It’s one I learned to make for someone else, one quaking with the horrors of death so deeply you feel a bit ill to touch it, you feel a bit dead.
It’s to aid with the shield I mentioned previously, which has involved communing with the revolutionary dead, which is not fun, but neither is revolution, yeah?
And actually, this brings up a matter I’ve been thinking about. When you talk to people who are really pissed off, who are fully aware of all the shit they suffer unnecessarily at the hands of the powerful–people who see the progressive armament of police forces in cities and towns, people who watch the absurd murders and beatings of blackfolk and shake and shudder with lucid rage, that question arises: what shall we do?
And at some point (and I’ve been in many such moments with many different sorts of people), someone mentions ‘revolt.’
And for a second, everyone’s nodding their heads, because they know that’s all that will work, but then suddenly someone says, ‘but they’ll kill us.’
And it’s funny, ’cause the people who’ve already died don’t matter so much.
It is like this with any revolt, though, is it not? You don’t rise up because you might die. Or, on the other hand, revolts result in death–the oppressed die, or uninvolved people die, or the powerful but still potentially-redeemable people die, and we just cannot possibly have death, right?
Ask the dead of Annwn and their guardians about that argument, and you get a silent stare.
Such are the thoughts after the first oath to the revolutionary dead, and the forging of a candle for the next oath. This weekend, I go to an Alder swamp with the shield, away from computers. I need that.
Also. I wrote this over the weekend. Forgot to post it here.
And oh! Reminder–Your Face is a Forest is discounted this month, and half the proceeds are going to Backheion to support their ritual at Many Gods West.
Be well, and do not fear death.
6 thoughts on “Revolt and the Fear of Death”
The idea that if you play your cards right you could live forever is deeply ingrained in our culture. Some of the things I’ve seen on the other side have greatly reduced that fear for me. But from another perspective, the fear of death to me is very real as the parent of young kids, because they need me so much. I fear for them more than myself.
Fearing death and even denying its validity, despite the pagan (and occasionally polytheist) bluster on the issue, is something that happens all too often, and is why so many people misunderstand things like the heroic ethos of Cú Chulainn and others so frequently. His death was not a “punishment” for anything, other than (and only if one wants to interpret the whole thing pretty uncharitably) the choice of a heroic life, and he knew it from the moment he set out on his first officially warrior foray. It’s interesting how much this gets missed even in our own conversations on these matters as a set of communities…
Aye. I’ve stopped discussing my thoughts on death, as every time I have I get the “are you suicidal?” talk or something scribbled on a prescription pad.
I didn’t get a chance to leave a comment on your lovely WH piece before comments closed, but pregnancy was a really rude awakening as to how much our bodies are expected to be subjected to the clock. It was horrifying how much medical treatment in labor can depend solely on your body’s adherence to a specific timeframe. Because things like life and death and being on thresholds are always so orderly, right? Love your writing, as always.
I don’t fear death until it’s out of my hands – I think what I fear of death is the lack of control over when and how it comes. I’m down in it with angry, wrongfully killed (as opposed to justly murdered…), restless dead so often that death itself feels very close and familiar. I wish for death myself at not infrequent intervals – a system overload response, I think, more based in helplessness than sadness. But to know that in the end I don’t get to know when or how, that’s very difficult for me. I suppose that’s where the being devoted to Dionysos comes into play – control in this case is, as ever, an illusion. Easier said than believed, though, so death remains disconcerting when it breathes on me too close.
There are causes worth dying for, but you only get to do it once. If that’s the goal, it’s important to strategise such risks, and choose, and then go out and fight and come back with your shield or on it. You die fighting for what you believe in only once, and then the resources that went into preparing you for it are used up, so while fearing death is counterproductive, coming for it prematurely is a waste of resources, even beyond human attachments.
…it’s late here and I’m rambling but I guess I have a lot of thoughts on death and fighting and fear and strategic conservation of life.
Get diagnosed with cancer and learn what ‘best evidence’ means
and the myriad of ways the bodysnatchers operate.
Cancer is a one way ticket to the Land of No Bullshit, they
don’t teach you that at Pagan DayCare.