Archive | March, 2013

Fighting the fight in front of you

18 Mar

About a week ago I had an amazing time at the British Federation of Historical Swordplay event SWASH. This event is a weekend long mixture of classes, lectures and tournaments all in the area of Historical European Martial Arts. The classes where inspiring and eye opening insights into various forms of fighting and applications of weapons in ways I have not considered and the social aspect was great too.

On the second day I entered the Longsword Tournament. This is the first time I have ever entered an international Tournament in HEMA. I got to the second round where I was knocked out. Despite this I was very happy with my performance. My opponent was very strong and landed a winning blow the moment I broke my concentration. I learned quite a lot in those 30 seconds!!!!

But before the competition started several people I was talking to were making comments on how they’d be happy if they got to a certain round, or really hoped they didn’t get drawn against certain fighters early on. As I was mentally preparing myself for the tournament I communed with my Power Animals, in particular one that is very strong, aggressive and defiant in demeanor. Through this connection I realised that it didn’t matter what order I drew opponents or how far I got. All that mattered was facing the fighter in front of me.

I think this is an integral part of the Warrior’s Way. To stay strong in Heart and Soul your focus should be on the fight in front of you and not be worrying about what will come next. While I did not do as well as I would have liked that is because I dropped my focus, but by working through my Power Animals I saw what I needed to do right next time.

The trick is trying to apply this to situations where I don’t have a sword in my hand too!!!



Connecting with the Trees

18 Mar

Where I live there is a rich mythology and folklore associated with the Fairy Folk or Sidhe. Some people view them with fear, other’s with skepticism (though they may change their minds if they have drawn their attention!) and you are always recommended to treat them with respect. There are certain trees associated with them, thorns such as Hawthorne would be one and the Hazel is another. 

Today I spent the day walking in a very important archaeological, mythological and spiritual site in my country in a rural area about an hours drive from where I live. Rather than climb around the mounds that mark the boundaries of the various Iron Age structures that were built here as most day-trippers do my partner and I decided to walk a path from one Fairy Tree to the next. 

It was a profound experience as we became aware of the distinctive energies of each one. Neither of us had realised just how many Fairy Trees are on the site as normally you only find individual trees in areas several kilometres apart. It was a very profound experience and something I will be doing again. 

But what this also highlighted to me was the importance of Tree Lore. I have connected and communed with Trees before through various forms of meditation but not to a large degree. The Ancient Druids, Priests of the Celts, revered Trees as sacred Keepers of Wisdom and today I could see why. I usually turn Shamanic Journeying or more generic Wiccan influenced ritual practice when I’m trying to connect or work through a problem, but from now on when I’m having difficulty I think I’m going to turn to my Arboreal Friends!

Women Warriors

2 Mar

I like to consider myself a feminist. I have protested for more comprehensive abortion rights in my country, follow feminist theory articles, vlogs and blogs such as Thanks to social media it is now possible for women to tell the world about th


e problems they face every day. Unfortunately our predominantly male political landscapes mean these often serious issues are not taken seriously at all and instead are demoted to the rank of “womens issues”. Over half the population of this planet is female but somehow problems and hardships faced by women and caused nearly always by the minority (men) are still not viewed as human issues!

In Irish mythology one of the greatest heroes Cúchulainn was trained by the great warrior woman Scáthach of Scotland as a young boy. It was through her training that he became the legendary hero he is remembered as. If the male leaders of our countries and the everyday men of societies truly wish to become warriors again we need to look to our everyday warrior women. If more men can realise the obstacles that women face daily and yet simply “get on with it” would we not be better warriors ourselves as men?

Artwork by Jan Hess-