Traditionalism and Eschatology
René Guénon and Martin Lings made it clear that we are living in the last days of the present cycle of manifestation—yet we have heard little about the apocalyptic quality of our times from the Traditionalists in recent years. Why is this? How might the last days of “this world” work themselves out? What spiritual dangers and opportunities do they bring with them? And how would a full recognition of the lateness of the hour affect our own spiritual lives?
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Those writers of the Traditionalist school who deal most directly with eschatology—René Guénon, Martin Lings and Leo Schaya—do not anticipate an earthly millennium of the latter days. They are not chiliasts. They do, however, see a brief “restoration” before the end of the cycle.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church there is a tradition regarding the “aerial tollhouses” which the soul encounters after death. Though it does not have the force of dogma, it is recounted by such Church Fathers as St. John Chrysostom, St. Athanasius the Great and St. Ephraim the Syrian.
When I saw an acceptance of the spirit of this world growing upon certain Traditionalists, that started me on my quest to investigate the exact nature of the shadow that was falling over them. Their desire was, apparently, not to have to feel the enmity of the world—but no one who does not feel the enmity of the world can say that he has realized truth, in these latter days especially.