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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,

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