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The term Black Sun (German Schwarze Sonne), also referred to as the Sonnenrad (the German for "Sun Wheel"), is a symbol of esoteric and occult significance. Its design is based on a sun wheel mosaic incorporated into a floor of Wewelsburg Castle during the Nazi era. Today, it may also be used in occult currents of Germanic neopaganism, and in Irminenschaft or Armanenschaft-inspired esotericism - but not necessarily in a racial or neo-Nazi context. Despite its contemporary use, the Black Sun had not been identified with the ornament in Wewelsburg before 1991, although it had been discussed as an esoteric concept in neo-Nazi circles since the 1950s.
The design has loose visual parallels in Migration Age Alemannic brooches (Zierscheiben), possibly a variation of the Roman swastika fibula, thought to have been worn on Frankish and Alemannic women's belts. Some Alemannic or Bavarian specimens incorporate a swastika symbol at the center. The number of rays in the brooches varies between five and twelve.
Goodrick-Clarke (2002) does connect the Wewelsburg design with the Early Medieval Germanic brooches, and does assume that the original artifacts had a solar significance, stating that "this twelve-spoke sun wheel derives from decorative disks of the Merovingians of the early medieval period and are supposed to represent the visible sun or its passage through the months of the year." He further refers to scholarly discussion of the brooches in Nazi Germany, allowing for the possibility that the designers of the Wewelsburg mosaic were indeed inspired by these historical precedents.
The shape of the symbol as it is used within Germanic mysticist esotericism and Neo-Nazism today is based primarily on the design of a floor mosaic at the castle of Wewelsburg (built 1603), a Renaissance castle located in the northwest of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
During the Third Reich the castle became the representative and ideological center of the order of the SS. Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS, wanted to establish the "Center of the New World". A focus of the actual SS-activities at the castle were archaeological excavations in the surrounding region and studies on Germanic early history.
The mosaic is located in the ground floor room of the North-Tower of the castle, in the so-called Obergruppenführersaal ("Obergruppenführer hall", completed 1939-1943). ("Obergruppenführer" (literally: "Upper-Group-Leader") was the SS-rank parallel to General in the Wehrmacht or Lieutenant-General in the US and British armies.) It is not known if the SS had a special name for the ornament, or if they attributed a special meaning to it. The sun wheel is significant for the Germanic light-and-sun mysticism which was propagated by the SS. In their studies on sense characters, the sun apart was interpreted as "the strongest and most visible expression of god", the number twelve as significant for "the things of the target and the completion". The mosaic at Wewelsburg itself is dark green (see two photos: top view and close-up in high-resolution (1.1 MB)) on a whitish/greyish marble floor. Probably a golden disc was originally located in the middle of the ornament.[unreliable source?]
Traditional Christianity was to be replaced by a "völkisch" (folkish or racial) cult. Instead of Christianity, Himmler wanted a moral doctrine derived from the pre-Christian pagan Germanic heritage. Cultic ceremonies and rituals were part of the everyday life of the SS. The Wewelsburg was to be a center of a "species-compliant" religion (German: "artgemäße" Religion)
The North-Tower, which had survived a ruin after 1815, only assumed importance for Himmler starting in the autumn of 1935. In the process of Himmler establishing the castle as a cult site (an ideological and religious center of the SS), the tower was to serve the highest-ranking SS leaders as a meeting place and probably as location for quasi-religious devotions. Nothing is known about the possible way and the kind of arrangement of designated ceremonies in the tower—the redesigned rooms were never used. According to the architects, the axis of the North-Tower was to be the actual "Center of the World".
The inside of the complete castle was redesigned in an Nazi-specific mythological way (see the Wewelsburg SS School). SS architect Hermann Bartels presented a first draft of plans that envisioned using the North Tower on three different levels. However, a meeting in the first floor mosaic room never occurred—the building work at the room was stopped in 1943. In 1945, when the "final victory" did not materialize, the castle was partially blasted and set on fire by the SS, but the two redesigned rooms in the North-Tower stayed intact.
It is not known with any certainty whether this symbol was placed in the marble floor at Wewelsburg before or after the National Socialist Regime. There remains speculation as to whether the symbol was placed in the hall by the Nazis or whether it was there previously but there is no definitive proof either way. The book sold by the Wewelsburg museum on the history of the castle from 1933 to 1945 makes no mention of who put it there. The plans for the North Tower by SS architect Hermann Bartels make no mention of it. Scholars today are reluctant to say with any certainty why it was put there, or by whom. Because the ceilings of the North-Tower were cast in concrete and faced with natural stone during the Third Reich, it is more likely that the ornament was created during the Himmler era.
There is, although its origins are unknown, an identical rendition of the Wewelsburg Schwarze Sonne in a wall painting at a World War II military bunker memorial to Bismarck at Hamburg below a statue of Bismarck (see Bismarck-Monument (Hamburg)). It is with a central piece incorporating a sunwheel and swastikas and the texts "Nicht durch Reden werden große Fragen entschieden, sondern durch Eisen und Blut" ("Great questions will not be resolved by talk, but by iron and blood").[unreliable source?]
The "Black Sun" is often associated with the mystic-esoteric aspects of National Socialism. Origin of a phantastic post war "SS mysticism" which refers to the "Black Sun" is a right-wing esoteric circle in Vienna in the early 1950s.
The former SS member Wilhelm Landig of the Vienna Circle "coined the idea of the Black Sun, a substitute swastika and mystical source of energy capable of regenerating the Aryan race". Rudolf J. Mund (also a former SS member and later also member of the Vienna Circle) discusses a relationship of the Black Sun with alchemy. The visible sun is described as a symbol of an invisible anti-sun: "Everything that can be comprehended by human senses is material, the shadow of the invisible spiritual light. The material fire is - seen in this way - also just the shadow of the spiritual fire."
The ideas of the Vienna Circle were later continued by the Tempelhofgesellschaft. The German scholar Julian Strube has shown a direct exchange of idea between this younger generation and the circle surrounding Landig. After the Tempelhofgesellschaft had been dissolved, its member Ralf Ettl founded the Freundeskreis (circle of friends) Causa Nostra that remains active.
It should be noted that the speculations of the Vienna Circle did not relate the Black Sun to the ornament in the Wewelsburg. This identification took place as late as 1991, in the novel Die Schwarze Sonne von Tashi Lhunpo.
The term Black Sun may originate with the mystical "Central Sun" in Helena Blavatsky's Theosophy. This invisible or burnt out Sun (Karl Maria Wiligut's Santur in Nazi mysticism) symbolizes an opposing force or pole. Emil Rüdiger, of Rudolf John Gorslebens Edda-Gesellschaft (Edda Society), claimed that a fight between the new and the old Suns was decided 330,000 years ago (Karl Maria Wiligut dates this 280,000 years ago), and that Santur had been the source of power of the Hyperboreans.
The Wewelsburg symbol can be deconstructed into three swastikas; a "rising", a "zenith" & a "setting" one, the design is popular among German Neo-Nazis as a replacement for the outlawed singular swastika symbol. Another interpretation is that the symbol incorporates twelve reversed "Sig runes" of the Armanen runes.
Allegedly, the design was drawn for Heinrich Himmler from an "old Aryan emblem", and was meant to mimic the Round table of Arthurian legend with each spoke of the sun wheel representing one "knight" or Officer of the "inner" SS. The symbol of the Black Sun is purported to unite the three most important symbols of Nazi ideology - the sun wheel, the swastika and the stylized victory rune." and that it is symbolic in its form representing "the twelve SS Knights of The Order of the Death's Head and their three retainers".
The symbol has been used by a variety of esotericists; for example, as the official symbol of the occult group Black Order of the Theozoa. The name of the well-known Black Sun Press (a private literary press active in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s) reflects the occult interests of one of its founders, Harry Crosby, but pre-dates the emergence of the esoteric Nazi symbol.
Occasionally, and unscientifically, black dwarfs are referred to as black suns. This is not entirely unrelated to the esoteric meaning, since ariosophy alleges a burnt out sun that was the source of power of the Aryans in some mystical past (see also Karl Maria Wiligut). Others[who?] regard the Black Sun as a black hole; before the term black hole was coined in 1967, black holes (then still theoretical) were sometimes called black stars or dark stars. Still others, such as Miguel Serrano, think of the Black Sun as a wormhole. Uses of the term in science fiction and fantasy literature are influenced by a combination of the esoteric and the astronomical meaning. See Black Sun (disambiguation) for examples of the term as used in popular culture.
In 1988/1990 and 1992, the Austrian authors Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl produced the documentaries "UFO - Das Dritte Reich schlägt zurück? (1998/1990) (UFO - The Third Reich Strikes Back?)" and "UFO - Geheimnisse des Dritten Reichs (1990) (UFO - Secrets of the Third Reich)" which talks of the Thule Society with the Geheimnis Schwarze Sun flashing on screen and talking about it. Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke states that "In the early 1990s, the Austrians Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl and developed new nazi UFO myths involving ancient Babylon, Vril energy and extraterrestrial civilisation in the solar system of Aldebaran. These colourful ideas are integral elements of a dualist Marcionite religion propagated by Ralf Ettl through his Tempelhofgesellschaft (Temple Society) in Vienna, identified as a secret successor to the historic Templars, who had absorbed Gnostic and heretical ideas in the Levant" Ratthofer and Ettl state in "UFO - Geheimnisse des Dritten Reichs (1990) (UFO - Secrets of the Third Reich)" that "Within the SS the Thule Society created a separate secret organisation called the "Black Sun"" with the "Geheimnis Schwarze Sonne" as its logo. This is a reference to the older narrative developed by the Vienna circle.
Jürgen-Ratthofer and Ettl were members of the Tempelhofgesellschaft that was originally founded in the 1980s. Its first major publication, Einblick in die magische Weltsicht und die magischen Prozesse (1987), maintained an esoteric interpretation of the Black Sun that later resurfaced in Landig's Rebellen für Thule, making the exchange between this younger generation and the Vienna Circle evident. The ideas of the THG were further disseminated by their brochure Das Vril-Projekt. They significantly contributed to the identification of the Black Sun with the ornament in the Wewelsburg that had first been suggested in the novel Die Schwarze Sonne von Tashi Lhunpo.
In 1997 author Peter Moon (real name: Vince Barbarick), wrote a book entitled 'The Black Sun: Montauk's Nazi-Tibetan Connection' in which he refers to an image (pictured) as the 'Signet of the Black Sun' (a secret order in Germany, also referred to as the 'Order of the Black Sun') and that it is "the symbol of the innermost secret society of Nazi Germany: the Black Sun. It is illegal to print or display this symbol in Germany today." This image and information was, according to Moon, originally provided to him by van Helsing around 1996, along with additional information on Nazi flying discs. Moon alleges that Helsing allegedly got it from Templar groups who emerged from East Germany after the Berlin Wall fell and Germany reunited. The German edition of Moon's book on the Black Sun had to have the image removed.
Van Helsing, however, did not write specifically on this symbol and mentioned the Black Sun just in a few phrases. But, from what Moon states, van Helsing could be talking about Ralf Ettl and his Tempelhofgesellschaft (Temple Sociey) in Vienna, identified as a secret successor to the historic Templars.
In 2005 American Scholar Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, in his book 'Reich of the Black Sun', also states that the symbol was adopted by the Thule Society but also adopted as an emblem for von Liebenfels' New Templars. Farrell also states that in contemporary German Federal Law it is forbidden to be displayed. Farrell doesn't cite any sources, not referring to Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl, Jan van Helsing or Peter Moon. Additionally, he states it was adopted by the Thule Society and the New Templars, without citation, and in contradiction to the information supplied by van Helsing and Moon. Farrell has stated that as for primary sources, he does not have one other than Ralf Ettl and Juergen Ratthofer for the Black Sun concept.
British Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke B.A. doesn't mention this image in either of his books on the history of occultism in Nazi Germany but shows the Thule Society emblem to have been this image and Liebenfels' New Templars logo to be this image.
Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison, in his 2000 AD series Zenith, makes repeated references to a Black Sun cult, which is a combination of Nazi and Lovecraftian ideas. They are the main agents in this world for the extradimensional running villains of the series, the Lloigor, and are the ones at the start of the series who engineer the resurrection of Master Man, the vessel of Iok-Sotot.
In Peter Hogan and Chris Sprouse's America's Best Comics limited series, Tom Strong & the Robots of Doom, Albrecht Strong, the Nazi son of Tom Strong, uses the symbol as his own when he overwrites the timestream with his own worldwide neo-Nazi empire.
The symbol is used on the cover of the novel The Black Sun by James Twining and is mentioned extensively, although the cover image is not strictly the same - it faces in the wrong direction. The symbol is also used on the cover of the fiction novel "Black Order" by James Rollins and is mentioned extensively therein.
In the occult-Nazi thriller Die Schwarze Sonne von Tashi Lhunpo (The Black Sun of Tashi Lhunpo) by Russell McCloud (Stephan Mögle-Stadel)  in 1991, the assassinations of the president of the European Bank and a leading member of the UN Security Council are linked by a brand mark of the symbol of the Black Sun on the foreheads of the victims. McCloud is the first writer to identify the Wewelsburg sun wheel with the Black Sun myth (of Wilhelm Landig), thereby indicating the esoteric influence of Wiligut and the SS heritage and Aryan-theosophical lore at the heart of Himmler's imaginative world. Arun-Verlag in Engerda (in the former German Democratic Republic) have published further editions and a film script of the book.
The book Unheilige Allianzen by Christian Dornbusch and Hans-Peter Killguss discusses the symbol. The symbol is also used on the book cover for the 2011 novel Order of the Black Sun by Jack Follett, which features a secret nazi base in New Swabia in Antarctica as one of the settings in the occult tech-thriller.
The Jayne Heller book series by Daniel Abraham writing under the name M.L.N. Hanover features a semi-benevolent spirit who possesses the protagonist, calling itself "Sonnenrad, the Black Sun's Daughter." It is described as a Prince of Hell, but its intentions are ambiguous and may not be evil.
The Wewelsburg design is used in the artwork of musical groups from the Neo-Nazi subculture and other bands using Nazi aesthetics, e. g. for shock value. It is used as well as in the in lyrics of the experimental music groups Coil who released a song called Solar Lodge, found on the album Scatology, containing the lyrics "See the black sun rise from the Solar Lodge", Death in June, Von Thronstahl and as the title of a song by Dead Can Dance and E Nomine.
Gotos=Kalanda (1995) by Allerseelen is adapted from Wiligut's pagan calendar cycle of poems presented to Himmler in 1937. The Wewelsburg Black Sun is prominent on Petak's letterhead and the Allerseelen label.
In the game Wolfenstein by Id Software, the Black sun was actually another dimension. In the game, the Nazis try to uncover the secrets of the Thule people, an ancient civilization that discovered how to enter the Black sun dimension through the use of portals. The main protagonist called William "B.J." Blazkowicz, a secret agent tries to prevent the Nazis from entering the dimension because they try to build a super weapon to win the war. The main character took an ancient artifact from a Nazi dig site, giving him special abilities that make gameplay easier throughout the game.
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