Written for Operation Werewolf by Paul Waggener
A few years ago, archeologists in Norway uncovered a 1,000 year old feasting hall, outside of which were even older burial mounds and a ritual site.
The leader of the project wrote this about their find:
“The site seems to have belonged to the very top echelon of the Iron Age elite of the area, and would have been a focal point for the exertion of political and social control of the region.”
This description grabbed hold of my imagination as I thought about what this place must have been like at its zenith. How spectacular must these ship burials have been – respected and powerful warriors, heroes of their age, being interred, before a night of feasting in the hall, determining through might and main the fates of those in the surrounding region.
Rituals held under the night sky, fires leaping up in the wind, with loud voices intoning holy words to their gods.
As some of my readers may guess, it is not difficult for me to imagine. I don’t have to.
The phrase that stuck out to me most was “Iron Age Elite.”
In their sense of the word, the Iron Age was a period that continued until c. 800 A.D., ended by the advent of the Viking era.
For those of us alive today, it is still ongoing: this Kali Yuga, or Iron Age – this period of darkness and strife and ignorance in which our duty is to blaze like a thousand suns.
This time is spoken of in the Eddas, “an axe age, a sword age – shields shall be sundered. A wind age, a wolf age, before the world falls.”
The word “elite” for many will have many connotations already, but taken at its simplest definition it comes from the old Latin word that simply means “choice.”
This strikes at the heart of the whole thing – to be elite is exactly that: a choice. To be “of the selected,” is to be someone who made a selection. And that’s just it – all of us make a choice.
In fact, we make hundreds, thousands of choices, every single day.
We make them for better or worse, for good or ill, for strength or weakness, in every moment of our waking world.
We decide daily what kind of person we will be. We decide what kind of man, or husband, or father, or brother we will be, and these choices we make form layers, and those layers can be said to truly be “us.”
We decide to be elite, or to be its antonym: common.
I’ve stood around many fires in this Iron Age, with many people, in many different countries, in scenes that may look a great deal like the one I described in the beginning of this piece – rituals of might and madness, shoulder to shoulder with men who made a choice to be there, and to speak words binding them to great deeds and lives. Men who made a choice to be among the elite.
I’ve heard this idea spoken of often at these fires: how the men standing at them see themselves as something wholly “other” than the larger part of society. They see themselves as unequivocally “better.”
Words like “outlaw,” or other determinations, calling those who make up the larger part of society “normal” or “civilian,” implying by all these terms that those using them are “not normal” or are part of some kind of separate society or grouping.
Largely, I’ve found this to not be the case. If it were, the meaning of the word elite would lose itself.
Because, many who desire to live that life are ill-suited for it, or, more commonly, they simply…
Unfortunately, many of those people I’ve stood with at those fires are long gone now – living “normal” lives, far removed from the howling cult practices of the gods of strength and ecstasy…they went back to the villages and cities, and embraced a life of domesticity and safety. They went back to living those lives that they once reviled.
They made a choice to be common.
In fact, they made thousands of choices – falling from road of heroes is many times not a single dramatic event – it is a death by a thousand cuts, and those cuts are self-inflicted.
Many of them are on this road no longer.
But not all.
There is an “us,” that I use in these writings, a “we,” that I type or scrawl on paper.
This “us” is an idea. It is a worldwide notion of men with burning eyes, and hearts and souls, whose very spirits have cried out for something more, something strong, something true, something that is Forever.
Standard bearers of tradition, of the blood, of the idea that honor is supreme over all things.
We are soldiers in a war that continues to rage, and this war is one of light against darkness. It is one of order over chaos. It is a holy and righteous war.
Some of this “us” are still out there, blood on our teeth and hearts on our sleeves, living life for all it’s worth and squeezing the last droplets of love, frenzy and honor from it. Imperfect, but continuously evolving, never content to let it ride or let it slip, works of furious art in motion, spark and dross flying from the hammer-blows that forge us closer to the unattainable.
We speak and sing words of power that have names like “truth,” and “loyalty,” and “freedom,” and these primeval concepts are our religion, for we will have nothing else but the strength and the blood of our fathers, and the power and love of our gangs and families as our god.
When our blood spills at our dying moment, or our last breath rattles out of our bodies, we will not be afraid, because we will know that we have lived for something, rather than simply died for nothing.
We will know that we have been, and lived our whole lives as warriors.
“Come all you Wolves to this funeral feast! We will not fear to laugh while the world is ending.”
We, who would become the true heroes of this Iron Age.
The true Iron Age Elite.
All you have to do is make a choice.
Then make it again.
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