NICHOLAS GOODRICK-CLARKE, R.I.P.

It has been announced that last Wednesday, August 29, 2012, the British scholar of esotericism, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, passed away at the age of 59 from cancer. He must have dealt with his illness quite well, as Professor Goodrick-Clarke was at work until only a few hours before his death, according to the testimony of some of his students. This is yet another great blow to our community in recent months, following hard on the heels of our loss of two other great Englishmen, Jonathan Bowden and Anthony Hancock, earlier this year. I must admit that I don’t know a great deal about Professor Goodrick-Clarke’s life. My personal contact with him was limited to a few e-mails, although I can attest that he was always a well-wisher to my company, Arktos, and its predecessor, Integral Tradition Publishing. In them, he was always cordial and offered words of support to my own endeavors in the realm of the esoteric . According to his obituaries, he left behind a wife, Clare, who is a Professor of History at the University of Exeter, where he himself taught. In 2005, Goodrick-Clarke was one of the founding members of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (EESWE) (http://www.esswe.org/#), an organization which promotes the academic study of Western esotericism and supervises the studies of a number of graduate-level students at several European universities. He was also Professor of Esotericism at the University of Exeter, and the Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism, which is the British branch of the EESWE. I have known a number of students, some of whom travel in our circles, who went through this program and who have spoken highly of it. As such, Professor Goodrick-Clarke was actively engaged in the preservation and promotion of the traditions which form the eternal core of our civilization. In addition to the program he founded and the students he taught, however, Goodrick-Clarke’s greatest legacy will be the books that he wrote. Most prominent among these is his 1985 study, The Occult Roots of Nazism,i which remains the definitive work on the subject in any language (it has even been translated into German). As anyone who has studied National Socialism or the Third Reich in detail for long will know, tales of secret occult conspiracies at the highest levels of the NSDAP have abounded since at least the 1930s. Prominent among these works are Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier’s Morning of the Magicians and Trevor Ravenscroft’s The Spear of Destiny, the former of which claimed that National Socialism was little more than “Guénonism plus tanks”ii run by occultists of the Vril and Thule societies who convinced the NS leadership that they needed to establish contact with a lost theocratic civilization in the interior of the Earth, while the latter claimed that the entire history of the Third Reich was nothing more than a prolonged effort by Hitler, inspired by a mushroom trip he had had in his youth in Austria, to obtain the Spear of Longinus that pierced the side of Christ at the crucifixion. Unfortunately, the vast majority of literature on the relationship between National Socialism and mysticism, both before and since Goodrick-Clarke’s study, has relied upon these and similar sources for their inspiration (or upon even more fantastic claims, such as that Hitler was working with Aleister Crowley).

that “Ariosophy is a symptom rather than an influence in the way that it anticipated Nazism. and that some members of the NS leadership evinced interest in Ariosophy at some point in their lives. the Hindu-Aryan Myth. and it was the first time that I had come across such figures and movements as Savitri Devi. and his depiction of the other movements and figures he discusses is shallow. however. Still. Goodrick-Clarke later expanded his studies into the realm of post-war Nazi occultism. instead compiling a compendium . mystical agenda behind the politics and strategies of the Third Reich. entire shelves of other works on the subject in English could be thrown into the garbage in favor of this book. in late Nineteenth-century Germany. Goodrick-Clarke’s ultimate conclusion is that.”iii The fact is that there is no evidence to support the claim that there was a hidden. further consigning what is useful in its legacy to the gutter in the popular imagination.Occult Roots is unique in that it is one of the few books to be written on this topic in a serious way. Indeed. it is the only resource available. while there was indeed an organizational connection between the NSDAP and Ariosophy in its earliest days. to say the least. Esoteric Nazism. and the European New Right. This is by far the least satisfactory of the three books. as I came across the book by chance in a bookstore shortly after it was published. as is the case today. and Neo-Nazismiv was published in 1998. It is also unique in that it relies largely on primary sources from the German – one is loathe to find a single German work referenced in many of the popular books on Nazi occultism. At the time. As such. I must always be grateful to Goodrick-Clarke. which was transformed the following year into the National Socialist German Workers’ Party by Hitler. and for that. and the Politics of Identity.v published in 2002. a type of theosophical mysticism infused with myths about the history and destiny of Aryan humanity and a great deal of “Orientalist” and Nordicist philosophies. to the origins of the Thule Society in Munich. and will sometimes be cited with approval even by those who claim to be on our side. Hitler’s Priestess: Savitri Devi. I can see that the book has many flaws. and it remains a good introduction to her life and work. until someone willing to delve deeper writes a more definitive biography of Savitri Devi. over in Europe (little was happening in America at that time). as GoodrickClarke relied primarily upon secondary sources for his information about Savitri. an entire intellectual tradition had arisen to defend and propagate the ideas of the “true Right”! So the book allowed me to discover ideas which have come to play a central role in my life ever since. He follows its path through the antiSemitic Germanenorden and other groups. I know from others that the book had a similar impact upon them at the time – one must remember that 1998 was in the days before one could learn very much about these subjects on the Internet. The next book Goodrick-Clarke wrote on this theme was Black Sun: Aryan Cults. Julius Evola and the traditionalists. I had no idea that. the connection between Indian politics and culture and Aryan thought. works which continue to foster this notion will doubtless continue to be written and published for many years to come. Goodrick-Clarke traces the origins and development of Ariosophy. the first of which. Goodrick-Clarke’s book provided a much-needed corrective to the swimming pools of ink that have been spilled attempting to link the Third Reich to wacky ideas. Regrettably. GoodickClarke abandoned the scholarly rigor he had employed in Occult Roots. In retrospect. the book hit me like a bolt of lightning. This book holds a special place in my heart. and not for the purposes of sensationalism. which in turn sponsored the founding of the German Workers’ Party in 1919.

Goodrick-Clarke also authored. has understandably caused some resentment among whites. violence and underperformance are largely ignored by the liberal media. is his 2008 book The Western Esoteric Traditions. He writes. founder of the Theosophical Society.”ix Later in the same chapter. originally intended to . introduction to some of the most important figures in the tradition for newcomers. However. The most important.” Certainly. but there do seem to be interesting hints of this in his Conclusion to Black Sun. he comes across as yet another career academic. “Want to be a threat to Western civilization? All you need is a post office box and a copy machine. … But liberal support for affirmative action has gone further in producing a climate of white guilt. “The question of whether the United States can actually assimilate such immigrants is begged by policies of bilingualism and multiculturalism in the education system. edited and translated a few other books unrelated to Nazi esotericism. P. Mead. Goodrick-Clarke will do the rest. (A book which came closer to fulfilling that need. while many reports of black crime are ‘colorblind’ and mostly confined to the local press. and yet claim to feel nothing but the obligatory liberal revulsion for it. it is a dismal failure. David Myatt. As a review of the book at the Vanguard News Network put it at the time. The concluding chapter of Black Sun seems to be the author’s attempt to provide at least a minimum of balance against his exaggerated efforts to link the Right with absolute evil in the rest of the book. “The discriminatory effects of these policies on whites. and he continually attempts to link his subjects to terrorism. James Mason. Goodrick-Clarke attributes the rise of White racialism to the introduction of racial preferences in Western societies. who build their careers on writing book after book about “fascinating fascism” (to borrow Susan Sontag’s term). The massive overrepresentation of blacks in the penal system. James Madole or Wilhelm Landig before to serve as an introduction. R. And yet one cannot escape the feeling that Goodrick-Clarke vastly overestimates the power and influence that the groups he discusses actually had or have. rape and robbery with violence is many times greater than white on black crime.”vi I suppose Black Sun could be useful for someone who has never heard of such figures as Miguel Serrano. evident testimony of black crime. we are dutifully warned that such dangerous ideas could lead to another 9/11. albeit with its own problems and deficiencies. but as an attempt at a comprehensive study. another from H. as well as a volume of selections from G. such as Roger Griffin or Stanley Payne. Black on white crime in terms of murder. if far from comprehensive. even from a hostile perspective. And.viii which is a solid. both potential and actual. The question which often arises in our circles regarding Goodrick-Clarke is whether or not he was “one of us. and for which Goodrick-Clarke provided an Introduction). is Kevin Coogan’s Dreamer of the Dayvii about Francis Parker Yockey and his milieu. and translations of books about the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. another Theosophist. in my view. S. Since I never had the good fortune of knowing Goodrick-Clarke in person. Islamic and otherwise. I cannot say with any certainty. The causes of black crime. he also writes. or otherwise invoked as further evidence of black disadvantage and white racism. inevitably I suppose given the time it was published. Blavatsky. The others include a selection from the writings of the German alchemist Paracelsus. to judge by his writings. drug involvement and welfare dependence are often sought in white racism. the national media typically highlight instances of white racial attacks.of information derived almost entirely from secondary sources and the Internet. The chapter on Savitri Devi is little more than a summary of Hitler’s Priestess. Assimilation is further undermined by the expansion of affirmative action.

He concludes the chapter as follows: “We cannot know what the future holds for Western multicultural societies. but nevertheless. whereby illegal aliens are granted welfare. and it is evident that affirmative action and multiculturalism are even leading to a more diffuse hostility toward liberalism. Similar forces are at work in Europe. and it can be a force for good. these Aryan cults and esoteric Nazism may be documented as early symptoms of major divisive changes in our present-day Western democracies. I felt compelled to tell him about how his Occult Roots and Hitler’s Priestess had led me to . he probably had little regard for its more ridiculous and extreme elements. Efforts to wed the philosophy and politics of the true Right to tales of Nazi UFOs and sinister pseudo-occult orders do more harm than good to those seriously engaged in the dialogues and struggles of our time. A recent report on the future of multi-ethnic Britain has even questioned whether the national epithet ‘British’ carries a racist taint. who see no particular reason to transform the demography of the United States. The ascendancy of international human rights over notions of national sovereignty has also led to a progressive erosion of citizenship. government subsidies and even voting rights. I would hazard to guess that. since he spent his life studying it. Whether or not Goodrick-Clarke actually held more sympathy for the milieu he studied than he let on has now become irrelevant. Clearly. The multiracial challenges in liberal Western states are much greater. and not necessarily a positive one. Goodrick-Clarke’s understanding of the real issues at stake was further reinforced for me in our correspondence. From the retrospective viewpoint of a potential authoritarian future in 2020 or 2030. he must have made a distinction between genuine esotericism and those who ape its forms in the pursuit of their goals in some dark role-playing game. where multiculturalism is promoted by left-wing and liberal political agendas in the quest for the electoral support of the growing ethnic minorities. but the experiment did not fare well in Austria-Hungary.”xi Goodrick-Clarke is careful to couch his prophecy of a catastrophic failure of liberal democracy only as a possibility. the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. while he may have seen value in efforts to protect the cultures of the West from foreign influence. particularly those who make the world of Right-wing politics a playground for their own private obsessions and fantasies. acted out using real people and very real problems. in that. education. Even more shocking. And. The conversion of the United States into a ‘colony of the world’ or a ‘universal nation’ is without precedent in the modern world. in the passages quoted above. Goodrick-Clarke recognized that genuine esotericism was valuable. These issues are a matter of deep concern to conservative groups in the United States. but are surprising coming from the keyboard of an esteemed university professor. given its wholly unforeseeable consequences. I find little with which to disagree. but at the same time.benefit blacks as a result of civil rights legislation.”x Such comments would certainly not be out-of-place at Counter-Currents or other “New Right” publications. into a government-mandated discrimination against white Americans (but also blacks in practice) in favor of Third World immigrants. But genuine esotericism does exist. When he first contacted me regarding some of Integral Tradition Publishing’s books in 2009. Goodrick-Clarke cites Jared Taylor (specifically. especially Britain. since the Conclusion to Black Sun represents the totality of what he had to say on the matter publicly. his book Paved with Good Intentions) and Peter Brimelow (Alien Nation) for support in footnotes – sources which would surely mean professional death if quoted with approval in the work of less established academics. the fact that he even discusses the possibility is greatly at variance with the usual platitudes from the academy about the absolute need for ever-more diversity and multiculturalism in the Western nations. The traditionalists have taught us that.

1964). and Neo-Nazism (New York: New York University Press. They were written to give a voice to the excluded discourse of liberal modernity and its neglect of order and truth. ii Pauwels and Bergier. xii Personal correspondence. fearing that he might think I was attempting to trick him into saying or writing something that might later come back to haunt him. the Hindu-Aryan Myth. 202. pp. In retrospect. vi The Cat Lady. ix Black Sun. and also for his efforts to preserve the genuine esoteric strivings of our people which have been sidelined by science.com/v1/books8. Black Sun: Aryan Cults. vii Kevin Coogan. iv Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International (Brooklyn: Autonomedia. Professor Goodrick-Clarke is not destined to be remembered as a political figure. viii Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press. i Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology (New York: New York University Press. x Black Sun. p. 180. He will be remembered for his remarkable scholarship – for setting the record straight regarding the relationship between the occult and National Socialism. p.vanguardnewsnetwork. xi . p.htm). “Nutty Nazis. technology and modernity. iii The Occult Roots of Nazism. The Morning of the Magicians (New York: Stein & Day. p. September 16. Esoteric Nazism. and the Politics of Identity (New York: New York University Press. 2002).”xii This confirms for me that he was certainly no uncritical disciple of the world that has been produced by liberalism. I never attempted to get him to discuss his views on this any further. Putting this aside. 313. Although regrettably. He responded by writing.eventually become involved with ITP. “Thank you for your appreciative comments regarding the inspiration of my own books. 303-304. perhaps I should not have been so cautious. v Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.” at Vanguard News Network (http://www. 1999). For that we should remain forever grateful. 2008). 1998). Hitler’s Priestess: Savitri Devi. 2009. 1992). 313. Black Sun.

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