Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Apple of the Hesperides

We are nearing the end of the Dodekathalon. We have seen how each of the Labors presupposes a certain internal struggle that is foundational to the soul, like a childbirth, since the Western path differs from archaic spirituality (eg., Vedic) in that it seeks to sublimate the material, rather than withdrawing away from it (although it is more accurate to state that the withdrawal becomes a foundational step that is transcended by the fullness of God’ will which irradiates from the human heart, outward, and shines through matter). That is, a man must struggle with his passions, because they are bound up in an initial false self. We have seen Hercules pass through the stages inevitable to the reluctant hero: he has become popular with the masses as an outlaw-protector, he has made several mistakes (and recovered from them) which recapitulate the initial madness and sin which induced his quest, and he has discovered that enemies (eg., Hippolyta) are being converted to his side. He has begun to receive overt notice and aid from the celestial beings.

Johannes Trimemius writes that “Study generates knowledge (cognition); knowledge prepares love; love, similarity; similarity, communion; communion, virtue; virtue, dignity; dignity, power; and power performs the miracle.” This is the Christian sequence of Incarnational or natural magic. It is magic because God has ratified His oath from heaven in the Advent of the Son. It is natural, both because it was known through the Logos Tomeus prior to historical event, and because, since the blessed Advent, Supernature is now overtly intervening and transforming, or uplifting, Nature. Einstein reminds us that “Theory determines what we can observe”, so this is not a novel doctrine, but the re-discovery and energizing of what lay potential in Nature as seeds or signs of Logos, from the foundations of the Cosmos. Christianity is a religion of self-consciousness : that is, the Truth had always been there, but perceiving it clearly (with Calvin’s spectacles) induces a change in the object of apperception, since Heaven and Earth began to ratify one another’s oaths. This is the “love-story” of the Gospel.

Hercules’ story is written in the stars, in the constellations, quite literally, but also symbolically, as each Labor corresponds to a progression of the Zodiac in the world of the cross. It is human, in that the figure is a warrior, an appropriate caste for the age of the Kali Yuga, in which man must struggle back and fight forward to bring about again the Age of Gold. It is also humane, in that Hercules stands for the classical Mediterranean World, the world of Man which gave birth to the Medieval Everyman, but which has roots in the Age of the Gods. The fact that this world decayed into that of animals (with the rise of Empiricism and Nominalism and Science) and that of machines (the Modern Era) and even that which is sub-human (our own time) should not dismay us: the subtle still rules the dense. Good has to interpenetrate that which is lowest. For even Evil cannot be created without first perverting that which is Good. So we see that, in the words of Mencius Moldbug, the Past is not a province of the Present, rather, the Present is a mere tiny slice and province (at best) of the Past. So Evil (then) is merely a slice or province or truncated world of what is Good, what is God.

So we stand at a unique time: we have to “go back” to the antique past, because having collapsed into indeterminate quantum and sub-atomic spiritual conditions in the present, there is no way of emerging from this Chaos without re-instating a Traditional Order, [and the only one that exists (and it still, physically even, exists) is in the past]. To appeal to the Middle Ages is be novel in two senses: firstly, no one imagines it can be done, so that should be unique and interesting, and secondly, it is nearest to us, or “newest”, in the sequence of Ages. The future exists indeterminately, within our collapsed state, and it is a privilege and rare opportunity to be of those who will “create” the Future by invoking the pattern of the Past. We are the keepers of the secret Fire, and the bearers of the apple seeds from the Hesperides, out of the deluge, into the Garden.

Hercules lived in such a time. Hera had come, and degeneracy reigned, because men had forgotten the reason for the sacrifices and mysteries. They performed them in ignorance, or as compromises with lower powers, since the process of entropy invariably proceeds by the dichotomy of a “Two” which does not understand the “One” that provides it birth and Order. Look at how men think today. Do they not invariably pose false dichotomies, and then flatten out all meaning and nuance in order to make the supposed synthesis plausible? This is because the power that opposes man’s true destiny, and which feeds off of it (we can call It and Them “Moriarty” if we like) and requires man’s ignorance in order to continue to drag out its existence, has access to men’s Mind (collective and individual) through the disorder of passion and the perversion of Reason to slave to that Passion. And this is why Hercules is “at war”, taking heaven by storm, within and without. Hercules fights, initially, at times and places not of his own choosing, although even there we see a tiny sliver of man’s free will which allows some significant freedom and decision-making (after all, he did strangle a serpent in his crib), but as the process matures magically, Hercules begins to enjoy the fruits of conquest, and to make war at times and places more of his own choosing.

Man is growing up. We see this in this episode, because it is virtually an entire twelve labors, in and of itself. Hercules doesn’t even know where the Apples are, and has to wrestle the Old-Man-of-the-Sea, who keeps changing shapes while being held. Certainly, this has something to do with achieving a meditative state of mind, with stilling the flux, until the image emerges in the still pool, as Tomberg readers will recognize. He then has to slay Antaeus, by holding him aloft so that he does not touch the earth, and crushing him. Again, this can be related to asceticism, which involves severing the “natural” drive of desire from its magnetized source in the passions, to make it serve something not purely of this world. Journeying to Egypt, he is imprisoned by a king (again we see conspiracy and political conflict), who desires to sacrifice Hercules himself for the yearly offering. Indeed, this is done routinely in the Brave New World. It is the liberal version of “Knockout Game”, in which some endangered species of latent heretic is dragged out of his abode and thrashed around for vicarious thrill and for the pure pleasure of witch-hunting. Have you tried this lately? It’s lots of fun. And you don’t even have to have any real courage, because, after all, the people you are attacking have no actual power to hit back. Plus, you can feel like the Pharisees did when they tried to stone the woman they had committed adultery with. But, really, it’s just a species of perverted and ignorant dark magic, because the faux Liberaux deep down just think that every witch they burn will help ensure the pleasure of the Multi-Cult Gods. Don’t burn too many: one or two a year will do. After all, who will do the work around this insane asylum?
After this hold up, Hercules manages to break through. We don’t hear of too many accidental killings this time around. Hercules is just thinking about those apples, and apparently, even his enemies are becoming less inclined to use open violence against him. When he arrives at the Hesperides, he finds that he himself cannot pick the Apples. In an interesting twist, which is of worthy note, he tricks Atlas first into doing it for him (while he holds up the world on his back) & then lies to Atlas that he needs to retrieve his cloak to make things easier for holding the globe, will Atlas hold it up momentarily?

The Lesson here is that, apparently, the hero is no longer bound by a conventional code of honor. Like Odysseus, the cunning one of many stratagems, Hercules is allowed (apparently) to use help (this was disqualified, as you remember, in the case of the Augean Stables and the Hydra), and to use it dishonestly. Apparently, the Apples are a prize which does not require perfect virtue or honor to retrieve.
As a Christian, I would like to re-interpret this passage, if it were permissible, but honesty forbids it. Here we reach into the mystery of Good & Evil, where the law or ban of the true sovereign reaches a point that places that entity beyond what is commonly conceived as right and wrong. To attain some perspective, and try to square the Circle, we will note that even the decent, salt-of-the-earth common man lives in some degree of tension and hypocrisy, when you scratch him deep enough. After all, we all shop at Wal-Mart.

In this instance, I will say that Hercules returned at a later date, building the pillars of Hercules, belatedly, thus liberating Atlas much as he freed Prometheus. But he still lied. Indeed, it was a lie extorted in bad faith by Atlas, as the apples would do Hercules little good, were he to stand there forever hoisting the world orb. Mouravieff deals with some of this in Gnosis. The lie can never be to the Self, although Life forces many lies upon us, in many contexts, in which (at the least) we allow people to see what we perceive them to be mis-perceiving, without correcting them, because to “always tell the truth” in a bald manner at all times would ensure that we spent our lives much like Don Quixote spent his. I might also add, that the spiritual laws of Fairie Land, where the Apples grow, are not like unto the laws of Middle Earth, where the common code of the Hobbit must tend to prevail. Cunning is always a quality heavily valued in the Fairy Tale; we have to learn, as humans, that we are not always speaking to another person, but to an archetype, especially in a quest.

And what of “let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No”? As a Christian, I say that I am not yet the Son of God, and furthermore, will never be so in the same way that Christ succeeded in being so, as He never knew sin. The religion of the apostles is slightly different in modulation and form from the religion practiced by Christ Himself. This “gap” is not a proof that one is not understanding the Logos, but rather, a testimony to the innately flawed and tragic situation man has cognized, and seeks to transcend. Christ, after the Resurrection, was not the same Christ Who was laid in the tomb. If we see the Church after Christ’s Advent, the promise is made to reconcile even those who are in Purgatory, those who are idiotes or imperfect, those who dimly cling to the shreds of Christ’s garment, can find salvation in the precincts of the outer Temple. This was the truth which Luther really could not quite come to terms with, and which rejection, incidentally, still marks his spiritual children in the modern world. For them, a single imperfection invalidates the entire corpus. This ensures that one will gravitate towards Alfred Jarry’s dictum: Until we’ve destroyed everything, we’ve done nothing. The Perfect becomes the Enemy of the Good.

The Christian path recognizes the Evil and the hypocrisy, but (as noted), the goal is not withdrawal from matter, but rather a shining through and sublimation of that matter, however, imperfectly, which transforms even Evil into Good. This is a delicate position, as it can come perilously close to “Do Evil that Good may come” or the doctrine of Progressivism that any broken eggs are worth the omelette. What I am trying to say here is something capable of distortion. It is rather that within us, it sometimes happens, when the hero is pushed to the white-hot extremities of contradiction during his quest, he will sometimes find himself acting (unconsciously perhaps, or consciously, bearing the guilt truly) with elements of his being that are not perfectly devoted to God. To give a concrete example, suppose I am awakened in the middle of the night by the noise of strangers entering my home. Now, as a good Christian, my first thought should be to ensure the safety, not only of my family, but even of those who have knocked in the door, if possible. Indeed, a pure and true Christian could square the circle, with the help of angels, by reading their thoughts, speaking words of wisdom, or even laying down his life to save both family and foe. However, what would most likely happen (because I know myself, especially at two o’clock in the morning) would be that a weapon would be procured and used. My greatest fear (being imperfect) would not be to fail to be a perfect Christian, since that is a given, but to allow harm to come to my family through personal cowardice or weakness or hesitation. In such a situation, it is likely that violence would occur. 

This is the mystery of the temple of Rimmon. It is analogous to the Earps deciding to clean up Tombstone themselves, rather than allow Sheriff Beehan to arrest them for disorderly conduct in the middle of a flagrant murdering spree perpetrated by those who own the Sheriff. In fact, almost every human being has experienced a situation, on some scale, of the same kind, in which to “do right” is actually to commit an even graver sin. What is wrong with modern Liberalism is not their recognition (they do this too) that sometimes you have to go against your kin in order to be Just to the stranger and the alien, but rather, the fact that they literally worship these strangers and outcasts as God Himself. And the fact that they do not allow such niceness of conscience or subtlety of distinction to be used by anyone else but those who also, like them, worship at the altar of Revolution and Degeneracy.

In this case, Hercules knows he has to seize the apples, and they are his provided he is willing to answer for the consequences – he can return later and redeem his pledge. Hasn’t he committed worse sins than this, and been forgiven? What is worse than slaughtering your wife and children in a fit of madness, or a woman who loves you as she brings your prized object? We see that Hercules is simply “unequal” to ordinary standards of right and wrong. This is completely different (as far as I can tell) from the Nietzschean idea that one must go beyond them entirely. In a word, Hercules is a gentleman, but with a bit of a rogue left in him. Indeed, anyone who seeks individual salvation will find that they become a gentleman, with a bit of something else streaked through, which remains (even in the redeemed state, in Heaven) as something like the silver lining of a storm cloud.

Like Cromwell, if you are willing to stand tall before God and answer for the blood on your gauntlets, then “you may proceed”. Take what you want, and pay God for it. But, had Cromwell subdued himself more thoroughly, and acted more in accordance with his caste, had he seen himself caught in the currents and dragged by Fate as a slave to the rising order of Revolution, would he have acted so?
With the ancients, we affirm that no man consciously would will Evil (at least before he was thoroughly corrupted, as this Life is a second chance, and perhaps not even then). Which is why it is the duty of every man of Order to subdue himself, that when he creates, he may create according to the whole Eye of Light, perceiving the Logos not through a glass darkly, but almost face-to-face.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Restoration, Revival, Renaissance

The order of these nouns is deliberate. Secular humanists desire to have the last without either of the first two, particularly and most insistently, the first. Christians are generally unconcerned or even aware of the first, & if it is brought to their attention, they become truculent. The third also escapes the notice of many of them, who have been relegated to the merchant or warrior castes, or who have been converted while being laborers or even shudras. In fact, one of the primary dogmas of this era is the idea (variously expressed) that “you can’t go back”, that “(all) change is good”, & that “new is always better”, and almost no one dissents from it. (Wendell Berry hilariously points out that if using a computer is a new idea, then not using one is an even “more novel” one.)

That is why it is important to pursue one’s vocation and caste, as well as practice the “lesser mysteries“, rather than spend too much time worrying if one has attained supreme Enlightenment. Because in the New Age worldview, to not have reached the summit of Mount Parnassus is to not have done anything. This reminds one of A. Jarry’s evil motto – “Until we’ve destroyed everything, we haven’t done anything“. This bastard-like, ungrateful, and rebellious attitude has transferred itself out of the failed 60′s movements, & into the “mainstream”. Nowadays, if someone doesn’t have visions of the angels, adopt children from foreign countries, and float through life in a haze of super-tolerance and up-to-date information, then why possibly bother? Beware of thinking like those who are masterless and rebellious.

Tracy Lee Simmons points out in Climbing Mount Parnassus that
The foundations of the modern world are viewed more competently from this (the “classics”: study of Greek/Roman civilization) height. Poetry, drama, democracy, idealism, scientific curiosity, and so much else furnishing our minds are better grasped, and better judged. We drift without classics, floating on our own deracinated, exiguous islands. And we become fodder for demagogues. We need not a revolution, but a restoration.
I will give you an example. Alcibiades, in Thucydides’ History, defines democracy as the concern simply that the good of all be given due consideration, rather than merely the good of a few (the non-slaves). Now Alcibiades was bargaining for his life with the Spartans, to whom he had fled in exile, so perhaps he was being disingenuous. Nevertheless, even the villains and knaves of ancient history have an unpolished grace that should make us blush. Jose Maria Gironella in The Cypresses Believe in God, has Ignatio say that he defines socialism as the belief that the “rich shouldn’t have everything, and the poor nothing”. Rather than hate democracy uncategorically, perhaps it would be better to examine it & to see where it legitimately applies (eg., local self-governance) & where it becomes an ersatz religion, a demon, and a false God.

In the context of real Restoration, of that which is always True & is always so & abides forever, a great many false dichotomies and catch phrases dissolve into clarity. GK Chesterton, for instance, attempts in his Agrarian and Distributionist thought (which he bases on Hillaire Belloc and other Catholic thinkers), to demonstrate what “Christian democracy” actually meant, rather than what it came to mean detached from God, the soil, and all wisdom.

Therefore, the first thing or first question is “what constitutes Restoration”? As Jacques Barzun notes of education, it is dangerous to look too closely at the object (like staring at the sun, or trying to see the Pleiades head on), because the growth of “education” (or Restoration) is a slow, intangible, and subtle process which is difficult to assess. It might be better, argues Barzun, to stick to teaching Latin, Greek, chemistry, and the rest of the traditional subjects well (just a few of them), and let “education” occur like the growth of a tree. So, work at the destined work of your vocation; practice what lesser mysteries Providence brings to your attention; & assiduously and patiently cultivate your spiritual garden. You are climbing Mount Parnassus.

If one is drinking from the fountain of Tradition (which can be increasingly recognized the more and deeper draughts one imbibes), then you need not fear to lose the way. Alain de Lille (doctor universalis, d. 1203) wrote of the “intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere” because he had drunk from it. And where did he find such wisdom? Of course, first of all, he had read or been told of such a hermetic tradition. Yet also, it is said that he was preparing a lecture on the attributes of God, and had gone down to the Seine River bank to walk. He met a young child, who had dug a hole in the sand. The teacher told the boy he was lecturing on God tomorrow, and asked what he was doing. The child said, “I am putting the river inside of this hole”. The doctor laughed heartily, and said there was no possibility of that, that his purpose would fail. The boy looked at him, and said that it would be equally impossible to speak of God the next morning. Alanus was shattered, and although he showed up the next morning, he tore his robe off, & without another word, strode out of the university to join a monastery and find the answer to the riddle. God will speak to you in homely terms, in the lesser mysteries, in exoteric religion or philosophy, as surely as in the greatest terms, & the Christians assert that this is due to the Incarnation.

Incidentally, for Christian readers, I will recommend Coleston Brown’s Magical Christianity (the source of the Alanus de Lille story) as a sourcebook for uncovering the Tradition hidden within their own religion. It matches well with Iamblichus’ progression of the first ten numbers, and we shall see if it has any correspondence with the zodiac of Hercule’s labors, as well.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hercules’ Ninth – The Girdle of Hippolyta

Thucydides the Athenian notes that of pre-history, he is obliged to accept what the poets say, although certainly this is unsatisfactory, and the poets are not to be trusted. Since Thucydides was an Athenian, he presumably shared in the general blase attitude which they took towards the rites and rituals. The Spartans would postpone invasions if the auguries were inauspicious, whereas the Athenians did not hesitate to tear down temples dedicated to the gods and fortify them as watch towers. The Spartans consulted the Delphic oracle before waging war, and the Athenians held a democratic (or oligarchic) debate. So we see that the rationalizing outlook is nothing new, for the Athenians defended themselves from charges of impiety by using the excuse that they were compelled by war’s necessity, which was a general law of nature, and that the gods would understand this. They didn’t reject the gods, they merely re-interpreted them, since occasionally a philosopher could offend even their sensibility enough to run the risk of impiety charges. In fact, with their maritime Empire, democracy, riches, and political expediencies (see the Melian dialogue), the Athenians seem to be a very “modern” people indeed.

Those who struggle to undertake Hercules’ labors should take heart that these trends and currents against which they swim are in no way a novelty. Did I mention that Athens lost the Peloponnesian War against Sparta? It was the hubris of their Sicilian Expedition which did them in. Hubris is always present when the gods are disrespected. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. Immersing yourself in Tradition is one way of “not going mad”; the ancients knew that poetry, myth, legend, and religion were important ways of practicing waking up before one was even fully awake. At least if one goes “mad” during the epicycle of Tradition, there is a cure available within the cycle, since it is “all of a piece”. As we see with Hercules, making human detours or mortal mistakes do not derail him on his path. This is not merely because God “favors” him, but because Hercules is acting a part – that is, he is “acting” above himself, rather than mimicking that which is below him. He is rising to his true Self, doing the opposite of what a play actor does. If you tell a man, “God is Light”, that still requires either a) an epiphany on his part, or b) more explanation. But if you tell him, that in order to go to heaven, he has to pass the three headed dog and travel by the path that borders hell, in the shadow of the dark forest, and save the maiden who waits for him, then he can begin to understand.

In this episode, our hero does quite a bit of killing. As I’ve tried to explain to some liberal friends, if it’s worth dying for, it’s probably worth killing for in some way, as well. Although I don’t fully understand what Christ meant by “those who live by the sword, die by the sword”, there are other Bible proof texts, as long as people are asking.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword.Matthew 10:34
I came to bring fire to the earth and how I wish it were already kindled! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.Luke 12:49-51
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.Luke 22:35-38
Hercules will end up adventuring among the Amazons; Hera comes down, and stirs up their ire, as it would appear that Hercules’ power and charm (by itself) would have overcome them. Only Hippolyta is untouched, but she is doomed in her act of going to Hercules to aid him. Did Hera’s rage affect our hero, as well? We think that a touch of it did cloud him, here.
Diodorus Siculus[29] enlists nine Amazons who challenged Heracles to single combat during his quest for Hippolyta’s girdle and died against him one by one: Aella, Philippis, Prothoe, Eriboea, Celaeno, Eurybia, Phoebe, Deianeira, Asteria, Marpe, Tecmessa, Alcippe. After Alcippe’s death, a group attack followed.
In another version, Hercules’ takes Melinippe (Hippolyta’s sister) captive, and successfully exchanges the girdle in return for her life.

For most versions, after the mob attack on Hercules (which fails), Hippolyta storms to his rescue, but Hercules thinks she has betrayed him, and strikes at  her with the inevitable result.

The Amazons are connected with the city of Troy, & came to its defense during the siege. Coupling this with the episode of Dido & Aeneas (in which Aeneas inadvertently kills Dido and her love by leaving), we can say that the Amazon theme has a strong association with the trajectory and rise of the hero. They come after the affliction, & before the exultation and triumph. The rise of Roma is under the occult name of Love.

Hera is clearly a retarded element in the myth, but the Amazons are not. The girdle had been given by Ares to the queen, and represents feminine power to stand as a man against men. When Hippolyta exchanges the girdle for her sister, she is returned to the world of sisterly and feminine existence. She is tempered and made flexible. Hercules’ death blow may or may not be literal: there is an exchange between them which destroys Hippolyta’s warlike status & leads to Hercules’ obtaining of the girdle.
We have to note that Hercules is not seeking the girdle out of hatred for the Amazons. It is part of the given quest, & Hercules isn’t going to boast about it or even wear it. Hercules’ adventures were the subject of a good deal of contemplation during the Middle Ages. The allegorization of Hercules was not restricted to Christian thinkers, & there were even Tarot cards which used the Hercules motif. In general, we may fairly say that Hercules has by right always been understood as symbolizing the strong man of the real self, who overcomes the lower self and even its own self. Indeed, the theme remained popular through the Baroque era, up until very modern times.

Why make much of the “true Self” and “false Self”? Well, for one thing, we don’t see Hercules sleeping his way through the adventures by bedding a bunch of females. At the most, we reach any hint of that in this story, and only a hint. We don’t find him killing indiscriminately or widely (during this adventure, he does kill some men, but desists when kinsmen of the king are offered in exchange for his fallen comrades, and the Amazon battle is self-preservation). He is not “tempted” in any conventional way, with delights or ease. So the medieval and pre-medieval interpretation is legitimate: Hercules is not a masterless man.

Alice Bailey drew parallels with the Zodiac & the meaning of Virgo, one of the oldest signs. What comes after his death-blow to Hippolyta is instructive:
“Hippolyte is the Queen of the Amazons, a great race of women warriors, to whom Venus, the Queen of Love, has given a girdle, the symbol of unity, motherhood and the sacred Child, achieved through struggle. Traveling to the shores of her kingdom, Hercules fights Hippolyte and kills her for the girdle. Too late, he realizes that Hippolyte had not put up any struggle but offered the girdle to Hercules freely, under instruction from God. In a state of shock, Hercules sets forth to redeem this failure. While journeying back to the shores of the sea, he hears the screams of the beautiful Hesione being attacked and then swallowed by a sea monster. Hercules swims furiously out to sea to rescue her and, as the monster turns on him, opening its mouth to roar, Hercules rushes down the red tunnel of its throat, grasps Hesione and hews his way out of the serpent’s belly. Thus, after slaughtering the feminine principle that gave him what he needed, Hercules makes amends by rescuing that which also needed him.”
What is being uncovered here is the falseness of the corrupt feminine principle (Hera and the mob Amazons) and the new Woman called into being by the progress of the Hero: the man is acquiring firmness without brutality, and the woman is acquiring docility and flexibility without dishonor. Man becomes divine, Woman becomes eternal, together, but in a different way.
Hippolyta is a perfect Dido, and is moreover the perfect woman (although belatedly). Hercules responds by essentially becoming a Christian knight. With this adventure, we have entered the world of the Middle Ages and their romances, deliberately satirized in Don Quixote. But rather than becoming Orlando Furioso, Hercules acts directly. In literary words, Hercules takes the path of Dante rather than the path of Faust; he is open to vertical change, and avoids meandering and wallowing in self-pity, regret, manipulation of Nature, or stasis.

In the liberal world, we are offered a “God Without Thunder“. In this world, God must act according to our preconceptions. Thus, YHWH is guilty of genocide and the worst forms of ancient prejudice and violence, and is a veritable demon, whereas Jesus becomes a prophet-sage who aimed at freeing man from all darkness with the news that “God is Light”. This is the new civil religion for our time. It delights in opposing false anti-theses, in order to develop facetious syntheses. The opposite of this is to peer deeper into the mysteries of existence, & this is done, not through rationalization, but (for most people) legend, myth, history, poetry, and religion. These traditional forms are analogue and temporary substitutes for Right or Pure Reason: they are “practice”, like children playing at sword-sticks – it is also deadly serious, but a form of play. The first card of the Tarot enjoins us to turn “work into play”.
For Hercules the warrior knows there are monsters at large, not least of all in his own heart, & that they must all be conquered, slain, or transformed, as may be. Evil exists, & there is really no way to get God off the hook, rationally speaking. Either one begins the path by piety, submission, and respect for the higher power which tasks you (in which case these higher powers differentiate themselves into Hera/adversary and Zeus/protector, and the end of which is apotheosis and divinization, in which the hero is united to the separated divine) or else you try clever and abstract mental gymnastics. The liberal worldview has chosen the latter, & it is far easier to simply rewrite, ignore, or ridicule Tradition than to take up the cross, and follow the path of the hero-turning-knight. Is there a third way? I do not believe that there is. You can only see more deeply into what is already true, what is already old, what is already there. There is no revolutionary resolution or higher truth that preserves the profundity of Tradition, while somehow transcending the thunder of the Gods which offend our sensibilities. One will devour the other, and this itself shocks the sensibilities!

The temptation here is to mental passion and pride, which is why Gornahoor for Lent last year recommended a “mind fast” rather than a food fast. The myth clearly walks the initiate through the cycle of the Zodiac, and includes not only detours and failures, but also conspiracies and meta-conspiracies, as well as a varied array of monsters. It is, in other words, psychologically and spiritually both replete and complete. It can stand alone as its own veritable natural Gospel, were the coming of Christ hundreds of years off, because it is the primordial Truth in the first place.

When Hercules walks away with the girdle, but then goes and saves the maiden on his way home, & then surrenders the war-relic to his adversary as proof of passing the tests, he has “learned justice and mercy” by triumphing over the passions of vengeance and lust and the temptation to use the rod of iron in the cause of human wrath or personal gain. In each labor, he proves that he has deeply assimilated the implications of each previous lesson learned, even as he stumbles.

The point is not to avoid failure, but to get back up. That was always the point to begin with. The quest doesn’t end, until Hercules is done acting on each lesson learned. Fate is now weaving itself around the hero, rather than weaving the hero around Itself. Ducunt volentem Fata, nolentem trahunt. Hercules, exposed warts and all, is now ta’veren. His deeds are increasingly judged only by his own conscience, & by God. The shallow and base will call out (as they do against God) “you have waded through slaughter to a throne!”. But Zeus & Hercules & Hippolyta know that he is becoming a parfait and gentle knight.
What does it mean? As late as the last adventure, we saw the growing conspiracy, which comes out into the open now, using an arm of humanity (the mob feminists of the day) against the hero in a berserk manner. Hercules stays focused on learning personal lessons, and will not allow himself to be cowed or bullied either inside or out. He stays focused on the lesson, even when failing it. And because of that, he cannot fail.

Is this not the hidden meaning of “all things work to the good of them who love the Lord”?

Sunday, November 3, 2013



When one begins to experience the full effect of the “Times” we live in, it becomes obvious that there are a multitude of factors at work. Cologero has pointed out the increasing complexity and speed of events in the Kali Yuga. Although at first and superficial glance this would strike one as entirely negative (as the rate of “Change” at first is so excited as the preclude the inhibitions of right reason and the evidence of unintended and logical consequences) it is also apparent that a particularly high rate of change begins to have the opposite effect – people quickly, within their lifetimes, see the necessary outcome of events which they misjudged in their youth. The brain no longer has to anticipate the event – events come full circle within years or decades. This is increasingly the case in our own times – a good many converts to Tradition come out of the fog of chaos.

It is by no means certain, however, that the full cycle is possible for many. Some simply die along the way, either physically or morally or spiritually. What is contingently different is that in one physical lifetime, many have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of Chaos simply by “living” and surviving long enough to be bludgeoned into Tradition by Reality itself.

The first step in Anti-Tradition was to cast aspersion and doubt upon first principles so that one said with Pilate “What is Truth?”. In the West, this was both the cynicism of the Renaissance and then the open infidelity of the Enlightenment. Then came the open confusion of Good with Evil, so that each could be transposed: “Woe unto those who call good evil, and evil, good,” said Isaiah. In our case, Romanticism signaled the initial onslaught, which culminated in moral relativism in our own day. So what comes after this? Naturally, the third and final stage (which is analogous to Divinization in the Christian tradition, after Purification and Enlightenment) is the utter inability to tell up from down entirely, so that Reality itself is confused with Delusion and Insanity. Because Time has sped up, the moral relativism of the 1900-1960s is quickly passing into the delusional insanity of the post-Clinton years, in which the Psyche becomes impotent to discern what is mere wish-fulfillment and what is actually real. See this blog (for instance) for an in-depth analysis of this mindset, which came to full bloom in the 1990s. There is a fourth stage after the third, for the simple reason that after the third, when all reserves have been used up in subsidizing the degeneracy of the avant-garde elements, complete and total collapse is the inevitable outcome of these multiple co-morbidities. This is what is spoken of as Chaos.

For an analysis of this process on the purely physical plane, see the Archdruid Report. But it operates on all planes.

How long this Dark Age (which will be a true Dark Age that makes a mockery out of the propaganda which portrayed the Middle Ages as “dark”) lasts is up to, quite simply speaking, a spiritual elite.
It is obvious from the increasingly compressed time periods of each stage that we will quickly and shortly (within our lifetimes) enter the final phase. Thus, it is not a mere theoretical imperative to begin to work on the Self, and to plant the seeds of the Future, but a necessity of the highest moral and spiritual order.

Where will we find this order? Will we find it by cobbling together scraps of Nietzsche with a new populism? Here is what the Russian Church says: we should not succumb to “a fruitless populist radicalism”, in order to fight the rising threats of immigration and multi-culturalism. Multiculturalism itself exists globally outside the ivory towers of Western decay only as local cultures flattened by globalism. The bitter experience of One World united by post-Christian capitalism is the fuel which stokes the rationalizations of those who theorize it. So that the enemy is actually the post-Christian economic order, an order emanating from New York, London, and Berlin. Steve Sailer calls this the “invade the world-invite the world” strategy. The true and ancient enemy is not the alien among us, but rather the mind behind the mask which connives and schemes and manipulates that presence, which wishes bad fortune to come upon the lower cast. As Mencius Moldbug puts it, the State Department has an interest in keeping the American military busy extending its boundaries over seas, rather than tending to home affairs.

But who to blame? Should one assign responsibility, if it cannot be found? Should one, in fact, infer it?
I do not believe that this is a noble course of action for the truly resolute, for those who follow the path of Hercules. Does Hercules concern himself over-much with Eurystheus and his plots? Does he rage against Hera of the jealous eyes? Does he mutter indignities against the powers-that-be?
He pursues the mark relentlessly, yet almost casually. He has made the burden light. This making the burden light is what those who prophecy gloom miss. They do not feel equal to the challenge. I feel obligated to point out that the Dark Age ethos which is so often feted by the New Right was in fact likely lead by a transmigratory elite of nobility, as the intrigues by Celtic chieftains against Julius Caesar often made clear. It is far from clear to me that what was happening wasn’t actually a family affair, in the sense that various initiates, chiefs, warriors and their on-hangers engaged in the leadership of the various bands or tribes of men living in the North of Europe. The genetic and clannish unity was an accidental by-product of a culture focused on high Northerness. Indeed, this appears to have been the normative pattern throughout Europe until our own day, & the pursuit of such actually gave an accidental advantage to those of “Northerness”, en masse. The subtle ruled, and benefited, the dense. Without that subtlety, it is just more “fruitless populism”, I fear.

All the same, it is good (as Jeeves says) to “know what tune the devil is playing”. It is certainly wise and prudent to assess and measure and identify one’s spiritual adversaries, to maintain a sort of casual and detached regard of their latest fads and pursuits, and to know their names. Has anyone forgotten how Italy provoked France’s star player into throwing away the World Cup? It’s useful to know weak points in the make up of the adversary.

Hercules is unmoved, both by the presence of his own Moriarty (replete with numerous henchmen), and by the presence of even preternatural intervention and conspiracy. In fact, he stands their worst blows, and turns the injustice upon its head. It is not personal, for him, but rather, an occasion for spoiling the Egyptians. Is he not the son of Zeus? What is coming, however, from his triumph, will lead to the complete vindication of every possible injustice, and upon every scale and in every aspect, which was thrown against him.

The path of heaven contains the plan for such a perfect vindication for those who are worthy of it. Since our enemy will have nothing but a fight, then victory will accidentally be part of this. It is said, in fencing, that one should look, not at the sword, but at the eyes, of the opponent. So I have heard it said…

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hercules’ Seventh Triumph

As I have argued, Hercules has decisively “come into his own”: he has achieved the unstated goal of the classical polis, which was to become an Aristotelian unequal. He is not yet equal to gods, but he no longer lives under mortal law, because he has suffered its stroke, and lived (which is the only way to transcend it). He has passed through the difficult time of his hero saga. In any heroic legend, there are moments, particularly early on, when the hero is set upon by all seemingly legitimate forces. In doing so, these forces either illegitimate themselves, or show themselves to have been (in fact) illegitimate from the beginning anyway: they “fall away” before the great individuality. Traditionalists should never forget that King Arthur, King Alfred, Robin Hood, and any other number of folk heroes, saints, and strong men were initially persecuted, not merely or even especially by the wicked, but by their “own”. They are inevitably portrayed as “wolf’s head”, painted as demons or villains, and an attempt is made to exterminate them in the name of all that is sacred. Often, this attempt actually succeeds, and gives us legends of martyrs (at best) or legends of villains (at worst). Thus, the entire nation of Germany (for example) occupies the dubious position of being an arch-villain in the modern narrative, in which Kaisers and Barons and tool mechanics from the Wehrmacht fare no better than Hitler himself. The modern world has spent enormous spiritual energy probing the “dark side” of the nobility of Old Europe. How many movies have given us the stereotypical aristocrat who is bent on murdering and pillaging and oppressing those unlucky enough to fall under his aegis? Until an equivalent effort is made to diagnose and bring to light the even more hideous brutalities of the mob during the modern era (does anyone even count the number of automobile accidents on the roads against the “age of the Machine”?) we will not be remotely out of the woods. And there is a disadvantage – the educated classical liberals were well-equipped spiritually and intellectually to critique their predecessors, whereas we are much less able to critique the enormities that have emerged in the modern age of the Mass. So Traditionalists should expect to encounter massive reserves of energy that will attempt to blindly preserve their grip on power. This is one of the reasons I warned in one of my posts against violating General Law in an indiscriminate way: the mindset of an era represents a spiritual energy (however degenerate and blind) which is guaranteed to activate and suppress dissidence of any kind. We should be more adept at “reading the times and seasons”, and knowing what can be accomplished, and how it should be done. A great many people will make the mistake of becoming Don Quixotes, and end up being battered by windmills. It will not be easy, quick, or safe to extricate mankind from the spiritual darkness it has fallen into, over two centuries or more, in the West. Hercules started out as an underdog, with the gods against him, the nobility of the time actively seeking his death, and the common people (no doubt) simply channeling their basic desire to “witch-hunt” into the approved mode. Interested readers might wish to consult the subject of Ponerology for a closer look at this dynamic. In any case, in order to be a hero, you have to be willing to be painted (if the need arises) as a villain, perhaps even by those closest to you, not for the sake of the black hat, but out of a clear apprehension of what is right. Read King David’s Psalms, for instance, for more examples.

You must be willing to stand against the world, like Athanasius, if you wish to overcome it. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? In our time, the one position that is guaranteed to be a challenge to “all-comers” is the position of antique Europeanism, in the chivalric Christian tradition. It will infuriate almost anyone, for (indeed), we have all been very subtly programmed against it, given antidotes and immunization shots to prevent “catching it”, and taught in the very bosoms of our Churches that such a world should have never existed (at best) or even did not exist (at worst). Go and stand in some of the older Churches of Europe or North America. The pictures of the monks or founders or patrons tell a very different story from the bleak world we are taught that they inhabited. Read an older and sympathetic novel or biography of that period – something irrevocable has been publicly lost from that period. The clear look, the firm jaw, the clean heart – they are gone from our consciousness. They are submerged.
It is to restore such that Hercules comes. Not to achieve immortality directly, but to right what is wrong, and to spill sweat, tears, toil, and blood. Will he come unopposed and welcomed as a hero? He comes tasked with labors, and against the “odds and the gods”, against heaven and earth. Not everyone has to be a public Hercules, but everyone has a dragon or two in his circle that needs a-killin’. Rest assured, the dragon knows your name, and will exploit this. How else can evil exist, except to stay in the dark, and how else can evil have union, except in the dark? And who does not have dark within them? This will be an arduous progression.

For the seventh labor, Hercules is sent against the Cretan Bull. It is tearing up vineyards and terrorizing the island. When Martin Luther reared his head in the wolds of Germany, the pope noticed and said “a wild boar is loose in God’s vineyard”. We do not know all of what Luther had to reckon with, only that his coming marked the end of a unified Western world. When the Reformation was finished, the age of Atheism and Liberalism began. It may seem harsh to say this, and there are no doubt many things to salvage from Northern European spirituality, but Luther left Europe in rags and flames.
Interestingly enough, Hercules submits the bull of Cretes in a strangle-hold, refusing to kill it, instead sending it back to his royal tormentor, who wishes to offer it to Hera as a sacrifice. Hera declines to do this, and is offended, so the bull is shipped off somewhere else, and ends up being sacrificed to Athena and Apollo. Hercules has restored the natural order of things, the Logos, since Athena (wisdom) and Apollo (war/arts) are higher divinities than the jealous Hera, who is obsessed eternally (much like a feminist) with ancient and perceived wrongs and injustices that can never possibly be “righted” except by making more suffering now.

The bull is associated with animal-instincts and drives. Not only was Crete known in Biblical times as a lustful and lazy island, but the bull itself wreaked a moral havoc on the order of the island:
Minos himself, in order to prove his claim to the throne, had promised the sea-god Poseidon that he would sacrifice whatever the god sent him from the sea. Poseidon sent a bull, but Minos thought it was too beautiful to kill, and so he sacrificed another bull. Poseidon was furious with Minos for breaking his promise. In his anger, he made the bull rampage all over Crete, and caused Minos’ wife Pasiphae to fall in love with the animal. As a result, Pasiphae gave birth to the Minotaur, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Minos had to shut up this beast in the Labyrinth, a huge maze underneath the palace, and every year he fed it prisoners from Athens.
The broken promises and moral decay had birthed the Minotaur, a beast which would also have to be slain by another hero. But that is another story. And here is a goodly lesson – it is better not to vow, than to vow, and not pay. If we fight with monsters, the only way to not become one is to keep one’s vows. This relates not merely to not using the dark arts (for one is already pledged to what is noble and high) but also to wisely watching one’s actions, not thinking more highly of Self than one ought. Some monsters are other people’s property – it is their destiny to slay them, and they are chosen to do so. If you wish to aid, aid them – do not usurp their rightful place as slayer of the beast. Slay your own beasts. The restoration of a proper moral Order in the thoughts and hearts of those who oppose the modern temper and spirit is the sine qua non of Victory, since the Victory comes from above, vertically, just as initiation does. Becoming Captain Ahab or Don Quixote will not do anyone much good. We should be looking around for the chosen ones, all the while, doing all we can to make sure we can hear the still, small voice ourselves, for God will surely call each of us to some labor of Hercules, big or small. In short, the restoration of Order will come in a divine web or hierarchy of spiritual intervention, with the sacred hero-priest-king as the focal point. Squabbling and in-fighting are trademarks of the Left, what thieves and criminals do when they have despoiled someone and are dividing the loot. A man of the Right stands for the invisible and absolute order which he alone discerns, and suffers to make visible. The unveiling of this invisible web, through each one of us, will annihilate the plots of darkness, but it has to be (as the old preacher used to put it) “all of grace” or “of God”. Here we see that Christianity still has a mission for the “New Right” – until something greater than it is found (and how could that happen, without victory?), victory will require a re-harmonization between Christian Tradition and the remnants of the West. This will be resisted on all sides, and itself proves that it is the salient point. 

It is entirely possible that Hercules could have died or failed, in which case, he would be portrayed as a massive freak and fraud. This risk will have to be born up under, but born up under wisely, and strongly, and with the best possible chance of success. This is the path of the strong – not to fight invincibly and surely, but to triumph over a multitude of doubts and anguish and sins within, and to win through (if God wills) against a greater multitude of such externally, to a doubtful and dark destiny, under the shade of the laurel and the oak and perhaps the cypress. Invincibility is coming, but for now, is not yet.
One of the greatest strengths and services and preparations for this is to read the exploits of the past and to “right the wrong” of the ancestors. Look at the Iron Guard, for example, and their fate. How could they have failed? Most men are simply unwilling to risk a similar fate, or even honor their memory, and so they conform in their thoughts. The man of the Right pays respect and honor to his ancestors, which means learning their stories and “righting the wrong” in his heart, both by avoiding their mistakes and faults, but also by re-baptizing their memory and burnishing it till it shines brightly. Only thus, in the path of the Past, can we expect to find blessing for the dangerous Future, and strength for the present. This will be unappealing to the immense majority of men, who are depressed by such efforts, and cling to a hope for a brighter future through democracy, chemistry, and modern organization. They are often more decent, more intelligent, and more accomplished than many who see the beauty of the Past for today. There are many emoluments, amenities, graces, and goods that accrue to those who forsake this fight, however reluctantly and with whatever good intentions. Others will mock the futility of the “martyrs”, and use it as an occasion to desert the men of honor from the past.

Nevertheless, after all, Zeus will be vindicated, and He is not mocked. Who will wear his laurel leaves? He who struggles to the end.

There are compensations. After each labor, you get to see Eurystheus hiding in his piloi, and hear Hera cackling with rankled and wounded pride. Zeus will send his compliments, secretly. Those who have suffered will acclaim you as their local hero. You will be allowed the noble and theatrical gesture of noblesse oblige. After all, who asked them to annoint themselves as god of this world? Who asked them to invade the past and obliterate it?
But the Consul’s brow was sad, and the Consul’s speech was low,
And darkly looked he at the wall, and darkly at the foe.
“Their van will be upon us before the bridge goes down;
And if they once might win the bridge, what hope to save the town?”
Then out spoke brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods,
And for the tender mother who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses his baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from false Sextus, that wrought the deed of shame?
A man like that might make a difference, no matter what may come. That is why creating a spiritual elite (nobility) is the first task of the Counter-Revolution. Those who wish for adventure, to see brave deeds and to truly live, will be drawn to their course, and will uncover the stone of their destiny, which may be dark or bright, victorious or defeated, but which will be uniquely their own, with their own name written upon it. And this stone is part of the final victorious Temple, so that the death of a Byrhtnoth is still triumphant.

Let me sum it up to be crystal clear – the Hero will fight wisely, not beating the air, with the best chance of success, but he will also fight nobly, not avoiding an inevitable or symbolic death if the situation calls for such. God is able to equally deliver him, in either way, either before or after his physical demise or failure.

Hercules’ seventh triumph is a public act of wrestling the immorality and violence of an entire island to its knees, and sending the trophy as a taunt and a gift to his persecutors. The death of the bull, sacrificed to two war gods of wisdom and the fine arts, founds an era of moral stability, which the slayer of the Minotaur will lengthen and perpetuate. He is almost invincible, and is now acting almost openly on behalf of Zeus.

Could a determined alliance between a remnant Church and honorable pagans (who understand the divine mission of Christianity) wrestle the bull to its knees, in the tradition of Mithras, and of the Christ of Revelation? If enough men advance through the Labors, it will be a real possibility. Perhaps there is a man out there, reading this, who has within him both the Church and Valhalla, and will embody this possibility.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Labors of Hercules: The Augean Stables

The Labors of Hercules, Part 5

The Augean Stables
Hercules does not go immediately into action or battle, following his insult from the gods: Hera’s madness that causes him to murder his own offspring is the “fall” or primordial condition of sinful man who is an enemy to himself and his own kith/kin, let alone everyone else – man as a “wolf to other men”. Finding one’s self in this condition requires “penance”, but is really not the loss of anything, since it is illusory to begin with – the hero doesn’t find penance distressing. The path out of his dilemma is not “out”, but “deeper in and through”. This we have seen – The Man awakes to his sinful or mad condition, & rather than rage against the gods, he shoulders his karmic burden, such as it is, channeling his energies into carefully executing the appointed labors. So the Leftist solution of railing at the universe or shaking one’s fist at the sky is a non-starter – change begins with the Self. But even further, with some change begun, one does not therefore jump up and “clean out the Augean stables”, by reforming the Church, cleansing the State, defeating the forces of modernization and liberalism, etc., etc. It is much easier, when awakened, to immediately but covertly “rage against the machine” by marching off to clean out the Augean stables: let’s reform the Church of Rome! Let’s get rid of our traitors at home! Let us take counsel together, and purge the earth of the presence of all that is impure!

No, Hercules has worked up to this condition, & is being given tasks to perform in a logical and precise sequence. He doesn’t nominate or choose himself for any of them – he is the man for the job, and even the gods recognize this, but the jobs are being chosen proximally by his enemies. He is submitting to government through Providence, and trusting in a higher power than himself. This, of course, means that within the Hercules-cycle, there will finally be no “higher Power” but Hercules, but that is for the final chapter, upon his exaltation as a constellation.

The Augean stables are a problem that everyone knew about, and no one had solved. We could say that this is “the modern world”. What in the world do we do with all the refuse and offal from the “madding crowd” which inhabits the round globe, one and all having fallen prey to madness and imbecility? How will this impurity be cleansed?

Once again, Hercules does not come raging in headlong, like a Conan the Barbarian or Pol Pot, bent intently on ridding the earth of “undesirables”. He uses the forces of Nature itself, altering their course, to bring together the natural remedy for such a large heap of trash and garbage: he seizes a river and changes the course, immediately washing the stables.

He does this, presumably, for gratis, as the labor will be determined a “failure”, since he did not rely on his own two hands to do it. Hercules has been more cunning than those, however, who cunningly disqualify the trick. He has succored fellow man and beast, through the bounty of Nature, and provided a tangible good to all of those who are beneath him. He has stooped and entered the world of “common man”. This is what makes of Hercules more than a hero and an adventurer, and begins to give him the title of benefactor or popular hero. He will enter the mythos as a man like unto King Alfred, who brought permanent peace to England by sponsoring and converting a noble pagan, Guthrum, thus creating the Danelaw and bringing a new era of harmony, although he Alfred was redoubtable in battle nonetheless. The gods and test makers disqualify this test, but one can see that Hercules would have done it anyway. Why? Because it needed doing. Often it happens that those who make the “most progress” esoterically are those who are least concerned about it, because detachment really means detachment. Have you ever heard of the old Puritan preacher who found peace in the thought that he would at least be a monument to God’s justice in Hell?
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down….
Tennyson has Ulysses say this, looking out over his realm.
That is the spirit in which to embark upon dread tests, to balance out the focus and energy one brings to them (also requisite). One must play the game because the game matters. In esoteric matters, it really is “how you play the game”. Intention and personal goals, rather than a lust for power, are relevant. Even personal salvation takes a back seat to the “point” of what is happening. A hero who has no time to “stoop” and assist someone is a hero who is worried too much about husbanding their strength. Spend it, and it will be given again. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all might. That is the path of Hercules.

His digression is actually part of the Zodiac pattern, which must in any case have 12, not 10 labors.
An important point Cologero has made over and over is that esoteric studies is not hostile to exotericism. This, in itself, is more than likely a result of the action of God upon the human psyche, as expressed in Christianity. It is now revealed that a man not only can, but ought, to pursue esoteric studies in harmony with the Logos: that is, if you desire enlightenment, you should not neglect the study of what “sane and noble men” of the past thought, how they comported themselves, and what they believed. It is permissible to “prepare for enlightenment” in this way – by finding mentors (in the past if necessary). If done properly (in a healthy way), this does not “add” to psychic accretions or burdens, but functions as a means of restoring normal function in the psyche.

For Hercules, this is accomplished dramatically in his willingness to do an altruistic and noble deed, even though it prolongs his labors, formally. He stoops to conquer, and aids the disharmony of Nature, with sheer physical power and the elements at his disposal. In modern language, this is the much derided “helping a little old lady across the street”. It is the Earps cleaning up Tombstone. It is Oliver Cromwell threatening to send English warships against the Turks. It is the hero standing against a playground bully on behalf of someone quite small. The hero, here, seems to forsake his task and disqualify himself – he is “distracted” by the enormity of evil around him. In reality, he simply does what a real man would do, if he comes across that which he cannot abide. This comes later in the growth of the warrior-saint. It is not an immediate goal, but emerges organically as he progresses. He is, in reality, being swiftly drawn out of his esoteric path, by a deeper current, which is directly connected to the Divine. This current only seems to cost him in the short run. In actuality, it defines the essence of what he will become, although he is not yet purely and entirely ready. It is reflected frequently in popular culture, whose subconscious is aware of much of these truths.

It is analogous to distracting the already distracted psyche by giving it a “bone to chew on”. In esoteric practice, this is Ora et Labora. This is the power that gave rise to the dominance of Christendom’s arms, time and again, against much greater odds, when by all rights, Europe should have crumbled, collapsed, or shattered under the hammer blows of a much more “this-worldly” religion – Islam during its height. The religion of silver, and of the crescent, was better organized, less complex dogmatically, more victorious in arms, and oriented towards secular power and monolithic outer form. Time and again, the waves of its seas lapped at the fragile edges of Christendom, and time and again, Christendom provided men who put a pause to their own progress to take up the sword in behalf of the altar. In secret studies, one one would meditate on images, icons, or sacred “words” or phrases given one by the Spirit, while one is learning to concentrate the power of the nous, first of all towards the body, then, into the psyche, and finally into the nous-itself, prior to re-divinization in the “Self beyond the Self”, as the nous travels back to God. Robin Amis teaches that the double arrow, or the straight line and the circle, symbolizes the power of the nous that is “in the world, but not of the world”. This might also be the double-headed eagle, so commonly seen in European royal symbolism.

Here, Hercules meditates on a relatively simple and mundane problem, but one that no one has been able to solve. He came, he saw, he conquered. It doesn’t matter what the gods decree – Hercules will finish, and the labor will count unofficially, if nothing else, in the popular mythology of the folk, who recognize the good deed for what it is. In any case, Hercules is now beginning to have “power to spare”.
A poem beautifully expressing this is Thomas Moore’s Prince’s Day. The body and psyche, “in chains” and suffering, nevertheless expresses a strong yearning for the will of the Prince. Paradoxically, the suffering and yearning of the body/psyche provide a “distraction from distraction” – the nous is turned farther inward, and the path rather than being deflected, is intensified. The ocean wave withdraws to gather its strength. I include the whole poem – it is part of the Logos, the gift of the true West to men. When the book of Kells was created, something was added to the religion of Christ (I say “added”, but rather revealed as latent). The East isolated images in their essential purity, but if you look at the pages of the book of Kells, you see knot-work, playful animals and creatures, and a kind of background dance and delight in Nature. The Celtic and Frankish saints who converted the West were immersed in the world, and yet, still, not of it.
The Prince’s Day
Though dark are our sorrows, today we’ll forget them,
And smile through our tears, like a sunbeam in showers:
There never were hearts, if our rulers would let them,
More form’d to be grateful and blest than ours.
But just when the chain, Has ceased to pain,
And hope has enwreathed it round with flowers,
There comes a new link, Our spirits to sink –
Oh! the joy that we taste, like the light of the poles,
Is a flash amid darkness, too brilliant to stay;
But, though ’twere the last little spark in our souls,
We must light it up now, on our Prince’s Day.
Contempt on the minion who calls you disloyal!
Though fierce to your foe, to your friends you are true;
And the tribute most high to a head that is royal,
Is love from a heart that loves liberty too.
While cowards, who blight Your fame, your right,
Would shrink from the blaze of the battle array,
The Standard of Green In front would be seen –
Oh, my life on your faith! were you summon’d this minute,
You’d cast every bitter remembrance away,
And show what the arm of old Erin has in it,
When roused by the foe, on her Prince’s Day.He loves the Green Isle, and his love is recorded
In hearts which have suffer’d too much to forget;
And hope shall be crown’d, and attachment rewarded,
And Erin’s gay jubileee shine out yet.
The gem may be broke By many a stroke,
But nothing can cloud its native ray;
Each fragment will cast A light to the last –
And thus, Erin, my country, though broken thou art,
There’s lustre wiithin thee, that ne’er will decay;
A spirit which beams through each suffering part,
And now smiles at all pain on the Prince’s Day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hercules' Fourth Labor: The Erymanthian Boar

Labors of Hercules, Part 4

The Erymanthian Boar

Hercules had been given the (originally) ten labors as a penance for letting Hera drive him to wrath, in which he slew his six sons. So don’t let anyone tell you that penance is a “Catholic” thing. All of the labors center around a primordial world of monsters that will be rededicated to the sun-God Apollo, or to Zeus, from whom the power to cleanse & purify this region of the world comes.

Hercules originally received the wrath of Hera because he was the illegitimate son of Zeus and Alcmene. He is half-born, a godling, immortal by birth right, but not in actuality. Hera is one of the daughters of Chronos, but also a wife to Zeus. Hera represents an older form of matriarchal worship connected with earth rites and the underworld (like Demeter) that is incorporated into the male & solar spirit of the “new gods” of Greece. Her typical function is rage against Zeus’ consorts and love affairs.  We can view Hera as a suppressed kind of female power that tends to take vengeance on the half-god offspring of Zeus’ spirit mingling (like the wind) with mere mortals. Not only is he creating a race that is superior to those who worship Hera, the warrior and martial ethos threatens the earlier balance. As such, Hera is ambiguous. She is both a reminder that the Greeks “breathed their truth through lies” in the new myths (a fact Clement of Alexandria alludes to), and also a principle of retardation: there is no “going back” to the earlier stage.

We have to view this evolution from a solar perspective. On the one hand, the revolt of the warriors against the priests heralded a new Dark Age. On the other, man never rises except by suffering. As the ancients would say “he suffers into Truth”. Hera is fighting a lost cause. The forces of chaos have penetrated the ancient ordering of the castes, turning each against the others. Corruption begins with the priests, who compromise (out of fear) with the warrior caste, which is ascendent. The priests should suffer like Prometheus to bring them into a proper order. They lash out with curses and penances, after the betrayal of their compromise, which they should never have agreed to (we see the underground Occult engaged in such a struggle today). An analogous event occured in the West, in which the Frankish nobility went over to the Revolution through decadence and compromise, with the priests like Abbe Sieyes courting natural nobles such as Mirabeau, who of course caters to the third estate, who will later flirt with the masses. Garibaldi and his ilk (natural aristoi) become leaders of “Revolution”. As Cologero has written, we can see in these modern events Time greatly sped up, during the Kali Yuga, for our own edification, if we could but read aright. It is no accident that the natural dramatic flair of the French was interested in Classical themes!

Some men, like Hercules, will rise to the challenge, and prove themselves, redeeming the turbulence of the purely horizontal swirl of the world-snake Ourobous into a vertical ascent. Evolution always operates: the snake writhes and awaits the champion to bend it to a will. Even today, our genetic structures are engaged in such programming; they await men capable of rising, like eagles on a vertical lift of heated wind, up into the heavens. This ascension has to involve Christian “ideas” (not necessarily formally) as it is only through sacrifice of some sort that the necessary purity is invoked. Even in Hercules’ time, penance is necessary. That is why Hera is still important – the solar spirit embraces Fate, suffers into Truth, and guides it upward. The true man sees in the Modern World an immense potential opportunity, and begins the ascent, without for all that, endorsing the degeneracy he finds around him. Hera represents the Karma of past sins, in this case, “sins of the Father”.

Hera is “the adversary”: not an enemy per se, but someone (who for the strong man) is fulfilling a purpose & role. Without the consent of Hera, Hercules cannot be deified (as we shall she). It is her job to test the hero, and although she is insufficient to initiate solar truth, she has the power to test it.
The great boar is tracked through the snow, driven over the mountain ranges by Hercules, who descends upon it relentlessly, driving it before him. Chiron the centaur had advised him to track it in the snow. Hercules is now succeeding more easily in his labors, and the boar proves “easy” to track down. The hero is gaining more power.

What is interesting is the tale of the centaurs. While visiting Pholus during the hunt, Hercules desires wine, and convinces Pholus to open the one vessel he has, a gift from Dionysius. The centaurs do not know how to drink moderately, and end up becoming drunk and attacking Hercules, who drives them off with arrows. Chiron is hit, and the pain it causes this immortal makes him volunteer to replace Prometheus on the mountain, being tortured by the eagle. Hercules shoots the eagle, to deliver Chiron. This teaches us that Hercules is receiving the immortality which Chiron was unable to utilize properly. The drunken man-beast who tragically frees Prometheus is imbuing the rising hero with his powers.
Hercules has already conquered the passions, so he is worthy to drink of Dionysius’ wine, and can easily disperse the dangers arising thereby. His arrows, dipped in the Hydra’s blood, are more than equal to chastening the centaurs, who are wise up to a point, but unruly.

There is only so much immortality floating around at one point of time. Those who misuse this gift (their talents) will have it given to someone else more worthy. This should be an encouragement to everyone who is a spiritual seeker. When you see the powerful and ignorant, or the mighty and the evil, squandering their gifts, you should know that these will become available to you, if they continue to defy the deathless and immortal source of these divine blessings. “The meek inherit the earth”. This is taught explicitly in the Psalms, and endorsed in the Beatitudes and apostolic teaching. “Run the race, as if to win”. When someone releases their anger unjustly upon you, a right response will not only help them, it will put their lost energy at your disposal. Behind the “meekness” of the Christian tradition is hidden an ancient teaching concerning the accumulation of power. When Saint Peter crosses himself in the presence of the emperor Nero, causing Simon Magus to fall from the sky (Magus was demonstrating the power of his magic), the lost energy will go to Saint Peter. This happens with Cyprian the Mage & Justiana, as well (cited by Tomberg in Meditations).

Since we are discussing magic at Gornahoor, it would be helpful to meditate on how to make it as powerful as possible: counter-intuitively, it would seem that purity is that which renders it deeper and whiter magic. This purity takes different guises, but purity it is, nonetheless, & necessary to avoid the trap indicated by Dante, who places Simon Magus in hell. “To whom much is given, much is required.”
The tale ends humorously: the Greeks loved to depict the scene in which Hercules presents the boar to the tyrant, only to have him hide inside of a large vase. These endings are further vindication of Hercules’ divine authority and power, and an important “unmasking” of the powers-that-be: they are unequal to even receive the gift of Hercules, which they asked for.

The legend of Hercules remains a beautiful re-telling of what was good in the pre-Olympian world, a transmuting of it through the might of Hercules into something even higher and even better. Something similar occurred in the West, and one can discern the operations of Christianity on the classical ideals in much the same manner. In each case, the essence or import is preserved, but the eagle makes another turn in the gyre of the circle, and achieves greater altitude. Like the hero, it rises, on steady wings and a strong upward draft. For an instance of this, see Matthew Arnold’s essay on Maurice du Guerin’s tale of the centaurs.

Hercules represents the new warrior, the best of that breed, who dare to will a union of warrior-priest, in order to achieve immortality. One might say that a warrior is potentially an aspirant priest: if he succeeds, if he navigates the divine-demonic world successfully, he discharges his penance (against which and with which he fights), achieving the essence of immortality. Later on, in the West, this baptized chivalric ideal would be made more explicit in the body of the king. The loss of the primordial world, its descent into chaos, has to be redeemed, through the storming of heaven. If Christianity had not existed, it would have had to be invented. For those willing to undertake a similar labor, modern Christianity has its primordial monsters and jealous and offended goddesses which are willing to oblige you, in standing the test.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hercules, Part 3

The Labors of Hercules, Part 3

The Third Test, The Ceryneian Hind

For the third labor, Hercules was given a retrieval task instead of a slaying to accomplish. Since Hercules could not be overcome with guile & brute force, it was hoped that he could be made to trespass against a god, & have divine fury invoked upon him. Specifically, Eurystheus hoped that this labor would infuriate Artemis, who would presumably give him the terrible fate that Pentheus met with on the Holy Mountain.The hind, additionally, traveled faster than an arrow. How was it to be supposed that Hercules could conquer both the speed of flight & the jealousy of the female Huntress?
Since deer did not inhabit Greece, this myth carries an echo of Northern Lands. The white or golden stag is not merely a supernatural symbol, but a regal one. Hercules sees the deers antlers’ glinting very far off, & begins the chase, which lasts (some say) an entire year, possibly in the Hyperborean north. At last, either by a ruse or skill of the arrow (possibly shooting one between its legs to trip it, or by using a net) or by direct permission of Artemis herself (who sides with the rugged and manly hero), Hercules comes into possession of the golden deer, on the promise that he will return it to Artemis when he is done.
When he brings it to Eurystheus, who intends to keep the deer, Hercules wisely lets the deer go seconds before delivering it up – the deer slips away, & the mighty Herc shrugs it off: “You aren’t fast enough.” Hercules proves himself a man of honor in this task, as he does not slay or injure the deer, but returns it as promised to its rightful owner. Here we should note that, in esoteric action, as in any other portion of Life, there are laws that obtain. Although those who travel in the astral realm encounter far fewer laws than we do, there are strictures that (for all that) may be even more indurate than gravity. One of these, according to Gnosis (Mouravieff) is that a man cannot advance in practice unless he trains or leaves behind a replacement. Karma is another law that obtains; repentance can mitigate or erase it, but still, there is something that holds true & fast – in this case, another bears your sins. Or who did you think paid your trespass?
I say this to encourage readers to not set up a dichotomy in their mind between royal liberation and the lesser mysteries. Not until one is set free from Time & Space itself does one become “free of all Law”, not even if one is “awakened” fully into the etheric, astral, and spiritual realms. Besides, the dichotomy itself is deadening. If one is truly free, is one not silent? Hercules is careful to observe piety and honor; it is not forced, out of fear: he speaks and converses with Artemis almost as an equal, as a better, but someone he may speak before, and she grants him favor in her eyes. There is one equal to, and worthy of, capturing the devoted and precious hind. It is the pious warrior, who nevertheless speaks with “Frankness” before the very gods. St. Paul spoke of this when he said, “all things are lawful, not all things are useful”.
Hercules is wise enough to insult and belittle his enemy; after all, if one doesn’t add a little salt to the wound, who is going to arrange the rest of the tests? Such a jibe befits the warrior. It is the jibe of the Russian general Kutuzov to the French prisoners of Napoleon’s army, after he has magnanimously spoken of forgiveness. Rallying his own troops, he says to them: “But after all, who asked them to come here, anyway?”. It is Frederick the Great shouting out to his fleeing men, “Ihr wolt, ewige leben?!” It is Brennus before the conquered Romans, speaking very simply back to them something that would become their own watchword- Vae Victis. Forgiveness and detachment are the rocks on which the raging sea breaks, and falls, dashing those who ride it. There should be a kind of sacrosanct danger about sinning against a truly pious man; when defers his own judgement and wrath, the wicked should tremble. Archangel Michael, no doubt in a very great wroth and sorely tempted to pass his bounds, declared to Satan’s impudence, “May the Lord judge between us!”. The wrath of the righteous, the fury of the hero, the anger of the good man pushed too far, should resolve into that ritual and controlled resistance, a detached willingness to see it through bitterly, without bitterness, which heaps coals of fire upon the head of those who take the part of Satan. This is how the enigma of forgiveness & resistance is resolved – in the action of the hero, who must understand both. Could he not forgive, he could not formalize his actions and discipline them to undergo a trial, but would simply “rage out” and go for the throat of his persecutor. Could he not resist, he would forever remain under their feet. This tension drives the warrior, like a bow drives the arrow. To those who cannot see the union of this, they are either not warriors, or do not see that “the insanity of God is greater than the wisdom of man” (Plato).
Guided by the wisdom of a Solomon, forgiveness and power are inseparable. Are not detachment and passion reconciled by the warrior? When someone loses their temper and lashes out in anger and injustice against you, the ability to bear the stroke without retributive ire in the same manner is actually an esoteric technique for transferring the energy they are losing to yourself. This is the secret meaning of “heaping coals of fire” upon their head – a person who gives in to the “wrath of man” loses enormous reserves of spiritual energy : especially if some physical scapegoating occurs, those energies often go to the victim, rightfully. Received in the right frame of mind, they become available as a “lost talent”. This is why God invites the “poor” of the world to his banquet : the rich folk turned him down. Their loss, our gain. If Christianity is the religion of the Kali Yuga, do not therefore conceive that it is bound to share its inadequacies: it is made to triumph over the greatest enemy, the last enemy, to devour it inside out.
If it wasn’t the Kali Yuga, we wouldn’t be here, reading and talking to each other to determine the fate of the new world. Other, better men would be leading. “The better man” in the end is just the one who does more things that are difficult for him – if that is the test, it is a blessed time to be alive. He who plants a garden in the Kali Yuga, against all odds, stands above he who conquers worlds, with some odds in his favor.
“The last shall be first – greater are those who have not seen, yet believed.”
Hercules triumphs by his ruse, his skill, his polity, his innate dignity as a true man, before man, beast, or gods. He is not to be deterred or thwarted. Nor will he stoop, except to make a well-earned jibe to further incite his opponent to useful wrath.
He doesn’t show up off the street and demand to be Hercules. He IS Hercules, by virtue and dint of a long process, created in heaven, ratified in the mud of earth. He has conquered mental fog and the physical passions. He has risen above those things which men almost never even begin to subdue. He is already heads and shoulders above all men, and even though, as a god, he could use his liberty and peerage, he does not. “Not counting himself to be equal to God, he humbled himself…” Hercules prefigures the gracious and valiant and terrible true knight Jesus, who is far from the lamentable and tragic figure some neo-pagans think him to be. Hercules is the new Sun.

So, in this third test which seems not so deadly because it was so successful, Hercules wins the affection and protection of Artemis; he is effectively adopted. The gods themselves are beginning to take sides. Heaven is being moved by earth. Hercules has swayed an eternal-feminine power to his side, and a mighty one at that, Artemis-Diana of the Hunt. It is a wild and primeval power that is now declared for the hero, who has presumed nothing, but has simply stood as a man ought to stand.
As Hercules’ divinity grows more obvious, the divinities who favor him, and yet remain worshiped and honored by him, begin to light up. It is as if they are lights which come alive and shine upon the hero, cutting his contours out of the dark, healing and supporting him. He grows greater, as he makes the gods greater than he. Further, he grows greater than the gods.

In the eternal moment at the end of time, when Christ delivers the kingdom of God back to the hands of the Father, the eternal warrior announces the end of all things and annihilates the worlds with the breath of the Father. This is how the warrior becomes God: with the gesture of the true man, who yields fealty, forever indominant, to the rightful and original Lord. This makes Him the destroyer of worlds, for it is this act which is the deeper magic. Our world does not understand or accept this: that is why “the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God”.

If Evil cannot stand in the days of mercy, how shall it stand in the hour of judgement, which comes? What will Eurystheus do? He is running out of labors. Hercules is proving a difficult adversary. Satan himself may have to enter the lists, as there is a “man worth killing“.

[Berlin, Neues Museum Herkules besiegt die goldbekrönte Hirschkuh (Herkules fängt die Hirschkuh von Ceryneia) Maler: Adolf Schmidt]