Thursday, July 07, 2016
Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.189: Polaria: The Gift of the White Stone
W.H. Muller's Polaria: The Gift of the White Stone appears to be something of a rarity (if some of the silly prices on abebooks.com are to be believed), and in truth it has been a long while since I read it; regardless, Muller's central claim seems to be that Lovecaft's works alchemically encode the routemap to a sacred quest for self-perfection and mergence/unity with trascendental Oneness - a quest which, as Muller has it, is also tied to the supposed polar symbolism of various esoteric traditions. Muller's style and approach - notably his intuitive leaps when it comes to establishing symbolic and numerological concordance - is akin to that of Kenneth Grant (albeit drier and less weirder than Grant - much to its detriment). It is also difficult to square Muller's affirmative, spiritualised reading of Lovecraft with the nihilistic terror that suffuses the Cthulhu Mythos (Grant at least retains the scariness and moral ambivalence of Lovecraft's universe with regard to his more antinomian approach to a sacralised Mythos).
The polar aspects of Muller's exgesis are, for me, of broader interest - particularly as they pertain to the topic of lost continents/lost civilizations such as Hyperborea, Thule and Atlantis; unfortunately one does not have to dig too deeply into the esoteric literature surrounding these speculated realms - especially amongst mid-to-late 19th and early 20th century European esoteric writers - to find them tied to a kind of ethno-spiritual primordialism, and subsequently mobilsed in support of traditionalist/right-wing nationalistic projects (often explicitly anti-Semitic in tone). For interested readers, Sumathi Ramaswamy's The Lost Land of Lemuria is an excellent acadmic starting point with regard to this topic. The fact that casual references to said writers can all-too regularly be found in contemporay esoteric texts is telling with regard to how some of these modern esotericisms are happily aligning themselves with what Judith Nagata refers to as those 'ethnic chauvinisms' emergent from late modern globalised capitalism. In other words, the ill-informed racial exceptionalism which legitimised European colonialism in its 18th and 19th century phases - reducing the historically complex cultural systems of colonised peoples to an imagined 'Aryan' invasion (as in the case of India) - is alive and well today, and can be observed in claims regarding the 'white' origins of a variety of non-European indigenous cultures as speculated (and I use the term loosely here) in the work of hugely popular writers such as Graham Hancock. Rant over.