Fénnidecht – The Outlaw Warrior Path

by Saigh Kym Lambert and yes, it IS copyrighted and is not free for reposting, please share link instead

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.comIf you find this article helpful, please remember this was work to put together and I have animals to feed and vet

In deciding to update this page to include things which have come up in conversations of late, I realized it needed a major overhaul. I hope that it is now easier to follow.  But we are taking about those who deal with chaos so…..

The Definition of “Warrior”

One of the biggest obstacles in discussing any form of Pagan warrior path is that, like “witch” and “pagan” and so many other terms we use in our community, people cannot agree on the meaning of “warrior.”  So let’s first look at the etymology of the word warrior.

“Warrior” comes to us through the old Old French guerreier relating to OF guerre from which we get “war” and simply means one who fights wars.

Guerre, and therefore “war,” came through the Frankish *werra which came through the Proto-Germanic *werz-a-  (“to confuse”)  from the Proto-Indo-European  *wers- (“to confuse, mix up”).  (Online Etymology Dictionary) This gives us a slightly different view of the original meaning of the word than often attributed to it.  It certainly describes what battle is often like, but does not appear to have been limited to what we today might think of as “battle.”

War means chaos, a warrior is one who engages chaos.  Interesting concept, isn’t it?  It certainly becomes important when we move on in awhile about fénnidecht specifically.

This actually does give us a broad place to go in defining the term, yet many want to not only define it for their own path but for everyone. This is where everyone becomes so divided that conversation about warrior path in the Pagan (a term which also divides us today, I have chosen to continue to identify as a Pagan, although I am a polytheistic one, for various reasons including the history of the term in context with this path).

Warriorship as a Pagan Path

When coming from a cultural reconstructionist viewpoint, as I do, then we need to remember that we must address both the cultural definitions of things and what that means to us practicing today.  It also means we also need to look at the various definitions,  perceptions and misconceptions about the warrior path as seen by most Pagans, including most Gaelic Reconstructionists, and how we are defining it for this particular path. (bold text is how things are defined for this project). We will then look at Gaelic fénnidecht in particular after we cover the more general.

“Everyone is a warrior”

There are those who use the term completely as a metaphor so that in their mind anyone at least anyone with any sort of struggle (and don’t we all?), is a warrior.

For our purposes, it needs to be more than just this, while we do appreciate the battles everyone faces.

“Spiritual/Magical/Mystical Warriors”

This can be a fuzzy definition and people who use it may mean a variety of different things. For some basically means the same as above, that you fight inner battles as part of a personal spiritual quest.  For others it can mean that one fights using magic, spell work, while others might see it as (also or otherwise) fighting Otherworldly entities.  There is also a group, or sub-group of another group, which uses the concept of being “warrior priests” although I know that was not the original intent (I am one of the co-founders of said sub-group, it was not our initial mission) and I am not at all sure what they mean other than they don’t really seem to have much purpose now.  Often when these terms are thrown about, the physical aspects of the warrior path are put aside or diminished to the point of the absurd, such as warrior games where someone is applauded for being so disrespectful as to walk a race smoking a cigarette.

Obviously, as this is about building a warrior cult (in the old sense of the word, a group focused on particular Deity or Deities and particular practices) we are spiritual and magical warriors.  This does not, however, preclude the very psychical nature of the path, as well.  In fact, given that part of our mystical path is shape-shifting that can be very physical (or not, depending on  the form as we’ll discuss shortly).  The Otherworld is a very real and often violent place, the fénnidi always were in part about dealing with those from there who might oppose those the warriors protected. This too we intend to carry on.  The Sight and divination as well as poetry and wisdom were also a key feature.

“Just a physical path”

The flip side of those defining the path as magical are those who proclaim it to be utterly devoid of any magic or spirituality. They see warriors as utterly pragmatic and only there to deal with physical threats.  Certainly, some on this path are more focused on this and some of  us go through periods where we are all about physical survival. Even with those, however, if identifying as Pagan warriors likely find a spiritual aspect to it.

Sometimes this also goes with the idea that warriors are all essentially stupid and one dimensional brutes.

See above, we mix it up…different modern fénnidi might mix it up differently than others, we all have our particular talents.  As for intelligence, certainly we all vary here too, but wisdom and poetry are part of the path and this project requires a great deal of historical, spiritual, cultural and sociological study.

“Only soldiers, maybe cops too, are on a warrior path”

This is a definition popular with many Pagan soldiers, vets and cops as well as many other pagans who hate the idea of warrior as a Pagan path  This goes with a  narrow and modern definition of the word “warrior” as someone who fights “wars” as is narrowly defined only as a national government’s action.   It also goes hand-in-hand with the idea that a warrior is not about the spiritual or mystical but only physical action. It certainly does make it more likely one would be a fully initiated warrior in the way we’ll discuss in a bit, but not all who are called to the warrior path are called into the military or law enforcement. In fact some may be quite opposed to such suervice by their beliefs and what they choose to fight for, which may conflict with the agenda of any government.

Returning to etymological sourcing it should be noted that “soldier” is indeed a professional warrior for pay.  The term literally refers to the payment of a soldier, coming from the Latin solidus “gold coin” paid to hired Roman warriors. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

To be blunt, modern service does not truly reflect the structure of the fíanna in any way other than it had been mostly young men, therefore it is difficult to correlate actual practice of fénnidecht, especially the mystical and shape-shifting aspects with serving a currently existing government. Many of us drawn to the Outlaw path are, indeed, too outlaw to consider working for a capitalist, imperialist, racist government whose agenda conflicts with our own beliefs and ethics.  Those who we choose to work with are far more likely to be leftist activists.  As our government is currently under openly fascist control, this is even more so.  Therefore if your definition of “warrior” is entrenched  with serving such a system, there are others you might wish to seek out instead of us.

There are others exploring the concepts of fénnidecht who are focused on “bringing (soldiers) home.” The one thing modern soldiers and ancient outlaw warriors could share are issues with fitting in after seeing battle.  Certainly, some of the rituals described relating to the Fíanna and other outlaws seems to point to them transitioning back into society.  I have also explored in  “Chase to Nowhere: Thoughts on Fénnidecht Rites of Passage” how the same ritual work both ways and can also take warriors into the wilderness.

In the context of defining “soldier” by professional payment, there is some evidence that some war bands served as hired retinue (I hope to be writing more about this soon), however, as Outlaws of the very compensation obsessed Irish society, most war bands may have been largely unpaid (this is an issue I am hoping to research more) just as they were not awarded honor price or face price during the time of their Outlawry.  Food and other items may have been given to the fénnidi as part of the exchange for their service of protecting the communities.

“Activists are on the warrior path”

Activism is often considered a warrior act, among Pagans and others. Fighting for a cause is, after all, a fight. This has lately been turned around and the term “Social Justice Warrior (SJW)” turned into pejorative to mock activists, because for some reason some see fighting for social justice should be something we are ashamed of. That danger activists can face is becoming more apparent even to the mainstream, although it must be acknowledged that activism remains more dangerous for some than for others. The more privileged the activist the more one might have to work to truly use activism as part of their warrior path in the US. Of course, not all forms of activism are truly warrior acts, but one does what one can.

We strongly support and encourage the idea that activism can, indeed, be a way to embody the warrior path, especially activism which involves physical risk in defense of self, others and the environment  Those we work with personally will be those who see activism as a primary outward act of fénnidecht today.  Given the current state of the United States, which has a long history of oppression as it is, activist warriors are needed all the more.  Remember fighting for freedom does often include actual fighting, especially when violent, colonial, fascist elements become more confrontational.  The right to live for both people and the world is not in anyway “just politics we can agree to disagree on.” It is about life.  So, no, we choose never to work with those who espouse genocide in any form, you can all move along and do your own thing now.

So if you wonder, yes, punching Nazis is totally defense of self and others!!!  Just do make sure you train, some may punch back.

“Survivalists/preppers are warriors”

The stereotype of survivalists as far-right paranoids hoarding guns, packages food and toilet paper in a bunker ready to go to war with the government. Which is why most of us who are on the left prefer “prepper” now, which the right-wing types have also adopted.

There are really many types of preppers, from far right to far left, from those ready to take up arms against any and all “outsiders” to those who are more inclined to build a bigger table than bigger walls.  We all prepare for different things, some only for The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) to just general Shit Hits The Fan (SHTF), such as short-term natural disasters that might hit where you live.  Some, homesteading types rather than “bunker” types, may see being more self-sufficient as a way to slow TEOTWAWKI) from happening by shrinking our footprint on the planet.  This type might be more inclined to grow and store our own food, buy food from our neighbors and work on a local food economy, rather than stockpiling freeze-dried and commercially canned goods.  We may still store a good deal of toilet paper.  And, yes, many of us, again on either end of the political spectrum, may not love or trust our government, but most of us actually know that we’re not going to win a battle. Doesn’t mean we don’t also have and know how to use guns, though, because if TEOTWAWKI does happen, or even with some short-term SHTF, or even just living rural it just doesn’t seem too prepared to let only the right-wingers have them.

The fíanna were undoubtedly prepared. While sometimes likely to have been fed and clothed by the communities they were not, at their time in the bands, a part of, they also lived by hunting and gathering food.  Prepping is ultimately about having a wide variety of skills that allow you to survive under most circumstances you might encounter. Therefore we strongly believe that prepping is a big part of this path, but come from more of a ‘bigger table” than “bigger wall” philosophy.  Helping others, the community, survive, rather than just oneself and one’s loved ones, should be considered.

“The Warrior Path is Ableist”

If it were only about being a soldier then it would even more exclude those with health and mobility issues, as the military does. It also cannot be argued that the physical aspects of the path favor not only the healthy and able but reward the exceptional. However, few able-bodied folk are exceptional, most of us have limits therefore there should be no limits to following this as a path.  If the way the path is practiced involves magical and spiritual aspects it does become more open in regards to physical ability.

We are open to anyone who feels the call and will work around any physical  issues involved.  All physical requirements can be modified or waived when needed or, for those of us who have occasional bouts of debilitating health problems put aside when needed.  This is one reason why the training should always be structured very individually. As we also include Seership, “astral projection” form of shape-shifting ecstatic trance, magical work, poetry and other arts there is also more to this than just physical skills. There is even some precedence for being inclusive hinted at in the material regarding Finn’s Fíanna, with a fénnid with only one leg (but can out run any horse, dog or man) and a blind warrior (who never misses a throw), while today it might be problematic that their exceptional “overcoming” is emphasized (this is a list of “wonders” after all, from Feast of Cantin’s House. The excerpt can be found in Joseph Falaky Nagy, The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985 pg. 50-51) it is possibly instructive to note that this occurred to the storytellers.

“The Warrior Path is a Male Mystery”

Some insist that all warriors are male and that any Pagan warrior path work is some sort of “male mystery.” While war has, in fact, been a predominantly male pursuit for a number of, likely, interconnected reasons (my theory is that this is centered largely around the fact that childbirth has been a major killer of women, so adding another form of death when avoidable is often seen as negative. Add that to this means other, younger, men are competition for new or more wives, sending young me off to kill each other has been a way of dealing with that part of the equation too).

The war bands do seem to have primarily been populated by adolescent males, between fosterage and adulthood.  However, the Irish literature shows some women going into the wild and may well reflect a reality for some, (see my “‘By Force in the Battlefield’: Finding the Irish Female Hero”,  “Muimme naFiann: Foster-mother of the heroes” and ” The War Goddess’s Bitch”) although we have yet to have as concrete evidence as we might like. It should also be noted that there is also the factor that the youths in the war bands were not considered fully men yet in early Ireland’s very precise definition of manhood, they were beardless, had not obtained inheritance and were unmarried, the three things that marked “full manhood.”

Certainly, Cú Chulainn “unmanliness” is a key factor to his character, beardless (possibly also lacking descended testicles), beautiful rather than handsome, bisexual, he is hardly the “Conan the Barbarian” some artists today portray him to be. (I hope to write more on this, however, this offers some information …sadly that is no longer available, I will see about another source) Finn Mac Cumhail as also far from a “manly” stereotype. Among Finn’s band there is also a warrior who is a woman one year and  a man the next, which is an intriguing hint regarding gender (again, this is in the list of “wonders” from Feast of Cantin’s House but the inclusion is intriguing).  As a subculture of an extremely gender essentialist society, the liminal Irish wilderness appears to have been the place where gender roles and gender itself were far more flexible.

Simply put, this is hardly a definition we are using here at all…and if it is for you you are in the wrong place. “For I am no man,” myself. We are open to people of all gender identities and expression and view this path as very much a place to defy gender essentialism.

“Only  a warrior can initiate a warrior – in a life or death struggle”

This is a concept I first picked up from the late Ambrose Hollingworth Redmoon, who wrote “No Peaceful Warriors!,” (Gnosis #21, Fall 1991, republished in Rick Fields, ed. The Awakened Warrior: Living with Courage, Compassion & Discipline, New York: Putnam Book 1994).  The idea is that one can only truly claim the title of “warrior” if they have faced death.

I do stand by this as the fullest initiation of a warrior. This does mean that some on the warrior path shall never face this final initiation (there are other rites which we might go through, of course, as I describe in “Chase to Nowhere”), however this does not diminish the fact they honestly strive along the warrior path. A willingness to face danger, does have to be part of the path making this initiation a possibility.

“Code of Honor”

Many Pagan believe that warriors must follow a certain code (which, problematically, vary) in order to be considered warriors.

It should be noted that many of the Teagasca used to create a sort of Irish code are more instructions on how to be a proper adult. So they might be taught to young warriors, but they were more about when their time as full-time warriors were ending.

We strive to live honorably, we also question the idea that if one actually needs a code to do so if one really is being honorably or just obedient. It is an ever evolving exploration.  But we hope to do good!

“A Warrior Must Be Chosen by Their Community”

This is a new one that seems to have suddenly become popular in certain Gaelic Polytheist circles which is very odd in light of what is known about Gaelic war bands as being decidedly not part of the general community but one within itself.  While there may be cultures where community members get a say in who is and isn’t a warrior, there is no evidence for such a concept in early Gaelic or other Indo-European cultures other than social status one was born into.  It was those of the higher classes that were sent into the wilderness to become warriors. Certainly some Gaelic focused groups seem to wish to bring back such a class system, but it seems that those who do not instead want a vote or something about who is and isn’t a warrior regardless of the supposed group member’s own relationship to the Gods. Neither seems a particularly good idea to me, but then part of the reason I was drawn to this is that I do not believe we should be replicating the hierarchy of  Early Ireland, and while they mostly may have come from royal blood the warriors were without status while they were warriors. Yes, part of the job of a warrior is to protect society but it is a society that they are not part of while they are warriors.   They were outside of it. While also interacting with it. The complexity and liminality of this status is itself a vital part of it. This concept shows a vital lack of understanding of the place of warriors in Early Ireland, that is not surprising coming from some of the sources, but is sadly being repeated by those who be learning more accurate information.

Of course, this declaration is obviously also an attempt to stigmatize those who do not have groups or even wish to have groups. Or those who wish only to have a war band and not a group for the war band to be outside of as well, or who feel that no one today would belong “inside” Gaelic culture as it was and choose to form an over all subculture (more on this in a bit).  But do we only define our community by a group of other Gaelic Pagans?  We already live in a society many of us feel somewhat marginal to and although not as formally as had been we can , serve in a similar liminal ways.  And we can often do this in real ways.  One may become part of their local Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT), Search-and -Rescue.  Possibly serve as EMTs or firefighters.  But we may also, especially in this troubled time, put our bodies between others and danger through political action including but not limited to punching Nazis. Again, I am talking about action that might put you in physical and legal danger, not just marching legally with signs taking selfies with cops.  And, should you be so fortunate to get the chance, maybe punch a few Nazis.

But as this specific to Gaelic culture, let’s move on to this subject.

The why and what of fénnidecht as a Gaelic Warrior Path

What is fénnidecht?

Fénnidecht is the practice of the fénnidi.  Fénnidi are Outlaw Warriors, the members of Fíanna.

It’s often thought that the Fíanna of the legendary Finn Mac Cumhail was the only Fíanna, however, even in his stories there were others noted.  Such war bands existed not only in Irish culture but in many other Indo-European cultures, possibly even in proto-IE cultures.  These warriors were primarily young men between the age of fosterage and the age of inheritance and marriage, when many who survived their time in the wilderness would return to society and marry.  Some who did not have inheritance  to receive, may have gone off to other lands to found their own societies (colonialism, not something we’d do even if we could) as was surely the case from other IE cultures (Kim McCone,  “The Celtic and Indo-European origins of the fían,” Sharon J. Arbuthnot and Geraldine Parsons, eds., The Gaelic Finn Tradition, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012) The stories of Finn and his Fíanna certainly indicate that some never “grew up” even when old and remained always Outlaw.

In the Irish literature there were also female warriors who went Outlaw, some who were for a time to seek revenge and who returned to society after succeeding (as with Creidn) or when they were raped and forced into marriage (as with Ness), as well as many women who spent their entire lives in the wilds and trained the warriors (Finn’s foster-mothers) we can only speculate if this was a reality but it is one I strongly favor as likely. Certainly one we can bring into this day and age.  This is not as evident in other IE cultures, except, perhaps in the evidence of the Sauro-Sarmatian “Amazons.”  (I have several articles on women warriors already, as well as numerous blog posts. “‘By Force in the Battlefield’: Finding the Irish Female Hero,” “Muimme naFiann: Foster-mother of the heroes,” The War Goddess’s Bitch” and “There Was Not Found a Man to Withstand Her” published in  Air n-Aithesc and available in PDF)

“Outlaw” does not mean “criminal” as used today, but rather literally “outside legal coverage.”   Once they entered, and for the time that they were in, the war-bands they lost their standing in the Brehon laws and were only allowed the sick maintenance of a bóaire (“strong farmer”). No face price or honor price was to be given them nor their families,  a fate shared with druids and satirists in the in Early Christian Ireland.  (Reference to this is found in D. A. Binchy, “Bretha Crólige,” Ériu 12, 1938, pg. 41, Fergus Kelly. A Guide to Early Irish Law, Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (School of Celtic Studies), 2001, pg. 10, 60, also Geoffrey Keating (Seathrún Céitinn), Foras Feasa ar Éirinn: The History of Ireland, David Comyn, Patrick S. Dinneen, eds., London: David Nutt, for the Irish Texts Society, 1902–1914 Vol. 2, pg 332-335 notes that a requirement to enter the Fíanna was that the candidate’s family could not seek retribution for their deaths. Nerys Patterson, Cattle Lords & Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1994 is a good source on how these laws worked inside the society). Yet, certainly, early references to such war bands, calling them díberga (brigands), show that the church certainly did see such Outlawry in a negative light, perhaps in part as they were competition for young men they wished to join the church and for their pagan tendencies..  This is likely why Cú Chulainn was isolated from such a band and the rather ‘cleaned-up” tales of the Fíanna where first recorded so late.

The “accusations” of paganism might be well warranted , we certainly like to think so.  As the war bands in other pre-Christian Indo-European cultures were clearly cults to specific Deities, it is doubtful that this would not have been so in pre-Christian Ireland, although we do not have direct evidence.  There are still hints in the literature that War Deities were worshiped in a similar way.  While this might include Lugh and some say Finn was himself originally a God (I am afraid I am not convinced on that myself, although like Cú Chulainn, he was related to Lugh and of being both human and Otherworldly origin is  appropriately liminal).  I and those I am working with have come to see that there is strong evidence for The Morrígan and other War Goddesses as being the Ones followed by some of these bands in Ireland.  That druids and satirists were lumped together with the díberga in the Brehon Laws is even further evidence, although we can’t know for sure if they actually were out in the wilderness together, we also see some certainly were in the literature. (Finn’s foster-mothers were often portrayed as both druid and warrior and Finn certainly was a Seer and poet which also connected him to that role, Cathbad was both fénnid and druid,….)

There was a strong connection between these bands and wolves and dogs and there is evidence that the idea of shape-shifting or, at least, taking on the traits of these animals, Saigh with Ruadhan, Cairbre and Tru Bealthuinn 2021 was part of their practice (which I discussed in “Going in Wolf-shapes” and “The War Goddess’s Bitch” and, bring up in several other articles and will be exploring further).  This also relates to the connection between the Fíanna and other warrior bands in other IE cultures, even some of our earliest evidence for such institutions. Cú Chulainn’s canine natures is obviously, Finn and all members of his Fíanna had important hounds, as well as Finn’s best known being his own nephews or cousins and Finn having a cloak which allowed him to take hound or deer form.

My articles that are listed on the index page are more detailed looks of aspects of what I have tried to cover here. Kim McCone’s “Aided Cheltchair Maic Uthechair: Hounds, Heroes and Hospitallers in Early Irish Myth and Story.” Ériu 35, 1984, “Werewolves, Cyclopes, Díberga and Fíanna: Juvenile Delinquency in Early Ireland” Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies, issue 12, 1986, “The Celtic and Indo-European origins of the fían,” Sharon J. Arbuthnot and Geraldine Parsons, eds., The Gaelic Finn Tradition, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012; Richard Sharpe, “Hiberno-Latin Laicus, Irish Láech and the Devil’s Men,” Ériu  30, 1979; and Joseph Falaky Nagy, The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985 are important resources along with others listed here)

That is the basics, a few misconceptions have come up.

“So the fénnidi are ‘heroes outside the tribe’ and the laochra are the ‘heroes inside the tribe?”‘

No, not at all. This is a common perception among many Gaelic Pagans today, but it is not supported by actual evidence. The concept of “Hero Outside and Hero Inside the tribe” appears to have started with Marie Louise Sjoestedt to describe Finn and Cú Chulainn and I discussed the problems of this in “The Hounds Betwixt and Between.”  However, despite the continued acceptance of Dumézil’s outdated tri-functional society theory, warriors, as such, were not really a part of IE, let alone Irish, society.  One might instead note that any who returned from the war bands would remain capable warriors, unless injury prevented, but they would not be land owners as their general status.  They would likely take up arms to defend. They might even go out on a raid on occasion, not unlike the Norse vikings did. However, it’s difficult to know if they considered themselves warriors after returning to society.

Using the word “laoch” to mean “warrior” and specify it as an “inside the tribe warrior” is actually hugely problematic. “Ban-laoch” for a woman warrior, when discussing early Irish ways, is even more so. The Modern Irish laoch comes from the Old Irish láech which came from the Latin laicus, meaning simply a “layman.” The Irish clerics would use láech to not just refer to a Christian man who was not clergy, but also to mean “pagan.”   Given, as noted above, that the warriors were thought to be (and likely were) pagan, láech became associated with the fénnidi/díberga and, therefore came to mean “warrior.”  (Sharpe’s “Hiberno-Latin Laicus, Irish Láech and the Devil’s Men,” Ériu  30)

Laoch  is used in modern Irish for “soldier,” and perhaps should be best left for actual soldiers of the Irish military.  Ban-laoch is used for female soldiers and was used to mean a female warrior at some point early in modern times. However, the original feminine of láech was not formed by the usual addition of “woman,” “ban,” but was instead laíches. Laíches never was defined as a female warrior, but rather a laywoman, specifically a married laywoman.  And, yes, likely a pagan laywoman married to a pagan warrior.

There are, actually a lot, of words for “warrior” in the Irish languages.  Each with certain nuances, but most ending up interchangeable at various points.  I hope to explore this more soon, but that might be a lifetime of work just there.

So to follow fénnnidecht means I must sever all ties with other Gaelic Pagans?

This was mentioned to me recently by someone who didn’t want to consider the path because they did seem to feel they’d have to leave their current circle of people.   But it’s so many levels of not an issue that I didn’t know where to begin.

The fénnidi were not part of the societies they protected and would have been largely self-sufficient, and yes sometimes they might have gone off only to live amongst themselves in the wilderness, but  they would have interacted with society in a variety of ways and levels.  Céitinn’s Foras Feasa ar Éirinn even describes a yearly time-line of the Fíanna members being taken into society each winter, although how literal this was is difficult determine.  A band might serve as a lord’s personal war band at any time, therefore interacting with the society.

Through the literature, we also see that the warriors had their own “retinues” out in the wilderness.  While this is a hierarchical concept we would want to avoid, this does indicate that  they were not alone, not separate.  Therefore perhaps they were more a sub-culture, one with different rules than the, by then  Christian over-culture had. With people of all walks of life working together.

This sub-culture certainly fits what I am seeking than anything we know about the very gender essentialist, very classist Christian culture that we know of. We do not know much about pre-Christian culture in comparison and perhaps the war bands were less a subculture, and even more temporary for more members, before Christianity , but we do not live in that time.  Many of us who are leftist, queer, feminist,…., certainly do not feel drawn to the realities of early Christian Irish daily life, or for that matter in the still largely Christian modern Gaelic cultures.  But some of us have seen a place in the wilderness instead. This is not limited to the warriors, although most might have a bit of “fight” in them.  I do, also hope that this project becomes a place where this factor can be explored more…even if I am focused on exploring the actual warrior aspects.

So you’re saying we all should be Outlaws?

Yeah, no…..but it does seem that any time I talk about what I am doing others seem to think I am suggesting everyone must. No, really, somehow if I’m not talking about what they want me to I am forcing my ideas on them. I actually would fall into the trap of giving a lot of emotional energy to topics which you would be better looking elsewhere for. I am offering information on what I am doing and why.  I personally know there is no “inside place” for me, I do not fit the “proper gender role” to start and that this is where I have found one.  I am suggesting some ideas I hope others explore. But, seriously, if it doesn’t call to you, go follow the call you do hear.

Wolf based on Newbigging Leslie stone sketch copyright © 2002 Aaron Miller