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Axis Mundi: The Occult Polar Archetype
on November 13, 2003
_Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism and Nazi Survival_ by Joscelyn Godwin is an interesting book about occult and pseudoscientific theories on polar shifts, the succession of ages, the Aryan race, the "hollow earth" theory, Nazi underground bases, lost cities, UFOs, mystical powers, theosophy, sex magick and a host of other obscure topics. The book begins with a discussion of the theory of polar shift, its relation to astrological, occult and Hindu calculations concerning the ages the earth has gone through. The actuality of the proverbial Golden Age might have some support if at some point in the past the earth's axis was parallel to the sun and not veering at a tilt. The North Pole would have had a temperate climate, illuminated by the shining stars, moon, the aurora borealis and the light of the sun visible beyond the horizon-a place of eternal light, a theoretical location for the Garden of Eden. Arising from this polar theory is the notion of a primordial polar homeland for the human race. This leads into the bizarre theories of the origin of the Aryan race and the superiority of Indo-European culture and religion over that of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Semites. The Nazi believed that the Germans had a mystical homeland in a northern region known as Thule. The theories of the Nazis are examined, including Alfred Rosenburg and his official exposition of Nazi philosophy, _Myth of the Twentieth Century_. The Sicilian esotericist Julius Evola and his book _Revolt Against the Modern World_ also draws from the polar myth. He believed that an original Aryan race migrated from a polar Hyperborea, following a solar religion dominated by the warrior ethos and conquering spirit. According to Evola, the original religion of these Aryans has its elements sown in the myths of world in a variety of cultures. A more aberrant view of Nazi occultism comes from Miguel Serrano, a Chilean diplomat and author. His work _Hitler: El Ultimo Avataro_ describes a cosmic struggle between the Order of Nazis who are currently located in a hidden base in Antarctica against "the Demiurge": Judaism, Christianity and Freemasonry. The deliverance of the Aryan race will come when Nazi flying saucers emanate from Antarctica and take over the world. Many theories have also circulated about a possible "hole at the pole" where adventurers could gain access to subterranean Utopias. Aghartha and Shambhala are two mythical cites in Central Asia whose existence has been either literally or figuratively believed in. The denizens of Aghartha stand for worldly power while Shambhala is the abode of mystical enlightenment. The place of Antarctica is examined in detail as well as the North Pole. While the North Pole has a pleasant reputation (surprisingly Santa's house is not mentioned) as a cozy homeland, the South Pole has stood for the earth's demons. In old legends, treachery, death and monsters have been associated with the South. In modern times this translates into Serrano's secret Nazis in Antarctica plotting against humanity. The Pole figures to a great extent in the various theories of the origins of religion as well. In the period after the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, many different scholars attempted to develop a unified theory to explain the origins of the world's religions. One theory was one of a universal solar worship. An example of this would be the Gospels written to describe the sun passing through the signs of the Zodiac throughout the year. Phallus worship was another theory, attributing religion to the awe primordial men felt toward the generative and fertile sources of nature. The polar theory is a combination of the two. The swastika also has its origins here. The positions of Ursa Minor taken together throughout the seasons of the year thousands of years ago would have looked liked a swastika when depicted on a chart showing the seasonal observations simultaneously. The mythical "Land of the Sun" in several ancient cultures and astrological setups also show a polar orientation. Godwin notes that King Arthur may be drawn from the polar/solar traditions as well. The "Spiritual Pole" chapter covers the metaphysical practices, including Yoga, which have used polar and axial ideas to stand as a metaphor for an ascent into enlightenment. The last third of _Arktos_ summarizes the theories of why the earth's axis is at a tilt. The "catastrophists" believed that the pole shifted in sudden violent changes in ages past and was responsible for epochal calamities. The "uniformitarians" on the other hand postulated that the earth is continually shifting its polar locations, repeating in cycles. The scientific theories concerning polar shifts are examined, but Godwin draws no conclusions for or against the idea. Of course, most of the occult literature on the subject is totally at odds with objective science. The most outlandish theorist examined here is Cyrus Teed, AKA "Koresh" (no Waco connection). This mystic propagated the idea that we are actually living on the concave of earth's inner shell. The stars, planets and the sun are reflections inside the earth itself. One aspect of Godwin's book that makes it informative is his objectivity-and possibly even a subtle hint of approval--towards his subjects. Godwin concludes by making reference to the Kali Yuga, the Age of Iron that describes the modern world process of decay according to Hindu eschatology, in addition to the "end of the Age of Pisces." Although Godwin does not take Pisces as referring to Christ, he makes his support clear toward the idea of the "earth reasserting its rights" with a polar shift--a massive global catastrophe--that will destroy the pretenses of humanity and inaugurate the next Golden Age.