Words from Ares: Courage, Caitlyn Jenner, and What It Means To Be A Warrior In Times of Peace

Ares is a taciturn sort of fellow, but I showed him a meme going around with a picture of Caitlyn Jenner next to a soldier, and he had a mouthful to say about it. Often, when he does speak more than just a few words, his opinions are quite surprising.

For reference: projectile weapons, in ancient Greece, were considered a “coward’s weapon.” Correspondingly, Ares doesn’t think much of modern war, or guns.

Ares is not what you might call eloquent. In order to understand how I experienced this, you need to imagine a gigantic, ripped biker dude wearing bronze armor growling or yelling part or all of this.

Take this message for what it is: if you are fighting for acceptance, Ares thinks you are bad ass.

All courage should be rewarded.

It should be, and it isn’t.

When a soldier faces streams of cowardly bullets shot from behind the safety of walls and sand bags, they face fear. That fear is real. It is physical. It marks them for life, even if the bullet never touches them. A warrior is one who has faced down that fear, overcome it, conquered it, retained their wits and acted according to their sense of duty, loyalty, and their conviction.

A soldier faces down fear of physical harm, but takes comfort in the fantasy — hopefully also the reality! — of being respected and honored by their community when they return home.

Yet a person who must fight for their very right to exist against a horde of enemies trying to force unnatural conformity on them? Their courage is not less. Standing before your peers and announcing that you are something that they viscerally hate does not always pose immediate physical risk, but it does pose physical risk. The cowardly attacks are not usually bullets. Rather, the cowards in question will arm themselves with weapons or surprise, or superior numbers, and corner the individual who is outnumbered and unarmed. The cowardly attacks may deprive a person of shelter, the ability to feed and clothe themselves, or other necessities. It takes courage to face this, far more than it takes to pull the trigger of a gun.

In comparison to the soldier, a person who is announcing themselves as a hated person has far less hope of being honored for their bravery. They can look forward to no war memorial to honor them, should they die at the hands of those who hate them.

It requires no courage to conform. It requires no courage to be who you are where you are not hated for it. There does not need to be a “straight pride parade” any more than there needs to be a parade for civilians. Such events are there to honor the courage, the very real dangers that are faced by these people, simply for having the audacity to present themselves in exactly the way they were born.

It requires courage to face life when the simplest infraction –running a red light, selling a loose cigarette– could cause your death. There does not need to be a “white history month” in a place where being white does not put unreasonable and (too frequently) lethal obstacles in your path on your way to success.

Whiny, squalling little brats do not need a “men’s rights movement.” Sit down and shut up. You are not being oppressed. When one in four of your male friends is beaten by someone they live with, we’ll talk.

This got away from me.

I meant to commend Caitlyn Jenner, and to say that, yes, such a transition requires courage. It is a transition from hiding to not hiding, a transition from easy conformity which poses no threat, to integrity, honesty and publicly being who she is. It could have cost her, and probably did cost her, the respect of people she cared for. It is a transition from safely standing behind the wall, or the sand bags, to running through streams of bullets. It is a transition that caused a large number of people to wish her dead, or to feel justified in killing her, if they could. If she were a coward, she could have quietly embraced herself away from the public eye, but she chose not to. She chose instead to weather criticism and public slander for the purpose of giving courage to her comrades who face what she faced.

Every real warrior faces a moment of truth where they must act, despite fear, or lose who they are.

Find your courage. Do not hide yourself away because of fear. If the world wishes you dead, do not oblige them. Fight back. Do not disappear. Know that in the eyes of the gods, even if not in the eyes of humankind, there is honor in that courage. Step forward, be seen, and we will honor you. Come out, whether what you are hiding is your gender, your orientation, or your religion. This is what it means to be a warrior in times of peace. This is how we fight for the future we desire.

26 comments

  1. druishbuddhist

    This is particularly poignant to me since I literally just this morning (well, late into the wee hours this morning) updated my blog to link my religious side with my public persona. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thenea

      Thank you.

      Ares is wonderful to work with. Like, yes, violence is a part of who he is. He is very aware of it, very attuned to it, but also very respectful of those who face it, and those who dole it out honorably.

      This is my argument to Hellenic Pagans who treat him like an adverse entity who should not be honored or invoked.

  2. Sable Aradia

    Thanks, Ares. I *knew* you were in my corner.

    (Ares, IMO, often gets a bad rap He doesn’t deserve. I drew Him down once to engage in GR with Aphrodite; He was considerate and respectful, and while He was reluctant to leave when it was time, He respected our decision (our bodies, after all) and departed. I thought He was a cool guy, actually. I would love to live in a world in which there is no need for violence, but we don’t live in that world yet.)

    • Thenea

      Obviously, my trad doesn’t d a GR, but if it did, I would totally call those two for it. Hermes has a strong connection to Aphrodite also, having had many children with her, but between Ares and Aphrodite, the adoration and the sense of both permanence and adoration is palpable. He’s also wonderful alongside his mother, Hera.

      • Sable Aradia

        Haven’t had the pleasure of seeing that, but someday I’d like to! (Hera makes me a little nervous though, I won’t lie. ) Hermes seems to have a “kid sister” kind of fondness for me and it recently occurred to me I should work to cultivate that relationship. Looking back I realize He’s helped me out on more than one occasion that I was not aware of at the time.

      • Thenea

        Yeah, Hera is pretty intense. If you honor her children, though, it is very easy to be on her good side.

        Obviously, I think Hermes is awesome, and would heartily recommend working with him to anyone. There are few deities who will go completely out of their way a bend/break the laws of physics to help/punk their favored crowd like he will.

        If you want to connect to him more, my advice is Orphic Hymns and dick jokes.

  3. Sable Aradia

    Reblogged this on Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch and commented:
    A few words from Ares, as interpreted by Thenea, about Caitlyn Jenner, being true to oneself, and courage. (A word to my military friends: keep in mind that according to this, Ares said that it takes more courage to face the flying bullets than to pull the trigger of the gun. Having not been in the situation I can’t comment on that, but I imagine it’s not untrue.)

  4. Limnaia

    Ares is wonderful. He taught me how to handle my temper, was there every second as I learned to defend myself and channel that temper into something useful, he’s kept me safe when I’ve called on him.. (I don’t know if he was typically seen as a protective deity, but I’ve certainly found him to be so.) He truly deserves more love and respect.

    • Thenea

      Typically? No, he’s not seen as protective, typically. Yet those I know who work with him certainly describe him as such.

      The thing about temper makes sense. A marine who had seen action and later became a cop said, regarding police brutality, that cops lacked the discipline gained through military service. When facing off against a “bad guy” (which is how cops think of people they stop, innocent until proven guilty or not) they may verbally tell that person to stand down, but inwardly hope that they don’t. Ares is that trained marine or soldier, who has been tempered in the fires of war. He’s got the courage to *not* strike, if that’s what is called for, and it start with acknowledging the bloodlust for what it is.

      • Limnaia

        It’s part of being a god of soldiers as opposed to generals, I think. Part of that tempering you mention is realising that no plan survives contact with the other side, and therefore, a certain amount of flexibility is required when it comes to actually fighting. Ares has that, so there’s this comfort with a certain amount of uncertainty in a situation that makes him more flexible in his options, including de-escalation. Strategists have a tendency to try and control a situation as completely as they can – and going back to your example about the police, I believe that is the kind of mindset that is encouraged on the force. Or it certainly seems so where I live, anyhow. I remain forever grateful that most British police aren’t permitted firearms. There’s enough of a messed up gang mentality there without adding ‘cowboy’ to the mix.

  5. TurningTides

    Reblogged this on Palm of Our Hands and commented:
    Thenea of her blog Magick From Scratch put the question of Caitlyn Jenner’s courage compared with a soldier’s courage to Ares, Greek God of war. She received this response, which hopefully put a lot of things into perspective for any who reads it. Thank you Thenea, and to Lord Ares!

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