The smoky fires around the cold bogs kept the chill of the Danish night air mostly at bay – along with the whiskey and beer going around.
Men from all over Europe spoke different languages, joking, laughing, explaining in our shared tongue of English, for those who spoke it. Those who didn’t communicated with smiles and nods. There was an unspoken kinship here that didn’t need a common tongue – we were all here for the same reason.
The Totenwolf banner of Operation Werewolf was everywhere, along with the individual groups markings and insignia. These were the truly dedicated ones – some of whom, like me, had traveled thousands of miles by car, train or plane to be here in the bogs of Western Denmark to train, perform ritual, exchange gifts, and share comradery with men from across the world.
As the light faded, our hosts head-man brought everyone together in his terse way, explaining we would all get into a convoy of vehicles and go now – he did not explain where or what for, but he was a trusted friend, and we went.
By the time we reached the coast, it was dark, and a cold moon was up and shining down on the waters.
A carved wooden idol towered over us, staring grimly across the fjord – it was a bearded warrior, holding axe, sword and shield, with a large Mjölnir hanging prominently around his neck.
We stripped down on the beach, and walked out, chest deep into the freezing water, breathing deeply and singing a rune-galdr to steady both breath and resolve, and were baptized with beer, the holy liquid of :ALU:, before returning to shore, breathing fog and looking up at the clear night and the warrior-god who had witnessed our rites.
In a marsh in Northern Italy, I walked around a fire, addressing dozens. Some time later, I helped the others hoist another respected tribal leader over our heads as we sang a song to Godan, the Lombard name for Odin – and watched a ritualized bareknuckle striking round meant to retell the story of Thor and World Serpent.
In the deep isolated woods of Northern Germany, a short way from the Baltic Sea, I swam in a pure blue lake under the bright sun, while the local tall grass thrust to the sky in a thousand perfect Algiz runes.
Miles to the south, in ancient Thuringia, I watched droplets of my blood spread out across the waters of the largest known Iron Age cult site in Central Europe, which had been a sacrificial site of both animal and human for centuries.
Wordless oaths of blood brotherhood in old France, just miles away from the castle where Richard the Lionhearted met his end…
These and many more moments across the ocean on the European mainland, and a thousand more here, where my bloodline came from those countries nearly half a millenia ago.
From Atlantic to Pacific, Appalachia to California; from Everglade to the rocky coasts of the extreme Northwest, and the mighty Rocky Mountains between, me and mine have raised stone and wooden altars and made them red as part of a promise sworn by my brothers and I two decades ago.
Thor’s Hammer is not just a symbol of a religion – it is not, like the cross, a sign of external grace, but one of inner power and external force.
It is a sign of those who trust in their own strength, their own word, their own chosen tribe and comrades – and who will fight for them and defend them at all costs.
It is a sign of a way of life that is still vital, no matter how many may make a mockery of it, or disrespect its essence through wearing or displaying the hammer in an incorrect fashion.
The hammer is not the cross.
Here there is no inclusion, there is no universal love, there is no belief in the unity or brotherhood of all men – but it is at the same time a love as strong as lightning, a massive storm that heralds a brotherhood of men who have chosen that brotherhood, and a lifestyle and a belief that reinforces it.
A brotherhood of men who may use it as a tool to destroy all obstacles, and then as a tool with which to remake the world.
The Thor’s Hammer has been, and always will remain a sign of force, of willpower, of unstoppable and indomitable spirit that is ours by birthright, and still flows like the power of that red thunderer in our hearts and our blood.
The cult is alive.