Cóndor’s Sangreal and the Greater Holy War


Johan P., Sweden, Octobre 2016.

Cóndor’s work Sangreal opens with an immense piece that not only represents the sound and method of the band most accurately than any of the others, but which eclipses the totality of their work, past and present.  It signals the opening of a path promised to those who have become, as the lyrics say, “worthy of the forests and rivers”1.  The rest of the album flows from that liberating trial and its triumphant outcome; not the work that many expected, though perhaps the one that could better express the composer’s aural apprehension of the theme under exposition.

The magnificent piece that bears the name of the whole work, ‘Sangreal’, is one of those works of art which is made immortal by virtue of its elemental purity and its going beyond its own conscious vision, however relatable to the composer’s own artistic evolution it may be when seen from a distance and broadly analyzed in terms of style.  This self-surpassing is only achievable through experience —through action2, and is thus beyond the reach of rationalizations unassisted by a knowing that may only come about when such reflexions are directed at a long-lasting participation as well as a refined and scholarly study3.

O mond nòu,
Te liuri la miá vida,
Mas cèrqui en la miá alma
Lo San Sangreal.

The search for the Holy Grail has been vulgarized and therefore been misunderstood like many other ideas that are but remnants of ancient Traditional cosmovisions.  It is arrogantly assumed that the urges and ways of seeing life that belong to Westernized and globalized modernity have been constant throughout the existence of human beings.  This is the same error that lies at the very foundation of modern theories on human history and sociology, which see in their own temporal and particular predicament, which is a result of their own times and being, a necessary correspondence with those of people whose experience is far removed from ours.

§ The Crusades

“Western diplomats and politicians are careful to avoid any mention of the medieval crusades around Muslim leaders, lest they appear insensitive or conjure up memories of the harm done by the medieval holy wars against them. Unfortunately, these sentiments and approaches are fueled on both sides by an extremely weak understanding of the actual crusades or the medieval world in which they flourished. As a result, decisions—sometimes tragic decisions—are made based on deeply flawed concepts of history.”

—Thomas F. Madden, The Concise History of the Crusades, Preface

Although we will discuss certain concepts pertaining The Crusades from the point of view of a relatively balanced historian, it should not be assumed, therefore, that the argument will run towards a political favoritism.  The intention is to hereby provide a background to the equally important questions of spirituality behind the minds of true warriors, whether educated or not, who see meaning and purpose in fight.  To set up an even ground, however, it is important to correct some of the popular misunderstandings that have arisen as part of the wave of explicit anti-European sentiment that certain agents have been actively promoting.

There are two main issues that should be cleared up first.  These are two blatantly disingenuous assumptions that have been propagated with dubious intent over the masses who live in ignorance about the comparison and relationship between Islam, Christianity and post-Enlightenment thought.  The first is the idea that the Christian world in their European greed, attacked the lands of Islam, “the religion of peace”, in order to rape and loot —because that’s just how wicked they were.  The second is more the result of extreme narrow-mindedness and arrogance, and it consists in the belief that religious beliefs are simply not worth fighting for, as opposed to modern secular ideologies or nations, depending on who you ask.

With respect to the first of these, it should be pointed out that Christianity did not acquire a political dimension to it, not to mention a warlike one, until it was adopted and fused with the Roman Empire.  That Christianity is fundamentally and truly a religion of peace can be glimpsed from the New Testament.  Even when wielding war became a necessary consideration for Christianity, the often misunderstood (by those who would read his words in odious passing) Saint Augustine emphatically warned that even though such a concept as a Holy War could be summoned, it should definitely not be used for conversion or expansion of Christianity.  That his word was not heeded or that there were truly greedy and manipulative leaders who used Christianity for their aims is whole different story.

¡Qué ingeniosos y hábiles tuvieron que ser los dioses para engañarnos!
Rápidos, estrepitosos y furtivos,
hablando siempre en su lengua extraña.
¡Qué incierta era su música, qué incierto su desconsuelo!
¿Cómo fue que nos engañaron y olvidaron su presencia?

Islam, on the other hand, started off as a fusion of the religious and the political.  It was the prophet himself who served literally as a first spiritual, military and political leader for the Muslim world.  He, unlike Jesus, did wield a sword, not to protect his people from outside aggressors, but to expand his influence through warlike activity.   The present intention is not to disparage Islam, but to bring facts to the table.

The reader is reminded that by the time of Pope Urban II’s call for a first crusade in 1096, Islam had already invaded the Iberian peninsula in 711 and had been forcefully stopped by the Franks as they attempted to continue their armed conquest of Europe.  Muslims had already attempted to conquer Sicily. Islam had, furthermore, been in a tug of war with the Byzantine Empire (Roman Eastern) since 780 in a series of conflicts initiated by Muslim religious-political expansion.  To even think that Pope Urban II’s call for a Holy War was uncalled for or based on greed is to ignore hundreds of years of heavy Muslim aggression against Europe. This is not one side of history being imposed on an audience with no other source (as is the case with the fraudulent history of the World Wars of the twentieth century), these are facts corroborated in a glorious manner by Muslims themselves.

Believing that modern constructions of value are more accurate than those of the past is a singular mental malady of the modern world, and very few people are able to challenge it, even “educated” people.  In fact, it is especially college educated people who tend to have a narrow and inviolable conception of the superiority of modernity.  Many of the people who live closer to actual life and strife tend to believe in something more diffuse and organic that is not found in the books of intellectuals.

“By way of introduction I will argue that no idea is as absurd as the idea of progress, which together with its corollary notion of the superiority of modern civilization, has created its own ‘positive’ alibis by falsifying history, by insinuating harmful myths in people’s minds, and by proclaiming itself sovereign at the crossroads of the plebeian ideology from which it originated. (…) Our contemporaries must truly have become blind if they really thought they could measure everything by their standards and consider their own civilization as privileged, as the one to which the history of the world was preordained and outside of which there is nothing but barbarism, darkness, and superstition.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Foreword

Most modern ideology and morality is based on the idea that materialism and utilitarianism lead to the real.  That if we believe that having more of everything is good, as in consumerist culture, than surely that was the prevalent thought for any human being in the past.  The idea is that in the end, we are all just little animals trying to amass fortune and seek a material satisfaction that people nowadays call “happiness”.  It is assumed that we all have a merchant’s mentality, and that this is singly the best and most appropriate way of seeing reality.  In truth, this merchant’s way is only one possibility with no objective claim to superiority, and it is what would eventually become secular ideology in modern states that exist, not for the improvement of mankind, but simply to maintain a certain status quo while the population is distracted.

At the time of the Crusades, however, Europe, though covered by an aristocratic mantle of Christian domination, was still highly pagan, highly European, and it still upheld the spiritual and the noble as the most important.  Although, like any large series of interrelated historical events, the Crusades were infected by manipulation inspired by material greed, they were primordially motivated and based on spiritual and metaphysical principles.  While today many an American soldier will vow to die for his country and liberty although those are simply artificial constructs, in the past, people would die for their spiritual beliefs.  This all depends on what is the single defining feature of ones existence.  For industrialist secular modernity, it is its people’s right to be whatever they want to be in their imaginations, and to keep buying flat screen T.V.s and hamburgers; for aristocratic medieval Europe, it was the protection of the space where they existed as an encroaching enemy grew a step a time, which they accomplished by creating a goal out of the liberation of the Holy Land.

Vi que el camino era largo
Largo el camino a tierra santa.
Ondulaban los montes soberbios
Como mi ánimo altivo.

Me acechaba la muerte,
Muerte en tierra santa.

§ The Greater Holy War

“The greater holy war is of an inner and spiritual nature; the other is the material war waged against an enemy population.”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 17: ‘The Greater and the Lesser Holy War’

One of the greatest tragedies of modern secular society is the complete loss of meaning along with a sundering of spiritual (not necessarily implying religiosity) values from the sphere of action.  In the traditional world, the material was considered secondary to the spiritual, not because they were delusional, but because that was the chain of meaning-giving that was sustained back then.  Today, the mental, the spiritual, the psychological, are somehow seen as contingent to the physical, even though verbally and unofficially even the most rationalist scholar will acknowledge the utmost importance of will, inspiration and discipline over any material means when it comes to achievement.

Noche mía, me has seguido.
Has cruzado conmigo los mares,
Burlado las trampas del tiempo.

La luz que enferma los ojos y
Quema las manos,
Te ha buscado entre frías estrellas.

Pero ahí nunca estarás:
Estás en la sangre que baña mi espada y
La sangre que corre en mis venas.

The reigning paradigm of that ever-fading past (already blurry and degraded in the Middle Ages) afforded a supernatural effect or connection to every single action.  What was done on one plane was considered to affect several others.  A rationalist explanation to this will limit such spheres to the different mental planes that the best of psychology and physiology has discovered in the human being, but these basically define reality as the human being perceives it.  That is, they are not precisely less important or less real than the physical, but simply another aspect of the human experience.

Given this balance and system of correspondences, actions were seen as imbued with spiritual meaning, and certain signs in the environment, impressions, inspirations, were seen as directly connected to a physical reality at some point in time (that is, something that had happened, that was happening, or was going to happen).  The modern secularist ignoramus will be quick to point this out as a superstition, but it is only superstition when coupled with a poor understanding.  Behind it all is the idea of paying attention to everything and all kinds of inputs in a universe where all events are linked at and across any sphere/level.

“The ‘experience of nature’ as it is understood by modern man, namely, as a lyrical, subjectivist pathos awoken in the sentiments of the individual at the sight of nature, was almost entirely absent in traditional man.  Before the high and snowy peaks, the silence of the woods, the flowing of the rivers, mysterious caves, and so on, traditional man did not have poetic and subjective impressions typical of a romantic soul, but rather real sensations —even though at times confused—of the supernatural, of the powers (numina) that permeated those places”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 19: ‘Space, Time, the Earth’

Furthermore, the free will that humans boasted of could be used to direct their experience through trials of different kinds which resulted in inner as well as outer transformations.  That is, not only would the actions result in physical changes in “reality” but they would also result in spiritual changes.  Modern psychology has no problem in acknowledging that trying situations will have deep mental and emotional effects on the individual who goes through them, yet this ancient view is still reprimanded and seen as quaint.  It must be said that despite these popular and official apprehensions, high achievers in any field maintain these philosophies even if only at a practical level and without a deeper understanding of their nature.

“The external vicissitudes experienced during a military campaign cause the inner ‘enemy’ to emerge and to put up a fierce resistance and a good fight in the form of the animalistic instincts of self-preservation, fear, inertia, compassion, or other passions”

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 17: ‘The Greater and the Lesser Holy War’

This concept was latent in the Aryan traditions going back to India as they are portrayed in the Bhagavad Gita.  It was understood and underscored by medieval Europe.  It was explicitly instated in Islamic doctrine which made a distinction between two holy wars: el-jihadul-akbar and el-jihadul-ashgar; the greater and the lesser holy wars, respectively.  The secularized forms of Islam that attempt to erase all signs of war-mongering from their understanding of their own religion notwithstanding, the lesser holy war was still a vital part of Islam, and it consisted in wielding literal war against very real people.  The greater holy war was a man’s struggle against the impulses that make him a mere human, against chaos, and against material attachments.  That is, a struggle to surpass oneself.

The more the universe, and life within it, is understood in a holistic manner (therefore apprehending something closer to a complete picture) reveals a very different picture of reality than the contradictory and fearful materialism of today’s world which fears everything.  In fearing everything, in shying away from death, it also assumes that the Traditional world lived by those same fears and manias, hence the limited Freudian theory, more apt to analyze apes than spiritual human beings.  For in the Traditional world, contrary to the secular, there is no shying away from our insignificance, from the fact that Death is an important part of nature and, furthermore, that it is not an end but a transformation.  That life does not end with the apparent demise of human being, for life is the current of energy from one generation to the next, and between organisms and the rest of the cosmos.  Sounds like meaningless banter to those not used to reflect upon these matters, but someone who has already come to such a deduction will readily acknowledge what is here said.

“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded of the nonexistent, that there is no endurance, and of the eternal, that there is no change.  This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.  That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible.  No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.  The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.  Neither he who thinks the living entity the slayer nor he who thinks it slain is in knowledge, of the self slays not nor is slain.  For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time.  He has come not into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being.  He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, primeval.  He is not slain when the body is slain.”

—Bhagavad Gita, 2.16-.20

El árbol mira hacia lo alto
Como el caballero agotado,
Cuya sangre cubre la corteza
Con su escudo de roble al lado.

Sus raíces llaman de lo profundo,
Y su sangre densa se mezcla
Con la tierra que vida le ha dado.

Descansa ahora, que vuelves
Como el polvo que danzó
En la fiebre de la batalla.
Hermano junto a hermano
Al cielo miran cansados.

1 “Han dejado allí una espada, para señalar que vencieron en esa Guerra contra la Muerte y por la Eternidad.  Es este el resultado de la Alquimia, del Arte Real, practicado por los Héroes y Reyes.”, Miguel Serrano, La Resurrección del Héroe

2 “The normal, healthy Westerner has no desire to escape from life, his urge is to conquer it and reduce it to order and harmony. It is only the pathological types who long to ‘cease upon the midnight with no pain,’ to be free from the wheel of birth and death; the normal Western temperament demands ‘life, more life‘.”, Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah

3 “La meditación consiste en el valor de convertir la verdad de nuestros propios principios y el espacio de nuestras propias metas en aquello que más precisa ser cuestionado.”, Martin Heidegger, Caminos de Bosque (Der Feldweg), translation by Helena Cortés and Arturo Leyte


Varg Vikernes Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism


The present book is, as the title suggests, a series of reflections and afterthoughts regarding the ancient and original European traditions now generally denominated as “paganism” (a word used by the Christian world to refer to anything different in a derogatory manner).  The study of European traditions is taken up and explored by Vikernes, not with the distanced aloofness of a scholar trying to match foreign theories to a strange phenomenon completely disconnected from himself, but as someone who cares for it as someone would care for a loved one  —a living thing in the full sense of the expression (for it certainly is, a point I am sure Vikernes would agree with).

The present article will briefly go through what the writer considers the main themes and their attitudes that stand out when one first reads this book.  It is important, however, to point out that it becomes apparent to the sensitive reader that Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism has a rather personal touch to it, like most of what Vikernes does, and one feels as if he were sitting close by talking and expounding on the topics at hand, immersing both himself and the listener in a magical well of knowledge that melds with experience.  It mixes the giving out of facts with insightful pointing out of relations and cross-references, sprinkling the discussion of certain topics throughout different texts so that they build up in the mind of the reader.

“To me only the beauty of European polytheism remains”

— Varg Vikernes, ‘The Lord of the Elves’

These are given in a rather unapologetic tone proper of esoteric treatises which do not make claim to a perfection of the text but which deem the reader worthy enough to receive the statements as they are and then proceed to judge on their own.  The mistaken modern view that  expects a writer to keep apologizing and self denigrating so that the reader does not think he is pretentious is a waste of energy, time and material resources.  If only people would consider content before rhetoric, and then proceed to the discourse only after they have understood the value and significance inherent in the content itself, something close to a proper understanding of things would be possible for the public.

§ Correction of outsider interpretations


Christians destroying symbols of European culture.

The most important feature of Vikernes’ writing and attitude that should be considered as the most important for even the casual reader is the attempt he is making at correcting the biased and often twisted view of ancient European traditions.  Somehow, in the sudden upsurge of views that sought to bring respect and awe for traditions of the East as well as American aboriginals and other foreign groups, the establishment forgot that before the invasion of Christianity, Europe also had equally valid and rich customs that deserved the same degree of respect.  Furthermore, they forgot that these being their own, they deserved an even larger amount of attention.

This may, at first, sound like bigotry, but it can be easily shown it is not when one points out that it is natural and proper that the Chinese person protects and seeks to understand the ancient cultural roots of his folk1; so are the Quiches of Guatemala encouraged and protected that they may cultivate their Mayan roots free of the invading oppression of colonial Christianity and sterile modernity.  Why should it be any different for the peoples of Europe?

“When I — arrogantly as some have claimed — said in the foreword to my book Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia that there are no good books (at least not in English, German or Scandinavian) out there about our mythology and religion, to some degree save The Golden Bough, by the anthropologist Sir James Frazer, this is what I mean; just about everything we know about our mythology from these books is seen through dense Judeo-Christian filters and interpreted in a Judeo-Christian light, it is twisted and distorted, and is unrecognisable.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘Shadows amongst the Ruins’

The point he makes is very important because while we have striven to correct our views on, for instance, Hinduism, so that we can try and understand (as far as that is possible for us as foreigners) them from their own perspective, no such attempt has been made by academia to understand the original traditions of Europe, we have been seen as lowly enemies by the invading and strangling thought of Christianity as an aristocratic way of controlling large masses of people.  Thus arose the image of the Witch-cult2 as an enemy of all that was “proper and good” in the eyes of the authorities throughout Europe, while these were most probably just the extreme expressions of the actual local culture.

1Mythos gives rise to Culture and Culture gives rise to Folk, and Folk gives rise to Race.”, K.

2 The reader may want to refer to Margaret Alice Murray’s book, The Witch-cult in Western Europe; though certainly not perfect and based on conjectures from sparse evidence, this is a book despised on an ideological level because it challenges the standard conception people have of Europe to the point that they start to panic when confronted with the idea of a Europe unified by underground expressions of original culture.

§ A physical and psychological naturalism


It is important to clarify that, to the best of my knowledge, Varg Vikernes is a traditionalist of the most pragmatic kind. The esoteric overtones which his subject matter contains are cut down by him after the manner of Sir James Frazer himself, who saw anything beyond material explanations as mere superstition.  Now, Vikernes does not strike one as having this opinion, for he believes in inspiration and the power derived from symbols and stories.  For him, however, this is simply manifested on the psychological level that then may transfer that into physical action.

This in itself does not contradict occult thought and is perfectly in line with it.  But we can perceive from the text that nothing higher than that in the manner of spheres of existence or levels of manifestation are implied. For him, the interpretation is of the most flat one can give to Jungian explanations of a collective tradition functioning through interaction with the human unconscious.  What must be clarified here is that Vikernes is not a mystic per se, because there is no conscious and direct search for a purposely created space.

The naturalism that he seems to follow with stoic resolution, however, clearly opens up a channel and we see in him, his thought and his artistic work traces of greatness and inspiration.  It might be further observed that contrary to the pretentiousness of self-aware mystics or would-be occultists of the common variety who make overt attempts at being something by following trends in fashion and ways of speaking, there is no such attempt at pretending in Vikernes’ work.  On the contrary, we find a constant flow of observations, facts, and conclusions which are then sprinkled with stout opinions.

We see action before speech, we see concrete results and facts instead of the empty banter of he who claims to experience but has nothing to show for it.  Not that proving your personal journey to someone else is important, in fact, the contrary is closer to the truth.  But Varg Vikernes stands out as an honest man of deep thought who exemplifies through action who he wants to be, offering us in his book the results of his meditations, as it were, through the eye of his own knowledge and experience.

§ Judeo-Christianity as alien to European customs


The other prominent theme that runs throughout the whole of Vikernes’ work is his emphasis the fact that Christianity as stemming from Judaism is an alien religion that was imposed on European peoples.  That this is still contested by the public at large is unsurprising for they have been brought up believing that Christianity is essentially a European religion.  It is incumbent upon the writer to reassure the reader that Christianity was in fact an artificially adopted tactic by the aristocracy which was then used as a tool to oppress and manipulate the native people of Europe.

We do not need to refer at all to any of the books written by Vikernes to confirm this as anyone acquainted closely with Charlemagne’s unification of Western Europe and his involvement and use of religion to this end will already understand this.  The reason why any conquering aristocracy might want to make use of Christianity rather than stick to old religions of local variations is simple: Christianity’s character is essentially universalist. This means that anyone and everyone should be brought under its banner. In this, it mirrors Islam, which seeks to spread its righteousness like black clouds over the whole of the world (and the universe, if they could).

To make a clear distinction here, completely unrelated to the book under discussion, although Judaism is the indisputable father of those two other monotheistic religions, they do not share that attitude of ideological conquering, for Judaism is more of a closed ethnic and tribal authentic tradition that seeks to separate itself from outsiders through custom and race.  Vikernes does not speak about Judaism itself except in some passing light remarks, but we here recommend the reader to inspect books such as Maurice H. Harris’ Hebraic Literature, to understand both differences and roots of Christianity and Islam in Judaism. It is, furthermore, important in understanding its difference with European tradition as seen in Germanic, Celtic and Hellenic traditions, for instance.

Europe has a unifying general concept throughout its geographical territory that is expressed in particular modes that can be easily and directly correlated without much effort.  These all express the values of individual freedom and the value of a personal strength of will, even when under a leader and a duty towards tribe.  This contrasts highly with Judeo-Christiantiy which is, as a famous philosopher once said, “slave morality”. European tradition is one imbued with pride and one that seeks to find its place within a nature it admires and worships as mother. The desert religions, on the other hand, see everything as given to them by god to use as they see fit, and they see humans or themselves as separate from it.  Fundamental contrasts like this one go on and on.

“Man has a free will and is left to find his own way around in the universe, but he is not free from the consequences or the impulses of nature.  In ancient times this free will was seen as a sorcerous tool; a man with a strong will could by the force of his sheer will cause different effects in the world.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘The Power of Will’

§ A glorious rebirth

Despite the permanent theme of European traditions in opposition to Christianity, the dominating tones in Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism remain in the reverential and calmly explanatory.  There is, furthermore, a very proud and hopeful outlook that believes in the rebirth of a European population that will reach back and connect with its original roots.  This is completely in line with the traditional beliefs of Europeans, which see after the twilight of the gods, the rule of new and perhaps lesser gods who then become the old gods themselves. This last bit cannot be understood correctly when Germanic/Scandinavian religion is sought to be Christianized or understood in terms of sterile anthropology or Freudian terms, but becomes readily apparent when understood and inspected from the inside out.

“Return to your roots! Like any tree out there, you too need your roots to survive: to grow tall and old, strong and beautiful.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘The Roots of Europe’

Froylán Turcios El Vampiro

froylanturcios1Los autores centroamericanos no son demasiado conocidos fuera de los círculos de quienes estudian literatura latinoamericana o hispana directamente.  La razones son azarosas y fuera del control humano en la mayoría de los casos.  En el caso de Froylán Turcios, lo poco que llega de él a oídos de quienes no hablan español pasa por un filtro de propaganda gringa que lo pinta como un escritor de literatura cruel y sangrienta con una implicación tácita de que es un individuo indeseable básicamente por haberse opuesto a los intereses imperialistas de los tiranos del norte.  Aún dentro de Honduras misma, escuchamos su nombre ser mencionado, pero su obra no forma parte de ningún pensum obligatorio.  En lugar de leer a un grande centroamericano se nos hace pasar por la pocilga del colombiano Gabriel García Márquez y su vulgar discípula, la chilena Isabel Allende.

La prosa de Froylán Turcios es un vaivén como de marea entre vuelos poéticos exaltados y una sobriedad elegante que marcan el estilo Latinoamericano de una manera que el autor mismo no ha visto manifestada de la misma forma en la española o la inglesa, por ejemplo.  Quizás una excepción sea la obra del genio Joseph Conrad, quien asumo, debe mucho de su idiosincrasia a su herencia polaca.  Todo esto, sin embargo, es sólo especulación. Muestra la misma dinámica José Eustasio Rivera en La Vorágine de una manera más extrema en ambas direcciones, siendo ambos más dramático por un lado y más seco por el otro que Froylán Turcios, quien se mantiene más uniforme y sutil.

Corren a través de El Vampiro tres líneas centrales separadas.  La primera y la más obvia es la supernatural o acaso super psíquica subrayada por el título mismo.  La segunda es la relación amorosa que se desarrolla una manera un poco empalagosa pero tolerable entre el personaje principal y su querida.  La tercera es el tema que se discute de manera más abstracta y menos ilustrativa y el cual atañe al arte clásico y al arte como una elevación del espíritu humano.  Junto con su gran amigo, el poeta Juan Ramón Molina, Froylán Turcios es en esencia un romántico batallando contra la marea de la esterilidad del modernismo1.

Lleva sobre sus hombros el peso y labor de llevarnos a lo largo de una cronología, el tema del crecimiento del personaje principal, su transformación en un adulto joven de familia aristocrática y el amor que nace y crece entre el y la bella Luz.  Esta es la más detallada y sólo se vuelve un poco redundante después de la mitad del libro cuando el clímax del amor trascendental en la consumación y entrega espiritual se lleva a cabo y se verbaliza entre los amantes.  Después de esto la historia deambula y esperamos en vano a que la alusión más grande en el título se materialize de una manera u otra.  Lo peor de todo es que entre más se espera, más se espera, pues la elegancia de Froylán Turcios y el misterio que siempre parece guardar parece prometer mucho.

Le habla al idealista y al romántico clasicista las menciones ocasionales pero largas y enfáticas que hace Froylán Turcios a la importancia y naturaleza del arte, el artista y la ciudad de arte clásico a través de la voz del personaje principal.  Exalta la belleza de La Antigua (uno descifra con el tiempo que se refiere a La Antigua Ciudad de Guatemala), y lamenta su desahucio a manos de agentes de la industrialización, la cual llega varias décadas retrasada a Centroamérica (afortunadamente).  Emprende vuelos en los que la historia misma se vuelve solamente un fondo sin importancia y se habla de la trascendencia del arte, del poder casi divino sobre la realidad que maneja el artista verdadero.

La decepción más grande de El Vampiro es que el hilo que debería ser el preponderante no es solamente marginal a lo largo del transcurso de la historia, sino que jamás amonta a más que una referencia superficial poética.  Donde por momentos vemos vagas referencias a una familiaridad con símbolos masónicos (particularmente en un episodio donde el personaje principal en su infancia espía los contenidos de un cuarto secreto a través del ojo de la llave), se nos deja, a quienes tenemos un interés más enfático por estos temas etéreos, deseando que se hubiera ahondado más en el tema.  ¿Será que, acaso, decidió mejor no revelar más de lo que debía?

Visto de una manera simbólica, los tres niveles o regiones de la historia pueden representar, como un todo, la experiencia humana misma.  El más obvio es el de el crecimiento del personaje principal, el desarrollo de sus relaciones personales y sus opiniones acerca del mundo.  En un plano intelectual idealista tenemos las discusiones acerca de arte y significado.  La sombra de lo oculto, del lado de la naturaleza que jamás entenderemos de manera racional y analítica del todo, en la coquetería con lo supernatural de El Vampiro.

1 Es curioso que se haya dicho entonces de Molina que de no haber muerto tan joven hubiera sido nombrado el padre de modernismo en lugar del nicaragüense Ruben Darío.

José Eustasio Rivera La Vorágine

joseeustasioriverasalasEs fácil leer una historia cuyo personaje principal refleja, de alguna manera, una idealización personal de quienes querríamos ser o al menos del tipo de persona que consideramos como “buena” o “admirable”.  Es más difícil, por el contrario, interesarnos por aquel que de primeras a primeras no es nada más un canalla, sino que también nos da una impresión patética y derrotada que, en combinación con una contradictoria forma de constante auto expiación, pintan a un ser tan común como especial.  Común pues como él sufren muchos de un ensimismamiento disfrazado por el ímpetu que los lleva a querer ser parte de una comunidad como si esto fuera en sí el logro más grande que al cual el ser humano debe aspirar.

En verdad esta necesidad de pertenecer, si bien muy humana, es un impulso natural y primitivo que para muchos no conlleva ya a la obtención de un propósito divino como explicaría Julius Evola en su magnífica obra Revuelta Contra el Mundo Moderno (Rivolta Contra il Mondo Moderno), sino que sencillamente se busca de manera  que las faltas y debilidades del individuo se cubran como bajo un parche, o se ignoren por un grupo que busca “comprender a todos”.  De esta manera la sociedad deja de ser un canal por medio del cual el individuo puede sobrellevar sus propias limitaciones, sino una ciénaga donde le son toleradas sus torceduras mientras éste también prometa perdonárselas a los demás.  Ésta es la maldición de la doctrina cristiana, especialmente en su simplificación protestante que ha infectado ya hace tiempo a las formas modernas de catolicismo por su creciente transformación secular (mostrando así que la institución religiosa no es guardiana de ninguna conexión con lo Alto).

Muy atrás ha quedado ya el ideal heroico europeo (de origen pagano) que ennobleció a los cultos a la muerte venidos del Medio Oriente. Olvidada asimismo ya la comprensión de la gracia divina que resulta del ir más allá de lo humano mediante la acción (o la inacción, en el caso del “yoga” de renunciamiento que se practica en un monasterio católico), y en su lugar ha vencido una vez más la doctrina original de servilismo al dios desértico que acepta a sus hijos con todas sus faltas por medio solo de una palabra mágica y su arrepentimiento más digno de una rata que de un hombre.  Un arrepentimiento que, por cierto, sirve más para robar al individuo de su orgullo e independencia, encadenándolo psicológicamente a un dios “sin el cual se es menos que nada”.

Sin embargo, hablo por mí mismo, pues conozco más de alguno que fácilmente se identificaría con este personaje tan perdido en la corriente de su propio patetismo que no logra ver al mundo más allá de las apariencias o de lo que él mismo cree se siente bien y por ende considera “bueno”.  El mérito de José Eustasio Rivera se encuentra en la forma en que lentamente moldea a este personaje a través del libro.  No es Arturo Cova, nuestro personaje principal, realmente una “mala” persona en términos de la moralidad vacía de la sociedad en la que vivimos, pero su narcisismo y egoísmo resulta en actos de desconsideración por aquellos que lo rodean.  Es más, entra en balance el personaje en sus arranques de heroísmo superfluo y fantástico del todo desconectados de la realidad.  Es el personaje principal de La Vorágine energético y rico de una manera podrida y perdida por elección propia más que por las circunstancias de la vida.

Mas la introspección reconoce que el los tropiezos y trampas mentales de los que sufre Cova son latentes en la psiques de todo humano.  El materialista cree que el asegurar la supervivencia permanentemente en sí lleva a lo único que se puede aspirar en esta vida: un estado en el cual se puede escoger el tipo de actividad que nos trae placer. Sin embargo, el trascender este estado dependiente a reacciones de lo exterior y fantasías basadas en deseos mundanos es la labor del hombre quien, habiendo comprendido la naturaleza de la realidad en su aspecto más crudo e independiente de idealizaciones humanas, se esfuerza por crear dentro de él mismo la substancia que constituye en sí el propósito divino y la guía fuera de los ciclos de placer y supervivencia.  La liberación es interna, y la lucha es la vida en sí.

Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

genesis-the-lamb-album-cover-700x614 Released in 1974 and signaling the departure of Peter Gabriel from GENESIS, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway brings the classic era of the band and the genre to an end. It does so rather inconspicuously with a profound accomplishment that is not easy to summarize in such few words. The album materializes the several tacit goals of progressive rock: the incorporation of classical music methodologies into the making of pop rock music, stylistic expansion within coherent boundaries, to the neo-romantic mystical allusions boiling up from vague lyrics into aural explosions in sound.

Musically, it makes use of straightforward pop rock expression expanded with a nod to classical-era structures, while ambient range from avant-garde noise to ambient instrumentals. We may even see the precursor to the post-rock aesthetic but GENESIS takes the music somewhere rather than moronically dancing around in the same place. The use of themes throughout songs and the album itself is prominent; it holds the album together and is a direct consequence of that proper classical influence. The lyrical theme of the album is based on Judaic mysticism, with references to the Kabbalah in song titles, concepts, and even the number of total tracks of the release.

The influence of GENESIS as per their style at their pinnacle in The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway virtually defines a whole generation of the pseudo-prog we see today in the likes of charlatans to which Steven Wilson belongs, or supreme posers Dream Theater and their numerous unoriginal underlings. Opeth cannot be counted among the superficial fools living off the greatness of GENESIS as they are a more eclectic collection of disparaged sources poorly sewn together and because the very little prog rock influence they displayed comes from Gentle Giant. With all certainty, almost any decent-sounding, so-called progressive outfit today that leans towards a pop rock sound with unconventional sound structures is probably directly or indirectly defined by (not merely “influenced” by) classic GENESIS.

Particularly outstanding is the elite drumming that underscores the thematic progressions of the rest of the music. At each point it answers to needs in the music, while not shying away from dramatic or even amusing additions to the mix. Jazz percussion technique here is used with taste, forwarding the music, rather than becoming an instrument for divergence into hedonist egotism. Despite this, in The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, none of the elements actually jumps out at the listener: the technical merits are so perfectly fused with the living flow of the music they may be overlooked. In this we may find great contrasts with Yes, whose brilliance was always a close-neighbor to instrumentalist prowess, threatening to and eventually taking over precedence of deeper motivations that move true art (as we see in Relayer).

To finish our brief discussion on this definitive album for progressive rock, we would be remiss in failing to attend to the reasons it achieves such excellence. Considering Nietzschean Apollonian versus Dionysian interplay, a reasonable speculation might start by pointing out that the most superficial and recognizable sounds in this album are distinctively ground in their seventies era. Even the use of avant-gardisms remains within the framework of the experimentation of its time and exemplifies what Pink Floyd were never able to properly approximate. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway does not reject its contemporary influences, but through them accepts the band’s chronological appearance in history and maximizes their channeling of ulterior and less ephemeral reasons.


David Rosales
April 29, 2016

Revised October, 2016

[Originally published in Death Metal Underground.]