Gary Lachman’s latest: ‘how being too enlightened may leave us in the dark’

Gary Lachman is prolific. He’s written several books on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness to literary suicides, popular culture and the history of the occult.

I interviewed Gary for our podcast, A couple of Europhiles; a favorite to be sure and now he’s written a compelling piece about repression, magic, and many ideas to make us think.


We might think that with the widespread popularity today of yoga, meditation, and a variety of other “mind, body and spirit” pursuits, that some of the knowledge and the means of acquiring it rejected with the rise of what we know as science, has found a place in the postmodern world. Humble, to be sure, and perpetually subjected to snide criticism by sharp-minded rationalists, but still a sustainable niche. But I wonder. Because in recent years much of what had been rejected centuries ago and kept under wraps since then seems to have erupted and “shown its root in deepest hell, “ or at least in a very unlikely place. I’m speaking about the “occult politics” that have been with us now at least since ex-US president Donald Trump threw his hat into the ring in the dim pre-Covid days of 2015. After that, what had been hovering on the margins of the mind found itself at centre stage.

On modern magic:

We can even say that Trump “magically” prepared for his time in office, by adopting the image of himself as president during his term on The Apprentice. Imagination then became reality. The whole phenomena of reality TV can be seen as a form of magic, in which the simulation becomes the “real thing” and vice versa. More disturbing perhaps was the fact that Steve Bannon, Trump’s then lieutenant and the conduit through his Breitbart website for the alt-right, was a reader of Julius Evola. Evola was a twentieth century Italian esoteric thinker with far-right leanings who ingratiated himself with Mussolini and National Socialism. Post WWII he was the grey eminence behind several neo-Fascist movements in Italy. Most recently he was one of the intellectual big guns rolled out by the alt-right, to show that they were something more than skinhead thugs. Evola belongs to a particular school of esoteric philosophy known as Traditionalism, which proffers a kind of “fundamentalist spirituality.” His attitude toward modernity can be gleaned from the title of what his readers consider his magnum opus, Revolt Against the Modern World. Like the alt-right and Trump, Evola tried to magically influence Mussolini’s actions. And he is also a link between occult politics US style, and the kind we can find in Mother Russia.

The entire piece is worth pulls it all together and here’s the final bit:

What does this mean? It may mean that the magical, mythical, spiritual side of the psyche, that the west has repressed for some time now and which, even with all the New Age bells and whistles, it still hasn’t integrated in any serious way into its conscious outlook, is popping up in some unlikely and inconvenient places. Does this mean that Putin and a revived Holy Russia are the remedy, a means for the west to regain its soul? No. But it may mean that we need to throw more light and awareness on a side of the mind and ourselves we have ignored for too long. Otherwise it will remain a region where the far-right meet the far-out, leaving we enlightened ones in the dark.

Published by baileyalexander

An American living in Piemonte. Sailed across the Atlantic aboard our 43 Nauticat in 2002 and spent over a decade living in Rome, Paris, Prague, Malta, Venice and Bucharest before settling in Piemonte, Italia.

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