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Sisyphus, the Stone, and the Solar Man

Benjamin Howes, Oaks & Oaths

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
-William Goldman

Most people are familiar with the ancient Hellenic myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus, deceitful and a trickster by nature, twice cheated death and, in doing so, incurred the wrath of Zeus. The Father of the Greek gods, Himself a Hellenisation of Dyḗus ph₂tḗr (whom we shall discuss later) cursed Sisyphus with an eternal Herculean version of Chinese water torture.

Then I witnessed the torture of Sisyphus, as he wrestled with a huge rock with both hands. Bracing himself and thrusting with hands and feet he pushed the boulder uphill to the top. But every time, as he was about to send it toppling over the crest, its sheer weight turned it back, and once again towards the plain the pitiless rock rolled down. So once more he had to wrestle with the thing and push it up, while the sweat poured from his limbs and the dust rose high above his head.”

(Odyssey, Book 11:593)

At first glance this torture seems incredibly terrible, and no doubt it was. To be inches away from freedom time after time, only to be crushed under the weight of not only the stone but also the realization that this would be his eternal fate, could make a nihilist of any man. However, I have come around to take a different reading from Sisyphus’ curse.

Sisyphus is all of us.

We all try to cheat death in our deceitful and trickster ways. Some barricade themselves behind liquor cabinets, some build high walls of great fortune and fame, others lean on the everlasting arms of their understanding of the divine, still others seek younger women in full bloom of beauty in an attempt to discover what Ponce De Leon never could. Regardless of our tactics, regardless of how often we cast the thought aside, we all will die.

We all must die.

And hence the necessity of the stone.

Every man, sooner or later, has to come to a sense of understanding about his mortality. In youth, a man feels invincible. Death is an abstract concept that spares most (if not all) of his peers. It seems to him to be almost an impossibility, the domain of the weak and the sick and the old. As he grows older, the thought of death germinates like a weed in his consciousness. As his body aches and no longer works in the way it once did, that death-weed creeps its tendrils through more and more of his thinking life until it pops up all throughout the once-unbreakable concrete of his confidence.

This realization arrives to different men at different times. Some men face death in the fog of war or a traumatic accident, only to be spared by the fates to meet it at a later date. Others voluntarily face death through plant-assisted shamanic spirit work, as has been the case for me, as well as by becoming students of philosophy and/or meditation. The final category, the saddest of all, avoids all thought of it until it arrives at their door to find them unprepared for their final visitor.

Regardless of when the realization dawns across a man’s mind, this dawning awakens the judgement of Zeus: the punishment of pushing the awareness of one’s mortality up the hill of each new day for the rest of his days. The understanding of death, different from an abstract awareness of it, is in itself an act of initiation into death.

The wise man accepts and is humbled by this existential burden. The foolish man fights it to no avail.

The wise man accepts that this is indeed the judgement of his metaphysical Father. In that acceptance, he resigns himself to the task ever before him and determines to learn from the stone. As he pushes it, wrestles against it, does it not make him a little stronger with each attempt? Does he not learn the weight of the stone and how better to push it? Does he not learn the limitations of his own body and how by moving it more efficiently his task is made easier? Does he not build within his mind an ever-increasing fortitude to complete this endless task to his best ability?

Life is a road in a desert of suffering, with the occasional oasis of joy and fortune, that terminates at the river Styx and crosses over into the shadowy domain of Hel.

Each man, once initiated into death, is charged with pushing the stone. The stone itself is neither good or bad, vindictive or benevolent. It is a stone. Perhaps even a stone-cold fact. Its meaning is given only by the man charged with pushing it. His happiness, anger, defeatedness, or triumph is his choice alone. The stone, and how he chooses to view it, is in his hands alone.

In your hands alone.

Dyḗus ph₂tḗr, from whom Zeus is derived, is the name of the Proto-Indo-European Sky Father, represented by the Sun. The same Sun that marks one day from another. One pushing of the stone to the top of the hill to the next. Like any good father, He gives us this burden not to crush us, but to build us.

Imagine how weak and alienated the Boy Named Sue would have been if his Father had given him another name. It was his Father who cursed him with “that awful name” that was responsible for “the gravel in his gut and the spit in his eye.” This “curse” made Sue a man, despite his name. His name was something he couldn’t change. What he made of it was.

In a similar manner, our Skyfather has given us a similar curse and we must rise to the same challenge. A life of comfort and leisure never made a hero. A hero is a man who wrestles, time and time again, and remains undefeated until his Spirit is finally spilled from out of his mortal vessel.

If we aspire to the Solar ideal, we must accept the stone’s ordeal. We must remember our death with neither fear nor anticipation but with acceptance. We must then make useful the days between now and then. We must rise, like our Heavenly Father, above the dark clouds of this chaotic and terrified age. We must radiate wisdom, justice, temperance, and bravery. We must shine forth with strength, courage, mastery, and honor. We must fix our gaze on that most holy Sol Invictus, our Unconquered Sun, and become blinded to the material concerns of a material world.

Our quest is a spiritual one. Our cause is a righteous one. Our aims are not cultural or political, they are eternal. A legion of men collectively pushing the stone, learning from and supporting one another while doing so, can effectively change their world.

Maybe even the world.

My brothers embrace your struggle, for from it you are made into a man. Accept and love your fate. Remember your death. Use each day wisely, for if you will learn to love pushing your stone, you will do anything.

You will rise each day with the Sun and rewrite the stars.

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Order of the New Way

By Ioan Eofor

“Comeback to me now my forebears

rush through the briar and brambles

dash through the thickets of merrywood

stay there with me for a while”

🜨

“Show me the signs and the secrets

sing me the songs of our people

humble me through your bright majesty

bless me from treetop and steeple”


We were born into this world like seeds tossed into a roaring fire. 

In every sense, we can see the waking world for the chaotic amalgamation it truly is. Like a lump of clay, we bend and shape all things as we can. Yet all manner of intelligence has been gifted this power to shape. Big or small, smart or dim; all can move this cosmic giant anyway they please before they are sent elsewhere. 

 In truth we carve god out of the world. But too often do we forget -with our simian brains and eager spirits- that this place, and that god are more than capable of bending us in turn. For as we create, so also are we bent. We are this world, and the world is also us. But what this world is, and what we are… is a similar question to what is the exact shape of a river. 

We only make sense in movement. 

Anything else is a romantic picture of what was.

And so, we were seeds. 

That was our last static. We were nothing and then we were planted. I refer you to this simple runic formula. I describe this to you now as ‘The Cracking of :ING:’ 

ᛜ ᛃ

Look! Do you see it? Where once there was stagnation there is now flow. This is the magic of all things. This runic formula is the tale of life. What is next you might ask? But who is to know, and who should care. 

:FLOW:

 Rush towards that answer if you wish, but do so beautifully and foaming with passion. We were encased, and now we are not. Who is to tell in what manner we might grow; in what manner we might flow? 

A tree that grows by a house is shaped by the house, a river that flows through a city, is shaped by brick and mortar. But I tell you now that we have more ability than the river, and we have more decisions to make than the tree. We were born into this world, as part of this god, but you choose your place of growth, and you alone command your manner of flow. 

The average person’s current flow is frozen within an ice age of discourse. The lack of physical connections, and the acceleration of technology has left us all far too susceptible to the frozen winds and blinding storms of our individual natures. And so we no longer move, but rather comment and gaze at this chaos realm and blame those who describe its features we cannot see from our frozen perspective. 

The anger we feel for our fellow ape and how they might perceive this chaos in regards to our own description of that very same beast is the curse of stagnation. How dutifully we stand by our personal descriptions, and by those similar descriptions for those around our vicinity. Scattered we are frozen, but together we scream. Endlessly clamoring about what it is we must change before we have carved out that utopian apollo; our rebirthed savior. 

This is folly. 

The god grows and is shaped by all things. In this way it is more powerful than you; you cannot chop down centuries of growth. You cannot carve the face of true light from one of true chaos-immortal’ built through the power of endless human fraternization. Go to a preschool and tell all the children to draw the face of ‘mommy’ on the same canvas. 

But the power you possess to change all things is -in turn- the same power possessed by the acorn to sprout a new forest; far far away from the woods you have deemed sick. The woods you so wrongfully believe to be the gods face/power. Those woods you hate are not that gods only face, nor is it truly a power of anysort that you need worry about. That river of poisonous thought will not poison all, simply don’t drink from it yourself. It’s not the only artery of this Ymir. 

It was the folly of the first men to believe Odin and his brothers truly killed the giant. For he lives cosmically through all, and this has always been. When the mystics of the blackforests came back from their fungus trips amidst the stars, they wished to tell us of the three brother’s victory not as a static point, but as a power gifted to all of the father’s sons. Do not forget this. It is power, it is magic, it is might, it is triumph.   

Apollo does not attack Dionysus head on, he chases him endlessly round and round the pole, as does Dionysus in turn. They understand that this is the formula of movement and flow. 

I tell you now that the modern world is sick, and destined to be trampled and stuck in mental-traffic. Your fellow apes do not understand the flow of all things, and instead try to combat all things that they hate through brute force alone. This is not the way. On all sides of the fight, we are not understanding. 

The Day exists through the night, and the night exists through the day, and we must understand that this is also an endless flow, and an endless chase towards the unknown. 

Up up up! 

The Ningshizidian Staff demands our ascent; if we are to go beyond. 

We must ascend the axis mundi through this formula, or see ourselves trampled by the ugly god of the static present, for that god is one of the abyssal void, and he was birthed by us all. He lurks down below our climb, he wants you to look down. Do not be so foolish. 

The magic, and the deep capabilities that will come back to us in the form of song and secrets, after we have become in tune with this formula will teach us that this new way has always been there. Like the secret path Tolkien spoke of that he never went down. Like that one path through the woods you might see, and appreciate more for being a mystery.

The new way exists within our minds, and I bring you now to the grove in which the path sprouted from. Clear away the wreckage and understand that you will take those first steps, and see that this has always been. This is the path of the Halithaz, and it demands that you try your very best to become lost. Only then will you find the way. This path will take you away from all things, and bring you to a place where you might see potential. Where you will feel overwhelmed by the thoughts of what could one day grow strong in this new piece of land. 


It is in that area of our minds that we should sprout three seeds of ancient trees. At the dawn of all things they should come to watch the golden age ascend upon the horizon. The birds shall sing and the morning air shall charge across the realm, 

when those trees will grow strong. 

They will dance with pride in the realm, and bask in the golden light of the new dawn. 

Each of them, sacred to the blood in our veins. 

Each of them powerful.

Powerful, not only within their own right, but triumphant in their unity together.

They will stand proud on that land. And you will go forth  knowing that their roots were sprouted and anchored in the old world. Through chaos and the highest madness did they ascend and break through to the golden dawn. 

This is the new way. 

And it is ancient. 

🜨

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Mentors & Students

By Bronson Lee Norton

Image result for bronson lee norton

Many people are discontented with their lives, desperate for guidance and mentorship.

They wish that someone would just show them “the way”, or “a way” that might supersede their current condition. Truth be told, successful people are busy; this is why they are successful. It would take a generous teacher and an extraordinarily promising student to justify gambling on another person’s earnestness. If you are holding out for that archetypical messiah, you’re probably not that student. This type of exchange would have to show significant promise that investing in you would benefit them and/or the rest of the world by building you up in such a way.

In other words, this is the spiritual equivalent of banking on winning the lottery as a sufficient retirement plan, only you are gambling with your most vital years. Not to rule out the possibility, but I believe teachers find their students – not the other way around. This should be motivation for you to make yourself more valuable. Read many books, learn new skills, listen to different podcasts, study people who are doing things you would also like to be able to experience. If you are reading this, you have access to every bit of wisdom you could hope for that would enable you to create more opportunities for yourself. Most of my biggest mentors may never know my name, or how much of an impact they’ve had on my life.

Self-mastery is self-subsistent. Remember that.

Bronson Lee Norton is an athlete, archer, musician, and the host of the Barbaric Wisdom podcast.

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Germanic deities and their Celtic equivalents

By Gaisowiros

The word “German” has an elusive etymology, but it is possibly related to a Celtic root that means “neighbor”[1]. As such, we can verily examine the Celts and Germans as having been long-time neighbors. While it would be easy to identify the Rhine as the main border between those two, the Celts were in fact living in what is today Germany for most of the Bronze Age, Hallstatt Iron Age and La Tène Iron Age. It is only when Germanic migrations from the Jutland peninsula in approximately the middle of La Tène era that we start to see Germanic populations migrate deeper in today’s Germany.

Maximum expansion of the La Tène culture. Please note artifacts can be found farther away from these zones because of trade.

These migrating populations would not have been strangers to Celtic culture; La Tène artifacts are found across Germanic land, and even in Poland and Ukraine. It was a highly prized material culture that radiated in Northern and Central Europe. One good example of this is the Gundestrup cauldron. Made by Thracian artisans, the silver cauldron depicts scenes that are unequivocally Celtic[2], and was ultimately found buried in Denmark. These Iron age Danes probably would not have understood all the scenes on the cauldron but kept the cauldron because of its high value.

Taranis on the Gundestrup cauldron with typical Gaulish iconography of the cart wheel, ram-headed serpent and torc.

As neighbors, and long-time interacting trading partners, we would not be surprised to see many parallels between Germanic and Celtic cultures. I will attempt here to draw parallels between their deities. Many scholars have been studying this subject in the domain we call comparative mythology. Apart from comparative mythology, we can also find evidence in what I find to be more of a “jungian”, collective unconscious process in which the different cultures have assimilated deities together. We can see this in how the Gauls added Roman deity names to their native gods, creating deities like Belenus Apollo and Mars Camulos. Another kind of evidence is seen for example, in the names of the days of the week: Tuesday comes from Tiw’s day, or Tyr’s day, and that god was thought to be like Mars so that Tuesday is the same as the French Mar(s)di. That is not the work of specific scholars in an academic setting, but that of a more unconscious process that comes from society itself.

Before stepping into this project, I must specify a more precise culture than just “Celtic” and “Germanic”. I will use the Norse deities in the Germanic side, because they are those that we know most about. As for the Celtic side, I will use mainly Gaulish deities. But please know that Gaul was not a unified entity, and we see as many names for their deities as there are Gaulish tribes. It is possible that these multiple names are all unique gods and goddesses, but there is another distinct possibility Gaulish deities had different names depending on their role or where they were worshipped. They were possibly nicknames in a way. The complicated art in studying the Gaulish pantheon is to know when to see different deities or multiple names for the same god.

Since the introduction to the project I will have on the website has already taken some space on this article, I will start with a fairly simple deity with a clear iconography and evident parallels: Thorr

Thorr

There is no doubt here that Thorr’s Celtic equivalent is Taranis. Both names mean “The Thunderer”, and Taranis is found across Gaul, albeit with some differences in his name, with the most common being Taranus, but I will use Taranis in this article for it is the most known form nowadays.[3] The Thunderer divine archetype is also seen in the Slavic Perun and Baltic Perkunas. The difference between this Indo-European archetype and that of Zeus and Jupiter is that Zeus and Jupiter are both descended from the Proto-Indo-European root “*Dyeus” meaning day sky, while the Thunderer’s name either comes from a root simply meaning “thunder” or a root meaning “oak tree”.  The Thunderer deities are also deities of fighting; they are courageous, they protect the common folk and slay monsters. They are also great drinkers, and red-haired. This is not something we see with Zeus and Jupiter, who are though instead to be arbitrary father gods of ruling[4].

The biggest difference between Thorr and Taranis is that Taranis does not have a hammer or another percussive instrument. In his representations, we see him holding a lightning bolt like Zeus’[5] in one hand, and a chariot’s wheel in his other hand. The wheel can have a varied number of spokes, and we see their miniature bronze versions deposited as votive offerings or worn as pendants. It is, for what I understand, a great misconception to think Taranis’ wheel is the wheel of the year, as the wheel of the year has 4 or 8 spokes, representing seasons, while Taranis’ wheel can have 5, 6, 9 or any number of spokes.  But this does not mean that the wheel cannot represent order and the passing of time. His wheel is the iconographical remnants of his chariot. The Thunderer, whether it is Perun or Thorr, rides a chariot across the sky. The chariot’s wheels are noisy, and that sound is the thunder we hear. The reason for the Celtic god’s disappearance of the chariot is due to the great popularity of cavalry amongst the Gauls, to the point that they thought it would be better to have Taranis ride a horse. Thus, we see Taranis riding a horse, holding the lightning bolt in his hand and the wheel in his other, on top of the so called “Jupiter columns”, monuments erected in the Rhineland, when its native population was Celts that were recently romanized.

A late representation of Taranis, with the Roman influences showing in the toga and possibly the lightning bolt as well.

Example of a Jupiter column from Köngen. The trend of representing Jupiter riding a horse, defeating a giant, wielding a thunderbolt and occasionally a cart wheel in his other hand is thought to come from Celtic tradition and syncretism with the god Taranis. We never see the Roman Jupiter riding a horse, nor the Germanic Thorr.


[1] Irish gair, Proto-Celtic root unknown https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gair#Etymology_2

[2] The cauldron depicts many Celtic gods that I will describe. There is no way the depictions are of Germanic or Thracian deities, for the iconography is quite clear. A whole article could be written on the cauldron.

[3] Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Xavier Delamarre, p.290

[4] The three classes of Indo-European are: deities of ruling, deities of fighting and deities of producing. Zeus/Jupiter/Dyeus rules, while Thorr, Taranis and Indra fight, though they can also be kings in their own ways, they do not decide on the rules of the universe.

[5] Though this could be from Roman influence.