ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
(Valkyrie’s Consecration) (1895), in which Wotan, the father of the Germanic gods, calls on Germans to rise up after a thousand years of twilight.
In 1902, von List went blind for a time, during which period he had inner visions he believed were revelations of the secrets of the Eddas and the old Germanic runes and symbols. When he recovered his sight, he wrote profusely, but could find no publisher. He finally published the material himself in 1907.
Von List divided humanity into Aryan “masters,” who are the Chosen Ones or the Initiates, and the “Herd People,” who are the great mass, worthy to be nothing better than slaves. According to him, the Aryans came from a continent near the North Pole from which they were driven by the Ice Age. They moved south thereafter, and as they did so, spread culture to humanity. Those who moved into southern lands diluted their racial purity by intermarrying with the inferior slave races. The pure Aryans therefore only lived in the north. The latter were destined to rule the world; in the meantime mixed marriages should be prohibited and the “mixed people” relegated to the position of servants. According to von List, the worst foes of the master race were the “internationals,” the Catholic Church, the Jews, and the Freemasons. They, he said, were waging war for the extermination of the Aryan race. He predicted a global war in the future, in which the Aryans would regain their lost mastery.
To prepare for the coming racial war, von List founded secret societies such as the “Armanschaft” which he established in 1907. This was a mystical association, the members of which were selected by von List himself. The Armans, he said were the pagan “noble race of the people: the ‘truly noble ones’” because of years of careful breeding. Von List himself and his disciples were of a larger Germanic movement called the Völkisch, which emerged from Romanticism and emphasized the mystical relationship of people to their soil.
Von List adopted the swastika as a sign of the “invincible.” The symbol is actually a Buddhist religious symbol, found also on prehistoric pottery such as Samarra ware dated from around the fifth millennium B.C. It was generally unknown in the West during the late nineteenth century. Lanz von Liebenfels founded the New Temple in 1907, and hoisted a swastika flag for the first time on the tower of his order’s castle, Werfenstein in Wachau, “as a sign of battle and victory of the Aryan ethnic spirit.” Its colors were blue and silver.
Adolf Hitler, who spent most of boyhood years in Linz, an Austrian city on the Danube, was a keen enthusiast for Nordic myths and German history as a schoolboy. His friend of those years, August Kubizek, recalls having seen him with a book from the public library which contained illustrations of what were purported to be ancient German tribal symbols. One was the swastika. The book was probably von List’s Geheimnis der Runen (1908). About that time, Hitler moved to Vienna. Some time during these years he may have met von List. He is certain to have read his publications In addition to the swastika, von List contributed the runic signs which were adopted as insignia by the SS.
Other aspects of Nazi occultism and mysticism include the Feuerstunde (Fire Hours), which were usually held at castles. These were dramatic nocturnal