The Good God’s Staff

“I am Aedh Abaid of Ess Ruad, also Ruad Rofhessa and Eochaid Ollathair. These are my names. I am the Good God of druidry of the Tuatha Dé Danann. An Dagda.”

And there he was, with Cermait Milbél, one of his sons, on his back. Now, Cermait had fallen in combat to the frenzy of Lugh, son of Cian, High King of Erin, for the sake of a woman’s embrace. Buach, who was the daughter of Daire Donn, was the wife of Lugh. As it often happens with the wives of great men, she endured much loneliness and turned often in the dark hours to her husband’s pillow, only to find it cold and bare. Well, Cermait the Dagda’s son, lay with her, wherefore Cermait was slain by Lugh. The Dagda considered his vast horde of knowledge and learning, then surrounded Cermait’s body with frankincense and myrrh and herbs and took to chanting such spells as he knew. This done, he lifted Cermait, and bearing the body of his son upon his back he searched the world until they came to the far eastern realms of the Earth.

In that strange and distant land he met three men going along road bearing their father’s treasures. The Dagda conversed with them and they said “We three are the sons of one father and mother, and we are sharing our father’s treasures, as is right for sons to do.”

“What treasures have ye?” asked the Dagda.

“A great shirt and a staff and a cloak.” said they.

“What virtues have these to be considered treasures?” said the Dagda.

“This great staff here,” said the eldest of them, “has a smooth end and a rough end. The rough slays the living, and the smooth revives the dead.”

“What of the shirt and the cloak?” said the Dagda, “What are their virtues?”

“He who wears the cloak may wear any shape, form, figure, or colour that he chooses. As for the one who wears the shirt, grief or sickness can never touch the skin that it covers.”

“Truly?” Said he.

“Very truly.” said they.

“Put the staff in my hand.” said the Dagda. Then the youngest of them lent him the staff, for he had been good company, and with great speed he put the rough end upon them thrice, and they fell dead in the road. Then he pressed the smooth end upon his son, and the lad arose in the fullness of his strength and health. Cermait put his hands on his face like one waking early from a dream, then rose up and looked at the three dead men that lay before him.

“Who are these three dead men in our path?” said Cermait to his father.

“Three men that I met,” said the Dagda, “sharing their father’s treasures. They lent me the staff and I slew them with one end and I brought yourself to life with the other end.”

“It would be a sad story to tell at our feasting,” said Cermait, “that they should not be given back their lives by that which caused me to live.”

The Dagda agreed and put the smooth end of the staff upon them, and the three brothers arose in the fullness of their health and strength.

“Know ye now that ye had been slain,” said he, “with your father’s staff?”

“We know it,” said they, “and you have taken an unfair advantage of us.”

“I have knowledge of your staff and its virtues,” said the Dagda, “and I have given you your three lives when I might have held them. Lend me the staff to take to Erin far to the west of this land.”

“What bonds have we that our father’s staff will ever come back to us?”

“The sun and moon, land and sea, provided that I might slay foes and give life to friends with its magic.”
Under that condition a loan of the staff was given to him.

“How shall we share the treasures we have?” said they. “For we are three and now only two remain to us.”

“Two of you will bear the treasures and one without any, until his turn come round at some predetermined interval.”

Then he brought that staff away to Erin, and his son, and with it he slew his foes and brought his friends to life. In time he took the kingship of Erin by means of that staff. However, the days of the Dagda’s kingship were numbered, as are the days of all things, and the time would come where the Dagda’s kingship would be ended, and indeed time has been so cruel to the Dagda and his sons and all of that fair Tribe, that we now living would hardly ever know that they lived at all were it not for the old tales that we tell.

Hail Caesar

“Hail Caesar” called noble Brutus,

Then he pierced him with his blade.

And many grey haired Roman men

Did smile at Caesar slain,

And many Gallic mothers wept

With joy to hear the word

That Caesar soaked the senate floor

Full red with Roman blood.

For in the woods which made men mad

Were mounds of Gallic skulls

Who’d spoken with Caesar in

The only tongue he understood.

What gallant blood did soak the soil

In far Gaul’s ancient groves,

Now paid in kind these bitter Ides

When Caesar died in Rome.

Far to the north across the seas

Upon white chalky cliffs

There burned full high a funeral pyre

Of wood from Caesar’s ships.

And to the south beneath

A cruel sun that never slept,

There wept behind high palace walls

A maid with babe at breast.

In years to come men whispered

Caesar’s name with Roman pride.

But as a man is born to rise

He’s also born to die.

Ides of March MMXVII

Mogh Roth: The Techno-God

It’s been awhile since I’ve published any new content, but rest assured that the creative process hasn’t stopped. Since publishing the book I’ve been writing articles, designing apparel, and writing songs that I plan to record.

You can find my latest article on the Operation Werewolf website at the link below.

http://www.operationwerewolf.com/war-journal/2016/12/15/the-techno-god

Original Shirts Now Available.

I am not exactly what you might call an artist, at least not in any visual capacity. My primary art has always been words and ideas, which is why I wrote a book

But recently I have begun to experiment with some graphic design and I’ve found it to be a really cool and cathartic experience. I’m no Da Vinci, but I’m working on it.

I’ve recently released some shirts of my own design that have been met with some favorable reviews. I began designing shirts primarily because I couldn’t find any comfortable and stylish gym-gear that wasn’t plastered with ridiculous “Snatch” and “Jerk” jokes. So I designed my own. 

The first of my designs to hit the market is entitled:

:LIFT OR DIE: 

Physical training is a serious business. Men have always been defined by physical strength, and it is often the strength of prepared men that makes the difference between determined survival and a soft death.

The shirts are available in Shortsleeve Bella and Canvas Triblend in 3 colours.

Also available is an American Apparel 3/4 sleeve shirt. 

These are some of the most comfortable shirts I’ve ever worn and each of the brands has a history of high-quality merchandise.

Buy yours at: http://www.woodkern.storenvy.com

Buy the Book.

Unchaining The Titan: Collected Essays is now available in both eBook and Printed format. It can be bought for Kindle directly from Amazon, or it can be purchased on Smashwords which is compatible with practically every available E-Reader.

Printed Copies:

Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/6494304

Amazon:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1537048058/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_WK37xb92K8V59

eBook:

Kindle:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LWS6URG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_e2n9xbW3ZYAB1

Smashwords(multiple formats and devices):https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/670156

To purchase a signed and personalized copy, order at:http://woodkern.storenvy.com/

Alternatively, email me at contact@unchainingthetitan.com or on Faceook Messenger.

Woodkern.

“The great Gaels of Ireland

Are the men God made mad,

For their wars are always merry,

And their songs are always sad.”

 

 

Ireland has a long history of tribal warrior culture. While the legions of Rome were “civilizing” the native cultures of Europe at the point of a gladius, Ireland remained forested and wild. When the Romans later fled from Britain to defend their homeland as it was invaded and burned by Germanic tribes, leaving the Romanized Britons defenceless and impoverished, the Irish were raiding their former territories for plunder, slaves, and tribute. While the Norse invaders were founding walled towns and trading outposts in Ireland at Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, and Wexford, the native Gaelic population continued to live as they always had done; rural and tribal and free. The Gaels did not build towns or large settlements, preferring to live in small closely-knit communities that farmed and raided for what they needed.

 

The Viking settlers built what are now our major cities upon the burned out remains of Gaelic communities. Eventually, the Norse who settled here were “Gaelicized” and adopted many of the customs of the native Irish, including Gaelic names. I have my theories as to why the way of life of these people was so difficult to eradicate over thousands of years. Tribalism is the natural state of mankind and has been since the very infancy of our species. We band together in small communities with people who are like ourselves in order to cooperate towards the achievement of some shared goal or vision. I could write ad nausium about the many intricacies and benefits of tribal culture, but others have done so who are far more qualified than I, and this is not an essay about Tribe. This is an essay about Woodkern.

 

Throughout the long, turbulent history of this island there have always been those who forsake the fickle world of civilized society and take to the woods. The wild places have a certain indescribable allure that draws out a certain kind of man and grabs hold of his soul. I believe the descendants of the Gael have always lived tribally because we have always lived very close to the land and the untamed earth. When the sun (seldom) shines this is the most beautiful country in the world and it is a common sight on a sunny day to see people head for the mountains and the forests in great hordes. We are still captivated by the trees and the realms that lie beyond the boundary of civilization. But what we now pursue in leisure was once a way of life for those men who were known as Woodkern.

 

The word Kern is an anglicized version of the Gaelic word “Ceithern” which translates roughly as “a warlike group”. Woodkern can thus be described as “bands of warlike men who dwell in the woods”. Though the phrase Woodkern refers to men who lived during a specific period of time, they belonged to a very old tradition that dates back throughout the ages of recorded history into times of legend and myth. These men were often described as outcast or outlaws, but in reality they were usually men of good social standing and wealth. They would have needed the funds to supply their own arms and equipment and they would also have needed more skill in the arts of warfare than the average peasant or farmer would have had. Warbands such as these were common throughout history and those who operated in this manner have been known by many names at different periods of time.

 

Fionn MacCumhal (anglicized as Finn McCool) was the mythical leader of a warband known as Na Fianna (The Warband). The Fianna lived in the woods amongst the wilds and offered their services as warriors and shamans to those who they deemed worthy or in need. In the legends, Fionn and his men are mostly treated with respect and an unusual reverence by the people they encounter. The men who fight with Fionn are wealthy, respected, skilled, and free. To become a part of the group a man had to pass extreme physical and mental tests, such as defending oneself from attack using only a shield whilst being buried in the ground up to the armpits. Peasants and farmers honoured these men, whilst the Chiefs and Kings provided them with hospitality and shelter during the winter months. The stories of Fionn’s adventures with his Fian are largely mythological, but we know that there were men in reality who joined warbands such as these and dwelt in the woods and mountains around the time that the tales of The Fianna were recorded.

 

As time went by warbands such as The Fianna became known as Woodkern and they were an invaluable asset to any Irish Chieftain who could win (or buy) their allegiance. The modus operandi of Woodkern was fairly specific and consistent throughout history. Kern were self-contained light infantry troops who could stage vicious ambushes and retreat to the cover of the trees before the enemy had a chance to regroup. British agent Edmund Spenser, who had no love of the barbarous Irish, admired the stoic resilience of the Kern and described them as ‘great endurers of cold, labour, hunger, and all hardness’, and ‘very great scorners of death’. Young lads would be inducted into the band as squires or apprentices to learn the ways of war from the more experienced Kern, who had learned their trade in bloody inter-tribal cattle raids and battles against their enemies, both foreign and domestic. Typically their weapons included the bow (boga), short sword (scian), throwing spears (gae), and a small shield, while their armour was minimal and usually consisted merely of a light tunic, a jacket and a cloak.

 

Though men have always banded together beyond the borders of “civilized” society, the time at which the Woodkern became most significant was following the Norman invasion of Ireland in the late 12th century. The arrival of the heavily armoured Norman Knights and Men-At-Arms on Irish soil was the fulcrum upon which the whole of modern Irish history pivots. The invasion marked the beginning of the end for the old Gaelic Order, and tied the fate of the Irish people to the whims of British aristocracy for the rest of all time. If you look around this island today you will see very little culture that is Gaelic and very much culture that is a product of Norman-British influence. But first, a little background on the war-like Normans and their relevance to this discussion:

 

The Normans were the descendants of Norse Vikings and Settlers who had established homes for themselves in the North of France under the leadership of Rollo. Over the years these Norsemen (Norman) settlers interbred with the local Frankish women and forsook the pagan gods of their forefathers in exchange for Orthodox Catholicism. A unique culture was eventually birthed in which Christianity, music, fealty, and war were valued above all else. They had previously conquered the Anglo-Saxon tribes of England in 1066 under William the Conqueror (or William the Bastard), and the Kings of England ever since that day had not been English at all. England was now ruled by the foreign Normans.

 

After the Norman invasion, bands of native English united into small groups of guerrillas who took to the woods and waged a bloody campaign of rebellion. The most famous leader of this resistance movement was known as Hereward the Wake, but his forces were eventually defeated and scattered at Ely. The term that the English had for these guerrilla troops was “green-men” to signify that they made the forests and fens their home whilst they fought the invader. Once the rebellion had been put down for good, the elite ruling classes of England (now predominantly Norman men) started planning how they would invade their Irish neighbours. The invasion was sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, who considered the Irish to be “semi-pagan and barbarous” due to the many customs and habits that had survived from the ancient Celtic pagan culture.

 

As it was with the native English, so it would be for the Gael. In 1169, Norman invaders turned their eye towards the fertile and untamed land of Ireland, having been offered an opportunity for great adventure and conquest by an Irishman in exile. Diarmad MacMurrough had been the King of Leinster until he was dethroned by the High King of Ireland, Ruaidri Ùa Conchobar, for eloping with another man’s wife. Diarmad fled to King Henry II of England who swore to help him regain his crown in return for Diarmad’s pledge of service. In Normandy and Wales, MacMurrough hired the aid of a coalition of Norman lords, to whom he offered lands and titles and riches and even his own daughter in marriage. When the foreigners (called Gall or Sassanach by the Gaels) landed on Irish soil, they began a series of wars that would bleed this nation dry and condemn her sons to exile and slavery up until this very day. Diarmad MacMurrough’s betrayal and scheming lead to a cataclysmic event that irreversibly changed the face of Gaelic Ireland and Irish culture. It is not uncommon for a Christian to refer to a treacherous man as “a Judas”, and likewise the Irish may call such a traitor “a MacMurrough”.

 

But as is to be expected, the tribes of the Gael did not bow down and surrender feebly to the impressively armoured Knights of the Gall. Much like what happened in England a century before, the Norman invasion of Ireland was followed by a long and turbulent period of resistance and guerrilla warfare. Many of the native Gaelic kings and chieftains allied with the Norse-Gaels who dwelt within the walled Norse cities of Waterford, Dublin and Wexford, and fought the invaders. But the heavily armed mounted cavalry and men-at-arms of the Normans were a formidable force for the lightly armed Irish tribes to fight in open combat. So they fought the invaders on their own terms wherever they could. Bands of warriors operated Guerrilla style ambush and withdrawal tactics from the dense forests and the misty boglands that they knew better than any foreigner. These men formed tightly-knit warbands, much like Fionn MacCumhals Fianna of old. They became Woodkern, and it was within the dark woods that the forces of Irish resistance and independence struggled against their invaders for centuries to come. The following years brought many invaders and conquerors who sought to take from the Irish whatever they could, and contemporary sources constantly make reference to Kern as being ferocious and barbarous warriors. In time, the warriors who dwelt in the woods assumed an almost mythical guise in the minds of their enemies.

 

Even today, a man might walk in the woods alone and feel the overwhelming urge to run or climb branches or swim in streams. Being surrounded by the sturdy ancient barks of the trees and covered over by the limbs of their canopy draws out certain primitive instincts in us. I can say this for certain because I have spent much time in forests and I have felt the call of the woods in my bones. But though it is a pleasant thing to pass time in the forests on a fair day, there is a power lurking there that can chew men up and drive them to the point of insanity and death. A man who dedicates his entire life to the forests must be hard and unrelenting, but a man who also resolves to fight against a seemingly invincible enemy whilst only lightly armed and armoured must be a special breed of wildman. It would be impossible for a modern mind, so accustomed to comfort and security, to fathom the reality of the lives that these Woodkern lived. But we know that they did it and it was the norm in this country for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

 

There are men amongst us today who feel the call of the woods and welcome the savage instincts that bubble up to the surface when we find ourselves in wild places. Many voices cry out in condemnation of the globalist, consumerist, multi-cultural vacuum that has replaced the old cultures and that makes slaves and robots of men who have the potential to be strong. Jack Donovan has described the modern world as the Empire of Nothing, which offers men only the chance to be mediocre, small, insignificant and silent. Anti-Modernism is a school of thought that seems to be on the rise as huge swathes of the population realize that they do not want the hollow trinkets that the agents of Modernism offer them. They have decided that they would rather burn out in vicious physical pursuits than grow idle and fat watching the Empires propaganda broadcasts. They have decided to ignore the many platitudes that the Empire waves in front of our faces in order to distract us from the lives that we were meant to live.

 

But for all the talk and the discourse on the pros and cons of urban civilized society, there is not a lot of action. The Internet is a truly wondrous creation that has given each of us powers that were hitherto the domain only of the gods. But both the strength of and the problem with the Internet is that it facilitates communication between people from all across the globe with almost no time delay. This is obviously good when it comes to the dissemination of information, but it also means that people spend more time talking to strangers than they spend building personal bonds with people that they can actually meet. Words are wonderful and powerful things, but they tend to lead only to more words. Action is what spawns action, and now is a time where the actions of strong and noble men are sorely needed. We are all guilty of spending too much time on the Internet, and not enough time in the arena.

 

However, there are a number of men who have heard the call of the wilds and have taken the steps to follow the example of our ancestors. Men across the world have begun to band together in forests and fens, in gyms and garages, on mountains and in metropolises, with the sole purpose of reclaiming some of that savage wildness that we have lost and pressuring their sworn brothers into walking the path of strength. These men are modern Woodkern who forsake the many laws and conventions of tame civilization, so that they may live more purely human and natural existences. They have forsaken the smartphone for the sound of the wind that shakes the branches. They reject the vacuous TV programming that rots the mind and instead stare wild-eyed into the blazing ritual fire. They have abandoned the comforts of indolence and convenience to pursue hardship and toil and physical labour in demanding conditions. Men such as these exist all over the world and in the past few years we have heard a number of rallying calls which seek to unite these solitary Kern into small tribal bands with common goals and values.

 

A common trait that seems to be shared by these men is the realization that they are living in a society that despises them. A corrupted, insincere, distracting, soul-sucking, degenerative, enfeebling system of administrative tyranny and societal shame that seeks to suck the marrow from the bones of strong men to leave them crawling on their knees for whatever scraps they can swindle. The world has one desire for us and it is that we be obedient slaves and productive consumers. These wildmen recognize this system for what it is; a hostile and repulsive behemoth that must be forsaken and resisted by strength of will and arms. These men feel most at home in the woods and mountains where the law of nature still reigns, the Law of Claw and Fang.

 

Some of these groups, such as the Wolves of Vinland and Operation Werewolf, model themselves after the age-old tradition of the wolf-cult. They make themselves into archetypal wolves, prowlers at the edge of civilization probing for signs of weakness to exploit, and they seek to subvert or exploit the Empire of Nothing as it collapses and eats itself up from the inside. Men such as these are reviled by the society they oppose and are often hunted and vilified like the wolves they emulate. This is good and as it should be. In older times, Woodkern were reviled as barbarous savages and demons by the enlightened aristocratic British gentlemen who they fought. These Kern made their dens in the dark places beyond the reach of the rule of foreign law, and at every opportunity they attacked in pack formation to bring some small dose of wildness and savagery back into the world of false order. It was the fact that Woodkern were hunted down like the wolves that stalked through the same forests as they did, that forced them to grow strong and tempered their resolve and their bodies into primal engines of power and ferocity. Kern were not hunted because they were fierce. Kern were fierce because they were hunted.

 

And so like Woodkern and Werewolves and outlaws of old, we too must become lost in the woods to find our true selves again. Not all men are called to the life of a Kern, but those who do feel the call of the wilds cannot ignore it for long. If you have grown tired of the false promises and tyrannical demands that modern society places upon you, if you yearn for the chance to let loose the animal in you to run free through the night, if you would rather howl at the moon and temper your weapons with men of your own ilk by firelight than grow soft and fat watching TV or masturbating, then go forth into the wild places wherever you can find them. Become worthy of the respect of strong men and strong men will be drawn to you. Unite with those who have grown from the same roots and soil as you have in order to better yourselves and become worthy of your barbaric ancestors of old. Do these things now before the Empire collapses, because when it all falls down the world will belong to those who have become one with the wilds.

 

Those who dwell within the protective walls of “civilized society” will revile you, ridicule you, ostracize you, and brand you as regressive xenophobic barbarian madmen. Let them.  When they call you mad, or stupid, remember that it is their world that is truly mad. Western civilization has become a breeding ground for weak minded, physically frail, socially incompetent, intellectually vacuous, milkbloods who wouldn’t even know how to survive a bar fight, let alone a life-or-death situation in an uncivilized environment. When G.K. Chesterton described the Irish warriors and Kern as “the men God made mad”, he was paying us a greater compliment than his pampered respectable mind could fathom.

 

Remember, there is a constant battle between all forces in the universe that encapsulates every molecule and conscripts every living being. This battle is fought between wildness and tameness, individuality and conformity, freedom and slavery. To be truly free, one must be partly savage. Amongst the trees and around blazing campfires, men are forced to stare into the eyes of the wilderness which bows not to our whims, and which will feed on our rotting corpses.

 

 

 

August 2016 ò na coillte na hÉireann.

Crom Cruach: The Dark God of the Burial Mound.

Attachment-1

A better man than I  has written elsewhere:

 

“Crom is my god…Crom is the god I need because he is the opposite of the interventionist gods who care about the petty details of men’s lives. You don’t pray to him, because he probably won’t listen, and if he hears you, he probably won’t even pretend to care.”

– Jack Donovan, A Sky Without Eagles.

 

The Crom in question is of course the God of the Cimmerian tribes in Robert E.Howard’s fictional tales of Conan the Barbarian. We are told of Crom:

 

 “He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man’s soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?”

 

This is the Crom that we men of the modern world are familiar with. Popularized by the stories of Robert Howard, the Conan The Barbarian movie, and the articles of Jack Donovan, Crom has become a symbol for men who strive to stand on their own legs and take what’s theirs by the right of conquest. Men who do not ask the gods for anything more than the strength to fight their own battles. In times past a significant symbolic representation of some metaphysical concept would have been passed on in the form of a story or myth, but today they are reduced to hashtags such as #cromlaughsatyourfourwinds. Typically we see the name of Crom being invoked on social media by men who are too busy about their business to pray to some made-up deity who pretends to give a shit about us. Rather than that, they invoke the name of a made-up deity who very clearly doesn’t care about us, then they get back to the work of pursuing their goals.

 

Isn’t that the whole point of a god? To give you some reason to keep living and striving and slaying your weakness in the pursuit of your higher self?

 

If not that, then what?

 

The character of Crom was popularized by the Conan movie and has since been taken on by many men as a symbol of their disregard for public affirmation. The invocation of his name can be taken not as a prayer for help, a supplication, but rather as an expression meaning: “I’ve got a lot of bullshit to deal with to achieve my goals. So it’s time to get off my ass and work/fight/train/kill etc”. Moving from the act of praying to the act of cursing and carrying on is very succinctly portrayed in the movie “The Grey”, when Liam Neeson’s character reaches rock bottom in his struggle for survival, looks to the open sky and addresses a god that he may never have believed in:

 

 “Do something. You faulty prick, fraudulent motherfucker. DO SOMETHING! FUCK FAITH! EARN IT! SHOW ME SOMETHING REAL! I NEED IT NOW, NOT LATER! Do something and I’ll believe in you until the day I die, I swear. I’m calling on you, I’M CALLING ON YOU!

Fuck it, I’ll do it myself.”

 

“Crom!” could very well be taken as an abbreviation of: “Fuck it, I’ll do it myself”.

 

But the inspiration for this god came not from the imagination of Robert E. Howard alone. My ancestors among the ancient pagan Irish once worshipped a sinister and mysterious deity, commonly known as Crom Cruach. However, we are told that he was saluted by other names too. Crom Dubh, Crom Croich, and Cenn Cruach. The meaning of the name of this enigmatic spirit is as mysterious as his history. Crom means “crooked”, Cenn means “head” or “chieftain”, Dubh means “dark” or “black”, Croich means “gallows”, and Cruach means either “bloody” or “mound”. I would not argue that etymology alone should be the means by which we build an understanding of our unknown history, but it is certainly a significant indicator of intent. Taking these things into account we could loosely translate the many titles of Crom as meaning:
“The Dark Crooked Lord of the Bloody Mound.”

 

Crom is death.

 

But he is also life. A fitting paradox for such an ancient and forgotten deity.

 

On the last Sunday of July, Domhnach Crom Dubh in Irish, he rises from deep out of the earth bearing Eithne upon his crooked back. He rises up from out of the black soil wherein he dwells in order to lay claim to his share of the harvest, before sinking down again for the winter. But we are told that in times of poor harvest, a firstborn child would be sacrificed before Crom’s idol in the forested land of Magh Slecht (the Plain of Prostration) in order to appease the Crooked Lord of the Bloody Mound. These child sacrifices may have been an invention of the later Christian monks who wrote down what little we know of the god, but he certainly seems to have been associated (as are all gods) with sacrificial offerings in some form or another.

 

The legacy of Crom and his worship is shrouded in mystery and skewed by the early Irish Christian propaganda. But one thing that all accounts concerning this god seem to indicate is that he was dangerous. One did not carelessly pray to the Crooked One for trivial favours. Considering this, it may be that offerings were made to Crom so that he would not look upon the tribes of the Gael. Perhaps all the people wanted from Crom was for him to stay away from mankind, down in the black earth. On occasion Crom has even slain his own worshippers whilst they were in the midst of honouring his idols. The Dinshenchas is a poem describing the mythological geography of Ireland. Abridged, it states:

 

“At Magh Slecht used to stand a lofty idol,

whose name was the Crom Cruach;

it caused every tribe to live without peace.

The valiant Gael used to worship it:

with tribute they asked of it their share in hard times.

He was their god, the wizened Crom, hidden by many mists:

those that paid him tribute shall ne’er see heaven.

For him ingloriously they slew their firstborn,

to pour the blood round Crom Cruach.

Milk and corn they asked of him.

From his worship came many crimes to Magh Slecht.

Thither came Tigernmas, prince of distant Tara, one Samhain eve,

with all his host, to meet their sorrow.

They stirred his evil eye, they beat their fists,

they bruised their bodies, wailing to the demon who held them in thralls,

they wept storms of tears, weeping prostrate.

Dead the men, void of strength. Hard their fate.

One man in four there made his escape with death on his lips.

Round Crom Cruach there the hosts did obeisance:

though it brought them under mortal shame,

the name cleaves to the mighty plain.”

 

Obviously Crom is a strange and ambivalent spirit who should be approached with great caution, or not at all. But why is he associated with the fair maiden Eithne at the end of summer? Eithne was the mother of the Irish sun god Lugh, who was responsible for bountiful harvests. Eithne is sometimes equated with the goddess Boann (from “Bò Fionn” meaning White Cow, a sacred animal), who is associated with the health and prosperity of cattle. It is very revealing then that Crom Cruach, who dwells in the soil for most of the year, is tied to Eithne in the way that he is. Think about it. Eithne, who bestows health upon cattle, gave birth to the sun god, who bestows health upon crops. These are the manifested forces of natural fertility, to whom the ancient agricultural tribes of the Gael would depend on for their survival. Without the blessings of these gods, the people of ancient Ireland would starve.

 

Fertility deities become most significant during spring, when crops are sown, and at the autumn harvest, when crops are reaped and tallied. It is no coincidence then that Crom of the Mound appears at the end of summer, during the harvest, to bear Eithne upon his back and carry her down into the black soil to wait out the barren winter. For winter is a time of death and hunger. Eithne, mother of the sun, hides from the world in the realm of Dark Crom until she roams free to bless us with nature’s bounty at spring. The bounty of the tribe’s crop at the harvest would determine how hard the winter would be.

 

During bad years with a poor harvest, the most vulnerable members of the tribes would have starved to death or taken ill. Difficult as it would have been for an already suffering people, it would have benefitted the community as a whole to preserve their meagre resources by letting go of those who were unlikely to make it through the winter. And who were the most likely to die during these periods of starvation? The young children of course. Babies have always been left to die by those who have had to make hard choices in times of starvation, even during events as recent as the Great Hunger in Ireland in 1845. I’d wager it happens even today in some parts of the world. Did the pagan Gaels offer these starving babes up to Black Crom in the hopes that he would be merciful with the next harvest? Or was it merely a misunderstanding or an act of propaganda on the part of the early Christian clergy? Does Crom desire our infant dead or is he merely associated with them by proxy?

 

We can never know for sure, but we can assume that Crom is a symbolic representation of the natural death that the earth and its people experience during winter and times of scarcity. He is the one who takes away the life of the earth and hoards it underground for the dark half of the year. But without this death, there would be no life. Without Crom to take away the mother of plenty, there could be no natural resurrection at springtime. We may not like Crom, we may only wish for him to stay away and cast his cold eye elsewhere, but we are certainly in his debt.

 

And so we come to the problem of historical uncertainty. We know that the ancient Gael worshipped Crom and maintained his shrine at Magh Slecht. However we cannot be certain what the nature of that worship was. The truth of this god has been shrouded in the mists of the passing millennia, and misrepresented by the judgmental Christian scribes who vilified his name. We can only assume what this particular deity meant to our ancestors and why he was relevant, but in reality, we must concede that that’s true for any myth or belief, no matter how well preserved. We today do not live in the same manner that our pagan tribal ancestors once did in the dim forgotten recesses of history, and so we cannot expect to experience a connection with their gods in the same way that they did. We must reshape their gods and mould them to fit our lives and our purpose. We must create our gods in such a way that they are relevant to the lives we lead today, rather than simply re-enacting the rituals and beliefs of long dead generations. Soon or late, every man must decide whether he will be a creator or a preserver. An evolving chaotic flame or a stagnant redundant stone. A visionary or a slave. As Jack Donovan has said:

 

“Men must find inspiration where they can. If the old gods have become mere stories, ideas, then men are free to choose whatever story inspires them to become what they believe they should become”

 

Thus it is that I have taken what is ancient, coupled it with some modern literature, and created an archetype that I can channel to suit my purpose. Just like Conan before his battle upon the burial mound, I do not pray to Crom in the hopes of receiving his blessing. Like Conan, I use the idea of Crom Cruach of the Bloody Mound to inspire me to embrace death and hardship and cruelty so that I can transcend these ideas and overcome my personal limitations.

 

To me, Crom is death, but like the earth upon which we stand we can be reborn from the black decaying soil of our weakness as a stronger and more productive being than we were before. If we wish to be strong, we must slay that which is weak in us. If we wish to be wise, we must lay waste to our foolishness and ignorance. Crom takes what is his due, so offer up that which you despise in yourself to the Lord of the Mound in sacrifice.

 

Crom is my god. I say that without the slightest trace of irony or embarrassment. I offer no explanation or excuse, and I do not proselytize or preach. If you are the type of man who would ask nothing of the gods but the strength to walk your own path and forge your own future, then Crom is the god for you. If you care not whether the gods be real spiritual entities or symbolic expressions of the many facets of the human psyche, then Crom is the god for you. If you do not care whether you are being protected, favoured, or destined for some spiritual fate, then Crom is the god for you. For those men who care nothing for the gods, Crom is the god for them, because Crom cares nothing for mankind. But do not bother with prayers or invocations. Ask him no questions nor sing him no songs. Rather offer him your blood and the sweat of your labours, leave him to his mound, and seek out the path of strength in the face of hardship. What else shall the gods ask of men?

 

Bring forth your sons to the burial ground.
Prostrate and bent, offer no sound.
Beseech not with words but with silence profound.
Offer your sons to the Lord of the Mound.
To the Dark Crooked Head of the Gallows
Be Bound.

 

June 23rd, 2016. Dublin.

*Special thanks go to Bjorn Moritz who created the image featured in this article. Much appreciated.

To The Seas She Bids Us Go.

Once as I was a young man

To soldier I did go

And wore the flag and banner

And slept in earthen holes

I walked beneath the banner

Of the star emblazoned sky

And kept my silent vigil

As the world did pass me by

Ne’er sparing thoughts on money

I opened my poor hand

And drained the glass that passed

Unto me and to the lads

Though not all my days were jolly

All my nights not soundly slept

I ne’er thought myself unworthy

Never thought myself inept

 

I stared out o’er the ocean

Stood transfixed by stormy tides

That crash and toss the sailor

Far away from land and bride

I longed to cross the border

And soar upon the air

Down to crash and sink forever

In the silence of the depths

When they dragged me from my haven

Bore my body back to land

To the places that torment me

I’d have wept were I not dead

For its long since land smiled on me

Long now since life was fair

But the stars still sprawl the heavens

O’er the mountains where I slept

 

Let me not be long forgotten

Cast me not upon the pile

On the growing mound of bodies

Of young men who end their lives

For this island long has bore me

But she never loved me so

No this island hates her children

To the seas she bids us go

 

21st of April 2016. Dublin.

Glorious Madness: Revisiting the Easter Rising of 1916.

It has been a year since I wrote and published the following article, but considering it’s that time of year again I think it fitting that I update and publish it once more. We are fast approaching the centenary anniversary of the Easter Rising, which stands proudly over the annals of Irish history as one of our most significant and glorious and yet also disastrous events. For some reason, this was the second most successful article I’ve written in terms of views and shares. According to my website statistics, as many Americans read this post as did Irishmen. Probably more. From what I learn during my occasional conversations with Americans, they seem to be a people who have a greater understanding and respect for symbolic and patriotic acts of sacrifice and courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds than my fellow Irishmen. The modern Irishman has been disconnected from his history for so long that many of them sneer and ridicule the members of the Easter Rising as selfish fools. But more tragically, the majority of us know little and care even less about this monumental event that inspired an entire generation of men and women to face the wrath of the mighty British Empire with little more than some old rifles, few bullets, and many songs. Continue reading

The Shades of Greater Men.

  

And what shall we say who but keep the publican afloat?

What shall we say who slither home when our work is done, 

to while away our lives in amusement and decay?

What shall we say of men like them?

Who now would charge through storms of lead

To topple the machine gun and the order? 

To die in some gutter, and write his epitaph in red.

And what prosperous man would sacrifice his garden to the use of militarized amateurs,

In training for some bloody slog?

Who would house and feed these violent men in the well-dressed rooms of his fathers?

But men like this once walked our streets and cared not for your jibes.

They heeded not the talk and sneer of poets, salesmen and young brides.

But they were slain by foreign shells, and by slow degrees we have also been slain, but not by steel.

We are slain and yet we we tarry. 

Unlike the dead we cling to the world and refuse to bow to nature, to heel. 

Unlike the dead, we walk upright.

Unlike their ghosts, we do not wail.

We do not howl though the moon shines light upon our shame, on manhood failed.

Unlike the dead, yet dead to all that makes a life. 

Dead to all that makes a man.

We are the dead. See how well we endure our sorrow.

We are the herd. Yoke us or we break.
We are the dead. See how we walk.
What shall we say of the glorious dead?Of the shades of greater men.

November 11th, 2015. Hibernia.

*Feature image is the property of Ken Williams of shadowsandstone.com.