Thursday, 7 April 2011
Many people wish that they had the power to take charge of their lives, endlessly dreaming of what they believe to be out of their reach. If only they’d reach out, they’d discover that their dreams had been within their grasp all along. Some people feel hemmed in by the chaos of the modern world, fearful of what the next moment should bring. If only they’d stand up and claim their strength, the chaos and fears surrounding them would be blown away like leaves in the wind. Many people believe themselves to be victims, forever fated to suffer. If only they’d stand up and say “never again”, they’d find themselves the master of their fate. Some people dream of the knight in shining armor: Either wishing some knight would ride to their rescue or that they were knights who could rescue the weak. If only they’d look inside, they’d see that there is a knight dormant in all of us, waiting to be unleashed upon the world.
People come to the Pagan spiritual paths seeking magickal power, so I am constantly surprised how many fail to fully claim what they have in them. They’re willing to embrace the first half of the Wiccan Rede, “harm none”, and yet seemingly unwilling to embrace the second half, “do what thou wilt”. The second half tells us to be all that we can be. It tells us to claim our power and use it responsibly. It encourages us to be glorious. And yet I run into Pagans all the time that clearly don’t see themselves as being glorious in any way. It is very sad to see so many people suffer needlessly because they cannot see how amazing they can be, how amazing they already are.
The warrior takes fearless self-inventory and then uses everything they’ve got effectively. Stop thinking of yourself as having strengths and weaknesses... Rather, think of your attributes as characteristics that can all be strengths depending on how you use them. Replace guilt with responsibility. You are the captain of your ship. If your life isn’t going in the direction that you want it to, all you need to do is grab the tiller and steer. The world we live in is a chaotic place. Knighthood is about mastering chaos. The modern knight is a chaos conductor. The future is not etched in stone: Rather, it is drawn in the sand. Knighthood is drawing without an eraser.
My fellow knights within the Order of Scáthach have all discovered powers within themselves that few of them believed they had when they first arrived at our doorstep. This power wasn’t something that they had to seek out there in the world; it was something they discovered inside themselves. We all have this magick, this strength inside. All you need to do is turn inward and seek it. You don’t need secret spells and magick wands and special potions to access it. All you need is a will and imagination.
Some are afraid to let that knight loose, fearing that they will become violent. They think that warriors are all about warfare. Modern knighthood isn’t about aggression, it is about assertion. It isn’t about using your hands; it is about using your head. Knighthood is a peaceful path that embraces chivalry. The Modern knight stands for sincerity and self-discipline, compassion and courage, perseverance and industriousness, justice and truth, loyalty and largesse, humility and courtesy, and above all, honor. The modern knight is ready and able to defend themselves and others, but they do not seek conflict. They seek harmony and balance in the world. As my old friend Paul Tuitean once put it: “Soldiers march, warriors dance.”
Chivalry may have been largely a romantic legend in the past, but can and should be made reality in the present. This is exactly what the modern knight strives to do. Chivalry is not a quaint, romantic myth but rather a signpost for our generation, pointing the way, inspiring us to be all we can be so that we can, in turn, inspire others. The best way to work magick to make the world a better place is to set the example, to show the world how the world could be. You have the power to show the world that the divine is imminent in all of us and can be used to make us more powerful and more effective. It is time for you to awaken to your divinity and make it a part of your consciousness.
There will be those who try to tell you that nice guys finish last. I tell you this is not so. Courtesy is a sign of strength and confidence. It is directly linked to the Wiccan concept of the law of three-fold return. You get what you put out there, and if you’re courteous you will always be the winner. Like largesse, another of the principles of chivalry, courtesy is part of paying it forward. Courtesy is the soul of modern knighthood. In Idylls of the King, Lord Tennyson put it this way: “For manners are not idle, but the fruit of loyal nature and of noble mind.” Modern knighthood begins and ends with courtesy. In his Letters and Social Aims, Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.”
The modern knight’s quest is to find himself, to find his soul and its connection to the myths that illuminate it. You can’t suppress myth. Like water, it will find its way out. Myth lives within us, and if we let it out, it can transform us. Knights allow themselves to fully experience mythology, to see how it works through them, inspiring, informing and empowering them to become greater than they were.
Knighthood isn’t about appearance, but action, not about tinsel, but tenacity, not about glitter, but genius, not about fashion, but faculty. It isn’t about dressing up to re-enact past glories. It is about being yourself. It is about being glorious every day. Knighthood is about self-mastery, and if you can master yourself, you can master your world.