Fang and Claw

One must prepare one’s body. This is the core of the true martial arts. All technique put to the side. The methodology of this is rarely practiced. Rarely taken to the extreme. The extreme in that such training creates a weapon vastly superior to nearly all other humans. This is not about physical fitness. This is not about weight lifting. This is not about technique training. This is the act of shifting ones being. This is the act of taking “hard” martial arts, and creating the hardest. Many of the martial arts that partake in such training are not exclusively “hard” in style. In this day and age, we are of the world that many believe “mma” training is a form or “hard” training. Rolling around on pads while striking pillows is not what I speak of. One will find what I speak of in few martial arts, especially as partaken by westerners. You will find this amongst some Kung Fu followers. Remember the “romantic” Shaolin training in movies. There is truth to this. You “may” find this in Silat, Karate and others. You “may” find this in some Muay Thai gyms. Some. The best strikers in the world you have never heard of. Styles such as these all fall into, mixed with, esoteric spiritual practices and perceptions. That is from a martial perspective: the practice of chi and energy. Of heightened combative power. A changing of biological and energetic magnitude depending upon the state of reality. We may also refer to such practice as shape-shifting. Perhaps even Berserking. Not now. Not here. This opens a path of many directions or perhaps one long path. For the study of martial energy touches upon many subjects. Empty force, depending on the degree you wish to take this. Elemental energy harnessing. As hinted upon in the Book of Five Rings, as well as a multitude of other cultures. Another, the Hindu chakra system in elemental form. The practice of energetically taking on the aspects of animals, sometimes in addition to the wearing of pelts and such. This is what is called shape shifting in an animal sense. Which is also the path of animal totems and familiars. As well as the projection of ones self in animal form. As seen in Viking sagas. Alongside actual supposed shape shifting (animal pelts and energy, etc). Yet this will touch upon the simple to grasp aspect of energetic elevation within the human. This is not simple excitement nor adrenaline. Just as Berserking became illegal under christianity, this shows the actual act was distinct. Not getting angry or adrenaline becoming aroused, as common. Regardless of ones belief. Many men will show you truth in ability. Abilities that one can not defy. If such a master performed such an incredible feat because he changed his energy to that of the Tiger. Then he did. As the practice whether magical, psychological, biological, or all, still took root to effect reality.

It is from such practices that we have the lore of the shapeshifter. Such as the “Berserker” of European history. I once read a greatly puzzling study, one of pure ignorance. Comparing the viking Berserk to soldiers “berserking” in Vietnam. This is a horrible train of thought to walk upon when studying many subjects and using such equivalent comaprision. One compares fire to ice. On one hand. You have an elite band of warriors. Individualistically proud. Warriors who wish to be were they are. Are there for personal gain. Train specifically in physical and religious practices with a sincerity you could never imagine. An attitude that would terrify you to be around. Ones who truly enjoy the domination of others in combat, killing, taking blood, in the name of spirituality. Most likely intense alchoholics, perhaps partaking in other substances with extreme tolerance. Spiritually and sincerely altering their state to berserk and come down after victory. Again and again in spiritual prowess. Seeking Valhalla. On the other hand you have a young man who is working for a pay check, or perhaps worse, drafted. Thrown into a land completely foreign to his body, hot, bug, disease infested. Fighting for a cause that has next to no effect on his homeland or personal gain. Moral as low as possible for such things. All individuality stripped. Spoken down to constantly. Fighting a force of high moral enemies. Oppossing country is actually too poverty ridden to be an actual threat far from their borders. Desiring anything but the here and now, regardless of the degree of propaganda belief. So when said american soldiers completely break down psychologically, do not compare this to the Chosen of Odin. Such ignorance. Such warped propaganda. Yet we westerners live off of propaganda day and night. When watching news to cause one to believe lies or false threat. Watching sports athletes feed you vomit you hungrily eat. Watching theatrical actors and musicians shower you in their piss. Society eats it up. With great gluttony.

Regardless of such distraction. Onward to such training techniques of importance. What I speak of revolves around combatives. What does such a thing mean? Abstract life and death situations. No form to point one into. For combatives vary. Many people immediately look to military. There are so many training curriculums. Many to stay far away from, for many are oddly influenced by MMA sport. Due to technology military combatives are not were to look, nor for the degree training is taken to. Combatives are true “free form” combat. MMA is not “free form” as many say. Such a statement is an extremely bad joke only showing ones ignorance. MMA is no longer even mixed. It is a single specific sporting style, bound under extremely caging rules. Nothing is free form of such a thing. Thus combatives are open ended, with the binding concept of killing quickly. While many MMA moves may lead to death and breakage, it takes too long to cause, and causes one to be extremely vulnerable. This is poison to combatives. Both attacker and attacked must understand consequence. Something you learned in the gym might have just given someone probable cause to defend themselves as if life is threatened, or body is to be maimed. Blades and guns are common. There is evidence of this on video. Be very careful what you learn. Understand what you are being attacked with and to the degree you may defend. Many submissions performed with criminal intent can be countered with knife attacks, maiming, etc. Understand your rights. This is not the Octagon.

What is killing quickly? Techniques that have an immediate effect of ending threat. Specific targets trained again and again. Knee, neck, face, wrist, testicle. With the perspective that one is willing to bite their enemies testicles off with their teeth. Knees are to be broken with striking, immediately collapsing opponent, the same move again and again, executed with the perfection of tens of thousands of practice strikes. Necks stun or kill in an absolute way, dislocation of throat,etc. The face is to be maimed, and focused on in ground combat. The wrist controls the entire body. The wrist is to be focused on in ground combat. Testicles self explanatory. Very important in ground combat. Punching is to be frowned upon, unless gauntleted in some form. One is to use the open palm strikes leading to pokes, tears, and clawing. With such strikes we break coconuts and stone. Pinching is of horrendous effect upon the body. Onward and onward. If you have a knife use it. A gun, use it. Laws are to be mastered above all else. Evasion and escape of first importance.

The body is to be forged to cause such combative perspective to be horrible. There are countless ways to practice such a thing. This has been developed over many years. The most important is the formation the Claw. Many may call this iron fist techniques. I use granite blocks. Hammer fisted repeatedly. Open palm strike. Finger tip strike. The grip is to trained to death. I grasp said granite blocks until they slip from my grasp with shaking hands. For this causes the grip to be as death. The finger tips to harden even more, and ones pinching able to tear away flesh from body. Again and again. Until the hand is as a claw. The body must be struck repeatedly. I use an oaken staff. At least one hundred times in such a session per target. Targets should consist of the rib cage. The inner and outer upper leg. The shins. The upper arms. The shoulders. The collarbone. The solar plexus, etc. Strike the wooden pell. Not a swinging punching pillow sports style. Knee strikes, elbows, heel, shins, forearms, knuckles to a degree, head to a degree.  Always practice the bending of metal with ever stronger metal. It is this training that forges the body into a power that no technique will ever create. Such training causes a shift in perspective. A shift in energy when such training is undertaken. For the martial way is one of shifting shape. Shifting intent.

Technique of course is of great importance. As we all must practice a technique. For the “combative” only practitioners are typically a martial arts disgrace. Therefore I train in specific styles. Attempting to capture the heart of the style while training. Ringen, Muay Boran, and Budo are the martial arts I study. Combatives what I express as my own understanding. For Ringen teaches one to deal with force and control ones body under sincere environments as the art is expressed from. Muay Boran teaches one the power of striking, and what it forces your body to become. Budo technically teaches one the importance of the wrist, that one controls life in his enemies wrists (obviously amongst other things) and combative distance. Budo teaches one the power of the Shadow. For combatively I must strike from stealth and Shadow, contacting with the frenzy and wrath of the Berserker. A metaphor for all aspects of life…

Enigmatic Witchcraft

Revised Excerpt from Consume Thyself

Historic Witchcraft is a sub section of European Christianity. A form of Folk Christianity and magical beliefs combined with medieval/renaissance/modern era folklore and evolved from Pagan influences. With variation across lands. Having many similarities, such as fairy belief, yet no set “way”. Many folk of the land would know more about local folklore than the mythology of the Bible. In a sense their “Folk Christianity” could be considered a sub section of Folklore and magic. Typical history is always written from the viewpoint and about the aristocracy. When studying the religion of Europe, one often studies the religion of the upper and “middle” class. This is an extremely small percentage of the spiritual understanding of a land. This is something to deeply understand in all aspects of historical and anthropological study… Some lands are far closer to their pagan timeline than others. There is “folkloric” healing,cursing, charming, protection, visions, shape shifting, projection, familiars, etc. existent in “backwater” regions of Europe during the past centuries from medieval to modern era, yet this is not necessarily witchcraft, as witchcraft is only such when accused or able to be accused. Therefore there is no set “way” of witchcraft. A multitude of folkloric elements and true beliefs that become demonized by Christian authorities, or sometimes demonized by practitioners. Witchcraft as a true term is only relevant to Europe, the “Europeans” of It’s colonies and Christianity, other cultures and lands falling under something different. Just as North American native priests were described by the English as being similar to witches, never witches themselves. Which also brings forth the insight that “witches” were doing something distinct and recognizable for such comparison. Too much to be written of here. Many folkloric elements of “witchcraft lands” are vastly gone, save common “things” that are found even in modern western society, such as ghosts, folk medicine, many abrahamic religious beliefs, etc. Yet at the same time in some “remote” lands in Europe there are still many “witch like” practices, if such authorities existed modernly and wished to accuse. Folkloric beliefs and aspects that involve animal sacrifice, herbal practices, protections, etc. These are all aspects of Folk Christianity, just as historic witchcraft was a form of Folk Christianity, inspired by evolved European Pagan folklore and ways. There is so much overlap, so much grey… To be inspired through a personal path of western pagan mythology modernly is not witchcraft. There is no such thing as systematic ritual magic, as in one plus one equals two. As the projection and empowerment of ones intent varies with each individual, alongside ever changing meanings and inspirations(empowerment) of various “ingredients.” Save technical substances with technically true aspects. The ritual is only for the self or those viewing and/or participating in the result of performance art. There are acts of social and solitude empowerment that each must find for themselves. Is one spiritually able to influence the world around them? Or is one forming a powerful course of action before action, thus influencing the world around them? Perhaps both? Ask oneself? Trance/Altered states open up a complicated web of understanding. Able to be viewed from the realms of psychology to the realms of spirituality and magic. Both seeking to express the same actual act, whether the trance itself or ‘spiritual projection’. This leads into the study of psychics and energy, whether old or new as is typically the case, whether from psychology or magic. This is the “foundation” of any magic use, attempts and results within all cultures, if viewing psychics and energy as cultureless. Such a belief, real magic, matters nothing of the opinions of others.

Modern witchcraft is what it is, yet equally is what it is not. There is large variation within such an expression. From those seeking to pull from historic understanding to those claiming expression from entirely different continents. From a liberal safe place of anything goes, to a conservative approach of secrecy and source seeking. What the neo-creators of many such paths created, has spun into something entirely different over the decades, to become a liberal movement that was never intended. There are inspirations from victorian theatrics in nearly all these paths that have nothing to do with any sort of continuation of real historic expression. Although victorian artistic expression is also an expression of past folklore, folklore an extension of past influences. Thus, whatever neo witchcraft is, it is also not. Just as the old, there is no set “way”. Nor a set expression of self. Neo witchcraft is a free for all of anything goes, recently pulling a modern political approach of liberality. Many practitioners expressing a practice of self empowering theatrics and artistic symbolism of others, that left to their own right carry no power. Another subject is of Hermeticism, what it was historically and everything it was not. Hermeticism (Hermes is not Wotan), Alchemy and Kabbalahish practices have nothing to do with Historic Witchcraft, and for the most part have little to do with the historic versions of themselves. As one will grasp unto the neo/victorian forms of such things, seeking continuation. A side note, the fantasy genre is not an expansion of folklore or mythology, it is the rape and butchery of folklore and mythology. On another end of the spectrum you have the “black mass” types. Who seek the past accusations cast from christianity, whether past accusations sometimes real or often pulled from tortured tongues. Simply seeking short lasting rebellion. For they believe the black metal they listen to, being a satanist, etc, is intimidating or powerful. A reminder of a few theatrical victorian fakes in an abstract way. Regardless, “some” of the neo-witchcraft spectrum. Not an extension of the historic.

There are many aspects of history continued through time, artistic and spiritual expression, cultural expression, etc. that have a place of timelessness. There are many that do not. As humans one must decide for themselves, time will decide the rest.

Indomitable Way

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The Kanabo. A powerful symbol. A powerful artifact. Stirring images of terrifying Oni standing all powerful and invincible in combat. A symbol that enflames stories of mythology and spirituality. An image of Japanese martial arts and culture. Yet what is the kanabo? What is the Art? This will be a writing first of martial art expression, followed by mythological inspiration.

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The kanabo comes in many various shapes and sizes, as do many weapons. The immediate feature is the desire to break bone. The martial art? Kanabojutsu, does not necessarily exist. Yet it’s image permeates Japanese martial arts. Pictured is a kanabo I have recently made. Measuring seven feet in length, carved of Oak. One is to use the edge for striking, the studs add weight. 1 3/4” in girth upon squared section. Although made as a practice weapon, it is equally deadly. For a true battle weapon I would prefer one entirely of steel. Designed a particular way. This is the first piece of a matching set, including an Odachi, Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto all made of Oak. The first time I will use Japanese practice tools tailored to my length. These ones will have rounded edges suitable for sparring, at least sparring with the smaller. One can imagine full contact Kanabo sparring. Or greatsword, great axe, etc, equally translated from originals in weight and form. This can not entirely be done, someone will die or be maimed regardless of protection, regardless of wood or steel. ‘True War weapons’ against armour are such for a reason, armour becomes a cage you die in… Anyways, my original practice “Kanabo” is one naturally created. An oak tree cut down by a beaver I found floating in the river while running many years ago. Naturally shaped as a six foot baseball bat. I can not express the power this new one expresses as it is weilded. Yet, how does one wield such a thing? There is no such true form of kanabojutsu. Kanobodo. Yet to speak of the two, does not the Jutsu of any form, lead to a Do, if one stays true to path… Regardless, my pursuit Is what it Is. My continued pursuit of mastery lies in the Western martial arts. Because of my constant training with the greatsword, I am able to apply this ability to the kanabo. There are many similarities between Samurai swordsmanship and Knightly swordsmanship. Yet more differences. Immediately due to technology. The core of All martial arts is the same. We are all stuck within the human body. There is much to learn in Kenjutsu, and all it’s styles, yet much to ignore in a combative sense, as with all martial arts, Hema included. Training variations of beauty and creativity aside, as these ways will give greater understanding of control, and we all do such things and should. Many eastern arts suffer from a large amount of choreography, taking this no further. Yes, many of these demonstrations are beautiful, yet there is so much to filter out when it comes to simply cutting a stranger as quickly as possible while staying unharmed, while said stranger is also attempting to do the same to you. The eastern arts suffer from ‘fencing around’ as intensely as the western. Techniques piled atop one another, simply too many additions for the sake of impressing the ignorant. Many Kenjutsu demonstrations are highly involved with Iaijutsu. While attractive, such a thing has its limitations in impressiveness, especially when the swords are short aluminum, as they often are. It has very little to do with the actual duel or battlefield, save switching after losing your pole arm. And perhaps assassinating someone who allows you too close as they trust you. After understanding and much practice, the design of the sword allows the scabbard to literally not exist. Therefore it is what it is. I prefer the Kenjutsu, as what actually happens between fighting men. I see Iaijutsu as simply an additional aspect to learn. Kendo is were to take ones sight in straight forward use. Or any full contact sparring use of Kenjutsu, old and new. There is Kendo and Kendo. The sport and the Way. The Way stands alone. The sport simply an extension. If you wish to see some of the greatest swordsmen in the world move, watch the peak of Kendo, although remember the weight and balance of the ‘swords’. Of course they are not acting as if in a real sword fight, nor targeting in such a way, yet the skill obviously translates more than choreography. As it is not routine practiced choreography. One thing I appreciate of Kendo tournaments is the length of match, as well as the stamping and ‘noises’ made. Mine developed more from low rolling growls changing magnitude during Muay Boran training. I really appreciate the ‘Kamikaze pitched’ yell of the Japanese. Western sport swordsmanship should take the round length into consideration, even extending matches to ten minutes, allowing fighters to tire if weak, truly testing them. It is much easier to score points in the longsword as the entire body is the target, this is not the same of Kendo. Such long matches would have a high point score. Yet only produce a greater expression of average, leaving less to chance, more to overall consistent skill and perseveance. Yet back to the kanabo. The kanabo is not a greatsword, as I constantly use. Nor any type of sword for that matter. For in the greatsword I find the deep desire to cut over striking. With the kanabo one must strike. In pursuit of the kanabo, one must know the sword first and foremost, for the sword is the door to all weapons. Next would be the equal understanding of the Bo. For with no blade, the kanabo can be used in such manner on many occasions. It is the combination, yet neither of these arts that one will find the kanabo. Such is viewed in old Japanese art. It desires to be “Fenced around” with, yet equally desires the “one inch punch”. Against armour it will devastate, especially Japanese armour, which is quite questionable in standard of protection and overall design function. Design beauty is amazing. There is much to compare technologically and write of, another time. Although this is why their armour technology changed when contact was made with Europeans. Give me a stout Oaken staff against a knight in full armour, and I will feel great confidence with no armour on. I will wield the staff as a greatsword… Just like a kanabo. The key truly lies in the training, to become such a being. An Oni so to speak. No, it will not give you huge swollen muscles. Do not inflate with supplements, simply for psychological strength. Train outside barefoot and bare shirt upon dirt as much as possible. Use granite blocks with awkward grips and such things. The actual weight of the kanabo is light in comparison to ‘everyday weight lifters’ and your daily reps should be in the hundreds and thousands. The torque of the wrists and strength of grip is another given strength all together. You will appear harder than any ‘sole body builder’ over time. Wiry and animalistic. Not swollen and soft of combative energy. It is energetically obvious who does what. Of course one should lift heavy weight in pursuit of combat prowess. Simply balance as to not become combatively weaker.

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What is it to become Oni? My first thoughts of imagination pull towards Shugendo. The Way of training and testing. A “hermitic” path of wilderness meditation, martial training (for many) and testing such things. Historically these men would be associated with aspects of spirituality such as the Yokai. Tengu and Oni. Both being wilderness embodiments. Feared and mysterious. Possessing powers Unknown to those of society. Thus these Shugendo practitioners are seen as something otherworldly. And what is the pursuit of martial arts than to unleash ones true Dragon, if dragon is what you wish to express. Oni ‘translates’ to many “things” westernly. Daemon, troll, ogre, giant etc. If taken into western understanding. First off, universalism in mythology carries countless flaws. In my mythological narrative, the closest comparable entity of the Oni would be the European Giant. I have written of the giant previously in depth. Jotunn. Yet there are many cultural options to attach such a being to in a universal expression. Does Daemon even have anything to do with Oni or the European pagan folkloric and mythological beings as ogres, trolls and giants? Are the latter even comparable to one another? Or is Daemon simply a Christian term used to brand everything non Christian, and still falsely used today to express understanding from other cultures. Daemon, what does such a thing truly mean? Does it even translate easternly? The word is Greek, the understanding is a supernatural being, not quite god, not quite human yet part of the human being, neither good nor evil by nature, yet sometimes one or the other, sometimes both. This has little to do with the pigeon hole nature of “later” abrahamic thought, using a word for their own cultural expression of something else. Sounds similar to forms of the Fey, to forms of the Yokai, the Giants, etc. If one wishes to be universalists in approach, yet keep the narrative somewhat similar. Thus the Christian “demon” becomes it’s own unique entity. The Greek Daemon is something all men may become, to understand. For what is the Id, the Dragon, the Giant. What is the base natural self when put into a hostile environment, just as what is such a thing when put into a loving environment? What is it when one enters combat of life and death? What natural aspect of self, yet extremely developed to be found, for how disconnected is the human being? Driven by ego, never coming close to touching what it really is capable of… Thus such warriors as the Shugenja become the Oni, the Tengu. Thus they are feared. This reminds me of the Ulfhednar ,Berserkers and Svinfylking of the sagas, as well as many other existing, living human expressions, simply in a generalized, flawed manner. There is the saying “Like giving a club to an Oni”. As in, now one is unstoppable. Ones power greatly enhanced. Indomitable. These wild haired, power enhanced, club bearing Oni brings one sight towards other similar mythological images. Mighty Thor with with magical hammer Mjolnir, wild and red haired. Samson the Judge, power ridden long locked haired, Nazarite from birth, wielding the jawbone and slaughtering thousands of enemies. Herakles, of the “long-haired Achaeans”, locked and bearded as depicted in original art. Fighting with his great club, able to impregnate fifty woman in one night. Symbols of Masculine power and dominance. The Oni also brings to mind the greatly misunderstood Grendel. Grendel being an embodiment of many berserker ‘dark’ qualities. Grendel and the berserker Beowulf being two sides of the same entity. It is my belief the origins of this story are extremely “Odinic.” Grendel being stealth, night, silent killing, cannibalism, etc. Just as the Oni are also ghostly, shadowy entities, as well as enraged animalistic field standing combatants. The true evil of the Beowulf epic were the warriors of Herot hall. Grendel being a man living in the swamps, who became something vastly powerful, sent to punish such decadence… another time. Always allow all mythological symbols to stand as they are. In the beginning and end, an Oni is an Oni. The ‘hero with a thousand faces’ theory, I am extremely against based upon many reasons. It is naive and ignorant of time, culture, historical figures, human psychology and creativity. Mine is the ‘thousand heroes with the face of humanity’ theory. Perhaps another time.

One must constantly test oneself, for oneself, against oneself. Soon will be the ‘day of ten thousand sorrows’. That is ten thousand kanabo strikes in a timely manner, “fencing around”, completed in a Japanese style… Oni Kanabodo… Previously it was three thousand ‘Thai kicks’ to taped pads upon the pell. What begins as endurance, becomes a test of pain and blood. Training is The Way, testing is The Way. There is no single definition to express The Way. “I am because I am not.”

Lone Warrior

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A true martial artist must often study alone. For alone is as we spend most of our time. It is in this solitude that we develop particular methods and regimes, tailored specifically for the individual. A habit of training style that revolves around life. I pull large amounts of inspiration from mythology in all pursuits of life. Just as mythology is a large bases for any religion, any way, any spirituality, any cultural expression of self outside of modern times. For today’s mythology is bound to the glowing boxes, bound to slavery and desire of the mob. No longer the cultural expression of self. Therefore the desire of the martial artist is to find something outside of this lowness of the human desire. This is the bases of martial arts. To guide us above, perhaps away. While grounding us to truthful action and behaviour. To seek more than the temporary pride and disgust of the mobs desire and the desire for the mob… My method is of the Lone Warrior. This is not simply the aspect of training alone as one must often do to obtain true mastery of self. This lies in mythology. This lies in technical understanding and practice. This is my way.

Mythologically I am most inspired by the aspect of the Lone Warrior. In a way, this is the core of European mythological traditions. Norse mythology, a final recording of European paganism, a recording, not a way. As that has been lost, never to be found. When studying such a thing, a key figure is the Einherjar, that is the Lone Warrior. Not the Single Warrior, in reference to one battle, this is modern armchair weak gibberish. The aspect of Lone is great importance. Just as Thor is ‘He who rides alone’. The greatest of Northern European champions The Hound, the key character of our greatest epic, is a face of this Lone Warrior aspect. As he stands alone against all. A terrifying yet beautiful champion. With strange personality traits of artistic behaviour, bearing and words, extreme introverting and extreme extroverting. Sensitivity that when exposed to such a life as that time, caused extreme changes in behaviour. Locked in complete psychosis in a way due to cultural upbringing and beliefs. Humble and honorable, proud and beautiful. Yet his bravery, his way, the teachings of the story, speak that one must be able to stand alone. This is the key element of many northern European myths. The cultural ways. The Einherjar are chosen champions. Lone Warriors, for they are capable of such a thing. Many men are not. Many men need the group, the tribe, to function and feel importance. This is not a bad thing, however one must be able to be the Lone. For this is were true strength develops. From your shield, not those besides you. This becomes more and more important as time becomes modern. As neighbors are no longer such a thing, and in a way, there are very few allies to be had in a modern capitalist society, and none of the same sex seen through the entire life. Thus we see the Lone warrior again and again. The archetype expressed in a multitude of ways. The ways of solitude and strength are expressed in many cultures, for there is much to find. A teaching that is to be harnessed. A teaching that is again and again bound to such a mythology.

Let us role-play momentarily into such a mindset as the Einherjar. First and foremost, there is no such thing as a religion as the men followed in today’s time. What religion it was, we do not know. We simply have later recorded mythologies, presumably attaching the stories to a remnant of a religion. Perspective: Consume Thyself. If so, we will continue. Such men truly believed in the afterlife of Valhalla. To live a life of worth to enter such a realm. What type of life, may be more open ended ethically that one could ever imagine. And please be real with such understanding, such things are not romantic and many aspects thoroughly disgusting during such a time. This does not apply to every man, only the cultural mob. This is why I truly stand by The Hounds Way, for this was an honourable and upstanding example of humanity and the martial Way. Regardless, the Einherjar must constantly prepare for the events of Ragnarok, there in lies the martial arts. Yet these men were not to face other men. They were to face the Jotnar. The mighty eaters of flesh. Powerful and hungry. Ravagers of the world, the bane of mankind. This was to be understood while living. Destined to face such opponents. Destined to pursue such prowess to stand ready in life, and afterwards death. And therefore it would be the warriors desire to obtain this ability, this prowess. To be found worthy of Valhalla.

Martial Arts. What type of training, we do not know. In such a culture you find particular weapons. The type of weapons you train with dictate what you become. The Dane Axe is a prevalent weapon found within such a culture, as well as far before. Artistically represented and by artifact into the bronze age. The Great Weapon. A weapon of the aristocratic elite. For training with such a thing is a Way unto itself. Training with such a weapon changes the body into its own aspect. Capable of standing against many, or something vastly more powerful than you. A weapon of the Lone Warrior. This brings to light the heroism, regardless of perspective, of the Lone Warrior of Stamford bridge, undoubtably armed with a Dane Axe. This also brings to mind the mythological aspect of the greatsword in later times as hinted at in the Goliath Fightbook. For the greatsword allowed one to stand against something vastly powerful. To both be Goliath and David. To both be the Giant and the Giant slayer. Just as the Einherjar. There is great power both martially and symbolically of such a weapons.

Technically speaking, I am obsessed with such a weapon. The greatsword, the greataxe, etc. It is my training of such weapons that have truly forced my Way. My mindest and fighting spirit. One must train day in and day out to understand what I speak of. Take your reps extremely high, hundreds, sometime thousands. Both fencing around and not. These weapons hold great power. Power of health, body and mind. You will not desire vast bulk, as ignorant understanding wishes to perceive in its calculation of combative strength, Such practice will not make you appear this way, especially when seeking to truly become your best with such weapons. The observant can tell were one puts there time and effort. What energy is combative and what energy is not. Simply do, and you will discover. As it is difficult to express. A few days ago a practiced with a longsword for the first time in three months, it felt as a knife. This makes such a thing very deadly. The constant use of a great weapon changes your psychology. That you could truly stand against something vastly more powerful than you, for you too hold such power in a different way, when weapon and body are one. Every weapon comes alive, every weapon wielded with ease, in a way you will never understand unless you dedicate yourself to the great weapon. This is not only bound to European martial arts. I am passionate of many Japanese arts as well. The Kanabo a powerful symbol and tool… The way of such a ‘Way’ truly creates an archetype, a power source to energize life. In that the great weapon is a Way unto itself. Impossible to express to those who do not know. Repetition upon repetition. The spirit to stand against something vastly powerful. The spirit to stand against many. The spirit to stand alone.

Martial Archetypes

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The path of martial arts brings one’s sight towards warriors of old. Inspirations, so to speak, of past men. Whether Samurai of Japan, Knights of Europe, etc, there is always an archetype lingering over the traditions. Yet when viewing these past men, it is important to see truth, and understand ones inspiration. Understand ones time. The truth is, that as modern men, true modern practitioners of martial arts, we are often above these past men in quality of character. Yet what of ability? This is up to the practitioner. You must sift through the fantasy and truth. Understand the archetype of the art.

When studying history, one must understand the truth and quality of men. That is the disgust of mankind and our behavior, if you choose to learn the details. A perfect example is the modern obsession with vikings. This is so lost and disconnected from reality to be laughable. The vikings were horrible people on average. I speak of the mob. They were not unique, everyone at this time, on average, was a horrible person. The knowledge that we have of their true religious rites, later mythology recordings aside, are quite disgusting and unneccesary. Acts of social dominance and fear that have little place within an enlightened society. Yes, the old laws of Christianity were often horrendous, yet the ways of paganism were often far worse. This goes hand in hand with the false aspect of feminism and viking times. This may be the most ignorant romance of modern minds and history. Sexism within norse society was extreme. The idea of a shield maiden is one of mythology. The pagan truth of mythological woman attendants in the hall is a representation of the actual countless sex slaves held by chieftains, shared with his warriors, serving the mens food. Funeral rites when such chieftains died were disgusting, slaves recorded to be raped and sacrificed, sent alongside their chieftains. This was not a society that valued women as you would wish to believe. Women fighting in old war is a romantic and fantasy driven concept. I speak of the warfield. Women can become great combatants/duelers with blades, thus perhaps the true shield maiden, the extreme rarity. Yet, within the shield wall, or any formation of close combat, this falls apart. This is simply nature at work, there were no sports supplements then. Most modern minds can not even properly imagine close combat in a reality based sense. Therefor are not envisioning what I speak of. Many examples could be given. The viking romance is only a romance. They are not unique, so many cultures through history are this way. This is the end perspective of history, to be completely jaded and disgusted by it all. Samurai of Japan are similarly lost in romance. The qualities of these men, their actions. The laws of Samurai Japan when one understands, there is nothing romantic here. Nor nothing too unique, regardless of religion or not, men will always be monsters. The same can be said of Knights of Europe, on and on.

So, what is it that inspires us? Truthfully it often comes down to artistic style and idealism. Idealism, in the sense that very few strove to high standards as human beings. That some men were worthy of respect. That “these” Knights truly followed chivalry to the grave. That “these” Samurai truly followed Bushido in a righteous way. Vikings who embodied the higher aspects of the later recorded Thor, I want to believe. These men are worth inspiration. One must always remember, the “average”, was nothing but disgust. Artistic style drives much of what humans partake in. What it is we are attracted to. For example, I really enjoy the style of medieval and renaissance Ireland and Scotland. The arms and styles of the Gallowglass. From the early Scottish “aristocratic” warriors, to the later native Irish “recruitment ” fighters. Am I inspired by the average Gallowglass. Of course not. The average was an ignorant brute, destined to live a short life, trained “quickly”(especially of the later), and cared nothing of right from wrong. His life was valued equally to his equipment. He was replaceable. It is up to command, and the veteran/clansmen immediately surrounding him, to be the intelligent ones (hopefully), this is why they filter into command. Are there a few that lived worthy of respect of character and true skill? Yes. Were most simple idiots, meat to fill armour and form a wall of axes? Yes. Therefore the old style appeals, simply as a modern perspective. This is the ideal of vikings for instance. It is the appeal of the artistic style that holds sway over us. Not the appeal of their truths. The romance of their mythologies, which were romantically recorded at the time of writing. Never facts of a religion and ritual. In the sense of artistic appeal, the Vendels are far more inspiring, the “pre-vikings”. The same I would say of the Landsknechts, and their great swords. Inspiring artistically, yet most falling short in truth. The Doppelsoldner being the backbone of skill amongst them. Same words to write of as the Gallowglass.

As modern martial artists, we are above most of these men. Our minds, our intelligence, our creativity, our diets, our fitness, and oftentimes, our martial ability. Does this make us greater combatants, that is up to you. For ones martial arts ability does not always translate into the ability to quickly win. This is the ability of the man. For this day, men are weaker in this sense, far weaker. The success of society has broken us. We have become limp and incapable on a mass scale, not all, simply many. Ever decreasing generation from generation. The strange hormonal exposure found within commercialized diets have affected all humans eating such a way. The combinations of such factors are taking a heavy toll on natural balances or lack of. Partake as you wish. Yet equally, we are still the same monsters. Controlled, hidden, veiled. Kept in line with just law. What would happen if such law was lifted? Well, horrible things would happen. For it is our natural behavior to act with disgust and hate. To dominate those weaker and create pain. This is the nature of the mob. Never to be trusted. The mob is always low and ignorant. It is the responsibility of righteous men, leaders and higher examples who stand above the mob, to control the mob. Therefore the control exerted upon society is a necessary one. Humanity does not deserve anything else.

Thus in this world of martial archetypes, understand the truth. Most importantly, create your own archetype. Take the greatest aspects of everything that inspires you. Everything that stands true and tall. Combine it all into a pillar of higher humanity and conciousness. Will it stand as unique and new? Of course not, there is not such thing. We only continue to build and develop what was. Therefore choose with honour. Truly become. Become your own Archetype.

Art: Gallowglass Concept, 2011

Consume Thyself

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How does one begin to write of spirituality? Perhaps at the end. Perhaps staying at the surface. Writing about anything in a spiritual nature is truly an impossible task. To openly speak or write of it is fallacy. Without consuming myself, or perhaps because I have consumed myself, there are breadcrumbs to write of, yet never gather. This is why true spiritual texts are written in poetic form, difficult to understand, woven within myth, a combination of history and story. Esoteric in an abstract sense, until more easily defined for the masses. Yet when approaching the word esoteric in a modern perspective, you enter into a world of fraud, lost minds, delusional concepts, and overall comedy. When studying the realms of mythology outside of the major world religions, held within a spiritual perspective, you are met with fantasy and chaos of the modern mind. Therefore, I write of modern esotericism.

When someone wishes to teach of such a thing, one only teaches of the self. A path that works for one person, attempting to capture it within whatever symbolism or mythology inspiring one. All religious paths dwelve into the self. Something is esoteric, known by few, as it typically pertains to very few. As each is seeking self understanding. Just as every religious teaching that has any worth to self improvement can be explained entirely within the realm of psychology, or entirely within the realm of the spirit. The goal is to find the balance.

My deep interest lies within spiritual western traditions. Perhaps tradition is not the right word. What tradition? My deep interest lies within western mythology. It is within these mythologies that we have an insight, an inspiration into western spirituality, yet only an insight. Pagan mythology is always recorded by the hands of “early” western Christianity. That is Catholicism. It is not that teachings within Christianity have been changed to be corrupted. As with all religions, teachings are manifested to inspire the culture and lands containing them. Therefore Christianity is westernized, as opposed to other Abrahamic traditions. Cast upon a pagan land, the forms of religion become somewhat pagan in approach. These are the saints and paths of Catholicism, leading towards God. Just as no pagan god recorded actually fits the role of an all encompassing God. Thus this is the western tradition that is cast in stone, these mythologies. All else is lost in mist. To believe otherwise is dillusion. There is an attempt at casting such pagan mythologies as a true form of religion. This is a complicated concept to delve into. For the closest thing one can grab unto is the past, that left very little, and that what it left, be very careful of… The idea of modern Norse or Celtic paganism is vastly one wrapped in romance. Throughout the century, from victorian era onward, you have theatrical fakes, projecting out “magic” and such western unorthodox and “surface universal” systems unto this mythological timeline. When looking at these mens works and acts, it is easy to see that there is nothing to respect or listen to. Simply an act of rebellion within society to cause an effect pleasing to few.

Thus we walk into terms such as shamanism, magic, witchcraft, etc. If one can openly speak of such a thing in spiritual objectiveness, one has missed the point and should not speak. For there is little to say. Rehashing the ideas of new books means little. Putting western mythologies atop eastern spiritual beliefs does not create the term you speak of. There are many eastern beliefs of warrant, that have similarities, as we are all humans. Shinto is a good example, yet stands alone as Shinto. The aestic paths of the Hindu’s another, yet the watered down perspective of such cults in the western modern understanding is worth little mention. Hinduism while a mixture of an Indo-European mythology combined with native Indian mythology, is still an “Eastern” mythology. Shamanism of Siberia, as this is what Shamanism is. We use the term shamanism modernly, to apply to an understanding of many cultures. While similar “practice” can be seen in many lands, the terms would vary vastly throughout culture, as well as the expression of ritual. While all of these offer insights into the world of spirituality, they still stand as what they are, within their own culture. While many cultures may seek the same “thing” as humans, the expression of art belongs to said culture. Inspiring, yes. To be called a different term, no.

Historic Witchcraft is a sub section of European Christianity. A form of Folk Christianity and magical beliefs combined with medieval/renaissance/modern era folklore and evolved from Pagan influences. With variation across lands. Having many similarities, such as fairy belief, yet no set “way”. Many folk of the land would know more about local folklore than the mythology of the Bible. In a sense their “Folk Christianity” could be considered a sub section of Folklore and magic. Typical history is always written from the viewpoint and about the aristocracy. When studying the religion of Europe, one often studies the religion of the upper and “middle” class. This is an extremely small percentage of the spiritual understanding of a land. This is something to deeply understand in all aspects of historical and anthropological study… Some lands are far closer to their pagan timeline than others. There is “folkloric” healing,cursing, charming, protection, visions, shape shifting, projection, familiars, etc. existent in “backwater” regions of Europe during the past centuries from medieval to modern era, yet this is not necessarily witchcraft, as witchcraft is only such when accused or able to be accused. Therefore there is no set “way” of witchcraft. A multitude of folkloric elements and true beliefs that become demonized by Christian authorities, or sometimes demonized by practitioners. Witchcraft as a true term is only relevant to Europe, the “Europeans” of It’s colonies and Christianity, other cultures and lands falling under something different. Just as North American native priests were described by the English as being similar to witches, never witches themselves. Which also brings forth the insight that “witches” were doing something distinct and recognizable for such comparison. Too much to be written of here. Many folkloric elements of “witchcraft lands” are vastly gone, save common “things” that are found even in modern western society, such as ghosts, folk medicine, many abrahamic religious beliefs, etc. Yet at the same time in some “remote” lands in Europe there are still many “witch like” practices, if such authorities existed modernly and wished to accuse. Folkloric beliefs and aspects that involve animal sacrifice, herbal practices, protections, etc. These are all aspects of Folk Christianity, just as historic witchcraft was a form of Folk Christianity, inspired by evolved European Pagan folklore and ways. There is so much overlap, so much grey… To be inspired through a personal path of western pagan mythology modernly is not witchcraft. There is no such thing as systematic ritual magic, as in one plus one equals two. As the projection and empowerment of ones intent varies with each individual, alongside ever changing meanings and inspirations(empowerment) of various “ingredients.” Save technical substances with technically true aspects. The ritual is only for the self or those viewing and/or participating in the result of performance art. There are acts of social and solitude empowerment that each must find for themselves. Is one spiritually able to influence the world around them? Or is one forming a powerful course of action before action, thus influencing the world around them? Perhaps both? Ask oneself? Trance/Altered states open up a complicated web of understanding. Able to be viewed from the realms of psychology to the realms of spirituality and magic. Both seeking to express the same actual act, whether the trance itself or ‘spiritual projection’. This leads into the study of psychics and energy, whether old or new as is typically the case, whether from psychology or magic. This is the “foundation” of any magic use, attempts and results within all cultures, if viewing psychics and energy as cultureless. Such a belief, real magic, matters nothing of the opinions of others.

Modern witchcraft is what it is, yet equally is what it is not. There is large variation within such an expression. From those seeking to pull from historic understanding to those claiming expression from entirely different continents. From a liberal safe place of anything goes, to a conservative approach of secrecy and source seeking. What the neo-creators of many such paths created, has spun into something entirely different over the decades, to become a liberal movement that was never intended. There are inspirations from victorian theatrics in nearly all these paths that have nothing to do with any sort of continuation of real historic expression. Although victorian artistic expression is also an expression of past folklore, folklore an extension of past influences. Thus, whatever neo witchcraft is, it is also not. Just as the old, there is no set “way”. Nor a set expression of self. Neo witchcraft is a free for all of anything goes, recently pulling a modern political approach of liberality. Many practitioners expressing a practice of self empowering theatrics and artistic symbolism of others, that left to their own right carry no power. Another subject is of Hermeticism, what it was historically and everything it was not. Hermeticism (Hermes is not Wotan), Alchemy and Kabbalahish practices have nothing to do with Historic Witchcraft, and for the most part have little to do with the historic versions of themselves. As one will grasp unto the neo/victorian forms of such things, seeking continuation. A side note, the fantasy genre is not an expansion of folklore or mythology, it is the rape and butchery of folklore and mythology. On another end of the spectrum you have the “black mass” types. Who seek the past accusations cast from christianity, whether past accusations sometimes real or often pulled from tortured tongues. Simply seeking short lasting rebellion. For they believe the black metal they listen to, being a satanist, etc, is intimidating or powerful. A reminder of a few theatrical victorian fakes in an abstract way. Regardless, “some” of the neo-witchcraft spectrum. Not an extension of the historic.

There are many aspects of history continued through time, artistic and spiritual expression, cultural expression, etc. that have a place of timelessness. There are many that do not. As humans one must decide for themselves, time will decide the rest.

There is no such thing as modern Norse Paganism continued from were the old left off, especially the word Norse Shamanism people strangely use today. We know very little of real Norse Paganism, and what we do know, well, be careful. You are not viking, not even close. If you truly believe you are dealing with Odin, you may wish to take off the costume before viewing the mirror. This is not victorian fantasy. Celtic Paganism is even more lost. The word Druid that is used is strange. Having an earth centered spirituality is a very common and respectable thing within the world, nothing new, overlapping it atop celtic mythologies does not create Druidism. Yet it does create something new. This can go on and on. There are a multitude of “Eastern” European neo-pagan beliefs. While many of the spiritualities fall closer upon the timeline of paganism, especially the Baltic states, the same aspects of the west apply to the east. What you will find in many Eastern European countries is a closer relationship with folkloric beliefs far into the modern era, especially amongst the peasants as as opposed to many of the lands of western Europe. Although many lands of Western Europe were equally rooted in folkloric belief. This is not a continuation of paganism, it is folkloric belief, developed from paganism, combined with Christianity, the embodiment of development and time. A form of Folk Christianity. There is much to be explored in this understanding of Eastern European folklore and spirituality.

The modern esoteric paths are ripe and many. Many are falsehoods and fantasy, manipulations of history. Do the gods, ancestral spirits, psychological concepts, cultural values, embodiments of nature, whatever you desire to view, exist? Existence is never to be defined by human words. Men and women do seek this existence modernly. And therefore there is a “way” that exist because of this, if only a misguided trend for many.  This is something new, disconnected from the old term, the old way. One must always understand this. There is no gap to be bridged of time, for a bridge requires sight of two sides. Yet in this newness there is existence. In existence it is to stay.

This is not to cast down the European myths, folklore and spirituality. This is to upbuild it with truth and stone. For there is great power within such ways. Great power to understand. To inspire, to move, to create. One must first take off the costume, the ignorance, the fantasy. Understand what is true of the world. Personal growth and enlightenment is something all men must find. Objective teaching and speaking of such a thing will forever be misunderstood, gaining respect from no one. For words do not create such a thing. As in every spiritual tradition, One must first consume ones self.

Art: Norse Shield Concept 2009