Fire and Ice: The Solar Race

Fire and Ice
This is the first of several posts about the various races of the spirit by Julius Evola: The Solar Race. Evola owes his typology of spirits of the race to J J Bachofen‘s study of Mother Right, although with a creative misreading of the text, Evola extracts a deeper meaning from it.

Bachofen delineated a historical process of cultures from haeterism to matriarchy, culminating in patriarchy, which he admitted was

the highest calling, the sublimation of earthly existence to the purity of the divine father principle.

Bachofen traces the patriarchal system in the ancient world to Athens and to the Roman Imperium. In them, there was Solarity.

As we have seen, however, Evola rejects any notion of “progress” in history. Rather he sees a degeneration. Certain ancient peoples were feminine in nature, and hence endured various matriarchal systems as described by Bachofen. On the other hand, the Hyperborean, or Nordic, peoples, were originally masculine, or equivalently Solar. Subsequent racial degeneration has led to the situation of the present era.

Although Evola gives us a very brief outline, he entire oeuvre is dedicated to the description of the Solar race. Fire and Ice are the paradoxically conjoined symbols of the Solar qualities. The Solar beings are described by Evola as being in this world, but not of it: they feel themselves as strangers in a strange land. Only ignorance or a waking “sleep” keep them bound to specific modes of being in the world. Gnosis, or awakening, what Guenon calls the Supreme Identity, liberates them from attachment to the world. Evola claims that such doctrines of awakening can only apply to the Solar race; attempts to extend such ideas as universal can lead only to misunderstandings.

This series, we hope, should make clear that the problem of the modern world is not a problem of thinking but rather of being. The error of the intellectual type is the belief that thinking the correct thoughts will somehow rectify things. Hence, there is incessant chatter and debate, which, apart from a few random conversions, always ends up in aporia.

The fundamental thing that matters is a change in the level of being.

5 thoughts on “Fire and Ice: The Solar Race

  1. I just received a book ”Among the Hyperboreans” by Miloš Crnjanski. This interesting autobiography consists of a series of ruminations and meditations clothed in multiform melancholy on Europe at the end of 1930s and early 1940s, when he worked as a diplomat in Rome.

    When Miloš Crnjanski, one of the greatest Serbian poets and authors of the last century, visited Nordic countries hoping to see a miracle of mid 20th century Socialism – in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, he realized that there was all along something else which brought him there. It was the North itself. So he headed further, to the shores of the North sea, wanting to dissolve in its waters. In his own words, ’’something’’ changed all those who searched for the North, and he wants to discover it’s secrets.

    His life embodied that ’’stranger in a strange land’’concept. Exiled from communist Yugoslavia after the war, he spent life journeying through Europe, examining events, people and his own beliefs – finding errors in general ideas of civil rights, liberalism and democracy, who only began to take forms in that time, while carefully waiting his return to Ithaca. Little known fact is that he supported Musolini.

    After the fall into despair and melancholy caused by the sickness of every day reality, what is left for us than to search for that Ideal, where Love, Death, Life, Dream and Hope unite? Will you struggle in the mud, and, if you are aninmal in human clothing, you certainly will enjoy it, or will you reach for the stars? For the Absolute, Sacred Center?

    Milos’ travels gravitated around two poles – Rome and Scandinavia, horizontally; vertically – between Hyperborea and Sumatra, which I, mythologicaly, recognize as Lemuria. This is Solar and Lunar dichotomy expressed often in poet’s tendencies towards abstract Lunar spheres of the mind. He was, afterall, still a Romanticist, thus all the Moon, autumn and death imagery in his writings. But behind poetic expressionism, his was of a Solar race. Many Solar individuals mantle different personas. Romanticism and it’s ideals, for example, often lie at the beginning of a path in those born within a Solar race. It’s an early, raw stage of awakened Primordial Man. Ecstasis of war, death and Platonic love is truly titanic, but not Olympic, so it often entraps those desparate souls at the very beginning of their search for a way out of the Mundane into the Golden. This is why so many Romantics celebrated war and even took part in some of them, from Spain to Greece, seeking heroic death in the Age when heroic death (or life) is almost unknown. This is the echo of their Solar origin. Even Novalis, archetypal Romantic, who venerated Sofia and Mother Night, once said that ’’Man is a Sun’’. Little did he know (or perhaps he did), that this Man is quite rare. Solar Man is a man of Tradition, one and Perennial, and Novalis, as a man of Tradition, saw in French Revolution death of Europe.

    Friedrich Hölderlin was a priest of Helios. This is a common Romantic naivette. If only he went further along the path of Solar Man, he would ascend to a priesthod of Apollo.

    Crnjanski, like Evola, felt at home both in Rome and in Nordic countries. Eternal Mother Amor, the ever nourishing Fountain and distant North, Solar and Virile heroic coldness, parents of the European, Aryan Soul. Evola, on the other hand, felt no affection (unlike Guenon) with the Sumatrian – or Lunar center.

    A symptom each Solar Man, a ’’stranger in a strange land’’ will share is subtle Melancholy, expressed through a desire, deep rooted yearning towards the Absolute, while world is seen through the eyes of mono no aware. This isn’t some pathetic sadness and infantile escapism but (supra)natural effect of a Soul awareness elevated from the Animal and connected to the Higher Center. It pulls towards the Transcendental, above the mass and material. Gravity of this Higher Center can break the Promethean chains, but only through the endeavor worthy of Herakle himself, meaning we must already have a divine potentiality. What happens when Olympian Fire is shared with everyone, both worthy and unworthy, we know through the myth of Prometheus. Sadly, modern Europeans, even some calling themsleves Traditionalist or ’’of the Right’’, follow the Promethean path.

    Heraklean labors, just like Odysseus’ journey, are part of the Heroic, Solar Path. I don’t share common opinion that we all inherently have our own, personal Odyssey, or, carry our own cross or hang from Yggdrassil. Or, that we are all immortal souls. That comes later, after accepting a call and undergoing a path. Most people don’t follow any path but just pave a road.

    In the end, all that’s left is to wander these mysterios roads and gravitate towards different spiritual centers, according to our curent inner balance of psychic energies.

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  3. Also, let’s not forget that the Nordics were the last to be Christianised generally in Europe (c. 1000 in Iceland) and this was of limited success and depth. Hence they were quick to embrace an outlook that was anti Roman (Protestantism) and eventually, modern paganism in various ways, such as Asatru and general modern hedonism. The Nordics also have a strong culture of individualism in many ways, and are very transparent and open to other cultures historically, both in their exploration and contact, and in allowing others in. I don’t think these ideas cover all there is to it, but national culture is one aspect.

  4. Mark,

    One the one hand, there is the Protestant tendency against any established authority or hierarchy; a tendency which prevents a community from being more than incidental. On the other hand, there is the current incidental cause operating on Northern Europeans in general i.e. post-WW2 race-guilt. These are the two general causes which are readily conceivable. One may also note how easily a certain self-concept may be diffused throughout a sparse population.

    Lastly, wherever a hierarchy cannot be established which actualizes otherwise abstract principles, then there will be a tendency towards some form of political hedonism. Such hedonism may be quasi-moral and egalitarian or individualistic and egoistic, but it certainly won’t be representative of true principles except accidentally i.e. insofar as all reality is dependent upon some degree of truth. This last observation should mean that there are in fact ‘seeds’ present in the North even though the ground appears barren.

  5. Interesting how today’s Nordics are some of the most spiritually degenerated in the world. Does the fish rot from the head, or is there a special historical sociohistorical reason for the total implosion in Tradition for countries like Sweden and Norway?

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