In the 1960s, certain circles interested in the idea of an Order turned to Julius Evola to ask him to give a broad outline of it: ‘L’Ordine della Corona di Ferro’, whose content, it should be emphasised, is strictly meant for the potential members of an elite and NOT AT ALL for others, was published in Arthos at the beginning of the ‘70s.
At the downfall of the Roman empire, the first ascetic Orders were born of the need to maintain and defend spiritual values in the middle of the political chaos and the moral disintegration of the time.
With the appearance of a similar situation, the deep crisis that has been affecting the modern world, it seems appropriate to set up something similar, and the Order of the Iron Wreath has been proposed. This designation is not related to the ancient Italian wreath. It was suggested by the idea of a sovereignty to be defined in spiritual terms, and with reference to the metal that is the best symbol of strength, temper and inflexibility, which must be features of character of the men of the Order for the defense of Spirit.
- The men of the Order have the duty, first of all, of being living testimonies to the values of pure Spirit, understood as a transcendent reality, above any merely human value, any naturalistic, ‘social’, and ‘individualistic’ bond, and of defending and asserting them in appropriate forms.
- The devastations that characterise the modern world impose on the men of the Order the responsibility for the assumption and the assertion of such values as distinct from more or less historically conditioned institutions and forms. The men of the Order, noting that at the present time there is no political or social system of a legitimate nature, true to higher principles, keep aloof from all these. They could be present, and even accept offices or positions, in such institutions, but for the sole purpose of exerting an influence of a transcendent nature, whether direct or indirect. As for the distance to be kept from every particular religious form, since the growing decay and secularisation of these forms is self-evident, any such participation must be justified by the acknowledgment of basic values free from any conditioning.
- Leaving this aside, the most important thing is that the men of the Order act on an existential level through their presence, through absolute adherence to truth, uprightness, ability to subordinate the person to the work, inflexibility and rigour of the idea, indifference towards any outward recognition and any material benefit. Recognising the correspondence between the interior and exterior human form, it is desirable that the men of the Order be chosen from among those without physical defects, and even from among those of imposing mien. Besides, this was often a rule in the knightly orders.
- There are distortions specific to modern society, and to take a stand against them is a natural and essential premise of adherence to the Order. What is to be criticised above all in this connection is any form of democracy and egalitarism, to which must be opposed a spiritually founding principle of authority and hierarchy.
Any proletarian and collectivist ‘social’ myth must be fought even more. Contempt for the so-called ‘working classes’ is an essential point (1). The men of the Order oppose any cronyism, any climbing of inferior forces to power and any concept of rank, privilege and power defined in terms of money and wealth. The task of the men of the Order is to assert the supremacy of heroic, aristocratic and traditional spiritual values against the practical materialism, petty immoralism and utilitarianism of our times. On every occasion they will stand up for these values and oppose and unmask what is in contradiction with them.
- The Order recognises Truth as the most powerful weapon for its action. The Lie, the ideological falsification, the suggestion and the anaesthetising action exerted on every ability of higher sensitivity and recognition are actually at the root of the general work of subversion and distortion in the present world.
- The center of gravity of the Order lies neither in any particular religious confession nor in any political movement, and moreover, in its spirit, the Order stands aloof from all that pretends to be ‘culture’ in the modern, intellectualistic and profane sense. The foundation of the man of the Order is on the contrary, in the first place, a way of being; in the second place, a given vision of life, as its expression; in the third place, the elements of style for a personal attitude of rectitude and coherence in life, together with a norm for the mastery of action.
- Currents and bodies of ideas may be supported, inspired or favoured, according to their opportune nature in relation to any given situation, by the Order, but without its identifying itself with them. It will only aim at acting on the plane of causes, not on the plane of effects and exteriority.
- The whole Order will be behind each man of the Order. Each member will have the duty of supporting, by any means, any other member, not as an individual, but as an exponent of the organisation. Each member of the Order should turn himself into a center of influence in any given circle, and the unity of the Order will express, confirm and strengthen the natural harmony potentially existing between these elements, cells or centers of action equally internally orientated, shaped by the same idea.
- Only men of an age not less than 20, free from physical defects and from anything that could be prejudicial to natural prestige on the psycho-somatic plane can be admitted in the Order.
- The Order presupposes individualities who, having at least potentially the same inner qualification, vocation, and mentality, are already at various stages along the same line of spiritual awareness.
Belonging to the Order, however, requires a precise and sworn pledge, attesting to readiness to put in the front line, in any field, the idea of the Order’s aim, as opposed to any sentimental, emotional and familial bond, to personal preferences, to material interests, or to social ambitions. The men of the Order are asked for no renunciation, but for an inner detachment – that is to say an inner freedom – regarding their own situation in the outer world, whatever it may be.
- Belonging to a given religious community or denomination is not incompatible with belonging to the Order, provided that the latter is guaranteed primacy in case of conflict.
- It is wished that, in the formulation of higher principle, the men of the Order aspire to concordant realisations, in the sense of seeking contacts with superior states of being that have constituted the object of operative disciplines of initiatic nature.
About distinctions of rank and organisational form
- The Order has two aspects, an internal one and an external one. With reference to the first aspect, all the members of the Order take on an equal dignity corresponding to the denomination or title of ‘Men of the Order of the Iron Wreath’. Organisationally, the Order is ruled and led by a Council of the Masters of the Order, composed of seven members, with a ‘Grand Master of the Order’. General tasks of directive, realisatory, and disciplinary nature, to be gradually defined during each session of the Council, are to be shared out among such members.
- The internal side of the order corresponds to the purely doctrinal domain and consists of three degrees, to be related to the state of spiritual fulfillment of each individual. This articulation does not necessarily have a bearing upon the domain we have just referred to in the previous point, apart from the clause that at least four of the members of the Council of the Masters must also take on the highest degree of the internal hierarchy. This and the work on the plane of knowledge and distinctions of rank according to traditional criteria will be dealt with in a separate chapter.
- It is up to the Council to decide any admission to the Order, with the choice and the direct investiture of distinguished elements that are judged worthy. Ex officio memberships are not to be excluded: given personalities can be declared as belonging to the Order in every respect, even though they have no apparent relation to it.
- Belonging to the Order does not entail financial obligation. Bequests and donations will be allowed. The Council will have them at its disposal, with exclusive reference to the impersonal aims of the Order.
5.The title of ‘Man of the Order’ is potentially hereditary in the sense that whoever possesses it can decide that it can be transmitted to the firstborn of his family, the ambition being that the tradition of his blood be also that of a given spiritual form and influence, in the continuation of the same action.
- The members of the Council are the founders of the Order. The Council itself will decide on the succession in any case where a death or incompatibility occurs regarding any member. Each of them has the right to propose to whoever he wishes to transmit his function and to be the continuator of his work. The Council will decide on this point.
- The Council has essentially the features of a ‘Society of Men’ (Männerbund). It has thus no sympathy for all that belongs merely to the realm of the family.
- The members of this society can follow a line of sexual freedom, provided that this does not mean subservience to sex.
- Though women cannot belong to the Order as members, young women could constitute a ‘third-class’ formation at the disposal of the men of the Order, for communitarian, and not possessive, use (see what Plato considered, in his ideal State, for the warlike caste), measures being taken to prevent fecundation (2).
(1) In order to fully understand the meaning of this declaration, the reader is advised to compare it to what Evola recently wrote in the appendix to the latest edition of Gli Uomini e le Rovine, Roma, 1972, IV: ‘Tabu dei nostri tempi, 2: La classe lavoratrice’, (‘Taboos of Our Time, 2: The Working Classes’), pp. 279-282: ‘Today, the worker appears to us only as a ‘seller of manpower’, a sale from which he tries to draw all the profit possible, without scruples, aiming only at a bourgeois life.’
(2) These assertions may appear odd or at least surprising to most readers. However, the signification of sex in the past in a non-‘profane’, but normal, context closely akin to the principles of tradition, should be borne in mind in this respect. In particular, the author certainly refers here to the operative sexually-based magic that occurred in Antiquity or even in recent times in groups such as the Myriam of Kremmerz or Crowley’s O.T.O. We also refer interested readers to Chapter VI of Evola’s Metafisica del Sesso, ‘Il sesso nel dominio dell’iniziazione e della Magia’.