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Book Review:

Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival

by, By Joscelyn Godwin


The quintessential and most comprehensive modern work on the subject, Arktos is a must-read for anyone interested in Nazi occultism, Nordic/”Aryan” mythology, the Hollow Earth, and the numerous legends of a Hyperborean paradise in the Poles. It is also required reading for anyone who claims to be an expert on the Holy Grail, the Rennes le Chateau, or the Priory of Sion, for many of these know-it-all scholars seem not to be aware of the confluence between the Underground Stream of the Grail wisdom and the underground caverns of the inner Earth. They have not fully comprehended the alchemical motto “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem, or V.I.T.R.I.O.L” - “Visit the Interior Parts of the Earth; by rectification shalt thou find the hidden stone.” Long interpreted to mean an inner journey to the darkest depths of the aspirant’s soul, author Joscelyn Godwin lays out the evidence for why this motto may be more than just merely symbolic. For we were once told by Hermes :As Above, So Below”, and there is no reason to believe that these spiritual truths don’t have a correspondence here in the third dimension as well.

The first chapter outlines the basic, age-old concept of a polar paradise which pops up in the mythologies of a huge variety of cultures from every imaginable place and every imaginable period in history, and interpreted by some to be the possible home of Atlantis, or even the land of origin for the Aryan race. The author explains the theory of planetary pole shifts, which occur, it seems, in regular cycles spanning thousands of years. The cause seems to be ties to the procession of the Equinox. So if the area that is now Antarctica , for instance, was once located on the equator prior to the most recent pole shift, then it’s plausible that an advanced civilization such as Atlantis existed there at one time, of which remnants might still exist. It’s also possible, according to come, that the inhabitants could have escaped the cataclysm by burrowing into the Earth, which, according to this theory, is actually hollow beneath the shallow crust. In the second chapter, Godwin reviews the works of both H.P. Blavatsky and Rene Guenon. Blavatsky believed that there would be 7 root races throughout history, each residing on a different continent. Five have already occured, resulting ultimately in the present “brown-white Race” that dominates the planet, which she says emerged from Asia. This follows two previous root races from the mythical lands of Lemuria and Atlantic. Two more races will appear before the end of this “Manvantara”, or Great Age. Blavatsky’s writings were largely based on the Hindu Puranas, in which a “White Island” called “Svita-Dvip”, upon which exists the legendary “Mount Meru (The World Mountain.) Blavatsky places the location of this White Island at the North Pole. Guenon, on the other hand, was a Russian aristocratic mystic who believed in a Hyperborean land called Tule (Thule), separate and quite distinct from Atlantis, which he also believed in, and which was once floating, according to him, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It is from these dual sources, he believed, that we have acquired our Western mystical tradition. Guenon also believed in Mt. Meru, which he saw as a symbol of the Earth’s axis. Guenon thought that the inclination of the Earth’s axis was a mistake brought on by the Fall of Man.

Part II of the book explores the Nazi and Fascist flirtation with this subject earlier in the 20th century. First he goes over some of the theories that abound about how human “enlightenment seems to have come from the North (Jean-Sylvain Bailley), and Rev. Dr. William F. Warren’s belief that “the Eden of primitive tradition was situated at the North Pole, in a country submerged at the time of the Deluge. In the next chapter he goes into the myth that the Aryan race originated there, paraphrasing the work of Friedrich von Schlegel and Max Muller, as well as the belief, held by Madam Blavatsky, that they actually came from the Himalayas. Chapter five is about the Thule Society, that occult order that eventually morphed into the Nazi Party and which was based on the idea of a polar Aryan homeland of the same name, as well as the similar-minded “Vril Society”, which was based on a subterranean Aryan homeland called Agartha, and was founded by a group of Berlin Rosicrucians. The Vril Society was inspired by a book called Vril by Edward Bulwer Lytton. Vril is the Transcendental power, the orgone energy that Aryans and their subterranean ancestors in the Hollow Earth possessed, and it was ultimately derived from the Black Sun, a big ball of “Prima Materia” which supposedly exists in the center of the Earth, giving light to the inhabitants ant putting out radiation in the form of Vril. The Vril Society believed that Aryans were the actual biological ancestors of this Black Sun. Another group from around that time which the author mentions is a Theosophical bunch called the Veillears (originally the Affranchis) organized by Rene Schwaller in 1919, which had the motto “Hierarchy, Fraternity, Liberty”, an innovative twist onthe familiar “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” In addition to the land of Thule, they were also into runes, international government, and the coming of a new Messiah. Some have written that Rudolph Hess was a member for a time, but this remains uncertain. He also quotes a book written by Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the 20th Century, which states that, “a much milder climate once reigned in the present arctic. All this allows the Ancient legend of Atlantis to appear in a new light.

A most interesting subchapter here concerned the work of Julius Evola, a brilliant author on mysticism, mythology, history, and philosophy who was also closely tied to the Italian fascist movement. Evola believed in “Nordic-Atlantic” race and civilization, and that “the principal seat that succeeded te original and traditional pole was actually situated in the Atlantic.” Ha also believed that there had once existed a rival civilization in the Sothern Pole, a lunar and goddess-oriented civilization that was the antithesis of the patriarchal sun-worshipping Nordics, whom Evola obviously preferred.

The next chapter, “The Black Order”, is very interesting, as it gets into some of the modern literature that has been written about the Polar Myth and the Hollow Earth. One is 1971’s Gotzen gegen Thule (Godlets Against Thule), by Wilhelm Landig. This is fascinating because it involves a was between the Thulean/Aryan from the North, who derive their power from the “Black Sun” which supposedly exists in the center of the Earth, and the “Hebrew magicians” who derive their power from the Ark of the Covenant and the godlet (Yahweh) who lives inside of it, and whose conspiracy is being orchestrated by Shrineers and Freemasons. The Thuleans consider themselves to be inheritors of the Cathar tradition, and fly around in Vril-powered aircraft. Their war with the Hebrews in a continuation of the inner Earth battle going on between the City of Schamballah, ruled by the King of Fear, and Agartha, ruled by the Lord of the World. “For as the Age of Pisces passes into the Age of Aquarius, “So St. Peter’s religious tyranny in Rome will crumble, and the Black magic of the Shriners’ and Jewish Ark will lose its potency Then, says Landig, the blue and gold banner of the Aryans will fly again, and the Black Sun of their nigredo will turn to silver.” This bring to mind the inner order of the OTO, the Order of the Silver Star.

Next Godwin examines Migeul Serrano’s El Ultimo Avatara. He too believes in a spiritual magick war between the Hews and the Aryans, whom he calls the “Hyperboreans.” In the Golden Age, prior to the disaster that wiped out their civilization, the Hyperboreans, unlike the Hebrews, have made it their goal in life to escape Samsara, tat involuntary trap of never-ending reincarnation in Buddhist and Hindu belief. They “commanded the power of the Vril and possessed the Third Eye... while through their veins coursed the light of the Black Sun. It was their great advanture to incarnate for the purpose of combating the mechanical universe of the Demiurge”, the Jewish god whom they despised. Of particular importance to Grail researchers, Serrano wrote, “There is nothing more mysterious than blood. Paraclesus considered it a condensation of light. I believe that the Aryan, Hyperborean blood is that - but not the light of the Golden Sun, not the light of the galactic sun, but of the light of the Black Sun of the Green Ray. Serrano believed that the Templar Knights had “discovered the Hyperborean tradition for themselves and had broken with their Judeo-Christian roots, an event celebrated by their rupture from the Priory of Sion.” This tradition was also known by The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, “but Serrano says that it was perverted by the degeneracy of Aleister Crowley and the Hewish Bergsons.”

With that, Godwin moves on to Jean Paravulesco, author of La Spiral Prophetique. The themes of this novel involve the Black Sun, the Green Ray, Nazism and sexual yoga, although the author was not a fan of Hitler and not necessarily against Jews. He felt that “Hitler’s Germany missed the mark... Why should the Europe of the End have been a German Europe?” Likewise, “Himmler’s black-uniformed and esoterically-trained S.S. was but an imitation of the true Black Order to which the true initiates belong”, an order with its headquarters located underground, nestled closely to its mother the Black Sun. Paravulesco believed that there would be a return of “The Great Monarch a the End of Time”, and that there would be a “virginal line of priestesses consecrated to the amorous science and destined to sustain, to illuminate from within, with their living flesh... to serve nuptially the coming of the New Savior of the End.” This, of course, is reminiscent of the subject of royal sex magick which has been brought up so many times in this issue of Dagobert’s Revenge.

The next section of Godwin’s book, “Hidden Lands”, explores in more detail the subject of lost Aryan paradises, be they undergrounf, at the poles, sunken beneath the ocean or stuck in the Himalayas. The first chapter is amazing as it delves into the subject of a quasi-Martinist, quasi-Rosicrucian group known as the Polaires, which believed in the hidden city of Agartha. This was founded by the previously-mentioned Rene Guenon, author of LE Roi du Monde (The King of the Earth), about coming of a global monarch/savior who would come from the inner Earth to bring righteous government to the surface. The Polaires believed that hey, via a magic oracle, were in contact with a “Rosicrucian Initiatic Center of Mysterious Asia”, situated in the Himalayas and directed by the “Three Supreme Sages” or the “Little Lights of the Orient.” This was Agartha, “The Great White Lodge”, and it directed the spiritual activities of Earth.

What’s really interesting about the Polaires is that in 1929 they started doing excavations and archival research in the region of the Cathars, Montsegur, the site of the bloody Albigensian Crusade. Writes Godwin, “According to a local newspaper, the Polairs had foun traces of Christian Rosenkreutz’s passage through the area, in the ruined castle of Cordat.” Especially peculiar was that at the very same time, Otto Rahn was at Montsegur poking around in search of the Grail. His researches culminated in the book Crusade Against the Grail, and later, Lucifer’s Servants. He was on the Nazi payroll, an SS officer, in fact, and had been hired by them to conduct these researches. His conclusion was that the Grail was an Aryan, Luciferian artifact, and that the Cathars has possessed it, which is why they were murdered by the Catholic church.

Godwin also gets into a very interesting author by the name of At. Yves d’Alveydre, a Christian Hermeticist who believed that Schamballah and Agartha were located underground. He wrote a whole series of books, one of which, Mission of India, describes his knowledge of the underground world of Agartha, learned from an Indian guru of his who had sworn him to secrecy. That is why d’Alveydre destroyed all copies of his book immediately after it was printed, fearing the Indian guru’s wrath, and we only know about it because the printer kept a copy for himself. Says St. Yves, Agartha is located underground some where in Asia, rules by a “Sovereign Pontiff of the Ethiopian race.” They are a highly advanced culture and their government consists of a form called “Synarchy.” The Agarthans will reveal themselves to us and share with us their advanced knowledge once we adopt this perfect form of government. St. Yves’ Synarchist theories had a huge impact on Guenon, as well as many other Polaires, Mortinists, and Rosicrucian thinkers.

Finally, Godwin tells us the story of Madeleine V., and adept of Rene Guenon who believed she was in telepathic communication with “Le Roi du Monde”, who “invested her with the Ark of the Covenant.” She was eventually incarcerated at a mental institution, which she believed to be the result of a “Freemasonic plot”, and continued to tend to her growing flock of followers called “Agartha 8.” She also had the delusion that she directed a group called the Brahmanic Action Front, which had marched on the Champs Elyees in 1968. Godwin finishes the chapter wit a few paragraphs on Robert Ernst Dickhoff, who wrote 1981’s Agarta. In it he claimed that, “Before Agarta, became the recognized holy city to be used by the Buddhist lamas it had to be cleansed of a remnant of Venus serpents masquerading in convenient human bodies who had held the terminal city for many eons... I am told that the cleansing was done by 500 lamas who were instructed by the Grand Lama to march on the stronghold of the Evil Master of evil masters who called himself “King of the World.” Sounds like David Icke fodder to me.

Chapter 8 reviews some more legends of Schamballah, including the beliefs of one Alice Bailey, founder of the Lucis Trust (formerly Lucifer Trust) a company that publishes numerous books about Theosophy, mysticism, and global government. They are fanatically in favor of the UN, and their headquarters is located tight next to the United Nations building in New York. Alice had learned through her own meditative reading of “The Akasic Record” that Schamballah is the seat of the “Lord of the World”, who “has made of sacrifice of remaining to watch over the evolution of men and devas until all have been saved or enlightened. He also gets into the Roerich family, headed by Nicholas, a Theosophist who believed that “the underground caverns of central Asia are inhabited to this day, he tells us, by the people called the Agarthi or the Chud (remember the horror movie of the same name C.H.U.D., which stood for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers?) ... When the time of purification comes, say the legends, they will emerge in their glory.” Schamballah is, according to him, ruled over by the Lord of the Earth, called Rigden-jyepo, the Last Avatar who brings the Kali-Yuga to and end and opens the new Krita or Satya-Yuga.” The Roerich family even went on a expedition through Asia to find this place, and witnessed a UFO on the way, 20 years before the term was coined. About this, Godwin writes a very interesting paragraph, which I will quote in its entirety:

“There is a hint that the Roerich Expedition had an active part to play in this changing of the ages. It concerned a Stone from a distant star that belongs to Shambhala; it is likened to the lapsit exillis, the Grail Stone of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s romance Parzival (IX, 469), as also to the Philosopher’s Stone of Western alchemy. ‘The greater portion of this stone remains in Shambhala, while part of it is circulating throughout the Earth, retaining its magnetic link with the main stone.’ The latter is said to be ‘on the tower of the Rigden-jyepo’, whence it radiates for the benefit of humanity. Andrew Tomas, who says that he heard fro Professor George Roerich that the stone supposedly came fro Sirius, interprets the broad hints in Helena’ Roerich’s On Eastern Crossroads to mean that a small fragment of the central Stone had been sent to Europe to aid in the foundation of the League of Nations, and that it was returned to Shambhala by Nichlas Roerich on his expedition. ... Likewise in Ossendowski there is the Mongolian legend of a oracular Black Stone, sent to the Dalai Lama by the King of the world; until a hundred years ago, it used to be in Urga (now Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia). This may be the same fragment, reputedly owned by King Solomon, Emperor Akhbar, a Chinese Emperor, and Tamerlane the Great.”
In “The Hole at the Pole”, Chapter 9, Godwin presents the numerous theories involving a hole at the Northern or Southern Pole that acts as an entrance into the subterranean paradise, including those of John Cleves Symmes, who actually petitioned the United States government for permission and funding for a mission to the North Pole to search for the entrance to the inner Earth, a petition that won the support of the state of Ohio, but nothing ore. After his death, his son Americus continued the crusade. There there’s Willis George Emerson, who in his book The Smokey God claimed to have found such a polar opening, and to have stayed for years with the inner inhabitants, who happen to be the Lost Tribes of Israel. And Cyrus Teed, founder of Koreshianity (of later Waco fame), who in 1870 “announced the discovery of the cosmogenic form, which he then declared to be cellular, with a curvature of about 8 inches to the miles.” Then of course there is the famous polar journey of Admiral Byrd in 1947, a much-publicized naval expedition to Antarctica called “Operation Hummingbird.” Many have claimed that Admiral Byrd actually journeyed within the Earth after reaching the Pole, and even presented a radio broadcast from there, a conclusion which Godwin does nor share. But the most interesting theory, I think, is that of Athanasius Kirscher, who in his 1665 treatise Mundus Subterraneus theorized that, to quote Godwin, an “analogy of the seas’ movement through the earth with human anatomy, After they have been absorbed at the North Pole, they are cooked in the earth’s interior by the subterranean fires which, in Kircher’s geology, permeate the earth’s body and occasionally break out in volcanoes. The elements in the sea-water are extracted by this process, to be used for the generation of metals. The undigested remains are then expelled at the other end, the South Pole. As a further analogy with animal anatomy, Kircher likens that circulation of waters to the recently-discovered circulation of the blood. Thus he implies that the earth is constructed and behaves like a living creature.” This is especially interesting in light of the recent discovery of a mile-wide open pool of water precisely centered on the North Pole, which scientists now say opens periodically.

Chapter 10 is full of good stuff about the mythology surrounding Antarctica, particularly in the work of Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. Poe wrote about it in “MS. found in a Bottle” and “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.” The Pym story was later continued by Jules Verne in his Le Sphinx des Glaces. In the Poe original, Pym discovers a group of “black-toothed savages” living in the Antarctic, and is almost killed by them. In Verne’s sequel his ship is torn to bits in Antarctica by a “magnetic mountain.” Verne, incidentally, was also the author of Trip to the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth (with obvious implications), anf the Merovingian mystery Clovis Dardentor. H.P. Lovecraft added to the Mythos in a number of short stories, most notably “At the Mountain of Madness”, which introduced the dreaded Cthulhu, a demon who sleeps underground in a sunken city, waiting for his followers to revive him with profane pagan rites. In this story, the narrator discovers a “gigantic city of obsidian” in which like the “star-headed, barrel-bodied, five-winged Old Ones, who came to Earth before there was any life upon it, and the continents had not yet drifted apart.” In another Lovecraft story, “The Nameless City”, he describes “a crypt-passage leading to an inner Earth, lined with caskets holding the bodies of an unknown pseudo-crocodile race.”

Godwin also relates to us the story of an expedition that Nazis made to the Queen Maud Land region of Antarctica in which they discovered “a group of low-lying hills sprinkled with many lakes and completely free of ice and snow. Claiming this Norwegian sector with swastika flags, the Germans renamed it Neuschwabenland.” Then, summing up the views of author Miguel Serrano, Godwin writes, “The Germans also found there a way of communication with the Hollow Earth and its secret cities, where the First Hyperboreans had taken refuge from the disaster that reversed the poles. There a secret base was prepared during the war years, and thither Adolf Hitler escaped in a vimana (flying saucer plane) to direct the ‘esoteric war’ to this day.” Godwin also points out the fact that when Admiral Byrd later explored Antarctica, he “left Queen Maud Land absolutely unvisited.” Finally, Godwin quoted Thelemite Kenneth Grant on Antarctica when he writes “Shaitan is the God of the South.”

There are many more chapters in this book, but the one I will go into at last is the one that I find most interesting, “The Spiritual Pole.” First there is a fantastic synopsis of how the color green relates to the Polar Myth. This is especially evident in Iranian mysticism. Writes Godwin, “...In the Iranian theosophy, the heavenly Pole, the focal point of the spiritual ascent, acts as a magnet to draw beings to its ’palaces ablaze with immaterial matter.’ Here again we see a concordance with the physical pole which attracts the loadstone and the compass needle... The Mountain of Qaf [is] the ’Sphere of Spheres surrounding the totality of the visible cosmos; an emerald rock, casting its reflection over the whole mountain of Qaf, is the keystone of this celestial vault, the Pole‘. The mountain here becomes assimilated to the symbol of the heavenly tent, which must logically be spherical if the earth is so... The Spiritual pilgrim finds there the Emerald Rock, the threshold of the beyond. Najm Kobra, who wrote in detail on the colors and lights seen on the theosophic journey, speaks of green as the color of the pole... That the cosmology of Hemes Trimegistus was written on an ‘emerald tablet’ is surely no accident...”

Then, in a subchapter sure to arrest the attention of all Grail enthusiasts, Godwin presents the possibility that a number of artist throughout history have preserved and encoded the Polar Myth into their work as part of a kind of pact with a secret brotherhood of mystics. Drawing largely on the work of Michael Lamy in his book Jules Verne: Initiate and Initiator, Godwin lists the possible members of this brotherhood as, “Danta, Rabelais, Cervantes, Goethe...Dumas, Nerval, Georg Sand.. Shakespeare... Nicholas Poussin... Guercino, Claude Lorrain, Leonardo da Vinci...” With such a list it is easy to conclude tat the ‘secret brotherhood’ of which Godwin speaks is in fact our own Prieure de Sion. This would appear to be made certain in a previous paragraph Godwin slips in, which reads:

“...The English-speaking world knows this body of thought through the works of Shakespeare and Bacon; the French, through Rabelais, then through the artists around the early court of Louis XIV; the Germans, through the Rosicrucians and alchemists; and the Italians, as we now know from Kretzulesco-Quarata’s work, through the ultra-concealed medium of symbolic garden-design. One of its mottos is Et in Arcadia Ego, inscribed on the tomb in Nicholas Poussin’s famous painting of that name. Is it merely a nostalgic sigh, as it is usually understood today, meaning ‘I , too, have been in Arcadia’; or is it a memento mori, meaning ‘I, {Death} exist even in Arcadia’; or is it a password of those who know or aspire to the realm of Arcas, son of Jupiter and Callisto, who circles the Pole as the Little Bear?”
Indeed, after reading this book it is hard not to conclude that the Polar Myth, the Hollow Earth, the Black Sun and the Emerald Vision are not integral parts of the true Grail tradition and the mysteries of the Prieure de Sion. It probably goes back much further than that as well. Godwin has done, with this book, a job that needed to be done: synthesizing these seemingly disparate subjects and showing the common origins. This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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