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The Myth of the Pole in Science, Symbolism and Nazi Survival

By Jocelyn Godwin

published in 1996 by Adventures Unlimited Press
296 pages

Review by Amir Fasad

This in an interesting work by Joscelyn Godwin, subtitled "The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival", which gives some idea of the range of material covered. Born in England, Mr. Godwin teaches, or taught, college courses in New York State, and has written a number of works touching on esoteric themes. These are, despite the constraints of an academic perspective, well researched and an excellent source of leads for further study, and Arktos is no exception.

Arktos first describes the ubiquitous myth of a lost golden age, and the universal connection of this idyllic time with the belief that the Earth had a different polar orientation, year, calendar, and the like. This concept is then linked to the idea of a lost "sacred land" where the events of the golden age played out.

Contrary to the assumptions of many in the modern world, Godwin states that the earliest myths of humanity put this earthly paradise in the North, rather than the East, as the Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions seem to do. If the poles have moved dramatically during human history, as he speculates later, evidence of it may be subtly preserved by the transposition of these directions, with the polar symbolism of the North being converted into a solar symbolism corresponding to the East. This seems to be explicitly stated in the (often quoted) works of Rene Guenon, though Arktos makes little mention of the idea directly.

Accounts are given of legends describing this lost land in ways that resemble the arctic or subarctic regions, particularly in regards to the length of day, perpetual sunlight (during summer) and other matters. Arktos then describes the North as the original homeland of various peoples, especially the Aryans of India, and the broadening of this concept to cover Germans and other Europeans. This is followed by the sad tale of the Thule Society, and the misappropriation by the Nazis of the Aryan race concept and lost homeland mythos for political reasons.

Following this is an interesting, but obviously hard to verify, chapter describing a "black order," of uncertain age and origin, mentioned in obscure occult works, which was either an inspiration for, or continuation of, Nazism. It is often associated with hidden bases in the arctic and/or antarctic alleged to hold advanced technologies developed by the Nazis, such as antigravity craft. It is interesting to note that if such vehicles exist, they could provide a ready explanation for at least some UFO sightings.

Godwin then delves into legends of underground civilizations, particularly Agartha and Shambhala, coming to the conclusion that they are in fact synonymous, and then introduces the hollow earth theory, which seems to be a combination of a too-literal interpretation of traditional beliefs and literary romanticism.

Probably the most important section of Arktos introduces the idea that ancient "polar" myths refer not to earthly geography at all, but to astronomy, and that the axis of rotation of the globe symbolizes the "cosmic axis", with "North" being the metaphorical direction of "ascent" to higher states. Godwin finds support for this in various traditional religions, including Islamic esoterism in particular, and his arguments seem convincing.

Arktos then speculates about the possible movement of the poles during historical times, in contradiction to the uniformitarian notions of modern science. While such "catastrophist" views seem convincing to this reviewer, the beliefs of Godwin himself on these issues is left unclear. In general, however, he seems to take all of the material in Arktos seriously, but not always literally, and this seems like a wise course.

All in all, Arktos is an interesting and fun book to read, and includes a extensive bibliography for those who care to delve into these subjects in more detail.