Circling the Bunkers

Circling the bunkers
A Russian Bunker Source: Flikr.com

Sometime ago, I met a learned man. My aunt in the United States introduced me to him and he gave me an appointment to see him at the faculty.

Aside from being a respected professor in his field, he is also a clergyman in the Anglican Church.

My meeting with him was purely regarding my career, but as we began talking, he started to admonish me on my personal life. He began to tell me stuff about my thoughts and relationship with God which no one – not my relatives or anyone else – could have known except by supernatural means.

I looked on in surprise with my mouth almost ajar as he probed into my life and appealed to the biblical story of David and Goliath and how with God on my side, I will become victorious in life. I knew right there that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me through him.

By the way, that’s not the first time that God would send someone to strengthen me in my time of despair. The first time I experienced that was in 2014 during my Masters at the University of Ibadan.

A Christian professor from another faculty suddenly walked up to where I was seated before the lecture started and told me a certain thing which no one else knew. At that time I was depressed and was about throwing in the towel, but what he said gave me hope and confidence in God.

In the case of this Anglican canon, although I treasured his counsel, I didn’t expect that a man in “that” denomination would be a mouth piece for God. You see, my family were baptized in the Anglican Church, but the controversy that occurred when my parents exited the denomination left a degree of cynicism in my mind.

I had little trust in anyone in a position of leadership in that church because I perceived them to be  opposed to the move of the Holy Spirit.

Later as I reflected on this experience, God spoke to my heart, “You can’t pocket My Holy Spirit!

How true!

All along, I had been putting the Holy Spirit of God in a test tube of sorts. I had concluded that He could only speak to me through certain pastors or ministers that I revered or those from the denomination I approved of. That was a “we alone” mentality, and thank God for demolishing it.

This mentality is what I call “circling the bunkers.” A bunker is a defensive military shelter designed to protect people and valued materials from falling bombs or other attacks.

A bunker is mostly built underground – and metaphorically speaking – it is a fortress of ideas or practices that is specially protected or defended by individuals with an agenda.

Circling the bunkers is a preconditioned thinking in which a believer invests so much in church traditions, denominational positions, theological systems or outward labels as criteria of spiritual legitimacy and is more ready to defend these than the gospel of Jesus Christ itself.

Many believers today have sadly missed out on God’s intervention in their lives because they assumed that He can only speak or supernaturally work through their preferred or “our own” vessels.

But God can and does ministers through vessels who don’t meet up with our self-made conditions.

I want you to understand that God is not limited by denominations, institutions or human vessels. In fact, God can use a weak, despised, uneducated and a very young person to confound the strong, influential, wise and mighty of this earth.

Yet, many people have a problem accepting others on the basis of minor doctrinal differences or finicky rules:

An Arminian is teaching theology? I’m not interested.

He’s a pre-triber? Nope. Bye.

A Christian woman wearing make up and jewelries? She’s a Jezebel!

An evangelist dancing disco, wearing jean trousers, a hand chain and a even a tattoo? Have mercy Lord, he’s a false convert.

You are from that denomination where you speak unknown languages and raise your thighs when praising God? Out.

That pastor doesn’t use the King James bible? Heretic alert.

I remember when I started a Facebook Christian group six years ago, one guy demanded I put a Bible verse on all my articles because as far as he’s concerned, if a Christian doesn’t have a Bible verse for everything he writes, he’s going by “human wisdom.” He’s defending his fundamentalist bunker.

Couple of years ago, a friend tagged a pastor of a popular Nigerian Pentecostal church to my Facebook post, Unmasking the Queen of Heaven, and the man said something like:

“I was following along when he was quoting the Bible to expose this spirit, but you see when he began quoting these historical and religious non-biblical sources, he lost me. I don’t give attention to such write ups.”

Nothing new here. In the cute little world some people live in, the Bible is the only authority that must be appealed to: history must be scorned, logic should be rejected, science despitefully spat on, arts (especially African arts) demonized, theology should be relegated and unless it’s Jewish culture, it should be trampled upon.

This is what I call a “fundamentalist heritage.” It’s a constructed mental box that is obsessed with dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” at the risk of being labelled an apostate. They can take just one sentence you made and turn it back at you with a polemic of 2000 words and quotes from an entire chapter of the Bible.

We must not fall into the delusion that unless a person speaks or writes like our own pastors or reverend or elders, he must be messed up or absolutely false. This is how people miss out on God’s treasures.

I have known people who found the truth of Scripture even while they were still trapped within a religious system of deception and by God’s leading, they eventually found their way out, especially when they realized they couldn’t change the system.

God used a mute donkey to convey His message to a recalcitrant prophet. And there are times He will use poor, broken vessels to reprove, instruct, reveal His will or work in the lives of His people. That’s the sovereignty of God.

In the Bible we have an example of a prophet who discredited God’s revelation because he felt only his “clique” could legitimately speak for Him.

When God permitted a deceiving spirit to lead Ahab to his death, out of 400 prophets, Micaiah had a different message – a genuine insight into the heavenly conference. When he prophesied Ahab’s death at Ramoth Gilead, a respected prophet reacted:

“Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked” (1 Kgs. 22:24)

Such arrogance! Notice, he was not dedicated to God’s truth but a “party line.” Just talk like we do and you belong. This prophet felt he had a patent on the Spirit of God. He thought he had a corner on His revelation.

This is why it is dangerous to follow anyone who tells you he is the only mouth piece of God, or that his ministry is the only one that carries God’s approval.

Elijah nearly fell into this trap when he said, “I am the only one left” – the only one jealous for God. But God made Him realize that He has marked out for protection seven thousand in Israel who have neither kissed Baal nor bowed to him.

I do not have a corner on God’s truth. I am not the only contender. My blog is not the only place where truths are being shared. There are many others who have been labouring before me and will continue when I am no more here. That leaves no room for arrogance.

In Matthew 23, Jesus assessed the situation and rightly called the religious leaders of His day, “blind guides” (vs. 16, 24), “fools and blind” (vs. 17, 19), and “blind Pharisee” (v. 26). They were blind because their hearts were hardened and they idolized their outward piety above their inner spiritual state.

In Romans 11:25, Paul explained Israel’s mistake: “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”

Their hearts were hardened because they were blind to what God is doing. The same can happen to a Christian too – stuck up in a traditional or denominational rot and blind to the move of the Holy Spirit.

The key is to accept others just as Christ has accepted us. He “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which he made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4, 6).

It was by His grace – not our works – that we were accepted, so we should extend that same grace to others. We need the ministry of the brothers and sisters outside our bunkers.

Finally, our focus should be on Jesus Christ as the sole standard (Heb. 12:2). It’s self-righteousness when we judge people by their outward labels rather than their devotion to Jesus Christ and His Word. It’s self-righteousness when we compare ourselves to others and judge them on that basis. God has only one standard for righteousness: Jesus Christ.

Were Ab-dru-shin’s Messages inspired from Above? (Part two)

Ab-dru-shin Grail message

In part one, we demonstrated that many of the ideas found in the Grail message were shaped by the social, political, cultural and spiritual contexts of late 19th-early 20th century Germany and Austria.

We also documented that there was nothing really unique about the life history, style, and religious philosophies which moulded Oskar Bernhardt into his spiritual path.

One of Guido List’s student also had some influence on Ab-dru-shin’s train of thoughts. His name was Lanz von Liebenfels (1874 – 1954). 

Lanz was an Austrian politician, racial theorist, occultist, and a pioneer of Ariosophy – a system which subscribed to the tenets of a prehistoric golden age, gnostic priesthood and a secret heritage in cultural relics.

Lanz was born in Vienna-Penzin and was brought up by middle-class parents. During his childhood he acquired a romantic interest in the medieval past and its religious orders, which he envisioned as the spiritual elites of a remote age.

By his own account, he began developing an enthusiasm for the military order of the Templar Knights during his growing up years and steeped himself in nostalgic lore about their castles and legends. Although evidence suggests he didn’t esteem the Templars until after 1905 (J. Lanz von Liebenfels, Arithmosophikon, 1949, p. 725).

He later entered the Cistercian novitiate and was inducted into the monastic order despite opposition from his family. It was during this time that his writings began to bear the marks of knowledge gleaned from the Bible, gnostic texts and Near Eastern religious traditions (Wilfried Daim, Der Mann, der Hitler die Ideen gab [The Man who gave Hitler the Ideas], Munich, 1958, pp. 250, 252)

Lanz soon began to espouse the racist ideas prevalent in Austria – of the superiority of blue-eyed, blond-haired Aryan race – representing the good principle working for order, over other races (blacks, mongoloids etc.) who are cosmic entities working for chaos in the universe. Eventually he renounced his vows and left the Abbey.

Lanz justified his esoteric racial ideology by attempting to give it a Biblical foundation. According to him, Eve, whom he described as initially being divine, involved herself with a demon and gave birth to the “lower races” in the process.

Eventually, he embraced theosophical beliefs and merged them with his zoological and racist theories about humanity. His occult wisdom regarding the Aryans later became known as Ariosophy or Theozoology.

In 1907, Lanz founded the Ordo Novi Templi (Order of the New Templars). Four years after this, Guido List, his spiritual teacher, also established a neopagan esoteric society of initiates known as Hoher Armanen-Orden (High Armanen Order) inspired by Freemasonry.

Now, when we turn to the Grail message, purportedly received from above, one can see proofs of how the prevalent ideas in Austria and Germany served as influences on its author.

These are other examples:

German culture/race

Racial nationalism was the emerent view in Oskar’s time. German nationalists had much grievances against non-Germans whom they deemed to be inferior.

The major reason for mystical societies that were formed at the time was to exalt the German race, its spirituality and culture above all others. So it comes as no surprise that Ab-dru-shin wrote:

Among the white races, it is the true genuine German spirit in all its purity and strength which stands the highest. It has often made the essay to attain to this leading position but with the exception of single individuals, the efforts have not been successful. Single individuals must always be pioneers, they represent the qualities of their race.  (In the light of Truth, “Vocation” 1931 editon)

The German spirit is to be the pattern or model for the other races and shall be their guide during the last stage of mankind’s progress on earth. Not the German spirit as it is now, but as it is to become and can become in virtue of its abilities and certainly will be in the course of coming events (Ibid)

It is the vocation of the German Psyche to be the future leader and guider in spiritual as well as in mundane affairs (“Called” 1931 edition).

Ab-dru-shin justified his German spiritual elitism by claiming that nations were often exposed to similar gross material radiations by the stars, hence they possessed collective spiritual maturity and temperaments. Therefore:

The Germans and all Germanic people belong to this group. They stand at their awakening, prepared for action! (Vol. 3. Ch. 15 “Temperaments”)

That was a convenient rationalization, but it totally shatters the illusion of the Grail message as a divine revelation. A divine revelation would certainly not be limited to the bigoted racial, cultural or political ideas held by a specific people at a certain time in history.

In his study of the introduction of volkisch ideology (which was the fountain-head of Ariosophy) George L. Mosse pointed out that the spiritual connotations of the word “Volk” denoted the national collectivity inspired by a common creative energy, feelings and sense of individuality. These metaphysical qualities were supposed to define the unique cultural essence of the German people.

This ideological preoccupation with the Volk arose for two reasons: one, this cultural orientation was the result of the delayed political unification of Germany; two, it was closely related to a widespread romantic reaction to modernity (The Crisis of German Ideology, New York, 1964, pp. 1-10).

So it was just a step ahead for the collective energy and metaphysical qualities that völkisch ideology attributed to Germans to find its way into Oskar Bernhardt’s pen for the world to read.

Gender inequality

Although there are some places where the Grail message attributes intuitive perception to women, there are some statements in it that reflect poorly on women – placing them in a spiritually and morally inferior position:

And again womanhood will have to feel the ignominy first, because her downfall now compels her to expose herself to these things. Frivolously she has put herself into a position where she will now be forced down at the feet of brutalised manhood (Vol. 3. Ch. 48 “The Destroyed Bridge” 1995 edition)

You let yourselves be duped too easily! You succumbed to the temptations without a fight! As a willing slave of Lucifer woman now directs her beautiful Divine gifts to serve a contrary purpose, and thereby brings the entire Subsequent Creation under the domination of the Darkness. (Vol. 2. Ch. 16 “Watch and Pray” 1995 edition).

Although man of Subsequent Creation has made himself the slave of his own intellect, woman has transgressed to a far greater extent. (Vol. 1. Ch. 22, “The Woman of Subsequent Creation”)

In the early 20th century, women in the West were clamouring for equal rights to vote, suffrage and child custody as men. The women of Finland were the first in the entire world to be granted the ballot. Germany and Austria conceded in 1918.

However, due to the social tensions that early feminist protests caused in the European system, anti-feminism resonated more with the taste of the elites. Dr. Goodrick-Clarke informs us that:

Women in particular were regarded as a special problem, since they were supposedly more prone to bestial lust than men. Only their strict subjection to Aryan husbands could guarantee the success of racial purification and the deification of the Aryan race (p. 97)

From July 1908 until the end of the First World War, Lanz managed to write no less than seventy-one issues himself. Their stock themes were racial somatology, anti-feminism, anti-parliamentarianism and the spiritual differences between the blond and dark races in the fields of sexual behaviour, art, philosophy, commerce, politics, and warfare, and caste law derived from the Hindu codes of Manu (p. 100).

Socialism, democracy and feminism were the most important targets for this merciless mission on account of their emancipatory force. (p. 97)

Once again, the social and political outlook of the cultural millieu inhabited by Ab-dru-shin dictated the tides of his revelation, and in this case, fossilizing gender inequality for our time.

If Germany and Austria had been a feminist clime in his time as Scandinavian countries are today, those sexist statements against women wouldn’t have appeared in his teachings at all.

Grail mythology

As have been pointed out in a post about the Grail Castle, the mythology surrounding the Grail serves as the central theme of Ab-dru-shin’s philosophies. This was a concept that evolved from the cauldron symbolism of pagan goddess worship.

A Pagan/Occult researcher explains:

“The cauldron, or dark churning belly, womb, was a widely acknowledged symbol of the Crone aspect of the Goddess. The Hindus knew it as the pot of blood in Kali’s hand; the Norse called it the pot of inspirational mead from which Odin stole his powers.

“In Babylon, Siris, the goddess of fate, stirred the blue cauldron of heaven. The Chaldeans and Hittites both believed in seven heavenly cauldrons and the seven chthonic cauldrons of Mother Death…

“In Wales, Branwen owned the Cauldron of Regeneration that revived men overnight. The Irish goddess Badb had a “boiling” pot of life, wisdom, inspiration, and enlightenment. This cauldron later became a chalice or cup, and eventually the Christian Holy Grail (Deanna Conway, Maiden, Mother and Crone, Llewellyn: MN, 1997, p. 84).

However, the ideological framework with which Ab-dru-shin fashioned his spirituality comes from European pagan folklore and occultism – especially Norse mysticism.

To this Divine Sphere, which because of its close proximity to the Living Power is subjected to a pressure incomprehensible to the human spirit, belongs the actual Castle of the Grail as the most extreme outpost and anchorage, as a terminating counter-pole, so to speak! (Vol. 2, Ch. 71, “Life”)

It is the same with these descriptions as with everything earthmen do, nor was it any different with the description of the happening about Parsifal and the Grail Castle: People who become deeply absorbed spiritually are presented with inspirations which they are unable to recognise clearly. (Vol. 3, ch. 33 “The Cycle of Radiations”).

Everything was guarded and watched over by the “Elders”, i.e., the Eternal Unchangeable Ones who, at the outermost boundary in the Divine Sphere of Radiation, are able to live conscious of their existence. (Vol. 3, ch. 38 “Let there be Light”).

These descriptions of the Grail and its castle was a modified version of Norse/Germanic mythology about the great hall of Valhalla, ruled by the god Odin/Wotan. Just as a host of female deities – Valkyries – accompanied Odin, Ab-dru-shin also taught that two female vessels, among others, accompany his Grail.

The old writings of Snorri Sturluson known as the Edda contains some information about the Norse gods and mythological characters.

Snorri tells us that Gylfi, a Swedish king, made a journey to Valhalla. There, he sees three men seated on thrones placed one above the other; these men are called High One, Just-as-High, and Third. Gylfi questions the three enthroned men concerning the gods; and the information imparted to him includes a number of things that recall the Fisher King and the Grail Castle.

Among these is a lengthy list of Odin’s titles and nicknames, many of which appear to relate to the Fisher King or to closely-linked Grail themes. Of these, “Spear-thruster” and “Spear-Shaker” suggest the spear or lance that accompanies the Grail.

It may be significant that Odin owned a magic spear, Gungnir, whose thrust was said to be unstoppable. (Alby Stone, Bran, Odin, and the Fisher King: Norse Tradition and the Grail Legends Folklore, Vol. 100, No. 1, 1989, pp. 31-32).

The occult societies founded by List and Lanz were modelled according to this pattern and their rituals also revolved around Grail mysticism:

In front of these sat the Treasurer and Secretary wearing white masonic sashes, while the Herald took up his position in the centre of the room. At the back of the room in the grove of the Grail stood the Bard in a white gown, before him the Master of Ceremonies … At this point [in the ritual], the Master seized Wotan’s spear and held it before him, while the two knights crossed their swords upon it … With the ritual personifying lodge officers as archetypal figures in Germanic mythology, this ceremonial must have exercised a potential influence on the candidates (p. 130)

List was known to take his followers on several pilgrimages to the pagan sanctuaries dedicated to Wotan/Odin including the cathedral catacombs where he had first sensed his presence.

List most probably derived his occult conception of the Templars from a masonic source, but his notion was also coloured by the poetic grail-mythology of Parsival which inspired Lanz. (p. 112)

Lanz taught that the Grail was an electrical symbol of panpsychic powers of the pure-blooded Aryan race. In his Templar-like cult, the Grail was a metaphor for strict eugenic practices of the Templar Knights to breed god-men. This was his “Grail message.” (Ostara I, 69, 1913, pp. 12-16 cited in The Occult Roots of Nazism).

Ab-dru-shin merely put some incing on the esoteric cakes of these occult societies in his own works, there was nothing original about his ideas. This is what some religious scholars have termed as the “evolution” of religion and its rituals from their ancient forms to their surviving stage.

“In our modern time many will find it unreasonable to believe that worship as we know it evolved from such naive beginnings,” says a scholar, “on the contrary, the origins were quite profound they have in fact left their influence upon worship all through the ages. The meaning behind the sacrifices the chants and litanies the rituals and rites the ceremonies and ceremonials together with the sexual symbolism have persisted until our present day.” (Marcus Bach, Strange Sects and Curious Cults, Dodds, Mead & Co., 1961, pp. 9-10).

Every researcher will realize that almost every branch of the occult ties into one of the old mystery religions one way or the other. They don’t just emerge out of nowhere. There is often a spiritual force involved in their evolution and it’s not from the God of the Bible.

Man himself is not capable of continuing the traditions of these old mystery schools or keeping them together all these years. It requires a degree of spiritual influence perpetuating this continuity or evolution of occult worldviews all through the centuries.

There is ultimately a spiritual component where an older knowledge is being perpetuated spiritually. The secret societies that we know today are being sustained and propagated by controlled communication with spirits, channeling, appropriation of pre-existing ideas and fantasy.

Did Ab-dru-shin receive his messages from God? From the weight of historical, logical and biblical evidence, the answer is, no.

Were Ab-dru-shin’s Messages Inspired from Above? (Part One)

Grail message bringer
Ab-dru-shin

The Grail Message is often lauded as a divine revelation that provides eternal answers to questions in all spheres of life ranging from God and the Universe to the Laws in Creation, the meaning of life, responsibility, free will, intuition and the intellect.

Many who fervently adhere to the Grail message desperately appeal to a vicious circular reasoning to validate these presuppositions.

However, an objective historical background into the Grail message clearly indicates that Bernhardt’s teachings, far from transcending his era, stem from the realities of the world he lived in and are the indisputable products of it.

Ab-dru-shin himself wrote:

“For there is really nothing new to be created; in everything it is merely a matter of producing new forms, since all the elements already exist in the vast Creation.” (In the Light of Truth, Vol. 1, Ch. 6 “Silence.”)

Going by his logic, there is nothing essentially new that the Grail message brought. For one, culture encompasses religion and adapts it to suit the times. The Grail message was simply a form fossilized by the social contexts of its time.

Anyone who undertakes a foucauldian analysis of the Grail message will find it heavily influenced by late 19th-early 20th century European customs, culture, politics and religious philosophies. 

In other words, much of what Ab-dru-shin presented as “higher insights” from the ethereal world were already found in cultural and literary sources prevalent in his time. They were purely of earthly origins and obviously not beyond his physical or mental reach.

The elaborate claim that Ab-dru-shin’s message was inspired by God, that it unlocks the mysteries of the universe and provides a reliable future for mankind are shown to be hallowed myths. This will be documented in this piece.

Special attention will be given to the work of Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism (Tauris Parke: London, 2005). This work examines the occult ideas that played midwife to the Hitler movement, regarded as the most destructive right-wing ideology in history.

Quotes from the book will appear in green whilst quotes from the Grail message will be in blue.

The Occult Roots of Nazism documents the lives, doctrines and cult activities of the Ariosophists of Vienna and their successors in Germany, who combined volkish German nationalism and Aryan racial theories with occultism.

For starters, Ab-dru-shin was heavily influenced by the beliefs of the Ariosophists and the similarities between his exposure, teachings and style and theirs is no coincidence.

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, the author of the Occult Roots of Nazism, was a British historian and professor of Western Esotericism at University of Exeter. As a specialist in Nazi ideology, his work provided several clues into the political, social and philosophical climate that shaped the contents of the Grail message.

A cursory look into the historical and philosophical underpinnings of Oskar’s credentials shows that there were other mystics, seers, and dreamers in his time who also espoused their imaginations, mysticism and occult-racist doctrines after being disenchanted with material wealth.

Two of such historical figures were Guido von List (1848 – 1919) and Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels (1874 – 1954). But, let’s first take a brief look at Oskar’s biography:

He was born on April 18, 1875, in Bischofswerda, Germany, and given the name Oskar Ernst Bernhardt. It was while developing and writing the lectures of his Grail Message that he took the name Abd-ru-shin, which translates to “Servant of the Light.”

Oskar spent a happy childhood in the small Saxon town of Bischofswerda. Following completion of school there, he was trained in commerce and served a business apprenticeship in nearby Dresden.

As an independent merchant and business owner, and later as part-owner of a larger import/export firm, Oskar travelled extensively.

His experiences and impressions soon prompted him to set aside the mercantile profession in favour of his literary inclinations, and from 1907 he worked solely as a writer, producing travelogues,
short stories and novels.

As a playwright, he gained notable success. After a year-long stay in New York (1912 to 1913), he moved to London where he intended to further his education.

As a German national at the outbreak of World War I, he was arrested and interned on the Isle of Man, in the British Isles. He was 40 years old at the time.

During his four years of imprisonment (1915 to 1919), he experienced what we would call an “epiphany.” The Grail movement described it as “a recognition and knowledge of vital, overarching connections, and the wish to help suffering human beings awakened within him.”

Based on these recognitions, in 1923, Oskar began giving public lectures and publishing them using the pen-name Abd-ru-shin.

Of course, there was a strong religious currency attached to this name. The name expresses to his followers what he understood as his mission—to be a servant of the Light and a bringer of the Grail Message.

There was nothing strikingly unique about Oskar’s religious odyssey except that the Grail movement has given his writings a halo that it didn’t merit.

History shows that there were several other figures like Oskar in Germany and Austria with very similar backgrounds, experiences and spiritual “recognitions.” One of them was List.

Guido (Von) List was the first popular writer to combine völkisch ideology with occultism and theosophy. His followers regarded him as an old patriarch and a mystical nationalist guru whose clairvoyant gaze had redeemed the glorious Aryan and Germanic past of Austria from the corruption of foreign influences and Christian culture.

List was born in Vienna on October 5, 1848, the eldest son of a prosperous middle-class merchant. He was said to have had a happy childhood.

His love of nature and rural landscape was cultivated by his parents who took delight in taking their children on country excursions around the capital.

He had a Roman Catholic background, and he claimed his conversion to alternative spirituality occurred when he visited the catacombs of St. Stephen’s and swore to later build a temple to Wotan [Germanic god, Odin] in the labyrinth under the cathedral, which he regarded as a pre-Christian shrine dedicated to a pagan deity. (Guido List, Deutsch-Mythologzsche Landschafsbilder [German Mythological Landscape Pictures], 2nd Ed. Leipzig and Vienna, 1913, II. 592.

List’s ambition to be an artist and scholar conflicted with his father’s wish for him to work in the family’s leather business as the heir.

List decided to combine both roles – partly in the commercial sector and partly a seeker on excursions to indulge his private world of art, imagination and nature worship.

With time, as List ritualized these adventures, he became known as a lone wolf and a mystic. He rationalized his withdrawal from the mundane life as an escape from the “fearful scenes of the wild pursuit of profit.” The modern economy had, according to him, led humans astray under the motto of self-seeking individualism.

In his own words, “One must flee those places where life throbs and seek out lonely spots untouched by human hand in order to lift the magic veil of nature.” (Deutsch-Mythologzsche, I p. 125).

Ab-dru-shin reiterated something similar:

“For when at last base sensations are gradually outlived or discarded, and ascent begins, then the constant yearning for what is higher and purer awakens and steadily drives him upwards. This is the normal course!” (Vol. 2:13 “Earthbound”)

In the 1890s List began publishing his literary works on the heroic past and religious mythology. After undergoing an eye operation to relieve a cataract in 1902, List was blind for eleven months. 

During this period, he intersected occult concepts with his ideas of ancient Germanic faith. In the words of Goodrick-Clarke:

In April 1903 List sent a manuscript about the Aryan proto-language to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna. This document set out the idea of a monumental pseudo-science concerned with Germanic linguistics and symbology: it was his first attempt to interpret, by means of occult insight, the letters and sounds of the runes and alphabet on the one hand, and the emblems and glyphs of ancient inscriptions on the other…

In September 1903 the Viennese occult periodical Die Gnosis published an article by List, which indicated the new theosophical cast of his thought. Here the author outlined the process of the universe’s creation and illustrated its phases with the triskelion and swastika glyphs (p. 41)

Several similarities can be seen between both religious figures: the literary or artistic bent, an attachment to and later detachment from material wealth, a personal calamity and a journey into mysticism.

Below are several examples of how Oskar’s teachings were shaped by the social, cultural and political contexts of Austria/Germany.

The Intellect

People will have noticed how often I mention the unlimited domination of the intellect and the great spiritual indolence as fatal, but it is necessary to do so; for both processes are inseparably linked together and can be designated as starting points of many evils, indeed as the real hostile to-the-Light cause of the decline and fall of the developed beings. (Vol. 3, ch. 44 “Believers Merely Out of Habit”)

This was a reflection of the spiritual mood in early 20th century Germany. The materialism and the elevation of reason propounded by the Enlightenment era was losing its zing among the people. They were craving mystical/spiritual insights through intuition.

The new irrationalism was thus a product of the revaluation of the emotive and intuitive faculties, coupled with a fearful distrust of analytical reason, materialism and empiricism. This spiritual mood, widespread in Germany, generated many sects and societies concerned with the occult and mysterious during the second half of the eighteenth century. These groups were responsible for a revival of interest in the arcane materials of alchemy, Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry. (Page 58)

Ab-dru-shin taught that the human intellect had to be suppressed in order for one to spiritually ascend:

The domination of the intellect entirely shuts off the spirit from every possibility for its necessary development. This actually is not malevolent on the part of the intellect, but only a quite natural effect.

In this the intellect merely acts according to its nature, because it cannot do otherwise than only develop its nature to blossom and to full strength when it is cultivated one-sidedly and put in the wrong place by unreservedly subjecting the whole of life on earth to it!

The fault lies solely with man himself and with the fact that he surrendered the mastery to the intellect, thus also gradually enslaving himself to it, i.e., binding himself to the earth. In doing so he completely lost the real purport of his life on earth – the possibility of spiritual recognition and spiritual maturing. (3:44)

There’s nothing new in these concepts as taught by Ab-dru-shin.

Between the 17th-19th centuries, Germany boasted of a number of scholar magicians and secret societies that were devoted to Rosicrucianism, theosophy, and alchemy.

In Europe, the rationalism of the Enlightenment era was falling apart, giving an impetus to a nostalgia for the Middle Ages, a desire for mystery and revival of occultism.

Theosophy was a system founded by a Russian occultist, Helena Blavatsky. Drawing on pagan mythology, ancient mystery religions, Gnosticism, the Hemetica, the Rosicrucians and other secret fraternities, she taught about a boundless God (Lucifer), and his electro-spiritual force (Fohat) which impresses the divine scheme upon the cosmic substance as the “laws of nature,” the endless cycle of death and rebirth, and the fundamental unity between the Creator and creation. (Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Theosophy. A Modern Revival of Annent Wisdom, New York, 1930, p. 199).

Undoubtedly, these are the core beliefs of the Grail message. While it can be adduced that both Bernhardt and Blavatsky received their inspirations from the same spiritual source, history also points to another key.

In early 20th century, Theosophy enjoyed a considerable vogue in Germany and Austria. Therefore, the presence of these occult philosophies in Ab-dru-shin’s writings is evidence that his knowledge was based on and limited by the spiritual climate of Germany in his own time:

How can one explain the enthusiastic reception of Blavatsky’s ideas by significant numbers of Europeans and Americans from the 1880s onwards? Theosophy offered an appealing mixture of ancient religious ideas and new concepts borrowed from the Darwinian theory of evolution and modern science.

This syncretic faith thus possessed the power to comfort certain individuals whose traditional outlook had been upset by the discrediting of orthodox religion, by the very rationalizing and de-mystifying progress of science and by the culturally dislocative impact of rapid social and economic change in the late nineteenth century.

George L. Mosse has noted that theosophy typified the wave of anti-positivism sweeping Europe at the end of the century and observed that its outré notions made a deeper impression in Germany than in other European countries. (p. 22)

Racism

Ab-dru-shin’s depictions and low view of Africans and other “primitive tribes” cannot be ignored or explained away by any sincere reader.

When one takes his writings as a product of his time, rather than a material with vested spiritual authority for all times and cultures, one can understand the basis of his racial bigotry.

This is not so very difficult, for the stages of development are externally discernable, and can be studied in those races of men which are still on the earth.

The spirits of the most primitive men, to which socalled savages, Bushmen and Hottentots belong, have not been incarnated in matter for a shorter time than the others, but it is either that they have not striven diligently enough towards the Light, or that, after having developed to a certain degree of perfection, they have degenerated, either here on earth or in the ethereal world, and thus can only incarnate in the inferior surroundings in which we find them.

Hence it is their own fault that they are still, or are again, on the same step of maturity as before, surrounded by an ethereal world of the same undesirable character. (Vol. II, ch. 67 “The Gods Olympus and Valhala” 1931 ed.)

The undeveloped or degenerate spirits of lower races of mankind are naturally either still or once more, spiritually deaf and blind. Such a man cannot see with his spiritual eye; nor has indeed any man up to the present day been able to see with his spiritual eyesight…

This is the real reason why we first of all find only the fear and worship of demons among the lower human races! It is what they are able to see and what they fear on account of it’s different nature!…

The Greeks, Romans and the Teutons [Germans] could see still further. Their inner seeing reached beyond the World of Matter into the Animistic Sphere lying above it. (Vol. II, ch. 67 1995 ed.)

This flagrant racial stratification laced with mystic terms is a reflection of the teachings of the Ariosophists prevalent in Germany in the time of Bernhardt. Goodrick-Clarke enunciates:

Racism was a vital element in the Ariosophists’ account of national conflict and the virtue of the Germans. An early classic on the superiority of the Nordic-Aryan race and a pessimistic prediction of its submergence by non-Aryan peoples was Arthur de Gobineau’s essay.

Although this work evoked no immediate response, its notions were echoed and its conclusions reversed by numerous propagandists for the superiority of Germandom towards the end of the century.

When the Social Darwinists invoked the inevitability of biological struggle in human life, it was proposed that the Aryans (or really the Germans) need not succumb to the fate of deterioration, but could prevail against the threats of decline and contamination by maintaining their
racial purity (p. 13)

Obviously, Oskar couldn’t see into the future to realize that Africans would read his writings, thus one can only marvel at his vague stereotype of Africans and his dismissive racist remarks about the black race reminiscent of his limited social exposure.

Just go with me in spirit to Africa to any Negro tribe! Think of such people’s power of comprehension! Make an effort clearly to envisage their inner life and way of thinking! These people believed in demons and all sorts of things! They possessed idols of roughly carved wood, and then Christian missionaries visited them…

The profitable inner experiencing, and thus the true support, are lacking! It is always and everywhere the same! The missionaries and converters throw themselves upon the people and want to convert them to Christianity without any further transition!” (Vol. III, ch. 2 “Ponderers”).

This was a clear reflection of the influence of volkish affirmation of the superior white race – the same ideology that was the driving force of Hitler’s Third Reich – on Oskar’s worldviews:

Racism and elitism also had their place in the volkisch ideology. The fact of racial differences was exploited to lend validity to claims of national distinction and superiority.

Once anthropology and linguistics had offered empirical standards for the classification of races, these became a staple in volkisch eulogies of the German race.

A set of inner moral qualities was related to the external characteristics of racial types: while the Aryans (and thus the Germans) were blue-eyed, blond-haired, tall and well-proportioned, they were also noble, honest, and courageous.

The Darwinist idea of evolution through struggle was also taken up in order to prove that the superior pure races would prevail over the mixed inferior ones…

This shrill imperative to crude struggle between the races and eugenic reform found broad acceptance in Germany around the turn of the century; the principal works of Ernst Krause, Otto Ammon, Ludwig Wilser, and Ludwig Woltmann, all Social Darwinists, were all published between the early 1890s and 1910.

Ernst Haeckel, the eminent zoologist, warned repeatedly against the mixing of races and founded the Monist League in 1906 in order to popularize this racist version of Social Darwinism among Germans.

These scientific formulations of racism in the context of physical anthropology and zoology lent conviction to vodlkisch nationalist prejudice in both Germany and Austria. (pp. 4-5)

The Laws of Nature

One of the major themes in the Grail message is the existence of some mysterious laws in nature which can be harnessed by the adept:

This also is strictly subject to the perfect Laws of Nature, and even God Himself could not do it because it would be against His Own Perfect Laws, against His Own Perfect Will which operates automatically in Nature!

It is just on account of this very Perfection that there could never occur to Him such an  imperfect thought, which would only be an arbitrary action! (Vol. II, ch. 48, “The Resurrection of Christ’s Physical Body”)

Needless to say, this was not a new concept. It’s an old belief that can be traced back to ancient paganism. This was part of the theosophical beliefs which List and Oskar adopted and fine-tuned:

Behind this process of change List saw the ‘primal laws of nature’, according to which all change occurred. He claimed that these laws represented an immanent God in Nature. List conceived of all things as an emanation of a spiritual force. Man was an integral part of this unified cosmos and thus obliged to follow a single ethical precept: to live in accordance with Nature.

At her bosom all tensions were dissolved in a mystical union between man and the cosmos. A close identity with one’s folk and race was reckoned a logical consequence of this closeness to Nature. (p. 50)

From what has been documented earlier, the Hindu, Gnostic and Egyptian philosophies of Helena Blavatsky were already prevalent in Germany and Austria at the time of Oskar. So he didn’t need to become a “servant of light” to adopt them.

The times he lived in dictated his beliefs. If he had lived in a jungle in Africa or the Amazon forest in South America at the time, he wouldn’t have encountered these ideas and there would have been no Grail message nor cross bearers today.

In the knowledge of Creation which I have given in my Message, and in the related explanation of all the Laws automatically working in Creation, which may also be called the Laws of Nature, the whole weaving of Creation is displayed without a gap; it allows every process to be clearly recognised, and there with the purpose of man’s whole life. With unassailable logic it also unfolds his “whence” and his “whither”, thus giving an answer to every question, provided man seriously seeks for it. (Vol. I, ch. 9 “Rigidity”)

This idea was already popularized in Germany in the late 19th century:

The Wotanist priesthood, which List had first discussed in the early 1890s, was now transformed into an exalted gnostic elite of initiates (the Armanenschaft), which corresponded to the hierophants in The Secret Doctrine. Die Rita der Ario-Germanen [The Rite of the Ario-Germans] (1908) regurgitated substantial parts of the theosophical cosmogony in its putative account of ancient Ario-Germanic belief.

The unmanifest and manifest deities, the creation of the universe by divine respiration, a primal fire as the energy source of a force redolent of Fohat, and the gradual evolution of the cosmos according to this agent’s
obedience to the ‘laws of nature’ received detailed treatment…

List’s cyclical vision of time was derived from his three sources of theological inspiration: the holy world of Nature, Norse mythology and modern theosophy.

It has already been shown how the elementary content of Armanist doctrine focused upon the ‘laws of nature’, which ostensibly determined the periodicity of all planetary and organic cycles in the cosmos. (pp. 52, 56)

From what has been presented, one can see that on comparing the Grail teachings with the social and religious concepts of Germany/Austria, it can be inferred that Ab-dru-shin’s message didn’t descend from above – no matter how one slices the cake – but were developed and conceptualized down here on earth, thus lacking eternal value.