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Morrigan

20
Jun - 12

Notes from the whirlwind

Hello, friends. Since time for longer writing has been scarce, I realize you haven’t heard from me for some time. I have some musings in the works on Sovereignty, and the lessons of Gaul. For now, a few updates on what I’ve been up to and what’s coming.

During the last few quiet months, I’ve been busy with a new mandate from the Queen: Gathering Her priesthood. I have brought together a small group of folks who share the faculty of having been chosen by the Morrigan or dedicated to Her service. We are gathering, presently under the name Coru Cathubodua, and marshaling our skills and resources for Her service. For the last few months and through this summer we will be continuing to develop our ritual practice privately. Beginning this fall near Samhain, we will be coming forth to serve the community through public ritual and other offerings. You can look for a Samhain ritual to be offered in service to the Queen and the Dead, somewhere in the Bay Area; and we’ll plan on sharing something at next year’s PantheaCon in February as well.

Also this fall, I’ve been invited to teach and bring a Morrigan devotional ritual to the Western Gate Samhain Festival, in Kelowna, BC, Canada. I am excited to be joining Brendan Myers, Sarah Lawless and other fine practitioners at this gathering, including our own Amelia Hogan and other members of the Coru. Along the route, we’re looking at arranging stops in Portland and Seattle, where you may be able to catch a performance of Amelia‘s exquisite Celtic song, and meet or attend a workshop with us. For now, the only details set are the Western Gate dates of October 19-21 in Kelowna. I’ll post more details as we settle them.

On the personal level, I’ve been undergoing seismic changes in my private life, reflected in my devotional practice. I’ve taken up fighter training and am currently studying spear/glaive fighting in the SCA, along with Krav Maga. I’ve been very drawn to the Spear, as one of the Four Weapons of the Tuatha, and have long used it spiritually. It’s deeply fulfilling to be learning now how to wield it in the body. And not only for fighting: after my last devotional dance performance at Hexenfest, I received an inspiration to develop a devotional dance with the spear as well. So now both dance and combat movements with the spear are part of my daily practice. I expect to have something ready to perform by next year’s Hexenfest, if not earlier.

Oh, and I had the Morrigan’s Spear tattooed on my back. That’s been a long time coming.

Progress on the Morrigan statue continues slowly. My relocation away from Stone City interrupted the scheduled Devotional Days when we had planned to make it available for folks to assist with it, so as a consequence work on the statue has mainly been within the priesthood group. I hope to have another work session on that soon and new photos to post.

That’s all for today. May your days be full of honor and joy, and I’ll write more soon.

01
Mar - 12

The Battle Maiden dances

In my last post, I promised I’d write soon on devotional practices, and I hope to get to that soon. Today I just have a quick post to let you know about an upcoming event.

One of the ways that I channel the Morrigan is through devotional dance. (OK, so this does relate to devotional practice, after all.) I perform a kind of ecstatic devotional dance with a large set of wings, in what I’ve taken to calling my “Battle Maiden” dance. I call it that because the form of Her energy that comes through this dance is a Valkyrie-like epiphany, the Battle Maiden who comes in raven or vulture form, dancing over the spearheads, reveling in the blood and chaos of battle, and who gathers the souls of the slain heroes and carries them to the realms of the mighty. I’ve been developing this dance form in my work with Her for several years now, but opportunities to perform this dance come only infrequently. The photo here is from one of my first performances of it. Each time I perform the dance it changes, as it’s partly invocatory ritual and partly performing art.

I will be performing the newest version of this Battle Maiden dance piece at the upcoming Hexenfest, a festival of magick-inspired music and arts next Friday March 9th in Oakland. Hexenfest is a new event that we hope will grow to be an annual festival in support of Pagan and magickal arts and music. It’s being produced by the band Pandemonaeon, the leaders of which are dear friends of mine, powerful ritualists in their own right on top of being very inspiring musicians. Pandemonaeon plays at Hexenfest, along with another band, plus Gothic bellydance by the inimitable Anaar (from whom I’ve learned much about ritual dance), Jason Pitzl-Waters of the Wild Hunt as DJ, and a Tombo Studio fashion show.

Details, tickets, and VIP options are here. Even if you can’t make the show, you can donate the ticket price and get a downloadable audio recording of the live show, and you’ll be supporting a great thing too.

On the horizon much further out, I am also thrilled to say I’ve been invited to come lead a Morrigan devotional ritual at the 2013 Witches Ball in New Orleans. It is a huge honor to be invited, and even though that’s still a long way off, I just had to share because it’s damned exciting.

The Queen has lately been making it clear to me and some of my close kin in Her service, that She wants us to be traveling to other places, seeking power spots and sacred sites as places to do ritual with Her and feed Her presence and power in our world. This invitation supports that path perfectly and I’ll be looking for other opportunities to move about the land more and bring Her work and presence to more people.

That’s all for now. I hope to see many of you soon at Hexenfestand share my devotional performance with you.

02
Feb - 12

Meeting the Queen

Recently I’ve been seeing more emails from folks who have begun feeling the Morrigan’s call for the first time, asking me for guidance on how to integrate Her into their lives and spiritual practice. So I felt it was time for a few posts about that.

This is what I frequently hear: “I’m being haunted, and I find it both terrifying and compelling. What do I do?”

The Morrigan chooses people. When this happens to us, the experience is like being haunted by something. People often speak of Her coming to them in nightmares, or at least disturbing dreams. Her presence might be felt in waking life as a shadowy, spectral presence that seems to loom over us, and to follow our steps. She is, after all, the Phantom Queen. Her presence can also be channeled into our lives in unsettlingly personal ways: relationship dynamics may take on a charged quality; we may suddenly find ourselves fiercely intolerant of limitations we once accepted; we may find ourselves driven to take a stand on something. Her presence is characterized by compelling attention to certain things: the dead, and death itself; warfare and violence; heroism and honor, kinship and loyalty; and viscerally ecstatic experiences – blood, rage, sex, grief.

So the question that I get from people is, “What do I do?” The answer depends on what you want, and what you dare. Being Hers means a lifetime of being haunted, to at least some degree. It means those close to you being haunted to some degree as well. Those She claims may find their lives being reshaped, sometimes painfully, to make space for Her demands. It means you yourself will be reshaped, and this can also be quite terrifying. But here is what She offers in return: She makes a weapon of you. She delves into your soul and finds the strength, the fierce unconquerable will, the heroic heart you didn’t know you had. She offers you greatness. And She protects Her own, so Her claim also confers protection on both you and your kin. I could really go on for pages; perhaps that’s a post of its own some day.

People sometimes ask, “Why me?” I can’t presume to speak for Her reasons. But from my own observations, I can tell you this. If you think you aren’t cut out for Her service because you’re not tough or bad-ass enough, because you’re wounded, because you’re emotionally vulnerable, that may be precisely why She chose you. Experience has shown me that more often than not, it is those with raw hearts and poet’s souls that She chooses, rather than the stoic and macho among us. I think perhaps She finds a deep well of emotion provides a lot of raw material for shaping into Her creation, and a passionate heart is more readily sharpened to the fierce joy She cultivates in us. But there are many reasons. Some are chosen because of ancestry and blood. Some for reasons known only to Her and themselves. Some choose themselves and come to Her of their own volition.

You might have the option to decline the relationship if it does not feel right for you. If this is your choice, my very earnest advice is to be exceedingly respectful in your way of declining Her claim on you. The story of the great hero Cu Chulainn is a cautionary tale about what can happen: he not only refuses Her protection and guidance, he insults Her; and She brings about his downfall, giving him a hero’s death. So if you must refuse Her, do so with reverence and with gratitude for what’s been offered to you. And if you’ve ever asked Her for anything, if you’ve called Her name with feeling, I don’t recommend attempting to refuse Her claim on you. In Her world, you’ve already offered yourself to Her.

For those who choose to accept the claim and move into the relationship, a few thoughts on that question, “What do I do?”

The nightmares and the haunting are often Her way of gaining your attention. While being in Her service does mean always being a little haunted, the frightful quality that often comes with the initial contact will usually transform into a more intimate experience once you establish devotional practice. That devotional practice is a whole topic unto itself, so I will delve into that in a future post. For now I just want to close with a bit of advice for those experiencing the initial disturbances.

Your situation will be unique and personal, of course. Generally speaking, the first act you need to do to ease the disturbances and enter the relationship, is to acknowledge Her claim on you, and communicate your willingness to engage. Second, establish a regular devotional practice, with offerings and time in meditation listening to Her. This gives Her opportunities to communicate Her message to you, and begins to create intimacy. Over time this will tend to refocus Her presence into your devotional practice, thereby easing the nightmares and other uncontrolled manifestations. Third, it helps enormously to have a physical space or vessel for Her presence: a shrine, altar, or other space that you intentionally dedicate and invite Her to occupy. This helps to externalize Her presence so that She does not have to constantly occupy your dreams and waking mind in order to have a foothold in your life. It allows you some measure of control over when you engage with Her and when you choose to focus on other things.

Finally, a few resources, since people also ask me what they should read to acquaint themselves with Her. Here are my recommendations:

Source texts: The main source material for Her lore is a handful of Irish texts, most of which were written down in the medieval period by monks, recording a much older stream of oral literature. The texts in which She appears most significantly are the Lebor Gabala Eirenn, or Book of Invasions of Ireland; the First and Second Battles of Mag Tuiredh; and several texts of the Ulster cycle, most especially the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley. She also makes appearances in many other texts throughout the Irish literature.

Analytical/folkloric studies: The most comprehensive work on the Morrigan is War Goddess by Angelique Gulermovich Epstein, a folklore dissertation that surveys all Her appearances in medieval source texts, and uses them to analyze Her lore and role in the Irish mythological and cosmological system. Second, I recommend this 19th century essay The Ancient Irish Goddess of War by W. M. Hennessy.

Next time I’ll post some more detailed thoughts about devotional practice.

19
Jan - 12

Shieldmaiden’s Song

Inspired by the incoming storm and my devotions, here is a new poem I wrote this morning.
Shieldmaiden’s Song
Storm front walks the landscape,
Hooded dark in thunderhead, towering,
Massed weight of storm cascading from shoulders,
Sweeping down to cloak the shadowed land in sheets of rain,
Whispering mist trails behind.
In your wake the dead rise
In the mist the dead rise
Tree tips bare rake the sky
Sharp spear-points glinting wet in the dawn,
A forest of spears, shuddering in the spirit wind,
Ravening for battle,
Massing before you.
Over the spear-points the black wings thunder
Over the spear-points you are winging
Reveling in storm and terror,
Raven-folk gathering,
Tribes of your nation,
We come to you
We rise to you
Phantom Queen, your hollow eyes pour nightmare
And the deep and endless hunger of the grave.
Kind folk turn from you in awe,
Good folk, hoping never to hear you speak their names.
But I have heard you.
I have heard the haunting cry of your voice
And I cannot unhear it.
I have heard the cry of destiny,
I have heard the war drum thundering.
In the night beating
In my chest beating
And I will open for you
I will open for you the Gate
I will give you this life.
No other dawn is coming but this one that has come,
The day of calling,
The day in which we live.
And I in my small frame, breathing courage,
No great chieftain I, but all I am is given.
I will heed the war drum
I will heed your calling
O Queen of mine, terrible in your beauty,
Make of me an ardent spear
Lifted by the strong heart of a hero.
I am yours utterly
I am your weapon,
I am yours utterly
I am your shieldmaiden

In the blood light of dawn
Sky wet with cast droplets, singing blood,
Silence before thunder, harrowing,
Comes the storm Queen,
Comes the great Queen,
Morrigan cloaked in the red dawn
Destiny cloaked in the red dawn.

(c) Morpheus Ravenna 2012

16
Jan - 12

Gathering the tribes

Here I am, emerging from a long silence in this blog, to bring you some news. During the late fall and winter, I have been consumed with my devotional work with the Morrigan, and with bringing the vision I received from Her over the past year into being. I needed for a time to focus on articulating the vision and beginning to share it with my kin and community. Now I am feeling the need to share it a little more broadly.

What we are engaged in is beginning the formation of a resilience network based on strengthening ties of kinship and community, on developing self-reliance and survival skills, and skills for self defense: the Raven Kin. You can read the vision statement here: http://www.ravenkin.net/. Since this network is intended to be kinship and affinity-based, the details on meetings of the network are not posted publicly. If you’re drawn to this work based on what you read in the vision statement, you can contact me for more information. We will also be holding an open meetup at PantheaCon, coming up February 17-20 in San Jose, in the Stone City suite.

I’m also driven to continue sharing my devotional work with the Morrigan, to help others connect with and serve Her, and to bring Her priesthood and devotees together. Toward that end, I’m establishing regular dates for devotional practice and work on the shrine, open to any interested folks, here at Stone City. These devotional days will be a time for us to engage in shared worship, connect with others who are drawn to Her service, learn from one another, and help build Her shrine. Second Sunday every other month, beginning February 12. The full calendar of devotional days is up on my website, as well as the Stone City page.

I hope to be writing more regularly in this blog, and I look forward to seeing some of you soon.

22
Aug - 11

Answering the Call

This is a quick post to announce the upcoming intensive I will be offering this fall along with my beloved co-priestesses T. Thorn Coyle and Sharon Knight.

We are calling this intensive Answering the Call: Battle Goddesses in Times of Change. It represents the next stage of the work the three of us have been called to by our Gods. Those who have been reading this blog or were present with us at the Morrigan devotional last PantheaCon will be aware that my work with the Morrigan, as with many of you, has been taken “up a notch” in the past year or two. We three, as with many of you, have been hearing an urgent call to rise up, prepare ourselves for times of change, help our communities become strong and resilient.

Two years ago, during our collaboration on the Stone City Samhain rituals and intensive work with the Morrigan, we talked about the strong call we had each felt from both the Morrigan and Freyja in our devotional work. At that Samhain, the Battle Goddess workshops were conceived, which Thorn began offering last Samhain along with her partner Robert, and has continued throughout the year, providing short workshops for self-defense and empowerment training.

We came together again for the great Morrigan devotional at PantheaCon, and as I have written here, that ritual was like the unleashing of a dike – it was a call to battle, opening the door for a great force of inspiration and empowerment that many of us in Her service continue to feel.

This fall’s weekend intensive is the next stage in this work. We each feel a strong calling to help mobilize and prepare our people for the challenges of our times, through the guidance and urging of our devotional relationships with these Battle Goddesses. So this is the purpose for this gathering.

It will necessarily be smaller than the massing of the PantheaCon ritual – our focus here will be on in-depth work and practice with those who feel strongly called to join with us in this work. Attendance at this gathering will be limited to 30. It will be held at Stone City, where my work on the Morrigan statue and shrine are underway, and will provide an opportunity for participants to help with that project.

Initial details are up on a FaceBook event page, as well as on my website. Registration will be through Thorn’s Solar Cross organization.

I look forward to meeting you in Her service.

28
Jun - 11

Resistance

This blog has been quiet lately, in part because my work on the Morrigan statue project slowed this spring while other responsibilities came to the fore. The other reason is that I’ve been struggling with what to say. I started this blog to share my process with the Morrigan statue, and along with that my observations, thoughts, philosophies arising from my work as Her priestess.

Since PantheaCon, I’ve been in a queer state of ambivalence. To those of you who were present for the huge Morrigan devotional ritual we held at the Con, it might sound strange to hear that what I came away with was ambivalence. But it’s true.

The ritual work leading up to and in the ritual itself triggered something very big in my relationship with the Morrigan. I think most participants would agree that the ritual tapped into an enormous current of desire and something that I can only describe as urgency. There is a tide rising in our communities, a sense of readiness for a call that we all somehow know is coming, and that we yearn for. The ritual felt galvanizing, transformative. A massing of forces on the eve of some battle. People took oaths. Thresholds were crossed.

Afterwards, I came home continuing to think about where those thresholds are taking us now. What exactly DID we tap into? What now?

For what purpose are these forces massing?

I came home carrying the sword, the one upon which all those oaths had been sworn. It held a force and vibratory power in it that was clear to the senses of everyone who touched it, and impossible to ignore. For a few days, we had it on the altar in our bedroom (oops). My husband described it thus: “There is a sword, and I have a house around it.” Shortly afterward, I took it up to the Morrigan’s shrine site, planted it in the ground there with prayers to Her, and left it there for a night and a day to let the power of the oaths pour out of it and be earthed in Her shrine. While I was up there, I prayed and sat and listened and She, still overshadowing me in the aftermath of the big ritual, whispered to me. “Yes. You have brought me the sword. Soon, you will bring me warriors. The time is coming.”

That message left me shaken, and hence my ambivalence. I continue to feel a great urgency from Her, a sense of pressure as if someone were literally leaning against me, or the way you feel when someone is staring hard at the back of your head. I realized then that the big ritual was not the culmination of a process, but the start of one, and I have an obligation to Her to see it through. But I still do not fully understand what “it” is. The hints and whispers I receive from Her continue to point toward mobilizing our people, our communities, in preparation for something. Mobilization, preparation, massing and honing of forces. That’s what She keeps whispering. I remain ambivalent about this because whenever I talk about what it is I sense She wants from us, I begin to think I’m sounding delusional, militaristic, or at best naive. And because I can’t yet figure out how it is that I, without even any genuine fighting skills to my credit, am going to bring warriors to the Morrigan. Not alone, that’s for sure.

This has been my state for the past few months. Waiting, listening, looking for further insight. Talking to friends and companions. In the meantime, the signs keep coming. I’ve had messages from both friends and strangers that She has been speaking to others, appearing in their dreams, sending warnings, delivering the call to action. Meanwhile, I continue to watch the distress signals flickering on in the world around us.

Yesterday I spent a little time working on the statue, preparing Her for the next stage of the sculptural process. While I worked, I asked Her again for guidance, and I listened. The word RESISTANCE sounded in my head.

Today, this article caught my eye. And this one. Those are just examples – I’ve seen many of these signs, too many to enumerate. They remind me of that word, resistance.

Am I saying that I want to form a militia? I don’t think so. I think the forces of authoritarian control would have us hopelessly outgunned, and I think as soon as we limit our thinking about resistance to the level of guns, we have already lost. But I think we need something. We need resilient networks of community that are decentralized, that provide real, manifest support for their members – not just mental support, but survival skills and material necessities that will allow us the real-life autonomy from which to resist. We need these networks to be in place and vibrant before they become a survival necessity. And yes, I do think fighting skills are among those survival skills we need to cultivate. A person who has the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones, and the means and resources to live autonomously if needed, is a person who cannot as easily be cowed or seduced into toeing the line – or buying the line. It takes a warrior to resist, even if that resistance is not in the form of conventional armed resistance.

I still don’t really know where to begin, and I suppose that is why I’m writing this. Nervously, at that. I want to hear from you. Have you heard the Morrigan’s call? What are your Gods urging you toward? What do you sense we are being called upon to do?

In the meantime, my co-priestesses from the Morrigan ritual, T. Thorn Coyle, Sharon Knight, and I are planning to hold a weekend workshop intensive focused on this work, in November of this year. It’s a place to start. I’ll have details to post soon, I hope.

23
Feb - 11

Rising up

Then the Morrigan the daughter of Ernmas came, and she was strengthening the Tuatha De to fight the battle resolutely and fiercely. She then chanted the following poem:

“Kings arise to the battle! . . . “


Immediately afterwards the battle broke, and the Fomoire were driven to the sea.

from the Second Battle of Mag Tuired

On sunday night I had the privilege of working with a kickass team of ritualists to create the Morrigan devotional ritual at PantheaCon. I came away sore from pushing myself to the limits of my stamina, with a voice a little hoarse from screaming. And feeling gratitude for the courage of the many individuals who chose to join us in answering Her call.

In the dreamlike flashes of my memories of the ritual, a few images and sensations stand forth. I remember being profoundly overshadowed even before the invocation began. I remember being able to acutely feel the pounding of the myriad hearts as a sensation in my own body, something like the way a great pounding sound too deep to be audible is sensed as a massive vibration in one’s bones. I remember feeling the massing of armies in the movement of the many bodies round the space. I remember when the taking of oaths began, feeling Her devouring them as a starving creature might swallow meat, as though I could taste the life force contained in each one.

I saw the Hero’s Light shuddering round the faces and brows of some there who were moved by Her spirit, saw their souls rise up within them, answering the call.

This ritual represented a new threshold in my relationship with the Morrigan. The first decade of my devotion to Her was observed almost exclusively in intimate coven rituals or private practice. It has only been in the last five years or so that I began working as Her priestess in a broader public context, but until now the largest group in which I had channeled Her had been around 40 people at an open Samhain ritual. So to bring Her to an overflowing convention ballroom of 500 people was unprecedented for me. I will admit that I felt some hesitation about letting Her fully come through in the chaotic, zany environment of the convention. I did it in spite of that because I sensed a particular urgency, a tugging in Her presence during the recent months that said this needed to happen. As we went through the final planning and preparation for this ritual, I felt Her hungering for the big energy of the host. I sense that in these later days, there are few enough moments when human beings gather in the hundreds to chant Her name, let alone the thousands who perhaps once did.

I cannot help musing on the timing of this working. While we were massed in that ballroom raging and chanting, “RISE UP! RISE!” folk all across the Middle East and North Africa were, and still are, rising up to fight for their liberation. This is not to imply that our little ritual has any causal connection to the uprisings. I think rather what I am sensing is that the insistence with which the Morrigan has been pushing me to share my devotional work with Her beyond the sphere of private practice and into a broader public venue, is in some way connected to the urgency of the times in which we live. Perhaps She feels that the world needs Her especially now.

I have since found myself thinking on the taking of oaths – there is something very powerful about the act. An oath takes the continuous gradual path of the spiritual life and sets into it a gateway, a threshold separating the road ahead from all that has come before. We challenge ourselves to dare the threshold. We speak our oath in the presence of our Gods and our companions so that there can be no turning back; the gate closes on what has gone before. Once spoken, an oath cannot be undone. It binds us to our own will and to the future we have committed to. We now must rise up and find the power within ourselves to fulfill that oath.

The keeping of an oath grants strength. An oath is much like that thing known in Celtic lore as a geis, generally translated as ‘taboo’ or ‘prohibition’. A geis is an obligation which is laid on a person, to which they must adhere. The heroic stories teach us that the keeping of a geis grants power; that its protection may be so great as to make the hero undefeatable. To break a geis engenders loss of power and protection, weakness, downfall. The deaths of the great heroes are brought about through clever means of forcing them to break a geis and thus render them merely human, vulnerable to wounding and defeat. The hidden truth here is that, conversely, a geis intact renders one more than human, for it is a magickal bond with the Otherworld, and while it is kept, it wraps one in a mantle of Otherworldly power. And what is an oath but a geis taken under free will? In oath-taking, we rise to meet the destiny that is laid on us; and in return, as we keep the oath we rise up in greater strength and power.

So to those who took the oath: you have taken a geis from the Morrigan. Guard it well and your honorable name in the Otherworld will make you great in all the worlds. The strength of the kept oath will sustain you. In the words of Cáilte: “I am persuaded that these three things will sustain me in my life: the truth always maintained in my heart, strength of my arms for the honor of my deeds, and in always keeping my word.”

18
Jan - 11

Morrigan cloaked, and the cost in blood.

This weekend I started a new phase of the statue: building the cloak. Here is where I begin to depart from the pre-formed structure of the mannequin. I formed the cloak from sheets of metal lath, cut to size, wired on and formed to shape. Then began the long process of layering fiber cloth and resin on to the metal. I make this sound simple, maybe, but it’s tricky and awkward and took me most of a day just to get as far as laying on the fiber cloth.

I am inspired to see Her beginning to take shape. I can begin to see a slow convergence between the image in my mind and the object before me; maybe there is a chance that I’ll pull this off and manage to create an image that is potent enough to be a vessel for Her presence here.

S. tells me She looks like Lady Gaga now, between the shiny black material on the body giving it a fetish-suit look, and the white fibrous material on the cloak getting a bit feathery. I am amused by this. Also, determined that by the time I’m done, She will be distinguishable from Lady Gaga. My Queen, I give you my word.

The day was unseasonably warm for January and the hours slipped by me while I steadily wrestled the metal into shape onto the statue. It’s hard on the hands; the cut lath is very sharp along the edges like a comb of tiny razors. My hands are nicked and sliced; at one point I have to lean against the edge of the cloak to reach around both sides and wire the parts together. I feel a couple points of the cut lath start to sink in to the surface skin on the side of my neck. I smile a bit when a cut on my fingertip wells up with a few drops of blood that find their way on to the statue. She takes Her offering, and I am glad to give it.

The blood gets me thinking, and I find myself flashing on the quote from Dante that Michelangelo wrote on his sketch for the Pieta: “One does not think how much blood it costs.”

How much blood does it cost? Your life’s work – the destiny that pulls your heartbeat onward like the current of a river. The task that is before you. How much blood will it cost you to bring forth what is in you? Do we dare to find out?

Here is what the Morrigan told me, and what the heroes of my ancestors tell: It may cost everything. It may cost you your life. The battle that you have before you – whatever that is – the birth struggle of that world that can not come to be except through your unique effort – this will not be achieved without blood. The price of your destiny is your life. To achieve the greatness that is in you requires you to give yourself to that purpose, and this giving will transform you. There will be no turning back. This is how heroes are made; in the simple choice to give. Sacrifice: to make sacred. That which is given in dedication to a greater force is made sacred by the giving. And it does mean giving something up. There is only so much time in a life, so many heartbeats. Giving yourself to the pursuit of your great Work will cost you in opportunities to spend your life more frivolously. And it may cost you much more than that.

Is this why we often shy away from success, from the fullness of our capabilities? Do we sense intuitively that the pursuit of greatness requires the death of the small, safe creature we were accustomed to being? Are we not sure we are ready to spill that blood?

Perhaps, I thought. And then came Her next answer: It doesn’t matter. Because willing or no, death will come to you. There is nothing to fear when the end of the story is known. Your blood will be spilled one day and will flow back into the river that birthed you. The only question will be when, and whether you had enough time yet to pour that blood into something meaningful while it was still yours. Being small will not save you.

So this is the heroic ethos; this is what Cu Chulainn knew. That a life is best measured in meaning, not in length or comfort. ‘Little care I,’ said Cu Chulainn, ‘nor though I were but one day or one night in being, so long as after me the history of myself and doings may endure.’ And though he was younger than a warrior should be, and people did not think him ready, he took up arms on that day and went to seek his destiny. We have this choice: to wait for an easy moment, staying within the comfort of our ordinary life, and keep the illusion of safety. Or to make the sacrifice, the gift of our very life, to achieve the greatness that is within us.


I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.

Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let’s buy it.


-Jelaluddin Rumi

Morrigan statue with cloak structure. Not Lady Gaga.

18
Jan - 11

Morrigan ritual details for PantheaCon

What I’m doing at PantheaCon this year:
Call of the Battle Raven: A Morrigan Devotional
Sunday February 20, 2011 – 9:00 pm
Come lend your voice as we call the Morrigan, the great Celtic Goddess of death, battle, prophecy and Otherworldly power. In every heart She conjures the commitment of the warrior and the wisdom of the poet. She teaches us to find the steel within, unsheath our souls for the work that lies before us at this challenging moment in our history. In this ecstatic devotional ritual we will raise power to feed the Great Queen and offer our hearts that She may incite us to greatness.
With Sharon Knight and T. Thorn Coyle!

29
Aug - 10

Morrigan Statue, day one.

Today I started work on the Morrigan statue. This will be a life-size sculpture in fiberglass, metal, and metal filler. When She’s finished She will be installed at the shrine site that we have dedicated to the Morrigan here at Stone City, atop a cluster of five red-encrusted boulders on a lonely hilltop to the west of the Henge.
The vision for the statue is a life-size figure of the Great Queen, with arms outstretched, a spear in one hand and the other open as if speaking a prophecy. She wears a cloak that billows out to the sides and in front of Her. Her hair is loose and tumbling as if in the winds of war. Viewed from the back, Her hair forms the head of a great raven, whose wings spread out to either side forming the back side of the cloak. She’s naked under the cloak, with Pictish symbols drawn on Her skin. Her body is strong, muscular, and beautiful, yet you see the shadow of a skeleton emerging from the surface of Her skin.
That’s the vision – if I can pull it off. The sculpturing process is experimental for me, because I’ve done auto body work in the media that I’m using, but I’ve never tried using them to make a big statue. So I’m learning as I go. I began with a fiberglass mannequin and will build the sculpture out using that as a base. Today’s work was to fix the arms in the forward position and spread them into a wide stance. Next stage, attaching wire cloth to form the basis for the cloak and hair.
This is, of course, a devotional work for me. Part of my process when I connect with the Gods is to do devotional art as a way of opening myself up to Their power. As I find inspiration about how the art work should look and feel, I learn things about Them; the creative process brings out an experiential understanding of Their iconography, and the numinous meanings contained within Their imagery. This will be the third in a series of devotional works I have done for the Morrigan. I began with a small altar statue (the one designed by Paul Borda), which I bought in the unfinished version and hand painted, about 10 years ago. The second work was an oil painting, which I believe there’s an image of posted here, a multifaceted portrait. This statue will be the third work. I notice that they seem to be getting bigger every time… we’ll see what She asks of me next, if I manage to complete this statue as I’ve imagined it.
Me, hugging the mannequin as I try to adjust it.
The mannequin.
Showing the alterations I made to spread the arms in a wider stance.

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