In 1927 Julius Evola and other leading Italian intellectuals formed the mysterious UR group. Their goal: to bring their individual egos into a state of superhuman power and awareness in which they could act “magically” on the world. Their methods: the practice of ancient Tantric and Buddhist rituals and the study of rare Hermetic texts. So successful were they that rumors spread throughout Italy of the group’s power, and Mussolini himself became quite fearful of them. Now for the first time in English Introduction to Magic collects the rites, practices, and knowledge of the UR group for the use of aspiring mages.
Included Introduction into Magic are instructions for creating an etheric double, speaking words of power, using fragrances, interacting with entities, and creating a “magical chain.” Among the arcane texts translated are the Tibetan teachings of the Thunderbolt Diamond Path, the Mithraic mystery cult’s “Grand Papyrus of Paris,” and the Greco-Egyptian magical text De Mysteriis. Anyone who has exhausted the possibilities of the mundane world and is ready to take the steps necessary to purify the soul in the light of knowledge and the fire of dedication will find a number of expert mentors here.
Excerpt from Preface by Retano Del Ponte:
The collaboration that Julius Evola sought out at the end of the 1920s with the most interesting figures of Italian esotericism to form the famous UR Group, aside from the example it has provided and continues to provide to anyone seriously engaged in the esoteric sciences, is also extremely important in the overall context of Evola’s work. For it was precisely during this period that he came to expand his own interests in the real, time honored realms of Tradition, and at least two of his principal works, Revolt Against the Modern World and The Hermetic Tradition, are contained in seed form in some of the monographs published by UR. The attendant experiences with the UR Group should therefore not be neglected, for in order to clarify essential points necessary to a comprehension of the spirit of Evola’s lifework, indeed it is necessary to investigate the precedents, limits, and outcomes of their endeavors.
The first task the UR Group set for itself was to invest the word magic with a particular, active, and functional connotation (as opposed to the connotation of knowledge or wisdom attributed to it in antiquity) that was close to the concept delineated by Roger Bacon: practical metaphysics. Far removed from the abhorred “spiritualistic” practices that were so fashionable at the time, from vulgar spiritism, pseudo-humanitarian Theosophy, and any of the confused and inferior forms of occultism, the UR Group, apart from particular teachings that one or the other of the collaborators may have been most familiar with, intended to reconnect with the very sources of Traditional esoteric teaching, according to that principle of Kremmerz, for whom magic “in all its complexity is simply a series of demonstrable theorems and experiences with concrete effects; the magical truths, as abstract as they may be, owe their evident demonstration in concrete `fulfillment,’ just as abstract mathematical truths have mechanical applications.
According to Kremmerz, magic, “or Arcane Knowledge, is divided into two parts, the Natural and the Divine. The former studies all the phenomena due to the occult qualities of the human organism and the way to access and reproduce them within the limits of the organism engaged as a means. The latter is dedicated to preparing the spiritual ascension of the initiate, in such a way as to render possible a relationship between man and the superior natures invisible to the vulgar eye.”‘ One must bear in mind, furthermore, that “the point at which the former ends and the latter begins is very difficult to determine … and it therefore very often happens that both magical directions [the Natural and the Divine] move forward in tandem.
Let us examine more closely the processes engaged in by the UR Group, who, explicitly via both natural and divine magic, or “High Magic,” hoped that they would be the Introduction leading to its seductive and arduous threshold.
The point of departure for modern man was the necessity to dissipate the fog of everyday reality, so as to open a way for himself to a new existential dimension. The new man must aspire toward a direct vision of reality, “as in a complete reawakening.
From this aspiration, by means of an internal magical process, one must arrive at a “change of state,” whose final point of arrival coincides with the alchemical opus transformationis: “self-transformation is the necessary preliminary to higher consciousness, which does not know `problems’ but only `tasks’ and accomplishments.”
The contents of the three volumes of introduction to Magic can be subdivided into four well-defined categories: 1) “Esoteric doctrine and culture,” consisting of the exposition of methods, disciplines, and techniques of actualization, with a particular deepening of symbology; 2) “Practice” ie, accounts of experiences actually lived through in person; 3) “Publication or translation of classic or rare esoteric texts” with appropriate comments and explanations; and 4) “Recognized doctrines placed in appropriate context,” often incorporating critical or polemical footnotes.
The first volume is Introduction into Magic, Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus by Julius Evola, UR Group, Introduction by Renato Del Ponte (Inner Traditions) The rites, practices, and texts collected by the mysterious UR group for the use of aspiring mages. It contains rare Hermetic texts published in English for the first time including instructions for developing psychic and magical powers.
Especially important in this first volume regarding “Practice,” are the contributions by “Luce” on the “Opus Magicum” (The Magical Work: Concentration, Silence, Fire, Perfumes) and by “Alba” on the magical sense of nature (De Naturae Sensu); regarding “Doctrine,” the monograph written by “Abraxas” on “Knowledge of the Waters,” a brilliant and evocative interpretation of a very famous esoteric symbol, and one by “Ea,” “On the Magical Vision of Life,” useful in that it synthesizes the significance of magical action for those who propose to become “alchemical heroes”: “A great freedom, with action as the sole law”
Among the “Documents” published in this volume, notable for their importance are the translation from the Greek of the “Mithraic Ritual of the Great Magical Papyrus of Paris”-the only ritual of the Ancient Mysteries to have survived intact-with an excellent introduction and extremely accurate commentary”; an original treatise from alchemical Hermeticism, De Pharmaco Catholico, in a synthesis by the same anonymous author, translated and annotated by “Tikaip6s”; and extracts from De Mysteriis, attributed to the Neoplatonic Iamblichus, the Buddhist Majjhima-nihdjo, and the Tibetan Bde-MiChog-Tantra.
In the second volume, regarding “Doctrine” we must note above all the two important studies by “Pietro Negri,” on “The Western Tradition” (unfortunately never completed) and on the “Secret Language of the `Fedeli d’amore,’ reported on and discussed by the same Luigi Valli’; and the notable contributions by Evola on “Esotericism and Ethics,” “Initiatic Consciousness Beyond the Grave,” “On the Metaphysics of Pain and Illness”; as well as the monograph by “Arvo” on “The Hyperborean Tradition,” subject to many interesting developments. Among the anonymous writings regarding “Practice,” the most compelling are “Teachings of the Chain,” “The `Double’ and Solar Consciousness,” and “Dissociation of the Mixtures.”
Among the “Documents and Texts” in the second volume, we find the annotated translation of the Turba Philosophorum (The Crowd of the Philosopher), one of the most ancient and widely quoted Hermetic-alchemical texts; an important and annotated version from Kremmerzian contributor “Tikaipos” of the Golden Verses, attributed to Pythagoras; as well as three songs by the Tibetan ascetic Milarepa.
In the third volume, which appears richer in source material than in practical doctrines, most notable are Evola’s own writings on “Aristocracy and the Initiatic Ideal”‘ and “On the Symbolism of the Year,” as well as those by “Arvo” on “‘Oracular’ Arithmetic and the Background of Consciousness.” Regarding “Practice,” we find the “Experiences” of “Taurulus,” the “Magic of Victory” by “Abraxas,” and the important account of the Hindu alchemist Narayanaswami, of whom we have already spoken
Notable among “Documents and Texts” are passages from the Clavis Philosophicae Chemisticae (The Key to Chemical Philosophy) by Gherard Dorn and from the Enneads of Plotinus, astutely annotated by Evola, as well as selected passages from the works of Kremmerz and Crowley.
Interestingly, it was in Ur and Krur that a constructive critique was initiated of the specific works by Rene Guenon most open to analysis and discussion. One of these was La crise du monde moderne (The Crisis of the Modern World) which Evola would later publish in an Italian edition in 1937 (second edition, 1953; third edition published by Edizioni Mediterranee in Rome, 1972); another was Autoritt spirituelle et pouvoir temporel (Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power).” In the later editions of Introduction to Magic, Guenon’s Aperaus sur l’initiation (Considerations on the Initiatic Way) was included.
Despite their differences of position, Guenon definitely appreciated Evola’s honesty and intellectual rigor; the two men engaged in an intense mutual correspondence beginning in 1927 and ending only with their deaths. Together they collaborated on the material for “Diorama Filosofico” (Philosophical Diorama), a special page carried by the daily Il Regime Fascista (The Fascist Regime, edited by Farinacci), contributing at least twenty-six collaborative articles between 1934 and 1940.”
More in-depth research would be well advised in order to shed a brighter light on the attempts by the inner circle of the UR Group to revitalize the esoteric roots and initiatic processes of the Roman Tradition. Aside from the contributions by Reghini, by some of Steiner’s followers, and by Evola himself (most notably his piece “Sul `sacro’ nella tradizione romana” [On the "Sacred" in the Roman Tradition], published in the third volume), there is an interesting and enigmatic account in the last chapter of the third volume entitled “La’Grande Orma’: la scena e le quinte” (The “Great Trail”: The Stage and the Wings), signed by a mysterious “Ekatlos” In it the author strives to point out the traces of a long-perpetuated, ancient initiatic chain in the very bosom of the land around Rome, and its attempt, however futile, to exert a rectifying influence within the sphere of the Fascist movement during the first years in which it took power.
In regard to this, Evola himself wrote that the aim of the “chain” of the UR Group, aside from “awakening a higher force that might serve to help the singular work of every individual,” was also to act “on the type of psychic body that begged for creation, and by evocation to connect it with a genuine influence from above,” so that “one may perhaps have the possibility of working behind the scenes in order to ultimately exert an effect on the prevailing forces in the general environment.”
Although this attempt did not meet with its hoped-for success, the monographs in the Introduction to Magic provide invaluable material for those individuals who, even today, might combine intention and capability in order to repeat the experiences of UR and, if possible, surpass its results on a practical and actualized level.” However, there is always the great hidden danger in groups or cliques of this kind that uncontrolled or uncontrollable forces may gain the upper hand, when the corresponding ability is weak or is lacking to contain and transform the inherent subtle forces in all of us into positive power. If this was not the case in the UR Group-which, however, was able only to partially achieve what it had hoped to accomplish-it is all the less likely in contemporary times, when we have witnessed the eager tendency to improvise and re-create groups or communities whose intention, at least, was to further the mission of UR, and yet which gave rise to negative outcomes and uncontrolled negative forces, as has happened at least twice in Italy in the past thirty years.”
In conclusion, we would emphasize that the treatises found in Introduction to Magic are definitely not designed for the general public, but for a few qualified people who already grasp a precise sense of the notions put forth by the UR Group. Certainly these few, to conclude with the words of Kremmerz, “will find new and fertile nourishment for the spirit wearied by empty philosophies and even emptier conventionalities … just as they will find that serene and loyal clarity, the unquestionable sign of all true knowledge, which will give them a firm and stable orientation."