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Battle Goddess: For Our Youth, For Ourselves

This is the hour of mourning and rebirth When dawn shoots purple bands across the sky… Ignorance is the batterer of time. Ignorance is the batterer of time. Hold fast your loved ones in ever powerful arms. Speak words of strength into the ears of youth. Teach deep respect from both your heart and deeds, To every friend, each parent, every child. For Ignorance is the batterer of time. Ignorance is the batterer of time.

Today, we mourn multiple suicides of queer youth, victims of bullying.

In 2006, Freya told me “The Battle Boar is ready, do not stand down!” At that time, I began training even more deeply to strengthen myself, continuing in my studies of hand-to-hand combat, then dropping that for a time while I focused on consolidating power in other ways. Then one year ago, last Samhaintide, a group of us gathered at a stone henge in the California mountains were enjoined by the Morrigan to train ourselves, to test ourselves, to lead each other into strength for the times that were to come.

These Goddesses threw down a gauntlet: for us to defend ourselves, and to learn how to stand tall because, as Freya transmitted, we had “The task of rebuilding a nation.” For me, this standing tall is a way of being in the world. It is a stance that says, “I will respect you, because I respect myself first. I am firmly centered around my core power.” When we walk through the world in this way, we radiate strength, health, and well being to all. We can teach each other this attitude, and whether in a ‘chair, or on our feet, the Goddesses enjoin us to be big, to be fierce, and to love with a power that shakes all the worlds.

Teaching self respect in our communities, to our children, to other adults, to our friends, to our Groves, Lodges, Covens, and in our Hofs will help us all to reach to our full height. If I respect myself, I have no need to bully you. Bullying, whether from corporations or in the schoolyard, is seated in disrespect. Its origin is a deep sense that at core, we are not in control of our own lives so we must needs control the lives of others. It shows a profound lack of power. Force is a weakness. It is just as much a lack of true power as the sense of powerlessness those kids must have felt, day after day, battered by ignorance, fear, and hatred.

I want to see us teaching power and respect. I want to see us supporting each other to stand tall, rather than cutting the tallest person in the room down to a more comfortable size. Many people I know are teaching this to their teens and children, and trying to do this in their communities. This Samhaintide, can we all commit to doing a bit more? Can we examine the ways in which we – personally or communally – are acting out of disrespect, fear, force, or powerlessness?

Last year, some of us made a pledge to the Morrigan to help each other grow strong. For myself, I have done more work getting body and soul to a place of health and fitness than ever before. I have gained muscle and am gaining weight. My core is bigger. I’ve trained. I’m back studying hand-to-hand combat with a teacher who is even more skilled than the one I had before. I know that others have been training, too. This Samhain, my community is honoring our promise by teaching and learning basic self-defense. This starts with physical posture and extends to our energy bodies. The presence of centered pride in our midst immediately ratchets up the presence of self-respect in the room. That is where we will begin. From there, we will learn to move, to defend, to break out of locks and set ourselves free.

My hope is that this workshop, this simple introduction to self-defense, will be able to be taught in multiple places. It feels important enough to my partner and I that we have submitted a proposal to teach it at Pantheacon and I am already planning to take it to Houston. We don’t have any certificates saying we are qualified to do this. All we have is our own training, a push from two powerful Goddesses, a call from community, and this need. This need arises from the images of every youth who committed suicide this year. If parents, children, and friends all carry a sense of internal power and help foster that in each other, everything in the world changes.

What can we learn in a couple of hours? Not much, perhaps, but every action toward power is another step in the right direction.

A lot of people are wearing purple today, which is a nice tribute, but for me, it is not enough. Let us learn and then teach pride and self-respect. Let us foster this respect in our communities. Let us fight ignorance at every turn, with every means at our disposal. May we grow strong!

(The name of the workshop is “Battle Goddess: Self-defense and General Kick-Assery”)

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