Where Have the Gods Gone?
A Response to Naomi Wolf
Even if the total overhaul of 2020 can be put down to nothing more than sophisticated propaganda techniques facilitated by increasingly immersive media technology, you have to admit that there was something awfully bizarre about the whole thing. Even those of us who had been proud to line our hats with tin-foil for years were taken off-guard by how quickly and effectively those who had initially scoffed at “all this lockdown nonsense” were cowering in fear within weeks, or who had been lifelong proponents of natural medicine against Big Pharma poisons were then lining up to take the experimental mRNA shots.
Frankly, it was all a bit weird. One might say spooky.
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As such, I can't blame anyone who is looking for a spiritual explanation. Personally, I have always operated with a working-model of reality that includes space for non-material intelligences that can sometimes be perceived with the right sensitivity, so the suggestion that some of this madness could have its origin in the non-human world is quite agreeable to me.
In a piece entitled “Have the Ancient Gods Returned?”, prominent writer and Covid-sceptic Naomi Wolf expresses this viewpoint:
What we have lived through since 2020 is so sophisticated, so massive, so evil, and executed in such inhumane unison, that it cannot be accounted for without venturing into metaphysics. Something else, something metaphysical, must have done that.
The nature of the something else in question can be debated, but most of us in this corner of the info-sphere would probably agree that the word 'demonic' is a pretty good fit. It's as if the globalists have decided to troll everyone by LARPing the Book of Revelations as interpreted by the 1990s militia movement. Here, Wolf brings up the work of Messianic Jewish preacher Jonathan Cahn, who believes that:
...because we have turned away from our covenant with YHWH — especially we in America, and we in the West, and especially since the 1960s — therefore, the ancient “Gods”, or rather, ancient pagan energies, that had been vanquished by monotheism and exiled to the margins of civilization and human activity — have seen an “open door”, and thus a ready home to re-occupy, in us.
So far as I can tell from Wolf's article, Cahn believes that the gods worshipped by the Canaanites and Babylonians have repeatedly returned throughout Western history to inflict all sorts of mischief. This is where he steps into territory with which I have some familiarity. I have relatively little knowledge of the religions of Babylon or Canaan, but I do have a reasonable amount to say about the gods of pre-Christian Europe, and as a polytheist with a strong connection to the ancient traditions of the West, I have something of a personal interest in the matter. Therefore, if Cahn truly claims that
...the gods of the Old Testament world descended in updated guise into Greco-Roman life, taking on new names: Zeus, Diana, and so on.
...then it would appear to me he does not have a particularly strong grasp on the religious history of the ancient world. Irrespective of the cultural influence that they may have taken from neighbouring peoples such as the Egyptians or Babylonians, the Hellenic and Italic peoples of the Classical world emerged were not bemused agnostics passively twiddling their thumbs until some gods from across the Mediterranean showed up with new identities; they had their own religious history that can be traced back to the steppe homelands of the Indo-European peoples. Zeus's name comes from the same etymological root as the Latin word deus and the Sanskrit deva, and his nature is identifiably similar to other Indo-European thunder-gods, including an association with oak trees and a distinctly robust approach to dealing with the anti-cosmic forces of destruction and metaphysical evil, as depicted by the ‘Jupiter Column’ above. If there are dark spiritual entities at work in today's world – and I suspect there are – then I would suggest that Zeus and his kin are not to be blamed, but rather can be seen to embody powerful archetypes for all that stands against the corrosive effects of globalism.
In ancient Greece, forested areas on the borders between the hills and lowlands were protected as sacred to Zeus; this helped to preserve the agricultural lowlands, acting to catch the runoff from the uplands and prevent it from washing the topsoil away.
Meanwhile, temple complexes dedicated to Zeus's grandson Asclepius were the hospitals of the Hellenic period, where patients would be treated with herbal medicine, exercise, healthy food, sacred spring water, singing, dancing, and prayer. His daughter Hygeia is remembered in the English word hygeine.
Contrast these relatively wholesome qualities with the contemporary cult of globalist transhumanism. Would Zeus look kindly on the attempts to squeeze farmers out of business, to force genetically-engineered products on consumers, to replace natural foods with synthetic replacements concocted in a laboratory?
Would Asclepius give his blessing to the pharmaceutical-industrial complex and its ever-expanding list of poisonous and ineffective treatments? What would he make of the attempts to inject children with experimental mRNA shots?
Would the Roman Diana, protectress of pregnant women and “helper of childbirth” (Juno Lucina), be impressed with the coalition of antinatalists and gender-ideologues working to erase the concept of 'motherhood', the impulse to procreate, and ultimately all boundaries that protect women and children from predatory sexual perverts?
I'm not for a moment suggesting that polytheistic Europe was ever any sort of utopia, but I think it's necessary to put things in some sort of perspective. For all the complexities and inadequacies that characterise human attempts to connect with the Divine, what we are seeing with globalism is the result of something else.
This is where I think Cahn gets it right, in some of the broad strokes – in rejecting the spiritual aspect of reality, and embracing the cargo-cult of Progress, with its rabid fanatics in the transhumanist movement, we have opened the door to all kinds of malign and destabilising influences. After all, the greatest ruse ever pulled by the Devil was convincing the world that he didn't exist.
Where I depart from him, as a polytheist, is in apportioning the blame to deities that fall outside of the Abrahamic religious spectrum. It is worth mentioning that this demonization – in the most literal sense of the word – has never been entirely universal amongst Abrahamic monotheists; the doctrine of the philosophia perennis was developed by medieval Neoplatonists looking for common ground between Hellenic, Judaic, and Christian philosophy, while more recently devout Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien saw Northern European paganism as a preparation for the arrival of Christ's teachings; he even entertained the notion that the gods of the North may have been closer to angels than demons.
Furthermore, as John Michael Greer suggests, it is only one step from blaming the 'ancient gods' for today's madness to blaming their followers. This is unfortunately compounded by the number of dabblers in alternative faiths who seem hellbent on making themselves as grotesque and unlikeable as possible. Much of the neopagan scene has increasingly cross-pollinated with Satanism and the cruddier end of the occult community. Anti-Christian sentiment laced with infantile wokery has festered into something decidedly unwholesome, and previously drippy-but-harmless Wiccans are getting into hexing, cursing, and Goetic ritual. This is usually accompanied by a fanatical support for the Current Thing, and the target for their malefic magic is often whoever presents the antithesis of that Thing, be it Trump, Putin, or people who refuse to wear face-coverings.
Meanwhile, the malodorous whiff of sulphur is increasingly drifting from further up the socio-economic ladder. Once restricted to shock-rockers and weirdos on the fringe, openly Satanic imagery has gone mainstream, “brought to you by Pfizer” (who else?). Bizarre performances marking everything from the Gotthard railway tunnel to the Commonwealth Games have fuelled suspicion of strange beliefs and rituals among the global elite; that's without going into some of the material contained in the “Pizzagate” email leak, or the matrix of weirdness around Satanist and US Army Colonel Michael Aquino.
Besides a few obviously creepy individuals like Aquino, how much of all this amounts to much beyond immature posturing and post-modern irony is anyone's guess, but it certainly seems like a lot of people are dabbling with things that they don't understand, and the blowback they're generating is not going to be pleasant. Sadly, a lot of other people are going into hyper-vigilant overdrive and finding evidence of dark rituals everywhere; for instance, a video of Elizabeth II being initiated into the Gorsedd of the Bards of Wales at the National Eisteddfod in 1946 drove some into a frenzy of speculation about 'sinister Druidic ceremonies' in the Royal Family. What they failed to realise was that the Gorsedd is a Welsh literary and cultural organization courted by the Royals for political reasons to assuage the post-war rise of Welsh nationalism; the Gorsedd is not an occult order by any stretch of the imagination, and the Druidical trappings come from the antiquarian romanticism of the early modern period.1 In any case, Elizabeth was ex-communicated from the order in 2006 after a ruling that required fluency in the Welsh language to be a member. Sorry, chaps, but if you're looking for evidence of adrenochrome here, I think you might looking in the wrong place.
If this is how easy it is to inflame the suspicions of truthers, then we should be concerned. As industrial civilization continues to slide into chaos, speculation like this runs the risk of spilling over from online 'schizo-poasting' into physical action; as tension and anger rises in the psychic collective, followers of alternative religions could be at risk of being scapegoated. Wolf herself mentions the pogroms and witch-hunts of European history as examples of mass hysteria; sadly, this kind of thing is probably going to repeat itself in the next century or so, and articles like Wolf’s are not likely to help mitigate them, to say the least.
There is only so much any individual can do to redirect the course of history, but for all sensible occultists and those of alternative faiths, I would suggest taking the opportunity to go public while it is still relatively safe to do so. The work of Mark Passio seems exemplary in this regard, as he has been on platforms such as Infowars explaining why traditional Hermeticism is incompatible with Satanism. Build bridges with Christians and other mainstream faiths; publicly reject the experimental vaccines, drag-queen story hours, and the rise of hexing and demonolatry. The Gays Against Groomers campaign could be a useful model; might we see “Pagans Against Perverts” next? Or perhaps “Occultists Against Obscenity”?
Regardless of what may appear to be happening within the sleazy circles of elite power, there are many wholesome and wise followers of the ancient Gods who are every bit as worried about the trajectory of modern civilization as Wolf and Cahn; I happen to know, because I am in contact with more than a few of them myself. For this reason, I would suggest that Wolf and others who share her concerns might consider reaching out and finding common ground with such people; the unintended consequences of not doing so could be rather chaotic.
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The Druid Revival predates the neo-pagan movement by a number of centuries; Edward Willams, aka Iolo Morganwg, founded the Welsh Gorsedd in the late 1700s. He was a Christian, for what it’s worth.