Bíonn an fhírinne searbh.

 

 

The Irish phrase Bíonn an fhírinne searbh means “The truth is bitter”. In many ways this is a perfect description of what the warrior does. The Warrior doing warrior things, is something most people are ambivalent to nervous about.

 

Recently, I decided to be honest (thus tell the truth) in an exit Survey to ADF. This has caused me no end of problems. I’ve been Sanctioned off of lists and FB groups. (despite as of this writing having 3 weeks membership left). To ADF my truth is bitter to them. Honesty to them was scathing, rather than a chance to change, and one-day lure me and other members back. In essence, my “disloyalty” is the problem, not the problems.

 

I expected this to be fair. ADF has never done well with criticism. The current leadership however are particularly bad with it, despite assurances they are moving to transparency. I would not be shocked if a scism or sectarian thing happens sooner than later.

 

This seems to be a very common reaction for people, and organizations (which are obviously groups of likeminded people) who do not actually wish to change. Sadly, sometimes you have to be honest, even though you know the reaction will not be positive. When you care about something or someone, but must walk away, I’ve found that honesty is healthier than “why, what did I do?”. I’ve been on the receiving end of people breaking contact and never saying why before.

 

SO the honest, open, and moral thing to do, is to be honest. Even if Bíonn an fhírinne searbh.

 

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Self Doubt …

I have started a number of entries the last few weeks, then walked away from what I was typing. In the end, I felt that I was rehashing something from a previous entry (mainly from my old Blog of the same name).

 

In the intervening weeks from my last entry, I’ve been cited by The Wild hunt (that was as shock when I looked at my stats). I’ve seen the USA hit by two hurricanes (which actually started on of the posts I almost published, one on being prepared for when the smelly stuff hits the spinning blades that move air).

 

So on with a post.

 

One which is probably more important in this blog (nominally about Warriorship in the Pagan Sense).

 

Self-doubt.

 

Frank Herbert talks about fear being the mind killer. Self-Doubt is a cancerous death. One that can eat you up. You get over it, and then it can come back, and it makes you miserable in every way. You loathe yourself, but it is there, gnawing away at your bones.

 

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Now this is not going to be a blog about “how to get over it”. If I knew that, I’d not be blogging about it obscurely (tens of people have read posts here, not thousands) and esoterically (usually someone needs to know what I’m on about, to get what I’m on about, or call me on my shit).

 

What I will write about, is the battle.

 

First a story.

 

In the 1990s I watched someone I loved waste away, from a horrible disease. Without sharing this deeply personal story (which I am not going too). I saw courage. I saw someone accept death, look it in the eyes, and not blink. It taught me, that you can do this too. You can look at something that seems insummountable, look in its eyes, and not flinch. You will feel dread, and fear. I know my dear friend did. But you can make a stand. Shaking in your boots.

 

So I feel the battle in many ways is as important as the victory or the loss.

 

That is the true warriorship. Sod the fight. Its being willing to take a battle.

 

Now I am sure some of the people who read this over the years may think “what about all the covert battles? That is still a battle! You don’t have to meet something heard on. You can make a choice of how you fight.

 

Many people who know me. I’ve suffered from self-doubt. I was never the best in my class at Highschool (very nearly, but not quite), nor university (again, very close). When a round of redundancies hit… I’ve been cut three times. As a bastard (bon that way), only child, who was an atheist, than a Pagan, at a Christian single sex school. Who was to be blunt, fat. I know what it feels like to be not “the best”. It took me much of my adult life, to understand. It is the battle which matters. Also how you handle it.

 

I’ve made some major blunders, due to self doubt over the years. I tried being “aggressive” I tried being “passive” and “consolatory”. But in the end. Sometime in my mid 30’s. I understood:

 

  • Each battle is unique.
  • Make your stand. But don’t make it about the stand.
  • You are human. Forgive yourself.

 

Lets end with something esoteric 😉 Anyone guess why I posted this?

 

Then something started talking to me from over that parapet. …

So recently, I had an AFA member decide to try and engage me.

 

For those who do not know the Asatru Folk Assembly is a group which has been shown to be an organization where racists are welcome. 

 

Clearly this individual did not know who I am, in that I’m not an Asatruar. Not interested in Racialist (let alone Racist) ideals. Fair, I’ve kept a low profile of late. However I don’t follow any of the Northern Germanic Gods.

 

Of late the AFA has been trying to establish itself in New Zealand. Which worries me on a number of levels. Though the history of the white power movement down here, is one of self cannibalization, implosion, and general inability to achieve their goals. I’m not going to name the person who is organizing the AFA, however I am gratified he is not hiding behind a pseudonym.

 

Needless to say, I rebuffed the attempt. I was polite, but I’m now being very vigilant!

 

 

Something just stuck its head over the parapet.

So in the wake of the last post…. Enemies worth fighting.

 

Well a bunch of them reared their heads in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. As most of you know, a White Nationalist protest (it was a Nazi Rally folks, don’t fucking mince words) got out of hand. One of the protesters (and yes he was!) ploughed his car into a crowd of counter protestors, killing a 34 year old woman.

 

Anyone who knows me even a little knows, that due to the circumstances of my upbringing, I’ve a lack of tolerance towards bullies. I’ve always found the extremes of the political spectrum (yes in both directions) to be filled with bullies. I hate (and I mean that word) the White nationalist movement! But I also loathe the far far left, who think it is ok to shame and bully (and yes use violence) people into their way of thinking. So I was not shocked at the turn of events in Virginia. I’d been waiting for it. Not in anticipation, no. But in dread. The Anti-fascists (Anti-Fa) had been gunning for this confrontation. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

 

Now the wish to do battle, I’m actually all behind. I wish the Alt-Right and Far left had picked a field somewhere, and just hashed it out. Though I suspect the Alt-right would have cheated and brought guns, and eventually hit someone…. While the left would have been lobbing flaming solvent bombs back at them. What we had was a counter protest, with people not on the extreme of the political spectrum involved. This has always been my problem with protests. That they are prone to turn uglier than those who are involved might want. IF sign up for it, and you are ok with it, fine. But I know a great many people think they are only in for a peaceful protest …. 90% of the time they are right. But that 10%? Yeah. I know this is coloured by the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand.

 

Anyhow back to point.

 

The fact that the far right was first to resort to violence here, demonstrates why they are an enemy worth fighting. The counter protest was one of words. Ones full of vitriol I am sure. BUT just words. A member of the far right (yes he was) used his car as a weapon, causing the death of a protestor. The far right blinked first. They have now shown their hand. They are willing to use extreme violence, to silence the freedom of speech. Because it “hurts their sensibilities”. Hence as far as I am concerned, they are labelled as “enemy”, and thus should be treated as such. All niceties should be withdrawn.

 

Game on guys 🙂

Tilting at windmills

 

 

I’ve found one of the greatest problems with walking the “warrior path” as a pagan, is that it is assumed that you are an activist, and that you are down with anything that goes against “the man … man”.

 

While this might actually be the truth for a great many people, it is not a guarantee.

 

So with this said, the title of this blog entry is “tilting at windmills” which if you don’t understand is a euphemism for attacking an imaginary enemy. Something Pagans are experts at. We’ve made a cottage industry out of manufacturing for ourselves.

 

  • Many of us (again not I) are scared about the evil Xtian (That is a lazy spelling of Christian, used most often in a pejorative manner). They clearly want to “burn us all” just like in the “Burning times”. Ignoring the fact that the “burning times” were not really a burning time, more a drowning, hanging times. They did not kill nine million (9 000 000 !!) people, and those who were killed were most often tried, and executed by secular courts. All that aside, they were not, repeat NOT about what modern Neopagans would recognize as Witches (they also were about werewolves, ghouls, and other beasties, used as an excuse to be a poor example of humanity to other humans and animals). So yes, we fear the Xtian, who is out to get us. But really have done sweet Fanny Adams to us because we are pagan on the whole. Indeed, the Satanic Panic era (used as an example) is not called the witch panic for a reason (see next point)
  • Yep we apparently don’t like them either. Probably because of point (1) where we fear the Christian church picking on us, we distance ourselves from similarly occult minded (for the most part) individuals. Want to start a fight in a fluffy Pagan group? Say Satanists should be accepted (or say the Burning times never happened)….
  • The man (…man). Yep the government is after us. Because we are that important and a threat (probably because of points (1) and (2) or something?). This is why we get 501.3C status in the USA, or you know we’ve not been rounded up, or worship banned…. The point being, the government is a bugbear we apparently fear. Oh did you also know, some of us work for the government? I do 🙂
  • A sub set of (3) is the Police. They pick on us you know, stop us smoking our sacred weed (never tried it, never plan too), get upset when we have underage coven members naked in ritual (ewww), and gods forbid carry weapons, that are purely ceremonial. Yep those damn Cops… harassing us because we are breaking laws.

 

Now it gets interesting, we eat our own….

 

  • British Traditional Witches and other lineage Pagans, who have initiations. How very dare they? But no, any group that has *gasp* standards for its members is exclusionary! You mean to join, they might expect something out of me?

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  • Cultures which tell us to go Fuck ourselves because they do not want us appropriating parts of their endangered practices? I mean how can they not let us call ourselves medicine people, pipe holders, or the like? I attended a workshop at Pagan Pride, and read the Wikipedia damn it!

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That is just a microcosm from the many choices. But if you look at them they hold a great many similarities, imagined threats, insults, and such. Christians mostly are not after us, Satanists likewise, government, especially the police? Yeah… Ok and Initiatory pagans? Yeah, they are excluding you, you could try and get initiated, through hard work? The cultures we strip mine, to feel special? Yah they actually ARE excluding us. Because their cultures are in danger of dying, and it is hurtful to see the descendants of the colonialists who caused this, stealing (sorry it is theft, get over it) sacred rituals, and misusing them.

 

So these “enemies” to Pagandom? Not so much. The real enemies are there however.

 

  • Peodophiles, abusers, and the like who are protected inside the community, because we are scared of “the man. I am looking at you Kenny Klein, Scott Holbrook, Waco “White Wolf” Tohausen, and more. You can go away right now. Two of you rightfully went to prison.
  • Prejudice inside our community. Yep we have it. We have tolerated it, and it is not good.
  • Leaders who abuse the rules. Yep the folks who we elect, or at least allow to run things (we allow it, we could say no!), who decide the conventions we establish, are not required by them. We all know these leaders. I’ve blogged about them. Indeed recently I was contacted about one of the “Elders” in Milwaukee I had clashed with, and told she was at it again. My stance against her years ago, caused me to be banished. Here we are … 12 years later, and lo she is still at it.

So sure tilt at that wind mill, it’s a mirage.

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Honored dead (Pets)

 

I thought about you today....

 

I’ve choosen to make a blog entry (a living entry I hope). To honor the animals who have passed from my life.

 

This is in order of death (I think)

 

Jason. Beloved Dog of my mothers. For the first 12 years of my life you were sometimes my only friend.

 

Heinrich. Beloved dog of my mothers. You died after only 6 years. You passed with dignity, and honor.

 

Raudi. The soul of the Thomas family. When you passed, I don’t think we were ever the same again. I remember the day you arrived from the UK. I held you as they put you down.

 

Til. While my mothers dog, you were MY dog in most ways. You died three days before I finished my thesis. When people asked what it felt like to finish it? I have no idea. You were more important to me.

 

Bear. The soul of my wife’s family. You died too soon. I wonder if it chased your mother (my mother in law) back to the USA?

 

Ollie. My mothers Dog. Smartest damned dog I have ever met. The day you died (too soon) I was dozing on a drive back from Thanksgiving in South Carolina, and you visited a dream. My wife said I was talking in it. I awoke to a call from my family in New Zealand to mention you had passed.

 

Strauss. Gentle and skittish. I wish I knew you more. I held you as they helped you pass.

 

Johan. Confused, and needing understanding. My grandmothers dementia contributed to your attitude, as did another family members “life crisis”. I wish I’d been there when you went.

 

Jynx. You have your entry. But you my old Vam-purr. Made me love cats. You saved my mind with Moxie I think. When I held you, and said go raibh maith agat (thank you in irish) over and over again….

 

I feel the following animals have passed, but I have no proof (just logic).

Ed. My father in law’s  Huntaway dog. You helped me adjust to marriage before we went to the USA. I wish you’d been mine.

 

Bits (litte bits). Demon cat of the in-laws… I liked you.

 

Fric and Frac …. Jokester cats of the inlaws. I liked you too.

Life sometimes is tears and sorrow… that is to be expected.

This is a different post. This is a hard post. It was crafted with love, it was forged from sorrow. I cried as I wrote this. I am proud I did. It means I am human.

 

Last Friday I lost the first cat I ever lived with. His name is/was Jynx. I had to help him pass to the Otherworld (I took him to the vets, held him, petted him, and cried as he died).

 

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Jynx came into my life when I had first moved into the USA. I was living for the first time, with no animal as part of my family. It made sense, it made it easier…. Or so logic said. My wife saw I was struggling. So, we went to the Milwaukee Humane society. First, we considered an older cat. Suzanne (I think). She was older (8 or 12). She hissed at my wife, and would not acknowledge me. So, we looked at this handsome, black cat (18 months old), with a white tuft at his throat. He had a long bushy tail, and he was friendly. My wife was sold. So Jynx came home. He made me grow to love cats, where previously I had been dubious.

 

Jynx

Jynx (black Cat) and Deliphi in Milwaukee

 

Over the years, Jynx made me happier than could be typed here. When we moved back to New Zealand, I could not bring my dog (that will be another post when she passes) but I COULD bring the cats. I mortgaged my dignity to do that (I asked family to help). So, in 2010, Jynx came to New Zealand, and he met Magic, my brother in-laws cat (who was now mine). Magic, who holds a similar place in my heart.

 

The cats

The Pride (Wellington 2013) in a rare moment of peace

 

Jynx survived a cancer scare. HE survived Delphi (the small Tortoise shell we have…), he Survived the Labrador puppy Dora …. He did not survive old age. None of us do. It is to be expected.

 

I wanted to spend my life with you

 

So, last Friday, it became apparent, that Jynx was not doing very well. He’d lost his muscle mass, he had lost his ability to stay comfortable and warm, and he had decided to ignore his litter box (or perhaps he ignored its use). So, we took my old gentleman to the Vets, and my wife and I talked with the Vet, went over a check list, and I discovered to my horror, Jynx most likely was not happy. He had had pancreatitis, he had a thyroid condition, he had very few of his teeth left (he still had his sabre teeth, that made him a Vampur). My wife and my 6-month-old son, said goodbye and left the room. I stayed. I made a promise in 2008 (when things were bad with my relationship) that I’d never abandon him while he lived. I managed to keep that oath.

 

In recent months, my (human) son has taken most of my free time, not spent at work, or trying to sleep. But I have managed to make time for all my fur children. Jynx was patted, held and talked to in the little hours when I got up to make a bottle. He was given treats from my plate. He knew he was adored. Though you always wish you’d done more.

 

I held him as the sedative was applied, and placed my mammoth ivory ogam scrimshaw pendant around his neck (1). I waited the 5 minutes as he calmly relaxed. Then I held him as they injected the horrible blue solution, an overdose of an anaesthetic (barbiturates), and watched my old man pass to the other world. But he passed with a calm serene honour, like he had lived life. I stayed with him a long time, I felt his body cool. Then I took my Ogam back, and placed it around my neck. I hope it is a beacon for his soul to visit me.

 

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My Ogam pendant, this side is Sonas (happy) the otherside is for not happy….

 

So now at home I hear his phantom mewing in my head. I see motion, and I expect its him. It is NOT. It never shall be again I fear. Therefore, I cry. The other pets are missing him. Delphi, whom he helped raise from a kitten, is needy and looking for him. Magic, who had a contentious relationship with him at times, has withdrawn a little from me (I am HIS human). Dora, my Lab, loved that old cat. She’s quite and contemplative. Remember this is an 18-month-old lab. I know they are missing him. I can’t tell Moxi, the Dog I had to leave in the USA with family. I know she’s due to pass soon, and she will get her own entry when that happens.

 

There is a poem Vets often give grieving owners, I first saw it when my wife’s family lost their beloved Eurasia Bear. It is called the Rainbow Bridge, and it cuts me up even when I’ve not lost someone (human or not) I care for.

 

Rainbowbridge

 

What does this have to with warriorship, or Paganism? Quite simply it is an acknowledgement that life is fraught with hard decisions. I made the best decision for my old man. It hurt me, as if I had lost a biological child. But it was right. He passed with dignity. In the end, that is the right thing.

 

I will receive his ashes, in a rimu box soon. They will hold a place dear in my heart, and I feel I will visit them often to talk with him. I know it’s not him. But I don’t care. I say again, I miss my old man. But I know he bore me no ill will.

 

Last battle 2

 

This is not a request for commiserations, or sympathy, I will not accept those from anyone who is not my family. No this a message to the Universe. Look out, the best dam Vampur has passed. I don’t know if he will be waiting on the other side or reincarnate. But I look forward to seeing you again Jynx. (2)

 

Jynx2

Jynx (photo by Megan Sellars, taken a few weeks back). 2003 – 2017. Best friend, Vampur and Ladies man.

(1) Ok so here is a little bit of paganism. I have a ritual, I only started this in May. I place my ogam pendant around a pets neck, knowing they may pass before I see them again (or in Jynx’s case he WILL pass with me). I pray to my gods, and ask that they find their way back to me, using the pendant as a focus. I have done this for Moxi, Kuma (my mother in laws dog, who I raised for 6 months as a puppy) and now Jynx.

 

(2) I have his ashes back as of last Friday (11 August 2017). I feel better with them near me. Its not logical, but it is still true. I miss him terribly. I do not believe that will change.