actually a Nordic pagan artifact.
According to Levenda, “Himmler was obsessed by the idea that British Intelligence was being run by the Rosicrucian order, and that occult adepts were in charge of MI5.” Whether or not that was true, the Germans were certainly not the only participants in the war using the power of magick to their advantage. Levenda provides the details of a “Cult Counterstrike” organized by the intelligence agencies of the US and Britain, an effort centering on the “most evil man in the world,” the Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley.
“Hitler was a paranoid and the occult holds special attractions for the paranoid. But Hitler as a cultist? As a black-robed, ritual-performing, invocation-chanting priest of Satan? Probably not. But Hitler as a tool of other cultists? Probably so.”
Crowley had gone to live in New York during WWI after being rejected for military service by the British government, and began writing “pro-German propaganda” for a magazine called The Fatherland, published by George Viereck. Crowley took over as editor. He later claimed that he had really been working for British Intelligence, because, “his articles were so outlandish that the journal was reduced to absurdity, a caricature of serious political discussion, which would help the British cause more than harm it.” There is some evidence to suggest that Crowley was working for MI5 during this time, spying on his fellow O.T.O. initiate Karl Germer, a German intelligence agent, so perhaps his excuse for working for The Fatherland is sound. Whatever the case, he was definitely hired by MI5 during WWII. Crowley had become friends with author Dennis Wheatley, well-known for a number of fiction and non-fiction books based on the occult, who had once worked for Winston Churchill’s Joint Planning Staff. He had been introduced to Crowley by a journalist named Tom Driberg, who would later become a spy for MI5 as well, and who would come into possession of Crowley’s diaries shortly after his death in 1947. Wheatley also introduced Crowley to yet another MI5 agent, Maxwell Knight. Knight was the real historical figure behind the fictional character “M” in all the James Bond novels, written by Knight’s friend in the Department of Naval Intelligence, Ian Fleming.
Crowley met Knight for dinner at Wheatley’s house, and it was there that Crowley agreed to take them both on as magick students. Later, Ian Fleming dreamed up a way to use Crowley’s expertise in a scheme against the Germans. The scheme involved an Anglo-German organization known as “The Link,” a supposed “cultural society” which had once been under the leadership of Sir Barry Domville, Director of Naval Intelligence from 1927 to 1930. The Link had been investigated by Maxwell Knight in the 1930s because of its involvement in German spy operations, and was soon dissolved after much incriminating evidence was found. As Levenda describes it, Fleming, “thought that if the Nazis could be made to believe that The Link was still in existence, they could use it as bait for the Nazi leadership. The point was to convince the Nazis that The Link had sufficient influence to overthrow the Churchill government and thereby to install a more pliable British government, one which would gladly negotiate a separate peace with Hitler.” The suggestion came in the form of fake astrological advice passed on to the gullible Rudolf Hess, who was already under the delusion that only he could talk the British into peace with Germany, and that it was his destiny to do so. One of his staff astrologers, Dr. Ernst Schulte-Strathaus, under British employ, encouraged Hess to make his mission to England on May 10, 1941 a significant date because of a rare conjunction of six planets in the sign of Taurus. The Duke of Hamilton was also enlisted to let Hess know that he would be happy to entertain him should he plan to go through with such an endeavor. So Hess, a trained pilot, embarked on a rather dangerous solo flight to the British Isles, parachuting into Scotland decked out in various occult symbols, where he was immediately arrested by the waiting Brits. According to Levenda, “Fleming tried to obtain permission for Crowley to debrief Hess in order to develop intelligence on the occult scene in the Third Reich and particularly the Nazi leadership.” But this permission was denied, and Hess spent the rest of his days in prison not being much use to anybody. Levenda finds this suspicious, for, “[w]hat could have been a major propaganda coup against the Nazis went utterly wasted, as if by tacit agreement on both sides.”
Maxwell Knight was the real historical figure behind the fictional character “M” in all the James Bond novels, written by Knight’s friend in the Department of Naval Intelligence, Ian Fleming.
After Hess’s arrest, Hitler denounced him as a crazed madman, and began
persecuting astrologers and occultists in his own domains more so than ever before. Crowley continued trying to help the Allied cause, but most of his ideas were rejected. One, however, while initially dismissed, was later implemented. This involved dropping occult pamphlets on the German countryside that predicted a dire outcome for the war and depicted the Nazi leadership as Satanic. A forgery of a popular German astrological magazine called Zenit was created and dropped onto enemy battlefields. It was set for fullscale distribution, but the delivery was intercepted by the Gestapo before it could be completed.
Besides Crowley, there were other occultists involved in the fight against the Third Reich. One of Crowley’s protégés, Jack Parsons, who was the Head of the Agape O.T.O. Lodge in California as well as a charter member of both Cal Tech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, invented the “Greek Fire” rocket propellant which was widely used by the United States Navy between 1944 and 1945. According to Levenda, it was “a solution that could have only come from someone with a working knowledge of the arcane lore of alchemy and magic.”1 There was also a Golden Dawn initiate named Sam Untermyer, an attorney and wealthy philanthropist once called a “Satanist” by a British newspapers. Untermyer started the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights and the World-Anti-Nazi Council, which both promoted the boycott of German products. He also donated money to the hunt for Nazi agents coming into New York. And with the help of a man named Richard Rollins, he started a secret society called “The Board,” which engaged in counterespionage against Nazi groups who were recruiting in the United States.
The World War II that Levenda describes is a magick war, and a holy war—a war in which both sides considered themselves to be fighting the forces of evil. It is a war operated behind the scenes by mystical adepts using their esoteric knowledge of symbolism, astrology, meditation, astral travel, clairvoyance, and mind control against the enemy. It was a war inspired by age-old beliefs in the Elder Gods of Europe’s ancient past. In the pages that follow, Mr. Levenda discusses that war with the editor of Dagobert’s Revenge, Tracy R. Twyman.
TRACY R. TWYMAN: Your book is all about how occultism, esoteric beliefs and secret societies inspired many of the leading figures in the Nazi party. You also detail how several people in the upper echelons of the Golden
Dawn and the O.T.O. were involved in espionage—Karl Germer and Theodor Reuss for German intelligence, and Crowley for the British. And certainly we know that a number of occult societies throughout history, such as the Bavarian Illuminati, various Masonic sects, the Knights of
Conspiracies are a fact of life: they grow like mushrooms around office water coolers. They remain secret from the managers and supervisors; they attempt to cause change, indirectly and discretely. Add God or occult powers into the mix—or politics, espionage, coups d’etat—and you have an irresistible mix for a certain type of person.
Malta, the Templars, etc., have been involved in espionage and political revolution. What do you think draws occultists into the fields of spying and revolutionary activities?
PETER LEVENDA: Secret knowledge; the illusion of secret power; the man or woman who walks among us, ordinary and unremarkable or even of low and unattractive appearance, who is in reality a Magister Templi or a Colonel in the KGB… It’s the same attraction that Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc. have for generations of pre-adolescents. Spies and magicians are a lot like Batman, except that spies really exist and really do exert some hidden influence over mundane events; and magicians thoroughly believe that they do, too, and have the benefit—sometimes—of a cult of like-minded people who prop up their belief system by means of what Robert Anton Wilson called “consensus reality.” On a deeper level, I think that many people—intettigent people—resent having to obey authority. Openly resisting authority is usually cause for arrest and torture, if not execution, in many countries. Secretly resisting authority, however, has its charms. One stays alive, and one resists. One has one’s cake and eats it. In the case of spiritual authority, an intelligent person cannot stomach that a black-robed eunuch with a wine-red nose would have some kind of direct connection with God unobtainable by ordinary folk. The intelligent person wants to talk to God directly, and not have to take direction from a tired old priest or minister or whatever. That person—through the act of contacting higher powers or forces on his or her own—becomes a kind of “anti-priest” and thus a cult is born. Conspiracies are a fact of life: they grow like mushrooms around office water coolers. They remain secret from the managers and supervisors; they attempt to cause change, indirectly and discretely. Add God or occult powers into the
mix—or politics, espionage, coups d’etat—and you have an irresistible mix for a certain type of person. We all feel there is a mystery at the heart of reality. Note the popularity of crime and detection novels, spy novels … and occult novels. The spy and the occultist live at the periphery of this elemental Ur-mystery. It has to do with authority, the king, and reality. The very word “reality” comes from the same root as “royal”: reality was whatever the king said it was. Real estate was the kingdom; outside the kingdom, there was no king and, hence, no reality. To challenge the king, one had to be from beyond the border of the kingdom: one had to be in communion with non-real forces; one had to represent the anti-king. Spies and occultists live among us, but have loyalties elsewhere. There is a certain attraction to that, and a certain danger. But it is also ultimately a lonely existence, and that is where the spy and the occultist sometimes fail: in their attempt to salve their loneliness by opening up to others they reveal their secret natures to their sworn enemy: reality or the King. I am thinking just now—perhaps in a stream of consciousness—about the Philby affair. A group of old queens (already on the outs with general society by their very natures) spying against society for the enemy, since Russia valued their contribution and ignored their homosexuality. What fun! But in the end it was this very relationship they had with each other—Philby, Burgess, Maclean, Blunt1—that doomed them all.
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?