Updated: Jul 10, 2019
So apart from some technical difficulties, my first public speaking event seemed to go pretty well. Well, my first public speaking event that was beyond a) my normal weekly classes I teach and b) outside of a military context. Met some awesome individuals—including one who is friends with the man who wrote the book that is the reason I decided the Druid path was the one for me (John Michael Greer, if you’re curious). So by his request, I’ll be publishing the talk I read here on my blog! Since it’s so long—15 pages, in fact, as I was asked to fill an hour-long slot and thus prepared 45 minutes worth of talking points and then opened it up for questions (even though no one had any questions)—I’ll be publishing the talk in pieces. At some point, there might be video as well...but for now, just the script I was reading.
The talk was entitled Walking the Warrior Path: Ancient Heroes for Modern Times. The first portion, which you can read below, covers my introduction—the little military disclaimer I have to give—and what I mean by “archetype” in general (and the Warrior Archetype in particular). Hope you enjoy!
Good afternoon, and thank you all joining me today. I’ll start by telling you a little bit about who I am and why I’m here, and then we’ll get into the actual topic at hand. My name is Melissa Ivanco-Murray. I’m the author of a fantasy adventure series, the first book of which came out last October, entitled Destined. The second installment, a novella called Bound, will be available this December. That’s the extent of my shameless self-promotion for now—if you want to know more about my books, we can talk afterwards.
I have been a practicing Pagan since 2004, and a member of the semi-anonymous Pagan blogosphere since around 2010, so some of you may be familiar with my work under the pseudonym Anden Jade. If you haven’t heard of me, don’t feel left out—I’m not remotely famous. I am also a member of the Druid organization ADF, but the main reason I am here talking to you today is because I currently have the honor of serving as the Distinctive Religious Group Leader, or DRGL, of the Fort Bliss Open Circle. Some of you may have seen the vendor booth we have set up here today. If you'd like to know more about the organization I run, you can meet me by the green tent later.
Unfortunately before we can go any further, I do have to give a quick disclaimer: I know I don’t exactly look it right now, but I am in the Military. I have been wearing the uniform for the past nine years, and I commissioned as Military Police Officer in 2011. So please keep in mind that I cannot speak for the Military, I cannot speak for Fort Bliss, I cannot even speak for all Military Pagans, because as you can imagine, we are an incredibly diverse group of individuals. Thus, all of the opinions and views you will hear today are entirely my own.
I may have reason to draw upon some of my service experience as part of this afternoon’s talk, especially depending on what questions you ask, but again, please remember that those are just that: my experiences, and so they are not necessarily reflective of the Army as a whole or the Military in general. And with that lovely little disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started!
Today’s talk is called Walking the Warrior Path: Ancient Heroes for Modern Times. We’ll go over several subtopics within the larger framework of the Warrior Archetype, to include working with Warrior gods and goddesses and ways to bring Warrior energy into your own life, and I will set aside time at the end to answer any questions.
First, we’ll start with a brief overview of what I mean by “archetype” just so that everyone is on the same page since not everyone approaches Deity through an archetypal lens. Archetype has several definitions, but the way I’ll be using it today is derived largely from Jungian psychology. In that context, an archetype refers to a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, et cetera, that is universally present in individual psyches. An archetype can also refer to an original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or upon which they are based. When referring to divine forms, an archetype therefore becomes a collective term for a group of deities who share similar qualities, traits, and domains despite spanning pantheons from vastly different hearth cultures.
Ergo, when I refer to Warrior Deities, I am referring collectively to those gods and goddesses who—regardless of the pantheon that gave them form and face and name, regardless of how new or old the culture that first called upon that deity is—fit the Warrior Archetype. So then, what characteristics and aspects make the Warrior distinct? What defines a Warrior?
As an archetype, the Warrior is the one who—when everything seems lost—rides over the hill and saves the day. The Warrior is strong, brave, stoic, determined. The Warrior is disciplined. The Warrior overcomes the obstacles in his or her path and thrives during times of conflict. The Warrior is also known as the hero, the crusader, the rescuer, the dragon-slayer. The Warrior wins his battles, proving his worth again and again through acts of valor.
But the Warrior can also be rigid, inflexible, stubborn. The Warrior can become fixated on finding the next battle, the next fight. The Warrior fears their own weakness and vulnerability, which can then lead to arrogance. The Warrior can sometimes become too focused on winning at any cost, and so unleash the Warrior’s shadow-self: The Villain. When the Warrior begins to use their skills for personal gain, losing their sense of morality, ethics, the good of the whole, the Villain begins to take over. The Villain is also active when the Warrior starts to view everyone and everything as another challenge, another threat, an enemy.
That’s why the Warrior’s strength and courage and discipline need to be tempered by compassion, by wisdom, by understanding.
And that's it for now, folks. If you want to read more, check back tomorrow for an overview of the difference between the Roman versus the Greek view of Deity, and why Mars and Minerva each only have one parent.