Posted on Leave a comment

Runes: Pathways to Mastery

 

This piece and others like it, ranging from essays on runic ideas, running a gang of men, and leadership, can be found in the newest book from Operation Werewolf, “The Inner Circle,” available now both on this website, and from Amazon.

I’ve discussed in the past the concept of looking at the runes as a pathway to mastery, to rulership, both of the self and the world around you.

In the first eight runes of the Elder Futhark, we can see some of the root principles needed to walk the heroic road- information needful to those individuals who would set themselves apart from the rank and file and become men of power.

In the second eight, cosmic foundations are laid- eternal truths of how the world works, and how consciousness interacts within it. Massive ideas of cosmology and cosmogony, necessary to understand by those looking to shatter the myopic worldview of linear time and other man-made limitations.

By the third, we are looking at runes of mastery. Rulership, kingdom- that which is attained by seeking the solar crown.

TIWAZ is often referred to as the rune of sacrifice and law, and while this is so, there are other, more esoteric meanings that can be derived from it. Tiwaz is also a man’s chosen destiny- the pathway and blueprint he has laid out for himself, created from his own past actions and words, and set himself on a course for.

The self-made king is better than one who simply waited for a crown. Tiwaz is the heavy weight that comes along with that crown, the knowledge that the only underlying truth in the cosmos is the one we have decreed for ourselves, a pathway that leads straight as an arrow to our highest goal. Discovering that pathway to our True North is the first part of the great work of our existence, and walking it to its end is the second. True kings of this world will walk that path without deviation or distraction.

BERKANO refers both to grasping the primordial ideas of being and becoming, but another direction is that of an individuals “forest of power.” A ruler, or a man of power, extends a great forest around himself that is made of both deed and fame, charisma, network, and area of effect.

His sphere of influence can tell a great deal about him, and those who would claim authority and rulership in this world are never seen without it, whether large or small. At the beginning of his road, a man’s forest is only a few saplings, devoid of canopy and unable of providing much.

The developed ruler has spread those woods far and wide, and other men exist within its edges, dwelling there on what resources are created by it. This contains within itself the idea of patronage, and the assistance and backing a ruler can provide for those who are in his territory. Generosity, open-handedness, and all the concepts of lordly wealth are here also.

EHWAZ, the horse. Here we see the importance of partnership, the ability to work together for mutual benefit, symbiosis, and the ability to choose the correct “pony to bet on.” It is a man’s ability to be a good judge of “horseflesh,” or his uncanny knack at seeing human behaviors and predicting outcomes.

If Berkano is influence, Ehwaz can be seen to compliment it as “reputation.” The strongest thing a man can ride into battle is a warhorse built from reputation and his word. Ehwaz encompasses agreements, business dealings and so on, and can be seen as a form of “horse trading,” where cattle will suffice for a more common man.

MANNAZ is a crucial bedrock for the ruler to understand that without his men, he is no ruler. It is also his ability to bring out the best in people, to “create men” himself, which is the mark of only the absolute best of leaders.

Mannaz is about being able to make men want to follow you, rather than simply commanding them to do so through artificial means or buying their loyalty. It encompasses interpersonal communication and close relationships, as well as maximizing potential, ownership, and tying men together into teams.

Being a ruler can be something of a lonely lifestyle as well, and this rune symbolizes that separation between a ruler and the rest of humanity- not many are called to rule, and as such, it places them in a position without the same comradery as others enjoy.

All power comes at a price.

LAGUZ is flow, fluidity, energy, the ability to “be like water.” It is also a critically important ability to see all energy as the same thing, and to see currencies of all kinds as one sort of electrical current through which a ruler is able to influence and affect the world.

Everything is a circuit board, and all those circuits are tripped and charged by current. There are many different kinds of currency: money, obviously, but also fear, respect, love, favors, debt, and so on. All of these can be seen as a ruler’s outward “flow,” and methods he can use to light up his playing board in the game of kings.

As each new area is “lit up” with a flow of some kind of current, it shows new pathways and greater areas that can be “fed.” In much the same way as his actions and influence build the “forest” around him as we mentioned in BERKANO, LAGUZ is a similar kind of concept that relies on currencies, both literal and figurative.

All kingship and rulership comes from these various kinds of currency, and a ruler without currency is no ruler at all.

INGWAZ is the enclosure around all the king has built. His castle walls are made up of shrewdness and silence, and the knowledge that there is always an inner circle, outside of which is the rest of the world. Ingwaz is both the council he holds close, and the company he keeps- a man is judged by his friends.

It is also the knowledge of when to hold and when to spend, when to plant, and when to reap. Timing is everything in the great game, and the ruler who cannot see when his cards should be played will be played himself.

INGWAZ is also the internal energy source upon which a king must draw, and feed, and draw from again. Without being able to feed himself an energy source of his own, he will lose heart, his strength will ebb, and he will “burn out” or “fade away.” The best rulers are those who do not suffer from flagging or exhaustion because they have discovered a way to keep their energy contained, not sending it out needlessly in all directions.

OTHALA is the empire a ruler has built. This can be a country or corporation, a tribe, gang, body of work, or otherwise- but it is what will survive him after he is gone, or what he will bestow on his successor.

OTHALA is what the entire game is played for, the sum total of all the various parts the king has worked on- his forest of power, his sphere of influence, his creations, his followers, all his various currencies, coming together into a coherent whole that is his kingdom.

Strong rulers leave behind a legacy. Weak ones leave behind a carcass for the crows to pick at.

DAGAZ is time, the changing of eras, the hourglass against which we are all competing to accomplish what we can with the time we have. The normal human gives little thought to time beyond a vague dread of death and dissolution, but only because he has a basic fear of no longer being.

The man of power sees time and death as his ultimate competitor, and is motivated by them, spurred onward to play as many rounds of this game as he can before the timer runs out and he must pass his turn on to another.

This need to accomplish is almost unexplainable to those who do not feel its electrifying touch at the base of their spine- every morning, every moment.

DAGAZ is drive. The eternal moving force to succeed, the will to power that every ruler is born with.

The hard truth is that most leaders are born AND made.

Some were born to serve, and others to rule- those born without the light of DAGAZ coursing through them will be content to live lives of quiet satisfaction or desperation down in the fields.

Those who were birthed under its mark know that it is a crown that shines like the sun, but evades most hands that reach for it.

It is, like all the runes, many things at once, and as such, it is also a Doorway.

It is a doorway that leads those intrepid enough to enter through it to legend.

To glory, and to lasting fame- the only kinds of immortality that exist.

Posted on Leave a comment

Testosterone.

TESTOSTERONE

Written for Operation Werewolf by Op. 413

The world wants you weak.

In advertisements, on talk shows, in classrooms and online, the message is the same—be a victim. You’re fine the way you are. Your problems are all someone else’s fault. Embrace weakness.

This isn’t meant as just a moral or emotional commandment but a physical one. In recent years, the media has shrilly denounced physical strength as a problem. Gyms are bastions of “toxic masculinity.” Testosterone makes you stupid and irrational. We’ll have a better, more empathetic society if we can reduce it. Working out gives you problematic political views. Masculinity, we are told, is bad for men, and the only possible solution is to deconstruct it entirely. That’s what some of the top universities in the country are offering classes in right now and that’s what so-called “men’s magazines” want their readers to believe.   

The undercurrent of all of this is that masculinity, and testosterone, the hormone that drives it, are both problems to be managed. Journalists, priests of the cult of weakness, further the campaign against masculinity by attacking men in two ways. First, we are told that men are “obsolete”; after all, “the future is female.” You don’t have a purpose anymore, in fact, we’d all be better off if you weren’t around.

Yet if you object to this, you are hit from another direction. Rebelling against this message shows that you are “insecure,” “outdated,” “weak,” or “compensating.” After all, women want “beta males,” at least that’s what the magazine covers will tell you. What, are you “afraid of strong women?” Do you only want to be around guys or something, like some kind of homo? You don’t think strength, power, and masculinity are bad? Well, that’s just because you are weak, and scared, and sexually undesirable.

Of course, if you fall for this trick and sit in the classes or read the articles the media wants you to, they’ll tell you that being weak, scared, and undesirable is good.

The truth is that there is a war on men, and it’s not just a mental war. It’s a physical war. Even mainstream publications know something strange is going on. Since the 1980’s, testosterone levels have been declining by about 1 percent per year. It’s likely been going on for even longer, with one Danish study showing men born in the 1960’s have almost 15 percent less testosterone on average than men born in the 1920’s. On average, an 65 year old man in 1987 had about 17 percent more testosterone than his counterpart in 2004. This decline in testosterone naturally affects physical strength. A 2016 study of grip strength in North Carolina found 20-34 year old men had far less grip strength than did men from 1980. “Today’s men are weaker than their dads,” as The Washington Post put it.

Sperm counts are also in a decline. Studies show a wide variety of factors are responsible. Anti-androgens, found in medicines or pesticide, are entering the water system and blocking testosterone.  BPA, found in packaging, plastics, and canned food containers, work like estrogen and block testosterone, though scientists disagree on its impact for the general population. A more recent study suggested chemicals known as PFC’s, found on non-stick frying pans, not only shrink testosterone but shrink the penis if men are exposed to them in the womb. Men exposed to endocrine disrupters in the womb even have the very shape of their bodies mutilated.

One study may disagree with another on the magnitude of exactly what is happening. You will drive yourself insane trying to avoid every kind of chemical exposure. However, with our water, food, packaging, air, soil, and everything else, men are being subjected to the largest chemical experiment in history. Our bodies are bombarded with materials changing our very makeup. It may take a century to fully understand what is happening, but we live with the results today. Even something that we are told to take for granted, like declining testosterone as we age, is not natural. Worse, even though you may read the headlines about one study or another, you sound like a crazy person if you suggest this is something men need to be concerned about.

It’s easy to fall into conspiracy theory and think this is all part of a conscious plan by shadowy elites who want to destroy men. In the West, that’s certainly what media coverage would suggest. However, the more horrifying possibility is that this isn’t happening by design but is simply an outgrowth of modern life. Consider the case of Japan. “Social Justice Warriors” and “soyboy” journalists are not exactly prominent in Japan, the country is not plagued with the kind of self-hatred seen in the West, and there is no journalist or academic class dedicated to deconstructing the country running the major institutions. Yet the problems facing men in Japan are objectively far worse than those in the West.

The hikikomori subculture of young men who embrace pornography or video games instead of sex continues to grow in the country, as the Japanese population is likely to suffer a steep decline in the next century. A relatively recent survey found that over 60 percent of men and about half of women from ages 18-34 were not a relationship, with a third under 30 never having dated. Almost half of women and more than a quarter of men in 2013 said they were uninterested in sex. Almost a third of people from 18 to 34 were virgins. A number of Japanese men (sometimes called “herbivore” or “grass eating men”) confessed to journalists they find women “scary” and fear rejection. Far better to stay in their rooms and look at pornography. Yet even porn may be too much for some Japanese men—”20 percent of men between 25 and 29 expressed little interest in sex at all.”  (It’s worth noting that a Vice article urged Japan to “nut up” and bring in migrants to replace its people rather than trying to solve the problem—yet another example of appealing to masculine stereotypes to frame weakness as strength.)

Part of this may come from a cultural explanation, though Japan isn’t facing the same kind of media “war on masculinity” that Westerners are. It’s likely some of this simply comes from biology, diet, and environment. One study found that Japanese men had higher levels of a testosterone-binding hormone, which led to less free testosterone. At the same time, the study found that Asian men that moved to the United States had testosterone levels close to Europeans, likely meaning that diet has an important influence. (Of course, those levels themselves are lower than what was taken for granted in the West a century ago). It’s certainly not the case that Japan or the Japanese are inherently “low T” or un-masculine—from the samurai to the fearsome troops of the War in the Pacific, Nippon has always had a strong warrior tradition. It’s something inherent to modern life itself, with both biological and cultural factors destroying men.

There is a subtle interplay between these physical and mental factors. The modern world has stolen purpose from men, so they are more given to depression and suicide. It’s not surprising that suicide rates have increased in recent years. Journalists tell us males are committing suicide because they aren’t feminine enough.  Yet it seems the opposite is the truth. Not only have males been robbed of purpose, they are physically under siege, as low testosterone leads to an increase in depression. So too does sitting around and growing obese. The rise in depression, the decline in testosterone, and the sedentary effects of cheap food and the modern lifestyle all reinforce each other in a murderous feedback loop. The results of it can be read in the obituaries every day. Whether the war on men is deliberate, accidental, or a bit of both doesn’t matter. The war is real and so are the casualties.

Of course, arguably, this is just the culmination of a trend that has been going on for millennia. Human beings are far weaker than they were before the development of agriculture. Yet its intensity in recent decades suggests something far deeper is at work. It’s as if men are being unmade, turned into some new kind of species or third gender. Walk down the streets of Austin, San Francisco, Portland, or Washington D.C. A universal non-culture is being created, producing legions of twisted post-men each one of which is ostensibly unique but is really interchangeable.

We even have words for it. “Soyboy,” for the noodle-armed postmodern men that denigrate masculinity while writing on their MacBooks at Starbucks. “Bugmen,” for those with an identity defined by pop culture franchises, morality determined by clickbait and phony outrage, and relationships governed by social media. “Snowflakes,” for those who physically disintegrate upon confronting ideas they disagree with and who use media sympathy to create a world like a giant university campus.

Yet there is a word that is more accurate than all of this, and which describes the kind of culture the war on masculinity is creating. It’s not an original word, it’s a common word, but it’s the one that is most precise. That word is simply consumer. Deliberately or not, we are being transformed from men into consumers.

A consumer qua consumer has no identity, ethnicity, or even a gender. He/She/It is universal, the ultimate product of universalism and non-discrimination. A consumer is defined solely by being part of a system where nothing is sacred, everything is for sale, and pleasure and convenience determine value. Words such as heroism, tradition, identity, ritual, and sacrifice have no place in a consumerist order. Nor is there a real culture, as a culture implies certain institutions and values that are beyond money and that exclude non-members.

Nor is there any need for violence or conflict—in a world of consumerism, some may have more money than others, but it is simply a matter of adopting a more “rational” policy. There are no countries or peoples, just different units of social organization that compete to create the most efficient economic policies. Even cries against inequality or calls for “revolution” are no real threat to this model—after all, resources can simply be redistributed if there is sufficient unrest. Afterward, the system will go on operating, its essential values still in place. The consumerist system is something deeper than mere politics.

Consciously or not, this model of global consumerism is what the world is moving towards. Masculinity is a threat to this system. For masculinity, at its heart, is not just about strength, conflict, or even conquest. It’s about an endless quest to satisfy one’s own sense of worth. Being told you are “equal” or just as interchangeable to other consumerist units is an insult, not a comfort. Being told that struggle is no longer necessary is spiritually poisonous.

Consumerism’s logical conclusion, a life spent hooked up to machines pumping you full of endorphins, is no real life at all for a man. Men know this inherently, that struggle, conflict, and even defeat are preferable to stagnation. As Dr. Johnson observed centuries ago, “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a solider, or not having been at sea.” Yet today it is worse, yet the wars fought today are not for victory or glory, but simply to solidify that vision of global consumerism, to further the day when the whole world is a shopping mall. The end for which the soldiers of the West fight is not worthy of the soldiers themselves. The real war, the deeper war, is not to be found abroad but at home. It is not directed against governments or rulers but against the poisons, physical and spiritual, to be found within ourselves.

A world full of weak, submissive, unaggressive post-men enslaved to pleasure, defined by products, and contemptuous of heroism makes the system run smoothly. For that reason, those who try to build something outside this consumerist system, to promote different values, will find themselves hated by the systems’ propogandists. To be a man is to be a threat. To pursue physical strength, to try to increase one’s testosterone, and to practice a diet and lifestyle that will further those ends is to revolt against the modern world in the most literal sense.

Building a tribe, creating taboos, increasing your mental and physical power, discovering and worshipping your gods—all of these are ways of declaring your rebellion against a non-culture of global consumerism. It is to declare that you are more than a product and that your value is something more than consumerism. It is about becoming a man that your ancestors would recognize.

We may not be as physically strong as our ancestors, but we face obstacles they would not have recognized. The very food we eat and water we drink are poisoning us. Rather than being honored, those who seek glory and heroism are met with the scorn and hatred of the genderless creatures loping though the consumerist wastelands of the cities.

New cults and tribes must be forged, new rituals, and new traditions. Men who want to be men and not consumers must reconnect to eternal truths in new forms. Unlike every other generation in history, we have no institution that we can fall back upon, to tell us who we are and provide a sense of mission. We must create it for ourselves. At a time of disintegration, we must overcome the entire world simply to survive. How great then to be alive at this moment in history, and to have this opportunity!

A time is coming of gods, heroes, outlaws, and kings.

It’s a time for those of great spirit to rise above the ruins.

It’s a time for men.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Barbaric Rites

The more perceptive of Operatives may have noticed a subtle shift in content of late from the various platforms that Werewolf Command broadcasts our pirate signal from.

The physicality which has always been at the roots of Operation Werewolf has been brought into a sharper focus over the past several weeks. This is not because the physical nature of our philosophy is ever more or less important, but because some have seemed to begin neglecting it in favor of a more “intellectual” or “spiritual” approach to the work.

There can be no separation from the physical nature of Operation Werewolf. 

It is critical that this is understood clearly by those who align themselves with our signal- the gates which lead into the ever deepening experience of this project of total life reform are made from iron.

For us, physicality is spirituality- there is no desert religion influence here that looks for a sloughing off of the body as something vile or evil. We recognize the interconnectedness of the physical form as not just the chariot of the inner fire, or the temple within which our animus burns, but as part of the spirit itself.

We believe that a critical shift away from the mindset of this separation of flesh and spirit and will is necessary for the individual to achieve a righteous wholeness in the now, here, in this existence. We look to attain a vital attitude of full engagement in this life, in this moment, in this strength and blood and body which also houses our minds and spirits.

We have said before and will continue to maintain that a healthy, strong body is the only acceptable vessel for a healthy and strong mind.

Physical imbalances and unhealthy practices that affect the body in a negative way also affect our mental state, as well as our thumos, or tapas, or soul-fire, or whatever you prefer to call it. Our bodies have both an outside-in and inside-out relationship, and so we do not abandon one in favor of the other.

If we put garbage and sewage into our minds, and allow them to grow slothful and lazy we will produce garbage thoughts, and weaken our will, and our bodies will follow suit.

If we put garbage and sewage into our bodies, and allow them to grow slothful and lazy, we will produce garbage actions, and weaken our will, and our minds will follow suit.

Even a man who has an active mind, or a sharp one- if he is able, why would he not direct this sharpness toward it, exerting the will, and housing his powerful mind in a vehicle that it deserves? The only rational answer is a lack of will, of drive, of energy.

This neglect is an abomination to us, and we burn it away through adherence to physical culture as a part of our life’s ritual, or our own personal religion.

Those who willfully choose to not practice the physical disciplines of life reform are heretics to Operation Werewolf, and as such can never claim to be allied with us or our mission, which is to create and maintain dangerous men and women with sharp minds, strong bodies and fiery souls- complete human beings hell-bent on personal transformation to prepare themselves for anything this life has to offer.

There is another kind of heretic that is even more damaging than this, which is the one who remains chronically the same as he was when he first began his in-road.

He has exhaustively asked for help and advice, only to not take it.

He is relentlessly needy and often negative as he makes excuses or laments his lot in life that keeps him from achieving the goals he has stated for himself- he will often do this while sounding like some kind of martyr, as this type of individual feeds on the attention and pity of those good-hearted individuals who will continually offer a hand up to someone who won’t take it. 


He makes no physical progress whatsoever, or such a small amount that there can be no doubt that he is either lazy or careless. 


If he is able bodied and makes no physical progress, though he has stated it as important, it can be inferred that he has made no progress elsewhere, as the physical form is an outward manifestation of the will, and the neglected shrine is not worshipped in, nor treated with any reverence.

Let it be made crystal clear as an azure sky on a summer’s day:



This was never about acceptance.



Operation Werewolf is not a catch-all for misfits and freaks unable to function in this temporal world, but for those looking to master it.

It is not a support group for weak people, but a pressure chamber for those willing to accept the challenge to become strong in all ways, and on all playing fields.

Because we reject a negative message or mindset, here is a challenge to those struggling:



Both our Barbaric Rites program and our Gladius e-book on macro planning and nutrition are on our website free of charge (although we gladly accept contributions, and if you find it valuable, understand that these contributions keep Operation Werewolf moving). 

They are simple enough to be applied by anyone with the will to do so, removing the excuse of lack of information or not knowing where to look. They are the same programs and nutrition planning styles run by myself and thousands of others in the network who are fit, strong, and physically capable.



I challenge you to apply them, starting today, and take control over the physical aspect of your soul. 



Treat each meal as a prayer- sacred and holy, fuel for the body in order to attain your goals, and your Great Work.



Treat each martial arts class or weight training session as a life-affirming and joyous barbaric rite, knowing that each and every one of them purifies your body, strengthens tendons, muscles, and character.

I challenge you to remain consistent with this program for 3 months time, and then to look at your life and decide if it is better or worse for having done so. 



If you can honestly say it is worse, then go on your way. 



If it is better, then adhere to it.

Learn with a deeper understanding the intricacies of strength training and fueling the body, and from there, let it inform your other processes, both mental and spiritual, and watch them weave together as one strong, viridian organism.

This is Operation Werewolf. 



BARBARIC RITES PROGRAM



GLADIUS NUTRITION E-BOOK



Posted on Leave a comment

Five Ways to Move Mountains



What follows are techniques for moving mountains and embracing the righteous:

NO NEGATIVITY



One of the biggest problems facing people when they step into the gym or get out of bed is themselves.

A negative mindset is an abomination to life, to the the task at hand, and those looking to get the most out of training, and existence in general, will combat and correct this issue.

First, no one is forcing you to be here. You’re here because you want to forge strength and power, and get drunk on your own blood as it pumps through the muscle in your body, smashing weights, and undergoing the ecstatic rituals of lifting and overcoming resistance. 



You’re here to live a life to the hilt, sinking your teeth deep into the meat, and tearing it, bloody, from the bone. To lead by example, to make legends, to breathe deeply and seek a heroic life and a monolithic end- a savage existence!

You are not here to bitch and complain and whine like a cunt.

You are not here to get defeated by fucking exercise, or traffic, or your bullshit excuses. You are not here to act like a victim and make stupid faces when things get hard, or to talk about the garbage that’s dragging you down in life today, or your injuries, or your boss.

Put your war-face on and charge in like a painted-up berserker ready to fight, fuck and drink blood, or go home and die on the couch, and good riddance.

This life isn’t for you.

So forget all that other stuff.
Put the damn phone down.
Empty your mind of everything but the task at hand.

Fill the void with fire, and ignite yourself. Train and live with purpose, focus, and aggression in order to immolate those negative thoughts and conquer what you came here to conquer.

EXERCISE VISION

Remember why you’re here, and keep the big picture in mind. 



Don’t get wishy-washy and distracted with your training or endeavors overall, constantly setting new goals, switching up programs, jumping from one diet to another, being one person, then someone else.

Get your goal. Picture it in your mind.

Meditate on it before training, before rising and treat the ideal as an idol- worship it by devoting yourself to it, and not letting the attention waver. 



Exist and train in accordance with that vision, and manifest it- trace your way back from that perfect moment of potential, and see the stairway you’ve carved to it with your mind.

Tread one stair at a time, consistently, with heart.

BE UNSTOPPABLE

You can’t let the little things in life distract you like the flashing lights of illusion.

Everything is a little thing except the one big thing- the main mission. The holy writ. Your scripture of ascendancy.

Once you know with a certainty where it is you want to go, one foot must remain in front of the other on the way to that hidden city from now until forever, and nothing can pull you from the road.

If your girlfriend leaves you- forget her. Get a new one, or live alone.

If you get injured- grit your teeth and rehab it, or get it fixed, and get back to work.

If your family or friends try to hold you back- walk out on them and find better ones. Choose a new family.

Whatever it is that arises in your way, it is a devil to be slain on the way to yourself.

Strike fast, strike hard, and press on.

UNCERTAINTY IS DANGEROUS

When lifting heavy weights, or facing dangerous opponents, uncertainty is dangerous. It makes us doubt our strength, and sends weakness directly into the muscle like an intravenous shot of frailty, guaranteeing failure, defeat, and more of the same.

There is no doubt. There is no uncertainty.

There is only blood in the eyes and steel in the heart as we move toward our destiny- with the weights or on the larger canvas of our connected actions, our karma, our wyrd, we are who we make ourselves.

There can be no room in our minds for quivering or qualms.

If we fail, we are crushed, thus, we will not fail.

We will adhere to our well considered plans, and when plans go awry, we will adapt and overcome through strategy.



The great men of the past dealt with uncertainty as a traitor, to be rooted out and executed on its knees as both a judgement and an example.

We must ferret it out of ourselves, seeking it like a cancer and putting it under the knife.

Our way is the truth, and the light, and the smokeless fire, and the north star that never breaks faith. 



We drink the blood of heroes from the cup of eternal life, and become like them-indestructible, imperishable, forever.

IGNORE THE RABBLE

Let those who would, pit themselves against you.

Let their words and life be reactionary where yours is filled only with action, and inspiration and ecstasy.



Become a doorway, through which others connect to a world of myth and poetic ritual.
Live as the shaman, the medicine man, the savage priest, enflaming the people with example,
or like the sadhu, who is a window to the throne room of his god.

As these others exist like snakes in the darkness, striking out blindly with venom and ignorance, train yourself as the enlightened barbarian- chisel a monument to strength, and inviolability and immortality. 



Create things that other men cannot, and show them how.

Connect with nature and spend time in it, breathing in the clean winds of the mountain and meadow, and discover the forest passage within yourself.

Despise the banal, and avoid speaking of others in the shadows, but live directly and openly.

Shine like the sun.

Live as a member of a caste long gone, and as yet not returned, the Kshatriyas of the Coming Age- illumine the mind, go against the basic pleasures of the day and seek mastery and elevated consciousness. 



Worship the flesh and the spirit as one, and build them both into bright temples, perfumed with the incense of what is righteous, and everlasting.

-PW, XCII

Posted on Leave a comment

Paper Wolves

Over the last few years I’ve given my life to both my own “tribal” organization,
the Wolves, and the ongoing concept called Operation Werewolf.

The latter could never have existed without the foundation of the former, and it was off the back of the successful proving ground of the Wolves that Operation Werewolf was formed- to give others a chance to implement what we had tested and proven.

I will try not to sound like a self-important hipster here, but the Wolves began using this term “tribe” long before it became the buzzword of the day, a popular Instagram hashtag, or a word that seems to have become nothing more than a marketing tool. It fit what we were attempting to do more than the words “club,” “group,” or otherwise, and it represented a shift in terminology away from these sort of official, corporate sounding organizational names that we saw in the cesspool of the American “pagan” sub-culture at the time.

We called it a tribe, because we were desirous to build our own people. Our own myths, and shared language and meaning for life. To live in close connection with each other, and to exist not as a loose affiliation who came together at times to practice some sterile reconstruction or escapist fantasy, but to be a family.

A tribe is not, cannot be, a loose affiliation, by definition. The word means very little these days, like so many others, due to gross misuse, and overblown false self-representation by groups who should use another word, but don’t, because of perceived “cool points.”

When I hear “tribe” now, I think “oh, you mean your e-mail list.” I hear “tribe” and think, “you mean you and your pals who go to the football game together.” It has become such a misnomer, such a part of modern hyperbole, that alongside words like “nazi,” it seems to have lost all meaning in this day and age.

Likewise, we have contributed to the term “wolf-cult” becoming a part of a much wider parlance- at the time we came together, we knew of no other organization anywhere in the world using this phrase or terminology. 

We saw ourselves as something akin to Romulus and Remus, and those before and after them, men possessed of wolf-like attitudes and behavior, seeking to create something from nothing, and this strong affiliation to the Indo-Germanic mannerbunde of the One-Eyed God has remained strongly intact within the initiatic rituals of our tribe.

It is not a meme to us, or a phrase used to appear “edgy,” but a distinct, organically grown and adhered to spirituality that continues to expand and deepen as we move into the middle of our second decade together as a tribe- it is our religion.

We see ourselves as a continuation, a vital, modern expression of the first cult to don the skin of the wolf at fire-lit rituals. Not to worship ashes of the past, but to wear them in respect as we tend the fires of the now, that burn both literally at our forest rites, and figuratively within our heart of hearts.

At our first rituals together, we made a pact one to another, and part of that sacred undertaking was to spread this cult of the wolf once more across the face of the earth, finding others like us, and initiating them into this wider cult. We swore to redden stone altars from one shore to another, in wooded places around this world, and we have done so, each month, without fail, from that time to this.

During this time, Operation Werewolf has been instrumental in bringing that expression to a wider circle, and due to the nature of how this message is broadcast, it has brought many out of the woods and to that fire of the wolf-cult who do not belong there.

This is something both expected and unavoidable, and is the by-product of a successful mission so far- that being said, it is also something to be overcome.

There are two ongoing trends that I have found most disturbing, embarrassing, and revolting from these types of individuals, and that I believe need to be rooted out like an invasive weed:

The first is the culture vulture.

These are individuals who come to the table not for fellowship, but to attempt to rip chunks off the larger body of the community, feeding on the writings, aesthetic, terminologies and so on that have been developed within Operation Werewolf through hard work, blood, sweat, and time. 

They do this not to learn, or to improve themselves, but to fly off with it, and regurgitate it in a semi-digested format, branding it as “their own thing,” while attempting to sell it back to the same people they stole it from. They flap off into the distance, where they create some kind of Dollar Store brand knock-off, a cheap xerox of Operation Werewolf, branded with their own synonym.

To create something original, or earnest, or honest, that is similar to something else is one thing. 

Diluting an existing signal that is already broadcasting itself strongly is to manifest oneself as nothing more than static- a distraction. It is a scavenger pretending to be a predator and living off of the remains that have been left to them by greater species, and it is a thing to be reviled. 



Instead, meet in person. Go out of your way. Become associated in a real, physical fashion with the men and women at the core of Operation Werewolf around the world. Use your discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff. Become a light in dark places, and add your fire to the one being built, rather than carrying a candle into the wilderness and calling for those already at the fire to follow.

There is room here for large personalities, and need for leaders within what is already being built.



The second is the paper wolf.

He is typified by a loud mouth, hubris, and exaggerated self-importance and self-worth. His actions take place largely on the digital paper of social media, where he can pretend to be anything he wants, since he will never put himself to the test in person.

He will spout off often with over the top words about “becoming a god,” or his own process of “supremacy,” while creating nothing of worth, and attaining a mediocre lot in life, if anything at all. He believes that going to the gym is the highest expression of self-development, and that “killing it in beastmode” at a corporate chain exercise room with shaky consistency makes him a “werewolf.”

These types are rarely if ever seen at physical events, but are always seen at electronic happenings like a “lit” comment thread, where they will be the loudest representative of Operation Werewolf in the worst possible way, bringing dishonor and disgrace to those who affiliate in a genuine, heartfelt fashion.

Not all who wear the skin of a wolf are one. 

To be more than a paper wolf, prove it. If you are “with” the Operation, live as an example. If able, come to physical initiations, and be more than text and a photo on the sterile environs of social media- set an example and help others become an example themselves without conceit.

Please, let us all learn to stay grounded and not pompous- pomp is most often a sign of insecurity and inner weakness, where a simple, rugged approach that maintains its humor will serve better.

One does not need to seek “humility” or self-effacement in order to be modest and measured, and to avoid aggrandizing themselves by words. Let your actions and the true words of those whose respect you have earned speak loudly about who you are, and let us all look to attain a calm, confident strength that does not need to prove itself with dialogue, but can be seen and not denied.

A bold smile in our eyes born of truth and stillness and power is better than a boast on our lips spawned from uncertainty, anxiety, and desperation.

Together, we should show these paper wolves that we will not tolerate their interloping at our fires- we will not allow them to embarrass us with their noise and arrogance, their misuse of our authentic and honest way.

Truth always wins over lies and illusion, and the fires of action burn while the counterfeit curs slink in the darkness.

See you out there.

-PW

Posted on Leave a comment

In Death, I Become


by Paul Waggener

I heard a joke the other week while sitting on the mats after jiu jitsu practice.



“Blue belts are the black belts of quitting.”

For those who don’t practice the so-called “gentle art,” (a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one), I’ll explain.

It takes between 6 months and a couple years for most people to attain their blue belt in jiu jitsu, a benchmark that essentially means you’re not a “newbie” anymore.

The blue belt, while certainly a solid accomplishment, often seems like much more than it is in the white belt’s mind, and once he finally gets it after hundreds of hours on the mats, he often succumbs to the feeling of “getting what he came for,” and ultimately, his spirit falters when he realizes how much further the road actually goes.

He quits.

This phenomenon is not limited to the grappling arts alone, but can be seen in many different areas of human endeavor. The beginner works so hard to reach the first milestone, and he builds it up so high in his mind, he forgets that what he was after was the finish line.

Upon reaching the first marker of this long and arduous journey, much more difficult, time consuming, and heartbreaking than he ever thought it would be when he set out, he experiences premature gratification. He lost sight of the end goal, and put all his attention on this infinitely more modest achievement, to the point that the end goal is something he no longer feels he needs to reach.

This is the sweet and intoxicating poison drunk by cowards and self-deceivers.

Over the course of thirteen-plus years in a tribal organization, or what some might call a “club,” I have witnessed this behavior countless times during the process of hangaround, prospecting, and “patching in.”


A definition of terms:


For our crew, the Wolves, individuals desirous of a high level of commitment that may ultimately lead to full membership must undergo a long and rigorous screening process. The ladder-style phases of initiation were borrowed from other outsider groups, mostly an amalgamation of esoteric orders of the past and motorcycle clubs.

First, the individual starts spending face time with us. This can come about in a variety of different ways, possibly by training with us, attending events, or getting invited to other hangouts. For most, this is where the process will both begin and end, as the harsh and highly specific weeding out process developed over more than a decade of tightly knit friendship amongst insiders acts as a filter that allows only the most “righteous” individuals to pass through.

These so-called “hangarounds” have no real obligation to the organization itself, but show their quality in a variety of different ways, mostly through time spent with us, and an obvious, but unspoken desire to move past the “outsider” classification.

After a period of time, which can be brief or incredibly lengthy depending on the person in question, he may be asked to prospect for our group.

A prospect dedicates his life to proving himself worthy of being “patched in.” He is on call at all times, and the requirements on his lifestyle, how he carries himself, what he reads, how he trains, how he will act in general, are specific and highly demanding. This prospecting phase will last for no less than a year and a day, and sometimes much longer- a unanimous vote from all members across the nation is the barrier in his way.

Because of this, he is expected to travel great distances often, undergo trials and ordeals, with swift and usually permanent repercussions for failing to live up to his stated goals.

At some point during this crucible, he will either be subject to a “no vote,” at which time his prospecting phase comes to a sudden end and his chances of becoming a full member are dashed forever, or he will be “voted in,” and a date will be set for him to take the Oath of the Wolves, a binding ritual that ties an individual’s fate together with us forever.

This process can be so long and rigorous, that once the individual in question attains his “patch,” he can succumb to the same blue belt mentality mentioned before, feeling that he has “arrived,” and is finished with his extensive testing, and can rest.

This false summit is dangerous, and often results in the individual being strongly head checked, or, in more extreme cases, losing what he has worked so hard to accomplish.

It is critical that at all times and in all places, we understand that the only true summit is death. The final peak on the mountain of our lifetime of accomplishments does not come at some point while we draw breath and are able to go further.

Our struggle is not forever, but it is for a lifetime.

During our lives, we will reach many of these false summits, and think to ourselves,

“I am here. I have attained what I sought. I can now rest.”



Sometimes, the deception is even more subtle, and we will say,

“I have done so much already. I have conquered so many lands. All I need to do now is maintain a steady and easy course.”

It is not now, and will never be enough to just show up for life. It is not enough to simply not quit.

When we cease to set new goals, to reach one summit and look for one higher, we have surrendered to that great destroyer called complacency, and our glory will swiftly fade into nothing, our names and legends will flicker out like an untended fire at midnight.

We do not become who we are during this life by saying, “good enough.”



We fight the good fight for our entire life, until our last breath is drawn raggedly from our lungs, and at the end of an existence lived for greatness, we say “In Death, I Become.”



Stay the course.
Never surrender.
I’m pulling for you.

-PW, XCII

Posted on Leave a comment

The Camel, the Lion and the Child

by Paul Waggener

Nietzsche said once, “he who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”



I have always loved these words, and they have inspired me to keep the steel in my spine, the frost in my blood, or just “hold it together” at various low points in my own “how.”

By clinging to what I saw as my “why,” my greater purpose, my holy mission, I was able to view the various degradations of poverty, injury, betrayal, and so on, as stumbling blocks placed in my way as a test of some kind. By persevering through them, I progressed toward my ultimate goal and grew stronger as a result.

Much harder than dealing with these “hows,” though, are losses of “why.” True dark nights of the soul shake our “whys” to the foundations, and leave us questioning whether our purpose really is what we have perceived it to be, or if there is any point to life at all.

These are the dying times.

The moments where our lives seem to exist on the edge of a razor- everything is precarious, slipping, threatening to fall out of the balance and into the abyss of obscurity, despair, and blackness.

What have we been working for, or toward?
Does anything matter?
Do our lives here have any meaning beyond that which we arbitrarily attribute to them?

These existential crises during which existence itself is often the crisis- the sheer weight of going on, of moving forward, seems crushing, hopeless, and, ultimately, utterly pointless.

Those who have experienced the loss of their why will know exactly what I refer to here when I say that at these crossroads, the horizon appears as vast, cold, and grey as the relentless Pacific. Wave after wave of lassitude and lethargy crashing upon an empty shore.

This is the ultimate struggle of the man who lives a self-examined life- in endlessly searching for the great truth, he will at times come face to face with the horrific possibility that there is, in fact, none to be found. The state of emptiness, of isolation and cosmic solitude that this can produce is staggering, and for many, leads to a surrender to passive nihilism.

Possessed with the futility and dread that the examination of their lives has stirred up in them, they submit to the idea that because they are experiencing this futility and dread, that it is TRUTH with a capital T. It exists everywhere, for everyone, at all times- nothing is sacred, nothing is true, nothing is worthwhile or meaningful.

This passive nihilism is, in fact, a product of rampant ego. Those overcome by it think that because their beliefs have been shattered with the hammer of experience, of “reality,” that this means ALL belief is likewise shattered.

Instead of summoning up a manly approach to what is destroyed, and seeking to rebuild with new material, their entire existence becomes a metaphorical crying over spilled milk.

As Nietzsche suggests, in his “Will to Power,” the only answer for these dark days is to look within, as well as to continue exerting the will without, and to be reminded that our true purpose, our great meaning, does not exist as some golden edict, dictated to us from an alien intelligence without.

It is created by us, on the forge of existence itself.

He says: “The nihilistic question “for what?” is rooted in the old habit of supposing that the goal must be put up, given, demanded from outside – by some superhuman authority.”

These crisis periods are what make us. They remind us that we shape our own lives. We are the hammer and the anvil, and the material upon it. We cannot look to the universe to provide us with our answers- we must be men! We must find beauty in the rawness of life, in its brutality and in its emptiness.

From stone, we must create sculpture and fortress. 
From steel, we bring forth sword and suspension bridge, or we destroy them.
From sorrow, we must distill a song that resonates within our hearts of victory over it.

In “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” Nietzsche says that man will go through three metamorphoses- from the Camel, to the Lion, and finally, the Child.

As a camel, we must seek out the heaviest of experiences, the hardest of truths, the most crushing weights in existence- we make of ourselves a beast of burden, because we see this as the truest way to connect to the deeper veracities of being. We walk alone with them, out into the wilderness, into the great desert of the unknown, bearing these awful cargoes to sustain our journey.



“What is difficult? asks the spirit that would bear much, and kneels down like a camel wanting to be well loaded. What is most difficult, O heroes, asks the spirit that would bear much, that I may take it upon myself and exult in my strength?”

Somewhere along the way, we will either lay down and die with our burdens, or we will assimilate them into ourselves, and cast some away, and we will transform into the lion.

We will stake our claim to territories vast and savage, and with ferocity and roaring, thunder our challenge to the world. As the lion, we make war on everything that threatens us, or provokes our wrath, or encroaches on the borders of our domain.

Our worldview is completely our own- and it brooks no adversaries. We have become alienated, strangers from the world, and the enemies of man.

This is the point during which we began this piece- the Lion is in this state of existential crisis that he must overcome. He is faced with the possibility that there is no great truth, or meaning in life, save that which he can give to himself in an act of supreme self-creation.



“Here the spirit becomes a lion who would conquer his freedom and be master in his own desert. Here he seeks out his last master: he wants to fight him and his last god; for ultimate victory he wants to fight with the great dragon.

Who is the great dragon whom the spirit will no longer call lord and god?

“Thou shalt” is the name of the great dragon. But the spirit of the lion says, “I will.”
“Thou shalt” lies in his way, sparkling like gold, an animal covered with scales; and on every scale shines a golden “thou shalt.”

My brothers, why is there a need in the spirit for the lion? Why is not the beast of burden, which renounces and is reverent, enough? To create new values—that even the lion cannot do; but the creation of freedom for oneself for new creation—that is within the power of the lion.

The creation of freedom for oneself and a sacred “No” even to duty—for that, my brothers, the lion is needed. To assume the right to new values—that is the most terrifying assumption for a reverent spirit that would bear much.”

As the Lion, we take our destiny into our own hands, and we destroy the false god of external rulership- the lies and plastic virtues of the modern world.

We become our own men only when we begin to create, and to see life by our own set of values.

To become the Child- a man must obliterate all rules, and create his own game.



“But say, my brothers, what can the child do that even the lion could not do? Why must the preying lion still become a child?

The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel, a first movement, a sacred “Yes.” For the game of creation, my brothers, a sacred “Yes” is needed: the spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been lost to the world now conquers his own world.”

Rather than seeing territories and battlefields, he sees a playing board.
Rather than opposition and enemies, he sees characters.
Rather than misery and suffering, he creates his world in the way that he sees fit, and plays within his own game, understanding that the key to life is in the act of creation itself.

He is free.
He is wild.
He is playing the greatest game of all- a man, within the wonder of shapeable existence.
Go and do likewise.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Eternal Return

This piece was originally spoken by me to my tribe, the Wolves, celebrating our Summer Solstice ritual in 2008. I believe it is more true than ever, and that the words are equally applicable to the strong men and women of Operation Werewolf around the world. -PW

Baldr’s dreams are foreboding ones.

They see a bloody end to all things.

A destructive force leveled at the world of gods and men, an unstoppable entropic ruin.
The fiery burning of all green places and the dissolution of life everywhere.

He forsees his own death, and this feeling of doom remains with him as he wakes.

Steps are taken by his loving mother to protect him from anything and everything that might assail him.

Like any mother she wants only the safety and security of her child, but nothing can stop the cycle of renewal, and that renewal can only come through death, decay and rebirth.

This is the core truth of our tribal belief: the eternal return- that being, becoming, passing away and new birth that sustains and ultimately destroys every living thing.

Baldr’s dreams come to him not only at the end of a personal life cycle, but at the end of an age. His death is significant because it means not just his own demise, but heralds the final breath of an era.

We too, are living in a season of demise. The world around us is crumbling, not only socially, but literally. The green things on the earth are being withered by the flames of Surt’s children. Industry, greed, reckless power and excess.

The branches of the world tree tremble.
We sit at the cusp of destruction, waiting for the Fall.

Like the twilight of the gods, our time here is crucial.

We are anomaly and anathema to the dying world around us- our way is completely opposed to the rest of modern society and makes us a tribe unto ourselves.

All those who hear this ancient call are relegated by the world out there to the shadows at the edge of the firelight.

The rune poem for FEHU says “the wolf grows up in the woods.”
This is our place, then, away from the wretched entanglement of modern hatred, the great expanses of the industrial waste, the spiritual wilderness that pervades the hearts and minds of this world.

All this hopelessness finds remedy in the mysterious passage in Baldr’s Dreams describing Odin, Baldr’s father, approaching the funeral pyre and whispering unknown words in the ear of the corpse as it lays silently awaiting the flames.

The final war occurs, the gods are destroyed, the earth is burned.
The world tree crackles with fire- 

but it survives.
Its heart remains evergreen, and uncorrupted.

Within its sheltering boughs, a seed springs forth to renew mankind- the land rises from the sea and supports new life.

Baldr returns as the lord of the gods, coming back from the dark and dreaded Halls of Hel to once more take his place on the high seat. The man and woman Lif and Lifthrasir represent that which is best in humanity, the unkillable root of our people.

As we live our lives here, at the end of an age, and the ruinous fires sweep the face of this earth, it is more important than ever that we keep these old roots alive, the unshakeable truths and bonds of faith, friendship and family- because that is what is best of humanity.

Our tribal ways value love over all.

Savage, fierce and willful love for our brothers and sisters, our families, our own ferociously independent way of life.

These are the things that will stand forever against the onslaught of time and destruction.

Like Baldr, we must each of us live forever as symbols and touchstones for our people.



Take mastery over your life, and be that symbol, a living representation of these things we value most, what is best in us, and live it without faltering.

From the gods we worship, to our tribe, to our valued friends- though oaths bind the Wolves together, we first had to find each other in this burning world of shadow and poison.

Once found, we recognized kindred spirits and we held onto those things that brought us together like a priceless treasure. 



With no irony or insincerity, we swore under black skies to be family forever.

Families quarrel, families fight, and families disagree- but they are family, and a man’s back is bare without his brother. When the fire comes, the one without a tribe will burn alone, instead of facing his death shoulder to shoulder with a worthy comrade.

May our bonds grow stronger.
May friends become family.
May we stand strong together in the face of everything this world can put against us.

We hail Baldr, and the eternal return of the sun.

Posted on Leave a comment

Minimalist Training

I received many questions last week from young guys who wanted to know how they should be training to achieve their fitness goals. Mostly they had a lot of questions on programs, diets, methods, and so on, and used a lot of fancy words or phrases that I was largely unfamiliar with. 

Here is my answer to all of you in regards to what style of training or programming or eating I think is best:



Minimalism. 

It’s so easy to get pulled in by new gimmicks, training fads, diets, and so on.

Every time you turn around, people are repositioning old methods as new “systems.”

Example: TUT or “Time Under Tension” training used to just be called slow, controlled reps.
Intermittent fasting used to just be called “not eating all the time.”

Butterfly pull-ups used to be called “having a seizure.”

Paleo, gluten-free, keto, whatever.

All are probably fine and have their place (don’t get too triggered here, keto guys!) just don’t get caught up in the hype.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Unless you are training specifically for competitive bodybuilding, the following rules hold true, eternally:


Use barbells for sure, dumbbells and kettlebells if you want, machines sparingly or not at all.

If you are spending more time with chains and bands and gadgets than you are under the bar, putting in smooth, quality repetitions with an intelligently (but simply) programmed regimen, it may be time to ask yourself the important question- what am I training for?

This is a completely reasonable question and usually has a simple answer, if folks are being honest. It will usually be one of four, or a combination thereof, with some emphasis on one or the other:



I am training to be stronger.

I am training to be healthier.


I am training to look good. This also holds true for those who want to look more intimidating, or a harder target, or whatever. Training for aesthetic is not “unmanly.” All animals posture, especially aggressive ones, and anyone who says they don’t train with a certain amount of this as their reasoning is probably a liar.


I am training because I enjoy it.

The last should always hold true, but so often, people start to get caught up in ways that they think they *should* train, or what some “movement coach” is telling them, rather than the ways they actually want to train. Then, training becomes some kind of chore in which technical movements are performed for their own sake, and the sheer pleasure and raw, furious joy that should accompany moving heavy weight is lost in a shuffle of numbers, equations, and boring details.

Push weight, not pencils.

If you are lifting to get stronger, to make progress, to maintain discipline, and to grow thick, gnarly muscles- stay minimal in your approach, and maximal in your effort and discipline and consistency.

Squat, press, deadlift and row. If I could only do four things in the gym forever, these would be it for me, and during my 8 months on the west coast, this is basically all I did (especially if you count weighted chins as a kind of vertical row).

I ate for strength, which means I ate big meals, usually 4 or so a day, that were pretty high in protein and fat, and tried to keep my carbohydrates for after my meal, so I wouldn’t eat as many. If I started getting a little fat, I would eat one less meal a day and do a little more moving around. Walking, pushing or pulling a sled, working the heavy bag, whatever.

My numbers were not phenomenal, but I was pretty strong, with a 415 squat, 505 deadlift, 365 bench and 205 overhead at between 185 and 190 pounds bodyweight most days.

My body fat was never so high that I couldn’t see shoulder and arm vascularity and at least the top set of abs, which is, I think, a reasonable level to maintain even if you are “permabulking,” which I find is usually just something fat guys with no discipline and poverty lifts call “eating like a human garbage can because I can’t stop myself.”

A lot of guys get so worried about the details that they lose the essence of the Riddle of Steel.



Train hard. Lift heavy. Eat well and often. Get good sleep. Be consistent.

If you are training solely to build muscle and get strong, these are your watchwords.

Don’t make it harder than it already is, and remember: 



Strength is the least egalitarian thing there is. It’s something that you don’t deserve to have, and cannot have, unless you do.

You have to put in the time and work for it, and it demands sacrifices.

No one can have it handed to them, which is why we find it so beautiful, so worthwhile, and so brutally honest.



XCII



PW

Posted on Leave a comment

Aesthetic.

by Paul Waggener

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.”

These words open the film “The Departed,” one of my favorite Scorsese movies, spoken by the character Frank Costello, an Irish mob boss.

The words resonated with me strongly when I first heard them, and have stuck with me for years. I felt like this was the perfect delivery of a truth I had always believed and held as one of the major principles of self-creation.

If we are living lives of mythic action, our every word and deed becomes a spell of creation or destruction- shaping the malleable fabric of the world around us, changing our environment to reflect where our will is applied, and how. Gandhi famously said “be the change you want to see in the world,” a statement often seen on Pinterest styled bumper stickers on soccer mom’s vans, or bright eyed hipster idealists’ rusted beaters. Cliche, but only because almost all statements of basic truth seem that way through overuse and under-application.

In order to “be this change,” one must apply consistent, consonant pressure in the direction he wants to see that change. By consonant, a word I use often, I mean that it has to “make sense together.” Like notes in a music scale, or a well done painting, your actions must find congruence in order to become as effective as possible.

Consider it: what is a more sound strategy in war? Focused, tactical strikes at high-yield targets that eliminate them with brutal efficiency, or random squads sent out in all directions to take potshots into the trees, hoping they hit something?

In order for our lives to achieve this consonance, we must begin to view our life as a whole- as an artist looks at a canvas, or a sculptor his block of stone. From here, we should consider our lives as a work of art in motion, and shape it in a way that has a narrative, a direction- many elements working together in a flow toward some kind of completion. The idea of goals, and plotting the steps toward these goals is certainly one way to achieve this, but on a more visceral level, attaining consonance is done through aesthetic.

The word’s definition is given as “a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.”

This view of aesthetic permeates the entirety of a life, and when we think of individuals who typify certain concepts or ideals, we are thinking of them as archetypes, or paragons of a certain aesthetic. Their lives have become “a line of poetry, written with a splash of blood.”

Choosing an aesthetic is a crucial element of building your own legend, the framework within which you will operate, the filter through which you will see the world around you, and the body with which you will interact with that world.

The highest principle of humankind is to create.

It is the way in which we imitate the gods, and emulate the impulse they experienced when they created us in the myriad mythologies of humanity, spread across the aeons.

So many human beings sleepwalk through life, unaware or not stopping to consider and develop these ideas into something that can make their life more than what it is- a sweeping saga of their principles and ideals writ large on the stones of human history.

No one wants to be forgotten, although we are all likely damned to that same grim fate- but we have the choice to attempt the mythic, the timeless, to strive for higher things, even if our outcome is sealed.

In Norse mythology, the gods walk to their final battle aware of the outcome, but choosing to perform the duty for its own sake. That, as Spengler said, is what it means to be a thoroughbred.

To achieve aesthetic and consonance in our lives, we must begin by choosing one to embody.
In writing, they often tell you to fake a voice, or use someone else’s until you find your own, and the same holds true here.

This is why the stories of the many gods and legends of our various peoples exist- to give us archetypes, not simply to revere, but to emulate- to actually spend each day attempting to become them with everything that this implies.

There is so much strength in this practice: losing one’s temper, or making a poor dietary choice becomes so much more removed, or seems so much lesser to us when we are waking each day and choosing to embody a legendary archetype, a specific aesthetic.

We begin to view our lives as “a set of principles,” rather than a random collection of meaningless actions. The environment around us too, should be considered. If we are building ourselves into a monolith of ideals that guide us as sure as a compass point, how can we apply this creative impulse elsewhere?

Obviously, we can do this through a host of actions, such as honing the crafts of writing, engineering, art, music, carpentry, but we can also begin to reinforce  our aesthetic in our immediate surroundings by bringing first our physical form into agreement with our stated aims.

When one considers Achilles, Thor, Hanuman- he does not think of a couch-locked, skinny-fat form, atrophied through years of poor diet and sedentary living. Our emphasis on the ideas of physical training and healthy lifestyle come from many positive principles, but this is their quintessential one:

We cannot emulate the gods in a neglected body.

Beyond our bodies, our domiciles and places of work or training- how can we better bring them into alignment with this aesthetic we have chosen, in order to increase a harmonious interaction between increasing areas of our life?

One can begin to see this architecture grow and expand, as we can no longer neglect our immediate surroundings, but must cultivate them like a garden of the soul. Our dwelling-places and studies, our gyms and our work areas are where we spend many of our waking hours.

Why should they not become temples to the Work, visual reminders of who and what we are seeking to become?

This practice becomes the weave of our own developing mythology as our strength grows, our practice becomes ritualized, our ritual becomes bedrock- the transformations within transform what is without, and ever widening ripples emanate outward from the core of our being into the material world, penetrating and transmuting raw elements and material. This is how men become symbols, what I have called “lliving runes,” and from there can aspire to pass into legend.

Every action is a lesser or greater degree of one that came before it.

If we can change ourselves, we can change the world.