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Donnerstag, 12. Januar 2017

A belt buckle

This is a belt buckle I made recently "on the fly", and certainly not perfect. Mild steel. This is something I would like to perfect, and it will be part of a belt (system?). We will see ;-), I´ll keep you posted, no really, I will! Promise! :-D

Bushcraft knife evolution

I am increasingly fond of the style of the traditional Finnish puukko as opposed to other Scandinavian knives and as far as I know no one has tried to incorporate the rhombic cross-section of this kind of knife into a full tang design. Plus, I am constantly playing with shape, balance and style of a knife suited for all the everyday kinds of work you can encounter when using a bushcraft knife. And while there are a lot of really fancy tactical designs (I spare you the rant, I hope you appreciate it ;-)), what works for me, i.e. "the knife that feels right", is a rather compact design with no crosspiece, a high Scandi or convex bevel (which screams "puukko" on top of its lungs, by the way), and a handle that is rather short. 
I seldom work with gloves, for I find they compromise my ability to feel where I am headed ;-), so this is not a problem. Also, if you use a knife with no guard the way to go when stabbing e.g. at a piece of wood in spooncarving or prying at an arrow stuck in wood in archery is to put the pommel end of the handle into your palm, which is very secure no less. I like my balance point on the knife on my index finger. Hollow rivets or better, pins, give you the ability to put the knife on a stick when harvesting fruit or mistle twigs with a length of paracord. Carving is facilitated by a slender tip design. To aid in durability, I prefer spring steel that is selectively tempered and thoroughly normalized. It is a simple steel, that also can be re-tempered with simple methods if the need arises, and makes for very durable knives. The handle is dyed yew. The knife needs some work still, of course, and I have to make a sheath for it yet, but as is, it represents my thoughts on the quest for the "perfect" knife as they stand for now. But since there is no such thing as a "perfect" knife, this quest will not end so soon... ;-)

A snuffkin ride and an escape

Somebody once said: You can´t run away from your problems. A mountainbike ad ca 1990 said:" Whoever said: "You can´t run away from your problems"... obviously wasn´t going fast enough.". I don´t want to decide which one was right.

Fact is, I think a lot more than is good for my own good, and I tend to discuss matters far too much. But there is a point where you just have to call it a day. Or a life, at that. And then try your best to make some new beginnings or whatever.

Take for instance this as an example.

The sun is shining brightly, with that wonderful light I love, golden and radiant and the sky oh so clear and blue. What to do, then? Brooding over your mishaps? Yeah, I did. And fortunately, the next day still was radiant and wonderful, and I was sick of myself. And I saddled my steed, the first time for a long period of time. Again I had gone into my own trap and quit riding.

The first strokes into the ride were agony, but then my muscles realized what was expected from them to do, and everything fell into place. I took it slow, however, and arrived at the hilltops not exhausted for a change.
The sun was bright, but it was really cold. No frost, however... and I took in the clean, crisp air with relish. I believe there can be a starvation out of lack of forest air, and I was near starving. It felt really good to be outside and get in some scenery and exercise in the bargain!
I cannot tell how often my friends and I were sitting on that private airport´s lane at night, stargazing and drinking, telling tall tales and making wild plans where to ride and what we had seen already... and the place thrums with memories of the good kind.
On I rode into the deep twilight. The shadows were crisp as was the air, in stark contrast to the light that was almost painfully bright.
My beaten and battered bike has taken me so many places... and I am grateful to have seen all the tings I did, the big drops and insane singletrails, the sheer rock and the peaceful fireroads. In no way it is a bling ride, and I would love to take more care of it, but as is, it does a good job of taking me places, and I love it all the more for all the nicks and scratches and broken tubes. They tell a story.
No radical technical riding, just some cruising the fireroads and smelling the roses...
...and then, on the very top of things, a flask of hot and cozy, rosy tea.
...a drink of trees in a cuppa tea.

The place was silent and peaceful and I took it in to take it home.

When the sun was sinking, I made for my way home...
...through the darkening winter twilight.

It was nothing special, really. And you have read a lot of posts like this on my blog. But that´s the culprit. Sometimes you have to do something that is nothing special.

Mittwoch, 30. November 2016

Christmas fair mayhem@Käsedeele Hagen

 Last weekend we were working on a Christmas fair. It has been quite some time since we last did something like this, for the last time we were on an event did not turn out too well. We were representing the ironforge this year for a change. I had borrowed a car, and we loaded up on Friday morning and were welcomed by Mrs. Rafflenbeul, owner of the lard shop and the farm where the event was located. I fetched Nick and we set up forge.
 We were there to forge with children, but also had some goodies on display. Especially the leaf pendants proved very popular with the audience, as were the smaller items such as rings and key chain pendants.
 Of course we had brought safety gear and goggles for the kids. But blimey... what´s the matter with the kids? Some were actually eager to forge, as used to be the case. As usual, the parents were in a hurry and did not want their kids to work with their hands, and some of the remarks we got from the parents were just short of plain insults. But most of the kids were just staring at us with open mouths and were very afraid. One little girl actually dressed up with all the safety gear. Then I started tutoring her, and all seemed to go well enough. Now we always help the kids by leaving one blow to them, the other for us. Now you obviously need some excellent timing and a bit of experience to muster that. It all seemed to have worked out a cinch, but when we had the iron at forging temperature and started pounding, she got a crying fit and was not to be comforted and shied away from the anvil... BECAUSE she had DONE something! Because she was afraid that the iron was taking a different shape! I do not even get the pathological logic behind that behaviour. Of course, I had an argument with the parents and it turned out she was emotionally not capable of doing anything with her hands. She does not even play. Pardon me? A (nine year old) kid that does not play? The parents even were proud of this! I asked some of the parents that did not want their kids to forge why that was so. Some stated that their kids were above that kind of work, some were like "oi, that´s too dirty", and some openly stated that they did not want their kids to get the wrong kind of ideas. Those kids were not playing, either. I overheard a conversation of some seven year olds (again) what investment fonds and what insurance was superior. These were obviously motorically impaired, but otherwise well-educated kids. In my own personal opinion, parents that do this to their kids should be punished for high treason.

Anyway, you cannot count what´s lost, but what´s still left. Some few still had fun, and those were the ones that made the work to be fun in turn. I also was quite delighted to see Thomas from Metallbau Klier   drop by  and have a little chat. Thomas has helped us out a thousand times when we were working for the Bethaus smithy, and I cannot thank him enough for all the times he entrusted his team van to us.

Coming to talk about people, it was a right delight to have Marco from Gerti´s Schieferschmiede and the weirdos from Café Halle as neighbours, always willing to exchange some weird jokes and suddenly bursting out into song.
 I like this picture of Nick... looks like they both have fun, eh? ;-)
 That´s me pounding out a blade out of magical sorcery steel, no really it is... ;-)
 Kathrin, Nick´s wife came along to sell her Viking knitting jewellery way too cheap, but as is, she was well content with the outcome.
 All in all, I find this picture tells the story best... hands that keep the fire burning!

That twilight green

 Sometimes the voice inside is crying. It is crying madly. It is screaming and writhing and yelling "Enough!"

Lost in a world gone mad, I sometimes need to see something that is cruel, but true, wild, but sane. It is the forest that calls me. There is a lot to say, and to sing, and to think, and yet words seldom do it justice. Either you can feel it, and then my words or songs would be futile, or you cannot feel it, and it would be even more futile to rant about it. It is the forest that calls me, in its wintery desolation, in spring and in summer, but in the cold autumn rain no less. Maybe the voice is even stronger then, and autumn is the season where I want to wander, and wander alone.
 Those ancient hills lay unfathomed even under a leaden sky, and even if there are fireroads hacking through its landscape, and harvester vehicles spill their noise and poison through the open forest... alone at last, and free from the ruckus and gibberish that man makes to date, all crying and howling "I AM! LOOK! I AM!" at no one and nothing in particular, getting into a mad frenzy. Sometimes I think that they all at once realized that no Mammonism can buy them out of their mortality and that they, looking at their own, ugly souls in all their naked distortion, simply got mad.

Now I am not saying that I am not mad. But I, for one, know that as a fact. I am a lunatic and far from sanity. I am broken, but I believe that there also is some beauty to it. I am no better than average Joe, but I have learned to pick up the fairy gold. You need an open hand for that, a hand that does not want to close over a sunbeam, and you need a bit of craziness to use it to sew yourself a cloak of golden light-or of twilight.

For I am a wanderer on dangerous paths, and I need  a cloak of murk to hide beneath... I need moonbeams and shadow, I need green and the colour and scent of the autumn soil to clothe myself in winter.
 Over the hills I went, and strolled through silent, murky forests, along those roads, towards the hilltop. I met no one but my soul, I heard no voice but silence.
 Like a crevice the spruce and fir, swaying in a gentle breeze, led me further up the hill and deep, deep down into the secret.
 The birch, finest hair and grey skin, stood there, breathing slower, and the floor was trimmed with sparkling gold. They say there´s a bucket of elf shit at the end of the rainbow... but the trees tell me otherwise.
 The oak, still bearing its golden leaves, was standing guard at the gates of the secret.
 Query: What is it, that secret of twigs and branches intertwined? What is it that is hemmed with twilight?
 It is a feeling hovering, not intelligible in an everyday mindset, hovering above the crumbling ruins of the haughtiness of man, ivy-strangled, and moss-entangled. It is a feeling alien to man, or even beast, while beasts still live closer to it.
 To the ruin on top of the hill I came and explored the shadows of rock and moss, of rotten timber and fallen tiles. To the top of the hill I came and explored that feeling of rock and rotten timber and twilight and moss and strangling ivy. There is a secret hidden inside that feeling. There is that cloak of twilight hidden inside the secret.
 There is a tree that forever grows and prospers, a tree of light, a vision of white and green. A tree.
 There is a tree, and its leaves are lights and moonbeams. A tree there is that forever shall sprout.

"Lachel calad - drego morn!"

A rose of steel that does not fade - for my mother

 My mother is currently in quite some pain and staying in hospital, so she got her Christmas present early this year to give her some joy in her hardship. I made this one on a recent Christmas fair as a present, actually. It was fun to make, and while there certainly is some room for improvement still, it was my first, so I do not complain.
 All forged in five heats (there was little time, you see;-)), it came in a bit crude still, but as is, I like it well enough (my mother certainly does, but I could whack some hammer dents into a shrapnel and she would like it ;-), that´s mothers for you ;-)).
Sometimes it´s good to make something that does not necessarily need to have an edge, and to play around a bit with steel... it certainly gave me some refreshment and a boost of creativity.

Mittwoch, 16. November 2016

Modern schooling and Armageddon: A Christian addenda to my most recent post

One of my oldest and most-respected readers made a comment to my recent post, and I wrote an answer, until I realized that I had written far to much for my reply form. But he deserves an answer, and this is what I wrote. I used a Christian terminology to make my point clearer, but I want you to keep in mind that I personally believe that words are far inadequate to describe a universal noumenon being.

I am well with you that modern schooling has a big part in turning anyone into sheep (or gold fish, so to say, although if we want to do anything against it (which is a thing we could still do), we have to elaborate this stance.

On the Armageddon part, however, I am decisively critical. As usual, I sincerely hope you are not taking offence by it, but personally I believe, while I know the chance is very great that it might happen these days, that God (to argue along these lines) loves His creation. He has chiselled the tiniest of flowers out meticulously, and he paid equal attention to detail in the creation of the tiniest of beings as well as the greatest of cosmic phenomena. He gave everything its place, and made a universe full of beauty. And let us not forget that Satan (to argue along these lines) was His creation in the first, too. He gave every being the chance to choose, of course. To destroy all of His creation would be either sadistic (which I believe that the First Cause is NOT) or meaning He has lost control over His creation. I do not believe that, too.

The changes we have to face, or even the disaster, I believe, would be exclusively the result of our actions, our choice. Personally I believe that God often intervenes to show us the effects of our behaviour, for it is Him who knows the laws of the universe first hand, to keep us from doing harm to ourselves. It is us who do not understand His language anymore, and it is us who therefore work out an Armageddon for us, for ourselves. We, as I personally believe, should strive to become better beings in the context of creation, not point a finger at our neighbours and rejoice in them being extinguished and burning in a neverending hell. Everyone has a choice, that is true. I am not perfect, and I am very afraid, of course I am. And I have a big part in creating a world that´s hell made earth, that is also true. But I do not believe that God wants us all to burn in hell. He wants us to live in the law and in His creation, and love it, and care for it. He, if we continue to talk along these lines, loves us and doesn´t want to hurt us. But we insist on hurting and doing mischief, as the kids we are. The effects are, as I said, the result of our behaviour, of our egoism and ruthlessness and immorality, but the moral system is not ours, but the law of the universe. We do not have the means to understand the language anymore, after we had built the Babel tower. Only if we allow the Whitsun miracle to happen, can we even understand. We know well what happened during that miracle. Eucharist is well-documented scientifically and psychologically sound, and it is the only feat in every religion and every culture that is shared. If we managed to concentrate what all believers on Earth have in common, if we managed to concentrate on what brings us closer to Him, Armageddon (which is presumeably at hand due to inter-religious conflicts) could still be put at bay (or so I believe). This is the reason I am very reluctant to call Him (or Her? or It?) names. Naming something gives you power, but what power do we have over God? We have nothing but love and the "Holy Spirit". We can feel it, and when we have experienced it, we would shut up, and "pray" (or meditate, chant, sing, dance, exercise penitence, or whatever brings one closer to Him (Her, It), and do the work we are given, and live through our travails.
I personally believe that everyone can experience Eucharist at will. I have done some studies in theology myself and I daresay there is a lot a Christian church keeps away from its disciples. The most grave aspect of this is the fact that priests usually know full well about the fact that the feeling of Eucharist can be experienced at will. But the routines of meditation are kept away from the disciples. Some priests do this as to not confront or burden their fold, actually meaning good, others out of hierarchic sentiments. Armageddon induces fear, for instance, and it is used in some contexts to actively prohibit the "sheep" from being delivered or enlightened by the Holy Spirit. For meditation is not possible in a state of constant fear.

The path of acquiring this knowledge by oneself is extremely dangerous and difficult. The adept can suffer from everything from brain stroke, sexual overactivity or impotence, hallucinations and severe psychic damage. I have lived personally through a lot of these dangers. Some say, that´s obvious ;-). Kidding aside: No one wanted to tutor me, so I tutored myself. I can never know if I am right, and I do not claim to be, but fact is, it was and is a very arduous journey, and I have to admit it might not be for everyone, and I can understand that some Christians were giving up and giving in to the so - called enlightenment movement, which now is the pillar on which Western civilisation is built on. And nothing wrong with that, actually, but many came to a false conclusion. They said "God is dead", because they had no evidence of Him and no possibility of experiencing the feeling that is called Eucharist in Christian belief, and some of them dismissed everything of moral value altogether with that conclusion. And, to shorten up this essay and go full circle, I personally think, "modern schooling" is a product of this mindset.

In days gone by a "good whacking" was an essential part of education, and I am decisively no advocate of this. There is a point when you have to clearly set the borders in education, but, as I said in other contexts, violence is NEVER an option. If you have to whack the shite out of your pupil, you have entirely lost control over the situation, and you set nothing right, but create a time - bomb. I have, when working as a tutor, had a lot of good success even with difficult kids, by explaining and taking a firm and decided stance. The kids did a lot of testing, but I am proud to say that they never questioned my authority.

"Laissez-faire" needs confidence on all sides, but modern-day teachers cannot develop confidence, because they are not allowed room for decisions, and their own betters sabotage their authority. Their education does not involve the development of their personality, and this is due to the lack of confidence, or even fear, in their parents. Many of them do not know who they are themselves, how can they possibly teach kids to agnize  what it is that their personality stands for? And, by the way, this is not even wanted in the first place. Kids are seen just as material to work in industrial slavery jobs. Working for ten years in business promotion has made this abundantly clear to me. Some lucky few get an education along these lines - these are the ones who are the kids of the upper strata of economy, and they will be the ones to enslave the blue - collar ones of the next generation, and so forth, and all this will contribute to spread false paradigms, until, in fact, "Armageddon" will happen. But it will be a self-fulfilling prophesy, not the work of God.

As our teachers lose control or work out of egoistic reasons, as our economy stands for ruthless egoism, and the "ego is the destroyer of reality" (, we´re in for a "bad moon rising". (Please take note, I am not a theosophist either, and put that link there only because I like the book and have the opinion that it illustrates the matter.)

Our cherished internet is a playground of the ego. Even writing a blog about myself is egomania, but in the internet it is one of the less egomanic things one is confronted with. There are people even sharing their morning turd with the whole world on whatsitcalledbook. But the Ego will not survive, neither Death nor "Armageddon".

Plus, it is not possible to experience "flow", "Eucharist", "Satori", "Wu Wei" etc. when in an egomanic mindset. So, no Whitsun miracle for modern-day-society. Of course I will continue using the internet, for an Ego is a part of one´s personality, and it needs its right in itself. But I am aware that the Ego will not last. Reality is far more complicated than sharing a turd on facebook. But since reality is destroyed, we get ever deeper
into what I´d like to call the "Babel tower" - conflict, for we get at an ever greater distance from reality. Reality is the place where we can get to agnize the "Holy Spirit". And no, the internet is not responsible for "Armageddon". We are.

We are responsible. But there is something we could do: We could at least try to start with ourselves, and we can always hope, and we can love. At least we can try. 

Freitag, 11. November 2016

Magical sorcery steel and the forest´s art of war

 Just to give you an inkling why I love working with steel I found in the woods. Yeah, of course, you never know what you get... but this strengthens your slumbering spirit (your intuition, if you so will). And I keep finding steel, and I find steel with ever better capabilities these days.. it is as if I called the name of iron, and iron answered.
The tanto above I forged from a similar lump of steel like the one below. You can see a pattern in it. It does not show in the blade, because it seems to be stainless steel.

Yeah, you never know what you get. On one hand, you can look at it the commonly accepted way. It is steel foraging, plain and simple. Any tribal knifemaker loves this, going about and making something beautiful from crap.

But there is more to it. As many of us I started by foraging for spring steel and files, and just like many of us I dreamt of the magical sword in the stone as a kid. I made some knives from spring and file steel I found in the woods or by the highway´s bank. I collected every piece of scrap iron and steel I could find and made something of it, sometimes of dubious value, but sometimes it even exceeded my expectations.

In foraging for steel there are a lot of rational considerations involved. Where could someone dispose of steel, where would that someone do this and when, and why. You look for old dumpster sites in the woods and always have one eye open for provisions you could use, be it wood or steel or bone or antler. At first, the hunt is just to get some stuff to make something. But if you are honest, you could get to a dump and get some steel for cheapo. Then why do you go to the lengths to walk the woods on end or by the roadside or over waste areas? Why is it you look for provisions at unlikely places? You might say, it´s the hunt involved. We all are hunters and gatherers, and sometimes the heritage still shows, and often I find myself treading in stealth, all tension, as if I would stalk an animal, when I come across a forgotten farmer´s dumpster site in the woods. Why is that? The steel quite certainly will not run away... and it´s a bit short-sighted to claim it´s just "the hunt". It is "the hunt", for sure, but what is it? What is "the hunt"?

In Kalevala, iron is personified in the Ninth rune:

"Know I well the source of metals,
Know the origin of iron;
f can tell bow steel is fashioned.
Of the mothers air is oldest,
Water is the oldest brother,
And the fire is second brother,
And the youngest brother, iron;
Ukko is the first creator.
Ukko, maker of the heavens,
Cut apart the air and water,
Ere was born the metal, iron.
Ukko, maker of the heavens,
Firmly rubbed his hands together,
Firmly pressed them on his knee-cap,
Then arose three lovely maidens,
Three most beautiful of daughters;
These were mothers of the iron,
And of steel of bright-blue color.
Tremblingly they walked the heavens,
Walked the clouds with silver linings,
With their bosoms overflowing
With the milk of future iron,
Flowing on and flowing ever,
From the bright rims of the cloudlets
To the earth, the valleys filling,
To the slumber-calling waters.
"Ukko's eldest daughter sprinkled
Black milk over river channels
And the second daughter sprinkled
White milk over hills and mountains,
While the youngest daughter sprinkled
Red milk over seas and oceans.
Whero the black milk had been sprinked,
Grew the dark and ductile iron;
Where the white milk had been sprinkled.
Grew the iron, lighter-colored;
Where the red milk had been sprinkled,
Grew the red and brittle iron.
"After Time had gone a distance,
Iron hastened Fire to visit,
His beloved elder brother,
Thus to know his brother better.
Straightway Fire began his roarings,
Labored to consume his brother,
His beloved younger brother.
Straightway Iron sees his danger,
Saves himself by fleetly fleeing,
From the fiery flame's advances,
Fleeing hither, fleeing thither,
Fleeing still and taking shelter
In the swamps and in the valleys,
In the springs that loudly bubble,
By the rivers winding seaward,
On the broad backs of the marshes,
Where the swans their nests have builded,
Where the wild geese hatch their goslings.
"Thus is iron in the swamp-lands,
Stretching by the water-courses,
Hidden well for many ages,
Hidden in the birchen forests,
But he could not hide forever
From the searchings of his brother;
Here and there the fire has caught him,
Caught and brought him to his furnace,
That the spears, and swords, and axes,
Might be forged and duly hammered.
In the swamps ran blackened waters,
From the heath the bears came ambling,
And the wolves ran through the marshes.
Iron then made his appearance,
Where the feet of wolves had trodden,
Where the paws of bears had trampled.
"Then the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Came to earth to work the metal;
He was born upon the Coal-mount,
Skilled and nurtured in the coal-fields;
In one hand, a copper hammer,
In the other, tongs of iron;
In the night was born the blacksmith,
In the morn he built his smithy,
Sought with care a favored hillock,
Where the winds might fill his bellows;
Found a hillock in the swamp-lands,
Where the iron hid abundant;
There he built his smelting furnace,
There he laid his leathern bellows,
Hastened where the wolves had travelled,
Followed where the bears had trampled,
Found the iron's young formations,
In the wolf-tracks of the marshes,
In the foot-prints of the gray-bear.
"Then the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
'Thus addressed the sleeping iron:
Thou most useful of the metals,
Thou art sleeping in the marshes,
Thou art hid in low conditions,
Where the wolf treads in the swamp-lands,
Where the bear sleeps in the thickets.
Hast thou thought and well considered,
What would be thy future station,
Should I place thee in the furnace,
Thus to make thee free and useful?'
"Then was Iron sorely frightened,
Much distressed and filled with horror,
When of Fire he heard the mention,
Mention of his fell destroyer.
"Then again speaks Ilmarinen,
Thus the smith addresses Iron:
'Be not frightened, useful metal,
Surely Fire will not consume thee,
Will not burn his youngest brother,
Will not harm his nearest kindred.
Come thou to my room and furnace,
Where the fire is freely burning,
Thou wilt live, and grow, and prosper,
Wilt become the swords of heroes,
Buckles for the belts of women.'
"Ere arose the star of evening,
Iron ore had left the marshes,
From the water-beds had risen,
Had been carried to the furnace,
In the fire the smith had laid it,
Laid it in his smelting furnace.
Ilmarinen starts the bellows,
Gives three motions of the handle,
And the iron flows in streamlets
From the forge of the magician,
Soon becomes like baker's leaven,
Soft as dough for bread of barley.
Then out-screamed the metal, Iron:
'Wondrous blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Take, O take me from thy furnace,
From this fire and cruel torture.'
"Ilmarinen thus made answer:
'I will take thee from my furnace,
'Thou art but a little frightened,
Thou shalt be a mighty power,
Thou shalt slay the best of heroes,
Thou shalt wound thy dearest brother.'
"Straightway Iron made this promise,
Vowed and swore in strongest accents,
By the furnace, by the anvil,
By the tongs, and by the hammer,
These the words he vowed and uttered:
'Many trees that I shall injure,
Shall devour the hearts of mountains,
Shall not slay my nearest kindred,
Shall not kill the best of heroes,
Shall not wound my dearest brother;
Better live in civil freedom,
Happier would be my life-time,
Should I serve my fellow-beings,
Serve as tools for their convenience,
Than as implements of warfare,
Slay my friends and nearest. kindred,
Wound the children of my mother.'
"Now the master, Ilmarinen,
The renowned and skilful blacksmith,
From the fire removes the iron,
Places it upon the anvil,
Hammers well until it softens,
Hammers many fine utensils,
Hammers spears, and swords, and axes,
Hammers knives, and forks, and hatchets,
Hammers tools of all descriptions.
"Many things the blacksmith needed,
Many things he could not fashion,
Could not make the tongue of iron,
Could not hammer steel from iron,
Could not make the iron harden.
Well considered Ilmarinen,
Deeply thought and long reflected.
Then he gathered birchen ashes,
Steeped the ashes in the water,
Made a lye to harden iron,
Thus to form the steel most needful.
With his tongue he tests the mixture,
Weighs it long and well considers,
And the blacksmith speaks as follows:
'All this labor is for nothing,
Will not fashion steel from iron,
Will not make the soft ore harden.'
"Now a bee flies from the meadow,
Blue-wing coming from the flowers,
Flies about, then safely settles
Near the furnace of the smithy.
"'Thus the smith the bee addresses,
These the words of Ilmarinen:
'Little bee, thou tiny birdling,
Bring me honey on thy winglets,
On thy tongue, I pray thee, bring me
Sweetness from the fragrant meadows,
From the little cups of flowers,
From the tips of seven petals,
That we thus may aid the water
To produce the steel from iron.'
"Evil Hisi's bird, the hornet,
Heard these words of Ilmarinen,
Looking from the cottage gable,
Flying to the bark of birch-trees,
While the iron bars were heating
While the steel was being tempered;
Swiftly flew the stinging hornet,
Scattered all the Hisi horrors,
Brought the blessing of the serpent,
Brought the venom of the adder,
Brought the poison of the spider,
Brought the stings of all the insects,
Mixed them with the ore and water,
While the steel was being, tempered.
"Ilmarinen, skilful blacksmith,
First of all the iron-workers,
Thought the bee had surely brought him
Honey from the fragrant meadows,
From the little cups of flowers,
From the tips of seven petals,
And he spake the words that follow:
'Welcome, welcome, is thy coming,
Honeyed sweetness from the flowers
Thou hast brought to aid the water,
Thus to form the steel from iron!'
"Ilmarinen, ancient blacksmith,
Dipped the iron into water,
Water mixed with many poisons,
Thought it but the wild bee's honey;
Thus he formed the steel from iron.
When he plunged it into water,
Water mixed with many poisons,
When be placed it in the furnace,
Angry grew the hardened iron,
Broke the vow that he had taken,
Ate his words like dogs and devils,
Mercilessly cut his brother,
Madly raged against his kindred,
Caused the blood to flow in streamlets
From the wounds of man and hero.
This, the origin of iron,
And of steel of light blue color." (Quote from:

Now I am not saying that I will want to personify iron in that manner, but something strange remains about that ubiquitous "hunt". Something strange remains about iron and steel. Most every blacksmith worth his hammer knows this, and, most being not mythologically educated, however utter similar words along the lines.

Now in a recent post I have stated that there is a forest´s art of war, and while this was meant poetically, something strange remains about this. Most martial arts were conceived by observing the natural aggression of animals and abstracting their defensive or offensive movements into canonized movements of the art. I actually believe there is an underlying structure to everything. Developing a martial art is not made by simply inventing, but abstracting a principle from observations. Old cultures like the Japanese, the Chinese and even the Finno - Ugric, Baltic, Slavic, African and Celtic/Germanic cultures seemed to be aware of this. I postulate that the ancient Celtic culture, for instance included abstraction in most every aspect of their culture, to an extent that they were said to talk almost exclusively in riddles. Celtic coins show a dissociation of the outer figure into what I would like to call principles. Alchemy in Middle Europe was based on the extraction of principles, and both homoeopathy and even scholar medicine rely on the abstraction of principles.

Now it is almost a commonplace to talk of "flow experiences in forest environments" (e.g. Valerie E. Nichols: Quiet time, Wollongong 2008) these days. Flow as a transcendental experience bears a lot of similarity to "Wu Wei", "Eucharist" and other spiritual states of mind (quote from Wikipedia, just for the sake to illustrate that this is almost commonplace: Flow has been recognized throughout history and across cultures. The teachings of Buddhism and of Taoism speak of a state of mind known as the "action of inaction" or "doing without doing" (wu wei in Taoism) that greatly resembles the idea of flow. Also, Hindu texts on Advaita philosophy such as Ashtavakra Gita and the Yoga of Knowledge such as Bhagavad-Gita refer to a similar state.

Flow can be induced by paying constant attention with diminished self-consciousness. I experience flow when "questing" for steel in the woods. The funny thing is that I have the impression, that the deeper I get into "flow" (or whatever you want to call it), the stranger the steel gets that I find.

I found steel that hardened to roundabout 60°HRC while offering so much  ductility that you could not punch through, because the hot punch just drew out the material as with chewing gum, while you could carve the edge with a knife of 57°HRC while it chopped through brass, mild steel and deer antler without denting. I found stainless crucible steel or high speed cutting steel that showed a crucible pattern, and I found these steel chunks in most unlikely places. I found all of these while deeply engaged in a flow state of mind.

And in this state of mind it is that you can start to feel the forest´s art of war. It is absolutely terrifying, at least at first, and utterly inhumane.

"Thither were hastening grasses and trees. 42
Wayfarers perceive them, 43
Warriors are astonished 44
At a renewal of the conflicts 45
Such as Gwydion made. 46
Through charms and magic skill, 52
Assume the forms of the principal trees, 53
With you in array 54
Restrain the people 55
Inexperienced in battle. 56
When the trees were enchanted 57
There was hope for the trees, 58
That they should frustrate the intention 59
Of the surrounding fires.... 60 " (, translation by Robert Graves)"

Even the words of Taliesin do not do this phenomenon justice. The description of a rose can never live up to the subsemantic reality of itself. All art feeds on this dilemma. And it´s not about the poem, although I personally feel it can be only described properly by neurology, psychology, arts, or poetry.

This art of war does not centre around human perceptions such as fear, hate or lust. It is devoid of any feelings, not even of inhumane patience. Death and life are absolutely unimportant. Imagine a rock crushed by the root of a tree. The rock does not feel, and the tree does not crush it out of hate, fear, vanity, greed or lust. It cannot be described properly.

But the steel I keep finding comes from the same darkness, from the same violent twilight. It is fitting to make a blade from it. The moon is reflected by the sword´s blade, but so is the sun and the fire. The blade itself is not affected by it. There might be a saying that the blade itself incites to deeds of violence; but nothing is further from the truth. For the blade needs a hand that holds it in the first place. Steel does not hurt anyone by itself. It needs man as a catalytic to perform deeds of violence, it needs hammer, tongs, fire and tempering, and water.

So does the forest´s art of war. You can only find it if you live the forest and allow it to change your very nature, to "unbecome human". Only then you can understand, only when you give up your self-consciousness in favour of a very strange and different state of mind, namely deep flow or Wu Wei or Satori, Eucharist or whatever you want to call it. Giving up on being human means those words do not matter any more. To live or die means nothing, but you will experience a state of living that is utterly different to everything that you thought or premised. The art of finding the secret of steel can be taught only by one master: Steel itself. To wield the steel in this context can only be taught by the forest itself.

I want you to understand that I am trying to study this art, and in no way can I be a master. No human can. But the steel I find gets ever more complex, and my body and mind sometimes have the "feeling" they have to exercise certain movements, that are strange but effective. I want you to know that I in no way encourage you to try this at home. There are times when I fear it drives me mad.

But on the other hand, there will be a war coming unlike any other, and it will be not only a war against certain nations, but a war between the subspecies of mankind.

I will use absolutely everything I can to stay alive and free from oppression and violence. Of course I feel helpless, but I trust in traces barely intelligible, left as an imprint on creation. I trust in the spirit and the first cause of creation, name it as you like. I honour my ancestors, I honour steel and fire, and the forest, and spirit and sprite and the names of all gods on earth and in the void. Call them by your own names, name them Devas or Angels or Holy ones or what not. Names do not matter. But there is something waiting on my path. As I said countless times... call it as you like, it will never be like you call it.

The wise man´s fear and the black shadow of the moon - a skóggángr man´s stance

Now many of you readers expect me to take a stand towards what happened in the political scene worldwide. But you must be mad, and I won´t put my finger into the mincer. No one can take any other stand than wait and be prepared for the very worst. What becomes increasingly obvious to me personally is that war will be inevitable. Not because of one or the other dark lord madman rising. Not because of a balance of terror and counterterror.

I had to learn only but recently that there is something far more terrifying going on.

It has been coming a while: Working for one or the other club means you get involved into discussions. It only occurred to me when Ron from Home is where the Hearth is blog pointed out that he made the same observation, that there is something wrong. In those discussions, no one actually talked to each other, just as Ron pointed out, too. He put it that way:
"It isn't that I have nothing more to say; I am actually a bit behind. No, it is more like the motivation to say things has kind of left me. What's the use?
I see and hear many so-called discussions all around me and I do get involved in quite a few myself, but there is no discussion. People take a stance or have a view and they do not discuss that. No, they force that upon you. Their view is right and you have to be converted to see it their way. Having a different opinion makes you a heretic, an infidel. Maybe even a threat? Listening to each other's arguments seems like an old fashioned etiquette. Furthermore it is no longer in fashion to actually back up one's opinion by facts or arguments. Mere feeling or believing something is enough to revert to step one; conversion. And if someone can not be converted, they you just shout them down, point with a finger and call them names. You're either with them or against them.
So I'll back away from doing that for a while....." (

I do not have anything else to add to this. Now personally I am well aware that it might not be exactly easy to listen to my arguments in a discussion. What´s most grave and an actual mistake is that I sometimes have it back-to-front, if you get my meaning. I am working on this.

The next thing is that I have a lot to say. I personally think that if you take a stand, you have to give the listener the information he needs not only to understand the basics, but also how you came to this conclusion, the process of your getting to this stand, to offer him the possibility to point out potential logical mistakes, so that you can get to a syn-thesis. This technique of critical discussion was attained in arduous academical training and I will quite certainly not work on it nor part with it. But, recently I had a discussion in a group where they constantly were urging and pushing me to "get to the point". Some of this was due to a mistake on my part (getting it back to front), but most of it was due to their impatience. They did want a stance to shout down. In fact, they were forcing speechturns not only upon myself, but also on themselves. Since I was in a leading position, they said they wanted orders, not discussion. Since I did not succeed in convincing them, I finally gave in and gave non-compromised orders. Then, like a pack of wolves, they tried to undermine my authorities by biting and growling. Now I am not to be growled or snapped at, so I now have to use force. I regret this.

A recent study by Microsoft corporation pointed out that gold fish nowadays have a longer attention span than most humans, no joke. This seems to be due to the digital lifestyle, where attention is a commercial good, and has to be divided amongst the competitors on the market. So most people are simply incapable of processing information one-by-one. The teleological capacity of semantics is diminished or better, organized more selectively. I do not use digital media other than at work or for this blog and one forum. I read my E-Mails once, maybe twice a week, I do not have a smartphone, tablet, nor TV and seldom listen to the radio. My crafts require a sometimes very long attention span, e.g. when forgewelding. So I might not be better than average Joe, but I differ. I daresay someone like Ron differs, too.

But we are not average Joe, so to say. Society is made by and from average Joe gold fish, and they are the ones who make the rules. They are far more capable of using social media and modern implements than me. What is dangerous, however, is that they can but process information at first glance. So they need a stance and have but a doctrine to live by, and thus base their decisions upon logical mistakes, for, philosophically speaking, a doctrine technically IS a construction of logical flaws.

The change in the human mind was inflicted due to the influence of e-commerce and advertising. Most any social media are run by corporations. Most any human being in Western society is dominated by social media. Governments rely on social media. The use of social media in itself is neither good nor bad, but inflicts changes upon human neurology and thusly, the human species. The internet and therefore social media are virtual reality, and thusly a reality that is existent only virtualiter, "by its virtues", i.e. potentially or implied. People who use social media excessively lose the capability to process information in a way that makes a dedicated concentration on one task for longer than five seconds, and often lose a sense of reality.

Let me give you an example. There is a group of blackmiths or people with an affinity to crafts gathering at an ironforge. The ironforge is half ruin, i.e. the roof went in. One part of the smithy still stands, but the remaining roof beams are standing out nearly unsupported. You do not need to be a carpenter to tell that an excessive load of snow will bring the rest of the roof down in no time. In the remaining part of the smithy those hobby craftsmen and - women practice their forging. They like it and for many of them it has become a good balance for their everyday lives, and essential part of their weekly wellbeing routines. Now there is a call to put three dead shore support pistons on. There are roundabout ten people actively forging. Putting those pistons on would require turning nine screws while working on a construction platform, round about half an hour work. Keeping in mind we are possibly faced with a real winter with some snow loads to be expected, one can safely postulate that, provided this is the case, the roof will come in furthermore and thusly make forging on site impossible. For roundabout one year these men and women are stating they were not obliged (by law) to do this. And, in case you ask, I am afraid of heights, but I will have to be the one who does it. But this is not about ranting and whining about how unfair this is, but to illustrate how reality loss works. I should say it is paired with a loss of imagination. It just seems impossible for them to make the connection between their actions and the effect thereof, which is a commonplace, for most of them find blacksmithing that "relaxing" because of the actual nature of the work, and it balances their otherwise not very concrete lifestyle out. In their everyday working lives, they normally are not capable of seeing the effects of their work. In blacksmithing they can come home with a project they actually finished and had control over from start to finish.

Now let us return to global. Keeping in mind people tend to have the attention span of a gold fish, they are nor prone to gathering information and discussing their stances. They want simple answers and simple solutions. But life, and especially human society, can never be that linear. But since most humans in western civilisation are not accustomed to seeing the effects of their behaviour, well, take effect, they simply do not care. Not out of indifference, but because they lack the cognitive potential to do so. In fact, according to the requirements of reality, not virtual reality, and along the lines of traditional psychopathology, they could be called psychologically impaired persons. But they pose the majority, so the norm is defined by them. You cannot possibly convince them, and you cannot heal them, for they would not accept the need to do so in the first place. You would be the one deviating from the norm, and the sorry truth is, there is no chance of stopping this development. They are about to become an altogether different species, and another sorry truth is, we forest people are about to go the way of the Neanderthals.

I have always thought violence was not an option. Violence will only lead to more violence, and in the case of contemporary history, can easily lead to the extinction of the entire human species. Violence is natural, but it is more of a natural catastrophe than an option to solve problems. It solves nothing, but happens. Violence could be dismissed, if discussion is an option. Now keeping in mind that discussion can be rarely possible these days and the majority of western civilisation has the attention span of a gold fish and thusly is cognition-impaired, those individuals are just discussing on the basis of doctrine. Since doctrine in itself is a logical flaw, and doctrine will ultimately become the foundation of society, this society is wrong, but strong, and will use violence and oppression to pursue its goals, not caring a shit about the fact that it lacks essential information.

Patrick Rothfuss in "The wise man´s fear", an author that is far more to me than just another fantasy novelist, states that there are three things the wise man fears:

-the sea at storm,
-the wrath of a gentle man
-the moonless night.

I have seen the sea at storm, on a ravaged seashore by the Northern sea.

I despise violence.

I tread paths at moonlight other fear walking in daylight.

I have to postulate that people using social media and virtual reality excessively and making up the rules of society are therefore responsible for the current global situation, not personally, of course. They are evolving into a different species. In itself this is neither good nor bad, but just a fact. I postulate there are the following aspects involved:

-loss of cognitive capacities in favour of a more selective procession of information and increase of the speed of information processing
-loss of corporeal capacities, overweight, degeneration of the skeleton and muscle in favour of an increased ability to coordinate external devices

Any evolution process is accompagnied with a strife to prove the biological superiority of the species. The inevitable war that will come up soon will also inevitably bear the stamp of that process.

I do not belong to the species of "digital man", at least not completely. I refuse to be killed, abused, enslaved or oppressed, out of principle, and this is MY doctrine.

I still hope that violence is still avoidable.

At the moment, all this put together with "interhuman quarrels" in my closest periphery, which I hinted of, I am not in the best of moods, so to say. But whining is not an option and will not change anything. After all, nothing has happened yet that would require putting up a fight. It is easy to forget that even if one or the other dark lord threatens the world with nuclear arms, if you get into a familiar forest, the trees are still the same. Slowly, deliberately, life runs through their stem and branches, and while they lose their leaves and "winter cometh", that is nothing of surprise. And even on the disaster site of Tschernobyl, nature is taking over. It is changed forever, but it still grows and prospers in spite of the radiation that still can kill a man. This gives me hope. For even the process of the diversion that the human species is faced with to date is natural. It makes sense.

Into a familiar forest I went, rich with the scent of resin, and the sun was shining, not that warm any more. Of course, I am not the same any more. And yet I walk there, unchanged.

I have seen the sea at storm, I have seen mighty oaks uprooted. I have seen death, and I have seen life.

And I feel the mycelium under my feet, and I see tentacles sprouting up from the dark, entangled, entwined, reaching up towards the life - force of the oak. The oak still prospers, and its roots reach deep down into the dark in their own right, interwined, entangled with the mycelium, the mysterium that weaves in the darkness.

I the oaken grove a golden twilight shines. The sun was out, as was before, and yet the light you see is never the same and older than the world, and at the same time always new and young.

Along forgotten roads I travel. I travel with my feet, and I travel with my mind. I do not fear the black shadow of the moon or the dream road through a wood of steel. I do not fear the gates unlocked. I am the moon-in-the-water and the flame mirrored on the sword´s blade. I am the hard bulging spear in my own right; my spine is the spine of the roaring dragon. I unbecome human on my stealthy stride; and I will stride unfathomed even if I will fall.

The trees told me a secret that cannot be shared, for human speech knows no words for it; the trees told me an art of war that cannot be taught.

I am the violent twilight. I am the black shadow of the moon. I am the flight of the owl and the fox on its prowl; I am the wolf unleashed.

In a world that unbecomes human, I make a solemn decision. I unbecome human by my own will. By the power of the trees, by root and mycelium, by will and not-will, by the Awen and the Holy Wind, and by the name of the unfathomable, the first cause on high, I will take up the weapons granted:

I will take up the crystal bow and the sword of lightning upon my brow; I will take the dark spear that flies above the hosts, slurry and honey on its two edges. I will take the Ati - gaiza of a satirist, slashing and stabbing and piercing arrow and the hewing treasure of the Giant´s hoard.

And forging I will do: I will forge the chain of strength to guard my loins. I will forge the silver mask to inflict terror upon their hearts. I will sew a cloak of shadows and a knife of darkness. I will haft arrows with tips from the seeds of moonbeams.

Violence was not an option, but the forest is not violent. From the depths of its roots there rises a secret art of war, an art so secret that it cannot be fathomed by human beings. It is not even a martial art. It is no art, and it is not martial. If you can feel it, you will understand. But you will never be able to put it into words, not even under torture. And if you would be able to understand, you would not be entirely human anymore. It is hard to describe. You CAN feel it, underneath the deep peace and solace. But to even be able to try to feel it, you would have to be able to listen, and listen intently for hours on end.

And the root crushes rock. And the owl claws at the heart of its prey. And the fox kills out of lust. And the bear rages. Swiftly through the rustling grass blades moves the viper, venomous and deadly. The wolf is howling on the hunt.

And doom will come upon them. Inevitably. And no one will be responsible but they themselves. No one is doing, and no one does.

Just the root that crushes rock.

Listen. Listen intently. Listen intently for hours on end, until no one is left to listen. Listen to the stream running through the woods, foaming. Listen to the frost biting at the trees. Listen to life and death. Listen to the bristles of light and the black shadow of the moon.

Listen, and the gate will open. Listen, and you will unbecome human.

Donnerstag, 3. November 2016

Tiny but mean ;-)

 This is a knife after one I made for a friend of mine long time ago. She had been nearly raped one time and was obviously fearful of all the dark places in our oh so beautiful city and wanted a tiny knife to trim her fingernails ;-). It was one of the few occasions I made a knife for something other than eating smoked sausage);-)>, so to say.  Now it turned out I liked the knife very much (because it´s also a really cool little task knife or even for eating smoked sausage, not just raw ones... ;-), but always lacked the resolve to make another. Now, with a lot more experience, it was a right cinch to make. It was a leftover piece of metal, in fact. Spring steel, the blade is just over 5 cm long. I could fit on scales, and I am currently thinking about it, but it handles well enough as is.
 As you can see, it has a selective temper. The spine tapers severely to a pointypointy point.
The knife works exceptionally well when doing basketweaving or leather braiding. I am, as you well know, always fond of experimenting with knife designs and physics. I am currently thinking about making another one in a bigger layout... we´ll see!

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