Monday, May 26, 2008
Healing Our Warriors
In Sierra Leone, traditional purification rituals using ash soap have been an integral aspect of psychosocial healing and reintegration for girls forced to serve as child soldiers. [Photo by Lindsay Stark]
War poisons the spirit, and warriors return tainted. That is why, among Native American, Zulu, Buddhist, ancient Israeli, and other traditional cultures, returning warriors were put through significant rituals of purification before re-entering their families and communities. Traditional cultures recognized that unpurified warriors could, in fact, be dangerous. The absence of these rituals in modern society helps explain why suicide, homicide, and other destructive acts are common among veterans.
Scholars count over 14,600 wars in the last 5,600 years of recorded history.
If we are to return war to its proper place as a last defense when absolutely necessary, we must heal the wounds of our soldiers and communities. We cannot achieve peace-making without first achieving true and comprehensive war-healing.
Excerpted from the article Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country, by Edward Tick.