A significant aspect of my devotional work includes physical fitness and martial arts. Anything that increases strength, fitness, discipline, and what might be considered a warrior skill (like krav maga, swordfighting, target shooting, etc.), makes my heart sing. But, more than that, I feel compelled to dedicate time daily in this pursuit as a form of prayer. In my case, this prayer is to the Morrigan.
In light of this, one can imagine that a book with the title, Warrior Goddess Training: Becoming the Woman You Were Meant to Be, would catch my attention.
At first glance, I had my doubts. It had the hallmarks of yet another quasi-spiritual, bogus, self-help guru peddling the same victim-blaming schlock that most life coaches attempt to pass off as wisdom and insight. However, it had overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon. There were over 300 reviews, almost all of them giving this book five stars. I decided to give it a shot and got a Kindle copy.
What is a warrior?
Let me start by first stating that the author has a drastically different definition of what a warrior is than I do. I normally reserve that term for those who are serving in the military, as well as extend it to reservists, members of the National Guard, and to people who make fighting their day job in some way. I would consider one’s sensei to be a warrior. And while others may argue for only active military, versus also including police and MMA fighters, there are four commonalities among each of these fields:
3) Martial skill sets
4) Some form of code and purpose (how and why they fight)
There is none of that promoted in this book.
HeatherAsh Amara’s definition of what is a warrior, apparently, includes anything that requires focus. In fact, her definition of “warrior” isn’t even in the book. It’s in the “Bonus Book Material” on her website that you can only access with a supersecret password at the very end of her book.
In the book itself, all sorts of things may constitute walking a Warrior Goddess Path. These things include selecting the right takeout lunch while at work, cooking at home, and of course, speaking your truth, specifically to speak up if you want Mexican or Italian food. Don’t you dare let someone else decide your food choices for you, ladies! Being a warrior may also include being an artist, being vulnerable, and being gentle with yourself.
I’m sorry, but creating art is not being a warrior, it’s being an artist. There’s nothing wrong with being an artist. It’s just not being a warrior. Neither is possessing the ability to chose a restaurant. And guess what, reading a poem or singing a song in front of friends doesn’t make you a warrior either.
Could we please set the bar just a little higher? If being a warrior were that easy, then everyone would be doing it.
Ok, so we are using two very different applications of the word. I think a warrior should at least be something remotely involved with war, warfare, battles, fighting, etc. Amara thinks a warrior is pretty much anyone doing anything that requires a little effort and focus.
Hey, I baked a cheesecake while paying my bills online. I’m a bloody warrior goddess!
How in the world did this get five stars?
After reading the book, I am at a loss as to what over 300 other readers found so valuable as to give this book five stars. Most of the book is a regurgitation of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. Now, if that’s the kind of stuff that floats your boat, great! Order his book, which is half the cost of hers.
Warrior Goddess Training begins with an “Explanation of Key Terms” which includes the author’s take on “Earth Goddess Spirituality” and “European Shamanism”. Here we find the tired and flawed theories of Murray and Gimbutas of an idyllic goddess-worshiping culture where women were equals to men until the patriarchy showed up to ruin everything. The author asserts that Europeans were all living in harmony with nature, the four elements (Air, Fire, Water, and Earth), often the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and practicing European shamanism. Good times.
The rest of it is common buzzwords and catch phrases used by your run-of-the-mill life coach, like “speak your truth”, “authentic self”, “heart-centered awareness”, “discernment” (which allows them to judge others, without being “judgemental”) and so on. Since Amara is a life coach, I can’t help but wonder if they all get the same script at Life Coach School™.
In between the buzzwords and catch phrases is just inane babble. It’s the kind of blathering you hear when someone thinks they are expressing deep wisdom, but in reality just had one too many glasses of wine. Or, like the tripe you hear whenever Byron Katie opens her mouth. Not surprisingly, Amara quotes Byron Katie in the book.
The real problem with this book
Beyond the lack of anything warrior-like in this book, and the lack of research, and the cultural appropriation, my biggest beef with it is that it’s yet another victim-blaming book. Is you’re life a mess? Well, that’s because you didn’t find a positive way to view it. Bad luck? You drew it to yourself because you didn’t think the right thoughts. While the Law of Attraction is well known among Western magical traditions, it has also been turned into a cash cow for the self-help guru-author class. This is no exception.
This isn’t “warrior goddess” training, or “how to be a strong woman” training, or even a decent “help you get through a rough patch” training book. It’s a book for incompetent, frivolous women who flit from one spiritual self-improvement training to another, from one healing modality to another, and transformational weekend workshop after transformational weekend workshop hoping to be enlightened and find meaning to life, but never quite pulling it together. It is a buzzword and bullshit sandwich. There. It’s been said.
What to do instead of reading this book
You want inspiration? You want to really take charge of your life? Then get out there are DO something. Go for a run. If you can’t run, go for a walk. Lift something that’s heavy for you. Lift it again. Do it again in a couple of days, but lift it one more time. Make that choice to eat well and move your body in such a way that you get stronger.
I promise, you will feel more hale, whole, luck-filled, capable, independent, strong, confident, like you can take on the world, if you put effort into a more “authentic” warrior goddess training. (See what I did there?)
Needless to say, I didn’t buy the companion workbook.