I’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating the Morrigan’s nature lately. Both for a new project and for upcoming events where I am either talking about her or hosting rituals for her. I still feel we have hang-ups about her as a goddess of war. War isn’t just the battle itself, there is the part that comes after where the warrior has to heal and put themselves back together. We visit the battlefield, we can’t live on it, not unless we want our lives to be destructive messes. Part of her lesson is understanding that action and force are necessary at times. They are a potent and destructive catalysts, and are vital to change. But as in all things the dose makes the medicine, or the poison. Digitalis can save you from heat failure, but too much will kill you. Forgetting how to leave the battlefield, how to accept her victory, neglecting to heal ourselves, that’s a poison too.
So we have to remind ourselves that the Great Queen rules over the whole cycle. Instigating the war, the battlefield itself and the blood and gore spilt on it (metaphorical and literal alike), and the announcing of the peace, the claiming of victory, and the healing that comes after. Every war has aftermath, it changes us. And every victory has a price.
The price of victory is what I find myself considering today. Both in looking at my own experiences with The Morrigan, and the stories others have shared with me, I can see a clear and familiar pattern. A pattern of blessing that come on the razor edge of a blade. And as I had to tell a dear friend not that long ago, that’s just how The Morrigan works. She is the granter of victory. She keeps her promises. When you come to her for aid it’s often swift and brutal. She has the habit of finding the things that will be the most painful yet also the most powerful catalyst of change, and focuses on them with a laser like intensity. But in my own experiences The Morrigan pisses you off, or breaks you, to get you up and moving again. To light a fire under and within us. To help you refocus on your goals. To remind you it’s time to build something new. It’s kind of like a hot poker to the ass. Since the Morrigan was said to own a magical cooking spit, I suppose we should not be surprised. She goads us onward, not just to battle, but to healing, to victory.
I think we need to remind ourselves that victory is just as much a vital function of The Morrigan as war. What does victory look like to you? What do you want to attain when you leave the battlefield? Because if you don’t have a goal in mind when you first set out, you really don’t have any business setting foot on that battlefield in the first place. Your goals might change along the way but you still need to have a grasp of what you are fighting for. If you don’t know what victory looks like, you’ll never achieve it. And if you don’t know how to sit, rest and heal between your battles you won’t be fit enough to take on another challenge. This is perhaps the hardest lesson, to seek healing. While The Morrigan has a habit of breaking us apart, its always with the goal to put the pieces back together again. We just have to place value on healing, instead of thinking we can function just fine with the jagged edges sticking out. Its kinds of like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. His limbs are hacked off and he proclaims “Tis but a flesh wound!”. He’s just going to keep going until he falls down, and achieve nothing. When we falls down the enemy just walks past. Children of The Morrigan are stubborn. We will put others needs ahead of our own and we forget that part of being a warrior is healing. Sitting down and letting our wounds knit back together. Victory is sometimes a quiet thing, a time when we give ourselves the things we need the most.
The Morrigan has given me many gifts. And I earned and fought for each one. It makes them no less precious, and I am no less grateful to her. At this point I try to go where she leads, so she doesn’t have to shake my life up too much to get me to see the things right in front of me, or to goad me into taking action. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I don’t regret having to go through some difficult shit to seek her blessings. Her blessings come on the edge of a blade, and you will probably cut yourself and bleed on that blade, but the victory she will hand you is worth it. The Morrigan may not always be kind, but she is fair. And she wants us to seek the victory she offers. Just don't trick yourself into thinking you wont have to earn it.