i was just a girl in a room full of women licking stamps and laughing i remember the feeling of community brewing of democracy happening but i suppose like anybody i had to teach myself to see all that stuff that got lost on its way to church all that stuff that got lost on its way to school all that stuff that got lost on its way to the house of my family all that stuff that was not lost on me
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, about what it means to be a Warrior (in a Celtic Spirituality sense), and whether it’s restricted to people who do certain things in their lives, such as are part of the military or law enforcement. I’ve also been thinking about what in Goddess’ name my path is within the greater scheme that is my religion, life, the world. Answers have been nebulous and unclear — until tonight.
To me, to be a Warrior is to realize that something needs to be done, and then to go out and do it. Whatever it is. Being a Warrior is not a black or white issue, and neither are the issues one is faced with while on the path. The power of the Warrior is to make a good decision quickly and stick to it, while lost in a multitude of grays and “what-ifs” or “maybes”. That power will not always yield a good decision, and one will make mistakes. Another part of the Warrior is having the courage to admit to those mistakes, and move on in a different way.
I do not believe that a Warrior is ever only a Warrior. We are complex beings, so our roles are going to be equally complex. A person called to the Warrior’s way of life could be equally called to be a Healer, or a Bard/Poet, a Priest, Outsider, etc. We have aspects of each role in each of us; sometimes we put more focus on one over another; sometimes we put energy into all of them equally.
One of the important things about being a Pagan whose beliefs are based on ancient ones is finding a way to marry old and new by bringing ancient beliefs up to speed with modern ideals. Nowadays Warriors can’t bring home heads on spikes, or carry swords or guns around with them (unless they’re in a job that requires it). They may not put their lives on the line everyday, strictly speaking, but they do walk a dangerous path nonetheless. Being a Warrior means being a champion for Justice — whatever your personal brand of justice may be — and that is never an easy task.
I am on a Warrior path. I have no choice about this; Morrigan has made it clear that She chose me since before birth because I am a Warrior spirit.
For a long time I have felt inadequate in that regard — what, exactly, do I do to consider myself a Warrior? I have never been in a war zone (aside from Divorce, and that’s a story for another day). I’ve never learned any martial arts (consistently), and my physique is couch potato, not protector of the people. My obsession with WWII, Battlestar Galactica, and the military notwithstanding, I don’t actually do anything to warrant being a warrior.
Tonight a fire blossomed in my head, and suddenly I knew how I warranted the Warrior path, and that for me, the Warrior’s path is the path of the Poet (or Bard) as well. The fire grew, and traveled down my arms, and I began typing.
I have been an activist since I was 13. I lived in the United States when Bush was President, and that informed my political stances at a young age. Throughout high school I attended peace rallies and marches and spoke out against unjust, illegal war and human rights violations; I advocated for animal rights; I was a one-woman theatre show in my satirical protest of my high school’s draconian administration (one day, I wore an armband with a yellow Star of David to school). When I was 17, I won the ACLU Youth Award; first prize in the state. When I was 18, I was asked to read the “I Have a Dream” speech at MLKJ day celebrations (please note that I am a predominantly European-Canadian woman, so this was quite an honor).
And then I burned out.
Activism is exhausting. As Starhawk says, no one [sane] actually wants to be an activist; I certainly didn’t want to anymore. I was tired of pushing and pushing and never seeming to get anywhere.
After my brief respite, I tried to get back into it — I felt bad, honestly, and felt like I was betraying the people who didn’t have voices. I worked on the book launch of Stop The Next War Now (I still have my shirt) and got to meet Medea Benjamin (amazing woman); I was Hawaii State Chair of the Pagan Unity Campaign (I left because of…idealogical differences); I attended a Political Science special studies course: Women and World Peace, and wrote articles for the school paper. I spray-painted a sign that said “VOTE PEACE” and hung it off a bridge over the busiest street in downtown Maui. I performed in My Name is Rachel Corrie (which is a beautiful reading piece, but doesn’t really work as a play — unfortunately).
It didn’t work. I couldn’t relight the spark in my heart. I was dead tired and ready to quit on everything.
I moved back to Canada, and tried to live a quiet life.
No go. I got called back to activism by my nose. But this time I took it slow — I didn’t take on too much at once, I did what I could, and tried to feel good about it. I vote. I go to the Farmer’s Market and support local artisans, which is in itself a form of activism. I try and I try and I try and suddenly I stop trying, and just start being.
And that’s when I realize the truth: I already am an activist when I allow myself to be myself. And what myself is is a writer. My gift is with the Word, whether I’m penning or performing. It always has been, and it’s time I accept that and utilize it.
This is why I am chosen by Morrigan and Brighid — They are patrons of (among other things) Warriors and Poets, respectively, and I am both. I cannot be one without the other and honestly, learning that makes me feel so free.
So I am looking towards a future where my words speak clearly and ring true; where I have the courage to stand on a stage and beat out poetry that talks about the problems with education or pollution or the Canadian conservative “government”; where my pen is not mightier than the sword but is that sword, and communication cuts a clear line through to the ground and up to your feet, lighting a fire underneath you until you know you have to do something.
No matter what’s happening, I’ll always be here: the Bard that says what you’d rather not hear, but what needs to be said. The Warrior that cuts through the b.s. in order to let the flowers grow up. The Healer who knits the wounds together and kisses away the pain.
I am Called to do this, and walking my path with integrity is the greatest service I can offer Them.