Blog Posts

The worlds lie open for the sons of Gods. Hallucinogenics and Norse Heathenism

  How likely is it that the pre-Christian Norsemen use hallucinogenic plants in their rituals, or the gonzo version: Did “The Vikings” get high on magic mushrooms? Shamanism both modern and ancient is also a practice which has a great deal of interest among modern western populations. Spiritual traditions of pre-Christian European peoples are of real interest to modern Europeans and the diaspora with much ink shed on the subject. I am aware that other writers on European traditions have tackled on this issue but I have chosen not to refer to their work in this field relying instead on the source material, archaeology and supporting work done in anthropology and works on shamanism in general. What is known about the Pre-Christian (henceforth Heathen) beliefs of Northern Europe? Well enough exists to make evidenced assertions and yet there is so little evidence that most assertions can be reasonably refuted. Both shield maidens and Berserks can be evidenced from sagas and histories yet both can be easily dismissed as embellishments and works of fantasy. Human belief, ritual and spiritual outlook is a slippery enough subject even in modern literate times, we are dealing with a culture which ended a thousand years and more before our time, whose stories were written down by people who did not share their beliefs and lived themselves hundreds of years after the last heathen societies converted. There was a pantheon of Aryan (we’re taking that word back!) Gods worshiped across the Eurasian world. In the North … read more....

Hill 112 book review

Review of Hill 112 This is a review of the book “Hill 112 Battles of the Odon-1944” by Tim Saunders. It is part of the Battleground Europe series published by Pen and Sword in 2000. Hill 112 is a low hill almost imperceptibly standing above the open arable land around the city of Caen. Far less well known than the D-day landings or the more, perhaps, glamorous airbourne operations, the ferocious and bloody battles around Caen were hugely important in terms of the overall allied invasion strategy. They also arguably represent the last time the SS fought in such strength (the Germans being completely and exhausted by the time of the Ardennes offensive). The June and July battles around Tilly Sur Seulles, Carpiquet, Hill 112, Rots, etc are rapidly falling from both living and cultural memory and it is scant testimony to the appalling losses that so few books are written on this aspect of the liberation of Europe. That you are reading this review suggests that unless you have a family connection to the battle, you have more than just a general interest in the battle of Normandy. However Tim Saunders is good enough of a writer that the book will be a vivid and compelling read even for the general reader. Tim Saunders sets the battles in their strategic and tactical context well, and places them in the general time frame of the Normandy campaign. He also does a fine job of demonstrating the effect of the battle … read more....

Otto Funk’s Thousand Yard Stare

“Little fish we will throw them back into the sea” Kurt Meyer Perhaps it was a case of aim high,miss high but none of the objectives set for D-day were met by any allied landing force. The Canadians came closest despite facing very good German opposition on Juno beach, elements of the Canadian expeditionary force came close to securing the Caen-Bayeux railway line and were in a position to take Carpiquet airfield when ordered to halt. Logistical problems on the beach, tough German opposition and possibly the cautious (I would say thorough) Commonwealth doctrine of moving in controlled bounds and digging in on objectives slowed the Canadian advance. For their part the Germans were suffering from poor intelligence, the higher command considered Normandy a feint, they were also hampered by the (inaccurate) belief that Adolf Hitler had to order any counter attack, moreover the decision to keep the panzer divisions inland resulted in a slow response to the allied landings. By the close of day on the 6th of June, the Canadians were in a good position to secure their D-day objectives, to capture vital ground for the taking of Caen, the Germans were rushing to stop them and  drive them back into the sea. 1944 7th June In the area North West of Caen, the 12th SS HitlerJugend contacted Canadian forces. Having broken through the regular German defenders The Canadians were advancing to secure the small village of Authie, just North of the vital RN13 Caen-Bayeux road. Unbeknownst to … read more....

5 Skills your kids need to know.

  The shrieking fools on the streets and campuses of the USA (and UK) are stark testimony to what can happen if you don’t challenge your children and encourage them to experience frustration, hardship and even defeat. As we prepare our children for what look certain to be interesting times I thought about a few skills that when learned will provide a solid base to help them survive, succeed and even thrive in the world, to make them robust if not anti-fragile. I have picked here five physical skills I think all children should be taught to mastery. It is best if they can be taught by a father or an elder. If you lack the skills yourself then, fantastic! you can learn alongside your child but I think you will be surprised how much you already actually know. These are foundational human skills and I have limited this list to five mostly because it required an end. The skills are not listed in order of priority. These skills are of course a metaphor for life that we can practice in order to more fully understand and develop ourselves. Most of them will have little practical utility for children or adults in their day to day life but as T.J. Elpel states; “Primitive skills are a model for living that gives us the basic foundations, the very laws of nature, upon which all our solutions, in primitive and contemporary living must be built” Skills that didn’t make the list are: … read more....

Incoming

I have a few articles in the pipe line. I have a few more or less completed about raising independent children and more work based on research into Gaelic martial culture…..I have been a bit busy re-adjusting to life in the UK which took a bit more than I thought it would. Anyhow instead of finishing the first post on skills all kids should know I am instead going to take my boy off to the woods, have a great weekend.

Airbourne museums in Normandy

72 years ago as I write the largest  airborne force in history was getting ready for J-day (or night). The plan was to secure the flanks of the invasion beaches while seizing and holding key objectives. The troops of the American and British airborne, were a  highly trained and aggressive elite well suited to the task. In both the American and British sectors the Germans had flooded the countryside and had moved their own elite formations, 21st Panzer and 6th Fallschirmjager into the respective areas. Around Carentan This caused concern among the allies that the planned invasion may well have been compromised, however the Germans were as it turned out wrong footed by the invasion, This coupled with the skill and determination of the attacking forces meant that on both flanks the objectives were met and the beach assaults secured. The events of the 5th and 6th of June 1944 are well enough covered in many books for all three armies, from the German side “Lions of Carentan” and “Panzer Commander” give vivid insight into the chaos , ferocity and confusion of the fighting while the Allied view of events in recounted in multiple books, and the HBO TV series “Band of Brothers” (which makes it all look rather easy). The modern visitor will be rewarded with excellent museums and a range of historical sites all within fairly easy walking or driving distance. Normandy was, and still is, a fairly poor area of France but even though the coastal areas … read more....

In the footsteps of Michael Wittmann, Villers Bocage 2016

 On a Normandy morning 72 years ago one of the most famous, controversial and extraordinary tank actions took place. Obersturmfuhrer Michael Wittman of the heavy tank battalion of the 1st SS Panzer division Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler, in the formidable Tiger 1 took on the  British 7th armoured division and destroyed numerous armoured vehicles before being immobilized. He and his crew managed to escape through the chaos and confusion and made it back safe to German lines. The story is widely known, and has been re-told by historians, professional and amateur in far more detail than I can offer here. I will include links to good references at the bottom of this article. In short the already famous and highly decorated Wittman having recently arrived in Normandy with his unit was made aware of a large number of British vehicles (A sqd CLY and A coy 1st rifle brigade) on RN175, he commandeered a working Tiger 1 and after deploying his forces (two more tigers) he moved up to engage the British. The German Tigers engaged the British at point 213 knocking out 5 tanks including the up-gunned British “firefly”variant of the Sherman. His initial shot had destroyed a Cromwell tank on the road blocking it, after this initial encounter Wittman moved forward and engaged the British infantry, he travelled the length of column destroying vehicles with the monstrous 88mm main gun. The British infantry bravely engaged with piat launchers and tried to get their 6-pounder anti-tank guns set up but it was a … read more....

The Morality of Meat

  It’s meat free Monday at my child’s school. The school menu was designed (at great expense) by a company that has designed a very health conscious menu. To be fair the menu if usually good. She usually has the choice of two pasta dishes and has recently started to ask for me to send her in with a packed lunch on this day. Vegetarians usually present their argument along two main lines; Health and Morality. It is well beyond the scope of this article to deal with the wealth of information which essentially de-bunks the vegetarian health claims. The studies and books disintegrate on even mild inspection while the rapid deficiencies that come from a vegetarian diet are established biological fact. Most worryingly is the “brain shrinkage” associate with vegetarians and vegan diets especially in the context of a diet fed to a child.While the individual may exist on a carefully selected vegetarian diet it is an unusual person who does so successfully, long term. I will assume dear reader that you would like to do more than just exist. Would you like perhaps to live? Thrive? Now for an argument you won’t often hear: I eat and fed my children meat out of a deeply held moral conviction. Omnivory is a position I have reasoned myself into. A visceral and experiential examination of what it means to consume other lifeforms. The standard “ethical vegetarianism”is not a moral position it is a puritanical position. It requires no great effort … read more....

Some Answers

I have just finished listening to this excellent podcast, Neil White gave some excellent advice on writing blog posts. He said that he always ends with a piece of actionable advice. With that in mind let me add a postscript to my last post. Overweight Children: If you have overweight children, I certainly hope you don’t think they are wonderful the way they are, and that you want to help them increase their physical and mental health and improve their life chances. The good news is that humans are supposed to be lean and strong and that changes you make now should stick, they will respond quickly to any changes you make. The bad news is that if you don’t make changes your child is unlikely to lose the weight. Their mental health and behaviour will also improve Own it, they’re your kids, their weight is yours, a product of you life and your decisions. 1: Base meals around protein, red meat is great, fish and chicken also good. Eggs. 2: Oats are you friend, avoid wheat no cakes or pastries. 3: Minimise all sugar check ingredients thoroughly even on “healthy products” 4: No fizzy drinks at all 5: No juice or squash. Low carb has good results, meat is your friend. You are a predator, eat like one. Most of body composition is related to diet but get out and walk, play sports. Energy levels will increase naturally don’t push this it will just start to happen. We’re born … read more....

Site Footer