So, I’m late in posting this (as per usual). But I didn’t want to let that stop me. As I said before, I’ve recently completely rearranged my altar, to have more of a focus on Ares as I try to overcome my fears in a certain area. The fact that it was a few days before Memorial Day was completely incidental.
I’ve let some of my devotion fall to the wayside (never a good thing) as I battled depression about the dream of the homestead ending (for now? It might start up again in the future, I don’t know.) But the last 3 months or so, I have been oddly motivated in ALL areas of my life. Stuff has been changing. I’m in an intense period of transformation right now. I put myself back out in the dating pool and had my first date in 8 years (which went very well by the way). I’m taking control of my health, going to the dentist and getting long overdue work done (NOT FUN, but necessary), I’m taking an online class in Old Norse in order to try to explore this connection to Odin I seem to have, and probably most importantly for taking control of my life, I’m taking a driving class and trying to get over my fear of driving after a bad wreck I was in.
So I wanted to do something on Memorial Day for Ares and the military dead. Some stuff happened, and I wasn’t able to do so the day of. Now in my depression I would have felt bad about that and done nothing, but SOMETHING is ALWAYS better than nothing, so got back on the horse and did it the day after. It was less of a ritual and more of a spontaneous prayer and acknowledgment, and when i made tacos for myself I was inspired to offer the best and most delicious looking one to Ares and the military dead. Offering, after all, is the heart of our religion and how we show our Gods and spirits our appreciation. I also offered barley to Deimos and Phobos, asking Them to please STAY AWAY so I can get over my fear. I REALLY don’t need “Terror”, the inspirer of phobias, in my life right now!
I also watched a few episodes of Band of Brothers. My brother loves that show, but I’ve never really paid much attention. As good as the acting was (and it was phenomenal), the documentary ep with the actual elderly former soldiers of Easy Company reduced me to tears. That lead me to a lot of thinking about why.
Most of the Gods I worship are War Gods. Even those for Whom war is not a primary concern often have significant war aspects. Despite this, I am not a soldier and I have never been to battle. (Strangely, I get asked if I’m a veteran a lot, and I haven’t been able to figure out why. I wear army surplus clothes sometimes, but I know people who wear those and are NEVER asked that same question, so I’m still perplexed by this.) I have immense respect for those who fight for our freedoms. When I was young I had an obsession with G.I. Jane and wanted to be a Marine. The first boy I kissed was in the Air Force. I have a draw to warrior energies, and even in fiction I have a thing for warrior cultures. Vikings, Klingons, Mandalorians, Dwarves, whatever. I love them all. All of them have differences and they are all fascinating to me in different ways, but it was only recently that I recognized the “warrior” connection.
Yet I know that I would never have the discipline to join any branch of the military myself. With my history of mental health issues I’d never be accepted anyway. I’ve had to fight my entire life for everything I’ve ever had. I am definitely a survivor and a fighter, but that’s not the same thing as a warrior, not exactly. There’s a tendency in modern Paganism to dilute the meaning of that word, “warrior”, and I think that’s a shame. We can all benefit from warrior energy at times, but I don’t think that makes us all warriors. Someone who runs willingly into the chaos of battle, who watches their friends die, suffers that powerful trauma, and STILL GOES BACK, that’s a warrior. And we shouldn’t water down the meaning of the word, because it dishonors them, both the living warriors, and even more, those who didn’t make it back.