This morning, as Friz and I made our way to the woods just before sunrise, I could smell the dampness in the air. It was coolish…our nights have had lows in the twenties this week. It seemed as I walked, that I was walking in slow motion. The trees were stark looking against the dark morning sky. You could smell the earth going dormant with every footstep. As I looked around me, I could see the toll that the below freezing temperatures had taken. Rose bushes and plants had that wilted and defeated look about them. I could tell that the Goddess was preparing for her winter’s death-sleep.
The crows have been more prominent lately. My partner told me the other day that he watched as a crow flew above him with a McDonald’s bag with two other crows on his tail. He asked me what the significance of this was. I was at a loss. I said, “He was hungry?” He was not amused. The sad thing is that the poor crow dropped the bag and the two hamburgers he managed to pilfer fell to the ground and the other two crows attacked them ferociously.
Although I follow the path of the Morrigan year-long, I know that in these months that the world grows darker that she is more prominent. The Morrigan is often seen as the goddess of death…but she is also the goddess of fertility. So as the earth goes into its own death-sleep, she is the one planting those seeds of rebirth as it sleeps. I have seen her do the same in my life. As one vision dies, she is busy planting that seed for new visions….and giving me strength for the battle. I have found that the more I work with her, the easier it is to allow her to control certain areas and for me to take myself out of the picture.
The thing that I keep in the forefront of my mind, is that the hero was never slain at the hands of the Morrigan…unless he refused to acknowledge her sovereignty. I have found that she fights alongside of me daily. The issues I face may sound trivial to some, but she is willing to take up her sword for and with me. She is willing to offer me wings. I have always said that we are all born with wings, but we let the world steal them. I remember a quote from the movie Maleficent:
I had wings once, and they were strong. They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered. Not even once.
We allow the circumstances and people that come against us to steal those wings. We then spend more time grieving over the loss than seeking out a way to fly again. The Morrigan is that way of soaring.
As Friz and I sat in the midst of the trees stripped bare of their foliage, I listened for the heartbeat of the universe around me. I was greeted by a crow caw…loud and coarse and crackled. I looked above me and I could see Mama Crow against the gray sky. There were three or four other crows with her…each cawing back and forth to each other. It reminded me of listening to my grandmother and her sisters gossiping when I was growing up. They would lean back and throw out their harsh, cracked belly laughs for everyone to hear.
I placed my crow skull on the ground in the middle of a circle of stones I had made. I pulled out my small cauldron and placed a charcoal disc inside. I burned it with my lighter until it was white hot and then I put some of the Morrigan incense I have on it. I light the red tealights I brought. At this point, I rubbed some of the Ave’s Flying Ointment that I had bought from Sarah Anne Lawless, on each temple. The scents of amber, dragon’s blood, juniper, rosemary and thyme encircle me. As my little blue chihuahua sleeps in my lap, I fall into an almost trance-like state…so many friends and family in so many battles right now. I begin to chant:
Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of change,
Strengthen me and those I cherish with the power to fight those battles that come against us head-on.
Goddess of fertility, birth in us new visions and plant the seeds for new magick.
Goddess of shapeshifting…help our spirits to transform into whatever we need to face our enemies.
Morrigan, Morrigan…Goddess of battle,
We stand ready to fight.
Circumstances, disease, ourselves.
We will emerge victorious!
A slight breeze begins to blow. I listen to the rhythm of the trees as they softly sway. They seem to sing to me as I wrap myself in the magick all around me. It is amazing the lessons we can learn from nature. The trees bend to the breeze rather than fight it. Nature doesn’t fear the cold that winter brings, it adapts to it. It takes that time to rest and regenerate. The trees whisper to me…”Learn our lessons…move when you need to. Stand strong when required. At the end of life is when you lie down and return to the earth.”
While my eyes are closed, I hear the sounds of nature around me….birds and breezes, leaves being rustled by small animals. I open my eyes and and the air around me chills me to the bone. I notice that Friz has edged closer to the candles and the cauldron but still manages to stay covered in my cloak. In that moment, I feel like if I leaped toward the sky that a pair of strong, powerful wings would burst forth from my body and I would soar high above the trees.
Mama Crow is still above me. I think I entertain her…but she has become accustomed to me. My heart is racing…my spirit yearns for its wings. Soon…very soon…I will fly beside Mama Crow.