I left my job recently. This is a good thing, but it's left me thinking a lot about this path and how the job did, didn't and should have related. It wasn't a "warrior job" in the sense that those who claim all warriors must do "warrior jobs" such as serve in the military or be law enforcement officers. I was basically a baby sitter, although if you go by hourly pay I was less well paid than most are these days from what I hear, although I got full-time hours and, therefore, benefits. I was a night watch person at a camp for troubled youth. So I was a babysitter who walked around in the woods and kept fires going. But it fit for someone on the Outlaw warrior path.
I rather liked the job at first, although switching back to nights had been difficult for me. After most of a lifetime of being very nocturnal by nature, I seemed to switch suddenly when I moved back to the North Country about 11 years ago now. I thought I could switch back easily, but it was hard for me. Otherwise, it was great, I like wandering in the woods, liked time to myself. I liked that connection that I noted with my path.
See, the Outlaw Warrior bands, the Fianna, were made up of young men, possibly some women as I've discussed here before, who were basically seen as unfit for society to live until they were. That was, primarily when they were marriageable and could inherit.* Obviously, there are stark differences between camps such as this and the old war bands, for example, they're not taught fighting arts but rather to not fight (yet many might end up in the military in their future so....). Yet it's, well, reflective...reflective is a favorite word of mine if you've not noticed (consider the name of my home is "sgàthan").
In the context, I was even an outsider among outsiders, being there to guard at night only. The teaching fénnidi and banfénnidi there are the counselors. I remember being hit by this passage from The Wisdom of the Outlaw:
"("They gave Finn the task of keeping watch during the night, and he was told to wake up a fénnid if he heard anything calamitous"). We have already seen that one of the duties of Finn's fían is to protect human society and its borders. In the present episode, as part of his initiation ito a fían, Finn is to stand watch for his fellow fénnidi. Like the ideal gill described by Cormac, he is to listen carefully in the forest and be alert during his watch. Finn stands guard on the periphery of a peripheral group; in this stance his being a chronic outsider is all the more obvious." pg. 176
And to some extent during this time I was able to work out some new concepts and connections with my path. But due to the circumstances of the job, I was also limited, especially over time. Because working nights took a toll on my body, and the body is an important thing to a warrior. To anyone, but all fantasy aside, it's impossible to fight with out a functioning body.
While at one point I still trained hard in what I already was doing and even took some time to start firearms training, my body started to burn out. I started to sleep less, my fitness level was deteriorating despite working out, I was just fucking tired all the fucking time.
Somewhere along there I got back to work on Teh Project again, however, so that was a plus. But as my body began to show wear, so did my mind. My periods of concentration often were short, a real problem as some of this stuff is pretty mind boggling to begin with.
With concentration goes the ability to do the spiritual work involved, namely the trance work. And as my body was tired, going out into the woods and into a fugue state became more limited. Obviously, I couldn't go into altered states at work, even if I was in the woods.
Other things which I consider related, such as working with my young, spoiled horse and dealing with prepping/homesteading stuff also were a problem.
I realized to a large extent, I was not living the path to the extent I need to be. I also realized that the crappy pay and crap benefits were no longer worth it. And for the past few weeks I've been regaining my equilibrium, repairing my body, starting to build up on the amount of training I'm doing (although I have a long way to go) and getting some progress with my horse and prepping. Writing not so much yet, trance work not at all yet. I still need more recovery for those things. And winter is coming, it will be a time to focus on some of that harder when we're settled in for the season.
My mate is taking more shifts and will be developing himself more as an EMT. I will try to build something of a fitness business, but it's a rough location even in better times for that. I may also go for my EMT certification, maybe. We'll also see what else comes along that can help us survive.
What I am getting here is that I strive to find a way to learn and build from all things that I do, starting this job enriched my path, leaving it at this time does so too. Onward to what ever comes.
*See, for example, Joseph Falaky Nagy. The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition and Kim McCone, “Werewolves, Cyclopes, Díberga and Fíanna: Juvenile Delinquency in Early Ireland” Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies, issue 12, 1986
Copyright © 2011 Kym Lambert
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....