Monday, April 20, 2009

Sacrifice of Self

Sacrifice of the Self. One of the hardest parts of being a Warrior (at least in my eyes) is that through service there may need to be some self-sacrifice performed. In any functioning community, every member should be at least willing to do this. The self-sacrifice is the time and effort that is required to have a functioning community. However Neopaganism encourages individuality. That in turn can lead to an apparent dearth of people willing to actually do this. The warrior should be willing to do this and more for his or her community of choice. Be the first to volunteer. BE the first to offer to give something up to get the job done. I am reminded of the scene from “The 13th Warrior” where the old seer calls for 13 warriors to undertake the quest. Each of the first 12 responds, “I will be the 1st (or second or) man” with pride evident on their face. The warrior in the community should be the same. If a call goes out to set up tents and tables at a festival, any “warrior” in the community should be “I shall be there” and be there, early preferably and do the job. That is one example of sacrifice. Another is putting yourself into conflicts way. As I said Neopagans love their individual natures. This leads to flame wars on lists, which lead to Witch wars outside of lists, which in turn gives us long lasting grudges. A warrior should stand up to this sort of behavior, no matter the cost and ask for it to stop, if you have the power (list moderation, or venue security) then you should also remove the trouble makers, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE! The warrior should question their leaders (fellow warriors and others) who also are acting wrongly. It’s your job. What if the community sees YOU (the warrior) as the problem? Examine their gripe. Were you too aggressive and authoritarian? Were you acting against their wishes? Are they not willing to play by the rules they said they would? Any of those scenarios should be a red flag to you. Did you over do it? Yes? No? How can I do better next time? Should there be a next time? Did you misunderstand their wishes? Should you have asked for clarification? Did they know what they were asking? They don’t want you there, because you make them play by the rules? Consider walking away. Don’t be meek and mild if it’s a situation that is against your ethics. Own up to YOUR mistakes. Don’t be shy. Also make sure others know what went on. But go. Leave. Do not look back. Make that sacrifice. No community is the totality of Paganism, even if they think they are. If you walk away. Take time to heal, take time to think. But do not play by their rules. Stay away. Stay strong. Find a new place to serve. Learn and grow. Make that sacrifice and hold your head high. Remove drama. Or remove a point of contention for you. Brendan Myers in his book “The other side of Virtue” talks of the heroes sacrifice as being one of the highest levels of virtue in the old warrior cultures. Lets return to the 13th Warrior as an example. Each of the 13 Warriors risks that. At the end, the dying chieftain lives up to his oath to protect the Village, knowing he was dying, but keeping his word. Learn by examples like this. They are throughout the various myths, legends and stories of our spiritual and perhaps actual ancestors. No many of us will not go into physical battle. But many of us will go into metaphorical battle. Live by our ethics. Live by our virtues. LIVE and be proud. It is that simple. To be a warrior means to be willing to sacrifice. Slan agat Noinden

No comments: