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Samhain: Sovereignity

Just about every year at this time I offer a primer about Samhain- what it is about, what it is NOT about, and its history. This year, I need to expand on this theme. While I do not mean for this to seem overtly socio-political, I feel it is necessary. I will offer a brief overview on this important ancient Celtic holiday, and perhaps you may see why I have chosen to bring these perceptions to light. As always, I must offer a disclaimer that this dialogue re: any socio-political implications are my own perceptions based on deep research and gathered intel (my own, and intel from “field associates”). I encourage you to reflect on what I say and draw your own conclusions.

Here is an overview if you are not familiar with the reality of this holiday (what has become known as ‘Halloween’). Samhain is roughly translated as ‘summer’s end’ in Irish Gaelic. This holiday is important because it is really several crucial spiritual/cultural dynamics simultaneously. It is the time of the harvest (critical for survival). The Celts lived by their connection to the natural world, and were absolutely dependent on their observance of the changing of the seasons. It is also the beginning of the Celtic New Year (different than the Gregorian calendar that we are used to).

Samhain is the time of year when the veils between worlds were thought to be at its thinnest, so consequently the time to venerate, or be in communion with, the ancestors who have passed on. This is why this time of year is replete with death/skull/ skeleton imagery- it is a recognition of the ‘worlds beyond’ the planes of the living. It is a recognition of the cycles of life, and the natural balance that we must all live in. Life turns to death; all living things must eventually die to allow new life to begin. Death becomes life, re-establishing the great circle of existence in a continual never-ending balanced cycle. It is the liminal time between the light of summer and the dark of winter. The light dies to allow the existence of the dark- that time when we reflect on our ancestors, and reflect introspectively on our own inner selves. The dark dies to bring life back again to the world- the time for new beginnings, and re-birth.

The cycle of life/death: light/dark. They recognized the reality of the dark time of the year, it was part of their existence, and not a thing to ignore or avoid. Hence the veneration of the ancestors- by honoring them at this beginning of the dark, they start to bring light back through their memories and veneration. This keeps them alive in hearts and minds, and is a bulwark to keep the sparks of life present in the dark of winter. With this dynamic, it is also the time that warriors slain in battle were honored. The Celts were formidable warriors (just ask Julius Ceasar!!), and warfare was in fact a spiritual dynamic for them- honoring the Fallen was a crucial spiritual dynamic.

When Europe was Christianized, Samhain became All Hallow’s Eve, which eventually became Halloween. All Saint’s Day is simply the Catholic variation of this very same sacred day. The pumpkins, the costumes, the handing out of treats- all are modern variations of how the Celts celebrated this day. This holiday is absolutely NOT NOT NOT a ‘night of evil’, or the ‘Devil’s Holiday’. Just the opposite, in fact, if one understands its origins. Just like many other dynamics, it is only ‘evil’ if someone makes it that way. It inherently is not in of itself.

OK. Now buckle your seatbelt and remain seated, hands and arms within the conveyance at all times. This is going to be a bit bumpy……

Another dynamic that is present at Samhain is the idea of sovereignity. Much of the honoring of those fallen in battle was a recognition of their sacrifice to preserve the sovereignity of their clans and their culture. The ancient Irish goddess Morrigan was, among other things, the goddess of sovereignity- she is traditionally represented at Samhain (along with the Celtic ‘All-Father’ Dagda). This is an important theme especially this year. On a small scale, we see threats to our personal sovereignity from the ‘woke’ culture trying to ban EVERYTHING that makes them uncomfortable, or that they deem offensive. Petulant, ignorant children, the lot of them. Halloween costumes are ‘racist’, so must be banned. Black jack o lanterns are also seen as ‘racist’, so must be banned. Extreme haunted housed are seen as ‘too scary!!!’ so must be banned. Words themselves are deemed as ‘hate speech’, so must be banned (what’s next- book burnings?! Guess who the real Nazis are in this scenario……..) The temper tantrums from these neo-Marxist head cases are beyond ridiculous. It would almost laughable, if it wasn’t being intentionally propagated by design….

Unelected progressive left activist-bureaucrats from thousands of miles away (I’m looking at you, Brussels……) see fit to dictate how Westerners are to speak, what we should eat, where we should live, how we should think. If you think I am wearing my foil hat too tightly, please read UN Agenda 2020. THAT is a real Halloween fright…….This is the kind of ‘wokeness’ that is being encouraged of the American Snowflake Left. Climate change hucksters hector us that driving our cars is evil and killing the planet!- while they jet around in private luxury planes from one of their many mansions. They use and brainwash children to spew their propaganda (something that both Hitler and Stalin did, by the way). All in the name of ‘do what we say because we know better- you may not have an opinion other than ours because you are a mean, fascist neanderthal. Freedom is racist! Hand over your guns!’

The ancient Celts were steadfast defenders of their freedom, and their right to have their own culture. The Romans found that out the hard way (they won in the end, but they took phenomenal losses during the many invasions required to defeat the continental Celts. The Romans never made it to Ireland. Fortunate for them……) Sovereignity was also celebrated at Samhain through the ‘Morrigan Dynamic’. If you are of the mind to observe Samhain, I strongly encourage you to reflect on your own personal sovereignity and freedom of thought and speech. As you honor your ancestors, reflect on the sacrifices they may have made to ensure that their own future generations could live as a free folk. See what is happening in the broad world around us, and perceive the implications of the professional Victim Culture that seeks to destroy that precious sovereignity of yours…….If you are now scared, congratulations. You just joined the fray, fellow Warrior. By the way, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with society. People aren’t drinking from the skulls of their enemies anymore….

Beannachte’ Samhain

Suppressed History: Tool of the New Elite

Most of this entry is re-posted from a much earlier blog I wrote about 4 years ago. It concerns me deeply that it is now necessary to bring this up again. I have edited parts of this to be more current, but most of it is the original post.

Today (March 17, 2019) I want to bring to your attention this new push for reparations among the Children of Stalin (the new ‘Democratic Socialists’ cadre of new congresscritters). This is being spearheaded by the Communist Race-baiter Senator Harris, and it disturbs me to say it is not only gaining traction among this new Hammer-and-Sickle coterie, but is being enthusiastically endorsed.    This ‘Slave Reparations’ agenda is cataclysmically wrong on several levels, but at its core it is in complete denial of actual, real history (but, then, when has the Left ever engaged in actual fact and reality?) This massive disconnect with reality resonates in our present time, and the light of logic and reason shows its shadowed intentions. I can’t argue with the widely held belief that slavery was a horrible stain on our Republic. It was- as I know it must be for many other nations whose ancestors may have engaged in this terrible practice (except, apparently for some Third World Nations where this practice is still going on). I find it wholly despicable that the Left would use this as a tool to try to not only control social narratives, but as a ploy to enact repressive, anti-liberty policies. Despicable, but not surprising.

This is the reality…………

       I’ve never owned a slave.
My family never owned a slave.  There isn’t a single person alive today who can claim to have been a slave due reparations.

      How about the descendants of the Union soldiers who gave their lives in what they believed was the  cause of “ending slavery”?  Does their skin color disqualify them for reparations?  Who will pay those debts? Surely, their sacrifices must count for something.

There were a number of black slave owners in the Colonies (even long before the Civil War). Will those families be forced to pay reparations?  Do you know who was one of the first recorded slave owners in the Commonwealth of Virginia?   A man by the name of Anthony Johnson (originally from Angola)- himself a freed African slave.   When he gained his freedom, he became a property owner who owned slaves, and was one of the first people in Virginia to have his right to own a slave legally recognized.  Will his descendants be expected to pay reparations ? 

There were a lot of black slave traders, primarily based in Africa. They were in fact responsible for starting the trade that eventually brought slaves to the American colonies. Will those families be forced to pay reparations?  Arab slavers went into business with these West African slavemongers.  Shouldn’t the Saudi Royal family pay reparations, too, since their ancestors were slave runners long before the New ‘Americans’ were?

Many Europeans were taken as slaves by coastal raiding Berber pirates in the 16 and 17 centuries.  How about the descendants of these Europeans?  Where is the societal outrage for their enslavement?  REAL history demonstrates that far more Europeans were taken as slaves than in the American colonies and Confederacy combined. Most of them women, for sale in the slave markets of North Africa and various Middle Eastern states (#metoo movement? Hello? No comment on this?…Oh. right, doesn’t fit your narrative….) This aspect of history is never discussed, and is in fact scrubbed from most history books. And why is that? Examine the intentions behind this Reparations agenda and you will deduce the answer.

How about the generations of Irish  who were brought to the Americas as indentured slaves (as many Africans were)? They were forced to work in brutal conditions with hopes of one day being free.   They were treated far worse than the Southern slaves, and were held in deplorable, inhumane conditions in the factories of the North.  They were considered to be less than 3rd class citizens. Yet, independently thinking people are not allowed to address that, because it invalidates the race-based victim ideology that is a valuable tool to control society.  You can’t talk about white people having been enslaved, that is truth and it defies the agenda!  You are a racist!  Bow down now and take your public shaming!!!!!!

Yes, it is true that Black Slaves of the South were whipped. But so were many White Confederates. Whipping was corporal punishment for crimes committed, not for  being a slave.   Maintaining slaves was a very expensive proposition- why would an owner damage an ‘investment’ like that capriciously?  Crimes=punishment, however.  I am not bringing this up to be flippant about it, I am just stating historical fact to put this in perspective.    I know ‘what about the lynchings in the South after the War?’ is now a question. The answer is simple; the KKK were largely responsible, which of course was started by the Southern Democrats, who also were the primary slave-owners of the South. They had the money and connections, you see.  They wanted their former slaves ‘back on the plantation’ (and continue this today in the form of race-based affirmative action, race-based educational benefits, and generational welfare. “No, no you are a VICTIM of OPPRESSION. You MUST be given special status and aid because of your skin color, not your character and meritoh, no no no you cannot do things for yourself, we must do it for you! here, let me fill out that ballot for you”………..democrat=real racism…..) Lest you may think ‘that was a different party back then’, and you may be right to a degree, remember that one of the longest serving members of Congress was a long-time member of the KKK, and had a prominent executive position with them for decades. Senator Robert Byrd-D.  At his funeral, both Clintons lovingly eulogized him, despite his long term, many decades position with the ‘Klan’. He thought apologizing for it would magically erase his past, and he did it in a disingenuous way purely for political optics.    I didn’t want to turn this post into a political diatribe, but consider very carefully what I just said…….

The nation of Brazil had a far more entrenched African slave tradition,  far earlier, and for much longer, than the American South.  However, Brazil is today hailed as an icon of  Progressive ideology,  despite their slave-owning past.  Where are the internet activist campaigns condemning them for having had slaves?   Will there be demands for them to ban their flag?  Will the government of Brazil  be forced via a global  tribunal to pay reparations to all of their Afro-Brazilian descendants?  Somehow, I just don’t think so. How about the people of Portugal? Surely, some of their ancestors may have been involved in the trade that brought Africans to the then Portuguese colony of Brazil. Will they be forced to pay reparations? Or, like Brazil, are they too ‘woke and progressive’ to be included? (are you seeing the blatant hypocrisy and double-standards yet?)

To this day, slavery continues mostly in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia.  Why aren’t there rallies and hashtag campaigns aimed at those responsible in those places, rather than at European-descendant Americans (who have nothing to do with slavery anyway, and whose ancestors may have been slaves themselves?!?!)

   If you examine what the War Between the States was really about, you will see that reparations is based on propaganda and deceit.       Yes,  slavery was practiced in the Americas  (as it had been in many other places in the world).   As already stated, Africa had a thriving slave trade long before any Europeans got involved.  As did some  of the Tribes in the Americas (along with practices such as cannibalism , ritual sacrifice, and  torture).   We are brainwashed in the Marxist indoctrination centers known as the educational system to believe that it was ONLY the ‘evil, white oppressive white Europeans’ that did such vile things.  False.  Slavery is a corrupt, horrific, inhuman practice regardless of who is doing it.  Shoehorning the propaganda that it was only White Europeans  who were responsible for all of it into any and all debate is a tool used to silence and marginalize those who seek truth…….            

We are also brainwashed to blindly accept that the Civil War was about slavery itself. Also false. It had absolutely nothing to do with slavery. The North had slaves, too, as human cogs in their industrial machine.  (Ulysses S. Grant himself had a slave,  and it took an act of Congress to free the man even after the war!)   I DO NOT defend the South  slavery practices- I am only sharing historical truth of the true intentions for war between the states.   It is  a solid truth that very, very few Southerners owned any slaves at all.   Only about 2% of the Confederacy were slave-owners, and even then it was being completely phased out via their Constitution by this point in history.   Your average Confederate soldier, if asked why they were fighting, would not say ‘to protect slavery’.    They didn’t own any, their families didn’t own any,  they likely didn’t know anyone who had any.   They would have most likely told you, in their own way,   ‘to defend States Rights of Secession’, as provided for in the American Constitution.            

      It was in fact a war of economic aggression against the agrarian South.  When the Confederacy seceded,  they were already progressing towards westerly expansion .  The North saw this as a threat to their own designs on manifest destiny (and,  by extension, their badly faltering economy) , so although the Southern secession was in fact legal and in accordance with the Constitution,   Lincoln declared war, using the wedge issue of slavery, and ‘preservation of the Union’,  as a justification.  To wit:       

   ” My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”  (from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln,  edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, “Letter to Horace Greeley” – August 22, 1862).             

The much maligned Robert E. Lee, whose statues are being removed with rabid intent, was in fact very much opposed to slavery. Far more opposed to it than Lincoln was (as you can read in Lincoln’s statement to Greeley).  Lee owned no slaves, his family owned no slaves nor did they ever. He spoke out against the practice, putting him at odds with the Confederate 2% who did. But, he served as Commanding General of The Confederacy to preserve state’s rights of secession. This all integrates into the very big issue of the 10th Amendment (States Rights).  Villifying anything having to do with secession is a tool TPTB is using to keep the populace in line, and submissive to their liberty-crushing agendas. Reparations would be a tool to help achieve that.

This is  why there was such a propaganda storm about the Stars and Bars flag- a storm of ignorance that I found ridiculous,  and actually insulting to my intelligence. (This flag is actually the battle flag of Northern Virginia, and was the personal standard of Robert E. Lee). That flag has nothing to do with slavery, but the brainwashed masses very dutifully gnashed their teeth in indignance and blind rage.  That has been a cultural icon for well over 100 years – but NOW,  suddenly, it is to be despised.   The sheeple  didn’t start villifying it until Big Liberal Media told them to.  Businesses who sold that flag were commanded to stop selling it,  private citizens who displayed it were even viciously attacked by obedient Social Justice Orcs.  Businesses were bullied,  homes were burned, productive citizens were beaten.     All based on LIES.     It is seen as a cultural symbol, not a statement condoning slavery. It isn’t just white folk flying that flag, you know.        It is, in the hearts of many Southerners (both white and black), to be a flag of rebellion against an overarching, tyrannical central government .    Now you know why any connection to it, indeed to any icon or institution of the Rebel South, is systematically being vilified, and even criminalized. It isn’t about slavery, as the mandated narrative states. It is about obedience to the Marxist Orwellian State currently in Global Ops Mode, and any ideas about sovereignity  and self-rule is to be crushed. “They had SLAVES!!”  is just a useful tool to manipulate the hearts and minds of the population.  Tearing down that flag was a start- now destroying parts of our very  history, and even suppressing ‘inconvenient truths’ to pave the way for actual economic slavery, is  under way . That is something that STALIN did routinely.  As does the Taliban.  The parallel is no coincidence.  

This new playbook from the Righteous Socialists of the New America will use reparations as a wealth re-distribution scheme, as well as oppressing who they consider a danger to their agenda. They seem to believe that this will insure a blindly obedient ‘social army’ to do the bidding of the Globalist Elite.   That really will be slavery.                     

Black, white, yellow, red, brown, blue or  green-  we are ALL being used against each other.  I hope that we all wake up to that reality before it is too late.  So, time to fly a flag of defiance within your own heart and soul.   We all need to be ‘rebels in spirit’  now in the same cause- regardless of our origins- or we will ALL be slaves……….      

    “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”-   H.L.   Mencken

Shapeshifting

“Shapeshifting” can be a very valuable dynamic in martial arts practice.   I don’t mean actual, physical shapeshifting (although, to be honest, there have been more than a few people that have suspected that I may be an actual shapeshifter….lol).  What I mean here is an energetic shapeshifting- an internal and subconscious response.  As martial artists, particularly how I practice them, everything we do is rooted in the subconscious- this drives the internal cycles of balance and energy.  I always tell my students to ‘flow like water (strike like iron’)- this constant flowing of circular energy comes into play as we shift our perception to intercept incoming energies.   In practical application, this translates as moving and changing our own energy/focus in the most efficient way possible. Truly ‘flowing with the attack’- perceiving the intent and redirecting it as needed.  So, on a deeply internal level, we must be ‘shapeshifters’ to flow organically like this- to perceive the moment and shift accordingly.  It also means shifting our perception and energy to efficiently operate even if we are physically compromised….

This is a dynamic I have been applying lately.  Though I am steadily improving, I still have  some way to go. Journeying closer to 100%, to be sure, but not there yet.  So, I have shifted how I apply techniques operationally to still be quite effective. So, I have ‘shapeshifted’- in this case, I am using alot of Snake-derived techniques to compensate for my lack of full motion.  This is applied from general Southern Snake Kung Fu techniques that my Sifu (Grandmaster Khan) had taught me many years ago.  The intention is the same, my focus is the same- I am using the same energy and focus, but applying it differently.   Snake techniques serve me quite well at present, because they offer an economy of motion.

A good example of this is a simple strike interception. Typically we use what is called a tiger sweep to intercept and redirect (or capture) a strike.  With Snake, I can do the same thing, but with a much smaller circle. Rather than a full circular sweep, I condense that circle- not moving my elbow outside of this circle- still a circle, and I still use the attack to my advantage as a resource. This allows me a quick counterstrike to an available and vulnerable target (throat, eyes, etc.)   I shift myself into a smaller circle of perception.  Sometimes you are the Tiger, sometimes you are the Snake. Sometimes you are the Dragon, sometimes you are the Bear.  It is all about PERCEPTION…

I have taken this beyond the abstract, and applying it with a tool/defensive asset that we have been working with.  As I talked about in a previous blog, I have been showing my students how to apply what they already know into quarter-staff/ ‘walking stick’ techniques.  As I have done some cross-training in Irish Bataireacht (staves fighting; part of shilleleigh fighting!)- I have integrated this Snake wisdom with my Bataireacht techniques. The Snake and the Irish Stave.   This is very ironic if you are familiar with the history of St. Patrick (please look it up if you aren’t!)

I am calling this integration ‘Snake Wraps the Oak’.   SE Asian jungle meets the Irish forest!

So,  perception ‘shapeshifting’ is a valuable skill in martial arts practice and understanding. It also can serve you in everyday life.  When you meet challenges, you can shift your perception to more efficiently deal with that challenge. You can shift your perception to see the dynamics of that challenge from a completely different set of internal eyes- perceiving a new way to handle it that you may not have seen otherwise.  Allow yourself to shapeshift your energy to flow with this dynamic. This is how you redirect it into a positive, and ultimately ‘own the challenge’,  just as we do in the martial arts.

When life gives you lemons……………. make lemon-based weapons!!!!!

Samhain Tidings

A Blessed Samhain to you.

This night is when it is believed that the veils between worlds are thinnest.

This night we honor our ancestors.   We call out to the spirits of our ancestors to join us this night. We honor their blood that runs through our veins, and their memories that run through our souls. We bring those who have passed to life through our love and remembrances.

This night is the eve that  harkens in the Celtic New Year (November 1). ‘Samhain’ literally means November in old Irish Gaelic.  When Europe (and later Ireland) became Christianized,  Samhain became ‘All Soul’s Day’.   Same traditions with a different name.  The night before became known as ‘All Hallow’s Eve’.  This then became ‘Halloween’.   Hearth Celts like myself still call this holiday by the original Irish name of Samhain.

This night we honor the harvest. The bounty of the Earth and the great sacrifices made so that we may live.

This night we honor this liminal time, this time of transition between the light of Summer, and the dark of Winter. In ancient times this is the night that Druids would light the first hearth fires of homes from the ritual bonfires of the village groves. In this we bring Life from Death, and Light from the Darkness.

From our ancestors and from the Divine, however we perceive it,  we ask protection from evil and negativity.  The ancient Celts wore masks to ‘confuse’ evil spirits, and carved totems into vegetables from their harvest to ward off all that was evil on this ‘Night Between the Worlds’.   As we shift from the Light to the Dark, we shed our negative energies, and embrace the positive to keep the Light for the winter times.

This night we honor Sacrifice. Those made by our ancestors, and by ourselves to bring health and bounty to our lives.  We especially honor the sacrifices of our Fallen Warriors.  To the ancient Irish, the souls of warriors slain in battle were embraced by The Morrigan and transported to Tir Na Nog (the ‘Summerlands’) to live in peaceful eternity.  This night  Celts wiould  also honor The Dagda, who brings life and death with the Eternal Club (and never-ending bounty with the Cauldron of Life). The memories of our Fallen are eternally brought to life by our memories as we honor their sacrifices.  To my Celtic ancestors, this is the way The Morrigan and the Dagda ‘worked through them’ to honor our Dead, and bring them to life in our hearts and souls.

This night we honor our place in the never-ending cycle of Life, Death, and Re-birth. The Light dies to begin the Dark. the Dark dies to give life to the Light. The harvest is completed to give us life, the soil becomes fallow to re-generate for planting. Our ancestors and fallen dwell in the ‘Summerlands’, but we bring life to their death by our remembrances and honoring rituals.

This day I offer you my Blessings for a healthy and bountiful winter and New Year.  May the spirits of your ancestors protect you.  Know that they walk with you always, and that their spirits live eternally through your life blood,  and through the  love in your heart and soul.

Beannachte Samhain !!!

 

 

Martial Tools for the Mind

I am always seeking new ways to expand my understanding of martial arts, and new tools to enhance my perception.  I quite unintentionally stumbled onto an old  dynamic that I know will not only re-enforce my own perceptions of the Martial Way, but will strengthen and enhance understanding and perception for my students.

I could say that I did almost literally ‘stumble’ into this.  The past few months, I have been dealing with a sciatica issue (as well as misalignment issues with my thoracic and sacral spine).  This is a result of old injuries, decades of throws/takedowns, etc.  A minor leg sprain a few months ago certainly didn’t help matters.  Apparently I am not as unbreakable as I thought I used to be!!!  Then again, I’m 53, not 20.   Even as physically active as I am, even with all the internal form and energy work I do, the intensity and realism training  just caught up to me (remember, this what I do for a living, so it is nearly CONSTANT). I am, however, pleased to say that I am recovering quite well.  Fortunately, the fact that I am very flexible and have a rather strong core (despite a ‘Beer Buddha Shield’ over it ! ), has made my chiro treatments much easier to accomplish, so my recovery is positive. It WILL take much time.  “The oxen are slow but the Earth is patient”.    One of the malingering effects of these issues is a weakened left leg,  some reduction of general functional neuropathy, and the resultant stability issues. ‘A hitch in my git-along’ as my Great- Aunt Ellie was wont to say.   So, though I am steadily improving, I have occasionally been using my hiking staff to provide stability and to aid mobility for specific situations.  Mostly, for when I am teaching martial arts………

Rather than just opt out of certain internal exercises that we do to start training and get energy flowing, I began to simply work with the hiking staff (which, appropriately enough, has a beautifully carved bear’s head to top it. Ghost Bear is everywhere!!)  In essence, I was doing an internal quarterstaff form. This was not planned, and was just an organic impulse.  I am glad I heeded that impulse!  I could do the forms, build energy, and give my low center, muscles and joints the stretching and working that is so needed.  Let me tell you, it was invigorating!  I have cross-trained with quarterstaff in the past, and have even applied my own unarmed martial training to it.  As a side note, I have to say that I GREATLY prefer European weapons (generally)- same principles as the Asian counterparts, just more simple and direct (just my perception, anyway).  Basic and direct is the name of the game, in my book. We focus so much on unarmed tactics and weapons extraction for real-world application, that dynamics like quarterstaff (and SPEAR,one of my other favorites!) just get overlooked.  Last week, doing internal form with my hiking staff was like reconnecting with a long lost friend.  Since then, I have been religiously doing forms at home with the staff- this will prove to be a net positive for my recovery and re-strengthening.

The staff, of course, is one of history’s earliest weapons.  It is fairly easy to learn, it is quick, and used properly will deliver tremendous blunt force damage.  Aside from its solid practical application, working with the quarterstaff (or any weapon) also strengthens one’s connection to ALL the martial arts principles, and allows a greater range from which to expand perception.  At its essence,  the staff is only a projection of one’s focus. It is not ‘in your hands’. It IS YOU.  When this subtle understanding is realized, there is no demarcation between the external weapon and one’s center. It is all flowing as a balanced whole. We use the staff in precisely the same way we would execute any of our unarmed techniques- there is no difference.  It expands our understanding of leverage, energy redirection, circular motion, interception and  redistribution of force, and the ‘push-pull’ dynamic that is so very critical for our counterstrikes and take-downs. Using any weapon for this type of training re-enforces our perception of circular motion, and even our internal perception of hard/soft, yielding/unyielding, positive/negative. Water and Iron.

This culminates into sharper subconscious perception.  It trains our minds with its own ‘muscle memory’.  It need not be a proscribed form, per se.  Just applying it to what we already do, moving as though we were working ‘un-armed’, makes the subconscious connection even stronger.  We move as fluidly and organically as we do with The Empty Hand.  Because, in truth,  it is still the Empty Hand. Whatever we hold for training/understanding/self-defense, it really isn’t there. It is part of our balance. It is part of our focus and intent. It is US……..

“There is no spoon………..”

Beannaithe Samhain!

A Blessed Samhain to you!

I won’t go into great detail about what this most sacred of Irish Celtic holidays means (my post last Samhain is in-depth if you are interested:      http://openhandjournal.com/2016/10/samhain-blessings/).

Instead, I would like to offer my blessings upon you.  This is the time of the Harvest, when we offer gratitude for the bounty that will sustain us.   This is the time that we honor and venerate our ancestors and those who have passed. To the ancient Celts, this liminal time- that point in the seasons when summer changes to winter- is when it was believed that the ‘veils between worlds’ were at their thinnest, and the souls of our departed can commune between worlds.     It is the time we reflect on the never-ending cycle of life, death and re-birth.  The light dies to  give life to the dark, the dark dies to give life to the light.  The light of the summer and the approaching dark of the winter exist in a balance.   The life of the harvest must exist in the balance with the death that is part of nature.    The  harvest that gives us life, the reality of death that must always follow, and the-re-birth again of new life , that  sustains our bodies and spirits.    A circle;   an eternal cycle.   This is a celebration of all that is Life-Affirming, as we recognize the reality of death and the balance of re-birth.

It is also the first season of the Hunt, where we honor the Sacrifices made so that we may survive.   We honor our Fallen Warriors, those who have been slain in battle. We honor their sacrifices, given with courage and self-less Honor to let us live.    It is a time we reflect on the importance of personal sacrifice, and how that places us in this Great Balance.

We honor this never-ending cycle of Life and Death, and our place in it.   The wisdom  of our ancestors and those close to us who have passed , lives on in our hearts and minds;  always a part of this never-ending cycle.   Our memories of them gives them re-birth, and forever makes them a part of the Balance of The Circle of Life and Death and Re-Birth.

Reflect today on your place in this great cycle. Reflect today on your ancestors and loved ones who have gone on to the Summerlands.    This is the true nature and beauty of our beloved Samhain…….

Mo sheacht mbeannacht ort

‘My  Seven Blessings upon you’

 

 

Overview of Celtic and Saxon Word Origins

Recently I was delving into the origin of my last name: Smith.   Really, that IS my last name- it’s not an alias!!!!  To my knowledge, I am not a rogue computer program gone viral in The Matrix.  Yet.

Anyway, my research into my Celtic roots uncovered some interesting findings, much of it stemming from my study of the Irish  language.  Smith.  It is an internal understanding embedded into the collective unconscious that this refers to A smith; i.e. a blacksmith.  Anyone who works metal is referred to as a smith;  bladesmith, silversmith, goldsmith. etc.  A common trade, so a common name. As the English language and Anglo-Saxon ‘English’ culture developed, professional trades became attached to names over time : a blacksmith became ‘John Smith’;   a man who repaired roofs became ‘John Thatcher’ (to thatch, of course, is to repair a roof with reeds).  If you brewed beers, your name became Brewer (the most popular family in any village!!!)  A man who fletched arrows became ‘John Fletcher’, and so on.    I discovered an anomaly with this, and I believe it is a result of English linguistic and cultural  influence over parts of Ireland.   A blacksmith in the Irish language  is called  ‘gabha’ (the bh compound in Irish is prounounced like a soft ‘v’, almost a ‘w’ sound.  So it is pronounced  ‘GA-wa’).   Smith is simply the anglicized word for the very same trade and surname . Smith is derived from the Proto-Germanic word ‘smitþaz‘,  meaning metal worker.  * This is of course where we get the verb ‘to smite’,  literally to hit. A blacksmith is one who ‘hits metal’ with a hammer to forge a weapon or tool.    The Irish God of blacksmiths is Goibhnui (GO-vhnu), derived from gabha.  Have you ever known anyone with the last name ‘Gowan’, or ‘MacGowan’?  Yep. Their name is really SMITH; but they have the non-anglicized Irish or Scots  version.   In Welsh mythology, their God of Smiths is Gofannon, derived from the very same word       ( Welsh is  Brythonic, there are linguistic and ancient cultural cross-influences across the region).   So, really Smiths EVERYWHERE.  Seems you ‘cannae swing o’ wee caet ‘thout hetten a Smith!!!!!’   Jeez, maybe we ARE viral……..

Remember that ‘English’ is NOT the native language of what we call Britain.  It has of course evolved over 2 millenia,   incorporating other linguistic dynamics.       English is at its roots a  West Germanic language originating from the areas we know as Jotland, Lower Saxony, and Frisia.  This linguistic dynamic was brought to ‘Britain’ by conquering Anglo-Saxons after Rome abandoned the island. With the exception of being under Danish rule starting in  the 9th century (Danelaw; yes,  Vikings ruled parts of Britain for a time),  Britain has technically been under Anglo-Saxon ‘Germanic’ rule for almost 2000 years.   The native languages of Britain are in fact Brythonic in the south, and Goedelic in the north (considered ‘Insular Celtic’ languages.  Welsh, Cornish, and Manx are Brythonic;    Irish and Scottish are Goedelic).  Incidentally, the name Britain itself is from the Pritanni tribe, which was the dominant tribe in the southern regions of the island. When the Romans invaded, they called them Britanni, and the island became Britannia. 

I found some other interesting tidbits in my research of this (and researching for another project).  Just for fun, I will share these as they tie in to what I am discussing:

  • CORNWALL.   This region of southwest Britain has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘corn’, or ‘walls’.  The English name for this region; ‘ Cornwall’,  is a compound of two ancient demonyms derived from two different language groups, one indigenous and one via occupation and subsequent attrition:
    • Corn- originates from the above-mentioned Brythonic-speaking Pritanni people;  the folk here were called Cornovii (“peninsula people”). This is from the Insular Celtic “kernou” (“horn” or “headland”).  *  This is actually a cognate with the Anglo-Saxon derived English word “horn” . The roots of this derive from the Proto-Indo-European word ker. (remember that though they evolved into very different language groups, both Germanic and Celtic languages have their roots in Proto-Indo-European).                                                                                                                                    *Many modern Cornwall natives refer to their homeland by the  original Cornish language  Kernou.
    •  
    • -wall derives from the Proto-Germanic word ‘walhaz’, which means “foreigner”.    When the Anglo-Saxons swept into this part of Britain, they encountered Celtic folk, and ‘latinized’ Celts as a result of Roman occupation. So, this also would refer to ‘Roman’ in a broad sense.   So, the people to the north of ‘Horn-walhaz’ ‘  they would also call ‘walhaz’;  (i.e. a  ‘welshman’).  This is also found in other Germanic-influenced areas that saw a Roman presence:   Wallachia (Romania), Wallonia, even English locations such as Walton .     Which leads us to:
  •       Wales.   This is the Germanic derived Anglo-Saxon word for this region, as described above.  So, at its roots, the English name for this region can be taken to mean ‘place of Celts and Romans’; i.e NOT Saxons.  The etymology of this word is believed to have evolved from the Anglo-Saxon proclivity to indiscriminately lump all Celtic Britons into one category (the Romans were also notorious for this).  It also could have been derived from the Roman name for tribes of this area:  Volcae.                                                                         The native name for this region is actually Cymru, which is derived from the Brythonic word ‘combrogi’,   meaning ‘fellow countrymen’.     Many modern Welsh refer to their nation AS  ‘Cymru’, rather than Wales.  The Welsh language (or ‘Cymraeg’), has seen a resurgence in use, as have other Brythonic languages and cultural studies.           If you look into Celtic nations, you will discover that, though its ancient roots are Brittonic Celtic,  England itself is absolutely NOT NOT NOT considered a Celtic nation!    As I discussed previously, England is technically an Angle and Saxon-occupied, Germanic speaking nation.   England;  from the Angles tribe, from the Jotland Peninsula and Frisia.     By no means am I bashing Saxons or Angles, or folk who we refer to as Viking. Interesting histories and culture.  I am just relating how history is replete with invasion and conquest,  and how language dynamics change as a result. Hey, I have a bit of Scandinavian genes in my blood too, so yeah, SKOL!       Of course, being predominately a Celt myself, I do feel a great deal of empathy for my ancient kin in these regions.     Erin Go Bragh!!!!        Sorry for the length of this, I get rolling and see interconnections and I just keep going.    so, go get a beer!  you earned it!

True America-MAX SCORE; Leftist Morons-0

The big issue on everyone’s minds this week is of course the tragedy in Houston.  Hurricane Harvey devastated this region this week, and I know I am not alone in sending my prayers and thoughts to our Texan brothers and sisters.  It is known that  horrible events and challenges like this will  test human character. In this particular case, it REVEALS it. I am talking about the courageous and compassionate Cajun Navy!  These folk arrived en masse to rescue Houstonians and bring them to safety, using their own personal watercraft to do it. No expectation of reward, just doing the right thing and demonstrating to the world what Americans are REALLY about. We stand together when things get rough.  Regardless of race or creed, at the end of the day we are Americans.  We have our differences, and like every family we will disagree sometimes.  But,  when push comes to shove we unifyWherever your family came from, whatever your creed is, whether you are Republican or Democrat or whatever else- all of those identifiers we may cling to fall away when we must step up and aid our neighbors. And, we do, without hesitation (as we should!)

I hope with all my heart that the hateful and violent Leftists might learn something from this. They won’t, as Marxists are dependably ignorant and are just useful tools for their Communist Globalist puppetmasters- I’m looking at YOU, Soros…..  I know they will only continue their war against  America and the virtues of REAL liberty and moral center that we are founded on.

Pay very, very close attention to who has been doing the rescuing.   The same proud, white, Southern men who have been the prime targets of alot of the destructive narrative from the terrorist wing of the Left.  Those same ‘evil, racist, white oppressors’ are out rescuing people at their own risk.   Some of the Cajun Navy have even been shot at in the attempt to rescue families.  Yes, some of their boats fly …the Confederate Flag!!!! Oh Horrors!!!  sarcasm off  *    Do you know who they are rescuing? Black families. Hispanic families. Everyone’s families. There are a few poignant photos online now, that I hope will not only go viral, but will sear into the eyes of the Race Warmongers of the Leftist Media to be images they cannot ignore and cannot forget. The photo of one of those  ‘ hateful, bigoted’  White  Southern men carrying an Asian woman and her child to safety out of deep water.  The African American man carrying two white children to safety.  The white Cajun Navy volunteer carrying an entire Black family in his boat, with another boat in-tow full of more family members.  Do you think any of these folks gave a flying yaks a** that some of these Cajun boys were flying the stars and bars- the historical and culturally relevant flag that the Leftists and their media lapdog whores are demanding to be removed everywhere because ‘slavery’?  No- they were shedding tears of gratitude for being rescued by strong, self-sacrificing men who didn’t care one iota about their skin color.  This is the REAL AMERICA. This is what we stand for.

*What we refer to as the ‘Confederate flag’  is actually the battle flag of Northern Virginia. This was the standard for General Robert E. Lee (the one whose name the Fanatical Marxists of the Left are feverishly expunging from schools and the history books). Lee was actually very much opposed to slavery- far more opposed to slavery than Abraham Lincoln was, in fact.  Both Union generals Sherman and Grant actually owned slaves. While they were serving under Lincoln. Think about that. I wrote a blog related to this some time back if you haven’t read it:   http://openhandjournal.com/2015/08/the-strategy-division-via-deceit/   It is lengthy, but I discuss the true nature of the Civil War, and it is relevant to issues today. Preview:  EVERYTHING that you may have learned about the Civil War from the communist-induction centers we know as the public education system was ALL A LIE……..)

This week we saw Southern men rushing into the water by boat or raft – or monster truck!!!!!- to help in a time of need, saving anyone they could find. Neighbors, Texans, Cajuns, all colors and creeds,  all jumping in to do what they can.  You can bet that some  proud  Southern women were on the ground, too, to offer aid and comfort and working together to help however they were able.  You know,  actual strong American women with deeply-held values and rock-solid principles (the kind that liberal media and ivory-tower academia love to hate- oh how they despise folk who have strength of character! )     Where was BLM in all this?  Weren’t there African American families in great peril in Houston? Why didn’t they drop their illogical, hateful and childish political rhetoric long enough to offer aid? Oh, that’s right- not politically advantageous enough.  Only care so long as there is a way to use it as a political tool. That’s alright,  BLM tantrum-throwers,   the ‘evil, racist’ white men of the South will launch their flatboats and rescue YOUR families as though they were their own (that’s how that culture rolls.)  And Antifa?  Just saying their name makes my blood boil, but did you notice that none of those Communist halfwits were on the scene to aid in any way?     Funny, I didn’t see one SS flag or related regalia anywhere near any of the white, Southern rescuers.  According to the Antifail vermin, we Whites are all Nazis by dint of our skin color (hint: they are the real ‘Nazis’.  They are more like actual Nazis than those idiotic ‘supremacist’ Stormdoofuses who like to prance around pretending to be ones.  Morons, the lot of them.)     I guess the weaponized Antifa ‘peace through violence’ movement only cares about destroying a society, not preserving one through cooperation, shared values, and a moral center . Marxist scum.  Maybe they were just afraid- all those good ole’ boys there, ya know (ones that absolutely would  offer an epic a**-kicking if those black mask cowards attempted their particular brand of stupidity with them).

Well,  one of the useless celebrity branches of the Unhinged Left did set up a charity for Harvey recovery. The Women’s March (Twitter). How noble!  Except, NOT FOR WHITE PEOPLE. Whites are expressly excluded from this.  And how is that not racist?   What we have also  seen across social media is the Alt-Left actually celebrating the destruction of Houston as vindication/revenge for the election not going the way they demanded it to.   They are jumping up and down in psychotic,  ecstatic glee that  ‘evil, racist Trump supporters were drowned’ (sadly, that is almost an exact quote…) !  You know, the very same demon white folk who are SAVING PEOPLE’S LIVES.  And these Leftloons  are the ones screaming in their shrill, petulant whining voices about ‘compassion’!?!?!?!
Do you know what one Libsheep  journalist was most concerned about? Not the damage, not the peril that people were in- she was up in arms that First Lady Melania was wearing…….HEELS!!!!!!!  OMG such a tragedy!  This only demonstrates the stupidity and utter childishness of the Left.

It heartens me that the forced narrative of the media- that we Americans of White European Ancestry are all hateful, racist bigots- is completely blowing up in their twisted, weasel-like faces.  The true character of this nation was revealed this week by Good People of every race  coming together to help their fellow citizens and neighbors.  The true nature of the Leftists of the media, academia, and politics was also revealed this week by their using this tragedy to promote their destructive and divisive agendas. More hate on us Whites, more hate on us evil women-hating men!, more hate on us ‘bigoted’ Conservatives. Like a light on scurrying cockroaches, the character (or utter lack thereof) of the REAL hateful, violent racists was revealed for all the world to see.

My Brothers and Sisters of America, whether you are White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or whatever, do not let the petty, truculent, and asinine demands of the Alt-Left Marxists dissuade you from helping your neighbor, or living true to your values and morals.  Do not give them any more power by even paying heed to their logical fallacies, ridiculous demands,  and overt stupidity. They have been given far too much power already.

AND FLY ANY DAMN FLAG YOU WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Remember and Reflect

73 years ago today young men stormed the beaches of Normandy and parachuted behind Third Reich lines. They did so with great sacrifice, and courage. We owe it to them to honor them on this day, D-Day.

On this day I don’t dwell on the war itself, or the reasons for it. Today I honor the men themselves.  They truly were the ‘Greatest Generation’. They volunteered to face death and the horrors of war, and willingly put their lives on the line for what they believed was right, and to defend principles of what is civilized and moral.  Those that came home simply, and quietly, just got busy going to work/raising families/running businesses and re-building a nation.  These were Great Men, and I don’t know if we will ever see their like again in our culture.  I have seen alot of memes along the lines of :

1944  College Age men Then: Stormed the Beaches of Normandy amidst heavy Nazi artillery.

2017 College Age Men Now:  Need a ‘safe space’ because of ‘words’.

While this is a huge, and in some cases quite unfair,  generalization (and I certainly know many  people in that age range who are definitely not wingeing  snowflakes, and actually give me  hope for future generations),   I am afraid it is true to a degree. True, and completely BY DESIGN AND AGENDA.

However,   this is is not a post to discuss that.   Just to put it into perspective, and to ask of you, my Reader, to do something in light of today. Reflect on the character of these Heroes of D-Day, and reflect on what has happened to our moral compass as a society since then. Reflect on what we have lost.  If you know someone or have family members in this younger generation talk to them about some history, and what kind of character these men had. It isn’t about the war, or politics. It is about CHARACTER and HONOR, something I see very little of today.  If you can somehow get them to at least glimpse what is possible, and what we have lost as a society, then maybe there is hope after all.

These Heroic Men laid down their lives to give civilization a future, and we, and I mean ALL OF US, must remember that and reflect on it. We owe them that.

The Challenge of Self Mastery

The practice of the martial arts can be quite demanding on physical, psychological, and emotional levels.  These demands manifest themselves as challenges, and can be very powerful learning tools for self-discovery, and ultimately self-mastery.  These challenges allow us to face our most dangerous opponent face-to-face ; our own Self, and our own perceived fears.  Facing ‘fear’ head on demands that we confront ourselves in critical ways.  The fear that manifests when we perceive a threat to our own survival is a powerful challenge, but one we can grow stronger from. The feeling of emotional and psychological paralysis, of not acting quickly enough or effectively, is one of the greatest obstacles for a martial artist. This enveloping fear can paralyze us; or it can manifest as a total loss of control, resulting in panic and irrational reactions. Either of these emotionally based responses could mean failure; or even death if faced with an immediate threat to our survival. We must allow ourselves a high level of  internal trust, confidence, and the ability to not think about or even fear death or failure in the face of conflict and aggression. Freedom from the conscious ‘fear’ reaction releases very powerful potentials, but for those to become actualized, we must ACT AS TRAINED.

There is a story about a great master of the Japanese Tea Ceremony (‘Chanoyu’); a man of no combat skills or martial training, but very accomplished in the meditative and spiritual arts.  One day, he accidentally offended a high-ranking samurai, and was challenged to a dual.  He went to a Zen master to seek advice. The Zen master advised him that he had little chance of surviving, since the samurai was a skillful and experienced swordsman. He did tell him that he could ensure an honorable death by treating the combat as he would the formal ritual of the Tea Ceremony. He should focus his mind, paying no attention to the conscious, emotionally -based thoughts of life or death. He should grasp his sword as he would hold a tea ladle; and with the same precision and focus with which he would pour the boiling water onto the tea, and with no thought of the consequences, he should step forward with the full intention of striking the opponent down in one blow. The Tea Master prepared himself, abandoning all fear of death, when the appointed time for the dual arrived.  The samurai, encountering the focus, sheer calmness, and complete fearlessness of his opponent, was so awe-struck and shaken that he begged forgiveness and called off the dual.

The freedom of mind, and the pure focus of one not controlled by fear and conscious thoughts of life or death,  may not only immediately gain dominance of a potentially dangerous and lethal situation, but will allow one to gain Self Mastery.

           ” Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it….”
                        – Chuang-Tze, ancient Taoist Sage and martial artist