Category Archives: Mysticism

Discern: Mettle Maker #240

DISCERN (Dis*cern”, v. i.) 1. To see or understand the difference; to make distinction; as, to discern between good and evil, truth and falsehood.

Embedded in the phrase “pay attention” is the idea that the truth is something you purchase with your powers of focus.  It is no coincidence that wisdom is associated with vision and attention.

A friend said I looked like a silly turtle man in my last movement drill video.  I laughed and replied, “I know, it’s hilarious. But did you try it though? Crawling low and slow is way more strenuous than you might expect. Same is true of IMT runs and runs with objects in hand (like weapons). Martial movements are very different than everyday movements and sports movements!”

A soccer kick is not roundhouse, and a punch you throw in aerobics class is not a strike, and so on.

The modern mind seems to be increasingly unable to discern with the power of the ancients.  My current working theory is that this is caused by “duality creep” — the human tendency to separate body from soul, natural from supernatural, and metaphorical from material.  You don’t have to chase the Mad Hatter down the MOQ rabbit hole in order to begin collapsing your duality. Just realize that nondual thinking leads to higher quality discernment.

Remember that shoulds and oughts are not the same thing as iss and ares.

Discern: Mettle Maker #240

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 5 rounds on the heavy bag with a slip stick. Around here (per the S.A.F.E. M.P. protocol) we never just wail on a bag.  Put a slip stick on your bag,  set timer for 5 x 3:00/1:00. Turn down the power and work on form.  Martial artists work a heavy bag far differently than fitness trainers do.  See video on right for instructions on making your own slip stick if needed. 
  • 10 minutes of situational fitness.  Do whatever fitness drill you want to do — calisthenics, a run, pick whatever you want — just do it impaired, distracted, or stressed.  Put in earbuds and play annoying music, tuck one hand in your belt as if it’s injured, etc.  Pain and strain change the game.  Here’s a video of us changing the game at the club last week.
  • Go outside and sketch something.  So what if you’re not an artist?  Get a paper and pencil or pen and sketch something.  This will focus your attention like nobody’s business.  Relax and get into it.  If you’d like to hone your outdoor skills, start keeping a sketch book.  Once you’ve sketched a plant you cannot identify and then looked it up in a book, you’ll never forget it.  For more on this, see Chapter 18 in The Wildwood Workbook.
  • Nondual thinking changes how you see the world.  Yesterday was Christmas, one of the most important holidays of the year for most of planet earth.  Christmas is a celebration of the ultimate collapse of duality by means of the Incarnation — when God becomes man so that man might become god through grace.  Meditate on the below quote from a blog post by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick.

“Athanasius the Great…was the hero of the First Ecumenical Council in 325, having been the one whose theological expressions won the day, sifting out falsehood from the truth and resulting in the first version of the Creed we recite in every Divine Liturgy. Yet for all that, he was actually only a deacon at that first great council, not even allowed a vote in the proceedings. He was there only as an assistant to his bishop, St. Alexander of Alexandria. He eventually succeeded St. Alexander on his throne, and as the Pope of Alexandria, in 367 he wrote one of the letters that came to be famous in Church history as the first known listing of the canonical New Testament books.

But Athanasius showed remarkable wisdom even when he was young. His most well-known work, On the Incarnation, may have been written when he was as young as 23. And it is on this work that I would like us to rest for a few moments today, particularly on its most famous sentence.

In the fifty-fourth chapter of On the Incarnation, St. Athanasius wrote a sentence that has echoed down through the centuries even into our own time as a brilliant summary of the Gospel. He wrote this: “God became man so that man might become god” (54:3).

This doctrine is called theosis.”

~Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, Ancient Faith Ministries



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Merry Christmas: A Song and a Service

Merry Christmas everyone!  For those desiring to participate in Holy Communion at home today, I made a video of the Christmas service so that you can play along.

And as an added bonus — or is it a punishment? — a little video of me banging out Silent Night on my homemade cigar box guitar.


If you enjoyed this content, please consider buying one of my ebooks or shopping at Mitch’s General Store

Selfless: Mettle Maker #239

Robert  “Bobby” Mitchell — November 21, 1934 ~ July 8, 2008

My Dad had this saying, and it went like this.

“Sometimes your head leads your feet.  Sometimes your feet lead your head.  Doesn’t matter much as long as you keep heading in the right direction.”

~Bobby Mitchell

What does that mean?  Sometimes you’re going the right way in life but you start to second guess what you’re up to.  Maybe it’s difficult and you want to give up.  So you start rationalizing why you should stop.  That’s your feet leading your head.  Stop thinking and keep walking.

Other times you know what you need to do — maybe even what you must do — but you just can’t seem to get your act together.  That’s your head leading your feet.  Don’t stop trying with all your might, just keep thinking right and and let your feet catch up.

If you asked him, Pop would have told you he was a Presbyterian.  But really he was a sort of redneck Christo-Zen master, a homespun samurai.  Compare his axiom to this quote from Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai:

“People think that they can clear up profound matters if they consider them deeply, but they exercise perverse thoughts and come to no good because they do their reflecting with only self-interest at the center…In confronting a matter, however, if at first you leave it alone, fix the four vows in your heart, exclude self-interest, and make an effort, you will not go far from your mark. Because we do most things relying only on our own sagacity we become self-interested, turn our backs on reason, and things do not turn out well.”  ~Yamamoto Tsuenetomo

Pop also had another saying.

“Everything always turns out for the best.”

~Bobby Mitchell

As a teenager I remember responding once, “That’s ridiculous!  Things go horribly wrong all the time!”  He replied, “I didn’t say things turn out for the best for you or even on your time line.  They always turn out for the best for somebody somewhere.”

If that’s not a Zen master I don’t know what is.  Of course, he would have said that it was about accepting God’s plan.  But frankly, I’m not seeing much difference.

Selfless: Mettle Maker #239

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 5 rounds on the heavy bag. Around here (per the S.A.F.E. M.P. protocol) we never just wail on a bag.  Set timer for 5 x 3:00/1:00.  First four rounds for speed, aiming for constant contact.  Rounds 1 and 2: Outside range hands — Jab, Cross, Bolo punch, etc.  Round 3: Inside range  — Elbows, Knees, Steam Donkeys, Crams, etc. Round 4:  Outside kicks — Roundhouse, Side, Piston, etc. Round 5: All-in for power — work all ranges and aim for maximum punishment.
  • 10 minutes of “life in the balance” fitness.  Set timer for 10:00 and cycle through the following: 1 Rope Ascent, 1 Crow Sit (until you tip over), 1 Wall Walk, 1 HSPU.  Modify/Adapt/Overcome.  If you can’t climb a rope, hang it next to a wall or tree and use your feet, or just hold on until you gas. No rope?  Use a pole or Pull-up bar.  If you can’t do a Crow Sit, put your forehead on a yoga block.  If you can’t do a Wall Walk, do an Incline Plank.  If you can’t do HSPUs, do a Pike Push-up.  No excuses.  Get there.
  • Do you know what this is?  If not, you’re missing a valuable survival skill.  Turn to page 31 in The Wildwood Workbook or ask me in the comments and I’ll tell you what it is.
  • Empty your cup to fill your cup. This month’s symbol is the Chalice, which is often associated with the Holy Grail. In Arthurian legend, Sir Galahad is warned that he may lose himself by taking up the quest.  He replies, “If I lose myself I save myself!”  The chalice symbol embodies the universal medicine of self-sacrifice and the relinquishing of ego. The more we exalt ourselves the farther the grail cup recedes; the more we humble ourselves the faster it returns to us. If we lose ourselves like Galahad then perhaps there is hope that we can save ourselves.   This is why we must relinquish our own wants and needs before we can accept the communion wine (“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”).  This operation is depicted on the XVIIth key, The Star.  Meditate on this pouring out and pouring in.  Last week I suggested that you can’t say “Yes” with all your heart without first learning how to to say “No.”  This week I’m telling you that you have to be empty before you can be full.
  • If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen.  Do the work, the external and internal, and write about what you did and thought in your journal.  Introspection, self-examination and measurement are the key to progress.


TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Book Review: “Talks to Teachers on Psychology” by William James

An esteemed and pragmatic colleague sent me a copy of William JamesTalks to Teachers on Psychology.  As you can see by the grainy picture on the right, this First Rate Publishers edition is strangely and inexplicably titled incorrectly as Talks to Teachers on Philosophy which isn’t  at all ‘first rate.’  But it is for two entirely different reasons that I recommend those wishing to read this book purchase another edition, those being (a) it lacks page numbers and (b) the type is extremely small.

Upon receiving the book I was perplexed.  Why would my associate want me to read this 100+ year-old psychology book?  Was there some nudge-nudge-wink message here?  This and other questions assailed me.  But the gift-giver being the sort of fellow who shoots straight both literally and figuratively, I quickly saw that this was simply a sincere gift of something he deemed valuable and important.  So I rolled up my sleeves and dug in. 

The volume is thin.  Expecting not much to chew on, I figured I’d read it across one or two nights and send a quick note of thank you.  But but O, happy surprise!  I reached into the sack for a puppy and found a python.  It is a thin book — true enough — but thin, not like boarding house soup, but thin like a fang.  It bites to bone and holds fast.

This little bugger took me two weeks to dissect.  As you can see by the photo above, I put ten tabs in the book to mark key points to return to later.  There’s no magic to that number, it just worked out that way.  Here they are in brief:

  1. Focus on gaining the student’s attention.  Make a lasting impression that is lifelong.  Above all, create a “devouring curiosity” in the student.
  2. Engage student’s senses with material objects, or at least with stories of action, rather than with abstract ideas.  Be excellent and imitable.  Pull students forward by inspiring students to emulate you.  Pushing doesn’t work.
  3. When students “back” (like a horse before a hurdle) or get stuck (either outwardly with attitude or inwardly with self-frustration) move on.   Let them forget the sticky spot.  Then make a circuitous approach later using a slightly different approach so that they don’t recognize the spot.  Often they’ll leap right over without incident.
  4. Help them build good habits.  Habits are far more powerful than most people believe.
  5. Make substitutions for negative ideas, perspectives and thoughts.  Phrase things as “dos” not “don’ts.” Accentuate the positive (see #2 above).
  6. Feelings and actions are behaviorally linked.  To some extent we are afraid because we flee and sad because we cry.  To modify behavior, act how you wish to feel.  “Action seems to follow feeling,” James says, “but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.”  Brilliant.
  7. Relaxation reduces wasted energy and prevents moods, nervous breakdowns, melancholy and more.  Harmony, dignity, ease and calm are the key to excellence and happiness.  This speaks directly to revelations I’ve had recently through the Going Powhatan project.
  8. In a related vein, there is a lengthy quotation from a book called The Practice of the Presence of God, the Best Ruler of a Holy Life by Brother Lawrence that also relates to the idea of grace as both a physical and mental state.
  9. Another lengthy quote attributed to one Josiah Royce from his book The Religious Aspect of Philosophy.  Brilliant.
  10. A long section at virtually the end of the book about the tendency of people to polarize that was incredibly insightful and completely relevant to the political environment in the U.S. in the world today.  It could’ve been written this week.  This bit is scintillating as a star ruby.

I’m not ashamed to admit that James was a big hole in my knowledge of philosophy, and happy to report that it is far from plugged but at least somewhat patched.  I have added The Varieties of Religious Experience to my reading queue as well.

A truly estimable book.  Highly recommended, especially to educators, parents, pastors, managers and leaders of all stripes.


If you liked this post…

There’s a good chance you’d love my e-book The Wildwood Workbook: Nature Appreciation and SurvivalClick here to download it in any format.  35 exercises guaranteed to deepen your relationship with nature and get your heart and mind engaged like never before.  120 pages.

Want to study Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble martial arts?  Click here to enroll in the Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts distance learning program for just $19,99/month — all learning materials, testing and certificates included (and a free hat and t-shirt when you sign up too).

Going Powhatan #3: Training the Hunter

Last year I wrote a post about the formidable faculties of the cricket frog in which I made the connection between predator-prey behaviors and the birth of meditation and contemplation.  Since that time I’ve started to make even more connections.  I’m actually beginning to think that religion has its origin in hunting behaviors — the foremost reason being that there seems to be an obvious connection between religious rituals and ideas and appreciation for the sacrifice the animal is making so that we can live.

Bobcats are cool.

A house cat is either cruel or not conscious in the way that a human being is conscious.  Felines play with their food while it is still alive.  People — at least those commonly thought to be healthy and well-adjusted —  treat living food animals with decency and respect, butcher them humanely, and make gestures of respect before partaking of them in the form of a meal.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

I’ve ordered a copy of Matt Rossano’s highly regarded book Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved and I’m hoping it will more deeply inform my thinking on this topic.  I’ve read some of his articles online and he seems like a someone who’d be fun to talk to.  Perhaps I can rope him into an interview at some point.  Here are some of Rossano’s really interesting pieces:

Did Meditating Make us Human?
The Christian Revolution
Are Infinities More Scientific than God?

But I digress.  As part of my Going Powhatan project I’ve learned a couple of very interesting things about how Virginia Algonquian adults trained their young boys to hunt.

Powhatan matriarchs didn’t let their male children eat breakfast unless they were able to hit a moving target with an arrow. According to the sources referenced by Rountree, mom would toss up a chunk of moss and sonny boy had better pierce it or else walk around with a growling belly until the next meal. The specifics are lacking. We have no idea at what age this practice began or ended, how many tries were allowed, and so on.

We might logically assume that it came to an end when the boys were old enough to hunt with their fathers, uncles, older brothers and neighbors. Hunting trips could last for days, and it seems unlikely that a boy could be expected to go without food for several days.  Then again there is the complex, terrifying and virtually incomprehensible manhood ritual known as the huskanow in which boys were, according to some accounts, caged, starved, and exposed for extended periods.  I’m setting that aside for now.  Baby steps as the saying goes.

I’m keeping it simple.  If I “miss” my morning martial arts practice, I don’t eat breakfast.

Next Time: Going to the Library

———————-

Project Bibliography

Adkins, Elaine and Ray. Chickahominy Indians – Eastern Division: A Brief Ethnohistory.  Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2007.

Gooley, Tristan. How to Read Nature: Awaken Your Senses to the Outdoors You’ve Never Noticed. New York: The Experiment, 2017.

Hertz, Eleanor West.  The Chickahominy Indians of Virginia Yesterday and Today. Muskogee: Indian University Press, 1992.

Mitchell, Robert. The Wildwood Workbook: Nature Appreciation and Survival.  Richmond: Lulu Press, 2019.

Rogers, Robert. Journals of Robert Rogers of the Rangers: The Exploits of Rogers & the Rangers from 1755-1761 in the French & Indian War in His Own Words.  Leonaur, 2005.

Rossano, Matt J. “Did Meditating Make us Human?”  In Cambridge Archaeological Journal vol. 17 no. 1 (January 2007)  47–58.

Rountree, Helen C. The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.

Siebert, Frank T. “Resurrecting Virginia Algonquian from the Dead: The Reconstituted and Historical Phonology of Powhatan” in Studies in Southeastern Indian Languages. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1975.

 

 


If you liked this post…

There’s a good chance you’d love my e-book The Wildwood Workbook: Nature Appreciation and SurvivalClick here to download it in any format.  35 exercises guaranteed to deepen your relationship with nature and get your heart and mind engaged like never before.  120 pages.

Want to study Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble martial arts?  Click here to enroll in the Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts distance learning program for just $19,99/month — all learning materials, testing and certificates included (and a free hat and t-shirt when you sign up too).

Fast and Dicey: Mettle Maker #238

DID YOU KNOW…

  •  …that every mettle maker is an actual training session I completed during the preceding week (or when I’m on vacation a re-post from yesteryear).
  • …that the weekly mettle maker, although supporting both of my martial arts programs, revolves around the two monthly focal points of Cabal Fang?
  • …that every mettle maker contains four segments — martial, fitness, survival, and spiritual?
  • …that I don’t sell ads, I’m not a content engine trolling for eyeballs, and you are not the product?  If you like what you’re reading, buy my books or enroll in my programs. ‘Nuff said.
  • That  people who engage with the content by doing some of the work and/or posting in the comments have been known to get discount coupons for books and merch from Mitch’s General Store?

Fast and Dicey: Mettle Maker #238

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes.  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 10 minutes of command and mastery with your weapon of choice.  Select a dull practice weapon (wooden knife,  tactical pen, stick, gun, cane, stick, whatever floats your boat) and set a timer for 8:00.  Repeat the following until the timer beeps: Slip Ball or Air Strikes x 1o, Push-ups x 5,  Reverses x 5 (if you can’t do your wrestling moves with your weapon in hand you have a problem), Standing Broad Jumps x 5.  This drill was created with Command and Mastery Dice ©.  Click here to get a set.
  • 10 minutes of frontier fitness.  Get yourself a sledgehammer and a sandbag and set a timer for 10:00.  Climb a half-pyramid until the timer beeps of Shovels, Loads, Shoulder Rolls, and Air Strikes x 4 (Palms, Steam Donkeys, Caulks, etc.).  This drill was created with Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble Fitness Dice ©.  Click here to get a set.
  • Bug-out heavy.  Don’t assume you can quickly get out of trouble carrying a load.  Slip on a backpack of at least #25 and hike for at least 20 mins.  Do that weekly and work your way up to 1+ hours with #40+ so that, if you ever have to get out of Dodge you can do so.  And, as an added bonus, it’ll make long hikes with light and medium packs really fun and easy when you go on adventures!   See video below of my last adventure with my daughter Morgan and her fiancé Jack — it’s hilarious!
  • Empty your cup.  The idea is an ancient one.  If you fast from food and improve your ability to control what you allow into your mouth, you will also control what you allow into your mind, heart, and spirit — and you might even be able to fill the empty space thus created with spiritual food and drink.  This is why fasting is so prevalent in all traditional religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and orthodox forms of Christianity.  Assuming you have no precluding health conditions of course, try skipping one, two or even three meals (silly rabbit — breakfast actually means “to break your fast” after a whole day of not eating).  Consider a permanent change, like one of the traditional fasting forms (such as abstaining from meat on Fridays) or giving up something that you enjoy but you know isn’t good for you — like soda, alcohol, candy, or tobacco.  Some folks think that you can’t say “Yes” with all your heart without first learning how to to say “No.”
  • If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen.  Do the work, the external and internal, and write about what you did and thought in your journal.  Introspection, self-examination and measurement are the key to progress.

 



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities

Yesterday afternoon I took my daughter Morgan and her fiancé Jack to see Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The exhibition displays treasures recovered from two powerful ancient Egyptian cities, Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, that were sunk into the Mediterranean  in the 8th century AD.

Previously known only by scattered mentions in ancient writings, no physical trace of their splendor and magnificence had been found until maritime archaeologist Franck Goddio and his European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) made the discovery and lifted their secrets up from the depths.

IEASM’s ongoing underwater excavations have fundamentally changed our understanding of the cultures, faiths, and history of Egypt’s Mediterranean region. This exhibition features a staggering array of objects from these excavations, supplemented by treasures from museums across Egypt.

Photo set and video below.

 


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Cup of Silence: Mettle Maker #237

Thanks to everyone who participated in Mettlecraft Month 2020.  Recap here.  Boy am I blessed to with a great bunch of crazy friends!

The December focuses for Cabal Fang are Situational Training and the Chalice.

The monthly constitutional will be a pyramid generated randomly at each meeting using PTDICE, and we’ll be performing it at the beginning of each meeting rather than at the end.  Get yourself a set of PTDICE at Mitch’s General Store  and create your constitutionals on the fly, or just pick one of our historical constitutionals from the list and do it it pyramid-style.

Why are we doing this?

  • It’s cold outside and we meet at the park.  Pyramids contain a built-in warm-up.  We can put them at the beginning of each training session to get moving quickly without increasing injury risk.
  • Last month was killer.  Pyramids are less strenuous that the conventional flat-out protocol,  This month we need to dial it back.

Engage

If you’re new in these parts, you should know that people who engage with the content by doing some of the work and/or posting in the comments have been known to get discount coupons for books and merch from Mitch’s General Store

Cup of Silence: Mettle Maker #237

  • Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes (or skip the warm-up and do the first half of the following pyramid with low intensity).  Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, or light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
  • 16 minute pyramid.  Set a timer for 8:00.  Complete one of each exercise, then 2 of each, 3, 4, etc. until the timer beeps.  When it does, finish the set, then start counting down. You should finish about the same time the beeper sounds the second time.  Total reps will equal the square of the peak, so if you do 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 you did 25 reps of each exercise, if you peak at 6 it’ll total 36, etc.  This week’s exercises: Zombie Squats, Narrow Push-ups, Bicycles, Get-ups, Lunges, Diamond Push-ups, Back-ups.
  • Situational Drill #9 from the Cabal Fang Study Course.  Do whatever you want to do – work the heavy bag, practice flow drills, submission chains or forms, etc. but with the addition of a distracting element.  Turn on a strobe light.  Crank up the music.  Dump the contents of your gym bag — gloves, mitts, sticks, padded weapons, etc. — on the training surface to make movement difficult.  The chance of you having to defend yourself from friends while in the gym is small.  Think about it.
  • How’s your stealth fitness?  Watch video below.  Don’t assume you have ability to silently escape a dangerous situation, either on foot or crawling.  You’d be surprised how strenuous it is — how much strength and flexibility it takes — to crawl silently.   Set a timer for 3:00 and crawl as quietly as you can.  Don’t wuss out and do it on carpet either.  Go outside and do it on leaves and grass.  Every crunch will make you go more slowly and increase the difficulty.  For extra credit, do another round crawling on your back using feet, shoulders and buttocks.
  • Meditation on the Chalice.  Set a timer for 10:00 and assume your meditation posture of choice.  Regulate your breathing to a slow and steady rhythm, and do not count, fidget, wiggle, or scratch.  I advocate box breathing: about four seconds to fill the lungs, hold with airway open about four seconds, exhale in about four seconds, hesitate with empty lungs and airways open for about four seconds.  Again, do not count.    Visualize a chalice in your mind’s eye, or set up a photo or quick sketch of the symbol if desired.  Step into the idea of the chalice and fully experience it.  Let the experience unfold…let a story play out in which you and the chalice are involved.  If you’re not a meditator, or if you want extra credit, read Sir Galahad by Tennyson.
  • If it ain’t in the training journal it didn’t happen.  Do the work, the external and internal, and write about what you did and thought in your journal.  Introspection, self-examination and measurement are the key to progress.



TWO MARTIAL ARTS DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. 100% free and operated through my non-profit, Cabal Fang is martial arts for personal development, self-defense and fitness. Bobcat Frontier Martial Arts is just $19.99/month and that’s your choice if you’re interested in Frontier Rough ‘n’ Tumble — the fighting arts, survival skills, lifeways and ethos of the colonial and indigenous peoples of North American during the frontier period (1607 – 1912). What are you waiting for — enroll today!

The Hermetic Cross: Sixteen Days of Insight

John Bell over at Hermetic.com is starting to build up a Fundamentals  section at the library — an area that encourages people to get off the sofa, put down the cell phone, and do some real spiritual work. 

That sort of thing really resonates with me. 

So when he asked me if I’d be willing to come up with a month of daily meditation exercises for his site, I immediately said “Yes!” and began to put together a program based on the Hermetic Cross, a.k.a. the Hermetic Quaternary, a.k.a. the “Powers of the Sphinx.”

Click here to check it out.

What is the Hermetic Cross?

Nobody really knows how old the Quaternary is or where it originated. All we can say is that it was first revealed in Eliphas Levi’s book Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie and not widely known until Levi’s book was translated into Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual by A. E. Waite in 1896.  I’ve been working with the Hermetic Cross for almost thirty years, and still each year brings a new insight or two.

The power of the Cross is not to be taken lightly. 

So I’m leaping at the chance to make this deceptively simple framework accessible to a wider audience. There is mystery at the center of the Quaternary that awaits you, but I dare not name it for fear of spoiling the revelation.

Check it out and let me know what you think.


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General Update: Mettlecraft, Vagabond Playlist, Temple Remodel, the Receipt Story, etc.

Lot’s going on in these parts.  Video below.


If you liked this post you’d probably like my e-books.  Click here to download them in any format from Smashwords or purchase them wherever fine e-books are sold!

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