“Only My Blood Speaks”
A simple story is not of necessity silly and superficial. A simple story can have depth. All of Shakespeare’s tragedies, for instance, are based on rather simple stories. And the deepest story of all, the Christ story, is a simple one. And yet what depths are to be found in that simple story!
It has been Satan’s task to convince mankind that the complicated golden edifice of philosophical speculation from Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Freud, Darwin, Marx, and de Chardin is the real truth while the simple lead casket containing the Christ story is just dross. Some dross! It is the dross that ennobles all who come in contact with it and it is the dross that maketh the dead to rise.
The European peoples did not abandon their bardic cultures when they embraced Christianity. They simply realized that Thor and Odin were precursors of the True Hero. But their cultures remained bardic. The entire thrust of the speculators of the West has been to turn Western culture into a philosophical one instead of a bardic one. But it is only in the cultures that revere the bard that Christ can find a home. The Christian bard celebrates the hearth, the village, and the humble church. He celebrates the warrior only when the warrior goes forth in support of those sacred sanctuaries.
Faith, in the bardic cultures, is simple and concrete, as depicted by H. V. Morton in his book, In Search of England. While traveling through England in 1926, he comes upon a church where the people still believe as their bardic ancestors believed:
“It is, perhaps, difficult for you, a stranger, to understand. You see, we are, in this little hamlet, untouched by modern ideas, in spite of the wireless and the charabanc. We use words long since abandoned—why only to-day I heard a little girl use the word ‘boughten’ for ‘bought’. My parishioners believe firmly in a physical resurrection! They believe that a trumpet will herald the end of the world, and that the bones in this churchyard will join together. So you see they like to be buried on top of their fathers and grand-fathers, because they will rise together as a family. It is, to them, more friendly. Clannish in life and clannish in death. It is a very old and primitive idea. I know other country clergy who are in the same, as it were, box.”
It comes down to, for European man, the call of the blood. We should not hesitate to answer that call. The philosophical speculators will tell us that such things belong to our caveman past and that we must evolve beyond it. Not so, at least not for European man. His blood has been linked to Christ’s through the blood of his ancestors. It is not some siren or some inhuman creature that calls the European. It is the bard of bards that calls.
If you put a gun to my head and ordered me to say which Church, the Protestant or the Catholic, was the more anti-Christian, I would say the Catholic Church. But it is really not a question of either/or. The Protestants responded to the Thomistic manure heap of philosophical speculation with their own brand of Calvinistic manure. Neither church has preserved the bardic or poetic core of the Christian Faith.
Christ is the sacred harpist of Western Civilization. The European people once danced, cried, lived and died to the sounds of His sacred harp. Why can we no longer hear it? We can no longer hear it because we have left the bardic forest and settled in the philosophic city. If we leave that city of desolation and enter the forest, we will hear, ever so slightly, the sound of a harp. And if we follow that sound, with a heart emptied of all other emotions save the desire to trace that sound to its source, we will proceed through the forest and come upon a cottage by a brook. And then what visions we shall see!
A man, if he is going to be a man, will come to a crossroads in his life. At that time he will hear the din of philosophical speculation which will appeal to his pride. And he will also hear the sound of the harp which will appeal to his blood. If he follows the music of the speculators, the music of the harp will fade and become, in the mind of the man, a fantasy, a dream, something that has no basis in reality. But if the man answers the call of the blood, he will gradually become so imbued with the sound of the harp that he will be immune to any other claim upon him. He will, like Hamlet, (“It is I, Hamlet the Dane”) finally know who he is and to whom he belongs.
All peoples except the European people listen to the call of the blood. But the non-European people have not been Christianized. When they answer the call of the blood, it is a call to shed blood. And now that there are not white men of blood to oppose them, the Mexicans have returned to their Aztec roots, committing hideous barbaric murders, and the Africans have returned to their voodoo roots, committing hideous and atrocious murders. And yet the modern European approves of the blood faiths of the heathens (Aztec art is all the rage in academia), while disapproving of any manifestation of the blood faith of the Europeans. The popular play Equus, for instance, depicted the plight of a pathetic, gutted psychiatrist who wondered about the wisdom of “curing” a boy who had a pagan, religious belief in horses. “The boy felt something genuine,” the psychiatrist lamented, which was more than he had ever felt. The play was seen as quite wonderful by all the play-going white people. But what if the boy had wanted to return to the Christian faith of his fathers, the faith that was bred in the bone? Would a play with such a theme have found an audience with the post-Christian theater-goers? Of course not.
The entire mound of philosophical speculation that Western man has heaped up and his current obsession with the cultures of color are related. Philosophic speculation has brought a sickness unto death into the soul of Western man. And he thinks the barbarians have the cure, even if that cure brings about Western man’s death. The end result of philosophical speculation, whether it is done in the name of religion or in the name of atheism, is suicide. Nothing seems real, and man seems unnecessary. But when one sees the faith through the eyes of the bard, when one gets to the poetic core of Europe, one can see that man is needed. He is needed by God. Certainly God creates us and sustains us, but His humanity, especially His infant humanity, must be defended. And He does have needs. He needs our love. We are tied to Him by ties of blood. If the European could see that, and every European is capable of seeing Christ walking in the sacred woods, he could once again claim his birthright, he would once again be a European.
In a marvelous series of stories for children and the childlike, Kipling places Puck of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in England. England as seen in the eyes of Puck and his young English companions is an enchanted fairy land. And so it was and is. The fairies have been driven underground and to the furthermost crags and crannies of Europe, but they are still there. Western man has been asleep, having a nightmare. In that nightmare he constantly tries to touch people and objects, but every time he reaches out to do so the people and objects turn to ideas and they fade away. If the European man awakes, he will see the fairies once again, and they will teach him what he already knows deep in his blood. They will teach him that the sacred woods of Europe come from the wood of the cross and the great King of Fairy Land is the selfsame carpenter who died on a cross at Calvary.
European culture is separate now, and was separate in the past as well, from all other cultures. She is separate now because she alone is rationalist while all other cultures are blood cultures. She was separate in the past because her blood culture was soaked in the blood of the lamb while all other cultures were soaked in the blood of their enemies. Surely a state of grace does not just consist of refraining from the more graphic mortal sins. It must also mean that one has overcome the obstacles that block the path to the living God. The rationalist culture must die and the bardic culture be restored before Christ can be seen on Blake’s English green.
I think Walter Scott demonstrates the way individual European men and women should go and the way European culture should go. He got his law degree and could have become a successful lawyer, but the fairy stories of Europe and the history of the European people were burned deeply into his soul. He answered the call of the blood and followed bardic Europe instead of rationalist Europe. And so should we all, but therein lies a great mystery. What can rekindle the fire of a love that has turned to ashes? From a strict scientific standpoint, the answer is nothing. You can’t rekindle ashes. But then the nonscientific Bard of Europe has told us all things are possible for those… But first we must see Him clearly. And then we shall love again and see ashes turned into a “chariot of fire.”There are two European traditions, one of breadth and one of depth. The philosophical tradition is the tradition of breadth. It includes Plato’s unholy republic, Aquinas’s attempt to naturalize God, and Darwin’s attempt to turn man into an ape. The devotees of the tradition of breadth claim the glory of European man consists of his insatiable desire to expand his knowledge through the contemplation and the study of the natural world. Ever-onward means ever-upward to the man of breadth.
The bardic or poetic tradition, which I believe is the true Western tradition, is the tradition of depth. It is not knowledge of the natural world that activates the bardic tradition. It is the human heart. For those who follow the bardic tradition, the human heart, not nature, holds the secrets of the universe.
In the Aquinas-Darwinian tradition of breadth, the call of the blood must be suppressed because it is unclean and a deterrent to the pursuit of true knowledge, which always amounts to an accumulation of facts and observations about the natural world. This type of thinking is currently called ‘scientific’. In the bardic-poetic tradition of depth, man’s wisdom is viewed as imperfect but not unclean. It can be purified and perfected in the fiery furnace of the human heart. And when purified it becomes the true source of wisdom. It allows us to know God as a personality rather than as a derivative by-product of nature.
To me it seems obvious that the tradition of breadth is the golden casket that Bassania so wisely rejected:
“Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
T’ entrap the wisest. Therefore, then thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;…”
Bravo! Neither the golden tradition of the philosophers and scientists or the silver one of the hard-eyed capitalists is the European tradition. Our tradition, from which we have strayed, is the bardic tradition of the simple lead casket. In that casket are the elves, the fairies, the knights, the ladies, and the Great King of all human hearts.
: but thou, thou meager lead,
Which rather threat’nest than does promise aught,
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence;
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence!