I’ve tasted blood and dirt in my mouth a time or two. Horsewomen aren’t horsewomen until they do. Warriors are not warriors until they’ve been burned and tested, and women who choose to walk alone, and raise their daughters alone, and lead organizations, suddenly find themselves among a different tribe of women. Very much like Scynthian women, Amazons, and Valkyries. These are the archetypes that help us as we move the world that has sedated us too long, or…we have sedated ourselves. Maybe for fear that no one would love us, because we were strong rather than pretty, we speak our minds rather then staying quiet, we prefer interdependent partnerships.
Tatooed warrior women, egalitarian societies of women and men did exist.
Amazons spent days at a time on horseback; often, their legs were bowed from so much riding. Their lives followed a yearly cycle, with occasional large gatherings for feasting, funerals, athletic contests, and “purifying saunas.” The Greeks credited the Amazons with inventing trousers, and the Amazons wore them with long-sleeved tunics and pointed hats with ear-flaps. (It was cold out on the steppe.) They drank fermented mare’s milk—you freeze it, then skim off the ice to increase the alcohol concentration. They smoked cannabis, which is indigenous to Central Asia. They were elaborately tattooed. They fought on foot, when they had to. (One study of Amazon skeletons with head wounds from battle-axes, Mayor reports, showed that “most of the blows were dealt by a right-handed opponent in face-to-face combat.”) There was fierce competition for territory and resources. Amazons domesticated dogs and hunted with eagles. It’s hard to know much about their spiritual lives, Mayor writes, but archaeological evidence and folktales can give us “an impressionistic sense of the beliefs of the women archers of Scythian lands known as Amazons, an intangible mosaic of animism, totemism, magic, of sacred fire and gold, of reverence for Sun, Moon, sky, earth, nature, wild animals, fantastic creatures. And horses.-Rothman, New York Times October 17th, 2015”
It is these women that speak to me. These women that came to mind when a male friend and I were discussing recent horrors in Tunisa, where women and girls as young as six were being raped.
“What do we do about such horrors?” I didn’t have to think, my response was immediate.
“We arm the women, all of them. We give them means of protection. If any such man came near my daughter, that would be the last breath that left his lips.” In me was a fierceness and that felt like fine steel being molded in a fire. My daughter would be trained herself in protection. Not only from those who would harm her physically, but emotionally as well. When the boy next door told her to be quiet, that she didn’t know what she was talking about very rudely, I pulled her aside and said, “Don’t ever let a man speak to you that way. Remember who’s daughter you are, and where you come from, we are from a long line of warrior women, you deserve respect!” She smiled, with “I know Mom.”
The reality was though, I did not find my wings until recently. The why I kept them dipped in shame so long doesn’t matter, what does matter is that I found them. And it’s not just me becoming awake, it’s all women that need to be reminded…they too descend from warrior women, they have wings…and the strength. This is the lesson of rising from the dirt with blood in your mouth, stronger, wiser. It is the victory of the long struggle, to continue to rise up, every time you think you can’t, you rise up, and you go on, and know…this is what the world needs, warrior women who are awake.