athene

The Warrior Goddess

August, 2006

Appreciation

Today I am sitting down at my computer from a long vacation. My husband and I went on an adventure to Nevada and California visiting my family… who happens to live smack in the middle of nowhere. Let me tell you about my vacation and then I will get to the point of this months article (I promise, they are related). I am going to leave the name of the town out, because I don’t want to bring a lot of attention to it; it is one of those places you must discover for yourself… not that you can really find it on a map.


My husband and I took a flight from Melbourne. We boarded the plane, packed ourselves in like sardines and then listened to the emergency instructions from the flight attendant. As she was pointing out the few exit doors I thought “what is the point, we are so packed in here no one will make it anyway”; and that is true. There really is very little point in showing passengers where the exit door is. Firstly, almost no one would make it out. Secondly, if the plane was blowing up or crashing, where are you gonna go; do you have a parachute? My most important point is that I think I was maybe one of 5 people actually paying attention to the poor flight attendant going through her humdrum spiel. Everyone else had headphones on, was reading a book, talking or whatever. So even if we could make it out, who would know where to go?


Now, I am not afraid to fly by any means. I actually like it as I can see that there is still nature and beauty in this country when flying over it. However, thinking about what I was thinking about, I began to have an appreciation for how fragile life is and how for granted most people seem to take it. So think about what I thought about. How amazing is it that we simply exist? How beautiful is it that two people can unify in an act of celebration and joy and create life with that energy? How truly amazing is it that I exist because somewhere billions of years ago the Universe decided to mass together space debris and create the Earth. I think that is pretty amazing. I also think it is sad that I (and most others) do not think about it more often. If we all reminded ourselves of this even just once a month, I bet the world would be a friendlier place.


Now, back to our flight. We were in the air and my thought was “finally, we are on vacation… now I hope that nothing goes wrong”. Normally, I am not a pessimist, but over the last 6 years my husband and I have tried to take vacations and they have had to be canceled every time, usually because of something beyond our control like someone dying or hurricanes taking the roof off of our house. Ya’ know; small annoying stuff like that. (In case you didn’t ‘hear’ my tone; that was sarcastic.)


Anyway, we made it to Atlanta, got off the plane and were bombarded with rude people trying to get to where they were going. I felt like I was in a war zone. We had 4 hours to make our connection, but I guess others didn’t because they were willing to push and gouge their way through to get where they were going. I thought “wow, I hope none of these people are on vacation, they must be having a miserable time!” I gained yet another appreciation… I could appreciate that I had the ability to actually try and enjoy myself rather than rush around everywhere trying to get from point A to point B, without really seeing what is in between.


We got on our new flight, and arrived in Reno about 10 PM; my sister was there to greet us. We went to a hotel and stayed the night, because her little town was not close to anything. It was not an hour away from Reno, not even two… it was SIX HOURS from Reno and about the same from Las Vegas. I was still in “city mode” at this point. I wanted my internet, which was not working, I wanted my phone, which was not working and then I thought “why do I want these things? This is stupid; I am on vacation, why am I so attached to being connected?” So I put my laptop and my phone away and really got an appreciation for where I was and what I was doing. It was really interesting and strange, but we are so connected, this was one of the most difficult things for me to do… but I did it and I recommend an occasional disconnect to everyone now and then.


The next morning we left the hotel and started the six hour drive to her little town. Once we got out of Reno and Carson City, everything was beautiful. There were mountains, hills, a beautiful blue sky… We took lots of pictures. I was surprised to look at a thermometer and see that the temperature was 90. In the dry air it felt like 80 does in Florida. It was so nice, so peaceful.


We approached the little town my sister lived in and she pointed out “town”, which consisted of a post office (which was a small trailer), a little restaurant, a couple of bars and a general store. The town is filled with mostly farmers and ranchers. As I was approaching, I was not expecting to like it much… I mean a farming town in the middle of nowhere, no movie theatre, no pagan meet ups, no dojo’s… what is there to do? My expectations were way off, I liked the place instantly, and so did my husband.


My sister drove us through town and down the 9 miles of mostly empty space to her house. The place was great… a couple of acres of land, her nice little house, her barns and stables and behind her land, desert scrub and mountains as far as you could see. When we were not speaking, everything was so quiet it just made you want to stay that way. We were instantly reminded, as we are every visit to nature, that in the country one does not need movies and meet ups to enjoy ones self.


When we stopped speaking and just stood there, unlike in the city, I could feel the energy of the stillness and of the quiet. I could hear the land speaking to me. I could hear the sky speaking to me. I could hear the wind in my ears and I could even hear my own heart beat for a short time. I suddenly had this burst of energy like Mother Nature said to me “hello, there you are, I have been missing you”.


During our trip there we saw many amazing things… some I had seen before and others I haven’t. I stood in snow on the near top of a mountain only a few days after the Summer Solstice. I collected wild sage from the desert. I collected water from a powerful lake that was so volcanically active, there were Co2 warnings posted everywhere (don’t worry, we were allowed there, we aren’t so stupid as to go into a cordoned off area). I left energy for the places I went. I felt leaving a physical gift would be littering and degrading the beauty of the place, so I gifted of my own energy instead.


At all times, I was always awe struck by the power of Nature. One night we sat outside my sister’s house and looked at the stars. There were so many it dumbfounded me and for the first time in over a decade, I saw the Milky Way. I had forgotten that it was even in the sky. It was so clear; we could see satellites in orbit as small moving specks of light. I saw multiple shooting stars, although I decided not to make any wishes. I regained my full appreciation of nature there… I didn’t want to leave.


When it was time to go home, I felt reluctant, although I missed my animal friends. I thought “I hate Florida, I want to move out now, Florida is a hole and no one is meant to live here, so much nature has been taken out of Florida, how can I ever connect”. We traveled back to Reno and I proceeded to win a small jackpot at the quarter slots. Woo hoo; other than the cost of the plane tickets, my trip was nearly free for us because of it! I got a new appreciation there for something else… how people so easily become “zombified” at machines.


We took our small bag of quarters and split them between us… that and 5 dollars in cash was what we decided to gamble. So we did. By the time I had won, I was pretty bored and was wondering how people did this all day. Even after I won, I didn’t want to do it any longer. I looked around and saw so many people blankly staring at the slots, rhythmically putting in the quarter and pushing the button over and over again. I could have marched to the beat. Some of them were pale, there eyes were blood shot. It was kinda scary actually. We went upstairs to sleep at about 11 PM. When my husband and I went downstairs to catch our plane at 4 AM, some of the same people were still there. I got an appreciation for how easily people are manipulated and addicted and I was very appreciative that I was not such a victim. I wondered what made my husband and me different from those people sitting at the slots… I still do.


We made our way home and I will tell you, the journey was fairly miserable. The airports back were worse than on the way there. The flights were worse. Or maybe it was just that we noticed it more because of where we had been. We got off the plane and it was hot and humid. It felt worse at night in Florida than the 110 degrees it got to be in Nevada. We both sighed and talked about how we were going to move out of Florida as soon as possible… “We hate it here”, we said.


We got home and our pets were a joy to see, so it made it better. We had another week at home. It was during this time that I learned my biggest lesson of this journey… appreciate what you don’t have, but more importantly, appreciate what you have. In other words… it is ok to want greener grass; as long as you appreciate that the grass you have now is also beautiful.


As I relaxed at home with my husband for this week, I realized that although I love it where my sister is and I would love to move there, I also have a lot here that I love. It is true that much of Florida has been industrialized and is quite ugly, but there is still beauty if you look. It is true that the weather is hot and miserable at times, but it can also be pleasant. In the small town I could have nature and beauty and one day I fully intend to have that; but for now, here, I have learned (once again) to appreciate what has been gifted to me.


So here is my lesson for this month… a Warrior Goddess appreciates what was, what is and what will be. She looks to the future and what she sees as better for herself, but while doing so, she also appreciates what she has at present and is truly thankful for it. This can sometimes be a major challenge, especially when times are rough, but it can be done. This is a relatively easy battle if you let it be.


I learned this lesson long ago and am often reminded of it during my life journey. This vacation was a good reminder of that lesson. I could appreciate my strengths and learn from my weaknesses. I could appreciate what the world had to offer in both the creations of Nature and the creations of human beings. I could appreciate what I had and what I didn’t have and keep them in balance. I guess the Spirit decided I needed a friendly kick in the ass. I guess this one was more of a friendly lift rather than a kick.


So here is what I challenge you to do on your journey as a Warrior Goddess. Figure out what you want for the future, really envision it and make a plan to achieve it. These things can be small or big, it does not matter. Now, with full appreciation of what you want and where you are going, look at where you are. What is there that you like? What can you truly be appreciative of? For me, my home, my family and my friends here, not to mention my activities, make it nice to be here, even if I happen to like another landscape better. My life is great and I am happy because I allow myself to be. I hope all of you can do the same.


***


author bio:


Athene


Athene@athenestemple.com


www.athenestemple.com


Athene comes from a family of Eclectics and has been practicing Paganism from a young age. Athene is an accomplished musician, swimmer, archer, artist, crafter and martial artist. She is active in teaching Pagan spirituality, magick and teaching and learning Judo and Jujitsu. She is also active in promoting equality and balance between genders and races, as well as environmentalism. Athene is well traveled and has been through much of the United States, as well as some traveling in Canada and France.


Athene has faced many challenges in her life, which fortunately she has over come. She tries to use these life experiences as examples to help others grow strong and sure of themselves. Athene’s current life goal is to help women become empowered through pagan spirituality; embracing themselves for who and what they are, overcoming social stigmas such as “thinner is more beautiful” and “women are victims”. She is willing to speak and teach at Pagan events and often will answer questions through email.

The Warrior Goddess

July, 2006

Positive Self Image

Before you can really learn anything about improving yourself, you have to truly believe that you can do it. Every time the words “I can’t” or “that’s impossible” enter into your vocabulary, you are setting yourself up for failure. Even worse, I have discovered, are the words “I’m trying”. It is ok to try in the original sense of the word… for instance, you can try food to see what it tastes like, but in the end there is either “I like it” or “I don’t like it”. In the sense of trying to do something, still, in the end, there is either “I did it” or “I didn’t do it”. Somehow I am reminded of Yoda here (thank you George Lucas)… there is either ‘do’ or ‘do not’; there is no ‘try’.


In the case of positive self image there really needs to be a quick change over from trying all the time to actually having one… because frankly, this is not a situation where you can try for a long time. If you are trying, you simply don’t have one. If you do not have a positive self image, if you do not believe you can do what you set out to do, then you will not accomplish all that you are capable of in life. If you want to be a Warrior Goddess, you must have confidence in yourself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. You must also not let your self confidence fail when what you set your mind to do does not work out.


So what is the biggest challenge presented to us that works against a positive self image? I bet most of you reading this will have the thought of “beauty” or something similar come into your head. Did the word “weight” come in there? Well… you would be among the majority. Body image is a huge challenge for us. So many women do not feel desirable if they are not model thin or action movie star muscular; so many of us associate our beauty and desirability with weight. It is truly a challenge not to; since most of what we see on television (there’s that dirty word again) and in magazines tells us that this is what desirable and beautiful women look like. It is true that even sometimes our own mates tell us that we need to lose weight; many times because they are worried about our health and are under the mistaken impression that weight is equal to good health; but unfortunately, many times because they are shallow asses.


Let me give you an experience from my own life that will give you an example of how pressured women are by society at large to be thin so that they feel beautiful, desirable and/or successful. In high school I exercised all the time. I would walk 6 to 10 miles a day. I would play racquetball. I was in marching band which is no small feat in the hot Florida sun. I am 5’4” tall and I weighed, at the time, 170 pounds. I wanted to go into the Navy to play in the Navy band. I auditioned and made it into the band hands down… but they told me I had to lose weight before I graduated high school or I could not get in. This only confirmed to me what the students of the school had already been telling me… I was fat and therefore, I was ugly.


I had such a low self image in high school, despite the fact that I was first chair in band, playing in televised music broadcasts for Disney, playing with a college band while still in high school and one of the best musicians in the state… I thought I was a loser and good for nothing. Why? Because I was fat and therefore ugly. I could not get a date and when I did, they would not admit they dated me. I let myself be treated like dirt.


So I sought to lose weight. I started eating only one meal a day, maybe two, and I began to exercise more. I lost 5 pounds. When I went to the entrance exam area for the Navy, I was still considered over weight at 165 pounds, so they did a measure test and passed me just barely at 33% body fat. I was considered, by their measurements, obese. So now I went back and exercised more and ate only salads. I ran in sauna suits and did things that endangered my health. I graduated high school and then I went back to the testing area. I weighed 160 pounds, still considered over weight. So they measured me again. According to the measurements this time, I was 36% body fat! So I was not allowed in the Navy.


This made it so I was not allowed to do what I had been trying for a year to accomplish (and planned my future around) because I was fat. How do you think this made me feel? It didn’t help that I was still made fun of for being fat by my school mates. Even my own friends made me feel fat, mostly because they felt fat too and I saw them as beautiful (and if THEY were fat, gods, I must have been behemoth). Well, this took a nuke to my already shell shocked self confidence. I got very depressed. Fortunately, I managed to work myself out of it and develop a positive body image from there.


Now, think about my weight that I told you, and my height. Think about how many times I was told I was fat. Think about how heavy I was. With that in mind, listen to this… when I weighed 170 pounds, I was a size 12. When I weighed 160 pounds, I was a size 9. A size 9 is NOT fat. Neither is a size 12, but that is beside the point… It was only later, upon being educated, that I discovered that muscle weighs more than fat. It also makes it really difficult to wear tiny sized clothing since it doesn’t squish in like fat does. Oh yeah, and that body fat test… the measuring test has a margin of error so big I could have been up to 7% higher OR LOWER than they measured me… which explains how I lost 5 pounds and gained 3% body fat in their eyes.


The point of this story is… society is unfair towards people. We are expected to put ourselves into a box to feel successful and beautiful. It is not just in size and shape… it is in everything. We are subconsciously told things such as “body fat is ugly” or “you are not successful unless you make money” or “you are not likable unless you have lots of friends” or “you are not loved unless you have sex”. As pagans we need to break free from this box and start appreciating ourselves for our individuality. As Warrior Goddesses we need to fight this negative conditioning for both ourselves and other women of the world.


How do we do this? Well I will tell you, it isn’t easy. I believe I am beautiful, powerful and successful. I am loved, both by myself and by my friends and family. I know this. I am sure of it. However, I still have days where I feel bad. When do I feel this way? Well, when I am around others who feel this way and I am too tired to fight against it. When it is just me or my husband and me I feel fine. When I am around friends or family who feel fat, ugly, like a loser or otherwise unhappy, it is much more difficult to keep up the energy. However, it is something I keep trying to do. This is why I feel it is important not just to improve my own self image, but to help others improve theirs.


So here is what I challenge you to do on your journey to becoming a Warrior Goddess. Number one, throw out of your life anything you think is causing a negative self image. If you weigh yourself and think “I am so fat”, throw out your damn scale. If you have to weigh yourself for competition sports as I do, then only do it when you absolutely have to. Of course weigh yourself if you must for medications and such, but again don’t think of yourself as ugly because you are “over weight”. If you are in a relationship and your partner tells you that you are fat, ask them not to. If they are degrading to you, either seek counseling or dump them because anyone who degrades you does not deserve you. Do what you must to remove the negative image inducers from your life.


I am not saying dump anyone who is negative; just simply ask them not to be negative around you. Of course, if it were me, if I asked them to stop and they didn’t, I would limit my exposure until I was sure of myself. Remember, pulling yourself out of negative self image is like an oxygen mask on a damaged air plane… take care of you first and then the person who needs help. If you are dying from oxygen deprivation, how can you help the person next to you? It will end up that you both die.


Next step… positive image exercises. First, do what a lot of women dread doing… stand naked in front of a full length mirror. Look at yourself. See your body as it is. Find everything beautiful about it. If you have a low self image, it will take some time, but find something. The first thing I started with was my eyes. I thought my eyes were pretty. So I started there and then noticed that I liked my nose, and then my hands. The more days I spent staring and looking for things, the more I liked how I looked. You need to do the same thing in your emotional and spiritual life as well. Spend time looking at yourself internally and see your positive traits.


Now, if you find negative traits… and you will… do not harp on them. Just accept that you have them and decide if they are actually negative or not. If they are negative, make a plan to change them. Let me give you a hint… wrinkles, fat deposits and moles are not negative traits; neither is getting angry when someone wrongs you (it is how you deal with that anger that is positive or negative). Another rule that I think is an absolute must is that you must find TWO positive things for every negative thing you see about yourself. For instance, if when looking over your body you see your stomach and think it is ugly, then you can look and see that your are still well proportioned to your stomach and that your stomachs skin looks smooth and silky. Or if you think that you lose your temper too quickly you can realize that at least you care enough to get angry and that you are a friendly person most of the time. To be quite honest, if you cannot find two positive things about yourself on a regular basis, then you may want to consider professional counseling because most likely you are depressed.


Practicing for a positive self image is a constant process, but you can at least notice when you become confident enough where you can start fighting for others rather than just yourself. It feels really good to help others and it further boosts your own positive self image. Loving yourself, thinking of yourself as beautiful inside and out, is important for all goddesses. There is not one goddess in all of history who said “I am so ugly, everyone hates me or I can’t find a man because I am fat”. This is not the Goddess nature and since the Goddess is in all of us, it shouldn’t be yours.


***


author bio:


Athene


Athene@cfl.rr.com


www.athenestemple.com


Athene comes from a family of Eclectics and has been practicing Paganism from a young age. Athene is an accomplished musician, swimmer, archer, artist, crafter and martial artist. She is active in teaching Pagan spirituality, magick and teaching and learning Judo and Jujitsu. She is also active in promoting equality and balance between genders and races, as well as environmentalism. Athene is well traveled and has been through much of the United States, as well as some traveling in Canada and France.


Athene has faced many challenges in her life, which fortunately she has over come. She tries to use these life experiences as examples to help others grow strong and sure of themselves. Athene’s current life goal is to help women become empowered through pagan spirituality; embracing themselves for who and what they are, overcoming social stigmas such as “thinner is more beautiful” and “women are victims”. She is willing to speak and teach at Pagan events and often will answer questions through email.

The Warrior Goddess

June, 2006

Respecting Yourself by Respecting Your Opposite


In the last article I talked about how women were not inferior to men and how throughout history there were many women warriors. Often times when a woman talks about women warriors many think that she believes that women are superior to men. This is not what I believe, so I hope this sets the record straight right now. The first thing a warrior goddess must learn is that male and female warriors are equal, absolutely and completely. Men and women are different sides of the same coin.


I have heard so many Pagan women talk about how females are superior to males. I often see the Goddess worshiped as superior over the God. Even some pagan men feel this way. They give me their reasoning which includes females reaction times being faster, female life spans being longer, females being more tolerant to pain, females creating life, etc. Spirituality aside, I get these email forwards from women that are supposed to be funny… they talk about how men are, saying things like “Because I’m a man, you don’t have to ask me if I liked the movie. Chances are, if you’re crying at the end of it, I didn’t.” These attitudes only promote inequality and gender issues. In the case of females thinking they are superior, it is promoting the same bigotry that the male dominated cultures do. This is not going to help empower us; it is going to help entrap us in the same conservative world we are trying to escape. We must stop thinking about our differences making us superior, we must think about them making us a perfect balance.


As warrior goddesses, when we think of our warrior gods, we must realize their importance and not subject them to the same degradation we have been subjected to. We need to not stereotype and we need to realize that each person is an individual and should not be judged based on their gender. We each possess projective and receptive traits.


Despite the fact that we should not make judgments based on gender, there are differences between warrior goddesses and warrior gods. Like in procreation, these differences are needed to make a balance. I am not going to pretend to fully understand the male mind, because I am not a male… but I do have opinions based on my observations and experiences.


Male warriors tend to be aggressive towards solving their problems. They go out and find what is wrong and they fix it. Males also tend to try and posture in their battles; this is not stupid, this is a natural instinct that works. If you look bigger and more threatening, the threat may well go away. Women, however, tend to be more subtle in their fights. They tend to leave things be unless they are directly threatening the things they care about. However, when they are provoked to fight they often do not posture; they usually just eradicate the problem.


Both of these approaches to “battle” are necessary. As is evident in the world today, if the male warriors dominate the world, things will be very aggressive. There will be problems made where there were none, making for almost constant warring. If female warriors were dominant, there would probably not be wars as frequently, but when they happened, they would be so terrible that very few would survive. This is why we need a balance of both males and females. Females would keep the males from being too aggressive and the males would keep the females from being too passive.


I want to take a brief moment to dispel a popular myth. I hear many women say that men are unfeeling and this is why they fight so much; they don’t think about who they hurt and they just don’t care as much as women. This is wholly untrue. I know many current and ex-soldiers and I will tell you, they are very feeling indeed. They have such deep feelings, in fact, that many of them have psychological problems because of many years of fighting and the horrible things they have seen. Men have the same deep emotions that women have, they just express them differently.


Now, I talk in examples of battle because I am speaking about warriors, but as mentioned in the last article, being a warrior does not mean you must be violent. These concepts can be used in every facet of life. A warrior goddess will give respect to herself and other women, but also to the men in her life. My husband and I have an equal partnership that has lasted for 11 years running now. We do not differentiate our jobs based on who is the man and who is the woman; we differentiate them based on who has what skills. He has a regular well paying job, I do not; this does not make me feel inferior. I hold a much higher rank in martial arts than he does, but this does not make him feel inferior. Because we are so equal and balanced, after 11 years of marriage we still are asked if we are newly weds.


So here is what I encourage each of you to do on the first step of your journey to becoming a warrior goddess. Look at the men in your life, whether they are friends, family or a mate. Erase all of your preconceived ideas and really pay attention to their differences; see how they compliment you. Look at the different types of men and decide what you like and dislike about those types.


After you are done with that, look at yourself and other women in your life. Look at the different types of women and see how they compliment you. Figure out what you like and dislike about the different types of women. Write notes down in a journal about both the men and women. Read it many times, meditate on it, ask your deities (if you have any) for guidance. Come to an understanding about who you are and what kind of woman you want to be. Understanding yourself and your differences from others is the first step to becoming a warrior goddess.


***


author bio:


Athene


Athene@cfl.rr.com


http://www.athenestemple.com


Athene comes from a family of Eclectics and has been practicing Paganism from a young age. Athene is an accomplished musician, swimmer, archer, artist, crafter and martial artist. She is active in teaching Pagan spirituality, magick and teaching and learning Judo and Jujitsu. She is also active in promoting equality and balance between genders and races, as well as environmentalism. Athene is well traveled and has been through much of the United States, as well as some traveling in Canada and France.


Athene has faced many challenges in her life, which fortunately she has over come. She tries to use these life experiences as examples to help others grow strong and sure of themselves. Athene’s current life goal is to help women become empowered through pagan spirituality; embracing themselves for who and what they are, overcoming social stigmas such as “thinner is more beautiful” and “women are victims”. She is willing to speak and teach at Pagan events and often will answer questions through email.

The Warrior Goddess

May, 2006

Introduction to the Warrior


Today it seems to be common for us to believe that women of history stayed at home. That they were used and abused and generally had no power in the world of history. We are taught that only today do we have the knowledge and enlightenment to allow women to be equals with men. However, this very thought, the fact that we must constantly talk about men and women being equal, means that we do not have true equality just yet.


True equality would mean we do not even think about it; it wouldn’t even be an issue. For example, if you had Charmin toilet paper and your neighbor had Angel Soft, would you care? Would you think about it? Would you talk about it? No, because it would just not be an issue; it would not generally cross your mind. This is the way equality should be. Gender should just not be an issue in anything short of who is planting the seed and who is carrying the child.


So where exactly did this inequality start? Many say it was just that way from the beginning of time. That it is natural for men to be in charge because it is that way in nature. This is complete bull pucky. In nature males and females are equal but different. They have roles based on gender for reproductive purposes, not because males are superior. It is our male dominated scientific culture that super imposes itself onto nature’s functions. It is not always the males who hunt in nature; it is not always the females who raise the young. Nature is dynamic and it evolves into whatever it needs to. Humans seem to be the only animals on this planet that do not understand this fact.


It might surprise you to know that women today are actually more dominated than they were in much of the world of the past. On a worldwide scale we have fewer rights. In this country alone we are constantly fighting inequality. We are constantly fighting against men thinking themselves superior. What happened to the women of old? I have my theories, which will make some people mad.


Frankly, there are three religions out there that like to demonize and demoralize women, although I am fairly certain this was not their prophet’s original intentions. Much like a virus, these religions spread their numbers. They are, in fact, encouraged to spread their numbers. They influence this country and the world as a whole in a very strong way. I believe it is because of this influence, or sometimes because of direct interference, that the solid role of women in history has been ignored while the male glory has been immortalized.


To make my point about women’s roles in history, I am going to talk about a supposedly masculine subject – warriors; women warriors to be exact. History is filled with women who fought in and lead armies to great victories; they were as respected and sometimes even more respected than the men. In Ancient Japan Empress Jingo Kogo led an invasion of Korea while pregnant. Around 1570 B.C.E Queen Ahotep I led an army against Thebes and helped to unite Ancient Egypt under one rule. There were Hittite warrior women, Arabian warrior women, Roman Gladiatrix, Celtic warrior women, Mayan warrior women, Incan warrior women, Aztec warrior women… this list goes on.


There were so many warrior women throughout history some cowardly male rulers had to make laws against women fighting. There was a Papal Bull that prohibited women from joining the third crusade, which implies that they fought in the ones before. In the English Civil war women who were fighting were forbidden from wearing men’s clothing, once again proving that they were allowed to fight. In 1950 women of the Israeli army were ordered off the front lines, but up until then they were there with the men. All of this is proof that women were a powerful force around the world and throughout history… they still are.


Somehow the common historical knowledge of the world has become extremely male dominated. However, it is changing. Minds are opening yet again and people are beginning to realize that the conservative view of our world gender history may be incorrect. It is true that there was chauvinism and abuse of women in the past, and the closer we get to our present time the stronger the oppression in some areas seems to get… but much of this supposed restriction of women in history was just societal gender roles that were chosen and not enforced. Many women stepped outside the mold.


In today’s world of office buildings and traffic jams, it is often difficult for a woman to picture herself as a warrior at all. Most don’t even have time to go to the gym; not that walking on a treadmill makes you feel warrior-like. The truth is, being a warrior is not about being muscular or martially skilled; it is not even about physically fighting. Any moron can make war, but it takes a truly brave and wise soul to be a warrior.


According to dictionary.com, a warrior is “one who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict”; so women of today can indeed be warriors, if they find a cause to fight for. Some women fight for their home and family. Some fight for their work. Some women fight for equality. All of these paths are a warrior’s path and any woman, tall or short, big or small, fit or not can be a warrior.


Women warriors of today must stand proud but not be a bitch. They must take charge, but only of what they need to. They must speak out, but in an educated way. They must fight, but fight with mind and wisdom, using the sword as a last resort. Truly, if you must resort to violence, either verbally or physically, you are already losing your battle.


I am a warrior, both in the traditional and non-traditional sense. I am a martial artist, I can pin people down, immobilize them, break their bones, throw a 300 pound man over my shoulder; but I am also a writer, a speaker, a pagan priestess, a teacher and a wife. I have never once used my skills in breaking bones or causing harm to fight my battles for equality, balance, knowledge and wisdom. I sincerely hope that I will never have to. My most “lethal” weapon I am using right now… my writing. I fight for my causes through my speech, through my writing, but most importantly through my action. In the following articles I am going to teach you how to do the same and how this female warrior aspect combines well with your Pagan beliefs.


We can honor the women warriors of history by becoming modern warriors ourselves. We must stop being ruled by fear, self doubt and negative self image. We must say to ourselves every day “I am a woman. I am wonderful. I am one half of the balance, different but equal. I embrace me for me. I will not be ruled by fear. I will not be ruled by ignorance. I am a warrior. I am a goddess.”


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author bio:


Athene

Athene@cfl.rr.com


Athene.bravehost.com


Athene comes from a family of Eclectics and has been practicing Paganism from a young age. Athene is an accomplished musician, swimmer, archer, artist, crafter and martial artist. She is active in teaching Pagan spirituality, magick and teaching and learning Judo and Jujitsu. She is also active in promoting equality and balance between genders and races, as well as environmentalism. Athene is well traveled and has been through much of the United States, as well as some traveling in Canada and France.


Athene has faced many challenges in her life, which fortunately she has over come. She tries to use these life experiences as examples to help others grow strong and sure of themselves. Athene’s current life goal is to help women become empowered through pagan spirituality; embracing themselves for who and what they are, overcoming social stigmas such as “thinner is more beautiful” and “women are victims”. She is willing to speak and teach at Pagan events and often will answer questions through email.