Friday, March 04, 2011

Victory's Master

Sometimes one will hear those who have lived closer to the land or simply harder lives talk about "soldiering it through" despite the pain. This is the kind of energy and power that Tyr gives. He helps us learn how to hunker in there, through sheer gumption, and push ahead through the long marches and the trials that surround our battles in life and never lose sight of victory, despite the pouring rains, and the mud, and aching joints and old wounds. It's a perspective that is harder, but trains you in the confidence that you can get through. It might not feel good, nor certainly be easy, but you can get through. And that's a valuable lesson.

And let's face it : sometimes you're going to have to fight in this often-hard life, whether you want to or no. Never unnecessarily. Not off the cuff, and not like a loose cannon. Sometimes when you're minding your own business and just trying to get by. And if you can, you should keep marching, with your eye on your goals and conserving that very precious fight within you, and not squandering it. But if you have done everything to get away from the fight and it forces itself upon you, then you need to mean business, and may have to be a sonofabitch if necessary. Don't ever be more of a sonofabitch than the situation needs, but never be less than that either. You fight as honorably and realistically as you can and must, and it is that alchemy between the highest demands of a noble honor, and the gritty realities of survival and victory that Tyr rules, and you better not disappoint him in either department, because he's trying to get you somewhere. Tyr is consistently associated with victory. That means even as he is training you in endurance, courage, gumption, martial arts and combat skills, he keeps his eye on the goal : the eventual victory-celebrations, the wunjo. He knows he must yield the field to Frey, but first he's got to clear the field of enemies, so the joy can be authentic and earned. And, boy will Tyr make you earn it. He's a hard trainer, but you never stop feeling the love underneath that tough and relentless guidance.

Tyr will teach you how to channel, rather than repress, your anger, so you are neither eaten inside by honor lost through insult and injury, nor consumed by a rage which makes you a hazard to your folk. He's an expert in anger, and will work you hard to manage, channel, and control it. "Control" here does not mean repression, but training in mastery that teaches us to be effective with our anger, whether in an argument, a legal battle, or a physical fight. Effective anger is almost the keystone of that wisdom Tyr wards. To be effective, you must not let it kill you from within, but you must also learn the skill of correctly identifying enemies, distinguishing them from mere fools, annoyances, and particularly from loved ones with whom one may be in struggle from time to time. There too one may have to confront and even fight, but one must never fight with a loved one as one would a true enemy. One has to learn here to fight fairly, and this too Tyr teaches. Here you throw the sonofabitch in you out, and call instead on the doggedness within you. Stay firm, advocate clearly for those values important to you, gain clarity about where you're willing to compromise and where you draw the line, and where you draw the line, stick to it. Stay persistent, but stay fair. Never tolerate abuse, and never give it. Remember not all fights are won in a day. Many things take time and reassertion. Remember at all times that in a fight with a loved one, victory is not the defeat of the other, but the recognition of and respect for the values one is championing, and for this one ought be willing to give recognition to that which is of value in the other person's position. Fight with honor. Celebrate a good move in your opponent, a point well made even if it requires adjustment of your position, even the passion of the one you love so well. One can be proud of loved ones who are fierce and stubborn about what is important to them, and yet whom never fully break our trust in the process.

Here we come to a term intimate to Tyr which may not seem as obvious : trust. We fight to preserve trust ; we fight to combat when trust is broken. Fighting must be about something sacred or it degenerates. Tyr can train fighting to give anger channels and prepare one for eventual combats, but the cause must be righteous, even if that cause at times is mere survival (which is no mere "mere", but can be noble itself). Even that which is the result of boldness and daring ought have honor to it. We fight to preserve trust, and to combat those who break it.

Effective anger requires skill, agility, tactics, ability to hold one's ground and ability to shift positions when the situation calls for it. One should be skilled in a number of different defensive and offensive maneuvers,regardless of the terrain and plane on which one is channeling anger. One needs to learn what to do with the anger, too. When considering channeling it into a fight, Tyr will be there by your side, always asking, "Is it worth it?". If it's not worth it, leave the fight alone, and find some other channel for your anger. And Tyr may even direct you at times towards Baldur and Forseti, and say, "Settle this. Make your peace."

Effective anger also means having a realistic attitude about anger, and trying to keep it human. People are going to get angry, and from time to time get out of control. While one never sits still in the face of abuse, there's a range of anger that is healthy and normal. We aren't always going to be perfectly tempered. That's fine, as long as it doesn't become monstrous. Anger can be a great motivator to initiate change, and in war, even rage, properly channeled, has its place, but rage can go past a threshold of good proportion beyond which the slip into evil is a genuine risk. This can be a consequence of neglecting one's training under Tyr in rendering one's anger effective. Long resentment turning into rage can become an explosive and dangerous combination. Tyr is not afraid of anger, however, and he doesn't want you to be, either. He can actually help you to humanize it, which is one of the most loving gifts anyone can give.

One of the ways one humanizes anger is to realize that it is often a response to violation, a violation the anger motivates one to combat. There is a basic territoriality each of us has that preserves our sense of respect and dignity, violation of which injures us and our sense of honor. From here, law and rights flow, which are recognitions of the need to respect each other by not violating each other. Violation is violence, and violence is often a response to violence.

On the other hand, sometimes anger is a response to simply not getting what we want. While there is nothing wrong in moderation in struggling for what we want -- indeed, there can even be a kind of inherent dignity in so doing -- here Tyr may speak the words of the famous Rolling Stones song ("You Can't Always Get What You Want"), and say, "tough shit". Blunt and not soft words, but any human who did not accept the truth of this lesson would become a spoiled monster. Some things -- often many things -- in life that make you angry, you're just going to have to let go of, because you're not going to get them, and you might not even have a right to them. "You're going to have to let go of this one," is a message you may often hear from Tyr, but rest assured, he will also let you know the ones you need to continue fighting for. The difference is often not just a matter of pragmatism, but of right. You aren't the only one who can get angry. You need to learn to choose your battles, and fight the ones within your right, to the greatest extent of your right, which sometimes only daring can establish. Tyr will teach you this daring, but he will also deliver the news that in addition to stretching your boundaries, you've also got to respect those boundaries by learning your place and keeping to it. Some things are not yours to have, and fighting over them will only make an ass out of yourself, or worse, even a monster. (Colonialist and imperialist adventures on the part of nations come to mind here.) Where there is no honor, do not fight, unless you are directly attacked and must defend yourself. If not getting what you want when you aren't entitled to it, and sometimes even when you are, makes you angry, you can channel that anger into your debate practice, your martial arts, and other preparations for worthy battle, and Tyr can also help you connect with other holy powers who can assist you in channeling it into art or even hard work. While "tough shit" may hardly seem a victorious message, in the end it serves victory by nipping in the bud futile struggles whose energy can be better channeled into training for more meaningful and eventual victories. It is no victory to remain a brittle, shallow, narcissistic brat.

Tyr is the bad news messenger to the New Age polyannas of the world, and good news bearer for a healthy humanity : anger is a part of life, territoriality is part of being an animal on this planet, and conflict and struggle are not only inherent parts of this world, but well-done, they can win at the least honor, and at the most glory. For what can be more glorious than victory? Tyr will help to bring you there, as you learn the many different kinds and flavors of victory, and how to recycle even defeats into greater determination to eventually have the day.


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