Spengler: about Nobility and Priesthood

“The men who belong inwardly to these two castes and not only in name are really different from the others; unlike that of the peasant and of the bourgeois, their life rests entirely on a symbolic dignity. They don’t live to live, but so that life acquires a meaning”.

“The nobility lives in a world of facts, the priest in a world of truths; to the first corresponds the lived experience, to the other the knowledge; to the first corresponds the man of action, to the other the thinker”.

“The nobility is indeed caste in the proper sense, it is a synthesis of blood and race, it is a current of existence in the most perfect form imaginable. This is why the nobility can be conceived as a peasant element of higher order”.

“On the other hand priesthood represents the anti-caste in the proper sense, the caste of those who deny, the non-race, the independence from the soil, the free, atemporal, ahistorical awake being”.

“The caste of the pure awake being and of the eternal truths turns against time, against race, against sex in every sense. Man as a peasant or as a knight is attracted by the woman, in which he feels destiny; man as a priest departs from her”.

“For the man of race dying without heirs is the true, terrible death; who continues to live in the children and grandchildren doesen’t die entirely. But for the true priest is valid the proverb: media vita in morte sumus; he recognizes only spiritual heirs and disregards the meaning of the woman”.

“As a rule, at the beginnings of every culture also arises an original nobility, in whose hands will by now be the destiny of the culture. In a silent but determined way the shaping energy puts <<in shape>> the being, it imprints and fixes a rhythm to the blood, for the whole future. Indeed in every early period this creative ascent towards the living form corresponds to what in every late period will be the power of tradition, that is to say the old and solid discipline, the rhythm become definite and so vigorous that even in the extinction of the ancient lineages knows how to attract continuously in its orbit, from the deep, always new men, always new currents of being. One can not doubt that the history of the later ages in its form and rhythm is already included, potentially but irrevocably, in the first generations. The heights that it can reach depend on the power of the tradition existing in the blood”.

“Similarly, all that happens in the history of the spirit, – and the fact that a history also exists in this domain, is shown by the power that has the blood on perceiving and understanding – all religions, all arts, all ideas in their active and in form awake being, with all their developments and symbolisms, all their passion are expression of the blood that flows through such forms in the awake being of entire series of generations. A hero doesn’t need to know of this second world, he is all life, but a saint must bend life in himself through the most severe ascesis in order to be only spirit, and the strength necessary to do that is again life itself”.

“Precisely for this the nobility itself in historical sense is infinitely more than what is thought in the late periods of a comfortable life: it is not a sum of titles, rights and ceremonies, but an internal possession difficult to achieve and difficult to maintain that, once understood, already appears worthy of the sacrifice of a whole life. An ancient ancestry doesn’t mean only a series of ancestors, because everyone has ancestors, but rather of progenitors that lived up to history during generations and generations and that not only had a destiny, but were also destiny”.

“The priest has around the world considered as nature; of this he deepens the image through reflection. Instead the nobility lives in the world as history and deepens it transforming its image. If starting from either one or the other attitude can be formed a great tradition, in the first case it is the result of an intellectual formation, in the other of a discipline”.

“The discipline extends to the blood and continues itself from father to son. Instead the formation in the other sense presupposes a talent, therefore an authentic and strong priestly organization is always based on a complex of spiritual gifts, it is an association of awake beings having no regard for origin or sentiment of race, so much to represent also a negation of time and history. Spiritual affinity and blood affinity – we must reflect on the difference indicated by such expressions”.

“The aristocratic custom is the result absolutely unconscious of a long, continuous formative discipline. You learn it in relationships with others and not through books. It is a felt rhythm and not a concept. Instead the other moral is a set of precepts absolutely based on principles and consequences (therefore you can learn it) and is an expression of a conviction. The first is all historical and recognizes differences in rank and privileges as a fact. The honour is always honour of caste; it doesn’t exist a honour of all humanity”.

“The fundamental principle of every living custom is honour. All the rest, loyalty, humility, courage, chivalric spirit, self-control, decision, is included in it. And honour is a thing of the blood, not of the intellect; having honour as an innate sense is synonymous with having race”.

“To tolerate an offense, forget a defeat, whine before the enemy – all this is sign of a life that has become useless and worthless, yet also something completely different from the priestly morality, which doesn’t grasp a life that has become so despicable but disregards life in general, and only because of this also honour”.

“The nobility, that is all <<plant>>, originates from the countryside, from the land understood as the property to which it is organically connected. It has everywhere the fundamental form of the family – of the caste or ancestry – form in which it expresses itself also the <<other>> history, that of the woman, and through her will of duration, through her sentiment of the blood she almost appears to us as the great symbol of time and history”.

“An indomitable joy of life pervades the centuries of the flowering of this caste in eminent sense, which is all direction, destiny, race. The woman, because she is history, and the struggle, because it makes history, are absolutely at the center of the thought and action of it”.

-Oswald Spengler

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Sacred Ambulation

What represent the innumerable mythological figures marked by monosandalism, lameness and other types of afflictions and vulnerabilities to the lower limbs? Several clues indicate an indeterminate state of existence, in the balance between life and death, in the context of an initiatory ritual of rebirth.

Some examples taken from the Greek myths:

-Jason (monosandalism).
-Perseus (monosandalism according to a version of the myth in which Hermes gives him only one sandal).
-Theseus (he retrieves the sandals and the sword of his father Aegeus by lifting the boulder [i.e. the cave or burial mound] under which they had been hidden [i.e. buried]).
-Hephaestus (lameness: soon after being born his mother Hera throws him into the sea from the top of Olympus, and he remains for nine years [time frame that indicates the symbolic gestation that will be followed by the initiatory rebirth] inside a cave [i.e. the burial mound] surrounded by water [i.e. the amniotic fluid]); other lame smiths are Trébuchet (“the limping”) of the Arthurian cycle and Völundr (to which are severed the tendons of the legs) of the Norse myths.
-Zeus (in a myth his tendons of the feet are severed by Typhon).
-Achilles (vulnerable only to the heel).
-Dionysus (he experiences a double birth, the physical one from the body of Semele, his mother, and the initiatic one from the thigh of Zeus, his father).

Theseus lifts the boulder:

Achilles hit at the heel by the deadly arrow:
Immagine correlata

They are all figures symbolically devoid of the femur (strictly associated with movement and thus with life) of the divine ancestor that will reincarnate in them, the bone that every child, during an ancestral initiatory ritual, had to retrieve from the deepest chamber of the cave or burial mound, the throne hall where was located the skeleton of the predecessor.

The Trinacria, symbol equivalent to the swastica, portrays Medusa’s head and three bent legs to suggest the concept of movement, synonymous with life:
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To note the fact that in Crete and Delos was celebrated a dance called “crane” (in reference to the habit of cranes to stand upright on one leg) to which participated young boys and girls: the movements of the dance had to evoke the path of the labyrinth from which Theseus came out after killing the Minotaur, labyrinth from which the hero himself went out dancing its figure.

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Why not remember also the famous lameness of the Devil, the result of the intentional distortion applied by the Christians to the divine figures of the legitimate descendant and the reborn ancestor?

Lastly it is necessary to mention some children’s games: the Game of the Goose consists in a labyrinthine and initiatic path, in which is destiny, in the form of dice, that moves the pieces on the squares, which are composed by figures symbol of initiation such as the death, the skeleton, the labyrinth, the well, the prison and the bridge; the Hopscotch consists instead in a numbered path that must be completed hopping on one foot, in which the first square is called earth and the last sky (respectively the entry threshold of the womb of rebirth [i.e. the female principle] and the reaching of the burial chamber of the ancestor [i.e. the male principle], a path of there and back from the earth to the sky.

Comparison between the court of the Hopscotch and a typical burial mound seen from above:
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“Children continue to play the game of hopscotch without knowing of giving back life to an initiatory game, whose purpose is to penetrate and manage to come back from a labyrinth; by playing the hopscotch the children descend symbolically in the underworld and return on the earth”.

-Mircea Eliade

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