Tribal Women

By Jack Wolf

My wife is a tribal woman. She is a person of strength and virtue even though a lot of the time she doesn’t want to take credit for those things. That’s pretty typical of many of the truly tribal women I have come into contact with – a kind of deep humility which is not borne from weakness or a meek demeanor at all – but one of strength and honorable comportment. These ones know their skill and their power but choose not to make a big deal about it.

My wife doesn’t like to make a big deal about her accomplishments or her abilities…even though she is very accomplished both in regular life experiences, her career and academically. Again, in this she is behaving in a very Thornish manner though and doesn’t boast.

Thornish men of course, are exactly the same in this way; we don’t boast. It is one of the things that strongly differentiates us from so many other Pagan people – certain groups of Heathens in particular, where the act of boasting or carrying on about one’s accomplishments appears to have developed into a high art. I’m not saying that there is anything particularly wrong with how that one culture carries out its business. Just saying that it is not the Thornish way.

But I wasn’t really discussing the traits of other cultures here, nor really about Thornish men. I was taking a brief moment to make mention of our wonderful, beautiful and strong Thornish women. In many ways I am so fortunate because indeed, my wife epitomizes what it is to be Thornish though she came to our tribal way somewhat later in life.

Like many of us, she has black chapters in her childhood and her past as an adult, and like so many in our generation (Kids who grew up in the ‘60’s & ‘70’s and who reached adulthood in the ‘80’s), she had to fight a hard and lasting battle to break free of the lies of the world and find her way back – back to the hidden roads of the Old Ways and the wisdom of the Elder Ones.

My wife came out of a place and an age where girls and women were expected to fall into line and apply themselves to certain predetermined roles – roles usually determined by males or by women who had fallen into line before – and she was taught from an early age that girls were only good for certain things – and that they should not try to apply themselves outside of the parameters set for them.

For many years my wife endured these things because – well, she was a kid. What could she do? However, unbeknownst to those who surrounded her in her life back then, she had a huge tactical advantage which they did not – she had two such tactical advantages, actually: She had a greater than normal intelligence…and she had the glowing primal fire-seed awakening within her that we Thornish folk call the Bloodfire.

The Bloodfire cannot really be explained to those who don’t have it. It is one of those…things; those gut instinctive feelings that rises from the base of he spine and infuses the heart and the spirit – and the mind – with notions of something far, far older and unfathomably greater than the dour portions set before the average person on the buffet table of life. Thornish elders have described the Bloodfire as the quickening vein of fire that engulfs the minds of those who are destined to awaken – and once they do life will never be the same.

The fire-seed was born in the depths of my wife long ago and it grew as she did. And like so many women who have made their way back to the ancient green roads of the Old Ways, that fire-seed surged as Bloodfire and drew her far outside of the circle she had been expected to remain in.

For the true woman of tribal heart, as the Bloodfire grows the many lies told by modern society become as mist in the wind: they come to perceive their special female attributes as the most sacred gifts and portals of power that no male could ever really understand let alone wield. They come to comprehend that the Old Ones and the Ancient Grandmothers have placed them in exactly the right place and at precisely the right time – to do whatever it is their particular strand of Destiny requires.

An awakened fire-seed woman is a very dangerous creature as far as our current, modern day society is concerned, for she is a tendril of the root-of-darkness, from which all things were brought into creation. She is a singer at the feet of the Wyrdamör or Destiny Mother as we call her, and a daughter of nature herself.  A woman who has awakened her Bloodfire and listened to the deepening songs of the black dragon of wisdom…well, she is a creature who will never truly be tamed; never be controlled and who will walk her own line of fate.

A man can stand as an equal to such a woman, should he prove worthy along his own lines of Destiny, but no man could ever be superior to such a fire-born creature.

In the over thirty years in which I have been Thornish, I have been privileged to know a good number of fine women who had all awakened and on the surge of their Bloodfire, won their way back. Some of these have been Thornish women too, and by that measure, they are all my sisters through blood, fire and ceremony. These have been strong and honorable women; proud women; dedicated and courageous women and women of great accomplishment and power. These are the kinds of women that a Thornsman is honored to stand beside as we hold the line against the storm.

Though she may never admit it to having these traits – or at least to boast of such, my wife, Cassandra, is such a woman.

Times are changing and day by day, more awakening ones will soon come to seek their way in the world. Among them will be strong and inspired tribal women who will, along with men of equal Bloodfire, find their way back…to the powers that await them.

We wait to welcome them back.





About Jack Wolf

Canadian author Jack Wolf has been a practicing Pagan for over 30 years, walking a path that encompasses both his Northern European and Native American heritage. He counts the late Heathen Goði and writer E. Max Hyatt, Professor Mark Mirabello, Dakota tribal Chief William Hoff and American author Allan Cole among his mentors. An avid outdoorsman, Jack has spent a considerable portion of his life exploring the deep wilds of British Columbia, a vast province on Canada’s west coast. He brings a great deal of his wilderness experience to his spiritual path. Over the past 15 years Jack has studied and written about a number of northern pagan traditions, having published for the most part independently or in small journals, blogs or websites. His recent works for Mandrake of Oxford Have certainly opened up his writing to a larger audience. Jack is also the author of several other books, including Circle of Bones (2012), The Way of the Odin Brotherhood (2013), Blood and Stone (2014) co-author of Tales from the Red Moon Lodge (2014) and co-editor of A Voice from the Thornwood (winter 2014). Forthcoming works include The Thornish Path, Ullr’s Road and The Urban Tribalist, all of which are planned for a mid-2015 and early 2016 release respectively. Spiritually, Jack identifies himself generally as a Deep Tribalist and more specifically as Thornish. He is a member of a primal pagan tradition whose spiritual path involves questing for the First Knowledge – that held by our most ancient ancestors whose hearts and spirits were deeply connected to the land. The Thornish path is the way of the warrior-steward; a Deep Tribal tradition which Jack has practiced since the late 1980’s Jack holds a degree in anthropology from the world renowned University of British Columbia and has long held an avid interest in history, tribal peoples, spirituality and the reawakening of pagan peoples worldwide. He currently resides with his wife and co-author Cassandra Wolf and their daughter, in Squamish, British Columbia.
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