Tuesday, 19 April 2005

'The Life of List: A Detailed Overview' or 'The Life of List: A True Biography'

Guido von (Karl Anton) List was perhaps the most important figure of runic revivalism in the late 19th, early 20th Century. He was THE revivalist of the mystic/occultic wisdom and it's arts in the Germanic tradition.

"He was the first popular writer to combine volkish ideology with occultism amd theosophy"... "He was regarded by his readers and followers as a bearded old patriarch and a mystical nationalist guru whose clairvoyant gaze had lifted the glorious Aryan and Germanic past of Autria into full view from beneath the debris of foreign influence and Christian culture." - The Occult Roots of Nazism: Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.
This paper includes a biography of Guido von List, a survey of his other works, and a comprehensive outline of his Armanic philosophy. List's seminal work, 'The Secret of the Runes', contains examples of virtually all of his major themes. No other work so clearly and simply sets forth the full spectrum of his fantastic vision of a mystical philosophy based on ancient Germanic principles. It will be of special interest to students of the Western occult tradition, as well as to those involved in ancient history, language, and mysticism. 
Name: Guido Karl Anton List, later changed to 'Guido von List'

Born: October 5th, 1848,Vienna, Austria.

Died: May 17th, 1919, Berlin Germany.

Buried: Cremated in Leipzig and his urn then buried in Vienna Central Cemetery, Zentralfriedhof , on the 8th of October 1919 in the gravesite KNLH 413 - Vienna's largest and most famous cemetery (including the graves of Beethoven , Brahms , Schubert and Strauss.) in Vienna's 11th district of Simmering. Since the grave is within a building that may be locked, you should contact the cemetery administration situated at the main entrance (Tor 2)of the Central Cemetery if you wish to pay a visit to the grave. Philipp Stauff wrote an obituary which appeared in the Münchener Beobachter .

Renowned as an expert in Indo-European Germanic linguistics and mythology, Guido von List was the undisputed "high-priest" of the Germanic occult renaissance of the early twentieth century. List's long-term interest in occultism came to full expression following an aye operation in 1902 that left him virtually blind for several months. During this time the runes are said to have "revealed themselves" to him, uncovering a complete cosmology and esoteric understanding of the primeval Teutonic/Aryan peoples. The runes became the cornerstone of List's ideology, which he later developed in more than ten volumes of occult study.

Written as an introduction to List's basic ideas, The Secret of the Runes contains examples of virtually all of his major themes. No other work so clearly and simply sets forth the full spectrum of his fantastic vision of amystical philosophy based on ancient Germanic principles. It will be of special interest to students of the Western occult tradition, as well as to those involved in ancient history, language, and mysticism.

Stephen Flowers (Dr. Stephen E. Flowers, Ph.D. - Edred Thorsson) studied Germanic and Celtic philology and religious history at the University of Texas at Austin and in Goettingen, West Germany. He received his Ph.D. in 1984 in Germanic Languages and Medieval Studies with a dissertation entitled Runes and Magic. To his translation of The Secret of the Runes, Dr. Flowers has added an extensive introduction which includes a biography of Guido von List, a survey of his other works, and a comprehensive outline of his Armanic phlosophy.

The Modern Myth of "Ariosophical" Culpability for Nazi crimes

More than once Stphen E. Flowers former work with the early 20th centruy rune-magicians and Guido von List has caused a critic or two to remark to the effect that he failed to point out that these esoteric ideas led directly to Auschwitz. One German academic - Stephanie von Schnurbein, as an example, writing in her 'Religion als Kulturkritik [(Winter, 1992) p. 136]' remarked concerning his introduction to ' The Secret of the Runes ': "Dabei erwähnt [Flowers] an keine Stelle, daß List und die andere Ariosophen Vordenker des Rassenwahns des Nationalsozialismus warren..." (In this work [Flowers] nowhere mentions that List and the other Ariosophists were intellectual predecessors of the racial madness of National Socialism...). It is just taken as a matter of course, with little to no actual critical investigation, that the ideas of list, Lanz and others were directly implemented in the Nazi genocide. A critical analysis would, however, show that such was no tthe case. First of all, no one has ever shown that racial policies of the NSDAP are based on so-called "Ariosophical" ideas. The very term "Ariosophy" points to its having been created as something based by analogy on its predecessor, Theosophy. All of the racial ideas contained in Ariosophy can be traced to Theosophy, and even the most "extreme" of the Ariosophists, Lanz von Liebenfels (cited several times by List in "The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk: Esoteric and Exoteric" () cannot be shown in any way comparable to the anti-Semitism practiced by the Nazis. Lanz not unfavorably about the Jews and cooperated with learned Jews in many of his publications. If individual Nzis became familiar with some of the mystical racism of Theosophy through the works of List and Lanz, this does not make the latter culpable in the crimes of the former. Why not blame Theosophy? Actually, of course, the Anti-Semitism that drove Nazi policies was much older and more deeply rooted in the people of central Europe than can be accounted for in a few fringe works by mystics and rune-magicians. Th eroots of Nazi anti-Semitism is in the Christian churches, both Catholic and Lutheran, but most especiall the Catholic Church. It was the Catholic Church Fathers who first invented ideas about the Jews being aninferior "race," and who drove Anti-Semitic policies right up to and all during the Second World War. (See David Kertzer, Popes Against the Jews [Knopf 2001].) The real truth about the "Occult (=hidden) roots of Nazi Anti-Semitism" is that these roots are to be found in Christian doctrines and teachings, not in pagan Germanic ones. The postware insistance upon the "occult" roots of these ideas is simply a matter of misdirecting historical attention away from the age-old perpetrator of the ideas and toward a "straw man" who is at present perceived as being to weak to define himself. It is safe to blame "mystical sects" and "pagans" for the crimes in question because these folks are so few and historically weak that they cannot defend themselves (norare many even interested in "defending" themselves) and few others (even in the name of truth) will stand up to defend them for fear of being tarred with the same brush. In any event, the works of Guido von List are interesting due to their spiritual rather than political content. Despite whatever weaknesses the works might be seen to have from today's perspective, they are most often worthy of our careful study. Pioneers and visionaries such as Guido von List represents remain the kind of men whose words we never tire of hearing.


The time has come to let Guid o von List at last speak for himself to the English reading public. With the possible exception of Lanz von Liebenfels, no other figure of the German "occult" movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has been more misrepresented than List. This work will, it is hoped, help to set the record straight on the exact nature and scope of "Armanism" and the pre-National Socialist neo-Germanic cult of the early part of this century. The original impetus of this book came in 1973 when I first picked up a copy of Trevor Ravenscroft's work The Spear of Destiny. 1. I found the contents of that book utterly fascinating and intriguing. But it must be added that I was only twenty years old at the time. What the book did, however, was fuel my interest in the study of Germanic and neo-Germanic mysticism. It seemed to be quite unique from that most readily available for study, that is, the systems based on Mediterranean , Middle Eastern, and Eastern ideas. After studying the content of the book, much of what seemed to give specific leads for further research, I began to acquire the works of List, Liebenfels, and others. As my collection and knowledge of the works and ideas of these men grew, it became quite obvious that they had been-at least factually-misrepresented by Ravenscroft. In any case, it seems appropriate that an ideologue who, according to different sources, was such a great influence on the events of this century should at least have a study dedicated solely to his life and ideas. To this end, I have introduced List's first systematic occult treatise - 'Des Geheimnis der Runen' (The Secret of the Runes) - with a general outline of his life and works.


Although The Secret of the Runes was originally intended as an introduction to List's basic ideas, and contains examples of virtually all of his major themes, a general overview of the life, work, and reception of this remarkable man are necessary to a more thorough understanding of his ultimate historical importance. The purpose of this introduction is to present List's ideas as clearly and completely as possible, and with a minimum of the sensationalism of subtle condemnation in which treatments of him are usually couched. It is assumed that the intelligent reader will be able to decide for himself whether there is any mystical validity to List's work. In some instances factual errors or linguistic fallacies in List's text have been noted.

Besides the particulars of List's life, literary works, and ideology, it is essential to explore the possible origins of his concepts and the reception of those ideas during and after his own lifetime. It is rather astonishing that so little is actually known about this man who is virtually a "legend in his own time." The reasons for this seem clear enough, however. Like most cult leaders-and true magicians-List had a vested interest in controlling and manipulating information concerning his person. After his death, his followers continued to have similar motives. Only one book-length biography of List exists, that of the Theosophist and Armanist Johannes Balzli (1917) 2. Balzli's book was actually issued as an introduction to List's published series of "investigative findings" (Forschungsergebnisse), and so it can hardly be considered objective. By far the most reliable treatment of at least some of List's ideas is that of Nicholas Goodrich-Clarke. 3. But the limitations placed upon this study by the thesis of his original dissertation-that is, "reactionary political fantasy in relation to social anxiety"-renders a less-than-well-rounded picture.


- Early Years (1848-1869)

Guido Karl Anton List was born in Vienna on 5 October 1848 to Karl August and Maria List (nee Killian). His father was a fairly prosperous dealer in leather goods, and we can assume that Guido's early life was lived in comfortable and nurturing surroundings. The List family was Catholic, and we also presume that Guido was trained in that confession.

From the start of adolescence we have evidence of some of his propensities in life. He was fascinated by the landscape of his native Lower Austria and by the cityscape of his native city, Vienna . His sketchbook - which has drawings from as far back as 1863 (when he would have been fifteen years old) - demonstrates his interest in such sites. Some of these sketches were later used to illustrate the Deutsch-mythologische Landschaftsbilder (German Mythological Landscape Scenes, published 1891.) *4. In conjunction with the romanticising of his environment, young Guido, by his own account, *5 also had developed a strong mysto-magical bent of no orthodox variety.

'It was in the year 1862 - I was then in my fourteenth year of life - when I, after much asking, received permission from my father to accompany him and his party who were planning to visit the catacombs [under St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna] which were at that time still in their original condition. We climbed down, and everything I saw and felt excited me with a kind of power that today I am no longer able to experience. Then we came - it was, if I remember correctly, in the third or fourth level - to a ruined altar. The guide said that we were now situated beneath the old post office (today the Wohlzeile House No. 8). At that point my excitement was raised to fever pitch, and before this altar I proclaimed out loud this ceremonial vow: "Whenever I get big, I will build a Temple to Wotan!" I was, of course, laughed at, as a few members of the party said that a child did not belong in such a place… I knew nothing more about Wuotan than that which I had read about him in Vollmer's Woterbuch der Mythologie. ' *6

Despite these artistic and mystical leanings, Guido was expected, as the eldest child, to follow in his father's footsteps as a businessman. He appears to have fulfilled his responsibilities in a dutiful manner, but he took any and all opportunities to develop his more intense interests.

- The Mystical Wanderer (1870-1877)

The many trips that List was obliged to make for business purposes afforded him the opportunity to indulge himself in his passion for hiking and mountaineering. This activity seems to have provided a matrix for his early mysticism.

Although descriptions of List's early pilgrimages into nature exist, *7 it is unclear what underlying mystical tradition he was familiar with at the time. Two things are obvious, however: he was possessed of the idea of the sacrality of his native land, and he has an "All-Mother." The interest in his native soil was probably spurred by his early passion for Germanic myth and lore. *8

At one point, one of his mountain adventures almost claimed List's life. As he was climbing a mountain on 8 May 1871 , a mass of ice gave way under his feet and he fell some distance. He was apparently saved only by the fact that he had landed on a soft surface covered by a recent snowfall. In memory of his good luck List had a track equipped with a chain put up. This was opened on 21 June 1871 and was named after him: the Guido-List-Steig. *9

Apparently List recorded his mystical wanderings in nature in verbal descriptions as well as in sketches. In 1871, his writing talents were given vent as he became a correspondent of the Neue deutsche Al-penzeitung (New German Alpine Newspaper), later called the Salonblatt. He also began to edit the yearbook of the Osterreicher Alpenverein' (Austrian Alpine Association), whose secretary he had become that year.

List often went in the company of others on his journeys into the mountains, which were taken on foot, by wagon, horse, or rowboat; but he would usually strike out on his own at some point to seek the solitude of nature.

Besides gaining general mystical impressions in these outings, List also engaged in active celebratory ritual work. He would perform various rituals that sometimes seemed quite impromptu. The most famous depiction of such an event is his celebration of the summer solstice on 24 June 1875 at the ruins of the Roman City of Carnuntum. *10 For this - as for so much else - we are dependent on List's own somewhat fictionalised account, first published in Vienna in 1881. Basically, the ritual elements of this outing included the arduous task of gaining access to the so-called Heidentor ("Heathen Gate") of the city (which List mystically identified as the gate from which a German army set out to conquer Rome in 375 C.E.), the drinking of ritual toasts to the memory of the local spirit ( genius loci ) and the heroes of the past, the lighting of a solstice fire, and the laying of eight wine bottles in the shape of the "fyrfos" (Swastika) in the glowing embers of the fire. List and his company then awaited the dawn.

These early experiences were sometimes later more completely fictionalised, as, for example, in his visionary tale "Eine Zaubernacht" (A Night of Magic). *11 In this account, the persona (List) succeeds in invoking from the great mound a divine seeress ( Hechsa ) who reveals to him that he is not to be the liberator of the Germans - but that despite this "the German folk has need of the skald."

- The Folkish Journalist (1877-1887)

This rather comfortable, if self-divided, period in List's life came to an end after his father died in 1877, when List was twenty-nine years old. Neither he nor his mother appear to have had the elder List's keen sense of business, and as economic times became difficult List quit the business to devout himself fulltime to his writing. At this time his writing continued to be of a journalistic kind. Deprived of his ability to travel and wander as he had before, he wrote articles for newspapers, such as the Neue Welt, Neue deutsche Alpenzeitung, Heimat, and the Deutsche Zeitung, which dealt with his earlier travels and mystical reflections on these Loci. Many of these pieces were anthologised in 1891 in his famous Deutsch-mythologische Landschaftbilder. It was also during this period, in 1878, that he married his first wife, Helene Foster-Peters. However, the marriage was not to last through the difficult years of this period.

Given the Pan-German nationalism of the various groups and papers with which List had been associated throughout his career, it seems certain that from a political standpoint he was firmly in their camp. *12

However, the nature of his mysticism at this time seems to have been somewhat more original. Before any influence from later Theosophical notions could have been present, he was continuing on the path of mystical Germanic revivalism. Besides his own intuition - which, given his results, must have been his chief source - he must have been familiar with a variety of non-scientific, neo-romantic works on Germanic mythology and religion popular at the time, *13 and was perhaps also aware of at least a portion of the scientific studies. In any event, many of the uniquely Listian notions seem to have been already solidifying in this early period.

Through these years, List was also working on his first book-length (two-volume) effort, Carnuntum, a historical novel based on his vision of the Kulturkampf between the Germanic and Roman worlds centred at that location around the year 375 C.E.

- The Nationalist Poet (1888-1899)

Carnuntum was published in 1888 and became a huge success, especially among the Pan-German nationalists of Austria and Germany . Its publication brought its author more to the attention of important political and economic leaders of German nationalist movements. In connection with the appearance of Carnuntum, List made the acquaintance of the industrialist Friedrich Wannieck. This association was to prove essential to List's future development.

Throughout this period, List devoted himself to the production of further neo-romanticism prose, such as Jung Diethers Heimkehr (Young Diether's Homecoming) and Pipara, in 1894 and 1895 respectively. The anthology of earlier journalism Deutsch-mythologische Landschaftbilder was published in 1891, and List developed his writing skills in poetic and dramatic genres as well.

List became involved with two important literary associations during these years. In May 1891, the Iduna, bearing the descriptive subtitle "Free German Society for Literature," was founded by a circle of writers around Fritz Lemmermayer. Lemmermayer acted as a sort of "middle man" between an older generation of authors (which included Fercher von Steinwand, Joseph Tandler, Auguste Hyrtl, Ludwig von Mertens, and Josephone von Knorr) and a group of younger writers and thinkers (which included Rudolf Steiner, Marie Eugenie delle Grazie, and Karl Maria Heidt). The name Iduna, which was provided by List himself, is that of a North Germanic goddess of eternal youth and renewal. Within the society were two other authors with specifically neo-Germanic leanings: Richard von Kralik and Joseph Kalasanz Poestion. This literary circle was loosely held together by neo-romantic ideas of German nationalism, a sense of "turning within one's self" ( innerliche Wanderung ), antirealism, and anti-decadence. The society was only able to last until 1893, when the dilettantism of the various interests seems to have become too acute. However, in many ways this does seem to have been the springtime of the neo-Germanic movement. *14 Another neo-romantic literary association, the Literarische Donaugesellschaft (Danubian Literary Society), was founded by List and Fanny Wschiansky the year the Iduna was dissolved. *15

It is almost certain that List and Rudolf Steiner knew each other in the early 1890's, since both were being influenced by the first wave of Theosophy and occult revivalism in German-speaking countries at that time. However, there is little chance that either one had too much direct influence on the other. Each of them would become more "Theosophical" in the next decade. List also met the young Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels (Adolf Joseph) at this time as well but it would not be until after Lanz had left the Heiligenkreuz monastery in 1899 that any extensive interaction between the two was possible.

By far the most important influence on List's development at this time were those provided by the nationalist and Pan-German cultural and political groups whose attention had been drawn to him by the publication of Carnuntum. These were largely associations of people of German ancestry and language in the multiethnic Austrian Empire, whose aims included the promotion of Germanic culture and language (over that of non-German subjects) and the eventual political union of Austrian Germans with the greater German Empire to the west, that is, Germany proper. *16

Of course such notions were common enough at the time, and List was certainly already firmly in this camp before 1891. Even the "sporting2 associations in which he had earlier begun to be active had Pan-German political aims. However, this period began a more activist phase for List, who had, up until this time, been fairly exclusively "mystical" in his approach. The new phase brought List into close contact with such leading political figures as Georg von Schonerer, an anti-Semitic Pan-German member of the Imperial Parliament, *17 and the powerful publicist and parliamentary deputy Karl Wolf. Both of these men also published newspapers, and List's work appeared in Wolf's Ostdeutsche Rundschau (East German Review) on a regular basis. *18 It might also be speculated that List had as much a "mystifying" effect on the political world as it had a "politicising" effect on his views. This trend would continue with the later advent of the New Templar Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels. But it was List's association with the Wannieck family and their organisation and publishing house, Verein "Deutsche Haus" ("German House" Association), which was to prove most important to List. They published many of his books in this decade and give him a wider outlet for his ideas. In 1892 he delivered a lecture on the ancient Germanic cult of Wuotan to the Verein Deutsche Geschichte (German History Association). Numerous other associations allied with this one proliferated in Austria at this time. Another groupBund der Germanen (Germanic League), sponsored the performance of List's mythological dramatic poem, Der Wala Erweckung (The Wala's Awakening), in 1894. In another performance of this drama in 1895, which was attended by over three thousand people, the part of Wala was read by Anna Wittek, a young actress who later became List's second wife.

Through these years, List became a well-known and respected artist and mystagogue among Austrian German nationalists, and he was to remain a part of the conservative cultural establishment throughout his life.

- The Emerging Master (1898-1902)

The time between the publication of Der Unbenesiegbare (1898), List's neo-Germanic catechism, and the year 1902 marked a period of transformation of List from someone known primarily as an artist to an occult investigator, religious leader, and prophet of a coming age.

Concerning the generation of the manuscript for Der Unbenesiegbare there is a story that perhaps demonstrates the growing - if ambivalent – association between mysticism and politics in these circles. In the summer of 1898, a law prescribing religious instruction in Lower Austria secondary schools was being debated. Dr. Karl Lueger, who was later to become the mayor of Vienna and a member of the Guido von List Society, was for the bill, as were the church officials. When he was questioned on this by representative Karl Wolf, Lueger responded “Gebt uns Besseres und wir warden Euch folgen!” (Give us something better and we shall follow you!). It is said that List was deeply moved by this and wrote Der Unbenesiegbare overnight. List took the manuscript to Wolf's office the next day, but the whole idea was eventually rejected by Wolf, as his interests in religion were “just matters of curriculum.” The catechism was printed in an edition of five thousand copies, *19 marking the beginning of List's more practical religious career.

Perhaps the successes he had had with the poetic drama Der Wala Erwechung spurred List to try his hand at more drama, because in the last phase of his conventional literary career this genre predominated. However, to assume that List intended these dramas as mere entertainment would be a mistake. He saw them more as Weihespiele (sacral plays) which had a liturgical as well as didactic purpose. In 1900, he published a pamphlet, Der Wiederaufbau von Carnuntum (The Reconstruction of Carnuntum), in which he called for the establishment of ritual dramas and legal assemblies based on ancient Germanic models.

In August 1899, List married Anna Wittek von Stecky, who had sung the Wala parting his play in 1895. They were married in a Lutheran church – which is also some indication of the decay of the Catholic establishment and general religious dissatisfaction in Austria at that time.

This period acts more as a sort of bridge between List's long artistic phase and his shorter, but highly intense and influential, mystico-magical phase from 1902 to his death in 1919. It is also most likely that during this period (1898-1902) Theosophical ideas as such became more influential in List's worldview. After all, it was not until 1897-1901 that the German translation of The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky appeared. Certainly List would have had Theosophical ideas available to him long before this (perhaps as early as the 1880's), but the evidence of a general lack of Theosophical concepts in Der Unbenesiegbare would indicate that it was of little influence before 1898.

In 1902, by his own accounts, there resulted in his “revelations” concerning the “secret of the runes.”

- The Occult Master (1902-1919)

Late in 1902, List had undergone an operation for cataracts. For eleven months his eyes were bandaged, and in this virtual state of blindness and utter darkness List is said to have been enlightened with regard to the “secret of the runes.” At this time, and by whatever means, List's occult vision did seem to undergo a major synthesis. That the main features of his thought were solidified in this period is witnessed by the fact that he produced his first manuscript on Kala and published an article on his interpretation of glyphs (swastika, triskelion, etc.) in 1903. *20

Between this time and 1908, when Das Geneimnis der Runen was published and the Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft (Guido von List Society) was founded, List's ideas probably underwent their final synthesis. After 1908, it seems “occult wisdom2 flowed freely and constantly from the pen of the Master.

It was between 1903 and 1907 that List first began to use the noble title “von" in his name. *21 Legitimate or not, it was important for List to distance himself from his middle-class background as his ideas took on a more aristocratic tone – and began to appeal more and more to the aristocratic establishment.

On 2 March 1908 the Guido von List Society was officially founded to support the work of the Master.

Although chiefly founded by the Wannieck family, it was also supported by many leading figures in Austrian and German politics, publishing, and occultism.

All of List's occult research works that were to be published in his lifetime were originally published between 1908 and 1914. Economic restrictions after that time put an end to the production of original works.

The Guido von List society remained the exoteric outlet for List's ideas, mainly in the form of his multivolume “research findings.” However, his work implied a deeper, more practical level as well. For the expression of this aspect, in the form of a magical order or lodge, the Hoher Armanen-Orden (High Armanic Order), HAO, was founded in midsummer 1911. Thus List had formed exoteric and esoteric circles in his organisation. The activities of the esoteric HAO were indeed mysterious. We know that they conducted pilgrimages to what they considered holy Armanic sites, Saint Stephen's Cathederal in Vienna , Carnuntum , etc. They also had their occasional meetings between 1911 and 1918, but the exact nature of these remains unknown. The HAO never really crystallised in List's lifetime - although it seems possible that he developed a theoretical body of unpublished documents and rituals relevant to the HAO which have only been put into full practice in more recent years. *22

An odd chapter in Guido von List's story was opened in November 1911 when he received a letter from a mysterious figure in Germany calling himself Tarnhari. *23 This man turned out to be one Ernst Lautner, who claimed to be a descendant of the ancient Nordic tribe of the Wolsungen (Old Norse Volsungar, the tribe to which Sigurd/Siegfried belonged). He also claimed, however, to be a reincarnation of a chieftain of this tribe. *24 Lautner was also to be instrumental in the spread of List's ideas in Germany .

Throughout the years of World War 1, although nothing new was published by the Master, his reputation and fame grew, and his ideas were becoming more popular than ever. But the war took its toll on the health of the now elderly List. Within a few months after the end of the war, List died while on a visit to his followers in Berlin , on 17 May 1919 . *25 His body was cremated and placed in an urn in his native Vienna .


- The Early Period

Before his mystical "initiation" in 1902 and the subsequent publication of Das Geheimnis der Runen, Guido von lIst had, with the notable exception of Der Unbesiegbare, mainly confiend himself to journalistic and fiction work. His journalism, however, covered a wide range of material. Much of it was concerned with the local antiquities and natural and man-made wonders of the Austrian countryside. But there was also the occasional foray into actual religious or magical ideas, as in "Gotterdammerung" (1893), *26 "Von der Wuotanspriesterschaft" (1893), *27 "Die deutsche Mythologie im Rahmen eines Kalenderjahres" (1894), *28 "Der deutsche Zauberglaube in Bauwesen" (1895), *29 and "Mephistopheles" (1895). *30 These, as well as the natural-mystical assumptions that underlie his interpretations of ancient and natural phenomena, would seem to indicate that a fairly sophisticated system of mystical thinking had been developed by List throughout these early years.

Of course, the major part of List's energies before 1902 were spent in the production of neo-romantic fiction and verse. In this period, basically that between 1888 and 1903, when the last of his major fiction was published, there are essentially two phases.

The first of these, between 1888 and 1895, might be called his novelistic phase. During this time he produced three major novels (including his earlier work Carnuntum ) and two major epic-dramatic poems.

Carnuntum, his first novel was set in the time of the Germanic invasions across the Roman limes in the late fourth century C.E. Historically, Carnuntum was overrun in 374 C.E. by the Quadi, a Germanic tribe. It is an explicit feature of List's historical vision that modern Austria south and west of the Danube was an Urheimat, a primeval homeland, of the Germanic peoples, and that with such ancient invasions the Germans were merely reclaiming territories lost to Roman forces of occupation. *31

Jung Diethers Heimkehr (1894) is set in the same geographical area in the fifth century. It relates the story of a young Markomanni-Quadi warrior who is forced to convert to Christianity (in the hated Roman culture) but who eventually returns to the faith of his fathers - Wuotanism - once he realises the essence of "Christianism." In the same year, Der Wala Erweckung appeared, but apparently it was not performed until 3 November 1895 . In 1895 there also appeared the skaldic sacral drama Walkurenweihe. The year 1895 also saw List's most succesful work of fiction, Pipara: Die Germanin im Casarenpurur (Pipara: the Germanic Woman in the purple of the Caesars). This two-volume work recounts the legendary rise of a Germanic slave to the position of empress in the late third century C.E.

Probably as a result of his marriage in 1899 to the actress Anna Witteck, List devoted his literary efforts almost exclusively to drama between that year and the year of his final fiction publications, 1903. These included Konig Vannius (1899), Sommer-Sonnwend-Feuerzauber (1901), and Das Goldstuck (1903).

The year 1903 also saw the publication of List's Kunstmarchen anthology: Alraunenmaren: Kultur-historische Novellen un Dichtungen aus germanischer Vorzeit (Mandrake-Tales: Cultural-historical Novellas and Poetry from Germanic Prehistory). In this volume List presented original tales and poetry chronologically arranged from the "age of the gods" to the present (in the symbolically autobiographical " Eine Zauernacht, " which recounts his inner experience on that famous visit to Carnuntum in the summer of 1875).

- The Later Period

The spiritual watershed year was, of course, 1902. But it was not until 1908 that the first volume of his eight books of "investigations" appeared. Six of these were published by the Guido von list Society itself in the series called the Guido-von-List-Bucherei (GvLB); the two exceptions were first published by Adolf Burdeke in Switzerland and Leipzig .

Das Geheimnis der Runen (The Secret of the Runes; GvLB no. 1, 1908), the work translated here, is both a brief summary of the intellectual world of List, as realised in the years between 1902 and 1908, and an introduction to the rest of his work. The runes became the cornerstone of List's ideology, and no other work so clearly and simply outlines his ideas on them.

Die Armanenschaft der Ario-Germanen (The Armanism of the Aryo-Germanic People; GvLB nos. 2a-2b, 1908 and 1911) is a two-volume set that outlines the great principles of Armanism, its social history and organisation, as well as its cosmological conceptions. The second volume also contains the most pointed use of contemporary racist ideology that List would publish in this series.

Die Rita der Ario-Germanen (The Rita of the Aryo-Germanic People, GvLB no. 3, 1908) represents a mystical delineation of Germanic law, in the cosmic as well as the political realm. The term rita os obviously borrowed from Sanskrit rta or rita, “cosmic order.” This work also contains a fairly detailed account of the “Holy Feme” (or “Vehme”) as it was understood by contemporary volkish occultists.

Dir Namen der Volkerstamme Germaniens und deren Deutung (The Names of the Tribes of the People of Germania and their Interpretation; GvLB no. 4, 1909) represents the application of List's mystical theories concerning Kala (see p.77ff.) to the many tribal names of the Germanic peoples which have survived in Roman histories, etc.

Die Religion der Ario-Germanen in ihrer Esoterik und Exoterik (The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic People in its Esoteric and Exoteric Aspects; 1909 or 1910) is a discussion of the Armanic theories of astrological lore, theology, and numerology.

Die Bilderschrift der Ario-Germanen: Ario-Germanische Hierogyphik (The Pictographic Script of the Aryo-Germanic People: Aryo-Germanic Hieroglyphics; GvLB no. 5, 1910) is one o fList's most unique and fascinating mystical explorations. In this volume he interprets all sorts of graphic signs and symbols – including runes, sigils, and symbolic animals – and then applies his theories to the esoteric symbolism of heraldry. This is the most sophisticated delineation of ideas first presented in The Secret of the Runes (see p. 81ff. of the present text).

Die Unbergang vom Wuotanismus zum Christentum (The Transition from Wuotanism to Christianity; 1911) is connected with a central theme in List's thinking: the (more or less) smooth transition between the pagan and Christian religions. This theory (many elements of which are perfectly legitimate) allows for the pagan reinterpretation of Christian customs, festivals, names, and so forth, based on the idea that these tribes were originally heathen (Wuotanist) features that only received a Christian veneer. Thus the pagan ways have, according to List, survived the centuries more or less intact, and are only in need of correct reinterpretation in order to make them living Wuotanist realities again.

It was three more years before List's next, and most comprehensive, study appeared. Die Ursprache der Ario-Germanen in ihre Mysteriensprache (The Primal Language of the Aryo-Germanic People and their Mystery Language; GvLB no. 6, 1914) is the encyclopediac presentation of List's complex linguistic theories, based on Kala. This work actually represents the raising of the tradition known as “folk etymology“ to the level of an arcane science comparable to cabalistic number theories. (See P. 69ff. below for a sample of these techniques.)

The disruptions caused by the Great War caused an indefinite delay in the publication of List's last volume of investigations, which was to be entitled Armanismus und Kabbala. In fact, by the time the Master died in 1919 the manuscript had still not been prepared for publication, and so it was never made public. Some rumours have it that the work was stolen, others that it was merely kept secret by members of the HAO. This was to be List's great work of magical correspondences. It would have also further developed the mystical history of the way in which, according to List, Armanen- wisdom found its way into Judaic mysticism and Renaissance humanism. *32

The works of Guido von List continued to be printed, and the Society flourished until the late 1930's, when it fell under the general suppressions exercised by the National Socialist regime of “Greater Germany.” Of course, List's works we read, studied, and collected by the Germanophilic Nazis – most of the copies of List's works to be found in academic libraries in America bear the stamp of the Reichsfuhrer SS Bucherei and /or that of the Ahnenerbe. (For further information on the Ahnenerbe, see fn 50.) It would seem that after the contents of these libraries were confiscated and sent to America they were subsequently distributed among American (especially “Ivy League”) universities.



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