This blog is part of the Scáth na Feannóige/Shadow of the Hooded Crow project exploring fénnidecht as a practice to follow the War Goddessses, Badb, Macha and the Morrígan whose name is Anann. This is a less formal place for me to discuss various issues of interest to someone on a modern version of the Outlaw warrior path such as physical training, history, Old Irish literature, pop culture inspirations, werewolves, ecstatic trance (okay, I find that one tough to write about but I may try), gender issues the wilderness....


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ramblings about Serving the War Goddesses or...

....what the hells AM I doing here?

I'm working on some writing, the end of that article I've mentioned and a far larger bit in Teh Project, on serving An Morrígna. My only experience is in service on the warrior path and a bit as a seer. There may be other valid ways, serving as a king would have likely been one at one time but not so much today, but I certainly do not buy the whole "She/They are not really (a) War Goddess(es)" crap that is so popular today. And the "She/They aren't JUST (a) War Goddess(es)" falls into the whole denigration of warrior into some dumb killing machine. Fertility, cattle and sovereignty are in no way the opposite of warfare as practiced in Gaelic culture. But...yeah, the article is almost done...no really,...although what exactly "almost" means is another matter.

At the time I first started working on this section, to then find some material that drew me to work on something else, there seemed to be a spate of blog posts by those not on the path, people not soldiers or cops, either, claiming that only soldiers, and maybe cops, were warriors. One person seemed reasonable and worth chatting up so I did, I like the guy, I felt he listened to my take. We might not totally agree, probably not on anything, but do I need to point out that this is sort of par for course with me? I like his blog in general, now that I found it and I may or may not have found it if he hadn't written on the topic and I was looking at the time.

Most, however, wrote in such a manner to show that such an attempt was going to be a waste of time and energy, possibly even sanity. I realized in thinking why I didn't feel like bothering that these folk didn't live in the same world I did. They live in a world where violence is never going to happen to them and if it did the nice cops will come and rescue them and the courts would fix things. The soldiers will keep all enemies at bay in other countries and nothing like 911 will ever happen on our soil again. Katrina might have been bad and maybe there was chaos and bloodshed after, but it's all fixed now, right? And it's not going to happen again. Or here, anyway. And when it does these folk will be sure to vacate in time. And with the latter, they probably do have the resources.

We don't create our own realities, not really. I'm a firm believer in that. BUT sometimes we do, as long as nothing bad happens. And for many people, especially white, middle class types, it might not. Although, well, most aren't working or so middle class these days; a lot of folks who probably still consider themselves middle class, really, aren't in that income bracket. But I digress. Sort of.

At the other end, of course, are those bloggers who claim that being a Pagan warrior is all about the "inner battles" and has nothing to do with fighting at all. Martial arts might be an enjoyable way of recreating, but it's not what being a warrior is about. Certainly NO GUNS! Soldiers are not warriors, or might be, but not because they fight but only if they do proper ritual inner battles too. If they're doing it right they won't want to soldiers. And being a warrior means you're all noble and heroic and shit like that. But your only battles are within.

Um, yeah. And, again, different world where everything outside ones own head is apparently quite safe.

So, I'm in the middle again as it were. Or just feeling outside this whole thing all together. In a different world.

Now, mind you, things can be perfectly safe. I don't expect an armed intruder to burst through my door any moment. But, you know, ...I don't know that one won't so there are loaded weapons in the house that we can access. And I know how to use almost everything in this house as a weapon if that didn't work out. Something always COULD happen.

Here's my definitions: a "person on the warrior path" is someone who trains for possible deadly encounters. Whether a professional or not. For whom it is a focus (some might train but not put the priority in it or want to claim to be on the path and that's their prerogative).

A "warrior" is someone who is on the path but is also, as Ambrose Hollingworth Redmoon put it, is initiated by an other warrior, that is in a life or death fight. (in "No Peaceful Warriors!," Gnosis #21, Fall 1991, republished in Rick Fields, ed. The Awakened Warrior: Living with Courage, Compassion & Discipline, New York: Putnam Book 1994 and personal correspondence)

So, soldiers and cops are indeed more likely to be initiated. Not all of the rest of us will be. In some areas cops don't have all that much opportunity, either, but that doesn't mean they're not going to be prepared. There have been times when soldiers don't get as much chance for initiation either, but the past ten years have offered multiple chances to many. Again, but the job is to stay on the path, prepared.

A soldier may be a warrior, but not all warriors are soldiers. There are other aspects to being in the military that make it impossible for all who might feel called to be prepared. Likewise to be a law enforcement officer. A certain trust in systems, at least in yourself within such systems, that some of us don't have. That some of us don't have to a degree that might inspire us to some extent.

I admit that I use "a warrior" an awful lot when I mean "someone on the warrior path" simply because it really gets annoying to write the "someone on the warrior path" repeatedly. It might be lazy, but it's also less for you to read. I'm about to commit this wrongdoing many times in the rest of this post..any time I say "a warrior" I can mean someone who is initiated or not, unless the actual meaning is obvious.

A warrior does not have to be honorable, noble or heroic to be a warrior. These are great things for a warrior to be, I highly recommend them. But, honestly, I don't believe that it's part of the definition of "warrior" or "warrior path." There are some real scum out there who train hard, can fight well and have been initiated. They give those of us who do fancy ourselves more noble a cause. ~;)

A warrior does not need to be spiritual. And if s/he is, it can be any spirituality. It may or may not involve "fighting inner battles." Obviously, a Pagan warrior must be Pagan. Chances are s/he also serves a War Deity, but some might focus on others and many are Polytheistic to the point where they may serve no specific Ones. One of the statements I saw among the "only soldiers are warriors" postings was something along the line of there being a difference between being a warrior and worshiping a Warrior Deity. Well, yeah, there can be, as I said at the top here. There are probably other roles....but this is where I'm going with this, really, there's sort of a direction to this rant.

I've written about this before, of course, in the article this blog is titled after as well as references in this blog. When I was called by An Morrígan, I had been quite a pacifist, my world seemed safer even though I had been a victim once AND it was a far more dangerous time as far as crime rates than today. My world changed and I had to. Because whether others could serve Her/Them in other ways, I was expected to train. To walk the path if not ever be initiated. That's what She says and, guess what, She trumps some random blogger's opinion. Just the way it is.

This is the way the world became to me, dangerous. Yes, crime is down in the nearly 25 years since this happened, but there are factors in there which actually make the odds no different for me, living here. It doesn't change the fact that it still takes a considerable time, even longer than it does in an urban area (which is still always, always too long) for the police to arrive to a call. It doesn't change that I can't "date" protection which looking back I realized I often did. Or that doing that constantly puts women in danger from that "protection." Things might indeed be better statistically, but it doesn't mean any of us is exactly safe or can depend on the help of others.

And, here's where I remind you I'm a crazy survivalist, things are getting worse. Hey, there's seership here too, right? But one doesn't need that skill, really. The very Earth is telling us so, very loudly; while truly crazy people who could have the power to make positive changes are denying it. The economy is crashing and there's little real work being done to fix things in a sustainable way. Do you really wonder why many of us have turned to finding ways to do this ourselves, whether the "bunker" types or the homesteaders?

Truth is, of course, I have only met a few folks who feel called this way by Her/Them. Very few and most have ended up with some obvious reason for such a stance. So, I think I was Linkstruck recently by this post about feelings stirring after a ritual to An Morrígan, that appear to have been quite unexpected by the person writing. What exactly is it we're all feeling and why are we feeling this need to DO SOMETHING? (Check out the rest of the blog, as the statue project is interesting and I'm feeling pulled to do something like that too....but different, probably a more "primitive" style..problem is, I don't have much talent in those things...but I'm thinking looking over the shooting range)

Many of us joke with it, code it, as The Zombie Apocalypse or The War with the Machines but our training is not a joke. Even if we are sometimes unclear what we're training for. There's something. There's a feeling. I suppose the "sane" would say it's a paranoia.

And I'm not talking about "rising up against" anyone or forming militias, as much as, well, just being ready for what ever. What ever comes down the road. And if nothing comes, if things get better rather than worse, then that's all good. Better to be prepared for something that doesn't happen than not prepared for something that does.

------------------------------------------------------

An Morrígan/Badb's prophecy:

I shall not see a world that will be dear to me.
Summer without flowers,
Kine will be without milk,
Women without modesty,
Men without valour,
Captures without a king.

[gap: extent: approx. 6 words]

Woods without mast,
Sea without produce,

[gap: extent: approx. 40 words]

Wrong judgments of old men,
False precedents of brehons,
Every man a betrayer,
Every boy a reaver.
Son will enter his father's bed,
Father will enter his son's bed,
Everyone will be his brother's brother-in-law.

[gap: extent: 8 words]

An evil time!
Son will deceive his father,
Daughter will deceive her mother.
Cath Maige Tuired /The Second Battle of Moytura
Whitley Stokes translation

Copyright © 2011 Kym Lambert

7 comments:

  1. Well written, and well reasoned. I think you've convinced me about a number of things I probably disagreed with you about a few months ago.

    Though, on another hand (and not entirely related), I would likely be one of those folks who would focus on another aspect of An Morrigan which is not exactly as a "war goddess", but rather as a psycho-pomp for the war dead. I honour (and perhaps go as far to say I serve) deities which have functions pertaining to the dead, and in such a capacity do I find myself contemplating An Morrigan, Nemain, Badb and Macha. I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to the subject and I have seen a lot of folks (mistakenly imo) see An Morrigan as a(The) "goddess of death", largely owing to the death tale of Cuchulain and the symbolic understanding of carrion birds (raven, crow, etc.) as omens portending death. It has also not slipped past my notice (and I have a blog/essay I've been throwing together) on the broader function of female deities associated with the war dead among IE cultures.

    As someone who considers herself a devotee of An Morrigan I would live to hear your thoughts on that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. I really felt that your questions on it helped me think through a lot, and I really appreciate that sort of "conflict" as opposed to that which I feel shuts the door to the conversation.

    I very much agree that this group of Goddesses are psychopomps of the war dead, as opposed to all dead. And, again, I must thank you for bringing that up because I think I have neglected that in the article and chapter and I think it's important. It, of course, brings it back to battle being of particular interest. I think They also would be guides for kings, whether the king died in battle or not, given the sovereignty connection...which is not unrelated to warfare, being that kings had to be warriors and cattle raids were part of the "rites" of becoming a king as well (Epstein, but I go more into it also in the pieces I'm working on).

    Having been at the bedside of those dieing from age or disease, I do not ever See Them there, I do know that. It does not seem appropriate that They would be, unless They had another reason. I think that there is that obvious connection due to the death tale and crows, but also the "Dark Scary" reputation, not really undeserved (despite the claims of some)...but to see that as the reason to see Her or Them as THE Death Goddess(es) requires believing death is inherently "dark and scary" which I don't think it is. Scary, because it's change, but sometimes very peaceful and comforting as well. I think some get guided by Those who give comfort.

    I can see where you'd have insight on this and I very much look forward to your writings on this subject. And not just because I'm looking to reference them in my writings. ~;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. We've had our discussions so you are aware I don't 100% agree (especially on warriors not needing to be "noble" - there is a difference in my opinion between a "warrior" and a "fighter." Any a-hole can be a trained fighter). Regardless, great post!

    (For some reason google won't let me post under my google account)

    Blackbird

    ReplyDelete
  4. Weird about Google. Have you logged into your Goggle account as well as your Blogger account? I have noticed that sometimes I'll log into Blogger but can't actually do anything and then find I'm not really logged into Google..once I log in I'm fine here.

    Yes, I know we don't agree on that point, and likely others. But that's okay, I don't always agree with myself. I think any a-hole can train to be a warrior, it's just, um, more noble to be more noble. ~;) I guess I also figure that a lot of folks figure they are noble but I don't agree, so see that as a possible quandary. But at other times I've tended to more agree with you. We're complex beings that way. But regardless, thank you! ~:D

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, I also just got done reading your original "Championing Ourselves" article. Can I just say THANK YOU! That article is amazing and touches on so many valid point's it is ridiculous! Just be aware, when I can get on FB tomorrow I am most definitely linking it in a few places!

    "...he noted that while men can afford to be theoretical and play at it, women faced real danger everyday and when we walked the path we walked it for real."

    That statement just makes me so happy and it is so true!

    (and for some reason it's telling me that my account doesn't have permission to add comments to this page).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you.

    I wonder what's up with you being unable to post from your account here. AFAIK, I have no settings to block anyone and certainly wouldn't have them to block you. I'm going to go look, just in case something on my end got messed up...but I'm assuming that Google is the one to blame!

    ReplyDelete