The Road we Walk

By Björn Hammarson

The people of the Thornish are here in the Middle World for a reason: We are here to re-learn how to be human beings as the Elder Kin intended us to be. Once we have re-learned how to truly be human, how to embrace all that humanity is, then we can move on to making ourselves greater. By making ourselves greater and by greater I mean smarter, healthier, stronger, craftier and wiser, then we will serve ourselves by being of greater use to our higher family: Our Elder Kinfolk.

So after having said these things the question may follow: “What do the Thornish people do to achieve all of this?”

My answer to that is here:  What we do is we journey within ourselves to make ourselves better people and while we are doing that we share what we have gained with our tribal family. We are always striving to make our folk stronger and wiser so that we will be of more use to the Old Ones and our holy world…and also to ourselves. It is a cycle of growth that is highly reciprocal in nature.

What do I mean by better people? See that line up there in the first paragraph where it says smarter, healthier, stronger, craftier and wiser.  If you see the people as an implement, say , such as a sacred blade like the Thornish or the Frith-Knife, you can think of it as maintenance: polishing, oiling and sharpening the tool so that it serves in the best possible way. People can be honed and polished and oiled like that, and these things come from the practice of our traditions.

Thornish people talk to the Old Ones; the spirits of the land and to the Elder Kin daily. We work to be good tenders of the land and our own hearths. We work to keep our family and Clan and our Thornish nation healthy and strong.

Which brings me to the real meat and potatoes of this discussion here because what I think people really want to know is what Thornish people actually do on a day to day basis.

Well what we do is in some respects a lot like what almost everyone else does: We get up in the morning, have breakfast, head off to our day and later come home, have dinner, relax and later on, hit the sack.

But we do what we do differently from many other people as well in that it is our intent as we pass through a nominally ‘mundane’ routine: Thornish people are always aware of who they are and what they are – implements of the greater powers – and the associated responsibilities that that entails, as they pass through the days.  As a result we approach even the most ordinary tasks armed with that knowledge and understanding of things.

A Thornish person strives every day to re-educate himself or herself. They do this to break the programming of the LIE that has infected our world.

A lot of what outside observers may see with Thornish folk, if they know we are Thornish at all, is the aspect we want them to see. That is, we walk the way of what we call the Charade.  Thornish people  may look like they are living a mundane life to the outsider, but in fact we are going about our lives with a depth of understanding that most wouldn’t understand.

To give an example of how a Thornish person approaches the tasks of daily living, I’ll bring up those old science fiction stories about time travelers. Those stories had people going back in time and then accidentally somebody would squash a bug or something and it would change the entire timeline and future.

Thornish people see their connection with the ‘verse similarly to that in a way because we know that everything we do has an effect on other things no matter how small. We know we are part of a greater web of things and we try to be careful about how we interact with people and other beings/things in our lives.

We also try to do something that is very difficult for most modern people: Day by day we continually remind ourselves to live in the NOW.

And on top of the way we tackle the mundane things, we also make it our mission to do the things that make us overtly (at least to other Pagan people) Thornish as well. Things like gatherings and ritual. Thornish people are clannish and tribal and as such see the gathering of their kinfolk, as extremely important.  So it can be said (and can be easily seen) that Thornish folk gather socially with their own people as much as they can.

Sometimes this is simply for the pleasure of socializing with kin and other times it is for specified things such as work or other craft. Sometimes it is for ritual reasons.

To a Thornish person ritual can be social as in various tribal passages and markers within the Lodges or Clans. It can also include ceremonial, or Seiðr-style practices and invariably will have aspects where the Elder Kin and the others are spoken with and honored. Individual Thornish people talk to the Shaeda or spirit folk, the Elder Kin, Hearthmothers (female ancestresses),  other ancestors and others often daily , but they enjoy communicating their respects and understandings with their kin in groups as well.

As Pagan people and tribal animists we Thornish people like to get out into the green spaces often and it is out in nature where we prefer to hold our rituals. In the green places, the wild places we know that we are closer to our Elder Kin and the other folk of the land. Thornish people camp a lot and often these camps will be held in easily accessible places so that young and old alike may attend. At other times the camps are isolated and difficult to get to. These are reserved for more ritualized practices, such as Deepenings or other ordeals.

So the way of Thornish people is deeper than the ways of a lot of other people: We gather often with our kin as I have said, and we go to the wild places as individuals or groups as often as we can. We work hard at reestablishing the old connections that were lost to most of humanity a long time ago. We try to make ourselves smarter, healthier, stronger, craftier and wiser so we can do what we were meant to do as stewards of the world.

My brother, Qorvas, who is also a student of Master Raven, has told me that the word Deep Green Road has been a term long applied to our way and I can tell you that it says a lot about us and our way.

Thornish people have never claimed to be anything other than what we are. We have never claimed to be of any particular Pagan path other than our own. We are not witches or cultists or even Asatrú or any of those things. We are not hard reconstructionist or pure UPG in our approach either. We learn from a wide variety of sources and we know that as we grow smarter, healthier, stronger, craftier and wiser, and grow closer to the First Knowledge we will evolve to suit the needs of the Elder Kin and our homeworld.

We hold our own traditions as sacred.  We are Thornish. We cannot be easily fit into any particular box. In fact we broke the box factory.

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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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