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Pressure

Dire Dogs.

Through my personal time with the Operation I have done my best to exemplify its tenets, and to be an example of how its declared aims and methods can have a positive effect on an individual’s life. It has taken me from an unhealthy and inconsistent person to someone with both feet firmly on a path of strength, a “path with heart.” Like the Fool of the tarot trumps, I am still just setting out on this road with the greater part of the adventure ahead of me- many lessons yet to be learned, and, as my brother Matthias stated in his recent article, I am, in most ways, “just a beginner.”

Clearly, a great deal of self-discipline is needed on this road, but there is more to it than that, or we would simply be lone individuals around the world, living our lives with no connection to a great concept, or a greater whole.

One of the things that has kept me steadfast in my day to day is the concept of pressure. Anyone who has listened to Justin Garcia’s podcast “The Pressure Project” is probably familiar with this term, and most are familiar with the concept itself, at least from a hypothetical standpoint, but many are still “missing it” in their life. This idea of pressure we often discuss is that one’s peers will constantly apply healthy pressure and positive confrontation, in order to ensure that all links in the chain of the tribe are strong. It must be applied consistently and steadily, as so many individuals are habitual “bingers,” people who will throw themselves headlong into an endeavor like weightlifting for a short period of time before quitting due to some “life happened” excuse- they will then go through a period of personal worthlessness or low productivity, before reaching a point of sufficient “motivation” (a term I have come to despise), and beginning all over again.

These types of people are engaged in a chronic behavior that will repeat itself over and over throughout their lives, creating a template of underachievement and zero discipline (which, as Jim Wendler is fond of saying, beats the hell out of “motivation” any day of the week) which will manifest itself in myriad ways within their personal life. They will be masters of the shallow water, never reaching true depth in either their squat(!) or other endeavors they excitedly pursue for brief, ineffective sprints before becoming easily winded and sitting back down just to “catch their breath.”

Svarog/Hamrammr. Svarog/Hamrammr.

These individuals need pressure. If they exist within a peer group, it is the peer group’s responsibility to bring them up to speed through “tough love,” or, in the end, to purge them from the body if they resist all attempts to reforge them. Operation Werewolf is not an acceptance philosophy. It is exclusive, in that it only accepts those individuals who are demonstrably on the path to greatness. But on the path means consistent effort, not haphazard application and grandiose claims. That way lies only self delusion and sickness. These individuals must be tried in the fiery crucible, tested, and if found wanting, issued an edict of strength- an ultimatum that when next encountered they must be better than they were today. If they are not, they must be cast aside to make way for those who are receptive to confrontation and a philosophy and praxis of might.

At periods in my life, and especially in recent years as I have dedicated myself wholly to the task at hand, I have been approached by those closest to me and told that my current best was not good enough. I had a choice to either accept this judgement of my chosen peers with a certain amount of humility and grit, and prove to them that I was capable of more, or to thrash and moan like a child and reject their statement with an ego-driven vision of myself. I am honored to have friends and brothers like this, and am proud to say I chose the former. Had I not, I would not be writing this now. Those men in our peer group who fear confrontation or are too uncomfortable to demand this strength from their brethren are cowards, and no true friends- they create an environment of tolerance for unhealthiness, and they are agents of a cancer that spreads insidiously throughout an organic structure. In many ways, they are worse than the problem itself, as they can see it, and know what steps need to be taken, but choose not to for the sake of their own comfort.

Within Operation Werewolf, it is my hope for the future that this positive pressure will be seen more often in the coming year. By “donning the hide,” so to speak, an individual is not only making a contract with himself, but with all of you. Anything that marks someone as part of this ongoing Operation is also signifying an openness to be tested, to prove himself- it matters only that he is on that road to betterment, and that he can demonstrate improvement when he is next encountered. There are those who have been loudly proclaiming from the technological minarets of the modern Empire those words “Iron and Blood,” while their physique remains the same or worse, their strength does not increase, their technical proficiency stagnates or is non-existent- these individuals must be challenged and pressured to action, or purged from the greater body. There is no room for dead weight, and each must inspire the other to greater undertakings.

Constant pressure from peers does not have to be those directly within your immediate friendship group, or those you spend time with daily. In this strange and modern world, I have seen it come from competition via Instagram or other social media, where individuals use one another to keep the pressure on and rise to each other’s challenges. This is obviously less desirable than physical, face to face relationships, but for some, any port in a storm must be utilized.

Temporary agreements can spring up between those with great distance between them, competitions decided upon between solo operative or division, meet-ups scheduled in order to demonstrate the hard work that has been put in, and great fires lit and celebrations held to honor these victories.

Those who do not work, those who do not travel, those who do not inspire: their names will be forgotten like ashes in the wind. We have only this one life to rise and conquer- we must not be distracted by those looking only to feed on us like parasites and ticks. They must be pulled off and thrown to the fire.

XCII
P.W.

Dire Dogs/Wolves. Dire Dogs/Wolves.

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It’s Just the Beginning

Written for Operation Werewolf by Matthias Waggener/All photography by Colton D’Agostino

With all the crazies in the streets heralding the end of the world, and what seems like everyone on the “news” talking about the end of this or the fall of that, some doomsday scenario or another, I find myself looking forward to the beginning of something new.

And I’m glad it is just the beginning, because I am just a beginner.

I’ve done many things in my life and have had a very broad range of experiences- I’ve even been referred to as a “Jack of all Trades.” I believe it is good to have a wide understanding of the world around you, to be able to look at it from the broadest scope. I’ve definitely had things that I’ve stuck with for longer than others, jobs that I held for over 10 years, my relationship being longer than 10 years, etc. But the follow up to the moniker of the “Jack of all Trades,” is “Master of None.”

I look at myself now and see that in all the endeavors that I am currently pursuing- I’m just a beginner.

I believe in the value of mastery, and so I can’t aggrandize any of my actions, understanding, or application in these areas as being anything other than at this beginner level. At a very conservative estimation, in most fields, it is generally assumed that mastery can be achieved at 10 years of experience. That is at a very “bare minimum” usually reserved for prodigies and “phenoms.” If we look at mastery like a spectrum, you have to be able to gauge where you are on that spectrum, and to exaggerate or let the ego place that point somewhere further along dishonors the true masters and leads to, or is a product of, self delusion.

Even with the few things in my life that I have been doing for 10 years or more, I still feel proficient at best.

Recently I had to change my routine and start working out in the early mornings at about 4:30. I remember thinking to myself how this was going to be “hardcore,” because it was going to require the type of discipline that in my mind few possessed. As I walked through the doors the first morning I was shocked to see the gym packed with middle aged soccer moms there for their workouts and morning Zumba classes or whatever it is they do. I immediately came to the absolutely humbling realization that I was only displaying the same dedication to fitness found in your average soccer mom.

At a Jiu Jitsu tournament the other day, Iam a warrior in my own mind, there to forge myself iron hard in glorious combat…and I find myself again surrounded by regular, everyday people, computer programmers, construction workers, (more soccer moms!)- some at the highest level of competition- who had dedicated a decade or more to the same endeavor that I put so much stock in.

In the gym I’m constantly pushing myself and growing stronger, but the hard fact is: I still can’t even lift half the weight the masters in the sport are capable of.

Now, it’s not that I am not proud of my accomplishments, and the sacrifices I have made to get where I am now- I am even satisfied with my rate of progression.  It’s just that in order to get where you want to be you have to know where you are going, and an honest understanding of where you are now. I see a lot of people these days becoming experts on a subject after putting in a few hours on Youtube, or listening to the helper constantly complain about the journeyman, always assuming that somehow with only a fraction of the experience, he somehow knows “a better way.” The white belt, who has to add some tidbit of knowledge to everything the professor says.

These types of peopleare the greatest insult to the idea of mastery, by undermining the importance of in-depth study, consistency, dedication and discipline. It desecrates the idea of the teacher/student relationship, and ultimately seeks to remove the need for humility in a human being- replacing it with the rampant expression of inflated ego, leading to a false sense of pride and self delusion. These, in turn, leave the individual in a state of inability to learn at all, and create a generally disrespectful position towards true knowledge of any kind.

For me, it is important that I recognize myself as a simple traveller on the road to mastery, because I don’t want something that is fake, that would break under any true test. If or when I reach a level of mastery, I want it to mean something. I will want the respect that only true mastery can garner. Most importantly, I will want to have the memory of every moment along that path that contributed to producing a master- a full and complete knowledge of what it actually takes to get there. Even after this, I imagine that if I make it there I will still feel like a beginner, and I hope to always maintain that mindset.

I do not consider it to be self-deprecating to minimize my accomplishments in order for them to appropriately fit the scale they should be weighed on. It is not a staggering blow to my ego to admit that somewhere a soccer mom is probably out working me. It is a bar that is set, that in order for me to know I am truly going above and beyond, I must exceed yesterday’s effort in all areas. Many days I fail, because I am just a beginner- but that might just be the most important step towards mastery.

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To Witness This Death

WWLWW. Photo by Marla Waggener.

Last week, I went overseas to Denmark to attend an incredible event along with Operatives from several different countries- the experience was one I will never forget.

As I sang galdr under the bright moon with men and women from Norway, Denmark, Brazil, Germany, Serbia, America, Canada, England, Italy, Poland and Wales- I knew that the call Operation Werewolf has put out across the globe is being answered whole-heartedly, and the seeds that have been planted are being watered with blood and dedication.

These individuals are, with their very lives, writing the first pages of a new mythology that carries the fire of the old world, but dwells with eyes wide open in the present. A legend of their own creation, these wolf-cults who worship at the altar of Trial and Ordeal are growing stronger and their voices are carrying to one another and being answered in turn.

After I returned home, I spent a few days in quiet contemplation as I got back into the swing of my routine. One of the things that stayed heavily on my mind was that in order to move forward, we as humans must adhere to a higher ideal and seek to embody that ideal with our entire being. There were a lot of discussions between those of us who attended the event regarding this concept- how can an individual stay true at all times to what he is seeking to be an archetype of? Is a man a hypocrite if he is incapable at times of living up to what he says he believes?

This sort of religious devotion to a concept bigger than ourselves is something all of us had in common. The desire, or rather, the need, to demand excellence of ourselves and those around us- to make ourselves something that others can believe in, and that their belief in us is the Truth.

I have written and spoken quite a bit in the past about this idea of consonance- that everything we do in our lives “makes sense” with the rest of it, each activity and pursuit must ring out in resonance like notes in a scale, or brush-strokes on a larger painting that all contribute to the greatness of the entire piece.

Everyone knows how hard it is to maintain discipline at times, to continue to hammer away at our goals day after day after day, without flagging or faltering. Making our footsteps lead ever in the one direction so that knowing the proper way is ingrained into our nature, and that others might follow those footsteps if they are able. Every road worth walking is one beset with adversity and resistance. Climbing the mountain is more noble a pursuit than walking on the wide road.

It is my belief that one can attain this devotion, this consonant self-creation only by continuous, ritualized action, and that that action must exist within, and be visualized through, a mythopoetic worldview that I feel most modern human beings have lost or become separated from.

Our lives are not mundane by nature. They have become so only through nurture. We have become cut off from living lives of saga-worthy action not by some external force, but through our own stunted concept of the world we live in, or the time we live in. We feel that the age of heroes is over, but the truth of the matter is that the age of heroes is just beginning again. From the grey, a glimmer of newly sparked flame. A growing rejection of static serfdom and acceptance that the world is explored and all the marrow sucked out before we were born. These ideas are poison, and must be purged from the brain and vein.

This world is in flux, a time of chaos and confusion, of conflict and madness. Only those who have lived lives of sheltered silence could possibly believe that theirs is a boring or banal era. I say that this is the era that will give birth to a new breed of man, warring against himself and the illusions of the age, to re-create himself, to transform from man into wolf and lead his brothers in the struggle against weakness and the horrors of monoculture’s manacles.

My brother Jack Donovan and I have spoken at great length in endless conversations about what an individual shows about themselves by how they spend both their time and their money. In comparing notes, we both realized that almost all of our total resources go not into “things” or new possessions, but into what we consider our higher ideals. Training, travel, land, tribal infrastructure. Creating both external and internal environments where what we believe in can thrive and be fed via action that is in direct correlation with who we say we are.

I travel thousands of miles across the United States and back several times a year, and will have been to Europe at least twice by year’s end. I spend half of what I used to pay in rent towards training with weights and martial arts in order to keep my body and mind sharp and ready. I read and write every day. I support as many others whose work I believe in with my dollar and my network as I am able, in order to give back what I can to those who in turn support me. I pour time and resources into the Wolves and Operation Werewolf continuously throughout my day, week, month, year.

And still, we all must look for ways in which to streamline- to bring ourselves more in line with our own belief structure and to create deeper channels into which we can pour our sweat and blood. This is what makes us. This is what sets us apart- we can never be satisfied, and ours is a work that strives for perfection but will never attain it.

The criticism we have received, the shrieking detractions, the condemnations and sarcasm- all must only feed the fire.

The experiences I have been able to have through Operation Werewolf and the individuals who have aligned themselves with it, the connections made, the friendships discovered and the brotherhood forged- drowns out all doubt, all negativity, all uncertainty. This is a living and growing organism that gains strength from strength and is sinking deep roots into soil all over the world.

Everyone who has ever supported Operation Werewolf has placed their faith and resources into this growing idea, and has my deepest gratitude. All those who live by the code “Pure Hearts, Strong Limbs, Actions Matching Words,” are men and women that I hope to one day meet around a fire somewhere and shake hands with, to look into your eyes and know that our footsteps have all led us here. That we were made for this- we have given life to a perfect creation. We have gathered here to bear witness to this death of the old world and our old selves, somberly, slowly, in reverence of the new one we will make.

XCII
P.W.