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Defeating Depression By Living With Purpose

Most depression stems from the perception of what I call a “grey horizon.” This is the feeling that a purpose or deeper meaning is lacking- it creates an enervating force in our lives that drains our vitality and replaces it with a hollow “who cares?”

This is a widespread and increasingly common issue among people young and old, all over the world, as they struggle to find their place and meaning in a world seemingly devoid of authentic experience and honest expression. After I put out THIS VIDEO on the topic of combating depression, I was inundated with messages thanking me and asking for more information and advice on the subject- what follows is my own personal method and belief on how the black dog is to be fought and defeated.

We must begin with the understanding that this struggle is an ongoing one. Most of us do not simply fight one battle and conquer depression, stress, anxiety. It is a continuous warfare, but one in which, once we understand our enemy and the weapons with which it can be fought, we will consistently achieve victory.

The greatest weapon against depression is a meaningful life. This sounds vague and amorphous, but I promise you, it is the goal that must be sought out constantly in order to stave off feelings of worthlessness, pointlessness and futility. Discovering our purpose through acts of self-creation is the key to a fulfilling existence. Yours and mine will not be the same, but our methods of discovery can be. I cannot tell you what yours will be, but I can tell you how I discovered mine.

It starts with exploration. The search in and of itself for meaning and purpose and an honestly expressed existence is a glorious undertaking, and should never be seen as anything other than a legendary journey for self actualization. Discovering our purpose, for an indeterminate amount of time, is our purpose. By looking for who we are, and searching the depths of our being, and transforming ourselves in the primal forge of ordeal, we will discover not only who we are, but who we wish to be.

During this time it is crucial that we evaluate ourselves fairly and honestly, clinically, but with mercy, not brutality. We must see ourselves as we are, in order to ascertain where we need to go. As we make our evaluation, we will be forgiving, not self-destructive, but we will be firm and truthful about our shortcomings.

As we work to eliminate those aspects of ourselves that we do not wish to hold any longer, we also bolster our strengths. Improving ourselves in the realms of calmness, generosity, physical strength, loyalty, creativity and so on. As we do this, we realize that what we are taking part in is a preparatory ritual- perhaps our purpose has not made itself clear to us because we are not ready to face it, and we are being given time to make ourselves worthy of it. Our work then takes on a holiness, a ritual aspect of cleansing and empowering our beings for the coming Work, that which we call the Great Work, which is knowing and carrying out our higher function.

This very understanding led me to my current place in the world, and as I focused on letting go of that which I had bound myself to, strengthening myself physically, developing my creative abilities, practicing my writing, studying martial arts, traveling more often, and so on, I began to understand the alchemy of consonance. How all this could be woven together with one thread, and how I could make myself of service to a higher concept.

Often, our purpose will find us when we lose ourselves in the seeking.

For now, here are a few of the tactics I employed in my war against meaningless existence:

-Wake up earlier and adhere to a schedule.

Sleeping all day is both a cause and effect of depression. Choose an early hour in which to arise and conquer, and do so. In the dark hours of the morning, much is made clear to us in the silence of our early routine.

-Move! Whether you choose weightlifting, martial arts, swimming, running, or some combination of the above, you must exercise! This is perhaps one of the most important factors in conquering depression. If you feel the stirrings of that great enemy rising within you like a serpent, exorcise your demons through exercise. Immediately run, do pushups, burpees, find a body of water and swim, especially if you can go to the ocean and experience its vast example of being, becoming, returning.

You will never defeat depression until you can develop the discipline of a rigorous physical training routine.

Choose any routine off the internet and start today.

-Eliminate chatter. Turn off the internet for awhile. Filling the mind with idle chatter and useless data makes us distracted and ultimately hollows us out, taking away our vital energy and focus. Ditto for television and so on. Read an interesting book, pick up a new skill, draw, write or run.

-Work to create meaningful interaction with other human beings. As someone who walks a fine and strange line between philanthropy and misanthropy, I find it increasingly important to discover meaningful connection with other living humans. The internet is a pretty incredible way to make connections, but these often times are artificed and very shallow. Meet people by following the above protocols. Speak to someone at your school, dojo, gym, library, whatever. Combat your shyness or social awkwardness by realizing that people are often more than happy to converse with strangers, and probably feel isolated often, just like you might. Just say hello and introduce yourself and let go of overthinking it.

-Stop self medicating. Often, when I was feeling depressed, I would drink excessively. This would simply lead to a vicious cycle of feeling worse, drinking more, self loathing, drinking more, feeling worse. One of the biggest mistakes we can make when combating depression is using recreational drugs to mask the feeling. This kind of escapism is like “painting over dirt,” and ultimately will make our infection fester in the darkness while it slowly ends our lives. Addiction is another hydra head of depression, and we will possibly address it in a future transmission. For now, do whatever possible to eliminate the use of these crutches.

At day’s end, many of us are at constant war with these feelings, but like any other opponent, this one can, and will be defeated if you remain steadfast.

I’m pulling for you.

“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”  -AC

92.

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Never Give Up

You are squaring off against a larger opponent in a fight you cannot escape. You feel the fear twist your guts as he bears down on you, his huge form a mass of unrestrained violence, hellbent on destroying you.

The first blow shatters your nose like a jackhammer striking cheap concrete, and your vision explodes in a thousand lights- pain is all you know.

No time to think, the next one cracks a floating rib, agony blossoms through your side, all breath taken away and you experience that drowning panic as you fight to take a breath while more punishment rains down- face, body, head, gut.

You go down, blood streaming from broken teeth, unconsciousness threatening to wash over you like a black wave, and he is still advancing, moving into position to beat you mercilessly until you surrender to fear, pain and death.

Life can often feel just like this.

Beating us savagely, then smelling blood and kicking us while we are down, overwhelming us with sheer weight of misfortune, circumstance, pressure, stress, hardship and suffering.

This is where we are made, in this primal forge of ordeal.

We cannot give up! We cannot surrender to our tormentors, or view escape as a liberation. We must endure.

We must rise up, and fight back!

We must strike hard and fast at the heart of what stands against us, and master our fear, or it will always be our lord…deep, rotting dread will dictate our actions forevermore.

Your enemy can suffer, too, and can bleed, and be killed.

That which opposes you is perishable, and can be destroyed.

That which causes you suffering can be endured.

That which creates stress can be used as a tool to become stronger.

That flame living within us is eternal, and cannot be extinguished if we take the pain, the hate, the sorrow, and transform it into a feral howl of rising and retribution that will be our war-song.

NEVER GIVE UP.

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Yes, This is Happening

Article written by Craig Williams

“As anyone can probably tell you who has engaged in a brawl while sober, there is a distinct feeling that happens before the first punches are thrown. It is somewhere between fear, anticipation, excitement, joy and panic; a potent mixture of all of these, as the adrenaline kicks in and the body prepares itself to flee or fight, tuck tail or knuckle up. What a man does while that feeling has a hold on him will tell you a lot about him as a person.”

Paul Waggener

One of the most common traits of modern times is the obsession with virtual “reality.” It’s not uncommon to see individuals grouped together ignoring one another gazing into their phones or laptops in a somnambulistic state blindly ignoring their surroundings, or one can even see individuals walking or driving while gazing into their phones in literal technological possession. What is it about the modern mind-set which seems obsessed with worshipping the techno-god and ignoring vital human interaction? Human are literally willing to risk losing their lives as well as take the lives of others in order to gaze into a screen of virtual “reality.” Is it any wonder that the harsh often brutal truths of life are feared, hidden or ignored?

“Yes this is really happening…….”

I remember being about 16 and the group of older guys walking toward me and my friends laughing looking for a fight. My stomach was in knots and my mouth dry as I knew my friends were more scared than I was, and more importantly unable to assist in any way with any realistic level of self-defense. The small one approached me first, “Is this the one who knows karate?”, he smirked.  At this point he stuck his finger in my face and told me he was going to……before he finished the sentence, I still remember the feel of my hand hitting his jaw, the feel of a bone cracking, flesh giving way rather easily, and the sight of his body slumping to the ground. Once I saw this and the fear in the eyes of his older friends, I could breathe again and I was no longer frightened……..

We often hear today of safe-spaces and trigger warnings, both modern attempts to deconstruct and dismantle the fear of uncertainty, failed attempts to make life predictable and sterilized. Scenes of death and war are banned and scrubbed from the media transmissions, images of bodies falling from towers conveniently forgotten, too disturbing to fit the planned manipulative narrative. The modern mind seeks solace in these empty spaces to avoid challenges which force growth and maturity; the modern man sees no need to learn how to fight as violence is low class and for the uneducated, exercise easily accomplished via a video game safe inside one’s house.

“Yes this is really happening…..”

I remember riding in the car on the barren plains of Tibet. The Sherpas driving were hung over from long night of drinking, the extremely high altitude made concentration tiresome and exhausting, the eyes gazed off into miles of nothingness on all sides. The roads were unpaved and unsafe, the Chinese government allowing an influx of people along these routes to visit the sacred Mount Kailas, terrestrial home of Shiva, the God of death and destruction. I was sitting in the front passenger seat watching the speedometer hit 75 MPH wondering if the driver was aware of this and wondering how long this part of the journey would last. I asked my teacher who was sitting in the backseat to pass me my messenger bag as I wanted to read a prayer book. “I will grab the book for you, which one is it?” he said. I didn’t want him to have to dig around looking for the book so I asked him to just pass the bag to me and I will dig it out. He passed the large messenger bag up front and I placed the bag in my lap and looked at the driver laughing at me, then I gazed off to the road ahead and noticed that a car was headed straight towards us. The next memory is grabbing the messenger bag and pulling it in front of my face as I crashed through the windshield, the sound of metal tearing and crashing, glass breaking and the odd simple sensation of bouncing right back into my seat unscathed. I look over and saw the driver’s face ripped open and mangled, head dangling bleeding. I had not a scratch on my entire body…….

Every day we are given a choice of potential opportunity, a chance to experience reality with our own eyes, engage with others we love or respect with words and handshakes, feel the pain of physical training and the satisfaction of molding the flesh and mind into a stronger reflection of our Souls. This can occur when we immerse ourselves in reality not when we escape into a world of “virtual” reality. How many of the stories we see on our televisions or cell phones truly affect the outcome of our daily lives? How many of these vampiric transmissions nourish and sustain us? The sobering answer is few to none.

“Yes this is really happening…..”

I remember coming home from a long journey in India and Tibet. My group was stuck on the border of Tibet and Nepal due to issues with Chinese security and terrorist concerns and we were forced to find questionable lodging for the night and cross the border into Nepal the following morning. The night was rainy and ominous, with young Chinese military omnipresent, 15 year old youths holding machine guns wearing uniforms which would fit when they were 25. We secured lodging and settled for the night. I remember waking up the next morning and looking for the bathroom.  Entering the bathroom, the smell burned my nose, the floor was covered in shit and piss and the water was turned off. Turning around to return to my room I encountered a man standing in the doorway, holding a knife and asking me for my passport. I then remember my hand contacting the soft flesh of his nose and the pain of a chipped tooth slicing my knuckle wide open, and watching the man fall onto the piss covered floor holding his face………

The often brutal experiences of life are unpredictable. As unpredictable as the beautiful inspiring moments. The modern mind seeks to manipulate this as if time was a computer program, giving the viewer of “reality” the power to create an environment of false security and safety. This “reality” holds no Soul power, offers us nothing and weakens the viewer pushing him further and further away from the path of true glory, true individual manifestation. Yes, life is happening all around you. Every moment, every day you gaze into the world of the techno-god you lose this rare chance for growth and transformation. Yes it will be painful. Yes it will hurt. Be thankful for this. Revel in this. Turn away from the illusions of “virtual reality” and embrace the life that lies before you in all of its pain, suffering and joy. Yes, this is really happening…..are you ready?

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This Machine Destroys Illusion

Operation Werewolf was conceived many years ago, named in one of my journals long lost to time, and used over the last several years as the label for my collected writings on strength, overcoming, tribalism, and so on. It has grown and evolved into something more than it was when I started it, but its aims have always been the same.

I have heard detractors talk about the Operation as nothing more than a “business,” as though it sprang up overnight as some kind of easy money hustle. Others, who have probably never read anything we’ve put out, but seem to need to label it, speak of it as some kind of political movement, based around ideas that are simple enough for them to understand. Still more have claimed it as a platform for their own agendas, looking for a “pre-made” audience for their insipid ideas.

All bullshit. All missing the mark.

It is, and has always been, more than a “business,” much like a band or musical project is more than its merch table. For years I produced written work and more, all free of charge, and asked nothing in return for it. All of our continuous content is still free, and always will be.

The apparel and gear allows people who wish to do so (no one is holding a gun to anyone’s head) to support the Operation, to signal affiliation, and to visibly align themselves toward a greater goal. It also allows me to do what I do full time.

If for whatever reason, tomorrow, all income that is connected to the Operation simply ceased…the Operation would not cease. Articles and videos would continue, just as they did before. Travel would continue, just as before. I would continue, just like always. This is because Operation Werewolf is my mission and life work- making money is not.

I have swung a hammer, run a chainsaw, slung drinks, played a guitar, trained clients, and done a hundred other things in order to eat and keep a roof over my head. I’ve slaved in the Virginia heat and frozen outside in the Wyoming snow to make a buck…the money comes and goes.

My mission remains: to destroy illusion.

To the best of my ability, I will continue to destroy my own illusions and weaknesses and shortcomings. From there, I will do my best to help whoever can that honestly wants to better themselves, because I feel it is my responsibility to do so.

This is not because I ever wanted to be wealthy- during the inception of Operation Werewolf I lived in a cabin in the woods with no power or running water, by choice. I worked a job, and I had some money, but it was a less than important factor. The trappings were not then, and are still not a driving force in my life. I maintain a pretty simple existence, and my financial requirements are pretty small.

It is also not driven by the desire to be some kind of a “guru.” Many days I am as lost as anyone, and struggle with the same shit: stress, depression, anxiety, uncertainty for the future, on and on, ad nauseum.

It is because I am attached to the idea that this world, at this time in which we live, is progressing further into self destructive insanity, self worship, willful ignorance, conditioned opinion that has been carefully weighed and packaged and sold like a drug; and deeper into a thousand thousand distractions that grow in addictiveness and complexity each year.

I believe that all of this is negative, and that it can only be combated via what I see as the only virtues that truly matter: Strength, Honesty, Loyalty.

Because of this, I believe that anyone who can see, even slightly, through that Illusion, are bound by a responsibility to aid others who can see or wish to see through as well.

It is possible that I am just some kind of romantic, and maybe my ideas no longer have a place in this world, and perhaps nothing that I do or say or accomplish will change this world for the better or the worse.

But I choose to believe that what I do matters.

I choose to believe that I, and you, are caught up in a struggle greater than ourselves, and that struggle is one of TRUTH against FALSEHOOD and against those who spin the illusions, those for whom our awakening is undesirable.

Operation Werewolf is a threat.

It spreads ideas rapidly, information and inspiration quickly leaping like electrical arcs from one to the next, but there are no commandments. Merely a loosely affiliated worldwide phenomenon of individuals who have decided they are unsatisfied with the illusion, and have chosen to remake themselves and their world in their own way.

It is those brave ones, those rare and blazing fires in this great darkness that I am seeking out as allies, as friends.

Together, we may yet combat and defeat those who would extinguish our flames. We may yet see clearly that which exists on the far side of the obstructing veil. We may see what we are capable of becoming, and set out to become it.

Under the dread black flag, proudly emblazoned with the Totenwolf, this Operation marches ever onwards.

XCII.

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Weakness on Display

There are a few times in a man’s life where it is okay to show your vulnerability-
to set the armor down and trust someone enough not to wound you.

At my grandfather’s funeral, I saw my uncle overcome with his sadness, and cry.

At my brother’s wake, I was overcome by my own, and I cried for him, and for his father and mother,

and in remembrance of all the good times we’d had and all the good ones we would never get to have.

After an incredibly painful separation from a woman I’d been with for a decade, I spent some time traveling and drinking, coping with it in a pretty unhealthy way, until I found my way through it with the help of some brothers.

There are things that my wife and my blood know about me, or have heard me say, that I would never

say or reveal to anyone else.

This is because a man should not put his weakness or vulnerability on display for the world to see.

What is it that you are hoping for when you broadcast another failed relationship, your personal woes,

inadequacies, embarrassing shortcomings, and day to day banality?

Attention? Sympathy? A few “likes” or hallmark “feel better, I’m here for you if you need to talk” comments on your social media account?

You should be ashamed. Your fathers and your ancestors would be ashamed of you.

This constant need to broadcast not only every tiny boring detail of our day into the churning maelstrom of disgusting slop that makes up your “feed” (compare to livestock),

but to also show every weakness felt throughout your quivering existence.

To draw attention to your revolting need like a child reaches upward and wails for an adult to take pity on him because walking is too hard.

To shout, not in a strong voice “WITNESS ME” as you perform glorious deeds to awe and inspire,
but feebly, and with much cracking “notice me…please!” as you crawl in the filth of your own insecurities and revel in your weakness, seeking that attention and sympathy like a junkie sucking dick for a hit.

Before you post, speak, signal, display- ask yourself if what you are presenting is powerful, strong,

useful, inspiring, or gives meaning, hope, value, or even laughter.

If the answer is no, ask yourself- why am I displaying this for the world to see?

Am I a junkie?
Am I a child?
Am I wasting my life?

Being a man is not an automatic title achieved by whatever you’ve got between your legs.
It is an idea, an accomplishment, an understanding of the concept of VIRTUS.
Try to act like one.

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Keep the Fire Burning

This life is trial and ordeal:
You will be tested.
This world will try everything in its power to extinguish your flames and leave your ashes cold.
Opposition will rise up against you, and the struggles that you experience may sometimes threaten to overwhelm- the storms so violent and sudden that they will seem without end.
The truth is, there is no end to struggle save death.
While we live, we must commit ourselves to this understanding, and allow it to shape our approach to life as one that always comes from a place of strength.

When faced with danger, with opposition, with naked aggression, we must take care to not be caught in the cycle of constant reaction, always on the defensive and never the attack.
Act, do not react!
Assess the situation tactically, choose a battle strategy, think on your feet, execute a plan.
Do not think that everyone who smiles at you or offers a kind word is your ally- question everyone’s motives, including your own.

Know yourself through and through by examining your internal processes with a calculating and clinical eye.
Cultivate a calm strength that is confident and free of false bravado- always maintain a healthy ego that unifies who you are with who you say you are.
In a world of falsehoods, telling the truth is an act of liberation- be honest, especially with yourself, and remember not to get caught up in your own bullshit.
Separate yourself from drama and people who always seem to be surrounded by it. Avoid the perpetually broke, low energy, low motivation types, or those who are always partying.
Surround yourself with those who are intelligent, confident, successful and disciplined. It will rub off on you, if you’re lucky and smart enough to allow it.
Always push yourself a little harder each day to improve, but never apologize for who you are or what you believe in, or you’ll never stand for anything again.
Try to learn something new every day.
Practice meditation, good nutrition and exercise regularly.
Take up a martial art.
Study a language other than your native one.
Travel often, and far.

Keep this one close to your heart, and never forget it:

We have this one life to live and our time here is short and precious. We owe nothing to our enemies but our scorn, but we owe it to ourselves to live healthy and whole, all the way alive, eyes wide open and searching the horizon for the eternal.

If you’re reading this, you are one of the rare ones, and I’m talking directly to you when I say

NEVER LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN.

I’m pulling for you.

-Paul Waggener, 9.5.2016

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Pain And Suffering

”Whenever one approaches the points where man

proves himself to be equal or superior to pain, one gains access

to the sources of his power and the secret hidden behind his

dominion. Tell me your relation to pain, and I will tell you

who you are!”

There were many pitfalls on the road to where I am now. Nothing has come easy, and I don’t imagine it ever will. Looking back, the obstacles are plain to see, all the depression and anger, the so-called trauma and bullshit. Self-hatred, hatred in general, and every bit of insecurity or uncertainty or doubt that dragged at my feet along the way, like the rotten sludge at the bottom of a river made from raw sewage.

I got so sidelined by these things that I often felt like a completely dysfunctional human being- a raw, seething mass of hatred, frustration, dissatisfaction and disgust with every living thing on this planet, including myself. A wretchedness indescribable. An impulse that expressed itself in socially unacceptable ways, a rage that manifested itself in broken bones, blood droplets scattering across the pavement and the years like red prayers.

I remember the first time I put someone in the hospital, it came with a sense of elation and freedom that is hard to explain. Something about causing reckless damage to a human being with no end in sight that makes you feel like you’ve escaped your own species, transcended some primal boundary, or maybe gotten more in touch with the murderous urge that makes us the most human we’ve ever been. It’s hard to say exactly what it was.

Since I can remember, I’ve been struggling with my own perception and understanding of who I was. I was never content with where I was, and always felt that there was a part of me that was alien and unknown, even to myself. I was plagued by the questions of how to relate to it, where to fit in; of trying to untangle and understand my “bad wiring.”

The questions remained mostly unanswered. My strategies often did not work. There have been many times where I was defeated in the battle against my lower self. I’ve lost more times than I like to think about, and it has led me to some very dark and awful times in my life.

There is a reason I am telling you all this.

I am telling you because I know that negotiating the abyss of who we are and who we have become is something like sailing a ship in dangerous waters with no compass or crew. It can be a been a lonesome and often terrifying expedition through agony and excess, self-deception, rediscovery, failure, fire, hardship and death. I have learned a couple of things in my thirty plus years here, and maybe the most valuable things I’ve learned are these:

No matter how I spin it or how hard I’ve ever tried to do something else, I am who I am. Some of it has been my own decision, some hardwiring, genetics, upbringing and so on, but the man I am today is what I have to work with. We can and should continually look to better ourselves (a hard enough concept to really define- what is better? What is worse?)  and change certain aspects of that circuitry and blueprint, but the base material we have to work with will always be the same. Junger said that,

“We do not escape our boundaries of our innermost being; it is true, we may transform ourselves, but we always walk within our boundaries, within the marked off circle.”

Something I have realized about myself along the way, is that I have passion in spades, but very little balance, and I define myself by pain and hardship. More often than not, I give value to a thing based on its difficulty to achieve, and not necessarily in its pleasurableness. This has become a key element in my life philosophy and in the way I approach everything.

Our word “passion” comes from the Latin root meaning “to suffer.” In other words, what we are passionate about is what makes us suffer- the word is intertwined with itself, ouroboros.

Because of this, true passion has no real balance- it defines itself through suffering, hardship, trial, ordeal- it is always “on” and there is no escaping its terrible nature in order to only taste its sweet parts. It must be experienced in total.

Therefore, we must use an internal alchemy in order to turn our suffering into our strength, to be empowered by it, not enervated. We must master it in order to gain the keys to those gates that will otherwise remain forever locked and barred to us- concealing kingdoms of power and freedom.

Our approach to each trial must then take on a mythical seeming- nothing is so small or so great that it falls outside of this Gordian knot of struggle and growth. Each task we undertake every day we are alive is a an opportunity to experience the holy strife that all life is based on. To overcome ourselves and our obstacles with a drive so ferocious that we excel in all areas and arenas we traverse.

Our lives will always seem incomplete; there will always be questions, failures, joy and grief so overwhelming they will threaten our foundations. We are always walking a labyrinth made of our own experience, negotiating its length and breadth with heart, breathlessly. It is in how we walk it that makes our transformations occur, and though we always may be within the confines of our “innermost being,” we know that it is not the situation we are in, but how we meet it, that truly matters.

Transformation and growth can happen, and each time we meet ourselves again, we are different. Changed. There is a newness that comes within the endless struggle. We shed our skin through a metamorphosis that can only be brought on through suffering- for if we do not suffer and overcome, we do not grow.

Most people’s approach to pain is avoidance. The average person in this world of weakness views pain as merely the opposite of pleasure, a negative, something to be circumvented at all cost. Whether it is physical, emotional or other, the normal thought process is that “pain is bad.”

Our pain should be immense.

During training, we should push ourselves until our lungs are pure flame; our muscles burn like a thousand suns; at the end of our limits, we push onward- and in that place of white hot fire, we are immolated and made new, stronger, purer. Not the same as we were before.

In our lowest moments of spiritual blackness, we must push on, knowing that we are in chrysalis. Embrace that darkness and go deep into the well of painful experience, down to its uttermost depth, and commune with those devils who dwell there. The bargains they offer come at a high price, but the power that is gained on the other side is even greater still.

Let this life do its best to break you, and keep moving- unbowed and unbroken.

Find your passion in suffering.

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Wanderlust

I am typing this with hands stained from road grime and leather dye, tanned dark by a week in the sun on the back of a motorcycle. I’ve just returned from traveling nearly two thousand miles of backroads and small towns in the American south, crisscrossing the Appalachian mountain range and seeing places and people that don’t make it onto most maps. Towns that seem untouched by the modern age, vintage Coca Cola signs on the sides of full service gas stations on the edge of a tobacco field. Attendants look on with a mixture of wonder and mistrust as a half dozen tattooed nomads roar into their backwater village, thirsty and burnt, facemasks and bandanas stiff with sweat.

They sometimes ask “where are you from?” Or, “where you headin’?”

I answer the first with “back there,” jerking a thumb over my shoulder, and the second with “nowhere,” “anywhere,” or “everywhere.”

We are not out here for any other reason but to wander. To experience the camaraderie that comes from time spent outdoors with people you give a damn about, away from the wear and tear of “the daily grind.” Waking up and jumping in a mountain stream, rinsing off the miles, the bullshit, the aches and pains of the modern world. Sharing some laughs before mounting up again and tearing off to somewhere else, no real plans, no destination but forward.

It is easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget how much we need this. This adventurous spirit is what drove those who came before us, and its also easy to feel that there is no adventure left to be had in a world where everything is discovered, mapped, GPS’d, Googled and so on. That the world has become small, boring, civilized.

This way of thinking is quickly dispelled after hundreds of miles of places you’ve never heard of. Close calls with outlaw motorcycle clubs, hanging out in caves in a landscape that looks like another planet; surfing at sunrise on an empty beach, watching the stars emerge from the top of a mountain millions of years old and feeling its power beneath you, massive and ancient. Falling in love again with the landscape you’ve come to take for granted, and sharing that with old friends- these things are where our new frontier lies. The rediscovery of our own spirit of adventure, and the understanding that it can take many forms, but we have to go out there and find it. The sedentary life is not life at all, merely a waiting room before death.

Carl Sagan said it eloquently:

‘For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us… edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. The appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game—none of them lasts forever.

Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.’

A lot of folks have plans to get a career, get married, have kids, prepare for retirement in a little house somewhere. My only goal at this point in life is to assemble a war rig which will serve as my mobile command center, swear in a few outriders, longrifles, berserkers, tech-witches and motomancers- and roll fast and far into a brave new world.

Out on sunbleached rock and windswept road we will bear witness to desert nights under lonely stars, moon rising over ghost towns in the Wyoming winter, our mechanical wagons and iron horses circled up and the fire blazing somewhere in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

We will traverse the country for the sake of movement, of fully enjoying the moment itself, rather than being swept away in our plans for some vague and tenuous future. We will attribute value instead to sights seen, hidden places discovered, realizations had, and challenges overcome through will, ferocity and solidarity with those we have chosen to spend our days with.

There is a great deal more to say, but I won’t spoil my plans by giving them all away, and this isn’t a blueprint, but a suggestion:

Go outside, pick something barely seen on the horizon, and go for it. Take some friends if you can, otherwise, do it on your own and find some new, more adventurous ones on the way. You don’t have to be gone for a week, or a month,or year. Sometimes a day or two will suffice to inject new blood into your veins, rekindle some of those coals that have lain dormant for too long.

If you’re headed somewhere, you’re headed in the right direction. Keep on looking for the good stuff- the excitement, the love of life and the lust for more, friendship, camaraderie and the meeting of new people to share your stories with and to hear theirs. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, and one that should be lifelong.

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Consuming the Sacraments

Photo by Marla W.

This article is by guest writer Craig Williams, who has a great deal of other work available on various topics. Our readers may find much of interest especially at www.phalx.com

“Our Sacrament is Nutrition and Healthy Eating, our Rituals are Strength Training and Conditioning.”
Paul Waggener

Living amidst a world of chaos and cacophony, one of the most important revolutionary choices we can make on a daily basis is nutrition. We live in a homogenized world empty of life and vitality. This world offers up its sinister offering as empty vapid food for the body, empty vapid images for the mind; manufactured food for a manufactured “reality.” In complete revolution against this modern trend, we must begin to envision both our physical body and the food we use to nurture the physical body as Sacraments. In Tantra and Pagan Gnosticism, we honor the physical body as the highest substance, the container of the sacred, the sacramentum, a living and breathing Sacrament. A sacrament can mean many things to a diverse array of spiritual systems, but in essence it signifies a physical substance or physical act which makes manifest an invisible and spiritual presence. Through training and conditioning we can transform the physical into a living Sacrament which can manifest the Numinous. If we contemplate the deep esoteric significance of this alchemical reality, we enter upon a mystical and brutally revolutionary mindset of respect and reverence for the physical body transforming the corporeal into a realm of radical revolution and unbridled freedom.
In order to honor, support, and sustain the physical we must feed and nurture it. If we wish to transform the physical into a numinous expression of freedom then we must learn to view nutrition as a sacred act and eating as a sacred offering into the mysterious flame of the Soul which lies hidden deep within the corporeal landscape. We must envision our daily intake of food as a Sacrament which signifies the physical journey we must undertake in this lifetime. We must see nutrition as a vitally important aspect of personal transformation and personal freedom. All the seeds of hard work we plant with the iron and steel will not come to harvest if we do not create a nutritional environment conducive to anabolic transformation. Therefore we must create an almost obsessive zeal for honoring both the physical body and the food we offer as a sacrifice unto the Soul Flame hidden within the body as literal Sacraments. What we consume literally becomes the body and blood of our daily ritual sacrifice of training and functions as a mirror of our Soul Flame!
Perhaps the most important foundational idea when discussing the vast topic of nutrition from a transformational perspective is the creation of a sacred time and a sacred space for nutrition. We must set ourselves apart from the mindless masses who feed in a somnambulistic trance while driving or watching television. We must create a reverent mindset as we create and consume food. In complete and radical revolution against the mechanistic pace of the modern world, we must slow down and take the time to reverently prepare and consume our food! This can be a vital first step in creating a sacramental reverence for food and nutrition: make the effort to sit down and eat slowly as much as possible, avoid eating while driving, reading or watching television, and attempt to create and prepare the majority of your own meals. These simple actions are primordial in nature and in essence and can awaken the inner flame of transformation which is pervasive throughout the entire body-mind complex. By paying full attention to our meals we can create a literal sacred space / sacred time, alchemical and transformative. It also important to take a moment and give thanks and gratitude for the food we consume and if one is sharing the food with brothers or sisters, take the time to give gratitude for the sacred occasion of consuming the sacrament in union. This attitude of respect and reverence stimulates and awakens a primordial Soul memory deep within the body which literally transforms the mealtime into a sacred Solar ritual.
The topic of nutrition is a vast and controversial topic. I view the concepts of nutrition much like the concepts of fighting: master the basics in order to maximize survival. The world of health and nutrition is heavily fueled by media trends over basic common sense, much like we see trends come and go in martial arts circles. We can try to complicate fighting with mystical concepts or fundamentalist myopic attitudes on which style of “best”, but it will essentially boil down to the basics: who is stronger and who knows the basic technique of fighting will typically prevail. We can carry this concept over to the world of nutrition and glean important concepts for long-term health and training recovery. Before focusing on trendy diets promising miraculous results, focus on mastering the basics of macro-nutrient consumption. Almost anyone involved with serious strength training or fight training knows the importance of protein, so let’s start with this macronutrient. There are countless protein powders on the market ranging from whey to casein to plant based. On a fundamental level, one type of protein powder is not “better” than the rest. There may be variations in amino acid profile from source to source however in processed protein powders this variation will be minor at best. If using a protein powder, choose one with the least ingredients and without artificial color / flavorings and experiment with various sources to find one that digests easily. I use protein powders extensively with patients and clients who I coach and I use them myself as important additions to a training diet however I always view this as a “supplement”, meaning a minor addition to an already strong food-based nutritional infrastructure. The key idea is that one must establish a solid nutritional foundation before seeking miraculous results from a scoop of protein.
I tend to prefer actual whole food sources of protein over protein powders for daily nutrition. When you make it a priority to fill the majority of your protein intake with food based sources, you will build a much deeper reservoir of power within the physical body which is key for rapid recovery and avoiding injuries. My favorite sources of food based proteins are small servings of lean cut meats (preferably wild game), eggs, wild salmon, organic cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, beans (properly prepared to avoid gastric issues), tempeh, nutritional yeast, quinoa, brown rice, sprouted breads, Barilla protein pasta and nut-butters (avoiding all dairy except organic cottage cheese). There are several important ideas to keep in mind when discussing the intake of protein, one being the foundational idea of food rotation. Avoiding mono-diets is key for insuring adequate macro and micro-nutrient consumption. This is perhaps the most common issue I encounter with patients and clients. Individuals tend to get stuck in ruts in all aspects of life and nutrition is no stranger to this. It’s not uncommon to hear individuals lament their lack of progress while doing the same work-out, reading the same books or eating the same meals in a mechanistic fashion. Variety is key for stimulation of growth and diet is no different! Rotation diets are key for insuring adequate nutrition variety as well as avoiding the food sensitivities / food allergies. Therefore map out a variety of protein sources and do not get stagnant by using only one or two sources out of laziness. It’s quite easy to have hard-boiled eggs, a variety of game meats, tempeh, a variety of beans, or wild salmon on hand to add as protein blocks into various meals. Make it a point to prepare these options and be creative in order to avoid having to constantly depend upon protein powders for nutrition.
The macro-nutrient of carbohydrates is also often mystified and made confusing. The basic idea to grasp in order to maximize sports recovery and overall health and vitality is to make vegetables and fruits your main sources of carbohydrates. Many individuals have a food sensitivity or food allergy to grains, therefore I typically only recommend the use of basic brown rice and quinoa, both of which are less likely to cause any gastric upset or food sensitivity issues and provide a large amount of nutritional benefit. There are many benefits to making the main sources of carbohydrates simply fruits and vegetables. The two factors which are vital to the health and vitality of an athlete / martial artist are the dense nutrient yield and high fiber, both of which are essential when consuming a high protein diet. Many of the side-effects of high protein diets such as constipation or gas-bloating can be ameliorated by adequate consumption of fresh steamed vegetables and whole fruit (not fruit juices). I typically recommend light steaming, baking or grilling for vegetables as this allows for easier digestion and absorption of nutrients; salads can be eaten “raw” but large servings of vegetables should lightly steamed, grilled or baked. Fruit should ideally be eaten whole and not juiced and consumed away from high protein meals to avoid gastric issues as fruits and proteins digest in a dramatically different timeframe in the gut; when one combines high protein meals and fruits, it is not uncommon to encounter gas, bloating or nausea, therefore keep fruit by itself and ideally away from high protein meals by at least one hour. As mentioned earlier when discussing rotation in dieting, make sure to eat a broad spectrum of sources of fruits and vegetables and avoid predictable food choices. Seek out a wide array of colors while sourcing fruits and vegetables and if possible, eat locally grown sources from farmer’s markets or your own garden.
Outside of discussing the basics of protein and carbohydrate consumption, one important factor which is crucial to discuss is digestion. Healthy digestion is the ultimate foundation for health and vitality on all levels. If we are not digesting our food, we will not grow and transform. This becomes especially important for athletes and martial artists as we tend to expend vast amounts of energy training and fighting and consequently demand a larger nutrient intake. And it becomes of paramount importance when one is training to gain mass and consequently eating large amounts of food. Therefore we must maximize our digestion in order to maximize our growth. There are a large array of digestive enzymes and probiotics on the market which can be used for these issues. However I find two key areas much more important than supplements and pills when discussing healthy digestion: the addition of spices to the diet and the use of herbal bitters. These two areas are essential ways to stimulate deep primordial vitality and maximize health / sports recovery while reconnecting us to our Soul’s feral domain of Nature. The healing power of spices are an area which every athlete should embrace and incorporate into their daily lives. Spices such as cumin, coriander, fennel, ginger, turmeric, oregano, rosemary, and black pepper are nutrient dense anti-inflammatory powerhouses as well as time honored digestives. These spices become especially important when consuming a high protein diet as the spices can help maximize digestion of dense protein sources, particularly game meats.
The western diet has abandoned all flavors except sweet and salty, therefore returning to the use of spices is in many ways a return to our primordial roots. Take the time to transform you kitchen into an herbal apothecary by learning to use flavorful spices in all levels of nutrition; learn to grow spices and treat them as sacred doorways to the Spirits of the Land and Forest; prepare and consume them as Sacraments which bless and transform the everyday meals into a the sacred eternal meal. The use of herbal bitters is also key for insuring adequate and complete digestion of all macronutrients and once again is of utmost important when one is eating to gain mass. The benefit of herbal bitters is that the taste of bitter blended with a nuanced balance of warming and cooling herbs stimulates the entire physiology of the gastrointestinal system as well as the liver / gallbladder resulting in improved digestion of protein and heavier meals necessary in mass-gaining scenarios. Herbal bitters are a better choice than simply using digestive enzymes as bitters actually tones and strengthens the inherent power of the entire digestive system and does not simply “treat the symptoms.” Bitters is excellent for chronic gas, bloating, nausea and even hang-overs. Avoid using bitters with stimulant laxatives! I recommend blends by Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs and Urban Moonshine, or better yet create your own by seeking out bitter roots and herbs and learn to create your own tinctures to reconnect with the primordial power of the Earth.
We make choices each time we harvest and consume food. In today’s modern mechanistic world, the sourcing of our nutrition can be a radical statement against the empty soulless homogeneity of factory farming and fast food. Seek to transform your meals and mealtimes intoSacraments which aid you in the alchemical journey of life! Learn to grow your own food, kill your own meat with your own bloodied hands, mine the roots from the dark cool soil of the Mother and give thanks for the rare blessing of consuming Her Sacraments. Every act should be a radical statement of the Soul and our nutrition is one of the most powerful avenues of alchemical transformation. Don’t take it for granted.

Practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine, Vedic sciences, Gnostic spirituality, and martial arts, Craig Williams is also the author of Cave of The Numinous: Tantric Physics vol. I, and well as numerous articles on health, martial arts, and authentic initiation in the Kali Yuga. Practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine, Vedic sciences, Gnostic spirituality, and martial arts, Craig Williams is also the author of Cave of The Numinous: Tantric Physics vol. I, and well as numerous articles on health, martial arts, and authentic initiation in the Kali Yuga.

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I’ll See You Out There

I can’t tell you how much it drives me crazy when I talk to people and they say shit like “man, I wish I didn’t have to go in to work today.”

It drives me crazy when people say “I wish I could be like that.”
“I wish I had more time.”
“I wish I had more money.”

All these stupid things that people say, and all the answers and all the freedom in the world is right out there in front of them.

All you have to do to be who you want is to do what you want, all the time, with a clarity and focus that turns that into the way you make your money, fulfill your dreams, follow your passion.

If you don’t have the drive to make that happen, then I’m sorry friend. I don’t want to answer your email about how you’d like to be more fit, or more free, or how you envy the life I seem to live- I am too busy living it to hear your sob story. You don’t deserve my time, and you aren’t even doing anything to deserve your own time.

I get a hundred messages a day from people telling me they want to meet up. To do what? To talk about what? I am barely a human being anymore, I am a hot burning machine of ideas and movement, fire and frenzy, I am here to achieve and conquer and adventure and stay starving and love it.

Listen, if we meet, it will be because we had to. Life made it happen, yours and mine, they came together like a chemical compound and made some new kind of virus that they don’t even have a name for yet. It won’t be to sit quietly in a bar somewhere and exchange platitudes and information on how to hit a higher one rep max. It will be to plan a revolution, start a religion, overthrow principalities and powers and to throw rituals in the woods to some nameless god that lives in our veins that makes us how we are.

If you’re so caught up in your day to day that none of this makes any sense, I can’t make it work for you. There is no translator for these truths, you either recognize them, or we are not the same. If you do, then you are already chasing it down, a werewolf in the woods of existence, tearing out the throat of everything in sight that looks to hold you back, keep you normal, keep you chained into a cubicle or a student loan payment or your stupid fucking apartment.

I’ll give you the secret right here, right now. All I did was all I wanted to do. I quit my fucking job, I followed my wildly beating heart, and here I am. Doing it on my own terms. Not punching a clock.
Going from the weight room to the woods, from Jiu Jitsu studio to the Pacific ocean, writing my thoughts down on paper or on the screen, turning my passion for art and strength and living without “realistic expectations” into a steady stream of income and inspiration that allows me to continue doing it 24/7.

Don’t linger! Don’t rest! Don’t wait for it to happen, or you’ll wake up old and tired and dying somewhere you never wanted to be in the first place.

Don’t spend your time trying to be like them, these drones that live to work, breed, die. Live to live!

There is only one way to do this: decide what you want to do and take no prisoners. That has to be the only thing that you give a single fuck about from now on, until you’re doing it, and then you have to set your sights again- shut down all the bullshit, all the exterior noise, all the detractors, all the advice from half-insect people who are living a life of quiet desperation- shut it all down.

Breathe in the fire. Let if fill you all the way up to the brim, and reduce obstacles to ashes. Burn too hot to be captured. Never, ever stop. Never, ever give up. This is your life, and you only get this one short shot at being who and what you want to be.

You wanna meet up? Let’s do it.

I’ll see you somewhere out at the top of a mountain.
I’ll see you as I look on at some back alley brawl, with a busted nose and burning eyes.
I’ll see you in the basement of bookstores in strange cities that smell like opium and forbidden wisdom. I’ll catch you sometime at the edge of the firelight, while fifty men who exemplify the meaning of the word “wild” chant and change themselves, not caring what this tiny world thinks about them.

If you’re one of us,
I’ll see you out there.