Monday, January 29, 2007

Evola and Sex Magic: Book announcement

Hugh Urban (Ohio State University) has just published the "first history of western sexual magic as a modern spiritual tradition:" Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

Urban devotes one of his eight chapters to Julius Evola, described as "one of the most influential twentieth-century authors on Tantra and the spiritual aspects of sexuality." This is chapter 5, "The Yoga of Power: Sex Magic, Tantra, and Fascism in Twentieth-Century Europe" (pp. 140-61).


Abdul-Halim V. said...

I've been recently having a back-and-forth on Julius Evola back on my blog in the comments section and it occured to me that you might have some useful thoughts on the subject. Do you think it would be fair to say that Evola is a "racist"? Do you think it is possible to seperate the racist aspects (if any) from the rest of his comments on culture, civilization, various groups of people?

Mark Sedgwick said...

It depends, of course, what is meant by "racist." If you mean did he ever accept Nazi-style biological race ("zoological determinism"), the answer is clearly "no." He argued against it. However, if you mean did he believe that such a thing as "race" existed and mattered, the answer is equally clearly "yes"--he wrote about this extensively, especially in the 1930s. Of course his definition of "race" was primarily spiritual, which gives it another meaning, but he didn't even totally exclude the biological--he just argued that it wasn't the determining factor.

There's also the problem of his associates, and what in Against the Modern World I call the "recognition of evil test." My own view is that Eliade passed this test, but Evola didn't.

HOWEVER, I don't draw from this the conclusion that everything he ever wrote is discredited as a result.