Reflecting: Being a Witcher and a Quirk of Ancestral Muscle Memory


The new moon is today-ish (it’s today locally, your results may vary) which means my little exploration into being a Witcher for a month has officially wound down. I learned a lot, primarily about the way my body functions and how I can change it. Even that I can change it, which is something I actually struggled with for a while. On the less-cool hand, though, I did put a lot of stress on my body the last few weeks (not just with physical work but with trying to get paperwork and art taken care of before Yule) which managed to interrupt rather an important physical cycle and one I’m still paranoid about.

For this month-long meditation I mostly focused on physical training – I’m a lot stronger than I think I am – and little things that echo game mechanics in the Witcher 3, like sign casting (I cast runes, they work just as well) and meditating. That last one took an interesting turn, and I actually found a breathing/cold exposure technique – the Wim Hof method – that actually does produce changes in a body related to PH level and blood oxygen content. Potion making is another story. I don’t actually know where the blender is hiding in the kitchen, otherwise I’d do something besides make tea, but tea works for a lot of things.

So for my next experiment I’m aiming for something a bit different, but one that brings the focus in a bit more, rather than being an archetype that encompasses as many things as a Witcher. It is another primarily masculine archetype – maybe one day I’ll work with more feminine ones but today is not that day – and that is the Paladin. Specifically the Paladin as occupied/represented by Reinhardt Wilhelm, Overwatch’s sci-fi version of Thor, basically. Personality-wise, Reinhardt is basically Geralt’s opposite. His abilities are much more focused on taking damage than dishing it out. “I will be your shield.” Which is how I spar, to be honest. My body can take a surprising amount of abuse before it starts really hurting. (I always spar with a helmet and gloves on, don’t worry. I’ve never broken anything, and am classically trained!) My aim for the Reinhardt experiment is even more physical training based than the Witcher one, now that I know how much I can do and stick with. I might continue it for more than a month, just to see what happens.

And now, a quirk of muscle memory from somewhere Back A-Ways: turns out I walk barefoot the same way people used to do before shoes started having really thick soles on them. There is actually a gait difference between, say, 9th century Scandinavians and modern us. Because their shoes were different, they walked with their toes first, rather than their heels, which is both safer when wearing that kind of shoe and better for posture. I honestly didn’t realize I walked like this, or that it was a weird way of walking for modern shoe-adapted people (like my own Bran for instance), until I found a video on it a few days ago. Now, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure what the historical accuracy of this video or the theory is, but it is fun to think about anyway. And now I know why my gait is so funky. 😀

On further investigation it seems there are actually several sources that corroborate this! Sweet. I accidentally walk with pre-thick sole biomechanics! I’m sure I’m not the only one, but it’s still fun to learn about. (For me, anyway.) I don’t think I’m going to be giving up my hiking boots when trudging all the way across the city anytime soon (simply because of broken glass and whatnot) but, it’s good to know anyway!

Reflections: “Lead Your Tribe”

Someone told me once that I had to lead my tribe. At the time I thought my tribe consisted of several nerds – Mutt was still around at that time – and a couple of people I knew online. I thought, “You realize I don’t really have a tribe, right? Tribes are generally made up of people and I know like… six?” So I started trying to look for a tribe. Somewhere I fit in, somewhere that people could find me. I ended up trying to be someone I’m not, really. I tried all sorts of things, and going back through some of my old posts the other day really served not only to remind me of this thing I was told to do but also how far afield I stretched myself in an effort to do it.

Weird. For a few months a while back I distinctly remember saying that I felt I’d spread myself too thin. At the time I thought it was because I had so much stuff going on, so many things I wanted to do, too many projects. Looking at it sideways, from the perspective of, “I was trying to find a way to be something I wasn’t,” makes it look more like I was trying to be too many things, rather than do too many things. Oddly enough, that’s not what I expected this post to be about but here it is anyway. Hopefully someone finds it helpful!

So then the whole thing with Mutt happened and “lead my tribe” turned into, “hold everyone together at all costs, including yourself.” Which got upsetting real fast as one of my friends – Tentacles – turned to a person we all know to be a manipulator and a sleaze, presumably to fill the talking-space that Mutt used to. Obviously, I didn’t take too kindly to that, and let Tentacles know what I thought about it. “Hold everyone together” became “I have Bran and that’s good enough.” The nerds are usually nice and all, and we do still talk – I would feel guilty leaving Pup blowing in the wind, so to speak – but they aren’t my number one priority.

My tribe – at least, those I could connect to in person – went from five to just me and Bran in the space of a year and a half. I kinda forgot about the whole “Lead your tribe” thing until a few days ago, scrolling back through old posts. It’s taken me about two and a half years to figure out what Oðinn meant when he said that. Two years and a lot of wandering, as I am wont to do.

I am a hermit. I am my tribe. In order to lead anything outside of myself, I must first lead myself. I must first have responsibility; the ability to respond. In leading myself I can find where others like me are. If that means a bunch of Skyrim roleplayers, it means a bunch of Skyrim roleplayers. If it means an entire writing convention – which I did go to one, and I am a changed man holy crap – it means an entire writing convention. If it means the Weirdfolk, it means the Weirdfolk. The key thing in all of that is that I am leading my tribe. I am leading my self. 

Oddly enough I first made this connection reading a short book on money magic in which the author suggested looking at each chakra as a different gateway, and a corresponding guardian. She likened it to a regent ruling a kingdom. I likened it to a captain commanding a ship. Or a chieftain leading a tribe.

Moral of the story: sometimes it takes two whole freking years to figure out what People mean when they say things. Especially when it’s Oðinn.

Trying On the Witcher Archetype


My path has been winding around all sorts of different ways lately. Which is part of the reason I don’t talk much about it anymore. That, and I’ve also stepped onto a path that many people would find distasteful if the term that fits it best was self-applied by a stark-white sonofa witch such as myself, though I’m not convinced the people who would be offended necessarily know what the word means or what the job entails. I’m not gonna say it anyway. Not until I’m ready to have a good ol’ rant about it. I’m starting to get to the point where I don’t care about explaining myself anymore, but that’s one can of worms, among many, that probably need to get opened eventually. But not today.

Anyway. My being a hundred percent done with needless drama in the witchy community is not what this post is about. It’s about Pop Culture Magic. Sorta. Archetypes, anyway.

Molly Roberts has inspired me once again, and I really wasn’t expecting it this time. She was in the middle of a 30 Days of Beauty meditation/challenge/thing and mentioned something like, “What’s one thing you could try on letting go of for a moon cycle?” My brain being the slightly wonky piece of hardware that it is, took that and went, “Well, I don’t really have something I can try letting go of, maybe some crappy programming, but I know something I’d love to try on for that time!” So I’m trying on a Witcher skin, for lack of a better term. One could say I’m mantling Geralt of Rivia for a while. It’s an experiment in seeing just how far I can fling my self-doubt into the void, so to speak.

This has been going on for four days now, and I’ve already come to some really interesting findings. First and foremost: I actually do qualify to be a Witcher, save for the literal cat eyes and monsters to fight. (Though I just thought of a wee ritual for the first one involving tiger’s eye and some trance music. Hm.) Witchers are itinerant monster hunters who are well-versed not just in combat, but also herb lore and symbol-based magic. I am all three of those things. Arguably I could stand to learn more herb-lore, but couldn’t we all?

So I’m trying on the aspect of Witcher for a while. My brain has the capacity to fixate on things and I’m gonna see how far that takes me. Weird things are already happening. For instance, I don’t find it a coincidence as much as divine timing that I managed to get sick within four days of deciding to commit to this. Oh well!

Side note: I’m feeling a real urge to go through and scratch any mention of my name off this blog and pick a new one to go by in these parts. Simply because I’m making connections elsewhere and I don’t really want someone who shouldn’t be here to accidentally stumble upon this little corner of the internet. The trick’ll be finding a name that means Me but isn’t terribly obvious or something someone could use to hex me. 😀 I’m paranoid, okay?