This review by Julius Evola of J J van de Leeuw’s book The Fire of Creation, in its Italian translation, originally appeared in Bilychnis, volume XXXII, August-September, 1928.
J J van de Leeuw was a Theosophist and a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church. In van de Leeuw’s understanding of the Trinity, the Father is the Will, the Son the Logos, and the Holy Spirit is Thought. Evola sees in this book an echo of Joachim of Fiore, a saintly Abbott and highly regarded by Dante. In this review, Evola picks out one of the more interesting themes of the book, summarizing it rather well. Since the Liberal Catholic Church, just like the Roman, claims apostolic succession, we could read this as what Evola wished the Catholic Church would teach. Consider it his contribution to Vatican II, had he been allowed.
Though belonging to the stream of Blavatsky’s anglo-indian theosophy, about which we have written not very favorably in the past, this work, whose Italian translation we draw attention to, represents something deep, clear, and well sketched out. The usual mythological cosmologies are not found in it, nor does he stray into clairvoyance, reincarnation, or similar topics. Van de Leeuw instead proposes a practical point of view, of direct spiritual experience.
The mystical prophecies of Joachim of Fiore had earlier announced: “The Kingdom of the Father has passed, that of the Son is passing, the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit is on the point of arising.” And Van de Leeuw declares precisely that today we are truly at the dawn of the coming of the third person in the dialectic of the divine; the direction of creative activity in motion, of the universe in which dynamis or power is the fundamental note, of the immanent presence of the “cosmic Fire” is characteristic of this. The evolutionist and becomingistic direction, the meaning of liberty, of independence from every creed, of the individual initiative; the more and more prevalent tendency to move from action to knowledge rather than from knowledge to action until now, are, in modern times, so many signs of it. Those who have been touched by the “Fire of Creation” throw themselves into action, confident of drawing their certainty and their religion from it: they no longer say “we pray”, but they say instead “we work”. The author insists greatly on this aspect of experience, and not of philosophy or belief. One is put in relationship as with a conductor charged with a current of spiritual life, from which proceeds a discharge that dynamizes all our being. In the experience of the “Fire of Creation” one has the sense of a superior energy of something previously felt, and we are electrified through action. In such a moment we feel not only that we desire to do some things, but that we can do them: it seems to us that no obstacle can ever resist this enormous energy that we now feel inside of us.
The author seeks moreover to justify in terms of inner experience the same concept of the “Divine Mother”: it would be an aspect complementary to the Fire or to the Holy Spirit, to which it stands in the same relationship of the feminine to the masculine. The sense of hot activity producing its happening in something, the perception of being the same nature and of transforming within ourselves the radiant powers, the creative activity of the creative Fire in the fruitfulness of advancement and in abundance of beauty and form. Close to the impulse to act, the direction that we can make of the exultant joy that is awakened when we know the “Holy Spirit” principle, the complementary aspect “Mother” is instead a process of intimate transformation that renders productive what used to be dead.
The author also gives examples of techniques to produce these experiences. The presupposition is that the ordinary world is only a projected image of our consciousness through the mind and senses. We confuse this image with reality. It is then a question of controlling such an idiosyncrasy of our human manufacture, that makes us project the consciousness of what is inside us around ourselves into the world, and to reconverge at the center, instead of losing ourselves in the contemplation of our image of the world, just as the prisoners of Plato’s cave stare at the shadows on the walls. It is possible to concentrate our Self into a very small point of consciousness and to pass through that point into the world of the Real, of the “things that are”, and no longer our exteriorized images of it. We have to push ourselves ahead, and having withdrawn our consciousness from its image of the world and stopped its transcendental imaginative faculty, reintegrating ourselves in that absolute immanence, from which they originate, at the same time, the sense of the Fire of Creation and the vision of the Real in the world.