the most visual. But also in the case of knowledge of an external nature, if we distinguish between the fields of “theoretical knowledge” and “living vision”, then it would turn out that the “cultural environment” of modern Europe, while attaining success in the field of “theoretical knowledge” has, in comparison with many other cultures, seen decline in the field of “living vision.” The “savage” and “black man” perceives a number of natural phenomena more subtly and precisely than the most learned modern “naturalist.” Examples of this could be multiplied to infinity; let us say further that the whole sum of “facts of culture” is but one continuous example of the fact that only upon examining culture with a view to deconstructing and differentiating between fields can we arrive at any complete knowledge of its evolution and character. This examination can be accomplished with three basic concepts: “cultural environment”, the “eras” of the latter’s existence, and “cultural fields.” Any analysis is duly confined to a certain “cultural environment” and a certain “era.” Where we draw the borders of these depends on the point of view and purpose of study. The character and degree of division of “culture” into “fields” depends on these factors. It is important to emphasize the fundamental necessity of division, as it eliminates the uncritical examination of a culture as an undifferentiated totality…A differentiated consideration of culture shows that there are no indiscriminate “cultured” and “un-cultured” peoples, and that the most diverse peoples whom “Europeans” call “savages” by all means wield “culture” in their customs, traditions, and knowledge and in some fields and from some points of view stand high.

III.

The Eurasianists are drawn to those thinkers who deny the existence of any universal “progress” which is, at any rate, determined by the above-presented concept of “culture.” If the evolutionary line moves differently in different fields, then this means that there is not and cannot be any common upward movement, any gradual, steady, common “perfection”, insofar as one or another cultural environment, or a whole number of cultural environments, while “improving” from one or another point of view, might often be declining in another. This postulate is applicable to the ‘European’ cultural environment in particular: its scientific and technological “perfection” has been bought, from the point of view of the Eurasianists, at the price of ideological and most of all religious impoverishment. This dual nature of its achievements is clearly expressed in its approach to the economy. For many long centuries in the history of the Old World, there existed a certain common relationship between the ideological-moral-religious element on the one hand and the economic on the other. More precisely, there existed a certain ideological subordination of the economy, and it is precisely this permeation of the whole approach to economic matters by the religio-moral element that allowed historians of economic doctrines (for example, the old 19th century German-Hungarian historian Kautz, whose works retain a certain significance to this day) to unite into one group, in terms of their approaches to economic matters, such diversely ranging landmarks as the literature of China, the Iranian laws of the Vendidad, Mosaic law, and the works of Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, and Western medieval theologians. The economic philosophy of these milestones is, in a definite sense, a philosophy of “subordinated economy.” These doctrines emphasize, as something necessary and due, the link between the satisfaction of our economic needs and the common elements of morality and religion. The economic philosophy of the European “new ages” is the opposite of this view. Although not always in direct words, but often enough in the foundations of its worldview, the new European economic philosophy asserts the circle of economic phenomena to be something self-sufficient, a value in itself which encompasses and manifestly exhausts all the ends of human existence…It would be a sign of spiritual blindness to deny the enormity of those purely cognitive achievements and successes in understanding and envisioning the economic phenomena which the new political economy has realized and amassed. But in acting as an empirical science, and being to a certain and large extent none other than such, the new political economy, in a number of its postulates, imposes itself upon minds and eras as a metaphysics…Similar to how the economic ideas of ancient legislators, philosophers, and theologians were associated with certain metaphysical views,  so are the economic ideas of modern economists tied to such values. If the metaphysics of the former was the philosophy of “subordinated economics”, then the metaphysics of the latter is the philosophy of “militant economism.” The latter is, in a certain sense, an ideological price which the new Europe has paid for the quantitatively enormous economic rise that it has experienced in the modern age, especially over the past century. There is something instructive to be found in this picture: at the end of the Middle Ages and in the early modern centuries, the ancient wisdom of the primordial moral covenant which restrained man’s selfish instincts with words of exhortations and denunciations – in a word,  the philosophy of “subordinated economics” – collapsed under the pressure of the new ideas of modern times which presumptuously asserted the theories and practices of “militant economism.” [5] Historical materialism is the most complete and acute expression of the latter.

Thus, the link between the philosophy of “subordinated economics” on the one hand, and “militant economism” on the other, in terms of a certain approach to matters of religion is observable in empirical ideological reality. If the philosophy of “subordinated economics” is and has always been an appendage to one or another theistic worldview, then historical materialism is ideologically tied to atheism. Hence the atheistic essence concealed within historical materialism which, like the wolf of a fairy tale, conceals itself from time to time with the mask of the sheep’s clothing – that of empirical science. In Russia, the atheistic worldview has accomplished an historic triumph, as state power is in the hands of atheists and has become an instrument of atheistic preaching. Without going into the question of the “historical responsibility” for what is happening in Russia, but while also not wishing to annul anyone’s responsibility, the Eurasianists understand that the essence which has been received and subsequently introduced into life by Russia – by virtue of the receptivity and excitement of its spiritual being – is, in its source, in its spiritual origin, not the Russian essence. The Communist sabbat has dawned in Russia as a perfection of more than two centuries of “Europeanization.” Recognizing that the spiritual essence of the Communism of the ruling state in Russia is, in a special way, the reflected ideological essence of European modernity (the “new ages”) is a postulation which is empirically grounded to a high degree. Here one should also consider the origins of Russian atheism in the ideas of the European “Enlightenment”, the introduction of socialist ideas into Russia from the West, the link between Russian Communist “methods” and the ideas of the French Syndicalists, as well as the significance and “cult” of Marx in Communist Russia. In seeing the ideological essence of the European “new ages” in such a way, taken to its logical conclusion, the Russians who have not accepted Communism and, at the same time, have not lost their abilities to think consistently, understand that they cannot return to the foundations of modern “European” ideology. The experience of the Communist revolution implies for the Eurasianists’ consciousness a kind of truth, both old and new. Healthy social housing can only be built on an inseparable connection between man and God, man and religion. Non-religious housing and a non-religious state must be rejected. This rejection harbors no preconceived claims regarding specific constitutional-legal forms. Such a form, in the Eurasianists’ view, could exist harmlessly under certain conditions, such as in the “separation of Church and state.” But in essence, it is yet highly significant that what is perhaps the first government in world history to be consistently atheist and which has turned the profession of atheism into the official confession of the Communist government, has turned out to be, as in the prophetic words of the most profound Russian philosopher of the late 19th century, Leontiev, “organized torment” – that is to it say it has become a system of shocking and destroying the “common blessing” or “common good” (supposedly in whose name the Communist authorities have installed themselves), of such abuse of the human personality that all images fade and all words are powerless in describing the terrible, unprecedented, blasphemous atrociousness of this reality. We shall repeat: the circumstance that the domination of the first consistently atheistic government has turned out to be the domination of all that is beast-like is not a coincidence. Historical materialism and its complementing atheism unveil and unleash all those primordial, creatural instincts, including those primordially economic ones which, in the final analysis, amount to extortion. The main determining force of social being under the conditions of the ideological reign of materialism and atheism is hate, and its worthy fruit is the torment of all which, sooner or later, cannot but lead to the final fruit: the torment of the tormentors.

Russia has seen through the triumph of historical materialism and atheism, but the laws which have manifested themselves over the course of its revolution far from concern Russia alone. The cult of primordial economic interest and  animalistic primordiality has, by virtue of abundant germination, sprouted in the consciousness of peoples beyond Russia. Yet this cult cannot form the basis for long and prosperous community outside of Russia. The destructive forces that have accumulated under these conditions will sooner or later exhaust the forces of social creation. This problem must be beheld in all its depth and breadth. The pressure of materialist and atheist views must be opposed with an ideological essence whose content must be  precious and voluminous. There can be no hesitation.

With hitherto unprecedented directness and uncompromising determination, and on the broadest possible front – everywhere – it is necessary to initiate and lead a struggle against all that is to even the slightest degree related to materialism and atheism. The evil must be traced back to its roots, it is necessary to literally eradicate it. It would be superficial and impotent to attempt to combat only the most acute manifestations of historical materialism and atheism and one communism. The problem is posed much deeper and more substantially. We must declare war on “militant economism” wherever it manifests itself. In the name of a religious worldview, we must gather forces to fight with passionate feeling, clear thoughts, and full understanding against the specific spirit of the new Europe.

Insofar as the latter has reached its historical and ideological limits, at which it finds itself presently, it can be said with great certainty that at some point in the future one of the two following scenarios will happen: either the cultural environment of the new Europe will perish and dissipate like smoke in torturous, tragic shock, or the “critical epoch”, as the Simonists term it, which began in Western Europe with the end of the Middle Ages, will come to its end and be replaced by an “organic epoch”, an “epoch of faith.”

Ancient wisdom cannot be flouted with impunity beyond well known limits for sake of the fact that it is truth. It is not on the basis of erecting a higher principle out of primordial, selfish human instincts as taught by the philosophy of “militant economism”, but on the basis of curbing and restraining these instincts with an enlightened religious pulse that the highest measure of the “common good” possible on earth can be achieved.

A society which succumbs to an exceptional concern with its earthly goods will sooner or later be deprived of them – such is the terrible lesson that is translucent in the experience of the Russian Revolution. The Eurasianists have attempted to fully and entirely understand and consciously grasp this experience, to derive all the lessons that stem from it, and to be fearless on this matter unlike those who, reeling in turmoil and timidity from the bestial image of Communism, cannot refuse themselves that which constitutes the basis or root of Communism – those who, holding the plow, look backwards; those who try to pour new wine into old furs; and those who, upon seeing the new truth of the abomination of Communism, are incapable of renouncing the old filth of “militant economism” in any and all of its forms…

Personal faith is insufficient. A faithful person must be part of the greater spiritual community. The Eurasianists are Orthodox. The Orthodox Church is that light that illuminates the path ahead of them. The Eurasianists call upon their countrymen to strive towards Her, towards Her Gifts, and towards Her Grace. The Eurasianists are not disconcerted by the terrible distemper that has been instigated by the atheists and theomachists that are rising in the Russian Orthodox Church. The Eurasianists believe that there is enough spiritual strength, and that struggle leads to enlightenment. The Orthodox Church is the realization of higher freedom. Its primordial element is that of conciliation, unlike that of the element of power which prevails in the breakaway Roman Church. It seems to the Eurasianists that in harsh worldly affairs one cannot do without harsh authority, but in spiritual and Church affairs, only graceful freedom and conciliation compose the essence of good leaders. “Europe”, meanwhile, in some of its parts, is destroying the effectiveness of government and is introducing tyrannical power into Church affairs.

The Orthodox Church has for many centuries only shined upon those peoples who have remained faithful to Her; she has shed light through the truths of her creed and the feats of heir ascetics. Perhaps new periods are dawning now, as the modern Orthodox Church, continuing the line of succession of the Ancient Eastern Church, has received to be the main principle of its existence a complete lack of bias towards approaches to forms of economic life (as opposed to the methods of the Western Church, which for many centuries fought against charging loans with interest), and towards the achievements of human thought. Perhaps it is for this reason that none other than the Orthodox Church has been called upon, to the greatest extent and as part of the new religious epoch, to cover the achievements of the latest economic technology and science, to cleanse them of the ideological superstructures of “militant economism”, materialism, and atheism, just as in the times of Constantine, Theodosius, and Justinian, the Ancient Eastern Church succeeded in encompassing, in the genuine and inspired “era of faith”, an altogether complex and developed economic life as well as significant freedom in theological-philosophical thinking.

In modern economic technology and empirical science, regardless of their hitherto development, there is nothing that would exclude the possibility of their existence and prosperity in the bosom of a new era of faith. The combination of modern technology and science with the ideology of “militant economism” and atheism is by no means necessary and inevitable. From a religious point of view, economic technology is, regardless of the limits of its abilities, a means to realize the Covenant bestowed by the Creator upon the creation of the human race: “They may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Gen 1:26). Empirical science is, from a religious point of view, the revelation of a picture of the Divine world that, as knowledge progresses, more perfectly, fully, and evermore clearly reveals the Wisdom of the Creator.

IV.

Eurasianism is not only a system of historiosophical or theoretical doctrines. It strives to combine thought and deed and to ultimately lead to the affirmation of a certain methodology of action alongside this system of theoretical views. The main problem which stands before Eurasianism in this regard is the problem of synthesizing a religious view of life and the world with the greatest empirically founded practicality. The posing of this problem is substantiated by the whole character of Eurasianism. The Eurasianists are essentially and at once advocates of religious principles as well as consistent empiricists. Their ideology is born out of facts. In their characterization of the Russian world as “Eurasian”, it is as if their bodies are adjoined to each expanse of their native land, to each section of this world’s history.

Understanding facts is insufficient. Facts need to be governed in the plastic process of history. As people who perceive and feel the world religiously arrive at this task, they find themselves faced with the problem of evil in all of its nakedly glaring and mystically shocking reality. The Eurasianists feel the reality of evil in the world to the utmost extent – in themselves, in others, and in private and social life. They are the least utopian of all. In their consciousness of the damage of sin and the empirical imperfection of human nature arising out of such, they in no way agree to build their calculations on the premise of the “goodness” of human nature. Insofar as this is the case, the task of acting “in the world” arises to be a tragic task, for the “world lies in evil.” The tragedy of this task is inescapable. The one thing towards which the Eurasianists strive is to be in harmony in their thoughts and deeds at the very height of this tragedy. Firm philosophical conviction and, we would say, the very nature of the Russian historical and national character in which the Eurasianists participate, exclude the possibility of sentimentally approaching this task. Consciousness of the sinfulness of this world does not exclude but, on the contrary, demands courage in empirical decisions. No ends justify the means. Sin always remains sin. But while acting “in the world”, sin must not be feared. There are situations in which one must take burden upon himself, for idle “holiness” would be an even greater sin. In the practical sphere, for the Eurasianists, the problem of “right” versus “left” political and social solutions has been annulled. This subdivision is irresistibly important to those who, in their ultimate ends, cling solely to the limited realities of human existence, and have lost their minds amidst the notions and facts of political and economic application. Whoever relates to these questions in this manner has no other values beyond concrete political and social resolutions of “left” or “right”; and for every such resolution, every such person is supposed to stand steadily and “with frenzy”, for beyond such resolutions and himself, like of the spiritual heights, nothing remains. If a political or economic direction which has been adopted turns out to be unsuitable to the demands of life and impractical, then any consistent person must nevertheless cling to it, for the direction is he himself. This is not the approach to practical solutions of a Eurasianist. For the Eurasianist, religious reliance is essential, and it is acquired beyond the sphere of political and economic empiricism. Insofar as decisions in the latter sphere allow for religious appraisals, a “right” or “left” decision may be good in different situations, just as one or the other may be bad in others. The greatness of number of practical resolutions is seen indifferently from a religious point of view. While understanding all the whole importance of political and economic applications, and while simultaneously not attributing supreme values to them, the Eurasianists can bring to the religiously-indifferent spheres applications with an open-mindedness and freedom inaccessible to people of other worldviews. In all practical decisions, the demands of life are, beyond any prejudice, the guiding principle of the Eurasianist. Hence in some decision the Eurasianist may be more radical than the most radical, while in other cases more conservative than conservatives. Historical perception is organically inherent to a Eurasianist, and the sense of continuing historical tradition is an integral part of his worldview. But this feeling is not regenerated in a pattern. The Eurasianist is bound to no patterns whatsoever – only the subject of the matter, with the full understanding of the nature of phenomena, shines through to him from the depths of every problem.

The present Russian reality more than any other demands precisely such an approach “to the essence.” The Eurasianists’ approach to the spiritual element of the revolution has been expressed previously, but in its material-empirical guise, in the ratio of political power between separate groups which it has created, and in the new distribution of property, the revolution should in large part be seen as an unavoidable “geological” fact. A sense of reality and elementary state-feel compels this recognition. Out of all the acting groups of a “non-revolutionary” spirit, the Eurasianists might be the ones who can go further along the path of the radical and encompassing recognition of this fact. Facts of political influence and the distribution of property, which in this case the matter concerns, are not of primary, self-evident importance to the Eurasianists, but are only secondary values. This eases the task of recognizing fact for the Eurasianists. But the fact in many cases is the product of abomination and crime. In this lies the severity of the problem. But since abomination and crime have been allowed by the Will of God to become an objective historical fact, it must be considered that the recognition of this fact does not contradict the Will of God. Whatever be the extent of the direct worship of fact lies in the empirical necessities of the era which must find a way out of the revolution. In religious terms, this necessity of fact-worship can be equated to temptation through which one must pass: to give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (that is, to take into account all the empirical political-economic demands of the era), without surrendering and harming God. From the point of view of the Eurasianists, the task at hand is to redeem and to transform this abomination and crime with the establishment of a new religious era that will shine its radiant light upon all that is sinful, dark, and terrible. This is possible not in the order of the dialectical disclosure of history, which mechanically and “Marxistly” turns all “evil” into “good”, but in the process of the internal accumulation of moral force, in the face of which even the necessity of fact-worship would pose no overwhelming temptation. 

***

Footnotes:

[1] In Russian and some Romano-Germanic languages, two adjectives for “Asia” have been produced: “Asian” and “Asiatic.” The first, in its historical meaning, referred primarily to the Roman province encompassing the Western part of Asia Minor, and then to the diocese, whenceforth the mainland continent of the Old World acquired this name. “Asia”, “Asian”, and “Asians” were employed in the original, narrower sense in Acts of the Apostles 19:20. The adjective “Asiatic” concerns the whole continent. The root of the words “Eurasia”, “Eurasian”, and “Eurasians” is the first, more ancient designation, yet not because “Asianness” was constructed exclusively for the Roman province and diocese, but rather because the Eurasianists appeal to a much wider historical and geographical world. Due to a number of misconceptions, the word “Asiatic” has on the tongue of Europeans acquired an odious connotation. This odious seal, which testifies only to ignorance, can be removed by way of appealing to the more ancient name, as is accomplished in the designation of “Eurasianism.” In this term, “Asian” refers to the cultural circle not only of Asia Minor, but of “Greater” Asia. In particular, the Eurasianists highly appreciate the cultures that inhabited Asia in the apostolic and subsequent centuries, i.e., Hellenic and Byzantine culture, and the Eurasianists by all means seek paradigms for modern spiritual and cultural creativity in some branches of this culture.

[2] From the point of view of historiosophical concepts, Eurasianism as a matter of course lies in the same sphere as the Slavophiles. However, the problem of the relationship between these currents cannot be reduced to that of a simple succession. The prospects opening up before Eurasianism are conditioned, on the one hand, by the scale of the ongoing catastrophe and, on the other, by the emergence and manifestation of completely new culturo-historical and social factors which, naturally, did not play a role in the construction of the Slavophile worldview. Moreover, much of what the Slavophiles considered to be foundational and indisputable has since become obsolete over the past several decades or has been exposed to be essentially inconsistent. In some sense, Slavophilia was a provincial and “domestic” current. Now, in connection with the real opportunities opening up before Russia to become the center of a new European-Asiatic (Eurasian) culture of the greatest historical significance, any conceptualization and realization of a holistic, creatively conservative worldview (as Eurasianism considers itself to be) must determine its appropriate, unparalleled paradigms and scales.

[3] The latter definition can claim substantial historical accuracy. The essence of Byzantine culture was determined by a combination of the most diverse elements. Currents of religious, artistic, and other impulses which flowed from the East – from Palestine, Syria, Armenia, Persia, and Asia Minor, as well as some parts of Africa – mixed with perceptions of the Western state and legal tradition (as in the existence and development of Roman law in Byzantium). Moreover, the contact with steppe cultures that was so definitive to the forming of Russian culture did not fail to leave its traces in Byzantium as well. Much in Byzantine fashions and mores can be traced back to being borrowed from the steppe “barbarians” who in successive waves closed in on the borders of the empire.

[4] The same situation applies to the field of art, and in particular to some branches of fine art (artistic architecture, sculpting, painting), where the inadequacy of the latest “European” creations is especially evident in comparison with that achieved in more ancient epochs and by other peoples.

[5] Militant economism, as an element in the sprit of the human being, has existed and exists everywhere. Yet it is significant that it is in the new Europe that this principle has been elevated to be an ideological principle.

[6] The Eastern Church, in rejecting the proposal of a ban on borrowed interest at the Council of Nicaea in 325, thereby recognized authoritative interference into economic life to be unbefitting  of the Church. The Eastern Church stood on this position in all subsequent centuries and continues to stand on it today. The practice of the Western Church has been different: the ban on the charging interest on loans was maintained for a millennium and still in the 18th century Turgot was forced to reckon with such as a reality of life.

The Strength of the Weak

Author: Petr Petrovich Suvchinsky

Translators: Yulian Orlov and Jafe Arnold 

Source: Exodus to the East: Forebodings and Events: an Affirmation of the Eurasians (Sofia 1921), accessible in Russian here

What happens if one has not yet begun to be disturbed,
while another has already come up against a bolted door
and violently beaten his head against it?
The same fate awaits all men in their turn unless they walk in the saving road of humble communion with the people.

– Dostoevsky (Pushkin Speech) [1]

At the current time, an event of global importance is unfolding, the true essence and consequences of which are impenetrable even to the most perceptive. This event is the Russian Revolution, not in its socio-political meaning and importance, but rather in its national-metaphysical essence. As a manifestation of a socio-political order, it is most likely submissively flowing forth through the watercourse of revolutionary legitimacy. Its secret lies in its national and global sum.

The West, in trying to surround Russia with barriers, is not only afraid of the communist contagion. Europe has understood (albeit it unclearly and without confidence) or rather felt, the future result of the Russian Revolution and has already shuddered before it and, finally, taken defensive measures. She has understood that this result is defined not by the revolutionary energy of Russian communism, but by the historical predestination of the entire Russian people. She has understood that before the eyes of the world a former European province is rising up and growing in strength; a province that will unavoidably have to engage in combat, a province that will strike first, without even waiting for a lofty challenge, and engage itself in a war of reproof, reproach, and rage against its recent and apparently eternal parent state.

Russia has been a great power and has never been a state [2]. The state habits of every people is determined resultant state consciousness of all individuals that compose it. This great-power essence is the predestined potential of the authority, scope, and overflow of the entire essence of a people. It is the subconscious feeling of power, the fateful weight of the entire mass of the people, a mass that dislodges and moves the environment that surrounds it. It is involuntary self-confirmation, the droit sacré of one’s own being. The great-power essence sometimes arrogantly sprouts up, and sometimes weakens, disintegrates, thereby transforming the apparently strong flesh of the state into a crumbling, weak, collapsing human substance. Sometimes, the gift of the great-power essence coincides with developed aptitudes for the building of a state; sometimes, however, they are mutually exclusive… 

The glory of Russia is not consciously dependent on the governmental capabilities of her people. The glory is that Russia has been blindly endowed with its great-power essence. It is by this essence that the entire history of the Russian popular collective has been determined, the Russian person is fully subordinate to it, the traits of the Russian soul and will are contingent on it, and, to be more precise, even the character of the mass flows forth from the character of the person. Similar to the ebb and flow of the great-power essence of the Russian state collective, the Russian person is on the path to spiritual ascension, on the path of a vital test, all the while wavering, reeling between rise and fall, ascending and stalling. Ascension astounds with its rising force, as if an unseen hand extends from heaven and swoops it up. Stalling is always horrific through the void of the fall, through the loss of the Image of God.

And then humility and obedience border on servility, cowardliness, the dirty feeling of personal lostness: at times, bravery turns into insanity, yielding pride. In this wavering lies the law of the history of the Russian people, as does the law of the life of every individual person of the Russian people. In this interchange of exaltation and humiliation the popular [3], elemental Russia lived, at times limitlessly like a great power, at times powerless and enslaved when the mysterious forces of popular effort and elasticity suddenly dried up, ran out, were pushed together like the gigantic wings of a frightened bird.

The Russian intelligentsia has long since become accustomed to interpreting European culture not on an equal footing, but by seeing it as superior, obligatory, exclusive, and right. This servility and submission are undoubtedly rooted in the very essence of the Russian nature: if one acknowledges oneself as unequal, allows someone’s superiority to take hold over one, then it is necessary to submit, acquiesce, cowardly rejecting one’s own. This is a kind of servility, even a form of self-betrayal. In relation to other peoples, elemental Russia was either like a great power i.e. dominant, or spasmodically compressed herself, collapsing, involuntarily submitting, surrendering, while simultaneously hiding her covenants in the depths of the popular soul…  

Pan-human ideas are reflected by different peoples in the forms of diverse cultures. By developing within herself the genius of pan-human ideal capacity, the Russian intelligentsia actually combined, absorbed within its conscious all varieties of alien European cultures up to the level of total congeniality, thereby harming the self-discovery and affirmation of Russia’s own culture. As a result of this, the Russian intelligentsia was internationally enlightened, but de-personalised.

A specific “intelligentsia” does not, of course, deplete Russia as a great whole. In the manifestations of dominant great-power essence and in creative work, she guards examples of a unique, exclusive, and true national will as a valuable property.

In our days, in an era of the greatest tragedy of the decline, the paralysis of the sovereign forces and will of the Russian people, in an era where the whole concentration of Russian statehood [4] has weakened and become blurred, and thereby its internal interrelationships must be born anew and structured, the popular element has unconsciously yet powerfully begun a persecution of revenge and reproof against its conscious/responsible part, when it could not provide the people during a time of tribulation with a familiar, comprehensible, popular, national culture. We cannot say that the entire intelligentsia has been banished; however, we can confidently state that, with small exceptions, only the intelligentsia has been banished.

Through the medium of this banishment an awesome judgement has been passed on that form of the reception of Western culture that was seen as the Russian consciousness from the times of Peter [5] as immutable and true. As much as the creative, prophetic genius of Russia is free and unique, in equal measure is it accommodating and assimilative, and this genius revealed itself in all its shyness and submissive conditionality. The intelligentsia finds itself atomised all over the world. Simultaneously, the popular element is once again acquiring its mysterious, great-power forces through torturous battles and passions, forces that will sooner or later spread it out, pour it out into its former glory and strength. The Russian intelligentsia, which has for the first time been confronted face to face, person to person with the civilised peoples of the world must thereby, finally, deservedly self-assess its capabilities, most importantly its national, popular roots and begin to experience the redemptive process of belated self-discovery and self-confirmation. Only in this forceful, virtual contraposition, not from the “beautiful far-away” or the process of blind adoption has the Russian intelligentsia really felt the line that has been drawn between it and its spiritual idol of yesterday. It has understood and remorsefully shuddered as its own has turned out to be too invaluable and precious,  and the foreign too obsolete and poor. Powerless and banished, the intelligentsia has begun its rebirth and, if it does not interrupt this process, then in the near future it will regain its true strengths and rights. The people gather their strength in collective struggle, while the intelligentsia(s) in the experience of personality. At this moment they are enemies, as in its thirst for self-identification and liberation from alien forms of thought and life, the people placed the intelligentsia on the side of its European enemies; however, it would be a great mistake to think that the Russian people is fighting Europe and the intelligentsia with the sword of communism. On the contrary: communism is the final likeness that the intelligentsia has taken in its fanatical defence of the principle of equalisation and universality.

Having banished its false ideological leaders in a burst of hatred, in its search for conscious truth, the Russian people has followed its usual submissiveness put its fate in the hands of another, subjected itself to slavery once again, to the dictatorship of that very same intelligentsia that had ruled to that very moment until the revolution had actually manifested and did not reside anymore in the realm of fanatical will. The unaccountable, rebellious forces of the intelligentsia, selected in a blind drive towards global socialist ideas, have focused a terrifying, painful energy into the unhealthy, overheated atmosphere of the emigre community and the underground. This will is  fiery, merciless, vengeful, without any restraint; it has now grabbed the popular masses, which have lost their star, in its grasp. However, its guiding truth is alien and hateful towards the true Russia as much as its predecessor; after all, the Bolshevik international is but a volitional consequence of the cosmopolitan errors and temptations of the godless, sinful spirit of the Russian intelligentsia – sinful, because the dream of the global and true cannot be righteous outside of the Church. All will understand this sooner or later, after which the volitional (final?) dictatorship of the intelligentsia will be wiped out with the very same elemental fury. Then the great covenant of Russia will be fulfilled, her prophetic mystery will come into being: the wisened and calmed people and the enlightened intelligentsia will, reconciled, unite under the single great and all-solving cupola of the Orthodox Church.

Translator’s notes:

[1]: The full speech is accessible in English here.

[2]: That is to say, Russia has never been a state in the European, Westphalian sense of the word.

[3]: The Russian term народ has no direct equivalent in English. It corresponds best to the German term Volk, which has a limited analogue in English folk or “the people”.

[4]: As has been noted above, this does not mean that Russia is a European state; rather, this is a reference to the loss of Russia’s territorial integrity and great-power essence.

[5]: Peter the Great.  

Christian Metaphysics: The Essence of the Problem

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Footnotes: 

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

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

 

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

The Dormition of the Mother of God

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

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

Theological symbolism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Universal symbolism

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

The sacred sign of Russia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Mysteries of Eurasia: Continent Russia

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

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

 ***

The country within

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

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

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

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

Russian Sweden

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

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

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

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

Khvarenah – Royal happiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The mystery of the pole

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

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

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

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

 

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

Russians and Hyperboreans

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

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

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

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

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

Mystical Russia

Let us draw a few conclusions:

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

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

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

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

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

 

***

Footnotes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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