In the article entitled Fénidecht I explain that the fiana are part of an Indo-European cultural phenomenon that have been associated with wolves and werewolves, also called ‘wolf warriors’ (McCone, Werewolves, Cyclopes, Diberga, and Fianna: Juvenile Delinquency in Early Ireland, 1986, p. 16). If you do a search for other examples of this institution you will find warrior hunter gods to which these groups were associated, but not for the fiana. This could be due to the fact the Irish had an oral tradition, and stories of their gods did not start to get written down until the 5th century by Christian scribes who altered and hid the mythologies while other Indo European people were writing down their stories or would be writing them down before Christianity could fully take hold of the culture. It could be that the Irish did not have a deity associated with the wolf warriors, but that is unlikely given that hunting and warrior bands were a core part of Irish culture and other Indo European (IE) cultures have stories of such gods. No, I suspect the truth is that the Irish god of the ‘wolf warriors’, the hunt, and wild places is the well-known deity turned hero, Finn mac Cumall.
Most of these can be found on this blog dating back 4 years. I am consolidating and re-sharing them now to kick-start the year with something on topic.
Warrior, hunter, poet, seer, outsider, I am what is feared by the ‘things that go bump in the night.’ With truth in my heart, strength of my arms, and constancy of my tongue, I walk the boundary between worlds and stand at the borders guarding against the unknown. Armed against those who wish to harm; I am the wolf, I am the prey, I am the wild hunt. I am a guardian between the realms, a wild beast in the wood, a féinnid defending my people.
Pre training devotional
As I prepare my mind, body and spirit for the stresses of combat I call on Scáthach, teacher of Cuchulain to guide me.
I offer the pain to be felt, sweat to be dropped and blood to be spilt to you as my sacrifice in payment for your guidance.
A Processional Prayer– Written for use at Public events in which I remained outside of the ritual.
Finn, Chieftain of the Fiana hear our call.
For we stand at the boundary between Order and Chaos, the civilized and the wild.
As the tribe gathers we come to observe and protect.
We shall fear no man, nor beast, and nor spirit.
We shall challenge any who come to do the people ill.
Gods and ungods of the people, know that we are here and we are allies.
With spear and shield we will protect the people, aid the people and sacrifice ourselves for the people.
We stand at the boundary between Order and Chaos, the civilized and the wild.
Warning and offering to the undesired. – When I was working on my initial ADF rituals I was prepared to include a section for the Outsiders, I took the aggressive approach.
Spirits of ill intent, dare not approach for I will bar your way.
Unwanted guests, I am steeled against you and will bar your way.
Dare not approach and an offering will be made.
Accept this bargain and peace there shall be.
If you enjoy reading my musings and writing, please share my blog on your social media outlets – John
As part of the prepping exercise in 2014, I built myself a “get-home-bag” to keep in my car in case something occurred while I was at away from home that required me to either shelter in my car for a period of time, or hike home. No part of this planning included bugging out of the area so the resulting pack was small. In the past two years I have reviewed backpacking blogs and site, mapped out my various routes home, and had some experiences that have changed my perceptions. While my initial attempt was solid for what I knew, I see the pack now as wishful thinking and probably would not have helped me as much as I would hope.
Back in 2014 I completed an exercise in preparedness and created a Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag and then shared my results. Since then I have taken the bag with me whenever I have gone on over-night travel more than 60 miles from home. In doing so I realized the bag I chose was a poor choice, that I didn’t have any idea how to pack such a bag, and that I may not have made the best choice in the items I chose to pack. So I took to the web and read what the experts had to say; not preppers but recreational backpackers. The folks who know how to pack, hike, and survive for 5+ days in the bush. What I learned forced me to make some changes, and now I share what I have learned with you.
Normally I would spend days and sometimes weeks working on a post so that I can cite all the material needed to convey my point. Today, I am going to write off the cuff and with few references on a topic that I believe should be obvious. Our warriors are coming home stained with the horrors and pain they have witnessed, with little in the way of transitioning from war to peace. This is not how it should be, this is not how it was with our ancestors, and we need to bring back those rituals and social constructs that allow for warriors to truly come home.
The idea that our returning warriors need some sort of ‘home coming’ to help them deal with they have seen is not new, yet our society has totally neglected this aspect of the warriors life. In the article “The Hidden Imbolc” PSV Lupus posits that Imbolc may have been a time when warriors were ritually cleansed and returned to society. Kim McCone presents a theory that the Gundestrop Cauldron depicts such a ritual using Gallic and Thracian imagery in his article “The Celtic and Indo-European origins of the fian” found in The Gaelic Finn Tradition which I summarize in “Synopsis of Kim McCone’s and J. de Vries’ Theory on the Gundestrup Cauldron“. Edward Tick, a leading expert on post conflict treatment of soldiers, has researched and published a book citing instances of how ancient societies may have dealt with issues faced by warriors returning to normal society in the book Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War.
A conversation online produced the idea that being involved in war stains ones soul, and that we need to go through some sort of process to remove the stain. In the hagiographies of Saint Brigid she used milk to remove the “diabolical signs” from the díberga (outlaw warriors) cleansing them and allowing them to return to normal society. So while the mental health community needs to take the lead on the various mental health issues, our religious communities should consider the spiritual harm done by being involved in or even witnessing the horrors of war.
But we can’t limit ourselves to only those who have seen combat. Despite the negative opinions some folks in the ‘warrior’ community have towards military personnel, the reality is everyone who has undergone indoctrination into the life of the professional soldier, has taken on the burden of the outlaw and has some degree of the ‘stain’ upon them. This calls for us to reconstruct the rituals of re-introducing our warriors to normal society and cleansing them of the ‘stain’. We need to do this at the community level, not as individuals. It takes a community to accept the warrior back and provide the support needed to return to society.
I have written articles, and lead presentations on this topic but now I am putting out a challenge. I challenge every community, every faith, every church, to develop some sort of “Warrior Return” ritual, cleansing, class, whatever you want to call it. Something that will aid the warrior spiritually in coming home and aiding them in removing whatever spiritual stains they may have acquired serving in the defense of our communities. It is the least we can do for them.
A year ago I was injured during Krav Maga. They call it tendinopthy but most people just call it ‘tennis elbow’, it was coupled with an actual tear in the tendon. This resulted in pain and constant demotivation to do anything. Even Zombies, Run! lost its shine.
I went to the doctor immediately after it happened but she didn’t make a diagnosis nor did she send me referrals. She just said take some Motrin and let her know if it gets worse. So I changed doctors. By March I saw my new doctor and she immediately refereed me to an orthopedic doc and sent me for an MRI. The ortho doc made the diagnosis and sent me to an occupational therapist with a hand and arm specialty. Best thing ever.
Now a year later my elbow is fully healed and I know stretches to keep it from happening again. The problem is, I have done nothing to maintain my weight loss in that year and am back up to about 10 pounds under where I started, but 15 higher than where I was when I got injured. Even with running, it is too infrequent for weight loss, even though I am consistently hitting 5k in 45 minutes…nothing impressive mind you but better than last year.
The point of this brief post is to tell everyone that you can’t allow injury to reverse everything you have worked to accomplish. I grant you that there are instances in which you simply can’t do anything but if you can move, you can exercise SOMETHING. What could I have done with a busted elbow? I could have run more and done just about anything with the core.
Today – I started over. Did some cardio, some core, and the heavy bag. After 30 minutes I walked away with wobbly legs and a sore shoulder. But it felt good to be doing something again. Now to get back to my Krav Maga classes.
Don’t be a fool like me. Don’t give up.
It’s a normal day at work when disaster strikes. The roads are clogged with cars, no one is moving but everyone is trying to get home or away. You are wearing a suit, dress shoes and stuck 45 miles from your home with no way to get back to your family. Except, that’s not true. You are capable of walking, you know the route and you have maps…and you have a pack with all the supplies you need for three days on the road. You can get home. Welcome to part three of my undead rising survival posts.
In a compartment in your car you should have everything you need to get from your work to your home as quickly and safely as possible even without a vehicle. I have seen this kit call a ‘get home bag’ and since I actually do wear dress-shoes and a tie and work 52 driving miles and across two rivers from my home I have put one together.
I started with a smallish military pack with lots of places for straps and several pockets. It is much smaller than the Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag as it will only contain what I need to get home over a two day hike. To this I added the same 2-day disaster kit used in the Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag, called the Lifeline 1 Person 48 Hour Essentials. I chose this kit because it is a self-contained unit with 8 drinking water pouches, 2400 calorie food bar, a poncho, a space blanket and a few other items that may come in handy. Knowing it is not enough water for the 4-5 day hike i have added a LifeStraw and a canteen.
Survival over the four days assured, now I need to get home and wearing a suit and dress shoes is not going to cut it. So I will be changing into an old pair of sneakers, jeans, and a cap that are stored with the pack. I chose an older pair of sneakers that are still in great shape because I know I can walk long distances in them without harm to my feet. Do not buy a new pair of shoes for this, as they may cause you more harm as you break them in. The jeans are just any pair of jeans I store in my car with my equipment for just such a situation. In the pack you should also have at least four pairs of socks and underwear so you can change them daily on the way home. This is not only for comfort but the new socks will help keep your feet healthy.
Attached to the pack is a US Army Patrol Bag in a waterproof stuff sack. After-all you are going to take a few days to hike 45 miles so you need to be prepared to sleep someplace. Be sure to look for shelter that is unoccupied and allows for easy escape should you have to get out quickly. The sleeping bag is rated down to 30 degrees so coupled with the space blanket, so long as you stay dry, you will stay warm.
Other necessities I threw into this pack are an LED flashlight with batteries, a Swiss army knife with a locking blade and can opener, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste and a first aid kit. Hygiene is often not something regular people think about when planning for a disaster, but hygiene not only makes us feel better but keeps us healthy. Feeling clean and healthy on our trek will help us stay focused on the task at hand; getting home to our families.
This pack is truly just the basics, you can include any number of items to make the journey more comfortable or safer. You should customize the pack based on the areas you have to traverse as well, some places are safer than others and some have better options for shelters than others. You have to decide what you are willing to carry, use, and store in your car for long periods of time. All in the hope you never have to use any of it.
* There is also a pre-made pack that meets most of the needs given above from Lifeline if you don’t want to put the kit together yourself.
Ready – http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
FEMA – http://www.fema.gov/media-library/resources-documents/collections/344
What follows is a checklist for putting this kit together.
(1) Water filtration straw/system
I started this series with the unlikely, for me, event of having to quickly evacuate my home and head onto the wilds of the Appalachian mountains. Since I do not expect to have to flee from zeds, reds, or feds putting the Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag together is mainly just an exercise in preparedness. It is far more likely that an event will occur that will require me to go without electricity or running water for an extended period of time, such as what occurred after hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
Given such an event if you are even minimally prepared and the conditions remain safe, you can remain home for as long as you have the supplies. Minimal preparation means different things for different people. For purposes of this blog minimal preparation means you have a equipment and supplies to remain in your home without electricity, running water or gas for at least three weeks though my family’s plan keeps us in place for up to three months.
By being at your home one of the three main necessitates is already covered – shelter. However, you should probably secure your shelter from invasion by boarding up lower windows and making your presence visible in some way. This will help deter looters who may take advantage of the situation if you happen to live in a more urban environment. If you live in a more rural area this is less of an issue. You should also pull out your Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag as their are some items in there that you can use in this situation.
The government states that you need at least 1 gallon of water per day per person for drinking and sanitation. So you will need to ensure you have a regular water supply, whether it is the city water that is still functional or a creek/river that has not flooded. Without a water supply you can not stay in your home for an extended period of time. If you pre-plan you can store jugs of water for up to 6 months, so if you have the space store as much water as you want. To augment whatever you have stored you can get a special emergency drinking water storage tub liner that can hold up to 100 gallons. Due to the way our water system works, unless the main near you home has broken you will have time during and shortly after the disaster to fill your tub liner. If you do live near a creek having a water filtration system (from your Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag) will ensure you have a constant source of water, even without city water functioning. A well will pose a particular problem if you lose electricity, which I will cover a little later. In a pinch you can also drain the pipes and hot water heaters. Never drink water from boilers, radiators, water beds, swimming pools or flooded rivers and streams.
Given a water supply that is reliable and long term, food becomes the problem. To prepare for a long term event you have to store food, even if you have a small farming plot. To properly plan for this you have to already know how long you are willing to stay in your home after a disaster without a functioning grocery store near by. You can augment your stored food by having a farming plot on your property, livestock or even hunting. However, these are unreliable sources so it is best to have at least a minimal supply for stored food. In my plan we have decided that our limit is three months so unless it is spring through early fall we won’t be growing much of our own food. So we have invested in a 4 months supply of specially prepared foods with 25 year shelf life at a cost of about $1500.00. The pre-packaged foods we have chosen allow for a great variety of meals and snacks, are easily augmented with fresh or canned foods and can be eaten without heating, though probably pretty bland. We have also planned for our pets to have a regular food supply of kibble for the same period of time.
|The Thunder Pole|
Sanitation is the next problem one has to confront once your basics are met. If you have a regular water supply you can continue to use your septic or sewage system by using buckets of grey-water or river water to flush the toilets. The best source for toilet flushing water is the water used to clean dishes, clothes and bathing. If you want to be truly prepared for this situation you can invest in a compost toilet that you can bring out and the resulting compost can be used to maintain your gardens. If sewers lines are non-functional and you do not have a composting toilet then your last resort is to dig a pit or use the thunder-pole and ditch methods. If you do go this route place the sanitation pit as far away from living quarters as is safe and away from water sources. Never put toiletry products into your composting toilet or sanitation pits.
Food preparation is something we considered in our plan. Right now we have several methods that can be used during the initial days and weeks of the event. Having done a lot of camping using propane stoves, I can tell you that two large propane tanks to power stoves and grills will last you a few weeks easily. Without propane you will have to resort to cooking over a fire, either a fire pit outside or a fireplace indoors. This means you will need a wood supply, so be sure you have an axe and saw in your shed so you can go out and cut down tree’s. Do not tear down peoples houses, one day people might want or be able to return to their homes.
Always know what is going on in regards to local emergency response. Situational awareness will keep you alive. Pull your radio out of your Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag and be sure to listen to what is going on, you may have to pull out quickly. In the go-bag the example I gave was a multiband emergency radio receiver but you can also opt for a two-way GMRS radio that has built in NOAA, FM/AM and crank charger for the rechargeable batteries. What is important is that you can receive emergency broadcasts.
The next major item in my plan for this break from civilization is a generator. The generator won’t last more than two weeks without a regular source of fuel but it will help make those initial weeks much more comfortable and if you are on a well for you water supply,
that can make a huge difference on whether you stay or leave. I have a 5000 watt unit with a 10 gallon tank that if running at max, will last 12 hours, however we won’t need to run it at max. Another option is to have a dual-fuel unit that runs on natural gas and gasoline which would allow you to operate it without concern until the natural gas flow ceased. You will also want to store some fuel for the generator, but look to local ordinances for how much gasoline can be stored together in a single place. If you do have a generator, then you will want to test it regularly and have a plan as to what it will power in the event of an emergency. In my situation it will power a gas furnace, until the gas stops flowing, the refrigerator, a freezer and the sump pumps. It can also power the router and computer if internet connectivity is still available. We found that 10 gallons will last about 48 operating hours running these items 18 hours a day, and with a large enough fuel supply this is plenty given as you run out of items to keep frozen or refrigerate you can disconnect appliances.
Seeing as you are staying in your home, there are some items that you should already have to aid in you in staying safe and comfortable. Flashlights with several replacement batteries, as well as covered candles and matches or lighters. Your home should already have a first-aid kit, to which you should add dust masks just in case particulates get sent into the air. You should have plastic sheeting, or tarps with duct tape to aid in creating safe uncontaminated spaced within your home should the need arise. And these are just examples.
Preparing to shelter-in-place can be as simple or as prepared as you wish. There is also no excuse to not be even a little prepared when several government agencies, non-profits and even “radicals” have published lists upon lists upon instructions on what to do to be ready. You do not have to be a prepper, believe in zombies or fear the government to be ready. You just have to recognize that disasters have already happened, and will happen again. If you have done nothing else, go to READY and read what they suggest, or go back and read about the Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag so you have some of the bare minimum items on hand.
*Revenant Cataclysm(TM) is a term by Kym Lambert
Ready – http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
FEMA – http://www.fema.gov/media-library/resources-documents/collections/344
I do not consider myself a ‘prepper’ or a ‘survivalist’. I do not expect the world to fall apart anytime in my lifetime. However, natural disasters do occur and putting in some time and money to be even a little ready is harmless. So, I did an exercise in preparedness and this post is what I came up with for two people evacuating their home without a destination.
911, Katrina, Sandy, three events that have left even the least most paranoid person with a sense that something could happen that would force one to flee their house, community or even the region. Or maybe you don’t want to flee, you want to shelter in place. In either instance you have to have a plan. Part of the training of the Féinnid is to put together such a plan, to include what some call a bug-out kit. A kit with everything you need to survive in urban and rural environments with minimal planning. This post is about my bug-out kit in instances where sheltering in place is not an option.
The kit I put together has a higher cost than is necessary as I did purchase a couple all-inclusive-kits such as medkits and survival kits which you may be able to put together cheaply once you know all the contents. Everything fits into or onto a single backpack or can be slung over the shoulder independently without too much trouble. Weight wise the kit comes in at less than 30 pounds without clothing or toiletries that would have to be added at the time of departure.
When deciding to do this I had to figure out what exactly my plan would be and then build to that. What I came up with was a worst case scenario in which I have less than 24 hours to evacuate and no place to evacuate too. This meant preparing to live in primitive conditions for at least 48 hours with a mind towards a hike into the mountains.
The next choice was water, food and shelter. For water and food I chose a kit that was designed for 1 person for 48 hours. In it are water packets as well as 2400 calorie ration bars. I also added a LifeStraw, water purification tablets, and a 2 liter canteen as it is clear that the water provided in the kit would not last long if the weather is hot.
Shelter can be a small tarp held up by a single stick, or you can purchase a small 2 man single pole tent . Part of the shelter is your sleeping bag, and for this I specifically suggest the US Army Patrol Bag stuffed into a waterproof case and strapped to the lowest part of the backpack. You should also throw in a space blanket to add to your ability to stay warm, these often come with survival kits and first aid kits if you go that route.
You will need a fire starting kit, not only to heat up food but to aid in warmth and safety. Fire starting supplies should begin with a phosphorous fire starter kit and water proof matches. Add to that some sort of saw, machete or hatchet to make wood collection go easier. Also you may want to add an entrenching tool or folding shovel to dig a firepit making it easier to conceal and put out.
Put together a small first aid kit or buy one from any camping store. With a little research you may be able to build one yourself rather inexpensively. You should plan for this to contain a lot of supplies for cuts, gashes, strains and sprains, and possibly a broken bone. So be sure to include gauze, tape, splints, gloves, medicated ointments and of course alcohol. Your muscles will be sore if you have to hike due to traffic jams so also include pain killers.
You will need to know where you are going and plan to not have GPS. Be sure you have current maps of your region and the region you intend to get too as well as a compass and a flashlight. If you don’t know how to read a map or use a compass, don’t wait until a disaster strikes. Learn some basic orienteering now.
Knowing what is going on in the world is just as important as survival. You will need a radio receiver that operates on something other than an electric plug. The one I chose is from Sportsman’s Guide and has a crank that charges the batteries but can also run on solar and when fully charged will be able to charge up a cell phone, assuming you can get service.
What you wear will help protect you from animals, insects, and the elements. While I do not suggest you pre-pack all of your clothing you can pack a few items. Underwear and socks are the easiest items to pre-pack and you should pack at least 3-4 pairs of each. Your socks should be good well made socks made for hiking. When disaster does strike you should be putting together pairs of jeans, long sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes. If it is cold be sure to add inner-wear such as thermal underwear, it will get cold.
Once you have the above kit put together you can add items to it that will help you survive longer or more comfortably. For eating have added a military messkit, eating utensils and a can opener. I added 50 feet of parachute cord in case things need to be tied down, or hung up in a tree. I also added a LifeStraw Family Filtration System, since I will be with my family and it is much easier to fill up canteen with this and I don’t like water purification tablets. I also added a large fixed-blade knife to the pack for large cutting jobs, such as dressing an animal or carving into wood.
The more controversial items you may choose to include are firearms and gas masks. A gas mask is only going to be useful during civil disturbances in urban areas so while I have them I expect to dump them once I get into the woods and use the bag to carry other items. A firearm could be anything from a hand gun to a shot gun, but it should only be taken if you know how to use it. Most people I know would take a long arm so they could use it to hunt and this is probably the best reason to have it. Remember to carry ammunition for the firearm as well.
This seems like a lot of stuff that takes up a lot of space so you will want to keep your pack well organized. This means that when you pack your backpack you are going to want to compartmentalize as much as possible. Placing items into smaller sacks or cases within the backpack or putting smaller items in pockets on the outside of the will make it easier to find and keep like items together. You will also move some items from the pack to other locations when you hit the road. For example, the canteen and gas mask can be carried on your belt or on the strap that comes with the case freeing up a lot of space inside the backpack for clothing and more food should you decide to carry it. As it stands right now with my pack fully packed, less the clothing, there are still 4 empty pockets outside the pack as well as several liters of space inside the pack.
If you think of anything missing that is a must have or even just a comfort leave a comment. With climate change and an increasing level of violence in our society you never know when you will have to bug-out, and we can all use all the help we can get.
In the article Gentlidecht Holiday Cycle I mentioned several possible additional seasonal events that Genti can include in their calender to flesh out the ritual year. Two such events occur in September, with Lá Fhéile Finn mac Cumhaill (or if you prefer the Hero-Feast of Finn mac Cumhaill) at the start of hunting season and Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha towards the end of the month around the time of the fall equinox. Both are modern events created by genti to make offerings to specific beings that they consider to be special and worthy of devotion.
Lá Fhéile Finn mac Cumhaill is a festival that I propose should fall at the start of deer hunting season. Finn is a hunter, warrior, outlaw, poet and seer; living off the land and protecting his people from outsiders. In a forthcoming article on him I will make an argument that he is a hunter god (representing both hunter and prey) but for the purposes of this article lets just call him a ‘god of the hunt.’ As such placing his special day at the start of a hunting season is perfect, I chose deer season due to his associations with deer in the names of his son (Oisín) and grandson (Oscar) and in the name of his warrior band ‘fianna’ being modern Irish for a herd of deer.
There are two ways to handle this particular feast. The first way is to do it as a celebration of the opening of hunting season and to make offerings to Finn for his aid in a successful hunt. Another purpose would be to hold the feast after the first successful hunt and make offerings to Finn in gratitude. In either instance the offering of prey meat would be the most appropriate, though you would have to have something remaining from the previous year if you did it as a season opening feast. Other options would be pig, salmon or even mead…everyone likes mead.
The second event of September is called Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha, the Festival of the Rivers. In this instance the rivers are the deified river or land spirits of our local major water sources. I chose the equinox for this one to give genti a ritual to celebrate the second harvest and to give thanks to the rivers that provide the life giving fluids to our crops. Here in Maryland our offerings are to the five mountain born rivers that run to the Chesapeake, irrigating our fields, turning our turbines and providing the water supply. Of course you should look local for your land goddess.
There really is only one offering to make to the land goddesses this time of year, seasonal harvest foods. With all the farmers markets or even our own gardens this is a simple offering and makes the most sense since such crops could not exist without their life giving waters.
So, for us Genti the month of September can be a busy month. With two opportunities for the community to come together to worship and feast. In a coming post I will share my groups ritual for Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha.