“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wildmen on the church of San Gregorio in Valladolid

From Wild Men in the Middle Ages by Richard Bernheimer (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1952):

We owe to the same tendency toward heraldic amplification one of the most astounding documents of late mediaeval sculpture, which marks the high point of the expansion of wind man iconography into areas originally reserved for other types of art. The façade of the church of San Gregorio in Valladolid, built between 1488 and 1496, during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, is distinguished by the unique and shocking device of placing the wild men on the jambs of the portal, that is, in that location on the building which, since the beginning of Gothic architecture, had been reserved for the figures of the prophets and the saints. The wild men appear on the jambs proper, on the frontal wall of the doorway, and even on its outer side, making a further appearance on the highest level of the façade.

The intrusion of the pagan creatures into those parts of the church which had always been adorned with important sacred figures seems puzzling until it is realized that the whole church front, with the exception of the tympanum, is conceived as one large heraldic showpiece in honor of the king and queen and their relationship to the see of Toledo. The key to all that seems unusual lies therefore in the panel above the doorway containing the royal coat of arms and the tree and fountain of life in which it is rooted. Once it is understood that the rest of the façade is to be read as the heraldic accompaniment of this central triumphant theme, one will comprehend also why there should be heralds on the side, wild men in the doorways, and finally fleurs-de-lis in the coats of arms held by angels over the spandrels; for the fleur-de-lis, emblem of the Virgin Mary and of her purity, was also the emblem of the see of Toledo, which thus proclaims its participation and interest in what, after all, is the decoration of a sacred building.

In this combination of heraldic elements the wild men function as the outer guardians who are closest to the visitors of the church and furthest removed from the symbolic splendor of the royal shield. They are thus given the same humble position which they hold as festival police in many contemporary pageants, ecclesiastical and secular. It is interesting to note, in light of what has been said before, that, although deprived of their former task of upholding the royal coat of arms, the wild men all have their own shields, inscribed with masks and ornamental designs.

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