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Endure.

Woke up this morning hurting.

A physical pain, sure- sprained fingers from 7 hours of jiu-jitsu in the last two days. The inside of my mouth torn up from my crooked and chipped teeth gouging tender areas as I got choked over and over by higher belts on the mat.

Ear is thick, filled with fluid again, cauliflower ear setting in worse. My right foot, exploded years back in a motorcycle crash and never surgically repaired, gets swollen after lots of time on it, little stress fractures that have me limping like an old man at 33.



I could go on- there’s been a lot of savage miles put on this frame from a life lived without much thought given to the future, or “leaving some in the tank.”

But it’s not all the physical stuff that’s the real bitch- today, like many others, it’s a spiritual pain.

An existential one.

As I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, I realized how tired I was. How washed out. A bone-deep exhaustion brought on by stress, uncertainties, friendship disintegration, loss of loved ones, shattered expectations, knives in the back, and every other low and dirty trick that life often throws in the path.

When you’re young and you’re suffering, people will always tell you “it gets better.”

Like so many other things that adults tell youth, this is total bullshit. It never gets better, or easier- in fact, it gets more difficult, more complex, more deeply cutting.

You just have a choice to get harder along with it, and tougher, so that you can deal with what existence has to offer, or you become someone that life broke to pieces. A crippled casualty, traumatized and left to bleed.

It’s been a long year, and easily the most difficult of my life in every area- but this article is not about complaining.


It’s about understanding the choice that you are presented with every morning, every day, every hour, every moment. The choice is: keep moving, or sit down and quit.

No matter who you are, whether hard-case or housewife, life is tough.

You’re not special. Everyone is suffering everywhere, all in their own way.

You can face your suffering as a victim or a victor, and really, like everything else, it all comes down to the mindset you choose. 



If today is kicking you in the ribs with steel toed boots, I am going to do my best to give you a quick roadmap through it. Not because I know you, or necessarily care about your problems (see step 1), but because somewhere deep down, no matter how many disappointments life throws my way, I am an idealist.

I want to help people. I want them to prove me wrong when I am at my most cynical and misanthropic. I want to believe that people change, and improve, instead of just being revealed for what they are.

Mostly, I am going to offer a helping hand, because at my lowest moments, like today, I wish someone would do it for me- and I find that in doing it for someone else, I do it for myself as well. So here goes, with fire and fury.

First- No one wants to hear about your problems- realizing this is step one on the road to changing your mindset during the hard times.



Complaining doesn’t help, nobody gives a shit, and you’re on your own. Even if that’s not totally true, and you’ve got good people around you, you should still live by it, because those who don’t often burden the people around them make for better friends.

That sounds harsh, but we could use a little more “stiff upper lip,” and a little less “embarrass yourself with daily emotional displays” in this day and age.

Second- just like days when you don’t want to go to the gym, or go train, or fix your kids lunch in the morning, or whatever it is: those are the days you most need to. 



If you don’t, life becomes a series of excuses not to do your duty, instead of a series of challenges overcome. And, even if you can’t squeeze anything more out of it, a life spent living up to your duty as a man, a son, a brother, a wife, or a parent is a pretty good way to cross the finish line.

Third- Don’t spend too much time thinking.

On days like these, the more time spent in contemplation of the roadblocks, the failures, the grey waste that stretches out on the horizon, the more likely you are to succumb to despair or enervation.

Even if you feel like sitting down and dying, stand up and fight.

Do not offer yourself up as a willing victim, or surrender when life itself rises up against you!

Hit the gym like it owes you money, run until you’re ragged, plan a murder or start a new religion. Throw yourself into a task- any task, until the blackness subsides and you are in control again.

Fourth- realign yourself with the stars.

By this, I mean remind yourself of who you are and where you’re going.

If all seems lost, look to the heavens and remember what your North Star is: who you are at the core, what it is you are seeking to be an archetype of.

Yourself, sigilized, and burning like a supernova on your way to glory and immortal legend.

Fuck faith, and hope, and fear- be filled with your own fire, your own purpose, and if you cannot find one, just create one, out of nothing, and hold it in your hand like a weapon.
This is who you are now, and have always been, and who you must continue to be, forever, amen.

Don’t surrender, don’t give up, don’t quit.

ENDURE!


“O men! Do not be afraid. Do not retreat. Perform sacrifices.
Let those who perform sacrifices prosper.
May truth, passion, and darkness make you complete.”


XCII
P.W.

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From White to Blue.

I’ve never written about jiu jitsu before. 



Mainly, this is because I didn’t want to be the brand new guy running his mouth about stuff. Some white belt pontificating about jiu jitsu is about as valuable as a guy who can’t put up two plates telling you how to bench.

I didn’t know when I started that in order to “put in the time,” to earn my blue belt and feel like I could finally write an article about some of my experiences with grappling would take me the better part of three years, but that’s how it goes.

Ironically, I started training because of an injury, in November of 2015, thinking that jiu jitsu would be a little easier on my body than lifting weights, which is hilarious to think about now. There are people who tell you that jiu jitsu is good for you- I think these people are looking for memberships, because every high level guy I’ve trained with has had the same grim message for me: jiu jitsu, if you’re training hard, will break your body down and especially over 30, you pretty much feel injured or hurt all the time.

To be fair, I had done a little it of grappling years before, in a D.I.Y. gym myself and some friends had, where my brother Matthias and my good friend Chad walked us through some of the basics of Gracie Jiu Jitsu from online courses and VHS tapes they had. I didn’t progress much then, and couldn’t have told you a Darce from an Anaconda, but one important thing did happen: I used jiu jitsu in a street fight.

Making a somewhat long story short, a fight broke out at a party I was at, that might have been started when someone interrupted the Danzig I was listening to on the stereo with some inferior music, and an argument turned into a brawl. It didn’t take much to get me swinging back then.

The guy I was fighting was a good bit bigger than me, I think I only weighed around 145 at the time, and things got dicey when I realized he was a pretty good scrapper- I wound up on the bottom, with him in full mount, raining down punches from a solid and stable top position.

My training came to me- I put my knee in his back and shoved up, hard. He went forward, up toward my head, momentarily destabilized. I wrapped one arm around his back, grabbed his tricep in a strong grip, trapped his foot on that same side with mine, and bridged my hips up, rolling him neatly over, passing his non-existent “guard,” and dropped short elbows and strikes on him until I was satisfied he’d had a bad night.

I had been in a good number of fights in my life, but I finally experienced first-hand the value of jiu jitsu in one. No matter what the detractors say, jiu jitsu is a game of positional and limb control, and has been incredibly valuable in many of the situations I’ve found myself in since. Multiple attackers, armed opponents, whatever. I’ve either experienced or seen allies utilize this art to great effect, and am more than convinced of its “street” application.

Our DIY dojo training didn’t last long, maybe 6 months or so, but it planted the seeds that I’d come back to years later.

I returned to jiu jitsu, as mentioned, due to an injury keeping me out of the weight room, but my decision really happened a few weeks before that, standing around a fire. All the guys I was hanging out with lifted pretty seriously, and some good natured shit-talking turned into some relatively good natured grappling.

Not many of them knew what they were doing, and the matches were sort of wrestling chaos with no real ending, since no one really knew how to throw any submissions. One guy who was there had done some training, maybe a year of BJJ, and just dismantled everybody, all these big lifters, in a few minutes each. All their muscle didn’t count for anything.

I knew this all along, but the situation reminded me how unimportant muscle is, by itself, out in the world. It’s great to be strong, and being strong makes you better at pretty much everything, but if it exists in a vacuum, not informing anything else, you’re just the guy people ask to move heavy stuff. Unless you compete and do well at it, you’re a standard gym rat, who can impress your 3 loyal Instagram followers with your mediocre lifting numbers.

Don’t get me wrong. I am one of those guys, and love lifting weights, but that night I kind of shook my head and thought, “that’s it. I’m getting back on the mats.” It’s not enough to be strong by itself- I want to be able to use that strength, combine it with a technique and use the two to make me more dangerous where and when it matters.

I feel the same about guys who train with firearms or something, but refuse to lift weights or do conditioning. You’ve seen them- hundreds of dollars in “tacticool” gear, thousands in gun mods and all that, but have a hard time getting in and out of their car. They can stop ISIS, but not if the conflict happens at the top of a long set of stairs. 

It’s not enough to be decent at the one thing- we should strive to be more well-rounded. Besides, not being able to fight or hold your own in one makes you a liability and a burden to your friends or honor group.

When I got back on the mats, nothing of that brief 6 months of training had stuck with me except knowing a basic idea of each position, and maybe a choke or two. I was the classic “strong” white belt- way too aggressive, probably irritating the hell out of the blue belts, relying purely on strength until I gassed out early and got choked. As I started to settle down and actually learn, these are some of the things that came to me through the 2+ years I spent as a white belt (I say 2 years, because I spent a consecutive 8 months off from training before coming back to it a few months ago.)



Some are things I wish I’d done more of, or things I wish I hadn’t done, and others are just little realizations that I had on the way, or stuff I wish someone had told me during that time. I hope they help or entertain some of you who may be on your own journey through the savage world of grappling.

Don’t Rush. This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. You are going to spend a lot of time training, so don’t feel like you have to retain everything and “get to the finish line.” Relax, pay attention, and show up.

Compete More- this is something I definitely regret with my time as a white belt, and plan to fix in the blue belt stage. “Life” was always happening, weekends too busy, or I was hurt, or it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, or some other reason. There’s a thousand reasons not to compete, but everyone I have talked to has said that when they are competing, their jiu jitsu improves at a greatly increased rate. More is at stake.

Calm Down! You’ll hear this one a lot during white belt. A lot. Take it to heart, because you really won’t start to improve much as a white belt until you can relax, breathe, and notice what’s happening. I started chewing gum every practice, and I chew it when I roll, because it keeps me conscious of my breathing, and keeps my mouth closed a lot, so I have to breathe more slowly and stay relaxed to not choke on it. Straining too hard, always muscling everything, and going all-out every roll is a dumb and obnoxious way to train. Focus on moving more fluidly and keeping your muscles loose until you need them. This is the hardest part of the first 6 months or so.

Make A List. Have a goal with your training, and achieve it by making a list of things you need to be working on or drilling more. At first, just make a list of all the techniques your school expects out of you during the white belt to blue belt process. These should be your priority- not that you can’t be open to learning all kinds of other things, too, but the moves on this list should be the ones you are looking to really get a feel for during this time. It will give you some focus and make you feel less like drowning in a vast ocean of information, which for me was important at the beginning.

Move of the Week. Allow yourself some fun with a “move of the week” from YouTube or wherever. Try to hit it during all your rolls, if possible, and if you haven’t quite gotten it down, make it a move of the month. This keeps things enjoyable and gives you sort of a game to play as you improve.

Tap Early- it’s one thing to try to survive a little longer because you are drilling an escape and want to make it work. It’s another to stubbornly hang on to your pride while getting arm barred or key locked and get hurt. Everyone taps, a lot. Don’t be that guy. Just tap.

Dont Brag. One of the worst guys in the gym is the low belt level who is always bragging about who he tapped. Did he consider that the higher belt level was more than likely “playing” with him, giving up positions, putting himself in bad situations in order to work, and if he had wanted to, could’ve just smashed him? There is no way to look like more of an asshole on the mats than this, except maybe…

Dont Coach. There’s coaches there for a reason, and if you’re a white belt, they know more than you. Don’t coach other people, or try to show them how to do stuff while you’re at class. You will probably show them the wrong way anyhow, and you should be at class to learn and keep your mouth shut- there’s no issue helping another white belt you’re working with through the drill, but don’t take roll time to show your ass by attempting to instruct.

Do Gi and No Gi- before my first competition, I had spent 6 months doing only training in the gi. After losing 4 matches by a few points each, with no danger of having been submitted in any of them, I realized that playing a slow game in the gi had made me a bit ineffective and less aggressive than I needed to be in competitions. I started training no-gi the following week and made a lot of improvements in my movement, speed, scrambles and so on, and now I train no-gi and gi every week.

The Best Number of Days a Week is How Many You’ll Do. Don’t agonize over how many days a week you think you should train. Start with what you know you can do, and go from there. If you can make it for sure 2 days a week, start with that and add one in once you’ve proven you can maintain two. My sweet spot to still lift and not feel totally train wrecked is 3 or 4 classes a week and maybe one extra roll, but everyone’s different. Some guys go more or less.

Shut Up And Train- Don’t Ask too Many Questions. Chances are, you probably don’t even know what question you’re trying to ask, and if you just keep training, all will be revealed. It’s fine to ask for clarification on a technique you’re drilling, but I have so often heard white belts ask questions in class, seemingly just to ask a damn question. Nothing is more frustrating when you’re trying to get your reps in than some guy in class who wants to hear his own voice slowing down training by asking questions he’d know the answer to if he just kept working.

Worry More About Establishing and Maintaining Position Than Submission. Everyone wants the tap, but at low level, I found it was better to worry about establishing and holding dominant position calmly, then work for the sub, than to get carried way looking for a sub and getting swept, rolled or passed.


Make it a Priority. I fucked around a lot at various times during white belt, or things got more important. When I was in Oregon, it was a 2 hour drive to the nearest studio, and other things had taken priority at the time. I think about it now, and if I had made the sacrifice for two days a week during my time there, I would be 8 months better at jiu jitsu. It’s too early in the game to call it, but I don’t ever want to take that long off again. If you decide to start training, take it seriously, train hard, and endure through the hard parts- and it’s all the hard part.


Realize that a Blue Belt is nothing. Lastly, its important to remember that the drop-out rate in jiu jitsu is really high, especially at blue belt belt, because so many people get so worked up about earning their blue belt that once they get it, they feel like they got what they came for. It’s a black belt you’re after, not a blue one! In the grand scheme, a blue belt is such a small accomplishment- be proud of it once you earn it, but realize that it represents such a small part of the sacrifice and journey to something much bigger. Don’t get a big head, or feel like you’ve “made it.” It’s a recognition simply that you’re not flailing around aimlessly on the mats (as much) anymore. Act accordingly.

Take everything I’ve said here with a grain of salt- I’m just a blue belt. I’m pleased to have made it this far, but I know it’s just the end of the very beginning- and I have a feeling things keep feeling that way. 



Good luck, and stay on the mats.



XCII

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Artha, Pt. I.

By Paul Waggener

I took my first job at 15, working on a roofing crew in Northern California, one of the only guys at the time on my job-site without a criminal record. I remember 105 degree days on wood shingles, getting burnt by the sun and bit by fire ants. I also remember the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a long day, when the foreman asked me and my buddy Sam, then 17 or 18, to come back the next day- a couple teenagers chosen over grown men for our work ethic and hustle.

For the rest of my life, that work ethic defined me on job-sites all over America. I’ve done concrete, tree work, demolition, log cabin construction, and more- always the most brutal grunt work available, since I never was worth much when it came to carpentry, or any of the more skilled labor jobs. I knew how to work hard, I was pretty strong, and I was reliable- three things that will ensure you a job almost anywhere in the country, but will never make you rich.

It wasn’t until I started playing country music that I first understood that hard, brutal work was not necessarily the best way to make money. It sure made other people money, but usually left me tired, mean, and beat up at the end of a week, with just enough money to pay the bills and party a little, before saddling up and doing it all over again the next Monday. I never had more than a grand or two at any given time. Certainly no savings or “rainy day” money.

As I started to play out more, and I improved as a performer, I started making 150 dollars or so for a show, then sometimes 2 or 300. The idea that in two 3 hour gigs I could make what I made in a whole week of breaking concrete with a heavy jackhammer blew my mind. Thinking of playing music full time was something I’d never even considered as a possibility.

A while later, I was working a few days a week as a bartender, and knocking down three or four gigs a week, and instead of pulling in a few hundred a week, I was making a couple thousand. This transition knocked down some major road-blocks in my mind, and in my approach to wealth and currency, and for the first time in my life, I was making “good money” without breaking my back or bones to do it.

These days, I do pretty well for myself, paying the bills with writing, artwork, consulting, all under the Operation Werewolf banner. Anyone who tells you working for yourself isn’t as hard as manual labor has probably never done it, as it presents its own series of challenges, mostly stemming from the fact that you are 100% reliant on yourself for everything- most people don’t have the ability to be their own taskmaster, or they lack the staying power and relentless nature required to run a business. 

However, its infinitely more enjoyable at the end of a day to know that the hours you put in were for you and yours, and being mentally exhausted beats the hell out of herniated discs and blown knees.

I get my physical exhaustion these days from weights and martial arts, which I was often too tired to do when putting in 12 or 14 hour days rolling logs up hills.

For some people, though, I think the problem is all in their mindset.

It seems that most of the people I interact with, especially the modern “pagans” or “heathens,” fall into the low to middle class economic bracket, and that this is largely due to an attitude toward money adopted from either a Christian upbringing or sense of inferiority.

Bringing up money or discussing it is commonly seen by these types as impolite or in bad taste, even though many of them eke out a meager living in decidedly undignified positions, supplemented often by some kind of “side-hustle” so popularly seen at gatherings and on social media. Blacksmithing, jewelry, woodburnings, religious trinkets, mead-making, clothing sales and so forth are all commonplace.

Operate outside these quaint “old-world” hobby-trade pursuits, and now instead of being “industrious” you might find yourself become a “money-grubber” or some other insult slung by those people in a position of less success than their betters.

Here’s a secret:

Everyone wants more money. 



Sure, there may be a few monks on a mountain somewhere who have transcended the desire for the finer things in life, but for the rest of us, money means access, power and leverage. Eating good quality food, exploring the world, the security of our own home, reliable conveyance, medical treatment when necessary without going into crushing debt, even supporting those within our network through patronage by buying or investing in their endeavors- none of this can be done without wealth.



In the pre-Christian era of Europe, from whence this mishmash of modern “pagan revival” claims to take its cues, wealth was seen as a noble pursuit, one that led to respect, power, and leverage. In Hinduism, they called this pursuit “artha” and it was seen as one of the ways to live a meaningful life, when approached in a virtuous and honest fashion.



A chieftain in pagan Europe was largely successful or unsuccessful due to charisma and open-handedness, that is, his ability to attain enough wealth that he could be generous with it, thereby establishing loyalty and love from his inner circle and soldiers, in order to attain even more of it.

Likewise, the great holy festivals and rites of pagan worship throughout the world were largely dedicated to success of some kind- whether in battle or trade, prosperous fields and livestock or conquest in other lands to expand the means and territory of the tribe or people.

The Celts and Germans were known to throw gold and silver into sacred lakes in order to receive a like gift in return from their gods, ancestors or the genius loci, showing an undeniable connection between wealth and their religious practices.

They did this because they understood a simple truth:



Money is power.




People don’t really want money simply to buy nice things, although that is one undeniable and pleasant side effect of having money. But at its core, everyone knows that money represents power in this world, and everyone wants to be more powerful.

This is what we have to change our minds about, and our attitudes. We have to stop looking at wealth as a strict currency, some dirty money that exchanges hands in strip clubs and back alleys, or exists as one’s and zero’s in our bank account, some finite, small concept. Instead, we must understand the mystery of :FEHU: as a power source that fires the circuitry of possibility.

That’s what money is: A tool to leverage possibility.



I heard it said somewhere that increased responsibility meant greater power, but that when we are dependent on someone else, we are relinquishing power. This single idea pretty much sums up my entire attitude and philosophy toward money.

I don’t want to relinquish power over myself to anyone else. I want to hold the reins, and I don’t want to spend my life crushed and beaten down by debt, poverty, reduced opportunity, tightly scheduled labor for pay, or seeking the generosity or openhandedness of greater men.

Better men.

Because in this world, no one is equal.

No one is equal in any way- unless they are.

If I can lift 500 pounds off the ground and you can’t, I am stronger than you at the deadlift.
No if’s, no and’s, no but’s.

If I can’t multiply 12×12 in my head and someone else can, they are smarter, sharper, or more learned than I am.

If I can’t afford to fix my broken down truck and someone else can, it makes them more powerful than me, at least on a temporal level.

These things affect everything- how strong we are, how tough, how wealthy, how good-looking, or charismatic. The people that say they don’t matter are the ones who don’t have them, and can only fling slander and jealous barbs at those who do.

The fact is, it all matters. It all dictates our place in the world, our social standing in the world, and in our own in-groups. We’ve evolved to admire those who are capable of thriving, capable and skilled at acquiring. Whether that is acquiring strength or wealth, or “getting girls,” or anything else, we respect those who can ably “do for themselves.” We look down on those who are always looking for hand out, the self-willed weak, or the socially inept. 

This comparison, these judgements, they happen all the time, every second, every moment.

The reason that wealth and power is the most important of these physical, temporal attributes, is that in this world, it dictates more areas of your life than anything else.



[Note, we are NOT SAYING that wealth is the most important thing there is- only that it is the most important TEMPORAL thing there is- honor, loyalty, virtus, and so on- these things clearly hold more importance to us, and if there must be a choice between them, we will take the eternal and the ideological over the temporal and transient any day.]

To have or to have not.

To go do what you always dreamed of, or to be stuck at home in some shabby apartment watching other people doing what you wanted to do and saying “one day, one day.”

One day is right.

One day you’ll either understand that in order to live lives of legendary excellence, of liberated action, we can’t be dependent on anyone but ourselves- or one day, you’ll die unfulfilled.

The choice is completely up to you how you want to go out, but I can tell you this from personal experience: if you are someone who has big goals, massive dreams, wild, expansive thoughts, creativity, charisma, or whatever else- none of it matters if you’re stuck in the meat grinder of wage slavery.

The pursuit of wealth and power is the game of kings.

It is the high stakes dice roll that harshly marks the line between rulers and ruled, slaves or free men, and make no mistake that this is the true nature of the world whether you like it or not. The concepts and realities of power, wealth and rulership do not require our approval to simple “be.”



Wealth is a storm. A lightning bolt that we can harness to power the entire machinery of our complex goals, plans and network, and allows us to create an empire in the desert.

We can either hold the reins or stay under the whip.


“He who is without wealth amidst unlimited quantities of it, is either a coward, a born slave, or a lunatic.”

– Might is Right

XCII

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The Odinic Path.

by Paul Waggener

Odin has become a shattered archetype.



Adopted by weaklings and underachievers as a loving father figure, or as an oversimplified deity of magic or poetry.

Desacralized through profane use in popular heavy metal or TV shows, the word has become synonymous with bad t-shirts and “Valhalla” memes that run rampant through the internet and social media.

“Hail Odin, drink mead and go to Valhalla.”

Ridiculous slogans that place a childish slant on a feared and fearsome concept. 



Adam of Bremen famously said, “Wodan, id est furor.”



Odin- that means fury.



Like many archaic words and names, we can learn a great deal about this one by studying its roots. From proto-Germanic, *wodanaz is related to *wodaz, “raging.”

When we look at the proper noun in Old Norse, we are seeing a compound word, Óð- as prefix, meaning fury, ecstasy, passion, rage, frantic, possessed, and even, in some cases, “insane,” and -inn, the definite article “the.”

The Ecstatic. The Raging. The Furious. The Possessed.

As the name implies, those areas which fall under Odin’s aegis are ones associated with death, madness, might, magic and warfare.

The character of Odin, throughout the Germanic lore is far from a loving father, and is more often seen as a liar, deceiver, murderer, and opportunist. His sole goal is the acquisition of power, often through the gaining of information and hidden understanding, other times through the more direct paths of conflict and domination.

If Frey is the good and rightful king of plenty, Odin is the king by his own hand, a tyrant, and an intensely Machiavellian character playing at a game to which only he knows the rules.

My understanding of Odin has always been less as a character or personality, and more as a pathway, a development of one’s own character along certain ley-lines that share a commonality with the principles of an “Odinic” lifestyle. 



Some modern writers have attempted to label Odin as a demiurge, painting the Germanic mythological landscape with a gnostic brush to fit their own philosophies, which is itself perhaps an Odinic pursuit- but Odin is not a demiurge.



He did not create matter, nor does he control the universe or the matter within it- in the cosmogony of the north, Odin is a re-shaper of the world around him, which is a critically different concept- rather than being responsible for the winking into existence of the cosmos as we know it, Odin and his brothers reshaped existing reality in the form of the giant Ymir, through a sacrificial act of murder and will, recreating what was already in existence in a way they saw fit. This one simplified concept holds within it most of the bedrock of the practice of “the occult,” or “magic.”

Of course, we are dealing with stories here, truths with a capital “T” and not facts. I have always found literal understandings of any mythology to be abhorrent, and a total obstruction of those truths that can be distilled by way of a deeper approach- there is no dogmatic One Church of Odin, and if there was, and it had members, there would be a strong irony there.

The Odinic path is not a straight road with well defined rules and borders, but a twisted labyrinth of interlocking and crisscrossing pieces, many roads leading to an unknown center. It defies rules and transgresses borders and boundaries, and beckons the one who would walk it out into an ever-changing wilderness without map or compass.

The way of Odin could possibly be best understood as a road of experience and distillation. An alchemical process in which one accumulates massive amounts of raw material and places them in the furnace, burning away the dross and seeing what comes out on the other side, purifying it, re-burning, and filtering everything through the worldview of who the individual desires to be, but perhaps is not yet.

It relies on the development of a sort of spiritual compass. On the one side, there exists the tireless search to find ones correct place in the world, to wander until this is known, or found through the garnering of many experiences in many places. On the other, the Great Work and constant transformation, the acquisition of power and the knowledge that the only good in this world is the feeling of strength increasing.

Above, the one star that burns bright in the firmament for the follower of the Odinic path, or more correctly, the traverser of the Odinic labyrinth- the Ternion configuration of the Valknut, representative of the path itself, and He-Who-First-Walked-It. The crown of fire that exists at the end of the road, the center of the maze, an intangible prize that likely can never be won, but that drives on the traveler and fires his passion.

Below, the commandment from the very roots of his being, deep in his blood, perhaps even in his lineage- the fiery edict to Keep Rising, to combat despair and distraction with purpose. To keep one’s eyes on the only star that will never fail, that is called Destiny, or Fate, or Doom.

The horse he rides is called :ALU:, derived from a proto-Indo-European word that translates as “magic, ritual, possession, intoxication,” and from whence come our words, ale, hallucination. The connection to the name of Odin here is clear, and if Odin is a noun, then alu is the verb with which we attain him, become him, and change ourselves.

This horse is our ritual practice, our elevated work in which we peer into the unknown, and take back mysteries from the void, screaming.

The labyrinth that leads to this fiery crown is not one of “finding balance,” nor “seeking peace.” It is a way of isolation, trial, ordeal, great suffering and huge reward. It relies on passion and fire, the spoken word as a spell of re-ordering the world in our own image. The pillars on which it supports itself are not stability and steadfastness, but chaos and conflict.

The center of the Valknut is the eye of a hurricane, and only the one who is capable of living there- of grasping the power and stillness at the heart of the storm- can call himself worthy of traveling the Odinic Path.

XCII

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Standard Bearers.


by Paul Waggener
Originally published in Inner Circle Issue #4

Operation Werewolf marches under the sign of the black banner which bears emblazoned on it a wolf skull and crossed bones, surrounded by a serpent, ouroboros, the entirety of which we call the “Totenwolf,” or “death-wolf.”

Many have chosen to cast this symbol aside for their own, using the tenets and ideas discovered through Operation Werewolf, as well as the network, to build their own tribes under their own banners, renaming and re-creating the same general method with that spirit of individuality and separation that men naturally crave.



Although I see the perceived value in this, and call many of these men and their tribes my friends, allies, and associates, this action in many ways has missed the mark- overlooked one of the vital concepts around which the creation of Operation Werewolf was based: solidarity, and consonance.

From the Complete Zines, Volume 1: Iron and Blood Vol II:



“Its symbolism is three-fold: Death, the Wolf, and the Serpent, who we call “the Spawn of the Ironwood.” We use these ancient archetypes for their symbolic value in the current age, as well as the internal work we undergo.



In order to create ourselves anew, we must destroy that which came before.

The Spawn of the Ironwood are representative of those energies of destruction, the ending of cycles, the clearing away of old and corrupt forms of being and existing…



When we don the Death-wolf on our back, or fly its dread banner at our Division gatherings, we are hailing those principles that are the bloody death of our old ways of thinking, of doing, of living.

We are hailing our eternal march, grim and warlike, towards a greater destiny than that which would be chosen for us by those who wear the crowns of this earth.



We are signaling to others who are ready for something more, and calling them to our grisly standard.

Werewolf Legions, unite!”

One of the reasons a standard is borne is for purposes of identification on a battlefield. A clear sign showing who allied forces are, to more effectively operate on the battlefield. For this reason, the intention at the beginning was that all those who stood under the flag of the Operation would stand under that same banner, a clear signal to friend and foe alike:



“We are united. We stand together as one.”



However, as stated, the value of individual Divisions wearing their own standard became clear as a way for the “true” to separate themselves from the “rank and file,” those who were perhaps flirting or dabbling with the symbolism but not understanding the life reform that is to come along with it. 



This separation and distinction could possibly have been avoided with a different approach: that of internal correction.

It is true that anyone can put on a wolf-skin, but it does not make them a wolf.

At best, they are attacking the work with heart, in an honest effort to improve themselves, adhering to the tenets of this strength culture, connecting with others and forming lasting bonds that lead to the improvement of the whole- these kinds of men and women are increasing their own honor, and that of the Operation.

At worst, they are interlopers, embarrassments to the cause, interested in the trappings of this growing mythology, but not in the movement and personal transformation it requires. These are the worst kind of people, and we know their works- they are actively inhibiting the Operation, and working to destroy its reputation by way of their own weakness and lack of dedication or understanding.

In militaristic organizations of the past, being a standard bearer was considered an honor, and a privilege, and should still be seen as such- bearing the standard of Operation Werewolf comes along with a certain kind of danger, in that one willingly identifies themselves as a part of something that many are in opposition to.

This opposition sees a standard bearer as a prime target. 

Also, they open themselves up to challenge from within- from other bearers of the standard. This behavior should be encouraged. The Operation was never meant to be insular, or an edgy statement made by lone “wolves,” but a living network of pressure, competition, and power.



Those who actively avoid this sort of face to face interaction and pressure should be pressured all the way out. Operation Werewolf is not for the faint of heart, nor for the lukewarm- it is for the extreme, the passionate, the aflame!

Those who are a vessel of holy fire- a breathing, bleeding temple built to the god called strength and overcoming.

The timid, the chronically mediocre and those who avoid confrontation and pressure must be rooted out before their cancer can spread.

We see Operation Werewolf as a living representation of the black sun, and the black sun as both a threshing floor and a pathway to the center. One begins at the outermost edge and works their way inward, toward becoming. Toward belonging.

But the way to the center goes through the trials and tribulations of this overcoming, and the rays of the black sun are reaping blades! 



“Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?”

Those who wear the Totenwolf proudly should be flesh and blood symbols of its tenets and practices, physically strong and mentally sharp, capable, dangerous, moving ever toward the center of the black sun- and it should always be remembered that whatever the banner, we will know one another by our works!


XCII

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Immanentize the Eschaton.

Apocalypse.

Armageddon.



Doomsday. 


The last days, the end times, the Kali Yuga. 

Great upheavals, wars, rumors of wars, brothers killing brothers and the world sinking into ignorance, depravity, filth, and darkness.

The merchants of fear and the prophets (and profits) of doom are doing well. Their message is one of despair, and terror. Their tactics are simple, because they know that human nature is to spread bad news. They plant a virus of an idea, and watch the commoners spread it like plague rats.

Every time you share the “news,” or you heave a sigh and shake your head, or cough out the sickness of “everything is worse than ever,” or the bloody oral dysentery of “it’s hopeless,” you embrace life as one of these rats. You perform your service to the Empire well, and are to be commended on your obedience to The Narrative.

Their message relies on the idea that the world is somehow getting worse. That it started somewhere sane, and reasonable, and perfect, and has degenerated from there.

This may be a hard one to swallow, but man has never existed in some kind of honey-sweet golden era of peace, prosperity, enlightenment, and virtue.

That idea is a fairy tale.



Homo homini lupus. Man is a wolf to man- and it has always been this way.

Slavery, war, brutality, greed, treachery and betrayal are the calling cards of humanity, everywhere, across all time. We do not do ourselves a service by pretending it is not this way.

But this does not mean our next step is to abandon hope, or to give up and become a plague rat.

Our hope is not an impotent desire for a better world, or a mendicant’s begging for a messianic savior- it is a chosen state of mind, enforced by will and informed by truth.

A state of mind that although there has never been a golden age for all mankind, we are not incapable of bringing about one for ourselves.

Our truth is that the future is in our hands, and the only prayers that matter are the ones that lead our bodies to action, and our minds to fiery movement.

We can rebuild the landscape around us, both physical and ideological, by making powerful, virile choices- backed up by consistent, passionate effort.

We embrace the “end times,” and our place in them, and that place is to build a bastion of strength and loyalty to our chosen brothers and sisters in this hell on earth.

What we are building must exist.

It must exist because the alternative is to give in to despair, to inertia, to stagnation and fear and hopelessness- and this is simply not an option. 

Defeat is not an option, and so narratives of defeat, words of despair, weavers of heartlessness are not welcome.

We will immanentize the eschaton.

We will embrace our place in the strange and awful tapestry of space and time, and bring about a kind of golden era that will exist within us and grow, like shining filaments connecting us one to another, across the face of this spinning earth.



It will grow and brighten each time we make the choice for strength over weakness. 



Each time we choose loyalty over betrayal. 



Truth over falsehood.



Unshakeable faith in the beauty and righteousness of our mission over the deep, rotting fear and imprisoning solutions offered to us by the leprous hands of this world’s “principalities and powers.”



This is the end of the world as we know it, and it is happening every moment, every second, every hour.

These are the last days, because they are the last ones we will ever know. 

Our time is now. 



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Total Life Reform.

Operation Werewolf was conceived as an alchemical process designed to rebuild a complete human being.

This process is one of Total Life Reform- meaning a complete re-thinking and tearing down of the conditioned state of being, in order to rebuild the self as an archetype. 



In our present time, it is much more popular for people to treat things “cafeteria style,” taking this little choice piece or that one- disregarding the things they don’t particularly care for, or that seem a little too difficult or “extreme.”



Most settle on a mishmash of philosophies that “work for them,” or that make them feel good about themselves for a while, until they are discarded for the next big thing. 



12 Rules For Life. The 4 Hour Body. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 



Neatly numbered packages, put together in this way because marketing research has shown that “numbered list” articles and self-help books sell more copies. 



For those interested, the numbered list approach uses the way your own brain is wired to get you to click on those articles and buy those books- studies show that simply using numbers in article headlines make them perform as much as 71% better than those without.



This is one simple example of the way the human being is a product of his conditioning. 

In reality, the answers are not so simple. Life doesn’t break down into neat lists and “just make your bed” styled platitudes.

Humanity is so firmly entrenched in the programming of the modern world that most people are at the mercy of fear, depression, anxiety, weakness, addiction, and, perhaps most importantly, a lack of purpose and true direction.



Their purpose has been packaged and sold to them, and their direction has been whispered in their ear by the forked tongue of marketing and media. 

Incantations sung directly into the deep parts of the mind through television and internet, rooting ideas there with sinister purpose. The triune rites of the industrial megacity-



Consume/Labor/Consume.

The original sin of the modern age is debt- from the moment you are old enough to enter into the working world, it has you by the throat, paying bills, selling you things you don’t need, utilizing sales strategies designed to leverage your own mind against you.



A generation of humans raised by the flickering screen, techno-priests on the other end beaming highly effective and well tested programs into the eyes and ears, cracking the brain just like hacking a mainframe, all too human, all too simple.



Control.



This world is owned and operated. Those who hold the glittering keys to this kingdom do not have your best interests in mind, and what they want from you is simple: everything you have.

But there is an answer. 

That answer is Total Life Reform.



In this alchemical process, we must first undergo Nigredo. Death, and the Black Work. 



A furnace that burns away everything that we were, and shows us that what we are is what we choose to make of ourselves- we become aware of our conditioned state, and we awaken to the knowledge that to create, we must first destroy.

As we awaken, we must realize that this is not a pick and choose operation, but one that must permeate us on every level of our being if it is to be successful in the long term. It requires total dedication on the physical level, on the mental level, and on the spiritual one.

We must begin to become healthy- a word that comes from the Proto-Germanic “hailaz” which means “whole.”



To become whole, it is needful for us to engage our being on all fronts, and to begin with a great purification, a disintegration of habit, of compulsion, fear, and the deeper anguish of our lonesome existence.



This Mahapralaya, or great dissolution, will come about as a product of our ongoing work, and is an active destruction. 



Through a devotion to physical strength and training, we engage with the rebuilding and purification of ourselves on a material level, which is the first stage, and the easiest to see and understand.



As we see our physical forms change, and become lean and strong, muscular and powerful, as the chariot and temple should be, our minds begin to grasp that this process exists in the mental realms as well. 

Through feeding it that which is needful, that which is healthy and whole, and by exercising the mental faculties in the same Spartan and energetic way we treat the body, our minds become sharp, effective, swift, and capable of force and intention. 



We choose what we put in, and what is produced therefrom. We are known by the fruit of our words and deeds.

But the spirit, too, must be engaged.

It must be roused from its deep slumber, ensorcelled to sleep by the dream weavers of Empire- because the awakened and strengthened human spirit is the greatest enemy known to them.



We must feed our spirit through ritual and discipline.



Fire and ash, the forest rites of power, blood on the stones, and words of might and myth spoken and roared to those who awaken with us. 



These primal ceremonies are needful, because they speak to the deep caverns of our being, back through time and space, and reverberate through our blood, raising us up and reminding us that we are creatures of mythological power, capable of harnessing the power of the thunderbolt, and the stars.



We have brought black liquid death up from the deep places of the earth and have made weapons that reduce entire cities to ashes!



We have built wonders and come together at various times and places throughout tens of thousands of years to overthrow and re-make the world in our image. 

The very act of remembering our incredible abilities and the awful wonder of the human mind is one of revolution.



All this and more makes up the process of Total Life Reform that we call Operation Werewolf. 



It is not a neat list. It is not for entertainment value. It is not a merit badge.



It is an ongoing project of the human spirit that calls out to those who would be awakened, and strong, but it asks of them:



What have you made of yourself? What are you making yourself into? Are you willing to engage fully, completely, in the battle against slumber and despair? Are you willing to exist all the way alive?



If your answer is a resounding “Yes!” to life, then you are now under a great responsibility to succeed. To help others succeed.

To see a desolation, and to make it your paradise. 



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Mannaz and Mantra.

This article was originally published in Issue 3 of the “The Inner Circle,” Operation Werewolf’s official monthly e-publication. Each month, a new Issue of the Inner Circle is published here on the website, accessible to subscribers for 10 USD a month, and containing several articles and essays, videos, insider news and more. You can subscribe by clicking the “Inner Circle” tab of the navigation bar.

MANNAZ AND MANTRA

-Paul Waggener

Most who are aware of Operation Werewolf are similarly aware of my interest in runes, both on a linguistic and historical level, as well as their application as a sort of psychological wrench- a mental and spiritual tool used for specific and repeatable purpose. 

Before we continue, because of language limitations and misconceptions, it is necessary to define what I mean when I use the word “spiritual:”




“In its simplest terms, when we use this word, we will be referring to the intangible thing within man which can be seen as the seat of his character, emotions, and connection with the unseen world around him. Also, his will, and other such unquantifiable concepts that man has felt, interacted with, and experienced, knows to be real, but cannot show in a physical form- but certainly can see the effects of.

Just as we cannot see “love” as anything beyond an assortment of chemicals in the brain, but can witness it in a mother’s devotion to her son, or a man’s to his wife; just as we cannot see “will” as chemical combination or a physical form, we can witness it in the determination of a mountain climber, a monk setting his body on fire, or even someone resisting the addiction of cigarettes or narcotics- we cannot see the “soul” or “spirit” of a man, or his “character,” but we can see the change they create in the world about him.”

-from ‘The Werewolf Manifesto,’ available in print from Operation Werewolf Spring 2018




Just as this term ‘spiritual’ is representative of an intangible, the runes themselves are intangibles, gigantic conceptual glaciers and mountains- titanic architectures of thought and experience that have become inseparable from my worldview through long use. A rune, simply put, is a letter in an alphabet- but it is so much more than this in the same way that the ocean is different from a glass of salt water.

One of the runes tattooed on my body is a large “Mannaz” on my right bicep. Mannaz is a word from the theoretical proto Indo-European language, from which the word “man” is derived, denoting man as a collective, “mankind,” and also the individual himself. Some scholars make the connection between *mannaz and the root words *men- (to think, as in, “mentality”), connecting the idea of man defining himself as a “thinker,” or a being of consciousness and thought. The Sanskrit word (a language that comes from the same root) manas has shaped my understanding of the Mannaz rune in many crucial ways, and whether or not linguistic scholars accept or deny the etymological connection between “man” and “mind,” the philosophical connection remains.

Manas is one of the four parts of the mind in Hindu thought, representing the faculty that with the help of the sensory organs, receives information from the world around us and presents it to the intellect. It is the instinctive mind, as well as the individualizing principle that allows man to see himself as an individual, separate from the collective. It is the seat of desire, as well, that undisciplined aspect of self that creates and moves us toward actions for the sake of satiating ourselves in some way or another.



It is divided into two parts, the “buddhi manas” and the “kama manas” which refer to the “higher mind” and the “lower mind,” another idea that has resonated strongly with me and been discussed often in my writing. Even in the shape of the *Mannaz rune, we can see two separate vertical lines “communicating” with one another with a kind of “wiring” that goes from one to the other and crosses in the center, creating a pictogram of balance, interconnectedness, and exchange.



The rune itself also indicates the idea of man in his highest potential- what he is ultimately capable of if he is performing at the greatest level possible through training the lower mind to be ruled by the higher mind. One of the techniques through which this can be encouraged is that of mantra. The word itself connects to the subject at hand, and is a Sanskrit word made up of the root, manas, and the suffix -tra, denoting a tool or instrument. Taken together, a “mind tool,” or “instrument of consciousness.”



In the runic tradition, formulas are created from various runes, and sung in a practice called “galdr,” which refers to the vocal nature of it, often seemingly gibberish words strung together for an initiatic meaning that only reveals itself through the repetition of the galdr. Mantra refers to this same practice, and by its definition, was seen as a tool for training the mind in a certain direction, or to change the thought process by controlling it in a specific way.

In short, one way of looking at mantra is words and sounds designed to produce something in one’s mind. What that something is depends on the mantra itself, as well as the individual’s intention. 

Applying this to our personal practice is an incredibly powerful method of quite literally altering our brains and consciousness in a similar way to how the body is shaped and altered during deliberate physical training.

The study of neuroplasticity has proven that brain activity is changed through practices such as mediation, but also that physical changes occur in the brain itself through training it via these “instruments of thought.”

We also know that physical exercise produces an increase in grey matter volume in multiple regions of the brain, proving that what we do, and the activities we engage in, alter the very seat of our cognitive abilities. 

Scientists have also proven that when we think or feel a certain way, neurons fire together, connect and begin to create a “neurological pathway.” The first time we think to ourselves “I am weak, I can’t do this,” for example, we can see it as walking through an untamed frontier, a difficult and arduous journey from one place to another, cutting through undergrowth and foliage, fording rivers, ultimately arriving at our destinations as trailblazers. The second time, a beaten path begins to appear, and the river fords are built into bridges. By the hundredth time, roads are being built, and train track is being laid, until some time in the future, flying cars are smoothly navigating the highways at blink of an eye speeds.

What this means is that the more times we give in to a negative thought or emotion, self-defeating internal talk, a difficult workout makes us quit- we are making it easier for ourselves to do or feel that in the future. This is not some white-light, hippie talk. This is scientific fact- the more we perform an action, but more importantly, think a thought, we cast a vote for more of the same. We lay down an infrastructure to build up that area of our brain.

This is why it becomes so vitally important for us to train to control our emotional responses to things early and often. Habits become difficult to break, modes of thinking or dealing with our problems become such monumental tasks, because we have spent years building that “muscle” in our mind, until we are fighting a 300 pound sumo wrestler each time we try to not fly off the handle when we can’t find our phone (something I’ve been guilty of many times!).

This is where mantra comes in. 

Developing the correct neurological pathways means treating the brain as a muscle and applying the same principles here that we would in the gym, or on the mats. Repetitive, consistent, correct training to achieve results. My jiu jitsu coach is fond of saying “practice doesn’t make perfect, practice just makes habit. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

We can’t just throw ourselves into something haphazardly, we need an organized training routine. 

My suggestion is that you start simple. There’s no need to learn another language, or pick up an entirely new verbiage in order to get started- although the study of language, traditional mantra and galdr is certainly a rewarding endeavor. Instead, begin by identifying a specific aspect of yourself that you are looking to get control over. In simple terms, this could be a lack of discipline getting out of bed in the morning, or a habit of losing your temper easily. 

You will create (and keep to yourself, for now), a mantra that identifies this by applying a positive approach. It could be something as simple as, “I am in control of myself and my emotions. My temper is a product of my lower self, and I am its master. I am calm, rational, and powerful.” There isn’t a need for flowery words or poetics, although if this helps you connect with the process, by all means, go for it. What we are looking to achieve here is the creation of small, simple tool to begin creating the pathway in your mind in a direction that will prove corrective for the problem you are dealing with.

While you recite your mantra, you will also keep firmly in mind that each time you master your temper, you are building a habit. Each time you give in, you are doing the same. If you master it next time, applying your mantra, being in control, calm, cool, powerful, and so on, you are weakening the neurological pathway that is lit up when your temper flares. By doing it time after time, each success makes it less likely that you will lose your temper next time. 



Success is a habit, as surely as anything else. We create it through developing a practice.


Going forward, each month, when the Inner Circle comes out, I will be presenting one rune each time, with a bit of information on its meaning, application and suggested meditation for it. You can apply these in your creation of personal mantras and “words of power,” that you can begin to see as tools- the kettle bells and barbells of the consciousness, affecting change there just as certainly as in all other forms of our training, *mannaz and mantra working together to build a complete human in the image we have chosen.

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Respect.

RESPECT.

I am addressing this article to men, specifically. This is not because the behaviors listed and detailed in this article are exclusive to men, but because I am not a female and have no interest in lecturing them on how to be “better women.” For the same reason I curl a lip in derision every time I see a woman lead off a sentence with: “real men do/don’t…”, I won’t presume to tell them how to do things.

While I won’t speak for women, I can, however, speak to men. As a man who grew up one of four brothers, has been in aggressive, hyper-masculine peer-groups and social circles since my early teens, and have founded two organizations that are male dominated- I know how men act. I know how they interact, and I know what they talk about, value, fear and desire. I also know what triggers their disrespect and scorn.

It’s been said that a woman’s highest need is to feel loved, but that a man’s highest need is to feel respected. We have spoken often in the past of the need for physical prowess, both in a strong physique and a personal relationship with violence, as a pre-requisite for respect in a male dominated honor-group. It should go without saying that any man reading this should be engaged in the cultivation of those physical attributes- here we are focused on a few of the more amorphous, “behavioral” details.

What follow are some of the ways men erode their respect from other men, often without even being aware of their behavior.

  • No Emotional ControlFor that matter, lacking self-control in general. Men don’t respect men who can’t “keep their shit together.” Whether this means getting a better grip on your temper to not fly off the handle in small, petty situations, or not acting like a wreck after a break-up- take stock of your current emotional self-control and determine where you are.This goes double for not publicly displaying weakness on social media, which is one of the most flagrantly weak ways of showing a need for self pity and validation. Basically, other guys know that if you can’t maintain an even balance and keep your head, you’re no good in any high stress situation, which signals your lack of value in a peer group.

    Combat this by exercising methods of self-control, programmed in the same way you might try to increase your deadlift.

    If you don’t understand it, or where it comes from, start by educating yourself on the topic. We can’t fight something we don’t know, or can’t identify. Here’s a video I shot on the topic a few weeks back, in case you haven’t seen it. Explore other methods of identifying and gaining control over your emotional state- in order to have the respect of others, you must have enough respect for yourself to be in control and mentally and emotionally organized.

  • BrokeNo matter how cool your buddy is who always “hooks you up” when you’re out is, and no matter how many times he says “it’s all good,” he will come to resent you, and other males will notice that you always need a “spot.” What you are telling your friends by always expecting them to help you out, is that your time is more important than theirs, because they are sacrificing time and personal wealth for you constantly, whereas you are sacrificing none (or not enough) of yours.There’s a big difference between having generous pals who have no problem kicking down every once in a while -generosity is a respected trait- but relying on the generosity of others is never respected.

    Get it together, and make your own scratch. If you are having a hard time with financial responsibility, look up a few ways to help budget what you do have, like the envelope system. Check out a few of the Fiscal Fitness videos I did last year to get you started, or pick up a copy of a popular start-up guide like “the $100 Start-Up” by Chris Guillebeau.

    Increasing your personal resources and cashflow is a critical part of not only living the way you want to, but also establishing respect with the men around you.

    The money is out there- get some for yourself, then do something nice for that friend of yours who used to always be the one helping you out. You’ll feel good, and people won’t resent you for being a leech.

     

  • Chronic ComplainerIt’s hard to like someone who always has some bitch or complaint. Again, venting to friends now and again? No problem. Constantly having something to be negative, downtrodden or whiny about? Sounds like you need to raise your test, stiffen your upper lip and set about improving what sounds like a really shitty life. It’s on you to fix your own problems, and no one really, truly, at the end of the day, wants to hear your problems.Remember that, because its true. No one wants to hear it. They might be ok with being the occasional emotional support if you’re going through a hard time, but they’d rather you didn’t. Your problems are yours alone, and complaining has never, ever helped resolve a bad situation.

    Problems are solved with a positive, head-on attitude and the correct application of force in the right direction. If you feel negative often, try writing some basic mantras to repeat to yourself in the morning- I know it sounds fucking tacky, but even this simple step of self-reinforcement and direction at the day’s start can really help change your mindset.

    Try to pay attention to the way you word things, and avoid putting a negative spin on them. Instead of complaining, focus on the positive aspects of things, or remove emotional connection to your problems and attack them rationally instead. Next time you find yourself complaining, just remind yourself of your goal, and remember that its all in how we look at it. The way a man deals with adversity even on a verbalized level tells a lot about him.

  • Thirsty”/DesperateThis one is huge. Not only are high-performing/confident males put off and disgusted by overt shows of “thirst,” or sexual desperation, the irony is that so are women. As a former musician, bartender, and bouncer, I have spent countless hours hearing women talk about the pathetic dudes who throw out weak pick-up lines, comment on their social media profiles, or send self-deprecating direct messages that they think are charming, but are really just sickening and creepy as hell.Avoid thirst traps, and don’t fall for them! A thirst trap is common parlance for a social media post put up for the sole intention of attracting attention from “thirsty” individuals- a classic example of this is a girl saying something like “loving this new hairstyle” with a close-up photo of her at an angle that aggressively advertises her rack, with her hair barely even on camera.

    Engaging with these sort of things is always the wrong move, for several reasons.

    When Ragnar Sonsofanarchysson posts a comment on some overweight “shieldmaiden’s” page, or acts like a little desperate puppy dog in the bar, or wherever, a couple of things happen. First, you actually do the female no favors, nor any other male, because you create a false sense of self image for the female. Inflating their ego to unreasonable levels with your “go-girl” fan comments, or your sexual predator-esque text-version-of-heavy-breathing-on-the-other-end-of-an-anonymous-phone-call is desirous to no one, ultimately not even them.

    The other kicker is, no healthy, normal woman really wants a man so weak and malleable that she can control or dominate them. Your desperation signals weakness to them, and inability. It’s elementary stuff, but women want men who are confident, self-controlled, and respected by other men. More often than not, it is the male with the highest standing in his male peer group or amongst his friends, who has the most desirable female. You can’t fuck with millions of years of human evolution.

    Think before you comment on a girl’s picture, or say something to her at the gym, bar, grocery store, or wherever you meet women- although with the levels of technological mediation at this far off the charts, I’m surprised when people even meet in person anymore without a swipe of the screen.

    Ask yourself, “am I signaling sexual dehydration, like a man crawling through a desert?” And then, just don’t- ultimately, men respect other men who are capable, and this includes being capable in the realms of male-female social interaction. I guarantee your “damn” and “looking good” posts are being noticed by your more self-aware friends and are a source of ridicule- and if they aren’t laughing at you for your desperate attempts, maybe your friends are part of the problem.

 

  • Try HardThis is similar as the last one, but it refers to men who are overly desperate, not for sex, but for the attention of other men. Try-hards are the kind of guy who will laugh loudly at jokes that you tell that aren’t very funny, act like everything you say is a work of art, and constantly self deprecate around you because they think it will make them likable.It doesn’t.

    No one likes a try-hard, because it is a display of feelings of inferiority. You don’t have to be a narcissist to be confident and have good self image. Cultivate this through spending time with strong, intelligent and capable people, embracing physical culture through fitness and strength training, martial arts, increasing your standing at work or in business and so on. But never by sucking up and exhibiting that hated characteristic of “please like me.”

  • Bragging/One UppingMy mom always used to quote, “let another’s lips praise thee,” when we were kids, and I took it to heart. I even get kind of uncomfortable when other people do it. Bragging and excessive showboating is sure to earn the ire of your peers, simply because they will get tired of your mouth, unless your bragging is seriously salted with humor.Even worse than this is the “one-upper,” who always has done just one more than whatever you did. You benched 315? He just did 320. No, “his phone deleted the video, bro. But it was solid.” You hooked up with a good looking girl the other night? He “totally snagged a ten, dude. Yeah, no, she wasn’t from here, and totally had to leave town, but damn, you should’ve seen her.”

    Let your achievements speak for themselves. Spend your time praising other’s achievements that you think are inspiring or meaningful- if what you do is awesome enough, there will be enough people praising you that you can give it a rest.

It is important to recognize these “respect killers” and work towards the respect of men you like, who are in your peer group, because this is one of the key elements of honor, the bedrock of any strong in-group.

Honor is a currency that can only be attained through actions that bring strength and increased reputation to your gang or crew, and through the adherence to that gang’s code of conduct. Sometimes this is written down somewhere in black and white, but often it is an unseen understanding between members of “respect.” Pay attention to the details, cultivate it, and value it higher than gold. Because unlike money- this currency, once lost, can sometimes never be regained.

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Death and Loss: Creating the Tribal Cult of the Dead

Yesterday morning as I walked into my home gym area, I noticed that something was out of place. A wooden plaque, carved for me many years ago by my friend, that has made many journeys with me, lay there on the floor- quite a ways from where it should have been hanging across the room on the wall.

Picking it up, I turned it over in my hands, as I had done a hundred times before, and read its hand-painted face.

“Whereupon a river of everything-ness and nothing-ness flowed forth from my skull
bathing me in Pain and Wonder.
The screaming of silent songs unto a pale, morose, celestial orb:
Tide of time and way of world. :ALU ALU ALU:
Rending and ascension of mournful mind,
weighted heavily by bitter thoughts- signs to darkness and flesh.”

The whole piece is shot through with symbols and bindrunes, and refers to a shared experience the two of us had years ago, one I will never forget. The friend who made this gift for me died January 7th, 2016. I had known him since he was 15, and watched him grow up around the Wolves, prospect, patch in to our organization.

His death had a hard impact on all of my friends- we all had known him for a long time, and loved him very much. Seeing a young man who all considered to be a brother, as close as blood, die- life unrealized, full of potential that would never be made manifest, is a difficult thing.

He had done so much, but there was so much more undone.

A select few of us were allowed to view the body, to say words to him, and place a few items with him for his cremation. That day, and those moments are burned into my brain forever. The way his body looked, so unlike him, solemn, something not quite “right” about the way he was positioned.

I shed a lot of tears with my brothers that day, and exchanged stories, and stayed at the wake to play his favorite songs on the guitar for his mom and dad, and extended family.

At the wake. January 2016. At the wake. January 2016.

Some time later, we threw a show in his memory at Ulfheim, the Appalachian Wolves’ tribal property. His father attended, drank with us, and gave us ash and bone from the cremation to place inside a stone cairn at the foot of our altar- a piece of our little brother there, where he liked to be the most.

My brother Coyote and I began a tradition, to go down there in the dark when we spend time at the land together- we take down a drink for Njal, or some smoke, and we sit together and tell stories and play songs that he loved, and converse with him, because we know that in some way, he is there.

Easing sorrow with songs.    Easing sorrow with songs.

During one of these conversations, with my brothers Hjalti, Galdr, and Coyote, we discussed death, loss, grief and tradition within our tribe. Njal is the first of the Wolves to die in our time as a tribe, but we know there will be more.

The feeling of loss is sharp, and the grief at first is overwhelming. For the first few weeks after he died, there was a feeling of such unbelievable sorrow that had settled over the tribe, it was hard to see moving past it.

Slowly, as stories were told, toasts made at our ritual drinking rounds in his honor, and traditions began to spring up around his death, we could see that organically, the way we dealt with death and loss was making itself ritualized, and becoming part of the greater expression of tribal life. His name became a thing that meant something more than it did in life, and in many ways, his death had brought the brotherhood together closer than it was before.

Through this painful experience, the group of men who went through it together were different than they had been. We have laughed and cried together telling stories, and we imagine our brother there with us still, painted in the ritual ash, walking with his strange, crooked-footed walk, his big, larger than life presence there at the edge of the firelight.

The grief is now a “sweet sorrow,” softened by time, but despite the modern admonition, we have not “let go.” We choose to believe he is there with us- that he followed the silver sun placed in his coffin back home, so that he can sing those songs in the woods with us, and be spoken of as something more than a man. Through death, my brother has become an ideal, a concept of togetherness and shared pain, and fellowship so strong that it often hurts.

I paraphrase my brother Galdr, saying that, Valhalla and immortality are just a man’s greatest stories being told by the voices of his sons and brothers after his death.

Tribes like ours, and yours, who are reading this, owe it to their brothers to make a better thing of a man’s death than the modern world- tearful men and women around an expensive casket as it is lowered into the earth. Hushed voices at a wake, and a few stories over the years.

The cult of the dead should be alive in our tribes, vital and strong- because our friends, our brothers, fathers and sons will die. When they do, what will we make of them? Corpses in the earth, or legends? We should light the fires for them each year on the anniversary of their death, and sing their songs, tell their stories, laugh and cry for their passing- celebrate them as gone beyond a mere life and become a tribal hero, eternal.

What should the hero cult look like, when it honors those who have died? What will your rituals and traditions be surrounding these concepts? How will you ensure that these names live forever?

What better place to die than within a cult who holds the dead as living among them?

What better way to live than to make certain there are more stories about your life than can be easily be told?

Hail the dead, who have lived a life worth telling of.

-PW 92