Hitler and magic
All agree Hitler is different—he is just not like the other 20th-century titans, not like Stalin or Churchill or Mao. The reason, as CG Jung intimated, being that Hitler is a shamanic figure—not a man but rather a conduit for an entire nation; a figure like Muhammad, who founded a new religion. Indeed, when we speak about a Hitlerite or being Hitlerian, we use a religious vocabulary—it is not like being a Marxist, a progressive, or a conservative (only Marxism comes close to the religious aspect contained in Hitlerism, yet it has no metaphysical content). For a while, I was unsure whether this was all unconscious on Hitler’s part or whether it was intentional; however, the other day I came across a slim volume, Magic: History-Theory-Practice, that was found in Hitler’s library—it was among his most-read volumes, and he underlined sections within it sixty-six times. Hence we can say for sure that Hitler was a self-conscious magician, a German shaman.
The book was written by Dr. Ernst Schertel, a man who had a very diverse career that included the management of an eight-person dance troupe, investigations into the world of flagellation, and, of course, studies in magic. Schertel was a man, a bit like Colin Wilson, who experienced acute suicidal despair as a young man and then snapped out of it in a joyous burst—he seems to have not belonged anywhere precisely, being peripherally attached to the poet Stefan George and his circle; yet to walk alone would be in keeping with his magical path.
Schertel popped a copy of his handbook, personally inscribed, along to Hitler in the early 1920s; although, strange to report, Schertel was himself locked up by the Hitlerites for seven years (for an esoterically significant seven)—precisely because he was peripherally (again) involved in the Magnus Herschfeld sex-research axis, all those naughty books about whipping girls! (“Not allow!” says Herr Hitler. “But mein liebkind—I mean, mein Führer; can we not do the spanky-spanky, ja?”). Why was he locked up—and then released to lead a quiet life? (He died in the 1950s, so he was not consumed in the wartime concentration camp firestorm—even if already tagged as “undesirable”). Was Hitler threatened by Schertel because he had learned magic from him and so had to have him locked up—yet, if so, why release him and let him lead a quiet life? Did Hitler just object to the spanky-spanky? Der spankenführer?
Schertel’s book is a standard magical handbook: negate the ego, allow the void to form—now you are a mystic; allow images to spring forth from the void, images that can change the world—now you are a magician. Good and evil are interdependent and interpenetrate each—for Schertel, “Satan” creates and then is stabilised by “Seraph”; the creative interplay between the two forces over the aeons leads to progress. The magician creates new religious movements because he is in contact with the primordial powers—he can imbue images with power; and the images he brings forth, part of the creative renewal of religious and cultural life, will usually be perceived as “evil” until they are stabilised into “the good”—from Satan to Seraph.
Magicians all have their daemons, their totems—and their totems provide their chief way to communicate to the world, the means by which the primordial nothing speaks through them. Hence my totem is the Peregrine Falcon, since this was my favourite animal when I was a child—the totem both reflects the person’s psyche and also forms it, since in magic cause-and-effect relations collapse; everything happens at once in the unus mundus. A similar example can be seen in Jordan Peterson, a man who unconsciously selected the lobster as his totem—a reflection of his reclusive academic nature, his defensive and snippy “shelled” response to the world. The dangers of an unconscious identification with your “totem” or “daemon” are also exhibited by Peterson: remove him from his natural academic environment, the deep dark sea, and he is easily predated upon—plucked from the restaurant lobster tank to be consumed by diners as a gourmet dish.
The magician can, in fact, adopt any totem or guise he wishes in order to achieve a certain effect, since the first step in initiation is to negate the ego—to speak from nothing, as in a trance (and so all masks are possible); and yet he will always have a primary daemonic totem or “god” with which he associates—hence my primary totem is the Peregrine Falcon, associated with Horus and the solar deity; the eye in the sky who sees all and falls to strike from outside mundane time. On the other hand, on my Twitter account I wear the monad as a mask—the origin point behind the kether from which light originates; the two are related, yet not identical; and the Twitter account is “theriomorphic”, except not with an animal but with a sacred principle—the dictum in theriomorphism being that to wear an animal’s mask, an animal always being a god, is to become that god-deity.
Schertel lays emphasis on physical exercises, breathing exercises, and diet—essentially yoga, the spine being vital in order to master the primordial powers. Notably, he condemns vegetarianism and says that meat-eating and blood sacrifice have always been essential for the magician-shaman; for Schertel, vegetarianism went along with contemporary European man’s increased retreat into an abstract “reality” that is not real at all—vegetarianism is Cartesian, if you like. Clearly, Hitler, a notorious vegetarian, parted company with Schertel here—and the same goes for tobacco, since Schertel sees tobacco as an important element in religious ceremonies and visionary experiences. So we cannot say that Hitler was a disciple of Schertel; he certainly deviated from him considerably—although, in line with Schertel’s own thought, that cannot be taken to be “good” or “bad”; the magical view is total, includes everything, and is therefore “beyond good and evil”.
Schertel lays considerable stress on physicality and dance, and that probably influenced Hitler’s more manic arm gestures and manoeuvres—these being literal enchantments enacted on the crowds. The principle influence from the book, I think, may have been Schertel’s emphasis on the night time as the best time to channel magical forces, the time to dream awake—this is the time when the dark “Satanic” procreative forces are regnant, ready to be channeled in the ordered day. Hitler was well known for his nocturnal schedule and although this ante-dates his encounter with Schertel’s work, it seems likely it confirmed his opinion that it was essential to live at least half in the night, like some lycanthrope, in order to channel magical powers effectively.
Schertel notes that Muhammad experienced epileptic fits—as do most magicians; and Hitler was known for his spastic movements and peculiar fit-like behaviour. Indeed, I have experienced much the same myself in recent years—on occasion I fall into a fit so pronounced that I must bite my lower lip, yet it is controlled to a large extent and I can exit the fit when I choose (enter it when I choose as well, if I concentrate enough). It is a communion with another realm, of course—it clears the psyche, achieves suitable “negative space” to activate the will; to will without desire. There is no doubt Hitler induced similar phrenzies—and could probably do so at will. Schertel also advocated nudism and nakedness as being essential to magical exercises, a holdover from his dance troupe days perhaps (dancers being magical too)—and always popular with the Germans, and yet nudity was definitely specifically picked up by the Hitlerites (the sun-worship philosophy).
The magic in Schertel must have considerable potency, for when I read his book I developed a tremendous headache and afterwards my psychic capacities were increased; for example, as I watched a documentary about an attempt to climb the vast mountain K2, my mother knocked on my door and asked: “What mountain are you climbing?”. I had my headphones on, she could not hear what I listened to.
Schertel’s nomenclature is somewhat unhelpful, for he uses the terms “demon” and “Satan” to mean “daemon” and “chaotic procreative force” respectively. This has led some people to quote his book selectively, along the lines “Hitler was a Satan-worshipper”—see, here is a section Hitler highlighted that praises Satan; therefore, Hitler was a Satan-worshipper and that explains everything. For example: “‘Satan’ is the creative, value-setting and value-increasing principle, which at first always appears ‘evil,’ ‘Seraph’ on the other hand is the resting, preserving, values-effecting pole, which we call ‘good’.”
As you can see, Schertel does not advocate Satanism; personally, I use “Satan” in a different sense—and in the sense used by Schertel, I use “Lucifer”. I take Lucifer to contain all the Dionysian modes by which we stimulate creation, such as drunken revelry—whereas Satan is any dead or grey force that inhibits creative interplay between Lucifer and “God” (the ordered principle). Yet in the sense meant by Schertel what is referred to here is not “Satan-worship”—it is Dionysian or Luciferian. He describes what is found in Kabbalah and Tantra—the creative interplay, yin-yang, that births reality.
Since Schertel’s work was “heavily-thumbed” by Hitler, it seems likely that he used its techniques to birth a new religious movement; and this explains why National Socialism—really, Hitlerism—has such a different complexion to other political movements in the 20th century. Intriguingly, Schertel’s work opens the possibility that Hitler intended to lose the war; for his defeat, his suicide, could be construed as a magical operation sealed with his own blood to activate his work—just as Christ’s crucifixion “activated” Christianity, since for the magician blood is the most potent means to activate a work (my index finger began to spontaneously bleed as I composed this article, by the way…).
Schertel says, with allusion to Moses and the trials in Sinai, that the process by which a magician brings a religion to actuality—Moses channeled YHWH, his crucified serpent being a Hermetic sign—will plunge a people into oscillations between ecstasy and despair, as occurred to the Hebrews in the desert; and as happened, arguably, to the German people themselves due to Hitler. Those who follow Hitlerism, such as the Chilean diplomat-poet Miguel Serrano, hold similar ideas—and, indeed, since Hitler appears to have been an initiate, Serrano’s assertion that “Nazi UFOs” from Antarctica represent astral travel by Hitlerian acolytes is undoubtedly real.
Given that Schertel also understood that the world was once entirely magical—there was a Golden Age, as Traditionalists such as Guénon say—we can see Hitler as a man who wished to return to the magical Golden Age and sought to do so through his own religion. It also means that men like Evola, who held post-war that Hitler’s Germany had no Traditional or initiatory elements, were mistaken—possibly they were engaged in a retroactive attempt to preserve their ability to operate in the post-war world, given their allegiances during WWII.
Whatever the case, I think we can say that we have not heard the last of Hitlerism—not by a long shot, for Hitler the magician has lodged in the world’s consciousness in a very fundamental way (just look at the endless films, books, and documentaries about him—even if they are all hostile); and he intended that to be so—in some way Schertel contributed to this movement, perhaps for his own magical reasons (even if it led to his persecution by Hitler, it had to be done—perhaps he needed to be persecuted for seven years; he needed the stormtroopers to burn his spank mags, it was necessary creative destruction—his own Satan-Seraph interplay). So, do you think this is good or evil? It is both and neither; it is another move in the creative evolution of our race, there is no good without evil—and no movement without the interplay between both.