Stepping Up to Chivalry in 2021 - Not Just for Men
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
In this era of so-called "cancel culture," certain words are slipping slowly into the territory of the taboo, gradually losing whatever power they may once have possessed to evoke timeless values now condemned as archaic or even as somehow repressive, tainted by an association (often quite tenuous) with the dread word "patriarchy."
One is tempted to simply acquiesce in this erosion, conceding to the convenient argument that language is ever-evolving, that we must leave behind all possible associations with the benighted past, and that even such words as "mother" and "father" (both now banned from usage in the U.S. Congress, where only the gender-neutral word "parent" is allowed in state documents) must now be viewed (God help me) as sexist.
There is without doubt an imbalance to be righted. But there are also treasures to be lost. One such treasure is the word "Chivalry."
Many will roll their eyes. Chivalry? Knights and their ladies fair? Outdated strict codes of honor? Images of "holy war" summoned by the legends of the Knights Templar? It's not even a viable discussion (they will say), as we all know the word is reduced today to merely refer to the quaint notion that a man should hold a door for a woman - anathema to feminists and embarrassing to truly "enlightened" men.
Such folk are not paying attention. Here are some words for you which demonstrate that the timeless appeal of the values summoned by the word are not merely alive, but are in fact at the heart of billion-dollar cultural phenomena: "The Jedi Knights,""Order of The Phoenix," and last but certainly not least - Ser Brienne of Tarth of "Game of Thrones."
Here's a brief exercise to demonstrate to yourself the galvanizing emotional appeal of Chivalry as demonstrated in the scene in Season 8 of Game of Thrones in which the anti-hero Ser Jamie Lannister dares to elevate a woman as a Knight of The Seven Kingdoms - the noblest character in the whole sordid and heroic epic: Brienne of Tarth, to whom honor is not merely a word, but is the only reality worth living for. Open YouTube and type in the search bar the words "Jamie Knights Brienne Fan Reaction."
Tears. Gasps. Sobs. Wild applause, cheers, and shouts - "Brienne of Tarth! A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms!"
The oath Brienne takes is a simple one, distilling the Code to the barest essentials:
In the name of the Warrior, I charge you to be brave.
In the name of the Father, I charge you to be just.
In the name of the Mother, I charge you to defend the innocent.
I dare to suggest that in the year 2021 the qualities of a warrior's courage, a father's dedication to justice, and the fierce innate motherly instinct to defend the innocent are not merely relevant, but are essential to the survival of humanity, and the healing of our mother Earth. These qualities are latent in us all, merely waiting to catch fire in an awakened heart. Men and women of any culture, any time or place, any gender blend or orientation of intimacy may evoke these qualities and harness them to the service of whichever cause summons their passion to make a difference, their perhaps desperate desire to not face death without having given their utmost to something greater than themselves.
For myself, I unabashedly own and claim these precious words, and refuse to surrender them to soulless correctness. So to the sacred lexicon of the word Chivalry, let us add the name Templar, and all the names of the Divine Mother, and the Heavenly Father, and of Jesus of Nazareth, in whom the universal Christ Consciousness lived and walked the earth, and of his beloved disciple the blessed Mary Magdalene. If you are Hindu, I ardently defend the name of Lord Krishna. If Muslim, the holy breath of Allah for Whom no other name or image is needed. If Jewish, the nameless I Am That I Am, and if Buddhist, the Incarnation of Compassion in all Bodhisattvas who ever were born.
Courage, justice, and compassion live within us all. The Sacred Masculine qualities of courage and discernment, the defender and provider live side by side within each man or woman with the Divine Feminine qualities of intuition, compassion, wisdom, and the fiery rage of a mother defending her child. Our urgent challenge now is to seek and manifest the divine balance within, and to set out on our quest, however humble it may be.
And I know, if I'll only be true to this glorious quest,
that my heart will lie peaceful and calm,
when I'm laid to my rest.
And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
still strove with his last ounce of courage,
to reach the unreachable stars!
-- "The Quest" - Man of La Mancha, Dale Wasserman