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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Julius Evola-Revolt Against the Modern World [book] (3)

Julius Evola-Revolt Against the Modern World [book] (3)


Contents 

PART I
The World of Tradition 


1. The Beginning 3 

2. Regality 7 

3. Polar Symbolism; the Lord of Peace and Justice 16 

4. The Law, the State, the Empire 21 

5. The Mystery of the Rite 29 

6. On the Primordial Nature of the Patriciate 35 

7. Spiritual Virility 42 
3--------------------------------------------------------------
8. The Two Paths in the Afterlife 47 

9. Life and Death of Civilizations 54 

10. Initiation and Consecration 60 

11. On the Hierarchical Relationship Between Royalty and Priesthood 68
................................................
................................................ 

=================================

The Two Paths in the Afterlife 



At this point it is necessary to discuss the connection between the order of ideas 
I have outlined so far and the problem of one's destiny in the afterlife. In this 
context too, reference should be made to teachings that have almost entirely been 
lost in recent times. 

The belief that everybody's soul is immortal is rather odd; very little evidence 
of it can be found in the world of Tradition. In Tradition, a distinction was made 
between true immortality, which corresponded to participation in the Olympian na- 
ture of a god, and mere survival; also, various forms of possible survival came into 
play and the problem of the postmortem condition of each individual was analyzed, 
always taking into consideration the various elements present in the human aggre- 
gate, since man was far from being reduced to the simple binomial "soul-body." 

What continuously emerges in various forms in ancient traditions is the teaching 
that in man, in addition to the physical body, there are essentially three entities or 
principles, each endowed with its own character and destiny. The first principle cor- 
responds to the conscious "I" typical of the waking state, which arose with the body 
and was formed in parallel with its biological development; this is the ordinary per- 
sonality. The second principle was called "demon'' "manes'', "Lar, and even "double." 
The third and last principle corresponds to what proceeds from the first entity after 
death; for most people, it is the "shadow.'' 

As long as a person belongs to "nature," the ultimate foundation of a human 
being is the daemon or "demon," (ΔΑΙΜΩΝ ln Greek); in this context the term does 
not have the evil connotation Christianity bestowed upon it. When man is considered 
from a naturalistic point of view, the demon, could be defined as the deep force that 
originally produced consciousness in the finite form that is the body in which it lives 
during its residence in the visible world. This force eventually remains "behind" the 
individual, in the preconscious and in the subconscious dimensions, as the founda- 
tion of organic processes and subtle relations with the environment, other beings, 
and with past and future destiny; these relations usually elude any direct perception. 
In this regard, in many traditions the demon corresponds to the so-called double, 
which is perhaps a reference to the soul of the soul or the body itself; this "double" 
has also often been closely associated with the primordial ancestor or with the totem 
conceived as the soul and the unitary life that generated a stock, a family, a gens, or 
a tribe, and therefore it. has a broader sense than the one given to it by some schools 
of contemporary ethnology. The single individuals of a group appear as various in- 
carnations or emanations of this demon or totem, which is the ''spirit '', pulsating in 
their blood; they live in it and it lives in them, though transcending them, just as the 
matrix transcends the particular forms it produces out of its own substance. In the 
Hindu tradition the demon corresponds to that principle of man's inner being called 
iinga-sarira. The word linga contains the idea of a generating power; hence, the 
possible derivation of genius from genere, which means to act in the sense of beget- 
ting; and hence, the Roman and Greek belief that the genius or Lar (demon) is the 
same procreating force without which a family would become extinct. It is also very 
significant that totems have often been associated with the "souls" of selected ani- 
mal species, and that especially the snake, essentially a telluric animal, has been 
associated in the classical world with the idea of demon or of genius. These two 
instances bear witness to the fact that in its immediacy this force is essentially 
subpersonal, and belongs to nature and to the infernal world. Thus, according to the 
symbolism of the Roman tradition, the seat of the lures is underground; they are in 
the custody of a female principle, Mania, who is the Mater Larum. 

According to esoteric teachings, at the death of the body an ordinary person 
usually loses his or her personality, which was an illusory thing even while that 
person was alive. The person is then reduced to a shadow that is itself destined to be 
dissolved after a more or Less lengthy period culminating in what was called "the 
second death." The essential vital principles of the deceased return to the totem, 
which is a primordial, perennial, and inexhaustible matter; life will again proceed 
from this matter and assume other individual forms, all of which are subject to the 
same destiny. This is the reason why totems, manes, lares, or penates (the gods of 
the Roman people, "to whom we owe the breath within us and by whom we possess 
our bodies and our power of thought") were identified with the dead; the cult of the 
ancestors, the demons, and the invisible generating force that is present in every- 
body was often confused with the cult of the dead. The "souls" of the deceased 
continued to exist in the dii manes into whom they were dissolved, but also in those 
forces of the stock, the race, or the family in which the life of these dii manes was 
manifested and perpetuated. 

This teaching concerns the naturalistic order. There is, however, a second teaching 
relating to a higher order and a different, more privileged, aristocratic, and sacred 
solution to the problem of survival after death. It is possible to establish a connection 
here with the ideas expressed above concerning those ancestors who, through their 
"victory," bestowed a sacred legacy upon the ensuing patrician generations that re- 
enact and renew the rite. 

The "heroes" or demigods to whom the higher castes and the noble families of 
traditional antiquity traced their lineage were beings who at death (unlike most people 
or unlike those who had been defeated in the trials of the afterlife) did not emanate 
a "shadow" or the larva of an ego that was eventually destined to die anyway; in- 
stead, they were beings who had achieved the self-subsistent, transcendent, and in- 
corruptible life of a "god." They were those who "had overcome the second death." 
This was possible because they had more or less directly imposed upon their own 
vital force that change of nature I mentioned before when talking about the transcen- 
dent meaning of "sacrifice." Ancient Egyptian traditions clearly articulated the task 
of creating out of the ka (another name for the "double" or the "demon") some kind 
of new incorruptible body (sahu) that was supposed to replace the physical body and 
"stand on its own feet" in the invisible dimension. In other traditions it is possible to 
find the identical concept under the names of "immortal body," "body of glory," or 
"resurrection body." Therefore, if in their traditions the Greeks of Homer's time (as 
in the first Aryan period when the Vedas were written) did not contemplate the 
survival of the soul alone, but instead, believed the survivors (those who had been 
"kidnapped" or "made invisible" by the gods and who had settled in the "island of 
the blessed," where there is no death) retained soul and body in an indissoluble 
unity, this should not be understood as a coarse materialistic representation, as many 
historians of religion today are inclined to believe, but as the symbolic expression of 
the idea of an "immortal body" and the condition for immortality; this idea enjoyed 
its classical formulation in Far Eastern esotericism, and more specifically, in opera- 
tive Taoism. The Egyptian sahu, created by the rite, thanks to which the deceased 
can go on to live in the company of solar gods, indicates a body that has achieved a 
high degree of knowledge, power, and glory and that has thus become everlasting 
and incorruptible. This body is referred to in the following formulation: "Your soul 
lives, your body germinates eternally at Ra's command without any diminution or 
defect, just like Ra's." In this context the attainment of immortality or the victory 
over adverse powers of dissolution is related to wholeness, namely, to the insepara- 
bility of the soul from the body — better yet, from a body that does not undergo decay. 
There is a very suggestive Vedic formula: "Leaving behind every fault, go back 
home. Filled with splendor, be reunited with your body." The Christian dogma of 
the "resurrection of the flesh" that will take place on Judgment Day is the last echo 
of this idea, which can be traced back to prehistoric times.  

In these instances death did not represent an end but a fulfillment. It was a 
"triumphal death" bestowing immortality and was the reason why in some Hellenic 
traditions the deceased was called "hero" and dying was called "generating demi- 
gods" (ΗΡΩΑ ΓΙΝΕΣΘΑΙ); or why the deceased was portrayed wearing a crown (often 
put on his head by the goddesses of victory) made with the same myrtle that identi- 
fied those who were going to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries; or why in the 
Catholic liturgical language the day of death is called dies natalis (day of birth); or 
why in Egypt the tombs of the deceased who had been dedicated to Osiris were 
called "houses of immortality," and the afterlife was conceived as "the land of tri- 
umph"; or why in ancient Rome the emperor's "demon" was worshiped as divine, 
and why the kings, legislators, victorious generals, and founders of those institutions 
or traditions that were believed to involve an action and a conquest beyond nature 
were worshiped as heroes, demigods, gods, and avatars of different deities. The 
sacred foundation of the authority the elders enjoyed in several ancient civilizations 
lies in similar ideas. People saw in the elders, who were closer to death, the manifes- 
tation of the divine force that was thought to achieve its full liberation at death.' 

Thus, as far as the destiny of the soul after death is concerned, there are two 
opposite paths. The first is the "path of the gods," also known as the "solar path" or 
Zeus's path, which leads to the bright dwelling of the immortals. This dwelling was 
variously represented as a height, heaven, or an island, from the Nordic Valhalla 
and Asgard to the Aztec-Inca "House of the Sun" that was reserved for kings, he- 
roes, and nobles. The other path is that trodden by those who do not survive in a real 
way, and who slowly yet inexorably dissolve back into their original stocks, into the 
"totems" that unlike single individuals, never die; this is the life of Hades, of the 
"infernals," of Niflheim, of the chthonic deities. This teaching is found in the Hindu 
tradition where the expressions deva-yana and pitr-yana signify "path of the gods," 
and "path of the ancestors" (in the sense of manes), respectively. It is also said: 
"These two paths, one bright and the other dark, are considered eternal in the uni- 
verse. In the former, man goes out and then comes back; in the latter he keeps on 
returning." The first path "leading to Brahman," namely, to the unconditioned state, 
is analogically associated with fire, light, the day, and the six months of the solar 
ascent during the year; it leads to the region of thunderbolts, located beyond the 
"door of the sun." The second path, which is related to smoke, night, and the six 
months of the sun's descent leads to the moon, which is the symbol of the principle of 
change and becoming and which is manifested here as the principle regulating the 
cycle of finite beings who continuously come and go in many ephemeral incarna- 
tions of the ancestral forces. 7 According to an interesting symbolism, those who 
follow the lunar path become the food of the manes and are "sacrificed" again by 
them in the semen of new mortal births. According to another significant symbol 
found in the Greek tradition, those who have not been initiated, that is to say, the 
majority of people, are condemned in Hades to do the Danaides' work; carrying 
water in amphorae filled with holes and pouring it into bottomless barrels, thus never 
being able to fill them up; this illustrates the insignificance of their ephemeral lives, 
which keep recurring over and over again, pointlessiy. Another comparable Greek 
symbol is Ocnus, who plaited a rope on the Plains of Lethe. This rope was continu- 
ally eaten by an ass. Ocnus symbolizes man's activity, while the ass traditionally 
embodies the "demonic" power; in Egypt the ass was associated with the snake of 
darkness and with Am-mit, the "devourer of the dead." 

In this context we again find the basic ideas concerning the "two natures" that I 
discussed in the first chapter. But here it is possible to penetrate deeper into the 
meaning of the existence in antiquity not only of two types of divinities, (the former 
Uranian and solar, the latter telluric and lunar), but also of the existence of two 
essentially distinct types (at times even opposed to each other) of rite and cult. A 
civilization's degree of faithfulness to Tradition is determined by the degree of the 
predominance of cults and rituals of the first type over those of the second type. 
Likewise, the nature and the function of the rites proper to the world of "spiritual 
virility" is specified. 

A characteristic of what today goes by the name of the "science of religions is 
that whenever by sheer chance it finds the right key to solve a "mystery," it reaches 
the conclusion that this key is good to solve all mysteries. Thus, when some scholars 
learned about the idea of the totem, they began to see totems everywhere. The "to- 
temic" interpretation was shamelessly applied to the forms found in great civiliza- 
tions, since some scholars thought that the best explanation for them could be de- 
rived from earlier studies on primitive tribes. Last but not least, a sexual theory of the 
totem eventually came to be formulated. 

I will not say that the shift from the totems of those primitive populations to a 
traditional regality was a historical development; at most, it was an evolution in an 
ideal sense. A regal or an aristocratic tradition arises wherever there is dominion over 
me totems and not dominion of' the totems, and wherever the bond is inverted and the 
deep forces of the stock are given a superbiological orientation by a supernatural prin- 
ciple in the direction of an Olympian "victory" and immortality. To establish ambigu- 
us promiscuities that make individuals more vulnerable to the powers on which they 
depend as natural beings, thus allowing the center of their being to fall deeper and 
deeper into the collective and into the prepersonal dimensions and to "placate" or to 
propitiate certain infernal influences, granting them their wish to become incarnated 
in the souls and in the world of men — this is the essence of an inferior cult that is only 
an extension of the way of being of those who have no cult and no rite at all. In other 
words, it is the characteristic of the extreme degeneration of higher traditional forms. 
To free human beings from the dominion of the totems; to strengthen them; to address 
them to the fulfillment of a spiritual form and a limit; and to bring them in an invisible 
way to the line of influences capable of creating a destiny of heroic and liberating 
immortality — this was the task of the aristocratic cult. 1 ' When human beings perse- 
vered in this cult, the fate of Hades was averted and the "way of the Mother" was 
barred. Once the divine rites were neglected, however, this destiny was reconfirmed 
and the power of the inferior nature became omnipotent again. In this way, the mean- 
ing of the abovementioned Oriental teaching is made manifest, namely, that those 
who neglect the rites cannot escape "hell," this word meaning both a way of being in 
this life and a destiny in the next. In its deepest sense, the duty to preserve, nourish, 
and develop the mystical fire (which was considered to be the body of the god of the 
families, cities, and empires, as well as, according to a Vedic expression, the ''custo- 
dian of immortality" 10 ) without any interruption concealed the ritual promise to 
preserve, nourish, and develop the principle of a higher destiny and contact with 
the overwork! that were created by the ancestor. In this way this fire is most inti- 
mately related to the fire, which especially in the Hindu and in the Greek view and, 
more generally speaking, in the Olympian-Aryan ritual of cremation, bums in the fu- 
neral pyre; this fire was the symbol of the power that consumes the last remains of the 
earthly nature of die deceased until it generates beyond it the "fulgurating form" of an 
immortal.  

=====================================================

Life and Death of Civilizations



In those areas in which Tradition retained all of its vitality the dynastic succession 
of sacred kings represented an axis of light and of eternity within the temporal 
framework, the victorious presence of the supernatural in the world, and the "Olym- 
pian" component that transfigures the demonic element of chaos and bestows a higher 
meaning to state, nation, and race. Even in the lower strata of society, the hierarchi- 
cal bond created by a conscious and virile devotion was considered a means to ap- 
proach, and to participate in, the supernatural. 

In fact, invested with authority from above, the simple law acted as a reference 
and a support that went beyond mere human individuality for those who could not 
light the supernatural fire for themselves. In reality, the intimate, free, and effective 
dedication of one 's entire life to traditional norms, even when a full understanding of 
their inner dimension was not present to justify such an adherence, was enough to 
acquire objectively a higher meaning: through obedience, faithfulness, and action in 
conformity with traditional principles and limitations an invisible force shaped such 
a life and oriented it toward that supernatural axis that in others (in those privileged 
few at the top of the hierarchy) existed as a state of truth, realization, and light. In 
this manner, a stable and lively organism was formed that was constantly oriented 
toward the overworld and sanctified in power and in act according to its hierarchical 
degrees in the various domains of thinking, feeling, acting, and struggling. Such was 
the climate of the world of Tradition. 

All of the exterior life was a rite, namely, an approximation, more or 
less efficacious and depending on individuals and groups, to a truth that 
the exterior life cannot produce by itself, but that allows a person to 
realize one's self in part or entirely, provided it is lived in a saintly 
way, These people lived the same life that they led for centuries; they 
made of this world a ladder in order to achieve liberation. These peoples 
used to think, to act, to love, to hate, and to wage war on each other in 
a saintly way; they had erected the one temple among a great number 
of other temples through which the stream of the waters ran. This temple 
was the bed of the river, the traditional truth, the holy syllable in the 
heart of the world. 

At this level to leave the parameters of Tradition meant to leave the true life. To 
abandon the rites, alter or violate the laws or mix the castes corresponded to a re- 
gression from a structured universe (cosmos) back into chaos, or to a relapse to the 
state of being under the power of the elements and of the totems — to take the "path 
leading to the hells" where death is the ultimate reality and where a destiny of con- 
tingency and of dissolution is the supreme rule. 

This applied to both single individuals and to entire peoples. Any analysis of 
history will reveal that just like man, civilizations too, after a dawn and an ensuing 
development, eventually decline and die. Some people have attempted to discover 
the Jaw responsible for the decline of various civilizations. I do not think that the 
cause or causes can be reduced to merely historical and naturalistic factors. 

Among various writers, de Gobineau is the one who probably better demon- 
strates the insufficiency of the majority of the empirical causes that have been ad- 
duced to explain the decline of great civilizations. He showed, for instance, that a 
civilization does not collapse simply because its political power has been either bro- 
ken or swept away: "The same type of civilization sometimes endures even under a 
foreign occupation and defies the worst catastrophic events, while some other times, 
in the presence of mediocre mishaps, it just disappears." Not even the quality of the 
governments, in the empirical (namely, administrative and organizational) sense of 
the word, exercises much influence on the longevity of civilizations. De Gobineau 
remarked that civilizations, just like living organisms, may survive for a long time 
even though they cany within themselves disorganizing tendencies in addition to the 
spiritual unity that is the life of the one common Tradition; India and feudal Europe, 
for example, show precisely the absence of both a unitary organization and a single 
economic system or form of legislation on the one hand and a marked pluralism with 
repeatedly recurring antagonisms on the other.  

Not even the so-called corruption of morals, in its most profane and moralisti- 
cally bourgeois sense, may be considered the cause of the collapse of civilizations, 
the corruption of morals at most may be an effect, but it is not the real cause. In 
almost every instance we have to agree with Nietzsche, who claimed that wherever 
the preoccupation with "morals" arises is an indication that a process of decadence is 
already at work; the mos of Vice's "heroic ages" has nothing to do with moralistic 
limitations. The Far Eastern tradition especially has emphasized the idea that morals 
and laws in general (in a conformist and social sense) arise where "virtue" and the 
"Way'' are no longer known: 

When the Tao was lost, its attributes appeared; when its attributes were 
lost, benevolence appeared; when benevolence was lost, righteousness 
appeared; and when righteousness was lost, the proprieties appeared. 
Now propriety is the attenuated form of filial piety and good faith, and 
is also the commencement of disorder.  

As far as the traditional laws are concerned, taken in their sacred character and in 
their transcendent finality, then just as they had a nonhuman value, likewise they 
could not be reduced in any way to the domain of morality in the current sense of the 
word. Antagonism between peoples or a state of war between them is in itself not the 
cause of a civilization's collapse; on the contrary, the imminent sense of danger, just 
like victory, can consolidate, even in a material way, the network of a unitary struc- 
ture and heat up a people's spirit through external manifestations, while peace and 
well-being may lead to a state of reduced tension that favors the action of the deeper 
causes of a possible disintegration.  

The idea that is sometimes upheld against the insufficiency of these explana- 
tions is that of race. The unity and the purity of blood are believed by some to be the 
foundation of life and the strength of a civilization; therefore, the mixing and the 
ensuing "poisoning' 1 of the blood are considered the initial cause of a civilization's 
decline. This too is an illusion, which among other things, lowers the notion of civili- 
zation to a naturalistic and biological plane, since this is the plane on which race is 
thought of in our day and age, Race, blood, hereditary purity of blood: these are 
merely "material" factors. A civilization in the true, traditional sense of the word 
arises only when a supernatural and nonhuman force of a higher order — a force that 
corresponds to the "pontifical" function, to the component of the rite, and to the 
principle of spirituality as the basis of a hierarchical differentiation of people — acts 
upon these factors. At the origin of every true civilization there lies a "divine" event 
(every great civilization has its own myth concerning divine founders): thus, no hu- 
man or naturalistic factor can fully account for it. The adulteration and decline of 
civilizations is caused by an event of the same order, though it acts in the opposite, 
degenerative sense. When a race has lost contact with the only thing that has and can 
provide stability, namely, with the world of "Being"; and when in a race that which 
forms its most subtle yet most essential element has been lost, namely, the inner race 
and the race of the spirit — compared to which the race of the body and of the soul are 
only external manifestations and means of expression*— then the collective organisms 
 that a race has generated, no matter how great and powerful, are destined 
to descend into the world of contingency; they are at the mercy of what is irra- 
tional, becoming, and "historical," and of what is shaped "from below" and from the 
outside. 

Blood and ethnic purity are factors that are valued in traditional civilizations 
too; their value, however, never justifies the employment, in the case of human beings, 
 of the same criteria employed to ascertain the presence of "pure blood" in a dog 
or in a horse — as is the case in some modern racist ideologies. The "blood" or "ra- 
cial" factor plays a certain role not because it exists in the "psyche" (in the brain and 
in the opinions of an individual), but in the deepest forces of life that various tradi- 
tions experience and act upon as typical formative energies. The blood registers the 
effects of this action, yet it provides through heredity a material that is preformed 
and refined so that through several generations, realizations similar to the original 
ones may be prepared and developed in a natural and spontaneous way. It is on this 
foundation — and on this foundation only — that, as we shall see, the traditional world 
often practiced the heredity of the castes and willed endogamous laws. If we refer, 
however, to the Indo-Aryan tradition in which the caste system was the most rigor- 
ously applied, simply to be born in a caste, though necessary, was not considered 
enough; it was necessary for the quality virtually conferred upon a person at birth to 
be actualized by initiation. I have already mentioned that according to the 
Manudharma sastra unless a man undergoes initiation or "second birth," even though 
he may be an Aryan, he is not superior to a sudra. I also related how three special 
differentiations of the divine fire animated the three hierarchically higher Persian 
pishtra, and that definite membership in one of them was sealed at the moment of 
initiation. Even in these instances we should not lose sight of two factors being present, 
and never mistake the formative element for the element that is formed, nor the 
conditioning for the conditioned factor. Both the higher castes and traditional aristoc- 
racies, as well as superior civilizations and races (those that enjoy the same status 
that the consecrated castes enjoy vis-a-vis the plebeian castes of the "children of the 
Earth") cannot be explained by blood, but through the blood, by something that goes 
beyond blood and that has a metabiological character. 

When this "something" is truly powerful, or when it constitutes the deeper and 
most stable nucleus of a traditional civilization, then that civilization can preserve 
and reaffirm itself — even when ethnical mixtures and alterations occur (no matter 
how destructive they may be)— by reacting on the heterogeneous elements, and 
shaping them, by reducing them slowly but gradually to their own type, or by regen- 
erating itself into a new, vibrant unity. In historical times there are a number of cases 
of this: China, Greece, Rome, Islam. Only when a civilization's generating root "from 
above" is no longer alive and its "spiritual race" is worn out or broken does its de- 
cline set in, and this in tandem with its secularization and humanization/' 

When it comes to this point, the only forces that can be relied upon are those of 
the blood, which still carries atavistically within itself, Through race and instinct, the 
echo and the trace of the departed higher element that has been lost; it is only in this 
way that the "racist 51 thesis in defense of the purity of blood can be validly upheld — 
if not to prevent, at least to delay the fatal outcome of the process of dissolution. It is 
impossible, however, to really prevent this outcome without an inner awakening. 

Analogous observations can be made concerning the value and the power of 
traditional forms, principles, and laws. In a traditional social order there must be 
somebody in whom the principle upon which various institutions, legislations, and 
ethical and ritual regulations are based is truly active; this principle, though, must be 
an objective spiritual realization and not a simulacrum. In other words, what is re- 
quired is an individual or an elite to assume the "pontifical" function of lords and 
mediators of power from above. Then even those who can only obey but who cannot 
adopt the law other than by complying with the external authority and tradition are 
able intuitively to know why they must obey; their obedience is not sterile because it 
allows them to participate effectively in the power and in the light. Just as when a 
magnetic current is present in a main circuit and induced currents are produced in 
other distinct circuits, provided they are syntonically arranged — likewise, some of 
the greatness, stability, and "fortune 11 that are found in the hierarchical apex pass 
invisibly into those who follow the mere form and the ritual with a pure heart. In that 
case, the tradition is firmly rooted, the social organism is unified and connected in all 
of its parts by an occult bond that is generally stronger than external contingencies. 

When at the center, however, there is only a shallow function or when the titles 
of the representatives of the spiritual and regal authority are only nominal, then the 
pinnacle dissolves and the support crumbles. A highly significant legend in this re- 
gard is that of the people of Gog and Magog, who symbolize chaotic and demonic 
forces that are held back by traditional structures. According to this legend, these 
people attack when they realize that there is no longer anybody blowing the trum- 
pets on that wall upon which an imperial type had previously arrested their siege, 
and that it was only the wind that produced the sounds they were hearing. Rites, 
institutions, laws, and customs may still continue to exist for a certain time; but with 
their meaning lost and their "virtue" paralyzed they are nothing but empty shells. 
Once they are abandoned to themselves and have become secularized, they crumble 
like parched clay and become increasingly disfigured and altered, despite all at- 
tempts to retain from the outside, whether through violence or imposition, the lost 
inner unity. As long as a shadow of the action of the superior element remains, how- 
ever, and an echo of it exists in the blood, the structure remains standing, the body 
still appears endowed with a soul, and the corpse — to use an image employed by 
de Gobineau— walks and is still capable of knocking down obstacles in its path. 
When the last residue of the force from above and of the race of the spirit is ex- 
hausted, in the new generations nothing else remains; there is no longer a riverbed to 
channel the current that is now dispersed in every direction. What emerges at this 
point is individualism, chaos, anarchy, a humanist hubris, and degeneration in every 
domain. The dam is broken. Although a semblance of ancient grandeur still remains, 
the smallest impact is enough to make an empire or state collapse and be replaced 
with a demonic inversion, namely, with the modern, omnipotent Leviathan, which is 
a mechanized and "totalitarian" collective system. 

From prehistoric times to our own day and age this is what "evolution" has been 
all about. As we shall see, from the distant myth of divine regality through the 
descent from one caste to the next, mankind will reach the faceless forms of our 
contemporary civilization in which the tyranny of the pure demos and the world of 
the masses is increasingly and frightfully reawakening in the structures of mechani- 
zation. 

===================================================

Initiation and Consecration


Having defined the essence of both the pinnacle and center of a traditional civi- 
lization, it is necessary to describe briefly some of its external features that 
refer to already conditioned existential situations. This will enable me to indicate the 
origin of the first alteration of the world of Tradition. 

The regal idea occurs in an already weakened form when it no longer becomes 
incarnated in beings who are naturally above human limitations, but rather in beings 
who must develop this quality within themselves. In the ancient Hellenic tradition, 
such a distinction corresponded analogically to that between a "god' 1 (Olympian 
ideal) and a "hero." In terms of the Roman tradition this distinction was formally 
sanctioned through the titles of deus and divus, the latter always designating a man 
who had become a god, the former designating a being who had always been a god. 
According to tradition, in Egypt the regal race of the ΘΕΟΙ was replaced by that of the 
ΗΜΙΘΕΟΙ(who correspond to the "heroes"), who in turn precede in time the race of 
the ΝΕΚΥΕΣ, an expression subject to being referred mainly to human leaders. What 
emerges in this context is a situation in which there is a certain distance between the 
person and the function being exercised: in order for a person to embody a certain 
function what is required is a specific action capable of producing in him a new 
quality; this action may appear either in the form of an initiation or of an investiture 
(or consecration). In the first case this action has a relatively autonomous and direct 
character; in the second ease it is mediated, or it takes place from the outside through 
a priestly caste distinct from the regal caste. 

As far as the regal initiation is concerned, it will suffice to repeat what has been 
said about the ritual, sacrificial, and triumphal actions that reenact those deeds at- 
tributed to a god or a hero with the intent of actualizing, evoking, or renewing the 
corresponding supernatural influences. This occurred in a very specific way in an- 
cient Egypt. As I have said, the king at his enthronement reenacted the "sacrifice" 
that made Osiris a transcendent divinity; this rite was used not only as a way to 
renew the quality of a nature that was already divine by birth, but also and foremost 
as an initiation aimed at arousing the dimension of transcendence in the man who 
was destined to be king and at granting him "the gift of life." As far as the details of 
similar rites are concerned, Ι will limit myself to describing the rite that in the 
Eleusinian Mysteries corresponded to the bestowal of the regal title. 

The future "king" first spends some time in solitary confinement. Then he must 
swim across a river through blood and vortices — in other words, he crosses the "stream 
of generation" by means of his own strength, leaving behind on the riverbank his old 
body, soul, and personality. The river is later crossed again by boat, and the king 
wears animal skins. These skins apparently signified totemic powers that emerged 
as a consequence of the suspension of the ephemeral, external I, powers that also 
represented the powers of the community; this symbolism was meant to establish a 
contact and an identification with the supernatural dimension. In the Bacchic ritual, 
after devouring the victims the Corybantes wore their skins; this was meant as an 
identification with the god represented by the sacrificial victims and as the act of 
taking on his strength and nature; the Egyptian initiate too wore the skin of a victim 
representing Set. Thus, the overall symbolism of the new phase of the ritual probably 
refers to the achievement of a state in which one can undertake the symbolic cross- 
ing, thanks to which he will be qualified to become the leader, even after assuming 
certain powers related to the subterranean and vital dimension of the collective or- 
ganism. 

The future "king" eventually reaches the other bank of the river and now must 
climb to the top of a mountain. Darkness surrounds him, but the gods help him to 
climb the path and to rise several levels. We notice here a recurrence of well-known 
symbols: the dry land or island, the mountain or the height. Moreover, we find the 
idea of planetary influences (the "rings" may correspond to the Platonic seven "wheels 
of destiny") that one must overcome by climbing all the way to the symbolic region 
of the fixed stars, which represent the states of the pure world of being. This corre- 
sponds to the passage from the Lesser to the Greater Mysteries and to the old distinc- 
tion between the lunar and telluric rite and the solar and Olympian rite. The person 
who is to be initiated is welcomed by other kings and by the highest dignitaries; he 
walks into an illuminated temple in order to establish contact with the divine; he is 
reminded to fulfill the main duties of a king; he finally receives the robes and the 
insignia of his dignity and sits on the throne. 

In Egypt, the rite of regal initiation included three separate moments correspond- 
ing to the abovementioned phases; first came a purification; then the rite of the re- 
ception of the supernatural fluid symbolized by the crown (uraeus) or by the double 
crown (the crown was often called the "great sorceress," who "establishes at the 
right and at the left hand of the king the gods of eternity and of stability"); and 
finally, the "ascent" to the temple representing the "otherworld'' (paduat) and the 
"embrace" of the solar god, which was the definitive consecration that sanctified this 
new immortalizing birth and his divine nature and by virtue of which the Egyptian 
king appeared as the "son" of the same god. 

The Eleusinian rite is one of the most complete rites of "regal" initiation; allegedly 
 each of the symbols employed therein corresponded to a particular inner expe- 
rience. Though at this time I do not intend to describe the means through which 
similar experiences were induced or what they were all about, I wish to emphasize 
that in the world of Tradition, initiation in its highest forms was conceived as an 
intensely real operation that was capable of changing the ontological status of the 
individual and of grafting onto him certain forces of the world of Being, or of the 
overworld. The title of rex (in Greek, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ) at Eleusis testified to the acquired 
supernatural dimension that potentially qualified the function of the leader. The fact 
that at the time of the Eleusinian Mysteries this title certainly did not go together 
with effective political authority was due to the decadence of ancient Hellas. Be- 
cause of this decadence, the ancient regal dignity was retained on a different plane 
than that of royal power, which by then had fallen into profane hands. This did not 
prevent temporal sovereigns in ancient times, however, from aspiring to achieve the 
dignity of an initiatory king, which was very different from the dignity that they 
actually enjoyed. Thus, for instance, when Hadrian and Antoninus were already 
Roman emperors, they received the title of "king" only after being initiated at Eleusis. 
According to concordant testimonies, the quality bestowed by initiation is distinct 
from and unrelated to any human merit: all of the human virtues combined could not 
produce this quality, just as, to a certain extent, no human "sin" could affect it. An 
echo of this notion was preserved in the Catholic view according to which the priestly 
dignity, which is transmitted sacramentally, cannot be effaced by any moral sin com- 
mitted by the person endowed with it, since it remains in that person as an indoles 
indelebilis, an "indelible mark" ("You are a priest forever," Ps. 1 10:4). Moreover, as 
in τηe case of the Mazdean notion of "glory" and of the Chinese notion of "virtue," 
the priestly dignity corresponded to an objective power. In ancient China a distinc- 
tion was made between those who were naturally endowed with "knowledge" and 
"virtue" (those who are capable of "fulfilling Heaven's law with calm and imper- 
turbability and no help from the outside" are at the pinnacle, and are "perfected" and 
"transcendent" men) and those who achieved them "by disciplining themselves and 
by returning to the rites."' The discipline (sieu-ki) that is suitable to the latter men 
and that is the equivalent of initiation was considered only as a means to the real 
creation of that "superior man" (kiun-tze) who could legitimately assume the func- 
tion proper to the supreme hierarchical apex by virtue of the mysterious and real 
power inherent in him. The distinctive feature of what makes one a king is more 
evident when a consecration rather than an initiation occurs; for instance, only the 
characteristic special investiture that turns the already crowned Teutonic prince into 
the romanorum rex can bestow upon him the authority and die title of leader of the 
Holy Roman Empire. Plato wrote: "In Egypt no king is allowed to rule without be- 
longing to the priestly class; if by any chance a king of another race rises to power 
through violence, he eventually needs to be initiated into this class." 7 

Likewise, Plutarch wrote that "A king chosen from among the warriors instantly 
became a priest and shared in the philosophy that is hidden for the most part in myths 
and stories that show dim reflections and insights of the truth." The same was true 
for the Parsis; it was precisely because the Persian Great Kings were elevated to the 
dignity of "magi" at the time of their enthronement and thus reunited the two powers 
that Iran did not experience conflicts or antagonisms between royalty and priesthood 
during the better period of its tradition. At the same time it must be noted that tradi- 
tionally, while those who had received the initiation were kings, the opposite was 
also true, namely, the fact that often the initiation and the priestly function itself 
were considered a prerogative of Icings and of aristocratic castes. For instance, in 
the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (verse 270 ff.), the goddess allegedly restricted to 
the four Eleusinian princes and to their descendants the "celebration of the cult 
and the knowledge of sacred orgies," by virtue of which "at death one does not incur 
the same fate as others." Ancient Rome struggled for a long time against the plebe- 
ian prevarication, and insisted that the priests of the higher collegia and especially 
the consuls (who originally enjoyed a sacred character themselves) were to be 
chosen only from patrician families. In this context, the need for a unitary authority 
was affirmed together with the instinctive acknowledgment that such an authority 
las a stronger foundation in those cases in which the race of the blood and the race of 
the spirit converge. 

Let us now examine the case of kings who have not been raised to a superindi- 
vidual dignity through initiation but rather through an investiture or a consecration 
that is mediated by a priestly caste; this form is typical of more recent, historical 
times. The primordial theocracies did not derive their authority from a church or 
from a priestly caste. The Nordic kings were kings immediately by virtue of their 
divine origin, and just like the kings of the Doric-Achaean period, they were the only 
celebrants of sacrificial actions. In China the emperor received his mandate directly 
"from heaven." Until recently in Japan, the ritual of enthronement took place in the 
context of the individual spiritual experience of the emperor, who established con- 
tact with the influences of the regal tradition without the presence of an officiating 
clergy. Even in Greece and in Rome the priestly collegia did not "make" kings through 
their rites, but limited themselves to exercising the divinatory science in order to 
ascertain whether the person appointed to exercise the regal function "was found 
pleasing to the gods"; in other words, it was an issue of acknowledgment and not of 
investiture, as in the ancient Scottish tradition concerning the so-called Stone of 
Destiny. Conversely, at the origins of Rome the priesthood was conceived as some 
kind of emanation of the primitive regality and the king himself promulgated the 
laws regulating the cult. After Romulus, who was himself initiated to the divinatory 
art, Numa delegated the typically priestly functions to the collegium of the flamines, 
which he himself instituted; 9 at the time of the empire, the priestly body was again 
subjected to the authority of the Caesars, just like the Christian clergy later became 
subjected to the Byzantine emperor. In Egypt, until the Twenty-first Dynasty, the 
king delegated a priest (designated as "the king's priest," nutir hon) to perform the 
rites only sporadically, and the spiritual authority itself always represented a reflec- 
tion of the royal authority. The paleo-Egyptian nutir hon parallels the role often 
played in India by the purohita, who was a brahman a employed at court and in 
charge of performing fire sacrifices. The Germanic races ignored consecration up to 
the Carolingian era; Charlemagne crowned himself, and so did Ludovicus and Pius, 
who later crowned his own son, Lothar, without any direct involvement on the part of 
the pope. The same holds true for the earlier forms of all traditional civilization, 
including the historical cycles of pre-Colombian America, and especially for the 
Peruvian dynasty of the "solar masters" or Incas. 

On the contrary, when a priestly caste or a church claims to be the exclusive 
holder of that sacred force that alone can empower the king to exercise his function, 
this marks the beginning of an involutive process. A spirituality that in and of itself is 
not regal, and conversely, a regality that is not spiritual, eventually emerged; this 
spirituality and this regality enjoyed separate existences. Also, a "feminine" spiritu- 
ality and a material virility began to coexist jointly with a lunar "sacredness" and a 
material "solarity." The original synthesis, which corresponded to the primordial 
regal attribute of the "glory" or of the celestial "fire" of the "conquerors," was dis- 
solved and the plane of absolute centrality was lost. We shall see later on that such a 
split marks the beginning of the descent of civilizations in the direction that has led to 
the genesis of the modern world. 

Once the fracture occurred, the priestly caste portrayed itself as the caste in 
charge of attracting and transmitting spiritual influences, but without being capable 
of constituting their dominating center within the temporal order. This dominating 
center, instead, was virtually present in the quality of a warrior or a nobleman of the 
king to whom the rite of consecration communicated these influences (the "Holy 
Spirit" in the Catholic tradition) so that he may assume them and actualize them in 
an efficient form. Thus, in more recent times it is only through this priestly mediation 
and through a rite's virtus deificans that the synthesis of the regal and priestly dimen- 
sions is reconstituted, a synthesis that is supposed to be the supreme hierarchical 
peak of a traditional social order. It is only in this way that the king again can be 
something more than a mere mortal. 

Likewise, in the Catholic ritual the dress a king was supposed to wear before the 
rite of the investiture was simply a "military" dress; it is only in later times that a king 
began to wear the "regal dress" during the ceremony and began the tradition of 
sitting on an "elevated place" that had been reserved for him in the church. The 
rigorously symbolical meaning of the various phases of the ceremony has been pre- 
served almost up to modem times. It is significant to find in older times the recurrent 
use of the expression "regal religion," for which the enigmatic figure of Melchizedek 
was often evoked; already in the Merovingian era in reference to the king we find 
the formula: "Melchizedek noster, merito rex atque sacerdos. "The king, who during 
the rite took off the dress that he previously put on, was believed to be one who 
"leaves the mundane state in order to assume the state of regal religion" In a.d. 769 
Pope Stephanus III reminded the Carolingians that they were a sacred race and a 
royal priesthood: "Vos gens sancta estis, atque regales estis sacerdotium. " Regal 
consecration was bestowed through anointing; back in those times this rite differed 
from the rite of consecration of bishops only in a few minor details, and therefore the 
king became as holy as a priest before men and God. Anointing, which belonged to 
the Jewish tradition and which was eventually taken up again by Catholicism, was 
the habitual rite employed to transfer a being from a profane into a sacred world;
according to the Ghibelline ideal it was thanks to his virtue that the consecrated 
person became a dens-homo, in spiritu et virtute Christus dominu in una eminentia 
divinificationis — summus et instructor sanctae ecclesine. Therefore it was said that 
"the king must stand out from the mass of lay people, since he participates in the 
priestly function by his having been anointed by consecrated oil." The anonymous 
author of York wrote: "The king, the Christ [anointed] of the Lord, cannot be re- 
garded as being a layman." In the sporadic emergence of the idea that the rite of 
regal consecration has the power to erase every sin committed, including those that 
involved the shedding of blood, we find an echo of the abovementioned initiatory 
doctrine concerning the transcendence of the supernatural quality vis-a-vis any hu- 
man virtue or sin. 

In this chapter I have discussed initiation in relation to the positive function of 
regality, even when considered in material terms. I have also mentioned instances in 
which the initiatory dignity separated itself from that function, or better, instances in 
which that function separated itself from the initiatory dignity by becoming secular- 
ized and by taking on a merely warrior or political character. Initiation must also be 
considered, however, as an independent category of the world of Tradition without a 
necessary relation to the exercise of a visible function at the center of a society. 
Initiation (high-level initiation, not to be confused with initiation that is related to the 
regimen of the castes or to the traditional professions and the various artisan guilds) 
has defined, in and of itself, the action that determines an ontological transformation 
of man. High-level initiation has generated initiatory chains that were often invisible 
and subterranean and that preserved an identical spiritual influence and an "inner 
doctrine" superior to the exoteric and religious forms of a historical tradition. 11 There 
are even instances in which the initiate has enjoyed this distinct character in a nor- 
mal civilization and not only during the ensuing period of degeneration and inner 
fracture of the traditional unity. This character has become necessary and all-perva- 
sive, especially in Europe in these latter times because of the involutive processes 
that have led both to the organization of the modern world and to the advent of 
Christianity (hence the merely initiatory character of the hermetic rex, of the 
Rosicrucian emperor, and so on). 

====================================================

On the Hierarchical Relationship 
Between Royalty and Priesthood 



If on the one hand the original synthesis of the two powers is reestablished in the 
person of the consecrated king, on the other hand, the nature of the hierarchical 
relationships existing in every normal social order between royalty and priestly caste 
or church, which is merely the mediator of supernatural influences, is very clearly 
defined: regality enjoys primacy over the priesthood, just as, symbolically speaking, 
he sun has primacy over the moon and the man over the woman. In a certain sense 
this is the same primacy over Abraham's priesthood that was traditionally attributed 
to the priestly regality of Melchizedek, who performed sacrifices in the name of the 
Almighty, the God of Victory ("God Most High who delivered your foes into your 
hand," Gen. 14:20). As I have said, the medieval apologists of the Ghibelline ideal 
occasionally referred to the symbol of Melchizedek when laying claim, over and 
against the Church, to the privileges and to the supernatural dignity of the monarchy. 
When referring to thoroughly traditional civilizations, it is helpful to employ Aryan 
or Indo-Aryan texts in order to emphasize that even in a civilization that appears to 
be characterized mainly by the priestly caste, the notion of the correct relationship 
between the two dignities was preserved to a large extent. In these texts, which I 
have previously quoted, it is said that the stock of the warrior deities arose from Brah- 
man as a higher and more perfect form than Brahman itself. Reading on: 'This is 
why nothing is greater than the warrior nobility (ksatram); the priests (brahmana) 
themselves venerate the warrior when the consecration of the king occurs. 

In the same text, the priestly caste that was assimilated to that Brahman (under- 
stood here in an impersonal manner and in an analogous sense to what in Christian- 
ity is considered to be the power, or dynamis, of the Holy Spirit), which is in its 
safekeeping, was represented as a mother or as a maternal matrix (yoni) in relation 
to the warrior or regal caste. This is particularly meaningful. The regal type is pre- 
sented here according to its value as male principle, which surpasses, individuates, 
masters, and rules "triumphantly" over the spiritual force, which is conceived of as a 
mother and as a female. Reference was made to ancient traditions concerning a type 
of regality that was attained by marrying a divine woman, often portrayed as a mother 
(this symbolizes incest, whereby the Egyptian king, in a broader context, was given 
the title of 'Iris mother's bull"). We are led again to the same point. Therefore, even 
when the rite of investiture is considered necessary, this does not establish or ac- 
knowledge the subordination of the king per se to the priestly caste. After the race of 
beings who are by nature more than mere human beings became extinct, a king was, 
prior to his consecration, simply a "warrior, provided that he did individually rise to 
something higher through other means. But in the rite of consecration the king, 
rather than receiving, assumes a power that the priestly class does not own but rather 
has in custody; this power is then supposed to rise to a "higher form" that it did not 
possess before. Also, in consecration the virile and warrior quality of the person to be 
initiated frees itself and rises to a higher plane; it then acts as an axis or as a pole of 
the sacred force. This is why the officiating priest must "worship" the king whom he 
consecrates, although the latter, according to a text, owes to the brahmana the re- 
spect owed to a mother. In the Manudharma sastra itself, although the primacy of the 
brahmana is upheld, the latter is compared to the water and to the stone, while the 
ksatriya is compared to the fire and to iron. The text goes on to say that "rulers do not 
prosper without priests and priests do not thrive without rulers," and that "the priest is 
said to be the root of the law, and the ruler is the peak." Odd as it may seem, these 
ideas originally were not totally alien to Christianity itself. According to the testi- 
mony of Eginhard, after Charlemagne was consecrated and hailed with the formula, 
"Long life and victory to Charles the Great, crowned by God, great and peaceful 
emperor of the Romans!" the pope "prostrated himself (adoravit) before Charles, 
according to the ritual established at the time of the ancient emperors." In the time 
of Charlemagne and of Louis the Pius, as in the time of the Christian Roman and 
Byzantine emperors, the ecclesiastical councils were summoned, authorized, and 
presided over by the prince, to whom the bishops presented the conclusions they had 
reached, not only in matters of discipline but in matters of faith and doctrine as well, 
with the formula: "O Your Lordship and Emperor! May your wisdom integrate what 
is found lacking, correct what is against reason. . . ." Almost as in an echo this bears 
witness to the fact that the ancient primacy and an undeniable authority over the 
priesthood, even in matters of wisdom, was attributed to the ruler. The liturgy of 
power, typical of the primordial tradition, still subsists. It was not a pagan, but Bossuet, 
a Catholic bishop (1627-1704), who declared in modem times that the sovereign is 
the "image of God" on earth and who exclaimed: "You are divine though you are 
subject to death, and your authority does not die!"

When the priestly caste, however, by virtue of the consecration that it adminisers 
 demands that the regal authority should recognize the hierarchical superiority 
of the priesthood ("unquestionably, a lesser person is blessed by a greater," Heb. 
7:7) and be subjected to it — such was, in Europe, the Church's claim during the 
struggle for the investitures — this amounts to a full-blown heresy, totally subversive 
of traditional truths. In reality, as early as in the dark ages of prehistory we can detect 
the first episodes of the conflict between regal and priestly authority, since they both 
claimed for themselves the primacy that belongs to what is prior and superior to each 
of them. Contrary to common opinion, in the beginning this contrast was not moti- 
vated at all by a yearning for political hegemony; the cause of this conflict had a 
deeper root in two opposing spiritual attitudes. According to the prevalent form he 
was destined to assume after the differentiation of dignities, the priest is by defini- 
tion always an interpreter and a mediator of the divine: as powerful as he may be, he 
will always be aware of addressing God as his Lord. The sacred king, on the other 
hand, feels that he belongs to the same stock as the gods; he ignores the feeling of 
religious subordination and cannot help but be intolerant of any claim to supremacy 
advanced by the priesthood. Later times witnessed the emergence of forms of an 
antitraditional anarchy that was manifested mainly in two ways: either as a royalty 
that is a mere temporal power in rebellion against spiritual authority; or as a spiritu- 
ality of a "lunar" character in rebellion against a spirituality embodied by kings who 
were still aware of their ancient function. In both instances, heterodoxy was destined 
to emerge from the ruins of the traditional world. The first path will lead to the 
hegemony of the "political" element, the secularization of the idea of the state, the 
destruction of every authentic hierarchy, and last but not least, to the modern forms 
of an illusory and materialistic virility and power that are destined to be swept away 
by the power of the world of the masses in its collectivist versions. The second path 
will run parallel to the first; it will initially be manifested through the advent of the 
"civilization of the Mother" and through its pantheist spirituality, and later on through 
the varieties of what constitutes devotional religion. 

The Middle Ages were the theater of the last great episode in the abovementioned 
conflict between the religious universalism represented by the Church and the regal 
ideal, embodied, though not without some compromises, in the Holy Roman Empire. 
According to the regal ideal, the emperor is really the caput ecclesiae, not in the 
sense that he takes the place of the head of the priestly hierarchy (the pope), but in 
the sense that only in the imperial function may the force that is represented by the 
Church and that animates Christianity efficaciously impose its dominion. In this 
context, 

"The world, portrayed as a vast unitary whole represented by the Church, 
was perceived as a body in which the single members are coordinated 
under the supreme direction of the Emperor, who is at the same time 
the leader of the realm and of the Church."

The emperor, although he was constituted as such by the rite of investiture that 
followed the other investitures relative to his secular aspect of Teutonic prince, claimed 
to have received his right and his power directly from God and claimed to acknowl- 
edge only God above himself; therefore the role of the head of the priestly hierarchy 
who had consecrated him could logically be only that of a mere mediator, unable — 
according to the Ghibelline ideal — to revoke by means of excommunication the su- 
pernatural force with which the emperor had been endowed. Before the Gregorian 
interpretation subverted the very essence of the ancient symbols, the old tradition 
was upheld in lieu of the fact that the Emp,re had always and everywhere been 
compared to the sun as the Church had. been compared to the moon. Moreover, even 
at the times of her highest prestige, the Church attributed to herself an essentially 
feminine symbolism (that of a mother) in relation to the king, whom she viewed as 
her "son"; the Upanisads' designation (the brahmana as the mother of the ksatram) 
appears again in this symbolism, this time in concomitance with the supremacist 
fancies of a gynaecocratic civilization marked by an antiheroic subordination of the 
son to the mother and by an emphasis on the mother's privileges. After all, based on 
what I have discussed so far, it is clear that the very assumption of the title of pontifex 
maximus by the head of the Christian religion, the pope, turned out to be more or less 
a usurpation, since pontifex magnus was originally a function of the king and of the 
Roman Augustus. Likewise, the characteristic symbols of the papacy, the double 
keys and the ship, were borrowed from the ancient Roman cult of Janus. The papal 
tiara itself derives from a dignity that was not religious or priestly, but essentially 
initiatory, and from the dignity proper of the "Lord of the Center" or of the "sover- 
eign of the three worlds." In all this we can visibly detect a distortion and an abusive 
shift of dimension that, although they occurred in a hidden way, are nevertheless 
real and testify to a significant deviation from the pure traditional ideal. 

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