On Warriors by Rob Preece

On Warriors 1.

Plenty of words have been expanded by pagan authors on being a warrior. Showing courage, following your heart, being empowered. They almost entirely talk about being a warrior as a metaphysical thing, a state of mind. Listening to, channeling, developing your inner warrior. I will not knock this, I’ve talked to plenty who are empowered and have been better able to face the challenges in their life through this. Enough useful words have been written about this already.

However acknowledging the warrior aspect within and actually becoming a warrior are not the same thing. The rites of passage of taking up arms are almost lost to us here in the UK as we are lucky to enjoy the protection of a particularly fine military. Our political leaders long ago sought to channel our warriors into this military, so the way of the warrior has become almost the exclusive preserve of the professional servicemen and women.

Being a warrior however is one of the roles within our tribal past like cunning folk, midwives, shaman and healers (I’m aware these bled into one another). While there where warrior elites which over a thousand years or so have morphed into our “landed gentry” more elite than warrior. Most people needed to know how to defend themselves and their community, often against the warrior elite (it’s a toxic word elite). Also there was usually an obligation to the elite to provide warrior service, to bulk out the combat force.

Battle is a poor place for the untrained, so training in the traditional arms of the community was a rite of passage on the road to adulthood. It also informed a lot of our sports from boxing to football. One of my favourite things about the Morrigan is her favouring of the spear, the weapon of the common folk as opposed to the sword of the elite, even though in the legends she is more than capable amongst the elite.

Training almost definitely started very early, a life of hard physical labour requires a standard of fitness and the games of childhood started the process. Running, grappling, stone throwing then play combat with toy weaponry. At some point the time would arrive for training in earnest. The first rite of passage for the warrior is to formally embark upon their training. Other rites I’ll come to at a later point.

So what can we do? Actually it’s pretty simple but not that easy…..
Take control of what goes in to your body, mainly food and drink but also alcohol and drugs.
Get fit.
Learn first aid.
Take up a martial art.
That should start you off, more to follow.
Opinions, corrections, arguments invited.

Rob

Previously published on the original Call of the Morrigan blog in 2015

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