Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and strength of war, that I may be able to drive away bitter cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of my soul. Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread the blood curdling ways of strife. Rather o' blessed one give me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death.
Homeric Hymn to Ares #8, Lines 15-17
Magic From Scratch is an excellent blog which showcases the kind of work more practitioners in the WMT should be doing and sharing. The visions and dialogues with various entities largely ring true. The author of the blog also made a post about Ares the other day, like myself, and I just want to address some of the points they raise and use this as a way to extend my own thoughts.
Firstly I want to say that I am a highly privileged individual who is ''neurotypical'', straight, white, male, well-off and generally lucky. With the focus of the WMT on Identity Politics over the last decade and more it can sometimes feel like my voice isn't welcome, that the WMT and Paganism in general is really the domain of discussing intersectionality, the evolving worlds of checking our privilege, microagressions, safe spaces, etc and that ''there is no room for my sort here''. Regardless of my own charitable endeavours or my support of the LGBTQA+ community in the local arts scene (which is extensive) I sometimes feel hated because of what I represent at a physical social level i.e. this particularly coloured privileged bag of water animated by reincarnating information spirals as opposed to less fortunate animated bags of water. It is extremely difficult to remain positive and supportive in the face of such obvious hostility so I can understand where some of the moaning Magick From Scratch talks about might be coming from.
In the post Never Stop Being Offended Magick From Scratch echoes the sentiment I hear widely on social media esp. from my progressive Pagan/Esoteric LGBTQA+ friends, that that outrage is not something that is going away, that that fire will keep burning and burning until the revolution has been successfully completed and society has been radically changed into being a fairer, more equitable place for all. Having been to the future I would like to add that the fire does not burn out and this revolution does succeed but because of climate change and scientific advance (and the various manoeuvres of the Deep State) the world we live in and the challenges we face as humans move way beyond what we are dealing with right now. Skin colour becomes something people change on a whim and cybernetic advances/gene therapy actually reverse ''able privilege'' for a while - i.e. some of the creations of Hephaistos end up giving him a significant advantage over Ares, until of course it gets really crazy. This is soon as well.
That said I am not sure to what extent Magick from Scratch is projecting a little on to Ares here. The tone of the post throughout I think is fairly balanced until the end when suddenly Ares looks like a violent jock bully again. If we are going to go back here, like any stereotypes I have seen, this one is challenged incredibly frequently. Many of my peers from college, who were fair minded good hearted rugby jocks, now solidly fight the good fight for the Labour Party; the idea of PC Bro is brilliantly lampooned on South Park but the support of those bros is clear.
I happen to be good at ''War'' - I have spent a lot of time throughout my life being focused on strategy and tactics and this focus allows me to prosper in the various situations that these principles can be applied to. In some ways I am often a victim of my own success and am always tempted to continue the ''War'' beyond my aims leaving me over-extended and under-supplied. The justification is always to ''just finish this off once and for all'', ''put this thing to rest'', ''drive them into the sea'' etc but when I give into that temptation the war ends up continuing and continuing. So over the last year I have become almost obsessed with having clear war aims. Although I understand criticism is almost entirely unwelcome, especially from my quarters, in some ways the mistake being made at the moment by the #outrage approach is exactly the misconception I was trying to approach in my post on Mars and Ares. Pure rage is not going to win this war - it will just continue it. The rage drives the alienation which ends up doing things like electing Trump. Cool clear headed strategic thinking are what is needed. When emotionality is the driving force, as opposed to logic supported by clear aims, the war will continue without end and the movement will become over extended, ridiculed and tangled in contradictions. Fortunately for everyone concerned there are cool heads within that movement beginning to assert themselves and channel some of that rage a little more strategically. That is why it wins but sadly for all of us there ends up being a sting in this tale.
A final point to reflect upon. Magick from Scratch suggests praying for the reconciliation of Hephaistos and Ares is to pray for ''perfect inclusion'' but doesn't comment on the relationship between Ares and Aphrodite and how that may interfere. Aphrodite is one of the two Gods that I have used the rituals in Liber Astarte vel Berylli to become incredibly close to. The other is Enlil. I have worked with many many Gods through various techniques including those used by Magick From Scratch methinks, which is why I value the work done on that site and why I would be interested in reflections upon the role of Aphrodite in all this...