In preparation for the curation of this series, I figured I would read up on a few of the top witchy-type books on the Mórrígan. Overall, I found many conflicting and loose interpretations of ancient prose written by the Celtic Christian Monks, the Filidh or Gaelic Bards. In my research, most of them attempted to recreate modern versions of ancient documents highlighting the beloved fierce and powerful Morrígan and added recipes and spells as an all-in-one resource. I was confused, but also curious. Curious about how they developed this information. It seems that each of the authors' experiences was authentic and yet, each was different from mine. I expect the same sort of authentic difference for you too.
As we know, The Mórrígan, as well as all Celtic mythology is shrouded in mystery. Because of this, we are left to our own devices to interpret based on our experiences and the knowledge we have. I have two theories that helped me put this into perspective.
First, there is also a lot of confusion around the context of Celtic prose. The same word has several different meanings and several different words could be referring to the same person. Prime example “The Morrigan”. When pronounced as The Mórrígan, her name is translated as ‘Great Queen”. When pronounced as The Morrígan, without the mark of length on the first syllable, it translates to “Nightmare Queen”. To make things more complicated, Celtic deities had a primary name and several titles in which they are known. Scholars suggest both Danu and Anu are titles for The Mórrígan, her two sisters’ titles were Macha & Nemain (Badb), and the three are collectively known as “na Mórrígna”.
Second, and perhaps the biggest reason why we find contradicting and missing information in stories is a certain practice taken up by the Celtic Monks who recorded them. We know the monks were heavily influenced by the desert tradition before them. They wanted to imitate the contemplative practices and prayer of the men and women who fled to the deserts of Egypt and Syria before them. The story is told like this.
Abba Abraham told of a man of Scetis who was a scribe and did not eat bread. A brother came to beg him to copy a book. The old man whose spirit was engaged in contemplation, wrote, omitting some phrases and with no punctuation. The brother, taking the book and wishing to punctuate it, noticed that words were missing. So he said to the old man, 'Abba, there are some phrases missing.' The old man said to him, 'Go, and practice first that which is written, then come back and I will write the rest.'
From this, I gather that by intentionally omitting information they were teaching the spiritual principle of patience. They believed in the grace of slowness. By slowly engaging the heart in contemplation and discernment we are fully integrating and experiencing the present moment. This gives us a deep sense of knowing that we are always complete and whole. Of course, it is our nature to be curious, but they caution not to allow words of others or books to be a substitute for our own knowing.
I resonate deeply with this principle and try to implement this into the rituals I create. As you journey deeper into the spirituality of this culture and fully internalize how they embraced slowness you will naturally open to the knowing of the Mórrígan and Morrígan within.
It has been an honor to curate rituals for the opening to and embracing of, The Mórrígan. I hope they encourage you to experience the Celtic way of listening to your life and the world around you as it calls you deeper into alignment with your souls' desires and that of the Mórrígan.
Cast a circle. Take a deep breath in, and exhale fully, inviting relaxation into every cell of your body. Feel yourself held and supported, knowing that this journey is safe and that you are supported by the sisterhood of women who have walked this path ahead of you. Like you, we have heard the call of the Sacred Feminine, and our spirits have responded to that call with an undeniable yes! But the path isn’t without obstacles, and we sometimes feel disconnected from our divinity despite our deep longing for evolution. Instead of hearing the affirmations of our sacred selves, we still hear the negative feedback loop that many of us have heard for as long as we can remember.
Take a moment to write down some of the negative messages that you hear, messages that are so deeply learned that they feel like they are part of you. These are messages that start with
“I cannot…, I do not know how to., I am not…, I should not…”
Once you have written down as many as you can think of, place them in front of you, and settle in with closed eyes once again. And we'll begin our journey, back, connecting to the time before you learned that your whole person was being judged based on your physical appearance. Back before you were told that you can’t trust your body or your instincts. Before you learned that your value as a person is based on being sexually attractive to men. Go back, before you learned that bleeding is shameful and dirty. Before you learned that "being good" means not speaking your truth or having healthy boundaries. Before you learned to disconnect from the fact that you have a monthly cycle. Before you learned that other women are the enemy. Before you were taught that you are not enough, and never will be. Before you were taught that you are failing as a mother - and failing as a woman if you are not a mother.
Before this time of the shamed feminine, there was the era of the sacred feminine. It was a time of women’s wisdom and women’s power. We were holy; we were whole. This is the time of The Mórrígan. Women were taught by their mothers, and their mothers' mothers, to stand in their power, and they were neither controlled nor dominated. Women passed their wisdom down to one another, and lived cooperatively rather than competitively, and quite naturally had an equal voice in what happened in their world.
But gradually, between then and now, there was a great shift; a cultural re-write took place. Instead of being revered, women were taught that they were inherently flawed. Women’s bodies, once honored, were instead said to be incapable, and the gift of their life-giving cycle became a curse. Women learned to hide it, to stop it, to fear it. Even birth was something women could no longer be trusted to do without male oversight.
Women's connection to the Divine, once a source of deep meaning and power, became evil and taboo. The wise women were discredited as hysterical lunatics, as wild witches. Those who tried to keep their wisdom alive were burned at the stake. Women heard songs of their domination, and stories were told from the time they were babies to teach them that their only hope for salvation, of true happiness, was the love and approval of a man. The messages were inescapable; so much so that the women internalized them. And when they became mothers, they taught their daughters this as their own truth. The books were scrubbed clean of stories of their ancestors’ power, of the wisdom that is their birthright; and what was taught forever more was called History!
And now, with so much time having passed, we no longer question what we are expected to learn. We don't even know what we don’t know. But there is a part of us; the thread that still connects us to the wise women of our lineage - and she still knows.
To find her, simply look at what you wrote down and ask yourself. Are these my truths? Or just the script I was expected to learn during this life? Are these my mother's truths, and her mother's truths? Or are these nothing more than the programming that the women in my motherline learned to believe? Opening your eyes now, I invite you to begin the process of unlearning by taking your pen and striking through all the negative messages you have learned and internalized about yourself. If you have written "I should not," mark out the "not," and read your new statement aloud. If you have written, "I am not, cross out the "not" and affirm this new message to yourself. Continue this process until you have reprogrammed your internal dialogue.
When you have finished, place your journal and pen aside and with another deep inhale and exhale, close your eyes once more. The strength, the wisdom, the reverence for the sacred feminine was at one time ours to claim, during the time before the beyond. And with your revolutionary act of unlearning, you reclaim this once again, in the here and now reaching within, connecting to the brilliantly radiant Sacred Feminine seed that we ALL possess, we can affirm for ourselves the gifts of our lineage: self-worth, reverence, sisterhood, wisdom, and strength.
With a last inhale, offer yourself deep gratitude for initiating this practice of unlearning, and commit to the process of reprogramming your inner language, starting now. Gently begin to shift your awareness to your body, to this present moment. Move slowly and with ease as you return to here and now. When you are ready, open your eyes. Welcome back