Brother of Hawks

From the Raven Lodge Vision of Ari Torinsson

I sat there.

In that grove; that shaded place among ancient cedars.

I sat and waited, not far from the ruins; that place of history and that place where only a blink of an eye before, in the greater scheme of things, songs had been sung and tribal voices heard.

My friends had left me there. They knew I needed to wait for something.

On the first evening I saw the Vision of the Longhouse. It is a thing which inspires me to this day. Yet, I have spoken of it at length elsewhere.

The sun rise the next day and I went to the place where I was to meet my friends. All the way down the trail I had a powerful voice within me telling me, no, urging me to stay. It was as though the place had more to tell me.

I met one of my friends and I told him what was occurring.

He chuckled and said: “Oh, the spirits of that place can be like that.”

So I made an arrangement to meet him a couple of days later. I returned up the trail to the place of the Longhouse.

I returned to the place where I had camped the night before.

The sun set and all plunged into night. I kept no fire. I had only a coat for warmth.

I listened to the song of the night.

I waited.

The sun rose and set again. I waited. The song of a nearby stream called sweetly, but I took note only. I did not go to it to quench my thirst.

The sun rose and I sat. I waited.

And then…

The sound of the stream changed somehow. It spoke in a different voice. It called me but did not call my thirst: It called my soul.

I left my place and went to the stream. Beautiful it was, dappled in sunlight through the high trees, singing over smooth stones.

I sat and resumed my wait.

“Why do you accept the Lie?” Came a voice, a question.

It came from no human voice; passed over no human lips. It was deep and resonant; it was much like the smooth stones at the stream bed, worn and polished over glacial time. It knew much and allowed that to carry in the words.

“Why do you accept the Lie?” The voice asked again.

“I don’t accept the Lie.” I replied to nowhere in particular.

“You are forced to live in a world created around the Lie, but you do not accept the Lie?”

“I know about the Lie. I am aware of its existence, yet I choose to live as far from it in my heart as I can.”

A long pause: The sigh of the wind, the song of the stream; a distant raven calling to his kin.

“It is a beginning.” Came the voice, carried a little stronger on the autumn air.

Slowly a piece of dark forest shadow detached itself and moved to the stream’s edge. It was as though it had been there all the time and I had not the eyes to see it before then. He was suddenly…there.

A man and yet not a man. The form of a man: dark and corvine of face: Lupine of frame. He looked Indian and white and many other things. Eyes pitch black and yet bright… Shining like the wet river stones.

“The Lie will kill your world. It is tearing at the root of everything. It is a disease.” He said.

“I know what it is.” I replied. “What can one man do?”

“Much, if he teaches. I will teach you and you will teach yourself. You may then teach others. If they listen then this will be good. If they don’t then they will learn nothing. ”

“Most will not listen.”

“Some will. Some will see the Lie as you do.”

“How do I teach anyone anything?” I asked.

“By living a good way and by showing others this way; by walking the way-of-the-thorns because deep wisdom and understanding must always been earned through ordeal.

Knowledge is the key; respect is the key. Balance is the cedar box in which the keys are kept.

The Lie takes away knowledge, takes away respect; teaches only fear. You will do the opposite of this. You will teach respect and the ways to knowledge. Some will listen to you.”

“All by myself?”

“There are others. There are individuals. These are the stones from which to build. They are the embers of the fire, the blood of the tribes-built-not-of-flesh-but-of-will. There are those who will form new families, new clans, and new tribes. Some of these will come from what you can teach them.”

“The fire can be re-built, more glorious than before.” He added after a moment.

“Why are you here? Why are you telling me these things?”

“Because like you, I am an agent of balance. I seek the return of nature’s plan, not the plan of consumption, slavery and destruction which is at hand. I am a tool for balance. For that reason I have decided to help you to become a sharper tool of balance also. I will tell you a few things that will help you do this.”

“Why?”

“Because I was once as you are. I have learned. If you will listen I will teach you some of what I have learned. I will teach you respect and flow and I will teach you strength and vision. I will teach you how to conquer that which seeks to kill all.”

I recall asking him what his name was. He told me that it might be well to think of him as a brother of hawks.

And so it was that the Vision which was not a Vision came to me. How long I sat by the stream and listened to that voice, that person who I later came to know as the Brother-of-Hawks, I cannot recall. Perhaps it was days, perhaps mere moments.

I left that place on the following sunrise.

I had heard much and I tried to remember all that I had heard. I walked down the road and there I found my friends. They told me I had been gone for some time.

Time passed and I returned to that place again. I learned more. In total I visited and was taught four times. Four chapters; four pieces of knowledge were passed to me. I was told not to take anything on faith. I was told that faith is a tool of the Lie; that a man must always question and most importantly he must trust in his instincts, his heart to show him the way to true things. I was shown that confidence is forged in the fires of trust and of knowledge earned: Confidence is far more noble than faith.

There is a plan in the world. We have come to know it as the Lie. The Lie is poison; it is the World-Killer. It kills spirit and it will either enslave or kill us all. The Elder Kin: Our ancient ancestors, our Elder Kin and the spirits all around us: All are aware of the Lie and the threat it represents to the balance. The Elder Ones take action in their own way. Like hawks above in the sky they see the larger view. We who are chosen; we few, will fight the battles on the ground – like wolves.

Like most things in the universe, the world strives always for balance. Balance is ever to be sought after and to do this the world builds stewards both to achieve and to maintain balance: Agents that stand in the face of the Lie and do what needs to be done to maintain this sacred balance.

To become an agent of the sacred balance one must un-learn the tenets of the Lie: One must re-learn the old ways and embrace friendship with the land-wights and hale relations with our Elder Kin. Respect and offerings to our ancestors must be deepened.

… and one must, above all things be rededicated to the gifts-of-the-cosmos: The Earth; nature and our sacred lore.

This was the essence of the words spoken by the one I call the Brother-of-Hawks; a teacher of balance and mentor to agents of balance. I learned that the world; the universe, has created many agents for balance and that they wear many different faces. That folk like us are but one facet of this design. I was told that if we return to a deep love of balance; of the Gods and the Earth we will grow and survive that which will come.

The Way comes from many places forged into one blade by determination and will.

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About Jack Wolf

Canadian author Jack Wolf has been a practicing Pagan for over 30 years, walking a path that encompasses both his Northern European and Native American heritage. He counts the late Heathen Goði and writer E. Max Hyatt, Professor Mark Mirabello, Dakota tribal Chief William Hoff and American author Allan Cole among his mentors. An avid outdoorsman, Jack has spent a considerable portion of his life exploring the deep wilds of British Columbia, a vast province on Canada’s west coast. He brings a great deal of his wilderness experience to his spiritual path. Over the past 15 years Jack has studied and written about a number of northern pagan traditions, having published for the most part independently or in small journals, blogs or websites. His recent works for Mandrake of Oxford Have certainly opened up his writing to a larger audience. Jack is also the author of several other books, including Circle of Bones (2012), The Way of the Odin Brotherhood (2013), Blood and Stone (2014) co-author of Tales from the Red Moon Lodge (2014) and co-editor of A Voice from the Thornwood (winter 2014). Forthcoming works include The Thornish Path, Ullr’s Road and The Urban Tribalist, all of which are planned for a mid-2015 and early 2016 release respectively. Spiritually, Jack identifies himself generally as a Deep Tribalist and more specifically as Thornish. He is a member of a primal pagan tradition whose spiritual path involves questing for the First Knowledge – that held by our most ancient ancestors whose hearts and spirits were deeply connected to the land. The Thornish path is the way of the warrior-steward; a Deep Tribal tradition which Jack has practiced since the late 1980’s Jack holds a degree in anthropology from the world renowned University of British Columbia and has long held an avid interest in history, tribal peoples, spirituality and the reawakening of pagan peoples worldwide. He currently resides with his wife and co-author Cassandra Wolf and their daughter, in Squamish, British Columbia.
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