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In Hoc Signo Vinces

The Standard

In the year 9, three Roman legions were destroyed by the Cherusci chieftain Hermann. Germania was spared Gaul’s fate of becoming just another province.

Most people who identify with or even know about the Germanic gods are familiar with the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. It’s almost cliché.

Fewer know what the Romans did during the disaster. The greatest disgrace for a Roman soldier was to lose their “eagle,” their standard. One Roman standard bearer, refusing to give the barbarians the satisfaction of a captured eagle, reportedly threw himself into the bog with it. He drowned. The eagle was lost, or, in that soldier’s last thoughts, saved.

Many people know the Emperor Augustus supposedly wandered the palace after the disaster, crying, “Where are my legions?” But other accounts have him saying, “Where are my eagles?”

One highlight of Augustus’s reign was ensuring the return of eagles that the Persians had captured in a previous war. Even though he got them back through diplomacy, not war, Augustus treated it like a great victory. The Romans getting the eagles back is even depicted on Augustus’s armor on the famous statue we’ve all seen.

It’s easy to be ironic about eagles, flags, or other standards. In one play, Shakespeare’s character Falstaff dismisses the very idea of honor as absurd (“a mere scutcheon”) and says, “I’ll [have] none of it.” But his friend who becomes King Henry V gives those heroic speeches (“Once more into the breach” and “We band of brothers”) that audiences respond to even now.

Napoleon supposedly said that “a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” If he indeed said it, he didn’t mean it cynically. He restored the tradition of giving “eagles” to his regiments. Of course, while they were a rallying point for the men, they were also targets for enemies. If a person captured one, he was a national hero.

But at the end of the day, they were chunks of metal.

The same is true of flags. If you identify with a certain country, its flag is something sacred; if you hate it, it’s something vile. If you don’t care, it’s just a piece of cloth.

We stroll past things in museums that earlier people thought were powerful, sacred, worth killing or dying for. This age has its own taboos, ones that will appeal foolish to future generations. The same person who smirks at a hero’s tomb will react like a scandalized Puritan if you question the equality of all men.

The anarchist Max Stirner said ideas like “God,” “Fatherland,” or “property rights” were just “spooks,” empty ghosts that people have created for themselves or to trick others. Most people think they are really serving some higher purpose when they are just fulfilling their own self-interest, or being fooled into serving someone else’s.  There’s a lot of truth in what he says.

Yet is it really that simple? Like the Roman who killed himself to spite his victorious enemies, there are countless examples of men who sacrifice all that they have for honor’s sake, even if it seems pointless, even if nobody will ever notice. That’s why we respond to tales of heroism and sacrifice, even in defense of causes that make no sense to us today. “You say it is the good cause that hallows any war. I say unto you: it is the good war that hallows any cause.”

There’s something inherent in us that wants to reach beyond ourselves; there’s something in life that reaches beyond life.

We read that Odin sacrificed “himself to himself” to gain knowledge. There are many ways to interpret this, but one is that he was willing to pay the price of death to glimpse a truth, even for just a moment. Think of the concept of a “good death,” which different cultures like that of the Japanese, the American Indians, and the Vikings all shared.  There was this concept of ultimate self-realization at the moment of your extinction. When famine, war, disease, and tyranny were so omnipresent, the way you met your death was basically the only choice you had.

Today, many people probably don’t even realize when they are dying because they are drugged up or unconscious. Yet ultimately, most still have that same choice. More than that, we have the far more important choice of deciding not what we will die for, but what we will live for, and how we will live.

In the past, heroes fought for a god, a flag, a king, or some other authority because they were in an environment where it was expected. Your identity was assigned to you. This was comforting in many ways.

We are wiser now, or perhaps just more cynical. We have the terrifying, awful freedom to choose our standard, to create our own eagle. We aren’t assigned it automatically. There’s no Emperor to order you forward, no warrior king to take you on a great quest. We must do it ourselves.

In this consumerist, post-honor, and increasingly post-human society, it’s easy to walk away from commitments, to shed identities, to “choose” a religion with no more thought than you might choose Amazon or Netflix. Even Marx wrote, “All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.”

Of course, he was wrong; new idols have simply been created to replace the old ones and blasphemers are punished in the same old ways. Now, the priests of weakness preach the creed of self-degradation, and call it humanity; of degeneracy, which they call liberation.

What has truly been destroyed is the older idea of heroism, of living your life to serve something greater, higher, and nobler than yourself. Even if these concepts are just self-created, what’s been taken away is the idea of “sacrificing yourself to yourself,” of forging yourself into your own Ideal, of living a Myth and so making it real.

This is why Operation Werewolf is necessary. There is a Need to create a real culture, to worship strength, to tap into an everlasting Tradition and make it relevant to this time. In an Empire of ashes and dust, we must look to Iron and Blood to rekindle the living spirit of something authentic.

It is here. It exists now. The black flag of the Operation has been unfurled, the Totenwolf revealed, the Iron Age upon us. It is a challenge to all the world, but ultimately it is a challenge to ourselves.

Are we willing to rally around this standard? Will we accomplish what we say we will? If necessary, will we sacrifice all for this banner, the way a legionnaire would value his life as nothing before the eagle?

Many have enrolled in Werewolf Elite. Yet Operatives who didn’t, for whatever reason, are still part of this. They are still claiming the same standard. They are still creating this rising culture.

As you go into the new year, there’s a question you must ask yourself. What standard are you showing to the world? Are you willing to defend it to the end? What are the values that you proclaim? Are you going to be the person you say you are?

At a time of deracination, degradation, and entropy, we raise the banner of strength. We rally to no standard but our own. We show our belief in the Myth by living it. And we will create something that lasts forever under the banner of the wolf.

Iron and Blood,

Operative 413

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The First King: Birth of an Empire – Review

Every empire begins with a tribe. Every tribe begins with a cult.

The First King is ostensibly about Romulus, Remus, and the creation of Rome. Yet it’s really about leadership and identity.

There are no marble columns or statues in this story, no patrician class. Romulus and Remus are two shepherds eking out a living, covered in dirt and grime. After they are almost killed by a flood, they are captured and enslaved by masked warriors from Alba Longa.

They and other slaves are forced to fight to the death as part of a sacrifice. Romulus tells his brother to beat him mercilessly. When the priestess approaches to ritualistically smear blood on the “dead” Romulus, he awakens and grabs her. The other slaves break their bonds and kill their enslavers. Romulus is wounded, but he tells us brother that “the god,” represented by the fire kept by the priestess, is coming with them now.

Romulus defies two conventions. He touches the sacred priestess and he claims ownership over the fire. However, he does not deny the god’s existence or the power of Tradition. Instead, he claims it for his own new tribe.

The small band of slaves and rogues escape into a forest. They want to kill the wounded Romulus, but Remus insists that Romulus be saved. However, at one point, Remus goes to find food, and one of the men takes this chance to finish off Romulus, this burden to the group.

However, the priestess builds a “sacred fire” around the wounded man and invokes horrible curses on anyone who crosses it. Terrified, the man backs down. Remus then returns with a deer he’s slaughtered, and it’s clear he has become the leader. In fact, he proclaims himself “king.” The first king is not Romulus, but Remus.

The men then kill a band of warriors from a nearby village. Remus enters the village with his warriors, with the head of the former leader on a pike. He claims the village as the seat of his new kingdom. The priestess wonders whether he is a kind of god.

However, after a sacrifice, the priestess inspects the entrails and says that one brother must kill the other in order to create a powerful state. Everyone assumes this means Remus must kill the wounded Romulus.

Remus responds in Nietzschean fashion. He defies the prophecy and ties the priestess in the woods to be devoured by beasts. He burns the village down and lets the sacred fire go out. He kills a villager in cold blood. When defied, he forces men to bow before him. He asserts that “the god” isn’t real, and that men will make their own fates.

Romulus, now somewhat healed, confronts his brother. Remus, ashamed, goes to find the priestess, but she has already been mauled by animals and is on the verge of death. She tells him to “run away.”

Meanwhile, Romulus consoles the mourning villagers and helps them bury the dead men with the appropriate rites. He also rekindles the sacred fire and picks a young girl to feed it for the rest of her life. She is the first Vestal Virgin.

Remus regathers the remainder of his small group of warriors and try to flee the area by crossing a river. Unfortunately, the mounted soldiers from Alba Longa have finally come for revenge. They are outmatched, but Romulus and the villagers arrive to rescue them.

Yet even after this, Remus insists on his regal title. He wants everyone to bow to him. There’s an old legend that Romulus killed Remus after the latter leapt over Rome’s initial walls. Romulus then said something like, “Woe to whoever overleaps my bounds.”

In this film, Romulus makes a boundary between Remus and the sacred fire. Remus crosses it and is slain in the ensuring fight. Romulus is horrified at what he’s done, but recognizes it was necessary. Remus repents just before death, recognizing that Romulus is his king.

The small group burns the body and Romulus says his brother’s strength will guide this new settlement, Rome.

It will be a haven for slaves and outcasts, who will in turn become masters of the Earth.

If Operation Werewolf is about anything, it’s about worshiping strength. However, strength is not enough. Remus is the strongest, yet his power and charisma can’t build a society. Romulus is powerful but also what Nietzsche calls a “creator of peoples.”

He gives them a faith and a creed to bind them together. He reconnects to an ancient tradition – the sacral fire that represents the presence of “the god.” Yet he also violates the taboos. He appeals to something eternal but he adapts it to his own needs, his own time, and his own conditions.

Remus is a great warrior – the priestess even admits he is something of a god. Yet because he does not link that strength to anything greater than himself, he is ultimately defeated. His claims to “kingship” over a petty band of scruffy villagers seem pathetic and self-aggrandizing.

Yet to his credit, Remus recognizes this. Before he dies, he salutes Romulus as “my king.” In turn, Romulus holds up Remus’s strength and pride as noble qualities for his new Romans to follow.

And who are his new Romans? Outcasts, former slaves, a few warriors, some old men. But Romulus teaches them that they are strong if they are united. Outcasts can become a tribe, a tribe with a tradition becomes a people, a people can create a rising culture.

What is the ultimate goal of Werewolf Elite? Of course, there’s the objective of Total Life Reform. However, like Romulus, we want to link people to an eternal tradition that is expressing itself in new forms.

Even if you can deadlift 600 pounds, defeat anyone in a fight, overcome any physical challenge, it can only go so far if you aren’t part of something larger. Werewolf Elite is about forging something greater than ourselves.

Individual physical strength is the foundation. It’s necessary to everything we want to accomplish. But by itself, it is insufficient.

There is one final opportunity to enroll in Werewolf Elite. Then, we are cutting it off. If you feel the call to not only rebuild yourself, but build something greater than yourself, this is for you.

Remember, even Rome started with just two men.