Tradition and Antitradition (RATMW 29)

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Chapter 29

Tradition and Antitradition


Julius Evola posits that the most prominent remains of the spirituality of the Golden Age are found in the trail of Aryan traditions, although he also explains how this influence poured into other cultures and mixed with other influences. Furthermore, he is very clear that such a spirituality did not survive in its entirety, nor wholly in its original form. Very early on in this chapter, he provides a clarification regarding the term Aryan, which many would agree deserves some cleaning and explaining. The term has seen some distortion, and the ruling thinking authorities after World War II would have us believe this distortion originated in National Socialist theories. In truth, the distortion has its origin in purposeful propaganda of the enemies of Germany, which was efficiently aimed at making anything coming from the ideological opposition sound ludicrous or just plain barbaric.

Evola’s comment is as follows:

The traces of the Northern and solar spirituality can be found in historical times mainly in the area of the Aryan civilizations. Considering the abuse that has been made of the term aryan in some contemporary milieus, such a term should be used with some reservations; in other words, it should not be made to correspond to a merely biological or ethnic concept (in this regard it would be more appropriate to talk about a boreal or a Northern-Atlantic race, depending on the case at hand), but rather to the concept of a race of spirit, whose correspondence to a physical race has varied from one civilization to another. “Aryan” corresponds more or less to “heroic”; the connection with the origins still exists as a dimmed legacy, but the decisive element is the tendency toward inner liberation and the reintegration in an active and combative form.

—Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, Chapter 29: ‘Tradition and Antitradition’, p. 231

He goes on to contrast the nature of the Maya as a Demetrian type of civilization (explained here), with the Inca and the Aztec as having a clear solar-warrior influence, especially in the case of the former. Among the Maya, however, there is still the influence of solar legends, but these have been left behind or eclipsed.

It seems that among the Maya originated the figure of the god Quetzalcoatl, who was a solar Atlantean god who came to be worshiped in an emasculated type of cult that was of a peaceful, contemplative, and self-mortifying nature.


This should probably be related to the invasions of the races of the Nahuatlans, Toltecs, and finally the Aztecs who overcame the Maya and their crepuscular civilization, forming new states. These are the races that retain in a more distinct way the memory of Tula and Aztlan, that is, of the Northern-Atlantic seat, and thus can be considered part of the “heroic” cycle.

Very interesting relations are found between solar legends and the struggle of gods with giants, which figure not only in Scandinavian mythology, but also in South American legends. However, he points out a unique development in the American civilization’s take on this degenerated or changed tradition.

In the most distant memories of these civilizations we find again —as in the Edda— the theme of the struggle against the giants and a recent generation affected by the flood. The themes of holy war and heroic death as a sacrifice that confers immortality, which were found among the Aztecs as well as among northern European stocks or Arab people, in Central and South American civilizations were mixed with some kind of frenzy of human sacrifices; these sacrifices, even in the form of collective slaughters, were performed in order to maintain contact with the divine but with a dark fierce exaltation derived from destroying life, the likeness of which is to be found nowhere else in the world.

§ Judaism

Next comes the second portion of the chapter, devoted to contrasting the Aryan tradition of the east and the Hebrew (anti?) tradition. This is not the first time that a scholarly type, a respected type, such as Evola, echoes passing statements in Mein Kampf, perhaps without knowing it. The angle here is, of course, different, for Julius Evola is tracing traditions, symbols and history  in a succinct manner, Adolf Hitler was stating his thoughts, leaving the work of study, meditating and developing those ideas for himself to the reader.

When referring to the Hebrew cycle, which itself derives from the Semitic with roots in the Chaldean tradition, Evola writes:

Here we find a fundamental and characteristic motif: the transformation into sin of what in the Aryan version of the myth was regarded as a heroic, bold deed, often crowned with success, but that in Gilgamesh’s myth [the Chaldean legend] had a negative outcome only because the hero was caught asleep. In the context of Hebrew Semitism, the one who attempts to take possession of the symbolic Tree is univocally transformed into a victim of woman’s seduction and a sinner.

He further points out characteristic tones and attitudes of the Hebrew tradition which one might discover if reading the Torah, the Talmud and other religious and non-religious treatises by those inheriting this spirit. Evola points out that Hebrew legacy reveals a curious lack of consistency in that it wavers between a little of the heroic here, and then self-penitent later, the warrior there, and then the pitiful, and so on.

These elements are still sporadic and reveal a curious oscillation, which is typical of the Jewish soul, between a sense of guilt, self-humiliation, deconsecration, and carnality and an almost Luciferian pride and rebelliousness.

This wavering and oftentimes contradictory series of attitudes could have its origin in that what we know as Judaism is an intellectual and super imposed set of dogmas that were not the natural outgrowth of a people, but the borrowings and constructions of an intellectual priesthood always trying to subdue a people of different ethnic origins which kept pulling in their own directions, sometimes reverting to their original beliefs.

Not without relation to all this, in ancient Judaism we find a very visible effort on the part of a priestly elite to dominate and coalesce a turbid, multiple, and turbulent ethnical substance by establishing divine Law as the foundation of its “form,” and by making it the surrogate of what in other people was the unity of the common fatherland and the common origins. This formative action, which was connected to sacred and ritualistic values and preserved from the first redactions of the ancient Torah to the elaboration of the Talmuds, the Jewish type arose as that of a spiritual rather than a physical race. But the original substratum was never totally eliminated, as ancient Jewish history shows in the form of the recurrent betrayals of God and his becoming reconciled with Israel. This dualism and the ensuing tension help to explain the negative forms that Judaism assumed in later times.

Here, we might introduce a useful observation. It is hard not to see the relation between this description of the dynamics of Judaism and the goals of globalist Communism with its origins in the Jewish-German writer Karl Marx. Despite the fact that there is always a great effort to divorce him and his ideas from his ethnic background, there is a clear history of these precise ideas being put forward through different theories by Jewish thinkers specifically. Privately, however, the idea of Israel as the chosen people is always maintained, though in evolved and updated form. Unsurprisingly, we see Jewish activists and politicians throughout Europe pushing agendas of multiculturalism while Israel itself is kept strictly race-pure through very harsh polices based on ethnic discrimination.

Moreover, a connection was established with a human type, who in order to uphold values that he cannot realize and that thus appear to him increasingly abstract and utopian, eventually feels dissatisfied and frustrated before any existing positive order and any form of authority ( especially when we find in him, though in an unconscious way, the old idea according to which the state of justice willed by God is only that in which Israel rules) so as to be a constant source of disorder and revolution. Finally we must consider another dimension of the Jewish soul: it is like somebody who, having failed to realize the values typical of the sacral and transcendent dimension in the course of the attempt to overcome the antithesis between spirit and “flesh” (which he exasperates in a characteristic way), eventually rejoices wherever he discovers the illusion and the irreality of those values and whenever he ascertains the failure of the yearning for redemption; this becomes for him some kind of alibi and self-justification.


The Diaspora, or the scattering of the Jewish people, corresponded to the by-products of the spiritual dissolution of a cycle that did not have a “heroic” restoration and in which some sort of inner fracture promoted processes of an antitraditional character. (…) when this substance returned to a free state and when it separated itself from the “Law,” that is, from the tradition that had formed it, all these factors acted upon the Jewish substratum in a more dramatic and decisive way than in other people.

§ Islam

Evola then turns to Islam, acknowledging the origin and borrowings from Judaism, while emphasizing the contrasting factors.

As in the case of priestly Judaism, the center in Islam also consisted of the Law and Tradition, regarded as a formative force, to which the Arab stocks of the origins provided a purer and nobler human material that was shaped by a warrior spirit.

Furthermore, Evola writes on the uniqueness and independence of Islam from Judaism (something that is not the case with Christianity) in the following three points:

(a) it [Islam] claimed independence from both Judaism and Christianity;

(b) the Kaaba, with its symbolism of the center, is a pre-Islamic location and has even older origins that cannot be dated accurately;

(c) in the esoteric Islamic tradition, the main reference point is al-Khadir, a popular figure conceived as superior to and predating the biblical prophets (Koran 18:59-81).

 And unto the attitudes derived from metaphysical concepts, a very defining characteristic (which some of us may find abhorrent in how destructive it is to the human soul) that sets Islam apart from both Judaism and Christianity:

Islam rejects a theme found in Judaism and that in Christianity became the dogma and the basis of the mystery of the incarnation of the Logos; it retains, sensibly attenuated, the myth of Adam’s fall without building upon it the theme of “original sin.” In this doctrine Islam saw a “diabolical illusion” (talbis Iblis) or the inverted theme of the fall of Satan (Iblis or Shaitan)…

Evola goes on to briefly comment on the completeness of Islam, its ascetism of action and its spiritual purification without the need of a priestly caste.

§ India

 After giving a brief explanation of certain basic tenets of the tradition of people in the land of the Aryans, going through a combination of ethnic and mythological commentaries, Evola repeatedly goes back to the theme of Indian Aryans alluding to blond divinities of white skin. This is, however, in the older mythological recounts.

He explains how the original Aryan tradition of India was one shaped by a warrior, solar and ascetic mentality, that only later morphed into forms that included contemplative methods and the inclusion of priestly caste. This, he claims, was most probably because of the influence of the autochthonous races that the Aryans conquered. Thus, the original high Indo-Aryan tradition has more to do with the Scandinavian spirit, than with the degenerated, life-renouncing traditions with which India is today associated.

the ‘Nordic’ elements within the Indo-Aryan civilization were:

(1) the austere type of the ancient atharvan, the lord of fire, he who first opened the paths through sacrifices, as well as the type of the brahmana, he who dominates the brahman and the gods through his formulas of power;

(2) the doctrine of the absolute Self;

(3) the virile and conscious asceticism oriented to the Unconditioned that also characterized the Buddhist doctrine of awakening;

(4) the doctrine of pure action and heroism expounded in the Bhagavadgita, which was credited with a solar origin and a regal heritage;

(5) the Vedic view of the world as “order” (rta) and law (dharma);

(6) the patriarchical right, the cult of fire, the symbolically rich ritual of the cremation of the dead, the caste system, the cult of truth and honor, the myth of the universal sacred sovereign (cakravartin);

In all these elements we find the traditional poles of “action” and “contemplation” closely intertwined and elevated to a higher meaning.

Thus, Evola contrasts what he refers to as the Vedic cult, based on the ancient spiritual treatises of the Hindu Aryans, and the more confused and orgiastic character of the Southern influences, including the invasion of pantheism into the conceptualizations of spirituality. He discusses some the conceptual confusions, the changes that brought decadence of thought, including the more escapist overtones with which we most associate India today.

The doctrine of reincarnation, understood as the primacy of the destiny of a recurrent and yet ephemeral reappearance in the conditioned world (saṃsāra)—a doctrine not found in the early Vedic period—became predominant. Thus, ascetism aimed at achieving a liberation that had the meaning of escapism rather than a truly transcendent fulfillment.

Buddhism is then seen as a rejection of the degeneration into which the older Aryan spirituality had fallen in its admixture with the beliefs of the lower castes and local customs.

Buddhism promoted a “heroic” theme (the attainment of immortality) over and against the echoes of a primordial, divine self-knowledge that had been preserved in various doctrines of the priestly caste;

§ Iran / Persia

 Julius Evola points out that the Aryan tradition in Iran preserved the action basis of ascetism more firmly than India.

The warrior character of the cult of Ahura Mazda speaks for itself, as do

(a) the ancient Iranian cult of fire, part of which is the well-known doctrine of the hvareno or “glory”;

(b) the rigorous patriarchical system;

(c) the Aryan ethic of truth and faithfulness;

(d) the view of the world as ŗtam and āśā, as cosmos, rite, and order, a view connected to that dominated Uranian principle that eventually led to the metaphysical idea of the empire and the corresponding view of the sovereign of “king of kings,” once the original plurality of the first conquering stocks was overcome.

The rest of the section is devoted to recounting parallels between the Indian and the Iranian Aryan traditions, as well as the connection legend of Zarathustra and its links to the Hyperborean origins of the Aryan spirit.

To end the chapter, we slide from Iranian Aryan tradition into Mithraism, discussing its emphasis on a militaristic  and spiritual brotherhood that was later seen in certain European stocks, and which resurfaces during the crusades with the religious military orders. Finally, Mithraism declines, Evola tells us, when the hero Mithras is transformed into a kind of savior and mediator, instead as the heroic model it originally was.

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