Humility and Grace

Posted: September 17th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Alchemy, Culture, Current Affair, Fenrir, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, paganism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Humility and Grace

Humility and Grace

By Nameless Therein

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis

Metamorphosis

– Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937[1]

As we make our way into autumn, new changes bear old faces, reflected in the many moods of nature. As death makes way for life, change is all around. From the fallen tree to the dying leaf and the setting sun behind the clouds, we find mirrored in our own mood a shift at once familiar and new: a shift in season.

Things have been quiet in the ONA lately. Though autumn’s mark of silence can be felt, one can sense something else – a restlessness and exhaustion, a neutral disinterest and quiet anticipation, a dispirited silence from the need to be heard. Having experienced big changes in my own life recently, I have observed these qualities in myself over the last year, emerging in and through the psyche and receding into the unconscious like an ocean tide. I suspect others have found a similar canvas of emotion in themselves.

These qualities have concerned me. But as said changes in my life began to show signs of the death of many things I had trouble letting go of, what remains of these qualities has been cast into the open to be more closely examined and then discarded.

This is never a straightforward process. It can take years and sometimes a lifetime of patient, careful observation, work, and self-reflection. It requires a certain sensitivity, compassion, a level of humility, and what David Bentley Hart might term grace.[2] The quality that concerns me most, both in myself and in much of the ONA, is the need to be heard. I would like to share some thoughts on what this entails from a vantage point I believe now has some of the necessary space and silence to witness this tenacious quality begin to lose its hold. It is my hope that such observations might gently encourage others to identify, confront, and in time work to overcome this quality if and where present in themselves. As one may have discerned from my approach to the ONA, I think this is much more productive than castigating, japing, or attacking such individuals for a quality they may not even be aware of.

The Temptation to Be Heard

Much like the title of the Romanian nihilist Emil Cioran’s work The Temptation to Exist, there is a quality I would term the temptation to be heard. Though it is perfectly natural to want to be heard, acknowledged, and validated by one’s peers in some capacity, the emphasis on “temptation” points to a recurring spectrum of pathology commonly characterized by various degrees of compulsion. This quality can be characterized by an unhealthy need: the need for validation regarding one’s work or accomplishments, the need to be recognized as somehow different or unique from the rest of society, a hyper-sensitivity to what others think masked by a façade of false and callous indifference about the opinions of others, and an inflated sense of individuality regarding one’s importance within their societal niche. I emphasize “spectrum of pathology” because these characterizations can manifest in tangible or subtle ways depending on the psychological constitution of the individual. Such characterizations are sometimes visible in a person’s appearance, in their means of dealing with conflict and confrontation, in their ability to cope with stress, and in their way of interacting with others. When I say this is a recurring spectrum of pathology, I mean that it is both operative throughout the psyche and operative in a way that is rarely transparent or “visible” to the individual, who more or less takes its occurrence and existence for granted. Ultimately, this temptation rests on a need to control, whether as resistance to change beyond one’s control, a need to assert dominance out of a consistent lack of control in one’s past or present, or a resistance to being controlled, whether real or imagined.[3]

The temptation to be heard resembles certain unhealthy qualities in what Clarice of Nexion of Ur previously noted as an Enneagram Type Four personality. More to the point, I think Cioran characterizes this type of temptation accurately when he says that:

Certain peoples … are so haunted by themselves that they pose themselves as a unique problem: their development, singular at every point, compels them to fall back on their series of anomalies, of the miracle or the insignificance of their fate.[4]

The posing of the self as a unique problem to draw attention to, then inflated by an ongoing compulsion to do so – this lies at the heart of the temptation to be heard, in whatever shape or variety. We all fall victim to it from time to time, sometimes in subtle ways. In the ONA, it seems reasonable that such a private and personal quest of transformation, growth, and self-realization sometimes carries the need to share such experiences with others who may appreciate their value. But I think there is a difference between the need to convey meaningful experiences with others who might appreciate them, relate to them, and use them to guide their own experiences, and the looming, often hidden compulsion to continuously validate one’s identity in the eyes of others. The latter rests on creating the conditions for a “hidden war” with the other person in order to resist, and then attempt to control, their objectification or reification of the self.[5] The ongoing and recurrent compulsion to create those conditions in any form is what I am referring to here as “temptation”; and the “temptation to be heard” has to do with a compulsion to control the way one is objectified or reified by their peers by resisting that objectification in order to validate a distorted or inadequate sense of self.

Confusing Self-Immolation and Self-Esteem

The temptation to be heard can be thought of as a confusion between self-immolation and self-esteem. The former has to do with clearing a kind of opening for the unconscious and self to form a cohesive bridge across the psyche through the gradual but radical dissolving of the egoic resistance structures that attempt to control these processes. The latter has to do with how these forces in motion across and beyond the individual psyche manifest and then come to constitute an individual’s identity and sense of self-worth, both as an individual and in relation to others. Confusing one with the other can be disastrous, and many of us fall victim to this confusion at some point in our lives, myself included. The key, I think, is learning to identify certain hidden patterns and signs that briefly emerge into conscious experience in a variety of ways, much like a shapeshifter. This requires the cultivation of certain faculties such as empathy (the ability to identify the appearance of these patterns and signs in other people and vice versa), a heightened sensitivity (being attuned to those appearances as they emerge), and formal tools for studying these appearances (phenomenology, meditation, and various formal psychological models are a few examples). One can then take steps to trace the potential origins of these patterns and signs in the unconscious in order to slowly diminish their effects on our lives. The danger is letting these go unnoticed until the aforesaid confusion gives way to a need and that need to a temptation: commonly, the temptation to be heard.

The Harmony of Grace

Interestingly, that temptation can work the other way as well: when one identifies the temptation and gradually takes practical steps in the real world and in their life to diminish its hold on their psyche, on their identity, on their interpersonal relations, and on their family life, they may begin to see that temptation become merely a need. As that need itself diminishes its hold, it may become a healthy attunement toward others as a balanced desire to share meaningful experiences and ideas that can then shape their lives in a constructive way; or that need may disappear almost entirely, being replaced by a sort of wordless and outstretching contentment across one’s being, a tremulous and living epiphany of great grief and melancholy settled in the heart as a work of ongoing art, validated by the life lived and those it had an impact on, as one’s tragedy finally gives way to a comedy after so much pain, as the wounds of the past erect joy rather than misery from no longer needing to control or resist, as one loses desire for more things and possessions and finds they want for very little, having always been the source for everything they need – not as something self-contained, but as a living embodiment of nature’s many moods within the world. A harmony: their body and being have become a work of music. This is what I refer to here as “grace.”

Conflict, Struggle, Assimilation: The Final Harmony

Whatever the ONA was or is or shall be one day, it is precisely this kind of harmony that systems like the Seven-Fold Way aim to achieve. The simple acts of kindness at the heart of the ruthless spiritual predation found in the genuinely Satanic, the metamorphosis of the narcissist into a being of tremendous joy, the tensions of the flesh sculpted through powerful and pagan physical ordeals into spiritual transformation, ecstasis, and elation, the letting go of all desire into nocturnal love, the hidden sun, the Kingdom of Ends as an eternal beginning, the wisdom of falling, of letting go … I would go so far as to draw a connection between the harmony that results from this constructive movement away from the temptation to be heard and the spiritual harmony the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis describes in relation to Christ’s temptation in The Last Temptation of Christ. In describing the tension between the flesh and the spirit, Kazantzakis says:

Every man partakes of the divine nature in both his spirit and his flesh. That is why the mystery of Christ is not simply a mystery for a particular creed: it is universal. The struggle between God and man breaks out in everyone, together with the longing for reconciliation. Most often this struggle is unconscious and short-lived. A weak soul does not have the endurance to resist the flesh for very long. It grows heavy, becomes flesh itself, and the contest ends. But among responsible men, men who keep their eyes riveted day and night upon the Supreme Duty, the conflict between flesh and spirit breaks out mercilessly and may last until death.

The stronger the soul and the flesh, the more fruitful the struggle and the richer the final harmony. God does not love weak souls and flabby flesh. The Spirit wants to have to wrestle with flesh which is strong and full of resistance. It is a carnivorous bird which is incessantly hungry; it eats flesh and, by assimilating it, makes it disappear.[6]

It is this conflict, struggle, and assimilation – under whatever name and through whatever esoteric framework – that I think the ONA has attempted enact, explore, and provide a rough-and-ready guide for individuals to achieve over the course of its history, all with an aim toward this final harmony. Exploring the means to achieve this harmony, and if unachievable learning to regulatively enhance it to the highest degree possible – that is a large part of what lies at the core of the ONA.[7]

Two Faces of the Same Passage

And so, over the course of many years and the last year in particular, I have come to realize the importance of the temptation to be heard as a test of self-honesty and a necessary rite of passage. Sadly, this test is one that many people continue to fail or refuse to take at all; one that I’ve failed – and continue to fail! – many times. But failing has helped to resolve an important disparity for me, one that I think is helpful for all of us to keep in mind: the disparity between the public face of the ONA on the one hand, and the movement toward the aforesaid final harmony on the other, one that goes on out of sight among a loose network of serious practitioners. In my opinion, the public face of the ONA was more or less meant to be a collocation of the experiences, observations, ideas, and techniques encountered or developed while working toward that final harmony by sincere and advanced practitioners of the tradition. That is my goal for the future of the Fenrir journal. In terms of the public face of the ONA as it currently stands, this goal has unfortunately been overshadowed by the temptation to be heard on the part of many individuals who, while bearing the right spirit of enthusiasm, perhaps have some work to do in diminishing the power of this temptation in their lives.

Conclusion: What the Future Holds

The real work toward this final harmony will continue to go on behind the scenes, either privately or in small groups of individuals bound by pacts of loyalty and committed self-sacrifice, pacts which make possible their patient progression into the difficult and shadowy landscape ahead. Meanwhile, the public face of the ONA will take on whatever organic form required to attract and deflect, bewitch and misdirect, or enchant and mislead a new generation of budding adepts, one brave enough to brave the elements and courageous enough to examine these dynamics in the world and in themselves: with humility, with grace, and with love.

Narcissus,
in his immobility,
absorbed by his reflection with the digestive slowness of carnivorous plants,
becomes invisible.
There remains of him only the hallucinatingly white oval of his head,
his head again more tender,
his head, chrysalis of hidden biological designs,
his head held up by the tips of the water’s fingers,
at the tips of the fingers
of the insensate hand,
of the terrible hand,
of the mortal hand
of his own reflection.
When that head slits
when that head splits
when that head bursts,
it will be the flower,
the new Narcissus,
Gala—my Narcissus

– Salvador Dalí’s accompanying poem to Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
September 16, 2022

Notes

[1] “The ancient source of this subject is Ovid’s Metamorphosis (Book 3, lines 339-507). It tells of Narcissus, who upon seeing his own image reflected in a pool, so falls in love that he cannot look away. Eventually he vanishes and in his place is a ‘sweet flower, gold and white, the white around the gold.’” Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, “Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus,” Smarthistory: The Center for Public Art History, accessed September 16, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/salvador-dali-metamorphosis-of-narcissus/.

[2] Hart offers the following insight on grace: “Christian theology taught from the first that the world was God’s creature in the most radically ontological sense: that it is called from nothingness, not out of any need on God’s part, but by grace.” David Bentley Hart, “Christ and Nothing,” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, October 2003, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/10/christ-and-nothing.

[3] At a deeper ontological level, we can observe this need to control as an inability to accept our own mortality – a refusal to acknowledge that we will one day die, which is related to what Heidegger characterizes as the “inauthentic.” This can take the form of attempting to control death or resist being controlled by it. We find that impulse in many surface-level interpretations of religion, spirituality, and even in the ONA to some extent, with its recurrent emphasis on immortality.

[4] Emil Cioran, The Temptation to Exist, trans. Richard Howard (Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1956; repr., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 65. Citations refer to the University of Chicago Press edition.

[5] This is related to what Jean-Paul Sartre calls “the glance,” which is well-characterized in his play No Exit.

[6] Nikos Kazantzakis, “Prologue,” in The Last Temptation of Christ, trans. P. A. Bien (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015), 1-2.

[7] Over the course of intense Satanic devotion and practice throughout my life, I have found that this conflict, struggle, assimilation, and final harmony is also what lies, in part, at the heart of genuine Satanism. One may sense this, for example, in the potential relation between Vindex as opfer and the temptation of Christ so described. I should note, however, that this is a personal conclusion I have arrived at through my own experiences via the evolution of my own system of Satanism, one I suspect would not be widely accepted or possibly even acknowledged as “Satanism.”


Otonen Satanas performed by Nameless Therein at private Sunedrion

Posted: July 27th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Fenrir, Inner ONA, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, paganism, Rounwytha, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Otonen Satanas performed by Nameless Therein at private Sunedrion

sunset med

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/27/otonen-satanas-sunedrion/

Not long ago, a few members of Scothorn Nexion were invited to an international Sunedrion deep in the mountains at an undisclosed location, attended by a few notable persons and nexions. We arrived a day early to explore the region. After hiking up the mountains for many hours, we found a place to camp for the evening before reconvening with the others the next morning. As day turned to night, I sensed something unmistakably sinister about this land – something primal, atavistic, unaltered. Here, one knew the meaning of the nocturnal, the dismal decay of light into the lunar, the primitive and watchful spirits who guarded the veins of the earth. Learning to find the divine, the Satanic, in something as simple as the bark of a dying tree, the restless wind, the fading sun, descending over a horizon untouched by man as something in us faded with it … that was the goal this evening, expressed in a single chant. As the other members prepared our ritual supplies to commemorate the sinister, to burn our souls in blood, to throw ourselves off the edge of the world, I opened the group working with Otonen Satanas, recited from memory. No effects, no editing – the recording is unaltered. Though the video cannot do justice to what transpired in those moonless woods, I am sharing this for those with the eyes to see and sense the space between the shadows; to give back a little of what we sacrificed that evening.

Yet for herself she felt no terror; no little personal fear could touch her whose anguish and deep longing streamed all out to him whom she so bravely loved. In this time of utter self-forgetfulness, when she realized that the battle was hopeless, thinking she had lost even her God, she found Him again quite close beside her like a little Presence in this terrible heart of the hostile Forest. But at first she did not recognize that He was there; she did not know Him in that strangely unacceptable guise. For He stood so very close, so very intimate, so very sweet and comforting, and yet so hard to understand – as Resignation.

– Algernon Blackwood, “The Man Whom the Trees Loved”

Tunica propior est pallio,
Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
July 27, 2022


Nameless Therein Interviews David Myatt (April 2022)

Posted: July 19th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, David Myatt, Fenrir, Inner ONA, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nameless Therein Interviews David Myatt (April 2022)

DM large

Good evening everyone,

I have an exciting announcement to make: I have completed and published the new David Myatt interview, which I have titled, “David Myatt and the ‘Pinch of Destiny’: What Is the Meaning of Myatt?”

I conducted this interview with Myatt in April of this year. I had planned on publishing it as exclusive content for the Fenrir journal. However, due to complications outlined in my previous post, I have decided to publish it as a solo piece. You can access an HTML version and a link to download the published PDF below (for best viewing, I recommend the PDF):

PDF: https://luxlycaonis.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/DM-NT_meaning-of-myatt-interview_A4_stripped_1.1.pdf

HTML: https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/19/meaning-of-myatt-interview-april-2022/

Please note that, contrary to the other copyrighted articles on the Lux Lycaonis site, this one is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (CC BY-ND 4.0). It can be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license.

I am very grateful to David Myatt for allowing me to do this interview. As I remarked in the foreword, I hope that it will contextualize his work in a new and insightful way, one that will help equip and inspire a new generation with the intellectual, spiritual, and philosophical tools needed to meaningfully navigate their lives.

Nameless Therein
July 19, 2022


“You May Call a Cat a Fish, but It Will Not Swim”

Posted: July 16th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: David Myatt, Fenrir, Journalism, National Socialism, O9A, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “You May Call a Cat a Fish, but It Will Not Swim”

STCB600_1000

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/07/16/cat-fish/

“You May Call a Cat a Fish, but It Will Not Swim”[1]

Good evening everyone,

As some of you may have noticed, I have not posted an update about the Fenrir journal for some time. I want to clarify that my reticence to speak has not been from inactivity. In fact, most of my free time over the last year has been dedicated to the revival of the journal, having poured my heart into this project over many long evenings. On the contrary, my silence has been from exhaustion and some discouraging news.

A little over a month ago, my entire Fenrir team announced their resignation. Many of us have struggled to balance the journal with other commitments in our personal and professional lives, and this tension eventually proved overwhelming. With the resignation of my team, I lost the little exclusive content remaining for the upcoming edition. More importantly, I lost the assistance of some very good and talented people. And though we are still close friends, the question remains: what is to be done now?

Like a curse, this question has slowly clawed away at my spirit, keeping me awake at night, discoloring my worldview, sullying my strength, weighing on my heart. Many nights I’ve wondered: why? Why should it matter so much? Why has this setback drained all the color from my day so that no joy can reach me? Why continue on when I seem to be the only one invested in the journal’s success, even at the expense of my own health and well-being?

I’ve reflected on this question. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. I’ve thought back on my lifelong Satanic journey and its initiatic footsteps into the Order of Nine Angles all those years ago. I sometimes think back to where I began, what I’ve been through, the people I’ve met, the melancholy, the failures, the ecstasy, the terror in those midnight woods, the reckless possession, rearing its head above the riptide of the self. No, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer; but beyond cosmetic justification, beyond the black horizon, there remains an irresistible magnetism trailing some immense shadow, always out of sight. The spiritual compulsion to continue at any cost is something many of us share in common. Words reveal themselves as the superficial signifiers they are, and those on the outside looking in will never share that unique spiritual underbelly of nocuous passion and pain marking those of us who, in the words of Steingrim Torson, shall remain cursed, scarred and forever possessed.

No, Fenrir has never been a journal for outsiders. It is our journal and shall remain so – a journal for those of us who continue to brave the alchemical elements in simple and extraordinary ways, committed to our quest and willing to share our insights along the way. Despite what our opponents claim to the contrary, there are good and exceptional people in the ONA. Though I am sincere in what I said about being outspokenly against National Socialism, extremism, racism, violence, and the like, these are my personal opinions and will never be grounds to turn my back on my friends. In fact, unlike our opposition, we can maintain this uncensored diversity of thought without conflict, because despite our supercilious web of words and misdirection, we do not measure our legacy according to how hard we can knock down a virtual strawman on the internet. We measure it with real progress – in our lives and in the world. People like Secuntra Nexion, ABG Lodge, Chloe, Clarice, and other individuals one can probably guess – these people have shown me kindness, loyalty, and unconditional consideration. Even The Black Order has been cordial and respectful, despite our disagreements.

My point is that our opponents have never shown us this consideration, spinning every truth into an untruth, every wary miscreant into a sacrosanct ideologue, every narrative into an anchor at the bottom of the ocean. As noted above, they “may call a cat a fish, but it will not swim.”[2] And I for one am tired of drowning. Not once have these journalists objectively evaluated any of our positive content; not once have they commented on anything that casts a remotely favorable shadow on the ONA, even when it sincerely rejects the very things they condemn us for. Our opponents are only interested in one thing: turning their red herring into a Leviathan as they selectively paint us in the most negative light possible.

Sure, we haven’t always helped matters in that respect. And this is one reason why I want to steer Fenrir away from politics and extremism in favor of art, scholarship, esotericism, and magick. However, I don’t think creating further division among our ranks by appealing to outsiders who openly hate us will help things either. It is my hope that we can set our opponents aside and once again look to each other in carving our path for the future, despite our differences. In the eyes of Satan, there is no difference.

What then is next for Fenrir? Well, here’s what the landscape looks like: I may not have enough content to release this edition as I would have liked. However, the new interview with David Myatt has been completed. If I am not able to assemble enough content for this edition, I will at the very least finish formatting my endnotes and questions for that interview for release on the Lux Lycaonis site. I will try to do this sooner rather than later. Following this and the possible posting of some of the other material intended for this edition, the journal will continue as planned. I may take a break for a little while to attend to other commitments. But I intend on opening submissions up to the public for the next edition. Though I will say more on this in the future, for now I want to say that all are welcome and encouraged to submit. I don’t expect everyone to write at a graduate or professional level. I do, however, expect a baseline of quality, novelty in thought, the ability to clearly and coherently communicate an idea at roughly an undergraduate level of writing, and credible research/scholarship when and where appropriate. More on these requirements to follow.

Onward!

The rocks bruised his knees. He changed his position, leaning against the trunk of the cedar and closing his eyes. And then, without losing his tranquility or uttering a cry, he saw her—inside his eyes. But she had not come in the way he expected. He expected to see his bereaved mother with both her hands on his head, calling down her curse upon him. But now what was this! Trembling, he gradually opened his eyes. Flashing before him was the savage body of a woman covered head to foot with interlocking scales of thick bronze armor. But the head was not a human head; it was an eagle’s, with yellow eyes and a crooked beak which grasped a mouthful of flesh. She looked tranquilly, mercilessly, at the son of Mary.

“You did not come as I expected you,” he murmured. “You are not the Mother …. Have pity and speak to me. Who are you?”

He asked, waited, asked again. Nothing. Nothing but the yellow glitter of the round eyes in the darkness.

But suddenly the son of Mary understood.

“The Curse!” he cried, and he fell face downward onto the ground.[3]

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
July 16, 2022

NOTES

[1] Quoted from HBO’s Rome, season 1, episode 11, “The Spoils.” Brutus says this to Cassius shortly after telling a slave to erase graffiti on a wall depicting him stabbing Caesar in the back.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ, trans. P. A. Bien (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015), 79.


Sutor, ne ultra crepidam

Posted: June 13th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Fenrir, Inner ONA, Journalism, News, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, Politics, Richard Moult, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sutor, ne ultra crepidam

VG_shoes

– Vincent van Gogh, A Pair of Shoes, 1886

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/06/13/sutor-ne-ultra-crepidam/

Sutor, ne ultra crepidam

In response to the media, to critics, and to opponents of the ONA, I want to say a few things.

When I took over as editor of Fenrir and created Lux Lycaonis, my motivations were simple. I had long since recognized a disparity in the Order of Nine Angles. On the one hand, I knew first-hand the power and efficacy of its system of magick through the transformations I experienced in the most beautiful, painful, and ecstatic moments of my life. Having searched sincerely over the course of more than twenty years for an answer to the mystery of mysteries that other occult traditions and systems of philosophy only hinted at, I discovered that the ONA’s peculiar Hermetic cocktail really does have something to offer by way of an answer. And its greatest esoteric novelty? Hiding in plain sight. Many of its secrets are readily available. But these cannot be deciphered without having done the difficult work that systems like the Sevenfold Way offer as a loose but effective guide. Certain transformations are required to embody the wisdom that this tradition guards as a “birth of the word in the heart.”

On the other hand, I began to see holes in the idealization that I erected from my transformative experiences. The unique way this birth had occurred for me – as something opaque, receptive, nameless, unseen – quickly became at odds with the way associates of the Order of Nine Angles attempted to organize things. Time and time again I sensed one misstep after another in their tendency toward extremity and violence, their strategic deceit, the substitution of opinion for knowledge, and the resulting misinterpretation that continues to fan the flames of a nexus of stupidity and misinformation – both within our ranks, and in the eyes of our opposition.

My motivations are thus very simple, as I said. Instead of one deception after another for some strategic moral calculus, I intend to be honest. When I say that I am against National Socialism and Nazism in any form and want to see them removed from the tradition, I really mean it. When I say that I believe an open and honest dialogue is necessary in moving towards that end, I mean it. When I say that I believe in integrity, keeping one’s word, sincerity, and transparency as cornerstones of what this tradition should aspire to, I mean that too. And I am sincere in being outspokenly against extremism, violence, racism, and harming others or other forms of life.

When I initially put these motivations into motion via Fenrir, Lux Lycaonis, and my articles, I did not do so as yet another “strategy” or for some ulterior reason. I did it because I believe in what this esoteric tradition has to offer in the revelation of its deepest and most authentic praxis. One shouldn’t have to propose what is otherwise common sense as a new Aeonic logos; because at this point, the ONA is hanging by a thread. We have lost all credibility in the eyes of our opponents, sabotaged the viability of our future for petty and selfish gains, relegated the source of real truth to the ranks of childish gossip, and sacrificed the possibility of survival in the guise of heroic egoism.

There are many within the ONA who will continue this kind of behavior. It is unfortunate that our greatest accomplishment in the eyes of our opponents is a caravan of mediocrity that prides itself on a self-referring lack of humility, manners, and intelligence. In some sense, our opponents are right – as long as such individuals exist within the ONA, this will be our Signa Romanum, the standard upon which our accomplishments are measured.

My aim is to introduce a new standard. One that attracts the kind of audience that can keep our hidden practice alive – fortified in majestic night, resplendent in unending endurance, a burning beyond blood in the secret oaths we’ve sworn. In the bright bosom of Satan, from the nails of universal desire, in the unholy grip of the crucified and catalytic kindness … I know that if there’s a chance, we have to take it. May this aim ring true as I offer all that I have, and all that I am, into the eternal flux of love and death.

Not as a stillbirth but a rebirth, may we learn to judge less readily above our sandal.

BWH_cropped

– Richard Moult, The Birth of the Word in the Heart, used under a Creative Commons license

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
June 13, 2022


Some Notes on Physis in Aristotle

Posted: June 13th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, David Myatt, Fenrir, O9A, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Some Notes on Physis in Aristotle

casket-romances_medium

Casket with Scenes from Romances, ca. 1310-30

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/06/13/some-notes-on-physis/

What follows is an excerpt from a section of an early draft of my article, “‘Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?’: An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination.” In the early drafts of that article, I intended to connect wyrd to Aristotle’s notion of φύσις (physis). As I stated in that article, this connection had to do with my observation that “solitary practice and individual experience are a means to the radical confrontation with something other than the self, which empathy makes possible; and this confrontation recasts each initiate in a shadow of destiny that exceeds the boundaries of the individual.” The idea here was that wyrd involves the confrontation with “something other than the self,” which always takes the form of a relation to the Other. At one level, this confrontation can take the form of a relation to the other person; at another, it can take the form of fate or nature (physis).

Having quickly realized that a proper analysis of physis would go beyond the scope of that article, I omitted and abandoned the following section, which still needs to be unpacked and clarified. I am providing it here in its unfinished form for those interested in Aristotelian scholarship on physis in an effort to illuminate some of the deeper implications concerning its role within the philosophy of pathei-mathos.

This is meant as an introduction – a beginning, not an end – and is aimed at those wishing to explore serious scholarship on the subject rather than a general audience. In addition to the sources referenced, those wishing to investigate further in the aforesaid contexts may wish to examine David Myatt’s “Towards Understanding Physis”[1] and “Physis and Being: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos.”[2] In the former, Myatt’s point that physis, understood philosophically, “has specific ontological meanings … which are lost, or glossed over, when physis is simply translated either as ‘Nature’ or – in terms of mortals – as (personal) character” is consistent with what is written below. He is also correct in noting that physis is not “some abstract essence” (in contrast to Plato), which is elaborated upon below. And while I find the negative emphasis on denotatum and abstraction within Myatt’s philosophy problematic – here specifically in relation to physis – I will save that for another time.[3]

Some Notes on φύσις (Physis) in Aristotle

Both physis and wyrd have complex origins historically, etymologically, and in terms of their intended usage within the early literature of the Order of Nine Angles.[4] Though what follows is not meant to address these comprehensively, it should be noted that neither term can be understood in terms of a simple bifurcation: no division or single characterization can comprehensively address the way these phenomena are experienced or described across history. Such characterizations sometimes appear contradictory in ways that remain consistent in experience. In this, the ONA’s distinction between terms like “causal” and “acausal” can be misleading.[5] Such distinctions do, however, draw our attention to the complexities surrounding their apparent limitations.

The Greek term for nature, φύσις (physis) illustrates some of these complexities. While physis commonly refers to “the nature or essence of a living thing,”[6] Aristotle in fact distinguished between seven meanings of the word, eventually “settling on it as the essence of things that have a source of movement within themselves.”[7] Motion and change are crucial for understanding nature on this account, where for Aristotle nature is both a “source of motion and change”[8] and “a source of motion and rest.”[9] Certain entities – such as animals and plants – exist “by nature” because “each of them has within itself a principle of change and rest, some in respect of place, some in respect of growth and decline, some in respect of alteration.”[10] A study of nature thus “aims at the understanding of the principles, causes, and elements of the natural world”[11] according to this account of nature as a source of motion, change, and rest.

Aristotle’s account thus views nature as an internal source,[12] one that rests on the idea of nature manifesting “itself through [the] utter diversity of beings.”[13] In contrast to Plato’s Timaeus, “nature is not an abstract, impersonal, ‘all-pervading demiurgic force’,”[14] but rather an “inner driving force we reference when saying of a natural being: ‘That is its nature.’”[15] On this account, physis or nature “is anything but enigmatic, abstract, and impersonal,” as it “works not by imposing order and shape externally, but by instilling desire from the inside of a natural being: a being that is by nature ‘has in itself a source of motion and rest’ … and ‘stretches out’ toward its own nature … so as to become itself.”[16] Thus, while physis can broadly refer to “the natural world as a whole,”[17] Aristotle’s account contrasts with our modern notion of nature, “understood by way of nonnormative, abstract laws such as gravity, which moves things externally.”[18] His account thus “does not fit within a shallow empirical ‘philosophy of natural science’ but, instead, is part of a true ‘ontology of nature’ or a ‘proto-physics’: an examination into the origins or sources (archai) of nature.”[19]

Aristotle’s account of physis highlights a tension found in the ambiguous relationship between “form and matter, soul and body, fulfillment and movement,”[20] one that can lead to “nature’s self-suspension and transgression into the divine.”[21] The relationship between physis and wyrd involves a similarly ambiguous relationship and tension. On the one hand, Aristotle’s account of physis is neither enigmatic, abstract, nor impersonal. Superficially, this seems to conflict with our general understanding of fate or “destiny” as something incomprehensible, impersonal, and removed from the particular circumstances in which it takes place. Destiny is typically thought to exceed or “transgress” the individual lives and circumstances it affects (and in this sense it is “abstract”); and yet, there is a sense in which it is deeply personal and meaningful in its ability to concretely affect particular lives.

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
June 12, 2022

NOTES

[1] David Myatt, “Towards Understanding Physis,” David Myatt: Learning from Adversity; A Rejection of Extremism, March 2015, https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/towards-understanding-physis/.

[2] David Myatt, “Physis and Being: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos,” David Myatt: Learning from Adversity; A Rejection of Extremism, 2019, https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/collected-works-2/physis-and-being/.

[3] I do, for example, take issue with Myatt’s point that “the ontology of beings … [with reference to] a reality, a ‘true nature’ … is often obscured by denotatum and by abstractions, both of which conceal physis.” Myatt, “Towards Understanding Physis.”

[4] Sadly, overuse and an improper understanding of these terms on the part of many ONA associates has diminished the significance of these and most ONA terminology; but through a careful examination of some of the complexities that inform their intended meaning, we may breathe fresh life into a terminological framework that has been stripped of significance through years of carelessness.

[5] There is evidence that the early authors of the ONA were both aware of the complexities surrounding such terminology and were even attempting to transcend the limitations of these terms in creating such divisions.

[6] Robert Audi, ed., “Physis,” in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

[7] Simon Blackburn, “Physics, Philosophy of,” in A Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

[8] On this point, Aristotle notes that, “Since the nature [of a natural thing] is a source of motion and change, and our μέθοδος is concerned with nature, [the question] what is motion must not escape our notice; for necessarily when we are ignorant of this we are also ignorant of nature.” Aristotle, Physics III.I, 200b12-15. Quoted in James G. Lennox, “How to Study Natural Bodies: Aristotle’s μέθοδος,” chap. 1 of Aristotle’s Physics: A Critical Guide, ed. Mariska Leunissen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 11.

[9] Helen S. Lang, The Order of Nature in Aristotle’s Physics: Place and the Elements (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 34. See Aristotle, Physics II.I, 192b14. See also the point made by Heidegger that, “Rest is a kind of movement; only that which is able to move can rest.” Quoted in Marjolein Oele, “Aristotle on Physis: Analyzing the Inner Ambiguities and Transgression of Nature,” in A Companion to Ancient Philosophy, ed. Sean D. Kirkland and Eric Sanday (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2018), 163.

[10] Aristotle, Physics II.I, 192b13-15, quoted in Stasinos Stavrianeas, “Nature as a Principle of Change,” chap. 3 in Aristotle’s Physics: A Critical Guide, ed. Mariska Leunissen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 47.

[11] Stavrianeas, “Nature,” 46.

[12] Oele, “Aristotle on Physis,” 162.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Oele, “Aristotle on Physis,” 161. See also “Heidegger, Martin,” in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, where the author notes how Heidegger’s “portrayal of human existence” is in accord with what “Heidegger regards as the earliest Greek experience of being as an emerging into-presence (physis).” This may be related to Oele’s sense of physis as a “[stretching out] toward its own nature … so as to become itself.”

[17] Audi, “Physis.”

[18] Oele, “Aristotle on Physis,” 161.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid., 162.

[21] Ibid.


Modern Man Believes in Nothing: Modernity in Contemporary Satanism and the Order of Nine Angles

Posted: May 4th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Church of Satan, Culture, Fenrir, Inner ONA, Michael Aquino, Nihilism, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, Temple of Set, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Modern Man Believes in Nothing: Modernity in Contemporary Satanism and the Order of Nine Angles

Cole_Dream_med

– Thomas Cole, The Architect’s Dream, 1840[1]

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/05/04/modern-man-believes-in-nothing/

Modern Man Believes in Nothing:

Modernity in Contemporary Satanism and the Order of Nine Angles[2]

by Nameless Therein

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of studying with a former and well-respected Harvard professor, a man who later became a mentor to me and shaped my spiritual and intellectual worldview. Armed with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, Richard Tarnas’ The Passion of the Western Mind, and some of the most important texts in the Western tradition, we critically examined the relationship between faith and reason in Western thought over the last two thousand years of intellectual and religious history. In clarifying the context of our modern perspective through the clash between faith and reason, we came to a deeper understanding of how that relationship shaped our entire worldview. Contrary to my own view at the time, I learned that faith was not a belief in something without good reasons, nor was it a euphemism for “religion” or the opposite of reason. Rather, as Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes, faith is not belief but the essential human quality, one “constitutive of man as human,” where “that personality is constituted by our universal ability, or invitation, to live in terms of a transcendent dimension, and in response to it.”[3] Van Austin Harvey elaborates on this distinction as follows:

In the history of Christian thought, two general tendencies concerning the concept of [faith] may be observed: (1) [faith] is regarded more nearly as belief or as mental assent (assensus) to some truth, whether about the nature of God (supernatural truth) or about the past (historical truth). (2) [Faith] is understood to be the basic orientation of the total person that may include belief but is best described as trust (fiducia), confidence, or loyalty.[4]

Faith in this sense is not a fideistic blind belief, but a dynamic mode of knowledge as a descriptive relation of being. It is what bridges the gap between the known and unknown, the rational and the empirical, the idealistic and the materialistic. In one sense, it involves a form of mental assent; but it also involves the total orientation of a person toward the transcendent.

Contrary to the modern tendency to reduce faith to a religious worldview, modernity itself embodies a powerful kind of faith in its belief in nothing. Our post-Enlightenment faith in reason as a talisman for “real” knowledge, in the relativity of meaning, in empirical science as a dogmatic means to objective truth, and in the conviction that religion is an anachronistic and outdated mode of thinking all point to our uncritical confidence in a myth that has now become modern canon. David B. Hart describes this in the following way:

As modern men and women – to the degree that we are modern – we believe in nothing. This is not to say, I hasted to add, that we do not believe in anything; I mean, rather, that we hold an unshakable, if often unconscious, faith in the nothing, or in nothingness as such. It is this in which we place our trust, upon which we venture our souls, and onto which we project the values by which we measure the meaningfulness of our lives. Or, to phrase the matter more simply and starkly, our religion is one of very comfortable nihilism.[5]

As modern individuals, many of us are unaware what this “nihilism” actually entails, given our lack of understanding regarding the historical, cultural, and intellectual roots that comprise our modern perspective. This lack of awareness is reflected in the superficiality of nearly every so-called contemporary “Satanic” or left-hand path tradition, and is additionally operative in the Order of Nine Angles. David Hart elaborates on what this entails in a powerful way:

We live in an age whose chief moral value has been determined, by overwhelming consensus, to be the absolute liberty of personal volition, the power of each of us to choose what he or she believes, wants, needs, or must possess; our culturally most persuasive models of human freedom are unambiguously voluntarist and, in a rather debased and degraded way Promethean; the will, we believe, is sovereign because unpromised, free because spontaneous, and this is the highest good. And a society that believes this must, at least implicitly, embrace and subtly advocate a particular moral metaphysics: the unreality of any ‘value’ higher than choice, or of any transcendent Good ordering desire towards a higher end. Desire is free to propose, seize, accept or reject, want or not want – but not to obey. Society must thus be secured against the intrusions of the Good, or of God, so that its citizens may determine their own lives by the choices they make from a universe of morally indifferent but variably desirable ends, unencumbered by any prior grammar of obligation or value … Hence the liberties that permit one to purchase lavender bed clothes, to gaze fervently at pornography, to become a Unitarian, to market popular celebrations of brutal violence, or to destroy one’s unborn child are all equally intrinsically “good” because all are expressions of an inalienable freedom of choice. But, of course, if the will determines itself only in and through such choices, free from any prevenient natural order, then it too is in itself nothing. And so, at the end of modernity, each of us who is true to the times stands facing not God, or the gods, or the Good beyond beings, but an abyss, over which presides the empty, inviolable authority of the individual will, whose impulses and decisions are their own moral index.[6]

In its emphasis on its own moral index, its advocacy of precisely this kind of “inviolable authority of the individual will,”[7] its emphasis on extremism as a substitution for meaninglessness or “nothingness,” its dogmatic weariness of all things “abstract” at the expense of long-term practical strategy, and in the erroneous substitution of brutal violence for its muliebral virtues of compassion and empathy due to an avalanche of misinterpretation on the part of its associates, the Order of Nine Angles has not just become mundane; it has become distinctively modern.

This is nothing new. In fact, this lack of awareness regarding the roots and pitfalls of our modern perspective is operative in nearly every contemporary “Satanic” and left-hand path tradition, rendering the majority of them inoperative. We saw this years ago in the Church of Satan, as the death throes of LaVey’s naturalistic animism substituted the mystery of Satan for hedonistic atheism in the form of a voluntarist symbol. We saw this again in the Temple of Set, who, in positing Set as an “isolate intelligence,” failed at the outset to understand or account for the significance of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological dissolving of the traditional distinction between subject and object, both as a response to the long-standing problem of the self-contained Cartesian subject and as an important part of his theory of intersubjectivity and temporality.[8] (Far from a trivial theoretical issue, this point calls into question the entire epistemological framework of the Temple of Set.) And we see this currently in contemporary groups like the Dragon Rouge, who, despite their motivations to establish a trail along the narrative of truth, nevertheless fall victim to a hidden reductionism in their attempt to reconcile their magickal system with a modern perspective.

That so many groups, traditions, and initiatory orders get this wrong at even the most basic level points to the urgency with which we need to correct this tendency within the Order of Nine Angles. In the last decade, we have seen a shift from that tendency toward one of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, bigotry, infighting, extremism, racism, prejudice, and violence. Less and less, we see a grappling with the ideas that have shaped the modern world, let alone a critical examination of the ideas that now threaten the extermination of the ONA as a tradition that barely managed to live out the twentieth century. Nothing new or worthwhile can be offered by a tradition that is not aware of its own perspective, nor can it rightly be called a “tradition.” The Order of Nine Angles is sadly no exception.

Despite these bleak prospects, there is hope. But before we can correct the mistakes of the past, it will be necessary to first critically examine the perspective that comprises the modern world. Only then will it be possible to collectively renegotiate the direction and context of the ONA as a tradition located squarely within modernity, despite its ancient influences and claims to the contrary.

With this, I return to my discussion of the aforesaid seminar with my former Harvard professor. The lens of interpretation we used to examine modernity’s place in the context of the Western tradition involved many important texts and thinkers. The one that left the deepest impression on me, however, was Richard Tarnas’ seminal work, The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View. This text eloquently surveys the ideas that shaped the Western tradition, beginning with the ancient Greeks and moving through post-modernity. On the cover of the 1991 Ballantine Books edition, Joseph Campbell describes the text as, “The most lucid and concise presentation I have read, of the grand lines of what every student should know about the history of Western thought. The writing is elegant and carries the reader with the momentum of a novel … It is really a noble performance.”[9]

Whether in The Passion of the Western Mind, his later work Cosmos and Psyche, or in his November 2007 lecture on The Art of Writing at the Pacifica Graduate Institute,[10] Tarnas has had a powerful influence on my own thinking and writing. Like my former professor, Tarnas was a Harvard graduate in addition to being the previous director of programs at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. His understanding of the Western intellectual tradition is comprehensive, deep, and unrivaled in most academic circles.

Though Tarnas has nothing to do with the Order of Nine Angles (and in fact would be appalled at being mentioned in the context of the ONA), his work provides a foundation for coming to terms with modernity as a necessary lens through which to view the ONA. With that in mind, the following lectures provide an introductory overview to some of the ideas covered in his texts.

1. “The Evolution of Consciousness from the Primal to the Postmodern”

This brief lecture provides a concise overview of Tarnas’ distinction between what he terms the primal worldview and the modern worldview in Cosmos and Psyche.[11] An article that I have been recently developing concerns the way the Order of Nine Angles attempts to restore the primal worldview against modernity; though whether it can and will be successful in this largely depends on whether it can come to terms with its place within the modern perspective.

2. “A Brief History of Western Thought, part 4 of 5”

This lecture addresses the post-modern, picking up where the previous lecture leaves off. Both lectures segue into the important post-secular examination of disenchantment, which connects to my above discussion about the role of faith and reason in modernity.

On a personal level, I will say that a post-secular lens of faith illuminated more depth and meaning with respect to what Satanism really is than did my two decades of committed Satanic practice through contemporary left-hand path groups claiming that title. In my experience, the ONA touches on that deeper post-secular sense of the Satanic in its broader and beautiful spectrum of the sinister and sinister-numinous. However, much work needs to be done before the ONA will be equipped to address this. Part of that work will involve an understanding of the post-secular context of disenchantment, which is what the next lecture addresses.

3. “Disenchantment, Misenchantment, and Re-Enchantment”

Tarnas’ overview of the post-secular topic of disenchantment in the introduction of this lecture is an excellent introduction to the topic. This examination helps deepen the context of modernity in terms of the relation between the primal and modern worldviews – a relation that the ONA attempts to address.

4. “The Great Initiation”

This final lecture provides an additional overview of some of the aforesaid modern phenomena within an initiatory context. In addition to other relevant points, Tarnas’ account of the relation between the masculine and the feminine in terms of the astrological context of the sun and moon can deepen the ONA’s explication of the masculous and the muliebral at the core of its philosophy.

In closing, two points are worth emphasizing with respect to the final lecture listed above on “The Great Initiation.” The first concerns the way in which Tarnas’ characterization of modernity equally applies to the current climate of the Order of Nine Angles; and this is no coincidence, given what I have said above. Here, Tarnas quotes Woody Allen, whose comments highlight a tension that the ONA has been facing for over a decade (and now more than ever). Tarnas says the following:

The New York Jewish philosopher Woody Allen put his finger on this with his customary Schopenhauer-like clarity … in a speech he gave to the graduates some time ago: “More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other [path], to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. I speak, by the way, not with any sense of futility, but with a panicky conviction of the absolute meaninglessness of existence which could easily be misinterpreted as pessimism. It is not. It is merely a healthy concern for the predicament of modern man.”[12]

The second point worth emphasizing is a quote Tarnas cites from Jung’s The Undiscovered Self. In addition to characterizing modernity, the following comments by Jung find a powerful voice in the current struggle of the ONA. As a meditation on what I have written in this article, I will end with this quote:

[A] mood of universal destruction and renewal … has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically. We are living in what the Greeks called the καιρός – the right moment – for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science.[13]

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
May 4, 2022

NOTES

[1] For more information on the significance of this painting and why Richard Tarnas chose it for the cover of The Passion of the Western Mind, see 4:21 of the following lecture: https://youtu.be/2B3zm8R0dEo?t=261

[2] The phrase “modern man believes in nothing” was inspired by David B. Hart, “On Being Modern,” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life (October 2003).

[3] Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Faith and Belief: The Difference between Them (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1998), 129.

[4] Van Austin Harvey, “Faith,” in A Handbook of Theological Terms (New York: Macmillan, 1964).

[5] Hart, “On Being Modern,” 47.

[6] Ibid.

[7] In fact, the over-emphasis on the authority of individual judgment without any critical examination of the historical and intellectual context of modernity has given rise to a democratizing of individual opinion, thereby mistaking it for knowledge. In some respects, the need to critically examine the ideas that have shaped our modern perspective are condemned as an “abstraction” rather than being recognized as an attempt to reconcile our daily mode of operation at the most practical level. This has done great harm in the ONA as the need for this critical examination has shifted to ruthless and vacant extremism in light of the substitution of opinion for knowledge, resting on a gross misunderstanding of what the ONA actually is.

[8] Interestingly, I recall Michael Aquino himself acknowledging his lack of understanding regarding Husserl’s philosophy on a 600 Club forum post many years ago. I have not since been able to locate that post since the site closed down, but it appeared to be authored by him. Nevertheless, I sensed this fatal flaw at a young age, given that much of the Temple of Set’s philosophy rests on a metaphysical distinction between subject and object – a distinction phenomenology largely did away with in the early twentieth century. In some respects, the ONA’s distinction between “acausal” and “causal” risks a similar danger; and though I will not elaborate further here, it is a topic that I may investigate in the future. Regardless, it is something to be aware of, particularly in the dogmatic and often uncritical repetition of such terms on the part of the ONA’s associates.

[9] Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View (New York: Ballantine Books, 1991).

[10] This all-day workshop was recorded and previously available on DVD by Depth Video. See Richard Tarans, “The Art of Writing: An All-Day Workshop Presented Nov. 17, 2007 at the Pacifica Graduate Institute” (Santa Barbara, CA: Depth Video, 2007). The description on the rear of the DVD summarizes the workshop as follows:

This landmark workshop, the fruit of 30 years of writing and teaching, was given before a sold-out audience at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in November 2007. In these lectures, Richard Tarnas provides an in-depth look at writing not just as an intellectual or artistic discipline, but as a spiritual path. Because we live in a time of extraordinary urgency, when we must contemplate the future of the Earth community, it is essential that those with relevant information speak and be heard, received, and understood. Writing in the service of such a goal involves the development of certain skills, disciplines, and knowledge, as well as other less tangible but perhaps even more important capacities. These lectures illuminate the writer’s path with both practical tips and a larger vision of the writer’s noble calling.

[11] See, for example, Richard Tarnas, “Forging the Self, Disenchanting the World,” in Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (New York: Viking, 2006).

[12] Tarnas appears to be referencing Woody Allen, “My Speech to the Graduates,” New York Times, August 10, 1979, https://www.nytimes.com/1979/08/10/archives/my-speech-to-the-graduates.html

[13] Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self, trans. R.F.C. Hull, rev. ed. (1990; repr., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 60.


An Update on Lux Lycaonis and the Fenrir Team

Posted: April 28th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Fenrir, Inner ONA, News, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on An Update on Lux Lycaonis and the Fenrir Team

Loki

– An image of Loki from the eighteenth century Icelandic manuscript, “SÁM 66”

Good evening everyone,

I wanted to write a brief update regarding the Lux Lycaonis site. Slowly but surely, we have been expanding the Fenrir team, ever on the lookout for those who, through their deeds, ethos, works, and talents, have proven themselves capable of making meaningful contributions to the establishment of a viable future for the Order of Nine Angles.

We recently acquired a new addition to our team, which is now well-equipped to address the philosophical, literary, magickal, historical, mythological, musical, and artistic domains required for that future – all with an eye toward approaching the ONA in a new way, paying homage to its origins but expanding its theory and practice into new spheres of influence.

With that in mind, I want to note that while many of my articles will be relayed to the o9a.org site, much of the content by the rest of our team will remain exclusive to Lux Lycaonis. There have been some updates in the last few days, including new content. And we anticipate an influx of new work on the way.

Much of this anticipated work will address important and overlooked esoteric topics within the ONA. For example, one of our team members is currently completing an article on Uranianism and Sapphic sorcery with respect to certain non-negotiable esoteric sexual techniques. One such technique is Locis Muliebris, which is required for particular rites of the Septenary system. In exploring these and other features of Uranianism and Sapphistry, this author will additionally expound upon the qualities of Sapanur as the patron Dark God associated with homosexual men, who is identified in “The Black Mass: Gay Version.”

Which is all to say that there are many interesting things on the way. In addressing these and other topics – topics which have remained at the core of the ONA since the time of its inception but are almost completely overlooked or ignored – we hope to challenge many of the prejudices falsely levied against the tradition by opponents and associates alike. With respect to associates and the future of the ONA, the Fenrir team agrees that we need to call home those who left disgruntled, augment those who are still here but lying low, and call new individuals to the fold who can make the aforesaid contributions. To do this, we aim to emphasize the tradition’s strengths rather than its weaknesses as a taste of things to come.

 

 

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
April 28, 2022


Update on Fenrir & David Myatt

Posted: April 4th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: David Myatt, Fenrir, Inner ONA, News, Order of Nine Angles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Update on Fenrir & David Myatt

Fen logo

Good evening everyone,

I’ve made a few minor updates to the Lux Lycaonis site. Included among these is an announcement with some news about the status of the upcoming edition of Fenrir. Please see the following link, which also includes some exciting news regarding David Myatt. Stay tuned!

Update on Fenrir & David Myatt


“Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?”: An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination

Posted: March 29th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Alchemy, Culture, Etymology, Fenrir, Inner ONA, O9A, Occultism, Order of Nine Angles, paganism, Rounwytha, The Sinister Tradition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?”: An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination

Venerable Bede

– Harry Clarke, St. Bede the Venerable, 1931
St. Cuthbert’s Church, Durham

Reposted from Lux Lycaonis:

https://luxlycaonis.com/index.php/2022/03/29/will-wyrd/

What follows is another article for the upcoming edition of Fenrir. This article covers the subject of wyrd in relation to the medieval Christian influence on the Anglo-Saxon pagan Weltanschauung. In examining the role of wyrd in extant Anglo-Saxon verse, I demonstrate how the role of wyrd as Other illuminates the meaning of the phrase, “elþeodigra eard gesecan” – “to seek the land of foreigners” – in relation to the Hermetic quest (ἄνοδος) of the Order of Nine Angles. In so doing, I then examine how the relations between man, wyrd, and God and three types of human responses to wyrd in medieval Anglo-Saxon verse shed light on the deeper esoteric role of wyrd within (and beyond) the ONA through what in Beowulf is called “forethought of mind,” and what in devotional Anglo-Saxon verse is referred to as “thinking well” or “thinking wisely” – all with an eye toward addressing “the inability of the individual to comprehend the operation of wyrd in man’s daily life and the human endeavor to live meaningfully in the face of that incomprehensibility.”

“Where’s Your Will to Be Wyrd?”

An Examination of Wyrd in the Anglo-Saxon Religious Imagination

by Nameless Therein

monað modes lust mæla gehwylce
ferð to feran, þæt ic feor heonan
elþeodigra eard gesece.

The mind’s urging admonishes the spirit at every moment to set forth, that I might seek far from here the land of foreigners.

– “The Seafarer,” translated by Andrew Galloway

The above poem fragment is taken from the tenth-century manuscript known as the Exeter Book, which “constitutes the largest extant collection of Old English verse.”[1] Some scholars have suggested that the phrase “elþeodigra eard gesecan” – “to seek the land of foreigners” – is a “common expression for a journey into religious exile.”[2] In the poem, “The Seafarer,” the phrase is meant to indicate an “oblique and elusive resolution” as “the speaker passes beyond the world of heroic obligations … to another sphere.”[3] This “passing to another sphere” alludes to a complex historical relationship between the concept of wyrd or “fate” in Anglo-Saxon literature and that of choice, indicated by the verb (ge)ceosan, “to choose,” which appears in the tenth and eleventh centuries.[4] While this relation can be observed historically with respect to the notion of Christian predestination,[5] the relation speaks more broadly to “early English poetry’s deterministic vision of history.”[6]

That deterministic vision of history takes on additional significance when considering how the phrase “elþeodigra eard gesecan” finds application in the modern world, specifically in terms of wyrd. In the complex relation between fate and choice, and much like its central place in the “surviving paganism … [of] Anglo-Saxon literature,”[7] wyrd plays a central role in the Order of Nine Angles. Here, “elþeodigra eard gesecan” can be interpreted as the way wyrd directs each individual across the Septenary spheres of the Tree of Wyrd, thereby “passing to another sphere” or “from sphere to sphere” over the course of their Hermetic quest (ἄνοδος).[8] While many associates have a cursory understanding of what the term “wyrd” means in this context – as an unclarified sense of “fate” or “destiny,” for example – few have a grasp of its etymological origins and fewer still get beyond the apparent duality it alludes to within the practice of the ONA. This duality concerns two horns of a dilemma upon which each initiate necessarily finds themselves impaled – a dilemma involving the emphasis on solitary, individual experience on the one hand, and the confrontation with something other than the self on the other. The dilemma concerns the way one can become ensnared in various “traps” or “deceptions” as the duality “turns in” on itself through the dissolving of the ego, either through the temptation to over-emphasize individual experience, where one can lose their way in mistaking a personal map for impersonal territory;[9] or in deceiving oneself into believing that dissolving has occurred before it has begun.[10] All in all, one must remember that the ONA’s emphasis on solitary practice and pathei-mathos with respect to individual experience is intimately conjoined with empathy as a means to empathic living.[11] More specifically, solitary practice and individual experience are a means to the radical confrontation with something other than the self, which empathy makes possible; and this confrontation recasts each initiate in a shadow of destiny that exceeds the boundaries of the individual.

Wyrd is important in this respect because it involves this “something other than the self.” At one level, said confrontation can take the form of a relation to the other person; but at a broader level, it can reveal itself in the form of fate or nature (physis or φύσις). Though other phenomena can assume this role, the acknowledgement of something other than the self plays an important role in the dissolving of the ego. While more attention can be dedicated to this relation, this article will focus its attention on the cultural, historical, and etymological origins of wyrd in relation to this “something other than the self,” both in terms of wyrd as Other and in terms of the relation between man, wyrd, and God in Anglo-Saxon literature. The purpose here is not to conduct a systematic analysis of these subjects, but to highlight certain recurrent dynamics that can occur in the transformative experiences of ONA praxes like the Seven-Fold Way.

WYRD AS OTHER IN THE MEDIEVAL CHRISTIAN AND ANGLO-SAXON WORLDVIEW

The term “wyrd” has complex origins culturally, historically, etymologically, and in terms of its usage in the early literature of the Order of Nine Angles.[12] We find references to it in the Old English poetry of the tenth-century manuscript known as the Exeter Book, in the epic Anglo-Saxon[13] poem Beowulf,[14] and in King Alfred’s Old English translation of the Roman philosopher Boethius’ influential work, The Consolation of Philosophy, which marked one of the last great crossroads between the Classical and Medieval worlds.[15] Though translating “wyrd” was once a “polarizing enigma for scholars of Old English literature and of the history of religions,”[16] philologists of the nineteenth century translated it as “fate” and held that “the presence of the word in the … [Old English] corpus … [represented] one of the few preservations of England’s Teutonic pre-Christian cosmology.”[17] Jacob Grimm, for example, notes the “philological link between wyrd and the Norse norn Urðr, one of the three entities responsible for weaving the fates of humankind.”[18] Wyrd is thus described as a “fixed fate that shaped the pagan world of the Anglo-Saxons,”[19] which, in “pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon mythology” denoted “a force in the universe which controlled the destinies of all things.”[20] In this, its role is similar “to that of fate in Old Norse literature, where it compels even the gods to act in accord with its dictates.”[21] In Beowulf, “Wyrd is the force that eventually destroys the lives of the violators of unknowable universal order,”[22] which F. Anne Payne describes in the following way:

[Wyrd] is the agent in the most terrible experience of the day of death. It is the opponent of man in the strange area of the most intense perception and consciousness. Though it may hold off for a while, the individual in the end makes an error in choice and releases forces whose consequences at the moment of crisis he controls no longer and Wyrd is victorious. Wyrd affects only those with the strength and energy to enter that space where order is at first contingent on their choices. When they fail as they inevitably do because they are human, Wyrd’s dreadful power compensates for their inadequacies. While it is completely accurate to say in epic and tragedy in general that the hero seeks his fate, it is totally erroneous to say he seeks his Wyrd. Wyrd is alien to the individual; it is the force which balances his errors, punishes him, at best tolerates him. Wyrd is always the Other.[23]

In this sense, wyrd thus functions as the form of alterity alluded to at the beginning of this article: a fundamental Other or otherness that we encounter through empathy in the radical confrontation with something other than the self. While alternate forms of alterity can take on this relation, each with their own dynamic in relation to the self (nature or physis being one example), such relations are sometimes sensed more prominently with the dissolving of the ego. Thus, to revisit the phrase from “The Seafarer” introduced above: “elþeodigra eard gesecan” does not just refer to seeking “the land of foreigners” as an expression for a journey into religious exile. In “passing to another sphere” or “from sphere to sphere,” wyrd also refers to exile from the self in confronting something other than the self. In this respect, wyrd as enigmatic, impersonal, and incomprehensible is reflected in the poetry of the Exeter Book, which thematically addresses “the inability of the individual to comprehend the operation of wyrd in man’s daily life and the human endeavor to live meaningfully in the face of that incomprehensibility.”[24] In this, “elþeodigra eard gesecan” indeed indicates a passing “beyond the world of heroic obligations … to another sphere”[25] as each initiate continually immolates and re-constitutes their sense of self in the face of wyrd’s incomprehensible influence across the Tree of Wyrd.

MAN, WYRD, AND GOD

In this context, wyrd does not just refer to fate but “inexorable fate,”[26] one in which “the hopeless pagan vision of a crumbling world” – whose “bitterly cold, inconsolable pagan worldview” makes poems like “The Wanderer” in the Exeter Book so compelling – eventually converges with Christian consolation.[27] In fact, though the Christian influence in Anglo-Saxon works is explicit, there is disagreement regarding its role and origin. While early scholars considered the term “wyrd” in such literature “a rare preservation of pre-Christian belief in the extant corpus,”[28] a more recent scholarly consensus acknowledges the Christian context of extant Old English literature,[29] possibly tracing the derivation of wyrd to the verb weorðan (to become).[30] This Christian context introduces alternate ways of interpreting the term “wyrd.” Though there are various occasions in Old English literature “where wyrd is personified and is distinguished from God,”[31] there are numerous references to God and “God’s wyrd” throughout the poems of the Exeter Book.[32] F. Anne Payne notes that “[t]he relation of man, Wyrd, and God which is represented in Beowulf finds its philosophical clarification in [King] Alfred’s use of the term in his … [translation] of [Boethius’] Consolation of Philosophy.”[33] Payne adds that “Alfred’s metaphor for the absolute relation of … [man, Wyrd, and God] makes Wyrd a great wheel on which men are caught, the worst toward the outer rim, the best near the axle, which is God: ‘swelce sio eax sie þæt hehste god þe we nemnað God.’”[34] On this point, Susanne Weil traces the “many words that express the concept of wyrd” to the term’s Old English root meaning “to shape.” She notes that gescipe, or “destiny,” means literally “that which is shaped”; that the verb sceppen means “to destine, to shape”; and that “one of the most frequently used words for ‘God’ is Sceppend,” which literally means “Shaper.”[35] With respect to the relation between man, wyrd, and God in Anglo-Saxon verse and literature, she adds:

Since the motif of wyrd as the implacable arbiter of men’s struggles resounds throughout the Anglo-Saxon canon like a perpetual minor chord, the synonymous nature of fate and shaping in Old English should not be surprising: the singers of the canon were always aware that the events of their lives had been “shaped” by a force (or forces) beyond their control. Given the primacy of tactile imagery throughout their poetry, their vision of destiny as a process of shaping is characteristic. It is as if their Shaper were a sculptor, carefully crating the form of each man’s fate, molding a rough edge here, a smooth curve there, until the work took on its final cast in the moment of death.[36]

Against this clear Christian influence, however, there does seem to be something mysterious with respect to wyrd in the underbelly of the pagan Anglo-Saxon Weltanschauung. As monks historically moved into Britain and began recording Anglo-Saxon writings, it was assumed that the Sceppend was the Christian God. But Weil raises the important question: “who was he before that?”[37] After all, “The Anglo-Saxon tongue existed before the Christianization of Britain, and yet the Germanic religion which had held sway there had no supreme Shaper.”[38] On this point, Weil finds that, “As we push the parameters of the mythology, every possible explanation seems to lead to another mystery. The Anglo-Saxon universe seems curiously without cause, yet brimming with effects—all subsumed under the murky heading of wyrd, which remains a force, not a figure. Who, then, is the Shaper?”[39]

In relation to wyrd, Weil suggests that a clue to this question can be found in the following lines from Beowulf, where Beowulf says that “Gaeð a wyrd swa hio scel (Fate always goes as it must!),” and also that “Wyrd oft nereð/unfægne eorl, þonne his ellen deah (Fate often saves an undoomed man if his courage is good).”[40] In these two axioms, there appears to be an inconsistency: in the first “fate is unalterable,” and in the second “[fate] plays favorites.”[41] Later in Beowulf, the narrator seems to suggest that fate “is subordinate to both “wise God” and “the man’s courage.”[42] At a superficial level, these differing conceptions of wyrd appear to reveal an inconsistency. At a deeper level, however, that inconsistency may confirm Weil’s suspicion that neither Beowulf nor the narrator are confused here – that it is instead the modern audience who has missed the point of these pronouncements.[43] She elaborates on this in the following way, unpacking the relation between the Christian influence and the pagan Anglo-Saxon worldview:

Critics who see the poem as primarily Christian … view the narrator’s pronouncement on the power of God as evidence that Christian providence, not wyrd, was the Shaper of the Anglo-Saxon world—ignoring other pronouncements that the narrator makes elsewhere about the supreme power of fate. If proving God to be the sole power were the narrator’s purpose, why would he immediately append the caveat “yet is discernment everywhere best, forethought of mind?” He seems to be telling his audience not to count on the power of God or wyrd: the future will be a mixture of satisfaction and suffering even though God (or fate) “rule(s) all the race of men.” What a man can depend on is his “forethought of mind”: this is the core of the individual’s power to endure.[44]

“FORETHOUGHT OF MIND” AND “THINKING WELL”: THREE HUMAN RESPONSES TO WYRD

This “forethought of mind” as a means of enduring wyrd is an important theme, one that other scholars have taken note of. The “narrator’s purpose” Weil refers to above with respect to “forethought of mind” occurs in Beowulf as follows: “Forþan bið angit æghwær selest, [/] ferhðes foreþanc,” which can be translated as, “Therefore understanding is best everywhere, forethought of mind,”[45] or, “Yet is discernment everywhere best, forethought of mind.”[46] As a parallel to the reference to “forethought of mind” in Beowulf, we find an analogue in what Karma Lochrie renders as “thinking well” in one of the poems of the Exeter Book.[47] The reference occurs with respect to a series of “less obvious sequences of poems” in the Exeter Book, ones that “present variations on some particular theme or a series of instructions for devotional exercises.”[48] Such poems are noted by Lochrie to reveal a “pattern of the sacrament of penance.”[49] These form a “thematic group” and are headed by a “Judgment Day” poem, which is comprised of three short poems: “Judgment Day I,” “Resignation A,” and “Resignation B.”[50] These three short poems comprise three different approaches “to the common concern with wyrd and its effect on mankind” in the form of “a homiletic poem, a prayer, and an elegy.”[51] The phrase “thinking well” occurs in the first of the three poems that comprise this triplex: “Judgment Day I.”

“Judgment Day I” is described by Lochrie as a “homiletic poem in the third person” that “switches curiously … to a prayerlike, first-person narrative mode in which the speaker solicits the audience’s participation in his poem.”[52] The poem seems to call the reader to prayer after “a description of the inexorable end of the world through God’s wyrd and the judgment of mankind through His Word.” The call appears to be a “response to the mysterious upheavals and revelations wreaked by wyrd,”[53] where the ending “embarks on a prayer for the recognition of one’s inability to change or postpone wyrd ‘under heaven’”:[54]

Oncweþ nu þisne cwide; cuþ sceal geweorþan
þæt ic gewægan ne mæg wyrd under heofonum,
ac hit þus gelimpan sceal leoda gehwylcum
ofer eall beorht gesetu, byrnende lig.
Siþþan æfter þam lige lif bið gestaþelad,
welan ah in wuldre se nu wel þenceð.

(Repeat now this saying; it shall come to be
that I may not frustrate wyrd under heaven,
but it shall happen thus to all people
the coming of the burning flame, over all this bright creation.
After the flame life will be established,
and he will possess happiness who now thinks wisely.)[55]

This poem points to the fact that “the individual cannot ‘frustrate’ or prevent God’s wyrd under heaven, that in fact that wyrd is destined to frustrate the individual’s plans for the future, and that he or she must endure the ‘burning flame’ which will engulf all creation equally.”[56]

It is in this enduring – specifically with respect to enduring wyrd – that we find a link between the “forethought of mind” in Beowulf and the “thinking well” that Lochrie mentions with respect to “Judgment Day I.” “Thinking well” is also rendered as “thinking wisely,” where “the poet also adds to what might otherwise be a pessimistic outlook that the individual can affect his or her destiny by ‘thinking wisely’ now—that is, in the present.”[57] Whether referring to wyrd as “the speaker’s hardship, suffering, and misery which he cannot understand or prevent” in “Resignation B,” or as “the final conflagration and Last Judgment” in “Judgment Day I,” the lesson is the same: “one must not try to change or appeal one’s destiny; instead, one must ‘think well’ in order to endure it.”[58]

These three poems – “Judgment Day I,” “Resignation A,” and “Resignation B” – present variations on the limits of human understanding in relation to wyrd, and illustrate three “particular human responses to wyrd.”[59] “Judgment Day I” establishes a “triptych” that “portrays these [three] human responses to wyrd” – responses that “[hinge] upon the quality of one’s thought, and … [whether or not] we consider the truth well.”[60] The three responses involve three characterizations or caricatures: 1) the gromhydig guma or “the grim-thinking man”;[61] 2) the earthly feaster;[62] and 3) the deophydig or “deep-thinking” soul.[63] Of these, the first two are “caricatures of the unwise—those who are heedless of the future in their overweening confidence in the present.”[64] The third conversely “assumes the model human response to wyrd.”[65] I will briefly examine each of these in turn.

The first type of response, the gromhydig guma or “the grim-thinking man,” is suggestive of a character who boasts and “heaps scorn on his lord, murders him, and flees to hell with his friends.” He is “the destroyer of peace who, in his grim ravaging of the earth, fails to consider the ‘dark creation’ which eternally waits for him.” As a response to wyrd, “the grim-thinker’s failure to know what lies beyond the present” represents a species of “proud ignorance by which man exploits the limitations of his own knowledge on earth.” Lochrie notes that the remedy for such pride is suggested by the word ferðgleaw, an adjective meaning “prudent.” With respect to wyrd, prudence “is a wisdom in the face of the future which recognizes the limitations of human knowledge and our inability to change our future” and is characterized by forethought.[66]

The second type of response is that of the earthly feaster. Similar to the grim-thinking man, “the feaster is oblivious to his wyrd.” Lochrie contends that the feaster “is guilty of another kind of pride which is associated with the ‘immoderate mind’.” The feaster is additionally characterized by an indifference or lack of care towards knowledge.[67]

The third type of response is the deophydig or “deep-thinking soul.” The deep-thinking soul “considers well his journey hence and looks upon his sins with anxiety, sorry, and suffering.” This type of response marks a soul characterized by prudence, one who, “while not … [presuming] to know or understand God’s wyrd, is able to endure it patiently by thinking well upon the future.”[68]

All in all, these three responses to wyrd are meant to indicate the types of qualities required to endure it: “understanding, patience, and memory.” On this account and in order to receive these qualities, the speaker of “Resignation A” realizes that “he must first learn to ‘think well’,”[69] as indicated by the poet’s words:

Gesette minne hyht on þec,
forhte foreþoncas, þæt hio fæstlice
stonde gestaðelad. Onstep minne hige,
gæsta god cyning, in gearone raed.

(Set my trust in you,
strengthen my forethoughts, that they may
stand fast. Raise my thoughts,
God King of souls, in ready wisdom.)[70]

CONCLUSION

Over the course of this paper, I examined some of the cultural, historical, and etymological origins of the Anglo-Saxon term “wyrd” in two contexts. The first concerned a radical confrontation with something other than the self, where wyrd took on the fundamental role of Other. I investigated this in some of the poems in the tenth-century manuscript known as the Exeter Book, in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, and in the Old English translation of Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy. Here, I found that the phrase “elþeodigra eard gesecan,” or “to seek the land of foreigners” could be interpreted as more than a religious exile, referring instead to how an initiate in the Order of Nine Angles is exiled from the self in confronting something other than the self. That other (or Other) can take the form of wyrd.

The second context concerned wyrd’s deeper constellation of meaning when examined through the lens of the medieval Christian influence on the Anglo-Saxon pagan Weltanschauung. We examined different interpretations and possible etymological origins of wyrd in extant Anglo-Saxon verse in relation to God and the three different human responses to wyrd described by Karma Lochrie. These responses centered around the theme of “thinking well,” which I suggested is analogous to the idea of “forethought of mind” in Beowulf. Through an examination of “Judgment Day I,” “Resignation A,” and “Resignation B” in the Exeter Book and their characterization of the three human responses to wyrd, we learned that the appropriate human response to wyrd is prudence: “the recognition that we cannot change or frustrate wyrd.”[71] Hence, “Thinking well and wisely upon our future judgment while accepting the limitations of our understanding of divine wyrd finally means suffering well our present.”[72]

While prudence as an appropriate human response to wyrd may conflict with the Order of Nine Angles’ philosophy – there may in fact be magickal and esoteric techniques to alter or “re-direct” one’s wyrd, which is an element of the ONA’s esoteric system that seems to attract the dogged initiate – it does cast an interesting light on a deep historical complexity surrounding the cultural, historical, and etymological origins of the term “wyrd.”

In closing and as a testament to the importance of activating what has been said here in a participatory manner – one that brings wyrd to life in life, not on paper – I will end with a brief symbolic gesture: long ago, on the trail of danger and adventure in my younger years, I had a close friend who, now on the path to becoming an adept, once said to me: “Where’s your will to be weird?” Like a forethought of wyrd echoing into that present – a present which is now the past but is still very much alive – the question stuck with me. The question returned. The question evolved and took on strange forms. Now, as an echo across history into the present, as a moving anchor into the future, wyrd seems to be revealing itself to itself, providing temporal clues as to what this was intended to mean. Like many of the mysteries or “treasures” revealed in wyrd, I sensed the meaning instinctually, liminally, beyond the bounds of understanding. Until now, I never knew how to describe this “sensing.” In closing and as a clue as to the meaning of the title of this article,[73] I end with a passage from Payne:

The adjective “weird” and the noun slang term “weirdo” describe an event or person whose attributes are suddenly discovered to be outside the bounds of normal expectation and arouse an experience that an observer contemplates with uncomprehending but compelling uneasiness. This combination of attraction and awe in the face of an event in a space whose dimensions are undefined and uncontrollable hovers about the meaning of Old English Wyrd.[74]

Nameless Therein
Scothorn Nexion
March 28, 2022
2775 ab urbe condita

Wudu mot him weaxan, wyrde bidan,
tanum lædan; ic for tæle ne mæg
ænigne moncynnes mode gelufian
eorl on eþle.

(The tree might flourish, abide its wyrd,
sprout forth with branches; I for disgrace may not
any of mankind love in heart
any earl in my native land.)

– “Resignation B,” translated by Karma Lochrie

NOTES

[1] Courtney Catherine Barajas, “Introduction,” in Old English Ecotheology: The Exeter Book (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021), 20.

[2] Andrew Galloway, “Beowulf and the Varieties of Choice,” PMLA 105, no. 2 (March 1990): 199.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 197.

[5] A noteworthy development in this respect is the lesser-known fifth-century Christian heresy known as Pelagianism. Pelagianism, which is associated with the British monk Pelagius, held that “the grace needed for salvation comes from God through creation (which gives humans the capacity to do good) and from revelation (which teaches and encourages them toward goodness).” According to Pelagianism, sin “does not invalidate these gifts, and baptism is not necessary for the forgiveness of original sin.” These teachings were opposed to the views of St. Augustine, who held that “humans pass original sin to their children through reproduction, and that after Adam’s sin they lost the divine gift of love that makes human actions effective for salvation.” On Augustine’s account, “Without love, even things that seem to be virtues have evil motives.” Pelagianism was condemned by the Church as a heresy. Interestingly, a group now referred to as the Semipelagians, “represented by the monks John Cassian and Vincent of Lerins,” agreed with Augustine “on the necessity of interior grace and the effects of sin, but felt that predestination was dangerously close to some kind of destiny.” Predestination in relation to destiny is beyond the scope of this article but is mentioned here in passing given its relevance to this discussion of wyrd. Charles Taliaferro and Elsa J. Marty, eds., “Pelagianism,” in A Dictionary of Philosophy of Religion (New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010), 174-75.

[6] Galloway, “Beowulf,” 197.

[7] Eric Gerald Stanley, “Wyrd,” chap. 11 in Imagining the Anglo-Saxon Past: The Search for Anglo-Saxon Paganism and Anglo-Saxon Trial by Jury (1975; repr., Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2000), 85.

[8] The Greek term “ἄνοδος” commonly occurs throughout ONA literature to describe this Hermetic quest. See, for example, Kerri Scott’s point that, “The symbolism of ω9α philosophy is – as described in the Poemander/Poemandres tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum and in many Renaissance alchemical texts – the ancient one of seven spheres (ἑβδομάς) and of a hermetic quest (ἄνοδος) by the individual from the first, lower, sphere to the seventh, higher, sphere.” Along these lines, Scott also notes that, “The Seven Fold Way involves an individual or a partnership undertaking a difficult hermetic quest, an ἄνοδος, either overtly Occult – as for example described in the Naos manuscript – or based on a non-Occult seeking as described in the text The Sevenfold Seeking And Noesis Of The Hebdomian Way.” Scott adds that, “Those on such a quest, often called the Hebdomadary (singular) or Hebdomadarians (plural) generally concern themselves with their quest, their interior life, their partnership, and family, above and beyond the dialectical machinations of the external world such as those of politics.” Kerri Scott, “Guide to Omega9Alpha Subculture” (self-pub., 2022).

[9] There is a powerful sense in which wyrd relates to the self in a way that exceeds the boundaries of the self. This involves a kind of personal intimacy; but that intimacy is also enigmatic and impersonal in its relation to forces that cannot be reduced to comprehension or understanding. It is, however, rarely abstract, embodied in an experience that can neither be “located” nor locuted, defying all natural forms of expression and grammar; all except, perhaps, music. In this way the map can become the territory, and the way this occurs is deeply personal.

[10] These are two common examples that many individuals fall victim to. Regarding the latter case, said “deception” can occur as an ulterior resistance structure or unconscious defense mechanism that artificially “elevates” the individual above the actual confrontation, sometimes out of fear, denial, unresolved trauma, or a refusal to let go. Small – and sometimes not so small – signs can indicate this type of inflationary response in the individual: in the way they speak, their mannerisms, their response to conflict, their etiquette, and their interpersonal relations, to cite a few examples.

[11] On this point, Myatt notes that, “The Way of Pathei-Mathos is an ethical, an interior, a personal, a non-political, a non-interfering, a non-religious but spiritual, way of individual reflexion, individual change, and empathic living, where there is an awareness of the importance of virtues such as compassion, humility, tolerance, gentleness, and love.” David Myatt, “I. Morality, Virtues, and Way of Life,” in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, 5th ed. (self-pub., 2018).

[12] Sadly, overuse, misuse, and a lack of knowledge regarding the origins of ONA terminology on the part of many ONA associates has diminished the meaning of such terms; but through a careful examination of some of the complexities that inform their intended meaning, we may breathe fresh life into a terminological framework that has been stripped of significance through years of carelessness. Such investigations will hopefully inspire others to find new ways to describe complex phenomena – phenomena that may appear conceptually contradictory but consistent in experience. There is evidence that the early authors of the ONA were aware of the complexities surrounding such terminology and were possibly attempting to exceed the limitations of such terms in creating clear divisions like “causal” and “acausal.” While such distinctions can be misleading, they lend the advantage of drawing our attention to their apparent limitations so that we may evolve and exceed them in turn.

[13] Note that while “Anglo-Saxon” is often used synonymously with “Old English,” the term and its Latinized form, “Anglo-Saxonicus,” originally applied “to the people and language of the Saxon race who colonized the southern parts of Britain.” The Saxons were distinct from the Angles, who colonized the northern regions. “Anglo-Saxon” does not refer to a combination of Angles and Saxons – i.e., “the people and language of the whole of England.” The latter would be more accurately described by the term “Old English.” Since the revival of such studies in the sixteenth century, however, “‘Anglo-Saxon’ has been used as the general term, without a sense of geographical distinction. Dinah Birch and Katy Hooper, eds., “Anglo-Saxon,” in The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, 4th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

[14] There is controversy surrounding the dating of Beowulf. See, for example, The Dating of Beowulf: A Reassessment, ed. Leonard Neidorf (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014). Neidorf notes that scholars have assigned dates ranging from the seventh to the eleventh century. Prior to the 1980s, “most scholars held that the poem was composed during the seventh or eighth century.” Interestingly, J.R.R. Tolkien was convinced that Beowulf belonged to the age of Bede, which lasted from 672-735. On this point, Francis Gummere wrote: “There is no positive evidence for any date of origins. All critics place it before the ninth century. The eighth brought monastic corruption to Northumbria; while the seventh, described by Beda, with its austerity of morals, its gentleness, its tolerance, its close touch with milder forms of heathenism, matches admirably the controlling mood of the epic.” R.W. Chambers additionally notes that, “[F]rom the point of view of its close touch with heathendom, its tolerance for heathen customs, its Christian magnanimity and gentleness, its conscious art, and its learned tone, all historic and artistic analogy would lead us to place Beowulf in the great age – the age of Bede.” Other scholars disagree with this assessment. Scholarship on the dating of Beowulf appears to be “uneven in quality.” Leonard Neidorf, “Introduction,” in The Dating of Beowulf: A Reassessment, ed. Leonard Neidorf (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014).

[15] Victor Watts, “Introduction,” in Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy, rev. ed., trans. Victor Watts (1969; rev. ed., London: Penguin Books, 1999), xi. Boethius’ Consolation marks one of the great crossroads between the classical pagan worldview and early medieval Christianity. Boethius is said to have written this work in prison before his execution in 524 AD. Watts notes that, “[I]n the absence of firm evidence to the contrary … [we must believe that] Boethius … wrote [Consolation] in prison, alone, under the shadow of eventual execution, unaided except by the power of his own memory and genius.” Watts, “Introduction,” xxii.

[16] David Pedersen, “Wyrd ðe Warnung … or God: The Question of Absolute Sovereignty in Solomon and Saturn II,” Studies in Philology 113, no. 4 (Fall 2016): 714.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid. Pedersen interestingly cites a long-standing conflict between pagan and Christian interpretations of this term in an Anglo-Saxon context. He notes that “numerous proponents of the preservation of Germanic mythology in … [Old English] literature pointed to the various occasions throughout the corpus where wyrd is personified and is distinguished from God.” This began to change in the early twentieth century, however, as “a predominantly English school of scholarship began to attack the idea that the extant sources preserve some vestiges of Anglo-Saxon paganism, contending that the nearly three centuries of Christianity preceding many of the earliest literary occurrences of wyrd preclude any pagan connotations.” Pedersen, “Wyrd,” 714.

[19] Susanne Weil, “Grace Under Pressure: ‘Hand-Words,’ Wyrd, and Free Will in Beowulf,” Pacific Coast Philology 24, no. 1/2 (November 1989): 94.

[20] Jon C. Kasik, “The Use of the Term Wyrd in Beowulf and Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons,” Neophilologus 63 (January 1979): 128.

[21] Ibid.

[22] F. Anne Payne, “Three Aspects of Wyrd in Beowulf,” in Old English Studies in Honour of John C. Pope, eds. Robert B. Burlin and Edward B. Irving (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), 15.

[23] Payne, “Three Aspects,” 15-16.

[24] Karma Lochrie, “Wyrd and the Limits of Human Understanding: A Thematic Sequence in the Exeter Book,” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 85, no. 3 (July 1986): 324.

[25] Galloway, “Beowulf,” 199.

[26] Dan Veach, “The Wanderer,” in Beowulf and Beyond: Classic Anglo-Saxon Poems, Stories, Sayings, Spells, and Riddles (Atlanta: Lockwood Press, 2021), 41.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Pedersen, “Wyrd,” 713.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., 714.

[31] Ibid.

[32] For example, see Lochrie’s discussion of the poem “Judgment Day I” in “Human Understanding,” 325.

[33] Payne, “Three Aspects,” 16.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Weil, “Grace Under Pressure,” 94.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid., 95.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid., 95-96.

[45] Pedersen, “Wyrd, 726.

[46] Weil, “Grace Under Pressure,” 95.

[47] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 327.

[48] Ibid., 323.

[49] A reference to L. Whitbread quoted in Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 323.

[50] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 324.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid., 325.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Quoted in Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 325. Translation by Lochrie.

[56] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 326.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid., 326-27. There is a parallel between “forethought of mind” and “thinking well” in Anglo-Saxon verse and my analysis elsewhere of the importance of what Hannah Arendt refers to as the vita contemplativa or the contemplative life. That parallel has to do with the role of contemplation in relation to action. The parallel only indicates a relation, however; the two issues are not identical.

[59] Ibid., 327.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid., 328.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Ibid., 327.

[65] Ibid., 328.

[66] Ibid., 327.

[67] Ibid., 328.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Quoted in Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 328. Translation by Lochrie.

[71] Lochrie, “Human Understanding,” 331.

[72] Ibid.

[73] I should note that the phrase “Anglo-Saxon religious imagination,” which I chose as the subtitle of this article, comes from Pedersen, “Wyrd,” 713.

[74] Payne, “Three Aspects,” 15.