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A Warrior in a Time of Peace

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States.* Or rather yesterday was, but today is the federal holiday because Veteran’s Day landed on a Sunday this year. It is a celebration of those soldiers that returned home, just as Memorial Day is a celebration of those who died in combat. The date, November 11, is the anniversary of the armistice going into effect that effectively ended World War I, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It is a holiday celebrating both war and peace, or more accurately, celebrating the warrior once peace was reached.

During war, the role of a warrior is obvious. A war can’t be won if no one fights. Time won the Cold War, not the USA or the USSR, not capitalism, not communism, not democracy, not socialism, not freedom, not dictatorism or fascism. Time won. With no fighting, it was a waiting game of which structure would crumble first, and in reality, both did, just that behind the Iron Curtain was more obvious. But in a war that is truly a war, people fight, people kill, people die. The role of a warrior is obvious: kill or be killed. It’s a time to kill. It’s a time to die. It’s a time for war. It’s a time to mourn. It’s a time to weep.

But when the war is over? When the warriors return? What then? It’s a time to heal. It’s a time to be born. It’s a time for peace. It’s a time to dance. It’s a time to laugh. But what of the warrior? He or she returns, having seen and done things that will haunt them for the rest of their life. Sometime things that could have been avoided, but often things that had to be done. A duty served. They return with memories and nightmares, shock and trauma, and skills that aren’t needed and aren’t wanted in a time of peace. Of course there’s those that continue to serve, a guard in case of attack, peacekeeping forces, and the like. But there are far more warriors needed in war times than peace times and they return to a society that doesn’t need their skills and doesn’t understand their pain.

I recently heard one of T. Thorn Coyle’s Elemental Castings podcasts where they were discussing warrior traditions verses non-violence traditions. I believe it was one of her podcasts of one of the Pagan Hindu panels, but I’m not certain. The discussion was about what we can teach each other, what each person or tradition brings to the table. The discussion of warrior traditions and non-violence traditions was brief but powerful. There was a statement made that non-violence can be approached from a warrior ideal, that it is a way of fighting as much as more aggressive means. The implication is that it’s not the violence and aggression that makes a warrior, but the ideals, the training, the way of looking at the world.

Lately I read The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yagyu Munenori. The book is one intended to be private, only read within the family, and provided the core framework of the family school of martial arts and the family tradition. It presumes that you will also be receiving oral teaching and martial arts training from the family, not just reading the book. The notible thing about the book is it describes the art of war at three levels, showing it applies the same. The primary focus is on individual combat, but the shows how the same techniques and ideas apply to large scale combat as well, and also that it applies to all areas of life, not just combat. Many of the author’s examples are non-combative, showing how the principle works in other areas of life, then expanding it to single combat warfare, and from there to large scale combat. He makes it clear: martial arts is not something you go learn in your spare time; it’s a lifestyle, and if you aren’t practicing the art of war, the martial art, in all areas of your life, you’re not doing martial arts and have missed the point and are just acting.

The most important item discussed in The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War was not letting your mind rest anywhere. If you focus on cutting someone with your sword, you’ll miss. If you focus on hitting someone with an arrow, you’ll miss. If you focus on where to put the needle sewing, you’ll have a crooked stitch. If you focus on smoothing specific bumps on a pot, your pot will be uneven. Part of being a warrior is keeping your mind moving, not focusing on only one thing. I saw a demonstration one time of this principle. It was an animation of a red dot with three yellow dots around it and a rotating field of blue crosses behind. If you stare at the red dot, one of the yellow dots will disappear. It’s still there, but you can’t see it if you focus on the red dot too long. (See the animation here: http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/mot_mib/) This is a very real world issue for fighter pilots. If they focus on one enemy plane ahead of them, other planes in formation with it can disappear, which can be a real bad thing in battle. Pilots are taught to keep their eyes moving, not staying on any one point, to prevent this. In a non-combat example, this can also be an issue driving a car if you focus on the car in front of you. You can literally not see something important. This is a warrior principle that applies to all parts of life, don’t keep your mind focused on one thing, or you’ll miss other things. This especially applies in magic and witchcraft, as magic requires holding opposing ideas in your mind at the same time. If you get too caught up in what is, or what appears to be, you can’t see what can be, or what is hidden.

I discovered something similar in my T’ai Chi Chuang class this last summer. The lessons would make no sense without the martial aspect (though many who take the classes for exercise don’t want to think about the martial aspect), but if they don’t touch all aspects of your life, you missed the lesson.

“Where your mind goes the chi follows.” This is very real and marital in T’ai Chi. There’s a saying that without chi, you’re just doing martial arts. Moving chi is very central to T’ai Chi. Much of the practice of forms is for the purpose of feeling your body and how the chi moves through it, and learning to direct the chi to work with you. When your fist connects, you want the chi to flow with it, increasing the force behind that fist. Same for your foot in a kick. When you block, you want the chi to form a shield, helping with the block. In the beginning posture, Wuji, “without ridgepole”, your chi is formless, pooled in your lower dan tien. When you prepare for t’ai chi, taiji, “great ridgepole”, your chi takes form. You open the Life Gate, pulling your chi out of the dan tien into your lower back, and through your spine to all parts of your body. Each move from there until completion moves the chi as you move your body. But it’s not the move, it’s your mind’s focus on the move. “Where your mind goes the chi follows.” This applies to all areas of life. Where we focus, our chi, our power and energy, our life force, our virtue (Te), is focused. Looking back to the lesson from The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War, if we keep focused one place, our chi pools there and is of no use elsewhere. A warrior is aware of where their mind is, and disciplines it to go where they need it, not meandering, not becoming static. A warrior must be dynamic and moving at all times. T’ai Chi Chuan is movement, the interaction of Yin and Yang in an eternal dance. In, out, left, right, forward, back. There is no stopping, no holding, no waiting. To stop is to return to wuji, to remove the ridgepole form the tent and let it settle with no form.

Germanic society, including Anglo-Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, and Norse among others, was very much a warrior society. This was not limited to just those who were warriors by profession. While Odin was a god of war for the warriors, Thor was a god of war for farmers and other laborers, because just because you didn’t fight for a living didn’t mean you didn’t defend your family, your home, your kith and kin, your community. Everyone who could fight fought when the fight came to you. The difference was that those who were warriors by trade went out, went to the fight. Very much Yin and Yang. Those who fought when the fight came to them could be seen as Yin warriors. Those who took the fight to others could be seen as Yang warriors. But, as always, Yin and Yang are the same thing. Warrior principles touched every aspect of Germanic culture and society.

Asatru, a Norse reconstructionist tradition, often uses what they call the Nine Noble Virtues, a list of values distilled from reading the lore, Eddas, and sagas, to define the ethics of individuals and communities. Some within Asatru reject these, some treat them as guides, while others are very dogmatic about them, but they are worth looking at in this context, as they are often seen as a warrior ethic. The Nine Noble Virtues are Courage, Truth, Honour, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self Reliance, and Perseverance. How these are interpreted varies as much as how much they are stuck to, but a few are very obviously warrior-based.

Courage is doing what is right or needs to be done even when the consequences may go bad for us. In battle, of course, this is standing the line or making the charge, or holding ground even when fear says to run. In normal life, it might be taking a stand at work when something illegal is being done, even if you might lose your job for it. It might be running in front of a car to save a child in the road. This, along with Honour and Fidelity, mirrors Cochrane’s “Do not do what you desire – do what is necessary” in his witch ‘Law’.

Honour is the reputation you leave in the world, basically, what people remember of you, what change you create in the world. Following honour, living an honourable life, is avoiding doing things you’ll regret. In battle, this would mean doing what needs to be done without causing unnecessary pain and suffering. Killing with as few blows as possible instead of leaving people to suffer. Not taking pleasure in the pain they suffer, knowing it could have been you dying. Not killing the innocent and those that can’t defend themselves. In hunting, it would be killing the animal with one shot when possible. In business, it means keeping your word in deals made. At work, it means doing what you were hired for, not abusing the trust given you. Cochrane’s witch ‘Law’ states this concept as, “When all else is lost, and not until then, prepare to die with dignity.”

Fidelity can be defined as loyalty, fealty, faith. It is your commitment to kith and kin, to government, to the spirits and gods. Ultimately, it is the keeping of oaths, for in the days of troth (the Norse word for this virtue), oaths were sworn to keep this faith and loyalty. Break the oath, you die. This is similar to an oath many witchcraft traditions and lines swear as part of initiation oaths, to stand by their brothers and sisters no matter what, to protect their identities as witches, and similar oaths. In battle, of course, this means you don’t turn coat and fight for the other side, you stand with your kith and kin no matter what. In marriage, this means keeping your wedding vows, not cheating on your spouse, not leaving your spouse, supporting and defending your spouse. At work, this means keeping confidential what needs to be kept confidential, being loyal to your employer as long as they are your employer, and not sharing things that should be shared even after leaving. This also means being loyal to the nation you live in, following its laws unless they violate higher troth, not committing treason, showing respect to those in authority. And more than anything, this means keeping faith with the spirits and gods you work with. They are partners in the work and as much kith and kin as our flesh and blood and fellow workers, maybe more. As Cochrane’s witch ‘Law’ said, “What I have – I hold!”

Discipline is obvious. This starts with ourselves, doing what’s necessary to do what needs to be done. Preparation and training and consistency. In war, this is putting our all into the training needed to be ready for battle, and sticking with what we trained for no matter what, not getting sloppy, not backing down. This applies directly to many areas of life. You can’t excel at your job without discipline. You can’t keep your house clean without discipline. You can’t do the work without discipline. A witch is a warrior, constantly training for battle, constantly honing her skills, increasing his talents. And a teacher must impart the same in their students, both by example and by training. If a student learns all else but no discipline, they will fail, and a teacher wants students who succeed. Discipline is the art of being a disciple. Disciple comes from the Latin discipulus, “pupil, student, follower”, from discere, “to learn”, from the Proto Indo-European *dek-, “to take, accept”. Discipline is taking what is given, as Cochrane’s witch ‘Law’ states, “Take all you are given – give all of yourself.” This is the essence of both the student and the teacher. In Old Norse, we find þegn, thane. This is both the world for follower, for warrior, and for descendant. It is a freeman who has sworn an oath to follow, defend, and fight for a lord, chief, or other head of a clan or community. This is a person disciplined to keep that troth, that oath. This requires the same commitment and training and practice any other type of warrior requires. In return, the chief allowed the thane to live in his house (or on his land), eat at his board, provided all hospitality. Basically, the chief provided completely for the thane, and the thane served the chief. Very similar to a teacher/student relationship when seen as master/apprentice as it is in many trades.

Self Reliance is also obvious. A warrior must depend on themselves, not presume things will be provided. This doesn’t mean not accepting hospitality, just being able to survive without it. In battle, your sword brothers will fight with you, yes, but you can’t presume they will always be there. This requires observation and decisiveness, being able to know when you are on your own, then the abilities and skills needed to survive on your own. This goes back to the above virtues. You need discipline beforehand to be prepared to survive on your own. Survival on your own requires courage and honour, and honour and fidelity must serve as guides in the decisions you make. And of course, this is true in all areas of life, not just on the battlefield. At work, you should make every effort to have the skills and knowledge necessary to do your job even when your team is all out. At home, you need the skills and knowledge necessary to survive if your spouse is unreachable or dead. And self reliance is very important for a witch, as if you can only do the work in a group, you can’t do the work. Self reliance also means personal responsibility. One of the core principles of Grimr, my path, is the truth that each person is responsible for his or her own actions, and only his or her own. Self reliance isn’t just the ability to provide for yourself and do what needs to be done when you have no assistance, it’s taking responsibility for the decisions you make and the actions you take.

Preseveration is your ability and determination to keep going even after defeat. It’s the old adage that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, just that you get up one more time than you fall. In battle, this is the ability as a leader to come up with a plan and attack again when you are defeated and have retreated. It’s the ability as a warrior to get back up and keep fighting when you’ve been hit. It’s the infamous quote from Galaxy Quest, “Never give up, never surrender”, or James Kurt in Star Trek’s belief that there’s no such thing as the no win scenario. It’s Winston Churchill’s famous quote in World War II, “Never, never, never give up.” It’s Rorschach in the Watchman’s commitment, “No. Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise.” This is another that applies equally to war as it does to the rest of life. A warrior ethic is to never give up in any area of life, in your relationships, in your employment, and definitely in your work. This is the “and not until then” in Cochrane’s “When all else is lost, and not until then, prepare to die with dignity.”

The remaining three, Truth, Hospitality, and Industriousness, do have application both for a warrior, in every day life, and in the work, but are not specifically warrior traits.

In the book Heart of the Initiate (available from Harpy Books at http://www.harpybooks.com/Order/), Victor Anderson in one essay discusses the martial aspect of Feri, sharing a story of how he used witchcraft offensively in face of an attack. Witchcraft and magic are useless if we can’t use them to defend ourselves. He responded to offense with offense, attack with attack, pain with pain. And it was effective. Feri is a warrior tradition, and this is not just a metaphor. It’s not just an ethic based on warrior principles. Sometimes you have to fight for yourself, for kith and kin, for what is yours. “What I have – I hold!” This goes back to the principles I discussed above. Victor describes Feri as Pictish Witchcraft. By this, he means the witchcraft of the small dark people he often talked about, that took Feri out of Africa and spread it around the world. Whether in his descriptions, or in what little we know of the historical Picts on the Isle of Britain, the Picts were a warrior race. It is impossible to separate Pictish Witchcraft from Pictish warfare, in their essence. And hence impossible to separate Feri from the warrior without it no longer being Feri.

When I first read the verse in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from the Bible when I was a kid, “Blessed be the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth”, it resonated with me. I’ve always been a peacemaker, always trying to get both sides to see the others’ view point, always trying to avoid conflict and get along with everyone. And often failing. The verse is of course saying two different things. “Blessed be the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth” because if everyone pursues war, there will be no earth to inherit. Or, “Blessed be the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth” because it’s the peacemakers who ultimately rule in a time of peace, not the warriors or warmakers. When peace comes, the warmakers give way to the peacemakers, until the next war.

Being a natural peacemaker, a warrior attitude and warrior practice is hard for me. I am not a veteran of the military and never will be, because I would never make it through Basic Training, and would die on the field if I did because I couldn’t pull the trigger. I’m not a hunter for the same reason. I could never kill the animal. I couldn’t bring myself to. But I eat the meat of hunters, I support the right to hunt, I understand the need both for the survival of the family of the hunter and for the benefit of responsible hunting to the environment. I am against gun control in general, but think it holds a place in some areas and within reason, though I recognize the potential for abuse of those uses. I own several guns, and enjoy shooting them. I know how to handle a gun, and am not afraid to handle it. But I doubt I could defend myself with one, nor with a knife or any other weapon. If you draw a weapon in self defense, you need to be able to and willing to use it, or it is more a threat to you than your attacker. I don’t think I could use it. But I understand and support the ability of people to own guns for self defense, as long as they receive training in it’s use. And I understand the need for the military and the men and women who serve in the armed forces. I have friends who serve. The military and the warrior are important parts of society, but in times of war and times of peace. But in times of peace, and off the battlefield, the warrior is often treated as evil. He is not evil. She isn’t an abomination. They are important to our lives, and they can teach us a lot.

As I said, a warrior attitude and warrior practice is hard for me. But it’s a part of my path, of my stream, of my practice. I work hard to cultivate and come to know the warrior inside me, to grow into that part of me. I had a dream once where I was a warrior goddess in training at a school. I worked to receive a sword in the dream, and to receive arm blades that were wings, to become a Valkyrie and a warrior. That warrior goddess is inside me and is as much a part of me as the peacemaker I’m more comfortable with and familiar with. I work to know her, the Yang aspect of me, to understand her, to integrate her, to be her when I need to be. I work to be a peacemaker in time of war and a warrior in time of peace. And vice versa.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

*Entry started Monday, November 12, 2012. Veteran’s Day was November 11.

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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in muninnskiss

 

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Those Who Pray, Those Who Fight, Those Who Work: Musings About Labor Day

Yesterday was Labor Day in the US, in a lot of ways the Twin of Memorial Day.  Labor Day is the first Monday of September and Memorial Day the last Monday of May.  If you consider March, April, and May as Spring, June, July, and August as Summer, and September, October, and November as Autumn, Labor Day and Memorial Day mirror each other, exactly thirteen weeks apart, a quarter of a year.

But it’s not the date that makes them Twins, that ties them together, but their nature.  There’s two parts to this, the original intention, and the organic evolution.

Though it has evolved, Memorial Day is and always has been, throughout its history, a day of remembering those who died serving in the United States armed forces.  It is ultimately a day of mourning for the fallen, characterized by visiting graves and laying flowers and other offerings on the graves.  It has evolved in that people don’t only visit military dead, but family as well in a lot of cases.  It has become almost the US’s Dia de los Muertos.

Unlike Memorial Day, Labor Day is a celebration, not mourning.  It was a day created to honour the contributions of workers to the economy and society.  However, seldom is that element mentioned at this point.  It is seen as a reward for laborers, giving them a day off, laborers used to mean all those who have jobs, though I don’t think management and others that aren’t laborers in the traditional sense.  It is normally celebrated with picnics and barbecues, the last weekend of the summer season.  It is celebrated with family.

You have several levels, as I said, that make these two holidays Twins.  The first is obvious.  Memorial Day is a day for the military, Labor Day is a day for civilians.  This has been a strong dichotomy throughout history, with the addition of a third group, which I will get to in a moment.  Rome had a strong division between the civilians and the soldiers.  Civilians where pretty much set in their place unless they became soldiers.  You were either a citizen by birth, or you became one serving as a soldier.  There were other groups as well, but these were the largest two.  Medieval thought described the three estates, Oratores, “those who pray”, Bellatores, “those who fight”, and Laboratores, “those who work”.  A simplified summary of India’s caste system has four main castes, with the outcasts as a fifth.  These are: Brahman, “priests”, Kshatriyas, “warriors”, Vaishyas, “traders”, Shudras, “workmen”, and Panchama, “the fifth”.  Traders are of not, because as the Borges developed in Europe into a Middle Class, it was traders that they were.  But priests and traders are smaller portions of society, by their nature.  Fighters and laborers are the largest portions in all societies that have try classes or castes.  And they are very much opposites in their nature, but both essential for society.

On a deeper level, the two holidays represent life and death.  Memorial Day is a day of mourning the dead.  Labor Day is a celebration of life.  Memorial Day is visiting the dead.  Labor Day is spending time with family, the place our life came from.  Life and Death.  What is curious, these days, opposite on the calender and opposite in nature, are opposite of the older holidays, holy days.  Spring is normally a time of rebirth and life, Candlemas and May Day, the length of days growing.  Autumn is normally a time of death, harvest, Samhain.  But these two are opposite that.  Why?

If you think about Labor Day from an agricultural point of view, you realize Labor Day is during harvest time, and in many parts of the US, the end of harvest.  It’s appropriate that laborer’s would be celebrated after harvest, after the hard work they have done.  So Labor Day is easy to see as a traditional harvest festival, especially with the focus on the family gathering around food.  And the food from harvest, though often seen as dying, is the life that gets people through the winter.

But what about Memorial Day?  It’s important to note that the current Memorial Day comes from the Northern date after the Civil War.  The Southern equivalant occurred on May 1, May Day.  The secret here comes from a detail of the ceremony of visiting the graves.  The practice of laying flowers on the graves.  This practice is very ancient and didn’t start with the holiday.  The holiday determined a specific day for an older custom.  Now May is well known as the month flowers bloom (though it’s not as set as customs imply).  May Day is most commonly celebrated with gathering and giving of flowers.  Flowers on graves probably came from creating a place for the dead that was like where they would go in death, in the belief it would make that place better.  Just like the Egyptians filling tomes with what the dead would need.  So, if the intended custom was the placement of flowers (and the original name was Decoration Day because of this custom), it only makes sense that it would need to be at a time when flowers bloom.  Suddenly, Memorial Day becomes a flower ceremony, the placing of flowers on graves becomes a ceremony of planting, just as the body placed in the ground is the seed, the death that will bring life.

So the two Twins do in fact fit their seasons.  Memorial Day, a day of death, is a day of planting.  Labor Day, a day of life, is a day of harvest.

To get back to Labor Day specifically, lets look at labour itself.  In Kabbalah, this is Olam HaAssaiah, the World of Action.  It’s the world where things happen.  It isn’t the World of Planning or the World of thinking.  It’s the World of Action.  Priests in most cultures deal with spiritual things.  They are the ones who pray, not the ones who act.  Traders typically take the things made by laborers and transport them then trade them with others.  They distribute the result of others actions, don’t act themselves in the way we’re discussing.  But both laborers and warriors act and change the world, laborers typically by creating and building, warriors by killing and destroying.  Ultimately, labour is action, and action is the stuff of this world and the only way to change the higher worlds.  This is why down to earth, salt of the earth, people are the ones who labour, the farmers and ranchers that produce our food, the construction workers that produce our shelter and roads, the steel workers building skeletons of our cities and the cars we drive, the miners and droppers and rig workers who give us energy for our electronics and our heat, that provide the iron and copper, the lumberjacks that provide the wood for our houses, the teamsters who get our things from one place to another.

Part of the reason the craft has always been made up of outsiders is because we span the classes and castes above.  We work.  You can’t be a witch if you don’t do the work.  We trade.  On multiple levels.  On a mundane level, most magical services were bartered and traded for.  A charm in exchange for food, a curse in exchange for repairing my fence, an amulet for a bushel of wood.  On a spiritual level, much of magic is trade with the spirits, giving them something in exchange for a service or information from them.  Witches tend to be excellent traders.  We fight.  As Victor Anderson said, the craft is martial and a warrior tradition.  It’s not coincidence that many folk tales are about witches flying to fight spirits in the night.  As Cochrane said, “What I have, I hold!”  What can you hold if you don’t fight for it?  And we pray.  All spells are truly prayers, but more specifically, we are Priests and Priestesses.  We form the Bridge between the people and the gods, between the Kingdom and the King, between the mundane and the Divine, between this world and the otherworld, between heaven and earth, between this world and the underworld, between life and death.  We are the Bridge because we stand between worlds.  We are liminal, neither here nor there, but both, so can connect the worlds for others.  We are Priests, Warriors, Traders, Workers.  We are all things.  Liminal.  So we become the Fifth, the untouchables.  Because we can’t be contained in category because we claim them all.  So we become outsiders, Other, Monster, untouchable.


FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in muninnskiss

 

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The Making of a War Goddess

Last June, I had a dream that I was a young war goddess in training.  I won’t repeat it here, but I described it in this post:

http://muninnskiss.livejournal.com/135624.html

I was discussing it with a friend the other day and something was pointed out to me.  In the dream, I had two things: a sword and wings.  She pointed out that these allow me to do two things.  The sword allows me to fight. The wings allow me to fly.  Pretty obvious so far, but what I didn’t notice is these two are the instinctual responses to danger:  fight or flight.  Now, I have a tendency to withdraw inside myself when confronted with conflict.  I hide.  I cower.  I don’t fight.  I don’t leave (flight).

I have issues with saying no.  People tell me to do something (or ask in a why I feel doesn’t give me a choice), and I do it to avoid the conflict and to try to make people happy.  Saying no would lead to conflict.  Conflict means I either have to fight or leave.  And I avoid that.  Not saying no is part of my reaction of hiding.

In the dream, I don’t have the sword or the wings at the beginning.  I found the sword, my ability to fight.  I was given the wings, my ability for flight.  It is interesting that I was supposed to present myself to the group of women and didn’t.  And then I went to them for a different reason, and they gave me the wings (which were weapons, too).  The room where the women were was underground.  It was a round chamber carved from grey stone, lit by candles or torches or some other source of low light.  It was very shadowy.  The women sat around the outside of the chamber and the other girls and I were in the middle.

The idea that I didn’t have the sword or the wings, but found and received them is important, I think.  As are the circle of women.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

Image by Luis Royo
Fight or Flight
By Muninn’s Kiss

There she sits,
Upon the floor,
A child,
A girl,
Cowering,
Waiting,
For them to tell her,
Do this,
Do that,
She can’t say no.

There she sits,
Behind the child,
A woman,
A warrior,
Black wings,
Silver sword,
Hiding,
Behind the girl,
Afraid to fly away,
Afraid to fight,
She can’t say no.

There she sits,
My child self,
Cowering,
Helpless,
Weak,
Afraid.

There she sits,
My warrior self,
Hiding,
Strong,
Independent,
Afraid.

The warrior rises,
War goddess,
Valkyrie,
Wings spread,
Sword raised.

To fly or to fight?
To fight or to fly?
To lift the child to safety?
To stand in front and protect?
Either way,
Any way,
Is better than cowering,
Is better than hiding.

I rise.

Image by Luis Royo
Mighty Warrior
By Muninn’s Kiss

I raise my sword above my head,
And show my mighty strength.
My slight body wire thin,
No muscles for to show.

Upon my arms the elegant blades,
I spread my arms for flight.
The wings they come upon my back,
Like two huge raven wings.

Do I fight, my sword in hand,
Upon the battle field?
Or do I fly, great wings spread,
To fight again some day?

But here I stand unsure of myself,
Not ready to fight or fly.
The mighty warrior lost in thought,
Unsure what she should do.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in muninnskiss

 

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