'A Realm of the Gods' - Herman Wirth and the Arctic Homeland ...

This post was prompted by recent scientific discoveries and also links to my forthcoming article 'Beyond the North Wind: Völkisch Photography, Crypto-History and the Bloodline of Thule' to be published in The Fenris Wolf, 2018.

Recent paleontological discoveries [see the links below] have once more suggested that the 'Out of Africa' theory, that explanation of a human monogenesis where all of the human species originated in Africa, may yet prove to be unfounded in its entirety. The discovery of ancient hominid fossil fragments in the Balkans and, more recently in Germany, possibly twice as old as anything yet found in Africa, has reignited the discussion on the very origins and date of a human emergence.

These recent discoveries (yet to be confirmed) reminded me once more of that eccentric and oft dismissed Dutch-German polymath and thinker Herman Felix Wirth (1885 - 1981). As discussed elsewhere on this blog in relation to photography and a mytho-spiritual and racial interpretation of humankind's origins, the notion of a polygenetic origin or at least alternative monogenesis of mankind is not new. In his 1928 book Der Aufgang der Menschheit (Ascent of Mankind), Wirth had suggested that, the European peoples at least, had originated in some now lost northern continent, a real northern Atlantis or Ultima Thule. These Nordic-Atlanteans had, Wirth postulated, brought language and civilisation when their diaspora arrived on European shores from the north. They had emerged at a time when the Arctic had had a temperate climate and they had colonised more southerly regions as a result of climactic climate change or some other catastrophe such as recounted in the Atlantean legend.

Even if a polygenesis is untenable there are questions as to the relationship of Indo-European cultures to an Arctic homeland and a later diaspora. For example, in a 1963 paper entitled The Hyperborean Origin of the Indo-European Culture, the British mathematician and scientist John Godolphin Bennett (1897 - 1974), speculated about such an origin and in particular the argument put forward by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856 - 1920) in his book Arctic Home in the Vedas (1904) [see the link below].

Heinrich Himmler (left) & Herman Wirth (right)

Amongst other things, Wirth at least was convinced of the symbolic significance of emblems and carvings found throughout Northern Europe and that regional folk art pointed to a symbolic meaning dating back to pre-Christian times and a culture from the north more ancient than supposed. Wirth’s ideas became of interest to Heinrich Himmler who patronised him and appointed him as the first president of the ‘Ahnenerbe’ in 1935 (Wirth seemed to delight in Himmler's patronage although this 'official' support ended in 1939).

At the heart of Wirth’s speculations was a strange and apparently ancient text, the Oera Linda Book. Written in Frisian, the book’s main assertions correlated with Wirth’s findings of the Nordic–Atlantean origins of the Germanic peoples. The manuscript had first come to light in 1867 when Cornelis Over de Linden had presented the manuscript for translation and publication. The book was a chronicle of the Nordic-Atlantean people who had, after the destruction of 'Atland' or 'Aldand', settled in Frisia. Many in academia rejected the book's veracity but the debate continues to this day with its scholarly defenders making a strong case for a thorough re-examination. [1]

Wirth was certainly convinced by its veracity and in 1933 he edited and published the book in German as the Ura Linda Chronik. With the earliest portion reported as written circa 2200 BCE, a year after the fall of 'Atland', the book recounts how a dominant European society of Nordics fled the deluge. This text offers a Northern European alternative origin of Greek and Phoenician scripts from the runes with especial emphasis on the six spoked Hagal wheel rune.

As the Traditionalist thinker Julius Evola (1898 - 1974) opined when discussing Wirth’s research:

‘The origins here appear under a special spiritual light … in primordial times, meanings and symbols still survived in a pure state, and then were lost, obfuscated, or altered. Prehistoric research, brought from a level of disanimated scientific-archaeological or anthropological positivism to a level of spiritual synthesis, promises therefore to open new horizons for the true history of civilisation.’ [2]

Despite Wirth’s fall from favour in the National Socialist state by the late 1930s, his ideas continued to be influential and were certainly still being referenced in photographic books exploring a spiritual mythos of the Nordic-Atlantean particularly in his home nation of the Netherlands. [3]

For example, the books Zinnebeelden in Nederland (Hamer, 1940) and Eeuwig Levende Teekens (Hamer, 1941), weave together Herman Wirth’s pagan pantheon and the visual signs as evidence of the Nordic-Atlantean legacy which were sought in both the faces of the people as well as the folk traditions, carvings and symbols. Indeed, some of the same photographs (by the Dutch agricultural engineer and photographer Willem van Heemskerck Düker (1910 - 1988)) are reproduced in both volumes. Eeuwig Levende Teekens was produced to accompany an exhibition (and short film) [4] of the same name in the Hague in 1941. In this short but richly illustrated text, a wholes series of symbols are examined and their ancient origins postulated. The reader (and gallery visitor) are led through the symbols and helpfully guided to readings and interpretations. Such signs and symbols are apparently everywhere awaiting recognition and release.

This illustration from Zinnebeelden in Nederland examines the use of the Hagal rune which, it is noted, is a ‘zesspakige zonnerad’ or six-spoked sun-wheel. The Hagal is repeated in the image on the opposite page where it appears on the side of a farm building. The sun wheel is of the utmost significance in this visual lexicon with regards the Nordic-Atlantean legacy. The analysis of the Hagal rune as a manifestation of the quartered sun wheel is drawn back to the Polar origins of the Aryan race and the celebration of the cycle of the solar year:

‘… for our ancestors the sun was paramount as was its life-giving power and heat, it is clear then that the symbol of the sun was central. In more southerly regions the worship of the sun made way for the worship of the moon, which is understandable because in the equatorial regions, the sun is not the bringer of fertility and life, on the contrary, it’s power is often one that withers. Furthermore, in these southern regions the seasons are indistinguishable from each other. However, the more one moves to the north, the greater are the differences between winter and summer, the clearer is the connection between the sun and the changing of the seasons and the distinctive solar loop can serve as a basis for a chronology. Thus, it is suggested, probably at a time when our ancestors still lived in the ultimate north, there emerged from the eternal day of midsummer and (the unbroken darkness of) midwinter, when the sun did not rise, a symbol of the division of the year into two and then quartered ... ’ [5]

Despite his apparent fall from grace, these 1940s books make specific reference to Wirth himself in order to underline the Nordic-Atlantean origin of these people represented by their signs and symbols.

‘Professor Herman Wirth, one of the leading scholars in this field, has emphatically and repeatedly pointed out, that we are wrong to assume that our race, with which the runes are so closely connected, is of Eastern origin. In his opinion, a Northern cultural origin is most probable and this would additionally explain the specific use of the solar cycle in the runes.’ [6]

Wirth was not an Aryan mystic or even an Ariosophist but he was unconventional and that was enough to damn him in the eyes of both National Socialism and academia. History may yet exonerate him.


John Godolphin Bennett, The Hyperborean Origin of the Indo-European Culture

'The Telegraph' (22-05-2017), Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find

'The Mail Online' (20-10-2017), Do these 9.7 million-year-old teeth suggest EUROPE is the cradle of humanity? Controversial discovery could 'rewrite the history of mankind'


[1] For more information about the ongoing translation and research into this document see the fascinating: http://fryskednis.blogspot.co.uk/

[2] Arthur Branwen, Ultima Thule. Julius Evola e Herman Wirth. Parma: Edizioni all'insegna del Veltro, 2007. Quoted on www.gornahoor.net accessed 17/11/2016.

[3] Indeed, Wirth maintained his beliefs for the rest of his life – his ideas are still highly regarded by his followers even today.

[4] The film, produced by the ‘Volksche Werkgemeenschap’, can be viewed here on YouTube - Eeuwig Levende Teekens.

[5] W.F. van Heemskerck Düker en H.J. van Houten, Zinnebeelden in Nederland. Den Haag: Uitgeverij Hamer, 1941, (author’s translation), p.16.

[6] W.F. van Heemskerck Düker en H.J. van Houten, Zinnebeelden in Nederland. Den Haag: Uitgeverij Hamer, 1941, (author’s translation) p.14.

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