I write this not as merely a follower of a praxis distinct in its technology but as a member of a People distinct in its culture. The horns are set, the fork in hand. Time to be a rascal and play Devil’s Advocate..
All men are not equal.
Sickly sweet utopian gushing.
Keep bleating in the growing flock, sheep will remain sheep and wolves will still act accordingly. As much as one wills it otherwise, this cannot change.
Sheep may be appeased and invited into the lair, but they will be picked off for supper when the need or want arises.
The fixation of self, any subsequent navel-gazing seems to have disarmed the “western world”. We look to uphold a political correctness, all the while we live under a politic that fails many. We watch threats strengthen as we squabble to determine what right-action is. Due to the “progressive” nature of Western society, there are as many different opinions as there are individuals; so much so that progression toward resolution falters and becomes static. Strength in common identity will always have the upper hand. Yet how many in this “forward-faring” world can say that they ‘add‘ to a community? It is not a collection of individuals that make a community, but a collection of smaller cohesive units, families if you like.
Though being a human–being is a shared trait amongst us, we are not a homogeneous blob. The make up of, not only humanity, but also the multitude of life’s expression in this world is heterogeneous and should be welcomed as such.
Are we looking at conversion attempts, preachings from yet more ‘prophets’, radical-this, liberal-that, manifestos a-plenty looking to marry Craft with secular humanism? If you do not accept ‘this’, then you are not “truly” following that… Who’s authority dictates that such is the case?
Has “Traditional” or Old Craft had its day?
Traditional worldviews are exclusive in their nature, such is the nature of the beast, ask any anthropologist and I’m sure they will tell you the same. One is either within accepted societal or (sub-)cultural bounds or they are not, and if outside of them then one is literally an “Outsider” by default.
Personally, I may wander the landscape, share the company of others, benefit from outside hospitality, yet I remain distinct from them. I am bound to my People’s Law, I find my kinship in the People, I owe my fealty to the Maid and Magister of the Clan. Other’s have their own bonds and boundaries in which I do not share and so I am an “Outsider” to them and their kind, as they are outside to mine.
I understand that these are not comfortable words in a world which demands inclusiveness; yet this is the reality to those who adhere to a Traditional paradigm.
The Sisters decided my lot in this lifetime at my first breath, in probability long before then. If i wasn’t born a particular colour, creed or so on and that bars me from entrance into an indigenous system or culture then so be it, Wyrd has spoken. The problem doesn’t lie with exclusivity but the violence or lack of tolerance shown in either the maintainence of exclusivity, or the enforcement of inclusiveness. For example, is it “wrong” if First Nation People wish to keep their practices exclusive to their own kin? In my opinion, it is not; yet can that exclusive behaviour be argued as racist? I will leave that for each to mull over for themselves.
It seems to be a modern phenomena that people think that the world owes them something, that by merely being born human we “have a right” to everybody’s culture or sub-cultures. Well here is news to those folk; the World owes you nothing. Through your actions alone may you acquire your alloted portion in life and not by simply existing as a member of humanity.
The harsh reality of life is that we are not born equal, intellectually or physically we do not develop homogeneously, each have their own strengths and weakness that may benefit and hinder as one traverses the path from birth to death. To those who seek solace in the Cult of the Individual this is an uncomfortable prospect; this would mean that one is “better” suited than another in different stations within societal make-up. To those who adhere to a Traditional worldview, this isn’t an uncomfortable outlook to be replaced by a liberal inclusiveness; this is simply common reality where disparate parts forge a stronger whole.
For too long have people been paddling in a New-Age sewage that is “self-seeking”, “self-development”, self, self, self… Benefiting one’s self as a priority, the material evolution of roots founded in the selfish eschatology that is “personal salvation”.
I look around the Craft “community” and I see multitudes of individuals seeking to “make a name for themselves” for their own sake, to be a mover and shaker within the sphere of the Craft. Self-professed Magisters, Councils, and Manifestos declared which agrandise the authors more than getting arses off couches and away from the screens.
I hear with a disheartening consistency; “my relationship with the spirits gives me…, “I will do a working to get…”, “I will buy this limited edition snake skin book…”. What a charade; it seems that we comfortable folk of the 21st century are playing Harry Potter so that we can out-boast another faceless avatar on the Internet. That which people are play-acting Craft to be, is little more than flapping arms about, listening to empty echoes of one’s own chatter and inflating egos as we brag to all who will listen. This is a far cry from what endears me to the Craft.
Lost in petty distraction, this quest to build a persona accepted by peers has done more to damage than build anything lasting. The Cult of Personality is a sickly-sweet poison indeed, just like the sweeteners in artifical foods, you can’t feel it killing you. One’s precious view of self means very little, at best a charismatic persona will allow the spread of ideas which may benefit community, at worse a charismatic personality can cause atrocities such as those suffered during the WW2 era, as well as eras prior and eras to come. Persona is merely a tool, it enables interaction, it hopefully gives one the means to benefit one’s community. A workman isn’t defined by their tools, nor should we be fascinated by the tool that is ego.
Robert Cochrane, an ancestor of my People and founder of the Clan, has been subject to this personality cult since his passing, many want a piece of him so to speak. Please allow me to be somewhat controversial for a moment… Who he was, outside of his own People, is of no consequence; yes, he was gifted, he was tormented also. I’m sure that there are plenty who share these traits in the world. What matters more are his ideas, things that have survived and strengthened since his death, ideas that have given inspiration to many, ideas that have strengthened a larger community rather than just benefit the lonely island of one’s self.
The Craft is about relationship, plain and simple. Yes, the Egoic-self gives us an initial orientation point as we take our compass and journey across the vast landscapes of human and other-than-human existence. But it serves as an initial orientation only. Relationships are not solely concerned with taking, but a reciprocal giving. The Craft is a natural expression of culture, traditionally one rooted in gift-giving, which strengthened bonds within community (between both human and Other), this in turn gave better odds of survival against outside threat, whether in the form of famine or violence. Let me reiterate, however, not so much the survival of self, but the survival of a people.
If we are not vigilant, the Cult of Individuality will bring the death of Traditional Craft. It matters not a jot whether one is gay, straight, trans-, black, white, yellow; pro-this or anti-that, is but further entrenchment within self. Embrace heterogeneity but never lose sight that rather than serving self, seek to serve your people, your community, first and foremost. And for those who would profess themselves Magister, Summoner, Man in Black, or other titles, remember that such titles should remind you that you hold further responsibility in service to your people, hold them as a yoke of necessity rather than a boon of status.
Whatever titles, distinctions or orientations of self are held, they soon disappear when a blade is held at the neck. It is not an impending loss of straightness, gay-ness, whiteness or blackness that we fear in this fatal circumstance, it is the loss of Life which we mourn.
“Nobody has much use for a corpse.” (Hávamál)
Flags, Flax & Fodder,
Ulric “Gestumblindi” Goding
Níwe Dæg – Níwe Léoht – Níwe Hopan
Tanist of the Clan of Tubal Cain