A depiction of the "Black Sun" the design of which bases primarily on the shape of the Wewelsburg sun wheel mosaic in the "Obergruppenführer"-Hall (SS Generals' Hall).

The term Black Sun (German Schwarze Sonne), also referred to as the Sonnenrad (the German for "Sun Wheel"), is a symbol of esoteric or occult significance, notable for its usage in Nazi mysticism. Today, it may also be used in occult currents of Germanic neopaganism, and in Irminenschaft or Armanenschaft-inspired esotericism.

Historical background

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.[1] Some Alemannic or Bavarian specimens incorporate a swastika symbol at the center.[2] 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."[3] He further refers to scholarly discussion of the brooches in Nazi Germany,[4] allowing for the possibility that the designers of the Wewelsburg mosaic were indeed inspired by these historical precedents.

The Wewelsburg mosaic

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 was to become a 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"[5]. A focus of the actual SS-activities at the castle were archaeological excavations in the surrounding region and studies on Germanic early history [6][7].

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). [8] The "Obergruppenführer" (literally: "Upper-Group-Leaders") were the highest ranking SS-generals. 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 [9] 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" [10]. The mosaic at Wewelsburg itself is dark green and on a whitish/greyish marble floor. Probably a golden disc was originally located in the middle of the ornament.[11][12]

Traditional religion 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) [13][14] - a world-view which was essentially (intended to be) a "revival" of ancient (pre-Christian) Germanic paganism.

In the studies, done during the Third Reich, of the beliefs of the pre-Christian Germanic ancestors, it was estimated that these pagan ancestors believed in "a grand force or a grand god in the background of the multiplicity of gods and spirits who becomes visible in a multiple way in the universe, on earth and in the life of all beings and facts". So the sun was interpreted as "only one, but a very important and big expression (of that force or god) in the surrounding events and in the life of the ancestors".[15]

The North-Tower of the castle was to be the center of a planned circular estate, 1.27 kilometres in diameter.[16][17] The architects called the complex the "Center of the World" from 1941 on.

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.[18] According to the architects, the axis of the North-Tower was to be the actual "Center of the World"[19].

The inside of the complete castle was redesigned in an NS-specific mythological way. SS architect Hermann Bartels presented a first draft of plans that envisioned using the North Tower on three different levels:

  • Where primary a cistern was a vault after the model of Mycenaean domed tombs was created which probably was to serve for some kind of commemoration of the dead. The room is unfinished. In the middle exists a preparation for an eternal flame.
  • A "columned hall" was to be constructed on the ground floor for the SS-Obergruppenführer. The sun wheel–shaped ornament, later called the "Black Sun", is placed here.
  • Finally, the upper floors were to be completed as a meeting hall for the entire corps of the SS Gruppenführer (not realized).

However, a meeting in the first floor mosaic room never occurred—the building work at the room was stopped in 1943.[20]

In 1945, when the "final victory" didn't materialize, the castle was partially blasted and set on fire by the SS, but the two redesigned rooms in the North-Tower stayed intact.

Usually the room where the sun wheel is placed can only be viewed from the outside, through a lattice door. Due to the lighting conditions, the mosaic in the floor looks black and not green - a possible reason for the name "Black Sun".

It is not known whether this symbol was placed in the marble floor at Wewelsburg before or after the National Socialist Regime and the taking over of the castle by Himmler. There is speculation as to whether the symbol was put into the hall by the Nazis or whether it was there a long time before but there is no definitive proof either way. It must be noted that 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.[21] 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 Otto von Bismarck in Hamburg below a statue of Bismarck. 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").[22][23][24][25] [26] [27][28]

The Vienna Circle

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.[29]

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"[30]

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." [31]

Nazi and Neo-Nazi significance

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, 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",[32] 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. According to James Twining, "The symbol of the Black Sun unites 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).[33]

Erich Halik was the first to link the esoteric SS with the Black Sun roundel insignia carried by German aircraft in the polar region at the close of World War II.[30][34]

An image in Elemente, (No. 6, 1998) the journal of the Kassel-based Thule-Seminar,[35] shows a martial warrior holding a shield decorated with the Wewelsburg sun wheel. His upheld sword proclaims the struggle for "rebirth of Europe" against the "holocaust of peoples on the altar of multiculturalism." The German volkish magazine Sol Invictus uses the symbol as its masthead. The issue devoted to 'Midnight' shows two sombre knights standing guard beneath the sun wheel symbol.

In 2009, the paramilitary organization Guardia Nazionale Italiana used a Black Sun Symbol as part of the group's uniform.

Contemporary esotericism

Black Sun Oasis, (located in Akron, Ohio), is a chartered local body of Ordo Templi Orientis.

The Black Sun Rising Pylon is a local body of the Temple of Set in New York City.

The symbol has been used by a variety of esotericists; for example, as the name of the well-known Black Sun Press of New York City as well as the official symbol of the occult group Black Order of the Theozoa.

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. Others regard the Black Sun as a black hole; before the term black hole was invented 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 also


  1. 'Derhain website article (In German) on the Schwarze Sonne (In English); Jadu article; Haag Museum; 'Personal website' of James Twining.; Artfond website article on the Schwarze Sonne
  2. 'Jadu article; Haag Museum'
  3. Black Sun : : Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.
  4. References in Rüdiger Sünner, Schwarze Sonne: Entfesselung und Mißbrauch der Mythen in Nationalsozialismus und rechter Esoterik (Freiburg: Herder, 1999), pp. 148, 245 (note 426):'Die durchbrochenen Zierscheiben der Merowingerzeit' (Mainz: Röm-German. Zentralmuseum, 1970) by Dorothee Renner. Examples of symbols very similar to the Wewelsburg sun wheel occur in Mannus 28 (1936), 270; Walther Veeck, Die Alemannen in Württemberg (Berlin and Leipzig:DeGruyter, 1931); Hans Reinerth (ed.), Die Vorgeschichte der Deutschen Stämme, 3 vols. (Berlin: Bibliographisches Institut, 1940), vol. 2, plate 219.
  5. SS - Die Wewelsburg In German: SS - The Wewelsburg; quote: "... es sollte nach dem Endsieg das Zentrum der neuen Welt entstehen." - "... after the final victory the Center of the New World was to arise (here)."
  6. Takeover of the Castle by Himmler 1934 (German)
  7. Information about archaeological activities (German)
  8. 'Wewelsburg 1933 bis 1945. Kult-und-Terrorstätte der SS. Eine Dokumentation (Schriftenreihe des Kreismuseums Wewelsburg 1), 2nd Edition Paderborn 1987.' by Karl Hüse and translated into English in 2000 by Robin Benson
  9. Drachen, Helden, Nachtmeerfahrten - Die Archetypenlehre von C.G. Jung
  10. Walther Blachetta: Das Buch der deutschen Sinnzeichen (The book of German sense characters); reprint of 1941; page 15/16: interpretation of the sun and page 80: interpretation of the number twelve.
  11. The Schwarze Sonne documentary by Rüdiger Sünner contains as bonus material an interview with the DVD's producer in which he states this.
  12. At the end of this article a "plate of pure gold in the axis of the sun wheel" is mentioned.
  13. "SS - Wewelsburg (Castle)"; quote: Sie sollte ein Mittelpunkt der "artgemäßen" Religion werden und einen Repräsentationsbau für das SS-Führerkorps darstellen - (Wewelsburg Castle) was to be a center of the "kind-accordant" religion and a representative building for the SS-leader-corps
  14. Heinrich Himmler, quote: "Sie sollte nach dem “Endsieg” zum “Zentrum der neuen Welt” und “artgemäßen Religion” werden." (Wewelsburg Castle) was to become "Center of the New Word" and the "species-compliant religion" after the "final victory".
  15. Walther Blachetta: Das Buch der deutschen Sinnzeichen (The book of German sense characters); reprint of 1941; page 7: Introduction
  16. Nationalsozialismus.de » SS - Die Wewelsburg
  17. Kreismuseum Wewelsburg - Die SS Schule Haus Wewelsburg
  18. In the German article this is stated.
  19. The Schwarze Sonne documentary by Rüdiger Sünner contains as bonus material an interview with the DVD-producer in which he states this.
  20. Wewelsburg 1933 bis 1945. Kult-und-Terrorstätte der SS. Eine Dokumentation (Schriftenreihe des Kreismuseums Wewelsburg 1), 2nd Edition Paderborn 1987. Karl Hüser; translated into English in 2000 by Robin Benson and Interview with Kirsten John-Stucke, Vize-Director of the memorial-place Wewelsburg (in German)
  21. 'Wewelsburg 1933 bis 1945. Kult-und-Terrorstätte der SS. Eine Dokumentation (Schriftenreihe des Kreismuseums Wewelsburg 1), 2nd Edition Paderborn 1987.' by Karl Hüser and translated into English in 2000 by Robin Benson and 'Black Sun by Goodrick-Clarke: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity' by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke and extensive pictorial illustration is provided by Stuart Russell and Jost W. Schneider, Heinrich Himmler's Burg. Das weltanschauliche Zentrum der SS: Bildchronik der SS-Schule Haus Wewelsburg 1934-1945 (Landshut, Germany: RVG, 1989). Photographs of the Sun Wheel appear ibid, pp. 81-82 - this has been translated into English and is sold by the Wewelsburg museum
  22. 'Die Schwarzesonne (Revised)' by Steve Anthonijsz (Radböd Ártisson).
  23. 'German Wikipedia article on Bismarck-Denkmal (Hamburg)'.
  24. 'English Wikipedia article on Bismarck-Denkmal (Hamburg)'.
  25. Hamburg Morning Post article
  26. German Wikipedia Article
  27. Braune Lichtmenschen. Anmerkungen zum Heidentum in rechtsextremen Szenen
  28. Hamburger Morgenpost - www.mopo.de - Nachrichten Hamburg Panorama
  29. Wien als Brutstätte des okkulten Faschismus Vienna as hatchery of occult fascism: "Die beiden Wiener Wilhelm Landig und Rudolf J. Mund müssen als die eigentlichen Stifter dieses "SS-Mystizismus" angesehen werden, der sich heute um das Symbol der Schwarzen Sonne gruppiert." The two Vienneses Wilhelm Landig and Rudolf J. Mund must be seen as the actual founders of this SS mysticism which refers to the Black Sun nowadays.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Black Sun by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (2002)
  31. Rudolf J. Mund: Das Mysterium der Schwarzen Sonne; Kapitel: Die Esoterik der "Schwärze" (The mystery of the Black Sun; chapter: The esotericism of the "black")
  32. http://altreligion.about.com/library/glossary/symbols/bldefsblacksun.htm
  33. 'Personal website' of James Twining.
  34. "Um Krone und Gipfel der Welt" (Mensch und Schicksal 6, No. 10 (1 August 1952), pp. 3-5) by Erich Halik (Claude Schweikhart)
  35. http://www.thule-seminar.org/
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