Thursday, 18 September 2008

Warrior Pagans

I opened up a topic at one of the message boards where I post regularly about what constituted a "warrior pagan" in modern society. There were a variety of answers, but, to my mind the best answer came from another message board, where someone's apologised for airing their opinion.

Littleraven picked up on this and wrote the following:

"... the 'humbleness' that pervades neo-paganism/neo-Druidry is in many ways part of the problem at hand. It's a culture of
apologetics that actually dishonours the warrior ancestors that inspire us

Basically, if you've got something to say, say it. It's our duty as part of the 'tribe' to listen to it. We may think it's crap, and we'll tell each other so. We may be slighted, even upset, but we know that we've been told it in a sense of honour. It's for everyone's benefit to hear the argument, contribute if they wish and come to terms with the outcome.

Outcomes that are not always to our liking, but for the
best of *all* of us.

So, perhaps being a warrior pagan today means speaking up for yourself, not apologising for so doing, allowing others to listen, absorb and respond and, if the need arises, to defend your position, but accept the outcome as dictated by the particular group you are addressing. You may not agree with the outcome, but so long as you have indicated your dissatisfaction politely and are still prepared to uphold said outcome, you are acting as a warrior and with honour.

Seems right to me. I'm not sure that is all there is to it, but I've yet to find any better definition for a warrior pagan than the one inadvertently provided by Littleraven at Caer Feddwyd.


laoi gaul~williams said...

i like this and hold up my hand as being someone who will stay quiet for a quiet life, you know avoiding conflict etc, maybe it was the way i was brought up?
recently, with our new home coming together slowly and prioritising my studies i am able to make up for my feeling disconnected and looking at things anew...i think this will be one area i shall be working on...thanks for the post :)

hen said...

It's a very fine line between being arrogant and a warrior. It also takes great skill to know when to speak your mind and when to spend a bit more time in contemplation. In most cases I would say people very rarely show any skill in what they have chosen to say to others.

It's my belief that it takes compassion to empathise with those that we feel are doing/thinking wrong and wisdom to know that they are wrong and what to do about it. That is a true warrior.

Often, in a group, things only change for the worse if you don't apply empathy to a discussion.

So, to me, a lack of empathy means a lack of wisdom, a lack of wisdom means a lack of skill, a lack of skill means a lack of control, and that is not the way of a warrior.


Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

I agree with the basic sentiment - of course the easiest part is learning to give your opinion, the bit about asorbing the reaction and learning from it, that's harder. We all feel protective of what we believe, and sometimes compelled to jump when we see something we know to be wrong, or false.

I don't think any definition of "warrior pagan" can include all the desirable traits we want in any other person - they are not necessary to the definition, they are not prohibited by the definition.

In this vein, I am not sure that compassion is really part of the definition of a Warrior Pagan. I think it is definitely part of the definition of a decent adult - but Warrior - I think it's going a little off the point. What makes Warrior over any other type? it's not kindness, goodness, compassion - these can be found with or without Warrior tendencies.
What makes Warrior in my opinion, is the ability to both dish it out and take it. To speak bravely but take criticism bravely - whether it comes from a compassionate source or not.

hen said...

I do take your point. However I don't see compassion as being something 'soft'(I know you didn't say it was, I just wanted to clarify my understanding of what compassion is in this context).

Being compassionate can bring you to burn someone's house down or kick their backside. It's about having depth to your fight and having the bigger picture in your mind.

I suppose it's the difference between a foot soldier, that has no ambitions, and is just there to follow orders and get the job done and a leader, that has to see all sides in order to make the best decisions and win the fight.

The greatest leaders have been wise and compassionate and kicked arse because of it.

So maybe you don't have to be compassionate to be a warrior, you don't have to be wise either. But to be an effective warrior? I still can't see how you can do without it.