Jesse Wolf Hardin's Earth Magic
This Age of Heores
From out of the mythic, mist draped past a host of heroes and heras beckon us to hear and heed, urge us forward to our own opportunities for heartful heroism. The stories of brave Ulysses and Queen Boudica, the wise Merlin and indomitable Sparticus are not meant to merely entertain us. Nor did our ancestral wizards and warriors intend to spare us our own great struggles, enlightening challenges and soul-satisfying victories! They acted and sacrificed, succeeded and excelled in order to meet the unique threats and critical needs of their people, their lives and times. Our own day and age is no less perilous or in need of able champions than was theirs, and plenty of events arise in our contemporary lives that demand an assertive and valiant response.
If you look in your dictionary you’ll notice that “hero” is one of the few English nouns without a synonym that can substitute for it, there being no other word in our language that conveys the same powerful meaning. Similarly, nothing can substitute for personal heroism when immanent danger or an urgent purpose arise. You can deny your heroism to others out of a sense of duty or humility if it makes you feel better… but anytime you give yourself fully to a mission on which much depends, you’re a hero or hera, simple as that!
One defining element of being a hero is being willing to drop our schedules, abandon comfort and certainty, face our fears, and take genuine risks. It can be heroic just to resist the pressure to fit in at school, because there is a very real risk of that we’ll be shunned if we’re authentic, exposing our real feelings and beliefs. There’s some heroism involved just in studying a practice like Animá, when many people no longer believe in personal integrity, the living earth, spirit or purpose.
The most heroic acts of all are those committed not just for ourselves but for the protection and betterment of our loved ones, our communities and clans, and the other life forms. A time when governments are waging wars against each other and their own people, when personal liberty is being surrendered in hopes of increased safety, when the natural world is rapidly being destroyed, is truly the golden age of heroes. The challenges we face today offer us more chances than ever to use our skills and demonstrate our worth in service. All around us today are examples of nature being trampled for profits, women and children being mistreated, entire countries being plundered and cultures stripped of their diversity and dignity.
The hero in us is called forth into the light, whenever and wherever we encounter ignorance, prejudice, cruelty, injustice or greed… called to act whenever there’s a clear and vital need. To be heroes can mean to heal or create with love, rather than to fight and bleed. The measure of any hero lies in our compassion and the strength of our intent… and in the form and fact of our deeds.
• Heroes grow to serve compassionate missions, but neither bend to serve either institutions or men.
• Develop and write up your own heroic code of honor, including:
1) the sort of things you pledge never to do, such as betraying an ally or cause, denying even the most painful truths, or giving up when the going gets rough
2) ways of acting that are clearly inappropriate for a wizard and a potential hero, such as being petty, arrogant or cowardly
3) the various types of indignities and threats you pledge to confront, resist and transform when and where they arise
4) the kinds of people, other life forms, natural areas and sacred places of power, liberties and rights that you can promise to protect and nourish, further and celebrate
• Develop a plan to deal with each situation as it comes up, intensely focusing your wits as well as your special energies. Then be prepared to set your plans aside as the threats morph and the situations change.
• Maximize your knowledge and abilities in preparation for heroic events… but no matter how powerful you ever you need not depend on yourself alone. Enlist human allies and aides, tap the wisdom of the ancients that still resides in your bones, call on the spirits of place for help, and invoke the Great Spirit by whatever name.
• It is the purpose of heroes to attempt the impossible.
• Always set out to exceed your imagined limitations. Nothing is wholly impossible, regardless of the odds stacked against us.
• The greater the odds against us, the more important our deeds and the greater any accomplishments.
•Not all heroic acts are completely successful as intended. What makes you a hero is how hard you try…. plus your noble reasons why.
•Live a heroic life, and future generations will tell your story as you have read and retold the stories of those courageous ones who came before.
Jesse Wolf Hardin is an acclaimed teacher of Animá earth-centered
practice, the author of five books including Gaia Eros (New Page 2004),
and performs on the GaiaTribe CD “Enchantment” <www.cdbaby.com/gaiatribe>. He and
his partners Loba and Kiva offer online Animá correspondence courses, as well as
host students and guests at their enchanted canyon and true ancient place of
power. Opportunities include weekend retreats, personal counsel, shamanic
vision quests, resident internships, and special Apprenticeships for the most
dedicated. Annual events include the Wild Womens Gathering, and the Medicine
Woman and Shaman Path intensives. Contact: The Animá Wilderness Learning Center
& Women’s Sanctuary, Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830 <www.animacenter.org> <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
©Jesse Wolf Hardin 2005-2007 Reproduction in any form is prohibited without express written permission from the author.