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Not One Skin

Written by Paul Waggener

“In Norway and Iceland certain men were said to be eigi einhamir, not of one skin, an idea which had its roots in paganism. The full form of this strange superstition was, that men could take upon them other bodies, and the natures of those beings whose bodies they assumed. The second adopted shape was called by the same name as the original shape, hamr, and the expression made use of to designate the transition from one body to another, was at skipta hömum, or at hamaz; whilst the expedition made in the second form, was the hamför. By this transfiguration extraordinary powers were acquired; the natural strength of the individual was doubled, or quadrupled; he acquired the strengthof the beast in whose body he travelled, in addition to his own, and a man thus invigorated was called hamrammr…

Having assumed some bestial shape, the man who is eigi einhammr is only to be recognized by his eyes, which by no power can be changed. He then pursues his course, follows the instincts of the beast whose body he has taken, yet without quenching his own intelligence. He is able to do what the body of the animal can do, and do what he, as man, can do as well.” -Sabine Baring-Gould

The idea of transforming from man into beast is one that has held a deep place in the psyche of humanity worldwide since the dawn of time. Some of the oldest cave paintings in existence show animal-human hybrids, and the myths and stories of diverse peoples have told of men who could change their form, “leaping” from one to the next.

In the sagas and lore of the Germanic peoples, this was often accomplished with the aid of some kind of garment or skin, worn by men who were considered “shape changers,” sometimes synonymous with the overused term “berserker.”

It seems that nowadays everyone is a “viking,” and the use of symbols and terminologies has become nothing more than a cheap way to move product. I see endless graphics of sword wielding warriors and mead horns, branded with slogans like “DIE IN BATTLE AND GO TO VALHALLA,” often posted by individuals who look more ready to die of aggressive diabetes and go into a very large casket.

Because of this, I often wonder how deeply these myths and concepts are considered by the rank and file who are “culturally enriched,” it would seem, by a combination of bad heavy metal and a certain television show featuring male models swinging swords at one another.

At times, I have nearly succumbed to the desire to abandon any personal use of the myths and symbols of Northern Europe, due to their constant connection with groups that seem to oscillate only between the twinkie-feasting, “Odin came to me in a dream,” body acceptance, “all are one” crowd, and the “viking warlord,” Phil Anselmo lookalike types, throwing up their Sieg Heils to Odin.

At these times, it is important to remember: these symbols, myths and ideas do not belong to either crowd. They belong to those who are truly on the road of heroes, in any epoch or age. Glory hounds, warmongers, ecstatic creators of art and new legend. Those who identify with the Father of Runes not as a kindly, benevolent father in the sky nor as some hypostatic union of Hitler and Amon Amarth, but as a path to awe, a contract of fire and blood, a never-ending river of madness and inspiration that flows from someplace unseen, but felt.

To these few, the concept of hamramr can make itself clear as a shift, not in physical form, but in operating mode. It must be understood that the mythology is not to be taken literally, but to hint at greater truths that can be utilized by those with the eyes to see.

The ability to be whoever or whatever you need to be in any given situation is a powerful one. To shed one “skin” in favor of another when need arises, meeting the world with whatever mode best serves you at present, knowing your true self always, but flowing like water in action and methodology.

In the Poetic Edda, one of the many names by which Odin is known is Svipall, which has the meaning of “Ever-changing One,” or “Shape shifter.” In many of the surviving stories of him, we see him alter himself in character and seeming in order to have an advantage over others who are only able to simply “be themselves.”

How can we take this ancient myth of transformation and apply it to our lives ina vital way, and make the words “Eigi Einhamr” a powerful formula of strategy in this modern world?

Firstly, we empower ourselves in a massive way by understanding the simple and brutal truth that our honor binds us only within our peer group. That those without are not to be dealt with by the same rules as those on the “inner circle,” and can be met on the playing field with many different strategies that twist and undermine what our competitors believe the “rules” to be.

It is the height of naïveté to believe that others will operate under the same conception of honor and fair dealing that you do on a day to day level with those you have respect for. Whether we are talking about the ridiculous idea of a “fair fight” (which should only be engaged in during sport competition), social maneuvering, business dealings, or any other sort of “war” we wage, it must be known that rules are for breaking. The unexpected strike stabs deepest into the opponent’s vitals. War is for winning, and at the end of the day, it is victory that matters- all that surrounds it should be left to songs and stories, idealized or villainized by men who likely took no part in the winning or losing.

Secondly, we empower ourselves by casting aside the notion that we must remain unchanging: a pillar of stone, like a man with his feet encased in concrete block. Standing there against the ages, pitted and cragged by the winds of time, unwilling or unable to effectively flow and move with the situation.

We must be much more than this. Wanderers among the streams of consciousness, intrepid explorers on the frontier of the spiritual wilderness- one eye on our Wyrd at all times, seeing the weave made plain, each thread standing out to us as a potential cause or effect.

If we choose to meet each situation that may arise in our lives in exactly the same fashion, we will soon find ourselves outdone, outwitted and outmoded by better and smarter men. A simple example of how this “shift” can be seen in its everyday form: does one act and interact in the same fashion with competitive and brutal men as he does at home with his wife? At his son’s birthday party?
More than likely, you are already implementing this strategy on a basic level each and every day, as you slightly adjust your temperament, humor, emotional walls and so on as you flow between social groups both within and without your peer circle.

What we are talking about here is something like this, but on a more drastic and intentional scale. Being aware of these changes as they occur is the first step to understanding how they can be utilized to greater success in every area of life. Developing these different areas of self so that each one is as strong, as real, and as natural to you as the other, while retaining the sense of self identity that lies beneath is the path towards mastery.

By delving deeper into these concepts, we build a framework within which we can move and shift from one archetype to the next, with fluidity and artfulness. Who do we need to be, and why? Can we call up the beast when he is needed, and put him to rest when we are required to act as the tactful diplomat? Are we capable of moving from the violent savage to the loving husband, father, or son?

The road of the hero is one of mastery- of ourselves, of our surroundings, and of our methods and movements to achieve this. No stone should be left unturned in our search for greatness.

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Jiu Jitsu for the Kali Yuga

This article was written for Operation Werewolf by Joshua Buckley

“Jiu-jitsu is a game of death.”—Eddie Bravo

The Kali Yuga is the age of dissolution. Whether or not you accept this as a higher truth, or simply as a mythic framework for understanding our existential situation, it would be difficult not to acknowledge that our current epoch is one in which the center no longer holds. The effects can be seen in the breakdown of every social, cultural, and political institution, and in the seeming impossibility of reversing the decay. On a deeper level, one senses that something far deeper has shifted; that we have become unmoored from the higher principles that provided sustenance to our ancestors. And indeed, the Kali Yuga can be seen as a time of godlessness. Perhaps, per Nietzsche, we have murdered God, or perhaps the gods have simply turned their backs and fled. Either way, the traditional routes to transcendence that worked for our ancestors may no longer work for us. We cannot turn away from this world when the gods have already turned away from us. Instead, we must dive down deep into the depths, to harness the spiritual energies hidden within the body. The martial arts provide an ideal vehicle to achieve this—to forge our Higher Selves with the tools appropriate for the Age of Iron.

There is a long tradition of imparting various spiritual qualities to the martial arts, especially when they are viewed within an initiatory context. This is exemplified by Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery but can be found as far back as Krishna’s exhortations to Arjuna on the battlefield in the Bhagavad Gita. This literature, and the philosophy that it represents, is especially relevant to those attempting to make sense of the Kali Yuga and the limitations and possibilities that it contains. I have been training as a jiu-jitsu practitioner for roughly fourteen years, and so I will limit my discussion to this particular martial art. Although I think jiu-jitsu is an excellent base for individual self-defense, it is not a complete fighting system, and it is not my purpose to argue whether or not it is superior to other styles. Neither is it my intention to tout my own abilities. My objective here is only to share a few of the insights I’ve gained from my training. If there is a specific advantage (in this context) to studying jiu-jitsu, it is that jiu-jitsu allows for consistent, high-intensity sparring against resisting opponents. Whatever lessons can be gleaned from this experience can be put to the test, again and again. The philosophical (and, I would argue, initiatory) aspects of jiu-jitsu are achieved through a synthesis of physical will and energy and what might be described as impersonal forces residing within the individual. This is the essence, or at least the rudimentary beginnings, of an approach to spiritual transformation that is still relevant in the Kali Yuga.

The first thing you will learn from training jiu-jitsu is that you are more, or less, than you think you are. One of the things jiu-jitsu players never get tired of saying is that there’s no place for “ego” in jiu-jitsu. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone who imagines that he’s a “bad ass” getting destroyed the first time he steps on the mat. Some people can’t handle the experience, and will give up almost immediately. Sparring will divest you of whatever illusions you have built up around yourself. (You will also quickly figure out that you can’t really judge other men simply by looking at them.) From this point on, you can begin to develop a renewed self-image that is more in line with reality. Just as you might discover that you aren’t capable of everything that you imagined you were, you will also begin to find that you are capable of things which might not have seemed possible at first. This is an essential aspect of initiation, whether you are seeking some esoteric Mystery or trying to make it through Marine Corps boot camp: you have to tear yourself down, before you can build yourself back up. However, this is a process that has no definite conclusion. No matter how hard you train, and no matter what your innate physical attributes are, there will always be someone better than you. This may be because they are more committed to training, or it might be that they are just more naturally gifted. You might also find yourself limited by factors beyond your control, such as age (at 42, I already find myself faltering against younger guys). For the purposes of self-overcoming and the forging of the Higher Self, none of this matters.

Technique prevails, when art and action are one. Jiu-jitsu (and especially “sport” jiu-jitsu) incorporates a bewildering array of techniques. This has given rise to its reputation as a particularly cerebral martial art, often described as a “game of human chess.” You will learn many, many techniques, and you may even learn them well enough that you can demonstrate them to other practitioners. However, you will find that the repertoire of techniques you can actually use in live sparring is far more limited. Some of this will be due to your own personal strengths and limitations; not every technique is suited to every practitioner. Even the techniques that you are able to make your own will require a huge amount of practice. There are positions and attacks I have drilled for years before I was able to successfully use them in a match. But here is the interesting part. Even if you have tried and failed to implement a technique in the past, the first time you hit it in live sparring, it will be yours, and you will very likely be able to rely on it from that point forward. You will internalize it to the extent that there is no gap between thinking about the technique and actually performing it. There is something truly magical about this. For those who experience its deeper meaning, it suggests the integration of intellect and action that is the hallmark of the fully actualized human being.

Closely related to this last point, but perhaps more difficult to understand, is the idea that you will achieve better results when you stop obsessing over outcomes. Just as your techniques must represent the simultaneous integration of action and will, your best fights will be those where you are able to operate almost unconsciously (readers of Herrigal will recall the Taoist concept of wu wei, or “acting without acting”). This doesn’t mean that you don’t fight to win. But as anyone who has ever tried to shoot a target can attest, the more you concentrate on the bull’s-eye, the harder it is to hit. Other athletes might describe this feeling as “flow” or being “in the zone.” In combat sports, this state is especially hard to achieve, because direct physical conflict is so stressful and emotionally loaded. In fact, it may take years before you can really spar this way, and it won’t happen every time. However, when it does, you may feel as if something beyond yourself is acting through you. This could be seen as a higher level of initiation. When Old Norse accounts describe the “berserker rage,” I believe that they are hinting at something similar. The wolf-warrior fights in a state of trance-like possession, and it is explicitly understood that what possesses him is nothing less than a god. In fact, the very name for this state of possession, wode (óðr), provides us with the name of the Allfather himself: Woden (Óðinn).

These are only a few preliminary remarks: real understanding will come only through putting in the work, and not from reading about it. Of course, similar insights can be gained from practicing other martial arts, or even from other sports requiring a high degree of discipline and sacrifice. The important thing is that we embrace the possibilities still open to us in an essentially fallen world: this is what Julius Evola would call “riding the tiger.” Very often this will involve a renewed emphasis on a conscious physicality. What the Kali Yuga dictates is that transcendence can no longer be consigned to the ethereal realms of pure intellect. The weapons of spiritual transformation must now resemble the weapons of war.

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The Ancestral Cult of the Dead

Photo by Marla W.

During this time of year, from the ancient pagan holiday of Samhain, now commonly called Halloween, to the celebration of the Wild Hunt and the beginnings of the Yule season in the north, Fall and Winter is a time associated with death.

Obviously, due to the changing of the seasons, such a connection is natural, and its origins can easily be guessed at, as the reaping season begins and harvest time is celebrated along with the shortening of days and the lengthening of the long and cold nights- it is a time of drawing inward, to our own communities and family units- a time for bonfires and feasting on the fruits we have sown earlier in the year, as our plans come into wholeness and produce sustenance.

The bonfire was said to light the pathway for the dead of our families to find their way back to us, to be present there in the shadows at the edges of the firelight, to once again take part in the festivities of their clan and kin.

Like every other holiday, our modern world has sunk its corporate claws deep into any soil it sees profit in, and cheapens it with mass marketing and empty plastic products, turning what was once a meaningful reminder of death and the dead into another vapid celebration of consumerism and mindless intoxication. Pop icons and slutty versions of childhood story characters generally rule the day, with bar and office parties and safe, pre-dusk walks through well policed neighborhoods for the kids to chase a diabetic sugar high have replaced the woodland fire festival and the solemn household remembrance ritual.

Our ancestors deserve better. We owe them our lives, our genetic makeup, and our unique blend of DNA. Bring back the forest revel, the masking rites of old, the mindful intoxication- drunk on the blood of beast and grape, faces covered in order to make ourselves a willing vessel for those spirits of the dead who would wander back to our fires, and breathe the cold fall air with our lungs- who would speak needful words with our tongues and be warmed with whiskey and music.

Use the day, and the season as one in which to truly give honor to them with your actions. Create household traditions with friends and family, or discover your people’s ancient practices, and make them green and living once more. Feel the power descended through them and into you, and dedicate a corner of the house to them, making offerings weekly or daily to keep them in mind, as you would like to be remembered and honored after your death. They are your strength, and you, the head of a spear, the very front droplet at the head of a rushing river of blood!

Only the obtuse or those without any sense of personal pride would confuse this with a call for some kind of ethnic supremacy or hatred. Just as a mother prefers and loves her own children more than other children, but could not be said to “hate” all other children that are not her own- so, too, our natural preference and pride in our own specific and unique ancestral line should be celebrated and given honor.

Use the day to lift heavy, to train savagely, to eat ferociously, to fuck and frenzy…because this day we also remember that they are dead- but we are not!

Hail the victorious dead.

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The Cowardice of Optimism

Written for Operation Werewolf by Craig Williams

What if I told you there was no hope, no solution? Would you continue to move forward? Would you continue to give life your all?  The modern world and the machinations of commercialism have trained the mind to expect something, to feel “entitled”, to repeat over and over “what’s in it for ME?” Regardless of what the advertising gods or Men’s Health magazines sell you, you are guaranteed NOTHING. The media-mind tells the exact opposite: everyone deserves everything. Life is marketed and sold as an accountant’s notebook taking inventory of what life is rewarding for all of your hard work; if something or someone is not returning a profit, it’s worthless and must be eliminated and replaced by a more profitable source.  This addiction to results and optimism based upon reward is rampant in the modern era and infects all aspects of life: friendship, spirituality, and physical training to name just a few areas wherein this commodification of life is reflected.

We can see this infection incubating in the environment of friendship. Individuals seek a profit from others, “what can they offer me?” or “if I do this, then they must do this”. We are trained to see friendship on a profit scale. Friendship is treated as a commodity and individuals are discarded if they do not return a profit or “entertain.” Is it any wonder why so few individuals today have true brotherhood? For the mature individual truly seeking to grow, the realm of friendship should be a sanctuary from the infections of the modern world. Ideally what we truly “gain” from the environment of brotherhood is presence, the resonance of another individual walking the path of life. This is not a profit or a gain, rather a rare experience of the Numinous manifesting in the flesh! If you seek true brotherhood and friendship, stop expecting to receive some type of payment from the people in your life. Rather seek to find individuals whose life expression or Elan Vital radiates into your own life expression and the harmonic resonance of this rare experience infuses the flesh and blood with a rare glimpse of the Cosmic Eternity. This reflection of presence can occur due to the environment of two individuals walking the path of life with passion, courage and fearlessness. These qualities become beacons of light in a dark world signaling to others on this unending path to connect and share experiences, the exact opposite of the modern commercial friendship based on gain and profit. Contemplate on this idea and watch your relationships shift and transform, some dying and some growing deeper, some revealing a new unseen depth.

The infection of profit also insidiously seeps into the realm of spirituality reflected in the expectation of results. The realm of the Gods becomes transformed into an ersatz marketplace which must “provide for us.” We can clearly see this disgusting expression with individuals obsessed with “prosperity rituals” and magic spells for money treating the Cosmic Mystery as a bank ignoring the fact that their lack is a result of their own ignorance and sloth. This is also reflected in the modern occult marketplace where “magical grimoires” are bought and sold to the highest bidder in an embarrassing game of spiritual materialism coated with the veneer of elite esoteric impotence. Our relationship to the Numinous is much like our relationship to our true brothers: we seek a shared experience or presence not a profit. The meaning of ritual is the literal creation of a sacred space and a sacred time outside of modernity; a shared experience of something beyond the modern world and modern conception of profit / loss economics. We must protect the environment of our spiritual praxis just as we protect the environment of our true friendships! Seek the Cosmic presence in spiritual experience and allow this to transform perspective and reveal the path of mystery, do not allow the spiritual realm to feed the modern ego in its quest for never-ending profit and gain. The only “thing” we can hope to gain from our spiritual practice is a deeper perspective outside of the influence of modern myopic illusion which can guide us in the often mysterious path of our lives.

We can even see this modern economic virus infect the world of physical expression / training.  Individuals seeking reward shop around for martial arts schools which “guarantee results” or “provide their money’s worth.” Very few individuals truly seek to deeply learn martial arts and allow the nuances and subtleties of traditional martial arts training to transform their minds / body. Some seek competition trophies while others seek belts as bragging rights; neither of these provide any help or assistance in a street fight. It’s not uncommon for students to become frustrated if the teacher or coach asks them to commit to a long-term plan or short-term study of basic ideas. When this occurs instead of an instant “pay off”, the student will often seek another teacher or another school which is more “profitable” or more likely to buffer their weak ego. This is much like seeking out friends who rather than challenge us to grow and transform, reinforce our status quo and become “yes men” to any idea or behavior. While we can be encouraged by seeing results from our hard work in the gym or dojo, we must also realize the subtle changes which happen over years of training without glorious results, without trophies, without rewards.

What if I told you there was no solution? How many times can I tell you to read the important books? To find a mentor?  To Challenge yourself? Few listen. The modern world has created the idea that there is always a solution for our problems, always an option, always a brighter age. I don’t believe there ever was a golden age nor ever will be a golden age. Yet what does this change?  For the average man this idea is depressing or pessimistic. Yet for the Rare Ones, nothing changes. The howling of the Soul echoes eternally within the flesh and blood of the few regardless of the profit of the age. The merciless path continues regardless of the outcome of the battle or the zeitgeist of the age. The Rare Ones play the dice game of Shiva regardless of a win or loss; there is no other choice but to continue the journey, glorious or not. The words of Oswald Spengler call out to us from the eternal past and remind us to continue our journey, seek our brothers and train our minds and bodies regardless of the “payback”:

“Only dreamers believe in ways out. Optimism is cowardice. We are born in this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue. To hold on like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died because they forgot to relieve him when Vesuvius erupted. That is greatness; that is to have race. This honorable end is the one thing that cannot be taken from Man.”

What if I told you there was no hope, no solution? Would you continue to wage the battle?  The Rare Ones are calling…………

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Defeating Depression By Living With Purpose

Most depression stems from the perception of what I call a “grey horizon.” This is the feeling that a purpose or deeper meaning is lacking- it creates an enervating force in our lives that drains our vitality and replaces it with a hollow “who cares?”

This is a widespread and increasingly common issue among people young and old, all over the world, as they struggle to find their place and meaning in a world seemingly devoid of authentic experience and honest expression. After I put out THIS VIDEO on the topic of combating depression, I was inundated with messages thanking me and asking for more information and advice on the subject- what follows is my own personal method and belief on how the black dog is to be fought and defeated.

We must begin with the understanding that this struggle is an ongoing one. Most of us do not simply fight one battle and conquer depression, stress, anxiety. It is a continuous warfare, but one in which, once we understand our enemy and the weapons with which it can be fought, we will consistently achieve victory.

The greatest weapon against depression is a meaningful life. This sounds vague and amorphous, but I promise you, it is the goal that must be sought out constantly in order to stave off feelings of worthlessness, pointlessness and futility. Discovering our purpose through acts of self-creation is the key to a fulfilling existence. Yours and mine will not be the same, but our methods of discovery can be. I cannot tell you what yours will be, but I can tell you how I discovered mine.

It starts with exploration. The search in and of itself for meaning and purpose and an honestly expressed existence is a glorious undertaking, and should never be seen as anything other than a legendary journey for self actualization. Discovering our purpose, for an indeterminate amount of time, is our purpose. By looking for who we are, and searching the depths of our being, and transforming ourselves in the primal forge of ordeal, we will discover not only who we are, but who we wish to be.

During this time it is crucial that we evaluate ourselves fairly and honestly, clinically, but with mercy, not brutality. We must see ourselves as we are, in order to ascertain where we need to go. As we make our evaluation, we will be forgiving, not self-destructive, but we will be firm and truthful about our shortcomings.

As we work to eliminate those aspects of ourselves that we do not wish to hold any longer, we also bolster our strengths. Improving ourselves in the realms of calmness, generosity, physical strength, loyalty, creativity and so on. As we do this, we realize that what we are taking part in is a preparatory ritual- perhaps our purpose has not made itself clear to us because we are not ready to face it, and we are being given time to make ourselves worthy of it. Our work then takes on a holiness, a ritual aspect of cleansing and empowering our beings for the coming Work, that which we call the Great Work, which is knowing and carrying out our higher function.

This very understanding led me to my current place in the world, and as I focused on letting go of that which I had bound myself to, strengthening myself physically, developing my creative abilities, practicing my writing, studying martial arts, traveling more often, and so on, I began to understand the alchemy of consonance. How all this could be woven together with one thread, and how I could make myself of service to a higher concept.

Often, our purpose will find us when we lose ourselves in the seeking.

For now, here are a few of the tactics I employed in my war against meaningless existence:

-Wake up earlier and adhere to a schedule.

Sleeping all day is both a cause and effect of depression. Choose an early hour in which to arise and conquer, and do so. In the dark hours of the morning, much is made clear to us in the silence of our early routine.

-Move! Whether you choose weightlifting, martial arts, swimming, running, or some combination of the above, you must exercise! This is perhaps one of the most important factors in conquering depression. If you feel the stirrings of that great enemy rising within you like a serpent, exorcise your demons through exercise. Immediately run, do pushups, burpees, find a body of water and swim, especially if you can go to the ocean and experience its vast example of being, becoming, returning.

You will never defeat depression until you can develop the discipline of a rigorous physical training routine.

Choose any routine off the internet and start today.

-Eliminate chatter. Turn off the internet for awhile. Filling the mind with idle chatter and useless data makes us distracted and ultimately hollows us out, taking away our vital energy and focus. Ditto for television and so on. Read an interesting book, pick up a new skill, draw, write or run.

-Work to create meaningful interaction with other human beings. As someone who walks a fine and strange line between philanthropy and misanthropy, I find it increasingly important to discover meaningful connection with other living humans. The internet is a pretty incredible way to make connections, but these often times are artificed and very shallow. Meet people by following the above protocols. Speak to someone at your school, dojo, gym, library, whatever. Combat your shyness or social awkwardness by realizing that people are often more than happy to converse with strangers, and probably feel isolated often, just like you might. Just say hello and introduce yourself and let go of overthinking it.

-Stop self medicating. Often, when I was feeling depressed, I would drink excessively. This would simply lead to a vicious cycle of feeling worse, drinking more, self loathing, drinking more, feeling worse. One of the biggest mistakes we can make when combating depression is using recreational drugs to mask the feeling. This kind of escapism is like “painting over dirt,” and ultimately will make our infection fester in the darkness while it slowly ends our lives. Addiction is another hydra head of depression, and we will possibly address it in a future transmission. For now, do whatever possible to eliminate the use of these crutches.

At day’s end, many of us are at constant war with these feelings, but like any other opponent, this one can, and will be defeated if you remain steadfast.

I’m pulling for you.

“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”  -AC

92.

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Never Give Up

You are squaring off against a larger opponent in a fight you cannot escape. You feel the fear twist your guts as he bears down on you, his huge form a mass of unrestrained violence, hellbent on destroying you.

The first blow shatters your nose like a jackhammer striking cheap concrete, and your vision explodes in a thousand lights- pain is all you know.

No time to think, the next one cracks a floating rib, agony blossoms through your side, all breath taken away and you experience that drowning panic as you fight to take a breath while more punishment rains down- face, body, head, gut.

You go down, blood streaming from broken teeth, unconsciousness threatening to wash over you like a black wave, and he is still advancing, moving into position to beat you mercilessly until you surrender to fear, pain and death.

Life can often feel just like this.

Beating us savagely, then smelling blood and kicking us while we are down, overwhelming us with sheer weight of misfortune, circumstance, pressure, stress, hardship and suffering.

This is where we are made, in this primal forge of ordeal.

We cannot give up! We cannot surrender to our tormentors, or view escape as a liberation. We must endure.

We must rise up, and fight back!

We must strike hard and fast at the heart of what stands against us, and master our fear, or it will always be our lord…deep, rotting dread will dictate our actions forevermore.

Your enemy can suffer, too, and can bleed, and be killed.

That which opposes you is perishable, and can be destroyed.

That which causes you suffering can be endured.

That which creates stress can be used as a tool to become stronger.

That flame living within us is eternal, and cannot be extinguished if we take the pain, the hate, the sorrow, and transform it into a feral howl of rising and retribution that will be our war-song.

NEVER GIVE UP.

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Yes, This is Happening

Article written by Craig Williams

“As anyone can probably tell you who has engaged in a brawl while sober, there is a distinct feeling that happens before the first punches are thrown. It is somewhere between fear, anticipation, excitement, joy and panic; a potent mixture of all of these, as the adrenaline kicks in and the body prepares itself to flee or fight, tuck tail or knuckle up. What a man does while that feeling has a hold on him will tell you a lot about him as a person.”

Paul Waggener

One of the most common traits of modern times is the obsession with virtual “reality.” It’s not uncommon to see individuals grouped together ignoring one another gazing into their phones or laptops in a somnambulistic state blindly ignoring their surroundings, or one can even see individuals walking or driving while gazing into their phones in literal technological possession. What is it about the modern mind-set which seems obsessed with worshipping the techno-god and ignoring vital human interaction? Human are literally willing to risk losing their lives as well as take the lives of others in order to gaze into a screen of virtual “reality.” Is it any wonder that the harsh often brutal truths of life are feared, hidden or ignored?

“Yes this is really happening…….”

I remember being about 16 and the group of older guys walking toward me and my friends laughing looking for a fight. My stomach was in knots and my mouth dry as I knew my friends were more scared than I was, and more importantly unable to assist in any way with any realistic level of self-defense. The small one approached me first, “Is this the one who knows karate?”, he smirked.  At this point he stuck his finger in my face and told me he was going to……before he finished the sentence, I still remember the feel of my hand hitting his jaw, the feel of a bone cracking, flesh giving way rather easily, and the sight of his body slumping to the ground. Once I saw this and the fear in the eyes of his older friends, I could breathe again and I was no longer frightened……..

We often hear today of safe-spaces and trigger warnings, both modern attempts to deconstruct and dismantle the fear of uncertainty, failed attempts to make life predictable and sterilized. Scenes of death and war are banned and scrubbed from the media transmissions, images of bodies falling from towers conveniently forgotten, too disturbing to fit the planned manipulative narrative. The modern mind seeks solace in these empty spaces to avoid challenges which force growth and maturity; the modern man sees no need to learn how to fight as violence is low class and for the uneducated, exercise easily accomplished via a video game safe inside one’s house.

“Yes this is really happening…..”

I remember riding in the car on the barren plains of Tibet. The Sherpas driving were hung over from long night of drinking, the extremely high altitude made concentration tiresome and exhausting, the eyes gazed off into miles of nothingness on all sides. The roads were unpaved and unsafe, the Chinese government allowing an influx of people along these routes to visit the sacred Mount Kailas, terrestrial home of Shiva, the God of death and destruction. I was sitting in the front passenger seat watching the speedometer hit 75 MPH wondering if the driver was aware of this and wondering how long this part of the journey would last. I asked my teacher who was sitting in the backseat to pass me my messenger bag as I wanted to read a prayer book. “I will grab the book for you, which one is it?” he said. I didn’t want him to have to dig around looking for the book so I asked him to just pass the bag to me and I will dig it out. He passed the large messenger bag up front and I placed the bag in my lap and looked at the driver laughing at me, then I gazed off to the road ahead and noticed that a car was headed straight towards us. The next memory is grabbing the messenger bag and pulling it in front of my face as I crashed through the windshield, the sound of metal tearing and crashing, glass breaking and the odd simple sensation of bouncing right back into my seat unscathed. I look over and saw the driver’s face ripped open and mangled, head dangling bleeding. I had not a scratch on my entire body…….

Every day we are given a choice of potential opportunity, a chance to experience reality with our own eyes, engage with others we love or respect with words and handshakes, feel the pain of physical training and the satisfaction of molding the flesh and mind into a stronger reflection of our Souls. This can occur when we immerse ourselves in reality not when we escape into a world of “virtual” reality. How many of the stories we see on our televisions or cell phones truly affect the outcome of our daily lives? How many of these vampiric transmissions nourish and sustain us? The sobering answer is few to none.

“Yes this is really happening…..”

I remember coming home from a long journey in India and Tibet. My group was stuck on the border of Tibet and Nepal due to issues with Chinese security and terrorist concerns and we were forced to find questionable lodging for the night and cross the border into Nepal the following morning. The night was rainy and ominous, with young Chinese military omnipresent, 15 year old youths holding machine guns wearing uniforms which would fit when they were 25. We secured lodging and settled for the night. I remember waking up the next morning and looking for the bathroom.  Entering the bathroom, the smell burned my nose, the floor was covered in shit and piss and the water was turned off. Turning around to return to my room I encountered a man standing in the doorway, holding a knife and asking me for my passport. I then remember my hand contacting the soft flesh of his nose and the pain of a chipped tooth slicing my knuckle wide open, and watching the man fall onto the piss covered floor holding his face………

The often brutal experiences of life are unpredictable. As unpredictable as the beautiful inspiring moments. The modern mind seeks to manipulate this as if time was a computer program, giving the viewer of “reality” the power to create an environment of false security and safety. This “reality” holds no Soul power, offers us nothing and weakens the viewer pushing him further and further away from the path of true glory, true individual manifestation. Yes, life is happening all around you. Every moment, every day you gaze into the world of the techno-god you lose this rare chance for growth and transformation. Yes it will be painful. Yes it will hurt. Be thankful for this. Revel in this. Turn away from the illusions of “virtual reality” and embrace the life that lies before you in all of its pain, suffering and joy. Yes, this is really happening…..are you ready?

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This Machine Destroys Illusion

Operation Werewolf was conceived many years ago, named in one of my journals long lost to time, and used over the last several years as the label for my collected writings on strength, overcoming, tribalism, and so on. It has grown and evolved into something more than it was when I started it, but its aims have always been the same.

I have heard detractors talk about the Operation as nothing more than a “business,” as though it sprang up overnight as some kind of easy money hustle. Others, who have probably never read anything we’ve put out, but seem to need to label it, speak of it as some kind of political movement, based around ideas that are simple enough for them to understand. Still more have claimed it as a platform for their own agendas, looking for a “pre-made” audience for their insipid ideas.

All bullshit. All missing the mark.

It is, and has always been, more than a “business,” much like a band or musical project is more than its merch table. For years I produced written work and more, all free of charge, and asked nothing in return for it. All of our continuous content is still free, and always will be.

The apparel and gear allows people who wish to do so (no one is holding a gun to anyone’s head) to support the Operation, to signal affiliation, and to visibly align themselves toward a greater goal. It also allows me to do what I do full time.

If for whatever reason, tomorrow, all income that is connected to the Operation simply ceased…the Operation would not cease. Articles and videos would continue, just as they did before. Travel would continue, just as before. I would continue, just like always. This is because Operation Werewolf is my mission and life work- making money is not.

I have swung a hammer, run a chainsaw, slung drinks, played a guitar, trained clients, and done a hundred other things in order to eat and keep a roof over my head. I’ve slaved in the Virginia heat and frozen outside in the Wyoming snow to make a buck…the money comes and goes.

My mission remains: to destroy illusion.

To the best of my ability, I will continue to destroy my own illusions and weaknesses and shortcomings. From there, I will do my best to help whoever can that honestly wants to better themselves, because I feel it is my responsibility to do so.

This is not because I ever wanted to be wealthy- during the inception of Operation Werewolf I lived in a cabin in the woods with no power or running water, by choice. I worked a job, and I had some money, but it was a less than important factor. The trappings were not then, and are still not a driving force in my life. I maintain a pretty simple existence, and my financial requirements are pretty small.

It is also not driven by the desire to be some kind of a “guru.” Many days I am as lost as anyone, and struggle with the same shit: stress, depression, anxiety, uncertainty for the future, on and on, ad nauseum.

It is because I am attached to the idea that this world, at this time in which we live, is progressing further into self destructive insanity, self worship, willful ignorance, conditioned opinion that has been carefully weighed and packaged and sold like a drug; and deeper into a thousand thousand distractions that grow in addictiveness and complexity each year.

I believe that all of this is negative, and that it can only be combated via what I see as the only virtues that truly matter: Strength, Honesty, Loyalty.

Because of this, I believe that anyone who can see, even slightly, through that Illusion, are bound by a responsibility to aid others who can see or wish to see through as well.

It is possible that I am just some kind of romantic, and maybe my ideas no longer have a place in this world, and perhaps nothing that I do or say or accomplish will change this world for the better or the worse.

But I choose to believe that what I do matters.

I choose to believe that I, and you, are caught up in a struggle greater than ourselves, and that struggle is one of TRUTH against FALSEHOOD and against those who spin the illusions, those for whom our awakening is undesirable.

Operation Werewolf is a threat.

It spreads ideas rapidly, information and inspiration quickly leaping like electrical arcs from one to the next, but there are no commandments. Merely a loosely affiliated worldwide phenomenon of individuals who have decided they are unsatisfied with the illusion, and have chosen to remake themselves and their world in their own way.

It is those brave ones, those rare and blazing fires in this great darkness that I am seeking out as allies, as friends.

Together, we may yet combat and defeat those who would extinguish our flames. We may yet see clearly that which exists on the far side of the obstructing veil. We may see what we are capable of becoming, and set out to become it.

Under the dread black flag, proudly emblazoned with the Totenwolf, this Operation marches ever onwards.

XCII.

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Weakness on Display

There are a few times in a man’s life where it is okay to show your vulnerability-
to set the armor down and trust someone enough not to wound you.

At my grandfather’s funeral, I saw my uncle overcome with his sadness, and cry.

At my brother’s wake, I was overcome by my own, and I cried for him, and for his father and mother,

and in remembrance of all the good times we’d had and all the good ones we would never get to have.

After an incredibly painful separation from a woman I’d been with for a decade, I spent some time traveling and drinking, coping with it in a pretty unhealthy way, until I found my way through it with the help of some brothers.

There are things that my wife and my blood know about me, or have heard me say, that I would never

say or reveal to anyone else.

This is because a man should not put his weakness or vulnerability on display for the world to see.

What is it that you are hoping for when you broadcast another failed relationship, your personal woes,

inadequacies, embarrassing shortcomings, and day to day banality?

Attention? Sympathy? A few “likes” or hallmark “feel better, I’m here for you if you need to talk” comments on your social media account?

You should be ashamed. Your fathers and your ancestors would be ashamed of you.

This constant need to broadcast not only every tiny boring detail of our day into the churning maelstrom of disgusting slop that makes up your “feed” (compare to livestock),

but to also show every weakness felt throughout your quivering existence.

To draw attention to your revolting need like a child reaches upward and wails for an adult to take pity on him because walking is too hard.

To shout, not in a strong voice “WITNESS ME” as you perform glorious deeds to awe and inspire,
but feebly, and with much cracking “notice me…please!” as you crawl in the filth of your own insecurities and revel in your weakness, seeking that attention and sympathy like a junkie sucking dick for a hit.

Before you post, speak, signal, display- ask yourself if what you are presenting is powerful, strong,

useful, inspiring, or gives meaning, hope, value, or even laughter.

If the answer is no, ask yourself- why am I displaying this for the world to see?

Am I a junkie?
Am I a child?
Am I wasting my life?

Being a man is not an automatic title achieved by whatever you’ve got between your legs.
It is an idea, an accomplishment, an understanding of the concept of VIRTUS.
Try to act like one.

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Keep the Fire Burning

This life is trial and ordeal:
You will be tested.
This world will try everything in its power to extinguish your flames and leave your ashes cold.
Opposition will rise up against you, and the struggles that you experience may sometimes threaten to overwhelm- the storms so violent and sudden that they will seem without end.
The truth is, there is no end to struggle save death.
While we live, we must commit ourselves to this understanding, and allow it to shape our approach to life as one that always comes from a place of strength.

When faced with danger, with opposition, with naked aggression, we must take care to not be caught in the cycle of constant reaction, always on the defensive and never the attack.
Act, do not react!
Assess the situation tactically, choose a battle strategy, think on your feet, execute a plan.
Do not think that everyone who smiles at you or offers a kind word is your ally- question everyone’s motives, including your own.

Know yourself through and through by examining your internal processes with a calculating and clinical eye.
Cultivate a calm strength that is confident and free of false bravado- always maintain a healthy ego that unifies who you are with who you say you are.
In a world of falsehoods, telling the truth is an act of liberation- be honest, especially with yourself, and remember not to get caught up in your own bullshit.
Separate yourself from drama and people who always seem to be surrounded by it. Avoid the perpetually broke, low energy, low motivation types, or those who are always partying.
Surround yourself with those who are intelligent, confident, successful and disciplined. It will rub off on you, if you’re lucky and smart enough to allow it.
Always push yourself a little harder each day to improve, but never apologize for who you are or what you believe in, or you’ll never stand for anything again.
Try to learn something new every day.
Practice meditation, good nutrition and exercise regularly.
Take up a martial art.
Study a language other than your native one.
Travel often, and far.

Keep this one close to your heart, and never forget it:

We have this one life to live and our time here is short and precious. We owe nothing to our enemies but our scorn, but we owe it to ourselves to live healthy and whole, all the way alive, eyes wide open and searching the horizon for the eternal.

If you’re reading this, you are one of the rare ones, and I’m talking directly to you when I say

NEVER LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN.

I’m pulling for you.

-Paul Waggener, 9.5.2016