Tag

asatru

2017-05-27 11.50.56
Blog

Waldgang Journal

It’s been a little over two months since I took ownership of Waldgang. I’d like to thank the guys who keep buying books and merchandise from Brutal Company, because I sure haven’t done much in the way of writing or promotion since May 12. If you follow my Instagram, you’ve seen what we’ve been up to, but I sometimes forget that I have many readers who don’t use Instagram. I see what I am doing there as the ongoing fulfillment of everything I have written about in the past, so what I am doing and learning by doing is more important than anything I could write or say. Also, every time I sit down to write, I end up like I did today…sourcing joist hangers for a yurt and seats for composting toilets and then I’m sketching roof plans for my cabin and then it’s time to go to the gym and my “in-town” workday is over.

My brother Afi and I have been out at Waldgang for at least two days out of every week since I bought the land, with frequent help from our other local brothers.

2017-06-17 15.35.20

The Wolfhaus at Waldgang

The first structure we built was the Wolfhaus, a place for my local and traveling Wolves of Vinland brothers to crash when they are out at the land. It’s a simple building that houses two bunk beds.

After a few weeks of work, Mike Lummio from Bushcraft Northwest happened to be in the area, and I asked him to stop by and give us some tips on managing the land responsibly and effectively. He told us what trees to cut down and when, when to burn, how to attract beneficial bats and birds, and checked the place for invasive species. I did a podcast with Mike awhile back.

Listen to my podcast with Mike Lummio on Bushcraft here

Spending so much time at the land has really cut into our gym week, so we decided to build an outside dip station and squat rack with a much needed storage building. It occurred to us that we should erect a temple to Thor/Donar in this place of strength, so we came up with a design that we plan to replicate with appropriate adaptations for other gods as the land is developed, culminating in a substantially larger building dedicated to Odin that we won’t get to until next summer.

2017-07-02 14.58.19-1

My brothers Paul and Matthias have been making an epic transcontinental motorcycle journey this summer with a Wolves Prospect and a rotating cast of characters, so they stopped at Waldgang for a weekend to check it out.  Waldgang really came alive for me the morning we all worked out together in front of Thor’s shrine. You can build things, and imagine how they will be used, but there is something deeply satisfying about seeing your friends enjoy structures that you just sketched out on paper a couple of weeks prior.

The outdoor gym at Waldgang

The outdoor gym at Waldgang

 

The trees on the land are all scrub oak and ponderosa pines. Oak is sacred to Thor, so we cut down a dead oak — I’d never lay a blade on the handful of grand, twisted oaks out there that are old enough to have character — and dubbed it Donar’s Oak. In the spirit of creating sacred spaces and new traditions, we have asked heathens to send us Mjolnirs (Thor’s hammers) as offerings. We’ve received several already, and hope to in a few years have a tree covered in hundreds of Mjolnir necklaces. Things have meaning because we give them meaning, and so many people sending something that symbolizes something important to them is a way to create something truly profound. I imagine visitors years from now traveling to Waldgang and looking forward to placing a Mjolnir on Donar’s sacred oak. If you’d like to make an offering, send a Mjolnir to my post office box at 4230 SE King Road #185
Milwaukie, OR 97222.

2017-07-23 11.02.11-5

Placing Mjolnir offerings on Donar’s Oak at the Wigiþonar Harugaz

Wildfires are common near Waldgang, so summer fires are a bad and irresponsible idea. I finally caved and purchased a propane grill so that we could start cooking steaks instead of living on a questionable amount of protein bars. To house the grill and coolers, Afi and I built a bar area, which with the addition of picnic tables, became a “Biergarten.” Again, something that we didn’t plan initially…we just realized it was something we needed to facilitate hanging out with a bunch of guys…like the composting toilet outhouse we’re going to have to build in the next month or so.

Biergarten at Waldgang

Biergarten at Waldgang

Despite what some petulant critics have written, the Waldgang project is actually about a lot more than hiding in the woods and “cracking one open with the boys.” It’s an acknowledgement that the West has been  culturally dead for decades if not the better part of a century. It’s an acknowledgement that politics in America is a bad joke. Anyone who invests in the American political system is wasting time, energy and money making strangers who don’t care about them wealthy and powerful. It’s about unplugging from the curated narrative of distorted “news” that defines “reality” for almost everyone.

Where the automatism increases to the point of approaching perfection—such as in America—the panic is even further intensified. There it finds its best feeding grounds; and it is propagated through networks that operate at the speed of light.2 The need to hear the news several times a day is already a sign of fear; the imagination grows and paralyzes itself in a rising vortex. The myriad antennae rising above our megacities resemble hairs standing on end—they provoke demonic contacts.

Jünger, Ernst. The Forest Passage (Kindle Locations 615-619). Telos Press Publishing. Kindle Edition.

These strangers on the covers of magazines, these people who lazily “report” by copying and pasting the last “reporter’s” lies, these theatrical battles between powerless people in goofy costumes acting out meme wars…they’re not my people, and they’re not my problem. I’ve read along as others have identified problems with the world, their world, but all they want to do is protest. They create nothing. They can say that what we are doing doesn’t change anything, but does hand-wringing about the fake news — ALL news is fake news now, everything is just clickbait — ever change anymore? Registering an opinion on something doesn’t change it. It just provides a comforting illusion of control.

We have a rule at Waldgang. Anyone who mentions the name of a politician who doesn’t return their phone calls has to go pick up a rock over fifty pounds and move it to wherever we need one. We have a lot of rocks.

The locus of freedom is to be found elsewhere than in mere opposition, also nowhere that any flight can lead to. We have called it the forest.

Jünger, Ernst. The Forest Passage (Kindle Location 648). Telos Press Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

sacred-and-the-profaneWaldgang is about creating a different reality. At the very least, some kind of “temporary autonomous zone.” It’s about demonstrating “a diversity of possibilities,” and reordering the world — my world, our world, but not necessarily yours. I was inspired by Mircea Eliade’s book The Sacred and the Profane. In Becoming a BarbarianI wrote about the nervousness and desperation created by The Empire of Nothing. “Citizens of the World” lack meaningful social identity. They become rootless. To these Citizens of the World — of the Empire — everyone is essentially the same and everyone is adrift, purchasing objects and disposable consumer identities to make themselves feel connected to something…anything. In The Sacred and the ProfaneEliade makes a similar point about the modern, desacralized world. In Traditional societies, people make sense of the world by differentiating between sacred spaces, objects, and ideas — and everything else, which is common, everyday, profane. An object or space becomes sacred because it means something important to “us,” to our people, who share a particular culture and set of beliefs. He studied and wrote about Shamanistic societies, and the cross-cultural idea of creating some kind of axis mundi that connects heaven and earth and links man to the divine and eternal. He explored the concept of what he called “founding the world” — one might even say “starting the world” — through the creation of these axes and sacred, set apart spaces. I’ll be developing some of these ideas for an essay I’m working on for the upcoming edition of the spearheading TYR Journal, to be published later this year.

Building on this ancient framework as conceptualized by Eliade, we founded the axis of our world at Waldgang. In heathen and Asatru circles, an altar is sometimes referred to as a hǫrgr, from the Old Norse, but at Waldgang we are descended from Germans and Britons, and we wanted to reach back deeper into a more ancient, primal past, so we have been incorporating words from the theoretical, unattested proto-Germanic language. Hǫrgr comes from an older form, Harugaz, which means  sanctuary, haildom, grove, altar, pile of stones.

2017-05-27 11.50.56

The first cleansing fires at the Harugaz.

Together, my brothers and I made fires to set and sanctify the circle where the Harugaz would stand while it was still safe to burn on the land. Over several weeks, we added rocks to the Harugaz, built around a wooden pillar buried at the center. We brought the pillar from our former ritual space, where it had been blooded and covered with protective bindrunes by Paul Waggener. The pillar, inspired by some of the traditional Germanic beliefs, symbolizes Yggdrasil, which connects all worlds. Sacred objects and stones from other altars and sacred places, including some soil I collected from the 7,000 year old Sonnenobservatorium Goseck in Germany earlier this year, were incorporated into the Harugaz. 

Placing the 650 pound table stone on the Harugaz at Waldgang.

Placing the 650 pound table stone on the Harugaz at Waldgang.

Finally, while Paul and Matthias were visiting, we placed a 650 pound table stone on the pillar, and inaugurated the Harugaz with a late night ritual that, after Eliade, reenacted the Germanic cosmology, uniting fire and ice from nothingness to create chaotic life — the primal scream — and blooding the skull of a pig that had been sacrificed in the name of Ymir, from whose corpse Odin and his brothers created the world.

2017-07-15 19.53.24-2

The Harugaz at Waldgang

After the Waggener brothers left, I returned to the land to started framing up my own small cabin at the Waldgang. In the coming years I’ll be spending a lot of time there, and hope to be doing the majority of my writing and creative work there by next spring. There are many more projects to finish before winter, when I’ll focus more on creating sacred objects and artwork. Also looking forward to big fires in the snow.

 

 

 

 

Jack Donovan
Blog, Feature, STW Podcasts

All Training is Sacrifice – STW Episode #18

Don’t kill your ego. Sacrifice Yourself To Yourself.

Bruce Lee wrote that: “Punches and kicks are tools to kill the ego.”

It sounds like mountaintop mysticism, like some far-out, far-eastern form of overdubbed, white-bearded enigmatic enlightenment.

It’s become a training cliche. Whether you are training with weapons or weights, someone will eventually tell you that your ego is your enemy.

The problem with that is, your ego is also — you.

People tell you to kill your ego because they want you to get out of your own way. They want you to stop acting like you already know everything, because by seeking out training, you’ve already acknowledged on some level that you don’t know everything.They want you to leave your status or perceived status in the world behind, so that you can submit to the learning process as a student — with no chip on your shoulder and nothing to prove.

They want you to train with humility and avoid hubris — an ancient Greek concept describing a man who overestimates his own power or status and brings himself into conflict with natural law, which is, from a mythopoetic perspective, the will of the gods. His hubris eventually leads to his downfall. In the case of training, a man’s hubris makes it more difficult for him to learn and grow as a practitioner — his hubris becomes the cause of his stasis.

Conceit, hubris, arrogance…this kind of ego-tism is only one negative connotation of the word ego, which also describes a much broader concept of self.

“Ego” is actually a Latin word for “I,” sometimes translated as “I, myself.”

The Twentieth Century use of “ego” in English to mean “self” stems from the psychoanalytic work of Sigmund Freud, who used the simple word “Ich,” also “I,” in German. This seems less editorial and more in keeping with the Latin “I, myself.”

In the Freudian model, the super-ego, or Über-Ich is the ego above and beyond the self. It’s the part of the conscious and unconscious self that absorbs and processes collective identity as well as the demands and the norms of the group, culture, society — tribe.

If you train on purpose — if you train because you want to train — your training is driven by the ego.

sidebaradVoluntary training is endured in the service of the ego, with the ultimate purpose of validating the ego, increasing self worth and improving social status. You train because you believe that you are good enough to be better, and worth improving. Or perhaps you see yourself training for the sake of others, for the group, to protect them or fulfill a role you believe you are good enough and able to fulfill. If you train for honor — to be worthy of your peers, your ancestors, your gods — you train because you believe yourself to be capable of honoring them. (1) This too, is a product of your ego.  

The ego, in both the broadest and the psychoanalytic sense, describes your conscious mind. It makes up the bulk of your “I” or “Ich.” Your ego is what separates you from dust in the wind. It’s the part of your mind that is awake, sentient, self-aware. To whatever extent you are the master of your own fate and the captain of your soul, the “you” is your ego. It is your ego — inseparable from any knowable version of “you” — that perceives and processes information about the world around you, evaluates that information, and selects a direction or course of action. It is the ego that manifests will.

Men train in the service of a higher version of the self, imagined and willed into existence by the ego. Training is self-creation — becoming — not self-destruction.

The aspects of the ego which must be destroyed or contained in training are self-imposed scripts and limitations and habits which may impede the progress of your self-development.This is a pruning of the ego — a sacrifice of old growth to stimulate new growth.

This pruning may be painful as you clip away or brush aside cherished ideas about the talents or even perceived limitations that you believe make you special.

People seem to take almost as much pride in the untested reasons and rationalizations they’ve dreamed up for why they can’t learn in a certain way or do a certain thing as they do in untested delusions of grandeur — especially in this slave age that prefers victims to victors. Often, their perceived limitations are like those of a boy who believes he can’t swim or doesn’t like swimming because he fell in a pool once and didn’t know what to do.

The world is also full of men who want to tell you how much they used to lift or how fast they used to run, before they got “old” or suffered some injury that elite athletes work through all the time. “Limitless potential” is a fantasy, but most people set their own limits long before they come anywhere close to the top end of their potential.

While some believe they can’t when they can, many others believe they could when they probably couldn’t. Millions of doughboys overestimate their ability to fight because they won an altercation in high school once — or worse, because they’ve watched a lot of videos of fights and think they “have a pretty good idea of what they’d do.” You can find them second-guessing professional fighters and quarterbacks in bars and in front of television sets all around the world.

To truly become the kind of men who know they have the ability and the conditioning to do what these men merely believe they can do, these couch captains would have to abandon their self-authored fictions about themselves. They would have to go through a process of failing and looking stupid before they even started to look like they knew what they were doing — much less became truly capable of performing as they’ve imagined.  

To train successfully, you must be willing to sacrifice portions of your present self-concept to a future, higher version of the self created by your ego. It is your ego, god-like, that is initiating and driving the process of self-transformation and becoming. This process requires you to exchange something you have for something you want. Nothing worth anything is truly free, and everything worth having requires some kind of sacrifice.

Instead of “killing your ego” — instead of fighting yourself — approach training as a sacrifice of a part of yourself to a higher self.

This is the way of Odin.

Odin is usually depicted with a missing eye, because he sacrificed one of his own eyes to the giant Mimir in order to drink from his well of wisdom. He sacrificed a portion of his superficial sight for a deeper, higher way of “seeing.” .

In another tale, Odin disguised himself as a farmhand and labored through a growing season, doing the work of nine men to gain access to Óðrœrir, the mead of poetry and inspiration. To get the mead, the hooded wanderer eventually had to seduce the giantess Gunnlod, whose name translates roughly to “invitation to battle,” and slam her out for three nights in a row. (It must have been a rough three nights.)

Odin is perhaps best known for his self-directed ordeal hanging from the world-tree Yggdrasil, wounded by what was (presumably) his own spear. After hanging without food or drink for nine nights, the runes reveal themselves to him, and from them he gains magic and a greater understanding of the universe.

While this scene is superficially Christ-like, and it makes sense to wonder how much Christian imagery and intent colored any of the surviving stories of pre-Christian European pagans, the stark difference here is in Odin’s motivation.

The spirit of Odin’s ego-driven self-sacrifice is captured in the following lines from the Hávamál:

og gefinn Óðni

sjálfur sjálfum mér

a sacrifice to Odin

myself to myself

 

The Hávamál is known as “the sayings of the high one” — sayings attributed to Odin himself. The majority of the first 138 verses pass down practical advice for living, as if from a grandfather or a wise old king. These lines about the sacrifice of self to self are found in a distinctive portion of the text that reads as if the speaker has slipped into a trance. In this dream state, the high one recalls his initiation into the mysteries of the runes, through starved meditation, while hanging from the world tree (2):

 

Veit ég að ég hékk

vindga meiði á

nætur allar níu

geiri undaður

og gefinn Óðni

sjálfur sjálfum mér

á þeim meiði

er manngi veit

hvers hann af rótum rennur

*

Við hleifi mig seldu

né við hornigi

nýsti ég niður

nam ég upp rúnir

æpandi nam

féll ég aftur þaðan

I know that I hung

on a windy tree

for nine full nights

wounded with a spear

a sacrifice to Odin

myself to myself

on that tree

which no man knows

from what root it runs

*

None made me happy with loaf

Or with horn

I looked down below

I took up the runes

Screaming I took them

And then fell down from there

 

Odin’s martyrdom is a self-martyrdom, done in the service of no one but himself, for reasons of his own. He sacrifices himself to reach a new level of understanding, and through that understanding becomes a higher version of himself.

Odin acknowledges that he doesn’t know everything, and instead of sitting on his throne sipping mead and marveling at his own creation, he pushes himself out of his own comfort zone and forces himself to do what he believes to be necessary to know more and become better. The Allfather could easily compare himself to other gods and humans and all of the lesser creatures, and be satisfied. But Odin doesn’t measure himself against others, he measures himself against himself.

The opposite of Odin wouldn’t be a giant or a dwarf or a man — or even the wolf who swallows him and ends his life. Odin’s opposite would be the person who tells you to “just be yourself” or to “be happy just the way you are.”

The story of Odin is a challenge and a reminder that no matter who you are or what you’ve achieved, you can do more, learn more — you can make yourself better in some way.

The practice of Odinism requires no worship of Odin with kneeling prayers.

One who practices Odinism acknowledges the worthiness — the original meaning of the Old English word, “weorðscipe” — of the Odinic ideal by embodying Odin. A man becomes Odin by acknowledging the worth of the way of one who is always seeking, always improving, always willing to sacrifice a piece of himself to become more, to become better, to do more.

All training requires some kind of sacrifice of self to self. Of something you have for something you want. Of something you want to do now for someone you want to be later. It may even be a part of you that you cling to, some idea about yourself that you’ll have to give up temporarily or permanently, because it is preventing you from becoming who your ego believes you can become.

When you’ve decided what you want to learn or what you want to do or how you want to transform yourself — work to remove the internal obstacles that are preventing you from achieving mastery or realizing that goal.

Be the loosener your own fetters.

Determine what you have that you need to give up — time, money, work, habit, comfort — and sacrifice it on the bloody altar of that vision.

When you are tempted to feel burdened or victimized by the hunger of your vision for sacrifice, remember that you are the visionary — the father of it all.

You are the god, the priest, the slaughter and the harvest.


(1) For more on training for honor, read my essay, “Train for Honor” in the collection A Sky Without Eagles.(2014)

(2) The translation is mixed and simplified, based on the comparative work done here:

https://notendur.hi.is/haukurth/norse/reader/runatal.html.

I’ve done my best to mimic the reconstructed Old Norse pronunciation in the recorded version on that page, albeit with my own quirks and dramatic inflections. Following the example of Paul Waggener, I’ve made this a part of the opening of every Wolves ritual I conduct.

Related posts
Waldgang Journal
July 25, 2017
The Conflict Bindrune
May 10, 2016
Interview: Robert N. Taylor
February 17, 2011
Related posts
Start The World Patches
March 25, 2015
Blog

Interview: Robert N. Taylor

Alternative Right just posted an interview I did with Robert N. Taylor of the band “Changes.” Robert and I worked on the interview sporadically via email for about 8 months, so I am glad to have it finally see the light of day. He’s an interesting figure who has been close to everything from the anti-communist “Minutemen” of the 1960s to the Process Church and he’s been a seminal figure in the modern Asatru/Odinist movement. My interview with him, of course, focused mainly on modern manhood.

Read it here:
Waiting For the Fall
An Interview with Robert Taylor of Changes

Make sure you check out his song “Waiting for the Fall.” I made a Youtube video for it, and you can purchase it through MySpace and other music selling outlets.

Related posts
He Said, She Said, They Said – 20/20, The Daily Caller, Salon, The KKK and Media Shenanigans
October 28, 2013
Same-Sex Marriage and Bourgeois Tyranny
April 1, 2013
Project Mayhem: An Alt-Right Podcast on Fight Club
January 14, 2013