Wednesday, December 18, 2013


More than ten years ago I sat on a civil jury hearing a slip and fall case involving a little girl who was injured at a grocery store. The details of the case were in dispute, but everyone agreed that there was a broken baby food jar in the aisle, that the child asked her parents to go to the end of the aisle and look at something. She slipped and fell cutting herself in three places on her leg. The question was: who was responsible for her injuries and how can she be restored?

More recently, I witnessed another fall at a health club. A man spent way too much time in the sauna, over heated, passed out and hit his head on the concrete floor, chipping a tooth and getting a bloody mouth. Is he responsible for his misadventure?

In each case we can look at a situation where, for whatever reason, somebody decided not to exercise their responsibility for the safety of themselves or others, and the consequences involved blood. But what as warriors can we learn about the need for responsibility, and to whom are we responsible and to what degree?

To the general population, the term responsibility is often confabulated with punishment – the President vows to find the “responsible terrorists”, the police to find the “criminals responsible”, your teachers figuring out who is responsible for throwing a pencil in class, or parents assigning areas of responsibility for chores. These become buzz words for punishment or pain.

There are other kinds of responsibilities – ones that come with pride. Being responsible for the development of a child into a mature civil human being. For the success of a project. For the flawless performance of skill or talent. But these don't get the press that the negative associations do.

To non-warriors, pain is to be avoided, and that informs the choice of how to behave “responsibly”. I might get caught, sentenced and go to jail for taking money that's not mine. Since this involves pain, physical or psychological, I shall not do it. Likewise pleasure or praise is to be sought as a source of positive responsibility – I shall complete my assignments on time and on budget, and receive praise, possible rewards and advancements.

Nowhere in this logic does the necessity of principle come in, or values or any real higher reasoning or abstraction beyond that needed to imagine the direct consequences of the action. In fact, one needn't be a warrior to appreciate this system is morally empty. No better than B.F. Skinner's Operant Conditioning at work. Pull the lever, get the food. Pull the other lever to avoid the shock.

So the development of warriors requires something more deep and conscious than simply pain/pleasure paradigms. The reason is that warriors seek to serve things greater than simply themselves. Granted, they serve themselves too, but not at the expense of the greater service. It is more fulfilling to them to serve the larger ideal: Nation, God(s), Humanity, Posterity, Liberty, etc. than to merely avoid getting hurt. Their orientation, if you will, is to focus on the larger perspective. I will call this view Strategic.

Secondly, while they may have lofty motivations, their methodologies for getting those goals accomplished have to take into account the actual conditions of the space they find themselves in: thier own bodies, knowledge and will, the environment, their resources, the condition of allies and enemies, etc. This takes a no-nonsense appraisal, since lives can be lost on a bad appraisal. I will call this view Tactical.

The end is that a warrior has to hold both views to decide where he is responsible and where he isn't. He has to have a vision of the greater loyalty, and at the same time be ruthlessly evaluating the capabilities of those to which he is loyal, or the propriety of the loyalties he has sworn.

Unquestioning loyalty gets one unquestioningly dead.

So the warrior has more abstract responsibilities, which drive him to a more concrete analysis than non-warriors. That analysis is the most uncompromising part of warriorhood, and is honed and refined. I would submit that this is truly the ultimate weapon – the strategic/analytic mindset. It drives decisions that win conflicts, and ultimately power.

Pain becomes something that can be endured temporarily as a means to achieving a Tactical or Strategic goal. Pleasure is something that can be refused or delayed if it interferes with a Tactical or Strategic goal. It no longer forms the basis of decision making for a warrior,but becomes ancillary to it.

The second consequence of this mindset is how the warrior handles power as compared to non-warriors. Power is a lot like winning a lottery payout – is reveals character. To a person who has played the pain/pleasure game, it takes a lot of the responsibilities off his shoulders. Usually this person becomes what we would call irresponsible – inconsiderate of the consequences of his actions, to the point of harming his future. The basis of responsibility, the pain/pleasure matrix, is now wiped out, because he can pay to avoid pain and enhance pleasure. Power skews the pain/pleasure matrix too, making others responsible for intercepting pain on your behalf, and clearing the way for, or providing pleasure.

Contrast this with a warrior ethic that allows one to accept reasonable pain towards a goal, and delay pleasure to that goal as well. The decision matrix is still intact, even if power or money are present, since they depend on things more lasting and eternal than pain/pleasure. Corruption becomes less a problem for them, since transient wealth and power are used primarily towards their Strategic goals, not for temporary pain/pleasure mitigation.

And this is the foundation for what we call character and discipline. To be covered under a different blog entry.

So back to the original question: how does our ethos about Strategic and Tactical thinking inform the placing of responsibility in the court case I opened with? It should be no surprise Mom and Dad were suing the grocery store for having an unsafe environment. And there were falsified documents on the part of the store manager to indicate he was “pencil whipping” his forms and not actually doing safety checks as he claimed.

But in closing arguments, the defense attorney asked a simple question: What is your responsibility as a parent? Do you send your kid out as a scout, to see if the way is clear, or do you do what is inconvenient because parenting requires it?

And at the end, that's what I voted for in that jury room. The higher value was raising a child to be a good grown up, and protecting her until she could make those choices. The higher value was setting the responsibilities with the parents because the world could not be made safe for them by other people, even after the fact. They had failed at doing their job, which was to be warriors at heart in protecting their child, and gave in to the demands of a child and avoided the irritation of having to say no.

They then tried to shift that responsibility on to another party, and to a small degree the store was negligent, but the lion's share rested with the parents. We each have spheres of responsibility, and sometimes they overlap. Protecting your own child is not something you get to pawn off onto someone else.

It falls to each to decide what is a guiding set of values, and use that to define our success, failures and responsibilities. Rise above pain/pleasure, into the world of mature decision making.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Learn to hold your damnned gun properly. I'm so tired of watching wannabe gang-bangers tipping their handguns sideways at the range.

How to write to your Congress Critter

29 January 2013


The Honorable XXXXX
Washington, DC XXXXX

Dear Representative XXXXX,

I am a constituent of your district in XXXXX and a lawful gun owner, as well as holding a XXXXX Concealed Weapon Permit and a Class 03 Federal Firearms License as a collector. Like many I am saddened and outraged about the senseless killings at Sandy Hook Elementary as well as Aurora CO and others which have happened in recent memory. These horrific events have created a national debate on the subject of guns and their place in our society.

Currently Congress is considering bills which would limit access to and/or ownership of certain classes of firearms in an effort to curb the kind of violence we've seen. It cannot be more misguided than to think that outlawing any type of firearm would have prevented these tragedies, and that creating registries, limiting magazine capacity or resurrecting any part of the failed 1994 Assault Weapons Ban would do anything to honor the memories of the children or make our streets safer. Criminals by definition would never submit to any of these laws, and only law-abiding citizens would suffer as a result, becoming disarmed in relation to the armed criminal element.

There are a number of reasons I could cite to oppose any ban which may be proposed, most importantly is that existing laws already would have prevented the perpetrators from having access to the weapons they used if it had been followed. We have adequate laws if they are enforced.

I urge you to support strengthening existing enforcement of law, and oppose any further effort to undermine the fundamental right of free, lawful citizens to defend themselves as is enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Thank you.


The spirit of the land and the right to rule.

One of the great problems of studying and trying to pattern one's life after the values of ancient Celtic culture is that scant records exist for us to draw from, as well as that much of the records would have been clear to the ancients, but not to us. They knew the context of the message of their stories that we do nopt., I could quote Shakespeare's “star-crossed lovers” and any modern student of English would recognize this as a tragic story of childish love. Not so to ancient readers who wouldn't have the context of the play to refer to. We are stuck with that same condition.

In the lore there are two stories that come to mind, each of the Morrigan and her choice of lovers. One is Dagda and the other is Cuchulain (Cu Cullen). We are told by the lore that upon meeting the Morrigan at the ford, the Dagda made love to her, and did so well she rewarded him with prophecy that he would win the battle against the Fir Bolg. Cullen refused Her multiple times, and he witnessed her at the ford washing the blood off his armor, foretelling his death in the upcoming battle., He would never be king.

In context, these people would have understood the language here that we moderns don't get – the relationship between the king and the land, and the right of rulership.

In the case of the Dagda he sees her at the ford, which is immediately apparent to the ancients as the only place you could safely cross a river. Rivers were highways, sources of water and life, barriers to progress, past and future. The meeting at the ford was a natural crossing-point, and the imagery here would have been clear to a people for whom rivers were all these things. They make love at the ford, and he does such a great job that he is rewarded with the Morrigan's aid against the Fir Bolg. In fact, it is the Dagda who slays their king.

In Cullen's case, he responds differently. He is a Milesian, so the cultural context of a Goddess meeting a hero for a sexual encounter is foreign to him. She announces herself as the daughter of Buan (the Eternal), the king. He misunderstands her advances. In the Tain Bo Cualnge, Cullen is engaged in daily battles with the forces of Queen Medb, and suspects the appearance of a beautiful woman as either a ruse or a distraction. The last thing he needs is a groupie while he's trying to defend against a cattle raid alone, and he tells her he is in no condition to “foregather” with a woman, as he's not eaten and lacks strength. She offers aid, and he says that he didn't undertake the battle to get girls. He's a man operating from his oath, blinded by his commitment and dismisses her.

When she threatens to attack him, as an eel to trip him, his suspicions are confirmed. “More likely that (an eel) than the daughter of a king” he says. This is no princess, but a lying seductress out to stop his plans, probably sent by Medb to seduce him and take him off his game. He'd been chastised once before about a tryst on the day of battle, and wasn't there for the invasion at the border. That wasn't happening again.

The curse then becomes a case of being too proud to admit lack of understanding. And simply not understanding the gift being offered. What is coming from the Morrigan is genuine admiration, as she admired the Dagda. Each are heroes, each do great things, and she seeks to reward heroism and push them to greater deeds.

I've heard claims that Cullen is an example not to spurn a Goddess. I think it's more subtle than that. He commits the sin of mindlessness. He misses the forest for the trees.

So the take away is pay attention, accept the blessing, and understand commitment and honor are good to a point, then it can drive you to ruin. Even a superhero like Cullen can be blinded to what's right in front of him, and cannot proceed to becoming a king when he lacks vision.

The land requires a just ruler, a mindful ruler, a deserving ruler. The Queen will only hold out the crown so long – if you fail to see it, or fail to grasp it, you will be judged as unworthy.

When social justice is not just

What is the foundational principles of Social Justice (SJ) and how does that relate to Pagan warrior ethos and sovereignty? This is the kernel of an idea that leads to this essay. A recent Article in The Wild Hunt explored SJ as an expression of pagan spirituality. Here is an opportunity to tear part of the mask off the SJ movement in these circles.

To be an honest proponent of anything requires a measure of bravery. We must not only examine the motivations of our enemies, but of our allies and ourselves. The quest for justice is admirable, laudable, and I believe many good folks are driven by a sense of what ought to be, but they are less than honest about examining their motivations as to their goals or methods.

What is justice? How shall we determine right and wrong and our course of action? What is the proper application of Power to make things Just? Are we as warrior-hearted people permitted to act, and if so how far? Against what? Big questions, but an examination of this is required to figure out what to do in the face of a social justice claim

First, I'm going to burst bubbles by making a statement: Life isn't fair. We are born different, some smarter, some more beautiful, some stronger, some more healthy, some more productive. Accepting this as a fact is just common sense, but beyond the disappointment of self-doubt that it may reveal, understand that it is this inequality that is needed to make a society and economy function. If we all could do exactly the same things equally well, there'd be no need for interactions, trade, discussions or any kind of marketplace. We would never advance beyond subsistence level.

So that inequality itself forms the foundation of how we as groups pool resources, divide labor, and organize to overcome challenges of life. You're a better farmer, I'm a better hunter, neither of us are very good doctors, etc. Being free to choose the work we excel and are happy at means a better life for all of us.

But along comes the SJ crowd and argues that inequality is bad. Maybe in some areas, such as before the Law, or in respect to how we are treated in social settings, one ought value the Other as expert in his field, and in ownership of his life. This isn't far enough say the Sjers, they seek to make the world a
level playing field by restricting the ability of the strong to be strong. The intelligent to exercise intelligence, the bold from being audacious. Of course, they don't call it such, they couch it in terms of justice, fairness, equity. No right-thinking person wants to be unjust, unfair or treating people without equal regard, so the SJ-ers then have control of the language of the discussion and thus win the argument.

Why? I'm not sure. I think it's a combination of fear and envy. Fear of that which is greater than themselves, and envy of strength and power. What is too powerful? Anything more powerful than the person who asks the question. So ultimately, it becomes a form of suppression of strength to achieve “fairness”

I'm going to turn the tables by asking “What is fair?”. Is it fair for a person to have his wealth confiscated by others using government as a tool? Is it fair to have a student sit quietly and move along with the class rather than excel at learning? Is it fair to disarm the man who has defended his family from a home invasion, because he has shown he can kill?

The Gods have not handed us equal ability. They did not intend for us to cripple our strongest to make ourselves feel better about our weaknesses. They intend for us to aspire to be more than we are, to make ourselves strong and proud and free. And to defend that in others too. Nurture strength where we see it growing,

To be sovereign does not diminish the sovereignty of another – it enhances it, since we can meet as equals in spirit, kings and queens of our own lives regardless of the treasures we own or the land we occupy.

Envy is a powerful emotion, that destroys sovereignty. It places the center of value on what you don't have, an empty room, bank account, love life, etc. Envy has a twin sister named Guilt that destroys it by pushing that same center of value to the empty room, bank account etc, instead of the success that it ought to be focused on.

These twins are the weapons of the Social Justice crowd, and seek to destroy real accomplishments.

If you fall behind in your efforts, struggle and fail, they feed your Envy to try to destroy your betters. If you win, they seek to feed Guilt about your accomplishments, to level the playing field.

As part of the package-deal I rejected upon becoming Pagan was this same mentality of envy/guilt that populated the Christian churches and mindspace. I'm sad to say it's at home in Paganism because we lack the language of sovereignty, pride and power. So here is it folks:

You have the right to be happy, to make your life into whatever you want, as long as you don't hurt others.

You have the right to seek the best in life that your skills, talent and ambition will provide.

You have the right to own every bit of your own life, and whatever you produce yourself, and what you freely trade with others.

You have the right to defend yourself, your freedom, your justly acquired property, and that of innocent people, from anyone who would take it from you by whatever means are necessary. Not available means, only necessary means.

You have the right to stand up against injustices, provided your means and your goals do not perpetrate those same or other injustices on anyone.


In the beginning let me say that the purpose of this blog is to share and document my devotional relationship to The Morrigan ;not preaching, prophesy, prosleytize or promote. I have been active in the Pagan community since 1989, and dedicated to Her for many years. But as I often say, doing something a long time does not equate to doing it well.

I do not consider myself a Priest, for She does not ordain Priests and Priestesses. I'm not a Shaman, or whatever term indicates that in the Pagan community. I'm no expert, no artist, no soothsayer. I'm a man who is dedicated to a Goddess of war, sovereignty, the land and sacred sexuality.

So why start a blog about all this? In truth, there are only three main reasons. First, showing off all my work and adventures. Yes, adventures, having such a Goddess at your side will bring many adventures. Secondly, document my own progress. In a way it forces me to think, grow, and develop along this path (How I do hate the term “path”). Thirdly, it can help guide others who may be called in such a strange way and do not fit in the neo-pagan world.

So what is my avocation? I'm called to train as a modern-day Celtic warrior. And before you laugh, this blog will contain a lot of information about warriorship, and the mindset of being a classical warrior in a modern setting.

For the record, I am not law enforcement nor former/current military. For medical reasons, I'm ineligible to serve in either capacity, but nothing prohibits me from training like one. I'm what they refer to as a “civilian sheep dog”, and we will cover the sheepdog concept later in this blog.

And what do I mean by modern-day Celtic warrior? I live in the 21st century, with internet, air conditioning, and I'm not running about in ancient dress pretending to be something out of Braveheart. I learned to fight with sword and shield, knife and bare hands, and rifle and pistol. The art of warfare is a sacred art, and I practice all forms of it. This blog may focus on mentality or training, as I see fit.

My position on politics, etc. may appear here, but isn't the focus of this blog. I shall endeavor to keep my private life out of this blog, it's not about me or photos of my family, pets, etc. it's about a dedication. As to politics, I'm going to say nothing nauseates me more than some aging hippie taking her faith as a justification to use government as a tool to redistribute wealth – I'm looking at you Starhawk – and I think the Gods themselves would be as offended as I am. Or some granola-crunching PETA shrew thinking she can guilt me into changing my diet “for the children”. Or a self-hating closeted homosexual pastor thumping a Bible in my face and bashing all my queer friends in the name of his God. Or a well-connected corpratist who thinks the law doesn't apply to him by virtue of who his “friends” are.

I'm going to offer my voice for a silent mass, of a-political pagans who if pressed, would really rather be libertarians than anything else. I donate to charity, I volunteer as time permits, I believe in justice and goodness – but shut the fuck up already! We do great things even in a competitive materialistic world,so get out there and do them and stop trying to use guilt and force to make the world more just.

Be a beacon, not a shrew.

So back to the blog. As I read, think, develop, experience and grow, it's my hope that I'll document it for others. One thing I try to do is practice some operational security, and not give much away as to personal data. But I intend to make a great ride out of it, and to be worthy of all the blessings bestowed on me by Her, by being the best I can be.

I was trained as a scientist and as a philosopher, so from time to time that will creep in here, more as a methodology and outlook than as a subject.

So what does it mean to have such a dedication? For one, you don't get to slack. To be a warrior means to relentlessly pursue improvement. Physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. And that improvement is through act of will, and action. One can sit home with candles all day and will change, but unless you get off your ass and DO, nothing will change. You'll just burn candles.

It means staring down fear. Do I feel fear? Sure...watching my house burn made me feel fear. Telling my boss if they take away another one of my benefits I'll walk out, and meaning it. Grabbing a loaded handgun to check out a suspicious noise downstairs. My 40th birthday, and looking at what I've not yet accomplished. Yeah, I feel fear, but I do what is needed despite it.

And that powering through fear is a sacrifice of fear. I slay the dragon, and offer it to Her as my sacrifice. That is a fitting tribute I think, and one that makes both of us stronger for it.

So there is an introduction. On to the adventure.