Book Review: The Spear Of Destiny

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I don’t have a lot of cool images related to this book, so I’m going to mostly instead run pics from various pop-culture adaptations of the legend…like this one from “The Librarian: Quest For The Spear”

The Spear appeared to be some sort of magical medium of revelation for it brought the world of ideas into such close and living perspective that human imagination became more real than the world of sense.
–Trevor Ravenscroft, “The Spear Of Destiny”

The Spear Of Destiny by Trevor Ravenscrofta story about reincarnation, alchemy, evil sorcerers, secret societies, soulless doppelgängers, sex magick, possession by alien entities, Aztec peyote, the Akashic Record, questionable homeopathic practices, psychic vaginal ectoplasm, a sacred Christian relic that could rend the very fabric of time as we know it, and, yes, Nazis—is one of the most elaborate and utterly bizarre conspiracy meta-narratives you will ever encounter

spear-of-destiny-book.jpgI recently re-read it after at least 15 years. The fact that I have purposely chosen to immerse myself once again within its phantasmagoric environs may tell you something about its potential worth to you as reading matter. Because though this is a really wild, farfetched book—it has undoubtedly influenced many many people (including possibly famous filmmakers) since it was released in 1973.

This was a mainstream best-selling book (on the level of, say, Chariots Of The Gods?) that was pretty much taken as fact when it first came out. Hell, I read this as more or less a “straight” historical record of the intersection of the occult and the Nazis when I first read it. It was only years later that I found out a good number of things in the book—specifically the recollections of a Dr. Walter Johannes Stein about his old acquaintance Adolf Hitler but also regarding events from much further in the past—were not really backed up by historical fact.

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Dr. Walter Johannes Stein

Indeed, author Ravenscroft’s own recollections regarding his old acquaintance Dr. Stein has also been called into question—as he had allegedly admitted decades after the book’s release that he didn’t actually talk to Stein when he was alive…but rather, talked to his spirit through a medium.

In both cases, it seems as if  “a unique method of historical research involving Mind Expansion” was used—Imaginative Cognition.

So what we end up having here is a bunch of actual historic events (especially when you get into the World War II stuff towards the end) interwoven with what is essentially “channeled material,” of a type. Not a diss against channeled material. There is some great channeled material. But whether the person you are heavily quoting in your book was alive or dead when they said these things probably makes a difference.

But for some people…it really doesn’t make a difference. And as for me…there is some really weird thought-provoking shit in here that would be thought-provoking regardless of its provenance. Because what The Spear Of Destiny is really about is Esoteric Christianity, trippy theories about the nature of time, and a whole bunch of other metaphysical things that have been mentioned in a whole lot of other places but are pulled together here in one “neat” narrative.

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that time Adolf Hitler captured Batman and stole the Spear of Destiny

The book starts with a unique retelling of the early years of Young Adolf. In The Spear Of Destiny, he is essentially Anakin Skywalker—a gifted adept with a propensity to the Dark Side. As I read this book for the second time, I had to seriously question whether George Lucas was familiar with it as well, those years before making Star Wars. Because the path of Hitler here is pretty damn similar to that of Anakin in the prequels.

(And let’s add David Lynch to this list of persons possibly influenced by the book, because the new season of Twin Peaks has a lot of similarities and echoes as well.)

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that time a scary albino dude stole the Spear of Destiny and fought Hellboy

Hitler as a young man becomes enthralled with the vision of the so-called actual Spear of Longinus in a museum, and realizes his destiny is to take over Europe. Supposedly, every historical figure who possesses the spear, which was said to have pierced the side of the crucified Christ, would become basically “the world victor” (my clumsy term)—the chap with the Divine Providence stamped on them to invade countries or do whatever, even if the person had evil intentions (as opposed to the “nice” invaders, monarchs, and dictators).

But the the Spear was also some sort of “key” to “a mighty blood mystery and some totally new concept of Time.”

And here is where things start to get a little weird.

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that time that asshole Reverse Flash stole the Spear of Destiny so he could warp time and reality

The young Hitler—who seems like a pretty crappy racist malcontent who doesn’t bathe regularly, but also, as presented by Ravenscroft, comes dangerously close to romantic “anti-hero” territory—ends up turning to illicit methods to gain some sort of magickal advantage, including using drugs and engaging in dark sex rituals. In these pursuits he is egged on by various unsavory evil old wizard-types, who get him involved ever-deeper in various Aryan/occult secret societies.

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that time Indiana Jones and his dad had to recover the Spear of Destiny probably from Nazis most likely

Dr. Stein claims to have helplessly witnessed this unfortunate deterioration in his acquaintance; the doctor also finds he can access the past lives of himself, Adolf, and others through the aforementioned Imaginative Cognition. It turns out they were all famous historical personages in past lives who knew each other, and the current events were only replaying older ones. Apparently, the “key” to accessing the past lives were encoded in works like Parsival by Wolfram von Eschenbach.

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yeah, even Lex Luthor got his hands on the Spear of Destiny

And these are just the thinnest of slices of what is in The Spear of Destiny—I could write another 50,000 words and not even begin to full encapsulate it all.

Spoilers: Hitler dies in a bunker.

Regardless of the paucity of solid historically verifiable elements in the book, one thing you can say about Ravenscroft is that he spins a pretty engaging tale. The Spear Of Destiny just draws you in like a Dan Brown novel, its dramatic narratives peppered with esoteric philosophies and concepts. It’s usually not boring, though it does feel like a massive advertisement for Rudolf Steiner in the last third.

In short: a very important (though problematic on many levels) book in terms of its influence on so many other “fringe” writers, metaphysical thinkers, and very possibly a legion of filmmakers and comic book writers. If this sort of thing is your “bag,” you’ll want to pick it up. But it’s a massive rabbit hole—one of the great rabbit holes of all rabbit holes.

More to read about on Butterfly Language:
An Alternate History Of Jack Parsons, Part 1: Warrior Lord Of The Forties
Heavy Metal’s “Magick Special”
Crisis On Infinite Realities