The Morrígan Calls Warriors 2: But I’m Not Cut Out To Be a Warrior

Yeah, me either, kid

When it comes to the perceptions of the warrior path and what it means to be on it, there are quite a few misconceptions due to modern uses of the word “warrior.” Some have come up, again, since my last post. One is that if we define “warrior” as someone who fights, including physically, it must require being a fully able-bodied, superior even, “soldier” type.

This sometimes leads people to think that I match such a description…something much easier to do via the internet than it is in person, although I have apparently confused a few in real life, too. So I have often heard things along the lines of, “I’m not cut out to be a warrior, like you are.” Usually some rumor is tagged onto this about my past. I’ve had people think I am ex-military. Had one woman spend a druid gathering telling everyone I had been convicted of a violent felony. I’ve certainly been accused of being athletic. And I’m really not. Which makes this all hard to write and is’ really pushing my imposter syndrome buttons. Even if I know that it shouldn’t, because it is a very modern and imperialistic concept of “warrior” that this idea is about. (again, I have page on the warrior path which also discusses such things, but a bit less personal).

The truth is that, while I was a outdoorsy “tomboy” growing up, I was actually a scrawny, clumsy, weak and sickly one. I loved running around in the woods and fields and riding horseback, but wasn’t good at any of it. Although that likely didn’t occur to me when I was little, I was just having fun. However, as I grew up I was made well aware of it.

From the beginning of school, gym class was a constant gauntlet of humiliation. I’m pretty sure the only purpose of the class was to give means for the “teacher,” who at that time was the head coach of all the junior high and high school teams, a way to sort out those who he wanted to prepare for those future teams. The rest of us were to be humiliated and abused, and to be honest, I was always at the bottom…I don’t think there was ever a time when I wasn’t the last picked for sides, unless another loser was also injured or something.  I had no coordination. I was weak. I ran slow and was easily out of breath (turns out my lungs are not fully developed, discovered that in my 40s!). I loved riding our horses, but it took a long time to really develop my “seat” and human instruction was no help…I just eventually learned from the horses and ponies (some of which were determined to make it a challenge). I was the last of my peers to learn to ride a bike. I could only really enjoy movement on my own or in the company of animals, around peers or adults it was always a humiliation.

I am sure I did dream of being strong and heroic as a kid, but figured out I’d need to gain superpowers from somewhere to do it. Obviously, a lot of time I wasn’t in the woods I was reading. Including comics. So, yes, perhaps there was a seed of a desire to be a warrior back then…just not a belief in the possibility. I mean, it might be part of the draw of witchcraft in the beginning, as I couldn’t gain physical power…but there were also “weird things” happening that drew me into that and into discovering, via Sybil Leek, that it had apparently had to do with Goddesses, or at least a Goddess, and I had been worshipping Goddess since I was 8 or 9, mostly Artemis as Greek myths were the ones I had access to and I did dwell mostly in the woods.

And I actually was an angry child. Of course I was, I felt constantly vulnerable to… everyone. That I was seen as violent meant that I was also taught that it was something to suppress, never, ever channel. It was viewed as if I had the tools for violence I would be an aggressor, rather than seeing that my tendency towards aggression was a response to feeling utterly helpless when everyone around me was stronger than I was… and that some made sure I knew it. It was the ’60s and while my parents were hardly hippie (being “Greatest Generation” and totally dedicated to being mainstream) the trends of pacifism and non-violence that grew out of the anti-war movement held some sway over the times in general. And I took to the whole hippie aesthetic and peacenik ways as a kid and held onto to them. Growing up different (autism and ADHD weren’t diagnosed in girls at all when I was a child, my learning disabilities were not obvious enough to be diagnosed as anything, which probably would have led less to getting help and more to being labeled and shunted aside, anyway) in a very conservative small town it was a way to define my difference in a way I saw as positive.

Anyway, our high school didn’t have gym class, so we losers were now free of that torturous requirement. Perhaps it was a desire to at least try to get stronger and build endurance, seeing no magical or scientific intervention was at hand, I did get into the ’70s fitness craze despite my gym-trauma. I had actually started yoga, sort of pushed a bit as a way of managing anger, through books, in junior high. But now I found that running (or “jogging” as it was called) was still fun, as long as I was alone with my dog. I tried aerobics, but found it boring. Weight lifting for women was sort of a joke at that point I got a set of 3.3 lb “Princess Smartbells?!” and, obviously, it did so little of anything that I kept losing interest.

My relationship with fitness remained an on-again/off-again thing. I did get a little instruction on weight training from a boyfriend and moved to 10 lb. dumbbells! Eventually I added a pair of 15 lb. But I never stuck with it, often found other things to do instead. I was a bit more consistent through the years with running and cycling, although sometime I just walked. Every so often, I’d try Yoga again. I took dance lessons for awhile, but my class got cancelled and I never found another teacher and just …drifted off.

I was a photographer, photojournalist, pretty much my focus since I was 15 or 16. It put me in an observer category in all things, but I think I thought I’d change the world with my pictures. I was working in the darkroom and stringing for a paper, but burned out suddenly at about 22 or 23 (what I now know was likely an autistic burn out….but I didn’t know I was autistic so…..). For years I couldn’t stand the idea of taking another photo. I became involved in political groups, something I couldn’t do as a photojournalist. Paganism/Witchcraft was a constant.

Oh, still totally into the hippie/Boho thing. While it wasn’t exactly popular, it was at least common in the political groups I was involved in, which did have some “appropriate age” hippies as well as we young wannabees. There were also others who were interested in Witchcraft and Goddess worship, a lot had problem with the word “Pagan” though. And few were overly serious. I was looking for Wiccan training at the time, but the super conservative Wiccans I was meeting…that wasn’t a fit. Drove around in my 1975 VW Bus, listening to music mostly from the ’70s, with my dog, Gabe, and various friends and lovers…for as long as the damn bus ran (with one engine replacement). yeah…I had a fucking Bus, even… seriously, living the best ’70s witchy life in the ‘mid-80s. ;p

Eventually, a friend who I met at the open house of a hokey “Witch school,” and was also not impressed by it, offered to introduce me to the coven he had since joined. Another friend of ours, met at the same event, likewise unimpressed, and fellow hippie wannabe, took me aside and warned me that the group was reputedly “dark” and “violent”… apparently, mostly because the HPS ran a “warrior” political group, as well. But I was seeking training and, actually, the coven was a British Traditional Wiccan off-shoot, the political group was hardly what I’d call “warrior” now and really in line with groups I was in already except being run by BTW Wiccans.

I joined both groups. And, well, this could get long so let’s just say things were going along, but not without the dramas that come with any group I suppose, and then the High Priestess died about 6 months after I joined. Both groups ended up in total chaos and…yeah…I tried staying with both…the political group had a major and hostile breakup and I was among those who left. The coven, now a grove with no 3rd degree woman to run it, went through several attempts to rebuild. I was supposed to be part of that….but….

Um, yeah, I was initiated about a year after her death, so six months later than originally planned, through our HPS’s HPS via our HPS’s HP consort, who was also my partner. I started training with this HPS for second degree. But I was grabbed by the hair by the Morrígan and told I was supposed to be one of Her warriors. (Okay, maybe Wildflower was on to something with her warning…ooops LOL)

This is post is already way too long and probably boring the shit out of you already. So I’m going to get into the spiritual training issues that came up sometime later…I’ll stick to the physical side for right now

So, yeah, it was clear She meant something very different from just political action. Or some “inner battle” stuff. Or “shadow work.” Or that She was there to protect me. Or any of that. It was fucking clear. Whether I liked it or not.

I think I was running at the time, maybe lifting a bit. My partner had an on-again/off-again relationship with exercise, as well. Honestly, I can’t say if I was on or off at the time. I do know that we were taking a Tai Chi class, the only sort of martial art I had ever done at that point, but I was also returning to college and moving back north (I was off-campus, but needed to save money) so that was even just ended or ending for me. So I was totally, “whoa! wrong woman here, I am not cut out for that.”

But She was insistent.  So…

This is when I got real serious about working out, no more on-again/off-again…except when physically I’d be forced off. I started to read what I could find about weight training, trying to sort out the bullshit fed to women to not train like men. Most of what I found was bodybuilding focused and I tended to follow training “designed for men”…. because so much “fitness” shit was about training women to be smaller and weaker. Okay, so much still is, but at least there is more that is refuting that. I got a barbell/dumbbell set, a bench. I ran. A lot. After moving back home, I found a dojo about an hour away. I trained. I trained hard. When I could. (just an aside as I mention it as a “obviously this shows I’m not a warrior” in regards to how I used to dress, I will note my aesthetic changed after this, especially as most of my favorite clothing got stolen from my car when I returned from a trip either just before or just after my initiation….but, really, you don’t need to change your look for the path, even if you dress like a hippie ;p )

This is also when I found what I think I had always been looking for in movement, but was too caught up in the “normal” (and often completely bogus and harmful) messages of what fitness was about. Oh, yeah, not so much an aside…fitness shouldn’t be about changing how you look, either! But that is the primary thing that fitness is packaged as, even though it usually doesn’t work and people become frustrated and are then are themselves blamed (by instructors, trainers, doctors, books, videos, family, friends, themselves) for not living up to the false promise they are sold. Even before I realized this, well, fraud, even when I still wanted to look like a bodybuilder (and then Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor…who I eventually decided I wanted to to want to be like, in some ways, instead) I realized that the key thing in fitness isn’t any goal, not even of becoming stronger, but of the joy of actually doing it. That’s what I knew as a kid, but was too caught up in society’s messages and, yeah, the trauma of from gym class to remember. Even though I started looking as a teenager.

In movement I found the connection I had instead been seeking through meditation, because all spiritual training I got was “sit and meditate,” “sit and journey,” ….sit. Now certainly some folks can both find a connection in movement and in sitting meditations, but I’m not really one. I can do some deep trance work lying down (never sitting) and still, but it only works if I am able to exercise at the time. If I’ve not moved recently, I can not be still. But the movement itself also became the meditation for me and also allowed me to find my, well, wolf self again. In running I find my canine nature again, which I eventually (something that is actually very evident but missed by many) was the very nature of the ancient warriors. In lifting I could feel my body forging strength to serve Her. In fight training, I danced the Morrígan’s dance. And even before I realized it, I think this is also why when I graduated I became a personal trainer, to share the joy not the awful messages that sometimes drove me out of the industry. Whether a fully realized spiritual path or just because it feels good.

Still, I’d love to say I got super strong, my lungs were fixed and I’m now all some seem to think I am despite starting in my late 20s. Uh, yeah. No. I mean, I am a hella lot stronger. My lungs are still limited but I take up oxygen really well considering. But it’s all compared to where I was, not something that would stand out as particularly athletic or strong. Certainly not fast. I will never be a really fast runner.

But fitness improvement is individual. That’s what the mainstream fitness industry doesn’t want you to know, because it thrives on you “failing” to meet a false promise it sells and then making you pay to try again. And it’s not always consistent, because it can’t be. Not for anyone, because things happen (a lot of people have learned this this year, especially as we learn more about the effects of Long-COVID).

I got strong, but then got sick again and had a long lay off. I got strong again then developed a shoulder injury, was misdiagnosed, tried to get strong but wasn’t getting there, initial issue caused two more secondary injuries, finally got diagnosed/operated on/PT, started getting strong again, got wrist issue on same arm and got set back….now finally starting to get strong (broken ankle at least did not set back this issue…and I’m me goofing off in my gym: I’m a gray (some purple and blue tones) haired middle-aged woman with tattoos wearing a “Training to Serve The Morrígan” tank toppretty much recovered from that now, too). I’m also questioning some things going on with the other shoulder, which I hope to get looked at before it gets as bad as the other…insurance companies don’t like that though, so we’ll see. I mean, I got sick a few times during the eight years it took to get my shoulder fixed, as well.

The facts are that I have chronic physical disabilities, some of which are getting worse as I age…some getting better due to getting treatment. I have extreme anxiety, currently overwhelming social anxiety, and severe bouts of situational depression. Much of this, including many of my physical issues, are due to autism. Although, many, of the mental disabilities, like the social anxiety, are probably far more related to how society treats autistic people, especially undiagnosed women, because we do communicate and respond differently… or, as we’re told our entire lives, “wrong.” Being fit doesn’t change that, sometimes this keeps me from being as fit as I might be. I do know that when I can workout I feel better when I do….and that sometimes the fact I can’t due to something “flaring” makes the issue worse. There are simply times when I just ….can’t…… And…right now I just can’t with talking about this more.

So, and I feel I am repeating myself here but I also feel like it just isn’t getting said enough. Yes, at the heart of the warrior path is the physical. Because harm is often caused physically in one way or another, harm must often be battled physically. By those who can. Sometime with the aid of those who can fight in other ways.

And fighting harm to others who can’t fight back is what a warrior does. This is ultimately a path of service. That’s why “inner battles,” “shadow work” and so forth are never enough if you are claiming the warrior path. They may be things that help you help others, but if they are only for your “personal spiritual development” then they are not about being a warrior. And, I’ve never known the Morrígan much concerned with helping me in such things. Our inner battles are our own, in my experience they are not what She is concerned with.

So physical training is not something I consider one can just choose to not do. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to “go all out” …for some the physical part might be limited, might be interspersed with periods of no physical training due to health reasons.  However, there are certainly people that cannot physically train at all, because their bodies just do not allow for it. That’s 100% legit. And that doesn’t mean that they are not on the path if their focus is on building a warrior community, on learning the mind set and the parts that they can do.

Because that’s what we need to build (oh, we can get into how my extreme introvert anti-social nature is not geared to community building, but not even sure I’ll do an upcoming post on that). Not a modern, imperial-style military, but a warband, which was a sub-culture community. This is why the Fíanna do serve well as an example. There is the idea of developing our strengths and overcoming each other‘s weaknesses.

The idea that Cú Chulainn was a big muscular man, rather than a small and rather femininely pretty boy is base on our modern perception of a strong hero, not how he was described (aside from his ríastrad) in the texts. Likewise, images of all the members of Fionn Mac Cumhaill’s fían looking like Conan the Barbarian (whether you are looking at the pulp novels or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s or Jason Momoa’s movies). While Cú Chulainn’s looks simply belied his actual exceptional strength and skills, the warbands consisted of people who excelled at varying skills (although Fionn often is noted as having all these and besting his best).

So CN: some ableist language ahead in noting critique of storytelling and “overcoming disability as a superpower” thing:
The following passage indicates that perhaps disabled warriors were part of Fionn’s Fíanna, but like storytelling tends to still to this day do,  it was spun to show that disabled  warriors were “wonders” who are the best at the things they are disabled as. This is often referred to by disabled commentators as “supercrip.” (I also want to note that not all of this is about disability, but includes what might be an attempted description of gender fluidity, which is also offering a related “wonder”).

[Finn is speaking: One of the wonders is] a deaf warrior (óclach)
who is in the fían-the poem or song has not been composed
that he has not learned well and committed to memory completely.
Another wonder that is in the fían: a man with a
wooden leg who surpasses all of the fían in running -dog,
horse, and man. Another wonder that is in it: a blind man
who never throws a missing cast day or night. Another wonder
that is in it: my own paramour, who is dead by night and
alive by day; no other paramour that I have ever had, has been
dearer to me. Another wonder that is in it: a warrior (óclach)
who is a woman one year and a man the next; he bears
children when he is a woman, and he sires children when he
is a man. Another wonder of the fían is my spear, the spear
of Fiacha mac Croinghind: if it is thrown with the butt end in
front, it wreaks hurt, injury, and destruction upon the person
or animal against which it is. thrown; when it is cast with the
point first, it does not damage or do destruction to the man
or animal against whom it is thrown. And so these are the
greatest wonders in my fían.
(Maud Joynt ed., Feis Tighe Chonain: Mediaeval and modern Irish series, v. 7,  Dublin: The Stationary Office, 1936, lines 449-469, pg. 14; trans. by Joseph Falaky Nagy, The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985, pg. 51)

While this is, as noted, problematic, it should be considered as a possible hint that disability (and gender fluidity!) did exist in the bands, just that those who wrote the tales, and those who told them in the first place, spun it to be wonderous because making the tales wonderous was kind of the point of the stories. This is still a huge part of story telling, common in comic books and science fiction, with this same spin. On the flip side, both early Irish and modern pop culture stories often use disability as a shortcut to say someone as evil. We can create better stories….and I mean that as we live our own stories as well as in story telling.

As I was starting to get to his point of his post, this article come across my feed and I think it’s a good analysis of way disabled warriors are featured in The Bad Batch (and somewhat in the Star Wars franchise, in general) which includes the idea that disability does disable us from some activities rather than make us “wonders,” but working together creates the over all strength. It truly explains, using this franchise as a model, what I am getting at here. That we don’t have to be “perfect soldiers” in order for us to have strong contributions that enhance what others contribute. Again, CN for ableist terminology, discussions of eugenics, gene manipulation, behavioral analysis, torture….and spoilers for the first season of The Bad Batch: Supercrips, Solidarity, and Crip Families in The Bad Batch Dr. Johnathan Flowers 

And that really fits what I’m trying to say here. That this path is built on a wide spectrum of needs and abilities. While the physical fighting part is going to be a thing, because violence is around us and that’s probably going to get worse, it is just a part of it. But the other parts are more than just “inner battles” and personal spiritual work. It has to be about coming together to fight. With various skills. Even when we have various weaknesses. Fighting on various fronts. And I don’t feel we’ve done this, which is the source of my frustration that. And of guilt, because perhaps I should have been doing more.

If we believe the Morrígan is calling us to do something why more people not training to do it? Why are we so not prepared? Because She’s not calling warriors because something is coming in some vaguely distant future…that something is already here!

 

(Part one of what looks like a series is The Morrígan Calls Warriors, Too….)

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The Morrígan Calls Warriors, Too….

….at least I think She does

I mean, there don’t seem to be many, not seriously focused, at least. So it has been a long running annoyance for me that I keep seeing so many “The Morrígan calls more than warriors” blogs and so many people stating “unlike most of Her followers I’m not a warrior.” Because, seriously, where are all of these “most followers” who are warriors that you speak of? Because they seem rather scarce to me. Oh, I know a few seriously walking a warrior pat, but very few. Some, of course, may  not be heavy social media users, but that still means there are very few if the ratio is the same for all. So, I hate to break it to you non-warriors, but you appear to be the actual majority not the exception. And I am not saying you have to be, but please stop talking about how many warriors there are because it’s making me feel extra lonely when I know otherwise. ;p

Of course, some fledgling warriors may have gotten lost on another path because everyone jumped up to tell them they didn’t have to be a warrior? Because it seems that that that response is common. That the first time anyone tells others they feel called, the first thing everyone says is “you don’t have to be a warrior.” Never, “well, let’s explore the options” and then include warrior as one. Even if someone asks what warrior might mean in Her service, they get a lot of “but you don’t have to be a warrior!” (DISCLAIMER: I Just some geese to break up the wall of textknow I have to stop here as someone is probably getting upset and note that I am not saying you have to be….I’m trying to remind folks it is an option. AND that if you are going to talk about the warrior path, maybe do learn something about the warrior path because otherwise you sound like a damn willfully ignorant fool, and, yes, go off and get steamed about that if you don’t want to maybe rethink anything, but I’m not going to spend time arguing about it)

Or they are told that they can only be a warrior by joining the military or becoming a cop, as if these modern imperial institutions remotely resemble the warrior bands who served Her in the past at any time. Some try to define “warrior” as only those who fight for what ever they consider a “good cause” when, well, there’d be nothing to fight for if that were the case and that is again a completely modern Western concept to begin with. Meanwhile others will immediately say that “there are different ways to be a warrior, it doesn’t mean fighting, it can mean anything you want it to”… which amounts to it having no meaning at all. Which then makes it mean nothing. So either the word “warrior” means one modern concept or another or it means nothing at all. But none of these responses is accurate… but I feel I covered that quite a lot on this page, so if you’ve not read it, please do (it’s sort of the crux of this whole project, along with this page) I might rehash some here in the future but probably not in this post.

I will have to say that the frequent phrasing of “She calls more than just warriors” or “She is more than just a Warrior Goddess” is especially insulting. Oh, I know, you’re going to say that you don’t mean it “that way,” you mean there are “more options of paths, that warrior isn’t the only one” or something like that. Except often the phrasing is often very precisely saying that warriors are “just” warriors and others paths are “more.” This is also usually marked with things like, “She not just a Warrior Goddesss She’s also a Goddess of prophecy, cattle, sovereignty, victory, protection, strategy….” Now those last two should really make anyone laugh, because who does not get that things like “victory,” “protection” and “strategy” are fucking part of warriorship?  Well, I can think of at least three or four people and, apparently, all their readers. I get “sovereignty” because they seem to think it’s about modern “personal sovereignty” rather than “kingship” which, btw, is questionable anyway. But I have, after all, already written an entire rather lengthy essay noting how everything “else” The Morrígan and Her Sisters are comes right back to them being War Goddesses. (that would be “Musings on the Irish War Goddesses” in  By Blood, Bone and  Blade: A Tribute to the Morrígan btw) There is more to being a warrior than fighting.

This relates to another phrase I find problematic, when someone notes that “as a warrior I make a good ____.”  But, because they are shunning the path, they are not making a great ____ as a warrior. They are maybe making a great _____ in and of itself, I couldn’t tell you, but they are not making a great warrior _____. They are useless to warriors, because they are not warriors, they do not understand or want to understand the path. They are  often demonstrating this by their lack of understanding what warriorship is (with their modern, narrow minded definitions) or understanding warrior stories by interpreting them without considering what warriorship meant or understanding.

So, I will say, as a warrior, I make a good researcher and, hopefully, at least an okay writer. I’m kind of a crappy personal trainer by industry standards, but that’s because I hate the industry standards and I want to be a trainer for those who also hate them. But my understanding of what I am researching and writing about has grown only because I have pursued a warrior path. The way I train myself, and others who are on this path, physically is also because of learning what it takes on this path (I do train others, but I need them to help me understand what they need). To say “as a warrior” here really has to mean you are a warrior and that that other thing is a part of being a warrior. Because it is. Especially when it comes to rebuilding the sort of warrior cultus that was part of Early Irish culture and, essentially, not part of the culture but a subculture in itself. If you’ve seen my outline for a training program, then you actually already knew there were many ways to be a warrior. No one is going to be great at all these things, no one is going to spend a lot of time on every one of them (although a taste of each is recommended). But warriors are a lot of things, it’s required to create a fían (I prefer to use cúanairt “pack” for a modern group, as it was less frequently used and has fewer alternate later definitions…and I like anything that brings us back to the wolfishness) that members would have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s not an army, it’s a pack.

Again, this isn’t saying anyone has to be a warrior. This is about trying to 1) address is the lack of warrior voices when it comes to modern service to the Morrígan. And 2) to try to counter the very negative, even if the negativity is unintentional, voices that may actually hamper someone feeling called to this path. And to try to correct the fact I’ve been rather silent myself for too long. I’ve enjoyed the quiet, but it always eventually leads to me being beaten about the head because quiet is not what I signed up with the Morrígan for.

So, yes, She may be calling more non-warriors than She is warriors, great do your thing. I just know that when I was called this was very specifically what I was to do. But, you know, nearly 35 years ago now, I certainly had no place to truly turn to find out what the fuck the warrior path was. I have stumbled a lot. I have gone down wrong paths (like many female and female-presenting undiagnosed autistic kids, I was raised to be a people pleaser, so I would often get into group situations where I felt expected to wear many hats, so many that the “warrior”… for that matter the “me” one…. often got buried, but I am getting better about that).  It’s taken me a long ass time to really get what this is about, really only through the past 10 or 15 years. But it’s funny, at nearly 60 I still feel like a fledgling and it’s hard to see me in the teacher role. But my onw issues with that role should not mean that those being called to be warriors no available guidance. I hope there will be more voices, though.

There is so much more I could put here. But I am hoping instead to use this as a jumping off point for future posts. I hope to “see” you soon.

 

See also: The Morrígan Calls Warriors 2: But I’m Not Cut Out To Be a Warrior

 

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Oh, No! This Blog Got all Dusty Again!

This past year has been….yeah, well, you all know. Hard things have often been harder. Good things are often not as visible. I’m tired. Everyone is tired.

I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like, I do have a more topical less housekeeping type post I want to get to. But I have been working on other stuff that is related (because all my obsessions end up kind of related, anyway, it’s how my brain works). I finished a new personal trainer certification (having decided after nearly 30 years that it was time to leave the organization that had already abandoned its personal trainers). I am hoping to start taking a couple online clients once I have more reliable internet which may be sometime mid-April. I was supposed to be sometime mid-March, so….

I may also be including more fitness stuff on social media and/or here again, related to this project. One of the two reasons I picked the organization I did is that they do have a tactical fitness specialty which looks like it might be relevant and might be my next CEUs. The other is that while it allows for CEUs from an “Autism Exercise” organization that uses ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), it is not heavily invested in it with tons of blog posts about the “poor misunderstood children with the autism” stuff. ALL the others seem to be heavily invested and it’s …awful. And none are listening to autistic adults about what they are doing. If you want to understand the issue with ABA you can go to The Great Big ABA Opposition Resource List here.

For those who don’t know, I am undiagnosed but not only “self-realized” but also “community-recognized” autistic. Like many people raised as a girl (I am cis, but not all who are in this situations are), such a diagnosis was not even a thing. Getting diagnosed now is nearly impossible, I don’t have the resources. Adult diagnosis is a privilege, you need to have some way to fund the testing yourself, you need a good enough mental health infrastructure to get you qualified for testing. Depending on how things go as far as the pandemic, I might try. Largely because I feel that more autistic fitness professionals need to be advocates and being diagnosed will help me as it appears I may be becoming such an advocate.  There’s a lot to this story, I’m not going into it here, not now. But as we head into April, please note that I support #RedInstead and listening to #ActualyAutistic folks.

Cimarron and Iceman
Cimarron and Iceman -Là Fhéill Macha 2018

The major news at the homestead is the the deaths of our 32 year-old Mini horses. We knew it was going to be soon and were making plans for them.  But it happened unexpectedly soon and not at all as planned. In the very early morning of Jan. 22 Iceman died. Cimarron obviously panicked and managed to escape from the barn. He was hit by (or probably hit) a truck and was killed instantly.  We knew that after 30 years together they’d need to go together, but this wasn’t how we’d thought it would happen. Iceman was declining, but he didn’t seem to have declined that much. Or so we thought, but were wrong.

This has left poor Saorsa alone, which isn’t good for a horse. I try and will continue to try to occupy her time and attention. But we do need to see about finding another horse soon. Of course, it’s not an easy time for that for many reasons.

So, here we are, at the start of the second year of the pandemic, still trying to sort out what it means. We now have our first vaccines, scheduled for our second and ….I’m still not likely to leave my swamp all that much.

I hope all reading this are managing to stay well, as are your loved ones. And I extend wishes for healing for those who have not been able to in this awful time.

 

Oh, look, another year

I realize how little I got done last year, two blog posts here, one about trying to save our hound Gráinne, which we failed at, and a post about Wonder Woman which I never followed up with the review I intended on (it’s a good movie that could have been much better on many levels, I still feel the lead was miscast, I hate that my favorite character who was only on briefly was actually a white-wash and, wow, they really could have had more women present in the entire thing). Other writing was a rewrite/reedit of an old article for the Lughnasadh issue of Air nAithesc and a few posts at The Sarah Connor Charm School about the reboot and Linda Hamilton’s announced return, as well as James Cameron hating Wonder Woman for all the wrong reasons. I also moved/redesigned the SCCS site, my work site (such as it is at this point) and started to with Dùn Sgàthan and Hooded Crow but that got to be a bit too much. I’m still finding things that need fixing on the SCCS site, after all. So that was somewhat productive, at least. Just not a lot of writing.

The year was seriously distracting for me, after spending so much energy in 2016 towards saving both Gleann and Gráinne, we entered 2017 with my mate breaking his leg, failing to save Gráinne and then having one of our mare’s, Misty, suddenly die and one of our Minis nearly die on the same day (possibly an emotional response to losing a herdmate). A couple of months later, my mare Saorsa, who had been devastated by the loss of her beloved boss mare, went lame. Then she went lame in another foot. She ended up with abscessing in all four feet, about the time one would open and start draining another would show up. Oh, we also nearly lost our house, due to the toll trying to save our dogs took on our finances….yes, even with the fundraising and auction and all. And there was some political stuff happening in the world as well, which some of you may have noticed, that has been damn horrific. :/

I also “pulled something in my shoulder” working on Saorsa’s feet in the late spring. Which refused to get better. I continued to try to stay in shape and do what I could to take care of her, the other animals and things here. It would just go away, right? First practitioner (a PA-C, seeing doctors here is usually a long wait), indeed wrote it off as nothing…she also “joked” that I should just sell my horse so I didn’t have to use my arm anymore which probably means it’s best for her I was in too much pain to do what would come naturally to that sort of crack. I spent the summer pretending it would just heal up. Meanwhile, my plan to get my fitness business reestablished, as all work there went south taking care of my dogs the year before, was impossible. I was now taking care of a horse in between being in too much pain to even train myself. Oh, I kept trying. And, at least, I could run.

While doctors might be hard to find up here, sometimes you do luck out. I went back and saw a nurse practitioner at the clinic, who actually gave me the referral I hoped to get from the PA-C months before to the local orthopedist. He, in turn, referred me to a shoulder specialist down in Franconia….who turns out to be a top shoulder specialist in the country, working with the US Alpine ski team.  I am at the moment recovering from having bone spurs and a cyst caused by them removed. Tomorrow I start PT….hopefully it will not be long before I can actually start lifting. Gods, I’m dying to start lifting.

Not knowing how limited I’d be for work, we also began plans for a festival, Là Fhéill Macha, that I had felt nudged to do a couple of years before, despite the fact we now no longer had Misty to be the “central mare” of it. I had hoped to find a few others up here who might be willing to actually help with some of the work involved, but that hasn’t happened. And due to the shoulder I haven’t been able to do much of it myself. Chances are that this year anything we do will be small, friends-only…we’ll see how things progress. I do feel this is something that needs to happen, it’s just a matter of whose timetable that is on.

We’ve had some healing to our pack, although it started rather, uh, “pridefully” I guess you could say. To back track, we adopted a black cat who was named Merlin a year after we adopted our dog Sachairi, who left us two years ago now, from the same woman. She had moved out of the country, but returned for a visit to find the cat was not in as good a situation as she hoped and we decided to take him. We tried renaming him in Gaelic but it never really worked. We never intended to get a cat, as we often have hounds who are not cat safe, and we certainly didn’t intend on ever getting another. But I happened to find out an acquaintance was looking to rehome her elderly black cat as she was moving out of the country. As this was the 1) the same situation as the previous, 2) something I came across right at the right time and 3) the cat’s name is Nimue….I figured it was fate. Despite the fact that neither cat was well socialized with other cats, we took her.


We came home from picking her up to find out that the Greyhound kennel was expecting several dogs in and just had a return, as well. I was asked if we might want the boy who was returned, but he tested as not cat safe. It turned out that he is also Gráinne’s half-brother, about half a year younger than her. I also remember him as having been previously adopted around the same time I first heard that she had been returned and was feeling sort of “called” to consider her ….it was a few months before I did, however. So despite our reservations at having a hound who is not cat safe, we now have this 80 lb blond snuggly goofball named Cairbre (one of the legendary Gráinne’s brothers and close enough that we can let those unwilling to try saying it continue to call him “Copper” as he had been known).

It will, of course, be longer before our little herd grows again. Horses are a bigger investment, also harder to integrate than dogs. Easier to integrate than the cats have been, we certainly will not have a photo of them like the one of the dogs here, but bigger and more problematic while they do. Saorsa has bonded well with the little guys. The worry, of course, is that the little guys turn 30 this year and their health is not great.

Now that we are healing, now that my shoulder is healing, I am hoping to get back to rebuilding my fitness business and taking clients once I am back in training and feeling I have something to offer others. I am also looking at online training options, to expand outside this area. I am also considering doing a Patreon for the Hooded Crow project if I can figure out what to actually offer which means getting back in the swing of writing, mostly, I guess, but hopefully will include options to do fitness training focused for this path as well. I have a couple of workshops I need to finish prepping and figure a way to do from up here in the sticks…again, probably online.

I am, however, considering that in my writing, I need to put focus back on the book. I may still get out some articles again, I do hope to blog more both here and at the SCCS.

 

Changing jobs, deepening vocation

I left my job recently. This is a good thing, but it’s left me thinking a lot about this path and how the job did, didn’t and should have related. It wasn’t a “warrior job” in the sense that those who claim all warriors must do “warrior jobs” such as serve in the military or be law enforcement officers. I was basically a baby sitter, although if you go by hourly pay I was less well paid than most are these days from what I hear, although I got full-time hours and, therefore, benefits. I was a night watch person at a camp for troubled youth. So I was a babysitter who walked around in the woods and kept fires going. But it fit for someone on the Outlaw warrior path.

I rather liked the job at first, although switching back to nights had been difficult for me. After most of a lifetime of being very nocturnal by nature, I seemed to switch suddenly when I moved back to the North Country about 11 years ago now. I thought I could switch back easily, but it was hard for me. Otherwise, it was great, I like wandering in the woods, liked time to myself. I liked that connection that I noted with my path.

See, the Outlaw Warrior bands, the Fianna, were made up of young men, possibly some women as I’ve discussed here before, who were basically seen as unfit for society to live until they were. That was, primarily when they were marriageable and could inherit.* Obviously, there are stark differences between camps such as this and the old war bands, for example, they’re not taught fighting arts but rather to not fight (yet many might end up in the military in their future so….). Yet it’s, well, reflective…reflective is a favorite word of mine if you’ve not noticed (consider the name of my home is “sgàthan”).

In the context, I was even an outsider among outsiders, being there to guard at night only. The teaching fénnidi and banfénnidi there are the counselors. I remember being hit by this passage from The Wisdom of the Outlaw:

“(“They gave Finn the task of keeping watch during the night, and he was told to wake up a fénnid if he heard anything calamitous”). We have already seen that one of the duties of Finn’s fían is to protect human society and its borders. In the present episode, as part of his initiation ito a fían, Finn is to stand watch for his fellow fénnidi. Like the ideal gill described by Cormac, he is to listen carefully in the forest and be alert during his watch. Finn stands guard on the periphery of a peripheral group; in this stance his being a chronic outsider is all the more obvious.” pg. 176

And to some extent during this time I was able to work out some new concepts and connections with my path. But due to the circumstances of the job, I was also limited, especially over time. Because working nights took a toll on my body, and the body is an important thing to a warrior. To anyone, but all fantasy aside, it’s impossible to fight with out a functioning body.

While at one point I still trained hard in what I already was doing and even took some time to start firearms training, my body started to burn out. I started to sleep less, my fitness level was deteriorating despite working out, I was just fucking tired all the fucking time.

Somewhere along there I got back to work on Teh Project again, however, so that was a plus. But as my body began to show wear, so did my mind. My periods of concentration often were short, a real problem as some of this stuff is pretty mind boggling to begin with.

With concentration goes the ability to do the spiritual work involved, namely the trance work. And as my body was tired, going out into the woods and into a fugue state became more limited. Obviously, I couldn’t go into altered states at work, even if I was in the woods.

Other things which I consider related, such as working with my young, spoiled horse and dealing with prepping/homesteading stuff also were a problem.

I realized to a large extent, I was not living the path to the extent I need to be. I also realized that the crappy pay and crap benefits were no longer worth it. And for the past few weeks I’ve been regaining my equilibrium, repairing my body, starting to build up on the amount of training I’m doing (although I have a long way to go) and getting some progress with my horse and prepping. Writing not so much yet, trance work not at all yet. I still need more recovery for those things. And winter is coming, it will be a time to focus on some of that harder when we’re settled in for the season.

My mate is taking more shifts and will be developing himself more as an EMT. I will try to build something of a fitness business, but it’s a rough location even in better times for that. I may also go for my EMT certification, maybe. We’ll also see what else comes along that can help us survive.

What I am getting here is that I strive to find a way to learn and build from all things that I do, starting this job enriched my path, leaving it at this time does so too. Onward to what ever comes.

*See, for example, Joseph Falaky Nagy. The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition and Kim McCone, “Werewolves, Cyclopes, Díberga and Fíanna: Juvenile Delinquency in Early Ireland” Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies, issue 12, 1986

Copyright © 2011 Kym Lambert

Let’s get this going

I’ve been sitting on this for several months, not quite a year but it’s getting close. So I figured I’d start. I had hoped to start this off with a huge and *ahem* important rant on the problem of “man-made heras” but never got around to it. Too many things kept coming up elsewhere. I’ll get to it eventually, however.

The other issue, of course, is why am I doing this. I’m on LJ, MySpace *shudder*, Tribe *yawn* and Facebook *blink* so it’s not like I need another damn blog. But then those things are more about socializing. This, I hope, will be a more concise place to put my thoughts to the world without any focus on my personal life, friendships or the like except where they might influence the topic. A more formal undertaking, as much as I am ever formal.

For those who stumble on this and don’t know me, as my bio says I’m a Gaelic Polytheist on the warrior path, with a degree in Celtic and women’s studies and highly opinionated on how stories, from the ancient myths to modern cinema portrays and affects women on the warrior path. That’s what this will mostly be about.