Julius Evola (1898-1974) was an extraordinarily bizarre and colourful individual, who must be considered to be the father of European right-wing magical paganism. Born in Rome of humble Sicilian parentage (he was not a baron, for all that he is claimed to have been one), he studied engineering, became a talented artist and writer, and served in World War I as an artillery officer. Much influenced by the decadents and symbolists, he dropped Catholicism early on. (There was a certain amount of two-way traffic here, as some members of these artistic movements became converts.)
In 1928 he wrote Pagan Imperialism, a tome urging fascism to drop its connection to Catholicism and become a full-blooded pagan mystery religion. His most famous work appeared in 1934: Revolt Against the Modern World. In it, he postulates the previous existence of an “Aryan” Golden Age, in which aristocratic warrior-priests had wielded both spiritual and temporal power, and argued that this perfect state had been corrupted by various factors – foremost of which was Christianity, which weakened and finally destroyed the caste.
Evola liked Buddhism and Hinduism, which he felt had retained more of that Edenic state. On this basis he critiqued the modern world for its democracy, egalitarianism and materialism. He also praised such groups as the Templars and motifs like the Holy Grail for what he considered to be their pagan qualities. He was a great believer in esotericism, ceremonial magic, telepathy and much else.
Evola was a huge influence on the so-called Traditionalist school – and was a great friend of the French philosopher René Guénon. Today, various figures on the alt-right in America and the Nouvelle Droite in Europe consider him an inspiration.
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