Loko Sex Magick 11/22/2009
Henry’s latest post has struck a deep chord for me. The particular blockages discussed also represent trouble points in my own personality. The task Henry outlines is something I’ve also been working on since puberty, though never in a way so carefully planned and detailed.

Regarding the specific study areas of sales and social interaction, I believe these deserve special emphasis from all students of the Occult. Knowing the rest of the Heathen and Neo-Pagan community to be just as big a bunch of geeks as I am, I cannot recommend the utility of these particular skill sets highly enough. 

While I’m pretty far from considering myself a master of these technologies, I have been working on this area for some time and have achieved some success. With that in mind, there is a related sub-specialization of occult study that I would like to recommend; The Art of Seduction.

The Art of Seduction is “Occult” by virtue of its status as a subject that is taboo and forbidden…at least for men. Socially, for some reason, it seems completely acceptable for women to study Glamour and Seduction (read Cosmo lately?) but any man known to study these subjects is regarded as creep and a potentially dangerous weirdo. By writing this article I am actually violating rule number one of the Art of Seduction; Seduction is an Art which must be studied in secret.

As a faithfully married man, my study of the Art takes on a slightly different focus than it did it my younger years… 

Firstly: I make the effort to seduce my own wife anew every day. I see skill in Seduction as a pre-requisite to successful relationship building and healthy relationship building as an advanced level of the Art of Seduction.

Secondly: I must retain sufficient confidence in my skills to know that, should everything one day go horribly wrong, I’ll always have other options. It’s been proven to me many times over that to become dependant on another person is dangerous and unhealthy. Ironically, it seems that it is only by retaining this sense of aloofness and independence that a man is able to maintain his status as a “good catch”. Again; Seduction is a pre-requisite to successful relationship building.

Third: Knowing how and when to flirt is still an essential skill for socializing and in sales (and if you’re in business, then you are in sales). Political correctness and sexual harassment laws aside, flirtation is a big part of how socially functional people interact.

In retrospect, things were a whole lot simpler when I was still single (though I wouldn’t trade being married for anything).

Considering what’s at stake, it hardly seems reasonable not to make a serious study of the Art of Seduction. Unfortunately, the cultural expectation that we ought to intuitively understand this subject without study cripples the romantic opportunities of many men. It is thus, contrary to all social norms, that I insist that Glamour and Seduction are subjects that demand research, practice and deep contemplation.

I will not share my own methodology with you here. (Seduction is an Art which must be studied in secret.) Instead, I offer for your consideration a short list of recommended introductory reading. Make of it what you will.

The Satanic Witch by Anton Szandor LaVey; explores some interesting concepts in Glamour Magic.

The Mystery Method by Mystery; provides an excellent breakdown of the process of seduction and the best explanation I’ve yet seen on how to start a conversation with a complete stranger.

The Game by Neil Strauss; is a hilarious autobiographical sketch of one man’s journey into the world of the Pick-Up Artists.

The Guide to Getting It On by Paul Joannides; So you’ll know what you’re doing when you get there.

Hail Eros and Aphrodite!
Hail Freya!
Happy hunting, boys and girls!
This year, my wife and I spent midsummer in Paris. It was her third trip, but my first. Believe me when I tell you, in all sincerity, there can not be many experiences more romantic than seeing Paris for the first time with the love of your life. All the more so when she’s six months pregnant!

The trip was not just my first to
Paris, but actually my first to Europe as well. Needless to say, the whole experience stirred up some interesting feelings on multiple levels.

I’ve always felt a strong appreciation for history and I have a special love for old buildings and old trees. The EiffelTower I found unbearably boring, but in the oldest segments of the Louvre I felt a sense of throbbing power. In the Cathedral of Notre Dame I felt a sense of undeniable awe and in the cobble-stoned alleys of Montmarte I felt an eerie sense of déjà vu. 

Though I lack any known French ancestry, the trip did give me a feeling of being in touch with my European cultural heritage. Many of my memetic ancestors walked these streets, even if my genetic ancestors may have not. It was not lost on me that Catholicism and Greek Mythology ranked equally as the most common themes in art and sculpture.

Catholicism always stirs mixed feeling in me. I find the aesthetics of the tradition almost irresistibly appealing and I find the morality of the teachings absolutely and unbearably repugnant. My fascination with Voodoo and related traditions is due in no small part to the skill with which the practitioners have managed to absorb the power and aesthetics of Catholicism, without compromising too much of their own worldview. This is also one of the advantages of embracing a Satanic or Luciferian approach. 

We Heathens are missing out. In our zealous attempts to purge ourselves of a poisonous philosophy we have denied ourselves a connection to a great artistic heritage. I say to hell with purity. The weapons of the enemy are expedient. We must snatch them up and turn them to our own ends. 

Our neglect of the Greco-Roman tradition is even less understandable. Through the intermediary of Rome, the Greeks have become the cultural ancestors of all of western civilization. We may not necessarily be in love with civilization, but we cannot deny who we are.

A study of early Greek philosophy quickly proves that mysticism was never exclusively eastern and an exploration of modern Hellenismos reveals a tradition that is highly compatible with Heathenism, to say the least. Besides, the Iliad and the Odyssey are such ripping good yarns that it’s a shame to exclude them. 

If you’ll join me in a moment of selective fundamentalism I might propose that we accept Snorri on face value. There, now we’re all descended from the Trojans and the Iliad is, at least, an important clue to our heritage. For those who care to notice, the Trojans of the Iliad speak Greek and worship Greek gods. We all get to be Greeks, too!

And so we come to the end of this, one young Heathen’s rambling reaction to his first footsteps on European soil. It’s taken me a long time to digest what I learned about myself in Paris. But, in the end, the lesson is simple and obvious. In order to truly understand ourselves as Germanics, we must understand ourselves as Europeans as well. 

Viva Europa!
Recently, I came across some information regarding a form of Paganism I’d previously overlooked. A form that may prove to be an important key in my quest to understand the root religion of the Indo-Europeans. This is the Paganism of the Balts.

The Balts are close neighbors of the Germans and Scandinavians and have even used runic letters in their writing, though they speak a different language group and practice a different form of Indo-European Paganism. 

The surviving members of the Baltic language family today are Lithuanian and Latvian, but in the past this family included mighty Prussian. Though the Prussian identity has since been absorbed by Germany, the Latvians and Lithuanians have retained much of their own original language and culture.

The Lithuanian language in particular, is said to be the most archaic surviving Indo-European language. That is, Latvian is closer to Proto Indo-European than any other language in existence.

Anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a Lithuanian peasant: Antoine Meillet

The Lithuanians were relatively late converts to Christianity, even later than the Scandinavians. The official conversion of Lithuania was not completed until the 14th century and Paganism remained in practise among the peasantry until the 17th or 18th. Of course, many Pagan elements have remained in Lithuanian folk practise right up to the present day.

The Lithuanian Pagan revival movement, known as Romuva, began early in the 19th century and survived even during the Soviet occupation. The Romuvans can rightfully lay claim to an ancient tradition that is unbroken or very nearly so. Today, Pagansim is said to be a well accepted part of Lithuanian culture and folk traditon. The face of one famous Pagan revival leader even graces the front of the 200 Litas banknote.

Much more research is necessary.

Hail Perkunas!
One month ago I gave up alcohol. And caffeine. And pretty much any food discovered or invented more recently than the stone age. I did make an exception for dairy products, because I tend to do pretty well on dairy products. It's the beer, bread and potatoes that have always been my problem.

So I live on meat, fish, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Supplemented generously with milk, cream, yogurt and cheese. Of course I try to go fresh, raw and organic whenever possible.

It was almost one full month before that that I took my oath to begin eating right and drinking right every day. As usual with these kinds of changes, getting started was the hardest part.

Now that I'm rolling, I don't know why I didn't do this years ago. I feel fantastic. My nascent beer belly has disappeared and my recovery from exercise hasn't been this fast since I was seventeen. Most Importantly, I no longer feel depressed and tired all the time. When I go to work now, I'm actually at work, not just counting the minutes until I get to go home. When I have to wait a little while for my dinner now, I just feel hungry instead of turning into a werewolf and biting everybody's heads off.

What does my kooky new diet have to do with  Magic and Heathenism? Well, nothing. And everything. I'm a strong believer in the principle that you should eat as your ancestors ate. It's what your body's genetically adapted for. I'm also a strong believer that poor diet can have a radical negative effect on a person's mental well-being. It certainly works that way with me and I've seen plenty of evidence that it works that way with many others, too. Finally, I'm a very strong believer that a diet is not something you should go on temporarily. A healthy diet is something you can thrive on for life.

There's a lot of misinformation and disinformation out there. Some of it is even published by our own governments. Of course, I don't necessarily know everything there is to know about human nutrition, either, so you'll need to do your homework and make some educated judgements for yourself.

I’ve always believed in the principle that a healthy mind requires a healthy body.  I haven’t always practiced what I’ve preached but when I’ve stayed from the path,  my experiences have always served to reconfirm that  initial premise. I need to be in shape physically if I want to function well mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I used to be a Bouncer. I ended up leaving that life because I’d come to realize that the bar-scene is not exactly a healthy environment to live and work in. (Sometimes I catch on a little slow.) These days I work as a Personal Trainer. I got into the fitness industry expecting to find it a much healthier environment. It is, kinda, but not so much as you’d think.

Now, before I go off on some kind of stupid rant about everything that’s wrong with the health, fitness and nutrition industries, I better put in that I take full responsibility for my own physical and mental well being. I’ve found that to be the only useful attitude to take on the matter. Suffice it to say that I’m not in anything like the kind of condition I want to be in, which brings me to my point…

I am thirty-one years old and I have a few oaths to make.

1.       I will get at least one hour of physical exercise every day.

2.       I will strive to eat and drink right every day.

3.       I will learn to relax.

Notice I haven’t put any time limit on these resolutions? That’s because these are for life.

Note that I fully expect to stumble on the path, and occasionally fall. I resolve to pick myself up and carry on.

Note that number three is likely to be the most difficult for me, personally (because I’m no longer willing to count getting drunk as a form of relaxation). I’ll find a way.

There are plenty of other oaths I could make. Indeed, there are plenty I should make but I need to keep things simple for now. Stick to the basics.

There is, however, one more special oath I would like to make. This one is just for me…

4.       I will spend at least twenty minutes on some form of martial arts practice every day.

With all of cyberspace as my witness, these things I pledge.

And let my word be my bond.

Clinton James McDowall


"Spectacles, Testicles, Brandy and Cigars. You are all now Discordian Popes and absolutely infalliable, so don’t take any more crap from anybody."  

Reading The Illuminatus Trilogy on my plane ride back from Paris after midsummer, I came across a set of political definitions so wonderful that I just couldn’t resist sharing them. And, since I’m secretly a repressed plagiarist, I’ve decided to load up the page with another four fun quotes that I just happened to have laying around. 5 quotes in honor of  late, great Robert Anton Wilson. 2 by Bob and 3 by some other random weirdos. Hopefully we’ll be able to melt a few minds with this lot.

__ ___

FREE MARKET: That condition of society in which all economic transactions result from voluntary choice without coercion.

THE STATE: That institution which interferes with the Free Market through the direct exercise of coercion or the granting of privileges (backed by coercion).

TAX: That form of coercion or interference with the Free Market in which the State collects tribute (the tax), allowing it to hire armed forces to practice coercion in defense of privilege, and also to engage in such wars, adventures, experiments, "reforms", etc., as it pleases, not at its own cost, but at the cost of "its" subjects.

PRIVILEGE: From the Latin privi, private, and lege, law. An advantage granted by the State and protected by its powers of coercion. A law for private benefit.

USURY: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which one State-supported group monopolizes the coinage and thereby takes tribute (interest), direct or indirect, on all or most economic transactions.

LANDLORDISM: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which one State-supported group "owns" the land and thereby takes tribute (rent) from those who live, work, or produce on the land.

TARRIFF: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which commodities produced outside the State are not allowed to compete equally with those produced inside the State.

CAPITALISM: That organization of society, incorporating elements of tax, usury, landlordism, and tariff, which thus denies the Free Market while pretending to exemplify it.

CONSERVATISM: That school of capitalist philosophy which claims allegiance to the Free Market while actually supporting usury, landlordism, tariff, and sometimes taxation.

LIBERALISM: That school of capitalist philosophy which attempts to correct the injustices of capitalism by adding new laws to the existing laws. Each time conservatives pass a law creating privilege, liberals pass another law modifying privilege, leading conservatives to pass a more subtle law recreating privilege, etc., until "everything not forbidden is compulsory" and "everything not compulsory is forbidden".

SOCIALISM: The attempted abolition of all privilege by restoring power entirely to the coercive agent behind privilege, the State, thereby converting capitalist oligarchy into Statist monopoly. Whitewashing a wall by painting it black.

ANARCHISM: That organization of society in which the Free Market operates freely, without taxes, usury, landlordism, tariffs, or other forms of coercion or privilege. "Right" anarchists predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to compete more often than to cooperate; "left" anarchists predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to cooperate more often than to compete.

Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminatus! Trilogy 

__ ___

“Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?”

“Uh…that’s a trick question.”

“It is the key question, dear Wyoming. A radical question that strikes to the root of the whole dilemma of government. Anyone who answers honestly and abides by all consequences knows where he stands-and what he will die for.”

Wyoh frowned. “ ‘Not moral for a member of the group-’ ” she said. “Professor…what are your political principles?”

“May I first ask yours? If you can state them?”

“Certainly I can! I’m a Fifth Internationalist, most of our Organization is. Oh, we don’t rule out anyone going our way; it’s a united front. We have Communists and Fourths and Ruddyites and Societians and Single-Taxers and you name it. But I’m no Marxist; we fifths have a practical program. Private where private belongs, public where its needed, and an admission that circumstances alter cases. Nothing doctrinaire.”

Capital punishment?”

“For what?”

“Let’s say for treason. Against Luna, after you’ve freed Luna.”

“Treason how? Unless I knew the circumstances, I could not decide.”

“Nor could I, dear Wyoming. But I believe in capital punishment under some circumstances…with this difference. I would not ask a court; I would try, condem execute sentence myself and accept full responsibility.”

“But-Professor, what are your political beliefs?”

“I’m a rational anarchist.”

“I don’t know that brand. Anarchist individualist, anarchist Communist, Christian anarchist, philosophical anarchist, syndicalist, libertarian,-those I know. But what’s this? Randite?”

“I can get along with a Randite. A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else.  But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world . . . aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.”

Mannie: “Hear, hear!” I said. “‘Less than perfect.’ What I’ve been aiming for all my life.”

“You’ve achieved it,” said Wyoh. “Professor, your words sound good but there is something slippery about them. Too much power in the hands of individuals—surely you would not want . . well, H-missiles for example—to be controlled by one irresponsible person?”

Prof: “My point is that one person is responsible. Always. If H-bombs exist—and they do—some man controls them. In terms of morals there is no such thing as a ‘state.’ Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his own acts.”

…Wyoh plowed doggedly into Prof, certain that she had all answers. But Prof was interested in questions rather than answers, which baffled her. Finally she said “Professor, I can’t understand you. I don’t insist that you call it ‘government’-I just want you to state what rules you think are necessary to ensure equal freedom for all.”

“Dear lady, I’ll happily accept your rules.”

“But you don’t seem to want any rules.”

“True, but I will accept any rules you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

“You would not abide by a law that the majority felt was necessary?”

“Tell me what law, dear lady, and I will tell you whether I will obey it.”

Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

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A one-sentence answer is that mutualism consists of people voluntarily banding together for the common purpose of mutual assistance. Clarence Swartz, in What is Mutualism?, defined it this way:

A Social System Based on Equal Freedom, Reciprocity, and the Sovereignty of the Individual Over Himself, His Affairs, and His Products, Realized Through Individual Initiative, Free Contract, Cooperation, Competition, and Voluntary Association for Defense Against the Invasive and for the Protection of Life, Liberty and Property of the Non-invasive.

A character in Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction gave a description of socialism that might have come from a mutualist:

...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased into co-ops, collectives, communes, unions.... And if socialism really is better, more efficient than capitalism, then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist s**t and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!’

Mutualist.Org: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

__ ___

“I think the best bet for ourselves and for the human race is to completely ignore the fuckers, hope to fuck that others also ignore them and just go ahead and build the world we want to live in. Let’s create our own world…”

Helene sat down and answered, “easier said than done, but I agree that is what we learn from most of the magical movements of our time. Wiccans say ‘ An it harm none, do what thou wilt.’ In Chaos magic, there’s a slogan ‘Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted,’ which comes from the Arabs I believe.” She took a mouthful of beer before continuing. “In Thelema they say, ‘Do what THOU WILT shall be the whole of the law.’ If the left-wing anarchists could make peace with the right-leaning libertarians…Well, if enough of us set our minds to it and followed our hearts instead of the rules, we could build the world we want to live in and transform the world we were born into. Simple.”

Sean Scullion, Liber Mallorum

__ ___

“Well I sometimes call myself a libertarian but that's only because most people don't know what anarchist means. Most people hear you're an anarchist and they think you're getting ready to throw a bomb at a building. They don't understand the concept of voluntary association, the whole concept of replacing force with voluntary cooperation or contractual arrangements and so on. So libertarian is a clearer word that doesn't arouse any immediate anxiety upon the listener. And then again, libertarians, if they were totally consistent with their principles would be anarchists.”

Robert Anton Wilson
__ ___

Hail Eris! Viva Loki! All Hail Pope Bob Wilson!




Hinduism and Heathenism are closely related. I argue the point on three levels…

1. Hinduism and Pre-Christian Heathenism (along with Druidism, Greek Paganism, Zoroastrianism etc.) evolved from the same basic source, Proto Indo-European Paganism.

2. Hindu and Buddhist philosophy has been hugely influential in the Neo-Pagan movement from which Recon Heathenism was born. (And for anyone who'd like to argue that Recon Heathenism is NOT a form of Neo-Paganism, all I can say is "grow up and stop kidding yourself".)

3. The connection just makes a lot of sense to me personally, on an intuitive level. I’ve learned a lot from studying the eastern religions and clearly I'm not alone among Heathens in feeling this way.

So where does that leave us? Actually it gives us a fantastic new tool, an idea we can use.

The ordinary conception of Heathen history is as a broken line. If we accept the influences of Hinduism and Neo-Paganism on contemporary Heathenism, we can mend the break. Consider this…

We trace our history backwards from Pre-Christian Heathenism to Proto Indo-European Paganism. 

We then trace our history forward from Proto Indo-European Paganism to Hinduism and then Buddhism. 

From Hinduism and Buddhism, we again trace forward to Neo-Paganism. 

From Neo-Paganism we trace forward to Reconstructionist Heathenism at which point we reconnect with our ancestors and realize our religious history is no longer a broken line. It has now been revealed as a circle.

Our tradition is a very ancient one. I find great comfort in that fact.

And, this idea can be used in other ways. Let’s see how we can apply this new knowledge to a common uncomfortable scenario. Someone from work asks you if you’re religious. You have a few different options. You could…

1. Lie.

2. Refuse to discuss the issue.

3. Explain to them honestly that you practice the reconstructed polytheistic religion of pre-Christian northern Europe (and deal with the fact that they now think you’re a raving loony).

4. Say something clever.

What I usually say in this kind of situation goes something like this…

“I feel a lot closer to Hinduism and Buddhism than I do to Christianity, though I’m not really a Hindu or a Buddhist. (Or, I am and I’m not.) I feel I get a lot out of studying philosophy, psychology, history and mythology. Personally, I really get a lot out of mythology, even more than academic philosophy.”

How’s that for magic? Just few simple words, nothing but the truth, and I’ve transformed myself from “potentially dangerous psycho” into “sensitive, intelligent and obviously well read”. This routine probably would not work if delivered to a Christian fundamentalist, but living in Southern California it tends to go over pretty damn well. 

Let’s face it. Being part of a new minority religion sucks. Regular people think we’re crazy. They put our books next to the reptilian conspiracy theorists instead of in the religious section and we’re classified as “miscellaneous” on the census. Buddhism and Hinduism, however, are big. They’re old. By accepting ourselves as part of that family we gain a very healthy measure of social acceptance and respectability. And the best part is you don’t need to convert! You don’t need to change a thing! Heathenism is a form of Indo-European Paganism. It is a western variant of Sanatana Dharma. Our tradition is ancient and we are a part of a great and proud religious family.

Hail Chaos!

Viva Loki!

Aum Siva-Wodinaz Aum

Galdra Logic 05/31/2009

“It takes only the acceptance of a single belief to make someone a magician. It is the meta –belief that belief is a tool for achieving effects. This effect is often far easier to observe in others than in oneself. It is usually quite easy to see how other people, and indeed entire cultures, are both enabled and disabled by the beliefs they hold. Beliefs tend to lead to activities which tend to reconfirm belief in a circle they call virtuous rather than vicious, even if the results are not amusing. The first stage of seeing through the game can be a shocking enlightenment that leads to either a weary cynicism or Buddhism. The second stage of actually applying the insight to oneself can destroy the illusion of a soul and create a magician. The realization that belief is a tool rather than an end in itself has immense consequences if fully accepted. Within the limits set by physical possibility, and these limits are wider and more malleable than most people believe, one can make real any beliefs one chooses, including contradictory beliefs. The magician is not one striving for any particular identity goal, rather one who wants the meta-identity of being able to be anything.”

Peter J. Carroll Liber Kaos

If it is possible to effect changes in reality simply by changing one’s beliefs, then it logically follows that words must be powerful tools of magic. 

Putting it another way…you can make things true simply by stating them as fact, provided that your statement is convincing.

It further follows, then, that the most basic foundational skill of magic is to speak and write convincingly and with authority. To develop this talent, one should study oratory, rhetoric, acting, art, poetry, hypnosis, psychology and propaganda. Practice telling stories, anecdotes and jokes as a means of making a point. In order to develop the glamour of authority, the magician requires a broad general knowledge. Study history, philosophy, mythology, religion and languages. 

The ability to speak multiple languages carries with it the glamour of the world-traveller and renaissance-man. In the US, a facility with French will make one appear cultured. Spanish, streetwise.  To speak and read in archaic and forgotten tongues is especially impressive as this taps simultaneously into the archetypes of priest, scholar and mystic.

It should be clear by now that it really doesn’t matter much which particular languages one chooses to study. Each has a slightly different, though equally positive effect. Much more important are the foundational skills and the conviction with which you speak. No-one’s going to think you streetwise as you stutter through your basic, overly formal high-school Spanish. Likewise, no-one’s going to mistake you for wise and powerful Magus if your command of the Elder Tongue extends no further than chanting the Futhark in your deepest D&D voice. On the other hand…maybe they will. There’s a sucker born every minute.

Hail Chaos! Viva Loki! Aum Wotan!



The Streetfighter

It didn’t take long before we were piling out of their car and heading into what I had always considered one of the mellowest pool halls I’d ever been in. (You can get an idea of what I was used to if I considered a pool hall mellow.) In short order we had a table and a pitcher and had settled down to the sort of trivial chatter that seemed so deep at the time. I’d noticed a couple of crusty types a few tables over who were giving me the hairy eyeball, but since they were about 10 years older than me I shrugged them off. All in all we were having a good, relaxed time.

I was leaning over to take a diagonal cross table shot and had paused in position to exchange banter with the girls. Returning my attention to the table, I was purposely ignoring one of their snide (but accurate) summations of my skills as a pool player when I heard her break off mid sentence. I looked back over my shoulder to see one of the crusties had walked up right next to me without me noticing.

“What kind of knife is that?” he asked flatly, referring to the dagger on my belt.

“A Holden dagger,” I replied, starting to straighten up. A lot of people mistook it for a Nazi dagger, but it had been around a long time before (as in Viking times long time before) the Goose Stepping Brigade had stuck a backward swastika on it. My time in college was still a few years down the line, but even then I had a thing for history. Still, I’d jammed with a few folks over the knife who thought it meant I was a Nazi despite my dark hair and skin.

Without warning he whipped his right arm and I heard the snap of a buck knife opening. I saw the flash of stainless steel reflect wickedly over the green felt top of the pool table, and I knew I had better do something fucking quick.

Before he could bring his hand back from his overly wide and dramatic opening, I dropped the pool cue and lunged forward, my left hand grabbing his wrist and my right dropping down somewhere around his belt buckle.

With a loud “DON’T,” I heaved him up and slammed him down onto the pool table. Now don’t ask me how I managed the next few dribbles, as I really don’t have any idea except that it’s incredible what your adrenal glands can talk you into when someone pulls out a knife. I distinctly remember bouncing the guy three more times. He dropped the knife on bounce number three, but I must have thrown one or two more in there just to make sure. When he came to a rest, his arm was outstretched over his head and the knife was way down near his chest, so something must have happened that I don’t remember or I just didn’t notice. Anyway, he wasn’t going anywhere quick.

I whirled around to face his buddy, who had already decided that they had made a serious mistake and was backpedaling with wide eyes and hands held out in front of him. I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye as the bartender came barreling into view holding something down near his leg that I really didn’t want to know about…

The bartender looked at me and said, “You didn’t start it. You can stay.”  

I thanked him, but told him I’d be leaving as soon as I hit the head. You don’t hang around places like that after a fight in case the suckers backed up on you with some serious firepower. I swaggered to the bathroom and locked the door. About a second later I was bent over the toilet barfing my guts out from adrenaline and fear. Once I’d washed up, we scurried out the back door to the car and got the hell out of there.

From A Professional’s Guide to Ending Violence Quickly by Marc “Animal” MacYoung

The Cop

Consider also Officer Stacy Lim from the Los Angeles Police Department, whose story is legendary among professional police warriors. It began when she pulled into her driveway after an enjoyable evening of softball practice. When Lim got out of her personal car, she was immediately confronted by a group of gangbangers who had followed her with the intent of carjacking her vehicle.

Her first response was to call out that she was a police officer. They responded by firing a .357 magnum round into her chest, which penetrated her heart and blew a tennis ball-size exit wound out her back. Stacy Lim stayed in the fight. She not only returned fire, but she also became the aggressor as she pursued the man, shooting him repeatedly. The remaining gangbangers suddenly remembered previous, pressing engagements and very wisely fled for their lives.

After she dealt with her attackers she turned around and headed up her driveway toward her house to call for help. She does not recall doing it, but as she was losing consciousness, she stripped the magazine from her pistol and threw it 20 feet away where it was found the next day. She did this because in the academy she had been taught, “Don’t let them use your weapon against you.”

Her attacker died and Stacy Lim died twice on the operating table. She required 101 pints of blood, but she survived, returning to duty eight months later. Today, she still works uniform patrol on the streets of Los Angeles, and her training philosophy is, “You need to prepare your mind for where your body may have to go.” Do they make them like that anymore?

From On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman with Loren W. Christensen

The Berserkers

They prepared and equipped their boats, with twenty men on each. Kveldulf commanded one, and Skallagrim the other. They rowed of in search of the ship, and when they reached the place where it was moored, they put in to shore.

Hallvard and his men had covered the ship with awnings and gone to sleep, but when Kveldulf and his men reached them, the watchmen who had been sitting by the gangway at the prow lept up and called out to the ship, telling the crew to get up because they were about to be attacked. Hallvard and his men rushed for their weapons.

When Kveldulf and his men came to the gangway, they went up it to the stern of the ship, while Skallagrim headed for the prow. Kveldulf had a gigantic, double-bladed axe in his hand. Once he was on board, he told his men to go along the gunwale and cut the awnings from the pegs, while he stormed off back to the aftergaurd, where he is said to have become frenzied like a wild animal. Some other of his men went into a frenzy too, killing everyone they came across, and so did Skallagrim when he ran around the ship. Kveldulf and his son did not stop until the ship had been completely cleared. When Kveldulf went back to the aftergaurd, he wielded his axe and struck Hallvard right through his helmet and head, sinking the weapon in right up to the shaft. Then he tugged it back with such force that he swung Hallvard up into the air and over the side. Skallagrim swept the prow clean and killed Sigtrygg. Many of the crew threw themselves into the water, but Skallagrim’s men took the boat they had come on and rowed over to them, killing everyone in the water.

More than fifty of Hallvard’s men were killed there, and Skallagrim took the ship which had sailed there and all the riches on it.

They captured two or three of the most paltry men, spared their lives and asked them who had been on the ship and what their mission had been. When they found out the truth, they examined the carnage on the ship and had the impression that more of the crew had jumped over the side and lost their lives there than had died on board…

It is said that the people who could take on the character of animals, or went berserk, became so strong in this state that no one was a match for them, but also that just after it wore off they were left weaker than usual. Kveldulf was the same, so that when his frenzy wore off he felt completely exhausted by the effort he had made, and was rendered completely powerless and had to lie down and rest.

From Egil's Saga, translated by Bernard Scudder

Fight or Flight

According to Lt. Col. Grossman, when confronted with the threat of violence we are limited to four potential options. Fight, flee, posture or submit.

The nature of the human animal is such, however, that we are not very capable when it comes to making these decisions in the heat of the moment. Once the adrenaline starts pumping, your rational cognitive ability drops sharply, so you need to make your decisions about how you would like behave in the face of violence before it happens.

People who have lived in denial about violence, or are unwilling to become violent themselves, are the most likely to simply freeze, submit, become victims and suffer the consequences.

But most people most of the time are not so willing to be pushed around. They’ll attempt to posture and bluff their way out, even if it means some yelling, screaming, pushing and shoving to get there. They typically are still not willing to really hurt anybody, and so if the situation does escalate to an actual fight they’ll resort to non-decisive tactics, designed to cause pain in the hope of scaring their opponent away. Often, a punch to the face is just another bluff in the game of escalato. Against a committed attacker, the pseudo tough-guy will be forced to fold or switch to a more effective option.

The street-smart survivor focuses his strategies primarily on avoidance and escape. He’ll fight like hell to get out of tight corner, but only until he gets enough distance to make a run for it. A true survivor will do absolutely whatever it takes to stay alive.

The warrior is a different breed, because he has chosen to stand and fight when others would fold or flee. The berserker, more than any other warrior, is committed to the principle that offence is the best defense. The berserker attacks without pause, without mercy and with little to no though for his own safety. The berserker is not a “cold blooded killing machine” like your favorite action movie star, but a raving lunatic, a mad dog entirely focused on the destruction of the target in front of him. Ironically, it is his extreme aggression that saves him. Opposing warriors are forced onto the defensive and ordinary mortals trip over each other in the scramble to escape his fury.

Berserkergangr is your natural, primal combat mode. It is a phenomenon that has occurred throughout history and across cultures. Berserkergangr is not therianthropy, though the two appear to be related, and it is not what eastern style martial artists call “no-mind” either. Berserkergangr does not require the use of any drugs or specialized training, though training will certainly help. The capacity to go berserk is something that is within you already.


The physiological effects of adrenaline and the “fight or flight response” have been scientifically documented. The heart rate becomes elevated in response to stress, and progressive more elevated as the situation becomes ore stressful. Other symptoms of mild to extreme stress may include the loss of fine and complex motor control, diminished cognitive function and loss of higher reasoning, tunnel vision and auditory exclusion. The redirection of all energy resources to the vital organs and large muscle mass can lead to vomiting and loss of bowel and bladder control. 

On the up side, brute strength and gross motor function are enhanced. The pain threshold is raised and vasoconstriction decreases blood lost from injuries. A berserker can run faster, jump higher, hit harder and tolerate more damage than anyone could under normal circumstances. Time may appear to speed up, or may go by very slowly. I personally have had several “out of body experiences” while fighting and have once had my conscious mind black out completely while my body went into full-bore attack mode.

In the oriental martial arts, heavy emphasis is usually place on learning to control and minimize the effects of adrenaline through deep breathing techniques. Deep, slow abdominal breathing helps you to calm, ground and center yourself. And this can be effective even in a hard contact sparring match or a low risk physical confrontation. I personally find it hard to believe, though, that anyone can remain calm, grounded and centered while facing down single, knife-wielding crackhead, much less a trained medieval army. 

It seems to me that the correct strategy for the berserker warrior is not to fight against his own nature, but rather to embrace the madness. Accept the adrenaline rush. Take it and run with it. Plan your tactics to exploit the strengths of the battle-rage, and avoid the weaknesses. Take on the rage and run with it. Charge headlong into immortality.

Hail Chaos! Viva Loki! Aum Wotan!


Become a hunter.

Select an appropriately large, powerful, wild animal. Track and kill it.

Smear your cheeks with the blood.

Bleed and butcher your own fresh kill. Roast and eat the heart. Drink of the blood. Take into yourself all of the strength and spirit of the beast.

Hail Chaos! Viva Loki! Aum Wotan!