Stick with me here, wall of text incoming, but did you expect anything less of me?
It's Thursday, OCT 25, 2012. We begin our guided meditation session. We are told to do something (I don't remember what) and I immediately begin thinking of me riding Boudicca, my blind horse. We're told to walk down a pier to the boat. I do so while staying mounted. We ride up the plank onto the boat (which I imagined to be almost like the ships used by the Britons in the 1st century BC). We take a magic boat ride with the sun warming our face (amazingly, my face did get warm) and the wind in our hair.
As we arrive at the island we are instructed to envision our past, our present and our future. My brain was already well ahead of the guide.
What did I see, you ask? Well, this is where the story gets interesting.
I saw a mass of men with woad (the blue stuff the Scots and Britons put on their faces) and spears. They are wearing blue and gold plaid kilts. I see 1st century Briton chariots with horses behind them. In the background I see a beautiful green forest with a creek running parallel to the shore. There is a pig on a spit over a huge fire. A few of the women in the group are made up as warriors as well.
We are told to greet our past.
Boudicca and I step off of the boat, into the water and walk onto the land into a mass of cheering people. I greet the leader. Get this, though, she is what I imagine the real human Boudicca to have looked like. There she stood in front of me, smiling and cheering the return of a warrior. She had her blue plaid kilt. She had her wool cloak with the clasp in front. She wore her torc. Her hair was medium brown, wavy and long with two small braids to keep her bangs out of her face.
Boudicca raised her spear in the air and cheered again as I rode to greet her face to face.
We are instructed to communicate with the people and listen to what they have to say.
The warriors, their Queen and the women tell me to keep fighting, that I am a true warrior and have earned my place in the world.
Boudicca (the horse) and I eat until our stomachs can hold no more. My mother flashes into the picture briefly. I mount the horse and we get back on the boat, ride back down the coast with the sun in our faces and wind in our manes and I come back to the real world.
Now, let me give you a bit of a history lesson. Boudicca was the queen of the Iceni tribe in the middle of the 1st century AD. Her husband, Prasutagus, passed away and intended to leave the land, treasures and what little wealth the tribe had to his two daughters with Emperor Nero as co-heir. No big deal, right? Yeah, not where the Romans were concerned.
In Roman culture women were worthless slaves, whores and baby factories. We couldn't vote or hold land. The Romans seriously owned Britain from 45 AD forward (they invaded in 43 but it took them a couple of years to conquer it). The Governor (a general - or Primus Pilus) was busy with most of his legions and auxiliary troops killing Druids on a small island north of Wales called Anglesey. This Governor was named Paulinus.
While Paulinus was occupied with killing the evil Druids, Prasutagus dies c. 57 AD. The procurator (basically the financial guy), Catus Decianus decided it would be a great time to decline the will, call loans that were forced upon the tribes due with interest and his buddies that included Seneca the Younger called all of their loans, also forced upon the tribes, due with interest.
Boudicca was livid to say the least, and that was before...
Catus decided to take his guard and some troops with him to pay Boudicca and her two daughters (probably 12 years old) a visit. During this friendly visit the two girls were raped and Boudicca was scourged. Yes, scourged. Tacitus uses the Latin word for scourge. Scourging is what the Romans did to Jesus Christ. It's basically a cat-o-nine-tails with metal or balls attached to the ends and the lucky person receiving the blows has to suffer 39 lashes. 40 and above would have to be cleared by people higher up the food chain. I will never be convinced Boudicca was just flogged with sticks... but that's another dialogue.
Boudicca decided to take action after that little visit.
She raised an army of native Britons. They planned their assaults. They built weapons and chariots. They trained hard. They even neglected to plant their fields because they were going to steal the Roman grain stores for their people. Beginning in c. 59 AD she and her troops razed 3 cities, burning everything Roman, impaling people like Vlad the Impaler did well before he made it cool, and they destroyed the countryside - their targets - Romans and Roman-friendly tribes.
One day she met up with a group of Roman cavalry. Her troops destroyed them and made them run back to their base camp. Boudicca and her troops continued harassing the countryside.
Governor Paulinus catches wind of this from the leader of the cavalry she destroyed and decides it is a good time to stop killing Druids and go kill Boudicca. Paulinus and Boudicca finally meet in pitched battle c. 61 AD. Because Boudicca probably got cocky, she let Paulinus pick the battleground. She lost to the far better trained Roman legions. Rather than be taken alive, tortured, scourged again and probably crucified she drank poison and died on the battlefield.
Boudicca was >-< thatclose to kicking the Romans out of Britain.
A woman, a warrior, a Queen, that Dio Cassius says "was possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women" almost took back part of the Roman Empire.
A woman who was probably my age when she did this. A woman who would stand up against injustices, even if it meant taking on the biggest empire in the known world did this. She is my hero.
But here's the weird thing... remember we were instructed to greet our past? What if I was Boudicca in a past life? From how she's described I probably look a lot like her. In fact, this is how Dio Cassius described her: "She was huge of frame, terrifying of aspect, and with a harsh voice. A great mass of bright red hair fell to her knees: She wore a great twisted golden necklace, and a tunic of many colors, over which was a thick mantle, fastened by a brooch. Now she grasped a spear, to strike fear into all who watched her...…"
-Dio Cassius (Dudley and Webster, 54)
We obviously have the same personality and we both fight for the little guy - in both of our cases that included ourselves (mine's ongoing at the moment though). The name Boudicca keeps popping up in my life. I named my blind horse, who against all odds, came back from being neglected, not fed and looking like a horse skeleton with fur to being mostly full weight, happy and able to hold my weight on her without it doing damage.
I call myself Boudicca on the internet because I feel a connection with her. If you Google Boudicca Gruaim my blog pops up all over the place. Gruaim is a Gaelic word meaning Stern or stoic look... which I have. I am a warrior. I am my own queen. I am Boudicca. Anyone who has overcome what I have and fought for their lives has a piece of Boudicca in them. We. Are. Boudicca.
Just things I ponder in my "insane" head.