For the past 60 years, secular scholars have attempted to explain away the phenomenon of National Socialism, but most have been unsuccessful as they used political, social, economic, and cultural arguments to explain away a movement that was the fulfillment of magic and mysticism appearing suddenly under the banner of the swastika in the midst of a materialistic modern civilization, and a maelstrom was created.
Yet the signs following Nazism were never hidden. The high priest Adolf Hitler said openly that the form his movement was taking would be "that of a holy order," and the most important leaders of the Third Reich were associated with an occult lodge named the Thule Gesellschaft. An apostate member of the movement wrote books that were virtually ignored by the West because they seemed too strange to be true. Hermann Rauschning was a National Socialist member of the Danzig government who, frightened by the non-rational basis for the movement, left Germany and wrote such books as Revolution of Nihilism: A Warning to the West.
By what signs do we recognize the esoteric order behind the political system of the Third Reich? The first proof is that National Socialism was, beyond all things, the triumph of the symbolic over the human. A human's worth at that time was primarily gauged by the uniform, by the distinctions, by the symbols identified with her or him. A Hitler Youth anthem proclaimed, "The Fahne ist mehr als der Tod (the banner is more important than death)." The visual presence of the swastika was present everywhere from the inner sanctum of the home, to every street and public building. Runic symbols were adopted and selected with great precision, particularly within the SS to not only communicate words, but to project an inexplicable force. A true symbol, after all, is a gateway to another reality-a psychological shorthand that exceeds reason. At the end of the 20th Century, the use of symbols to create synergetic reactions was relegated mainly to selling entertainment figures and products via logos and trademarks, but in a nation where symbolism was seen as sacred, it created effects that are still not fully understood. In the Third Reich, it was a crime against the state to manufacture, draw, embroider or engrave for display, the swastika, the runic signs belonging to the SS and ancillary organizations, and as well, the SS deathshead insignias worn on SS caps or on the collars of deathshead units assigned to concentration camps or the elite Totenkopf division itself.
After centuries of dormancy, a new restlessness began to shake Europe awake in the 19th century. A woman emerged who would shape the inner life of the next century. She was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Her work The Secret Doctrine combined theology and philosophy into an active magical practice. She proclaimed the root races of man. It was Madame Blavatsky who identified the spiritual force within the blood of highly evolved Indo-European man as "the Aryan." She had visited Tibet to find the source of the Great White Brotherhood, and her researches brought back into being the inspiration that had created the Templars, the Teutonic Knighthood, and late 19th century occult scholars began to seek the "hidden masters."
Postwar authors who came close to understanding the order included Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, The Dawn of Magic, who wrote that the Germans had created a secret religion and a secret order that was "Magic Socialism." Even closer to the truth were the authors whose combined pen name was Jean-Michel Angebert. In their 1974 book The Occult and the Third Reich, they linked National Socialism to the 13th Century Cathars, or "Pures," whose Castle Montségur on a commanding hill in southern France was mercilessly assaulted and the cloistered inhabitants annihilated. The unarmed monks who were not slain, threw themselves over the cliff, preferring death to being taken by the uninitiated. They all perished, but one of their troubadours sang: "au bot de sept decents ans reverdit de laurier (At the end of seven hundred years, the laurel will be green again)." Could the Führer have been ignorant of this minstrel's plaint?
At one of the Nuremburg rallies, Hitler proclaimed that "every 700 years" there is a rebirth of the true religion, but few understood what he meant. When Germany was reduced to rubble in 1945, most analysts were exultant that the 1,000 year Reich had only lasted for 12 years. They could not understand why so many ranking military and political officials had taken their own lives rather than live in a world without National Socialist mythology, echoing the suicidal Cathars.
Before Sir Thomas Mallory sanitized the grail story and made it a Christian myth built around the chalice that held the blood of Christ, the true legend of the grail was written by Wolfram von Eschenbach, with much the same cast of characters that later became the court of Arthur. The castle is Monsevais, and there are supposedly great mysteries hidden in Eschenbach's text. Above all is the Grail, which is the stone upon which is written the magical secrets of the origin of the World, and within which is the mystery of the pure blood. Here is one more accidental synchronicity with the catechism of National Socialism.
With such a history of magical religions, the stage was set for a modern resurrection of Manicheanism. And what would be the symbol for a resurgence of those followers of the religion of light? It would be the sublime and powerful primal symbol that predated the cross-the swastika! And what was the magical language that would become the vehicle for a circle of the initiates? We go back to Eschenbach's Parzival: "Guyot, the master of high renown, Found in confused Pagan writing, The legend which reaches back to the prime source of all legends" The Pagan writing was, of course, the runes.
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote Also Sprach Zarathustra and was touted as a major influence on Nazi ideology, but historically ignorant westerners did not know who Zarathustra was, or that Zoroastrianism has mysteriously emerged in great rolling cycles throughout recorded history. It is the religion of light-the quest of the gnosis. As a sun religion, it was always at odds with the Judeo-Christian moon religion of reflected light. The gnostic seeks direct experience of the divine force, where the pistis holds that divine knowledge is mediated through the priesthood and dispensed to individuals who can grasp religious experience only through faith.
In Germany and Austria at the beginning of the 20th century, such publications as Ostara taught initiatory knowledge, and lodges such as the Germanenorden and the Thule Gesellschaft who were outwardly innocuous fraternal orders, such as most Freemason lodges, began to take in the intellectual and mystically inclined members of the upper social classes on the Continent. It was no accident that one of the inner circle, a Fraulein Sprengel, became the secret conduit from Germany leading to the formation of The Golden Dawn order in England. Ellic Howe wrote the exoteric history of The Golden Dawn as a documentary history, but he showed no occult knowledge and thus found no intrinsic value in a secret order that would draw a W. B. Yeats, an Aleister Crowley, an A.E. Waite to devote their inner lives to its doctrines.
The German author Detlev Rose wrote Die Thule Gesellschaft-Legende, Mythos, Wirklichkeit and was remarkably in tune with Howe in describing the outer trappings of the society that numbered Adolf Hitler and Rudolf Hess among the membership; however, anyone with a working knowledge of secret societies could tell Rose and Howe that the esoteric doctrines and training were passed from "mouth to ear," to use a term from the Hebrew Qabalah; thus; the true meaning of both societies escaped these authors' purely intellectual scope.
The German and British magical lodges differed, but their initiatory doctrine was the same: The training of the Will and the Imagination to achieve magical effects upon consciousness and, eventually, effect transcendence of the material prison. Both the German lodges and the Golden Dawn were recipients of documents from "The Secret Chiefs" that proceeded from Blavatsky's Tibetan revelation. Again, the Nazi order revealed itself in the 1934 Nuremburg party rally and the unforgettable film that documented it, "Triumph of the Will." Adolf Hitler was not a heroic physical figure, but when a hidden power flowed through him, he transfixed millions, whether they were sympathetic or not. This strange power never left him, even when his nation was a wasteland and there was no hope of victory.
Hitler's Mein Kampf and philosopher Alfred Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century continually reveal the magical roots of the movement's beliefs. They clearly define the religion of the Aryan as a solar religion. They hold that the destiny of the soul is carried in the vessel of the blood. The religion of Indo-European man was that of the pure blood-the mystery of the true Parsifal.
Perhaps it is no accident that one of Nietzsche's most remembered doctrines is that of eternal recurrence. The solar religion's eternal mission is to battle the darkness represented by the lunar religions that emerged from the Middle East, the Levantines. It is no accident that modern semitic groups furiously and fanatically seek to ban the swastika and runic symbols; it is a pogrom only tangentially connected to atrocities committed against them in the Hitler era.
The followers of Zoroaster and the Manes were the original heretics who opposed the shape taken by Judeo-Christian religion. The Manichean heresy has never been stamped out, and many devout Christians are, unbeknownst to themselves, Manicheans, who believe that the universe is in perpetual battle-good against evil, fire against ice, spirit against matter. The hermetic practitioner seeks spiritual purification and seeks the signs following that illumination in order to overcome demonic darkness in an unregenerate material world.
The second proof of the occult order of the Third Reich was the form of its observed ritual. When the Munich Putsch of 9 November 1923 failed, one of the swastika flags carried by the Hitler marchers was drenched in the blood of those shot down that day in the Munich street. The so-called Blood Flag became the primary sacred relic of National Socialism. Each year at Nuremburg the party consecrated the standards of its units. The Führer held in one hand the blood-stained flag and touched it to the standard presented for consecration. The magic of the blood passed through Hitler into the receiving standard, bringing it to life. This was as mysterious as the Holy Communion, which itself is a blood ritual. Theoretically, every flag of the movement would be connected to the Blood Flag, and consecrated standards would then be touched to the subordinate flags.
The third proof of the occult nature of Nazism lies in its initiation forms. Hitler created three castles of the Order at Krössinsee, Vogelsang, and Sonthofen. Young men who had served in the Hitler Youth, and had done their military service were to become the priesthood of National Socialism. Before taking their places, they would spend a year at each Ordensburg, with Krössinsee in Prussia the castle for political education, Sonthofen in Bavaria for physical training, and Vogelsang in the Rheinland for spiritual education; thence the graduates would go to the SS, the party, or back to the military. Of course the SS had its own order castle of Wewelsburg where SS officers visited to meet with Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler in retreats designed as meditation periods. Himmler's castle has been described as a "black Camelot," where the highest leaders met at a form of round table.
The evil that overtook the National Socialist movement was perhaps not traditional satanism as claimed in Trevor Ravenscroft's popular book The Spear of Destiny, but the regime's brutality and excesses may be more akin to other historical cruelties dating back to the time of Egypt and beyond-that combined with the experiences of most of the German power elite in the harsh crucible of World War I. The Hitler inquisition was no less intolerant than the Roman Catholic inquisition, or the work of the Iconoclasts in the 8th Century who destroyed every religious image they came upon and often slaughtered the possessors and artists who were devoted to them. By resurrecting a mythological world in the industrialized 20th century and forcing real human beings to dwell therein, the toll on mere humans was devastating, and is still not fully understood.
Modern students of the occult often simplify occult practices into white or black magic. Several authors equate any occult practices with nascent fascism; however, much of this is an attempt to discourage any belief in non-material philosophies that might impede progress toward a socialist materialist utopia.
A word must be said about Britain's Aleister Crowley, who was subjected to one of the most prolonged and vicious press attacks of his age in the early 20th Century. Labeled "the wickedest man alive" despite his sublime poetry and intellectual accomplishments, Crowley might well have been the first true hippy. He was bisexual, an experimenter with drugs, a practitioner of magick (with a "k"), and was a prisoner of his own ego. After his death, many writers labeled him a "fascist" because he taught that evolution was a personal responsibility and that human progress was beholding to individual effort alone. Crowley was against the war in 1914, showing some admiration for the Kaiser Reich, but 20 years after that he repudiated National Socialism as a system. It was Crowley's greatest "crime" that, despite vows of secrecy, he published the secret teachings of the Golden Dawn, thus opening occult information to anyone who chose that path.
One thing is certain-the rebirth of hermetic science in the West, as the antithesis to dialectical materialism and communism, can be traced to Madame Blavatsky and the occult lodges that sprang up in Germany and Austria after WWI. The New Age movement at the end of the 20th century is a confused, uninitiated projection from the reverberations of these powerful secret groups. Most of them have reverted to moon worship and pagan practices that are contrary to solar religions. National Socialism was a religious movement beginning with devotion to an occult doctrine and ending with control of a powerful nation state that astounded and terrified the world-some say it was the final punctuation mark to the history of the Piscean Age.
Despite the the battle of modern materialists and intellectuals to rid the world of potent spiritual symbols such as the swastika, there is little doubt that the doctrines that created Nazism will return to carry on the eternal Manichean war of spirit against matter.
By their signs shall ye know them.