Caressing the Feathers of the Morrigan

The Morrigan is a Celtic Goddess who has been known as the Great Queen, Specter Queen, Supreme War Goddess and Queen of Phantoms. She is also known as Great Mother, MoonGoddess, Great White Goddess, Queen of the Fae, Patroness of Priestesses and Witches, and The Goddess of Magick. She is frequently depicted in triple form, a goddess in three parts, a shape shifter, and a warrior. Yet, the Morrigan herself seldom actually killed; rather, she used her power and magick to stir up the warriors she favored and to weaken those she wanted to lose.

Basically, she is a goddess of battle, strife and sovereignty. Like all the Celtic goddesses, she is not totally evil or good. She is a balance. The Morrigan often steps in to wage justifiable war. She is called upon by warriors, and if she agrees with their battle and motives, she aids them.

The Celts lived their lives based on the changes in nature. They saw the fields grow cold and empty, becoming dead in winter, and then watched as the earth reawakened and the fields came to life in the spring. They knew death was necessary for rebirth and worshipped the Morrigan as the one who brought death so there could be rebirth. She was the one who led the armies, the one who brought death. She was also the one who brought life in her role as a fertility goddess; She was a bringer of life, not always the messenger of death that she had been painted to be.

She is not evil, but she is a dark goddess. By bringing death, she encourages and paves the way for new life. The death that she brings causes the rebirth of that which was buried and gone. Look at the flowers of summer. Once the blooms and greenery die, it is time for the bulb or seed to soak in nourishment and grow stronger. Her hand touches all aspects of life.

Her physical form has been that of raven, hawk, wolf, vulture or jackal. All of these at first thought are predators, but if looked at deeper, they all feast on the dead and decaying. It is in the death of weakness that strength and newness emerge.

As I walked side by side this morning with that little blue chihuahua, I could feel a slight briskness to the air…..much cooler than those muggy summer mornings that had just been here weeks earlier. I had gotten used to the feeling of being covered by a heavy damp blanket as I walked to the pond through the Georgia humidity. This morning was different. Friz seemed to have a bit more spring in his step…even a little more playful, if you will. I was much the same. I felt like I could breathe in the cooler morning temperatures.

I knew this time was coming. I watched the signs for weeks now. The trees, even though the temperature hadn’t varied that much, had already started to drop leaves. More formations of birds were flying overhead..I laughed at the kids playing outside last week when they screamed as a flock of Canadian geese flew in toward them at a distance a little too close for their comfort. Of course, now all the grocery stores around here have pumpkins and gourds for sale. All the halloween decorations and costumes have been displayed…..and all that candy.

I am probably the only gay man that can’t wait for the hot, stiff air of summer to disappear and the cool relaxing chill of autumn to take its place. I am old and fat now….why would I want to run around shirtless. I look forward to the anticipation of witches flying across the moon and cauldrons bubbling over the fireplace flame with a green-eyed black cat snoring softly in front of it. Yeah…yeah…I know it’s a stereotype, but I watched alot of “Bewitched” as a child.

It seems strange to say that I have become closer to The Morrigan over the course of this year. My family has definitely seen its share of death this year. I have never been one to raise my fist and curse the Lord and Lady for another turn of the wheel. The summerlands has become a friend to me and my family. We have guided both my aunt and my grandma to the doorway and stepped back and smiled and waved as they finished the journey. The Morrigan has not been the deliverer of death, but instead she has been a guide. She shows us each step of the way those things that are required as loved ones have walked purposefully toward the summerlands.

I have become accustomed to hearing mama crow caw at me from her perch on top of the phone pole across the parking lot. It seems that it comes when I need to hear it most. I listen to her and of course I answer back. I hear her most when change is on the horizon. It reminds me again of my grandma. She would raise her bony finger into the air, laugh out loud and say, “The wind is dancin’ with another partner. Change is a-comin.'”

Change has visited many times this year. Over the past months, I feel as though I am the one “dancin’ with another partner.” Some things have left me spinning….trying hard to regain my balance. Other things have left me feeling as though I have been cuffed harshly under the chin or completely knocked backward. I have had to pick myself up too many times.

With each change comes a new battle. The Morrigan has taught me how to fight these battles. I see her favor as I draw my sword. I feel the stamina she has built within me storming its way to the frontlines. The biggest battle this year has been waged very recently. With a health scare a few weeks ago, I have had to readjust everything about my life. I have had to change the way I eat, my activity level, even the way I respond to stress. But again….I will emerge the victor. I have no choice. I will not be defeated.

I settled by oak this morning at the pond. I sat and watched the ripples of the water once again. My little pond….fighting its own battle with the city around it. It struggles to hold onto the bit of wildness that it has. It is tucked back behind all the cement and brick and traffic. It holds its own where it is. It will allow nothing to overtake it.

Friz seems to sense the thoughts that are galloping through my brain. He reaches up and licks the tip of my nose. I start to wonder where black and white cat is…..he is normally on his way to the tree by this time in our visit. I don’t see him. A friend of mine says that he is a Fae cat. Maybe he is running errands for the fae. I lie back against the tree and before I know it I have dozed off. Strange dreams of herbs and stones get tangled in amongst the thoughts streaming through. When I wake up, black and white cat is settled in beside Friz. I close my eyes one more time and breathe in deeply. I can see the shimmer of The Morrigan’s glossy black feathers in my minds eye.

During the dark months ahead, I look to The Morrigan for her guidance. Which battles are worth the fight and which do I leave for others? What is cut down by the sword and what is left standing? The pond has become that neutral ground where all is safe. I’ll rest here for now.

Blessed Be!