I recently discovered Julius Evola and I think he is fantastic. His book on Hermeticism is top notch and covers all the normally ignored topics like Ares of Mercury or Moon of Mercury for the notation of alchemical symbols. Know how many times I’ve seen that in a book? Maybe twice, at best. I believe Frater Albertus mentions it in some of his books on alchemy but the Celestial Crowns are typically ignored or only hinted at. I realize if someone is familiar with Golden Dawn magic this should be seem obvious, but I believe Evola was running in the same circuit as Crowley and the same cultural environment.
To that end, Crowley’s version of the ego was to satisfy it with something until he became sick of it, and Evola argues for a more classical, bhuddist style of nondesire. Evola also wrote a few cultural books, the best known being Ride the Tiger, but his cultural commentary isn’t the backbone of what I’m interested in. I don’t, for instance, feel that jazz is a bad thing. I do believe that with his other work, he saw in Italy where the US is today where he isn’t arguing for Conservatism, but more for Traditionalism. In a left-right, republican-or-democrat model this is easy to confuse, but realizing that they’re the same face of the coin and nothing really changes in the broad arc of history is really how to frame it up. Rather than the nominal march towards losing a country’s cultural identity, he argues for a sort of benevolent fascism, where some sort of ‘Ministère de la Culture et de la Francophonie’ (to borrow the French) is supposed to maintain the identity of the nation. Obviously the EU does a poor job of it, but it’s neat to see the political application of hermetic philosophy. Some might even say it’s downright Dee. Evola realizes that if the nation is a melting pot, it ends up being like soup on the stove too long. The noodles melt into starchy paste and the meat dissolves into gelatine and the final product is so homogenous that we cannot identify individual elements. Rather than having a melting pot, Evola argues (by condemnation) that it’s far better to retain individual preferences and identity and use the government to enforce those differences between states.
Evola feels like Crowley, especially the rock climbing, if Crowley had been more politically involved on the national level and not the individual level. While I think I prefer Crowleys Classical Liberalism (“libertarian” in today’s words), I can see what Evola is arguing against, especially being on this side of World War 2.
I would highly suggest reading the Hermetic book first, then starting in on the rest of his stuff. That’s where I’m at. The Hermetic book is dense enough I’ll probably end up reading it through two or three times. The only rub is the Greek is not annotated, so bring along a Greek dictionary. Also hat tippy – Mircea Eliade. Apparently Eliade stuck more towards comparative themes in religions trying to line up sacred truths and Evola was a fan, so there’s a bit of overlap there. While Eliade doesn’t make overt political or cultural commentary the way Evola does, Poke definitely takes a hat tip there for allegorical stories.