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This three books a responsible for getting creative myself and led directly to my first book Vom Barbar zum Fürst.
The Way of Men, Becoming a Barbarian and A More Complete Beast answer many questions. At the same time they rise the question what to do with your new freedom. Vom Barbar zum Fürst is a possible answer.
Since Jacks books are that important to me and had a very positive effect on my life, I´m very happy that he took the time to answer the 9 following questions.
1 - How did you get into germanic paganism, do you practice any particular branch of it and which role does Odin play in all of this for you?
I originally started practicing some form of Germanic paganism with a tribal group that I left over a year ago. Their practice was very “war-band” focused, and also very unique to their organization, though many elements evolved from the work of Edred Thorsson and his associates. Since I started doing rituals on my own, they are more explicitly focused on masculine development and self improvement, but not for any particular tribe.
The Odin we know from the late, surviving lore is predominantly a god of magic. I see him as the wild or mad king, the dark half of the sovereign/creator that Dumézil wrote about. Odin is an expression of an older Indo-European form, but rather than sharing the sovereign role with Tyr as Dumézil saw it, I see him as a combined figure -- both Dionysian and Apollonian. He is a trickster and rule-breaking sorcerer, but also the reigning “allfather” -- the patriarch who looks out over the world from his high mountain seat and resides in ornate and glittering halls. He is both the serpent and the eagle. There are echoes of Zeus in the lore concerning Odin, but the remaining lore is fairly dark, and I associate the Odinic aspect of this larger, older force as the aspect that deals with magic and meditation and initiation and the search for knowledge. If you’re looking for something in the abyss... he has the right energy for that.
2 - You hold pagan rituals at Waldgang – what do you think about the role of rituals in men's life in general?
Men use myths and ideals to organize their consciousnesses and as a source of direction when they need to make decisions in their lives. But they are also emotionally and subconsciously drawn to these ideals as well. Ritual bridges the gap between the conscious and the unconscious, between the logical and emotional or fantastic, and -- hopefully -- brings it all into alignment.
3 - The runes can also be used as a tool for development of the self – how could a beginner go about it and how or in what way do you work with the runes?
I see the runes as symbols for eternal, often elemental concepts. Look at the different rune poems and think about the concepts associated with them, and your experiences with those concepts. When possible, to add depth to my understanding of those concepts, I have collected items or initiated experiences related to those concepts. We can all spend time with water and ice and fire and think about concepts like wealth or primal strength, or spend time with some birch trees. Think about why those things were relevant to people who lived in a more primitive world, and then apply those thoughts to your own life. Over time, your understanding of the concepts associated with the runes deepens.
For instance, one of my favorite runes to think about is Raido, because it’s associated with riding. This doesn’t necessarily have to be riding a horse. Think about the action of riding a horse. Holding the reigns loosely and confidently, pulling on them when necessary to change direction. This idea of a confident hand can be applied to almost any masculine endeavor. Driving is an obvious comparison, but it also applies to throwing a punch effectively -- really most martial arts require that kind of confident finesse.
If someone really wanted to dive deeply into the runes, I would recommend Edred Thorsson’s book The Nine Doors of Midgard. There’s enough information on runes and work there to keep you busy for a year or more.
4 - What connection do you see between "living a masculine life" and "living a happy life"?
I believe that men are more satisfied with their lives if they live masculine lives and work at making themselves “better at being men” instead of merely “being good men.” Being good men is good too, but we need both, as I discussed in The Way of Men.
5 - How does creativity play into this and how would you describe your creative process in general?
I’m a creative guy, and I have been interested in aesthetics all my life, so I have a deep well to pull from and I make a lot of associations that other people wouldn’t necessarily make. I have an artist/poet brain. I’m not sure I have a creative process, though I do occasionally use meditation to jump-start writing, whether I am writing a ritual or a book or an essay.
6 - You live in a rather small town, why did you choose to do so?
I moved to a small town because it was close to Waldgang. Unfortunately it is also far from everything else. It would be a reasonable place to retire but there are a lot more opportunities for networking and advanced training in cities. I’m not a farmer. I am self employed, so I don’t spend time with people who don’t interest me, wherever I am. Now that I have done what I wanted to do at Waldgang I am planning to move to a bigger city in a year or so.
7 - How does a typical month of your physical training look like and how does one get shoulders like yours???
Actually, I recently did a shoulder training video for YouTube with a friend of mine who is a trainer.
I change my training over the course of the year. Last summer I was running and doing Jiu-Jitsu. This winter I have been trying to work weight training back into my schedule. My body changes over time, based on what my priorities and interests are. I like lifting weights a lot -- not powerlifting necessarily, I am already fairly strong so it is more about maintaining a certain level of strength and a certain look. But to get to this point, over the years I spent some time lifting heavy and focused on strength.
8 - For someone completely new to your work: Why should he start with The Way of Men before reading Becoming a Barbarian and then A More Complete Beast?
That is the order I wrote them in, and each concept builds on ideas from the previous book. The Way of Men is the most important of my books. A More Complete Beast is important because it addresses a lot of unproductive anger I saw in men around the world.
9 - I really liked your reading of Kipling's "If" – what is your favorite quote or passage from Nietzsche and will you read it someday for the public?
Thank you. I can't think of a favorite passage from Nietzsche. There are so many good ones. But that is a good idea. I would definitely like to do more readings.