Posted on

Death and Loss: Creating the Tribal Cult of the Dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easing sorrow with songs.    Easing sorrow with songs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-PW 92

Posted on

Jealousy and Envy

Here’s a friendly heads up and a reminder for all of you reading this right now who are taking no prisoners on your way to living a strength-filled life of purpose:

When you start to get stronger, more successful, wealthier, healthier, or better in any way- there is a certain type of individual who can’t stand it.

Any positive change you make, there is going to be someone who hates you for it. These people are ruled by resentment, jealousy and anger. Their life is driven by a feeling inadequacy, so their ego creates an external enemy in order to insulate them from the truth:

their only real enemy is THEM.

When they see someone doing more than they are, it creates a venom-release within them. This bile rises up and they spew their vitriolic poison anywhere they can do so, as long as they can do it safely and anonymously.

These people have many terms attributed to them- you’ve all seen them, right?

Internet warriors, keyboard cowboys. Trolls.

What they really are, though, truly, at their core- are cowards. Failures.

These are people who have not been able to succeed on their own at whatever it is they wanted to do in life, whoever they wanted to be, down in those places they were too embarrassed tell anyone about, and too pathetic to go out and achieve: Leaders. Ladies men. Charismatic. Wealthy. Successful. Muscular.

They couldn’t become this, because they are their own worst enemies. They couldn’t get it together enough to make it happen, for whatever reason. Lack of willpower, dedication, or intelligence.

They see others receiving praise that they want for themselves. Others leading people that they wished they could have led. Giving up habits that they never had the strength or determination to give up. Putting in sweat equity to look and feel the way they can only imagine. Making the money they desperately wish they had- and the venom rises, and they lash out.

With words.

They use the weakest possible formats available to them. Safe, anonymous, protected places in order to work their weak will from behind a mask against those who wear no such protection against the world, because they do not require it.

Their arguments against strength are always the same, and make their resentment transparent every time. If you are muscular and fit, they will call you vain, or vapid. If you are charismatic, they will call you a conman. If you are financially successful, they will call you greedy and unscrupulous. They will more than likely not use terms like this- their reckless anger and feelings of inferiority manifest in drooling, wild condemnations, and long, rambling outlines of all ways they feel you live life wrong.

Somehow they imagine that their petty words and verbal stone-throwing will result in some kind of change. They imagine that you, like them, are a coward, and that you will be swayed by their poorly spelled rhetoric. They think that those who support you will see their evidence, and come over to their side of things.

In reality, they don’t believe any of these things, truly. They know that their words are hollow. They know that no matter what they do, they cannot stop your meteoric rise to meeting challenge and overcoming it. Those who must crawl will always despise those with wings- this knowing of their own impotence is the very thing that makes them hate you so much in the first place.

You have, and are doing, everything they want to have and do. So they will hate.

If you find yourself falling into this trap of envy and jealousy and resentment, take a moment and consider:

Would you be better served by being jealous of someone with an enviable life, or viewing them as a teacher and yourself as a student who could be learning? Every successful person’s rise to where they are now can be seen as a puzzle, a narrative to untangle in order to see the patterns and steps that they took to get where they are now.

When I spend time with someone who has more success in the gym than I do, or has a business plan that I admire, or is a high level martial artist- it doesn’t evoke resentment from me. It evokes respect. Admiration. It makes me want to emulate whatever character trait they possessed or unlocked within themselves in order to be more like them in the ways that I wish I was.

I have taken to using the phrase “None Ascend Alone.” What I mean by this is that somewhere along the way, all of us modeled ourselves after someone else that we admired, or took advice from someone smarter than we were, or emulated an individual who had already achieved what we were looking for. Success and achievement does not happen in a vacuum, and within Operation Werewolf, I believe it is fostered through challenge and networking with people who are accomplished and live lives worthy of emulation.

Strong people admire and emulate, until they are admired and emulated.

Cowards resent, sabotage, and ultimately- fail.

View every day as an opportunity to learn, to improve, to succeed. Against the reckless hatred of lesser men, your success is the boiling oil poured down on their heads, from the high walls of the castle that is your utter indifference to their very existence.

Always remember: I’m pulling for you.

-P.W. XCII

Posted on

The Golden Mean

Written for Operation Werewolf by Joshua Buckley

The Golden Mean

From Stoic philosophers like Epictetus to the Nordic wisdom-tradition embodied by the Hávamál, moderation has always been regarded as one of the pre-eminent virtues. This is also one of the main strands informing the modern American political tradition, as the talking heads never tire of reminding us. In U. S. elections, or so the popular narrative goes, the deciding votes will be cast by the “moderates,” while any form of “extremism” is to be avoided at all costs. The one exception seems to be the marketing industry, where everything apparently keeps getting more extreme, from extreme snack chips to extreme laundry detergents, to lite beer for people who engage in extreme sports like rollerblading and “freestyle scootering.” (Somehow, these activities are more extreme than conventional sports like football or boxing, where men routinely suffer traumatic brain injuries and are occasionally killed.)

Now it shouldn’t be surprising that the people in power like the idea of the political moderate, and are quick to condemn anything that might be construed as just a tad too far left or right of center. Their job security—and possibly their lives—depend on the idea that we will continue to be satisfied with the choices that they give us, and won’t get any uppity ideas about blowing up government buildings or murdering politicians Hamas-style. If you were part of the Establishment, I’m sure you’d feel the same way.

Moderation is also an ideal that many people try to live by in their personal lives, but this can be harder to achieve than one might expect. Recently, an overweight acquaintance told me about his efforts to lose weight while mindlessly nursing a soda. I gently suggested that drinking carbonated sugar-water might be part of his problem. On the contrary, he informed me, he’d reduced his soda consumption down to just a few cans per day, rather than drinking the stuff continuously like he had done since he was a kid. So, in effect, he was being moderate. This is like someone who prides himself on watching only a few hours of television at a time, since the average American adult watches almost forty hours each week (while simultaneously drinking Big Gulps, no doubt). By comparison, it’s a moderate amount of viewing. But if you contrast this with someone living in a traditional society, or to our ancestors—who managed to thrive in a completely unplugged and off-line world—it’s a staggering amount of wasted time. And wasted time = wasted life.

There are similar problems with trying to be politically moderate, since the goal-posts of political acceptability keep moving around, and anyone can find themselves “on the wrong side of history” in a matter of a few years or even weeks. Just a decade ago, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton opposed gay marriage, supporting some type of legally-recognized “domestic partnership” as an alternative. At the time, this seemed like a moderate position. Gay couples would get most of the legal benefits of traditional marriage, without violating what religious conservatives view as the sanctity of the institution. Today, anyone who opposes gay marriage for any reason will be shunned and ostracized from polite society. They will be branded an “extremist,” and, if they belong to a club or other civic organization that espouses similar views, they might even find themselves placed on a “Hate Map.” What might seem politically moderate today, could make you a Nazi tomorrow.

However, my point is not to argue against the idea that practicing moderation has value. As I mentioned at the outset, this is an idea with venerable roots, even if its true meaning has been obscured over time. The problem is that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is “moderate” about the modern world. It’s a comforting delusion to tell ourselves that “things have always been this way.” They haven’t. Modernity is unique. Much of this is attributable to the technological upheaval which began with the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century (or maybe even with the advent of agriculture, if you follow the anarcho-primitivist line of thinking espoused by men like John Zerzan), and has built upon itself exponentially ever since. This has radically changed every aspect of human life, from the way we eat, to the way we work, to the way we interact with one another. Cultural theorists like Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio have written extensively on how technology has colonized our capacities to think and imagine, and has re-shaped almost every facet of how we see and understand our world. Our ancestors may have faced more uncertainty about their health, or where their next meal was coming from. But they could be certain about one thing: that in its fundamental outlines, the life they were passing on to their children would be very much like the lives they had led themselves. For us, this is not the case. Somebody somewhere once made the point that we have less in common today with someone who lived a hundred years ago, than someone a hundred years ago had with someone who lived a thousand years before them. This “generation gap” is widening all the time, to the point where it might now more accurately be described as a generational chasm.

Moderation is conventionally defined as something like the median option between two extremes. But in the modern world, which is characterized by its hyper-extremity, what can this even mean? Is there a “moderate” position on replacing human beings with machines, or the complete extinction of the natural world, or the global displacement of human populations, or the erasure of every meaningful distinction of gender, and culture, and ethnicity?

We can still cultivate the virtue of moderation, but only if we take a long historical view. In practical terms, this means that we must become traditionalists. We don’t have to ride around in buggies like the Amish, or grow ZZ Top beards like the Taliban. Nor does being a traditionalist necessarily imply a fascination with folk costumes, or fiddle music, or growing your own food, or drinking mead (although these are all good things). For me, being a traditionalist means trying to think about things the way our ancestors did for thousands uponthousands of years, before the aberrant historical disruption that is modernity. Just as proponents of the Paleo Diet will tell you that our bodies have evolved to eat a certain way, it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that our minds have evolved to think a certain way. And just as the modern diet creates men whose bodies are fat and flabby and weak, the modern way of thinking produces men with psyches similarly malformed. To be moderate in the modern world means that we must ignore the opinions and passing fancies of our contemporaries, and should look instead to the accumulated wisdom of the past. This is the only way to determine what “normal” really looks like. Edmund Burke described this traditional way of thinking—which represents true moderation—as “the democracy of the dead.”

Of course, none of this will gain you any friends among the living. Modernity is both a phenomenon and an ideology, and it brooks no dissent. Ironically, the man who tries to live according to principles which would have been considered timeless in any other historical epoch, may well find himself labelled an extremist by the standards (such as they are) of today. In the modern world, the wise man may appear as a thought criminal, the warrior will be branded an outlaw, and the shaman-priest will be counted among the mentally ill. Remember this when they chastise you for not being “moderate”—according to the terms that modernity itself has dictated. In the eyes of our ancestors, we are the moderate ones. It is everyone else who has gone insane.

Posted on

Discomfort Inoculation: Igniting the Inner Fire

In Yoga, there are 8 different pathways, or “limbs” that make up the various elements the yogi believes to be necessary for a strong practice. Within this eightfold blueprint of transformation, these limbs have their own branches, twigs and leaves that grow from them and hone down these bigger concepts into smaller sub-groups. Of these greater limbs, one is called Niyama, a sanskrit word that means “observance.” The five Niyamas are all connected in their own way, and of these, one is called Tapas- austerity.

The philosophy behind tapas is simple, minimalist, and beautiful- just like the lifestyle it calls for. At its core, tapas is about doing things that you don’t want to do, or not doing things that you do want to do, in order to create a positive impact on your life through the consistent practice of self discipline. It is not about torturing or harming oneself, but exercising control over ourselves, our habits and our desires in order to create a more highly functioning individual through mastering our relationship to passion, desire, and comfort.

I have adopted and adapted many elements of this concept into my life and utilize a three-fold method that I have taken to calling “Discomfort Inoculation.” My brother Jack Donovan has semi-joked with me before that I have the tendency to fetishize discomfort. In a way, he is not incorrect- for me, deliberately choosing minimalism, simplicity, and forcing myself to do things that I don’t necessarily want to do, but know will make me stronger or more focused, makes up a large part of the bedrock of my personal philosophy.

I have isolated and identified in this article three of the structures that form the architecture of my method: Solitude, Austerity and Trial. Together, they make up a foundation that I believe is crucial to the formation of a powerful, self controlled and self reliant individual.

SOLITUDE

“Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.”

― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god.”

― Aristotle

The importance of time spent alone cannot be overstated. In this day and age, we are constantly under bombardment from a thousand sources of stimulation at all times, and if one considers the elements of social media and technology use, we are almost never truly “alone.”

One of the reasons for this constant noise is for the individual to avoid this very thing- most people are both uncomfortable and disinterested in this solitary state, as there is nothing to do when we are in it but to explore the self and face the vast, tangled wilderness of the within.

The exploration of this wild frontier is a daunting and dangerous one, and its pay-off is not immediately visible or “shareable,” making it of seemingly limited value in this age of oversharing and premature enlightenment. It is easier to just quickly share a “meme” of the Buddha or the Dalai Llama with a quote beneath it, so that people know you are already enlightened.

For the intrepid, the internal exploration is a dark and endless journey and requires consistency and will. This makes time spent in solitude crucial, in order to become familiar with those deep, unknown places of ourselves, and to be able to take a critical and unattached look at our weaknesses, fears, inconsistencies and illusions- we absolutely cannot improve ourselves if we do not take the time to do this, and it must be done alone, in silence.

This involves taking the time to create a regular practice of meditation- my suggestions is to start simply, by waking up 5 minutes earlier than normal and starting the day in a quiet place of contemplation. Even this 5 minutes of self exploration and quiet before the madness of the day begins will have a positive impact on you as a human being, and allow you to build up a more in depth practice from there. Remember that starting is the important thing- we can always innovate later. Just pick a time and place an start doing it. Worry about the details as you go.

Solitude for longer periods of time has the other benefit of reducing chatter. The famous magician Aleister Crowley once said “The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.” From the newspaper to the “newsfeed,” many of us have the bad habit of beginning our day by feeding the brain a mainline of sewage, chatter, useless words, garbage thoughts. Like a diet of sugar and trash, this will serve to make the mind sluggish, fat, weak and unhealthy. What we put into our brains matters, and when we open up the floodgates to the lowest common denominator of humanity in the form of too much social media, comments threads, television, or otherwise, we are washing the walls of the inner temple with the excrement of the masses. Instead of opening your day with this storm of negativity and chatter, take the time to instead create silence. To establish calm and inviolability. To strengthen the walls that keep out negative thoughts and patterns, and to give power to your own mantras and prayers instead.

Extended periods of solitude in the form of days, weeks, or months spent in retreat should be sought out as well, when possible, but even a weekend camping trip by oneself with the phone turned off can be a massive current of clean energy reintroduced into one’s life.

AUSTERITY

“You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself…the height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. …And this law is the expression of eternal justice. He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others.”

― Leonardo da Vinci

The word austerity derives from the Latin “austerus,” which translates as “severe.” It refers, in this case, to the concept outlined earlier, of self-discipline in the form of both living without the unnecessary and choosing those things which make us uncomfortable as a dedication to strength and self-mastery.

The meaning of austerity or tapas is not simply “discipline,” but “to burn.” It is a fervor for transcendence and transformation, quite literally a burning need to become more than we were. It becomes a conscious choice to limit ourselves or undergo some deprivation or hardship without complaint, emotion, or attachment in order to see what we are made of- how much control and mastery we have, and where our priorities lie.

We are offering something up as a blood sacrifice, a prayer to our higher selves in order to become that which we are meant to be, rather than what we exist as in the present time. We are acknowledging and giving ourselves wholly over to improving, to strengthening, and to overcoming our fear of discomfort, difficulty, pain, and adversity. Each time we undergo one of these austerities, we become more able to operate under stress, more capable of functioning at a high level in less than optimal conditions, and more in control of our selves- the masters of the temple.

This “severity” of praxis makes itself known even in our aesthetic and surroundings. Austerity includes the way we approach our personal possessions- a discarding of the unnecessary and the cluttered in favor of a streamlined, simple and minimal style. However, this severity does not mean we must be humorless and grim at all times- far from it! When we can strip away that which is not needed and that which does not add value to our lives, and isolate those things that truly matter to us, we can laugh easily, free from the stress of distraction and overstimulation, the jumble and disorder of too much everything. We remove this bedlam from our lives with the scalpel of austerity and create a singularity of existence and experience which allows us to live in the most effective way. Right action does not mean more effort in more directions- it means quality of effort in the correct direction.

Each day, we must ask ourselves, what is necessary for our highest value, and what is detracting from it? Both in our physical surroundings and the mental and emotional landscape, we are ready with torch in hand to create the fires of tapas and burn away the things that keep us bound to dissatisfaction and distraction.

We can begin with basic austerities- whether that means consistency in the gym, waking earlier for meditation, ice baths and cold water plunges, whatever- these discomfort inoculations lay the groundwork for other acts of devotion and fire, and allow us to start on the road to the high mountain of self mastery.

TRIAL AND ORDEAL

“War is the father and king of all: some he has made gods, and some men; some slaves and some free.” – Heraclitus

What follows in this section is taken from the working manuscript of my “Werewolf Method,” and appeared for the first time in the Reaver Training Protocol, available in e-book format on this website under the Equipment tab.

This life is war.

The entirety of an individual’s progression to the higher levels of self is based on the twin pillars of Trial and Ordeal.  It is from these principles that the triad of Physical, Mental and Spiritual strength are created.

These towering and awful monoliths are the altar upon which we sacrifice our lower self daily, in order to give everything we are now for everything we know we can become.

Without the trial of our developing abilities through resistance, experienced both internally and externally, there can be no honest assessment of ourselves and our progress, and without true ordeal, we cannot know how hot the inner fire burns, or if there is ash in a hearth that we thought burned brightly.

What differentiates the two is that a trial is something to be looked forward to, a real chance to pit oneself against some kind of resistance or opposition and overcome it. If he fails, he must reapply himself to his training and attain victory when his next opportunity arises. Trials come in a variety of forms and can be anything from a powerlifting meet to a street fight, a public dissertation or performance to martial arts competition. They are not to be confused simply with training, as all training and practice is, by its nature, done in preparation for trials or ordeals. Let’s clear something up now, while we are on the subject: physical training does not make you a martyr or a “lion”- just showing up to lift weights in order to look better naked is not some towering accomplishment. All across the world right now, soccer moms are waking up in the pre-dawn hours to run through a workout before loading the kids up for school. Your participation in what is for most essentially a hobby does not land you in the ranks of the immortals.

No, it is trial that makes legends of men. If you use that time spent in the gym to compete, to push yourself, break records held by those who exemplify the sport, and bring glory to yourself and those bound to you- then you are beginning to understand the great divide between entertainment and real trial. An amateur performs something, whether a writer or a martial artist, out of pleasure- he shows up and does the work when he “feels like it,” and does so largely out of a lesser form of self gratification that is not in itself a bad thing. Trial, however, is sought out by the strong for a satisfying feeling of true power when it is overcome. Those who seek trial put in the work day after day, with consistency and focus, in order to achieve greatness in their chosen fields. Not to simply write for enjoyment, but because he wants to master the craft and change lives. Not to carve wood or stone from a distracted place of occasional dabbling, but to bring images forth from the raw material that will outlive generations to come.

An ordeal, in contrast, is some heavy and almost always extremely painful experience, something that will push the individual to his absolute limit, where he will either endure the pressure to the end, coming through invariably transformed- or it will break him, possibly for good. No one necessarily goes looking for Ordeal- they will find you at various times throughout your life in diverse forms and threaten to crush you beneath their weight.

When they do so, it will be our fire built up from overcoming trial after trial that will save us from being extinguished. Our personal force has to become strong as we would build up a bonfire- from small stick to entire tree, one piece at a time until that fire is capable of consuming anything placed within its roaring heat. This fire, when it exists, is recognizable even to those who do not understand its source. For those who are initiated, and hear the call of this path themselves- they will know when they are in the presence of greatness.

Oftentimes, an inexperienced individual will mistake a trial for an ordeal. This usually comes from what has been termed a “victim mindset,” one of the greatest enemies of personal overcoming and empowerment that exists. A victim mindset always seeks to tell us that any resistance in our path, no matter how mundane, is “out to get us,” that the universe is somehow slanted against us. Usually, these same people exhibit poor decision making and extremely unproductive behavior with an emphasis on a lack of discipline and foresight, but blame all this on “bad luck,” or some other vague force that is holding them under its weight.

We see this in present day humans chronically blaming others for their lot in life due to oppression based on race, creed, orientation or otherwise, to the always popular “economic environment” argument for an individual’s poor decisions or ineffective lifestyle. These same individuals are the ones constantly shouting for equality, as though by throwing enough tantrums they will miraculously become “equals” in the eyes of those they believe to be oppressing them. Only the inferior strive for equality- those seeking to make more of themselves are not interested in the concept of egalitarianism or “fairness,” and reject that as a childish notion. In this life, we will have either what we can attain and hold for ourselves, or what those stronger than we are decide to allow us.

Getting caught up in victimization is something that we should be incredibly wary of and never tolerate in ourselves or those with whom we keep company. If we believe that we shape our own lives, as both the hammer, the anvil, and the material that lies on it, we have no time for such luxurious and poisonous self delusions. This is a way of sight and truth, and has no desire to assign blame elsewhere for our own failures. They belong to us and us alone, and should all be seen as either learning experiences to build from in the future, or false paths we have taken but are now wise enough to see for what they are.

Every individual who is working through this manual must absorb the concept that Trial and Ordeal are holy to us- sacred rituals that are also landmarks in this wild frontier of self creation. They are precious to us, both our victories and our failures, our great moments of pride and our depths of pain and suffering. These are the tools we hold dear, and our embrace of them is what ultimately will set us apart from the hollow ghosts who are content to live as slaves and victims.

-P.W.
92