Can there be any authentic spiritual authority in our time?
The Question of Authority in our Time
We have found that spiritual authority, commanded by a divine King, must be the source of a true, Traditional society. But it would be unsatisfactory to leave the matter at this statement when we live in an age without divine Kings, without a clear spiritual authority – fruitless to end without trying to find something to follow for us who lack the power to be our own lord over Becoming. As the author of this text, I thus feel obliged to present my thoughts on the matter, however incomplete and misguided they may be.
Among those Europeans who want to live in Tradition, the discussion of a spiritual authority and a faith mostly stands as a dispute between Christianity and paganism. As paganism is shattered into a multitude, with different characteristics corresponding to the different peoples of Europe, and can be interpreted and expressed in different ways in our time as various forms of ‘neo-paganism’, it is impossible to give a single judgement for it. I hope what I say will manage to describe some general characteristics of European neo-paganism, but I have the Norse neo-paganism, which is closest to me, particularly in mind, in the way that it appears to be an attempt towards spiritual authority in the contemporary right, a search for ‘gods of the people’. One can of course study and be guided by the transcendent sides of paganism, by its Aryan, spiritual struggle, and try to manifest it analogously in our time, just as Evola did when he attempted to influence and heighten fascism. But as an actual faith in our time, as neo-paganism, I believe that it is impossible, and as a spiritual authority, problematic.
Firstly, in paganism Being is shattered into a plethora of beings, namely the gods. And among these gods, many are just powers of the world made divine: they are the sea, the land and the sky, and they are sentient beings who struggle against each others in determining the world. The still-living eastern branch of Indo-European paganism developed, or always knew, a concept of Being beyond the gods, like the Brahman of Hinduism, or even more radical and pure in the nothingness of Buddhism. Although the pagan West well knew transcendency in action, there was presumably little knowledge developed of Being or a ‘God of gods’, at least in the ‘traditions of the people’, whose worship of the gods we earlier likened to the obedience of a child to his parents, and which remained the worship of something between matter and Being. But an act is gone when it is completed, and we will not be bestowed the heroic act and virility which characterized the European pagans by adopting their faith. What is left then is their teachings, and these are broken into a multitude of superstitions and natural gods. Indeed, the neo-pagan attempt to recreate a dead religion ‘of the people’ will probably only hinder the purity of our act, and make it into an inauthentic servant of an abstract idea.
Secondly, and most importantly, European paganism was killed by Christianity, both materially and spiritually. Spiritually, the Christians had a clear concept of transcendency in the almighty God, and their Tradition centred around the concrete life of Christ, the man who was this God in living, breathing flesh. When the Christian missionary cut down the pagan groves, and there were no gods there to protest, no sentient power of nature to wreck down the heavenly churches built of their flesh, there was no turning back. The Europeans saw that their gods did not exist, and they never had existed, as they were neither matter nor Being, but some ghostly idea therebetween. By the Christian Gospel, there were no longer any gods in trees or rocks; and with this realization, the pagan faith perished, and with it all spiritual authority a pagan state could muster. Materially, Christianity was more powerful than paganism, and conquered people after people. Just as we acknowledge power as the foundation of any true Tradition, of any ownness of Being, so we should acknowledge that paganism as gone. If one argues that Christianity ‘shouldn’t’ have annihilated paganism, because paganism was ‘better’, one is talking about an abstract ‘right’ rather than concrete might; and if one laments the loss of paganism and ‘our traditions’, one is sentimentally fixated on an idea, rather than on true Tradition. Consider how well the European pagans understood the holiness of power; but by this understanding, it is quite ridiculous when neo-pagans condemn the conquests of Christianity in Europe. Should Christianity not have affirmed all its might, should it not have destroyed its enemies? The weak perish: anything else would have been – slave morality.
I have a hard time thinking that any neo-pagan actually believes in the gods that paganism describes, and if they do, I do not envy them. One might object that such a belief is not the aim of neo-paganism, but that one should rather view these gods as symbols of powers or transcendent states within man himself. Firstly, the pagans did not think of their gods as ‘symbols’, but believed them to be completely real; if they are not believed to be real, then what true spiritual authority can one find through them? Secondly, why should one worship mere symbols? Would that not just be a weird, conscious idolatry? Instead, one should then be brave enough to throw oneself into actual powers and transcendence, and only use the symbols – as symbols. A symbol is the tool of the artist, a thing he plays and experiments with in his expression; he cannot and should not revere these symbols, but rather must make them his own. The ideas and stories that paganism left as a legacy after its death will come to their greatest power if they only remain ideas and stories, something we use for the spiritual will of our time. We must do what the Christian Europeans managed to do, and make paganism our property. It cannot be our master, nor our ‘spook’.
But I suspect that the actual desire of neo-paganism is not to present a viable path to Being and a true spiritual authority in our time, but rather to resurrect the ‘gods of the people’. As a thirsty man can be possessed by his thirst, and at the verge of death know himself only as someone who searches for water, so it is understandable that some Europeans of our time only think of the people, as the people is assaulted from both outside and within in a way we have never before experienced. But a man of race knows that he is not his thirst, even when he searches for water, even when thirst threatens him with death. The neo-pagan wishes to be like Abraham, yearning for a Jehovah to come and promise him many lands and many sons, so that his people can flourish. The neo-pagan wants to put divinity beneath the idea of the people, to make religion a mere expression of the people, and ultimately to put Being beneath Becoming, because he has confused his people, his thirst, with his true being. He is like the Pharisee in that he has no experience of true Being, but only knows a fixed idea, in his case the people, and views everything as something that either does or does not align with its dogma. He might argue that paganism is more virile than Christianity, more heroic and thus more transcendent – which it was, once upon a time – but if one puts paganism at the service of the people, it is by no means transcendent anymore, but is rather a slave of feminine matter, and thus not truly virile or heroic. He forgets that what made Rome the greatest Empire and the greatest expression of spiritual authority in the pagan world, was not that the Romans had gods of the people, but that they were a people of the gods.
Rome traced its origin not to matter, not to the land or the people, but to a divine hero, a son of the gods. Both Romulus and Aeneas were of divine blood, and they were both rootless warriors without a home, emphasizing their otherworldly nature: Romulus was raised by a she-wolf, and Aeneas had left the destroyed Troy. They did not fight for a people, but rather created a new one, through their own divine will. They did not represent the feminine Becoming, but rather the masculine Being, and they founded Rome by conquering the feminine. Aeneas set out west to conquer a land worthy of his divine fate, to marry the Woman of Latium and plant the seed of the Romans; and when Romulus later founded Rome, the Rome that he founded was a band of warriors, a state without women and children. Romulus conquered Woman from the neighbouring Sabines, and by this conquest he gave birth to the people which would continue to manifest his conquering will, the will of Rome. Rome was the spiritual authority of the Romans and every other people Rome conquered; Rome was the will of the gods; it gave birth to a hero, who created a state, and who lastly conquered the Woman, the people, whereas he who wants ‘gods of the people’ starts with the people, and inverts the spiritual pyramid into the sign of Woman rather than Man. It is the fixation with Woman and with the fathering of children, the quantitative prolongation and expansion of the material race, which is his ‘calling’, the false authority he believes that the state, the hero and even the gods must serve.
The hero who is the son of a god and who reaches transcendence through his death and sacrifice is nothing unique to Christianity, but is rather something occurring in all Aryan traditions – indeed, is something at the core of their understanding of divinity. But Christ sets himself apart from all known heroes, not only because of the purity, power and influence which his sacrifice had on the world, but because he is not just God, nor a single man, but wholly both at the same time: he wanted to include the whole of Becoming in his sacrifice.
That Christ ‘died for the sins of mankind’ is on one hand the weakness of the Christian faith, but on the other hand, as Christ’s own sacrifice, it constitutes his unique greatness. As Evola points out, Christ’s teaching has a lunar, feminine spirituality, and Christianity has the essence of a cult of the divine Mother and her love, wherein everything generated by her in the end returns to and is dissolved in her; and as Nietzsche has described, the morality of Christianity is that of the slave. On top of this, Christianity is plagued by its Jewish heritage in its view that man is a creation of God, a temporary image and artefact of his ‘spirit’, and that every deviation from ‘spirit’, everything of the body, is an inescapable sin. The Jewish faith divides man from Being by the unlimited abyss of sin, and there is nothing he can do by himself to transcend; even if he is mighty and brave, a great hero of his faith, he can never be his own, never a master hence never truly heroic, but only serve a master which is never satisfied. For a powerless man, Christ comes as a saviour, and man is no longer the servant of God, the master, but is the receiver of his love, his mercy. Every child will be lifted up to the motherly bosom of God, by having faith in his miracles, and by answering his love. Being is no longer the eternity within yourself, the divine will you must manifest through power in the vanishing world of Becoming, but is something you must be given by the Mother’s mercy, like a toy to play with in the eternal paradise.
But Christ himself was not given mercy, he was not saved, but by his own power he was the complete unity of Being and Becoming, self-sufficient in the act that was his death. Christ is fully a man of flesh and blood; he could be tempted by the Devil, and he could feel fear when faced with the knowledge of his fate, of the agonies of his sacrifice. He is a definite part of Becoming, a man, and not a ghostly power or divinity. But at the same time he truly knows himself to be absolute Being, to be God himself; thus when he finds consolation and determination in God, when he follow God’s will toward the cross, he goes not as a servant, but as the complete master of himself; he is Being made lord over his particular Becoming, and he, by his own power, turns his life into an absolute sacrifice, an ultimate purity. On the cross, the horizontal, material beam is pierced by the vertical, spiritual beam, bound together by the flesh and suffering of Christ.
When Christ sacrifices his body to God, to himself, he manages to destroy the ‘sin’ that alienated him as a man from Being, and he is able to be the complete master that the Jew could not be. And furthermore, by his complete identification with Being, by the nobility of his spiritual race, he recognizes Being not only as the core of himself, but also as the core of the whole world, of every man. His brethren only need to recognize this, to have ‘faith’ in him being the son of God, for then they have seen what they truly are themselves; all they need to do is to recognize in him a spiritual authority, and their lives have been freed from the curse of sin, for they now have a divine King to follow towards the Being they could not reach alone.
The teachings of a faith are not as important as the existence of a true, spiritual authority in it, and this place Christ managed to fill in a Europe of dying gods. The biggest drawback to Christianity was that it forbade the divine Kings of Tradition; but as Europe could not muster any kings who in their divinity could challenge Christ (for which reason it was conquered by Christianity), the best Europe could do was to take Christ as the spiritual authority of the kings, to let him bless them. True Tradition is act, the concrete dominion of Being over Becoming, and it is nothing anyone else can do for you. But Tradition is also to realize one’s limits. Few are able to reach true Tradition, but in a spiritual authority we see someone who could, and recognize in him our true Being; by following him, we can ourselves become as Traditional as possible. And this was what the Europeans did – they did not adopt a teaching, but rather a spiritual authority, something to aim their heroism towards. The Christian Europeans had no problem waging wars, no problem fighting for their nation even against other Christians if needed, no problem wanting to be masters of the world: Christ did not extinguish the European virility, but only pointed it upwards, only made it into true Tradition again. The heroic Christian is no contradiction; it is he who recognizes in Christ the union of Being and Becoming, and who strives to become a master of his own Becoming in the name of Christ; as long as he is strong, such a man has no problem carrying the weakness of the faith.
When we think about how in Europe sincere generation after generation has lived in the name of Christ, when we think of the millions of Christian crosses carried towards battle and death, and the warmth and closeness of Christ’s name on the last breath of Europe’s sons, how ridiculous it would be to dismiss him as ‘foreign’! The Jewish origin of Christ is the greatest frustration for many neo-pagans, and for many of those who seek ‘gods of the people’, and while the maternal origin of Christ made his teachings cumbersome, and forced a lunar spirituality upon Europe which it did not need, it was always in his paternal actuality that the Europeans saw his true authority. To see Christ as something foreign to Europe only betrays that one is oneself only of maternal origin, of the world of matter, without a spiritual race, without knowledge of Being as one’s true father. It would of course have been better and more natural for Europe if there had arisen a European man of the same power as Christ, someone who could transcend our paganism instead bringing us to adopt Jewish paganism – but no such man arose. A European of high spiritual race, a true Aryan, will have no problems recognizing the Being manifested in Christ, to feel him as well-known and as true as oneself – yes, to see him standing there amongst the heroic men of all ages, in that brotherhood, that divine race of the gods.
But the Christian God is dead today, and he had to die sooner or later, because just as the pagan gods he was neither Becoming or Being, but resided as a ghost therebetween, in a third world which does not exist. Plagued by sentimentality and the need for salvation, the Christian must give his God attributes, must make him ‘good’; but Being has no attributes, as becomes evident in Christianity’s problem of evil. For if God was Being, the existence of evil things would not be possible, which is false, or else they would have their own Being, which would mean that Being is divided and no longer Being. Furthermore, where the pagan believed matter to be made of sentient gods, the Christian believes that matter is God’s creation, which he always watches and controls all-knowingly. The Christian must believe that matter has a ‘cause’, but Becoming is not aiming towards any sentimental ‘cause’, it is just matter. God might be close to Being, closer than most pagan gods, but all his attributes requires a faith, which rests on miracles. As long as one has this faith, the Christian God provided an expression of the experience of Being, and Christ a spiritual authority; but when one loses faith in miracles, when one doesn’t believe in God’s attributes, he becomes as dead as the stump of the pagan tree, and one feels that he has never existed.
Christ himself had this faith in God; his heroic act is inseparable from this faith, and Christianity needs this faith even more than he did. When faith in the caring God and in his mercy fades, then so does the spiritual authority of Christ. Even if Christ was almost a perfect manifestation of Being in Becoming, even if he eternally can be recognized as a hero, and even if there will never be anyone as great as him again, as a faith Christianity must fade away just as paganism. This loss of faith, the loss of Christianity’s worldly power, and the loss of virility in most of those who profess Christ, which only makes the weakness of the teachings more and more cumbersome, rules out Christianity as a spiritual authority of our time.
In the Indo-European cyclic view of the world, we descend from the Golden Age wherein Being was the lord of Becoming and gods walked the earth, downward through the Silver and Bronze Age, to our Iron Age, where all connections with Being will be lost. But from this bottom, the cycle does not slowly climb up again, through a Bronze Age, and then a Silver, to finally reach the Golden Age again. The birth of a new Golden Age is rather immediate; it rises like a fire from the catastrophic destruction of the old world. We are heading towards the bottom of the final age, and we must accept that the fall is inevitable, that what is dead is dead; we will not regain Tradition by trying to revive Christianity, not by stitching paganism back together into a limping ghoul, nor by trying to summon the ghost of a primordial tradition of the Indo-Europeans. These attempts will not give us spiritual authority, but only spooks, and by this backwardness, we will only forget what is the mission of our age: to crash into the bottom, and break through to the other side.
One common Traditionalist narrative is that first, the pagans knew gods in every aspect of their life, as the gods were ever-present powers in all of matter, while in Christianity, God was placed outside of matter, as its creator, but man still knew him, as he made his will known in matter. Lastly, the moderns have no god, but only know the world of matter. But if we who live in the modern age know Being, if we aspire to know it and make ourselves into its manifestation, into Tradition, we will never be moderns. Instead, we have the possibility of using the power that modernity has unlocked, while remaining unmarked by its stain. We can instead see that the pagan was forced to worship and serve matter, that the Christian had to believe in his merciful God and see his will in every part of matter, while we, the Traditionalists of modernity, can finally view matter as it really is – just matter. We are the first who do not have to serve anything outside of ourselves in the world of Becoming; we do not need to worship any idols, we do not need to follow any dogmas, and we do not need to hold anything as holy. While this leads to the destruction of the modern man, we who are not modern must use it as an opportunity to search for Being and only Being in its naked, eternal nothingness, and in every thought and action try to manifest it however we feel is necessary in the world of Becoming, which is nothing more than passing Becoming. For us it will be harder, more dangerous and more destructive to find this Being than it was for those who still had a spiritual authority, but it is precisely on account of this that when we find Being again, we will find it as pure and uncorrupted as it once was, and we will immediately know that we, in that moment, are children of the Golden Age.
We must realize that our age has reached the point where there cannot be any spiritual authority, and there will be none until the next Golden Age. We must learn to act without a spiritual authority, and we must wholeheartedly accept that this will mean the destruction of most of us, for most of us will never know Being by ourselves. We must choose our own downfall, choose to be completely lost, and never fall for the temptation of having a ‘cause’ or a ‘meaning’ in the world of Becoming; we must try to completely be our own, in whatever little part of the world is ours, in whatever little is in our power to produce, without any help from a divine King. And when we reach our inevitable failure, which proves that we did not have the spiritual race required for our task, we must face it with joy, for we perish proudly in the greatest spiritual struggle there ever was; we must no longer have a fear of oblivion, of never knowing Being.
Christianity killed paganism, modernity killed Christianity, and now we must kill everything else. Every ideal, every belief and every calling: we who long for Tradition must leave it all behind, we must try to be only our own power, only our own will, throwing ourselves toward nothingness, for only there can we find Being anew. We will gladly lose our spirit forever, if only one among us might succeed, if only one is able to be – sufficient in himself. He would then have nothing above or beyond him, for he will be pure Being, he will be terrible power, and he will be a complete lord of Becoming. It is he and he only who will break through the night of Ragnarök, into the golden fields of a new morning, and we will recognize in him our spiritual authority. In the shining sun he will declare himself, whether it happens to be over an Empire or only a turf of his own, in front of a devout sea of followers or only in front of his only friend – a divine King.