While it is true that by 1942, 25% of Hitler Youth schoolboys professed to not believe in God, that doesn’t mean they held no theological or (impure) spiritual beliefs. In fact, a powerful pull of Nazism was the idea that the Aryans were a race of gods, so to speak.
The German occultists, who grew in number and popularity starting even before World War I, believed that their ancient Nordic runes symbolized the Divine and showed the “original relationship” between “the god-sons and the world spirit, and they could lead a true seeker back to his cosmic homeland and offer a mystical union with God.”
(I cringe as I copy down this quote, but this is what was really going on back then.)
One of the most popular forms of occultism then was Ariosophy, a racist form of occultism that started up even before Word War I.
Furthermore, Ariosophists identified “sacred” areas around Germany and Austria, including forests and castles, which inspired occult-influenced officials in the Nazi SS to congregate in those areas to imbue themselves with extra power. One such area was seen as having a naturally occurring “eye of God in triangle” in its topography.
At another such place, SS officers got married in pagan wedding ceremonies.
The infamous Nazi Death’s Head symbol was designed by an occultist using occult symbols.
A huge part of the reason why Nazism rejected Christianity has nothing to do with the reason why Judaism rejects Christianity. Ariosophists saw Christianity as superimposing itself on the original Nordic pagan beliefs (which it certainly was, if you look at European Christianity with an objective eye.) Some Ariosophists borrowed pagan elements from Christianity to bolster their system. Himmler, for example, yearned to establish an SS Vatican and many Nazi occultists resented the authority of the Catholic Church, which they saw as a usurper over their “pure” and original belief system.
Just like the New Age movement does today.
It sees Judaism and Christianity as “paternalistic religions” that usurped the original and supposedly “purer” harmonious-with-Nature wise-woman pagan belief systems, systems that New Agers romanticize with blather about “Gaia” and goddesses, while ignoring the extreme cruelty and misogyny inherent in those very systems.
(Yes, you can be a misogynist even while worshiping a goddess. Just ask the adoring male fans of Marilyn Monroe.)
While many people do realize now that Nazism based itself on occult elements, many people do not realize that they borrowed a tremendous amount from Eastern religion, specifically yoga practices.
(I know it sounds weird, right? I mean, most Indians are a lot darker than Ariosophisy allows. On the other hand, one of the rules of conduct according to Wikipedia for the highest Hindu caste is "conduct himself as an Aryan." See how kochot hatumah mess with one’s head?)
Certainly, most yoga practitioners today do NOT support and even despise Nazi ideology.
They would be horrified to hear what early Nazi enthusiasts did with yoga.
Yet there was Hindu-based Nazi support in India (headed by that crazy British-Greek cat-loving hag) and Ariosophists certainly found themselves in Eastern paganism.
In other words, there was a mutual attraction.
So what did the Nazis see in Eastern mysticism that compelled them to borrow from it?
First of all, let’s deal with the beloved argument of how the Eastern Hindu/Buddhist swastika is different than the Nazi swastika because it’s spinning in a different direction and that the Nazi swastika is a broken cross—and nothing to do with the oh-so peaceful and innocent Hindu/Buddhist swastika!
This is how the swastika got to be the Nazi symbol:
In May 1919, an Ariosophist named Krohn wrote the following memorandum:
Is the swastika suitable as the symbol of the National Socialist [Nazi] Party?
(He meant the Hindu/Buddhist swastika, as we'll see in a moment.)
Then he proposed the left-facing swastika (aka the "good" swastika) “on account of its Buddhistical interpretation as a talisman of fortune and health.”
(The right-facing swastika indeed denotes death and decline in Buddhist thought.)
But Hitler wanted the right-facing swastika and Krohn acquiesced.
This Buddhism-loving Krohn also designed the color scheme of the Nazi symbol, with the black swastika on a white circle on a red background.
So the initial proposal of a Nazi swastika is based on its Hindu/Buddhist symbolism and it was chosen according to Buddhist interpretation.
The Nazis didn't invent their swastika; the Eastern religions already had it!
BOTH swastikas appear in Eastern symbolism. As far as the Nazis were concerned, it was simply a matter of which one.
And in fact, on a 1908 chart of Ariosophic runes and symbols, both swastikas appear.
So next time someone tries to defend the left-facing swastika as being the Hindu one (and therefore, acceptable), you'll know that NO; they're BOTH Hindu. Or Buddhist. Or whatever.
Peace 'n' love, man.
As early as the 1890s, the original occult theology which influenced Nazism envisioned “a superhuman individual” who would “end all human factions and confusion with the establishment of an eternal order.”
Applying the idea of karma, this philosophy described how all the Austrians and Germans who died in battle would be reincarnated as people with “innate millernian fervor” to form an elite corps of revolution.
And while the occult ideology that influenced Nazism certainly had its roots in Norse mythology and nature-worship (as seen in their secret rituals involving a grove, spears, horned helmets, accompanied by a small choir of “forest elves”), I was surprised at how often Eastern philosophies and symbols appeared:
- Disillusioned by post-WWI Germany, a young racist ended up leaving Germany for Australia, where he later developed the idea of building an Aryan homeland in Queensland (although he also felt California was a good option, too). Then he started wandering around the world. In Peru, he met the Devaswara Lama, from whom he received “esoteric instruction.” After that, he met a yogi who apparently conjured up some visions which showed scenes from the young German’s former incarnations. Returning to Germany, he worked as a yoga teacher and a draftsman and even wrote a book called Hatha, Rāja, Karma, Bhakti and Jñâna Yoga. (I'm not making this up.) He later published his writings in the evil Der Sturmer.
- In 1924, a German named Marby started up a newspaper based on his intense study of astrology and rune traditions. After developing a system of how to use runes in meditation and health-building, he turned these ideas into a series of books in 1931. Marby created postures and movements based on these runes to improve one’s reception of “cosmic influences.” He then progressed into “rune-gymnastics” which also involved repeating the rune sound as a mantra—all clearly drawing on yoga, according to scholar Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. (There was also rune-yodeling, but I digress.)
- In the late 1920s, the Ariosophical Society held lecture-tours and courses on “karmic astrology” and...yoga.
During that time, the German occult movement in general was thriving and developing special studies and books in the following: astrology, yoga, palmistry, meditation, and more. Initially, the occult movement developed all this as a way to promote “health and personal happiness.”
- In May 1932, the Ariosophical School opened, offering courses in, among other things, “yoga and breathing exercises.”
Again, just because the Nazis and occult racists used a certain system does not mean that system is evil and racist.
- There are kosher forms of meditation.
- There is kosher palm reading (i.e. to gain insights into one’s personality and potential, not for fortune-telling).
- Frum vegetarians simply don't like meat or poultry, as opposed to avoiding meat for "spiritual" reasons or because they value animals equally to humans.
So why bring this up?
The early German occultists were attracted to yoga BECAUSE of its inherent spiritual nature and power. The occult contains real power (although not a greater power than what Jews have through Torah and mitzvot) and these Ariosophists were expert occultists who consulted directly with Eastern practitioners.
Let’s look at it this way:
Before World War II, you had books, classes, courses, and even a school teaching you how to improve your health and mental well-being by connecting with “cosmic energy” via specific positions, breathing exercises, hand formations, mantras, and even yodeling—all based on ancient Nordic runes.
And apparently, participants indeed felt better, else these things would not have gained such popularity.
If you came across one of these system today, would you engage in these rune-based practices as long as all the racist Ariosophic and pagan elements were removed?
Would you contort your body into, say, a swastika as long as the instructor assures you that calling it "pinwheel" makes it okay? After all, it's just stretching!
(And again, both kinds of swastikas were included in the runes.)
Sorry to repeat, but please remember that the German occultists did not invent all this. They merely borrowed and made adjustments from pre-existing Eastern systems.
They simply modified yoga positions and breathing exercises and mantras to match their runes.
If the spiritual power wasn’t there, all these occultists would not have spent decades researching and adapting the Eastern system.
To sum up, Eastern spiritual systems seem innocent, but their power and impurity is very real.
This can be seen via their societies. The societies based on Eastern spirituality are rife with horrific human rights abuses and terrible poverty. They can blab on all they want about being one with the cosmos, veganism or vegetarianism, nature, vibes, achieving nirvana, but the result is a corrupt and abusive society.
Reason #2: A Pagan Movement of Peace, Love & Puppies Can Lead to Great Evil
The New Age movement in America has been growing for decades now. I’m sure you spotted the similarities between what you see among the New Age in American society and what the Ariosophists also promoted: healthy eating, yoga, breathing exercises, astrology, meditation, animal rights, nature conservation, etc.—all with the goal of personal health and happiness.
As explained in Part 8: Clean Green Nazis, Torah Judaism also covers the way to live a spiritually and physically healthy life.
But this New Age stuff isn’t it.
Ultimately, all this nature-loving, Eastern-spiritual, get-back-to-pagan-roots occultism led to what Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke describes (in the Nazis' view, not his own):
“But all this optimism, exuberance, and expectation was matched by a hellish vision.
The shining new order was sustained by the wretched slave-cities where the Jewish demons were immolated as a burnt sacrifice or holocaust.
The Nazi crusade was indeed essentially religious in its adoption of apocalyptic beliefs and fantasies including a New Jerusalem (cf. Hitler’s plans for a magnificent new capital at Berlin) and the destruction of the Satanic hosts in a lake of fire.”
All quotes are from the book The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.
It’s a dry and extremely scholarly work written by someone who obviously confuses the holy Kabbalah (which he calls “cabbalism”) with the occult. However, it is extremely well-researched as far as Ariosophy and its roots, and its influence on Nazism goes. It also destroys many myths made popular by other books on the same subject. The author also despises Nazism and racism, which is not always true of others who write on the same subject (judging by the customer reviews).
Due to the disturbing subject matter, it took me two years to get through it because I kept putting it aside. And maybe I shouldn’t have read it in the end, but the parallels between then and now ARE striking.