Category Archives: Writing

Syncretic Symbols, Sacred Geometry and WOOTW #53

The seal of biblical king Hezekiah. Note the winged scarab and ankh motifs.

Last week I posted about how certain symbols and ideas just keep showing up across time and cultures.  Now I see an article which points out that things often reappear because people love to borrow and re-use things that are powerful, meaningful, fit into their existing knowledge structures, and/or are just plain useful.

Specifically, the article I read was about the discovery of King Hezekiah’s royal seal (right).

Note the Egyptian winged scarab and the ankh.  On a Jewish king’s seal. 

This famous biblical king was comfortable borrowing symbols from the very society which had oppressed his people about 700 years earlier.  And yet, by the biblical accounts in the Book of Kings, he was a highly respected and conservative king, a reformer who “purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood.

Religion is the technology of consciousness.  Like all sciences, it builds on the discoveries and innovations, the successes and failures, of previous thinkers.  

Judaism sprang from Canaanite and Babylonian religious ideas.  Judaism collided with Egyptian and Greek religion and spawned Christianity.  None of this is theft.  It’s the way humans and their cultures innovate, grow and evolve.

When we see further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants (if I may borrow and paraphrase from Isaac Newton). 

And now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #52

Wrestling Conditioner #1: Set timer for 5 rounds of 2:00 minutes each, 10 mins total.  Make sure you’re fully warmed up before you begin, and go all out with no breaks.

Round 1, circle the bag.  Place a heavy bag on the floor (if you don’t have a heavy bag, here’s how you make one).  Put forearms on bag and toes on floor — these will be your only points of contact for this 2 min round. Circle the bag using only legs and feet, alternating directions, until the timer beeps.

Round 2, mount the bag.  Mount and strike 10 times as hard as you can. Body lock the bag, barrel-roll, regain mount, and repeat until the timer beeps.

Round 3, roll the bag.  Lie on your back with heavy-bag perpendicularly on top of your body. Roll it up and down across torso, pushing and pulling like a rolling pin. From time to time, press up the bag and let it drop on your torso to maintain or establish your tolerance for the stresses of wrestling. Continue for entire round.

Round 4, defend the bag.  Lie on your back with bag on top of you longways to simulate an attacker mounting you.  Strike 10 times.  Body lock the bag, barrel roll until your back on the bottom and repeat until the timer beeeps.

Round 5, side mount the bag and scissor.  Side mount the bag and scissor your legs 3 times.  Keeping chest pressure on the bag, switch to face other end of bag and scissor 3 more times.  Scramble or circle to other side of bag with forearms and toes only. Repeat until the timer beeps and you’re done.

Drawing Meditation.  This is a lesson in sacred geometry.  Get paper and compass and sit down quietly at a table where you can work in comfort and silence.  Set countdown timer for 10 minutes.  Clear your head, regulate your breathing, and follow the steps in the photo set below to draw the central geometric shape of the Cabal Fang symbol.  When you’re done, spend the remainder of the 10 minutes meditating on the diagram before you.  Do the two circles seem symbolic of anything?  How about the area where they overlap?  What else speaks to you?  Record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in your training log or journal.

 

 

 

I’m Related to President George Washington

So it turns out that I’m related to President George Washington.

If you look at the family tree below,  Pres. Washington is underlined.  His great-aunt, Anne Washington married one Francis Wright.  The Wright family line wends its way down to Jesse Woodrow Naff, my maternal grandfather.

You can read about in the book The Washingtons. Volume 9: The Presidential Branch: Six Wright Lines by Justin Glenn. My granddad is on page 443. I guess that makes me and Pres. Washington distant cousins.

Anyway, this all started because I watched the movie Hacksaw Ridge — the story of Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector who won the Medal of Honor for saving 75 men — without even touching a gun.

Doss’s story reminded me of my granddad’s.  He was a paratrooper medic who carried a gun but, because of of Brethren beliefs, refused to fire a shot.  And he didn’t. For his entire five years of service.  Here’s another excerpt from Glenn’s book — my mom is Betty Naff Mitchell.

When I googled Grandfather Naff, one thing led to another and I found out he was in Glenn’s book.  Here’s a picture of my granddad.

Small world…

Jesse Woodrow Naff, my maternal grandfather.

Truth and Consequences: Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #50

The other day I posted a video analysis of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.  One of the things I mentioned was the nature and symbolism of Prince Philip’s Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue.

During his fight with Maleficent in her dragon form, Prince Philip loses the Shield of Virtue because that’s what we all do.  We’re human.  We mess up, we make mistakes, we do things that we know are not in keeping with our own moral and ethical codes.  But as long as we hold tight to truth the way that Prince Philip does in the movie, we can slay any dragon and ultimately regain our virtue.  Because making a commitment to speak the truth is more than just a speech modifier.  If you do things you’re ashamed of you’ll have to lie about what you did.  So telling the truth is a behavior modifier too.

Truth may be the highest ideal known to man.  That’s why it figures so prominently in the initiations of Cabal Fang.  Individuals and cultures that do not revere truth may reap short-term rewards of one kind or another but eventually they will completely lose their virtue and have no way to regain it — and some dragon or other will eat them up in their bankruptcy.

Hold tight to truth my friends, and aim your compass toward it like it’s true north.  You’ll screw up because we all do.  But at least you’ll be able to get back on course!

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #50 — Slip and Bob Drill 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  • 10 minutes of slipping and bobbing.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and practice the 4 slips and the bob outlined in the video below.  When you feel comfortable, start trying to do them along with someone calling out random number patterns.  If you train solo, use this audio recording or make your own using the voice memo app on your phone.
  • Heavy bag 4 x 2:oo/:30.  Go after a heavy bag with maximum ill intent, just make sure that between each combination you (a) complete at least 2 slips or bobs, and (b) you circle the bag rather than standing stock-still.  Hit while you move and move while you hit.
  • Meditation on Truth.  Look into your past starting with most recent history and find a time when you were less than truthful.  Now set a timer for 10 minutes and assume your chosen meditative posture.  Untangle that lie through meditation.  Use your imagination to step into the scene.  Relive the incident.  See if you can come to understand why you weren’t truthful, what you should have done, and what you think you might do the next time you’re in a similar situation.

The Twilight of True Dialogue and WOOTW #48

This is an AP article from the Sunday, March 12th 2017 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch. Probably a copyright violation sharing it here. But the state of readership being what it is they should be glad somebody’s reading it. Which is sad, because the local paper is a place we can all go to agree (more or less) on what the facts are. And that’s important.

When I got my first management job I made a lot of mistakes.  To be honest, I was a pretty awful leader.  So I read some books, and I took what I learned as a martial arts instructor, and I gradually stitched together a management style that seemed to work.  Then I layered on top of that foundation all of the things I learned in my spiritual explorations to arrive at what I think is a respectable management skill set.

In those days I was spending several nights a week teaching Taekowndo to inner city kids at the YMCA and for Recs and Parks.  That was a learning experience for sure.  And I read some really excellent books, like How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Costs of Bad Hiring Decisions and How to Avoid Themand most of all, Living the Martial Way by Forrest E. Morgan, Maj. USAF.  The book-learning and experience helped.

But what really mattered was that I cared about my people, took my responsibility seriously, and genuinely wanted to get better.  My greatest asset was my degree in English, which made me a capable communicator.  I could write policy, craft memos, stand up and lead meetings, and so forth.  I could form sentences that, whether they were spoken or written, had impact.  I could use words that inspired people.

To me, leadership is good communication of common vision.

So, although we have lots of cool tech to play with these days, and though we have the best of intentions with regard to safety, I have some concerns about the direction we’re headed in terms of communication in the modern age.

  • Electronic games are supplanting open-ended forms of play during which kids learn how to mutually decide what they’re going to do,  how to set up and agree on the rules, and generally educate each other how to find and achieve consensus.
  • Alarmed by mass shootings and out of fear of violence, modern school policies encourage kids to tattle on each other instead of solving their own interpersonal difficulties, such as bullying.
  • Terrified of law suits and other legal troubles, employers encourage employees to tattle and inform on each other instead of solving their own interpersonal issues.
  • The liberal arts are increasingly watered down in our SOL-driven primary and secondary schools.  Financial concerns are driving more and more students into vocational schools.  Reading and writing are taking a back seat to “practical” knowledge.
  • Texting and social media — such as the LIKE button — are killing real conversation.
  • The web makes it easy for trolls (most of whom don’t have the stones to be nasty face-to-face) to spew negativity and turn discussions into virtual screaming matches.
  • The internet smorgasbord of news makes it easy for us to ignore the stories that challenge us and to cherry-pick facts to support our existing points of view.

We need to guard our communications skills wisely.  Maybe there’s a reason why our political environment is so divisive these days.  Maybe there’s a reason why our leaders seem less capable than ever of unification, of building consensus, and of getting things done.

Are we not men?  There’s more to being human than wearing clothes and having thumbs. And if we don’t make an effort to communicate like humans, what exactly are we going to become?

Cabal Fang Workout of the Week #48 — Mobility and Lack Thereof

There is a 99% chance that if you ever have to defend yourself you’re going to be hurt while you do it.  Why?  Because (a) nice guys don’t go around attacking first at the first sign of trouble, and (b) predators almost always use surprise, or at least blitz-style, attacks.

  1. Set timer for 2 min rounds with 30 second breaks.  Complete 1 round each of Grapevines, Shake ‘n’ Bakes (a.k.a. Up-Downs), Ice Skaters, Mirrors, Curb Touches, Tire Runs (or High Steppers if you don’t have tires), Sprints, and Foot Maneuvers (on toes!).  Take as few 12 second breaks as you need to avoid throwing up. 8 x 2:30 = 20 minutes of hell.
  2. Now put on 4 oz gloves, pair off in twos, and take turns pressuring your handicapped partner.  Do a round each with a rock in your shoe, one hand tied to your side, a bandanna over one eye, a strobing flashlight in your face, and a splint on one knee (an escrima stick and an ace bandage works well).¹ Keep moving toward him/her, advancing and pressuring constantly.  Try to cut off the workout space so that he/she has to really struggle with movement and defense.  Contact commensurate with experience — pressure newbies without striking and present palms for them to hit as targets.

¹ We took our inspiration from Mark Hatmaker’s excellent No Second Chance series of DVDs.  Hatmaker is the real deal.  Check out the drill he calls “Hop-along.”

Cabal Fang Temple is Offical

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Just got this yesterday. We’re official!

Yesterday we received the incorporation documents in the mail from the SCC — Cabal Fang Temple, Inc. is a bona fide corporation officially authorized to conduct business in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We’re still not a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation though.  That’s a designation that comes from the IRS and we are still completing the necessary paperwork.  All we have so far is our EIN which is 81-5406720.  

I have been talking about building a proper temple of Cabal Fang for years.  And at various times over those years,  people have given me “the look.”  You know what I mean.  The head tilt.  The half smile.  The “isn’t that nice” look.  Those annoying looks were all my fault, because I didn’t do a good job of making my vision clear, didn’t let my passion shine brightly enough, didn’t demonstrate my determination.

Those days are gone.  From now on we’re going to be clearly demonstrating our vision, passion and determination.

The current tiny Cabal Fang Temple will be replaced by big, beautiful and functional structure.  As soon as we get our 501(c)(3) designation and we can collect tax-deductible donations there’s going to be a fund drive to build or buy a suitable temple space.  See below for a slide show of what we’re trying to do.

And since every temple needs a priest, I’ve been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and I’m attending the Ekklesia Epignostika seminary in pursuit of Holy Orders with apostolic succession.

Look out world, here we come.

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This is FICTIONAL. This is what we want to create, not what is. Yet.

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This is FICTIONAL. This is what we want to create, not what is. Yet.

 

We Need to Talk

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I have in the past engaged in the sort of fiddlesticks I disavow today. Nobody’s perfect. I’d like to think that the current me wouldn’t get sucked into something like the pink headband controversy.

We need to talk.

It’s obvious that extreme ideologies are dangerous when we’re witnessing an evil deed in the name of an ideology.  But the danger of ideology is very hard to see and acknowledge in ourselves.

So, no kidding.  We actually need to talk.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  And when all you have is an ideology, everybody looks like an enemy.

top5We are not enemies. We are just people with different political views. And those views are not logical or intellectual. They seem to be innate.  If you don’t believe me, read about Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica has, among other things, taken a “bag data” approach to the Big 5 Personality Traits. They’ve used social media and other data to identify you on the Big 5 spectrum,  and they’ve used that data to help their clients influence the Brexit vote and win the White House.  Cambridge Analytica knows things about you that you don’t know about yourself.

Like, for example, that if you are extremely organized and have low disgust sensitivity, you’re susceptible to anti-immigration arguments.  And what this means is that the chance of you changing your politics is about equivalent to you changing your hygiene habits.  

So if nobody’s really going to change much, the only answer is compromise. If you want to foster peace, you must talk honestly, without sarcasm, spite and anger.  So when you are out on social media, posting and sharing hyperbolically negative things about people and views you don’t like, you aren’t helping.  Punctuating differences only creates more discord.

Imagine that your wife has a lower disgust sensitivity than you do, and she hates the way you leave the kitchen a mess.  Your wife yelling at you that you are a pig doesn’t make you want to clean up.  In fact, if she keeps yelling at you, eventually you’re going to decide she’s a bitch and you guys are going to end up divorced.  But if your wife gives you a kiss and says “thanks!” every time you wash a dish, you might want to do it again even better.  You could care less about how the kitchen looks.  But you might want to compromise to make your wife happy, for the good of the household, the relationship and the family.

So please, let’s start talking about the stuff we can agree upon and not the stuff that divides us.  

And let’s consider the possibility that boycotting, protesting, burning, yelling, smearing and throwing stones — virtual, verbal and actual — only results in more of the same.

Paper Copies now Available on Amazon

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Buy your copy now — $12.99 at Createspace

Paper copies of my recently completed book Cabal Fang: Complete Martial Arts Study Course from Querent to Elder are now available from Amazon and Createspace.

If you’d prefer the ebook, there’s still time to pre-order for $5.99 before it releases on February 1st and the price goes up.  Click here for details.

This is a big book, both literally and figuratively.  It’s big because it’s truly groundbreaking — describing the first martial art in modern history to incorporate western esoteric studies like Hermeticism, mysticism, and perennial philosophy.  Second, it’s literally big — 462 pages, 125,000 words, 100+ drills, exercises and assignments, and dozens of photos and illustrations.

Go getcha some.