The Myth of the 20th Century: Spiritual Inspiration for the Racial-Soul

The following excerpts originate from Dr. Alfred Rosenberg’s magnum opus: The Myth of the Twentieth Century


The Myth is the Myth of the Blood, which, under the sign of the Swastika, released the World Revolution. It is the Awakening of the Soul of the Race, which, after a period of long slumber, victoriously put an End to Racial Chaos. –p. 2

Book One: The Conflict of Values – Chapter I. Race and Race Soul

“In this struggle, we must fight on the side of Ahura Mazda (just as the Einheriar in Valhalla would fight for Odin against the Fenris Wolf and the Midgard Serpent). Man must not, therefore, withdraw into world renouncing contemplation and asceticism. He must see himself as the struggling bearer of a world preserving idea; he must arouse and arm all the creative powers of the human soul. Whether as a thinker or an active creator, man must always serve what is highest. Wherever he goes, he serves the creative principle—when he sows and reaps; when he is true to himself; when he considers a handshake as an inviolable oath. The Vendidat epitomises all this in the sublime words: Whoever sows grain, sows saintliness.” –p. 62

“At another level, mythology is permeated with the heroic and linked with the inquiring spirit and the yearning for knowledge. In this way the gods became the representatives of various impulses of will and spirit. The sun god of the ancient Indians was prayed to in the early morning not only for fertility but also for wisdom, while Odin sacrificed one of his eyes in the quest of knowledge.” –p. 125

Book One: The Conflict of Values – Chapter II. Love and Honour

“Belief in Wotan was admittedly dying, but the sacred groves in which the god was worshipped remained the goal of Germanic pilgrims. All destruction of the Wotan symbols and the cursing of the old belief did not help. So in place of Wotan, Christian martyrs and saints such as holy Martin were set up. Cloak, sword and horse were his symbols (thus the same symbols as Wotan, Odin); the respected groves of the sword god became in this manner the places of holy Martin, the saint of war, who is still worshipped today by German pilgrims (for example, the Schwertslocher chapel). Saint George and saint Michael also represent the renaming of old Nordic deities who through this baptism arrived in the domain of the Roman church. The she devil Lady Venus has been transformed into saint Pelagia; Donar, the thunderer and the cloud god, became saint Peter guarding heaven; the Wotanlike character of the wild huntsman is imparted to saint Oswald, and on chapters and carvings the redeemer Widar is shown tearing the Fenris Wolf to pieces (for example, at Berchtesgaden). The same Widar, who in trying to save Odin swallowed by the Fenris Wolf, kills the monster. The comparison with Jesus is clear. Even the pious Hrabanus Maurus, the most learned church teacher in Germany at the end of the 8th century, represents god as dwelling in the fortress of heaven, an idea which originates not from the bible, but from the heroic ancient Germanic soul.

On the first of May, old Germania celebrated Walpurgis night, the beginning of the twelve festive nights of the summer solstice. It was the day of Wotan’s (Wodan, Odin) wedding with Freya. Today the sacred Walburg celebrates its name day on the first of May, while all customs have been altered by the church into magic and witchcraft, nature symbolism being thus transformed into oriental diabolism.

In Regensburg a chalice is preserved on a copper gilded stand, which is only drunk from on John’s day. This was the ancient form of festive wine for communion (which was still preached by the church in both forms in the 13th century) on December 27, the post celebration of the winter solstice. In remembrance of very old love potions, wine is still handed around from saint Sebastian’s skull cup even today (for example in Ebersberg, Upper Bavaria). This drinking to love, and drinking for luck to saint John the Baptist, to saint Martin and saint Stephen, are all very old customs. The devout catholic Johann Nepomuk Sepp says: The cup of Christ has been withheld from laymen by Rome, but the folk has not allowed the ancient pagan cup to be taken from it.

Along with customs, songs and images also altered. We see Oswald the holy illustrated in the Book of saints of 1488. He sits upon a throne in royal dress and crown. Around him fly the two ravens of Odin. Only the palms and the shepherd’s crook are Christian additions. Odin is still worshipped today under the name of Oswald and, for example, he has his church in Traunstein, but also sacred places on the Lower Rhine, in Holland, and in Belgium. Even the legend of saint Kuemmernis goes back to the figure of Odin as the Edda describes him to us, when Odin hung on the windy tree for nine nights wounded by a spear. The figure of a bearded, crucified man (Odin, Donar) who throws down a golden shoe to those who pray to him, recurs in many old sculptures and as motif in many songs. The female saint Kuemmernis has developed from this figure in a way still not completely clarified.

The church thus had to accommodate itself, to set its saints upon fiery steeds, to send them swinging sword and spear into battle with dragons and other foes, to acquire honour and fame or to save captured virgins from the clutches of an evildoer. The statues of Roland and saint George are examples of this kind which were only gradually replaced by those of Mary: in place of the symbol of honour the allegory of love appeared.

The Nordic gods were figures of light with spear and radiant cross and swastika, the symbols of the sun, of fertile ascending life. Since long before 3000 B.C., Nordic folkish waves carried these symbols, as can be proved, to Greece, Rome, Troy and India. Minutius Felix is zealous against the pagan cross; until finally the Roman (shaped like a T) gallows upon which Jesus was nailed, had to be recast to this pagan, now Christian, cross, and the pagan sun or cross of heaven appeared as saintly light above the heads of church martyrs or messengers of faith. Today we experience the birth of a new science: that of the interpretation of ancient Germanic symbolism. The circle with the four spokes appears as a cross of heaven, that is, as a projection of the directions of the sky, the sixfold division as points of the summer winter solstice. It is this symbolism of a cosmic kind which passes through all the centuries, taken over mysteriously as the last fragments of a time which laid down its world picture of the father of heaven, birth, death and eternity with symbols instead of with letters. The allegories of the sun are an excerpt from this world picture. The ray of light, the lance, becomes the allegory of ruling. The riding god with the lance therefore appears again and again anew on Christian memorial stones and designs: this was the eternal wanderer Wotan (Odin, Wodan) riding through the history of Christianity. Divided into many figures, this god lived and cast spells as saint Oswald, as saint George, as saint Martin, as a rider with the lance, indeed as saint Kuemmernis in catholic countries, and today as der Wode still passes invisibly through the soul of the people in Lower Saxony. As long as a people lives, its gods are immortal. That was Wotan’s revenge after his decline, until Baldur arose again and called himself the saviour of the world.” –pp. 141-143

Book One: The Conflict of Values – Chapter III. Mysticism and Action

“In the search for a new spiritual link with the past, there are those among the present day movement for renewal in Germany who wish to go back to the Edda and the cycle of Germanic ideas related to it. It is thanks to them that, alongside that which is purely fabulous, the inner richness of our sagas and folkish tales has again become visible from under the rubble and ashes left by the fires of the stake. But, in pursuing this longing to find inner substance with past generations and their religious allegories, the German faith overlooks that Wotan (Wodan, Odin) is dead as a religious form. He did not die at the hands of Bonifacius, but of himself. He completed the decline of the gods during a mythological epoch, a time of serene nature. His fall was already foreseen in the Nordic poems, although hopes were expressed for the coming of the strong one from above, in presentment of the unavoidable twilight of the gods. In place of this, however, to the misfortune of Europe, the Syrian Jehovah appeared in the shape of his representative: the Etruscan Roman pope. Odin was and is dead; but the German mystic discovered the strong one from above in his own soul. The Valhalla of the gods descended from misty infinity into the breasts of men. The discovery and preaching of the indestructible freedom of soul was an act of salvation which has protected us up to the present against all attempts at strangulation.” –p. 178

“The ancient Teutonic idea of god is likewise inconceivable without spiritual freedom. Jesus also spoke of the kingdom of heaven within us. The strength of spiritual search already shows itself in the world wanderer, Odin.” –pp. 194-195

Book Two: Nature of Germanic Art – Chapter IV. The Aesthetic Will

“The essence of all Nordic western art has been revealed in Richard Wagner. It shows that the Nordic soul is not contemplative, that it does not lose itself in an individualistic psychology. Rather, it experiences the willed cosmic spiritual laws, and shapes our art spiritually architectonically. Richard Wagner is one of those artists in whom three factors coincide, each of which form a part of our entire artistic life: the Nordic ideal of beauty as it appears outwardly in Lohengrin and Siegfried, linked to deepest feeling for nature; the inner will of man in Tristan and Isolde; and the struggle for the highest value of Nordic western man: heroic honour, linked with inner truthfulness. This inner ideal of beauty is realised in Wotan, in King Mark and in Hans Sachs. Conversely, Parsival is a strongly emphasised weakening of the will in favour of an adoptive value.” –pp. 304-305

Book Three: The Coming Reich – Chapter II. The State and the Sexes

“Life is being and becoming, consciousness and subconsciousness simultaneously. In his eternal becoming, the man seeks to create a being through the formation of ideas and works. These things form the world as an organically architectonic structure. Woman is the eternal guardian of the subconscious.

The Nordic Germanic myths represent the goddess Freya as the protectress of eternal youth and beauty. If one robbed the gods of her, then they would age and decline. Through her relationship to Loki, primeval mythic wisdom is revealed. Loki was a bastard of the gods. There was once a lengthy discussion concerning whether he should be recognised as being of equal rank to other gods in Valhalla. Finally, this was granted. This bastard Loki played the role of contractor when Odin’s fortress was to be rebuilt by giants. He then offered Freya as payment! When the gods heard of this agreement, they refused to honour it, whereupon Loki cheated the giants. Then Odin, the guardian of the law, himself fell into the pangs of guilt. His attempt to make expiation was the downfall of Valhalla. In this myth we find a deep perception which is awakening again only today. The bastard thoughtlessly handed over the symbol of racial immortality, of eternal youth, and thus pulled the noble into participation in his guilt. What may Odin indeed have whispered into the ears of dead Baldur when he accompanied him on his last journey?

Translated into present day language, the Germanic Myth says: In the hand and in the nature of woman lies the preservation of our race. A people can still pull itself up out of political servitude, but never again from racial pollution. If the women of a nation give birth to black or Jewish bastards, if the muddy tide of black art passes unhindered over Europe as today, if the Jewish brothel literature comes into homes, if the Syrian of the Kurfürstendamm is also regarded as a folkish comrade and a marriageable man—then such conditions will ensure that Germany—and the whole of Europe—will be populated in its intellectual centres by bastards. With the teaching of erotic rebirth, the Jew of today reaches out—aided by the teachings of the emancipation of women—at the roots of our entire being. Just when an awakening Germany will reach the stage of carrying out a merciless cleansing with an iron broom and with ruthless discipline is uncertain. But, if anywhere, then in the preaching of remaining pure in race, lies the holiest and greatest task of woman today. This means the guarding and preserving of that unconscious, of that still unconcentrated, but particularly original, life. We speak here of the life upon which the substance of art, architectonics and of our racial culture are dependent. Those values which alone make us creative.” –pp. 351-352

Book Three: The Coming Reich – Chapter IV. Nordic German Law

“Nordic western man recognises an eternal law of nature and is able, thanks to this perception, to create a genuine cosmic science. Once with Odin we had produced the first great allegory of the moral idea of god. Odin, the highest god, was the guardian of law and of contracts. The law was sacred like the oath. The whole race of gods perished because Odin himself had sinned against the sacred nature of a contract—even though it was unwittingly, and as a result of being tricked by the bastard Loki. Only his death was expiation. Here we see the idea of honour as the ultimate measuring rod of the Nordic man. Its violation must be expiated other than through a drama.

A spiritually conditioned conformity to nature is also at work. This is something our scholars unsuspectingly pass by. Our present decline recapitulates the myth of the Edda, which, given present world events, attains a mystical, superhuman greatness. When honour, and law and strength of will disintegrate, the gods perish. A world epoch collapsed in a terrible blood red conflagration in 1914. It is the task of the future to meld together once more these three great entities under the aegis of the German folkish state.” –p. 405

Book Three: The Coming Reich – Chapter V. Church and Soul

“In place of the old testament pimps and cattle dealer stories, the Nordic sagas and legends will appear, at first simply told, and later represented through symbols. It is not the dream of hatred and murderous messiahism, but the dream of honour and freedom which must be kindled through Nordic, Germanic sagas—from Odin by way of the old folkish tales up to Eckehart and Walther von der Vogelweide. It will be reserved for a genial hand to select from the spiritual sediment of millennia the hitherto neglected pearls of the German spirit and to bind them together organically. What is temporal, Roman and Jewishly conditioned appears clearer than ever today. But all the more distinctly the real heartbeat of our folkish tales resounds. We hear tales of Eckehart and Luther in our ears. For more mature pupils a vivid picture of religious searching from Iran, India, indeed also from Hellas, will unroll, alien and yet simultaneously closely related. The longing to give the Nordic race soul its form as German church under the sign of the folkish Myth, that is for me the greatest task of our century. Just as the Roman Myth of the representation of god by the pope comprised very different peoples and opposing directions and bound them, so will the Myth of the blood, once grasped, bind like a magnet all personalities and religious communities, irrespective of their diversities, in a clear structure bearing relationship to a centre. Thus, we have a life creating arrangement transformed into the folkish totality. The coming life will then clarify and determine individual details of its structure. No one can foresee them today.” –p. 416

“History also, even the weaknesses of our great men, must not be quieted. What rises over and beyond, the eternal, the MYTHIC, must be felt out and shaped with a searching soul. Then a new succession of spirits will arise from Odin, Siegfried, Widukind, Friedrich III, the Hohenstaufen, Eckehart, Walther von der Vogelweide, Luther, Frederick the Great, Bach, Goethe, Beethoven, Schopenhauer, Bismarck, and their Germanic counterparts. Far removed from this spiritual racial line of German soul development stand Instistoris, Canisius, Ricardo, Marx, Lasker, and Rathenau. To serve this new evaluation is the calling of the schools in the coming German Reich. It is their noblest, if not sole, task in the coming decades. We must work until this evaluation has become a matter of course for all Germans. But the schools still await a great teacher of German history with the will to a German future. He will come when Myth has become life.” –p. 425

Book Three: The Coming Reich – Chapter VII. The Essential Unity

“A people is lost as a people and is dead, if, in surveying its history and in testing its will to the future, it cannot discover unity. No matter what forms the past may have taken in its course, when a nation arrives at the point of truly denying the allegorical images which stem from its first awakening, then it has denied the roots of its being and of its becoming and it has condemned itself to unfruitfulness. For history is not a development from nothing to something, nor from something insignificant to something great. It is not even the transformation of an essence into something completely different. Rather, the first racial folkish awakening brought about by heroes, gods and poets is the ultimate achievement for all times. This first great supreme MYTHIC achievement cannot, in essence, be perfected. It can merely take on other new forms. The value breathed into a god or hero is what is eternal in good and evil. Homeros represented the highest enhancement of what was Greek and guarded this even in decline. Jehovah is the symbol of unbridled Jewry. The belief in Jehovah is the strength of even the lowest Jewish haggler in Poland.

This unity also holds for German history, for its men, its values, for the very old and new Myth, and for the supporting ideas of German folkhood. One form of Odin is dead, that is, the Odin who was the highest of the many gods who appeared as the embodiment of a generation still given up to natural symbolisms. But Odin as the eternal mirrored image of the primal spiritual powers of Nordic man lives today just as he did over 5,000 years ago. Hermann Wirth finds traces of decline also in the ancient world of gods and influences of the Eskimo race. This may be so, but does not influence what is actually Germanic. He embodies himself in honour and heroism, in the creation of song and or art, in the protection of law and in the eternal search for wisdom. Odin learned that through the guilt of the gods, through the breaking of the bond to the builders of Valhalla, the race of the gods must perish. Despite this decline, he nevertheless commanded Heimdall to summon the Aesir with his horn for the final decisive battle. Dissatisfied, eternally searching, the god wandered through the universe to try to fathom his destiny and the nature of his being. He sacrificed an eye so that he might participate in the deepest wisdom. As an eternal wanderer he is a symbol of the eternally searching and becoming Nordic soul which cannot withdraw self confidently back to Jehovah and his representatives. The headstrong activity of the will, which, at first, drives so roughly through the Nordic lands in the battle songs about Thor, showed directly at their first appearance the innate, striving, wisdom seeking, metaphysical side in Odin the Wanderer. But the same spirit is revealed once again with the great, free Ostrogoths and the devout Ulfilas. It is also revealed, in accordance with the times, in the strengthened Knights Order and in the great Nordic western mystics as seen in their greatest spirit, Meister Eckehart. When, in Frederick’s Prussia, the soul which once gave birth to Odin was revived at Hohenfriedberg and Leuthen, it was also reborn in the soul of the Thomas church cantor, Bach, and in Goethe. From this viewpoint our assertion will appear deeply justified, that a heroic Nordic saga, a Prussian march, a composition by Bach, a sermon by Eckehart, and a monologue by Faust, are only varied experiences of one and the same soul. They are creations of the same will. They are eternal powers which were first united under the name Odin and which later gained form in Frederick the Great and Bismarck. As long as these powers are operative, as long as Nordic blood mixes with a Nordic soul and will, Nordic man will be active and work in mystic union. This is the prerequisite of every true to type creation.

Only the Myth and its forms are truly alive. This is the thing for which men are ready to die.” –pp. 456-457


See also:
The Religion of the Blood
Alfred Rosenberg on the Old Testament

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