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Ariosophy - Overview
Hans Schumacher 1996, Translation: Berna Kühne-Spicer
A number of last year's events showed that there is dangerous ignorance regarding this phenomenon. Even Antifa groups who deem themselves experts when it comes to racism and fascism tend to identify all representatives of pagan nature religions as backers for fascist demagogues to say the least. Within the "pagan scene" the Armanenorden is considered to be "a little bit rightist", the propaganda people of the Armanenblock still enjoy general sympathy and win hands down most of the time. Both tendencies support each other and serve the aims of the Armanenordens as I have shown elsewhere earlier on.
This situation makes it necessary to at least outline the phenomenon called ariosophy. Of course, it is not possible to exhaustively treat the issue with this work. However, it is meant to show the main aspects of ariosophy, to explain its origins and to make clear how to recognize ariosophy and how to fight it.
2. Background And History Of Ariosophy
Towards the end of the previous century theosophy came into being as a religious renewal movement. The Theosophische Gesellschaft was founded in 1875. The roots of theosophy lie mainly in spiritism as it was practiced in the USA and which around the middle of the 19 th century was carried by a movement. Theosophy itself primarily resulted from the works of Helena Petrowna Blavatzky (1831 - 1891) who "owed her knowledge allegedly to mediumistic abilities and the contact with so-called "Masters" " (1) .
The theosophical teachings are based on two main theses. First: All religions contain a "common esoteric essence" (2) , and second: Darwin's model of evolution is applicable to the "spiritual level".
The first thesis allowed to not only merge all sorts of religions without differentiation but also to blend these religions with spiritism and occultism. This is utterly dubious as there are fundamental contradictions between the basic principles of some religions. In addition, spiritism and occultism are not at all legitimate or adequate practices for each and every religion. The role of the so-called "Masters" or, to be more exact, of those who claim to be in contact with them is another very alarming attribute. It is quite clear that those "Masters" mainly speak in accordance with the "contacted" person's wishes and that this process is not very transparent for non-contacted persons who are unable to exercise any control. In a group with appropriate structure this difference in power can lead to authoritarian conditions.
The second thesis qualified theosophy as a forerunner of ariosophy as it provides the basis for mystic-religious racism and social darwinism. And indeed it did not take long for racist ideas to grow stronger within theosophy. "Allegedly, the current Fifth Root Race developed on Atlantis and was subdivided into five Sub-Races. These Sub-Races are found on different levels of development now with the "Aryans" at the top. The idea of an occult origin of the human races and hence the idea of a chosen race and with it the idea of a chosen nation played an increasingly important role within theosophy ..." (3) .
It becomes apparent that as yet far too little attention was paid to theosophy within the scope of research regarding mystified racism and racism in general. Theosophy supplied ariosophy with a basis fully processed and prepared for further use. However, it ought to be mentioned here that future research should also cover other effects of these ideas.
A quick example: The reincarnation theory as a central item of theosophy can also be found with the current Armanenorden, yet in a specifically racist version (4). But it also forms a central piece of the New Age Movement, usually coupled with the karma theory which deems the circumstances of one's birth and the events one experiences during life to depend on the "stage of development" or the "learning experience". Here, too, one finds "Masters", Atlantis and undifferentiated merging of religions. The theory of reincarnation and karma denies sociopolitical causes and results in people's life and promotes an uncritical, unpolitical, passive attitude refusing responsible commitment, and blames "karma" for each and everything including social grievances and war as well as genocide. The phenomenon of the gurus called "Masters" with their powerful position lacking any mean of control for the respective discipleship shows that this cult of social irresponsibility itself tends towards authoritarian structures. This means that large parts of the New Age Movement form an ideal field of operation for ariosophs, because there they already find basic ideas whose structure and content originate from theosophy. So it is clearly worth the effort to more closely examine theosophy, as ariosophy and with it racism and fascism could easily take root in all its offshoots.
By no means it is intended to create the impression that the New Age Movement as a whole is fascistoid, especially as those elements of this movement who think in a responsible way would not tolerate but resist such try to take possession. It is merely intended to show how easily ariosophical influence can be applied if basic theosophical views are assumed without differentiating.
2.2. Guido List And The Guido-von List-Gesellschaft
Born in 1848, Guido List was the real inventor of ariosophy. Referring to alleged reincarnational memories which he called "Erberinnerung" he believed to have found the origin of runes and language (5) . "In addition, he was an active member of the Bund der Germanen which was closely allied with the pan-German Los von Rom Movement around Georg Ritter von Schönerer. Schönerer propagated a national Christianity, identifying the Catholic Church with those Roman missionaries that once behaved so hostile towards the Teutons and which one had to get rid of therefore." (6) . A major part of List's "Schauungen" ("inspirations") allegedly occurred during sickness in 1902.
List's efforts to gain academic acknowledgement for his "findings" remained unsuccessful but made him so well-known that in 1908 the Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft was founded in order to "henceforth finance and publish List's research. This association consisted mainly of members from the upper middle class and the nobility, of big industrialists, senior executive officers, professors and army officers and of some folkisch groups and the entire Wiener Theosophische Gesellschaft " (7) .
Since 1902 Guido List ("von" he had awarded himself with and thus created a tradition of self-ennobling among ariosophs) described the culture, social order and religion of the "Ario-Germanen" or respectively what he understood by it:
"He proceeded from the basic theosophical concept that in essence all religions represent the same esoteric teaching. According to List, exoterics served the common people, the lower social classes who are allegedly not as advanced when it comes to spiritual matters...The polytheist religion of the Ario-Germans as handed down by tradition in legends and myths and called "Wuotanism" by List is said to be such an exoteric system. However, the esoteric core of this Wuotanism, the "Armanism" or the "Wihinei", is assumed to be monotheist as those who know realize that the gods are always but personifications of special attributes of the "one great ineffable God" ... Following the theosophical example, entities were placed in hierarchic order depending on their spiritual level of development ... Each individual contacts only such spirit or god as appropriate at the relevant level. Consequently, affiliation to a people and a race are of high importance in his system. The "Aryans", he claims, had reached the highest level of development in this system." (8) .
So List never actually taught pagan nature religion but the very opposite. He taught a complete cosmic hierarchy, a divine stepladder system of developmental graduation. No wonder that he was supported by a corrupt conglomerate of members of the high society, of rich persons, high officials and theosophs, that in times of most disgraceful exploitation and oppression of people the masters invested in this ideology. Considering monstrosities like mystical-ideological justification of a white minority plundering whole continents it seems rather harmless to find a pagan polytheism described as a religion for the stupid, as "exoterics" for the lower classes who are declared to be not very bright by nature and unable to understand the masters' monotheism therefore. However, this description is extremely important here, because one cannot help but suspect the current Armanen to share this very view and hence to stage a "pagan" cult for the less initiated in order to step by step lead them towards the fascist List-monotheism. After all, Adolf Schleipfer - short excurs ahead - became president of the Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft in 1967 (9) prior founding the Armanenorden in 1976 (10) .
"He (List, author's note) considered it the main task of Wuotanism to maintain the Aryan race and to breed a "noble race". This, he argued, was also the main task of marriage. ... The nobility was responsible to raise a noble stock and represented special racial purity therefore. ... These Aryans of "pure race" were supposed to be the only ones worthy of freedom and civil law. Persons of "lower race" he wanted not only to see serving, doing wage labor and being held in slavery, but he also denied their right to vote, to own land and to assume higher positions. Among other things Guido von List used the reincarnational teachings as popularized by theosophy to justify this racial religion ..." (11)
"List also had a very detailed model of the social order of the Ario-Germans. He projected his ideas and desires regarding an ideal state with elitist, racist and imperialist features into a fictitious past. ... The highest estate was formed by the "Armanen" who List imagined to be initiates, scholars, priests, judges and princes at the same time, totally ruling by their ability to master occult powers and by their perceptive knowledge gained by intuition ..." (12) .
All that makes clear what must be understood by Armane. It makes also clear what an "Armanenorden" is, what its actions and what its objectives are.
2.3. Lanz v. Liebenfels And The Ordo Novi Templi
Adolf Josef Lanz was born in 1874 and no more a man of noble birth as List or some other, current ariosophs. First he became a Cistercian. He left the order in 1899 and founded the Neue Templer Orden or Ordo Novi Templi in 1900 as it seems. After having made himself a name as an author in social darwinist circles, he published his work Theozoologie in 1905 and founded a journal named Ostara.
"In the beginning, this "first and only racial economic journal with the intention to practically apply the results of anthropology in order to fight subversion and Urrassentum with the help of science and also to preserve the European noble race by means of pure breeding" mainly dealt with economic and political problems of the Habsburg Monarchy from an anti-liberal and pan-German point of view. Later on the articles focussed on topics like racial somatology, anti-feminism and anti-parliamentarism. Some of the authors were members of the Guido von List Gesellschaft" (13) .
Unlike List, Lanz relied on Christian traditions which he interpreted in a way that made him believe members of a divine hierarchy had been instructed to artificially breed human beings. "These godlike human beings were supposed to be the ancestors of the current "Aryan race of heros". Some of them had broken the law of pure breeding and intermingled with animals ... and "animal human beings" evolved, the ancestors of the current "lower races" " (14) .
Adolf Schleipfer said this, too (15) .
Lanz deemed himself to live at a time when the lower races were ruling (16) , last but not least due to the women, who he accused to be generally attracted by lower races and animals and to be responsible for race mixture therefore (17). He developed a program to amend this situation:
"Lanz suggested to create a race aristocracy who would reinvent selective breeding and whose first children would be the Ordo Novi Templi. To achieve this goal he recommended practical measures which read like anticipation of the racial politics and the persecution of Jews in the NS state. For example, he demanded the re-establishment of the original race cult religion for the "racially pure", premiums for "blonde marriages", privileges for blondes, convents for "breed mothers", selective breed colonies, polygamy for blonde males, "marriage helpers" for sterile males, "arioheroism" to be taught in schools and residences reserved for blondes in the healthy country. To fight the "Tschandalen" (Lists word for "Minderrassige", i.e. for people of inferior race, author´s note.) he suggested childlessness, propaganda for contraceptives, castration, sterilization, prostitution, welfare stop, slavery, forced labor, deportation into the desert, use as "canon fodder" in World War I" (18).
There are two reasons why Lanz is being dealt with so much in detail here: Firstly, he was a close friend of List, they influenced each other, each of them was a member of the other one's organization and they generally cooperated a lot. Secondly, Lanz serves as an example to show that ariosophs were and still are active even outside the aura of "paganism" (in the meaning of the Armanenorden), and that hence it is not necessary for ariosophs to refer to "Germanic" tradition. Jürgen Rieger, who represented numerous Neo-Nazis as their solicitor (19) and who is the leader of the Artgemeinschaft , wrote in a 1990 letter: "In our community one may believe in the Germanic gods or that Germanic (sic) gods are archetyps in accordance with the teachings of C.G.Jung or that there is one god as the "Father of All" or that there are no god and no gods at all. This is not the main aspect of our belief laid down in the Artbekenntnis ..." (20). The Artgemeinschaft is also invited to meetings of the Armanenorden.
3. The Armanenorden
As stated above Adolf Schleipfer founded the Armanenorden in 1976, together with his then wife Sigrun, née Hammerbacher, daughter of an NSDAP district leader and usually calling herself Sigrun Freifrau von Schlichting now (21) . At this time Schleipfer had been the leader of the Guido von List Gesellschaft for several years already. Apart from the numerous other signs one can assume that Schleipfer fully stands for the ideas of the Guido von List Gesellschaft. It is completely impossible to list in this work all documented statements of Schleipfer, Schlichting and other Armanen. In the following, I will proceed from the assumption - quite justified as it seems to me - that apart from some unimportant updates the world view of the core of the Armanenorden is the monotheist and racist world view of the Armanen, as it was constructed by List basing on theosophy and influenced by Lanz.
The inner structure of the Armanenorden is another indication for this: It mainly consists of a grade system of initiation similar to the Freemasons. "The first three grades Lehrling (apprentice), Geselle (journeyman) and Meister (master) - also called "Goden-Grade" (grades of gothar) - form the so-called "Volkspriesterschaft" (ordinary priestship) which should be achieved by everybody. Above these there are the Armanenorden grades leading up to the ninth grade and allegedly corresponding with an esoteric order of initiation. ... The knowledge necessary to achieve the grades is provided to the members by means of so-called "Leitbriefe" (guidance letters) issued by the leaders" (22) .
The content of these Leitbriefe is kept secret, but taking into consideration the facts mentioned above it can hardly be very mysterious. We do recognize in this structure the very scheme presented by List: the "ordinary priestship" outside, the Armanen inside. In addition, the structure I call the Armanenblock forms a system of concentric circles: The organizations associated to or cooperating with the Armanenorden (Yggdrasil-Kreis, Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft) also have a grade system of initiation similar to the Freemason system and they are lead by Armanen (23) . That means we are far from facing just a loose association of "heathens" some of which are "a little bit rightist" but the List system in full function.
4. Pagan Behavior - The Yggdrasil-Kreis
Especially readers not familiar with the topic could assume from the above that apart from the Rabenclan the "pagan scene" respectively the groups of heathens form some sort of an ariosophical conspiracy. However, this is not completely true.
Although the behavior of the most clamoring protagonists of the Armanenblock may suggest this suspicion, there are some interesting contradictions alluding to the conclusion that we are not dealing with clever politicians but with naïve persons who are pathetically incompetent if it comes to politics and history and who are victims of delusion themselves. Under these circumstances it is very difficult to differentiate the deceiver from the deceived. But even the deceived are responsible for their behavior, especially with regard to their claims of leadership, competence and sole legitimate representation. Moreover, ariosophy is not a faux-pas of some dinner party but the ideological foundation of the Holocaust and of other possible horrors, mass murders and wars. Whoever aids and abets racism is partly responsible.
I would like to describe some aspects of pagan behavior which I do not want to evaluate yet which seem to be useful to demonstrate the problems.
Volkert Volkmann, druid, godi, psychologist and nonmedical practitioner, believes "ich trage Heil" = "I carry hail" to be the correct translation of "Yggdrasil" (24) . This corresponds with List, who was of the opinion that "Yggdrasil" means among others "Ich, das Heil im Urfyr zeugend" = "me, creating hail in the Urfyr" (25) which he assumed to consist of "ig" = "ich"= "I"; "dra" = "drehende Zeugung (Trifos) Feuerzeugung" = "to create (fire) by rotation (Trifos)"; "sil" = "(sal)Heil" = "hail" (26) . Of course, "Yggdrasil" doesn't mean anything of the kind (27) . It is worth to notice in which context Volkmann uses this interpretation so obviously influenced by List (28) , and one must ask whether Volkmann is aware of it. However, I am not the one to answer this question.
It should be mentioned here that the Yggrasil-Kreis also claims sole legitimate representation, i.e. they claim to be entitled to define the criteria for "legitimate" heathenism and "legitimized" priests even outside the Yggdrasil-Kreis. Meanwhile, it became apparent that the Icelandic Asatrúarmenn did no such thing like "legitimizing" Mr. Volkmann or anybody else. The fact that any such "legitimization" would be ahistorical and incompatible with Asatrú principles and that it has vanished into thin air by now anyway is not as important as the fact that Volkmann and his followers believe such things to be correct and necessary. (29) In the entire history of the Germanic culture there is not a single example of "legitimization" of priests by a central institution except one includes the legitimization of Christian priests by the Roman Church which I do not consider to be correct as the Roman Church is not part of Germanic culture. Even today no pagan organization abroad asserts such ridiculous claims. Why does the Yggdrasil-Kreis?
The only organization I know of and whose conception of itself not only makes such claims possible but even necessary is the Armanenorden: "1. The ARMANEN-ORDEN is the entire Teutonic and Celtic world in its spiritual, psychological and physical individuality" (30) .
The general behavior of its leader and members may be symptomatic, yet it is so common throughout the pagan scene that it is not possible to make any specific conclusions from it. Further research and the course of events will bring more clarity here.
As explained above, this system mainly works with delusion - delusion of the members of those "pagan" groups associated with the Armanenorden and delusion of the public. It uses the ignorance of outsiders who identify heathenism with rightist ideology, which does not only please the Armanenorden but also helps them to get their claim to power accepted. Clearing the mist of delusion created by the ariosophs will in a foreseeable future cause the ariosophs to disappear. In order to achieve this, the nonsense of chosen races and peoples, of secret teachings for some few initiates, of "Masters" and ghosts and a better reincarnation must be recognized as what it is: as ideological breeding ground for ariosophy.
Not even the Armanenorden is clumsy enough to shout racist clichés at the public (although its proven clumsiness produced enough documented statements that leave no doubt). Instead, they permanently disclaim and lead the members of their satellite organizations slowly and carefully to the actual core of contents. Therefore, one is almost never confronted with the basic racist statements in the beginning but with mystic elements originating from theosophy which are either used to canvass for members or parroted by people who already belong to the aura.
However, in its core ariosophy is a racist ideology of dominion, maybe the most brutal and disgusting one ever. It was only a small step from theosophy justifying the horrors of the colonial age to ariosophy justifying the Holocaust. There is no problem at all to create modern adaptions of it at any time. As soon as one understands the ideological foundation of this teaching one is able to identify it in any version. Nature religious Heathenism can contribute considerably to the final extermination of ariosophy - the only acceptable solution. It must be our cause to throw down the gauntlet to those racists ideologically exploiting the old European cultures and to not stop before ariosophy has completely vanished for ever.
1 Schnurbein, Stefanie von: Religion als Kulturkritik, S. 83
3 ibid, S.84
23 V.Volkmann, leader of the Yggrasil-Kreis, denies to be a member of the Armanen-Orden. Volkmann: "Based on a description of us she received third-hand she says I had participated regularly in some master courses of the Armanen. This is complete rubbish."(Hag&Hexe 1, 1996,S. 31).
24 Hag&Hexe 1, S.28, see letter from a reader by Sven Scholz, November 1996
25 Guido List, das Geheimnis der Runen, 2. Aufl. 1912, S.29
26 ibid., note the almost complete consensus between List and Volkmann at the begin and at the end as well as the essentially analogous consensus in the middle part
27 Simek,R.:Lexikon der germanischen Mythologie, 1984, S.467f., for linguistic details see the letter of a reader by Sven Scholz (unpublished, but available here), November 1996, regarding the use of the name in context see Neckel, G.: Edda, die lieder des codex regius nebst verwandten denkmälern, Germanische Bibliothek Bd.9, 2. Aufl. 1927, S.5,11,61,62,64
28 It is about the name of his organization after all.
29 To not conclude this from their behavior would mean to make them appear liars and imposters which, of course, I am far from doing.
30 Schnurbein, Religion als Kulturkritik, p.23; picture by: Leitbild und Aufbau des Armanen-Ordens, Ammerland o.J. (Titelblatt)
Attention! A corrective answer to this article was published by the Yggdrasil-Kreis, followed by a statement of the Rabenclan e.V. Please refer to those documents as well.
Author's note: "Further research and the course of events will bring more clarity here" I wrote in 1996. This is indeed what happened as the gentle English-speaking reader will see as translation continues. It is, however, interesting how may aspects of Ariosophy and the Armanenorden pointed out here still appear regarding Geza von Nemenyi, the "pagan pope" who is, as I stated in "Nemenyi's merits", the last of the high-and-mighty "High Priests" in Germany.
This text brought the confrontation between Rabenclan and the "Armanenblock" to an entirely new, more dramatic stage. The "High Priests" mentioned here of course tried to disprove these theses, but without any success. Later it became clear, however, that the Armanenorden was not in a direct sense the "head organisation" of the aforesaid conglomerate but a combination of teacher, mentor, common platform and provider of manifold contacts to folkish, Neo-Nazi and racist groups of every description. Also, the main bulk of the secret "Leitbriefe" is in our hands now and conclusions concerning the teachings therein were no longer neccessary.
The information in this text concerning ariosophy is, of course, still relevant. Racist pseudo-Germanic teachings always include ariosophic elements even if they do not openly refer to "Ario-Germanen" and suchlike, and, as a rule, folkish ideology, that differs in some details from Ariosophy, is always prone to develop more and more of these similarities, as folkish groups tend to develop into satellites of racist groups because of this overall compatibility. "Armanen conglomerates" can easily exist elsewhere without a German Armanenorden.
Hans Schumacher, 2003