May 19, 1898. On this day, Julius Evola was born! He was known as an Italian painter, political activist and author, who wrote widely on Eastern religions, alchemy, sexuality, politics and mythology. Evola‘s theories and writings centered on his idiosyncratic mysticism, occultism and esoteric religious studies, and this aspect of his work influenced occultists and esotericists. He also represented the Traditionalist School.
Born in Rome, Italy, Evola studied engineering in Rome but did not complete his studies. During World War I, he served as an artillery officer on the Asiago plateau. He was attracted to the avant-garde and after the war, Julius Evola briefly associated with Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s Futurist movement. In 1922, after concluding that avant-garde art was becoming commercialized and stiffened by academic conventions, he reduced his focus on artistic expression such as painting and poetry.
Approximately at the beginning of the 1920s, Evola focused on spiritual, transcendental and “supra-rational” studies. He began reading various esoteric texts and gradually delved deeper into the occult, alchemy, magic and Oriental studies, particularly Tibetan Tantric yoga. After his return from the war, Julius Evola experimented with hallucinogens and magic.
Some of his most prominent books include:
- The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way
- Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus
- The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art
- Metaphysics of War
- Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist
These books are quite… specific. Let us mention that Evola‘s notorious writings influenced many European far-right political, racist and neo-fascist movements. He also influenced today’s alt-right movement. Despite their radicalism, these volumes are still viewed historically important.