The Good Shadow of Bad Pirates

By Cathy • September 28th, 2010

Pirates of the CaribbeanPirates of the Caribbean

The Nickelodean Debates of 2008

One morning, in October 2008, I picked up the TV guide and saw that the presidential candidates were being featured on the children’s show Nickelodean.  A group of ten children were chosen to ask each candidate a question.  Most of the questions appeared to be prompted by their parents, but one child asked the candidates what they would want to be for Halloween.  And to my surprise, both candidates answered “A Pirate.”

I realized that I had a very poor image of pirates.  I wasn’t anxious to hear their answers.  I guess I was wanting them to answer something like Santa Claus (after all one of these two men were going to be leading my country for the next few years).

I decided to do some research.  Since it is said that good people have bad shadows, could bad pirates have a good shadow?  And to my surprise, I found that the pirate subculture did have a good intention behind it.

Early Pirates

Pirating has existed since around the twelfth century.  The earliest pirates may have been the Knights Templar.  These men wanted to rectify the injustice that was cast upon them by the Catholic church.  Later on, there were Jewish pirates, again looking for religious freedom.  Then came the famous Golden Age pirates (Caribbean and Atlantic pirates).  These pirates were looking for freedom from slavery and the mistreatment they experienced as sailors on merchant ships.

I learned that while there were a greedy few, the majority of pirates were more like hunters and gatherers at sea.  They were looking for food and drink.  They wanted enough to survive and even thrive, but getting rich was not the real goal.  What lit their heart fire was freedom.  Living at sea and sailing the pirate flag meant that they had no allegiance to a country or culture.  They could be their own people.  They were anti-authoritarian and proud of it.


The First Democrats

It was interesting to learn that these courageous pirates were some of the first democrats.  They chose their captain and quartermaster by election.  Everyone in the crew had a vote.  Each person in the crew shared ideas, and their voices and opinions were all heard.  In addition, bounty was shared in a very fair manner.  Those who were part of the catch got a bit more, but everyone got a share.  If they were injured on the job, they got workmen’s compensation based on their injury.  If food or drink was in short supply, they still split it equally.

No one was more than or less than another on a pirate ship.  In addition, their population included people of many nationalities and races; and they were accepting of all of them.  Even a few women managed to sneak on board pirate ships.  At first they had to dress like men to get accepted, but later when they revealed their identity, they were treated equally and respectfully.


A Free Life, but a Short Life

There was a trade off for the quality of life decision to become a pirate.  Few pirates lived longer than two years.  But they said that their spirit would rather live joyously and free for two years, two months, or two days than live a long life of slavery and torture.  Often they were caught and hung.  Their executioners made a mockery of them in their death as a warning to others.  Eventually, by the 1730’s, most of the pirates were gone.

Pirating is still alive.  Today, it has resurfaced for many of the same reasons in the waters near Somalia.  We also have internet pirating and software pirating.  Stealing an extra pen from the company closet (because the company makes too damn much money) is being a momentary pirate.  Taking that extra deduction because we need the money more than the rich government is pirating.  Pirating will not die until people feel they are treated with fairness and equality.  And it is my hope and dream that that day is not far off.

Cathy Eck is the founder of Gateway To Gold and her blog  She has studied the ancient mystery school teachings for decades. She is passionate about cracking the code of life’s greatest mysteries and translating the ancient wisdom in a way that is practical, simple, and empowering so that everyone can remember their true Self and live a perfect life. 


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