Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Fritz Lang's DIE NEBELUNGEN part I : Reassessing The Myth


(Part 1 of 3)
   I'm planning a series of posts on Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen for the Omaimon Paradosis blog, more specifically on the mythological aspects of the first "chapters" (Gesangen) of the first film, which covers the Siegfried-Mythos.
First, however, a note on the title card below, shown right at the beginning of the film. Although usually translated as "dedicated to the German people", the German expression means something more along the lines of a perennial gift to the German people, something for it to have and to keep. It echoed, of course, the dedication on the Reichstag from 1916, „Dem Deutschen Volke“, ordered by the Kaiser while the First World War was being fought.

In 1924, when the film's first part entitled Siegfried was released (after 2 years in production), Germany was on its knees, defeated and humiliated, facing a terrible crises under a democratic regime largely perceived as illegitimate. The „Dolchstoß von hinten“ theme featured in the legend, with Siegfried being stabbed in the back by the treacherous Hagen, certainly touched a nerve: it mirrored the widely accepted notion that the Deutsches Heer did not lose the war on the battlefield, but Germany's defeat was the result of a stab in the back, an internal betrayal carried out by civilians on the home front, individuals plotting to overthrow the German Reich and establish a republican regime.

Many parallels can be traced between aspects of the film's plot and contemporary events of the period. Retrieving the Germanic myths at that point in time was not merely "art for the sake of art", detached interest or nostalgia for the Germanic past, or anything of the type; it was a means of producing answers to the riddles and woes of the present through a form of politically-engaged artistic expression. While Lang would leave Germany in 1933, passing on Goebbels' offer to work for the NSDAP producing propaganda films for the new regime, his former wife and screenplay writer for the film, Thea von Harbou, remained loyal to the party and worked with it until its demise.

Irrespective to the individuals involved in the production, it is relevant to note that around the time of the film's release the myth had become a living, meaningful medium once again, for political agitation, art, general intellectual pursuits and pretty much all spheres of life, which after centuries of specialization and fragmentation were coming back together, re-combined in an all-encompassing worldview meant as the ultimate medicine against the groundlessness and nihilism of modernity. This phenomenon can be seem, in a sense, as the culmination of the romantic Renaissance that begun in late-18th century Germany, in the so-called Goethezeit, and slowly reinstated the myth to its original status and function, dissipating the liberal prejudices of the 18th century Enlightenment, which disregarded it as superstitious and uneducated expressions of popular ignorance.

The dedication to the German People on Lang's Siegfried, thus, conveyed an attempt at returning the people to its roots by bestowing them with their own ancestral traditions presented in new form, through a new media. This was, once again, "art" in its true primordial sense, i.e. a mediation between immediate reality and the higher order expressed in the myth, the actions of men and the actions of the gods and heroes of legendry.

 To be continued....

Friday, October 25, 2019

IRON MAIDEN on Yukio Mishima and The Samurai Warrior Spirit

"Japan had nibbled away at me. I had bought a copy of Miyamoto Mushashi's philosophical The Book of Five Rings. Touted as the go-text for business warriors, it was written as a treatise on combat, life and art by of  Japan's most lengendary ronin.
Musashi's life has been serialised and put into an epic novel, and as character he impinges on much of Western Movie culture, from The Magnificent Seven to Clint Eastwood and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

The Japanese ultra-nationalist Yukio Mishima became obsessed by him and caused mayhem when, as one of Japan's most-revered poets, he disembowelled himself and was decapitated by a faithful assisant during a failed coup d`etat.
The Inspiration for our song "Sun and Steel" came from one of Mishima's best-known novels. But the lyrics are not about Mishima; they are about Musashi."

 BRUCE DICKINSON  "What Does This Button Do? An Autobiography"

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Untersberg: Mountain of Ones Below

Article taken from: THE BLACK ORDER

(View of the Untersberg from Berchtesgaden)

“Seitdem hat mich der Berg nicht mehr losgelassen. Ja, ich habe die schönsten Zeiten meines Lebens in seinem Schatten verbracht, all meine großen Pläne sind dort am Berghof entstanden!” – Adolf Hitler

The morning of our hike to the top of the Untersberg started off with, despite it being summer, less than ideal weather. It was wet, cold and the whole area was camouflaged in thick fog and mist. It was perfect. The mountain was reserving it’s secret and we had to sweat first, we would get to experience it’s magnificence later . We had arrived the night before in the small town of Sankt Leonhard in Austria, in darkness, and had yet to get our first glimpse of this mythical mountain. The Untersberg had long been a place of great interest. It has been known, throughout history, by different names, all invoking it’s sense of mystical importance: The Midnight Mountain, The Mountain of Destiny, The Magic Mountain and Wotan’s Mountain. The stories and legends surrounding this place are enough to fill several books. All of this was the source of excellent discussions and inspiration on the assent through the mist to the summit.

The hike up the narrow pathways took almost four hours. The cold had given way to heat and each step seemed heavier than the previous. In the distance we could see other visitors in a cable car, the fastest way up. It felt good that we, with small children, choose the more demanding route. What purpose does it serve to reach the top of a mountain without ever having to stop to catch your breath or stumble on a rock? Do you really experience the mountain when your view is through a piece of glass, or in probably the majority of cases – through the view finder of your “smart”phone? Do you get to stop and take in your surroundings? You cannot fully experience nature from behind a pane of glass. I thought about Evola’s”generation of crisis” and then of those in the glass cage, speeding up the mountain side, the products of “dry intellectualism” and this “bourgeois sentimentalism”. For them the mountain is nothing more than a photo-op. They are attracted to the mountain, but they miss the point and ultimately they do not experience it.

 (The Untersberg)

 We reached the summit somewhere after 13:00 and walked around to find somewhere to eat our lunch. We found a small spot, over looking the remains of a ice cave, which still contained a great deal of snow and ice in the warm August summer. The Untersberg is filled with underground caves and tunnels. There are many local ledgends talking about dwarves and other such subterranean creatures carving out an underground network. The Dali Lama insited on visiting the mountain, calling it: the heart chakra of mother earth and brother of holy Kailash, the crown chakra. The sleeping dragon. The most famous story of the Untersberg is that of The Sleeping Hero, Emperor Karl V resides there (Barbarossa sleeps at Kyffhäuser), sleeping, until his bread has grown three times around the mountain. Another story says that he will awaken, when 24 ravens fly three times around the mountain. The mixing up of Karl V and Barbarossa are not important. It speaks to the power of the Untersberg in the collective folk-consciousness. The idea of The Sleeping Hero is something which we find all over the European Nation. King Arthur and Freebrough Hill, Fionn mac Cumhaill in Ireland, Holger Danske in Denmark, The Knights of Ålleberg in Sweden et cetra. It is an interesting footnote that material used in the construction of the Walhalla Monument in Regensburg is taken from the Untersberg, testament to it’s importance.

After we had finished lunch, we explored the summit a little more. We came across the monument to Fallschirmjäger. A more fitting monument to these warriors I could not imagine. Free from all the usual guilt ridden exceptionalism. A testament to bravery and self sacrifice. While we were looking at the monument I struck up a conversation with a local hiker. He turned out to be something of an interesting source of conversation. He told me of a story of the Knights Templar which I had not previously known about. German Knights, having been instructed by an apparition to build a temple near the Untersberg at Markt Schellenberg, formed a secret society known as Die Herren vom Schwarzen Stein (DHvSS) (Lords of The Black Stone) where legend says they received the secret teachings and knowledge of the Holy Grail. In 1917 Rudolf von Sebottendorf met with members of the DHvSS at the Untersberg in the hope of receiving the esoteric knowledge of The Black-Purple Stone (the Grail). We talked about the strange lure of the Untersberg. There are many mountains in the area but this one is something special. The Untersberg sits in the middle of a massive cross section of magnetic fields so-called ley lines. These are the invisible force that our ancestors knew well, built houses according to their direction and animals use them as compasses. They are connected to every sacred site on earth. Research suggests that the more powerful the magnetic field, the more of an affect it will have on the pineal gland.

(Ice Cave entrance)
 We decided that it was getting late and made the trip down the mountainside to our hotel. I always find the trip down to be worse than the hike up. It takes more effort to keep yourself straight on these rocky pathways. The entire way down we talked about Knights Templars and hidden esoteric knowledge, about the Trolls who live in the the mountain, so much in common with the tales of trolls of Norwegian folklore. We discussed if Tolkien was perhaps influenced by the The Sleeping Hero story of the Untersberg, when Aragorn calls upon the the King of the Mountain and his army. On the way down we once again saw the cable car rushing past us in the distance. It was amusing to hear my youngest daughter snigger that it seemed ridiculous to her that these people, speed up in 5 minutes, take pictures of themselves at a summit marker, eat a hearty lunch at a cafe as if they needed it after such strenuous exercise, then speed back down again, all in the space of an hour. Nothing of value comes easy. Human nature is such that it evolves and ultimately is most content in adversity. It seems cynical and almost pathetic to speak of an experience as “spiritual” in this modern day. That word is throw around like confetti, losing it’s value in most tongues. It is either lost in the mindless ramblings of the arm-chair intellectual or in those social media posts of the cattle we witnessed speeding up the side of the mountain in a hurry, but a truly spiritual experience was had, witnessing and experiencing Nature in a primordial and personal sense.

During a good meal of goulash soup at our hotel it was decided that next winter we will return to witness Die Wilde Jagd at the Untersberg….


Thursday, October 10, 2019

New BURZUM Album is Coming!

Info taken from official Varg Vikernes twitter: 

"The working title for the next Burzum album is "Thulêan Mysteries" & it has - as the planned song list show (see image below) - a Thulêan theme. The intention of the album is to be background music for your MYFAROG game session. 
It might well work for others situations too..."

Track List: