Matter and Form: The Dionysian Race

The new victories of the maternal principle over the revelation of purely spiritual paternity show how hard it has been for men, at all times and amid the most varied religious constellations, to overcome the inertia of material nature and to achieve the highest calling, the sublimation of earthly existence to the purity of the divine father principle. ~ J J Bachofen, Mother Right

Having traced the stages of history from the Telluric to the Demetrian to the Apollonian or solar periods, the latter peaking in the Roman Imperium, J J Bachofen then identifies the Dionysian period. Julius Evola calls this the Dionysian Race.

The Dionysian race represents the paternity of the Apollonian falling back into materiality. The Apollonian ideal was unable to withstand the assaults of baser doctrines. The Dionysian stage prepared the way for a new victory of the feminine principle and the mother cult. The victory of Dionysus over Apollo was assured in the meeting of the Greek and Oriental worlds under Alexander. Bachofen points out the spiritual principle of the Delphic Apollo was powerless to overcome the lower material views of the sexual relation. He writes:

We see paternity falling back from Apollonian purity to Dionysian materiality, so preparing the way for a new victory of the feminine principle, for a new flowering of the mother cults. Although the intimate union which the two luminous powers concluded in Delphi seemed calculated to purify Dionysus’ phallic exuberance through Apollo’s immutable repose and clarity, and to lift it above itself, the consequence was the exact opposite: the greater sensuous appeal of the fecundating god outweighed his companion’s more spiritual beauty, and increasingly usurped the power that should have been Apollo’s. Instead of the Apollonian age, it was a Dionysian age that dawned.

This shows that the spiritual aspect alone is insufficient. Rome, instead, was able to maintain the Apollonian through its structure. Bachofen explains:

Mankind owes the enduring victory of paternity to the Roman political idea, which gave it a strict juridical form and consequently enabled it to develop in all spheres of existence; it made this principle the foundation of all life and safeguarded it against the decadence of religion, the corruption of manners, and a popular return to matriarchal views. Roman law maintained it traditional principle against all the assaults and threats of the Orient, against the spreading mother cult of Isis and Cybele, and even against the Dionysian mystery.

Evola’s final point seems to be directed against a Hans Gunther or his followers. Gunther, more than 80 years ago, was concerned about the “degradation” of the Nordic peoples, which resulted from factors like the decline in marriage and birth rates, particularly among the higher “more Nordic” classes. Obviously, that decline has continued in the ensuing decades. Evola attributed that decline to “processes of involution” on the spiritual plane among the Nordic people.

2 thoughts on “Matter and Form: The Dionysian Race

  1. That last paragraph clarifies a whole two decades of my struggle to understand the Classical world: thank you. If I am remembering rightly, Evola dates the decline of the classical world from the 6-8th centuries BC, in Revolt Against the Modern World. Around the genesis of Rome, who was then the counterweight.

  2. Cologero, are you trying to say that in the ascendent process one have to go to the apolinean
    from the dyonisic???Or one can fylly realilized himself in the lunar path, like when you said in your older postas that evola had chosen the lunar path???

    Although the intimate union which the two luminous powers concluded in Delphi seemed calculated to purify Dionysus’ phallic exuberance through Apollo’s immutable repose and clarity, and to lift it above itself, the consequence was the exact opposite: the greater sensuous appeal of the fecundating god outweighed his companion’s more spiritual beauty, and increasingly usurped the power that should have been Apollo’s. Instead of the Apollonian age, it was a Dionysian age that dawned.

    Now the dionisian fall has gone even furter!!!

    Dionysian Mysteries

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