John Michell

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John Michell (1933 – 2009) wiki is an influential New Age author.

During the 1960s John Michell had famously hosted the influential London Free School in the basement of his house. [1]

"Michell was born in London in 1933 and was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read modern languages. He served in the Royal Navy and later joined the civil service as a Russian interpreter. His writing career began in 1967 with the publication of The flying saucer vision: the Holy Grail restored. Emerging at the height of UFO interest, and a year before Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods, this work proposed the idea that flying saucers were not necessarily craft from other planets. Instead, they could be seen as emanations of the human psyche, archetypes in Jungian terms, which were being observed especially at sites with ancient religious significance. As Michell put it: "The strange lights and other phenomena of the post-war period were portents of a radical change in human consciousness coinciding with the dawn of the Aquarian Age."

"In 1969 he published the first of his works on sacred geometry, The View over Atlantis, where he examined the research of Alfred Watkins, reawakening and developing the ideas from Watkins's 1925 book The Old Straight Track. Michell showed how the rediscovery of ley lines and the patterns both within and between ancient monuments demonstrated traces of what he called "a gigantic work of prehistoric engineering". In May the same year, Michell established the Research into Lost Knowledge Organisation (Rilko), together with founder members Keith Critchlow and Mary Williams. The organisation was headed by Commander G.J. Mathys, with Janette Jackson as honorary secretary and Elizabeth Leader as archivist. Rilko, of which the present author is a member, continues its charitable activities to this day, in organising lecture series and republishing previously lost or ignored works of ancient wisdom.

"Alexander Thom's research into prehistoric monuments, espoused by Michell, showed that a measure known as the megalithic yard – close to the modern yard – was being used by the builders of old. Michell's desire to preserve traditional weights and measures led to his establishment, in 1970, of the Anti-Metrication Board. Speaking about this later on, Michell was proud to note that this "radical traditionalist" organisation had "outlived its bureaucratic adversary, the Metrication Board, by several years."... In 1990 Michell founded The Cereologist, a magazine on crop circles and related matters, which ran a total of 36 editions through to 2003."[2]

"On 22 May 2010, a distinguished group of speakers came together in London to celebrate Michell’s life and works in all their paradoxical splendour. Organiser of the John Michell Day was the Temenos Academy, of which Michell had been a Fellow since its inception in 1990. Professor Grevel Lindop, as the Chairman of the Temenos Academic Board, had participated in many meetings with Michell. In his introduct­ory address to the symposium, he recalled “John’s presence at the Board meetings, that combined humour and great wisdom”. Very sensibly, Michell would periodically absent himself from these discussions to go outside and roll his own – sometimes tobacco, sometimes not... Critchlow was followed by Christ­ine Rhone, who also chaired the event. Rhone was the co-author of Twelve-Tribe Nations and the Science of Enchanting the Landscape (1991) with Michell, a revelatory book describing the foundations of a universal ideal social order. " [1]


Writing in The Pomegranate Amy Hale's abstract for an article titled "John Michell, Radical Traditionalism, and the Emerging Politics of the Pagan New Right" notes:

"Although the legacy and work of John Michell is frequently associatedwith a culturally liberal neo-tribalism, certain aspects of Michell’s thoughtcan be, and have been, interpreted as an esoteric extension of more explic-itly right-wing political positions, ones which are currently convergentwith the political subcultures surrounding the European New Right bothin Europe and also among newly emerging right-wing groups in the US.This essay examines the ways in which the work of John Michell is reso-nant with many of the philosophies of the European New Right, and how in his final years and after his death new markets for his work are emerging in the various subcultures associated with right-wing Paganism."

Hale writes:

"As historian Nicholas Goodrich-Clarke has outlined in his work onEsoteric Nazism, there are also a number of mythological and legen-dary motifs with which Traditionalism is frequently concerned, whichare also a focus of Michell’s writing. 11 These include the Grail quest,UFOs, telluric earth currents, Atlantis as the primordial homeland ofTraditional society, and the notion that the leader is the earthly represen-tation of a solar deity. That these themes might also be consistent withthe works of Julius Evola is no coincidence. Michell took great interest inhis work, and wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiments expressed in Revolt Against the Modern World. 12 In fact, you can see Evola’s inuence in Michell’s philosophies ranging from the nature of leadership to tradi-tional gender roles. Michell wrote that he believed it was most unfortunate that Evola was consistently identied with fascist politics, because as he was well aware, Evola disagreed with many of the precepts of Italian fascism 13 . However, Michell believed deeply in the eternal andspiritual truths that Evola’s writing seemed to convey." (p.83) 12. John Michell “A Rad Trad Englishman and an Italian,” in John Michell, Confes-sions of a Radical Traditionalist: Essays by John Michell , ed. Joscelyn Godwin (Vermont:Dominion Press, 2005) 146–48.

"In fact, the term “Radical Traditionalist”appears to have been coined by John Michell in the 1970s, 42 and has been promoted by a loose network of Evola and New Right supporters working to establish the New Right within Paganism and other groupsin the United States and elsewhere. In the American context, musician Michael Moynihan and his publishing partner, Joshua Buckley, who published Michell’s 2005 Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist, have been key figures in promoting the use of the term “Radical Traditionalist” to an emerging right-wing market. In fact, Michell’s 2005 collection of essays, Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist, were assembled and edited by Joscelyn Godwin in conjunction with Michell specically for ULTRA Press, which specializes in promoting the philosophies of European New Rightactivists, including Alain de Benoist and Julius Evola. 43 Godwin andMichell had previously both contributed to an edition of Evola’s Men Among the Ruins, published by Michael Moynihan’s Dominion Press in2002, so it is possible that Michell was taking more of an interest in an explicitly New Right agenda in his nal decade. ULTRA’s journal, Tyr: Myth, Culture and Tradition, is labeled a Radical Traditionalist journal,and they use the phrase in the subtitle of their printing of Julius Evola’s Men Among the Ruins: Reections of a Radical Traditionalist , 44

which mayactually suggest an exercise in Pagan branding, also indicated by the factthat the website of ULTRA Press is Moynihan and Buckley also have worked closely with gures such as Germanic Pagan Stephen Flowers (Edred Thorsson), who has also beena promoter and publisher of de Benoist’s work under Runa Raven Pressand who has openly expressed the importance of promoting the NewRight among Pagans in the United States. 4" (p.92)

"Esoteric publishing house Arktos, formerly Integral Traditions,rebranded itself in 2010 to reach an overtly radically culturally separa- tist and New Right readership. Arktos has a specic focus on publishing the works of Evola, and their catalogue includes works by de Benoist,Edred Thorsson, British National Anarchist Troy Southgate, and also John Michell’s 2005 Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist . Additionally,Arktos publishes a Traditionalist journal, The Initiate , features a Neofolkmusic section, and, interestingly, markets books on survivalist tech-niques, guerilla warfare, and armed resistance for those who are prac-tically minded. Counter-Currents publishing, based in San Francisco,aims at both a New Right and also an explicitly White separatist market.They feature a number of titles of potential interest to Pagans, including Tyr, books on Pagan spirituality by Collin Cleary, and books on Indo-European scholarship. Notably, one of Counter-Current’s editors inchief, Greg Johnson, is also a leading white-separatist blogger, using therhetoric of the New Right’s positions on diversity to advocate separatewhite polities, a position he shares with British National Anarchist andesoteric publisher Troy Southgate." (p.93)

The View Over Atlantis (1969)

In this acknowledgements to his book The View Over Atlantis Michell thanks: "John F. Neal, John Williams, Chris Turner of Bristol, Jeanette Jackson, Elizabeth Leader, Thom Keyes, Ogilvie Crombie and Bruce MacManaway are among those whose suggestions and advice have been of great assistance."


  • Paul Screeton, John Michell: From Atlantis to Avalon (Alternative Albion, 2010). Review

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Jonathan Christoph Grunenberg, Summer Of Love: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis And Counterculture In The 1960s (Liverpool University Press, 2005), p.77.
  2. John Michell: Expert on ancient knowledge and pioneer of the New Age , organizational web page, accessed July 1, 2012.