Editorial note: Here is an interesting item about David Myatt, taken from a 2008 article called The Metaphysics of History written by Kerry R Bolton of New Zealand and published in #1 of The Initiate, a zine distributed by Integral Tradition Publishing [now t/a Arktos]. We have added a footnote to the article, and given weblinks to archive copies as the links given in the article are now dead.
The Numinous Cyclic Theory of David Myatt
British esotericist and [former] convert to Islam, David Myatt, formulated a cyclic theory called Aeonics. This merits individual attention as Aeonics provides another perspective on history from a specifically spiritual standpoint. Myatt’s Aeonics, as the term makes obvious, is based on cycles as “aeons” or Ages, each with its own numinous or spiritual character and stemming from what Myatt terms the acausal, the supra-natural acting upon the causal or physical world. Myatt himself ascribes the foundations of Aeonics to both Spengler and Toynbee, (Myatt, 1984, 1-3) the latter providing the paradigm of civilisations as arising from challenges.
Myatt’s own concern for much of his life has been the overcoming of the Western cycle of decline, that it might fulfil what he considered its destiny. While Toynbee states that Civilisations end in a last hurrah of world-empire, Myatt adds Spengler’s Faustian challenge, stating that the destiny of the Western Civilisation is that of Galactic Empire. Spengler’s definition of the Western cultural ethos as Faustian meant that the West’s own unique culture-soul is based on an unquenchable reach for infinity and exploration, unfolding all the secrets of nature. This Faustian ethos is manifested as the cultural soul in all the elements of the West in its cycles of becoming. Hence the distance and perspective of the art of Rembrandt and the feelings of infinity conjured by the outreach of the Gothic spire. (Myatt, 1984, The West, 3).
Myatt goes beyond this seeing the space ship, space exploration and ultimately galactic settlement and Galactic empire as the logical ultimate expression of the Faustian soul. (Myatt, 1984, The Faustian Spirit, 6). Myatt succinctly states: “If we need a symbol to represent our Western civilisation – to express its quintessence – it is the spacecraft.” (Myatt, ibid. 7.). The Western Civilisation would be superseded by a Galactic Civilisation just as the Roman Civilisation had superseded the Greek, and the Western the Roman.
This Western destiny Myatt explained in the opening paragraphs to Vindex referring to Toynbee in defining civilisations:
“Acceding to Toynbee, a civilisation arises from either a physical or a social challenge – that is, civilisation is man’s successful response to a particular geographical or social challenge.”
He gives as an e.g. the Egyptian civilisation as arising from the challenge of the Nile River Valley. Each civilisation declines and produces what Toynbee calls a “Universal State, usually an empire which lasts generally for a 400 year cycle. (Myatt, 1984, 1).
Myatt’s 1984 book was directed to those working on a causal, political level. Esoterically, Aeons could be influenced by those working magickally, adepts who had reached a level of consciousness to utilise the theory of Aeonics to work consciously to intervene in the cycles of history by opening the causal to acausal energies, or what are called the “dark gods”. Hitherto civilisations had arisen unconsciously, and man had been subject to the laws of cyclicity without being aware of the forces that were controlling him. Now through Aeonics and the conscious Aeonic magick directed by occult adepts, the cyclic laws could be consciously directed. Western Civilisation would go through its final cycle, but this would be the prelude to a new civilisation, the Galactic empire, extending the West’s Faustian scientific impulse. In order for this destiny to unfold, those conscious of this cultural destiny would have to actively work for it both esoterically and exoterically.
Myatt was therefore involved in formulating a system of occultism via the Order of Nine Angles (ONA) , the primary magickal purpose being to open what Myatt called “nexions”, the meaning of which can be readily deduced from the word: a nexus or star-gate between the acausal and the casual worlds. The ONA had a unique pantheon of dark gods and goddesses relating to the opening of star gates through which acausal energies would be manifested on earth. A large corpus of occult literature was formulated by the ONA, indicating Myatt’s depth of occult knowledge. Myatt explained the cyclic interregnum during which adepts could work to herald the next civilisation:
“Regarding Aeons, two important facts should be borne in mind. First the last five hundred years or so of an Aeon show a marked decline in the magickal energy associated with it, and it is during this time that the energies of the next Aeon gradually become evident (at first usually only to Adepts) these energies may be increased (or decreased) by Aeonic magick worked by those who understand the forces involved. Second, each Aeon is associated with what is called a ‘higher civilisation’ from which the Aeon usually takes its name. Within the physical confines of this higher civilisation is the (usually sacred) place where the magickal energies of the Aeon are pronounced – and this because such a place is usually a physical Gate where the causal and the acausal meet. For instance, the centre associated with the Hyperborean Aeon was Stonehenge; that of the Hellenic, Delphi. ” (Myatt aka Thorold West, 1989, Naos, The Septenary System).
In explaining terms, Myatt defines a Star-Gate or nexion as “a nexus between the acausal and the causal.” These star-gates are in the ONA Tradition “the regions of space near the stars Algol, Dabih, and Naos” and they are said to be actual physical gates, not simply metaphors. (Myatt, Naos, Notes on Esoteric Tradition). The Adept opens a nexion within the psyche by following the “seven fold way” of the ONA, a grade system that tests the physical endurance of the aspirant as much as the mental and psychological. (Myatt, Naos, Part One: Physis Magick).
In defining the causal and the acausal, Myatt states that “the causal is the ‘physical universe”, described by three dimensional and linear time. The acausal is the universe described by “an unspecified number of spatial dimensions and by non-linear time.” Life is a manifestation of the acausal within the causal. It is in the psyche where the two universes coincide, and where the individual might become part of the acausal by opening a nexion. Archetypes are a manifestation of this. As this relates to Aeons, Myatt explains:
“An Aeon is a particular ordering of the causal on Earth which is manifest as a civilisation – i.e. an increasing of the acausal, usually at a specified place/area for a specified period of (linear) time). Magick is the presencing of the acausal in the causal.” (Myatt, Naos, Acausal/Causal).
These fundamentals of Aeonics and Aeonic magick were articulated and refined over a number of MSS some by Myatt, others by his protégé and successor as ONA Grand Master Richard Moult, a talented artist and musician, both often writing under the generic pseudonym Anton Long. [See editorial footnote (1) below.]
Myatt himself has had a long spiritual odyssey, somewhat reminiscent of the legend of Doctor Faustus himself, a never-ending quest for knowledge. In 1998 Myatt converted to Islam and identifies with the militant manifestations of the Muslim world. Like Ungern-Sternberg, who is considered below, who converted to a militaristic Buddhism as his answer to Bolshevism and Western decadence in the aftermath of World War I, Myatt became a Muslim as his answer to the West’s spiritual void and break with Tradition. He now sees the West as irredeemably lost and not capable of emerging from its cycle of decline. Myatt, now known as Abdul-Aziz ibn Myatt, relates something of this spiritual odyssey in a recent interview:
“What it is about this faith, rather than all of the others, that has gripped you? What is it about Islamic culture, law and the way of life that has so spoken to your heart and soul over ours?”
Basically, Islam is a true middle-way. It is simple both in practice and in theory, and is an easy Way for we fallible, error-prone, human beings to become better individuals. Consider, for instance, prayer – Salat (also called Namaz). This is always short, and easy to do. It is a combination of words, gestures and movement – unlike any other form of prayer such as Nazarene, Buddhist, heathen. … In my life, I have experienced and performed many types of prayer – from Buddhist to Taoist to Anglican, to Catholic (including those of Benedictine and Carthusian monasticism) to Hinduism – and of all of them I found Namaz to be both the most human and the most numinous, the most imbued with the Divine, for we prostrate ourselves before God, knowing ourselves for the weak individuals we are. One of the many remarkable things I remember about Islam is when, only a short while after my own conversion, I went to travel again in the Desert, and it was so poignant doing Namaz there, with no one around for hundreds of miles: saying the same words, and praying in the same way, as the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had done, over one thousand and forty years ago; for alone, in the Desert, one can feel the closeness of God, of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – feel how slender is the thread by which we cling to life. One can sense the true Peace that is Jannah (Paradise) and the wonder of Life, of Creation.” (Myatt, http://web.archive.org/web/20090101134808/http://www.davidmyatt.info/questions-dm.html).
He sees Islam as the only means by which Western decadence can be swept from the world, to make way for a numinous civilisation based on Islam. Myatt sees instead of a Western Imperium leading to Galactic Empire, a world Muslim Civilisation; under a world Khalifate, re-establishing a chivalrous, honourable ethos, where the West cannot. One could be reminded that it was the Islamic civilisation in its “Spring” Cycle that provided the impetus for learning and culture, that brought much to Europe, laid the basis for modern chemistry and mathematics, and provided the basis for the West’s Knightly chivalry which the Crusaders had encountered among their Muslim foes.
While Myatt repudiates many of his previous views his fundamental ethos remains, the ideals of the numinous; of life based on honour and chivalry; a detestation of the ignoble and the cowardly, the hedonistic and materialistic that he continues to see dominating the West in its decline, and of the prospect of a Galactic Empire, all these now possibly being manifested under Islam rather than by calling upon dark astral gods. In a recent interview Myatt explains the position he’s adhered to since his conversion in 1998:
“What I gradually discovered in the years leading toward my reversion to Islam was that the numinous is presenced in Deen Al-Islam, and that it is Deen Al-Islam which today as in the past produces honourable, modest, individuals who possess manners, who respect what is sacred, and who thus are civilized. In addition, who are the honourable warriors of today other than the Mujahideen who fight against often overwhelming odds and who prefer death to dishonour? What kind of community – “society” – would and could Deen Al-Islam create were such honourable warriors to be triumphant? Would they not build a Khilafah led by an Ameer, a Khalifah (a leader) and would this Khilafah not be everything I once dreamed an Imperium might be, and might not this Khilafah be an example to others as the Khilafah in Al-Andulus was to the barbarians of Europe, and might it not, its enemies defeated, reach out toward the stars and so establish a new and Galactic Empire? Thus, as I wrote in an autobiographical essay:
“As for my dream, my life-long vision, of a Galactic Empire – of the exploration and settlement of Outer Space – there was a time, not that long ago, when I came to the conclusion that we human beings were too ignoble, too barbaric, too uncivilized, to do this, and that, if we did undertake such adventures beyond the Earth, we would only be spreading dishonour: spreading our disease of hubris, spreading our destruction of the Numinous. But now – now as I veer toward the sixth decade of my life – I feel that we can avoid such things: that there is a cure for the disease of hubris and of dishonour, and that were we to be cured – and thus return to our natural fitrah – then we could and perhaps should so venture forth, under the banner of Deen Al-Islam.” (Myatt, http://web.archive.org/web/20090101134808/http://www.davidmyatt.info/questions-dm.html).
On a question regarding the present state of the West, Myatt states:
“The peoples of the West have significantly changed in the last fifty or so years. The England I knew as a youth, fresh from a life in the Far East and Africa – the England my father and my grandfather thought they fought in two World Wars for – has almost disappeared. Manners have been replaced with arrogant selfishness; gentlemanly (and lady-like) self-effacement and modesty has been replaced by loutish behaviour in public and in private; and restraint has given way to decadence, greed and self-indulgence. Honour is almost completely lacking, in public and in private. The West is now the domain of Homo Hubris: of the arrogant, the preening, the dishonourable human being who is intolerant of, or unmindful of, the numinous, which numinous is, in truth, the genesis of honour and of manners and of all the civilizing virtues.” (Myatt, ibid.).
From a cyclic perspective, the question remains as to whether Islam itself passed its own cycle of decline centuries ago, and descended irredeemably into what Spengler (Spengler, 1963, 159-186, Primitives, Culture-Peoples, Fellaheen) called a Fellaheen culture; that is to say a culture that has expended all its energies, and is not capable of revival. At the very least, what might be said of the present world crisis is that Islam is the only bloc representing Tradition that is consciously in revolt against globalisation.
1. Myatt David W., The Way of the Lighting & the Sun: A Western Martial Art, The Black Order (ONA), 1972.
2. Myatt, Vindex – the Destiny of the West, Liberty Bell, Virginia, 1984.
3. Myatt (aka Thorold West, Anton Long), Naos: A Practical Guide to Modern Magick, ONA, Shropshire, 1989.
4. Anton Long, Aeonics – The Secret Tradition, ONA, Shropshire, 1989.
- While it is generally known and accepted that Moult was involved with the ONA and produced some of their writings and other works, such as “the sinister Tarot” card deck, he never became a “Grand Master” – having left the ONA halfway through his training and not long after Myatt converted to Islam.