by Savitri Devi
Edited by R.G. Fowler
This is the fourth installment of Savitri Devi’s previously unpublished book of “prose poems”—in reality a series of autobiographical reflections and rhapsodies—entitled Forever and Ever.
In transcribing and editing these texts, I have translated the German epigraphs, corrected any spelling and grammatical errors, and “Americanized” and updated the spelling. I have not altered Savitri’s sometimes eccentric capitalization practices. Nor have I altered her punctuation, although I have pruned her sometimes long ellipses down to three dots each. Editorial additions appear in square brackets. Omissions and substitutions are indicated with notes. All notes are by the editor. PDF images of the typescript are available for those who wish to check my editing or bypass it altogether. Just click the title of each chapter..
—R. G. Fowler
“So glaube ich heute im Sinne des allmächtigen Schöpfers zu handeln: Indem ich mich des Juden erwehre, kämpfe ich für das Werk des Herrn.”
—Mein Kampf, 1939 edition, p. 701
I had never loved the Christian faith; indeed, its contempt of the body, its stress upon the love of man, whichever man he be,—while it forgets to teach love and respect of living nature, ever beautiful—its fear of healthy and violent2 pride and of the joy of anyone who needs no comfort in this world, no hope outside[,] had all, and from the start, made me despise it, if not to hate it.
Yet, for long years, I had known what open stand to take, before the eyes of all, for or against it. And I had tolerated it, tolerated it, solely because I had, over and over again, been told that, without it, the speech and soul of Greece would have perished wholesale during the long[,] long night of Turkish domination; because I knew that, before that, the Byzantine Empire bore for a thousand years, the double stamp of Christendom and of Hellenic culture; also because I recognized, within the music of the Eastern Church, the last bond of allegiance of thousands of scattered exiles of the Hellenic Nation, as well as an echo of I knew not what glory of a remoter past, or a more national existence, in the light of national Gods.
I had tolerated it. But never could I love it. Never could I admire that meekness which it taught; nor that propensity to exalt the weak and sick in body or in spirit, the cripple and the unhappy, at the expense of those whom Nature cherishes: the healthy and the strong, the free and the all-round beautiful.3 Nor could I share that tendency to ponder over lust and greed and every sin, delighting in perpetual repentance; that craving to seek out and save what in my eyes was not worth saving; that constant thought of a dull heaven coupled with a constant aspiration to the dust[.]
Whenever, from a distance, I beheld on the top of Areopagus, the church erected on the spot where the Jew taught, for the first time, in Athens, that “God hath made all men out of one blood”! I felt my own blood boil with shame. “Oh, why, why had they listened to him, the proud Athenians of the old days?” thought I. And I remember the story of the conquest of tired Hellas by the foreign creed. It was not they, the people of the Goddess, who had harkened to the Jewish lie; it was the many ones of the doubtful origin although of Grecian speech, who formed the sweepings of Grecian seaports; it was also the men of Alexandria, and[,] above all, it was the policy of Constantine whom they called the “Great” that helped the new religion to take a hold in Greece, three hundred years after the death of Paul. And I remembered him, more and more dear to me, warrior-like Emperor Julian, who tried to stem the tide. And I recalled the words of despair he is said to have uttered on the battlefield, acknowledging the victory of the Christians, as he died.4 And I recalled Hypatia torn to pieces; and also, for beyond the Greco-Roman5 world, in that proud North, whose daughter I too was, for centuries on end, the trail of persecution of Aryan Heathendom by zealous Christian knights.
Just as, in this triumphant eastward march from victory to victory, fair Alexander had carried Hellenic might to the hallowed Land of Seven Rivers, through the bright mountain Pass through which the earliest Aryan warriors had come there long before, so had, in the course of time, the sickly Jewish creed, avenging the defeat[s] of Gaza and of Tyre, conquering decaying Greece, through bribery, and the pure-blooded, virgin North, through terror. Its world-wide and lasting success was, in my eyes, the sign of the rise of lower mankind, against the strong, against the fair, against the Gods’ own children, my people, whether from the shores of the Ionian Sea or of the German Ocean.
What link of sheer historical propriety still retained me within that Christendom, which I despised? And was that link a living fact? In spite of all the usefulness the Christian Church might well have had, in the dark Turkish days, were not the spirit of eternal Greece and that of the6 Galilean faith forever incompatible? Did not, in spite of all, an abyss gape between them; in time and in eternity? And if so, had I not to choose, once and for all, which path was to be mine? I longed to feel, in its very birthplace, the soul of historic Christianity—to see[,] to hear, to know. I longed to let myself and it.7 And so, one April morning in 1929, upon a Christian pilgrims’ ship, I sailed to Palestine.
Upon the glimmering waves between the many golden isles, the ship carried me away from Greece, over many hundred miles; away from Greece it took me straight into another world—into that old Semitic East where the Christian creed was born.
And I beheld the Soul of the Semitic East, itself foreign to me, domesticated and spoilt for centuries and centuries by the influence of those rejected ones of history, for whose unholy might and unseen rule my own decaying continent had toiled unknowingly, from those dark days it had embraced the Christian faith, and made the Christian values the basis of its whole outlook on life; the Jews. And I beheld the selfish, cunning, loveless Soul of Israel behind the serpentine courtesy of the men in long dark clothes who sold in the bazaars, no less than in the fanatical glances of the same ones, whose movements I followed, a few days later, before the Wailing Wall. And everywhere, in churches and in mosques, and in the malodorous8 winding streets of old Jerusalem, where life has never changed, and in the new and vulgar brightly-lighted buildings of Tel Aviv; I saw the selfsame stamp of that beautiless race; the selfsame sign of mankind’s fall. Even the nomad dweller has fallen at the contact of the Jews. He had slowly learnt from him to repudiate his age-old tribal pride, founded upon the brotherhood of blood, and to rejoice, instead, in the great unity of all the true believers, whoever these may be, and in their equal right to beget more believers in the Book—in the One God and in the Prophet—never mind by whom. And I thought,9 even the Bedouin have decayed; what about us, the children of the godlike men of distant midnight shores, who once10 had brought the cult of Apollo to Greece and carried to India the worship of the Dawn? What about us[,] when our deluded fathers accepted from the Jew a creed upholding meekness, and charity towards all men and love of peace as virtues? A creed in which the body no longer mattered, and in which, as in Islam, the original ideal of pure blood was looked upon as obsolete?
I gazed at those who had come with me to Palestine—people from Greece—and I measured the distance that separated them from the Heathen Greeks of old, as I had never measured it before in some of them[;] under a skin-deep Christian faith, the eternal Soul of Greece still shone, invincible, and ever-ready to reassert itself. Others11 I beheld, but Christian Levantines, product[s] of long decay. I suddenly recalled the dome of the great church erected to Saint Paul upon the top of Areopagus, under that same blue sky on the background of which the ruins of the old heathen Acropolis appear in all their untarnished splendor. All around me, that same oppressive style, so different from all that real Greece created; all around me, that foreign atmosphere, that mysticism of [the] Semitic East, so different from the spirit of our cult of Rhythm and Form, of our cult of Health and Light—our Aryan cult, faithful to this fair earth. I shuddered at the contrast, more deeply than ever before. And from the inner feeling of my own everlasting Self, of my own Race, of which at last I was fully aware, and from the inner vision of my own dream of an ideal world, [I] formulated in my heart the long-delayed decision on which my whole life was to rest: “Away from Jewry! Away from the Christian spirit, the subtle poison poured out to us by the Jews, well-guided by the instinct of their race [to] emasculate our bodies and kill our Aryan pride! Away from all that, and back to what we would have been today, had Paul never set foot in Athens or, had divine Julian been able to arrest the overwhelming tide! No further compromise with a foreign tradition in the name of the memory of the Eastern Empire: Eternal Greece, and beyond her, indestructible Aryandom of North and South—higher mankind—must pass before the lure of a mere thousand years of history.”
Thus did I feel in those old churches built upon the famous spots holy to every Christian; in the monastery where I remained, and in the glittering mosque of Omar, that I visited, and in the streets of old Jerusalem, and on Mount Zion. Thus did I feel along the roads of Palestine, upon my way to towns and villages bearing biblical names.
Hundreds of miles away, among Thy blessed people, under Thy leadership, my dream was taking shape. And day by day, in hope and in increasing strength, in confidence and joy, Thy people were growing into a rising tide[.] And Thou wast waiting for the Day when that tide would break down the barrier within which the frightened world was trying in vain to keep it.
And I was soon to understand; and I was soon to admire Thee; and I was soon to love Thee, alone of all the sons of men in our times.
From far, within my heart, I watched the tide gain power. I admired its impetus, and recognized in it the Force that had once given Greece to the Aryan Race, and the East to conquering Greece. Already, in the realm of the invisible, my life-long yearning met Thy masterful will-power, and paid to Thee the tribute that I was one day to express in word[s] of burning faith; the lasting tribute of the brothers of Thy people from the whole world—the love of the whole Race.
1 “Thus I now believe myself acting in accordance with the almighty creator: By defending myself against the Jew, I fight for the work of the Lord.”—Trans. R.G. Fowler
2 Reading “violence” as “violent.”
3 Replacing a question mark with a period.
4 “Vicisti, Galilaee” (“You win, Galilean”—or, as it is usually rendered, “Thou hast conquered, Galilean”).
5 Deleting a superfluous comma.
6 Deleting a superfluous “of.”
7 This sentence makes no sense as it stands, which leads me to think that words were either omitted or mistyped when the typescript was prepared.
8 Reading “malodorant” as “malodorous.”
9 Replacing a semicolon with a comma.
10 Deleting a superfluous comma.
11 Deleting a superfluous “I” from the beginning of the sentence.