Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Feast for the Morrigan: Creating Tradition Where There is None

   It’s a new year, and Florida is experiencing quite the cold front.  Perhaps nothing by New England standards, but the chill in the air, the novelty of seeing my breath as puffy clouds of steam when we have gone hiking brings back memories of other cold January nights making offerings to the Morrigan shortly after the new secular year.  January 7th as a Feast Day to the Morrigan is undeniably modern.  As far as I can tell the date can be traced back to Edain McCoy, who mentioned it in one of her books.  There isn’t really an explanation as to why she picked that date.  Perhaps there was a reason, perhaps not.  In the end though I don’t think it actually matters.  What I do find interesting is how we establish traditions where there are none. Whether something has been lost to time or the deity one worships never had a sacred day or feast day connected to them, how do we go about making one? And should we?

   There are many days you can connect to the Great Queen and her mythology.  Samhain usually being the most important one I honor Her on, but certainly not the only one. But even with Samhain one must ask themselves when is the correct time to celebrate?  Oct 31st? Or Old Samhain, which thanks to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar moved the day the ancients would have celebrated to somewhere around Nov 12th .  As modern practitioners we like things to be on an infallible schedule, one we can always rely on, but that isn’t always the case.  Even Newgrange with the sun’s light hitting the inner chamber on the winter solstice can be misleading.  Because while we can figure out the exact day of the solstice via all the convenience of modern technology, the sun actually shines into the passage tomb for several days around the solstice.  That begs the questions, which day or days did the ancient Irish celebrate or hold sacred?  Which is the right day to honor? Well the answer is simple. There is no right answer. 

   Perhaps in the end all that matters is our intentions, our reverence for the Gods, that makes a holy day sacred.  In more ways then one the yearly three days of the Morrigan’s Call Retreat have become Feast Days in honor of her.  Our main focus for the entire weekend is The Morrigan, connecting to her, making offerings, coming together in her honor.  As we approach those days each year I feel her stirring, pacing, readying for those who gather.  And I think of how our ancestors gathered to honor the Gods at different times, traveling perhaps long distances to honor sacred days, not unlike what we are doing in today's world with different Pagan festivals and events.  They may not fall on a holiday of the Wheel of the Year but in many ways we have create our own new sacred times.  And I think no matter how long The Morrigan's Call event goes on those days will remain sacred to her.  The second weekend of June will always be a time I must make offerings, call to her in ritual, because now she expects it. We have given those days to her, perhaps as much as some of us have given her January 7th to her, making it sacred with offerings and intentions and the dedication of returning and continuing the practice year after year.   

   Perhaps we should create more modern Feast Days to our Gods, and in the case of the retreat perhaps some of us have already create some without realizing it.  A Feast Day or holy day doesn’t have to be ancient for you to make it valid.  So if your Gods don’t have holy days that are remembered or recognized create your own. And if someone else celebrates that day alongside you, great.  If not, that is ok too.  

   So even though I know its not ancient, tomorrow I will pour whiskey, speak prayers, and wander into the wild places of the area I now live and honor the Queen. And its fitting in a way that as far as the weather predictions go, tomorrow will be the last day of chilly weather in my tropical home (at least the 40 and below kind).  A mirror to other days where I walked through snow drifts to honor her. For whatever reason on those past Feast Days feeling it was important to make my offerings outside, feeling the cold and sting in the air. Letting it be a reminder that cold and struggles can be weathered.  That winter and difficult times yields eventually to spring.  And even here in Florida with mostly eternal summer, by my New England standards, there are reminders, days kissed with frost to remind me that her blessings come on the edge of a blade.