“I haven’t been doing what I told Her I’d do.”
“Ordinary life keeps getting in the way.”
“I feel like I let Her down.”
I’ve seen several comments along these lines recently. People who worship the Morrigan, who work with and for the Morrigan, who have sworn oaths to the Morrigan, have expressed sadness and regret that things haven’t been going the way they planned.
I don’t know the details of any of these situations… although I know the details of some others. I don’t know how many of these regrets represent personal failures and how many were truly unavoidable.
I just know that after the last one, I heard that familiar voice behind my head say “I demand persistence, not perfection.”
I’m always uneasy when I’m asked to serve as an oracle. I know what I heard, and after all these years I know exactly Who said it. But there’s always a chance of losing something in transmission, either from Her to me, or from me to you. So let me be clear about sources.
“I demand persistence, not perfection” are the words of the Morrigan, as I heard them.
Everything else that follows are my words. They are inspired by Her but they are not dictated by Her. As always, I hope you find them helpful. If they contain errors that’s on me, not on Her. And if they don’t apply to you, then you should of course ignore them.
But I know they apply to at least a few people, and probably more.
She knew what She was getting when She called you
Our Gods are not omniscient and They do not have a perfect view of the future. At the same time, They are far older and wiser than we are, and after all these years most of Them are pretty good judges of human character. It’s safe to say that if the Morrigan called you – or if She responded to your pursuit – She was well aware that you aren’t perfect and that there would be times when your service would be less than ideal.
But it’s also safe to say She saw something good and useful in you. The Morrigan does not collect sheep. She calls many different people to worship and work with Her in many different ways. There is something She saw in you that told Her you could promote Her virtues and embody Her values. She took the whole package – the whole person.
If you believe that the Gods are truly Gods, trust that They know what They’re doing. Trust that the Morrigan knew what She was doing when She called you.
Guilt serves a purpose
Pagans tend to dismiss guilt as belonging to another religion. It’s true that wallowing in guilt is unhelpful. Using guilt to manipulate others is unethical. But guilt serves a purpose.
Guilt is our better selves telling us we aren’t living up to our highest standards.
Now, some of us have unreasonably high standards for ourselves. The Morrigan does not demand perfection from us and neither should we.
But while the Morrigan took you knowing what She was getting, I’m sure She was expecting to get your best. If you’re feeling guilty – and that’s what I hear in those comments at the top – that probably means you haven’t been giving your best.
Maybe there are valid reasons. Maybe there aren’t. Either way, how can you do better?
Sometimes the answer is as simple as “try again” or “try harder.” Other times the answer is “try differently.”
The proper response to guilt is neither self-debasement nor denial. The proper response to guilt is change – and a persistence to do what’s right.
The Morrigan does not give up resources easily
In these and other expressions of failure, there is usually an unstated fear that this mighty Goddess who means so much to so many people will withdraw Her presence and Her blessings from those who disappoint Her.
Whatever else She may be, the Morrigan is a Battle Goddess who operates as a military commander. Good commanders know that even if their resources are great, they are not unlimited and thus cannot be wasted. If She has claimed you, then you are Her resource (and probably other things as well) and She intends to make use of you and your skills. She is not going to throw that away because you slipped up.
The Morrigan is nothing if not persistent. Her followers must be persistent as well.
But Her patience is not unlimited
Potential is a beautiful and powerful thing. It’s everything you could do or be if you walked diligently – and persistently – down that path. The Morrigan calls many people not because of what they are now but because of what they can become in Her service.
But at some point, a “developmental player” has to become a contributing member of the team. Mistakes and omissions are expected from beginners, but not from those who are more experienced.
I’ve seen Her walk away from people who made naïve promises and then failed to follow through. I’ve seen Her tell a highly skilled person “call me when you’re ready to demonstrate real commitment.” I’ve seen Her rain suffering down on people who abandoned their oaths and refused to pick them up again.
Perhaps this isn’t your first time not living up to your highest standards, or to Her standards. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself if this is really what you want to do. If not, you can try to negotiate a release, or a change in terms. There’s no guarantee your request will be accepted, but like most Gods the Morrigan generally prefers willing followers. Generally.
But if this is what you want to do and if you value the Great Queen’s presence in your life, then get back to work. Get back to doing what you said you’d do before She decides her patience has run out. If you simply can’t do what you promised, then do what you can.
The campaign will be long and we will not win every battle
Given the current state of world affairs I’m reluctant to use too many military metaphors, but nothing else seems adequate to describe either the situation we’re in or the approach the Great Queen is taking in the wider world.
Tower Time, the Storm, the Long Descent – whatever you choose to call it, it’s not going to be over any time soon. Not in my lifetime, and likely not in the lifetime of anyone alive today. Things are going to get worse before they get better. This cannot be avoided – it can only be dealt with.
Even if we are diligent, even if we do everything the Morrigan asks of us, even if we manage our own lives with cunning and skill, we will suffer some losses. We will disappoint ourselves, and perhaps Herself as well.
Victory is not inevitable, but if we are persistent we can honestly be optimistic. As long as we have life, we have not truly lost – and do we ever really die?
You said “yes” for a reason
Whether your commitment to the Morrigan is based on a formal oath, an informal promise, or simply the precedent you set through ordinary actions, at some point you told the Great Queen “yes.” You believed in Her values, you wanted to be a part of Her team, you thought Her virtues would make your life better. You wanted to do whatever it is She asked you to do.
Life can get in the way of our plans and our dreams. Sometimes emergencies happen that have to be dealt with. Other times a million little things nibble away at our time and before we know it we’ve neglected our sacred commitments for weeks or months.
But you said “yes” for a reason, and that reason is probably still valid. Deep down you still want to do what you committed to do.
So pick it back up.
Serving the Morrigan is never easy. The Great Queen is demanding and She rarely explains Her thinking. But I have worked with and for Her for 15 years. In all that time She has never broken Her word and She has never caused me needless pain. She has never asked me to do anything that did not need to be done. I have found meaning, purpose, and honor in Her service.
Including writing blog posts to encourage people who haven’t always done their best to return to Her work.
Because the Morrigan doesn’t demand perfection. She demands persistence.