Basic Thornish Teachings

In this post I have decided to present a very basic teaching known among us as The Nine Hard Truths.   What these are, in a nutshell, are realizations shared by all Thornish people since the beginning of the tradition. To some people, these truths might not seem so hard or so groundbreaking, yet to others they have been quite an eye-opener.

In the old days these were taught to people who were very new to the tradition. It was something we kept within the circle, not so much for reasons of security, but because we felt no compunction to share with outsiders.  In the modern day though, we share these with anyone who is interested in them because we see the need for a greater circle-of-awakening.


The Nine Hard Truths

Basic Thornish understandings of the world

From: conversations with Thornish Elder, Shale Alfsson, autumn 2013

  1. Everything is connected: Thornish people believe that in the multiverse, everything is connected to everything else at one level or another. Thus, what occurs to one creature will, on some plane or another, have an effect on everything else. This is why Thornish folk are so concerned about the sacred balance of nature and that imbalances be corrected as quickly as possible.
  2. Peace is fiction: Peace as it is so often imagined in today’s age is a fiction. Man-made peace is an imaginary state that most humans believe must be enforced in order to be maintained. True peace exists only as small ‘islands’ in the natural flow… and even this is frequently shattered as the balances of life and death are addressed. Thus, it is seen that one must look to nature for instruction in reaching a balanced state. Peace is not so much the goal of the true steward as balance.
  3. The Middle World is at war: Thornish people have no doubt of this. For centuries, there have been ruling cabals of human beings who are engrossed with the ideals of entitlement and who feel that they have the right to rule and to despoil the sacred world we live on. Their mentally imbalanced ideas have corrupted the majority of human societies and have caused untold damage to the planet and all of her life-forms. As the Elder Kin and the planet herself take action against this disease they have assisted a great many humans in the awakening process. The awakened ones grow in number each day and work to restore the balance, to heal the world.
  1. Strength opens doors; weakness closes them. One need only to look at nature and they will see that a being of strength survives and one which cultivates weakness does not. Human beings who believe in nurturing weakness while shunning strength are walking down the path of misdirection and eventual oblivion.
  2. Equality is fantasy: Thornish people believe that all people are unique in special ways and that because of this the idea that everyone is somehow the same is ridiculous. Thornish people celebrate differences and uniqueness and believe that these things are more important than sameness. At the same time Thornish folk see that the idea of reducing all human beings down to a single, monogamous mass is an attempt at dis-empowering the idea of free potential in people. This is not to say that in general people should not be afforded the same basic respects as any other creature in the Middle World, yet to the Thornish person, greater respect is earned and all persons are not simply afforded this greater respect carte blanche, so to speak. Each human being who seeks greatness and to serve the sacred balance will gain the respect of others through deeds.
  3. Freedom is not free: While those of the Thornwood recognize that in nature all are born with the potential to be free, this is no longer a guarantee on a human-dominated world. It is believed that there are many people who live to steal the freedoms of other creatures and that this behavior is against the natural order. Thus, Freedom must be striven for…taken by force if necessary, and those who are awakened must be ever vigilant in protecting the freedoms they have.
  1. Money is a broken tool: Thornish folk see the interesting and utilitarian tool that the use of currency must once have brought to the world. However, over time, as the resources of the world have been manipulated so that the fruits of human labor end up in the hands of a few, money has lost its meaning. Indeed, it has been used as a tool for the enslavement of many living things on this planet. While Thornish people living in the modern times realize that money is at times necessary to live, it is viewed as an (unfortunate) necessary evil. As a part of this understanding it is further seen that the concepts of credit and debt are tools of enslavement. These things are viewed as insidious snares which are specifically designed to steal freedom in the world. Most modern day human beings in the so-called first world, specifically, are mired in the fantasy of debt and credit. In fact, Thornish people view the entire credit/debt system as being a fabrication designed to monopolize and abuse the labors and freedoms of the people. Thornish folk avoid such things as they are able.
  2. Democracy is a failed experiment: Democracy, along with all other modern concepts of governance, are considered to be failures by Thornish people. The very fact that human beings have been brainwashed into believing that they need to be governed in the first place is at the root of this problem. Democracy, according to Thornish people, has long since been co-opted by corporate and other corrupt influences and today only bears the outer trappings of free society. Thornish people believe that the best modalities of governance are found in the Moot, in which members of each Lodge, under the guidance of a tribal Chief, Elders and an elected tribal council (a primal form of democracy, yes, but not a mask for oligarchy) make decisions regarding their own actions and fate. Thornish people believe that human structures of governance begin to fail beyond certain population limits and the ideal is a multitude of smaller, independent yet allied tribal nations.
  3. Human-made laws are not true laws: Thornish people see the First Law, the law of nature, as being the only true law. Everything else that might be known as order stems from this First Law. The law referred to as the Fourth Law, known also as the laws of humankind, is not considered to be overly important in comparison to the First Law, as human law is seen as being made to control the lives of other humans. Fourth Law has also largely proven, over many hundreds of years now, to have had a detrimental effect on the planet.



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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