Dr. Alfred Rosenberg on Racial Respect

The following excerpts originate from Dr. Alfred Rosenberg’s Memoirs

“I have explained in many speeches that the veneration of Germanic blood does not imply contempt for other races but, on the contrary, racial respect. Since races, as the core of nations, are created by nature, the very respect for nature itself demands respect for such creations.

The purpose of the large-scale development of peoples is the juridical recognition of racially conditioned families of people in their own homelands. Style, customs, language, are the manifestation of different souls and peoples; and just as these cannot be mixed without a resultant deterioration of their purity, so men, as their embodiment, and to whom they belong organically and spiritually, cannot intermingle.

These concepts met with world-wide opposition on the part of those who, perhaps originally influenced by the generous humanitarianism of the 18th century, simply did not have the courage to face the new discoveries, or feared that any corrective measure might affect their economic status. The great questions concerning the fate of the both century [sic] could not be discussed calmly and deliberately because one problem barred the view — that of Jewry.”

“The Jewish question is as old as Jewry itself, and anti-Semitism has always been the answer whenever Jews have appeared on the scene, from Tacitus to Goethe, Schopenhauer, Wagner, and Dostoyevsky.

In the Germany of 1911, they had all rights, and sat in important positions. Anti-Semitism began with war profiteering; it grew with growing usury; and it became widespread after the revolt of November 9, 1918. Their being different was admitted by all Jews. Soldiers were greeted upon their return by the Jewish professor Gumbel with the declaration that their comrades had fallen on the field of dishonour. In a theatre financed by a Jewish millionaire, the Stahlhelm [Steel helmet, a nationalistic organisation] was trampled underfoot, while a poem with the refrain: Dreck, weg damit! [Filth, away with it!] was recited.”

“The war against Jewry came about because an alien people on German soil arrogated the political and spiritual leadership of the country, and, believing itself triumphant, flaunted it brazenly.”

“It would have been sentimental to have expected quick recognition abroad of the National Socialist revolution and its social aims. On the contrary, we were prepared for bitter criticism, but all this whipped-up enmity was anything but natural. Primarily, it was directed against something that serious historians had exhaustively studied for decades — racial questions and racial history.”

“Few deny that different races do exist. But this in itself means that something constant exists, something characteristic which indicates that a certain individual belongs to a certain race; otherwise it would be altogether impossible to speak of racial unity or of races as such. This, in turn, presupposes the existence of certain laws of inheritance, regardless of how these laws may be formulated in detail.”

“Basically, the recognition of the existence of a race — meaning a type of man who has inherited and preserved certain definite characteristics — is no more than the recognition of a law of nature, a law not made by man […] . Today the acknowledged existence of this law is […] completely independent of the fact that it is rejected by some circles […] . The final recognition of lawful occurrences in nature, however, is in itself awe-inspiring.

In some of my speeches I have put it like this: The recognition of race as a fact demands not racial contempt but racial respect. Unfortunately, the close proximity of two races at a time when the basic truth of that law had just been accepted, made for comparisons and disputes. And it was because of this that certain sections of the people rejected not only comparisons but also the truth itself.”

“Races have basic traits and possibilities; peoples, on the other hand, are realities resulting from political fate, language, and nature. This means that nowhere in our historical life is a race identical with a people. The act of becoming a people is a long, rather mysterious process in which inner attitude, outward pressure and spiritual desire gradually begin to form the picture of a unified culture. That, too, is a law of nature, and as such worthy of our respect. Few have expressed this as beautifully as Herder; but it was Lagarde who coined this immortal phrase: Peoples are the thoughts of God.

It was fated, no doubt, that peoples should always be welded together by competition and battle. There is no exception to that rule in this world. In the midst of battle each one of these peoples became conscious of itself, and was confronted with that basic question of fate, the metaphysics of religion.

It is not particularly surprising that, as far as the peoples of Europe are concerned, many individual or collective intermediary stages can be established. Since European peoples are related to each other, they have often been assimilated […] . Nevertheless it is the desire of all nations to preserve whatever they have made their own — their mode of life, the forms of their art and their conception of fate — to preserve these by means of conscious training, education, and living example.”

“…this is decisive, the history of the peoples known to us must be looked upon as the great experiment of life itself, and to interpret that requires not only the services of philologists but of men who have an eye for the symptomatic, that is, for the totality of the outward and inward shapes of art, religion and life itself. These were approximately the points of departure from which The Myth of the Twentieth Century was written, although I had not planned it so.”

See also:
The Myth of the 20th Century: Spiritual Inspiration for the Racial-Soul
The Religion of the Blood

Plagiarizing Dr. Alfred Rosenberg

This first example is in no way intended to suggest plagiarism, rather it is to be seen as an instance where a general idea may have been expressed in similar manner, yet where it is still more than possible that there was—if not merely subconscious influence by the former on the latter—certainly no conscious effort to steal or mimic an idea disingenuously.

As long as a people lives, its gods are immortal. –Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century

So long as there are people of the European type, the Gods are alive and well. –Stephen McNallen, Why I’m a Pagan

The following two cases, however, demonstrate without question persons blatantly plagiarizing the work of Dr. Alfred Rosenberg.

Case 1: Ron McVan

…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. –Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century

Symbolically, Wotan represents the cosmic life force and eternal mirrored image of the primal spiritual powers and [is] not restricted to any particular era in history. –Ron McVan, Armanenschaft: The Priesthood of Teutonic Wotanism

To awaken the racial soul to life means to recognise its highest value, and, under its dominance, to allot to other values their organic position in the State, in art, and in religion. –Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century

To awaken the Wotan consciousness in our present life means to recognize its highest value and under its guidance to allot other values their rightful and organic position as well, be it in nature, state, the arts, science, or religion. –Ron McVan, Armanenschaft: The Priesthood of Teutonic Wotanism

Case 2: Frank L. DeSilva

And this sign of our times is reflected in a turning away from absolute values, that is to say, in a retreat from values held to be beyond all organic experience, which the isolated ego once devised to create, by peaceful or violent means, a universal spiritual community. Once, such an ultimate aim was the Christianising of the world and its redemption through the second coming of Christ. Another goal was represented by the humanist dream of mankind. Both ideals have been buried in the bloody chaos of the Great War, and in the subsequent rebirth out of this calamity, despite the fact that now one, and now the other, still find increasingly fanatical adherents and a venerable priesthood. These are processes of petrifaction and no longer of living tissue: a belief which has died in the soul cannot be raised from the dead.

Humanity, the universal church, or the sovereign ego, divorced from the bonds of blood, are no longer absolute values for us. They are dubious, even moribund, dogmas which lack polarity and which represent the ousting of nature in favour of abstractions. The emergence in the nineteenth century of Darwinism and positivism constituted the first powerful, though still wholly materialistic, protest against the lifeless and suffocating ideas which had come from Syria and Asia Minor and had brought about spiritual degeneracy. Christianity, with its vacuous creed of ecumenicalism and its ideal of HVMANITAS, disregarded the current of red blooded vitality which flows through the veins of all peoples of true worth and genuine culture. Blood was reduced to a mere chemical formula and explained in that way. But today an entire generation is beginning to have a presentiment that values are only created and preserved where the law of blood still determines the ideas and actions of men, whether consciously or unconsciously. At the subconscious level, whether in cult or in life, man obeys the commands of the blood, as if in dreams or, according to natural insight, as a happy expression describes this harmony between nature and culture. But culture, with the growth of all subconscious activity and of expanding consciousness and knowledge, becomes more and more intellectual, and ultimately engenders not creative tension but, in fact, discord. In this way, reason and understanding are divorced from race and nature and released from the bonds of blood. The ensuing generation falls victim to the individualistic system of intellectual absolutes, and separates itself more and more from its natural environment, mixing itself with alien blood. It is through this desecration of the blood that personality, people, race and culture perish. None who have disregarded the religion of the blood have escaped this nemesis—neither the Indians nor the Persians, neither the Greeks nor the Romans. Nor will Nordic Europe escape if it does not call a halt, turning away from bloodless absolutes and spiritually empty delusions, and begin to hearken trustingly once again to the subtle welling up of the ancient sap of life and values.

–Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century

This is the sign of our times, and is reflected in a turning away from ‘absolute values’, which is to say, that a departure from values held to be beyond all organic experience, which the primitive man once devised to create, by peaceful or violent means, a collective racial and spiritual folk-community. Moreover, at one time in our many epochs of evolution, such an ultimate aim was the ‘Christianizing’ of the world and its redemption through the second coming of Christ. A ‘religion’ of altruism, however, unlinked to blood or racial affirmation as a national policy, has failed miserably. Additionally, such goals have been represented by various versions of the ‘humanist dream’, sidelined by foreign analysis, confusion of our original mandate of self-extension, and presented this to ‘mankind’ as spiritual growth.

The White Nationalist understands that phrases like humanity, the universal church, or that sovereign self-image, separated from the ties of blood, are no longer absolute values for us; these are doubtful, even moribund, values which lacks that proper duality and which represent the denial of nature in favour of abstractions or, at worst, the replacement of nature with the idea of cosmopolitan equality. The emergence in the nineteenth century of Darwinism and positivism constituted the first powerful, though still wholly materialistic, protest against those lifeless and suffocating ideas, which had come from Syria and Asia Minor and had brought about spiritual degeneracy. Christianity of today, seen with its inane creed of ecumenicalism and its ideal of humanitas, has replaced the eddying river of red-blooded vitality, which flows through the veins of all peoples of truth worth and genuine culture; blood has been reduced to a mere chemical formula and explained in that way. Today, however, an entire generation has begun to have a sense that values are only created and preserved where the law of folk-community still determines the ideas and actions of men, whether consciously or unconsciously. The white nationalist, deep at the subconscious level, whether in spirit or life, obeys the commands of the instinct of blood – all this is seen as an expression of harmony between nature and culture. This over indulgent intellectualism of today, brings not a nobler tension, but the discordant noise of crass conformity. The white nationalist sees his generation fall victim to the individualistic system of intellectual absolutes, and sees his racial brothers and sisters separate themselves more and more from their natural environment, amalgamating themselves with an alien bloodstream, of which there is no return – not without an even greater sundering. The white nationalist knows that through this desecration of the blood, that unique personality and race–culture perish. Non who have disregarded this belief in the power of blood have faced this nemesis – and won.

–Frank L. DeSilva, Foundations of the Twenty-First Century: The Philosophy of White Nationalism

Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century
Stephen McNallen, Why I’m a Pagan
Ron McVan, Armanenschaft: The Priesthood of Teutonic Wotanism
Frank L. DeSilva, Foundations of the Twenty-First Century: The Philosophy of White Nationalism

See also:
Dr. Alfred Rosenberg on Racial Respect
Dr. Alfred Rosenberg on the Old Testament
The Myth of the 20th Century: Spiritual Inspiration for the Racial-Soul
The Religion of the Blood

Two Worlds, Not One

by Dr. William Luther Pierce

The great Swiss pioneer in psychology and psychiatry, Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961), was a contemporary of the Jewish “psychoanalyst,” Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). [ILLUSTRATION: The unending war: Jewish charlatanry vs. Western science; Freud, left, and Jung, right]

Initially Jung found merit in some of Freud’s early work in psychiatry, but he did not hesitate to withdraw his endorsement of Freud when the latter deviated more and more from a scientific approach to the study of the human mind and instead began attempting to popularize various kinky sexual theories. Finally Freud abandoned science altogether for unabashed charlatanry and accumulated a fortune in Vienna by explaining to wealthy, neurotic Jews that their problems were rooted in a suppressed desire to have sexual intercourse with their mothers — or, in the case of his female patients, in their subconscious disappointment at being born without penises.

Jung then began to understand that Freud’s peculiar interpretation of man’s nature was not an entirely arbitrary thing but was rooted in his Jewishness. Freud’s fascination with unnatural sex and the willingness of his Jewish patients to accept his theories both had a racial basis — as did also, for example, the Talmud’s obsessive preoccupation with the same subject.

Jung came to realize that the mental world of the Jew and the mental world of the European were two entirely different worlds. He hinted at this when he said:

We cannot help being prejudiced by our ancestors, who want to look at things in a certain way, and so we instinctively have certain points of view. I would be neurotic if I saw things in another way than my instinct tells me to do. . . . I cannot say I have a Freudian psychology, because I never had such difficulties in relation to desires. As a boy I lived in the country and took things very naturally, and the natural and unnatural things of which Freud speaks were not interesting to me. The talk of an incest complex just bores me to tears.

Jung’s insight into the nature of neurosis has particular meaning for us today. He said, “I know exactly how I could make myself neurotic: If I said or believed something that is not myself.” If this offers us a clue as to why Jung could not accept Freud’s point of view, it is also a clue as to why our entire Western world — steeped as it is in alien spiritual, cultural, and political concepts — is so neurotic.

[Source: Attack! No. 66, 1978]

“… It is a quite unpardonable mistake to accept the conclusions of a Jewish psychology as generally valid.”

“No doubt on an earlier and deeper level of psychic development, where it is still impossible to distinguish between an Aryan, Semitic, Hamitic, or Mongolian mentality, all human races have a common collective psyche. But with the beginning of racial differentiation, essential differences are developed in the collective psyche as well.”

“For this reason we cannot transplant the spirit of a foreign race in globo into our own mentality without sensible injury to the latter, a fact which does not however deter sundry natures of feeble instinct from affecting Indian philosophy and the like.”

–Dr. Carl Gustav Jung

See also:
Jung and the Völkisch Movement
Freud and Jung as Representative Jew and Gentile

Wotanism: Toward an Existentialist View

Source: Else Christensen’s “The Odinist” periodical 1989, Issue #123. Author: P.W.

Existentialism is the term given to the spiritual and intellectual rebellion arising over the last 150 years or so amongst European thinkers against established Judeo-Christian religion and systems of philosophy which have failed to offer a satisfactory explanation of Man and his place in the universe. More specifically, the existentialists have sought to transcend theologies and metaphysics to understand the concrete reality of the human situation, the plight of the existing individual.

There is no body of doctrine common to all existentialists, but rather a matrix of shared concerns or themes: the significance of human existence, man’s alienation from himself, from his fellows, and from the world in general, and the extent of individual freedom and responsibility.

The analytical method of many existentialists is phenomenology, the perception and description of the various aspects of “Isness” (existing things and processesPespecially of consciousness, without conceptual prejudice or evaluative intent.

Perhaps the most constructive and influential of the existentialists is Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). Heidegger did not accept the label “existentialist’, but considered himself an “ontologist” (one who studies Being). Nevertheless, Heidegger’s profound explorations into what it means to be a human in interaction with Reality not only fully qualify him as an existential philosopher, but mark him as possibly the greatest.

Heathen man, as best exemplified by the pre-Socratic Greeks, lived in a state of intimate connection with and deep awareness of Being, maintains Heidegger. This “Being”, he explains, is not merely Nature, but also the ground, basis, of Nature; it is the very power of things to emerge and endure. Heidegger refers to man’s creativity arising out of conscious connectedness with Being as spirit.

The source of man’s uneasiness with his own existence, his failure to be all he could be, is his enervated spirit, his “falling out of being”, his ever-growing preoccupation with the object of his environment, with things, with “Beings” rather than with the totality of Being, Heidegger terms this “forfeiture”.

European man’s estrangement from Being was given a specious respectability by Plato’s philosophy of dualistic idealism, which claimed that ‘real’ Reality was somewhere ‘up there’, away from the physical universe which was only an imperfect reflection of that ultimately true ‘Ideal’.

This schizophrenic dualism reached its epitome in organized Judeo-Christianity, whose centuries of mind-warping other-worldliness lingers on to confound us.

Yet another form of dualism, the subject/object dichotomy popularized by Descartes, strongly influenced the scientific method and formed the basis of the secular ideologies of “progress” and technology worship, capitalist and Marxist alike.

Thus, according to Heidegger, even as man advances materially he leads an evermore “inauthentic” existence, wallowing in his obsession with trivia, stifling his potential by yielding to mindless conformity. With technical prowess actually undermining, instead of enhancing, man’s spirit, the “darkening of the world” accelerates, by which Heidegger means “the flight of the gods, the destruction of the Earth, the standardization of man, the preeminence of the mediocre… emasculation of the spirit, the disintegration, wasting away, repression and misinterpretation of the spirit.”

Man must re-forge his primal linkage with Being, he must become a “shepherd and watcher of Being”, overcoming all deceptive dualisms to understand not just cerebrally but in his very guts his total interdependence with the world, physically and temporally as well – remembering the past, in tune with the present, and mindful of the future. But this man can do only by fearlessly confronting his existential situation, and that entails acknowledging the awful reality of death, the looming spectre of Nothingness.

For Heidegger, Nothingness is not simply a vacuum, some final negation of Being; rather Nothingness is ingrained in Being; Nothingness is the dynamo of Being; Being and Nothingness are locked together in an inescapable dialectic. Man achieves authenticity when this dialectical truth takes roots in his soul.

Forgetfulness of death, of Nothingness, means forgetfulness of Being; and it is precisely this forgetfulness which modern thought-systems seek to instigate, whether as theologies which promise eternal afterlife or as justifications for materialism which fool man into seeing himself in some commodity.

In other words, man must not hide from his historic and existential responsibilities, he must not seek a dubious comfort in intellectual narcotics, be they religious or political; he must not forget himself in the cozy anonymity of the crowd; he must not fritter away his life in the pursuit and possession of materialist tinsel. To be truly alive, man must face up to the fact of his finitude, his inevitable appointment with oblivion, and construct his life on that realization. Only in this way can man truly appreciate Being, and thereby truly appreciate himself.

We believe that Wotanism can fill the prescription offered by Heidegger to reconnect us with Being, to reverse the ‘flight of the gods’ and bring these primordial forces, the avatars of Being, back into our consciousness.

Wotanism has the power to restore the ruptured bonds of the past, to recall our pre-Christian, pre-dualistic state of existential purity and reveal its relevance to our contemporary circumstances.

An examination of the Nine Principles of the Wotanist Fellowship in the light of the insights of Heidegger and other existentialists may be useful in establishing Wotanism as a durable ontology:

(1) We acknowledge Wotan as the All-Father, the Ultimate Reality, the Force of the Universe.

“Wotan” is the personification of cosmic power as perceived by our Norse ancestors. Etymologically, “Wotan” is synonymous with power, movement, source of movement, fury, rage and inspiration.

Just as the Indo-Aryans’ god Brahma was based on their earlier perception of an impersonal Absolute they termed Brahman, so also was the Wotanic Being mythologized as the “All-Father”; and among His other titles are Smiter, Destroyer, Protector, All-Knowing and Fulfiller of Wishes.

Wotan was a relative late-comer to the Indo-European pantheon. He displaced as Sky-Father the god Tyr, who in turn descended from Tiwas, a variation of the Aryan “Dyes” meaning “Shining One”, a reference to the sun.

As a mythic figure Wotan himself was subject to the inexorable laws of the cosmos, as related in our Folk’s epic cycle of creation and destruction. But as the embodiment of Energy/Universal Law, as an emanation of what we call the “God-Force”, Wotan is that very Absolute immemorial.

Wotan can be justly described as the Existential God, because to the Norse He represented the implacability of Reality, the dark side of Life in a ruthless age. For Wotan was the God of war, the god of the dead, a fickle, untrustworthy deity who promised no earthly rewards.

Yet He was also the god of wisdom, and wisdom it was – and is – to recognize what the existentialists came to call the “contingency of human existence”: the fact that the universe can get along perfectly well without man, be he individual or species – a truth our forebears knew in their bones when they deified Annihilation.

But the complete truth is to be seen in the Heideggerian unity of Annihilation and Creation, Being and Nothingness. Wotan is this Divine Dynamic, evident in the furies of Nature and in the turbulent vigor of man wherein raging passions and inspired insightfulness coexist. And Mimir whispers to us that all these things are One!

Thus, Wotan’s ‘good news’ is not ‘pie in the sky when you die’, but “Life is All and Life is Struggle!”

(2) Man advances individually and collectively only by living in harmony with the Natural Order.

How is it possible for man, as much a part of Nature as any rock, tree or bird, not to be in harmony with Natural Order? How could man, a manifestation of Being, ‘fall out of being”?

Western man has frequently gazed with envy at the lifestyles of primitive peoples, those ‘noble savages’ who clearly live in deeper rapport with the rhythms of Nature; yet, with some justification he feels superior to such peoples whose vulnerability and powerlessness in the face of Nature’s immoderation and History’s onslaught he considers the mark of man’s ‘underdeveloped’ mind – this contradiction gnaws at the soul of the Aryan even as his left-brain dominance / rationalist supremacy fosters a runaway industrialism that gnaws at the heart of the organic world and poisons its bloodstream.

Forfeiture has been institutionalized. Social dogmas and political ideologies rationalize the greedy stupidity of power elites which manipulate the befuddled individuals of mass society and promote, indeed profit from, in-authenticity, from Everyman’s false consciousness.

At the root of it all, some suggest, is Euro-man’s ‘overspecialized mind’, a mind which came more into predominance as the European sought to gain greater mastery over and ‘improve’ upon his natural surroundings by means of the techniques of civilization, thereby cutting the umbilical cord to Being and weakening, at least to some extent, that sense of oneness with the organic world that was fashioned during his formative years on the plains of the Pleistocene.

This ‘overspecialized’ mind tends to perceive in terms of a subject/object duality which is psychologically isolating. Disconnectedness from Nature, from kinsman, and from self ensues. Being is misperceived through a haze of abstract rationality and a fog of distorting emotions. Language itself has come to reinforce this dualistic obfuscation, as Heidegger points out.

This problem was dealt with thousands of years ago by our Indo-Aryan ancestors who in their religious traditions called it “avidya”, ignorance, the failure to use the “no-thought mind” of intuitive knowing – “Pleistocene mind”. If we credit adaptive evolution with having given Aryan man a ‘technological’ brain, then we must also see evolution as the molder of that brain’s ‘overspecialized’ mind.

Overspecialization is a perfectly natural byproduct of a perfectly natural developmental process that is without aim or design. Aryan man’s ‘overspecialized’ mind is no more an anomaly than the Dimetrodon’s sail-like back fin, the sabre-toothed tiger’s long curved fangs, or the giraffe’s elongated neck. The cosmos abounds with such ‘aberrations’, from the planet Uranus rotating on its side to entire galaxies colliding; and if man cannot grow out of his particular ‘aberration’ of juvenile dualism, then extinction will surely be his fate – an unremarkable fate, not even a burp in the universe.

Thus, man’s apparent disharmonies appear in perspective as part of a greater overall harmony.

Man has an edge in participating in that harmony, an advantage over every other species: ‘overspecialized’ mind notwithstanding, he has the ability to become conscious of his delusive tendencies and transcend them, provided he can muster the resolve to do so.

History will pass judgment on Euro-man’s collective biological mind, as to whether it is truly overspecialized, over-adapted, and effectively self-destructive, or whether it is simply in some tantrum of immaturity prior to a more lucid equilibrium. But individually speaking, Indo-Aryan wisdom teaches that the harmonious mind is ever-present within us; we need only realize it.

To be in Being, or not to be – that is the question!

(3) Life with all its joys, struggles and ambiguities is to be embraced and lived to the fullest.

Heidegger says that living human experience is the pathway to Being – which echoes a truth taught for centuries by the Zen masters. An ancient saying puts it another way: the unexamined life is not worth living.

To know Being through life, we need to live mindfully, in a state of openness and awareness, becoming skillful at what’s been called the art of living.

Honing those skills is essential, because this life is all that we can really be sure we have: this relatively brief process of becoming, flashing out of nothingness and fading back into nothingness, with only some meager physical creations, a scattering of genes and the memory of our deeds left behind.

Swallowing promises of eternal after-life, impossible to verify, only cheapens real life; while blindly following mind-numbing ideologies that promise heaven on earth burns up the one chance we have to know ourselves and fully develop our potentials.

As noted previously, life is struggle: your very existence is due only to the fact that your ancestors killed, out-fought their enemies and persevered through every hardship – a fact which the preachers of indiscriminate ‘love’ and ‘nonviolence’ would do well to contemplate.

Of course, it’s not all battle axes and bloodshed; a hearty laugh is always in order, especially when some other-worldly wimp tells us that life’s pleasures, the joys of the flesh, are ‘sins’.

All the barriers to a full life must be torn down. Suffering in its various forms is inherent in life, but there is also an accretion of ‘surprise suffering’, unnecessary misery caused by outmoded beliefs and obsolete social and political systems. The struggle against these is not just altruism in action, it is the will to achieve that fuller life.

(4) The racialist and cultural heritage of our folk is our most sacred possession and must be satisfied.

A significant portion of man’s current state of alienation stems from his loss of identity; man doesn’t know who, what or why he is.

The pre-packaged answers being peddled today just don’t suffice: Judeo-Christianity incites man to war against his instincts and common sense; the cult of the consumer leaves man bored, empty and yearning for something more; ideologies of compulsory collectivism stifle his individuality; philosophies of egoism violate his We-feeling; “New Age” spiritualisms outrage his rationality.

Where can he turn?

He can turn to the primary fact of his own material existence and see the organic truth that he is an individual spawn from a collectivity, one link in a racial chain extending back into the past.

It has been said that race is the outward expression of soul; and while this aphorism may have the aroma of metaphysics, it is a poetic way of saying that race (or more accurately, our total genetic inheritance) is the essence which in-forms our existence.

So, Jean-Paul Sartre, the French existentialist, didn’t quite hit the mark when he proclaimed “Existence precedes essence”, by which he meant that, as there is no fixed human nature, man has the freedom and the responsibility to shape that nature. This can only be true in a limited sense, for, man’s existence, along with the self-creative capacity Sartre speaks of, is substantially conditioned by biology, by race.

Anthropologist Carlton Coon’s research into racial origins reveals that racial characteristics had emerged among our primate ancestors even before they – meaning we – evolved into Homo sapiens.

We therefore suggest the formula “Ethnos precedes existence, existence precedes essence”.

Although every race and ethnic group is threatened by cosmopolitanism and homogenization, our chief concern must be for our own folk, an endangered minority. We support the awakening of racial consciousness for all peoples as a bulwark against assimilation.

Mixed race people can take pride in their diverse origins and form themselves into a new composite ‘folk’, or simply regard themselves as generic human beings if they so desire. As Wotanists we have no interest in impugning their human dignity. We do insist on our own inviolable right to racial integrity, and will respect all who respect us.

This is not ‘hatred’ or ‘prejudice’, nor an attempt to justify the oppression or exploitation of one race by another; it is a plea to preserve absolutely unique, non-repeatable living phenomena, it is a call to maintain the genetic diversity of the human family; it is a demand for racial ecology.

Culture is the totality of a race’s achievements, the expression of the racial soul, the sum of a people’s past persisting into the present and into the future. Heidegger notes how man’s losing touch with his past has contributed to the “darkening of the world”; and every day huge chunks of our Aryan cultural heritage disappear down the dark, materialistic maw of ‘me-now’ modernity.

Consumerism corrupts culture, crushes folkways and corrodes man right down to his instinctual core, his last legacy from the past, those primeval urges and blood-born impulses rooted in his mammal-hood, now subjected to the titillations and manipulations of Madison Ave., but also more and more frequently erupting into the animal protests we call ‘crime’ and ‘mental illness’.

But man is not a mere consumer, nor simply a raging beast; he is a creator, and to create now and in the future he must know what he has created in the past, and how he felt, thought and lived in the past.

Wotanism seeks the re-appropriation of our past, of what is of and for us as the ever-sprouting seed of our becoming.

Man’s racial heritage tells him who he is, his cultural heritage tells him what he is, it is then up to him to work out his own way.

(5) A community of, by and for the folk is our paramount objective.

Is any kind of real community even possible in the tumultuous conditions of the modern world? Can man overcome what seems to be a kind of entropy rampant at all social levels, disintegrating the bonds of friendship, family, community and nation?

Sartre thought not, declaring that “We” is an illusion. He saw human interaction as leading either to exploitation, with the dominated party reduced to an object, or to the stalemated confrontation of two mutually incomprehensible human monads.

Fortunately, history and social praxis repudiate Sartre’s subjective pessimism, but at the same time delineate formidable obstacles to community.

Man is a social animal: he joins with his kinsmen in social organizations strongly resembling those of his relatives, the baboons and chimpanzees, and for the same reasons: co-operative behavior is programmed into his genes. Man as individual only becomes whole and complete, only becomes an authentic personality, within the context of community, as part of a natural social order.

But man has evolved to the point where his ‘rational’ mind largely supersedes or at least tempers his instincts; genetic predisposition creates a tendency allowing for wide latitudes, rather than a rigid imperative, as in the lower creatures. Man must therefore contrive various structures and devices to help maintain social cohesion.

Blood is the organic basis for community, and shared beliefs – specifically, religion – is the social basis. “Religion” actually means “to bind together”, and this is, or should be, its function: to bind man to Being, to Nature, and to his kinfolk.

Every folk generates its own religious vision; undeniably, common themes are shared by all these visions; nevertheless, each one is unique, featuring nuances of perception and variations of morality peculiar to each folk. Thus, the imposition of one people’s religion upon another can have grave, disruptive consequences.

Such an imposition is the source of much of our Folk’s persistent spiritual confusion. Organized Christianity’s religious imperialism effectively destroyed our folk religion and our folk communities. Of course, the Folk has nobody to blame for this but itself. Any people is collectively responsible before history for its own ongoing weakness, disorganization and resultant vulnerability.

Our historic victimization must end. We must go from being a folk in itself to a Folk for itself, and the self-conscious folk community is the vehicle for this process.

The folk community is bonded by blood and belief; each by itself is inadequate to cement the community together.

Current events testify to this truth. Japanese society is extremely homogeneous racially, yet it displays all the alienating afflictions of modern materialistic industrialism (although perhaps to a somewhat lesser degree than the ‘pluralist’ societies of the West), despite a strong tradition of folk religion. Cosmopolitan capitalism as a secular pseudo-religion will supplant or co-opt genuine religion unless genuine religion aggressively counterattacks (as has Islamic Fundamentalism).

Religion alone, however cannot guarantee social unity, nor for long suppress or overpower differences of blood. Blood proved thicker than religion in the recent Iran-Iraq war, when the majority Arab Shias of Iraq failed to unite with their antagonistic Persian co-religionists, choosing instead national-ethnic solidarity with their Sunni Arab ruling stratum. And in the US increasing numbers of Black Catholics are opting for a distinctly African-American style of worship at the risk of schism with the official, predominantly White, church.

Encouragingly, the up and coming trend in the world today is precisely towards this union of blood and belief, a form of neo-tribalism. The Druze of Lebanon, the militant Sikhs of India, the Moro rebels of the Philippines, Islamic radicals throughout Central Asia, the Black Muslims, even nationalist Jewish orthodox extremists, among others, are all facets of this world-wide phenomenon.

So, self-determination and the preservation of ethnic and religious identity rightly constitute our paramount objective, as they should for every people, because the alternative is genocide, which is accomplished just as thoroughly and finally by means of assimilation as it is by ‘killing fields’.

In fact, these separatist principles, far from generating hatred and strife, are a guarantee for peace and mutual respect amongst the peoples, nations and faiths of the world, because they are aspirations shared by all humanity.

The Folk community is not some utopian goal for the distant future. It is an institution attainable here and now, provided we summon the courage and wisdom to build it. We can draw on the West’s communalist heritage, from the medieval guilds to anarchist collectives to hippie communes, more so as regards the experience of religious communities, such as the Amish and the Hutterites; we could even learn something from the Hasidic Jews and the kibbutz movement.

However we do it, the Folk community must arise if the people and religion of Wotan are to survive. It is a formidable task: the folk community entails ways of living – thinking, working, relating – so different from what we are used to in our privatizing ‘consumer’ society as to be positively revolutionary, perhaps also a bit disquieting, but only because it would mean a return to long-absent, psycho-social health after a lengthy disease.

Sartre’s dismal picture of human interaction is not what we have been or must be; it is what we often are and may very well be our consummation unless we assert ourselves for community.

Another French existentialist, Gabriel Marcel, has a view more positive than Sartre’s, insisting that our relationship with other persons is prerequisite for the growth of freedom, the becoming of what we are. Marcel, striking a Heideggerian chord, says further that living enmeshes us in a web of interdependence with others, with all of Being, a condition which we become aware of when we deeply and fearlessly reflect upon existence, when we resolve “to be”, surpassing the trivial desire “to have”.

The folk community will create the material and psychological conditions conducive to this quest for existential enlightenment.

(6) In the improvement of our racial quality lies our brightest future.

Man’s animal nature, implying his subordination to the laws of evolution, was the Damnable Fact of the nineteenth century, denied and cursed by the obscurantists and reactionaries of the day, whose bigoted offspring vex us still. Man’s racial nature is the Damnable Fact of the twentieth century, anathematized by a new generation of ignorance-mongers.

Unfortunately, any discussion of race quickly shifts to the “Nazi” issue and to “Nazi” atrocities, real and imagined, committed in the name of racial improvement.

The fact that National Socialists may have pursued a certain policy in the Third Reich over sixty years ago does not automatically make that policy “pro-Nazi” here and now. National Socialist Germany, for example, inaugurated certain ecological measures: does that make ecology a “Nazi” idea? Surely not. Abuses that may have been perpetrated by German Hitlerites in their eugenic program no more invalidate the concept of eugenics than the abuses of the Stalinists in their campaign at ‘building socialism’ invalidate the socialist ideal.

(We cannot discuss the “Nazi” question at length here; suffice it to say that no concept should be rejected even if it was endorsed by National Socialists – or by fascists, Marxists, anarchists, Zionists, or any other – ists. Ideas stand or fall on their own merits.)

Existentialists of the Sartre school declare that man has the freedom, nay the responsibility, to determine his own essence. If this is accepted, then none can deny the right, the duty, of a people to determine their biological essence, their racial essence.

The right of racial improvement is an integral part of the overall right to self determination – ‘rights’ which of course are never handed over, only seized and defended. Behind these rights there is no intent whatsoever to impose any eugenic program on peoples who do not want it or to victimize others in the process of implementing eugenics ourselves.

While the social environment plays an extremely important role in the development of individuals and to human betterment, no ‘system’ concocted and tinkered together by man will lead to utopia. The real road to utopia – and we realize that this road never ends – is the road leading directly to the improvement of man himself, the biological roar, built upon the bedrock reality of man’s basic physical stuff.

A people whose social order cannot meet their material and psychological needs can rectify the situation through reform or revolution; a people refusing to take their biological destiny into their own hands face a degredation from which there is no recovery.

(7) The seeking of wisdom is the highest virtue.

Western man is rightly termed “Faustian” because of his irrepressible drive to obtain knowledge. His native religious orientation has always been in the direction of knowing self, Nature and the God-Force, never towards guilt, submissiveness or heavenly rewards.

Wisdom seeking is an attribute of the High One Himself; Wotan sacrificed an eye in pursuit of sagacity. This philosophical application of ‘no pain, no gain’ has been adopted by the existentialists who have the individual confronting the brutal facts of Life in a purposeless universe.

Two types of wisdom may be discussed: external and internal.

External wisdom is that which comes from without us, from the great thinkers and sages of humanity.

Wotanists draw particular inspiration from the ancient legends, folklore, and tales of all the Indo-European peoples, with special emphasis on the Norse and other Teutonics.

Internal wisdom is that which we seek from within. It is the voice of Being, which speaks to us once we quiet the discursive mind and just listen, as the eminent masters of meditation have for so long instructed us. This leads to the most profound wisdom of all. Knowledge of the self – which is no-self!

Wisdom of all kinds is not just its own reward, it also has an evolutionary function, a survival value, enshrined in that timeless epigram “Knowledge is Power!”

(8) Love of truth, honor, courage and loyalty are the hallmarks of the noble soul.

Yesteryear’s Aryans, the “noble ones”, took these values seriously; not only a ready code of conduct for the individual, they constituted the enduring, ever-pure, ethical lifeblood of the tribe and the community generation after generation: a moral guide for this world, with no supernumerary threats of post mortem hell-fire – the stench of ignobility was considered hellish enough. The cynicism with which these values are regarded in the West today, their consignment to the status of “goody-goody” cliches, indicate the true nature of our much touted “progress”. We may be the most technologically advanced society in the world, but we are also un-mistakenly the most backward ethically. It could hardly be otherwise in the wake of centuries of moral confusion spawned by the “religion of love” imposed upon us through fear and guilt. Modern secular society’s ethos of egoism is merely the backlash corollary to Christianity’s neurosis-inducing slave morality.

History doesn’t stand still; in moving on it will sweep away the false standards which at present seem so immutable. The values of Blood, as Oswald Spengler has predicted based on his panoramic surveys of the past, will inexorably banish the non-values of Money. Our task is to ensure that that Blood is Aryan.

To that end we proudly embrace those ‘antiquated’ ideals of our forefathers:

Love of truth – to joyously gaze upon the naked face of Being and spurn all comforting delusions.

Honor – the virtue of virtues: self-respect and righteous conduct under all circumstances, come what may.

Courage – to face all tasks, challenges and dangers fearlessly.

Loyalty – unyielding dedication to every pledge of fidelity.

Paul Tillich, a German-born student of Heidegger and a religious existentialist, reminds us that, as our lives are spun out of the tension between being and non-being, there can never be absolute security; to genuinely live, or live authentically, takes guts – what Tillich calls “the courage to be”.

Our Norse ancestors took this gutsy approach to life under conditions a great deal more precarious than what most of us face now. May we be worthy to carry on their legacy!

(9) Our imperative is to strive constantly to expand our powers of body, mind and spirit.

Colin Wilson, a British writer who has dealt extensively with existentialist topics, has observed that the one clear tendency in the universe even remotely indicative of any sort of discernible ‘purpose’ is the trend toward greater and greater complexity. Science from simple hydrogen to intelligent beings which may be regarded as the universe becoming conscious of itself. Wilson suggests that control of evolution may be a viable goal for humanity, instilling a sense of purpose counteractive to our ongoing drift into alienation and nihilism.

Such a project is consistent with Euro-man’s Faustian will, and has been most dramatically enunciated by one of our mightiest philosophers, the incomparable Nietzsche, who summed up this aspiration with the words, “Man is something which must be surpassed”. Nietzsche’s instruction has always occupied a special niche in the paradigm of modern Wotanism.

Our ability to influence our race’s evolution is obviously questionable at best at this juncture, limited to responsible reproduction; the larger task awaits the flowering of our folk communities. We do have a bit more control over what might be called our ‘personal evolution’, however.

The more we can augment the physical and mental constituents of our individual being, the better will we be able to fully experience our in-dwelling with Being, and thereby enrich our spiritual life. And the more we improve ourselves individually, holistically, the more will we empower the Folk collectively.

These brief comments are hardly a drop in the ocean of possibilities churned up by the convergence of Wotanism and existentialism.

We readily concede in addition that the Nine Principles listed here do not represent any sort of final statement for Wotanism – much less some kind of dogma we would insist be binding on any and all who would pay homage to the High One. They do offer one path for making the Norse religion a vibrant, relevant force, an existential point of reference, for latter-day Aryans.

If Wotan, as previously mentioned, is the Existential God, then Wotanism must be the Existential Religion. And existentialists, for all their differences, seem to agree on one crucial point: you are what you do. Beliefs can be verbally professed long and loud, but beliefs not put into action are empty and lifeless. He who believes without ‘putting creed into deed’ degrades himself and his doctrine.

Whether Wotanism thrives or fades into obscurity depends upon whether or not it is truly lived. Wotanism, like Hinduism, is dynamic and variegated, capable of many formulations; nevertheless, there is a basic set of truths and values which must be incorporated into a consistent lifestyle if Wotanism is to be anything more than a pretense.

As we have hopefully learned by now, there are no guarantees. The fate of the religion of Wotan is in great measure in the hands of those who would call themselves Wotanists: it will become what they make it.

Being a Wotanist in the 20th century is no easy matter. Numerous forces and factors militate against us. Many if not most of us, despite the exhortations here, cannot or will not assert the entirety of our religious convictions, and must bear the anguish of living with one foot in an alien society and the other wrapped in the good intentions of claimed belief. It’s wisdom for the pain, though, because, just as the existentialists tell us, that anguish can be the beginning, the actual motivation, for breaking through all in-authenticity in a genuine thrust for liberation.

Through it all, that flame in our soul always to be kept alight is the fire of spiritual deity-defying daring by our Norse precursors, who had the audacity to voice their distrust of Wotan himself (in the finest existentialist temper!): it has forever been behind the questing, questioning and skepticism that has catapulted our race into world-historical eminence.

Nietzsche called the fighters for spiritual freedom “Hyperboreans. Living amidst the ice and the mountain heights” – how fitting for Folk of the North!

Heidegger’s declaration in this regard will, we hope, always be council for Wotanists:

“A faith that does not perpetually expose itself to the possibility of unfaith is no faith but merely convenience.”

Pennsylvania German Tombstones: A Study in Folk Art [Part I of II]

Cover of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society’s XVIIIth Volume, Pennsylvania German Tombstones: A Study in Folk Art

Cover to the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society’s XVIIIth Volume, Pennsylvania German Tombstones: A Study in Folk Art





…Pennsylvania German folk art has in the last two decades received nation-wide recognition, but of its various phases that on Pennsylvania German tombstones has received only casual attention. They share of course the same motifs that one finds on Pennsylvania German fraktur birth and baptismal certificates and house blessings, on stoveplates, buttermoulds, ceramics, textiles and needlework, and of course on painted barns. Always there are sun-wheels, radiating half-suns and quarter-suns, six-point compass stars, confrontal birds, hearts and tulips, only that these designs, by the very nature of the medium, receive a broader and more simplified treatment on tombstones. At the same time the usage of them distinguishes these tombstones from others throughout our country. This does not however preclude the sudden discovery of a star, a heart or a tulip in some New England cemetery, but the sum total of impressions the writer has gathered after visiting a hundred Pennsylvania German graveyards is unique. The familiar motifs are especially abundant in the old graveyards of the Lutheran and Reformed churches. There are no similar designs on the tombstones of the Amish, only rarely on those of the Mennonites, and we know of only one among the Moravian tombstones. Could it be that the sectarians looked upon them as pagan signs and symbols? The Latin cross, the very symbol of our Christian faith, is notably absent.

But why, someone inquires, are there always sun symbols, trees of life, confrontal birds, hearts and tulips? Why this tenacious adherence to a few basic forms? Does this not indicate a dearth of invention and imagination? Why are these particular designs characteristic of Pennsylvania German folk art rather than some others? How did they come to be used in the first place? And why? These questions, naive as they may seem now, confronted the writer when he first started out on the long trail in search of satisfying answers two decades ago. Certainly a people that for a full century and more continued in the new world to cling to their own dialect and the ways of their fathers did not originate these designs. It seemed therefore a matter of course to seek their origins in the ancestral homeland. Although there is a goodly sprinkling of other elements in the makeup of the Pennsylvania Germans the Rhenish Palatine influence dominates. The writer several times sojourned in the Palatinate where he found the same designs and symbols on every hand, on doors, on lintels and farmyard gates, on keystones of arches, on baptismal certificates and on tombstones. But he also found them elsewhere, and nowhere more abundantly and in greater diversity than in the Low Saxon lands, in Westphalia, Lippe-Detmold and Herford, areas that held out longest against conversion to Christianity. The trail then continued to other areas, but now became divided and obscured. It was disconcerting, to say the least, to find the same motifs in Persia, in distant India, yes, even in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Assyria and Sumeria. It became apparent that such motifs expressed certain basic concepts that had emerged from out of the elemental experiences and observations of mankind before recorded history. However modified such motifs may have become through the accidents of time and place, they have found expression on the tombstones as well as in the other manifestations of folk art among the Pennsylvania Germans.

*     *     *     *     *

Let us regard briefly the general nature of folk art, a term which came into usage only toward the end of the nineteenth century. When we consider the extensive pioneer work done by Gottfried Herder, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and the romantic poets Achim von Arnim and Clemens von Brentano in the German dialects, in folk song and balladry, and in the folk literature of other peoples, as the very voice of those peoples, it is indeed curious that a field so closely related as folk art should have remained so long unexplored. It is true that Schiller had already pointed the way in his essay “Ueber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung” (1795) when he conceived of “folk” as an organized unit and pointed out the distinction between that which originated directly from the soul of a people as the voice of nature over against that which is recognized as personal or individual art. But the words “folk” and “art” expressed concepts that remained in opposition to each other as long as art was looked upon as an individual achievement without any more immediate national, racial or sociological relationship. Until recently works on the history of art did not even include any consideration of folk art. Such exclusion was not due to any planned disregard but rather because of a lack of understanding. Since it took the form of applied art it was difficult to grasp its deeper significance. Also the fact that it receded so rapidly under the impact of our technical and industrial civilization was accepted as proof of its inferiority. However, in the last few decades we have acquired a better understanding of the nature and the origin of German folk art through the far-reaching discoveries archaeologists have made in the countries of northern Europe and particularly in the Scandinavian countries and northern Germany. There was a time when we only associated archaeology with Rome, Greece, Egypt and Asia Minor. Today a new world is revealed to us, that of our own remote northern European ancestors. We have had in consequence numerous interesting publication about the origins of the designs and symbols common to the folk art of the Germanic peoples. However they may vary from each other the consensus is that the principle of folk art, as of folklore and folk literature, is associative rather than logical thinking. We must consider folk art as a result and not a product, instinctive and communal. It is a living link in the long chain of a people’s social existence. Its inner nature is not determined by individual expression; the individual is only the medium or vehicle for the common expression of a people. It is impersonal and must remain folk-bound. It possesses a tenacious uniformity, allowing only diversity within the framework of such uniformity. That which gives it uniformity is the employment of certain age-old motifs or patterns. These motifs, antedating the recorded world, were the simple ideograms of our remotest ancestors. They held for succeeding generations a continuity of concepts which united them as a folk with their long past. If in the course of time racial or communal continuity should be broken by far-reaching social, religious, political or economic changes, folk art must of necessity languish and perish, which is what has happened to the folk art practiced by the Pennsylvania Germans.

Our study of Pennsylvania German tombstones is therefore confined to the years between 1750 and 1850, from the burials of the first pioneers down to the threshold of the new industrial era.

In the following pages we shall consider briefly those motifs that underlie and characterize German peasant art no matter how diversified such motifs may have become in the course of their manifestations in the folk art of the Pennsylvania Germans with special reference to that on their tombstones.

The Sun

Thou material God!
And representative of the Unknown,
Who chose thee for his shadow! Thou chief star!
Centre of many stars! — which mak’st our earth
Endurable, and temperest the hues
And hearts of all who walk within thy rays!
Sire of the seasons! Monarch of the climes,
And those who dwell in them!
BYRON: Manfred. Act III, Sc. 2.



For early man the sun was the hallowed force which affected his life from birth to death. It measured his days and years and the seasons of his years. Its warmth and light caused the earth to bring forth fruit and grain for his sustenance. Traces of sun worship are to be found among all the ancient civilizations and are the earliest evidences of religious expression. The Egyptians looked upon the sun as the creator of the universe and the source of all life. Heliopolis, city of the sun, was the center of their cult, from which it exerted far-reaching influence. Moses had found it necessary to exhort Israel: “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest unto the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship (Deu. 4:19). In Persia the sun cult of Mithras took deep root and even spread to Rome, where it became a rival of early Christianity.

But especially for our primitive pre-Christian ancestors in northern Europe, with its long winters and short summers, the greatest phenomenon in nature was the sun, and observation of its ever-recurring annual course across the sky was life’s profoundest experience. In the light of the warmth-giving sun Nordic man saw the manifestations of a benevolent Life-giver. Perhaps he too sensed the challenge that came to Job out of the whirlwind: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth: declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof? . . . Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place?” (Job 38:4-5 amd 12). The Druidic cromlech at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, and the numerous cromlechs and menhirs erected in the Bronze Age in Ireland and Brittany bear silent witness to the place the sun occupied in the spiritual life of primitive man. Caesar, on his invasions among the Germanic tribes, observed their reverence for the light- and warmth-giving sun. Tacitus, the Roman historian, records that the Teutons honored their gods invisibly. That Nordic man did not deify the sun in anthropomorphic form but expressed his reverence in the use of symbols is indicated on the rock writings in southern Sweden with their circles, sun-wheels and sun-chariots, and on the rock carvings of the Externsteine, an early center of the sun cult in the forest of Teutoburg in Westphalia; and especially in the ancient Roman quarries near Bad Dürkheim in the Palatinate, on the stone surfaces of which Teuton laborers employed by the Roman legions in the third century of the Christian era carved sun-wheels and swastikas. The study of these ancient monuments makes it clear that primitive man in northern Europe practiced heliolatry.

The moon played a less significant part in the lives of our primitive ancestors. They recognized that the course of the moon determined the months and the number of the months in the year. Their deep-seated belief in the influence of the moon upon the weather and upon their crops is still reflected in the lore and the customs of the Pennsylvania German people today, although symbols of the moon are of minor importance in their folk art (see pp. 55, 171).

p. 55

p. 55

p. 171; A waning moon with face done in rounded relief is the only adornment on this tombstone without date or inscription.

p. 171; A waning moon with face done in rounded relief is the only adornment on this tombstone without date or inscription.

It was the sun that remained paramount in the lives of the people of northern Europe. The annual course of the sun around the earth (apparently so), the directions of the heavens, North, South, East and West, the winter and the summer solstices, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, and the changing seasons that came with them, all these deeply stirred primitive man to express himself in signs that denote these changes. Circles, spoked wheels within circles, 6-point compass stars, spirals, radiating half- and quarter-suns, the Ur-bogen, these were letters in a sign language in which he expressed his adoration. In his own obscure way he beheld in the sun the glory and effulgence of Divinity. In the course of time he placed these signs upon the objects of his everyday life, upon the lintels of his doors, upon his beds and cradles, upon his barns and upon his tombstones as a benediction, a benison or invocation, yes, even as a defence or talisman against the powers of evil and darkness, just as many centuries later the cross of Christ also came to be used.

Let us consider briefly the most significant of these sun symbols.

The Swastika

The hooked cross, or swastika, is believed to be the oldest symbol of the Aryan race and at the same time the most widely spread of all sun symbols. It was revered as a sacred sign in India, China and Persia, three millenia before the Christian era. There are instances of it in the Stone and Bronze Ages. In Greece it occurs in the second millenium B.C. Heinrich Schliemann exhumed objects on the site of ancient Troy with this symbol upon them. It was known among the aborigines of pre-Columbian America. The early Christians used it as a mark of benediction presumably to disguise the true Christian cross. It is found both with rectangular arms of equal length and with curved arms. In later centuries it was often used in northern Europe as a talisman and placed on houses, barns and household objects invoking blessings or warding off evil. It is today the universally favored amulet or good-luck charm.

The name “swastika” is of Sanskrit origin and is derived from su, well and asti, being, with the suffix ka meaning “It is well” and implying resignation to things as they are.

The rounded, four-lobed whirling swastika is familiar to all of us as one of the two basic signs on our painted barns. However, the swastika, whether with four or more arms, is an uncommon symbol in Pennsylvania German folk art. One finds it occasionally on buttermoulds and waffle irons, but only rarely on tombstones (see p. 215).

p. 215; From a heart, under an arch with saw-tooth edge, springs a tree of life, primitive in design. Pendants of the two drooping branches are sun-wheels containing each a five-lobed swastika. This oldest and most universal of all sun symbols occurs infrequently on Pennsylvania German tombstones.

p. 215; From a heart, under an arch with saw-tooth edge, springs a tree of life, primitive in design. Pendants of the two drooping branches are sun-wheels containing each a five-lobed swastika. This oldest and most universal of all sun symbols occurs infrequently on Pennsylvania German tombstones.

The Six-Point Compass Star

Although less ancient in origin the six-point compass star is next to the swastika the most widely disseminated symbol. The writer has seen it on the temple steps of ancient Ephesus; on the heterogeneous panels inserted in the walls of the little Byzantine Metropole Church of Athens; on the bronze doors that open to the shrine of Eyoub Ensari, standard-bearer to Mohammed, on the Golden Horn at Istanbul; on an old outdoor bakeoven not far from where this is being written; on the walls of a new synagogue in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

In German folk art the swastika yielded in popularity to the six-point compass star centuries ago. One sees it everywhere, but especially in the Low Saxon area, in Lippe-Detmold and in the counties of Herford and Minden, on the beams of half-timber houses, on door lintels and farmyard gates, and on household furnishings. In conjunction with the heart it frequently decorates wedding gifts such as spoon holders, mangle woods and bridal chairs. Like the swastika it is frequently used as a benison or talisman.

Since its form is dependent upon the compass this design lends itself especially for use on flat surfaces and is rarely used in textiles and ceramics. Together with the whirling swastika it forms the two basic designs on our painted barns. It is of frequent occurrence on our tombstones (see pp. 153, 207).

p. 153; This rude fieldstone bears only the ancient sun symbol, the 6-point compass star within a circle, seen so frequently on Lehigh County Barns.

p. 153; This rude fieldstone bears only the ancient sun symbol, the 6-point compass star within a circle, seen so frequently on Lehigh County Barns.

p. 207; The most frequent design on the tombstones of the years approaching the middle of the 19th century is the 6-point compass star. It is the period when this popular sun symbol begins to appear on the painted barns of the Pennsylvania Germans.

p. 207; The most frequent design on the tombstones of the years approaching the middle of the 19th century is the 6-point compass star. It is the period when this popular sun symbol begins to appear on the painted barns of the Pennsylvania Germans.

The Spiral

The spiral occurs among the Bronze-Age rock writings of southern Sweden and has remained a favored sun symbol among the Indogermanic peoples of northern Europe. The peasant working in his fields from early morning until late evening, could not help but observe the movements of the sun, now rising each day further north and higher until the summer solstice, then reversing its course as it approached once more the winter solstice. For him the spiral would seem a natural symbol of the sun’s course. Although it occurs singly it is most frequently seen as two spirals joined in opposing movements and sometimes connected by a small arch, forming the so-called Brille or eye-glasses, common on the arches of Low Saxon farmyard gates. Of this latter the tombstone on page 39 may show a faint trace. For two opposing spirals representing the ascending and descending movements of the sun upon its annual course see pp. 63, 67, 93.

p. 63; Cherubic wings and sprays of tulips do not lessen the grimness of the death's head. Of special interest are the sun spirals at the foot of the stone.

p. 63; Cherubic wings and sprays of tulips do not lessen the grimness of the death’s head. Of special interest are the sun spirals at the foot of the stone.

p. 67; This elaborate tombstone, one of the most beautiful in our collection, has sun spirals, quarter-suns, a tree of life with entwining double trunk (wedded life?), confrontal roosters, symbols of fertility, topped with a quatrefoil sunburst, all within a Georgian architectural framework.

p. 67; This elaborate tombstone, one of the most beautiful in our collection, has sun spirals, quarter-suns, a tree of life with entwining double trunk (wedded life?), confrontal roosters, symbols of fertility, topped with a quatrefoil sunburst, all within a Georgian architectural framework.

p. 93; At the head of the stone a quatrefoil sunburst for which the stone-cutter seems to have had a preference. The upper half of the panel is adorned with a five-branched tree of life, free in treatment and again with drooping lower branches (cf. 89, 115, 181). Especially interesting are the spirals below an architectural detail in the lower half of the panel. Such spirals are common in the folk art of the Nordic races and are symbolical of the sun's journey from the winter solstice (when the earth is in aphelion) up to the summer solstice (perihelion) and its descending course in the second half of the year.

p. 93; At the head of the stone a quatrefoil sunburst for which the stone-cutter seems to have had a preference. The upper half of the panel is adorned with a five-branched tree of life, free in treatment and again with drooping lower branches (cf. 89, 115, 181). Especially interesting are the spirals below an architectural detail in the lower half of the panel. Such spirals are common in the folk art of the Nordic races and are symbolical of the sun’s journey from the winter solstice (when the earth is in aphelion) up to the summer solstice (perihelion) and its descending course in the second half of the year.

The Ur-Bogen

The descending arc that the sun describes against the sky as it approaches the winter solstice is known to German folklorists and archaeologists as the Ur-bogen. Its name derives from the Ur, the name of the second letter in the futhark, the runic alphabet. In shape it is associated with the horns of the Auerochs (the extinct bison of northern Europe). That the runes were used as signs and symbols before they functioned as letters is indicated in the Norse Eddas and the sagas. According to Herman Wirth (Die Heilige Schift der Menschheit, Leipzig, 1931) the Ur-arc is the most sacred symbol of the Nordic peoples and denotes the great mystery of creative life. To those living in other latitudes this idea may seem fantastic, but for the inhabitants of the extreme north the arc of the winter sun became daily smaller until finally it seemed to sink into the lap of Mother Earth. The Ur-bogen became identical with winter, earth’s season of barrenness and death. But now the people rejoiced and celebrated their Holy Nights (it is interesting to note that Weihnachten, the German for Christmas, is a plural noun), for, in the words of the poet, “When Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” It was the time of the winter solstice. Now the sun would be reborn from out of Mother Earth. It would rise daily higher against the sky and shed its increasing light and heat. Mother Earth would once more bring forth her fruits to gladden the heart of man.

Even though this aspect of the sun changed for those of the Indogermanic tribes that migrated southward the symbol remained firmly fixed in their traditions. The Ur-bogen is common in German folk art, but occurs less frequently in Pennsylvania, where it is usually presented with a tree of life growing from it. A beautiful example is on the tombstone shown on p. 117, but see also pp. 75, 111.

p. 117; The reverse side of this tombstone shows a very effective use of the arc of the winter solstice, the ur-bogen (see Introd.), found quite frequently in Pennsylvania German folk art.

p. 117; The reverse side of this tombstone shows a very effective use of the arc of the winter solstice, the ur-bogen (see Introd.), found quite frequently in Pennsylvania German folk art.

p. 75; The decorations shown here are on the reverse side of the tombstone. Observe the lower 6-point compass star within a circle as sun symbol. On either side is a tree-of-life motif, a tulip growing out of the ancient sun arc, or ur-bogen, with diamond-shaped stem. The diamond occurs frequently in illuminations as an age-old symbol of the birth-giving feminine. From out of the heart, also a symbol of motherhood, grows a tulip.

p. 75; The decorations shown here are on the reverse side of the tombstone. Observe the lower 6-point compass star within a circle as sun symbol. On either side is a tree-of-life motif, a tulip growing out of the ancient sun arc, or ur-bogen, with diamond-shaped stem. The diamond occurs frequently in illuminations as an age-old symbol of the birth-giving feminine. From out of the heart, also a symbol of motherhood, grows a tulip.

p. 111; The illustration shows only the simple design under the arch at its head. It consists of three trees of life, each growing out of the ur-bogen, or lowest arc the sun describes against the sky at the time of the winter solstice, thence to rise upon its new course.

p. 111; The illustration shows only the simple design under the arch at its head. It consists of three trees of life, each growing out of the ur-bogen, or lowest arc the sun describes against the sky at the time of the winter solstice, thence to rise upon its new course.

The original significance of the Ur-bogen has become obscured, but in modern times it still lingers tenaciously in the superstition of the horseshoe as a bringer of good luck. Who on finding a horseshoe will not pick it up and place it over the door of his house barn or garage with an inescapable feeling that it is well to do so? But be sure to place it arch-upward!


Dr. Carl Gustav Jung: The Wotan Essay


by Dr. C.G. Jung

En Germanie naistront diverses sectes,
S’approchans fort de l’heureux paganisme:
Le coeur captif et petites receptes
Feront retour a payer la vraye disme.

[In Germany Shall diverse sects arise,
Coming very near to happy paganism.
The heart captivated and small receivings
Shall open the gate to pay the true tithe.]

—Propheties De Maistre Michel Nostradamus, 1555

When we look back to the time before 1914, we find ourselves living in a world of events which would have been inconceivable before the war. We were even beginning to regard war between civilized nations as a fable, thinking that such an absurdity would become less and less possible on our rational, internationally organized world. And what came after the war was a veritable witches’ sabbath. Everywhere fantastic revolutions, violent alterations of the map, reversions in politics to medieval or even antique prototypes, totalitarian states that engulf their neighbours and outdo all previous theocracies in their absolutist claims, persecutions of Christians and Jews, wholesale political murder, and finally we have witnessed a light-hearted piratical raid on a peaceful, half-civilized people.

With such goings on in the wide world it is not in the least surprising that there should be equally curious manifestations on a smaller scale in other spheres. In the realm of philosophy we shall have to wait some time before anyone is able to assess the kind of age we are living in. But in the sphere of religion we can see at once that some very significant things have been happening. We need feel no surprise that in Russia the colourful splendours of the Eastern Orthodox Church have been superseded by the Movement of the Godless — indeed, one breathed a sigh of relief oneself when one emerged from the haze of an Orthodox church with its multitude of lamps and entered an honest mosque, where the sublime and invisible omnipresence of God was not crowded out by a superfluity of sacred paraphernalia. Tasteless and pitiably unintelligent as it is, and however deplorable the low spiritual level of the “scientific” reaction, it was inevitable that nineteenth-century “scientific” enlightenment should one day dawn in Russia.

But what is more than curious — indeed, piquant to a degree — is that an ancient god of storm and frenzy, the long quiescent Wotan, should awake, like an extinct volcano, to new activity, in a civilized country that had long been supposed to have outgrown the Middle Ages. We have seen him come to life in the German Youth Movement, and right at the beginning the blood of several sheep was shed in honour of his resurrection. Armed with rucksack and lute, blond youths, and sometimes girls as well, were to be seen as restless wanderers on every road from the North Cape to Sicily, faithful votaries of the roving god. Later, towards the end of the Weimar Republic, the wandering role was taken over by thousands of unemployed, who were to be met with everywhere on their aimless journeys. By 1933 they wandered no longer, butmarched in their hundreds of thousands. The Hitler movement literally brought the whole of Germany to its feet, from five-year-olds to veterans, and produced a spectacle of a nation migrating from one place to another. Wotan the wanderer was on the move. He could be seen, looking rather shamefaced, in the meeting-house of a sect of simple folk in North Germany, disguised as Christ sitting on a white horse. I do not know if these people were aware of Wotan’s ancient connection with the figures of Christ and Dionysus, but it is not very probable.

Wotan is a restless wanderer who creates unrest and stirs up strife, now here, now there, and works magic. He was soon changed by Christianity into the devil, and only lived on in fading local traditions as a ghostly hunter who was seen with his retinue, flickering like a will o’ the wisp through the stormy night. In the Middle Ages the role of the restless wanderer was taken over by Ahasuerus, the Wandering Jew, which is not a Jewish but a Christian legend. The motif of the wanderer who has not accepted Christ was projected on the Jews, in the same way as we always rediscover our unconscious psychic contents in other people. At any rate the coincidence of anti-Semitism with the reawakening of Wotan is a psychological subtlety that may perhaps be worth mentioning.

The German youths who celebrated the solstice with sheep-sacrifices were not the first to hear the rustling in the primeval forest of the unconsciousness. They were anticipated by Nietzsche, Schuler, Stefan George, and Ludwig Klages. The literary tradition of the Rhineland and the country south of the Main has a classical stamp that cannot easily be got rid of; every interpretation of intoxication and exuberance is apt to be taken back to classical models, to Dionysus, to the puer aeternus and the cosmogonic Eros. No doubt it sounds better to academic ears to interpret these things as Dionysus, but Wotan might be a more correct interpretation. He is the god of storm and frenzy, the unleasher of passions and the lust of battle; moreover he is a superlative magician and artist in illusion who is versed in all secrets of an occult nature.

Nietzsche’s case is certainly a peculiar one. He had no knowledge of Germanic literature; he discovered the “cultural Philistine”; and the announcement that “God is dead” led to Zarathustra’s meeting with an unknown god in unexpected form, who approached him sometimes as an enemy and sometimes disguised as Zarathustra himself. Zarathustra, too, was a soothsayer, a magician, and the storm-wind:

And like a wind shall I come to blow among them, and with my spirit shall take away the breath of their spirit; thus my future will sit. Truly, a strong wind is Zarathustra to all that are low; and this counsel gives he to his enemies and to all that spit and spew: “Beware of spitting against the wind.”

And when Zarathustra dreamed that he was guardian of the graves in the “lone mountain fortress of death,” and was making amighty effort to open the gates, suddenly

A roaring wind tore the gates asunder; whistling, shrieking, and keening, it cast a black coffin before me. And amid the roaring and whistling and shrieking the coffin burst open and spouted a thousand peals of laughter.

The disciple who interpreted the dream said to Zarathustra:

Are you not yourself the wind with shrill whistling, which bursts open the gates of the fortress of death? Are you not yourself the coffin filled with life’s gay malice and angel-grimaces?

In 1863 or 1864, in his poem To the Unknown God, Nietzsche had written:

 I shall and will know thee, Unknown One,
Who searchest out the depths of my soul,
And blowest through my life like a storm,
Ungraspable, and yet my kinsman!
I shall and will know thee, and serve thee.

Twenty years later, in his Mistral Song, he wrote:

Mistral wind, chaser of clouds,
Killer of gloom, sweeper of the skies,
Raging storm-wind, how I love thee!
And we are not both the first-fruits
Of the same womb, forever predestined
To the same fate?

In the dithyramb known as Ariadne’s Lament, Nietzsche is completely the victim of the hunter-god:

Stretched out, shuddering,
Like a half-dead thing whose feet are warmed,
Shaken by unknown fevers,
Shivering with piercing icy frost arrows,
Hunted by thee, O thought,
Unutterable! Veiled! horrible one!
Thou huntsman behind the cloud.
Struck down by thy lightning bolt,
Thou mocking eye that stares at me from the dark!
Thus I lie.
Writhing, twisting, tormented
With all eternal tortures,
By thee, cruel huntsman,
Thou unknown — God!

This remarkable image of the hunter-god is not a mere dithyrambic figure of speech but is based on an experience which Nietzsche had when he was fifteen years old, at Pforta. It is described in a book by Nietzsche’s sister, Elizabeth Foerster-Nietzsche. As he was wandering about in a gloomy wood at night, he was terrified by a “blood-curdling shriek from a neighbouring lunatic asylum,” and soon afterwards he came face to face with a huntsman whose “features were wild and uncanny.” Setting his whistle to his lips “in a valley surrounded by wild scrub,” the huntsman “blew such a shrill blast” that Nietzsche lost consciousness– but woke up again in Pforta. It was a nightmare. It is significant that in his dream Nietzsche, who in reality intended to go to Eisleben, Luther’s town, discussed with the huntsman the question of going instead to”Teutschenthal” (Valley of the Germans). No one with ears can misunderstand the shrill whistling of the storm-god in the nocturnal wood.

Was it really only the classical philologist in Nietzsche that led to the god being called Dionysus instead of Wotan — or was it perhaps due to his fateful meeting with Wagner?

In his Reich ohne Raum, which was first published in 1919, Bruno Goetz saw the secret of coming events in Germany in the form of a very strange vision. I have never forgotten this little book, for it struck meat the time as a forecast of the German weather. It anticipates the conflict between the realm of ideas and life, between Wotan’s dual nature as a god of storm and a god of secret musings. Wotan disappeared when his oaks fell and appeared again when the Christian God proved too weak to save Christendom from fratricidal slaughter. When the Holy Father at Rome could only impotently lament before God the fate of the grex segregatus, the one-eyed old hunter, on the edge of the German forest, laughed and saddled Sleipnir.

We are always convinced that the modern world is a reasonable world, basing our opinion on economic, political, and psychological factors. But if we may forget for a moment that we are living in the year of Our Lord 1936, and, laying aside our well-meaning, all-too-human reasonableness, may burden God or the gods with the responsibility for contemporary events instead of man, we would find Wotan quite suitable as a casual hypothesis. In fact, I venture the heretical suggestion that the unfathomable depths of Wotan’s character explain more of National Socialism than all three reasonable factors put together. There is no doubt that each of these factors explains an important aspect of what is going on in Germany, but Wotan explains yet more. He is particularly enlightening in regard to a general phenomenon which is so strange to anybody not a German that it remains incomprehensible, even after the deepest reflection.

Perhaps we may sum up this general phenomenon as Ergriffenheit — a state of being seized or possessed. The term postulates not only an Ergriffener (one who is seized) but, also, an Ergreifer (one who seizes). Wotan is an Ergreifer of men, and, unless one wishes to deify Hitler– which has indeed actually happened — he is really the only explanation. It is true that Wotan shares this quality with his cousin Dionysus, but Dionysus seems to have exercised his influence mainly on women. The maenads were a species of female storm-troopers, and, according to mythical reports, were dangerous enough. Wotan confined himself to the berserkers, who found their vocation as the Blackshirts of mythical kings.

A mind that is still childish thinks of the gods as metaphysical entities existing in their own right, or else regards them as playful or superstitious inventions. From either point of view the parallel between Wotan redivivus and the social, political and psychic storm that is shaking Germany might have at least the value of a parable. But since the gods are without doubt personifications of psychic forces, to assert their metaphysical existence is as much an intellectual presumption as the opinion that they could ever be invented. Not that “psychic forces” have anything to do with the conscious mind, fond as we are of playing with the idea that consciousness and psyche are identical. This is only another piece of intellectual presumption. “Psychic forces” have far more to do with the realm of the unconscious. Our mania for rational explanations obviously has its roots in our fear of metaphysics, for the two were always hostile brothers. Hence, anything unexpected that approaches us from the dark realm is regarded either as coming from outside and, therefore, as real, or else as an hallucination and, therefore, not true. The idea that anything could be real or true which does not come from outside has hardly begun to dawn on contemporary man.

For the sake of better understanding and to avoid prejudice, we could of course dispense with the name “Wotan” and speak instead of the Furor Teutonicus. But we should only be saying the same thing and not as well, for the furor in this case is a mere psychologizing of Wotan and tells us no more than that the Germans are in a state of “fury.” We thus lose sight of the most peculiar feature of this whole phenomenon, namely, the dramatic aspect of the Ergreifer and the Ergriffener. The impressive thing about the German phenomenon is that one man, who is obviously “possessed,” has infected a whole nation to such an extent that everything is set in motion and has started rolling on its course towards perdition.

It seems to me that Wotan hits the mark as an hypothesis. Apparently he really was only asleep in the Kyffhauser mountain until the ravens called him and announced the break of day. He is a fundamental attribute of the German psyche, an irrational psychic factor which acts on the high pressure of civilization like a cyclone and blows it away. Despite their crankiness, the Wotan-worshippers seem to have judged things more correctly than the worshippers of reason. Apparently everyone had forgotten that Wotan is a Germanic datum of first importance, the truest expression and unsurpassed personification of a fundamental quality that is particularly characteristic of the Germans. Houston Stewart Chamberlain is a symptom which arouses suspicion that other veiled gods may be sleeping elsewhere. The emphasis on the Germanic race — commonly called “Aryan” — the Germanic heritage, blood and soil, the Wagalaweia songs, the ride of the Valkyries, Jesus as a blond and blue-eyed hero, the Greek mother of St Paul, the devil as an international Alberich in Jewish or Masonic guise, the Nordic aurora borealis as the light of civilization, the inferior Mediterranean races — all this is the indispensable scenery for the drama that is taking place and at the bottom they all mean the same thing: a god has taken possession of the Germans and their house is filled with a “mighty rushing wind.” It was soon after Hitler seized power, if I am not mistaken, that a cartoon appeared in Punch of a raving berserker tearing himself free from his bonds. A hurricane has broken loose in Germany while we still believe it is fine weather.

Things are comparatively quiet in Switzerland, though occasionally there is a puff of wind from the north or south. Sometimes it has a slightly ominous sound, sometimes it whispers so harmlessly or even idealistically that no one is alarmed. “Let the sleeping dogs lie” –we manage to get along pretty well with this proverbial wisdom. It is sometimes said that the Swiss are singularly averse to making a problem of themselves. I must rebut this accusation: the Swiss do have their problems, but they would not admit it for anything in the world, even though they see which way the wind is blowing. We thus pay our tribute to the time of storm and stress in Germany, but we never mention it, and this enables us to feel vastly superior.

It is above all the Germans who have an opportunity, perhaps unique in history, to look into their own hearts and to learn what those perils of the soul were from which Christianity tried to rescue mankind. Germany is a land of spiritual catastrophes, where nature never makes more than a pretense of peace with the world-ruling reason. The disturber of the peace is a wind that blows into Europe from Asia’s vastness, sweeping in on a wide front from Thrace to the Baltic, scattering the nations before it like dry leaves. or inspiring thoughts that shake the world to its foundations. It is an elemental Dionysus breaking into the Apollonian order. The rouser of this tempest is named Wotan, and we can learn a good deal about him from the political confusion and spiritual upheaval he has caused throughout history. For a more exact investigation of his character, however, we must go back to the age of myths, which did not explain everything in terms of man and his limited capacities, but sought the deeper cause in the psyche and its autonomous powers. Man’s earliest intuitions personified these powers as gods, and described them in the myths with great care and circumstantiality according to their various characters. This could be done the more readily on account of the firmly established primordial types or images which are innate in the unconscious of many races and exercise a direct influence upon them. Because the behavior of a race takes on its specific character from its underlying images, we can speak of an archetype “Wotan.” As an autonomous psychic factor, Wotan produces effects in the collective life of a people and thereby reveals his own nature. For Wotan has a peculiar biology of his own, quite apart from the nature of man. It is only from time to time that individuals fall under the irresistible influence of this unconscious factor. When it is quiescent, one is no more aware of the archetype Wotan than of a latent epilepsy. Could the Germans who were adults in 1914 have foreseen what they would be today? Such amazing transformations are the effect of the god of wind, that “bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth.” It seizes everything in its path and overthrows everything that is not firmly rooted. When the wind blows it shakes everything that is insecure, whether without or within.

Martin Ninck has recently published a monograph which is a most welcome addition to our knowledge of Wotan’s nature. The reader need not fear that this book is nothing but a scientific study written with academic aloofness from the subject. Certainly the right to scientific objectivity is fully preserved, and the material has been collected with extraordinary thoroughness and presented in unusually clear form. But, over and above all this, one feels that the author is vitally interested in it, that the chord of Wotan is vibrating in him, too. This is no criticism — on the contrary, it is one of the chief merits of the book, which without this enthusiasm might easily have degenerated into a tedious catalogue. Ninck sketches a really magnificent portrait of the German archetype Wotan. He describes him in ten chapters, using all the available sources, as the berserker, the god of storm, the wanderer, the warrior, the Wunsch- and Minne-god, the lord of the dead and of the Einherjar, the master of secret knowledge, the magician, and the god of the poets. Neither the Valkyries nor the Fylgja are forgotten, for they form part of the mythological background and fateful significance of Wotan. Ninck’s inquiry into the name and its origin is particularly instructive. He shows that Wotan is not only a god of rage and frenzy who embodies the instinctual and emotion aspect of the unconscious. Its intuitive and inspiring side, also, manifests itself in him, for he understands the runes and can interpret fate.

The Romans identified Wotan with Mercury, but his character does not really correspond to any Roman or Greek god, although there are certain resemblances. He is a wanderer like Mercury, for instance, he rules over the dead like Pluto and Kronos, and is connected with Dionysus by his emotional frenzy, particularly in its mantic aspect. It is surprising that Ninck does not mention Hermes, the god of revelation, who as pneuma and nous is associated with the wind. He would be the connecting-link with the Christian pneuma and the miracle of Pentecost. As Poimandres (the shepherd of men), Hermes is an Ergreifer like Wotan. Ninck rightly points out that Dionysus and the other Greek gods always remained under the supreme authority of Zeus, which indicates a fundamental difference between the Greek and the Germanic temperament. Ninck assumes an inner affinity between Wotan and Kronus, and the latter’s defeat may perhaps be a sign that the Wotan-archetype was once overcome and split up in prehistoric times. At all events, the Germanic god represents a totality on a very primitive level, a psychological condition in which man’s will was almost identical with the god’s and entirely at his mercy. But the Greeks had gods who helped man against other gods; indeed, All-Father Zeus himself is not far from the ideal of a benevolent, enlightened despot.

It was not in Wotan’s nature to linger on and show signs of old age. He simply disappeared when the times turned against him, and remained invisible for more than a thousand years, working anonymously and indirectly. Archetypes are like riverbeds which dry up when the water deserts them, but which it can find again at any time. An archetype is like an old watercourse along which the water of life has flowed for centuries, digging a deep channel for itself. The longer it has flowed in this channel the more likely it is that sooner or later the water will return to its old bed. The life of the individual as a member of society and particularly as a part of the State maybe regulated like a canal, but the life of nations is a great rushing river which is utterly beyond human control, in the hands of One who has always been stronger than men. The League of Nations, which was supposed to possess supranational authority, is regarded by some as a child in need of care and protection, by others as an abortion. Thus, the life of nations rolls on unchecked, without guidance, unconscious of where it is going, like a rock crashing down the side of a hill, until it is stopped by an obstacle stronger than itself. Political events move from one impasse to the next, like a torrent caught in gullies, creeks and marshes. All human control comes to an end when the individual is caught in a mass movement. Then, the archetypes begin to function, as happens, also, in the lives of individuals when they are confronted with situations that cannot be dealt with in any of the familiar ways. But what a so-called Fuhrer does with a mass movement can plainly be seen if we turn our eyes to the north or south of our country.

The ruling archetype does not remain the same forever, as is evident from the temporal limitations that have been set to the hoped-for reign of peace, the “thousand-year Reich.” The Mediterranean father-archetype of the just, order-loving, benevolent ruler had been shattered over the whole of northern Europe, as the present fate of the Christian Churches bears witness. Fascism in Italy and the civil war in Spain show that in the south as well the cataclysm has been far greater than one expected. Even the Catholic Church can no longer afford trials of strength.

The nationalist God has attacked Christianity on abroad front. In Russia, he is called technology and science, in Italy, Duce, and in Germany, “German Faith,” “German Christianity,” or the State. The “German Christians” are a contradiction in terms and would do better to join Hauer’s “German Faith Movement.” These are decent and well-meaning people who honestly admit their Ergriffenheit and try to come to terms with this new and undeniable fact. They go to an enormous amount of trouble to make it look less alarming by dressing it up in a conciliatory historical garb and giving us consoling glimpses of great figures such as Meister Eckhart, who was, also, a German and, also, ergriffen. In this way the awkward question of who the Ergreifer is is circumvented. He was always”God.” But the more Hauer restricts the world-wide sphere of Indo-European culture to the “Nordic” in general and to the Edda in particular, and the more “German” this faith becomes as a manifestation of Ergriffenheit, the more painfully evident it is that the”German” god is the god of the Germans.

One cannot read Hauer’s book without emotion, if one regards it as the tragic and really heroic effort of a conscientious scholar who, without knowing how it happened to him, was violently summoned by the inaudible voice of the Ergreifer and is now trying with all his might, and with all his knowledge and ability, to build a bridge between the dark forces of life and the shining world of historical ideas. But what do all the beauties of the past from totally different levels of culture mean to the man of today, when confronted with a living and unfathomable tribal god such as he has never experienced before? They are sucked like dry leaves into the roaring whirlwind, and the rhythmic alliterations of the Edda became inextricably mixed up with Christian mystical texts, German poetry and the wisdom of the Upanishads. Hauer himself is ergriffen by the depths of meaning in the primal words lying at the root of the Germanic languages, to an extent that he certainly never knew before. Hauer the Indologist is not to blame for this, nor yet the Edda; it is rather the fault of kairos — the present moment in time — whose name on closer investigation turns out to be Wotan. I would, therefore, advise the German Faith Movement to throw aside their scruples. Intelligent people who will not confuse them with the crude Wotan-worshippers whose faith is a mere pretense. There are people in the German Faith Movement who are intelligent enough not only to believe, but to know, that the god of the Germans is Wotan and not the Christian God. This is a tragic experience and no disgrace. It has always been terrible to fall into the hands of a living god. Yahweh was no exception to this rule, and the Philistines, Edomites, Amorites and the rest, who were outside the Yahweh experience, must certainly have found it exceedingly disagreeable. The Semitic experience of Allah was for a long time an extremely painful affair for the whole of Christendom. We who stand outside judge the Germans far too much, as if they were responsible agents, but perhaps it would be nearer the truth to regard them, also, as victims.

If we apply are admittedly peculiar point of view consistently, we are driven to conclude that Wotan must, in time, reveal not only the restless, violent, stormy side of his character, but, also, his ecstatic and mantic qualities — a very different aspect of his nature. If this conclusion is correct, National Socialism would not be the last word. Things must be concealed in the background which we cannot imagine at present, but we may expect them to appear in the course of the next few years or decades. Wotan’s reawakening is a stepping back into the past; the stream was damned up and has broken into its old channel. But the Obstruction will not last forever; it is rather a reculer pour mieux sauter, and the water will overleap the obstacle. Then, at last, we shall know what Wotan is saying when he “murmers with Mimir’s head.”

Fast move the sons of Mim, and fate
Is heard in the note of the Gjallarhorn;
Loud blows Heimdall, the horn is aloft,
In fear quake all who on Hel-roads are.
Yggdrasill shakes and shivers on high
The ancient limbs, and the giant is loose;
Wotan murmurs with Mimir’s head
But the kinsman of Surt shall slay him soon.

How fare the gods? how fare the elves?
All Jotunheim groans, the gods are at council;
Loud roar the dwarfs by the doors of stone,
The masters of the rocks: would you know yet more?

Now Garm howls loud before Gnipahellir;
The fetters will burst, and the wolf run free;
Much I do know, and more can see
Of the fate of the gods, the mighty in fight.

From the east comes Hrym with shield held high;
In giant-wrath does the serpent writhe;
O’er the waves he twists, and the tawny eagle
Gnaws corpses screaming; Naglfar is loose.

O’er the sea from the north there sails a ship
With the people of Hel, at the helm stands Loki;
After the wolf do wild men follow,
And with them the brother of Byleist goes.

[First published as WOTAN, Neue Schweizer Rundschau (Zurich). n.s., III

(March, 1936), 657-69. Republished in AUFSATZE ZUR ZEITGESCHICHTE
(Zurich, 1946), 1-23. Trans. by Barbara Hannah in ESSAYS ON CONTEMPORARY
EVENTS (London, 1947), 1-16; this version has been consulted.

Motto, trans. by H.C. Roberts:

“In Germany Shall diverse sects arise,
Coming very near to happy paganism.
The heart captivated and small receivings
Shall open the gate to pay the true tithe.” ]