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Artha, Pt. I.

By Paul Waggener

I took my first job at 15, working on a roofing crew in Northern California, one of the only guys at the time on my job-site without a criminal record. I remember 105 degree days on wood shingles, getting burnt by the sun and bit by fire ants. I also remember the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a long day, when the foreman asked me and my buddy Sam, then 17 or 18, to come back the next day- a couple teenagers chosen over grown men for our work ethic and hustle.

For the rest of my life, that work ethic defined me on job-sites all over America. I’ve done concrete, tree work, demolition, log cabin construction, and more- always the most brutal grunt work available, since I never was worth much when it came to carpentry, or any of the more skilled labor jobs. I knew how to work hard, I was pretty strong, and I was reliable- three things that will ensure you a job almost anywhere in the country, but will never make you rich.

It wasn’t until I started playing country music that I first understood that hard, brutal work was not necessarily the best way to make money. It sure made other people money, but usually left me tired, mean, and beat up at the end of a week, with just enough money to pay the bills and party a little, before saddling up and doing it all over again the next Monday. I never had more than a grand or two at any given time. Certainly no savings or “rainy day” money.

As I started to play out more, and I improved as a performer, I started making 150 dollars or so for a show, then sometimes 2 or 300. The idea that in two 3 hour gigs I could make what I made in a whole week of breaking concrete with a heavy jackhammer blew my mind. Thinking of playing music full time was something I’d never even considered as a possibility.

A while later, I was working a few days a week as a bartender, and knocking down three or four gigs a week, and instead of pulling in a few hundred a week, I was making a couple thousand. This transition knocked down some major road-blocks in my mind, and in my approach to wealth and currency, and for the first time in my life, I was making “good money” without breaking my back or bones to do it.

These days, I do pretty well for myself, paying the bills with writing, artwork, consulting, all under the Operation Werewolf banner. Anyone who tells you working for yourself isn’t as hard as manual labor has probably never done it, as it presents its own series of challenges, mostly stemming from the fact that you are 100% reliant on yourself for everything- most people don’t have the ability to be their own taskmaster, or they lack the staying power and relentless nature required to run a business. 

However, its infinitely more enjoyable at the end of a day to know that the hours you put in were for you and yours, and being mentally exhausted beats the hell out of herniated discs and blown knees.

I get my physical exhaustion these days from weights and martial arts, which I was often too tired to do when putting in 12 or 14 hour days rolling logs up hills.

For some people, though, I think the problem is all in their mindset.

It seems that most of the people I interact with, especially the modern “pagans” or “heathens,” fall into the low to middle class economic bracket, and that this is largely due to an attitude toward money adopted from either a Christian upbringing or sense of inferiority.

Bringing up money or discussing it is commonly seen by these types as impolite or in bad taste, even though many of them eke out a meager living in decidedly undignified positions, supplemented often by some kind of “side-hustle” so popularly seen at gatherings and on social media. Blacksmithing, jewelry, woodburnings, religious trinkets, mead-making, clothing sales and so forth are all commonplace.

Operate outside these quaint “old-world” hobby-trade pursuits, and now instead of being “industrious” you might find yourself become a “money-grubber” or some other insult slung by those people in a position of less success than their betters.

Here’s a secret:

Everyone wants more money. 

Sure, there may be a few monks on a mountain somewhere who have transcended the desire for the finer things in life, but for the rest of us, money means access, power and leverage. Eating good quality food, exploring the world, the security of our own home, reliable conveyance, medical treatment when necessary without going into crushing debt, even supporting those within our network through patronage by buying or investing in their endeavors- none of this can be done without wealth.

In the pre-Christian era of Europe, from whence this mishmash of modern “pagan revival” claims to take its cues, wealth was seen as a noble pursuit, one that led to respect, power, and leverage. In Hinduism, they called this pursuit “artha” and it was seen as one of the ways to live a meaningful life, when approached in a virtuous and honest fashion.

A chieftain in pagan Europe was largely successful or unsuccessful due to charisma and open-handedness, that is, his ability to attain enough wealth that he could be generous with it, thereby establishing loyalty and love from his inner circle and soldiers, in order to attain even more of it.

Likewise, the great holy festivals and rites of pagan worship throughout the world were largely dedicated to success of some kind- whether in battle or trade, prosperous fields and livestock or conquest in other lands to expand the means and territory of the tribe or people.

The Celts and Germans were known to throw gold and silver into sacred lakes in order to receive a like gift in return from their gods, ancestors or the genius loci, showing an undeniable connection between wealth and their religious practices.

They did this because they understood a simple truth:

Money is power.

People don’t really want money simply to buy nice things, although that is one undeniable and pleasant side effect of having money. But at its core, everyone knows that money represents power in this world, and everyone wants to be more powerful.

This is what we have to change our minds about, and our attitudes. We have to stop looking at wealth as a strict currency, some dirty money that exchanges hands in strip clubs and back alleys, or exists as one’s and zero’s in our bank account, some finite, small concept. Instead, we must understand the mystery of :FEHU: as a power source that fires the circuitry of possibility.

That’s what money is: A tool to leverage possibility.

I heard it said somewhere that increased responsibility meant greater power, but that when we are dependent on someone else, we are relinquishing power. This single idea pretty much sums up my entire attitude and philosophy toward money.

I don’t want to relinquish power over myself to anyone else. I want to hold the reins, and I don’t want to spend my life crushed and beaten down by debt, poverty, reduced opportunity, tightly scheduled labor for pay, or seeking the generosity or openhandedness of greater men.

Better men.

Because in this world, no one is equal.

No one is equal in any way- unless they are.

If I can lift 500 pounds off the ground and you can’t, I am stronger than you at the deadlift.
No if’s, no and’s, no but’s.

If I can’t multiply 12×12 in my head and someone else can, they are smarter, sharper, or more learned than I am.

If I can’t afford to fix my broken down truck and someone else can, it makes them more powerful than me, at least on a temporal level.

These things affect everything- how strong we are, how tough, how wealthy, how good-looking, or charismatic. The people that say they don’t matter are the ones who don’t have them, and can only fling slander and jealous barbs at those who do.

The fact is, it all matters. It all dictates our place in the world, our social standing in the world, and in our own in-groups. We’ve evolved to admire those who are capable of thriving, capable and skilled at acquiring. Whether that is acquiring strength or wealth, or “getting girls,” or anything else, we respect those who can ably “do for themselves.” We look down on those who are always looking for hand out, the self-willed weak, or the socially inept. 

This comparison, these judgements, they happen all the time, every second, every moment.

The reason that wealth and power is the most important of these physical, temporal attributes, is that in this world, it dictates more areas of your life than anything else.

[Note, we are NOT SAYING that wealth is the most important thing there is- only that it is the most important TEMPORAL thing there is- honor, loyalty, virtus, and so on- these things clearly hold more importance to us, and if there must be a choice between them, we will take the eternal and the ideological over the temporal and transient any day.]

To have or to have not.

To go do what you always dreamed of, or to be stuck at home in some shabby apartment watching other people doing what you wanted to do and saying “one day, one day.”

One day is right.

One day you’ll either understand that in order to live lives of legendary excellence, of liberated action, we can’t be dependent on anyone but ourselves- or one day, you’ll die unfulfilled.

The choice is completely up to you how you want to go out, but I can tell you this from personal experience: if you are someone who has big goals, massive dreams, wild, expansive thoughts, creativity, charisma, or whatever else- none of it matters if you’re stuck in the meat grinder of wage slavery.

The pursuit of wealth and power is the game of kings.

It is the high stakes dice roll that harshly marks the line between rulers and ruled, slaves or free men, and make no mistake that this is the true nature of the world whether you like it or not. The concepts and realities of power, wealth and rulership do not require our approval to simple “be.”

Wealth is a storm. A lightning bolt that we can harness to power the entire machinery of our complex goals, plans and network, and allows us to create an empire in the desert.

We can either hold the reins or stay under the whip.

“He who is without wealth amidst unlimited quantities of it, is either a coward, a born slave, or a lunatic.”

– Might is Right


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The Odinic Path.

by Paul Waggener

Odin has become a shattered archetype.

Adopted by weaklings and underachievers as a loving father figure, or as an oversimplified deity of magic or poetry.

Desacralized through profane use in popular heavy metal or TV shows, the word has become synonymous with bad t-shirts and “Valhalla” memes that run rampant through the internet and social media.

“Hail Odin, drink mead and go to Valhalla.”

Ridiculous slogans that place a childish slant on a feared and fearsome concept. 

Adam of Bremen famously said, “Wodan, id est furor.”

Odin- that means fury.

Like many archaic words and names, we can learn a great deal about this one by studying its roots. From proto-Germanic, *wodanaz is related to *wodaz, “raging.”

When we look at the proper noun in Old Norse, we are seeing a compound word, Óð- as prefix, meaning fury, ecstasy, passion, rage, frantic, possessed, and even, in some cases, “insane,” and -inn, the definite article “the.”

The Ecstatic. The Raging. The Furious. The Possessed.

As the name implies, those areas which fall under Odin’s aegis are ones associated with death, madness, might, magic and warfare.

The character of Odin, throughout the Germanic lore is far from a loving father, and is more often seen as a liar, deceiver, murderer, and opportunist. His sole goal is the acquisition of power, often through the gaining of information and hidden understanding, other times through the more direct paths of conflict and domination.

If Frey is the good and rightful king of plenty, Odin is the king by his own hand, a tyrant, and an intensely Machiavellian character playing at a game to which only he knows the rules.

My understanding of Odin has always been less as a character or personality, and more as a pathway, a development of one’s own character along certain ley-lines that share a commonality with the principles of an “Odinic” lifestyle. 

Some modern writers have attempted to label Odin as a demiurge, painting the Germanic mythological landscape with a gnostic brush to fit their own philosophies, which is itself perhaps an Odinic pursuit- but Odin is not a demiurge.

He did not create matter, nor does he control the universe or the matter within it- in the cosmogony of the north, Odin is a re-shaper of the world around him, which is a critically different concept- rather than being responsible for the winking into existence of the cosmos as we know it, Odin and his brothers reshaped existing reality in the form of the giant Ymir, through a sacrificial act of murder and will, recreating what was already in existence in a way they saw fit. This one simplified concept holds within it most of the bedrock of the practice of “the occult,” or “magic.”

Of course, we are dealing with stories here, truths with a capital “T” and not facts. I have always found literal understandings of any mythology to be abhorrent, and a total obstruction of those truths that can be distilled by way of a deeper approach- there is no dogmatic One Church of Odin, and if there was, and it had members, there would be a strong irony there.

The Odinic path is not a straight road with well defined rules and borders, but a twisted labyrinth of interlocking and crisscrossing pieces, many roads leading to an unknown center. It defies rules and transgresses borders and boundaries, and beckons the one who would walk it out into an ever-changing wilderness without map or compass.

The way of Odin could possibly be best understood as a road of experience and distillation. An alchemical process in which one accumulates massive amounts of raw material and places them in the furnace, burning away the dross and seeing what comes out on the other side, purifying it, re-burning, and filtering everything through the worldview of who the individual desires to be, but perhaps is not yet.

It relies on the development of a sort of spiritual compass. On the one side, there exists the tireless search to find ones correct place in the world, to wander until this is known, or found through the garnering of many experiences in many places. On the other, the Great Work and constant transformation, the acquisition of power and the knowledge that the only good in this world is the feeling of strength increasing.

Above, the one star that burns bright in the firmament for the follower of the Odinic path, or more correctly, the traverser of the Odinic labyrinth- the Ternion configuration of the Valknut, representative of the path itself, and He-Who-First-Walked-It. The crown of fire that exists at the end of the road, the center of the maze, an intangible prize that likely can never be won, but that drives on the traveler and fires his passion.

Below, the commandment from the very roots of his being, deep in his blood, perhaps even in his lineage- the fiery edict to Keep Rising, to combat despair and distraction with purpose. To keep one’s eyes on the only star that will never fail, that is called Destiny, or Fate, or Doom.

The horse he rides is called :ALU:, derived from a proto-Indo-European word that translates as “magic, ritual, possession, intoxication,” and from whence come our words, ale, hallucination. The connection to the name of Odin here is clear, and if Odin is a noun, then alu is the verb with which we attain him, become him, and change ourselves.

This horse is our ritual practice, our elevated work in which we peer into the unknown, and take back mysteries from the void, screaming.

The labyrinth that leads to this fiery crown is not one of “finding balance,” nor “seeking peace.” It is a way of isolation, trial, ordeal, great suffering and huge reward. It relies on passion and fire, the spoken word as a spell of re-ordering the world in our own image. The pillars on which it supports itself are not stability and steadfastness, but chaos and conflict.

The center of the Valknut is the eye of a hurricane, and only the one who is capable of living there- of grasping the power and stillness at the heart of the storm- can call himself worthy of traveling the Odinic Path.


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Standard Bearers.

by Paul Waggener
Originally published in Inner Circle Issue #4

Operation Werewolf marches under the sign of the black banner which bears emblazoned on it a wolf skull and crossed bones, surrounded by a serpent, ouroboros, the entirety of which we call the “Totenwolf,” or “death-wolf.”

Many have chosen to cast this symbol aside for their own, using the tenets and ideas discovered through Operation Werewolf, as well as the network, to build their own tribes under their own banners, renaming and re-creating the same general method with that spirit of individuality and separation that men naturally crave.

Although I see the perceived value in this, and call many of these men and their tribes my friends, allies, and associates, this action in many ways has missed the mark- overlooked one of the vital concepts around which the creation of Operation Werewolf was based: solidarity, and consonance.

From the Complete Zines, Volume 1: Iron and Blood Vol II:

“Its symbolism is three-fold: Death, the Wolf, and the Serpent, who we call “the Spawn of the Ironwood.” We use these ancient archetypes for their symbolic value in the current age, as well as the internal work we undergo.

In order to create ourselves anew, we must destroy that which came before.

The Spawn of the Ironwood are representative of those energies of destruction, the ending of cycles, the clearing away of old and corrupt forms of being and existing…

When we don the Death-wolf on our back, or fly its dread banner at our Division gatherings, we are hailing those principles that are the bloody death of our old ways of thinking, of doing, of living.

We are hailing our eternal march, grim and warlike, towards a greater destiny than that which would be chosen for us by those who wear the crowns of this earth.

We are signaling to others who are ready for something more, and calling them to our grisly standard.

Werewolf Legions, unite!”

One of the reasons a standard is borne is for purposes of identification on a battlefield. A clear sign showing who allied forces are, to more effectively operate on the battlefield. For this reason, the intention at the beginning was that all those who stood under the flag of the Operation would stand under that same banner, a clear signal to friend and foe alike:

“We are united. We stand together as one.”

However, as stated, the value of individual Divisions wearing their own standard became clear as a way for the “true” to separate themselves from the “rank and file,” those who were perhaps flirting or dabbling with the symbolism but not understanding the life reform that is to come along with it. 

This separation and distinction could possibly have been avoided with a different approach: that of internal correction.

It is true that anyone can put on a wolf-skin, but it does not make them a wolf.

At best, they are attacking the work with heart, in an honest effort to improve themselves, adhering to the tenets of this strength culture, connecting with others and forming lasting bonds that lead to the improvement of the whole- these kinds of men and women are increasing their own honor, and that of the Operation.

At worst, they are interlopers, embarrassments to the cause, interested in the trappings of this growing mythology, but not in the movement and personal transformation it requires. These are the worst kind of people, and we know their works- they are actively inhibiting the Operation, and working to destroy its reputation by way of their own weakness and lack of dedication or understanding.

In militaristic organizations of the past, being a standard bearer was considered an honor, and a privilege, and should still be seen as such- bearing the standard of Operation Werewolf comes along with a certain kind of danger, in that one willingly identifies themselves as a part of something that many are in opposition to.

This opposition sees a standard bearer as a prime target. 

Also, they open themselves up to challenge from within- from other bearers of the standard. This behavior should be encouraged. The Operation was never meant to be insular, or an edgy statement made by lone “wolves,” but a living network of pressure, competition, and power.

Those who actively avoid this sort of face to face interaction and pressure should be pressured all the way out. Operation Werewolf is not for the faint of heart, nor for the lukewarm- it is for the extreme, the passionate, the aflame!

Those who are a vessel of holy fire- a breathing, bleeding temple built to the god called strength and overcoming.

The timid, the chronically mediocre and those who avoid confrontation and pressure must be rooted out before their cancer can spread.

We see Operation Werewolf as a living representation of the black sun, and the black sun as both a threshing floor and a pathway to the center. One begins at the outermost edge and works their way inward, toward becoming. Toward belonging.

But the way to the center goes through the trials and tribulations of this overcoming, and the rays of the black sun are reaping blades! 

“Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?”

Those who wear the Totenwolf proudly should be flesh and blood symbols of its tenets and practices, physically strong and mentally sharp, capable, dangerous, moving ever toward the center of the black sun- and it should always be remembered that whatever the banner, we will know one another by our works!