The Landscape of Apocalypse
Anyone who is familiar with the eschatological doctrines of the major world religions, and who accepts their validity—though not necessarily their direct, literal, detailed applicability to historical conditions—must conclude that we are now living through the “latter days” of the present cycle. And one of the hallmarks of the latter days is a manifestation of the dark side of the dvandvas, the Sanskrit word for the “pairs of opposites”—the rise of titanic social forces in quasi-absolute polarization, forces which seem to represent true alternative visions of the human possibility, but which in reality are nothing more than opposing faces of the same decadence, the same “degeneration of the cosmic environment”, working together in secret collusion to divert the collective attention of the human race from the Reality and the Will of God.
Perhaps the most profound analysis we possess of the cosmological forces operating in the “end times” of a particular cycle-of-manifestation, forces which have their inevitable socio-political reflections, is the one presented by René Guénon in his prophetic masterpiece The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times . Guénon adopted the Hindu conception of the manvantara, the cycle of four yugas or world-ages in descending order of stability and integrity, ending with the Kali-yuga we presently inhabit, which itself ends in the dissolution of the cycle. The four yugas are roughly equivalent to the four ages in the Greco-Roman cosmo-conception: the Golden, the Silver, the Bronze and the Iron. In the Satya-yuga or Golden Age, space—simultaneity, or relative (aeonian) eternity—predominates over time. In the succeeding yugas time becomes more dominant, moving from a cyclical to a linear manifestation, until, in the Kali-yuga, form is eroded and finally dissolved in an ever-accelerating flow of linear time, until the arrival of the apocalypse, when space finally re-asserts itself and a new manvantara begins. Guénon supplemented the Hindu conception of the manvantara with the Aristotelian/Thomistic distinction between Essence and Substance, or Form and Matter. The Golden Age is the age of Essence or Quality, the Kali-yuga that of Substance or Quantity, and thus of materialism; Thomas Aquinas described the materia secunda, the most fundamental form of matter discernible in manifest (not principial) existence, as materia signata quantitate, “matter designated by quantity”. The present belief of “scientistic” humanity that the only meaningful statements we can make about anything whatever are quantitative measurements is a sign of the dominance of the Substantial Pole, as is the present socio-philosophical obsession to debunk what is called “essentialism”, defined as the supposedly erroneous belief that things, persons and situations possess intrinsic qualities. The Pole of Essence is the archetype of the masculine principle; though in itself it transcends hierarchy, it is the origin of the hierarchical conception of being and the hierarchical organization of society. Under the regime of Substance, however—the archetype of the feminine principle—vertical hierarchy is collapsed by a growing horizontal or “leveling” tendency, although an “absolute” horizontality (like an absolute verticality) can never be reached on the plane of cosmic manifestation.
Guénon also had something to say, notably in his book Traditional Forms and Cosmic Cycles, about the earlier phases of the present manvantara, particular those represented by the myths, or memories, of Hyperborea, the realm of the “North”, and Atlantis, the land of the “West”. Hyperborea occupied a higher and more integrated world-age than that of Atlantis, which—though it pre-dated the Kali-yuga—sowed the seeds of the present global degeneration of humanity, our collective will to deny the Spirit and our consequent capitulation to the dissolutionary forces of time and matter. (Interestingly enough, the same distinction between a Hyperborean northern-oriented tendency and an Atlantean western-oriented one is found in the teachings of Black Elk, holy man of the Oglalla Lakota [see Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt, 1932, and Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala by Michael F. Steltenkamp, 1997]. According to the Lakota cosmo-conception, the north-south path is “the Good Red Road” and the east-west path “the Black Road of Difficulty”; the place where these two roads cross—as they do at any point on the earth’s surface—is wakan, holy.)
An inescapable aspect of the latter days is the near-complete severance of human and social realities from their eternal archetypes—which emphatically does not mean that these archetypes thereby disappear as the fundamental causal factors in the unfolding of history, only that they now operate in a secret, inverted and therefore ironic manner, exhibiting the quality of dark, fatal justice that the classical Greeks personified as Nemesis and the Furies. In the words of the Qur’an, Lo! Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth unto Himself all who turn (unto Him), [13:27], and Allah is the best of plotters [8:29].
Higher orders of reality normally project themselves onto lower planes of being by means of polarity: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” [Genesis 1:1]; on the level of human life, this metaphysical principle manifests as sexual reproduction: “male and female created He them” [Genesis 5:2].. However, in the concluding phases of a particular cycle of manifestation, the meaning of polarity is inverted. Polarity becomes polarization. The weakening of the bond of communication between earthly human realities and their celestial archetypes results in various bifurcations based not on fertile polarity, but on the barren conflict which becomes inevitable when various contingent conditions falsely arrogate to themselves the prerogatives of the Absolute—a necessary result of the fact that the collective intuition of God, the only real and transcendent Absolute, is eclipsed. At the same time a collective obsession is born to annihilate all polarities, to achieve something like an earthly, material counterfeit of the Unity of God by eroding, denying, suppressing, and finally destroying all the true and necessary distinctions that make human life possible, including gender. The more radical and conflictive the false polarizations operating in the latter days become, the more insistent is the call to do away with all distinctions so as to pacify these titanic conflicts—yet the denial of all sexual, cultural, ethnic and religious distinctions only further inflames and infuriates those forces which would falsely absolutize these distinctions, and set them at war. Thus an unholy alliance of false polarity and (in Guénon’s phrase) inverted hierarchy—the “Right”—and false unity and equality—the “Left”—brings the cycle of manifestation to a close.
In the Book of Apocalypse, this polarization between and a false, imposed unity and various falsely absolutized distinctions is called “Gog and Magog”—in the Qur’an, “Yajuj and Majuj.” According to Apocalypse 20:7-8, “….when the thousand years are expired [the millennium during which the devil is bound, identified by Eastern Orthodox theologians as the church age], Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” According to The Apocalypse of St. John: An Orthodox Commentary by Archbishop Averky of Jordanville, the meaning of Gog in Hebrew is “a gathering” or “one who gathers”, and of Magog “an exaltation” or “one who exalts”. “Exaltation” suggests the idea of transcendence as opposed to unity, “gathering” the idea of unity as opposed to transcendence. The implication, here, is that one of the deepest deceptions of Antichrist in the last days of the cycle will be to set these two integral aspects of the Absolute in opposition to each other in the collective mind, and on a global scale, in “the four quarters of the earth”. As for the economic and political expression of this barren satanic polarity, the false cohesion of left-wing tyranny, as well as today’s global capitalism, would fall under Gog, while both the false hierarchicalism of right-wing tyranny and the violent absolutism of the various “tribal” separatist movements opposed to globalism, both ethnic and religious, would come under Magog. In terms of religion, those liberal, historicist, evolutionist, quasi-materialist and crypto-Pagan theologies which emphasize God’s immanence as opposed to His transcendence are part of Gog, while those reactionary theologies which exalt transcendence over immanence, look on the material world as a vale of tears, denigrate the human body, and view the destruction of nature with indifference if not secret approval, since the best we can hope for is to get it all over with, are part of Magog. The conflict between the two is precisely the satanic counterfeit of the true eschatological conflict described in Apocalypse 19:11-20, between the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and the Beast with his false prophet. Those who can be lured to fight in a counterfeit war between elements which ought to be reconciled, because they are essentially parts of the same reality as seen in a distorting mirror, will miss their call to fight in the true war between forces which neither should nor can be reconciled: those of the Truth and those of the Lie. (Globalism, insofar as it sets the stage for the emergence of Guénon’s “inverted hierarchy,” also contains the seed of Magog, while tribalism, as the common inheritance of all who are excluded from the global elite, holds the seed of Gog: in the latter days, no party or class or sector can long retain its ideological stability; the “rate of contradiction” approaches the speed of light.)
Atlantis and Hyperborea
According to legend, Hyperborea, the “Land Behind the North Wind,” the original homeland of the human race, was a land of eternal spring—a notion that was possibly suggested by early explorers’ tales of the arctic summer, during whose “white nights” the sun never sets; this “never-setting sun” was most probably the origin of the Hyperborean Apollo, one of whose epithets is Sol Invictus, “The Sun Unconquered.” Geology, however, shows us no sunken continent beneath the Arctic Ocean, which has led some to speculate that the North Pole once passed through Greenland, or some other point on the terrestrial globe. Yet a frozen wasteland, even if there were solid earth beneath it, is not a very hopeful candidate for the cradle of the human race—at least in terrestrial terms. It is much more likely that Hyperborea refers to a spiritual orientation than to a geographical area. The Siberian shamans, the traditional Chinese, the Zoroastrians, the Sabaeans, and certain esoteric groups within Islam consider the North, not the East, or the West (as with the Greeks and the Irish, at least on one level) to be their sacred point of orientation (or rather “boreation”). “Hyperboreans,” then, are those who point to the Pole as their celestial homeland. Dante Aligheri, in his Commedia, reveals himself to be a Hyperborean in this sense. Arktos, the Greek word for “bear,” is the origin of our word Arctic, which is why the constellations circling the North Pole and called the Bears—and in the last cantos of Dante’s Purgatorio, the Great and Little Bears appear above Dante’s Arcadian Earthly Paradise at the summit of Mount Purgatory—which, according to earlier cantos is supposed to be in the southern hemisphere! (Hyperborea, however, may also have an historical, geographical significance, since it could designate an actual northern culture-area dominated by shamanism, comprising Siberia and possibly Finland, and including, along with various other Arctic and North American peoples, the bear-worshipping Ainu of the Japanese northern island of Hokkaido.)
As for Atlantis, whose historical reality is somewhat better attested than that of Hyperborea, the notion of a sunken continent in the Atlantic Ocean has no more hard geological evidence backing it up than the idea of a historical, geological Hyperborea. The same cannot be said, however, for the possibility of a Mediterranean Atlantis. A. G. Galanopoulos and E. Bacon in Atlantis: The Truth behind the Legend (1969), J.V. Luce, in The End of Atlantis: New Light on an Old Legend (1969), and Charles Pellegrino, in Unearthing Atlantis (1991), theorize that Atlantis was actually the island of Thera or Santorini, situated west of the Mediterranean coast of the Holy Land, Thera being directly north of Crete. It is a volcanic island which, some time between 1450 and 1500 BC (though some date the event c.1628) violently exploded when the its erupting volcano split at the side, allowing an inrush of sea water. The resulting explosion was several times larger than that of Krakatoa, the most powerful volcanic event in recorded history, which was also destroyed in a steam explosion. This cataclysm devastated the Mediterranean coasts, sent a towering tsunami crashing over the island of Crete, darkened the sun with volcanic ash, and effectively destroyed the matriarchal Minoan maritime civilization. It began a series of migrations and wars, one of which was the invasion of the Greek peninsula by the patriarchal Doric tribes, the ancestors of the “classical” Greeks. Some scholars also theorize that the ten plagues (or some of them) which preceded the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt were actually volcanic in origin: the hail mixed with fire, the turning of the Nile to blood along with the death of all the fish, the darkness which covered the land, can all be put down to the effects of volcanic cinders and ash. And the parting of the Red Sea, which later closed over the Pharaoh’s army, suggests the arrival of a tsunami, during which the sea-level first sinks and then catastrophically rises; such a tsunami would have been possible (or rather inevitable) if—as some think—Sinai was at that time a strait rather than an isthmus; it would certainly have been more feasible for the Children of Israel to have a crossed a narrow strait rather than the Red Sea as we know it today. And the “pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night” that the Hebrews followed through the wilderness is a fair description of a rising volcanic plume.
Our major source for the Atlantis legend are the Critias and Timaeus of Plato, who recounts a history of the lost island supposedly based on an account that Solon heard from the priests of Egypt. Plato’s description of Atlantis as an island of concentric rings of land and water corresponds in some ways to the geology of Thera; and the legend that Atlantis was situated beyond The Pillars of Hercules—the Straits of Gibraltar—is possibly explained by the fact that Thera is in actually west of another formation, in the eastern Mediterranean, which is also named The Pillars of Hercules.
Nonetheless there are certain scholars who make a very good case for the historical existence of a Western Atlantis—simply by identifying Atlantis with North America, or the Americas as a whole. The Aztecs, we should remember, who are thought to have invaded and conquered the Toltec Empire of Mexico from a point of origin somewhere in the territory now claimed by the United States, named their former homeland as Aztlán—a word close enough to Atlantis to make one’s hair stand on end.
So according to this theory, I am in Atlantis now. But the continent I inhabit is certainly not sunken—unless we admit that it is sunk in materialism, overwhelmed (in William Blake’s words) by “the sea of Space and Time.” So—unless Atlantis was Thera—whence comes the legend of the lost Atlantis, perhaps symbolized in Greek legend by the runner Atalanta, the woman no man could catch? A sunken continent may legitimately be compared to a woman who has forever denied her lovers any possible access to her—and what man can outrace the setting Sun? The men who raced Atalanta to win her hand, and lost, also lost their lives—this being the precise quality of the western “Atlantean” ethos, the land of “futurism,” where (in Guénon’s conception from The Reign of Quantity) time accelerates and form is destroyed. And in line with Guénon’s assertion that Hyperborean terms were later applied to Atlantis, one of the epithets of Atalanta is Arcadian. When she was finally outraced by her future husband Hippomenes, it was through the agency of three golden apples given him by Aphrodite from her own temple precincts in Cyprus, the last of which Atalanta stooped to pick up when Hippomenes threw it, thus breaking her stride. Golden apples immediately suggest the apples of the Hesperides, the Western Isles—and though the island of Cyprus is in the eastern Mediterranean, it is certainly west of the continental Near East.
But what of the American Atlantis hypothesized above? Ivar Zapp and George Erikson, authors of Atlantis in America (1998), maintain that “Atlantis” sank beneath the waves when, around 12,000 years ago, sea levels abruptly rose due to melting polar ice, thus inundating coastal America. The authors give evidence to support their contention that before that time America was host to an advanced maritime civilization capable of crossing the Atlantic. This theory is further supported by the fact that certain metis societies (inter-tribal medicine societies) among the Native Americans of North America claim that they were in contact with Europe in ancient times. Travel across the Atlantic was dangerous; few probably attempted it, but some likely did. Regular trade routes might or might not have been established, but holders and seekers of spiritual lore and technical expertise might well have attempted the journey, given that knowledge is weightless, and takes up no space.
Both the historical reality of Atlantis and the possibility that the Americas were populated (or de-populated) by sea can be found in the legends of the Hopi tribe of the North American Southwest. According to their myth of the cycle-of-manifestation, which has much in common with the analogous myths of other peoples, including the Hindus and the Greco-Romans, the Hopis emerged into the present “fourth world”, Tuwaqachi, from the “third world” known as Kuskurza, which is related to the mineral palasiva, copper—a major constituent of bronze. So apparently Kuskurza (in Greco-Roman mythological terms) is the Bronze Age. In Kuskurza the people overpopulate and use their reproductive power for evil—copper being identified, in traditional symbolism, with Venus, the erotic principle. They develop a high technology, live in cities, and fly on shields covered with hide known as patuwvotas—strikingly similar to the vimanas described in the Hindu Puranas—which they use as engines of war. Kuskurza, like Atlantis, is destroyed by water; whole continents sink beneath the waves.
As the third world is about to end, Spider Woman—a figure who is something like the shakti or shekhina of Sotuknang, the Demiurge, the first created being, the active energy of Tiowa the Creator—tells the people to get inside of hollow reeds to escape from the flood. She leads them in a migration over water, searching for the fourth world. (These floating reeds remind one of the Egyptian reed boat that Thor Heyerdahl used to cross the Atlantic in his Ra Expedition, thus proving that the Atlantic could have been crossed in archaic times, even before the development of more advanced vessels like the Phoenician trireme.)
After stopping at a continent which was not their true destination, they arrive at the fourth world, called Tuwaqachi, the World Complete, where life is hard. This is the world we presently occupy. The mineral associated with the fourth world is the “mixed mineral” sikyapala, analogous to the iron mixed with clay which composed the feet of the statue dreamt of by King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel—a figure with head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and loins of bronze and legs of iron, which is sometimes understood as embrematic of the four world ages. Its “feet of clay” represent of the instability of the cosmic environment hidden under outward strength and inflexibility of iron. Tuwaqachi, then, would seem to be the Iron Age. The spiritual guardian of Tuwaqachi is Masaw, who was also the ruler of Kuskurza, the third “Atlantean” world, and who brought it to an end through his corruption. He is here because Tiowa decided to give him a second chance—a chance he seems to have wasted. The Hopi myth clearly implies that this world too will be destroyed by the abuse of reproductive power and high technology.
But can the Mediterranean and American Atlantises in any way be reconciled? Some legends of Atlantis speak of two Atlantises, an earlier and a later one. Zapp and Erikson’s submerged coastal America, then, might correspond to the earlier Atlantis, perhaps also recalled by the legend of Noah’s flood, and Thera to the later one, which might possibly be the origin of certain events recounted in Exodus. After the 900 years separating Plato from the most common date given for the the destruction of the Greek island, certain legendary material about the earlier Atlantis could well have become attached to the story of the destruction of the later one; the characterization “island continent” may in fact be the product of a confusion between the submergence of part of a continent and the destruction of an island.
The submergence of coastal America would have been either gradual or cataclysmic. A slow melt of polar ice would not have destroyed the Atlantean civilization—unless it forced the coast-dwellers back into an interior occupied by hostile and militarily superior nations. They would always have had a coast, and time to move any cities inland. A fast melt would correspond more closely to the Atlantis legend as we know it. And if trans-Atlantic trade, however sporadic, had existed, its sudden disappearance would indeed have suggested—and actually represented—the destruction of a world, especially if the traders hailed from a civilization that was either spiritually higher or technologically more advanced than was the Old World in that age.
We are used to seeing the Mediterranean largely as a “closed sea” until the Vikings, and later the Renaissance explorers, opened the mind of Europe to the Atlantic and the New World. But the maritime technology that would have allowed Europeans to cross the Atlantic had been available since the Roman Empire, and even before that. Why (outside of the Roman colonization of Britain) was it never used? It is possible to speculate that the shock of the submergence of coastal America by melting ice, which would certainly have also submerged much of the coast of the Mediterranean, as well as the lands called Lyonesse in British legend—followed in later centuries by the destruction of Thera, which liquidated in one stroke the most advanced maritime civilization the Old World had produced up to that time—created a sort of collective taboo in the European psyche against sea-travel beyond the pillars of Hercules, and possibly against expansive maritime imperialism in general, which would have been viewed as actions likely to anger the gods. This taboo was effectively broken by the Vikings, relative newcomers in Western Europe, whose historical memory stretched back not to the archaic civilizations of the Mediterranean and Near East, but towards the heartlands of Asia—making them, in Dugin’s terms, something like “Atlantean rebels against Hyperborea”, partisans of a development that might in some way have been related to the ancient revolt of the kshatriya or warrior caste against the priestly brahmin caste spoken of by René Guénon, which he saw signs of in the Genesis account of the Tower of Babel. Furthermore, the opening of the Atlantic and the New World to exploration during the Renaissance may have awakened long-buried memories of the Western Atlantis in the form of fantastic and legendary goals sought by some of the explorers and conquistadores: the Seven Cities of Cibola, and especially the Fountain of Youth, which clearly corresponds to the fountain of the water of life—or the water of creative manifestation—situated by Dante at the summit of Mount Purgatory, in the Terrestrial Paradise. (The taboo against “westering” appears in the “Atlantean” Canto 26 of Dante’s Inferno.)
The Atlantis and Hyperborea of Aleksandr Dugin
If I understand him correctly, Aleksandr Dugin divides the world geopolitically between the Eurasian Hyperborean Heartlanders—hierarchical and “Traditional” in René Guénon’s sense—and the Liberal, anti-Traditional Atlanteans, who might well be termed “the peoples of the sea”—the name the Israelites applied to the Philistines—and who seem to be centered in Britain and America. To posit these two collectives as representing an archetypal, cosmic opposition is entirely justified, in my opinion, and might be highly enlightening if done in the right way. American technocratic futurist Buckminster Fuller, for example, described the modern world as having been founded by “Renaissance pirates”. Yet the use of the term “Atlantean”, and the notion that the Atlanteans were a sort of archaic Liberals, needs to be rigorously qualified.
Leaving historical questions aside for the moment, I believe that there is a true archetypal opposition between Traditionalism and Liberalism, which appears to be based on the cosmic functions of the masculine and feminine genders, or rather the masculine and feminine principles. This opposition seems to have been unveiled—for a brief moment at least—in the recent presidential election in the United States. Hillary Clinton and the contemporary “Liberal Left” represent a feminization of the U.S. population, as indicated by the LBGTQ agenda, but more fundamentally by a rejection of traditional American individualism in favor of an unapologetic allegiance to, and virtual worship of, the “Maternalistic State” such that her defeat produced something on the order of a “metaphysical panic” among her followers, as if their Goddess, their very principle of reality, had died. As for Trump and the “Populist Right”, he clearly represents a rebellion against the Maternalistic State on the part of those identified with various oppressed aspects of the Masculine Principle, which is now experiencing a resurgence, though presently expressing itself in some ways as a mere self-caricature. When any true Spiritual Masculinity lacks cultural expression, the only collective identities available to the mass of men are—to use the common American high school slang—the “jock” and the “nerd”: the man whose only mode of self-expression is physical conflict and brutality, and the man whose masculinity is limited to the technological application of abstract thought. Even the old-style economic hero, the predatory capitalist entrepreneur (like Donald Trump), has been de-potentiated as a cultural ideal under the Maternalistic State. And the idea that a man’s masculinity could be based on his allegiance to God, and that one possible expression of that masculinity might be an intellectual loyalty to eternal metaphysical principles, is almost totally suppressed in the contemporary English-speaking world; consequently, American motion pictures such as “A Man for All Seasons” (1966) and “Becket” (1964)—cinematic treatments of the English saints Thomas More and Thomas á Becket, both of whom might be described as spiritual/intellectual heroes—could never be produced today.
The Liberal Left has radically departed from the worldview and mores of the “traditional” U.S. Left of the 1980’s. In its elitism, its scorn for the working class, and its near-total suppression of class-based politics in favor a radical and dehumanizing social agenda based on race and gender, it begs for a new name—“Inverted Liberalism” perhaps? We have even heard anti-Trump “Liberal Leftists” characterize Donald Trump’s criticisms of the CIA as “treason”—a judgment that is diametrically opposed to the position taken by the less elitist and more populist Left of the 1980’s. Nothing in fact is left of Leftist or Marxist ideology in the traditional sense but the mouthings of a strictly academic “Left”, totally alienated from any sort of working-class movement, where the ideologies of race and gender have completely replaced those of class. This development is largely the product of a deliberate co-optation, by the economic and political powers-that be, of the Left as it existed in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Feminist Gloria Steinham even confessed that Ms. Magazine, the major feminist publication of the 1970’s, received funding from the CIA, who well understood that if the social conflict between the rich and the poor could be re-defined as a conflict between the men and the women, the liberation movements of the second half of the 20thCentury could be effectively suppressed—which they were.
As for the Populist Right, the disappearance of traditionally “masculine” jobs in agriculture and manufacturing1, along with the suppression of Spiritual Masculinity—as, for example, by the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church which has bankrupted whole archdioceses and exploded the traditional aura of sanctity surrounding the priesthood—has left
the Caucasian “marginalized majority” few avenues of political self-expression outside anti-immigrant, anti-homosexual and anti-environmentalist sentiments. The rage of the present Trump administration and Republican Congress to liquidate every possible environmental protection law is, on the archetypal level, a rebellion of the wounded and insulted Masculine
1Will the time come, or has it already arrived, when the only way for the men of the western world to express certain aspects of their archetypal masculinity—though only in severely limited and sometimes perverted forms—is through extreme sports, criminal violence, or the life of the mercenary soldier?
Principle against the worship of the Earth—the Great Goddess. Plato. In his Republic, analyzed the descending course of the present cycle of manifestation as a descent of political power down the ladder of the castes, from the Spiritual Intellectuals to the Warriors to the Plutocrats to the Demos, a course which has expressed itself in Western Civilization as the devolution of authority from the Popes and the Holy Roman Emperors to the national Kings and Nobles, from the Kings to the Bourgeoisie, and from the Bourgeoisie to the Proletariat. And in our own time we have seen a further devolution of authority, from the “solid” working class to (in some cases) the lumpen proletariat, as represented by such political figures as Arnold Schwartzneggar, and ultimately to the non-human world, to a mythologized “Earth-based” regime where animal and plant species are seen as “constituencies” and individual animals almost as citizens, leading to the denial of the centrality of the Human Form as the “axial” being for this planet: in Christian terms the bearer of the imago Dei; in Islamic terms, the holder of what the Qur’an calls the amana, the Trust. Under such a regime, the human race becomes no more than a pariah, an unbalanced and degenerate animal species guilty of environmental genocide. This is precisely what René Guénon saw, and predicted, for the end of the present cycle-of-manifestation in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times: the short-lived triumph of the Substantial Pole—the Feminine Principle or materia—over the Essential Pole—the Masculine Principle or forma, resulting in the suppression of all formal distinctions in the “unity” of the Abyss.
It is against this sort of mental illness, this collective rejection of the human form, that the Populist masses have risen. (For a good picture of the nature of the regime against which they have risen, see The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy by Christopher Lasch. Lasch sees this revolt as the diametric opposite of the one analyzed by Jose Ortega y Gasset in his The Revolt of the Masses. In Ortega’s time the masses were progressive, the elites, traditional; in our time it is the masses who are more traditional, the elites who are “progressive”.) But since these masses are largely proletarian by background, they cannot represent a new phase of social authority and governance in any stable way—as if a basic reversal of the inevitable descent of the cycle-of-manifestation were somehow possible, which it is not. Consequently they are open to the development of the kinds of “inverted hierarchies” (to use Guénon’s term) that we saw in the Fascist movements of the mid-20th Century. In the defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump, we may in fact be seeing a reflection (one of many past, possible, and to come) of the prophesy in the Book of the Apocalypse where a luxurious, self-indulgent maritime mercantile empire, ruled by the Whore of Babylon, is overthrown by the Beast, the Antichrist—the very picture of the rebellion of a perverted Masculine Principle against a degenerate Feminine Principle. I certainly do not mean to imply by this analogy that Donald Trump is in any sense the Antichrist in person, only that—despite whatever may be positive in his policies—he is one of the many mirrors that will temporarily reflect the Antichrist archetype. Antichrist himself must be the overt hierophant of the final Satanic religion, and Trump in no way satisfies this definition. This Gog-Magog opposition can be clearly discerned in the present fighting styles of the Left and the Right in the United States, where the weapons of choice of the Left are moral superiority and shame, those of the Right, anger and fear. Who can deny that these are the traditionally-preferred tactics in the perennial battle of the sexes?
Given this sort of polarization between the “masculine/Traditional” and the “feminine/Liberal”, worldviews (the latter being the dominant myth of the European Union, the former of the rising nationalist reactions against it), how accurate is Aleksandr Dugin’s characterization of Atlantis as a regime of “archaic Liberalism”? This is a hard question to answer. Certainly a Mediterranean Atlantis, identifiable with the Minoan maritime civilization and its antecedents, shared with contemporary Liberalism the worship of the Feminine Principle. The American “Atlantis”, on the other hand—if we take the civilizations of Mesoamerica and the “mound-builders” of North America as Atlantean remnants—was strictly hierarchical, as accurately represented by the teocalli (in the Nahuatl tongue), the sacred pyramid. Priestesses were never dominant, and though the mythologies of these peoples included their Earth Goddesses, the masculine gods of War and the Sun, as well as the rather mysterious masculine figure of the Aztec Quetzalcoatl or the Mayan Kukulcán, held prominence2. Consequently, rather than proto-Liberalism per se, I would rather characterize the archaic West as founded on a sort of proto-Progressivism and Materialism—tendencies which have certainly become identified with Liberalism since the French Revolution, but which likely exhibited a quite different character in the Western Atlantis itself, perhaps one more mythically akin to the hierarchical bio-technocracy envisioned by Aldous Huxley in his Brave New World. Nonetheless, given that matter is cognate with mater, the initially masculine impulse toward “material progress”—so reminiscent of an adolescent boy’s rebellion against a stifling maternal influence (cf. the rebellion of the classical patriarchal Greeks against their matriarchal Minoan predecessors, so profoundly analyzed by Aeschylus in his play Orestes)—is ultimately destined to be recaptured by the Feminine Principle. In line with their “progress” toward the Substantial Pole, the French revolutionaries of the 18th Century established the worship of the Goddess of Reason in the Cathedral at Chartres; and American poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), in his book of historical essays In the
American Grain, has the spirit of the American heartland, the Goddess of the New World (new to Europe but in its own heart, ancient) address the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in the following terms:
2Quetzalcoatl (his name in Nahuatl) or Kukulcán (his name in Mayan)—both words mean “Plumed Serpent”—is a strange deity, a god who incarnates a union of opposites. His serpent aspect is obviously related to the earth (and also, according to the speculation of American poet Charles Olson, the sea, insofar as he is a sea-serpent), while his feathered aspect, drawn from the brilliant green plumage of the quetzal bird, the royal bird of southern Mexico and Central America, relates him to the sky. As a union of opposite forces he is analogous in some ways to the Roman god Mercury, who, by virtue of his well-known caduceus, is also a “plumed serpent”. Various occult fantasts such as Ignatius Donnelly and Lewis Spence (both of whom wrote on the Atlantis legend), as well as Jose Argüelles, have associated the Mayan Pacal Votan—the mythical king and culture-hero of southern Mexico whose reputed tomb in Palenque I once visited—with Quetzalcoatl, and it is true that various Mexican and Mesoamerican kings, such as the Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl (“One Reed Plumed Serpent”) of the Toltecs, took the god’s name as a title, possibly so as to define their royal/priestly function as pontifex between heaven and earth. Some have also claimed that “Votan” is the same name as that of the Teutonic god “Wotan”. This far-fetched speculation has found little support—outside the interesting fact that when the Romans in their wars with the Germanic tribes encountered Wotan, they synchronized him with Mercury, in view of a number of similarities. Even more interesting is the association of Pacal Votan with the Mesoamerican version of the legend of the Tower of Babel, in which René Guénon discerned the outlines of an ancient rebellion of the kshatriya caste against the priestly caste; Babel, like the pyramids of Mesoamerica, was likely also a ziggurat, a teocalli. Francisco Javier Clavijero quotes Francisco Núñez de la Vega, bishop of Chiapas, to the effect that “a certain person named Votan was present at that great building, which was made by order of his uncle, in order to mount up to heaven; that then every people was given its language, and that Votan himself was charged by God to make the division of the lands of Anahuac.” According to my own speculation, the Tower of Babel represents an illegitimate and consequently foredoomed attempt to re-establish Hyperborean spirituality, the “mass theophanic consciousness” of the Golden Age, in later Atlantean times through a syncretism of various national or tribal deities based upon imperial power alone—a plot to “take heaven by storm” that God did not sanction.
Courage is strength—and you are vigilant, sagacious, firm besides. But I am beautiful—as “a cane box, called petaca, full of unbored pearls.” I am beautiful: a city greater than Cuzco; rocks loaded with gold as a comb with honey. Believe it. You will not dare to cease following me—at Apalchi, at Cutifachiqui, at Mabilla, turning from the sea, facing inland. And in the end you shall receive of me, nothing—save one long caress as of a great river passing forever upon your sweet corse. Balboa lost his eyes on the smile of the Chinese ocean; Cabeça de Vaca lived hard and saw much; Pizarro, Cortez, Coronado—but you, Hernando de Soto, keeping the lead for four years in a savage country, against odds, “without fortress or support of any kind,” you are Mine, Black Jasmine, mine.
Speaking (while I still can) as an American, it is hard for me to believe that Russia, Iran, China can know this about us in the 21st Century—because it’s for damn sure we no longer know it about ourselves. In any case, I believe that the obsession of the unbalanced Masculine Principle to “conquer Nature” and dominate matter may in fact carry within it the seeds of a nature-worshipping Liberalism by which the Feminine Principle dominates the Masculine, matter dominates Man—a possibility that works to validate Dugin’s worldview. What began, under Rousseau, as a “Liberal” sense of liberation from the artificial strictures of society, under the influence of a generally “pastoral” view of the natural world (ironically, much in evidence at the royal court of Versailles) has in our own time, under the influence of the physical sciences, particularly genetics, become transformed into an oppressive and fatalistic sense of biological necessity, the furthest thing from any sense of human liberation. So expansive, masculine Solar empires like that of the Aztecs, insofar as they take the first steps on what will become (much later) the road of “progress”, enter the dimension of accelerating linear time, characteristic of the archetypal West, a tendency emblematic the latter days of the cycle-of-manifestation, and one whose ultimate destiny is dominance by, and submersion in, the archetypal Feminine Principle, the chaos of the Substantial Pole. This may indeed be another example of Guénon’s revolt of kshatriyas. The Toltec empire of Mexico was more essentially brahminical and priestly than the Aztec Empire that conquered it; the Aztecs adopted the sacerdotal trappings of the Toltecs in an attempt to legitimize what was, in fact, a warmaking kshatriya Empire pure and simple. A Hyperborean, brahminical empire, like that of China, is spiritually centered around the Pole Star, “the still point of the turning world” (in T.S. Eliot’s phrase), the visible point of eternity in the created order; this is a clear example of a regime that satisfied the definition of Dugin’s “Hierarchical Hyperborean Heartland.” Conversely a Solar kshatriya Empire, like that of Spain, follows the course of the Sun—which, instead of turning about a fixed point in the North, appears to follow a more-or-less linear track across the sky, from east to west. It is this basically Western spiritual orientation—the Anglo-Saxon version of which, in the imperial history of the United States, is the myth of “manifest destiny”—which inevitably takes the form of the worship of progress, the hopeless attempt to “reach the future” through endless acceleration. This obsessive “futurism” acts to sink the collective that embarks upon it ever more deeply into scientism, technocracy and materialism, ultimately leading to the veiling of the Pole of Essence or form and the dissolution of the collective in question in the Pole of Substance. Gold is a universal symbol of Essence or Quality.3 The Empire of Spain, however, quantified the vast supply of gold it appropriated from Mexico and the Inca lands—which had a sacred, symbolic value to the Amerindians, not a monetary one—thereby placing it in the service of the Pole of Substance, with the ultimate effect of creating runaway inflation and ruining the Spanish economy.
3In Canto XXII of the Purgatorio, the canto devoted to the sin of avarice, Dante has the Roman poet Statius quote Virgil’s line, “Why cannot you, O holy hunger for gold, restrain the appetite of mortals?” Jennifer Doane Upton, in her Ordeal of Mercy: Dante’s Purgatorio in Light of the Spiritual Path, explains “the holy hunger for gold” as “the ability to value something for what it is, for its essence, not for its pragmatic usefulness or its ability to satisfy desire”—in other words, for its quality, not its quantity.
Properly speaking, Hyperborea and Atlantis are successive phases of the cycle-of-manifestation. Aleksandr Dugin, however, identifies them as the archetypes of two contemporary human collectives. How legitimate is this identification? And can Hyperborea and Atlantis in any sense appear as alternatives that one might be called to choose between?
Yes and no. One of the aspects of the Substantial Pole, into whose “gravity well” the present cycle-of-manifestation is now falling, is that it acts as the “archive” of all the preceding phases of cycle. Just as the Essential Pole is in touch with the celestial plane—in Platonic terms, the plane of the intelligibles, the transcendent unity of the eternal archetypes of all things that are to appear in the course of cosmic manifestation—so the Substantial Pole is host to the accumulated psycho-physical residues of all that has come into existence during the course of the cycle, and consequently manifests a sub-hierarchical “unity” that is in some sense the inverted counterfeit of the meta-hierarchical unity of Essence. Under the influence of the Substantial Pole, the linear “progress” of social organization from form to form begins to be replaced by a chaotic tendency to draw upon any number of earlier forms, or rather upon various incomplete and distorted versions of them. This is in fact an imperfect foreshadowing of the “end of time” and the “reinstatement of space” predicted by René Guénon for the terminal point of the manvantara.
Gog and Magog vs. the Eschatological Conflict
Neither the Essential Pole per se nor the Substantial Pole per se can appear in cosmic manifestation. Just as the Essential Pole, the archetype of form and hierarchy, transcends manifestation because it lies above form and hierarchy, so the Substantial Pole, the archetype of matter, also transcends manifestation because it lies below matter. Therefore a sub-hierarchical unity of matter alone, entirely bereft of form—like a truly classless society—is not possible. And just as Communism saw the development of established party elites not foreseen in classical Marxism, so the universal leveling force of the Substantial Pole (seeing that a total suppression of Essence in the manifest world cannot in fact be achieved) inevitably gives rise to a hierarchical reaction. This reaction, however—as Guénon pointed out—must be inverted. The earlier, more hierarchically-ordered phases of the cycle cannot be re-established; they can only be counterfeited by a regime that exhibits the trappings and claims the prerogatives of the Pole of Essence, while in fact representing the most extreme possible capitulation to the Pole of Substance: the regime of al-Dajjal or Antichrist. A regime based on this sort of inverted hierarchy was in fact predicted by Guénon in The Reign of Quantity:
….one can already see sketched out, in various productions of an indubitably “counter-initiatic” origin or inspiration, the idea of an organization that would be like the counterpart, but at the same time also the counterfeit, of a traditional conception such as that of the “Holy Empire”, and some such organization must become the expression of the “counter-tradition” in the social order; and for similar reasons the Antichrist must appear like something that could be called, using the language of the Hindu tradition, an inverted Chakravarti [“turner of the wheel (of the law)”; universal king].
The titanic conflict between the regime of Substance and the reaction against it—both of which are equally manifestations of the last days of the Kali-yuga—is symbolized in the Book of the Apocalypse by “Gog and Magog”, and in the Qur’an by “Yajuj and Majuj”—who, according to the latter source, will slither down every slope [Q. 21:96]. That is to say, both the universal leveling-power of Substance and the reactionary attempt to re-establish hierarchy in opposition to it will form part of the same universal sinking tendency that characterizes the final days of the cycle.
The cosmic principle behind Gog and Magog appears in the I Ching as the sixth and last line of the hexagram Kun, which as a whole represents the archetypal Feminine Principle, the Pole of Substance. The text for that line is: “Dragons fight in the meadow; their blood is black and yellow.” This indicates a titanic inflation of the Feminine Principle, Yin, which invokes as a reaction the primal masculine Principle, Yang, such that they enter into a conflict in which both the primal powers are wounded.
Given that the latter days of the cycle are characterized by titanic conflicts between false alternatives which are ultimately expressions of the same universal degeneration, it would seem entirely justified to simply invoke the words of Christ, “my kingdom is not of this world”, enter into contemplative withdrawal from “the nightmare of history”, and concentrate all one’s resources upon the “unseen warfare” of the “greater jihad”. This stance is in fact presented as a viable option—or rather, a destiny willed for some by Allah—in the story of the “companions of the Cave” in the Surah al-Khaf, as well as in the hadith, “There will be tribulations during which a sitting person will be better than the one standing, the one standing better than the one walking, the one walking better than the one running. Whoever exposes himself to these tribulations will be destroyed, so whoever finds a place of protection or refuge should take shelter in it” [Bukhari].
However, the Book of the Apocalypse also presents us a picture of the true eschatological conflict of the latter days, a battle of which the false conflict between Gog and Magog is a mere caricature. And Islamic eschatology universally predicts the rise of the Mahdi before the end of the cycle, who will establish justice and true religion, as well as the return of the Prophet Jesus, who is destined to slay the Antichrist. Therefore to simply wash one’s hands of the world and wait for the end is by no means the only option. To those who are able to place the will of God above both their own self-will and any worldly agenda—and the knowledge given by God above any worldly analysis—it may become possible (God willing) to play a role in the true eschatological, messianic conflict of the latter days: possible, and therefore necessary.
The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad
A belated introduction: I am a poet and a writer in a genre I call “metaphysics and social criticism”, one who has become more or less identified with the Traditionalist or Perennialist School of René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Frithjof Schuon. By faith and practice I am a Sufi Muslim in the silsilah of Shaykh Ahmed al-‘Alawi of Algeria. In 2013 I made the acquaintance of Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Ilyas ‘Abd-al’Alim Islam), a Native American convert to Islam, originally Canadian, now a naturalized citizen of the U.S. This encounter was destined to have many powerful repercussions, both in my own life and far beyond it.
Dr. Morrow is known for his profound, detailed and ground-breaking researches on the covenants of Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of his time, and other “peoples of the book.” These covenants, a number of which Dr. Morrow has either newly discovered or rescued from obscurity, are treaties that the Prophet concluded with various Christian communities of his time; they uniformly forbid all Muslims to attack or rob or damage the buildings of peaceful Christians—or even prevent their Christian wives from attending Divine Liturgy and taking spiritual direction from their Christian elders—“until the coming of the Hour”, the end of the world. The bulk of Dr. Morrow’s research to date on these documents appears in his seminal book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World [Angelico/Sophia Perennis, 2013], as well as a two-volume anthology edited by him and entitled Islam and the People of the Book: Critical Studies of the Covenants of the Prophet [forthcoming from Cambridge Scholars, 2017]. This much-needed scholarship has gone a long way toward resurrecting the Prophetic Covenants from obscurity, and throwing light on the just and equitable norms the Prophet laid down governing how Muslims were to treat Peoples of the Book and other religious minorities within the growing Islamic State. It has also struck a new chord in interfaith relations, one which is not dependent upon the norms of secular Liberalism, but springs directly from the Abrahamic tradition itself, as well as providing a powerful weapon to de-legitimize ISIS and other Takfiri terrorist organizations.
In addition to Dr. Morrow’s scholarly efforts, we are partners in the Covenants Initiative, an international movement of Muslims, based on The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, to combat terrorism and protect persecuted Christians. The Initiative (which I initially conceived of) invites Muslims from all walks of life to accept these Covenants as legally binding upon them today. It has been signed by many prominent Muslim scholars, including a representative of al-Azhar University, and has been endorsed by such dignitaries as Ayatullah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
In my view, the Covenants Initiative has begun to define a true exoteric expression and context for the relatively esoteric doctrine that Frithjof Schuon, following René Guénon, called “the transcendent unity of religions”. The transcendent unity of religions accepts all the great world religions as valid spiritual paths based on Divine Revelations, as indeed the Holy Qur’an, in the surah Al-Imran, 3-4 and 84, allows Muslims to believe. The transcendent unity of religions is opposed to syncretism, however, and sees all hopes and plans for world unity based on a One World Religion as both unrealistic and spiritually subversive. In my book The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age [Sophia Perennis, 2001] I called for a “united front ecumenism”, according to which the world religions, putting aside various barren attempts to define a doctrinal common ground, would—while “agreeing to disagree”—unite to protect themselves and each other from the forces of false religion and militant secularism that threatened to destroy them all. I thought I would never have a chance to see such a movement in action, until I realized that the Covenants Initiative, begun in 2013, was a perfect example of the united front ecumenism I had called for in 2001, and that it was in fact a legitimate outer expression of the transcendent unity of religions, in a way that most Liberal ecumenical and interfaith initiatives are not. Many such “established” interfaith movements and organizations are heavily subsidized and semi-covertly directed by the governments and globalist foundations and think-tanks of the West. And insofar as they act to spread globalist ideology, they form one-half of a “pincers movement” aimed at weakening, controlling and ultimately liquidating all the world’s religions, the other half being the clandestine support provided by the Western nations, as well as various extra-governmental power-blocs and funding sources, to certain Takfiri terrorist armies—including elements of ISIS—as well as to the mercenary soldiers and their recruiters who continue to help organize and man these satanic organizations. If the religions can be induced, in the name of “tolerance”, to de-emphasize and deconstruct those Traditional doctrines that are considered to be “divisive”, they will lose their self-determination, step by step, and increasingly come to depend upon governmental and private patronage and direction; such radically weakened religious collectives will become less and less able deal with moral degeneracy and violent fanaticism in their ranks.4 At the same time, the exponential growth of interreligious violence will make it appear to many that the “repressive tolerance” of a One World Religion, or at least the federation of all the world’s religions under a single secular authority, is the only hope for establishing peace between the faiths—or what’s left of them. It is my belief that all of these elements form part of a single comprehensive plan, implemented over a period of several generations, whose ultimate goal is to wipe religion from the face of the earth.
The Devil hates all the revealed religions because he recognizes them as emanating a single Divine Source, the prime Object of his hate; thus the Darkness of This World, by its very hatred, testifies to the truth of the transcendent unity of religions, and challenges the religions to unite to oppose it. Here we can see one example of how traditional metaphysics and eschatology can generate socio-political praxis on their own, independent of any Liberal, Fascist, Marxist, Islamicist or Globalist ideology, or any permutation or combination thereof. The theoretical foundation of this praxis is the recognition of eternal metaphysical Principles, and the vision of history as the working out of these Principles in the dimension of time. To the degree that one recognizes, understands and identifies with such Principles, one is “in the world but not of it”, and consequently is not hampered by an unconscious identification with the world of conditions or any aspect of it, even including the collective social dimension of one’s own religion; only someone who is not identified with This World, and thus free of all partiality, can see it as it really is. This sort of transcendental objectivity allows the one who has achieved it to formulate effective strategic and tactical initiatives that take into account the entire situation he or she confronts, as well as the quality of the present historical occasion. It also makes it possible for that person to discern the Will of God in relation to both the objective situation and the various particular initiatives designed to address it, thus allowing him or her to reach relative certainty as to when, or if, a particular course of action should be embarked upon, and when, or if, it should be delayed or abandoned.
As for the content of the Covenants of the Prophet themselves—which comprise the many treaties that Muhammad concluded with Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, even pagans, and which include the pivotal Constitution of Medina—the most striking aspect of them, in terms of the present study, is that, to all intents and purposes, they exhibit a seamless union between theocracy—“Tradition”—and democracy—“Liberalism”. They are announced and written in the name of Allah and claim divine inspiration as their origin; likewise they posit the Prophet Muhammad and his legitimate successors as the ultimate authority. On the other hand, they contain what is perhaps the first “universal declaration of human rights” in human history, written down more than a full millennium before what we, looking back to the French and American revolutions, might consider to be “its time”. The rights of women and minorities are clearly spelled out, and the socio-political implications of the Qur’anic principle of no compulsion in religion [Q. 2:256] are fully expressed and defined. Furthermore, viewing the matter specifically in geopolitical terms, the Arabian Pennisula and the greater Near East—appropriately enough!—constitute a kind of “Middle Kingdom”, situated (roughly speaking) between the “Atlantean” realm of coastal western Europe, the British Isles and the Americas—which naturally includes those nations in addition to Britain who explored and colonized the New World: Spain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands—and the “Hyperborean” heartland of Eurasia. (Aleksandr Dugin includes the whole of Western Europe in his “Eurasia”, but I believe that the Western-tending colonialist nations—at least since the Renaissance—should be included in the “Atlantean” rather than the “Hyperborean” culture area.) Is it any wonder, then, that the dialectical opposition between the Hyperborean ethos and the Atlantean one should be resolved by a divinely-inspired synthesis arising from the mid-point between them, in both doctrinal and geological terms? As we have already seen in the Lakota cosmo-conception as recounted by Black Elk, the point where the Good Red Road running north-south (the Hyperborean road) and the Black Road of Difficulty running east-west (the Atlantean road) intersect is wakan, holy—and it is from just such an intersection that the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad actually emerged.
4I fear that the Traditionalist/Perennialist school in the English-speaking world has failed to appreciate the danger of co-optation and covert control represented by their growing connection with “established interfaith”.
There is no denying that we live in apocalyptic times—which certainly does not mean that we must now “seize the apocalypse” and turn it to our own ends, a course of action that would be both impossible to accomplish and fatal to attempt. A Third World War between the Atlantean and Hyperborean collectives would be the final expression of the barren, titanic struggle of Gog and Magog, and would spell the end of the human race—so let’s not do it. Let’s do something else.
The struggle between Gog and Magog is the satanic counterfeit of the true eschatological conflict between Christ and Antichrist, the call to which—given that “you know not the day nor the hour” [Matthew 25:13]—must arrive “as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines even to the west” [Matthew 24:27]. Only those who have died to the world can know God’s will for the world, and do it. Only they can tell the difference between the true and false war.
The re-discovery of the Covenants of the Prophet was (to me at least), entirely unexpected and providential. With the publication of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World we may in fact be witnessing—unexpectedly, miraculously, at this extremely late date—the emergence of a third foundational source for the Islamic tradition, in addition to Qur’an and ahadith.
The re-appearance of the Covenants is also mysterious. To all appearances they are capable of providing a blueprint for the fundamental renewal of Islam after the ravages of colonialism, the fall of the Caliphate and the depredations of the Takfiri terrorists and their western sponsors. It is even possible that they relate to Guénon’s belief that the Knights Templar were in touch with “the guardians of the Primordial Tradition” in Jerusalem. In Dr. John Andrew Morrow’s chapter “The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Armenian Christians of Jerusalem”, which appears in Islam and the People of the Book: Critical Studies in the Covenants of the Prophet, he quotes Bernard Falque de Bezaure to the effect that:
These firmāns [covenants of the Prophet] would become aḥadīth in the Muslim corpus known as the Sunnah and would later be transcribed in the houses of wisdom in Baghdād and Damascus. They later passed into the hands of the Umayyad, ‘Abbāsid, and Fāṭimid Caliphs…. These are also the documents that were given, in the eleventh century, by Michael, monophysite bishop and patriarch of Antioch [that is, by Michael the Syrian (d. 1199 CE), the Armenian Patriarch of Antioch, who was in office from 1166-1199 CE.], to the dynasty of Armenian kings, the Rupenids, and to Mleh, [Prince of Armenia r. 1170–1175 CE], the Master of the Templars of Armenia, in particular, at the same moment that the ‘Alawī-Hashashīn-Nusayrī documents entered the chain of Armanus in Sicily. These [latter] documents concern the mysteries of illumination of the ancient Christian and Jewish prophets as well as Muḥammad. They represent the foundations and the basis of the secret spiritual meditations that were given by Hugues de Payens, the ordained priest of the Saint Sepulcher, to the thirty-one proto-Templars cited in the Armenian chronicles of the aforementioned Michael the Syrian.
Dr. Morrow goes on to say: “Bernard Falque de Bezaure advances another astonishing and audacious theory; namely, that the secrets granted, and jealously guarded, protected, and transmitted by the Knights Templar and other secretive Christian societies, consisted of the Covenants of the Prophet Muḥammad. Since the Dome of the Rock [occupied by the Templars] contains some of the most ancient examples of early Arabic and Islamic writing, it is also likely that the complex contained precious documents from the dawn of Islām, including, apparently, copies of the Muḥammadan Covenants.” If true, this would certainly go a long way to corroborate Guénon’s belief that the Templars were in some sense the “guardians of the Primordial Tradition”, early exponents of the transcendent unity of religions.
According to Islamic tradition, a “renewer of the religion” is destined to appear at “the head of every century”. In view of this prophesy I have sometimes, only half-jokingly, addressed Dr. Morrow as muhiyuddin….and certainly the Covenants of the Prophet continue to spread widely through the Muslim world, often eliciting a heart-warming and enthusiastic response. However, from the practical, worldly point of view of realpolitic, the prospects for a total renewal of Islam at this late date (for nothing less is required) do not look very promising. All the traditional religious collectives are in a state of retreat due to the “degeneration of the cosmic environment” discerned and predicted by René Guénon for the latter days of the cycle, and the Islamic ummah is no exception. Nonetheless we must always remember that things that are difficult or impossible for us are easy for Allah: if He wills a renewal of Islam at this late date, then it will come to pass.
However, two other possible spiritual purposes may be discerned for the contemporary rediscovery of the Covenants. The first would be in order to give individual Muslims a chance to repent of their hatred of the other God-given religions instilled in them by corrupt and treacherous scholars. The second would be to prepare a remnant of Muslims—not necessarily limited to the Shi’a—to actively await the coming of al-Qaim al-Mahdi, who will establish justice and true religion, and the Prophet Jesus, who will slay al-Dajjal, the Antichrist.
Some Christians have been understandably suspicious of our reintroduction of the Covenants of the Prophet; it seems to them as if these documents might represent a covert attempt to re-introduce the notion of an Islamic Empire under which Christians would be relegated to dhimmi status once again. Our position, however, is that the Covenants possess a relevance and a force-of-law that transcends dhimmitude, since the Prophet declared them to be in force and incumbent upon all Muslims “until the coming of the Hour”, not simply until the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the last Muslim political entity which took the Covenants as the basis of official policy toward non-Muslim religious minorities. And it is clear that the Covenants of the Prophet incarnate Muhammad’s great love and respect for the Peoples of the Book—Christians in particular—which is entirely in line with the teachings of the Noble Qur’an. On the basis of these documents, we, as Muslims, offer the following pledge to Christians:
We the undersigned hold ourselves bound by the spirit and the letter of the covenants of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) with the Christians of the world, in the understanding that these covenants, if accepted as genuine, have the force of law in the shari‘ah today and that nothing in the shari‘ah, as traditionally and correctly interpreted, has ever contradicted them. As fellow victims of the terror and godlessness, the spirit of militant secularism and false religiosity now abroad in the world, we understand your suffering as Christians through our suffering as Muslims, and gain greater insight into our own suffering through the contemplation of your suffering. May the Most Merciful of the Merciful regard the sufferings of the righteous and the innocent; may He strengthen us, in full submission to His will, to follow the spirit and the letter of the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the world in all our dealings with them. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds.
This pledge, which forms the heart of the Covenants Initiative, has been signed by many Muslim scholars and religious leaders from around the world. In terms of the needs of the Russian Federation and its allies, we believe that the Covenants Initiative, as well as our ongoing scholarship related to the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad, can serve to powerfully validate and support the declaration of The International Conference on Who are the Ahl al-Sunnah, promulgated in Grozny, Chechnya, in August of 2016, and the “Fatwa on Dangerous Sects” of The Council of Muftis of Russia, issued at the same time, both of which declare that the Salafi-Takfirists, Daesh—the so-called “Islamic State”—and similar extremist groups, are outside the Islamic fold.