Saturday, September 09, 2006

Aryan Gods from Hyperborea

Otto Sigfrid Reuter has obtained in recent years the dubious sobriquet of, together with Hermann Wirth, the founding father of Nazi Archaelogy. Reuter (1876 - 1945) was a staunch Ariosophist and founder of several Aryan-Christian orders such as the Deutschglaubige Gemeinschaft and the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft, founded in 1911 and 1912 respectively. The aim of these orders was the fusion of blood and religion, hence, membership was restricted to "true Aryans". Some have it that these orders still exist today.

Reuter's reputation rests predominantly on his book Germanische Himmelskunde (German Sky Lore), published in 1934. The idea behind his orders was to rid Christianity of the Jewish influences to make it more digestible for Germans. Reuter's book Sigfrid oder Christus? Ein Kampfruf (Sigfrid or Christ? A Battle Cry), published in 1908, reflects his philosophy. Highly succesful, it was reprinted in 1910.

His next book, Das Ratsel der Edda und der Arische Urglaube (The Riddle of the Edda and the Ancient Religion of the Aryans), published in 1921, 1922 and 1923, was a continuation of his ideas. Reuter believed in the reality of the Edda 'like a maniac' as one authority has it. This was one of the reasons why Reuter left various nationalist and racist German orders which stood at the cradle of National Socialism. It appears that Reuter could not tolerate ideas that were not of his own.

Otto Sigfrid Reuter on his 60th birthday as published in Mannus, issue 28, 1936, found here.

Reuter's philosophy was based on the study of the Edda was that the oldest human culture had come from a Germanic North. The idea of a world axis - the Axis Mundi or Irminsul, the column that supports heaven -was invented by the Germans and the names of all the constellations were based on ancient German science that had its origin aeons before our time. He also believed that the divine was to be found within the German race. Reuter died on 5 April 1945 by heart attack. Allied bombs had wrecked his home earlier. With him perished his dreams of a prehistoric Aryan supercivilisation that had encoded its secret wisdom in the stars, in the Gotterdammerung of the Third Reich.

Das Ratsel der Edda und der Arische Urglaube, 1922, page 48.

But all this does not do Reuter’s book justice. Reading the antiquated Fraktur Schrift is like visiting another world, far removed from the shallow modernity of our times. I wonder how many of us have read the book; I found no recent scholarly assessment or critical treaty of its contents. Reuter’s book is full of strange ideas and should be placed in the larger context of ultra-conservative illuminated literature. Reuter’s interpretations of the ‘Nordic Rock paintings’ (see pages 47-48) can be considered as a forerunner of the school of ancient astronauts. Reuter writes:

“Opposed to that, examining the rock drawings… we must notice:
1. .. a general bird headedness, that seems to point to their flying nature;
2. their floating composure;
3. their mostly uplifted hands, often extra sized;
4. the connection of these figures with circles, many sliding coils, ships and chariots;
5. the interspersion of the images with numerous single and grouped points, which are replaced in some images with radiant stars;
6. the connection of the figures and companions with these single or grouped together standing points or stars;
7. the absence of house images and earthly needs.

Reuter concludes by writing that ‘it is not about earthly, but heavenly paintings and representations of gods.’ Radiant stars, godly beings and heavenly chariots as sacred Germanic lore. Reuter on page 49:

“ The images of the ships. We know from ancient times that the sun and the moon were accosted as ships of the heavens, which sail away on the sea of heaven. The depiction of such ships is not only known to the southern and eastern peoples, but also to the Germans (as Tacitus reports). Even in the Edda one finds an elaborate entry on this…”

Reuter's 'Germanic Worldview' as depicted in his Das Ratsel der Edda und der Arische Urglaube, 1922, page 87.

I acquired an original edition of Reuter’s book years ago, but its extremely brittle paper and worn out leather binding gave me concerns in regards to preserving this unique artefact of a bygone era. Fortunately since then a digital scan of the book can be downloaded here. More biographical data provided by his daughter Irmgard Teubert, written in 1985, are found here and the text of a letter by SS-Oberscharfuhrer Lasch, asking Reuter for help in selecting a proper teacher of Germanic 'Himmelskunde' for Wewelsburg, dated 14 October 1935 is found here. Reuter's essay 'Der Himmel uber den Germanen' is found, translated and annotated, here.

Crossing the Abyss, 1931

While the Third Reich made sure to eradicate the bewildering maze of occult orders, esoteric societies and Volkische movements the minute it came into power, it strangely left that other field with its many connections to the occult underground, that of science fiction, largely untouched.

Thus, when the might of the German war machine unleashed its Blitzkrieg (thunder war) on an ill prepared Europe - its new strategic formula and technological terror tactics were reminiscent of that early subgenre in science fiction entitled the Future War Tale. While the sirens of the Stuka dive bombers, howling like the legendary Walkuren or Banshees, transformed whole cities into hellish cauldrons of the alchemical Prima Materia, other minds in Germany kept on dreaming of soaring space ships and the conquest of space.

Jetzt gehort und Deutschland, morgen das ganse Sonnensystem (now Germany belongs to us, tomorrow the whole solar system), as The Illuminatus Trilogy coyly states, is the apt slogan. One could perhaps remark that, since Germany had lost most of its colonies, space formed the final formidable frontier.

Another edition with its variant title (airship in space) published in 1939
One author who envisioned the path to solar conquest in the dreamtanks of the Third Reich was Walter Heichen (1876 - 1970). His Jenseits der Stratosphäre. Erlebnisse zwischen Mond und Erde. Eine Erzählung für die Jugend (On the Other Side of the Stratosphere. Experiences between the Moon and the Earth. A Story for the Youths) was published in 1931 and was reprinted in 1939 as Luftschiff im Weltenraum (Airship in Space), the year that The Third Reich annihilated Poland.

Heichen, who lived in Berlin, already had published propaganda lecture to kindle pattriotic interest during the outbreak of the First World War. During the Third Reich his pattriotism adhered to the National Socialist cause. In Heichen's book, the protagonists travel to the planet of Sigma, where they encounter highly developed humanoids. Heichen died in Berlin in 1970, having witnessed the landing of the first man on the Moon the year before, made possible by his fellow countryman Wernher von Braun, who had led the rocket development program of the Third Reich before and during World War II.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The German Mission to Mars, 1910

Mars has held the fascination of mankind since times immemorial. Starting in the early 19th century many books were written about travels to Mars, or Martians travelling to earth, the most famous ones probably being H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds (1897) and Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series. In Germany however, the pen was taken up by Kurt Lasswitz. His Auf Zwei Planeten (On Two Planets) was published in the same year as Wells' War of the Worlds. Lasswitz book became immensely popular. Wernher von Braun confessed to have read it and became so inspired by it to pursue a career that landed a man on the Moon.

Then there was Albert Daiber who published his Die Weltensegler, drei jahre auf dem Mars (The World Sailers, three years on Mars) in 1910 and its sequel Vom Mars zur Erde (From Mars to the Earth) in 1914. Albert Ludwig Daiber (1857 - 1928) was born in Germany but died in Chile. Apparently the reactions to his succesful book Elf Jahre Freimaurer (Eleven Years Freemason) that was published in 1905 were such that he decided to emigrate to Chile.

In Daibers' books we encounter Martians called 'Marsites' who live in a scientific utopia. And where certain rumours have it that in 1944 or 1945, towards the end of World War 2 a secret German SS mission to Mars was actually undertaken in a 74 meter diameter Haunebu 3 flight disc, in Daiber's book the journey to Mars is started in 1942. The names of the seven world sailors, German scholars and professors, all begin with the same Letters. Thus we have a Paracelcus Piller, A Bombastus Brumhuber and so forth. The main protagonist, the leader of the expedition and its spiritual father is named Siegried Stiller or SS.

Noordung's solar space station, 1928

A beautiful museum was erected in Slovenia to preserve and honor the work of early space pioneer Herman Potočnik (pseudonym: Noordung).

In 1925, a chronically ill and impoverished engineer in Vienna devoted himself entirely to space travel. His name was Herman Potočnik (1892 - 1929), and in 1928 his only book, Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums - der Raketen-motor (The Problem of Space Travel, the Rocket Motor) was published.

In it, he gave detailed plans for the construction of a geostationary space station, solar powered and manned, called Wohnrad (Habitat Wheel). The design consisted of a ring with an outer diameter of 164 feet (50 metres) for living quarters, two large, concave mirrors for solar energy assembled to one end of the central axis, and an astronomical observation deck. His was among the first to propose a wheel-shaped space station in order to to create artificial gravity. The book did not bring Potočnik fame or fortune, however. Engineers in Vienna dismissed his ideas as sheer fantasy, although it was of influence on the German Verein für Raumschiffahrt (The Space Flight Society) that was located in Berlin. Founded in 1927, it counted amongst its members Hermann Oberth and Wernher von Braun.

The Verein für Raumschiffahrt also published a magazine titled Die Rakete (The Rocket), from 1927 till 1929, sporting some evocative covers as seen below.

Potočnik too was a member of the Verein für Raumschiffahrt. He died in Vienna on August 27, 1929 of pneumonia, in great poverty. Parts of his magnum opus were translated and in English, in the July, August and September issues of Gernsback's Science Wonder Stories in 1929. Oberth coined the phrase 'space station'to describe Potočnik's concept. Let us here, make place for Hermann Noordung as he wished himself to be known, and give the last words to him:
"Conquering space! It would be the most grandiose of all achievements ever dreamed of, a fulfillment of the highest purpose: to save the intellectual accomplishments of mankind for eternity before the final plunge into oblivion. Only when we succeed in transplanting our civilization to other celestial bodies, thus spreading it over the entire universe, only when mankind with all its efforts and work and hopes and with what it has achieved in many thousands of years of striving, only when all of this is no longer just a whim of cosmic events, a result of random incidents in eternal nature's game that arise and die down with our little Earth so large for us and yet so tiny in the universe will we be justified to feel as if we were sent by God as an agent for a higher purpose, although the means to fulfill this purpose were created by man himself through his own actions."