Nazi Occultism

Nicholas Goodrick-Clark. Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, The Hindu-Aryan myth and Neo-Nazism. New York University Press, 1998.

In this book, the author of the acclaimed Occult Roots of Nazism, charts the life and career of one of the strangest Nazis of them all, the sort of life and career that were it to be the plot of a novel would be dismissed as too absurd. Savitri Devi, was born Maximiani Portas, in Lyons daughter of Italian-Greek naturalised French father and &glish mother. Goodrick-Clark traces her career from her involvement with Hellenism, her reaction against the Allies after their refusal to support Greek irredentism in 1922, her journey into the orbit of Hitler, her journey to India, her marriage, largely of convenience, to a Hindu nationalist and pro-Hitler publisher, A. K. Mukherji, her construction of an occult world view based largely on a synthesis of Hinduism and Nazism, with a mix of vegetarianism animal rights and proto-ecology, up to her post-war friendship with old German and new British Nazis.

It is not so much Portas/Devi herself who is of interest, but the way she represents an intersection of various currents in the modern world that few people would automatically connect together. For example the Hindu nationalist movement with which she was associated was the spiritual ancestor the current BJP (Party of the Indian-People), the dominant force in the present Indian government (and a party whose slogan One People, One Nation, One Culture, evokes, shall we say, a certain deja vu). Her own mythology, her rejection of humanism and general misanthropy, has more than echoes in the deep green movement, leaving such movements open to infiltration by the radical right.

Already the radical right in Switerzland has taken up ecology in a big way, the Democratic Ecology Party in West Germany mixes deep green and nationalist themes, and of course we have David Icke's linking of ecology, new ageism and antisemitic conspiracy theories, derived from Nazism and proto facisism. The New Age movement, particularly its apocalyptic deep-green wing, has the same kind of anti-humanism, and would seem to welcome of a catastrophe which will wipe out most of human kind (who just, by pure coincidence of course, happen to be poor and black leaving just nice bronzed, Californians alive. - Peter Rogerson, from Magonia 68, September 1999.

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