TT: Are politics and magic inseparably linked? Would you say that throughout history politicians and political movements have always used subliminal occult messages and archetypes to manipulate public consciousness for or against the prevailing power structure? Are political struggles basically magic wars, and power structures kept intact by magical means?
PL: In other words—to paraphrase Clausewitz—is magic a continuation of politics by other means? It depends on your definition of magic. Is it, as Crowley would have it, the “science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will”? Then, yes. But… under those guidelines, so is selling used cars. We need a sharper definition of what we mean by magic. It depends on whether or not you subscribe to the conspiracy theory of the day, I guess. If real power is in the hands of a few, secret people behind the scenes who pull strings … then, obviously, politics as we know it does not exist. I mean, the will of the people … the voting booth… the ad campaigns and the
mud-slinging, etc. in the end come to naught because the boys in the back room will decide who gets elected. But if political power is the ability to move and mold masses of people, then you have a chance at proving the thesis that political wars are magic wars. The key to this thesis would be, in my point of view, propaganda. Propaganda is the use and manipulation of symbols. Whoever does it best is the better magician, and will probably win the “wear.” But the symbols of the political arena—especially in the United States—are not as sublime as we find in the occult symbol system. The political symbols are taken from the environment, from the times; the zeitgeist, if you will. No one actually goes around waving the tattvic symbols or the Tarot deck around during a political campaign; the manipulation goes in different channels. I think political wars are analogous to magic wars, but I don’t think they are necessarily one and the same. A magician does not need a crowd to effect his or her will. A magician operates—like our spies— secretly, and manipulates forces of nature (or super-nature) rather than directly massage the psyches of people. We are also in danger of considering all subliminal messages as occult messages; there may be some justification in this, in that any subliminal message probably has its occult analogue, but when you compare a run-off election in lowa with what Hitler was doing at Nuremberg, you are comparing apples and oranges, I think. Hitler was upfront about what he was doing; the symbolism was deliberately occult, pagan, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic. In fact, he was openly using ritual. Most of our popular politicians today would be unable and unwilling to do this, since virtually any public use of ritual for political ends would be considered crypto-fascist, I think. I am not trying to beg the question; I just think it is more complex than comparing politics to magic on that level. Arthur had Merlin for that; it was a separate department in his government, if you see what I mean. I believe that CIA—specifically the boys at MK-ULTRA— came close to becoming our very own, homegrown version of Merlin but I don’t think Harry Truman was a black magician himself.
TT: In Unholy Alliance you suggest that the Freikorp’s assassination of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau (in June 1922) on the eve of the summer solstice was a human sacrifice to the sun god Wotan. (Note: It was believed that Rathenau was one of the actual Elders of Zion.) Do you think that in a larger sense the elimination of six million Jews could be considered one giant pagan sacrifice?
PL: We can consider the Holocaust a kind of pagan sacrifice, but more importantly I think it was something far more sinister than that. You don’t sacrifice what you despise; you sacrifice something of value. Rathenau— although Jewish—was considered an exemplary human being even by his executioners, and thus a fitting sacrifice. After all, he was an important element of Germany’s war machine during the First War and had a lot to offer post-war Germany. His was a true sacrifice. But the Holocaust? The slaughter of the Jews—and Gypsies, and homosexuals, Communists, etc—was designed to purify the planet of diseased blood and diseased spirit in the eyes of the Nazis. That is why it was kept going until the very end, regardless of the cost and regardless of the fact that the resources being used to keep the camps running could have been better utilized defending Berlin. It was not so much a sacrifice as a purification of the soil. The Nazis believed that the Jews and their fellows travelers were actual representatives of an evil force on earth and had to be destroyed, at any cost. If their race disappeared, the Nazis felt that they had done the planet, and its surviving human members, a favor, and would be remembered forever for their contribution.
TT: Why do you think Hitler and the Nazis spent so much effort persecuting pagans and occult orders? Were they placating the Catholic Church or were they just eliminating competition? Were they afraid of the magical powers of these other occult orders? PL: They were eliminating competition. Also, remember that the occult groups were a potential “fifth column” inside Germany. They had their own means of communication and contacts all over Europe. They had roots going back many years in many countries. They were indeed a threat. I believe that the US felt the same way, which would help explain the Jack Parsons situation.
We can consider the Holocaust a kind of pagan sacrifice, but more importantly I think it was something far more sinister than that. You don’t sacrifice what you despise; you sacrifice something of value.
TT: Why do you think the swastika specifically was chosen as the Nazi insignia? I know that their ideology was heavily influenced by Theosophy, and the swastika was one of Blavatsky’s favorite symbols. The Hindus of course, refer to it as the whirling disc with which Brahma spun the universe into existence. But what exactly was its significance to the Nazis? It seems to give one the impression of aggression and power.
PL: I pretty much cover this in my book. It was a popular symbol in Germany before the Nazis appropriated it. In fact, it was used by troops during World War One as a kind of talisman. The Germans clearly felt it had racial connections, and was more representative of their people than the Christian cross. Remember, too, that the Nazis idolized Tibet and the cults of Northern India. The so-called “Aryan” race would have had its origins there, and India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet are replete with swastika motifs. I live in Asia, and the swastika is everywhere out here: on Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu temples alike. It represents—specifically—“auspiciousness” but is taken to symbolize a kind of polar energy in the universe, a spinning sun disk (yes) but also a deeper, more mysterious analogue since the sun does not spin in two directions but the swastika does.
PL: In your book you write about how Guido von List borrowed the Golden Dawn’s system of degrees, based on the Tree of Life, for use in his own völkish, anti-Semitic pagan order, the Armanenschaft, and that he might have gotten the information from a Golden Dawn initiate named D.R. Felkein, or from Rudolf Steiner. You write, “That List would have based his hierarchy on the patently Jewish Tree of Life and borrowed the concept from the Golden Dawn—by way of the O.T.O.—would seem merely ironic to a lay person but positively frightening to an occultist, for what it implies about the relationship between the anti-Semitic List organizations and the ostensibly apolitical Golden Dawn and O.T.O. lodges.” So what is that implication, exactly?
PL: The implication is that the Blavatskian notion of a racial hierarchy—root races, and all that—would have found a sinister manifestation in a proto-Nazi occult movement, and that the Golden Dawn and O.T.O. themselves might have been fellow travelers; that a spiritual hierarchy might imply a racial one; that a magical war might develop into genocide.
TT: From my understanding the Nazi idea of the Overman entailed much more that just increased physical strength and intellectual prowess. It involved a creature whose ajna faculties—psychic powers associated with the Third Eye—had been fully developed. It entailed a creature more in touch with his higher self, a creature more advanced spiritually as well. What else do you think this entailed? What do you think men like Sebottendorff, Liebenfels, List and Eckart imagined when they talked about the Overman? Did they imagine the Aryan race evolving into something with an entirely
different physical appearance?
PL: Yes, the Overman was not merely a “superman” as it is often erroneously translated. It was the next level of human evolution. As Hitler himself says, anyone who thinks that National Socialism is merely a political party had better think again: the goal is to create the New Man. I believe he meant that literally. Else: Why the Holocaust? Why the Lebensborn organization? Why the documented racial purity of prospective S.S. members? Germany was a laboratory where Hitler would create his homunculus. To the Nazis, this meant a human being that was above compassion; above sentiment; passionate in his ideals and self-image, but conscience-less by comparison to the rest of us. A sociopath, probably. Intelligent, strong, perfectly proportioned. And a remorseless killer.
TT: You’ve mentioned that many of these Nazi occultists believed in the Theosophical concept of Ascended Masters and Secret Chiefs. I know that Blavatsky believed them to reside in the Himalayas, while the Thulists deposited them underground, in a subterranean vault accessible by a tunnel which opens up in the North Pole. But is it possible that some of these people believed that the Ascended Masters were extraterrestrials or trans- dimensional beings? We know that the Nazis were suspected of conducting experiments with flying saucers, time travel and multiple dimensions, so it made me wonder.
The Nazis perceived themselves as “ice men” and their Eden was a frozen wasteland
PL: I think that recent neo-Nazi authors are toying with this idea, most notably Miguel Serrano in Chile. Crowley and his followers certainly hold these views [about transdimensional beings] (see the works by Kenneth Grant, for instance). The Nazis themselves? Well, going through their Canon is a bit tedious but I am sure the resourceful researcher could uncover the odd reference to an extraterrestrial abode for their Secret Chiefs. At that time, space opera was not nearly the advanced art form it is today and flying saucers were not yet the vogue although the foo fighters had already made an appearance, as did the mysterious flying ships of the turn of the century. I think the Nazis still understood the Masters to be a kind of god-force, like Odin or Thor; Horbiger was coming close to an extraterrestrial theory as he developed his World Ice concept, but it had little to do with the Secret Chiefs.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I have not found documentation to show that the Nazis had a developed theory about the nature of the Chiefs, and that I have found very little support for an extraterrestrial theory of any kind among the Nazis so far. I am aware of the idea that they were working on a saucer or some kind of space ship, but that does not imply that they held significant alien life theories beyond those of a purely speculative nature.
TT: Please explain the “World Ice Theory,” if you would. This makes no sense to me.
PL: Makes no sense to me, either. The idea is that the basic building blocks of the universe are ice crystals, and that temperature and humidity are the determining factors for the various stages of life, evolution, etc. The Nazis perceived themselves as “ice men” and their Eden was a frozen wasteland; they looked down on the tropical Edens of Biblical lore as being the abodes of subhumans, much as tropical countries are the domain of non-Aryans. The Theory is convoluted and self-referential, and gave rise to scientists running all over the world taking its temperature, so to speak.
TT: In Unholy Alliance you recount stories of Himmler having his inner circle of 12 S.S. officers try to telepathically influence a German Army Commander in Chief who was being interrogated in the next room to tell the truth. You also recount stories of psychics being hired by Himmler to pinpoint the locations of British battleships and to find Mussolini when he had been imprisoned on an island off of Naples after a coup—feats which they performed with amazing accuracy. Then you tell stories of Nazi mind control experiments involving psychedelic drugs, and torture techniques. You quote Rudolf Hess’s statement at the Nuremberg Trials about how he himself was a made a victim of such mind control techniques, and how he believed that the prosecution witnesses at the trial had been hypnotized because of their “glassy and dreamy eyes.” Do you think the CIA and others have copied certain mind control techniques from the Nazis?
PL: I don’t think that Hess was implying the Nazis had mind control, but that the Allies had it. The man who interviewed Hess for Dulles was Dr. Ewe Cameron, who went on to run the official CIA mind control operation in Montreal. The Nazis were experimenting with hallucinogens and narcotics during the war; their documentation on this was seized by American intelligence and has never seen the light of day. That much is known. The
idea that CIA was running a vast mind control experiment in the 1940s— 1970s which involved all sorts of people and organizations forms the central thesis of my next book (which has not been finished yet), so I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Suffice it to say that when the Nazis were being imported by the hundreds to the US and other American countries after the War, it wasn’t only an “outer” space program that was being contemplated.
TT: You wrote that Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels created the Order of New Templars as “a secret society bent on reviving the chivalric brotherhood of knights, but in an aggressively Teutonic—and anti-Semitic—format.” Since the original Templar order had so much to do with Judaism—Jerusalem, holy relics like the Ark of the Covenant, Jewish mysticism and of course that Jewish priest king known as Jesus Christ—how did he reconcile the concept of the Templars with his own anti-Semitic beliefs?
PL: We enlightened types realize that Christianity has its roots in Judaism. I mean, the Old Testament should be proof enough of that, right? But just try telling the wrong people that Christ was a Jew and see what happens. If occult scholarship on the Templars is correct, however, these knights were less Christian than would appear at first blush. The Templars—albeit an order of Catholic knighthood—went on an expedition to the Temple of Solomon, found something there that probably challenged their belief structure and caused them to deny the crucifixion and—in doing so—possibly the entire Judeo-Christian edifice they had sworn to uphold and defend. Remember that the Nazis were fond of the Cathars whom they considered—via Otto Rahn, at any rate—to be the “true” Christians rather than the persecuting Catholics. Remember that generations of scholars have posited some sort of Cathar/Templar connection. Remember that the Templars became enemies of the Church and were ruthlessly exterminated (as were the Cathars). When someone like Lanz von Liebenfels decides to resurrect the Templars, it is not as the pious Catholic monk/knights but as heroic enemies of Catholicism and, by extension, Judaism as well. The Grail was no longer a Christian symbol to Lanz, but something more ancient, more “pagan.” The bloodline of Jesus? Not to Lanz, unless that bloodline was purely Teutonic. One can no longer speak of Templarism without the implicit challenge to papal authority. To the Church in the 14th century, Templarism was synonymous with Satanism and idol-worship and all sorts of heresy. There has been no attempt by the modern Church to rehabilitate the reputation of the Templars. Von Liebenfels