Julius Evola: Go tell it on the Mountain

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The spirituality of Julius Evola was decidedly a transcendent one. He writes that this first manifested itself in his early youth wherein he felt “detached from what is merely human.” Also being an avid mountain climber in the years before his affliction (paralysis from a spinal injury) induced him to place the image of a mountain as the dominant symbol that bespoke transcendence itself. He drives this theme home in one of his works, “Meditations on the Peaks: Mountain Climbing as Metaphor for the Spiritual Quest”. It befits our purposes in this series to spend a little time on this transcendental theme since it bears a direct foundational correlation with his Doctrine of Awakening.

Having a contemplative-temperament and disposition led Evola to place a high premium on contemplation itself, particularly with its ascetical dimensions:

Originally, contemplation referred to asceticism and signified something else altogether: it represented a sphere superior to “active life” (in some cases culminating in it), characterized by the overcoming of the ordinary and individual sense of one’s self. The corresponding Greek term, theoria, implies a through-and-through inner realization or identification: consciousness that lives directly in its object. When we talk of catharsis, or of purification as an overcoming of that which is subjective, sentimental, and bourgeois thanks to the experience of the mountain, we can refer to this older and more austere meaning of the contemplative dimension. (Meditations on the Peaks: Mountain Climbing as Metaphor for the Spiritual Quest, pg.24)

Indeed, for Evola, the ascent to the heights of the contemplative endeavor was analogous to ascending to the peaks of the Mountain, wherein one experiences an inner-kind of spiritual catharsis. It’s only this form of catharsis (naked freedom) that can counteract the standard cultural malaise that prevents one from transcending the human condition.

The mountain is spirit in all that it involves: discipline of the nerves and body, clear-minded courage, desire for conquest, and the impulse to engage in pure action in an environment of pure forces. [ibid, pg.14]

It’s only within the realm of the pure (the mystic heights) when one encounters THAT which is inimical to all that is substandard and at the mercy of the shifting winds of all samsaric-based associations. It is standing unencumbered on the Primordial Mount of Spiritual Perfection Itself:

I have gathered specific proof in an attempt to demonstrate that, since the oldest times, in almost every civilization, the mountain was uniformly regarded as the symbol of inner and transcendent states of being and as the allegorical seat of divine natures, of heroes, and of transfigured beings who had been taken beyond the mere human condition. According to various myths, climbing the mountains or being spirited to the peaks symbolized a mysterious transcendent process, a spiritual integration, and a participation in an Olympian immortality. [ibid, pg.13]

This quest for Evola was always an Olympian one, the very hallmark of all that can be considered truly “heroic”. He used the metaphors of Walhalla and Asgard in this mystical voyage:

This seat was often associated with Asgard, the city of the Asen, the divine luminous beings engaged in a perennial struggle against the dark creatures of the earth (elementarwesen). [ibid, pg.11]

A Lankavatarian knows full well this Olympian task of engaging in the quest for the Luminous heights of the Unborn while at the same time keeping at bay the elementarwesen, or all those elemental dark creature-comforts and influences that can trip-one-up during the climb, and thus send the Mind-adept spiraling downward into the ever-present icy abyss of samsara. Evola states that the ascent of the Mystical Mind-Mount requires purity and simplicity of spirit, a spirit that is disciplined through asceticism.

O sky above me! O pure, deep sky! You abyss of light! Gazing
into you, I tremble with divine desires. To cast myself
into your height — that is my depth! To hide myself in your
purity — that is my innocence! And when I wandered alone
what did my soul hunger after by night and on treacherous
paths? And when I climbed mountains, whom did I always
seek, if not you, upon mountains? And all my wandering and
mountain climbing, it was merely a necessity and an expedient
of clumsiness: my whole will desires only to fly, to fly
into you! [Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (translated by
Hollingdale,)

These are words that Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher who championed the will to power, wrote in the secluded mountains of Engadine. To some people these words may amount to nothing more than lyrical effusions.

To others they may contain both the intimate sense of the heroic spiritual attitude, the spirit of which is action, and the discipline of ruthless self-control. The temple of this spirit is the primordial majesty of the peaks, the glaciers, the crevasses, and the boundless blue sky.

In this context the mountainous peaks and the spiritual peaks converge in one simple and yet powerful reality. [ibid, pg.8]

In light of this vision spirit is empowered to “make contact with primordial forces locked within the body’s limbs.” This is analogous to our most recent blog-series that concerned itself with the yogin’s ability to make primordial contact with these divine forces within the plane of one’s inmost-self through transcendental empowerments—or meeting the Yidams (Transcendent Agencies) on their own turf. When faithfully engaged, those Transcendent Exposures encountered in that prior series will always empower one to:

…yearn to keep walking. Everything is far away, healed, forgotten. The blessed night descends upon me. I experience the simplification of my soul and of all things. And finally, the first stars begin to blossom in the sky above me. [ibid, pg.39]

Or, as Evola says in a Buddhist context, “now there is no longer a here or there, no coming or going, no life or death, but only calm and enlightenment as in an infinite ocean.”

Come then, let us endeavor this climb up the Mystical-Mount, where with Julius Evola’s insightful guidelines on the ascetical equipment essential for the ascent, we may “tremble with divine desires of the heights” and thus come to self-realize the further revelations of the Unborn.

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