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PostSubject: Boyd Rice Mon May 20, 2013 9:10 am

A tribute to the man, his art, his influence, his outlook.

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God & Beast: The Divine Balance of Abraxas
(Excerpt from Physiosophy, previously unpublished, 1996)

One of the most fundamental principles in the world of nature, and in man’s daily life, is the law of balance. This is a law that people everywhere instinctively apply to numerous aspects of their lives on a daily basis, even though they might not consciously acknowledge the existence of such a precept. In fact, anyone who’s ever taken a bath has instinctively employed this principle, usually without even stopping to realize that they are doing so.

When preparing bathwater, one turns on the “hot” spigot, waiting until the water issuing from it has grown warm, then hot. Following this, one turns on the “cold” spigot and adjusts its flow in relation to that of its counterpart, thereby mitigating the temperature of the water issuing from the faucet where the two meet. Once one finds the proper degree of balance between these too extremes of temperature, one can fill up the tub and take a bath. It’s simple, deceptively so. So much so that—as with many of life’s humdrum daily activities—most people scarcely even stop to consider what they’re actually doing when performing such a task. But this simple, routine act is, in fact, a succinct metaphor for all of life. Consider: the correct temperature of bathwater is neither hot nor cold, but warm. As there is no spigot marked “warm,” to get the water to the proper median temperature one must employ both the hot and cold spigots; which on their own would represent extremes of discomfort, even pain. That which is ultimately desired exists at neither stark extreme, but in their balance—their coactive union—and that union cannot be achieved by omitting either of the two poles from which it is derived.

Although the logic of the forgoing example may seem excruciatingly obvious to point out, the underlying concept of the importance of balance is curiously absent from the lives of most people today. Many people in the modern West tent to think of the world in terms of absolutes: black and white, good and evil, God and the Devil, right and wrong. For example, they believe that there are “good people” and “bad people,” among a myriad of other polarized, absolutist oversimplifications of the world around them. But, as illustrated by the simple example of preparing bathwater, the world does not bear out such a view; and such a view is far from utilitarian. Granted, the principle of balance may indeed apply in any number of ways throughout the daily lives of many people—in small, overlooked day-to-day instances—but as a guiding principle for how to run one’s life, it has all but vanished in the modern world. In fact, the concept of all-pervasive balance hasn’t existed as a codified governing ethic for centuries. Very long ago, however, it did…

In the oldest known futhark (the pre-Christian alphabet of Germanic runes), there existed a runic symbol emblematic of the law of balance. It was the 13th rune in the sequence of 24 runes in the futhark, and it was called eiwaz. Eiwaz represented balance as an all-encompassing, universal principle; balance as a philosophical alpha and omega. It represented balance as going beyond merely being the point at which opposing forces were mediated—it represented the union of those forces and the recognition that they were not mutually exclusive, but in fact were difference aspects of the same force, a single force.

Eiwaz was said to be linked to the yew tree, a tree which, for ancient Northern Europeans, was synonymous with eternal life, because it was evergreen and unaffected by the changes of season. The yew was also synonymous to the ancients with death, because it very often grew in and around cemeteries. So the eiwaz rune—as a denotation of the yew—represented eternal life and it represented death, at one and the same time. Rather than being paradoxical in its meaning, eiwaz symbolized the interconnectedness of life and death; the union of life and death. The eiwaz rune was also associated with the Nordic tree of life, a mythic tree which to the ancient Norse symbolically pierced and interconnected all realms of being. Its roots stretched to Hel—the underworld—and its branches reached upward toward the sun. So the rune further denoted a balance point between the realms of darkness and the realms of light. The concepts of good and evil had not yet really appeared as such on the world stage at that time, so dark and light were not necessarily equated with values denoting “badness” or “goodness,” and were in fact viewed merely as different aspects of the life process. The ancients understood that destructive force was as much part and parcel of the will of life as was creative force, and that both served the will of life (and consequently man). So the eiwaz run was further emblematic of the balance and union of creative force and destructive force. It was (and is) a rune of integration, a rune of oneness.

It is astounding to contemplate that people so long ago possessed such wisdom as a guiding principle to their worldviews, and consequently their daily lives. It is even more astounding that those who once possessed such wisdom should have lost sight of it so abruptly. In the first futhark, eiwaz was the central rune around which the other runes were balanced. In the second and third futhark alphabets, it was gone. It simply disappeared from the vocabulary. This is highly ironic, because so many theologies in the ages since the disappearance of eiwaz have posited as their basic, fundamental truth the premise that “all is one,” and (with rare exceptions) virtually none of them have philosophies that really reflect any understanding whatsoever of such a belief. On the one hand these faiths preach an all-encompassing unity and oneness, yet simultaneously admonish their practitioners to go toward the light and shun the darkness; or to get closer to God by overcoming one’s base, animal instincts; or to become purer in spirit by abandoning the natural world, and so on. But such doctrines beg the glaring question: if all is truly one, then what exactly is the definition of “all” within the context of said doctrines? If “all” is truly all, how can anything exist outside of that totality, that all? How can anything be separate or distinct from all? If “all” means “all that there is,” then by necessity this would be inclusive of darkness, animal instincts, the flesh, the material world, lust, evil, and the rest of the myriad things which organized religions of both the West and East exist in fervent opposition to.

The paradox inherent in such questions (which are attendant to all such faiths) seems to stem from a widespread case of man attempting to explain the intangible with pernicious ideas which only serve to distance and alienate him from the very understanding he once intrinsically—instinctually—had of the world around him. Man seems to retain a vestigial memory somewhere in the dusty recesses of his mind—an inborn understanding that life is comprised of some fundamental oneness—yet he seeks to somehow recover that long-lost oneness within a dualistic framework that portrays the world and everything in it as either black or white, good or evil, godly or ungodly. It is a schema for understanding life and the world which makes about as much sense as telling people that cold was is “good” and hot water is “bad,” and that—although they might like a nice warm mix of both—they are to stay away from one and wholeheartedly embrace the other. One cannot help but wonder how such an unnatural and counterintuitive understanding of the world not only came to pass, but came to be dominant.

Believe it or not, man existed for millennia without the concepts of good or evil, God or the Devil. His old pre-monotheistic pantheons of gods represented the varying aspects of nature or natural law, and were understood as such. Even the harshest of these gods were not conceived of by ancient man as being “bad” per se, much less evil. They were simply a necessary part of the intertwined duality of the world, just as much as the death of one organism was necessary for the life of another. There are numerous well-known examples of such complex pantheons predating the advent of monotheism, the most famous to the minds of modern Westerners being those of the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Norse and so forth. But these do not represent the totality of ancient man’s understanding of the world and how he fit into it. In fact, ancient man even had a few gods that (like the eiwaz concept) existed beyond, or above good or evil.

Zoroastrianism is a religion which was born in Persia (now modern day Iran) in the 6th Century B.C.E., and is still practiced in some parts of the world today. It’s a fairly run-of-the-mill dualistic belief system, the mythological genesis of which posits that, in the beginning, two brothers were born; one good and one evil. The good brother Ahura Mazda is a beneficent god of Eternal Light. His swarthy brother Ahriman is, naturally, a god of darkness and misfortune; to be avoided at all costs. The faith in and of itself is neither particularly complex nor revolutionary in its assertions; but what’s interesting is that a heretical sect of Zoroastrianism, known as Zurvanism, came to dismiss the religion’s two brothers as inconsequential and took up their mythical father as an object of worship. The father deity, Zurvan, was said to have encompassed the characteristics of both sons, at one and the same time. The Zurvanites never gained a wide following, heretical as they were, but nonetheless their religion is noteworthy in that it illustrates that as recently as the 6th Century people were still pursuing a creed which promoted the confluence of good and evil.

Far more well known today is the cult of Abraxas, a Gnostic deity popular in 2nd Century Alexandria. Abraxas was represented as having the head of a rooster, which symbolized the dawn (as roosters do, as well as enlightenment in general. The deity’s legs were depicted as serpents, which denoted darkness and the underworld. Abraxas’ head and legs were attached to the torso of a man, symbolizing the concept that light and darkness coexisted within the soul of man. Abraxas is undoubtedly the most profound historical reemergence of the more ancient eiwaz archetype. In fact, one of Jung’s first published works, The Seven Sermons of the Dead, was all but entirely concerned with the subject of Abraxas. In the absence of the original ancient source material (destroyed in the fires at The Library of Alexandria, The Seven Sermons of the Dead is an excellent introduction to the concept of Abraxas. In it, Jung describes Abraxas thusly:

“Abraxas is the sun and at the same time, the eternally sucking gorge of the void…What the Sun-god speaketh is life, what the Devil speaketh is death, but Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is life and death at the same time. Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness; in the same word and in the same act… It is the abundance which seeketh union with emptiness. It is love and love’s murder. It is the saint and his betrayer. It is the brightest light of day and the darkest night of madness… It is the delight of the Earth, the cruelty of the Heavens. Before it, there is no question and no reply.”

In short, Abraxas is the god of balance and integration, par excellence. A deity that encompasses polar dualities, yet exists apart from them. Abraxas entails the qualities and forces commonly understood as good and evil, yet exists beyond and above their scope, rendering the popular definitions of the words as altogether inaccurate. However, “beyond” is perhaps insufficient in describing Abraxas’ relationship to good and evil—more accurately, Abraxas could be explained as existing at a more fundamental level than good and evil. The common Nietzschean interpretation of “beyond good and evil” is a kind of indolent amorality, whereby certain “higher types” of individuals are considered to be exempt from conventional moral codes. The Abraxian conception of the notion constitutes a thoroughgoing reinterpretation of such terms at the most elemental level.

The Abraxian understanding of the terms “good” and “evil” reflects the essentially physiologic perspective that the rules and codes concocted by man to regulate the thought and behavior of human communities are superceded by a set of laws far more substantive in nature. The primordial creative-destructive force which shapes and regulates all life on earth cannot be grasped in its totality in the context of simple black-and-white concepts like good and evil. Only the laws of nature provide a suitable context in which to come to terms with this force; and coming to terms with natural law necessitates abandoning entirely such commonplace ideas as good and evil, since the natural world operates beyond the confines of man’s conventional morality.

Roughly a century ago, the theory of Social Darwinism proposed that a true understanding of natural law would render conventional morality obsolete, and that a new form of evolutionary ethics would emerge to take its place. Pragmatically speaking, on a grand scale this seems highly unlikely, as very few are ready, willing or indeed able to come to terms with natural law. But what is unlikely on a broad level, is inevitable on a personal level for those fated to order their lives according to this primordial force. The all-pervasive, creative-destructive force of natural law can only be understood in terms of Abraxas because, in essence, it is Abraxas. It is the ancient concept latent in the eiwaz rune, embodied in an all-encompassing deity. It is nature, God and the Devil, all rolled into one. Abraxas is the oneness that encompasses everything, and in so doing resolves those conflicts which have long plagued man and which have spiraled out of control for so long as to have all but reached a point of critical mass.

There exists a longstanding rift in the soul and psyche of man which has grown ever increasingly wider, until finally all those facets of his personality that were once in alignment with one another and complemented each other (such as his instinct and intellect) are now in diametric opposition. This is the perennial dilemma of modern man.

Man obeys his natural, primal instincts, and in so doing commits sin. Man follows his intellect, employing logic and reason to further his aims, and yet in doing so denies and betrays his most primal, basic desires. Man follows his anger and wages war; the purpose and cause of which he is often at pains to understand, though both originate in he himself. Man follows his conscience, and in so doing betrays his innate and primal self, degenerating and devolving in the process. It’s as though an unseen pendulum swings back and forth within the soul of man, triggering first one manner of behavior, then another, never allowing him any sort of resolution. Thus, for centuries, man has stood divided against himself; at war internally.

This war—this unresolved stasis—has erected a barrier between man and himself. A barrier between man and his world. And this inner schism has been magnified and exacerbated by the civilizing effects of the modern world; most especially so by its disjointed religious creeds which simultaneously posit that “all is one,” yet assert that man should strive to deny himself a full half of that totality. This division—this barrier in man—has resulted in his thoroughly stunted and self-destructive nature, a nature which manifests itself in behavior that could politely be called “schizophrenic.” A behavior which has increasingly become the defining character of the modern world—and has proven a constant stumbling block to human evolution. The conflict between the opposing forces of man’s personality—and the erratic behavior that has arisen as a natural byproduct of it—have defined the entire history of mankind, but more especially that of the modern world. The casualties of this war are man’s shattered soul and a world created in its image.

The only way to eradicate this barrier is to bridge the gap in man’s divided nature; to bring the warring components of his being back into alignment with one another. To accomplish this, one must understand the conflict between the instinct and the intellect, by first recognizing them as manifestations of two equally strong elements of man’s innate character. Man’s instincts link him still to the beast from which he evolved. They link him to the barbarism of his ancient (and not so ancient) forebears; a barbarism that although not always visible in his actions, lives in him yet. Man’s intellect gives him the power to order and regulate his world, but it also imbues him with the conceit that he is more than a mere animal somehow; that he exists apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, and above the natural world. This is the aspect of man that allows him to delude himself into accepting the ridiculous notions that he alone is the measure of all things; that he is the center of the universe. It is the aspect of man that makes him want to play God. And in a Promethean sense man is God, since it is he and he alone who has created everything in the world (even the deities he’s seen fit to worship), save for nature and the world itself. On an even more primary level, however, man is—and always has been—a beast.

Man is a god. Man is a beast. The god in man creates civilizations and desires peace. The beast in man destroys civilizations and desires war. This fundamental contradiction has plagued mankind for millennia. These two aspects of his personality have waged war with one another throughout recorded history. A war whose casualties are seen everywhere and recognized nowhere. But there exists, however, a long forgotten place in the soul where god and beast intersect. To go to that place is to witness the death of one world and the birth of another. A once and future king awaits those who venture there, and the journey makes ready his resurrection. It begins when one decides it begins, and ends when the god and beast that reside within one’s own soul can once again rule, side by side, on twin thrones.

--Boyd Rice
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PostSubject: Re: Boyd Rice Mon May 20, 2013 10:18 am

Excellent post.
Cold Weasel wrote:

When preparing bathwater, one turns on the “hot” spigot, waiting until the water issuing from it has grown warm, then hot. Following this, one turns on the “cold” spigot and adjusts its flow in relation to that of its counterpart, thereby mitigating the temperature of the water issuing from the faucet where the two meet. Once one finds the proper degree of balance between these too extremes of temperature, one can fill up the tub and take a bath. It’s simple, deceptively so. So much so that—as with many of life’s humdrum daily activities—most people scarcely even stop to consider what they’re actually doing when performing such a task. But this simple, routine act is, in fact, a succinct metaphor for all of life. Consider: the correct temperature of bathwater is neither hot nor cold, but warm. As there is no spigot marked “warm,” to get the water to the proper median temperature one must employ both the hot and cold spigots; which on their own would represent extremes of discomfort, even pain. That which is ultimately desired exists at neither stark extreme, but in their balance—their coactive union—and that union cannot be achieved by omitting either of the two poles from which it is derived.
Using your example the reason why a man first makes sure the hot water is flowing is that the positive element, of heat, energy, is declining and uncertain.

This speaks to the very human condition; existence as a negative decline towards entropy.
The man must first reassure himself that there is still heat, energy, activity, because coldness, is a certainty and requires no effort.

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PostSubject: Re: Boyd Rice Tue May 21, 2013 10:12 am

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Quote :
Get used to saying no
Turn your back on the deceiver
Whose whispers in your ear complicate your life
Willpower, energy, example
What has to be done is done
Without wavering
Without worrying about what others think

Let obstacles only make you bigger
Get rid of those useless thoughts
Which are at best a waste of time
Don't waste your energy and your time
Throwing stones at the dogs that bark at you on the way
Ignore them
Don't put off your work until tomorrow
Don't succumb to that disease of character
Whose symptoms are a general lack of seriousness
Unsteadiness in action and speech
Foolishness
In a word: frivolity

If you clash with the character of one person or another
It has to be that way
You're not a dollar bill to be liked by everyone
If your character and that of those around you
Were soft and sweet like marshmallows
You would never become the person destiny's ordained
Don't stop to think about excuses
Get rid of them, and do what you should

You say you can't do more?
Couldn't it be, that you can't do less?
You never want to get to the bottom of things
At times because of politeness
Other times -- most times -- because you fear hurting yourself
Sometimes, again, because you fear hurting others
But always because of fear
With that fear of digging for the truth
You'll never be a man of good judgment
Don't be afraid of the truth
Even though the truth may mean your death
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