On various occasions we have insisted on the necessity of a radical revision of methods and criteria with which, in the order of common teaching and of that culture that claims to be serious, history is made. We demonstrated that history of true history does not grasp that the two dimensions of the surface and leaves itself totally missing the third dimension, which is depth, where the essential meanings and the truly determining causes of so many events are hidden. Finally, we indicated the absurdity inherent today in insisting as much on the Roman tradition, on its symbols, vision of life, and at the same time to continue to consider the world of the Roman antiquity with the usual glance emptied of the erudite, archeology, philosophy, and of criticism. ~ Julius Evola, Sulla storia sotterranea di Roma, from La Vita Italiana (February, 1939)
Evola was quite familiar with Rudolf Steiner through the Ur and Krur groups which had a few anthroposophists as members. In a review of a book, The Mystery of the origins of Rome, by one of them, Duke Colonna di Cesaro, Evola takes the occasion to distinguish between New Age movements and true tradition. The book’s positive aspect is to avoid the modernist error of writing history from the perspective of a man of today while judging as “irrelevant, fantastic and inconsistent” every ancient tradition including “symbol, myth, legend, allegory” which fell in the center of traditional consciousness and was characteristic of the ancient savants and priests. Duke Colonna writes:
Legend and history are connected. The former proceeds through interiorization and is communicated through images; the latter through exteriorization in facts and events. The images are the result of living formative forces … The legend is the invisible of history and the root of history… The threads of the destiny of a people, are unraveled visibly in various ways in their historical development, ascending to the impulses and creative spheres with which the heroes of their legends were tied.
Evola explains that
the hidden consciousness or memory of a mission are conserved in legends and is transmitted to those of later times who will be capable of recognizing what a people and a civilization had for itself on a superhistoric, spiritual plane.
But then the Duke ruins it all with his evolutionist perspective and tries to eat space. He does recognize the “fundamental opposition of the myths, cults and symbols of an Olympic-Uranic, solar, virile, heroic and regal character to those of a telluric, chthonic, infernal, lunar, feminine, sacerdotal character.”
However, rather than understanding this opposition in an originary and absolute way, he regards them as mere phases in an evolutionary process of progress. Rather, the greatness of Rome does not reside in an innovation, but rather in a restoration and a return to the primordial state of tradition. So the seeds of ancient wisdom are not destined to perish as just a preparatory phase in the rush to modernity, but rather to be transmuted in a new cycle.
The Duke regards the worst aspects of Rome in its decline as on the contrary the sign of its historic mission. “Rome, in so far as it had an historic mission, became the instrument of ethnic chaos, leveling universalism, a cosmopolitanism fatal for the preceding, differentiating types of civilization.” As for the true Rome, the Duke sees “traditional residues” the debris of a past that refuses to die. Colonna then proposes that the function of Christianity was to play that role.
Here, again, Evola objects, writing,
we see that Christianity became Roman with Catholicism: purifying itself of its originary anarchic, universalistic and humanitarian aspect, in the Middle Ages it gave rise to a civilization of a structured, hierarchic type, tied to traditions of caste and blood scattered with initiatic elements.
Duke Colonna had to relegate them to the past, to prechristian stages of evolution. Evola writes:
Through such aspects, it is clear that in the Middle Ages a resurgence of the true forces already acting in Nordic-Aryan Romanity, of a true solarity by a new contribution of Aryan blood.
Duke Colonna, on the other hand, sees the Middle Ages as an obstacle, a stoppage of evolution, on the way that ultimately would lead to “progress” in the Reformation, Humanism, the French Revolution, liberalism, modern democracy, and internationalism. Only with the final collapse of the West can the Self be truly liberated. Traditions, blood, caste, traditional cults and dogmas will have become empty words, and the modern man will have become “self-conscious”, detached from everything, ready eventually to create, out of nothing, a new civilization on the basis of a universal communion freely willed.
Evola concludes with some comments on Christianity:
The question of the solarity of Christianity merits a comment. From what has seen said we can already foresee the way with which, from the traditional point of view, one must formulate the problem. Solar elements are without doubt present in Christianity (specifically, of course, in Roman Catholicism). But not in virtue of, but in spite of, those subversive and universalistic aspects, which were valued by Steiner and Cesaro, not to mention Buonaiuti and many other Protestant adorers of “pure Christianity”. These elements are not to be considered as an achievement, but rather as residual fragments of the great primordial solar tradition, echoes of which, resonating in an historical environment never unfavorable to the goals of the effective protection of their purity and their deepest meaning. It is proper that to explain the fact that such solar elements in Christianity lost their originary metaphysical capacity and assumed only a religious or, at most, a theological capacity, and that they were no longer connected to the mysteries and to a pure hereditary priestly caste, but were only points of reference for a general faith and a legacy of a priesthood enlisted without any condition of blood or race.
This difference is also important for its practical consequences. In fact, while the evolutionist, starting from their premises, even here will give themselves over to arbitrary digressions, dreaming up this or that new form of Christian initiation (and something similar claims exactly to furnish the anthroposophical doctrine of Steiner). Instead those who make themselves out to be traditional will measure the current value of Christianity and its possibility of contributing to a future spiritual reconstruction by the same standard of susceptibility, from part of the solar elements present in it, of integrating itself in the widest order of primordial solar tradition, to which it can be legitimately applied quod ubique, quod ab omnibus et quod semper. And in this order, undoubtedly, we will be able to verify an essential convergence of the positive element of Christianity with what was great, virile, Olympic both in authentic, primordial, sacred Romanity, and the greatest forms of the common Aryan and Indo-european civilization.
Although we shall refrain from commenting at this time, let us make clear that there is a great mass of insights in this extract from Evola’s essay. Those insights, unfortunately, will remain invisible to those incapable of seeing the third dimension of depth in history. I would expect the readers to comment on this material and its relationship to the most recent several posts, but in a more measured way than the previous frenzied discussion.
However, I would like to add an important footnote. We should now be able to see clearly the true mission of Valentin Tomberg. He abandoned anthroposophy for the retrograde (from their point of view) Catholicism of the Middle Ages. His mission was to gather those fragments of Tradition and tie them to the mysteries. Unfortunately, there are subversive elements who still attempt to sabotage Tomberg for their own purposes, as just an another element of the evolutionary process. They are much more vocal and organized than we are.