Posts tagged ‘pacifism’

Vocational Paths: Warrior

Next in Approaching Paganism- Vocational Paths: Warrior

As with elder, I think this needs be a role defined by specific cultural traditions and organizations. If you feel a calling to a warrior path, in what context will you walk that path? Which community, tradition, deity etc. will you do warrior work for, and what does that entail? I am not a warrior myself, but even if I were, I still couldn’t answer those questions for you. Here are some factors to consider, as well as some ways different people and traditions define warriorship both in Greater Neo-Pagandom and broader U.S. society (I’m always interested in hearing about non-U.S. perspectives, just basing things on what I’m familiar with)

  • Mundane/Paid Profession/Job/Career- a person who serves, has served, or plans to serve in the military, police, fire departments, emergency personnel (EMT, paramedic) park/forest ranger etc. Such a person may go into these fields as part of a spiritual calling, or discover/explore the spiritual dimensions after going into it.
  • Practitioner, Teacher or Master of a particular martial arts form- it could be a hobby, a form of exercise and self-defense, various Asian martial arts traditions typically have some culturally-specific philosophical concepts involved, at least if they have haven’t been watered down into American Mixed Martial Arts…(Puke!)
  • Devotee of a war-associated deity, hero(es), warrior/military dead- I know various people that have taken up martial arts and other forms of physical fitness as ways to connect with and serve a deity or spirit. Some, but not all of such folks identify as warriors, or as priests of the deity.
  • Roles at rituals and festivals such as warding/guarding the edge of a ritual space, working security at a festival or other Pagan event, being an advocate of abuse victims/survivors in Pagan and broader communities.

Ethics & Norms to Consider-

  • Are Peaceful/Spiritual Warriors a thing? Do nonviolent political activists count as warriors? This is debatable- I’d say be aware of what context you are in- Reclaiming Witches perhaps, Heathens/Asatruar, not so much.
  • Gender- some people think warrior automatically means male, a rite of passage to manhood involves “becoming a warrior” and so forth. I also see the “strong woman equals warrior” meme among certain feminists, both religious & secular- or conversely “women should be/are inherently peaceful” among certain feminists and anti-feminists alike! Nope. People of any (or no) gender can be warriors, and people of particular genders *don’t have to be* warriors if that’s not their inclination.
  • People in, or formerly in the careers discussed above may or may not identify as warriors in a spiritual sense. Calling someone by a label they don’t want is not “honoring” them. Being individual humans, they will have varying emotions and opinions about their experiences, please respect give space to them accordingly.
  • Be careful about attaching cultural associations to “warrior” that are not yours or bringing them into the wrong cultural context. (E.g. would you wear your karate gear as ritual garb?)
  • Historical re-enactment, role-playing games and the like are fun hobbies, but they are not necessarily part of your religion.
  • Observe rules/laws at rituals, festivals and people’s homes about what (if at all) weapons are allowed, how they should be secured, children and pets as factors, etc.
  • Being a warrior is not an excuse for being a bully, bad behavior etc. In fact, many warriors have codes of ethics that they strictly adhere to!

Part II will be links and commentary from people in various warrior traditions.


January 16, 2016 at 11:47 pm 1 comment

What is My Feminism?

So in my last post I discussed how there are many feminisms, and that my feminism may not be your feminism and that’s OK (and sometimes your feminism may not be OK) So how do I go about defining my feminism? You may be asking this question for yourself. Well, what are your experiences with different forms of oppression, and base your feminism on those experiences, while continuing to expand your understanding of others’.

*Disabled feminism- centers on the experiences of women (and men and other folks) with disabilities- both mental and physical, whether someone is born with a disability or acquires it later in life. Adults with disabilities often complain of being treating condescendingly, as incompetent eternal children- just as women (regardless of ability) often have. The question of career vs. marriage and family that middle-class feminists struggle over often seems equally out of reach to many people with disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities have had their reproductive and sexual choices taken away from them. Historically (and still to this day sometimes) women (and men) who did not conform to their roles were often labelled mentally ill and locked up in institutions. Women (and men) with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse by partners and caregivers.

*I am a religious feminist– I view religion as a social/memetic structure that can be used for both oppression and liberation. Some feminists think that all religions are inherently patriarchal, but mostly put a critical eye on Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Other feminists try to keep their politics away from their religion. Hate to break it to you: if your religion involves other humans, it’s political. I’m a Celtic polytheist/Druid and a Unitarian, which are pretty feminist-friendly religions for the most part, but we have our own problems.

*I am sex-neutral rather than sex-positive. (In regards to anything involving consenting adults- number/gender/anatomy- it’s none of my business!) Like religion, sexuality can be a beautiful and empowering thing, but it also can be terribly oppressive thing when it is violent or non-consensual. We also need to affirm the existence and validity of asexual-spectrum people and understand that they can live full happy lives without sex (or having it play a less prominent role in their relationships)

*I am trans*, intersex, non-binary and genderqueer inclusive. Gender and sex are complicated things, we need to give everyone the space and freedom to work out what their gender and sexual identity is and stop worrying about whether their gender presentation, anatomy/name/pronouns/clothes and other things “match” or not.

*I am a geeky feminist or a feminist geek– I’m involved with various subcultures that we in Western societies call “geeky”- tabletop & role-playing gaming, science fiction, fantasy etc. Traditionally these groups tend to be rather white male-dominated though this is changing. So I do think putting a multicultural feminist viewpoint on geek cultures does matter- they may be “just hobbies” and maybe most geeks aren’t that interested in activism, but social justice issues matter here too.

*I believe reform movements in other religions, cultures and countries need to be led by women (and people in general) within them and it is up to them to decide whether a custom, practice, can be reformed or re-framed in a feminist way or if it should be abolished.  These folks may also not want to label themselves “feminist” for whatever reason.

*Peace!  Yes, it’s great that women and gays/lesbians/bisexuals (but trans folks not yet) are more equal in the military. But that doesn’t mean I’m pro-military. We’re forgetting the long history of women’s leadership in the peace movement (though I don’t care much for the essentialist arguments about women being inherently more peaceful) Remember who is hurt most by war? Remember whose needs don’t get taken care of because we’re too busy funding war? Remember who really profits and who suffers?

*Capitalism is a system we need to seriously question. Within this system can we ever truly value people over profits? In the United States, the government is expected to enact laws to “force” companies (legal persons!) to be moral in how they treat their workers, the environment and so forth. Is this really working, and is this a system that feminists just want to carve their female niche into?

July 2, 2014 at 5:00 am Leave a comment


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