During my friend Jorge’s last visit, the topic of spiritual warriorship came up. He told me that while doing an Internet search to find out about a hand-held tablet computer, he came across the tradename “Algiz”. On the lines above and below the link to the tablet were links to websites refering to ancient Runes. Jorge soon became sidetracked from the research about the consumer product.
He soon discovered that “Algiz” is one of the characters of an old Scandinavian “Runic” alphabet. The symbol is derived from the animal, elk. Several websites described the “Algiz” as the rune of defense and protection for the “Spiritual Warrior”. If the “Algiz” stone is drawn “reversed”, the character represents taboos, cowardliness, and “hidden dangers”.
Jorge satisfied his curiosity about runes and resolved to ask me my opinion. He then resumed his quest to purchase a new tablet computer. However, the term “spiritual warrior” nagged his mental chatter later the next couple of days.
I answered Jorge’s question about runes by saying that it is one of those practices that I utilized back in the day when New Age beliefs were part of my lifestyle. It was during the time I investigated runes that I turned away from New Age culture and reawakened older curiosities about anthropology.
My friend asked why I turned away from New Ageism, was it something contained in a particular rune symbol?
I told Jorge that the contemporary literature about runes had become enmeshed in new agey jargon and was marketed like a branch of pop psychology. Much of what was available had been presented as just another form of fortune telling. I didn’t particularly care to know whether some artifact predicts an auspicious or inauspicious future. I became more curious about the cultural beginnings and uses of runes by the old Vikings. In other words, metaphysical concepts became less interesting than actual anthropology and history.
Jorge wanted to explore the idea of warriorship some more. He mentioned that there are two types of warriors. The first type is the person who participates in raiding, killing, looting, plunder, theft, and rape. The first type uses these techniques as a way of acquiring territory, wealth, and power. They take without permission.
The second type of warrior is a person who understand that warfare and pursuit of empire are vain activities. Ultimately, there are no winners in war. Revenge is always in the background of this neverending struggle. This second type of warrior is a person who is on a quest to enhance his or her more noble attributes. A spiritual warrior is a person who endeavors to pursue self-discovery in order not to harm others, but to deepen ones own life.
There are a couple of dangers on the path of spiritual warriorship. The first is the seductive temptation for the spiritual warrior to think of her or himself as special or “chosen” by divine will. The second is the strong urge to proselytize. It is by surrendering to these that egoism blossoms.
I added that of spiritual warriorship do not simply spring from an impulse to “get into” a discipline because it looks “cool” and has an enticing presentation on a website or printed book. A person usually evolves into a warrior through a long process of study and meditation. The path is ultimately nuanced and unglamorous. One way a person can know she or he has left the path is if think of themselves as special.
Being a spiritual warrior is like trying to capture a blob of mercury with your fingers. You can chase the entire blob around the dish, but when you close your fingers on it, the blob splits apart.
Jorge smiled at my use of the mercury analogy. He knows it’s one of my favorites to use when describing androgynous life concepts. He asked whether a person is a spiritual warrior if they self-identify as one or if someone else labels them as one.
I said that it is my understanding that the label is unimportant. If having the title “spiritual warrior” on a certificate or by one’s own self-opinion is a big deal, then that person has relinquished her or his warriorship. Having a rank or perception of warriorship is not the point.
In my view, a spiritual warrior is all about commitment. It’s about training, study, discipline, and often the sacrifice of convenience. Spiritual warriorship not a fad or belief system. Spiritual warriors can best be described by what they are not. They are not on a journey to become special in the public eye. They do not seek special ranks, titles, nor privileges. Spiritual warriors are not lost in visions and illusions. Spiritual warriors do not enforce their views and life opinions by force of law nor militancy. The warrior is not a purist.
Jorge answered that being a spiritual warrior seems like a long, thoughtful journey. It looks like an inner struggle between spiritual gluttony and and extreme nihilism. There seems to be the added dangers of personal self-deception and public fraud. It appears that a spiritual warrior needs to understand the subtle balance between equanimity and apathy.
I agreed with his assessment. I added that a spiritual warrior has mastered inner power over the temptation to exercise tyrannical control. I’m sure there must be other factors to consider if a person finds her or himself on the ambiguous path of warriorship.
Jorge shook his head then said “A true spiritual warrior is a very rare person.” We both wondered if we will ever personally encounter such an individual.