The Call of the Morrigan

Last night I was finishing a speculative post on the nature of the Universe and how that provides a framework for magic. Before I could wrap it up, I felt a tap on my shoulder from a goddess.

Morrigan: “You need to write about me next.”

John: “I will, just as soon as I finish this post.”

Morrigan: “And what about the post after that?”

John: “Well, this is going to be a series. I can’t present my ideas about how and why magic works in one shot.”

Morrigan: “You know, I’m rather busy. I have some stuff I need you to write and I can’t wait a week or two for you to clear your calendar.”

John: briefly contemplates the consequences of annoying a battle goddess. “This can wait, I’ll write about you next.”

OK, so maybe this exchange didn’t happen exactly like that, but the message was just as clear. I’ve been talking with Morrigan and listening to her on and off for the past two years. I am not formally dedicated to her (I am dedicated to Cernunnos and Danu), but I’ve had the need to call on her a time or two. She has always answered, and she’s always asked for something in return. I try not to disappoint her.

In the time I’ve been working with her one thing has become very clear: Morrigan is collecting priestesses. A few priests too, but mainly priestesses.

I first saw this from author and teacher Thorn Coyle. Then I saw it from Morpheus Ravenna, who was featured in the documentary American Mystic. Since then I’ve seen person after person talking about how Morrigan has called them, including one young priestess I had the privilege of helping initiate.

The ancient Celts kept an oral tradition and their stories were not written down until the Christian era. What we know about Morrigan directly from our ancestors is brief and uncertain. I’m currently reading The Guises of the Morrigan by David Rankine and Sorita D’Este, an exhaustive analysis of stories about Morrigan. While she was sometimes seen as a triple goddess (her aspects are Nemain, Badb and Macha), Rankine and D’Este also see aspects of her in many other goddesses and spirits. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I’ll reserve judgment until I finish the book. More importantly, I absolutely agree with their suggestion that Morrigan was a very important goddess to our Celtic ancestors and I find it totally appropriate she is calling the descendants (of both blood and spirit) of those Celts today.

In our time Morrigan generally has three roles. She is the Goddess of Sovereignty, a representation of the land and its fertility. She gives the right to rule, and she withdraws that right if the ruler is unjust or ineffective. She is a battle goddess supporting those who fight for her causes, especially the protection and empowerment of women. And she is a psychopomp, guiding the souls of the dead to the Otherworld, especially those who die in combat.

If I thought deities were only metaphors, I’d say young women are seeing a difficult, dangerous world and are identifying with a mythical figure who is a strong and cunning fighter and are becoming stronger through that identification. But I’m a hard polytheist – I see goddesses and gods as real, distinct beings. Morrigan is far more than a metaphor. She is an actor in our lives and she is calling priestesses and priests for a reason. She hasn’t shared that reason with me, but I can make some reasonable speculations.

I preached against apocalyptic prophecies last week, but you don’t need special revelation to understand we live in challenging times. This country’s economy went into a great recession four years ago and it’s yet to recover. Millions of people can’t find work while a few have rigged the system to make themselves incredibly rich. The Western economy is based on the the myth of progress and the model of perpetual growth, myths and models that are ultimately unsustainable and seem to have reached their limits.

More importantly, we appear to have passed the tipping point on climate change. Our climate is becoming hotter, dryer and prone to greater extremes. We missed the opportunity to prevent it – now we’re going to have to figure out how to deal with it, and how to prevent a human calamity as rainfall patterns and growing seasons change and as sea levels begin their inevitable rise.

It is not surprising to find a battle goddess in the middle of the greatest social, political, and economic conflict of our time. My belief – my hope – is that Morrigan is preparing a group of priestesses and priests to support a movement of new ways of living and being, ways that recognize Western materialistic culture is not satisfying the people living in it and is killing other people and other creatures. These new ways will recognize the Earth as sacred and seek to live in harmony with it, not to dominate it.

We need priestesses and priests who can scream “enough!” and who can protect and promote and nurture new ideas and new ways of living and being until they reach critical mass.

I hope and pray I’m right and Morrigan is calling priestesses and priests to serve a new and growing Community of the Earth.

Because if I’m wrong, then she’s preparing an army of Ravens to clean up the mess we’re going to make in clinging to a myth and a lifestyle that can’t be supported very much longer.

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About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.

  • http://sageandstarshine.wordpress.com/ sageandstarshine

    Beautiful, John. I think it's too early for me to declare myself a priest/ess of the Morrígan – though I have a sneaking suspicion She snatched me up before I knew what was going on or had a chance to protest – but I definitely agree that Her influence is growing and being felt all over the Pagan community.

    An army of Ravens… I sincerely hope not. Though if there's Anyone suited for that sort of work, I would look no further than the Morrígan, and other death/battle/sovereignty goddesses.

  • Raven Blackstar

    I second the Sage's post. Her influence is growing and felt, indeed. Yet, I also feel fear within many for this rather unknown/misunderstood goddess. Perhaps another duty of her chosen is merely to speak about her so she may be known for who she really is.

    "An army of Ravens" is probably one of the best ways to describe the priest(esse)s she's gathering, how scary it may sound ^^; From personal experience, Raven can be a scary spirit…

    - As Raven, guides to the Underworld. How many people have forgotten to listen to the silence, their inner voice, and supress their fears rather than to face them? Many talk big, but few try to do.
    - To fight: she's a battle goddess. I'd be surprised and disappointed if she just sat by and watched. As in often used symbolism: just the presence of Ravens circling the battlefield alone is enough to inspire fear (and thus courage too), knowing things will change.
    - To eat dead flesh, so new flesh has room to grow. Or as you say: to clean up the mess that will be left behind.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01671537285993199353 Morpheus Ravenna

    Great post, John. I just discovered your blog and read this a little belatedly.

    Yes, the Queen is gathering priestesses and priests. It's one of the works She tasked me with after the 2011 ritual we wrote about in the links above. I know I've heard from many who have been called by Her and I suspect there must be other priesthood groups forming in response to Her call.

    I can't claim to know the entire picture of what She foresees and intends to do with us. At this point, what I do see is that She is gathering Her forces and those who are loyal to Her, and She has asked us to draw people to Her service. I do feel this is strongly tied to developments in our world, to the erosion of human sovereignty in an increasingly militarized and corporate controlled state, to the economic enslavement of free peoples by wealthy elites, and to the misuse of military power.

    There's a singular message that I've heard again and again, from virtually everyone who has contacted me. This is what She keeps telling us: "Storm is coming. Get your forces ready."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14050378104332839753 Raven Cat

    I have felt the Morrigan's call and recently dedicated myself to her as priestess. She has been in my dreams and meditations for a while now. My Sister and I here have heard her say "Get ready the storm is coming!" Very interesting to read another post stating the same. I feel her constantly with me and her presence strengthening. She even showed us how to manipulate energy to defend ourselves. She has indicated to us that more priestesses will be coming our way shortly and that a coven here will be established. We have also been told that she needs us to talk about her. Her image has been so misunderstood. I'm delighted to find this group. It will be a pleasure to share with others in service to the Queen!

  • http://myownashram.com/ myownashram.com

    I only just saw this post. It is uncanny the amount of posts I'm reading lately with this theme.

    I am called to Kali, but feel that The Morrigan is a kindred spirit. I do feel that there is a call to higher integrity, honed skills and steel, more advanced living. I'm not exactly certain what this means for my particular life at this point. It's not even articulated enough to blog about. But it's there, it's fomenting…. *She* is fomenting.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00856271110772510137 Robbie ChaosGrave

    Wow very intresting read, and not just the article itself but the comments too! Many have felt the rise of some "Spiritual war" coming. I have no clue what it would be about, or even if it's really a war per se. All I know is that it is a little scary to think about, but we just got to stay prepared for anything.

  • Ilan of the Woods

    Hi,

    I just stumbled on this post, while looking for devotional prayers to The Morrigan, for inspiration, A friend of mine who is a priestess of The Morrigan, called me a few days ago, asking to meet with me. She said she had some unfinished business that she didn’t really want to do.
    She told me that The Morrigan was cross with me – and her a bit – for a failure of my side to contact with her. In a way, it’s kind of a compliment – a mortal who can ignore such a powerful goddess?
    But I knew she was there. In a trance, I met her – and tasted her wrath – she bent me on my knees and shoved my face down to ashes of a city that was.
    She slashed me with her blade, and let her crows attack me – but did not kill me.

    Yes, she is collecting Priestess and Priests. I sense it too. To what end? She is vague about it.

    In a later trance, I found a compass with no needle. Then I met with her again and she gave me half a needle, and I am under a geas to find the other half.

    Interestingly, I do not usually approach the Celtic deities. Mine are the Greek and some of the Canaanite gods, mainly Athena, Asclepius, and lately Eris (aka Discordia), Hekate and Hades, a trio which has a great impact in my life as of late (Eris and Hades the most). The Morrigan is quite a surprise for me….

  • Michi

    I had trouble understanding why she called me at Yule. The only thing I “got” was that I am supposed to stand up for and defend my beliefs. I was a little confused at first. I guess I’m supposed to say “ENOUGH!”

    • Terra Mater

      I was reading along with this article pleasantly enough until this particular entry resonated with me. I too got her call on Yule of this year. I have been a solitary since taking my grandmothers path as a child and since getting her call have felt a pull toward more studies and initiation as one of her priestesses. I am of Irish ancestry and my grandmother was born in Ireland. We are descended from Aine, Morrigans daughter.

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  • Redfan45x

    I have always has a interest and pull towards The Morrígan ever since I learned of her.
    But dedicating myself as a priest to her wouldn’t be possible, as I see myself close to Odin as a Úlfhéðinn.
    I feel pulls to both, and some other gods. All for different reasons.
    I just wonder should a army of ravens do that, who’s is going to get there first? The morrigans or Odins ravens lol. Or being both gods of death and war, just share that.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      If it comes to that, it’s not going to matter who gets there first – there will be plenty of carnage for all.

      I’m still betting she’s calling priestesses and priests. But I still don’t know what the grand plan is – the Christian god isn’t the only one who works in mysterious ways…

    • http://lokyrastone.wordpress.com/ Lokyra Stone

      I am dedicated to Morrighan, but Loki and Odin have claims to my time and efforts as well. So far, all three have me working on the same mission. Find others like myself, and build a home for them. Bring them together, protect them, lead them, and work alongside them.

  • Cathal Fionn Tighearna

    My name is Cathal and am Clainn Chief (Ceann Feadhna) of Clainn Mhor Rioghain in Scotland and have been collecting and training Druidh, Warriors and Crafters for some years now. Have been on thIs path for 40 years now and do sense a shift of some sort.

    • http://nil Hawkwind

      Hi Cathal, ishkabibbelthefirst@gmail.com I have no pips on my shoulders, had to learn the craft thus far by myself through the school of hard knocks, such is life here in the diaspora. But I am an Irish warrior who just keeps on coming until the battle is over. WAR!!!

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  • http://nil Hawkwind

    Hi from Australia, have taken up her call! 4th or 5th gen Aussie, still full Irish bloodline.Warrior Spirit, then 25 yrs. Druidry. She has called me back to Warrior Spirit, My other inherant gifting is very much in the prophetic which was further developed in my time of Druidry. I have had to fight long and hard just to make connection here with like minded people or shall we say kindred spirits.
    I don’t know nothin else.

  • rebecca watson

    once, a decade ago, 3 very large ravens appeared to me in a cemetery while i was walking at late at night. somehow, i knew it was the morrigan. scared the shit outta me. ran home like a scared little kid lol. have seen no more ravens at night since. lately, have been feeling i need to bring my suppressed warrior woman self out of the closet, but not sure why. was just outside at 4:45 am smoking a cigarette while admiring the full moon. and suddenly ‘the morrigan’ came to mind. so here i am googling the morrigan and perusing your blog entry. meanwhile, the song black raven begins playing on pandora radio. she obviously has *something* to say. perhaps i should not run away from her this time.

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  • J.B. Vicious

    I was just recently called by the Morrigan, and so I started research on her. I visited a couple of websites and all I gathered was that a surprising number of pagans and wiccans claim that they have been contacted by her. My first thought was that it seems like she’s gathering followers (which seemed silly at that time – why would she even do that?). And now, a week later or so, I come across this article of yours… Strange, indeed.

  • Saulya of Kithic

    Wow, very interesting conversation. I was just told last night by a long standing high priestess that has only known me for a very little time that I was being called to the Morrigan and needed to begin my journey with her. It did not surprise me actually because my first patron Goddess was Hecate which has brought me into a deeper understanding of myself. My group and I have been discussing this eerie feeling we all have about an upcoming war we will be fighting. We already know its coming in the near future with just local issues, but we all feel that it is more than that and the local issues will be nothing compared to what is to come after. It often frightens me how I have been repeatedly called out by underworld goddess dealing in some sense or another with death, destruction, and things of the like. I questioned myself so much “am I evil” or something. Others have made me to feel this way. But I have finally come to the realization that I am most certainly not. The dark that pursues me persistently is not evil. The death and destruction it speaks of is the much needed death and destruction of B.S.! The destroyer of the illusion. There is much need of truth in this world, and the darkness will devour the illusions and bring back truth into the light where it will be exposed. Once exposed it will cease to exist, and this is the importance of the dark nature of destruction and destroyer goddess’. Ultimately it will bring our planet back into balance. So though it may appear scary, and some have twisted the dark goddess’ to their own sick n twisted paths, this is most certainly not her purpose. All death brings back life and it is necessary and essential to our existence. I am no longer afraid of my dark nature.

    Scincerely,

    Saulya of Kithic

  • KT

    There have been a few goddesses that have called to me – Ariadne, Athene & some memories of the Tuatha de Dannan – I’ve been certain they are my “tribe” since I was a young girl. But I have found your page because yesterday I got my loudest call – Morrigan – and it was more of a smackdown. She mentioned strengthening my resolve to fight my own battles confidently but also because I’m needed for larger ones. Very big sense of urgency and importance. Left such an impression – I’m trying to work out (as a solitary dabbler, not aligned with any particular practice or faith) what she wants me to do so I don’t annoy her!! I have a purely Celtic heritage and I know my life path is about protecting underdogs/ fixing stuff up/improving things – but I welcome any suggestion from others who have had experiences with morrigan & how you serve her.

  • Collin Macfergus

    Great article.

    As far as Morrigan’s intentions go, I believe her cause is the former in which you write, John. She is calling warriors to serve a new and growing Community on Earth, but sadly, we all must accept the reality that there are many who stand in the way of our realizing that dream. I have often said that the people will never be given their rights back. Instead, we will have to earn our rights back and calling upon Morrigan to guide us “through” that engagement, I think is wise.

    What I also gather from Morrigan is calling her a “Dark Goddess” is not all that accurate. I find her to be both Dark and Light, which would make sense if she is a passageway from death to life and life to death. In other words, she’s a bridge who is knowledgeable and wise of both worlds. In accepting her calling and crossing her bridge, one must be aware of this, as you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a world you didn’t want to be in, for as you say, John, “Morrigan… gives the right to rule, and she withdraws that right if the ruler is unjust or ineffective.” Broaden the definition a bit more and say she both gives life to the just and effective; and, she takes the life of those living unjustly or ineffectively. She is often depicted amongst Corvus birds, but I am left wondering why she isn’t seen holding a weighted scale.

    • http://blog.jonolan.net jonolan

      What rights? You have what you can take and hold! Hold it well though. If you take from other that you should be protecting, She will call one to slay you.

      • Collin Macfergus

        I think we’re implying the same thing. In political discourse, I am referring to things like freedom of speech, right to representation and separation of church and state, etc. However, despite what legal code writes, “rights” are never given, as many citizens of a nation may be mistaken. “Rights” instead must be earned through active participation or as you say, “what you can take and hold.”

        And, I would agree with your sentiments that if you take from someone you should be protecting, the Morrigan would judge that relationship as unjust and ineffective, thusly ending it.

  • Angela Cunningham

    I am part of this army, I am Irish 100% born and bred in Ireland and I am being initiated on the 27th October as a priestess of the Morrigan thank you so much for this article I enjoyed reading it blessed be my brother

  • http://blog.jonolan.net jonolan

    I’m one of Her priests. We’ve a God in common as well. It’s good to see your writing.

  • Lasara_Firefox_Allen

    Thank you for this. Today the Morrigan called me. And then after realizing I know shamefully little about Her (even though I was raised in the Pagan community, and have known Her people all my life, and am of Celtic descent), I typed into my search engine, “what does the morrigan have to say about sovereignty to me?”

    Your article was the second hit. (After the wiki entry.) I know what She is saying to me. Your article was a great help.

  • Joanna Berger

    I am a priestess of the Morrigan to whom she called. I enjoyed reading your article.


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