Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Of Phantom Washer Women, Cattle Raids, and Crows

  I take a deep breath and look up at the crescent above.  It’s barely even twilight and she is already shining brightly in the autumn sky.  I take another breath.  I feel alive, I feel whole, I feel complete and utterly content.  Whenever I come back from festivals, especially one where I’ve done ritual work there is always this “energy high” that I wish I could make last forever.  There is so much buzzing through my mind it is difficult to put all my thoughts in order for this post, but I will try as best I can. 

  This past weekend I taught several workshops at Florida Pagan Gathering as well as hosted a ritual in honor of the Morrigan with a group of friends who were attending the event.  I met so many wonderful people and had so many wonderful conversations!  Also got to hear my new favorite Morrigan song, “Ruby” by Mama Gina! (There are so many Morrigan songs now it’s hard to pick a fav.  I’m still in love with yours too Jenna Green! Can’t wait till it’s out on the next CD) 

  As I drive home from the airport I see a mass of dark shapes in the air along with that moon.  In the distance I guess they may be sea gulls.  I’m driving past the large river that snakes it way through Hartford I can usually see gulls here looking for food. But soon I realize they are crows. No just a few, or a dozen, or two dozen, but a sky full of them.  And the words of the song I am listening to come back to me, “But the bravest of souls are the Morrigan’s tithe/Hers for the taking and hers to revive/Oh the rubies the Raven collects/The rubies in the Morrigan’s nest”.  It makes me think of another day, when another murder of crows, if I can even call it that, rattled something within me.  (You can read about that here: http://darkgoddessmusings.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-storm-of-crows.html)  But the crows flooding the sky tonight they feel content.  They circle around the highway as the sun sinks below the horizon, and I feel the embrace of the Morrigan filling me again, as it did in our ritual in FPG, and I feel blessed to do what little bit of Her work I can in this world.


   Then there is the ritual we did at FPG.  In ritual, especially when you are embodying or aspecting a deity so many of the details become fuzzing afterwards. So I often try to jot down some of my thoughts and feelings afterwards.  The ritual was so beautifully powerful, it left me with such an amazing feeling afterwards, and I’m riding that ritual high still.  So here is what I wrote afterwards, although it doesn’t do the work we did justice.   

  I feel feathery wings embrace me as I walk, a caress I feel in my soul and sense in my mind’s eye.  Something familiar steps forward in me.  I am still myself, and yet I am not.  I feel taller, I want to shout, I can not stand still.  As we walk to the stone, a scattering of large boulders piled together just within sight of the water, we look over to a see there are now cows in field adjacent to the ritual space.  And I have to laugh, because it just makes sense.  The Morrigan is always concerned with cattle in her myths, they were ultimate symbol of wealth to the Celts.  They are the symbolic wealth of the land and tribe, and it is the land we have come to honor.  To call upon the Morrigan as the Goddess of sovereignty, that force the Celts saw as springing from the land itself, and that force we need to learn to re-claim in ourselves today. 

  Myself and the other women who will be calling upon different faces of the Morrigan hold hands.  And I feel part of myself step back, and I become some odd mix of the Catha Badb, the Battle Crow, and myself.  Sometimes aspecting a deity can feel intense, but not today, as wild as I feel inside it is a familiar feeling.  A comfortable, embrace of an old friend.  The very first lines of this ritual I wrote was the invocation to Badb I will say very soon.  Words that I had to pull over on the side of the road to write down on my way home one day because suddenly she was there at the edge of my thoughts telling me she had something to say.    
   Next to me the woman who will embody the Washer at the Ford begins to whisper, but it’s not her voice I hear.  I can feel the moment she is gone and the Washer Woman has stepped in.  And when the Washer at the Ford speaks her prophesy, I know I am listening to the words of the Morrigan.

  I am quiet by nature, perhaps one of the many reasons I need the Morrigan.  But in this ritual I feel like I can’t shout loud enough.  It is not my quiet voice that is speaking.  We are calling, then shouting, the Morrigan’s name, we challenge those who have gathered and those who wish to make an oath to the Great Queen come forward.  They lay their hands on my sword and I soak up each oath, each promise, each kiss of the blade, and each heartfelt vow, each shed tear.  And in the back of my mind I feel Her accepting these words, accepting these oaths, drinking them in.  We make offerings to the Great Queen and the ritual is done.  I feel blessed, whole, complete, and thankful for kinship. 

      The voice of the Washer at the Ford came through strongly in our FPG ritual, and makes me think of my own personal ritual to the Morrigan a week prior.  This Samhain has been busy.  I’ve attended so many wonderful rituals and festivals over the course of the last month, along with doing my own private devotions to the Great Queen.

  I feel her so strongly on Samhain, she is standing there on the knife’s edge, at the liminal time between times.  While I go to other rituals for Samhain on the days leading up to it and after it, the night of Samhain itself I set aside for myself.  I need that time to connect with her in a personal way.   In my own ritual I called to a different face of the Morrigan as I called the four quarters.  In the east she is the Battle Crow, in the south she is fiery Macha who tempers our souls as a smith does a blade, in the north she is the lady of Sovereignty, and in the west she is the Washer Woman, the queen of phantoms.  I wasn’t terribly surprised that it was the Washer Woman who stepped forward so strongly in my personal ritual.  The Washer at the Ford had been whispering to me for weeks.  As I called to the west I could hear the sounds of the water as she washed the armor of the slain, as she washes our fears away.  She stood in the shadows just outside of sight.  Perhaps it was the ritual we had planned for FPG, which as we continues to plan was in the back of my mind at the time,  or maybe it’s has just that this was the face of the Morrigan I needed at that moment.   I could feel water rushing all around my bare feet, as if I stood in a river, ankle deep. I could see her in my mind’s eye, veiled, the water turning the deep red of rubies and wine as she moved her hands through the water.  Reminding us she’ll wash away our fears, our lies, and all that is unworthy of our truest selves.  I dip my hands in the water I have poured into the large bowl upon my altar.  I run my wet fingers across my face, down my body.  So many things to release, so many things to let go of.  I let them flow into the waters, and flow into those Other waters I feel swirling around me but can not see with my physical eyes.  I offer them up to the Phantom Queen, until I feel bare and cleansed, and I think there is no other way to approach the Morrigan.  No other way to stand before her, except baring yourself to bone.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Macha Lughnasadh Ritual

      For myself Lughnasadh is a time to honor Macha.  In Ireland Lughnasadh was celebrated with games of skill and horses races.  One of the events during Lughnasadh was known as "óenach" which is glossed as "a contention of horses" and would have included swimming and racing horses (O'Donovan, pg. 127-128). It can be speculated that these races may have been a way to showcase the best of the herd and whose stock would be the most sought after for sale during such harvest festivals.  When we look to the Morrigan’s mythology there is a pretty significant horse race that occurs at an unnamed assembly.  We can only speculate that Macha races the king’s horse during this festival, but given Lughnasadh’s association with horse racing it would make sense.      
   For this ritual the quarter calls are less about the elements so much as telling the story of Macha’s race.  If doing this as a group ritual you may wish to read a version of the story to those gathered or create your own retelling (or re-enactment even) of the story for those who may not be familiar with it. 
   It goes something like this.  Macha appears one day at the door of a widower, she becomes his wife and as a result his fields become fertile, his house is set in order, and Macha becomes pregnant with twins.  When her husband leave to attend a great fair she tells him not to speak or boast about her.  He agrees but of course breaks his word and boasts that his wife is faster then the king’s  finest horses.  The wrong people overhear this and the kings tells him to prove the boast.  Macha heavily pregnant is forced to race the king’s horses, her pleas of mercy, asking to wait until her children are born, go unheard.  Being no ordinary woman she wins the race, but falls down upon the finish line and gives birth to twins, before passing back into the Otherworlds.  With her final breath she cursed the men of Ulster to feel the pangs of a woman in child birth in the hour of their greatest need, a curse that plays out in other myths concerning Ulster.
   Both the story and Lughnasadh make me think about sacrifice, about what we must or are willing to let go of to become whole or to achieve our dreams.  The harvest is a sort of sacrifice.  The plant’s life is ended to create food for us.  A necessary ending to fuel other life.  Similarly Macha  reminds us that sometimes sacrifices must be made.  We must go through trials by fire in life to accomplish our goals, to learn and grow.    

You Will Need:
Grain and whiskey (or other offerings to Macha)
Offering bowl
Candle or statue to represent Macha

Cast circle saying:

                 As Macha marked the boundary of  Emain Macha
          so do I mark the boundaries between this world and the Otherworlds,
                              between the realm of flesh and spirit,
                       between this time and that place beyond time,
                         where myth, truth, and mystery become one.

As you go to each quarter take a pinch of the grain and scatter it in each quarter (or in an offering bowl at each quarter if you are inside)


                              Come Macha, come!
                            Faery, Goddess, Queen
                      From the faery mound you came
                        Macha with the red tresses
                         Hooded crow, mare mother,
                       Taking mortal flesh for a time


                            Come Macha, come!
                          Faery, Goddess, Queen
           To Crundchu, son of Agnoman you came
                 Bringing with you your blessings
           Fields ripe with grain, vines heavy with fruit
                     Womb swollen with new life


                           Come Macha, come!
                        Faery, Goddess, Queen
                             A boast fulfilled
                       A mother’s plea unheard
                 Across the king’s field you race,
               Hooves pounding upon the ground
                      Unstoppable, untamable


                               Come Macha, come!
                             Faery, Goddess, Queen
                      A babe wails, the victory is won
                  A curse with a dying breath is uttered
     Shucking off your mortal form you are the crow again
          You become Macha of the faery fens once more

   Return to the center of the circle.  If using a candle to represent Macha light it.  Pour the whiskey and grain into the offering dish or on the ground if you are outside, saying:

                                         Beloved Macha
                      Sleek mare, Faery woman, Bold Queen
             You teach us that there can be no life without death
                      With every harvest there is a sacrifice
                           No beginning without an ending
                                    Come, Macha come!
                                 Be at our side O Macha,
                          Let us know the right times to let go
               And when to stand firm in our conviction and deeds

   Sit comfortably.  Take three deep breathes and relax.  Think about what you must sacrifice to achieve your goals and dreams.  Ask Macha to help you release all that hinders your path and to help you accomplish your goals.  If you have any spellwork planned do so now.

   When you are ready go to the north/east/south/west saying:

                        Faery, Goddess, Queen
                 Depart in peace beloved Macha!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions of a Traveling Priestess

   In doing workshops and other events there tends to be a few questions that I am always asked.  They are all great questions and have led to some great conversations so I thought I would share them on the blog for those who haven’t seen me speak or gone to one of my workshops.  And if anyone else can think of any good questions feel free to ask here!

Morrigan and Morgan Le Fay are they the same?

   This is perhaps the most popular one.  This is my own opinion on the subject so if you feel differently there is nothing wrong with that!  Are they identical, one and the same- No.  Do I see a connection between the two- Yes.  When I work with the Irish Morrigan/Morrigu, I am working with the Morrigan.  When I work with Morgan Le Fay, I am working with Morgan Le Fay.  Their energies feel different to me.  But when we look to mythology I do see a connection, or perhaps the correct word would be evolution, between the two.  The etymology of their names are dramatically different, Morgan Le Fay comes to us from Welsh mythology and Morrigan from the Irish lore.  But like other gods like the Irish Lugh, who has a counter part in the Welsh lore as Lleu Llaw Gyffes, much of the ideas and deities that the Irish celebrated migrated to other regions.  I see many connections between the Welsh Modron and the Morrigan.  Like Lugh and Lleu they are not quite the same but the connection is still there.  Modron eventually evolved into Morgan Le Fay, both having the same husband and having many parallels within their stories. (I could write a whole blog about those connections so you can reference by book for more details)    For me the connection is there. I work with them separately but with that evolution in mind.  I take a similar approach with Lugh and Lleu, not the same but the connection is there.   

You compare the Morrigan to a lot of Goddesses in your book why?

   Part of the what I wanted to do with Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess: Invoking the Morrigan was to have everything you’d possibly want to know about the Morrigan in one place.  So that being said it is impossible to do that without going into all the goddesses that have been connected to (correctly or not) with the Morrigan.  Do I think they are interchangeable goddesses? No, absolutely not.  Goddesses like Modron, Aine, Nemain (who I consider to have been confused with Badb and be a separate deity) all have their own distinct energies.  They are connected to Morrigan, some in big ways and others in smaller ways, but they are not the same as the Morrigan. For example Lady Gregory tells us in her collection of Celtic lore that Aine was said to be the Morrigan herself.  There’s the connection, and it is worth exploring.  Whether you decide that connecting with Aine will further your study and worship of the Morrigan is up to you, but at very least it is important to note that there was a connection drawn between the two for whatever reason.  Same goes for Nemain who is only once mentioned along with Badb (one of the three goddesses that form the Morrigan) in the Cattle Raid of Cooley, and in my mind is a similar goddess who has come to be confused with Badb, and thus the Morrigan. When I first began searching for information about the Morrigan I came across these comparisons to other goddesses and I feel it is necessary for those working with Morrigan to explore theses connections and make their own decisions as to if they will be useful in the their own practices.           

Should we label the gods?  Why do you consider the Morrigan a Dark Goddess?

   When I think of the Morrigan I think of her just as the Morrigan.  Words like Mother come to mind- for she is my mother, and has become an inseparable part of me.  She is so many many things.  She embodies so many powerful lessons and guises.  It’s not hard to understand why she was seen as a shape-shifter, she doesn’t really like to be pinned down to one thing for very long.  But if I have to put a label on her Dark Goddess would be it.  Of course this all depends on what you consider “dark” to mean.  For me “dark” deities are gods that embody transformation, liminal deities, gods that deal with death, and are connected to the underworld.  Dark for me conjures up images of dark rich soil, fed by the decay of other life, yet nurtures the seed and new budding life.  It reminds me that I can never create without destroying.  These god challenge us, they lead us to transformation which is at its core a process of destruction to create anew.  They also embody the things we fear, which are usually the things we need to look at the most. 
   I don’t think that the Celts would have seen her as a dark goddess, they were closer and more at peace with the things she teaches, where we in modern times are not.  Who knows maybe in a hundred years Aphrodite will be a dark goddess to the pagans of the future.  The label of dark goddess is a starting point.  Just like saying Artemis is a moon goddess is just a starting point for her mysteries.  This of course brings up the idea of whether or not we should label the gods.  As humans we give things labels in an attempt to understand them, and wrap our heads around ideas and concepts.  It’s impossible to not try to categorize the gods, and that can be both a good and bad thing.  When we pigeon hole a deity and see only the label and fail to see what that deity is truly saying to us or embodies then it becomes a crutch and does not serve us spiritually.  It is something we have to remind ourselves not to do when working with any deity.  The Morrigan is a very well rounded figure, there is a lot to her personality and mysteries.  I call her a dark goddess based on my own definition of what a “dark” deity is, but she is far more than just that, just like any deity.         

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Badb’s Song

Badb’s Song

“Over his head is shrieking A lean hag, quickly hopping,
Over the points of their weapons and shields.
She is the grey-haired Morrigu."

   A chorus sings below me. Throaty cries ring out, shouts and the clashing of shield and sword.  The power of the fray spirals up on the air.  It caresses black feathers, I sore higher and higher, following the call of battle frenzy, and the smell of mingled blood and sweat to those who whisper, shout and scream my name.  Blood spills upon the ground, life ebbs and flows.  They sacrifice their lives so easily, so willingly, so wastefully.  Some to protect those they love, some for valor, ideals, others pettiness and greed.  I drink it all in, the sweet and the bitter.  I am all of it, the frenzy, the battle madness, the power behind what makes men stand defiant.   I make them remember some things are worth dying for.
   When all is done, when all is quiet my feet touch the ground.  Feathers become pale flesh, talons nimble feet.  I am a shadow upon the battlefield.  My fingers brush cold skin, weaving moonlight, unbinding spirit from husk.  Over shields and weapons I glide gathering the dead as spirits rise from ruined flesh like morning mist.  If not for I who would care for the dead?  What god has the stomach for it?  Who would guide spirits and shades to rest, who will wash the bloody armor clean and bring the soul to rebirth, if not for I?  Birth and death are both a bloody thing, but I was never one to turn my head away from an un-pretty truth.  
   A crooning sound escapes my lips, and I sing.  “Your tether to life I unbind, your fate I unwind,   so in my halls this night you will dine…..”  I sing, and sing, of life and death and all that is in between, and spiritsgather.   They will call me the spirit of war, the crow of battle, and they will fear me.  But I am the one who makes life sweeter by reminding you it will one day end.  I am the one who gives you courage when you stand upon the precipice.  I am a necessary darkness, a necessary truth.   

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Telesummit and Awakening the Warrior Spirit Meditation

I was very happy to be a part of the Embrace the Goddess Telesummit, and thought I would share the meditation that I offered as part of the presentation.  You can hear the entire presentation and the guided meditation here:  http://www.mcssl.com/app/?Clk=5026589 (after entering you email you will receive an a link to all the speakers presentations).

I also plan on recording some guided meditations so, so stay tuned for that!  

                               Awakening the Warrior Spirit

Take a deep breathe.  Allow your arms and legs to relax.  Take another deep cleansing breathe.  See your self surrounded by a brilliant white light, and know that you will be safe and protected on our journey.  
You find yourself walking on a grassy path.  It winds across the sun lit landscape.  Off in the distance you can see an earthen mound covered in rich green grass rise above the landscape.  There is something about this place that calls to you, although you don’t know why.  Somehow you feel that all you have experienced in your life, all the trials you have faced, had lead you to this path, and is leading you to that distant mound.
 You continue walking and the mound begins to grow larger. You notice high above you a crow is circling, almost as if it is watching your progress.
You continue onward, spiraling up and up to the top of the mound.  As you reach to top you see a lagre stone that rises up from the center of the mound.  As you approach the stone you feel waves of power radiating from it, as if it is connected and rooted to the center of the earth.  And you realize this is the Hill of Tara, and this is the stone of Fal before you, the place where Celtic kings drew power and became one with the goddess of the land.  It seems to call out to you.  You feel that if you just reached out your hand at touched this magickal stone that you would have the power to achieve anything you desired. 

You begin to reach out your hand, but just before you touch the stone the light begins to fade.  Dark shadows swirl and take shape around you.  Deep in the darkness voices begins to whisper.  They echo every doubt you have ever had, they whisper the things you fear.  You feel unable to move, crippled by the things you hear.
These are all the things that are holding you back in life, all the things that prevent you from being the being of strength that you truly are.  At first you do not recognize the voices, but soon you realize it’s your own voice whispering to you, it is your own face looking back at you from the darkness.  These are your own personal shadows, your inner demons.

 But there is another voice in the darkness.  It is faint, a tiny flame struggling to stay alight, but still there.  You feel it in the beating of your heart, and deep within the core of your very being.  It whispers a name, “Morrigan”  You say it aloud and the flame within grows stronger and the shadows back away.  Again you speak the name “Morrigan!”, the whispers of the shadows stop and falter.  A third time you say the name, “ Morrigan!” you shout it, and as you do a crow calls out above. 
You look up to see the crow fluttering down, and before it touches the ground it begins to transform, until a woman in regal amour stand before you, a feathered cloak across her shoulders, a sword in hand.  Look into her face.  What does she look like?  What color is her hair, her eyes?  The Morrigan is a shapeshifter she can be old or young, fierce or compassionate.  She shifts and changes as the situation demands.  Take a moment to see how she chooses to appear to you.  What face does the Morrigan wear? 

“I am no further away than the beating of your own heart”  She tells you, “  I am the fire that does not die, the bringer of victory, the warrior who will not yield to injustice.  And I am within you.”
“I shall walk beside you, through every hardship, you have only to call my name, and I will be with you.”
“But know this, it is you who must be my champion.  It is you who must fight the battles this lifetime has placed before you.”
She places a hand on either shoulder.  You close your eyes and you feel the power of the Morrigan flow through you.  The flame within ignites from a spark to a great flame.  The warrior spirit is alive and awake within you.

“You have  everything you need within you”  She says.  “Become the here, become the champion, become the warrior.  Claim your life.”  You open your eyes and the Morrigan is gone, but as you look down you see you wear her amour, and grasp her sword in your hand. 

Within you, you feel the strength and fire of a Goddess stirring within you.  The shadows begin to whisper, but this time you face them.  With the Morrigan’s sword you charge into the darkness.  You challenge your inner demons.  As each appears before you, you cut it down, until there is silence.  The battle is won. 
The darkness dissolves and you are once again standing on the hill of Tara before the stone of Fal.  This time you reach out and touch the smooth surface of the stone.  And as you do you whisper an oath, as the kings and queens of old did.  An oath to the Goddess.  Perhaps it’s a promise to reclaim whatever part of your life you have relinquished power in.  To take on whatever challenge you have been too afraid to conquer, to claim your inner strength.  As you speak your oath know you have become the Morrigan’s champion, and she will always walk at your side.

Now take a deep breathe.  Come back to your body.  Take another deep breathe, and move your arms, stretch your legs.  Fully come back to your waking self.    

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Morrigan Spring Equinox Ritual

   There are several sources of inspirations for this ritual.  Firstly I was asked to put together a ritual involving the Morrigan for the Spring Equinox.  It is one of those seasonal rituals I decided not to put into Celtic Lore and Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess, and is often requested.  Then not long after I was asked to lead a ritual to claim sovereignty.  The ritual wasn’t at first intended to have anything to do with the Equinox but the timing of the event worked out that the two themes became intertwined.

    For myself the Spring Equinox is both a time of balance and renewal.  It’s that time of perfect balance between night and day, when we are just a step away from spring and the sweetness of summer to come.  In my own practices it is also a time to encourage the building energy of growth.  A time to offer a blessing to the land, as it is the source of our own sustenance.  In the past I would leave bird seed and other offering to help the wild life get through that last bit of winter.  In Connecticut, as I am reminded of with yesterday’s snow storm, there is still often snow on the ground, despite the scent of spring is in the air.  Spring isn’t always so apparent this time of year, at least not where I live.  It needs a bit of a helping hand.  This fit nicely with the concept of sovereignty.  In Celtic myth kings gained sovereignty by ritually wedding the goddess of the land.  Essentially the two became one and the same.  What happens to one befalls the other.  When Nuada the king of the Tuatha Danann’s hand is cut off in battle he is no longer allowed to be king, for his blemish will be translated to the land. 

   So this ritual is both about connecting to the land that gives us life and taking up our own inner sovereignty.  To align with our truest Will and take up power within our lives.   Since the Morrigan Devotional Ritual at PantheaCon the four treasures of the Tuatha Danann have been on my mind.  And I can think of no better way to connect both to the land and our own sovereignty than working with the  Lia Fái, the stone of destiny that cries out for the true sovereign.  

Morrigan Spring Equinox Ritual

You Will Need:

A large stone or rock (preferably from your own property)

A sword (or athame)

A spear head

A bowl or cauldron

A torc/crown (or whatever symbol you wish to use to represent self-sovereignty)

A cup of mead (with wine or apple juice as a substitute)


   If you do not have one of the items to represent one of the four treasures a picture of a sword/spear etc can be used in its place. 

   Cast the circle or create sacred space, in whatever way you prefer.  When you are ready stand in the center of the circle, say:


From the four cities the Tuatha Danann learned the art of magick

And came upon perfect wisdom,

With them they brought a sword, a stone,

a cauldron of worth, and a spear for the making of heroes.(1)

Hold up the sword towards the east, then place it on the eastern quarter of the altar saying:


Here is the bright sword of Nuada,

No one ever escaped the hand that held it


Hold up the spear head towards the south, then place it on the southern quarter of the altar saying:

Here is the spear of Lugh,

No battle was ever won against it

Hold up the cauldron towards the west, then place it on the western quarter of the altar saying::

Here is the cauldron of the Dagda,

No host ever left it unsatisfied

Hold up the stone towards the north, then place it on the center of the altar (as you will be working primarily with this item) saying:

Here is the Lia Fái of the Morrigan

It never spoke save when a king or queen was upon it

  Stand with your hands upraised.  If working in a group choose who will invoke the Morrigan, while the rest of the group chants Ard banríon which is modern Gaelic for high or great queen (thanks Órfhlaith for that!.  If you are doing a solitary ritual you may wish to spend a few minutes chanting after to saying the following invocation: 


Who is the living land

Who is the heart of the tribe

Who dwells in the center of self

The torc of power, the honey mead cup you offer us

Great Queen come now to us!
When you are ready stand before the altar, saying:

We stand at the threshold, on the cusp of a new cycle

Where dark gives way to light

Where winter gives way to spring

The land is restored, what had been barren will produce fruit

What was dead shall be reborn anew

At this time of balance we come to renew ourselves

To draw forth strength from the land,

And to lend our strength to it in turn

   Hold your hands over the stone.  Close your eyes and take a deep breathe.  See a light deep within the land beneath your feet.  A light that radiates from the center of the planet, a fire that fills all living things, including yourself.  See this light rising up, until it shines through the stone on the altar, filling it.  When you are ready say: 

Beneath the peaceful heavens lies the land.

Resting beneath the bowl of the bright sky.

The land lies, itself a dish, a cup of honeyed strength, there, for the taking,

Offering strength to each

There it lies, the splendor of the land.

The land is like a mead worth the brewing, worth the drinking.

It stores for us the gifts of summer even in winter.

It protects and armors us, a spear upon a shield (2)
Here is the strong place, at the center of our being, at the center of the land

Here is the Lia Fái

Here is the bestowing of sovereignty

May it be blessed nine times eternal!

  Place the torc (or whatever you are using as a symbol of sovereignty) on the stone.  If working in a group, place each participants item around the stone or have the items touching the stone in some way. 

   Take the cup and hold it above the altar.  See the Morrigan filling it with her strength, imbuing it with the gift of sovereignty.  When you are ready say:

I drink of the honey mead cup

I shed the husk of winter

A new balance is struck within and without

I drink of the strength of kings and queens

I drink deep of the Morrigu

   Put the torc on, saying:


I take up the mantle of sovereignty

I embrace and am aligned with my truest Will


 Place your hand on the rock.  (If working in a group have participants place a hand on the ground.)


As it is with the king so it is with the land

As is with the queen so it is with the land

As I have been blessed, so I send me blessings out into the world

May my work be to my benefit and others!


  Spend a few moments sending healing loving energy into the land that sustains us and into the world that we live in. 

  Thank the Morrigan and close the circle in whatever manner you wish.  Leave an offering outside to both the Morrigan and the land.  Bird seed or some other offering that would benefit the land around you would be appropriate.  

(1) Based on text from the Yellow Book of Lecan, although the spear was originally described as for the killing of great champions
(2) Parts of this chant is taken from one of the poems spoke my the Morrigan.  Poem B: Section 166, Lines 819  as translated by Chris Thompson which can be found here: 827http://storyarchaeology.com/2013/01/27/poems-of-the-morrigan/Interpretation


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Storm of Crows....

   A couple of years ago when Morrigu’s Daughters was still fairly new I had a vivid dream, the kind of dream you wake from and aren’t really sure which world is the reality and which the dream.  The part that stuck with me the most was seeing the sky full of ravens, so many it blotted out everything else except this storm of black feathers.  In the dream I was one of the ravens, and when I woke up my fiancé said I sat strait up and complained to him that my wings were gone.  Thankfully he’s the kind of guy who shrugs the weird things I say off as me being me.  I came across the post I wrote about it a few days ago on the Morrigu’s Daughters website, while looking for something else, and its been back on my mind ever since.  At the time I took it to mean in part that we were gathering her “ravens” together, as the site had been growing a lot at the time.  And I thought it was ironic that many of us used “raven” in some form or another as part of our screen names for the site.  We really were, and are, her own little flock of ravens.  Here is what I wrote at the time:

“I hold a black feather in my hand. As I move I brush the soft tip of the  feather along the ground, as if casting a circle. I move in an arch tracing a pattern on the ground, but it is not a circle as I first though, instead I spiral closer and closer to an unseen center, tracing the pattern of a labyrinth or a spiral on the earth. Where the feather touches a black line appears, like black ash on the pale ground, or ink on ivory skin. The symbol is important, and all my concentration goes into etching it. As I move closer and closer to the center I begin to change. I no longer hold the feather, it is part of my arm and soon my arms become black wings, and I am some strange combination of bird and woman. Reaching the center of the spiral I feel like I have reached the center of my being, or perhaps the center of the universe. There is a stillness here, and I feel complete, whole. I raise my hands/wings upward and the transformation is complete. I lift into the sky as a raven. I fly for a long, long time, simply enjoying the feeling of freedom flying brings. Then there is someone below me. I circle around a clearing.  I feel drawn to glide closer and closer.  A woman stands in the clearing, her hand upraised stirring the air as if it were a cauldron. Her hand is human, but along it are black feathers, sprouting from her arm down to her back. She  is naked save for a black cloak with a beak like hood pulled down over her head, below it I see her lips tilt upwards in a secret smile. She is a strange combination of bird, woman and Goddess and I know immediately it is the Morrigan. She has never appeared in this way before.  She is usually either a woman or a crow/raven, or at times transformed from one to the other. Regardless I simply know it is Her. Around me I notice other dark shapes fill the sky, other black birds circle her, although I know on some level that they are no more birds than I am, despite the shape I wear. There are so very many.  The air is thick with them.  The sky is filled with storm a cloud of ravens, and it is these clouds she stirs with her outstretched hand. I fly down to the woman and when I touch the ground I am myself again. A silent understanding passes between us and I see in my mind’s eye the birds who circle over head, I see them spread out across the world, I see them filled with the Morrigan’s light and I see them doing amazing things, spreading a light within them to others. In my mind’s eye it looks like a soft blue light, pulsing like a brilliant aura around the Morrigan, and up to the birds, her children, then out to the world. She smiles at me. It’s a wicked kind of smile. Not sinister or bad in any way, but full of mystery, guile and secrets.  Only the Morrigan can smile that way. She kisses me on the brow and I wake up.”

   Today I had a very corvid filled day.  This morning three crows flew by the front of the building I work in.  The front of the building is mostly glass and they were very close, creating this streak of black whooshing by, accompanied by this chorus of loud hoarse cawing.  It scared the heck out of someone walking into the building, which made me laugh.  I felt the Morrigan’s presence the whole day, but she wasn’t quite done getting my attention.  As I drove home I drove past the town park.  Its just a little strip of green with a playground along Candlewood lake.  I drive past it everyday.  I might see the occasional crow there, or even a raven once in a while, but nothing like the gathering that greeted me as I drove by today.  Every tree was filled with crows.  Every single one.  They were everywhere I looked, and the sound of them all calling out was all I could hear.  I literally stopped the car and parked, and just watched them in awe.  The sound of so many corvid voices, all calling out at once echoed through me. The dream came flooding back to me.  A gathering of crows, a flock, a herd, a mob, an army of the Morrigan’s children gathered together. 
   I walked around the park for a little bit, sat on one of the benches by the lake and watched them.  I quietly chanted “Morrigu, Morrigu, Morrigu…..” over and over to myself.  It was a cold day, with some snow still on the ground, and there was no one in the park save myself and crows.  I thought of all the people who had gathered together to honor Her at the PantheaCon ritual I had attended, I thought of other rituals where Her children have gathered together, I thought of all the sisters on Morrigu’s Daughters, I thought of all the people who have emailed me or talked with me about being drawn to her, I thought of how she is calling her children together.      
  In my mind I tell Her  “Tell me what to do, and I will do it.’’  The reply comes immediately.  “Be a Power.”  The same message I received from Dagda (see my previous post for more on this).  The Morrigan is gathering her Tribe, She is calling to us more than ever before.  She is calling her heroes, her champions.   An army of ravens.  There is work to be done. 
  But what is the work?  What is she rallying us to?  I think in lettering her into our hearts, in letting her transform us, we in turn begin to transform the world around us.  The world certainly needs it.  And all who stands before the Morrigan leave transformed.   

* Above artwork by Larry Vienneau