Aki Cederberg, author of Journeys in the Kali Yuga: A Pilgrimage from Esoteric India to Pagan Europe, published by Inner Traditions, is our guest in podcast episode 188.
Beautifully detailing his spiritual pilgrimage from West to East and back again, in the age of strife known as the Kali Yuga, Aki Cederberg shares the authentic and unbroken magical traditions he experienced in India and Nepal and how his search for a spiritual homeland ultimately led him back to his native Europe.
Cederberg explains how his odyssey began as a search for spiritual roots, something missing in the spiritually disconnected life of the Western world, where the indigenous traditions were long ago severed by the spread of Christianity. Traveling to India, he encounters the ancient esoteric order of mystic, wild, naked holy men known as the Naga Babas, the living source of the Hindu traditions of magic and yoga. Immersing himself in the teachings of the tradition, he receives an initiation and partakes in the Kumbh Mela, the largest spiritual gathering on Earth. With his evocative descriptions, Cederberg shows how traveling in India can be an overwhelming, even psychedelic experience. Everything in this ancient land is multiplied and manifold: people and things, sights and sounds, joy and suffering. Yet beyond the apparent confusion and chaos, a strange, subtle order begins to reveal itself. He starts to glimpse resemblances and analogies between the teachings of the Indian tradition and the Western traditions of magic, alchemy, and pagan pantheons. He meets a wide cast of characters, from mystical hucksters in Rishikesh and the veritable army of naked, chillum-smoking mystics of Maya Devi to Goa Gil, the world-renowned guru of the Goa techno-trance scene, and Mahant Amar Bharti Ji, an urdhvabahu or “raised-arm Baba,” who for more than 40 years has held up one arm in devotion to Shiva.
After extensive traveling and immersing himself in the extraordinary world of India, Cederberg returns to his native soil of Europe. Traveling to holy places where old pagan divinities still linger in the shadows of the modern world, he dreams of forgotten gods and contemplates how they might be awakened yet again, reconnecting the West with its own pre-Christian spiritual traditions, sacred landscapes, and soul.
I enjoyed Journeys in the Kali Yuga tremendously. In addition to feeling as though I was accompanying the author on his travels and gaining insights along the way, his razor-like commentary on the differences between modern society and esoteric spiritual tradition are both startling and welcome. Many of the conclusions Aki draws from his experiences echo my own and reinforce to me the importance of authentic tradition and veneration of lineages that produce realized beings. Additionally, the way in which Cederberg is using the wisdom he’s gained to delve deeper into his own pagan tradition is inspiring. A movement from modernism to a futurism informed by authentic traditional ways is a welcome shift from New Age spirituality.
Aki Cederberg is a writer, musician, and filmmaker, who gives talks and lectures on esoteric and mythological topics. An extensive traveler, he has written for The Fenris Wolf book anthologies as well as several other publications. A member of several musical groups and a part of the podcast Radio Wyrd, he lives in Helsinki, Finland.
In the Chamber of Reflection, Aki Cederberg, Rudolf, and I continue the interview. Aki describes the spiritual desolation of modern secular society and his hopes to inspire those looking to reawaken ancestral spiritual legacy. He also stresses that pilgrimage is not complete without homecoming. Join us for that inspired conversation!
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