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The Spine of the Dragon...is Love
Article ID: 12031
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,203
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Author: Kestryl Angell
Posted: November 25th. 2007
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Before I begin this lesson, let me state up front…I am no sword expert. I do not claim anything more than a working knowledge of their making, history and associated mythology. However, as with many things in life of which I only have a passing knowledge, they take on greater meaning and depth in my understanding of my world when I have correspondences to work with and associate them appropriately.
Thus, this is the lesson of the sword taught to me though my “witchy filters” that has given me, as I’ve come to understand later in life, an understanding of the sword’s significance to society that I am told only learned and longtime aficionados of the many kinds of swords down through the ages of man.
Throughout mythologies around the world, the sword is a symbol of the Will. In the Craft, it is an extension of the Athame, the personal Will extended to the High Priestess’ symbol of the group Will of her coven, symbol of her power to teach, direct, protect and defend her Way of Life (“religion” can be such a small and sometimes detracting word when a High Priestess’ Ways are being discussed.) As well, it stands for her commitment to see that her Way lives on in others.
In Japanese samurai culture, the sword was the symbol and soul of the warrior that carried it. To break his sword was to break the man, utterly. In these rare cases, only rites of rebirth—long and arduous—could redeem and remake him (and his sword.)
In Native American culture, mythology states that man and his world were once much closer and that man could hear the voice of the animals, the plants and the stones. It is said that his weapons were extensions of his own energy and that even the taking of life in order to feed his family was a sacred act, in need of recognition of the animal or plant’s sacrifice for his own well-being. It required a thought pattern that man must recognize himself as a part of the natural world, not lording over it.
In many plains Native cultures, the drawing of blood wasn’t even necessary—personal honor was far more highly valued so counting coup was sufficient to mark success in battle or border skirmishes. Bloodshed and death were not required unless a crime was committed that called for blood as its only satisfaction, such as the purposeful death of an innocent.
Power animals come to us out of pity, in these cultures, for in talking to them—they help us reconnect with the Mother we humans have ignorantly lost in our search to assuage our frail human egos by inflicting the idea of “power over” onto nearly everything we’ve touched.
But, being the good Celt I am, my own mind and spirit are always drawn to Celto-European mythos and teachings, so my mind turned to one of the most powerful scenes in Arthurian legend—the entrapment of Merlin.
Though the land itself was always equated with Arthur and his status and success as man and King, Merlin was always, to my magickally inclined mind, the aging, changing soul and spirit of the land. He was, in many cases, Mother Earth Herself trying to talk to Arthur and teach him.
One of the more modern renditions of this myth, the fantasy movie “Excalibur” (movies are, after all, our modern mythologies in the making…) illustrates the betrayal of Lancelot and Guinevere as the sword Excalibur being driven through “the Spine of the Dragon” as Merlin is then encased in crystal by the witchery of Morgan Le Fey—trapped into the cycles in his own mind for all eternity or until such time as he is either broken free from those outdated cycles of thought, or until he is called to consciousness by one more powerful than he and more powerful than Time itself.
He was trapped by the very magick he’d taught in an effort not to have to be consigned to the fate of a Merlin’s loneliness in a time when magick was going back into hiding in the world, his hope and his love, circumvented by the Will of his student, even as the land’s Will was forced through the Loving Heart of it’s King in a moment of ultimate emotional and political betrayal.
In this illustration, to my mind, the Spine of the Dragon (the world) …is Love. For if the Will is forced through the foundation (spine) of Love and uses the destructive side of its power against Love (the Will does indeed have two edges), the entire being shatters to its very soul.
Love is the ultimate Creative Spark and the ultimate evidence of commonality among human beings and their world around them, if only they can see it is so.
“Love is the greatest Weapon of Defense, the greatest source of Power and the Greatest Strength. No enemy can stand against it.” as I was taught by one of my greatest teachers. Love is the Highest Law in the Universe and to work the Will against it is, to this witch’s mind, unthinkable.
Many use excuses throughout their lives to live without Love. Love of self, Love of family, Love of community, Love of the world in general. That is not to say that we have to be involved directly in the feeding of the hungry masses or take on projects beyond our ability to effectively manage—but being one loving person in a mass of misery can move mountains.
If you don’t believe me, read up on some of the places like South Africa where pediatricians are attempting to treat and teach other medical professionals there how to treat the AIDS and HIV epidemic in children—while serving at ratios of 1 doctor to over 100, 000 children at a time. Or read up on people like Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi who served in the poor countries of the world as much as they could possibly give, and all for the sake of the few they could touch.
You don’t have to be a Mother Teresa or a Gandhi to make a difference. Starting with yourself can make all the difference your world might need. We teach by example and when Love is the main rule under which all other teachings are taught, the overall result can only be good.
If we touch the world and those around us with our Hearts firmly footed in Love and our actions firmly committed to Compassion, we find far more success than through battling against walls of Fear by trying to instill more Fear.
Further, if we then align our Swords in life along the pathways that Love can accomplish, it is my opinion that we will get much further.
We are not races. We are not creeds. We are not simply what borders and differences of symbolism seem to make us on first glance. We are all human beings living on a planet that is under a great deal of stress—most of which is directly attributable to human ego and lack of vision for the long term or overall greater good.
We are a world of people that produces enough food, worldwide, to feed every single mouth on its surface—and yet billions go hungry every day. We are a world that produces more textiles than its population can wear—and yet children go without clothing daily.
We are a world that has had birth control technology and assistance of many kinds for over one hundred years—yet billions of unwanted and uncared for children are born into this world every year because those technologies aren’t made available and enforced for the betterment of the entire world.
We are a world that has enough land and technology to build self-sufficient communities capable of housing all people world wide—and there are cities, there are entire countries that are suffering blindly because greed, profit margins and “who has the most toys, wins!” mentality that runs so rampant all over today’s modern world.
In the US, we are a country that has billions of dollars every year that lay dormant in government vaults to fund grants that people aren’t even told are there—so they are never applied for, never received, rarely doing the people of this country or the world at large any good at all.
This should not be the case when there are still Katrina victims living in trailers or worse. This should not be the case when every community is in desperate need of having its homeless housed, of having its poor medically cared for, of having its mentally ill given places to exist or solutions to their issues instead of being turned out onto the streets for “lack of funding” where they are a danger to themselves and others.
And we most assuredly have NO business being in other countries telling them how to run their countries and how to settle their centuries-long personal disputes. Like Vietnam, the Middle Eastern situation right now is nothing more than the US poking its nose in where it was never intended nor asked to be…and many innocent lives on both sides are paying for the price of our government’s arrogance.
I honor our warriors that fight so hard for what they believe in and for what our country is supposed to stand for, but many are following orders that are not valid in the overall scheme of the world’s well-being!
So, taking a bit from every place and all my correspondences here, by the ideas of Japanese culture—which I admire for many reasons, the Sword—the Will is a tool to be understood and harmonized with, not opposed by unless the threat is simply too great.
By Native American understanding, we humans need to rid ourselves of ego and return to a cycle of listening to the world, listening to the planet and each other and finding commonality instead of using our personal ideas as the reasons to raise our swords in the “name of the love of our culture.”
War in the name of Love or any religion that preaches Life as a strong foundation stone of its doctrines is directly and diametrically opposed—oxymoronic in fact. That set of ideas includes the war we humans have inflicted on our Mother Earth since our egos moved us out of our connections to her and into the ages where man has surreptitiously used her resources to their limits without regard for how it would affect planetary makeup, weather patterns, etc. in the future.
If we wish to be “great creatures, ” then we must take on these issues by backing our Will, our Swords with the Love the Creator (rix) gave us! Stop focusing on what you can’t do and turn around! We must find the things we can do…and do them religiously.
Take the Sword out of the Spine of the Dragon and let your own spirit and the spirit of the world heal. Then we can break free from our self-imposed crystal cave of illusions and our loathing to grow with Nature as She repeatedly remakes herself.
Then we can move outside ourselves and make one small move to help someone else—simply because they need the help.
The “bumper sticker wisdom” on this leads back to Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty. But the real name of the game is Love and Compassion.
Start as small as you need to…but just start.
Location: Columbia, Missouri
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