Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rudyard Kipling and Sol Invictus

After reading A Letter to the People of Europe from the US politician Augustus Sol Invictus,  I created a thread about it on the Conservative Conspiracy  website as it contains some views shared by many members of that site.

Since then, I and others have found and posted many relevant references to Sol Invictus, the Invictus poem, sun gods, sun cults, sun symbols, black suns, freemasons, sunflowers, neo-fascist groups, metal music, Constantine and other associated topics and people…everything is connected.

Now Rudyard Kipling joins the party. As he is featured on this blog, the connections are best presented in an article here.

Rudyard Kipling and Invictus
Rudyard Kipling was a friend of William E. Henley, the author of the inspirational Invictus that was President John F. Kennedy’s favourite poem and that has been featured in the news recently because of its association with Prince Harry’s Invictus Games.

Henley and Kipling were united in their admiration of the Empire and detestation of the ‘aesthetic’ style in literature and life. They exchanged books and many letters. After receiving a book from him, Kipling wrote to Henley:

“You have been where I have yet to go so I dare not ask why you are so tired. When you get my stuff you will see how far I have walked and where.”

This suggests to me that Henley inspired and was a good influence on Kipling. Invictus was first published in 1888, with Rudyard Kipling’s inspirational poem If appearing in1910. Perhaps the one inspired the other.

The Invictus poem has its critics, especially Christians who reject the idea of individualism and dislike the apparent paganism. By coincidence,  one of them wrote this, linking the two men:
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

This poem is either the most laughable of self-parodized individualism -- akin to the self-retrospection of Robert Browning's better-known and critically acclaimed monologues, or the most lamentable of self-congratulatory paeans, like the insufferable racist rants of Rudyard Kipling.

Rudyard Kipling and sun symbols
Rudyard Kipling was strongly influenced by Indian culture; he used swastikas as good luck symbols in his books until the rise of Nazism made this inappropriate – although their sun wheels revolved in the opposite direction.

Sol invictus in Rudyard Kipling’s poetry
Mithras was an early Roman god of the sun, who was born around the time of the winter solstice (Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) and then experienced a resurrection around the spring equinox. He was the god of soldiers in particular.

Rudyard Kipling is reported to have been fascinated by Mithraism. He wrote some very good stories about the Roman soldiers in Britain, and he wrote a very good poem about the invincible sun god.

A Song to Mithras
Hymn of the XXX Legion: circa A.D. 350
"On the Great Wall" - Puck of Pook's Hill

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
“Rome is above the Nations, but thou art over all!”
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat.
Our helmets scorch our foreheads, our sandals burn our feet.
Now in the ungirt hour – now lest we blink and drowse,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main –
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great Bull dies,
Look on Thy children in darkness. Oh, take our sacrifice!
Many roads Thou hast fashioned – all of them lead to Light!
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright.