Spread the love

Peter Levenda, a native of the Bronx, New York City, has an MA in Religious Studies and has published over 20 books, mostly in the area of hermeticism and the occult, and a trilogy of books concerning Nazism and postwar Nazism, as well as a book on China trade. He is most known for Unholy Alliance, which has a foreword by Norman Mailer and which has been translated into a dozen foreign languages, and Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft. He has also published his study of the Asian alchemical influences in the work of Thomas Vaughan, and the influence of Lovecraft on the work of Kenneth Grant.

This is a warm November welcome to Season 10 Episode 11 of Thoth-Hermes Podcast. Today’s show brings us into conversation with American writer Peter Levenda. Peter has authored a range of titles on histories of American occultism, Nazi occultism, and the dynamics of conspiracy theory. After successfully pursuing an international business career Information Technology, Peter attained an MA in Religious Studies and Asian Studies. Peter is a member of the American Academy of Religion, several societies, and a member of AFIO (the Association of Former Intelligence Officers).
Peter is careful to distinguish his expertise as around the context and content of conspiracy, rather than their promulgator. Repeatedly in the interview, he stresses the importance of listeners self-educating on the factors that make populations generally- and occultists specifically- vulnerable to conspiracy content. Peter also clearly notes that he is a “left-leaning” political “independent” capable of engaging with a variety of worldviews. Peter also offers the Adorno “Fascism Scale” as a resource for study.
Peter shares formative childhood experiences- rejecting his childhood Catholicism, while retaining the seed of mysticism. A fearful encounter on a mountain in 1963 cemented his personal conviction on the presence of More. High school found Peter conducting seances, reading Crowley and the Tao Te Ching. All of this is reported with a combination of good humor and lasting reverence.

A selection of Peter Levenda’s published books

Rudolf and Peter explore his writing, some of it based around his premise that “America is a haunted house” of unceded territory carrying the displaced and disregarded practices of the First Nations people. Additionally, the influence of encroaching European settlers’ own occult traditions and folkways. Turning to the West at large, Peter and Rudolf distinguish between the “traditionalist” and “surrealist” edges of esotericism; one edge flirting with the Authoritarian Right and the other edge liable to persecution from the former. Peter describes the use of “fiction” as parallel to Surrealism in the ability to analogize “truths” that cannot be proven as “non-fiction”, in the midst of grey area on both. Peter suggests this wisdom is present in many Holy Books.
Peter identifies “magic” as situated in a space between Science and Religion, with the Shadow of conspiracy theory. A comprehensive take-down of conspiracy mindedness in the contemporary United States follows, including: “longstanding” inadequacy of news media, a population demotivated to learn context for theories, and the dearth of “tik-tok enlightenment”. Peter further names related internal difficulties within occult groups, including sections of the contemporary Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) and the leadership of the late James Wasserman; the New York-based Wasserman and L…