The Great Queen is becoming louder and even more demanding. Gather your gear. Buckle on your armor. Pick up your weapons. The order to engage is imminent.
I can’t believe it’s been four and a half years since I wrote The Call of the Morrigan. It’s been over six years since I asked Her help for a friend and She responded “I have done this for you, now I want you to do something for Me.” They say time flies when you’re having fun – it also flies when you’re committed to a huge project with more to do than you think you can get done.
I have no regrets. The work has been challenging and I expect it will only get more so. But it is deeply meaningful. Serving Her has helped me learn and grow, and it’s empowered and enabled me to serve others and the wider world.
The storm is here
Over the years, many of us who follow the Morrigan have heard “get ready – a storm is coming.” In 2016 that storm arrived. Pick your calamity, we saw it last year: the deaths of heroes large and small, the rise of fascism and xenophobia, refugee crises and a refusal to deal with them, and changes in the spiritual environment that have not been seen in thousands of years.
All that studying, organizing, and training She’s been telling us to do? This is why – to prepare us for now. Don’t feel like you’re ready? You never feel like you’re ready for something this big, no matter how much you train. The battles come anyway, and we will do what we’ve always done – we will fight. If we are wise, clever, and determined – and just a bit lucky – we will win.
Is the battle literal, metaphorical, or metaphysical?
Yes, all of the above. From Syria to South Carolina, we’re seeing literal violence from hate crimes to terrorist attacks to military interventions. Now, humans are a violent species – like it or not, war is part of our heritage. Why do you think there are so many War Gods and Goddesses?
Are things really getting worse, or is it just that the 24/7 for-profit news industry has a vested interest in making sure we stay on edge? I don’t have an quantitative answer to that question, even though I know it’s a challenge to stay informed and stay sane at the same time.
But I do know there’s real violence in our society and in our world. Even when it doesn’t directly impact us, its threat does. There is a literal battle going on.
We use battle metaphors for political and personal challenges. The Morrigan is a Goddess of Sovereignty, and it’s no surprise to find Her followers in the middle of the fight for all people and all species to be able to rule their own lives. The struggle for equal rights for women, racial and religious minorities, LGBTQ persons and others is a battle. The struggle to prevent or at least mitigate climate change and species loss is a battle. The struggle to prevent the rich and powerful from dominating the poor and weak is a battle.
Some in the Pagan community are committed to non-violence and are uncomfortable with military metaphors. I respect their commitment and I prefer non-violent language and approaches whenever possible. But some of these metaphorical battles are one incident away from becoming literal battles – the metaphors are apt.
I am uneasy with the idea of metaphysical battles. Operation Cone of Power is part of our heritage as modern Pagans, but that was simply a magical front in a world war. Too much of what I hear from many of my magical friends seems to be geared toward maintaining a status quo that is more familiar than beneficial or attacking and controlling spiritual beings who may not mean us any harm… at least as long as we stay out of their business.
But the Battle Raven is in my ear and She is telling me to get ready to fight. She has never steered me wrong, so I’m getting ready to fight.
Pick up your weapon
Are you an archer, lobbing arrows from a safe distance? Is your weapon the sword, hacking and slashing your way through the enemy? Don’t have a weapon? Here’s a spear – the front line is that way.
Some of us fight with arcane weapons. Most Witches and Druids are nice people, but there is a side of Witchcraft and of Druidry that is not nice. It’s scary, it’s dangerous, and it carries a terrible responsibility. It’s also necessary.
An army needs more than fighters. It needs cooks and medics, armorers and drivers, strategists and planners. An army marches on its stomach – without an effective support staff the battle will be lost as surely as if the warriors forget their swords.
So choose the role that calls to you. But do not neglect your weapons. In the words of Eowyn: “those without swords can still die upon them.”
This is not the time for stealing goats and mules
In times of peace, contemporary soldiers and sailors often engage in the same kind of boasting as the ancient Vikings and Celts. They brag about which service is toughest, most deadly, and most clever. The service academies have a long tradition of stealing each other’s mascot. At times, this good-natured rivalry can boil over into actual fights. But in times of war, everyone knows who’s on your side and who’s the enemy.
The storm is here and the battle is underway. Some are fighting in the realm of politics, some in the realm of communication, some in the realm of magic, and some in the streets. All are necessary. Do not allow your honorable dedication to your role or your legitimate pride in your efforts cause you to mistake an ally in different role for an enemy.
The Great Queen is becoming louder and even more demanding
My work with and for the Morrigan has been up and down over the last six years. Sometimes it’s busy, other times it’s quiet. That variability has led me to joke that I’m Her “Druid on retainer.” It’s been a satisfactory arrangement for me, and presumably for Her as well.
Things have shifted over the last six months. By itself, the increased workload is unremarkable – I was just as busy with Her work in 2012. This work is more personal and more urgent – and it’s coming with tight deadlines. I’m getting more explicit instructions, more messages to deliver, and more personal commitments to make and fulfill. The current one isn’t even done and I’ve already got another added to my list. It’s not all coming from Her, but Her voice is the loudest.
And I’m far from the only one hearing the urgency in Her voice.
Si vis pacem, para bellum – if you want peace, prepare for war.
Warriors train for years in the hope that their existence will deter attacks and preserve the peace. But they know there’s a very real chance they’ll have to use their skills and training in real battles against real enemies.
For the past six years, the Morrigan has been telling many of us to study, practice, and train. She’s told us to build institutions and build alliances. Was there a chance these activities would hold off the storm, or has She just seen these circumstances so many times She knows where they inevitably lead? I don’t know.
I do know we’ve done some building and some training – and I know we haven’t done enough. It doesn’t matter – the storm is here. The battle has begun. Her call is getting louder and more urgent.
There are literal battles going on right now. There are metaphorical battles going on right now. There are metaphysical battles going on right now. For those of us who hear the call of the Morrigan, it’s time to join them.
Gather your gear. Buckle on your armor. Pick up your weapons. The order to engage is imminent.