Yesterday I was invited to participate in a devotional ritual honoring the Morrigan by Stephanie Woodfield. She is a fellow Llewellyn author and new friend, and texted me early in the day to ask if I could pitch in as one of the ladies in her group had called out sick, and they needed a fourth set of hands and lungs to help out. These type of requests happen frequently, and I often find myself in the right place at the right time to grant a magical assist. I affirmed that I would be there, and set off for a trek across the state to the sleepy town of Deland, just shy of Daytona Beach on the East Coast. The gathering was a New Moon Ladies Only event held at My Cauldron, a delightful new shop that I will happily revisit in the near future.
My ex is moving out of state, and despite my best efforts towards a peaceful send off, there was friction that morning. A dose of pain to send me on my way, and as I was driving I noticed a terrible pileup. There was an accident, not fatal, but serious. Traffic was completely stopped in the other direction. I sent a prayer to the Great Queen, and took these things as a sign that She was active, and I felt her pull all the way down I-4. I have been thinking of the Morrigan recently, and her role as a Warrior. I am interested in these topics, though this was not a Deity I have explicitly worked with in the past. Interesting note is that more than one person had mentioned over the years that they saw her Mark on me, but I suppose all things happen in their season.
As I drove closer to my destination, I passed four churches and thought about our location. Just up the road, across the street a half mile from the last church I found it. A small yellow building, with a tiny sign out front. Our ritual space was clearly visible from the road, and I saw five people sitting around a fire pit dressed in black. Three ladies and two men (who were absent for the rite) greeted me with smiles. This was clearly my crew, and we chatted for a bit before preparing for the night’s festivities. I told them about my recent adventures with Pagan blogging and they laughed. Some had been following the stories, some had not, but all were in consensus that none of that mattered now. They reminded me that not all of Paganism happens online and in hotels. It was good to be there, one of the people. We were all Witched out and ready to rock in the Florida sunshine on a Sunday afternoon.
When I was new to all of this, many moons ago, the thought of being seen from the road would have bothered me. I do live in the South, and there are folks who are not so tolerant of these ways. These days, it gives me a sense of pride and wonder that things have changed so much since I first stepped into the role of Priestess. Each gathering, each circle, each act inspires others. It felt good to be here again, contributing in a supporting role, visible so that others could find us. Just under twenty women came to circle with us, of various ages and backgrounds. We chatted for a bit, it was clear that our politics ran the gambit from right to left. Some were grandmothers, some were goth chicks, some were there to support their weird friends. None of that mattered. Our purpose was the same. We came to be healed, to learn, to worship.
We convened and set out the treasures: The Stone, the Sword, the Spear, and the Cauldron. The ritual was dedicated to Badb, The Washer at the Ford. She is the aspect of the Morrigan that soothes your pain, but does not negate it. She is with you, but you feel every moment. This concept resonates with me, for I have done a lot of personal work around the nature of pain, and the spiritual significance of this universal experience. As Stephanie cast the circle I felt that hum and shiver that announces that magick is afoot. I felt the eyes of the Fae and something More upon us. As we keyed the treasures the energy picked up, and the sounds of the road faded away. Stephanie chanted her invocation, and a flock of crows answered her. They circled and landed in a tree directly above us. Their cries echoed throughout the sky as I started the chant to call the Great Queen.
We lit the fire and recounted our impressions. It was good to be in a space with these women, we were bound closer through our shared experience. We honored each other with compassion, but without tears. This was different from other women’s events I have attended. There were no tissues, no appeals to be softer, to learn to bend and flow. It was refreshing. No one felt the need to state that they were strong, or a warrior, or the rest of the words that women say so often to themselves and others but do not mean. We did not state the obvious. We simply were. We had carved this space with intention, and these things were understood. We were well met, and could dispense with the usual pleasantries to share something deeper.
After we were complete, we opened the space to invite the men to share the fire. Some drummers showed up as the sun set with a chill in the air. I played with the drums and a cowbell, and met some new friends. I will definitely attend future events. I drove home and contemplated the message I received. It dawned on me that perhaps that was the reason for that unpleasant scene in the morning with my ex. Maybe I needed that final slice to remind me that some things are broken for a reason, and the pain is necessary for me to release the things that must go. I bowed to this knowledge, and the gifts that I had received from these events. The highway stretched before me, clearer than before. I drove home with the sound of wings flapping in my mind.