The Call to Battle

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As much as I love peace and harmony, and the tranquility of people co-existing like John Lennon sang about in Imagine, there has always been a part of me that is a bit of a shit-stirrer. It’s the part of my personality that balks at peace and finds it utterly boring. It’s landed me in trouble in the past; but it’s also the part of me that’s gotten things done and turned the wheel of change. I call my shit-stirring side ‘Medb’ and she has helped me come out of my shell and embrace aspects of my personality that I’d always fought to suppress. Medb and I have come to an understanding, and for the last few months we’ve been in a peace phase; but she’s getting a bit restless.

In the past I’ve read about the warrior path in Paganism and it conjured up images of robust Pagans wielding swords and tearing their way through a mall, screeching battle cries all the way. It’s a path that I’ve admired but always thought wasn’t for me. I mean, all you’d need to do is look at me- I’m a pale, pudgy Pagan with a penchant for chocolate not warfare. If I were in someHollywoodteen flick, I’d be the chubby nerd who saves the day through amazing mind-power, not brute force or brawny strength (or so I like to tell myself). I look in the mirror and I don’t see a warrior.

But that’s not to say I don’t have a love for the fight. Medb loves a fight, any fight; so long as it includes two opposing sides butting heads, she’s happy. I think it’s also that side that has a deep appreciation and love for swords, martial arts and archery. And as much as I may love to witness weapons at play, I have never envisioned myself being capable of wielding one or learning the art of a weapons use.

But I find myself coming to realise that there’s more to the warrior path than being able to swing an axe with grace. The warrior’s path reaches further than weaponry and fighting techniques and battlefields in the physical sense- it extends to those who fight with pens and intelligence instead of by physical strength.

Yesterday, as I sat with my good friend and grove head going through the weekly lesson for my degree training, I had a good, objective look at my notes and my approach to them. You see, I had done the day before what I had done the lessons before- prepared. I read through my notes, highlighted key points and then set about researching them. When I was done I had lines and lines of yellow highlights matched with my commentary in glaring red font, and I felt satisfied that I’d prepared well.

Now, when I get all riled up and excited about some piece of info that contradicts what I’ve researched, Medb wakes up. She smells the potential for battle; she makes me aggressive in my arguments, forceful even. But yesterday as we finished the lesson in what must’ve been record time, I felt myself feeling bad. Medb had once again frothed me up into a frenzy of opinions and facts. I apologised to my teacher and tried to explain what makes me tick when it comes to such matters. But as I did something clicked into place.

You see, for the last few months I’ve found myself longing to join the local archery club; but unfortunately even an entry level bow costs some serious cash that I don’t have. I’ve found my voluptuous self being enticed to do some physical activity, not to transform myself into some slender gazelle, but to be fighting-fit. Believe it or not, I’ve even considered looking into what’s on offer locally in the way of sword and knife fighting. And Medb really likes all this.

But Medb, that side of me, is but an impetuous child who likes to ‘jag kak aan’. What I feel, what I sense coursing through me is much more than a personality trait gleefully at play because it is bored. I know that the warrior spirit of words has already taken hold and been awakened within me; I only need to look at the way I handle my studies to see that. But I can feel that warrior spirit wanting more than words to play with; and if I strain my spiritual ears, I think I can hear the Morrigan call.

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