If asked to consider the political leanings of a modern pagan, I
imagine you’d think of a flaming liberal wielding a fiery torch
that is made of passion and not used as weaponry. But not according
to Congressman Bob Barr from Georgia, who in 1999 proposed
legislation against the practice of witchcraft in the Defense
Department Facilities, evidence of his dismay at the discovery of a
successful Pagan organization in Fort Hood, Texas.
Surprised? Yes, sometimes the goddess makes war, not love. Many
of these Pagans identify as warriors, blending earth-centered
spirituality with the ethics and ideals of the martial arts. It is
the idealism of the warrior archetype that is so attractive to the
Pagans that embrace it. One such Pagan warrior is Kerr Cuhulain, a
Vancouver policeman and former Air Force officer, whose books,
The Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magic,
celebrate the connection between primal spirituality and the path
of the warrior.
Warrior spirituality recognizes that it is a limitation to see
the goddess as some sort of romantic hippie-inspired peacenik.
Mythical goddesses like the Hindu Kali Ma, the Irish Morrigu, or
the Greek Athena are ferocious, take-no-prisoner warrior queens.
‘They are far more concerned with security and self-defense than
with playing nice in the multicultural sandbox,’ wrote author Carl
McColm. But clearly, they live in the multicultural sandbox no
less, for what other religion besides Paganism would worship all of
Gods and heroes from ancient myth often embody the heroic ideals
of bravery, valor, strength and skill, all woven into a fierce
determination to defend their people and protect the land. Every
religion tries to infuse its followers with the tools to handle
tough situations, and the warrior ethic is one such tool. In these
times, it may be an increasingly effective one, at least for the
thousands of Pagans in the military.
‘We live in very dangerous times,’ said Hawk, a Pagan woman who
describes being a warrior as central to her path — and who feels
frustrated at the attitudes held by some non-military Pagans.
‘Pagan warriors are working very hard to keep our people safe and
our borders protected. Many times, in fact, most of the time, not
only is it a thankless duty, but it’s also frowned upon by many in
our own magickal community.’
JoAnn Lyman, whose husband has served in the army for 15 years,
embraces the warrior concept as a metaphor for personal
responsibility. ‘Everyone is a warrior in their own sense. I may
not wield a rifle, sword, ax, or any other recognized weapon; but I
know that I am responsible for my actions… A warrior will weigh
what has to be done and what people want done, then do what they
know is the right thing for that time.’
— Elizabeth Dwoskin
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Pentagon and The Pentacle
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