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.”
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.