The Firstborn of the Illuminati was to return once more to this mysterious Grotto, after twenty-six years. A volcanic discovery in Santorini would rekindle the myths of Atlantis. A military junta of army colonels would get control of Greece — at the crack of daylight following Hitler’s birthday. One of his heads looked as if it had been mortally wounded, but his deadly wound was healed. And the entire world marveled and followed the beast.
“The Magus” (1965) is a novel by British author John Fowles. It tells the narrative of Nicholas Urfe, a teacher on a small Greek island. Nicholas finds himself occupied in the psychological illusions of a wealthy Greek recluse, the master trickster Maurice Conchis.
The owner of the island’s most splendid estate leads Nicholas into a nightmare that becomes increasingly dark and serious. Conchis may have teamed up with the Nazis during World War II. Reality and fantasy are deliberately confused by staged deaths, erotic encounters, eccentric masques and terrifying violence.
Writer John Fowles allegedly used the reference library of the British Council in Athens to get details for his novel. He would not visit Greece while the colonels remained in power. In spite of this Fowles published a revision of “The Magus” in 1978.
“We are used to the frequent changes made by an Auden or a Lowell in the text of their poems; but for a novelist, even 13 years after the event, quite thoroughly to rewrite and republish a large novel that is also a cult book for many younger readers — this is worth some explanation,” wrote reviewer William Pritchard for the New York Times. “At least here are long stretches, particularly in Conchis’s narrative of his life — his experience in World War I, his later confrontation with the Nazis on the Greek island in World War II — which are no more nor less than masterful storytelling.”
A film version of “The Magus” was released in 1968, set around a Greek occultist’s deadly game of political and sexual betrayal. It featured Michael Caine and Anthony Quinn.
“One of the great fallacies of our time is that the Nazis rose to power because they imposed order on chaos. Precisely the opposite is true — they were successful because they imposed chaos on order. They tore up the commandments, they denied the super-ego, what you will. They said, ‘You may persecute the minority, you may kill, you may torture, you may couple and breed without love.’ They offered humanity all its great temptations. Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” (John Fowles, “The Magus”)
“666 (The Apocalypse of John, 13:18)” was a double album by Aphrodite’s Child. The Greek rock group was formed in 1967 and included Vangelis and Demis Roussos. The “666” album released in 1972 was the main idea for the Vangelis project. With lyricist Costas Ferris and actress Irene Papas, the song album was rendering of the Biblical passages: “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” (Revelation 13:18)
In the 20th century Aleister Crowley called himself the Beast 666 and left England to journey through the East. His stopovers included Italy, Egypt, and the North African coast. He ought to have passed through Greece during his travels. But no reference was made of him within that land. Ironically, occultist Crowley was seemingly articulate in Greek. Tracts of his 1913 “Hymn to Pan” appeared in the Greek language. “The Book of the Law” (1904) introduced Crowley’s concept of Thelema, or “Will” in Greek (which he appallingly identified with desire and envy).
While a German team looked for the lost history of an Aryan race in Tibet, there were also alleged connections between Atlantis and Nazism. One guess was that Hitler based his views about the supposedly superior Aryan race on what he imagined the people of Atlantis had been like.
Lots of Germans got dressed up in scanty fairy-tale outfits and held a rally at enormous outdoor parade grounds with the Fuhrer standing on a raised area. “Atlantis became important to the politics of Nazi Germany because of Hitler’s need for a national story of origin.” In the Bible’s Revelation, Apollyon (or Abaddon “the destroyer”) is the chosen “king” of the bottomless pit (or abyss), cautiously characterized by some lexicographers as a mockery of Hellenism. An intelligence outline warned of a German “Southern Redoubt.” It was a mountain base where “the elite of National Germany will make a last desperate stand.”
The Greek extreme-right political party Golden Dawn began to develop in 1980. While its leader was in prison, he met radical chiefs of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 and set up the foundations of the Golden Dawn party. Scholars and media described it as neo-Nazi and fascist. Though the organization rejected these labels, the party’s leader had outspokenly identified it as nationalist and racist. It registered as a political party in 1993 and entered the Hellenic Parliament in 2012, during times of economic crisis.
By Peter Fotis Kapnistos