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Pilgrimage

At times, for many of us, the modern world and its population density, neon trappings and sonic surroundings can leave us cold- feeling empty, “drained,” or beaten down. Even for those who dwell in a rural or semi-rural environment, the stagnation of daily schedule and lack of movement can create and reinforce this same feeling. When we are in stasis, it can be difficult to break out of a static mindset and back into a place where creativity and strength flow from the deepest wells of spirit.

The cure for this is physical motion produced by a journey into the unknown.

These retreats into the wilderness are often necessary for the would-be man of power in this day and age- a medicine journey out on the perimeter of populace and consciousness.
Restoring the strength and energy that has been leeched from him in this world of hungry ghosts. To silence the constant noise of the day to day world around him- his responsibilities to tribe and training can at times overwhelm and require separation- and to disconnect for a while from the constant technological bombardment that assaults his senses and fragments his focus.

In his excellent latest work, “Entering the Desert,” author Craig Williams writes:

“Upon entering the desert, one does not have the luxury of possessions or excuses, the praxis must be efficient and sustained. The modern world prizes the “more,” the desert demands the minimal. The journey into the Soul is a pathway into the Sun, burning away all the dross and obfuscations of the temporary and mundane, in an alchemical combustion. The journey into the inner desert exposes the spiritual nomad to this radioactive black light and demands the abandonment of all except the elemental.”

Mr. Williams is speaking here about a metaphysical journey into the unknown realms of the internal, but his methodology and reason is applicable in the physical world as well. When we take a spiritual expedition in the “real world,” our external actions combine with our internal intention and creates this alchemical process of change, both within and without, on a deeper and more connected level than when we choose one or the other.

It is my suggestion that the physical journey be combined with the metaphysical one in a modern day expression of pilgrimage. We choose our destination (or lack of one) with purpose, and experience each mile not as a simple a distance marker to be rushed through on the way to a definable “end of the trail,” but as a drop of blood in the sacrificial act of ritual motion.

As we move by foot, by motorcycle, vehicle or other means, our souls unshackle the weight of the mundane piece by piece- our daily lives left behind for a time in order to once again discover and feed the burning flames at the center of our being.

A holy wanderlust, a time in the desert, given over to silence and self-examination, punctuated by periods of the Dionysian ecstasy, a re-feeding of our joy to live as we taste from life’s hidden waters and turn it to wine with our will.

This pilgrimage can be done in many ways, but should perhaps follow a few essential rules:

It should be for longer than three days. The weekend camping trip can be enough to top off the energy stores and make one “feel better,” but for it to truly be a withdrawal and a reset, it needs to be longer than that.
One must allow the mind to fully decompress without thinking about the return journey, and embed itself in the present; a long enough timeframe to not think about its own termination. It also requires forethought and planning, a mapping out of both where one will go in this mundane realm, and where he will look to go in the frontiers of the spirit.

It should center around the natural world, or involve another kind of wilderness, that of the      unknown. This can mean a new city, a never before visited country, or simply the green cathedral of the deep woods. I personally prefer a combination of both, and believe that motorcycle camping gives both time and space to effectively isolate the mind and spirit, not to mention the “vehicle zen” that comes from a long time spent on the back of a bike, feeling the strange connection between man and machine, mind and motor. Those who do not ride a motorcycle can just as easily go by vehicle, bicycle, or on foot- there is no one pilgrimage, and there is no one way to set out.

It can certainly be done with friends, fellow pilgrims on the road to salvation, but ideally only a very few, and those companions should be aware of the reasoning behind the journey, so they give enough space and silence especially in the evening to facilitate internal work, and walking the pathways within.

Technologies should be limited to certain times of the day, and otherwise kept off. The distraction produced by mindlessly surfing the internet or social media is anathema to exploring the massive vistas within. External chatter should be reduced and time given over by all pilgrims to reflection during the wayfaring.

Again, from Craig Williams:

“The mind and body are constantly bombarded by external stimuli, which, in the modern world are typically represented by artificiality: artificial light, artificial sound, artificial smell, artificial touch. All of these artificial stimuli feed into the visual cortex, brain and nervous system on a daily basis. This is one of the reasons mystics of the past sought to escape the so-called “civilized” to find solace in the forest or desert. Yet this was not to escape the “human experience,” but rather to enhance it!”

The spiritual pilgrimage will take you through the kaleidoscope of civilization and wilderness; from gas station to ghost town, inner city, open range, concrete chaos to campsite. The roar of the motor or the sound of the wind acts as a relentless mantra of emptiness and openness, driving out thoughts of the mundane and banal, or allowing them to arise and be destroyed by its single heavy note.

On the road, you will meet people and go places that you never would have a reason to otherwise- seeing all those strange lines and legends on the map come to life in the worn out face of a truck driver under the harsh light as you fill up your tank. Exchanging a glance and a look of understanding with another traveler who might be out here for the same reason as you, or having a beer at a nameless campground while you stare up into the stars and let the awe overwhelm you.

The inner terrain, too, will begin to open itself to you as time goes by in stillness and reflection, both during the movement and in the times between, where the engine or the rain can still be heard like a phantom echo. Memories will rise up out of the unconscious sharp and vivid while you rinse off in a mountain stream somewhere, a conversation long forgotten, suddenly remembered and brought back into the present.

At journey’s end, we may find ourselves looking into a dusty mirror and seeing a different set of eyes staring back at us than we are used to. Our long sojourn on the path to awakening never ends, and on the map that shows us the self within, there are no edges. I hope you find what you are looking for- just remember: in order to find it, you have to actually look.

XCII
P.W.

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Love

Written for Operation Werewolf by Joshua Buckley

Love trumps hate. Love is all you need. And most grating of all, “live, laugh, love!” (The latter, it would seem, is now something like the battle cry of the basic bitch.) To hear people talk, you would think that we live in the most loving society that’s ever existed. Of course, people today are no more loving—and certainly no more lovable—than they’ve ever been. Moreover, if you listen closely to all the love-mongering, it will become clear that when the Establishment and its educational-political-media apparatus talks about “love,” they want us to understand them in two very specific ways.

First, we are supposed to love everyone equally (“love sees no color”). Somehow, we are expected to summon up the same level of concern for other people’s children, in countries whose names we can’t pronounce, and whose boundaries we can’t pinpoint on a map, as we would for our own families. This is “universal love” of a sort that would make Jesus blush. It’s also almost always disingenuous. Just as “some animals are more equal than others,” the powers-that-be clearly find some people more lovable than others. Nevertheless, the idea of universal love is sufficiently appealing to the amorphous sensibilities of modern people, that it has become the Establishment’s go-to argument when it needs to morally manipulate the public—and politics now seems to consist primarily of moral manipulation.

Second, our society puts a tremendous premium on sexual love, especially sexual love of the more promiscuous variety. There’s not actually a lot of lovemaking going on, but there’s plenty of fucking. Monogamous marriages may be a quaint relic of the past, but the Establishment has never run across a fetish or deviant sexual practice that it can’t get behind (so to speak). There are organized advocacy groups for Adult Babies, scatophiliacs, and people who fuck in cartoon character costumes. I am hardly a prude and could care less if people are into feet or rubber outfits, but why are these things treated as if they have redemptive societal value? Part of it is the fact that in a capitalist society, marginal sexual identities have become commodified, just like everything else. Even plain old-fashioned hetero-sex can now be ordered up like pizza on dating apps like Tinder. As with any other consumer product, the approach seems to be one of quantity over quality. Why try to cultivate meaningful relationships or start a family when you can download instant sexual gratification from the internet? Still, the commodification of sexuality does not explain everything. The Establishment has a vested interest in promoting an entirely sexualized conception of love, just as it has a vested interest in promoting a “universal love” that purports to embrace all of humanity.

So what do these two conceptions of “love” have in common? The answer is that neither of them requires commitment. Imagining that you love all people everywhere, without distinction, and screwing random strangers while never committing your heart to any of them, means never having to choose sides. That’s because choosing sides is dangerous.

And real love is dangerous. “When we want to read of the deeds that are done for love, whither do we turn?” asked the playwright George Bernard Shaw. “To the murder column.” When you really love someone, the implication is that you’re willing to fight for them. Everyone knows that a mother bear with her cubs is the deadliest animal in the forest. It’s also true that some men—often unhinged men, sometimes genuinely heroic men—can be induced to fight and die for an ideal or principle. But even ordinary, seemingly unheroic men, will fight to the death if their wives or children are threatened. Most of the soldiers who have fallen in Iraq or Afghanistan didn’t die or get permanently maimed because they believed the propaganda about spreading democracy and defending “’muh freedoms.” They died to protect their brothers-in-arms, who they love in a way that non-combatants can probably never comprehend. (When I talk about “love” between men, I mean it in a completely non-sexual way. This should of course go without saying, but in our homo-centric, sex-obsessed society, it probably bears repeating.) Uprisings and revolutions are fomented by bands of men whose loyalty to one another can overthrow existing nations, and found new ones.

Similarly, families and extended families can provide for each other and support each other in ways that no government can ever compete with, and can even grow into dynasties that can challenge State power. The cognitive scientist Steven Pinker once opined that the family is the most seditious institution in human history, precisely because it will always favor its own members over the claims of unrelated fellow citizens. This is why the government is such a shameless promoter of single motherhood, child “protection” agencies, and feminist initiatives to destroy the patriarchy. It is also why a phenomenon like “slut-shaming” is now regarded as a dire political crime. These ideas are reflected in the two greatest dystopian novels of the twentieth century: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984.

In Huxley’s soft-totalitarian World State, families have been abolished. Children are engineered and raised in institutions like the “London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre.” Indiscriminate fucking is encouraged, but monogamous relationships and even words like “mother” and “father” are considered taboo.

In the hard-totalitarian society imagined by Orwell, the Party is fully aware of the dangers of meaningful human attachments that stand outside the State’s orbit. “Already we are breaking down the habits of thought that have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends.” In the book’s final act, Winston Smith is captured and tortured by Big Brother. But Winston’s interrogator does not consider him sufficiently broken—and ready for re-integration into the Party—until he denounces Julia, the woman he loves.

If libertarians, anarchists, or other anti-statists want real independence from the System, they should be working to form strong brotherhoods, tribes, and families, which are the only true alternative to the State’s hegemony. Instead, these are often the very same people most susceptible to the pernicious myth of the “rugged individual.” We have all heard some variant of the quote from Henrik Ibsen: “The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.” While this may be true in some circumstances, or in certain matters of conscience, it completely ignores the reality that human beings are by nature almost entirely social—there has never been a time when people were able to truly go it alone. When modern men tell themselves that they are “self-made,” they are almost certainly deluding themselves about the degree to which they are relying on support systems provided by the government. Our goal, then, should not be to isolate ourselves as individuals (as if such a thing were even possible), but to cultivate relationships of interdependence with people who we actually care about, and who actually care about us. The State would quite naturally be excluded from this equation.

Furthermore, while Ibsen might have thought that being alone is “strong,” for most people this kind of thinking is just a tepid self-justification for weakness. You might tell yourself that you’re a “pick-up artist” because you fuck lots of strangers, but you’re probably just an asshole. Ditto for “MGTOWs” (you can Google it if you need to), who are almost certainly making a virtue out of necessity. Likewise, refusing to open yourself up to real, deep friendships, probably just means that you’re a coward who’s afraid of being “hurt.” There is also nothing strong about adopting the Establishment’s empty platitudes about “one love” that “doesn’t build walls.” Loving all of humanity is pretty much the same thing as loving no one. Real love gains meaning when it chooses its object to the exclusion of all others.

Real love, in other words, is about loyalty. It is a powerful antidote to the spirit of ironic detachment, rootlessness, and the lonely, creeping emptiness, that are the hallmarks of the modern condition.