If man’s upward striving is not answered by a living, downwards movement of God himself, all is in vain.
This is part two of a three-part essay. The third and final part will be published this week.
The Sky Moving Down Towards Man
The only way man can realize the divine within himself – the only way his inner yearning and upwards struggle can be completed – is if the Divine itself has chosen to tread down, and to accept man’s efforts. For man can never reach the end of the Sky, nor can he fit within himself the infinite vastness of the Sky above. Man is of the Sky, but he is not the Sky itself – a truth so simple that it should not need even to be said, but which nevertheless is ignored by so many who seek Tradition.
Man has within himself a memory of his origin – a knowledge of the divine and a yearning to return home. And with this inner truth, man might be able to create by himself art, glorious acts, metaphysics, and even a sort of heightened, liberated spirituality, in which he is aware of the transcendent Eternity within himself, and tries to live by it. But none of these things are God himself. They are all too human, and can never amount to the infinite Sky above – never reach the true source and goal of Tradition.
Man can and must strive upwards, and all healthy cultures have had within them this struggle for the Sky. But if this movement is not answered by a living, downwards movement of God himself, everything is doomed to fall short sooner or later – to crash down into the damp womb of the Earth. The downwards movement of God is the main truth of Tradition, and man cannot create or recreate this movement from below. Man can only pass down what God has given him, and if this chain is broken, there is no Tradition left.
That many of a Traditional calling – men like Julius Evola – see this treading down as a mere myth or a sign of weakness in men who cannot reach the divine within themselves by themselves, is what dooms them to never succeed in reviving true Tradition.
For theirs is merely an over-belief in Man’s own spirit, a silly attempt to assert oneself against God, and it can only result in emptiness – in defeat, in insufficient effort, in having nothing left but the patient endurance our fallen times. To ‘ride the tiger’ comes down in the end to waiting – waiting for an actual God to tread down and break that falling cycle which no man can escape by himself. But how can such a waiting ever be justified, when we already know of a God who has tread down?
God as Peace
God must be peace. Not peace in the feminine sense – not the earthly peace of fat, undisturbed childbirth, in which woman can live in harmony with Nature thanks to the sacrifices made by her man at the front. And it is absolutely not identical to any sort of pacifism – wanting the peace of woman, without sacrificing what is necessary to uphold it.
It is a peace of Man himself, the peace of the absolute. It is awareness of the simple fact that nothing can ever strike the Sky, never disturb or harm that which is eternally above. Man must struggle, for man must both overcome himself and destroy those who threaten what is his own – but is it not simply silly to think that God himself would need such struggle? He who is the Absolute, towards which all overcoming can only aim; He whom nothing could ever threaten.
To deny that God is peace would only be to project the conditions of our own lower existence upon his highest Being, and as such would be the opposite of true Tradition, which is the movement of God and man in unity, making higher that which was previously lower.
Yes, if one has never felt this unmovable peace within oneself, then one has never known true spirit, true Sky. War, struggle and heroic acts are only truly divine if they are waged in the affirmation of Eternity above. The warrior can not be a simple creature of rage or power, but must carry within himself, unwavering through the most violent of battles, the calmest Sky of heavenly peace.
Just as the greatest, mightiest and most frightening storms have an eye of clear, undisturbed sky, so does the towering thunder of the greatest warriors merely flow around their true centre of calm and peaceful Sky.
But far too often men of the Right make war itself into a fetish – thinking of the violent act and its self-transcendence not as an manifestation of the divine, but as the divine in itself. I believe this is especially common among Norse neo-pagans, drawn as they are to a mythology of gods who struggle and die. But the fact that the Aesir have their own war to fight is not a sign of a more virile spirit, but of an incomplete spirit.
It is a spirit which can not reach beyond the Earthly struggle of man, but which only projects the struggle of man upon the Sky – a spirit which has forgotten, or which never knew, the true peace of the Absolute, and as such can only imagine the Skies as a place of a greater struggle and a greater cycle. This spirituality cannot unite Earthly struggle with the peace of Eternity above, but to the question of what human struggle is for, what it rests upon, only answers – like the Indian lady with her world-turtle – that there is an even greater struggle below.
But in Christ, we truly see the peace of the Sky above. The untouchable peace, which yet chose to tread down and embrace all agonies of the world below. It is absurd to think that one could ridicule God because he chose to walk calmly towards his own cross. Of course God could have put any kingdom on the Earth under the rule of his son, but Christ was no earthly ruler; he was the Sky itself. There was nothing on Earth which was not already under his heavenly seat, nothing which could add to his glory – would it not be simply ridiculous, if God came to conquer what he already ruled?
The whole point of Christ is that God has chosen to tread down, to be born as a man of flesh and blood, in order to forever breach the abyss between man and the Sky above. He came down to show man the peace of eternal Sky, so that man’s Earthly struggle could become divine.
To see oneself as a greater man than Christ – greater than God himself – because one is a man of Earthly struggle praying to gods of struggle, reeks of an insecurity and confusion as to what it means to be a man below the Sky. It is as silly as trying to pierce the Sky by hurling a spear at it – an act which can only be viewed as an ironical affirmation of one’s inferiority to God, rather than as a virile rebellion.
But here lies also one of my greatest problems with Christianity – that it does not consider the greatest man to be he who carries the peace of God within him through the struggle of the Earth, but rather he who leaves the Earth and its concerns behind, in order to emulate Christ in a life of pure peace.
Of course I do not misinterpret this pure, Sky-like peace of monks as some Earthly, feminine ‘pacifism’, nor do I falsely think that Christianity deems this world or its struggle ‘evil’ – for this world is created by God, and as long as man is just and affirms the world as a part of God, the world can never be evil. Christianity of course does have a tendency to sink towards pacifism and fear of the world, but this process is nevertheless a degeneration, and not the original peace of Christ.
What I mean to say is that Christianity sees the Earthly as something lower which one would preferably escape, rather than as an integral part of our spiritual mission. Christianity thinks that the highest man is he who lives above the world he was born into, in a pure relationship with God and his peace, instead of he knowing God’s peace through the struggle of the world he was actually born into.
Christianity knows war to be good when waged for the Church, sexuality to be good when heightened by marriage, work to be good when done in the name of God, and so on. But still, these goods are seen as lesser goods, as a necessary evil or an escape from something filthy, rather than powers with the potential of being truly divine. In the case of sexuality, while marriage abolishes the sinfulness of sexuality, it would according to the Christian be best to never have felt any passion at all: marriage is only an escape for those who are ‘too weak’ to leave the Earthly love behind altogether. And so too is war a necessary evil, rather than an opportunity for transcendent and divine power.
My problem is that Christianity only wants man to be as similar to the Sky as possible – to be as similar to Christ and his peace as possible – rather than seeing man as the Sky lived through the Earth. Of course the path of the monk is viable and noble – sacrificing one’s whole life in order to become as close the Sky as possible, and reminding the world of its inner Truth and Peace – but is it really the highest path?
I believe that the highest man is he who both knows the peace of God within, and the struggle of the world without – for we are not, like Christ, pure Sky made into flesh; we are also truly made of something Earthly, and this is not a duality which should be solved by abandoning one part of it. Rather we should seek to unite them both in God. The struggle of the world must become something truly good, rather than a necessary evil for those who are ‘too weak’ accept the blows of the enemy. For while it is true that no enemy can harm the peace of our innermost Sky, this should not mean that the highest man is he who, for the sake of this Truth, lets the enemy’s sword pierce his body.
I speak of a will to affirm God by affirming struggle – by repeating the Truth of God’s lordship and order, through the conquest of both the world inside oneself, and the world surrounding.
And by conquest, I do not, as the Christian, speak only of spreading the evangelium by sword and book; I speak also of the pure expansion of power itself. I speak, as the Romans understood, of the holiness of Empire and the glory of conquering other peoples and lands – I speak of not seeing Earthly struggle as a necessary evil which exists in spite of the Sky, but as a way to affirm the eternal lordship of Peace above, by becoming a lord over the Earth here below.
God as Love
If one has truly seen the depth and purity of the Sky above, then one must understand that nothing on Earth can attain its heights. One must understand that God – as the absolute source of Life, as the all-permeating Sky and as the complete Lord above – does not need anything below himself.
But why then has God bothered to breathe his Life into the blood and soil of man? Why would he ever tread down to man, give man Tradition, and call for man’s ascension? What does any of this, what could it ever bring to God? Why would he make something which is not Him, which has its own will, but at the same time tread down – shed his own blood on the cross – so that this other can return to him? The only answer to this absurdity is love.
God has created men and women who are not Him out of love, and out of love He died as a simple man himself, so that his creations can join Him above. God has not come to dissolve man and his Earthly struggle into some womb of feminine harmony, but rather to unite man’s Earthly life with the eternal Life above, so that man’s struggle and sacrifice can be immortalized in the peace of the Sky. God has given man his very own place by his side, out of his love for that which is infinitely below himself.
And if one has not felt this pure love within oneself – if one has not for a brief moment felt as if one could almost stretch to embrace the whole world and all its death – then one has never felt the Sky. For the Sky truly embraces all of existence, and this love is in no way something feminine. On the contrary, woman only loves herself and that which pertains to herself. Woman only loves her children and her kin, for they are what secures her continued existence, her false immortality through the cycle of Nature. Only man can love truly unselfishly, love out of a sense of over-fullness and pure sacrifice – that is, love as the Sky loves.
Feeling scorn for Christ because he loved as the Sky itself – because Christ could love the whole world, and not only love that which pertained to his own continued existence or that of his tribe – only proves that one does not know of anything outside of Nature’s petty cycle. And to refuse to accept this love, because one would deem it humiliating to need the love of God, only shows another deep insecurity in what it means to be a man of flesh and blood. For it is only by the fact that God has chosen to tread down, that we can ever dream of reaching our true selves, as men of the Sky.
But of course, the love of God should not be interpreted as self-denial or as indifference toward one’s own in the face of the enemy. For we are not pure Sky, but we are also men of this Earth and its struggle, and we should not pretend that we are able to embrace the whole world in our love – we are simply too small, and we were created that way.
I believe we were created to know God through the world and its struggle. If man has a family, it is as Father that he reflects the lordship and love of God; and for the King, it is as a ruler over his kingdom. To neglect the defence and prosperity of those given to one’s care out of a ‘love’ for the enemy, would be to betray the love for those which God has set one to rule and lead. One must strike the enemy with heavenly thunder.
But at the same time, one should still be able to recognize the Sky in one’s enemy too – for it is always there somewhere, in the deepest part of all men’s hearts. In the end, everything has descended from the single Sky, and as such, all men are of a brotherhood above. To fail to recognize this, on account of one’s having taken a different side of Nature’s tiny struggle, is to have failed to truly recognized as well the Sky within oneself. And it is also to hide from the true cruelty of all struggle – to fail to embrace the deepest, most tragic beauty of striking one’s enemy to the ground.
God as Salvation
As we have said, any upwards striving movement of man must be met by a downwards movement of the Sky, and there lies no shame at all in recognizing this fact. On the contrary, any illusion of man transcending his Earthly self by pulling himself up by the hair – by his own knowledge or act alone – hides from our sight the fact we are not God. And any attempt to view gods as mere ‘metaphysical powers’ or ‘symbols’ with which man might interact, bargain or even challenge in his own ascension, is to trivialize and profane the absolute nature of the Sky.
All Tradition is salvation, and one cannot fetishize the heroic act or the struggle of Nature at the expense of true divinity – of the unreachable heights of the highest Sky. Any flight of man will reach its limit – his wings will break and he will crash into the bottomless womb of the ocean below – unless God is there to lift him up.
To accept this salvation is no weakness. To die with God and ascend with God is not a fear of crashing down, or a fear of the inevitable death of man and everything man can ever fight for. It is only a realization, that this flight of man is not enough – that no wings of this Earth can ever honour the Sky which man feels within himself. Yes, one could even call it a feeling of dissatisfaction, of knowing one’s true self to be beyond even one’s own struggle.
To accept the salvation is to make the leaps and struggles of man upon this Earth into a flight which actually reaches the Sky – not as a mere manifestation or imitation of the Sky above, but as an actual part of it. It is to become a leap which no filthy gravity of Earth can ever touch.
Every Tradition knows the world to be fallen, but without the salvation of God above, man can only escape this fall by denying it. One cannot reach further than a man like Buddha, annihilating everything within oneself which pertains to this world. But this is an unsatisfactory solution, for it does not redeem the world – it does not make the Earthly into something holy, into a part of the eternal Sky above. In a way, it only deepens the abyss between this world and eternity, reducing the material world into an ‘illusion’ or something equally absurd.
But through salvation, man becomes a part of God’s own body, and the fall has forever been eliminated – Eternity has lived through the flesh of a man, and what thereafter is done by men of the flesh is a part of Eternity itself.
But here is another of my qualms with Christianity – how it identifies this fall with mere sin, how it identifies the Sky with the morally good, and how it thinks that man is only supposed to be as close to the Sky as possible, by avoiding all sin and acting ‘good’.
The fact that man has become a part of God’s very own body should not result in a petty moralism and a constant fear of staining one’s own body. One should rather strive to affirm this fact through an affirmation of the world as His – a desire to honor God’s body by being strong, healthy, beautiful and powerful; to honor His greatness by creating great things; and most importantly, to honor His might by wanting to conquer the world, by putting it under the feet of his Order.
If one strives for this positive affirmation of the Earthly body as a part of God’s own body, one’s life will not be a fear of the devil hiding in every bush, not be a passive and neurotic struggle to avoid sin, but a joyous conquest of everything that is weak, and an active transcendence of everything which is not worthy to touch the Sky.
God as the One
It is obvious that there can be only one Absolute. That there is one first mover, one highest source and one Being behind every single being. But the correct approach to this One is not that of perennialism. For by reducing every Tradition to mere manifestation, interpretation or a particular way toward this same One, we reach no higher state than he who professes a single individual Tradition and a single God to be the only true one; to the contrary, we thereby reach a lower state than that man.
Perennialism imagines God as lower than the true Absolute, because God is also ‘personal’. One conceives of God as being lesser than the unconditioned Truth, because he has appeared in a conditioned form. But God is True precisely because he is both absolute and personal – because he is the One and the manifold – at the same time. The truth of his Tradition stems from the fact, that he let his Absolute self be known to man through his conditioned self, without ever separating the two.
If one separates the personal side of God from his Absolute side, one only destroys Tradition. For one removes the Absolute from one’s Tradition, and God from this world. One is only left with an abstract ‘metaphysical truth’ in Tradition, which is as insufficient as any human creation, and one makes of the divine an unnamable ‘something’, which one can never truly see. Tradition is reduced to a ghostly world of faint symbols and a confusing mish-mash of only partly true gods, and the amount of ‘esotery’ required to make any sense of it all does not indicate one’s depth, but only one’s inadequacy.
For the true Absolute is surely ‘exoteric’ – just as the Sky is always above and visible for any man, unless he himself has chosen to crawl into some dark cavern. The true God does not hide behind some intricate shadow-play of false gods, and he does not need some murky rites or secrets to be known. His words are simply beaming, like the Sun above. If one needs the dusk of hidden rooms to see the light of one’s Absolute, it is not the Sun one perceives, but only the faint flicker of some man-made candle.
The belief that the Sky would not have shown itself to all men is in essence to deny that God needs to tread down – for if mere human capabilities decide who can and cannot know God, divinity is equivalent to the human ability to strive upwards. But as said before, any upwards striving is infinitely insignificant in comparison with the true heights of the Sky, and the grace given by God to the noblest of men is as great as that given to the most menial of men. It is rather a question of reaching the same Sky, by fulfilling the unique role that God has given to each man.
Of course this is not to deny that there is a spiritual hierarchy among men, or that there are different spiritual paths – and it would be even more foolish to deny the material hierarchy among men, merely on account of the fact that God is so far above every man. There are indeed only a few who can truly face the depth of the Sky above and within, and they play a far greater and nobler role than all of their brethren. And it is not strange that such men band together in exclusive brotherhoods – not because the Truth of God is ‘esoteric’, but because the works of these greater men are not for the masses to touch. But to say that only the higher castes can know God, that only they can take place at his side, or even worse, to call them gods themselves, is to make human greatness into a fetish.
The problems which characterize perennialism are also found in today’s neo-paganism, albeit in an even more acute form, as the pagan attempts to worship his ‘symbols’. Not much effort is required to bring the pagan to admit that he does not believe his own gods to be real, save as aspects, manifestations or symbols of the unnameable One above it all. Instead of a God saying ‘I am who I am’, the pagan must wrestle with all kinds of esotericism and creative interpretations in order to explain in what way his gods are not who they are.
The validity of this ‘worship’ rests upon the fact that the One is unnamable by man. No man can reach the Absolute on his own, but can only interpret it, through symbols and ideals. And as such, one should choose the inherited symbols and ideals of one’s people, for they at least fit one’s own mentality, identity and body. But how can such a worship be justified, when the One has named himself? How can one choose to be satisfied with mere ‘symbols’ of the One, when the One himself has tread down, and walked the Earth with human feet?
To call a pagan of today a mere idol-worshipper, role-player or animist (unless he actually is such) is unfair, for he too has an impulse towards the absolute, as did our forefathers in the time before Christ. And this is a true and noble impulse, which can create many great things here on Earth. But the pagans of today should be named fetishists. For they only want to look at the sky through the lake of the people. They only want to see the sky as reflected in what our forebears knew about the divine within themselves. They ignore the true Sky above, ignore that it has tread down in the shape of an actual man, and choose to swim in their own tiny pond.
I could polemicize long, both against paganism in itself, and against the attempts to revive it today from mere memories and ideas within oneself, without the downwards movement of any living god within it. But the main reason I do not deem neopaganism a viable Tradition, is because I can not recognize the Sky within it – because I only see half-measures, attempts of man to ascend without the downward movement of the absolute God above.
Could a paganism of today (purged of all chthonic and animistic elements) provide us with a set of healthy and heroic ideals? Could it revitalize European culture and art, could it give men a reason to fight, could it strengthen our identity, could it give us a metaphysical understanding of the world, and could it provide us with a heightened sense of existence, a will for upward striving? All of this is possible; but even if it succeeded, it would not be Tradition – for none of these things are the Sky itself, and nowhere is the downward movement of an actual, living God to be found in them.
For Tradition is not primarily the attempts of men to reach the Sky; it is the movement of a Sky which has chosen to tread down, to receive and embrace the short flight of man.