At Lammas, the harvest is kicking in. This is a time of year when the masculine energy of the earth is in full swing. For starters, it's the season of the spirit of grain, and a time to honor Lugh, the craftsman god. Lugh was not only a craftsman, but a gifted smith and swordsman. The season from late summer to the middle of fall is often a season of heightened energy for those who identify with the warrior soul.
Who Is the Warrior?
The warrior in today's society is someone who understands the idea of right action. He or she follows a code of honor, and abides by that code even when it may be inconvenient or unpopular. The warrior recognizes that the forces of creation and destruction must be balanced. The warrior is empowered because he or she knows his own circumstances, limitations and goals. Perhaps most importantly, the warrior is someone who has made past mistakes, owned up to them, and learned not to repeat them.
A note on women and the concept of warrior: the notion of masculine energy and a warrior soul is not exclusive to men. Many women have powerful warrior spirits. Think of the warrior soul as an archetype of personal empowerment. Indeed, throughout history, many women have been known as mighty warriors. If it helps you get in touch with your inner warrior, envision some of them as you work. Picture Boadicaea of the Iceni, conquering the Roman army, or Penthesilea battling her lover, Achilles. If you lean towards more current history, consider France's Jeanne d'Arc, or Grainne' ni Mhaille, the Irish pirate. For those who connect best with pop culture, even television's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly's Zoe, or Xena make perfectly good warrior woman archetypes.
Setting the Mood
You may wish to prepare your mind and body prior to starting the meditation. Some people like to take a ritual bath as a method of cleansing the body, and clearing the mind. If you wish, you can anoint yourself with ]Blessing Oil or another oil of your choice before beginning. Since you're performing a warrior meditation, why not try adding a bit of war paint to your face amd body?
Before getting started, make sure you can work undisturbed somewhere for about an hour. Turn off the cell phone, get off the Internet, and send the kids off to play with friends for a while. Perform this meditation outside if at all possible. Set up a small altar that you can sit in front of. Since you're working outside, consider using a flat stone or a tree stump as a natural altar. On it, place symbols of the warrior spirit: a knife, a drum, an arrow, a shield -- anything that helps you connect with your inner warrior. If you have ancestors or loved ones that represent the warrior archetype to you, feel free to include photographs or other heirlooms. Finally, add a purple candle - purple is the color of royalty and power, and of honor.
Although this meditation is designed to be performed solo, it can easily be adapted into a group practice, or turned into a full-fledged ritual.
Welcoming Your Inner Warrior
Sit before your altar, and light the purple candle. Focus on the flame, and visualize the fiery passion of the warrior soul. Think about the things you've done in your life, incidents in which you should have taken one path, but instead chose another. Consider mistakes you've made, and how they've affected not only you, but other people. Think about the consequences of these actions. Did you learn anything from these events?
Take this knowledge of past action, and move it into the present. As a warrior, you have followed a particular path to get to the present, one with many roadblocks, twists, and obstacles in the way. How has this helped to shape the person you are now? Think about the person you have become, and how you have grown during the different experiences you've had.
Now, think about the person you wish to be, and how the past and present will influence the future. Understand that for you to follow a principle of right action, there may be times when you make decisions that are unpopular. Are you willing to stand up for your convictions? Are you willing to live in a manner that will earn you the respect and honor of others? To do this, you must first and foremost honor and respect yourself. One way to live rightly and with honor is to make a pledge, both to yourself and to the gods of your tradition.
As you focus on the burning flames, say:
I am a warrior.
I am one who lives with honor and pride,
in my deeds, words, and actions.
I am a warrior,
and I pay tribute to myself, my family, and my gods,
by living rightly.
Honor is found not in the sword and the first,
but in wisdom, and courage, and strength.
I will make the changes I need to make,
that I may live in an honorable way
and follow the code of the warrior.
I am a warrior,
and I have control over my mind, my thoughts, and my sword.
I pledge to hold truth in my heart,
to hold strength in my hands,
to be honest in my words,
and to stand on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
This is the way of the warrior,
and I shall live with honor.
While you do this, envision the warrior archetypes that you wish to emulate. Who are some warriors you look up to and hold in high regard? Think about them, and draw their energy into you. When you are ready to end the ritual, put the candle out.