It's been a while now since my last post, and this is one that I've been wanting to write for a while now. While it does not have anything in particular to do with either chaos magic or personal development, empowering yourself should always be one of your top priorities.
The Predatory Stance
Being Strong is simply for The Greater Good. Not being strong (mentally and/or physically) and being ready to fight (which does not have to be purely physical) will lead to your defeat - every time - in every circumstance. You will be at the whims of the violent winds, and you will suffer for it. When you do not build up the strength to protect yourself and your family, then really you are the one doing the evil. Not being strong is equal to opening yourself up for attack both mundane and otherworldly - regardless of it not being your fault. In fact, most attackers do attack their victims because they think they can do it - and get away with it.
This does not shift the blame on to you if you suffer duress from someone else of course, but you do have a responsibility (to yourself most of all!) to build yourself up so that you first of all won't be in the iron sights of someone else, and secondly that you will be able to show resistance if you are under attack. And also, it enables you to step in if someone around you is under duress. A Predatory Stance is not evil. It makes you stronger, and as the stronger person you don't have to push others around to get your way, and you won't let others step on you, ever. You will be a better fellow human being for it.
Following the herd is all and well… but when you really do need claw, fang, and tooth - what then will you do? When you find yourself unprepared either for conflicts from the mundane world, or more incorporeal energy stealers like autonomous thought forms of others (or perhaps even sentient ones if you believe in them) what then will you do?
Most people don't fight back when attacked or threatened with violence. It's commonly called a frozen fright-reaction and is nothing unusual - it's ingrained in our biology and it's also a survival instinct. Because of this most people succumb to the threat of violence simply because they don't have the mental and/or physical training to fight.
A while ago I heard about a study from Södersjukhuset (hospital) in Stockholm about victims of rape not being able to fight back. A terrifying 70% of the victims experienced a frozen fright-reaction, and 50% experienced the reaction as "extreme." There was recently an article in the news about this study (swedish). The victims became paralyzed by the violence - and as such they were unable to fight or offer resistance. They didn't fight back not because they didn't want to - but because they couldn't.
Most people simply lack the trigger that enables them to overcome this natural reaction, and to fight off an attacker. Visualizing you fighting back might not be enough though, and the way to combat a frozen fright-reaction is to practice. Apart from martial arts, I believe that mentally practicing a Predatory Stance will enable you to overcome a potential frozen fright reaction. If you perceive yourself as a "predator" and you have some basic know-how of how to fight dirty (Go for the eyes, Boo! GO FOR THE EYES!) why should anyone get the better of you? You have fangs. Use them.
I've done service in the Swedish Army and consequentially I've been trained to fight, and while my physical strength might not be what it used to be, my mind will still instinctively respond with protective measures instead of becoming paralyzed. Most people never do military service however, and most people never train to fight. This training gives me a natural posture of "I know how to fight so you don't want to fight me" in my normal stance and gait. A sort of non-intrusive self-confidence - that I can and will take care of myself - and as such radiates a pre-emptive posturing in itself (more on posturing below).
The way I see it, most of us never deal with violence in our ordinary lives - and that is part of the reason I think that we become so shocked when it's presented right in front of us. And especially so when we are at the receiving end. Yes, you might respond with anger and slug back, but if you are not trained in either combat or martial arts then you probably do not have the mind of someone who will enter a fight whereas your attacker on the other hand, is. And about being paralyzed in the face of violence, I most certainly do not in any way blame any victim of violence for having this reaction.
I do, however, believe that it can be alleviated (to some extent at least) by priming your mind to fight - by taking a predatory stance. By not allowing anyone to get the better of you - to get angry instead of the very fact that someone even thinks they can get to you. One thing that I do is to visualize what I would do in a fight while keeping that stance in mind. That way I have already thought of what I will do, and when the fight eventually comes, I will be at least one step ahead. Now I would be prepared to punch at the joints, or throat, or eyes. Thinking about what I would do to protect myself and not be afraid of it enables me to deal with that particular circumstance, and furthermore the confidence it bolsters seeps over into other areas of your life.
Fight or Flight are not the responses
We are all familiar with the Fight-or-Flight response. But little less known, there are two more responses; Posture and Submission - which are far more common both in our human world and the animal kingdom than the first two.
To explain it in short - Posture means that you take a stance that shows that you are ready to fight. This is what most animals do. If you've ever watched dogs in a flock the hierarchy can be very obvious. The growling and showing of teeth and what may look like violent conflict to establish superiority is not about actual fighting or lethal force, but is more a show of force that we call Posturing. The other dog(s) will then react probably by posturing themselves, until one of them gives in and takes a stance of submission, and the hierarchy is thus established - without anyone actually getting badly wounded.
Posture is when someone else tries to assert dominance over you, and that could be either in the workplace, a relationship, or at the queue at the store. It's a very natural thing, and since we are flock animals too, this is also very important for us in establishing our (sometimes subconscious) social hierarchies.
Now how is this useful in a human environment? Well, I for one believe that the reason anyone ever attacks anyone else is because they can do it and get away with it, or at the very least get away with minimal cost or damage to themselves. By adopting a predatory stance you are posturing yourself and showing that you are ready to fight, and that you will make any kind of aggression towards you costly.
But - I've never been in a physical fight, and probably never will. How is this stuff useful?
The thing is - violence don't always have to be physical. Verbal and emotional abuse, deliberate isolation (from others), bullying (and especially cyber-bullying), and people with traits from the The Dark Triad - they (some) will want to get the better of you. And by showing that the cost of aggression is way more than their benefit of attacking you (by posturing) you will tell them (show - more accurately) that you are not the one they want to get in trouble with. Also, if and when someone does go after you, having a predatory stance will enable you to better fight them off in a non-physical manner - either by not giving them the response they want or expect, or by taking the proper actions - instead of reacting with a frightened response which renders you less able to deal with it.
So, what does this has to do with chaos magic?
Well, nothing really. But as practitioners of Chaos Magic our own personal well being should be a top priority. Violence, both physical and non-physical, can leave scars that won't heal for a very long time. And what's more it's my own duty is to protect My House from malignant second parties, wherever they may come from. Personally, I am not a "predator" per se, but I take the role of one when I need to, and that's the key to it. You don't "go out after people" only because to assume this stance. You just make yourself ready to fight whatever comes your way when it does.
The bitter truth is - most people don’t care about you. And why should they? They are busy with their own lives and the weight of the world upon their own shoulders. They have their own problems, and the stress of the world chips away at all of us. The only solution is to get stronger yourself.
Also, there's the beauty of maleficia as a countermeasure. You might be hesitant about this and thinking that it's "not right" or that you are not a "leftie" (I'm neither a leftie or a rightie) but let me tell you, if you are able to protect your house with magic - why shouldn't you? There is a difference I believe in cursing people because you don't like them, and to do it as a direct response of aggression from a second party. Also, regardless if the maleficia works or not - having the knowledge that you have cursed (and thus taken a stance against) your aggressor puts you above them in your mind - and this gives you a natural posture.
The compounding detrimental effect of a victim mentality
This is perhaps the most important part of this article. We live in a fear based society - and live lives of fear based thinking. This is just the way our world has turned out to be and is a consequence of how we've structured our societies. Also what's more, nowadays people seem to feel a sort of entitlement of being offended - by all sorts of things. And I get it, some shit are really offending - and it should be! But do you know what that does you to? It makes you a victim. You unconsciously adapt a victim mentality, and consequently you relinquish all your powers to do anything about it. It's not your fault - so you are not the one who should change, right?
You might not always be at fault, but you always have the responsibility to assume power and control of your circumstances. Or at the very least, the responisbility to take control of your reaction towards them. A Predatory Stance almost automatically lifts you up above all those things that would otherwise offend you. As a self-perceived predator, how could you possibly be a victim - of anything? You have both tooth and fang and claw, so should you suffer under aggression from anyone else? So why would you assume a victim mentality? You are so much more powerful than that.
Even if you are attacked by someone else, assuming a position of a victim renders you powerless, and the other party have full control over you. That's what sadism is all about, by the way. You owe it to yourself not to make yourself a victim of circumstances, no matter what they are. And whats more, as an added effect - as a victim of circumstances you spend your very own precious little time and life here on earth on feeling bad about things when you don't have to. When you start in the victim mentality zone, it builds up and eventually it will become a hardened shell. The difficulty in removing it will be tremendous. And painful.
The non-mundane aspect of it all
So you might not be a victim of others malignant intent, but there is something else. Someone else's. Namely yours. I don't know about you, but I've been battering at myself for all kinds of reasons for the better part of my life. Only recently did I learn how to stop it.
Have you ever been overly critical of yourself? Do you tell yourself things about you (how you suck, how you are worthless, how no one likes you, and so on) that you would not even tell your worst enemy? Imagine telling those things to your 5-year old self. Would you really do that?
I don't think you would.
But you tell them to yourself, perhaps like I did, on a daily basis. Now what do you think this does to you? To your self-confidence, your radiance, your cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence? They will all suffer. And you are probably not even doing it consciously either. It's like those thoughts have taken an aspect of its own - like they've become autonomous thought-constructs that keeps beating you up for no good reason other than making you feel worthless. They are just there. They are relentless, and they are and without pause.
If you won't tell those things to your 5-year old self, why should you tell them to yourself now? How is that something that we can or should accept? It's simply not, and here's where the Predatory Stance really shines.
You see, it's really not about "preying upon other people" per se, but more of adapting a really accessible and readily available mindset that will combat these emotions and imaginary thoughts - every time. Assuming a predatory stance means being ruthless towards negative circumstances and your own negative thoughts. And it's not about "being positive" - but rather undermining the ideas that are self-detrimental, and sucking the life out of them. Another way to put it is that it gives you a stance that will enable you to simply wave those thought constructs away. Why should you be bothered by them?
You are a predator after all.
All that you are then left with is the silly little notion that you've been beating yourself up for nothing. And this is where you laugh. Maniacally if you want, but that’s optional. As someone with a Predatory Stance, no one will get the better of you, ever. Not even yourself.
If you want to learn some more about the predatory stance and some mental techniques that you can use, I recommend John Kreiter's Vampire's Way to Psychic Self-Defense. The book is not actually about vampirism and the title is a bit confusing - it's really about psychic defense and explores what the predatory stance is all about. If you can overlook the "ancient vampire"-part (which according to Kreiter were probably some sort of really proficient magicians), it gets easier to digest all the other important parts of the book. Whats more, it has some really excellent points on overcoming "general" negativity and thought constructs both from yourself and from others.
There are so many out there that find themselves lost. They feel this way because they live lives full of constant negative feelings and they don’t know how to stop these feelings in themselves. Some are also being attacked by things that others consider to be unreal; considered insane by many, these people are left with very little recourse when it comes to dealing with highly predatory creatures that make their lives a living hell. - John Kreiter
Anyway, I hope that this will help you and empower you in some way so that you will not suffer from the malign intentions of others (or Others!), or even yourself.
I'll see you in the trenches and on the battlements.
Like always - yours truly
(Also, if you do believe in archons, haunts, malign spirits, predatory non-organic beings and whatnot, assuming a predatory stance should be crucial to your survival on this space-rock. How else will you fend for yourself?)