Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wait did the earth just move?

A short time after I wrote my last blog, a disaster hit New Zealand, and reminded me of a topic that should be near and dear to anyone who aspires to the role of a warrior.

Disaster preparedness, I am not talking about being a survivalist, I am talking about planning sensibly for an event which qualifies as a disaster. It could be an earthquake as that which occurred in Christchurch New Zealand, it could be tornadoes, a hurricane or cyclone, floods, or mass civil unrest. Whatever it is, being caught totally unprepared is a rather unfortunate thing.

A warrior should learn what likely issues can occur in the place they live. So let’s go through mine.

When I lived in Milwaukee WI, I had to be prepared for snow blizzards in winter, and tornadoes in Summer. To that end, I made sure at work I had a good jacket as well as one at home, as well as the ability to get home if motor transport was out (i.e. good weather proof footwear, and thermal undergarments to add if it gets bitterly cold), at home I made sure of a decent food supply that would not rely on power (cans, opener, MRE etc). In summer I knew to keep an eye on the weather and bug out to the evacuation point at work, or to the basement of my apartment.

Now I live in New Zealand and there are some other concerns. Thankfully I was raised here. Here earthquakes are a fact. We are on the fire ring of the Pacific, and while my home town of Dunedin is less prone to them, they still happen. Complacency is also not an excuse. Christchurch suffered its first ever earthquake September 4th 2010. It was on an unknown fault. Yesterday a more shallow, weaker (6.3) earth quake has done much more damage, and caused fatalities (rising as I type).

So learn how to respond to an event like this. Keep supplies, extra first aid, get a first aid certification (Red Cross is standard), oh and if you possibly can, become trained in Urban and rural search and rescue. Serve your community, even if it is just checking on neighbors, or stopping tempers fraying, but serve them. Again I say, the warrior is there to serve!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You shall know the measure of a person….

Warrior spirituality as I’ve often mentioned here, does indeed make many pagans a little “uneasy”, not in the least there is an implied if not explicit martial aspect. It is a common misconception in many circles that anyone who walks the path of the “warrior” is a hoplophile. A small percentage of those who ascribe to the warrior path of spirituality do indeed fit the hoplophile profile, they worship exclusively at the altar of the cult of the firearm or they must always be armed, and let the world know. This image is sadly a misrepresentation of the warrior.

One of these is a Warrior, the other two are playing dress-up. Can you guess which is which?

Warrior spirituality is not so much about the battles in the world around us, but more about the battles within us. When a battle is external, we still fight those internal battles; we strive to conquer our fears, our weaknesses, and our failings. We strive to seek balance. How we achieve this takes many forms, for some (myself included) it’s martial arts and exercise. For others it is inward seeking, and meditative. However, no matter the form it takes, it is not the form that matters so much as the battle waged with ourselves. We win some, we lose some, but we fought the battle, and that is what matters in the end!

So why do some people seem to feel weapons make the warrior?

  1.  Some who follow the warrior path mistake the tool for the spirit. In times long past, the right to carry a sword was earned and was a symbol of the warrior. It was a sign of office, as sign of responsibility, and a sign of duty. Not a sign of right.
  2. Just as you will see many neo-pagans with a large amount of esoteric symbolism in jewelry, you will see some warrior focused pagans, who decide to carry a weapon as a symbol of their path.
  3. I will be blunt about this; the person carrying a weapon is a poser. They like the look, they like the feel of people being shocked at the large stainless steel wall hanger (i.e. piece of junk) sword they carry, or the gun they always have to point out.

Over the years I’ve seen a few individuals who have missed the point of Warrior spirituality totally. These have ranged from late teens who fall into category 3 above. I’ve also had the misfortune of knowing one “gentleman” who decided that anyone who wished to disagree with his views on the subject, was an enemy, and to be threatened.

It returns to the point of what I feel a warrior is: Someone who forges themselves into a weapon and who struggles within themselves to seek balance of body, mind and spirit. 

Edit: I am clarifying a point here:

I am not saying a warrior should not be or never is armed. I'm almost always armed on some level, however for me it is always to the level the law lets me be so armed. In Milwaukee WI I carried a small folding knife to the size allowed by law, however I never obtained a gun, because WI is a non Conceal Carry state, owning a hand gun was pointless. Here in New Zealand, one may never carry a gun for self defense. I am planning on obtaining a gun licence, and a fire arm (with a gun locker), however that is not a self defense item.

What this post has been about is those who feel to be a warrior they MUST have a weapon visible or they need to announce they carry one. Sorry that is not a warrior, it is indeed a poser. The warrior is the weapon not the tool. Like they say "guns don't kill people, people do", I say "Swords don't make the warrior, disciplined training does".