Not giving up on the tools, just switching it up a bit, figure I'll toss a few other thoughts out in between so it doesn't get stale. This was something that was wandering about in my brain and recently demanding attention.
I've thought and written about this before, being a warrior. I think there is this tendency, especially among some of the Pagan groups, to assume that we are all pacifist, love-all, tranquil seekers of warm fuzzy feelings. Some of it is part of the ongoing PR project to convince mainstream peoples that we are not all child/animal sacrificing monsters out to corrupt their virginal daughters. But part of it is this deep set belief that to be enlightened, we must be above all this human stuff. That the image of a gaunt, bald man wearing a toga with a little half smile on his face sitting in lotus position on the top of a mountain is the ideal we should all be working towards.
It's not that I have anything against peace or tranquility. I rather like them both and get quite cranky if I don't have moments of still and silence in my life. But I also know that there is a huge part of my core that is built around the warrior mentality. My natural inclinations aren't to roll over and turn the other cheek. I don't think that everything can be worked out through talking and logical reasoning. And it's not because I don't think that there are reasonable solutions out there...it's that you don't always have the luxury of dealing with rational people. If I am dealing with a religious fanatic who thinks I am going to burn in Hell AND that my very presence puts his family at risk of eternal damnation....well there is no talking to them.
I don't go looking for trouble. I would much rather find a nice way to make everyone happy than to go pissing in beehives (because while you definitely rile up the bees, you also get stung in uncomfortable places). But if you back me up against a wall I will fight back, I will be ruthless, I will expect to be hurt so it won't surprise me when I am, and I will not feel guilty about it afterwards.
Peace comes at a price. All these people who are protesting the war and making a big stink about our soldiers are blinded by their own hypocrisy. We are a country BECAUSE we stood up, took up arms and fought for what we believed in. If we didn't maintain an army, someone by now would have come in and taken us over and we wouldn't be the country we are today. The cops step in to prevent the criminal element from running amok. I can leave my door unlocked at night if I want and not be totally paranoid that someone is going to try to come in and take my stuff or hurt my family. There are parts of the world where that can't be said.
Not everyone is set up to be a warrior. Heck, not everyone is set up to be a soldier, and I think there is a difference between a warrior and a soldier. A soldier fights for someone else. That isn't to say that they don't believe in what they fight for (good soldiers won't fight for someone who believes in something contrary to their own beliefs). But they work within the structure and follow instructions. A warrior fights because something inside them says they need to. They follow their own path. It might sometimes lead them to working with others, but when they get pulled in a different direction, they go. Soldiers have a much higher honor code than warriors, but warriors will go places that most soldiers wont.
We need warriors and soldiers both, in our mundane and magical lives. Not everyone wants to be on the front lines, and not everyone should have to be. The world we live in today doesn't let everyone step out of the broom closet. Not without risking things they might not be able to stand to loose. No one should feel bullied into taking actions that would harm their family.
But on the other hand, don't tell me I'm a horrible person because I won't back down. Don't tell me I should fight fire with flowers or that there is always a way 'in the light' to overcome all. There are things that don't back down, people that really want nothing except to cause as much damage as they can and just times in life where there are no good options. I don't fault anyone for their choices, but don't judge me for mine until you have been where I have been and been faced with what I have seen. It's very easy to preach peace and love if you have never been in a serious situation.