traditionalism

Northern Traditions * Gwendolyn Toynton (2011)

Toynton earlier edited the “Primordial Traditions Compendium”, a similar book consisting of essays, comparible to the Tyr Journal, The Journal For Contemporary Heathen Thought or the Heidnisches Jahrbuch. The Primordial Traditions Compendium is a Traditionalistic work with information about different traditions. When I heard of a new volume with the focus on the Northern Traditions and thought to have a look at the website, I noticed that there are plans for upcoming volumes about Alchemical Traditions, Occult Traditions and Tantric Traditions. Northern Traditions is an expensive buy. I paid 30 euros to get the 175 page booklet in my mailbox. I have cheaper books with more luxery paper (and better covers!), but of course it is the content that matters, right? Toynton opens with her pessimistic ideas based on the Traditionalistic hypothesis of cycles and wonders how one can build a faith for the modern age, built on an old one. This is actually the idea behind the entire publication which is divided in a historical and a contemporary part. The opening article (after a Tyr song) is also by Toynton and in it she speaks about The twilight of the Gods. In her lengthy article Toynton digs deeply into the information we have about Ragnarok and similar events in other mythologies. She manages to see current events, thus glimpsing at the neigh end of a cycle, and in doing so there are some nice thoughts and some too short corners, something that we will see more often in this publication. Matt Hajduk, whom we know from the previous publication, has some things to say about Forseti. His article brings memories of my own short text about honour and feud. Juleigh Howard-Hubson’s writes about sleeping kings who are supposed to reawaken when they are most needed. She compares Celtic versions with that of (Indo-)European folklore. Next up is a short text about honour, followed by a lengthy botanical essay that I lost track in. Hajduk also contributed an article about Tyr and he argues that when people see Tyr as just a myth without any contemporary practical meaning, modern heathenry will never be more than theoretical exercise. Then we have another essay which reminds a lot of something. Alexander Shephard investigates the theme of the Grail, mostly based on Evola’s The Mystery Of The Grail and a few titles of Guénon. Eliade is shortly mentioned. I do not know Evola’s book, but Shephard’s article cuts corners, jumps conclusions and is in many regards unconvincing. If only could he have read Dutch and found the book De Graal by Koenraad Logghe who also uses a Traditionalistic approach for the subject. Shephard and Logghe walk similar paths, but Shephard comes to his theories of solar deities and the cosmic cycles a bit too easily. He bases himself on (the famous) British Arthur legends, while the older are more interesting (and would have fitted his goal better too I think), names are misspelt which might have given him some ideas when they were not and even his history of the Grail legends misses the most important texts. A short text of Vijay Prozak supposedly gives The philosophical essence of the Northern Traditions but besides summing up some ways of looking at things (monism, dualism, etc.) and stating that a mix between them all would be “idealism”, Prozac does not get. There are a few nice thoughts and quotes though. S.R. Hardy made a new and very readable translation of the Thrymskvida. Stephen M. Borthwick also contributed his Hermann Awakened, folkishness v. racism to The Journal Of Contemporary Heathen Thought, the title says enough. Hardy again comes with a contemporary old work, he created a runesong of 3×3 verses for each rune. A very Traditionalistic article is Myth of the golden age by Wulf Ingessunu which is a bit of a mishmash of Northern and other mythologies to argue that Ragnarok is the end of the golden age. Ingessunu manages to place the Fimbul winter immediately after the war between the Aesir and the Vanir; places “Baldaeg” in “Odainsacre” after he gets shot by his brother, supposedly from an Anglo-Saxon version of the Balder myth. Atlantis is derived from “At-al-Ase” and “The hooded man” from some old television series is the “avatar” for the new era. Not the most convincing article… Christopher A. Smith, a modern magician, contribituted a few pages about contemporary Northern magic, making clear that we no longer live in the Middle Ages. The closing article is for Troy Southgate who gives “a Wodenist perspective” on The symbolic & practical significence of the centre. He of course quotes Eliade who extensively investigated the symbolism of the centre of the world, world trees, etc. but Southgate goes on with giving a ritual to make your own centre. I am not really fond of such outwritten rituals and fail to see Southgate’s purpose of the ritual.
Indeed, I am quite critical about the essays in this publication, but that does not mean that I do not applaud yet another serious (“semi-academic”) modern heathen publication. Without different opinions and approaches nothing new will ever surface and the publication surely raises some things worthy to think over and to discuss. Therefor I advice to try to keep up with this kind of publications if you are interested in contemporary heathenry.
Link: Primordial Traditions 2011, isbn 9780473162832

De Graal * Koenraad Logghe (1997)

I bought and reviewed this book not too long after it was published. Back then I did not know the author and was not yet involved in the group that he founded (Werkgroep Traditie) from which he is no longer a part. Logghe is a “Traditionalistic Asatruar” and a Freemason, but I do not know how active an Asatruar he is nowadays, perhaps only in private. Many many years of mostly self-study made Logghe a specialist in Indo-European comparitive mythology and genuine esotericism, also at the age of writing this book (34). In “the grail, between a heathen and a christian heritage” he investigates mostly the grail legends of the Low Countries such as the stories about Ferguut and Torec. Logghe came to the conclusion that these (all) Arthurian legends are deeply rooted in Indo-European mythology, yes I say mythology, because rather than historical, the stories are mythical and the characters based on Gods. Also the stories are obviously initiatic stories. To make his points, Logghe gives countless quotes of the ancient manuscripts that he studied at the now (2011) troubled Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (Joost Ritman also introduces the book) and makes cross references to Persian texts (which seem to have had a big influence on the Arthurian legends), Hermetic texts (which may be an unexpected, but quite clearly also a source), Gnostic and all kinds of early Christian texts and different religions and mythologies. All this gives the book a staggering amount of details in which the red thread tends to get lost, but which gives a great many leads for futher study. Being from the hand of a Traditionalist author, you can expect thick layers of Guénonian thinking. Yes you may get the idea, Logghe is the man that had a profound impact on my own thinking. This was the third (I think) time that I read this book and I want to bring it to you attention (again) almost three years after the first publication of this review at Gangleri.nl. It is one of the greatest works that I have, is unfortunately only available in Dutch, but seems not to be sold out, but can be found quite easily secondhand anyway.
1997 Uitgeverij Stichting Mens en Cultuur
Quotes from this book can be found here

Forgotten Truth * Huston Smith (1976)

Forgotten TruthI had not heard of this book, nor of the author before I noticed a reference to it in a book that I read recently. Apparently it was first published under the title Forgotten Truth: the Perennial Tradition, was reprinted under this title a couple of times and later republished under the title Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions, because the “Perennial Tradition” in the title would lower the sales? In any case, Smith (1919-) is a scholar and author of the popular Religions Of Man/The World’s Religions and he follows the ideas of Traditionalists such as Guénon and Burckhardt. Interested in a book in this ‘low period’ of Traditionalism, I got this book which is both easy and cheap to get second hand. Smith obviously a scholar, mostly deals with contemporary subjects and why things are differently as we usually think. Evolution theory, the idea of progress and mostly the role of science in general are put in a different perspective. This might be interesting as an introduction for people who are looking for alternative ideas on a variety of still current subjects, but when you, like me, have read your share of ‘Perennial literature’, nothing much new is to be found here. Moreover, like I said before, I am not so much interested in this level of knowledge, I would love to run into something more metaphysically Traditionalistic. In any case, Forgotten Truth is a good introduction for Western thinking people. There is not all that much Tradition to be found, rather the hows and whys of the incorrectness of many modern ideas and theories. After that, you might want to learn more about religions and this author seems to be able to provide that too, but I have not read any of these works.
1976 harper & row, isbn 0060139021

Ride The Tiger * Julius Evola (2003)

Cavalcare La Tigre

This translation of the famous Cavalcare la Tigre (1961) is from noone less than Joscelyn Godwin (1945-) the famous scholar on paganism, music and Renaissance occultism. The name of Godwin might remove the sharp edges of this book, which is a good thing in my opinion. The translation is very well readable and Evola’s writings are again an interesting read. I might not agree with several things Evola says and in this book he proves why I do not really regard the man as a Traditionalist, but the nice thing about Evola is that he is practical. The things he describes are recognisable, the things he suggests can often be worked on yourself. Also in several regards he is less pessimistic as Guénon and takes the situation for what it is. This “situation” is of course the degenerate state of modern society and it is exactly that which Evola writes about. Sometimes I find him a bit too down-to-earth. Chapter after chapter is dedicated to proving philosophers and more particularly existentialists wrong, while the note that philosophers work on another level than metaphysicians would have been enough for me. I do not need this philosophising that I cannot follow anyway. What concerns me what lays beyond that sphere. Further Evola describes excesses in society in the form of modern art, music, drugs, sex, nationalism, relationships, etc. and it is very clear that time did not stop after Evola. While Evola is concerned with people smoking “hashish”, people in swiming cloths on the beach, beatnik music based on African rhythms, etc. I sometimes find myself smiling to what Evola already regarded as offensive of degenerate. Would he have survived another 40 years, he might have wanted to rewrite this book entirely. In any case, Ride The Tiger has plenty of food for thought, a nicely radical look on modern society and even some more ‘metaphysical’ theories. Another nice and not all that controversioal read of this controversial author.
1961 -2003 inner traditions, isbn 0892811250
Quotes from this and other books by Evola can be read here, a biography of Evola that I wrote many years ago here.

Primordial Traditions Compendium 2009 * Gwendolyn Toynton (ed.) (2009)

Primordial Traditions Compendium 2009Primordial Traditions is a periodical that I did not know. They have collected their best articles from 2005 to 2009, most of which are by the hand of editor Gwendolyn Toynton. As the title suggests, this publication takes a Traditionalistic starting point and since “the term Primordial Tradition is utilized to describe a system of spiritual thought and metaphysical truths that overarches all the other religions and esoteric traditions of humanity” this book covers a wide variety of subjects, going from Hinduism and Buddhism, to Mithraism and Islam to “paganism” and of course Traditionalism. The editor does not seem to have exactly my idea of this “primordial tradition” when she says that: “Both the idea of the Primordial Tradition and the philosophia perennis attempt to establish common factors amongst different traditions, with the goal of producing a superior gnosis or level of wisdom than that which would have been obtained by the study of a single religion.” This sounds like that the primordial tradition can be created/obtained by cross-studying myth and religion while in my idea it stems from the Divine Source and is thus, per se, not ‘obtainable’. Some articles do not really seem Traditionalistic to me, Toynton seems to have a preference for far Eastern religion about which she writes articles about uncommon subjects. This is interesting in itself, but these peculiarities are, in my opinion, not seen in other cultures, so where is the Traditionalism? Also none of the articles is really good, most of them are interesting in subject and sometimes in angle of approach, but besides a few nice hints to think over or look for, I find this book more entertaining than studious. Several articles, moreover, contain ideas and statements that I disagree with and also there is an Evolian (stress on the second function) approach that I do not share. Inspite of all my critique, the Primordial Traditions Compendium is a nice read for people with an interest in comparitive myth and religion and people with an interest in far Eastern (especialy Tantric) traditions.
2009 Twin Serpents ltd. isbn 1905524323

Man And His Becoming According To The Vedanta * René Guénon (1925)

l'Homme et son devenir selon la VedÍ nta

I ran into an old English translation (1958) of l’Homme et son devenir selon la Vêdânta. Books of Guénon are never easy literature, but this fifth book is all about Metaphysics, not the way of thinking of the Western man. The first part of the book is mostly about the most ancient traditions of Hinduism and its conceptions. The last part of the book is the second part of the title. Even though this is a small book (185 pages), it took me a while to get through. At some points I can easily follow Guénon, but at other times my thinking is obviously too Western for easy understanding what the man tries to say. Therefor this little book is not only “probably the best account of the Vedanta in any European language” (according to Ananda Coomaraswamy), but also a nice way to train that other way of thinking.
1925 les éditions traditionelles; 1958 noonday; 2001 sophia perennis (isbn 0900588616)

Tyr 2 in reprint

Greetings,

We are pleased to announce that Ultra is now accepting pre-orders for
the second printing of TYR, Volume 2. This issue has been unavailable
for several years, and used copies command high prices on the Internet.

We expect TYR, Volume 2 to be back from the printer in 3–4 weeks. At
that time, the journal will be available for purchase on our website:

www.radicaltraditionalist.com

Until then, we can accept pre-orders via PayPal to this email
address. Pre-ordering will ensure availability and prompt shipping.
We encourage distributors to contact us now to reserve copies.

We can also accept checks or money-orders payable to:
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TYR
MYTH—CULTURE—TRADITION
EDITED BY JOSHUA BUCKLEY AND MICHAEL MOYNIHAN

Volume 2, 2003-2004, Second Edition, 2008, ISSN 1538-9413, ISBN:
978-0-9720292-1-4
6″ X 9″ perfectbound, illustrated, 432 pages, Cover price: $22.00 ppd
(USA),
$30.00 airmail (foreign)

IN THE SECOND VOLUME:

Julius Evola on “The Doctrine of Battle and Victory,” Charles
Champetier’s interview with Alain de Benoist, Alain de Benoist on
“Thoughts on God,” Collin Cleary on “Summoning the Gods,” Stephen
McNallen on the “́satrú Revival,” Nigel Pennick on “Heathen Holy
Places,” John Matthews on “The Guardians of Albion,” Steve Pollington
on “The Germanic Warband,” Michael Moynihan on “Disparate Myths of
Divine Sacrifice,” Christian Rätsch on “The Sacred Plants of our
Ancestors,” Joscelyn Godwin on Herman Wirth, Peter Bahn on “The
Friedrich Hielscher Legend,” Markus Wolff on Ludwig Fahrenkrog,
Stephen Flowers on “The Northern Renaissance,” Joshua Buckley’s
interview with “technosophical” musicians Allerseelen, and an
extensive book and music review section, featuring sidebar interviews
with Coil and P. D. Brown.

BONUS CD MUSIC SAMPLER FEATURING: Allerseelen, Blood Axis, Coil, Fire
+ Ice, In Gowan Ring, Primordial, 16 Horsepower, Waldteufel, and many
other innovative contemporary music artists inspired by tradition.

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Traditie 2008/1

www.traditie.beThe first issue after we moved arrived with some delay, but here we finally have the spring equinox issue, the first issue of the 14th year this magazine is made and also the first issue in the ‘new style’. From this issue on there will be shorter articles by more different writers, more focussed on the present and more variety in the writing style. In short: there will be more participation of members and readers. Fortunately nothing changed about the opening. Herman Vanhove as always opens with a nice and humorous article, this time about his “hammer of Thor”: his photocamera. Next article is anonymous (at least, under pseudonym) and calls for a digital answer to all the rubbish that is published on Youtube and similar canals under the banner of Asatru. Alwin Goethals, our very own mead-brewer, has written an article about mead, its history, its uses and the forms it took. Another pseudonym tells us a bit about the tree as a symbol in our faith and chairman Stefaan van den Eynde does something similar when he describes the habbits surrounding the May-pole in the next article. Founder Koenraad Logghe contributed two texts in a style we are not really used from him. The first is slightly religiously Christian, but makes the bridge to our own beliefs, the second is a “Hávamal” based on a notebook with Western-Flemish sayings that his mother used to collect. Between these two articles by Logghe, there is one of myself about Traditionalism and our Werkgroep Traditie and an interview with Gunther Theys of the Flemish metal band Ancient Rites. Theys takes some distance from the black metal scene, yet the interview is made up with “vintage” black metal kids with “corps paint”… Yet another pseudonym wrote a nice article about the sacred meaning of marriage. Two of the pseudonyms use the metaphor of Taliban to describe certain Christians and also the third anonymous has some quite anti-Christian rethoric. Hopefully this shows us more that some individuals have such feelings while this says nothing about our movement and perhaps it is just because these are the first articles published not written by an almost fixed group of writers.
In any case, the articles are still very interesting, the publication is still about 40 pages and the lay-out looks fine as ever. So, if you can read Dutch and you are interested in “Germanic and Celtic culture and spirituality”, be sure to get in contact with Traditie. To visit the website, click on the cover the of journal.

Tyr journal volume 3 (2008 ultra publishing * isbn 0972029230)

Tyr 3It usually wouldn’t take me almost four months to read a book of this size (530 pages), but moving from one house to another leaves me little time to read. For some reason Amazon still seems to not sell new copies of this journal, while when issue 1 was published, it was available on every corner of the street. Too bad, because Tyr is a nice read for people interested in Northern European mythology, esotericism or Traditionalism (either or not “radical”). There are numerous articles some of which are longer, others are shorter. This volume opens with some “against the modern world” texts and Michael O’Meare says something about “The Primordial and the Perennial”. Alain De Benoist follows with a magnificent article in which he combines Guénon’s idea of “Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power” (like the article is called) with Dumézil’s tripartite hypothesis and makes a very readable and informative text which -unfortunately- towards the end doesn’t keep the high level. Usual contributors such as Nigel Pennick, Stephen Flowers, Joscelyn Godwin, Ian Read, Michael Moynihan and Collin Cleary contributed alright to very nice texts about a variety of subjects. There is an article about Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson and the Icelandic Asatru federation, a long text about the ancient Baltic religion and Romuva, two lengthy and critical reviews of Mark Sedgewick’s Against The Modern World and many other book- and musicreviews. For more details and ordering go to the website of the publisher. Tyr remains a suggested reading.
Link: Ultra Publishing
Read quotes from Tyr here.

The Initiate #1

The Initiate #1The Initiate is a rather pretentious title of a new “Traditionalist” magazine. The editors start to explain the variety of meanings that the term has and then follows a nice collection of articles. There is quite some Northern mythology in the issue, such as in the not too good article The Great Triad and Norse religion by Martin Häggvist. There are some political (New Right) edges here and there which may make the magazine suspicious to lefties and non-political Traditionalists alike, but I don’t have the idea that this part weighs too heavy on the project. The magazine is well printed and bound and the editors seem aligned to the Rune Gild and surrounded organisations. I haven’t read the whole issue yet, but The Initiate at first sight seems to be an interesting initiative.

Links: The Initiate, Integral Tradition Publishing