Wednesday

Campanella

In 1598 and 1599, a huge man named Tommaso Campanella organized a revolt in Calabria to free it from Spain. Campanella was a magician who believed that the stars and numbers portended revolution. He thought the new century would mark the dawn of a new age–an age with a better religious cult, better moral laws, and an excellent ruler (to wit, Campanella, who thought he was astrologically-destined to bring the world into a new age).

In order to prepare for the new age, Campanella taught it was first necessary to overthrow Spanish rule, so he started a rebellion. He believed so strongly in his personal magical powers and the magical signs that he scarcely prepared for Spain's inevitable response. His “revolution” was quickly crushed and Campanella was imprisoned for 27 years.

During his imprisonment, he channeled his Utopian-magical desires into writing. In Citta del Sole (The City of the Sun), he drafted a blueprint for his ideal city, a mountain city ruled by a priest named Hoh. Hoh and his bureaucratic aides would rule over sex and employ eugenics to bring about the best humans: there would be no retardation or physical handicapped. All things would be held in common, including the women, and children would be raised in common. Both sexes would be trained to fight. Everyone would work, but for only four hours per day. Everyone would practice perfect virtue, and there would be no crime.

The City of the Sun's structure would be dictated by astrology and magic. In the words of historian of magic, Francis Yates: Campanella's city was “a complete reflection of the world as governed by the laws of natural magic in dependence on the stars,” which was “saturated through and through with astrology.”

Campanella's utopia was not a mere dream that he never thought possible (like Thomas More's Utopia, which he expressly disclaimed as impossible due to man's pride). Indeed, Campanella had tried, through political revolution, to establish it in Calabria.

Campanella's rather novel idea of establishing a utopia through magic has had many imitators in modern culture:

*The Theosophical Society, which was founded by Madame Blavatsky and dedicated to clairvoyance and telepathy, came under the leadership of Annie Besant, who closely combined social reform with the Society's occult principles. Its shrines included “tabernacles dedicated to anti-vivisection, vegetarianism, and a new social order.”

*Aleister Crowley, the father of the modern occult, dreamed of a new society that would be liberated through a new consciousness. He wrote that he wanted to “form an archetype of a new society” and to make a “clean sweep” from past civilization and pursue a magical model of society.

*The Nazi movement in Germany, possibly the most unabashed progressive movement in history, was heavily influenced by the occult. The leader of the notorious SS, Heinrich Himmler, was a devout occultist who regarded the SS as a religious order devoted to fighting the ancient diabolical enemy, Jewry, in its most-recent manifestation, Bolshevism.

*The 1960s Church of the Process of the Final Judgment (“The Process”) believed that all the light and dark forces (spirits) in the universe would be reconciled in a “great hip lovefest of cosmic sweep and orgiastic intensity.” The Process was determined to take control of all things in pursuit of this reunion of forces and determined to “off” those who might oppose it.

*Satanist, magician and movie director Kenneth Anger was a follower of Aleister Crowley and a cult figure in the motion picture industry (an industry that has always been wrapped in progressive politics). In the late sixties, he was involved in a series of “religious” films designed to bring about the dawning of the new age prophesied by Crowley. He participated in the famous 1967 Vietnam war protest in Washington D.C., during which he revealed a tattoo of Satan on his chest and screamed “Out, Demon, out,” in an attempt to levitate the Pentagon.

*Charles Manson was an occultist and was pre-occupied with societal change. The Manson Family murders in 1969 were meant to be supernatural triggers for an apocalyptic upheaval that would change the world.

Eric Scheske

Eric Scheske