Pagan Warriors in the Modern World
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Posted: March 29th. 2009
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For a long time I have followed the pagan path and have wrestled with the notion of exactly how does one who wishes to follow a warrior’s creed actually do so. In various groups I have participated in I have seen others attempting to do the same thing. However I’ve observed considerable frustration in the implementation.
Modern pagans are generally aware that we want our warriors to follow a creed that does not degenerate into brutish chest beating or political paramilitary activities with all the attendant scary implications to those who see it. On the other hand people who follow the warrior’s creed don’t want to merely be become a group of people who are emasculated into simple meditation and meaningless physical fitness activities, or being behavior “nannies” at gatherings and celebrations.
I think being a pagan warrior encompasses more than that.
This essay seeks to link a philosophy of paganism with ways to put being a warrior into practice. I’m going to give examples that link our rich cultural heritage to different forms of warrior craft. I’ll apologize in advance for the almost exclusive focus on Euro-centric culture. It is the culture I have studied extensively and I’d rather write about role models I am familiar with than risk committing errors putting forth stereotypes in place of role models by trying to go where I am not qualified to go. I’m not sure if this essay will do justice to the topic, but I hope it is a start. So little has been written on the topic and I for one think it is a part of paganism that many feel a call to.
So for what it is worth, here we are. The modern world we live in has made being a warrior in the form we know of from heroic literature impractical and inadvisable. However I feel that our heritage does allow us to still follow the warrior’s path, even if we can’t put our foes heads on a pike at the conclusion of a battle as was done in ancient times.
To start with, I want to make it clear, being a warrior is a way of life. It is a path with both courage and dignity. I have always felt that it is possible to blend the roles of protector with the spiritual in a world that follows a rule of law and order. Though I have an academic background, I have chosen not to write this essay in that way. You’ll find little in the way of citations in my work though I have drawn upon a wide range of historical, political and philosophic writing ranging from Socrates to the present day.
Historical background, the warrior in history-
Since the first human used his or her hands to grasp a simple weapon and faced a foe, warriors and the warrior creed has been a part of humanity. How exactly does one learn to face and use violence? Those who have always have had a mystery about them. Our earliest ancestors had to constantly battle foes, both animal and fellow human for mere existence. As the Stone Age became the copper age, then in turn bronze turned to iron, humanity has lived in constant strife.
As we’ve mastered our environment to the point where animal threats lessoned, so have we faced an increasing threat from our own kind. From Gilgamesh to the Illiad, our earliest epics are struggles of man on man. The courage of the warrior to live with a smile in the face of death has made the warrior a breed apart. Celt or Teuton, Roman or Nubian, Hellanic or Scythian; all ancient societies had a warrior class with special privileges as well as responsibilities that comes from the bearing and using of arms. Indeed, if one skips from the ancient pagan world to the 19th century of the Christian era, one finds that until relatively modern times, that common individual citizens were frequently the sole force to keep order in an often violent and unruly world. This isn’t to say that there is but a single path to being a warrior.
By the dawn of the industrialized world, a professional class of warriors emerged, these are called what we today call soldiers. Their path has evolved from the personal retainers of the ancient petty kings, to the knights and knightly class of hereditary warriors in the time of feudalism. In time these feudal warriors became the mercenary captains of the European renaissance, and finally evolved into the national armies of the industrialized era. To be one of these warriors is to be rigorously trained, professional men and women who serve the state. They enforce the will of the government and its vital interests with the force of weapons that have grown unimaginably sophisticated and powerful.
For the young man or woman who wishes to follow this path, it is one that has the individual give up the self for a vow of obedience to the state. In countries like the United States and Canada with their traditions of “citizen soldiers” this isn’t sinister most of the time. In fact one of the most progressive places for a pagan to be open about their faith is within the modern armed forces. As benign military service is here in North America where we are blessed with good Constitutions and long tradition of a military that serves under civil authority, the bottom line is you are a soldier bound to obey. When your leaders order you to perform a task, you do so even if it costs you your life. There is no middle path as a soldier. You swear an oath to obey the lawful orders of your superiors and do so.
In the civil world things have taken a different course. For those of us not in the military, or released from service, there is still room for warriors there as well. In the United States this ethos is enshrined in the Bill or Rights, and has its traditions going back through English Common law, all the way back to the ancient pagan world being first enunciated in the ideals of classical Greece.
Warriors in the industrialized civil world-
Think for a moment about one of the most enduring mythos in the western hemisphere. This is the image of the frontiersman and the cowboy. Our North American society is very individualistic, and our mythic icons reflect this trait. The rugged individualist is an image rooted in courage, honesty and hope, with family and kin on one side, and a deadly world on the other. These were men and women who choose to live on the boundaries of their world (no offense intended to the native Americans whose own warrior class frequently fought them in bitter strife) . Arms bearing civilians who were willing and able to protect their kith and kin has a long tradition going way back to the old world as well.
Western Euro-centric civilization has long enshrined the role of an armed citizenry as a basic civil, indeed human right of its citizens. Until the mid 19th century in fact, if one lived outside of the larger towns and cities it was “the citizens” who enforced the law and bound the lawless by force of arms. Modern police forces are a new concept in the world.
Having a rural constabulary and law enforcement is as recent as the 20th century in many parts of North America. Astounding as it seems, in many places citizens taking up arms to enforce the peace was considered a normal state of affairs when the need arose into well into the 20th century. It is only in the past few generations that the notion that civilians have a right to be armed has come into question. I’ll leave that still raging political debate aside for the time being and bring things back to the topic of the modern pagan in all this.
The immortal values of the warrior-
Cultivate the mindset of a warrior. In a world that values the material, the pagan warrior seeks the clarity of thought and action that comes from living every day as if it was likely to be his or her last. Our whitewashed, sanitized world doesn’t like to deal with issues of imminent death, but in truth, is the reaper every really that far off? Try to live with the clarity of the terminally ill. Those individuals are blessed in one way, and that is the clarity of thought that comes from knowing that the end of their days is closely to come.
Learn to appreciate each day for what it is. Take what you can that is good from the upcoming day; endure what must be lived through with a sense that it too is but a passing thing. Every day we are forced to deal with many things, trials and plain old pain-in-the-butt problems. So what? No life is completely perfect.
A warrior girds him or herself before each conflict knowing that it is how the trial is faced that matters most. Some years ago I was given the chance to participate in a film project about the Viking era Battle of Maldon, an event commemorated in an epic poem I studied in college.
One moment from the film comes clearly to my mind. It was a film scene when I was one of the three last Saxon warriors who are surrounded by the Viking host. For a moment there is a pause in the fight. All three of us are tired and look at each other, then at the foe that surrounds us. A look passes between the three. We are surrounded, and we are all going to die today.
One look is all it takes to communicate that our time is at hand. So we hold up our shields, raise our swords and charge. The message to the audience is the pagan Saxon warrior creed: It is better to take matters into your own hands than wait passively for your fate.
It doesn’t always have to be major things. Following a warrior path means you make the best of your lot and take action the course of action that needs to be done whether it is great or of little consequence. Being a warrior means you are aware of your surroundings at all times. Be awake as you go through the world in your day-to-day affairs.
Living life in a passive mode may be the modern, middle class mindset cultivated by society and enshrined in today’s media culture, but if you live this way why are you reading this in the first place? So many people stumble through life unaware of their world, blindly following a path that leads to essentially nowhere. Life is a grind of survival needs and obligations. Does that mean that you turn off your mind to anything outside of yourself and your narrow personal needs? I certainly hope not! Clarity of thought. Plan of action. That is the way a warrior strives to live each day. So what if whole years pass without anything dramatic happens? It is the practice that makes the person.
Life is uncertain, and whey you are least expecting it, challenge will walk into your life and slap you in the face. I remember the attacks of 9/11 vividly. What strikes me most clearly of that day was how completely unprepared and mentally unready the staff of my workplace were. The administrative staff stood watching the television in the office and tried to pretend it was just the news and to hide it from the children.
As the day unfolded, my staff and particularly the school principal showed they just didn’t grasp that this wasn’t something happening to “other people” living somewhere else. The parents of many of the children were hurrying to the school to scoop up their children and take them home. It was an unreasoning fear, not reasoned response. The sense of panic was contagious. Neither our staff, nor many of the parents, had any real idea of what to do.
I in particular remember being angry and frustrated because I was aware of the significance of what was happening and not in a position to do anything about it. However even as events unfolded, I mentally reviewed my options, and after being allowed to go home I did what was needed for the situation personally.
Late that the day I called my dad, a survivor of a Soviet Gulag and the WW 2 Nazi occupation of the Ukraine. He grumbled a bit, and almost then chuckled at the reaction of the media. To him, this was not a big deal! He’d lived days far worse as a child and teen. As far as he was concerned, while this was a crisis, it wasn’t worthy of the kinds of personal hysteria that so many people turned it into. I learned a lot that day.
I came to understand my own father in a new way. He never did share all his stories in his lifetime, but what I’ve heard since his passing has made me understand why he felt his own children shouldn’t have to deal with the terrible things he was forced to go through in his early years. Warriors don’t always have to be at war to make a difference in the lives of those closest to them.
So what about all this makes it a pagan path? Well, like most everybody else in today’s world you have to live in the practical world of jobs, bills and responsibilities. Being a pagan does not change that. As a pagan however you are aware of the awesome things your ancestors had to do in their lifetimes. Some (many) were forced into wars, famines, and other trials not of their choosing. Yet they survived as you are here as proof of their success.
Cultivate that sense of being a survivor as a mindset and you will find your life richer, and yourself closer to your ancestors in a small way. As a pagan warrior, you are also likely to revere the ancient warrior heritage of your lineage. Cultivate knowledge of that heritage, both the good and bad aspects of it. For no group in history is free of sin, willfully forgetting about the errors of the past is almost as great a sin as not knowing of the past at all.
Warriors in history and legend have qualities that transcend their real (or imagined) lifetimes. Pagans are people who revere both their real ancestors and the ideal of warrior role models.
I have chosen four different warriors from the past to use as role models. For each of these I will give a brief summary of the qualities of warrior-hood they possess and how each one is a role model to gain inspiration from.
In the Iliad he is the crafty warrior. While others like Achilles were possessed of greater fighting skill, Odysseus was the one whose wit and cunning allowed him to persevere ten years to return to his beloved Penelope. After all of his trials and tribulations, upon getting home he found his household besieged with suitors for his wife (and throne) . Even that did not deter him. Using his wits and his skills her reclaimed his wife, his throne and found a son he’d never known to win back it all.
He was Roman from the days of the Republic. In the epic poem “Horatius at the Bridge”, a roman band is forced to defend a fortress against a much larger hostile army. Seeing that the drawbridge could not be raised, Horatius volunteered to stand alone and hold back the enemy on one end of the bridge while the others franticly cut through the bridge behind him. He saw a job needed and did it without hesitation. His sacrifice for a common good is a human trait revered throughout the ages.
Hw was a legendary knight in the court of King Arthur. Who cares if King Arthur was not a king, nor had a court? Dux Artorus was real 6th century leader in post-Roman Britain, and Gawain (Gwalchmei) may have been a real person himself defending against the encroaching Saxons. The knight Gawain appears in some of the earliest Arthurian tales, and is a character in the Welsh Mabinogion epics. Whatever his origin, regardless if you are dealing with the ancient Celtic prototype, or Christian knight; his qualities are clear. He is fiercely loyal, courageous and true, but also very much a human personality.
If you are a pagan, a part of you undoubtedly is a romantic. Need I say more? Okay I will anyway, for if you know this archetypal hero and his impossible dream you know the essence of idealism. “To dream the impossible dream, to right the unspeakable wrong”… Don Quixote speaks to the illusions, endless banality of daily life and the all too human wish to strive towards a greater purpose to fight the good fight in our lives.
These four heroes represent the qualities of different aspects of the warrior. So how can we emulate their qualities and blend them into a world that protects us from many dangers? This same world also tends to smother us in a blanket of overprotection and regulation meant to keep us safe and protected from cradle to grave. Not only that, are there ways to practice bearing arms by those who call themselves heathen?
How to live the way of the weapon:
To be a warrior is to study and practice weapons-craft. After all it is the study and practice of arms is what makes a warrior different from the philosopher. The practice of arms makes you a warrior. It’s that simple. Also remember weapons are intended for a reason, and not to forget that reason. That said, there are a number of ways to practice the ways of weapon craft in a thoroughly safe and legal way in today’s world.
Aside from getting training by becoming a one of the professional warriors of today’s world in the military or law enforcement, there are a number of different avenues open to learn and practice arms bearing skills. You may choose to follow a path that that you can practice by yourself, or join one of the paths with other many like minded people who do it as a hobby.
Before I go on however I’m going to warn you to put off your prejudices. When it comes right down to it, all weapons and weapons craft are the same ultimately. You need to cultivate their study and practice with an open mind. All weapons are intended to be deadly.
A kung fu master is as deadly with his hands as a trained user of an Uzi submachine gun. Only the form and delivery is different with different weapons. All call upon skill and dedication to master. Some paths are easier to learn than others, but prejudice has no place here. Our mass media have been steadily making firearms seem like an evil force, yet when one studies their mastery, it is just another path to learn. Pick one (or several weapons to learn about) . The more you study and practice one, the more you’ll know there is to learn to it.
There are many paths to choose from. You need to pick the one that best suits your circumstances, interests and ability to follow in a legal way. What follows is a brief summary of a number of warrior paths out there. Some have more obvious pagan connections than others. Consider the list as a range of choices available.
Law enforcement and private security
Becoming a sworn police officer is the most obvious path for someone who considers being a warrior by profession and making a career of it. It is not an easy path, as law enforcement personal are charged with the difficult task of keeping the peace and learning very demanding procedures for dealing with everything from filling out forms to situations where life and death situations have to be decided in fractions of a second.
A different version is in Corrections is a field where law officers work in prison setting providing supervision and security for the incarcerated. Anyway to be honest, rather than go into any more detail, I’m going to suggest a really good book by a cop. So if you are interested in learning more I suggest you read the book “Wiccan Warrior: Walking a Spiritual Path in a Sometimes Hostile World” by Kerr Cuhulain (Llewellyn, 2000) .
Another related path is in the private security field. These folks generally are unarmed security who perform vital, but underappreciated work at larger commercial establishments. Unless you already have specialized security training as a professional, it is not a great choice for making a career of it. It can be a very low paying career for most, but it does make the list since it is out there as a choice.
One path is to study the lore and history of weapons and its forms. This is called being a collector. Thanks to the prejudices of mainstream media, this path is frequently misunderstood and derided as hobby of lowbrow reactionaries who buy vicious looking weapons that look intimidating. On the contrary, I have found that if you are in the serious weapons collecting fraternity you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with extremely well educated people from all walks of life. From high quality historic replicas, to relics of wars long past, collectors are educated people who are fascinated by the history and lore of arms. Many specialize in one kind; others collect examples with a common theme. Be warned though, this is not a cheap passion to follow. However this is a good path for someone who has advanced in years and can no longer physically meet the demands of certain warrior disciplines and is very rewarding if you enjoy lots of study.
Arms as art
Some people are far more interested in the craft of making the weapon than they are in warrior skills. So it always has been in history as well, the weapon maker has been at the right hand of the warrior, building, mending and creating new arms for the warrior. North Americans are blessed to have some very real weapon related art forms still very much practiced: building muzzle loading rifles and muskets, knives or long bows.
If you are at heart a craftsperson, building weapons puts you in touch with the sheer artistry inherent in most all weapons. I have always admired the form and beauty of Pennsylvania long rifles. From a frontier society with little use for things that didn’t perform a function, these rifles blend form and function in a truly magical way. To build one is a labor of hundreds of hours work, yet a host of companies out there will provide you a kit that will allow you to join a quiet but dedicated fraternity who honor the primary tool of the frontier era. These are works of art that are meant to be used as well, as you’ll quickly find yourself a part of the very environmentally conscious world of the buck skinners, a group of men and women who revere the past and recreate the lifestyle of the highly individualistic world of frontier life.
Living history groups
Is the history of your family or nation something that really interests you? Want to know what it really must have been like to shoulder a musket or wield armor and sword and march into the dragon’s mouth of an opposing army? Perhaps you want to feel the thrill of real combat, but without the body parts, butchery and bloodshed associated with it all. If the answer to any of these is yes, you may be one of the hundreds of thousands of people involved in the huge living history movement.
Every weekend, all across the country thousands will don historic costume to feel as the clothes felt then, learn the drill to fight as fighting was done, and join others doing the same at historical reenactment events. From Roman legionaries to Vietnam (yes, even that) there are those who learn the path of warriors from the experiences of their ancestors.
You’ll want to investigate exactly what kind of group, era and warrior you wish to learn about. Each group will guide you to get the right kinds of costume, weapons and training to participate, and you’ll stage battles following a set of rules designed to safely simulate the warrior’s life of different eras.
Pagan warrior societies within organized religion
A number are out there. I have participated with ADF’s warrior guild in the past. I have seen references to other pagan movements having their own warrior societies. Some (such as the Native American groups) are closed to outsiders. I personally have found that these groups are difficult to run down, and I was personally disappointed by what I found with those in the groups I encountered. All I say at this juncture is to see if there are such groups in your region and find out for yourself if participation is warranted. If you feel that it is a path for you to join in, take a proactive role in the group. Keep in mind the caveats I referred to at the start of my essay about neo-facist militias, event nannies and exercise groups.
Having a license to carry
At the time of this writing, about 4/5ths of the states in the USA allow licensed civilians to carry concealed weapons (meaning a handgun) for personal defense. Specific rules and training to become licensed varies widely by state, but for those who wish to do so the opportunity exists. Each state has its own requirements to get and remain certified so that one can carry a firearm for personal defense. Of course it must be stressed that this is a very serious responsibility. This path is only open to individuals who are squeaky-clean background. If you’ve ever been convicted of anything more serious than littering you can forget about getting a permit.
Of course you have to be willing to accept all that comes with carrying a gun. You must at the very least be willing to live with the notion that you do everything right one day, and still end up in serious legal hot water should you ever have to use the weapon you carry. Ask any cop about this last part, they’ll tell you about the risk they face every day they go to do their job.
I’ve kept this for last, but it should be no surprise that turning the warrior’s trade into a sporting activity is a form of warrior path. The ancient Olympics were the first place where this was done in a systematic way, but in the last two hundred years this has become a major diversion of the multitudes. There are hundreds of sports you can choose from, so choose a sport with a clear-cut warrior application: be it the civilian marksmanship program (CMP) , renaissance fencing, jousting, Cowboy Action Shooting or Kendo, there are many others to choose from as well. There you will learn safe handling, gain plenty of real weapon skill, and the pride that comes with learning to be very good at a skill that takes dedication to master. Those sports which revolve around using firearms also require you to have a clean criminal background and deal with many legal issues relating to the ownership and use of firearms (there are many these days) . Each of these also requires specialized arms, equipment and joining dedicated groups supporting the unique activity, but is generally worth it if you enjoy the sport.
A few pitfalls of practicing the above listed skill paths:
Choosing and practicing a warrior craft means you are using it as a tool for advancing your path as a warrior. I say this as a person with many years of experience in all of the examples I’ve given you just now because I have also seen that in each path asks you learn things and form associations that may have little to do with your goal as a warrior. Cultivate the aspects that are important in whatever path you follow, and enjoy the friends and associations you form along the way. You are at your best when you follow your heart. As human beings we will strive to do best at what we enjoy.
The ancient Greek Xenophon, one of the great war leaders of the ancient world said it best in referring to horse training in one of the very first horse training and care manuals ever written (a book still reprinted 2500 years later!) “Nothing that is forced can be beautiful”. Keep that in mind.
Also since we are dealing with human beings you’ll find yourself getting intertwined in group dynamics, personal politics and the usual crap. Petty crap is normal. From one medieval martial arts society where they award ranks and merit and then expect you to bow and scrap to the pretended royalty, to people who think they have a patent on a particular truth, you just have to learn to deal with the idiots. It is no different than modern pagans, because modern pagans are people too and we all suffer the same vices.
The role of the pagan warrior in the modern world:
From the self to the world and back to the self again. Is there a place for a warrior role in the pagan world? I would say, yes there is. Just as the definitions of equality, liberty and civil rights have expanded in recent decades, so has the notion that pagan beliefs are acceptable, and have allowed practicing pagans to explore the spiritual dimensions of their beliefs. I bet a thoughtful person would likely read my last comment and say, “Wait a minute! Modern pagans put up with all kinds of social disrespect from mainstream religion and media.”
True enough, but look at the history of the civil rights movement since the 1950s and you’ll see the same forces were present. In comparison to the often-tumultuous struggle the much of the civil rights movement entailed, by comparison the pagan movement has mostly been a simple public relations battle.
However in a world were extremist religious groups do exist, I feel there is a need to need for pagans to be able to protect their own, even if we have no intention of joining in the sectarian madness ourselves. So what are qualities that should define pagan warriors? As I see it, it boils down to a few key traits in an individual.
So what are the core virtues of a pagan warrior? It is difficult to find a specific answer to this simple question! A number of folks out on the Internet have maintained web pages with their personal creed. After reading through a number, I came up with my own.
These warrior traits lie within the self. The difference between a warrior and a common criminal/thug is the practice of learning self-restraint and control. There are many ways to cultivate them, from taking on a martial arts skill to how you conduct yourself in your most private of affairs. Discipline means bowing to laws you do not agree with, and being willing to take orders from others who you freely give up your personal self interest in order to serve.
To be a warrior is to doing things outside your comfort zone in social interactions, giving of your time and effort to others. To be willing to live to a moral code and face the consequences of your actions. The warriors of old faced death every day and lived each day knowing it could be their last. They lived life without hesitation. You too must be willing to face the consequences of your actions, because as a warrior you must be willing to face your fears in the service of others. Courage doesn’t mean you should jump into any situation, but like Odysseus, carefully consider the best course of action, and be willing to do what is necessary in order to achieve face your foe.
Learn a weapon and practice it enough to maintain a basic proficiency. This does not necessarily mean you have to learn a modern weapon (though I strongly feel every warrior should know the basics of using firearms) , but the discipline that the training it entails is important. A warrior should know their weapon, know how to wield it effectively; its uses and limitations, its lore and about how to possess it in a civil society without conflicting with laws of your locale, state and nation.
I advocate learning about firearms as well as knowing how to master a martial art. Why? Simply put, it is because ultimately trying to use an obsolete weapon will almost certainly get you badly hurt or even killed if you have to go up against someone armed with a firearm. Like them or not, firearms are brutally effective and primitive weapon users are rendered virtually impotent when facing someone with a firearm who knows how to use it.
To be a warrior means you must be able to keep your wits about you. You must practice restraint when you bear arms. This may mean that if you are serving another you are not indulging yourself with intoxicants at that time. (This doesn’t mean complete abstinence all the time, but when you are bearing arms) . A weapon in the hands of the impaired is always a bad thing! If you should have to deal with civil authorities (like the police arriving at a public or private gathering where their has been some complaint filed) you need to be utterly and completely sober and rational. If you have been drinking, you have no business handling a weapon of any kind! I cannot stress this enough!
Temperance also means showing restraint in stressful situations. As a warrior you may be called to use force at some point to stop violence against another. It isn’t your job however to punish those who injure others, no matter how clear-cut a matter it may be. Your job is to stop others from hurting the innocent and only act as necessary depending on the situation at hand. It is the job of the civil authority to bring law and order once they arrive to enforce the peace.
As a warrior, you can only act with as much force as is needed, otherwise you will find yourself facing severe consequences yourself from the authorities. Like it or not, we are living in a society with a rule of law. The police are the agents of that authority and their demands are the ones you must obey whether they are right or wrong. They are trained to do their job, and you are not. Police officers are not only human beings after all, but the authority they bear in the shield upon their breast means their word is the law until proven otherwise by a court of law.
So you want to be a warrior at a pagan gathering-
The question that is probably at the bottom of your mind the whole time here has been how do I really show my pagan brethren my true colors when celebrating? Besides my stories, skills and general overall bearing how do I demonstrate in am a warrior? Well, first off you have to decide how to do so.
The practical side of it all.
About who leads…and who follows-
In the pagan community, we often fall into contention with others over issues of leadership. Who is the authority? Who gives the orders, and who decides when a warrior is needed? Oh yes, and the most vital part; at what point should a warrior act? Being a warrior does not mean you are a para-military shock force under a charismatic leader to do his or her bidding. Does the mere idea scare you? It does me! Unlike times of old, being a warrior does not mean you can really, completely function as a knight errant either, subject to no rules except helping the weak, innocent and violated. Whether solitary or as part of a group, always strive to do what is right!
When the late president Gerald R. Ford found himself having to make a difficult decision he would often ask of his advisors “regardless of the politics involved, what is the right thing to do here”? If you see someone needing aide you give it, and if you are working with someone who does something that you feel is unconscionable tell him or her so and act accordingly.
Have a plan of action if you are providing a security at a gathering-
If you plan to show your warrior-hood at a gathering, in what way is it appropriate to do so? First of all, you need to communicate with the host about ways that he/she considers appropriate! As a bare minimum you need to coordinate what kind of service is planned and how you will do it. Being a warrior is NOT swaggering around draped in weapons! The best “weapon” is often a carefully considered course of action, knowing what to do if a problem presents itself that calls for action.
In my profession we stage tabletop drills several times a year where different staff discuss and from a tabletop, role play the actions of all involved in the event of an emergency. Taking from my own training I’m going to suggest the following course: Discuss the situation with your leadership and team, how to respond, how to deal with the authorities in an appropriate way and when to do it. You may not quite be ready for the real thing if it happens, but nobody who has ever dealt with a real crisis is. You do the best you can, and follow your plan to the best of your ability.
Be trained, and get training if it is available-
From how to use a radio to first responder training, to legal issues on appropriate use of force, you need to get what ever training you can get to be prepared. As a warrior you must be willing to live with some serious potential legal consequences for your actions. This is a simple truth. Deal with it by becoming as informed as you can about what you are allowed and not allowed to do, and when to do it.
The warrior’s path is very simple, yet it carries so much weight with it. If you are a pagan, and feel the call of the warrior path, choose the path you follow as your heart leads you. This path is one that can be followed by either the individual, or within a group. Most of all, the warrior’s path is one of individual responsibility.
Not all people can be warriors (nor should all of us be one) but for those who choose it, it is a rich path, full of heritage and honor. These are traits much needed much needed in the pagan community.
“Wiccan Warrior: walking a spiritual path in a sometimes hostile world” by Kerr Cuhlain (Llewellyn, 2000)
Not sure what else needs citing here. Most of my references are fairly generic to sources like classical Greeks, Romans, Gilgamesh, up through the modern era.
Copyright: Andrew Mychalus, c.2008 (original writing)
Location: New Park, Pennsylvania
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