Ever since yesterday's brush with the Morrigan, I can't get her out of my head. Today I have spent a great deal of time studying about her from various perspectives and I went looking for some artwork that helped visually connect me to her. These three images really capture the battle goddess as I feel her.
Im going to write today while everything is super fresh in my mind, I will do my ritual write up later but for now I really need to freewrite.
Lughnasadh was probably the most powerful ritual I have ever been too or been a part of.
I'm not being overdramatic here, it genuinely moved me.
Lughnasadh marks my 1 year anniversary attending High Day rituals with this grove and I have made them all with the exception of the Spring Equinox Hilaria ritual due to my breaking my foot less than 24 hours before hand.
Being an anniversary for me, I spent a lot of time reflecting on why I am here, how much I have changed, and really solidly connecting myself with my spirituality. I have seen all the seasons and celebrations through the eyes of an ADF druid now and with an awesome array of people. I have researched more history and traditions within this year than ever before. I have found ways to connect with Hearth cultures I am not drawn too. I have been INSPIRED each high day in the ways of our ancestors. I have seen happiness, I have seen teamwork, and I have seen GROWTH.
I have grown. My dedicant path is far from over but this is the first time in my life I have devoted a my full attention to the wheel of the year without interruption. I feel a sense of completion already and a sense of awareness and confidence that I have never known before. Its a beautiful feeling. I will be the first to admit that my spirituality has always been sporadic and all over the place, I was a self researched solitary for years and years and always felt "weird" for practicing anything around others. But this year I took a wrecking ball to those walls and all of my friends know of my spirituality. Several friends have even joined me!
This is a very emotional anniversary for me because I am deeply proud of myself. I feel grounded. If for any reason I need a break from our grove or something happens, I feel those roots with my own Druidry that will carry on beyond our grove because my spirituality has a wholly different importance to me now.
As for the ritual itself, the energy was beyond words.
Obviously, I came into this ritual with my own growth and sense of pride being my 1 year and all but there were a lot of things I did not expect.
First, I called upon the Warrior Goddess Morrigan this ritual to protect our rite. I wrote my invocation fluidly and without reference before hand as if she were a Goddess I had worked with before but I have never once called upon the Morrigan. In many ways, she has intimidated me so I have given her respect from a distance but never directly invoked her.
It was a big deal for me to write my first Invocation truly from the heart without using examples as reference. I was really proud of it but with spear in hand, as I shouted the words to her, something happened with me that I cannot fully describe.
She was there.
It felt as if in my opening statement I had been stabbed in the heart with the warning "Don't dare say this unless you truly mean it, girl!"
I was cold, but charged by her. The words came out perfect and carried more power than even I had had intended. I gave myself goosebumps by the end and after I finished, I kinda lost my place in the ritual.
I felt, "removed" from the general routine of these rituals and this feeling actually continued a lot during this ritual for me. I am sure it was not noticeable to others but it felt like a sudden rush of adrenaline had built up and then it had no where to go.
Confession: I've been a very violent person in the past, and I've struggled with adrenaline balance for YEARS, so this was a feeling I know well but not one I have ever experienced in a ritual.
It was like feeling ready to fight for my life and realizing I was alone without threat, then I blinked and saw all the grove guests standing there as David said the next part of the ritual and I had to mentally catch up to where we were.
It really really was undeniable how strong I felt the Morrigan.
This ritual dealt with death and celebration on several levels. Our deities of the occasion were the Warrior God Lugh and his foster mother Goddess Tiailtiu and we mourned her death and celebrated her sacrifice, love and harvest. We also mourned the loss of one of our Grove founders, Deb, who passed away and joined the ancestors 2 weeks ago.
I volunteered before the ritual to say something on Deb's behalf and to do the Grove offerings for her, and this was another hugely powerful part for me. Already feeling affected by the Morrigan I spoke for Deb and tried desperately not to let my voice crack and break. I was very in the moment and later another Member of our grove told me that a crow landed a branch above us when I began to give my speech to Deb and shortly after she counted 3 additional crows who flew away with the first. I wish I would have seen that myself, but I do not doubt the words for a moment because I know how deeply I felt the Morrigan there. The offering and words were powerful enough, but the added visual of the crows was something truly unbelievable to me.
Another part of this ritual with great meaning to me was that while our Seer was taking the omen I felt a tickle on my hand and looked down to a beautiful black and white jumping spider on my wrist. I giggled and showed another Member sitting next to me and let the little guy/girl wander up my wrist and then jump off of me. Given my general relationship to spiders this was a very welcome visit by a wonderful little jumper. This is a species I have seen for years and years but when I looked up its genus and species (Phidippus audax) I discovered its common name is "Bold Jumper" and that they are fearless little spiders who tend to prey on food much larger than themselves. I've never thought of how brave and bold this particular spider was but given my experiences with the Morrigan in this ritual, again, another element seemed to add to the "Warrior" aspect.
There was a great deal of sadness in this ritual and generally speaking, I am not the person who cries easily in public. I might get teary eyed, but tears generally do not fall. There were 3 offerings from Grove guests (and a member) that reached me deeply. I connected with their words, I was moved by their honesty, I felt their passion, their pain, their loss. Then there was the breaking moment where it all became overwhelming to me and for the first time ever, I openly sobbed during a ritual. Tears streamed down my cheeks while a member gave offering of song, I was so thankful for my relationships with my deities, I was so proud of my 1 year anniversary, I was overwhelmed by the loss of Tiailtiu, of Deb, of many of our guests personal stories that shadow my own dark past, I just lost myself in the moment. It was in that moment that felt tremendously connected to the nature and the people around me.
Despite all this sadness and adrenaline from the Morrigan, this ritual had an amazingly upbeat energy around it. Every guest I talked too said that our energy was amazing. The warrior games were a lot of fun, the meditations went very well, the bards sang fabulously. Somehow, we had managed to invoke a multitude of emotions in so many people that nearly every guest I spoke too said that this ritual left them changed, charged, and thankful to have been there. That is an incredible thing to hear over and over.
We had 25 people attend and at the arrival time, our grove was visited by a downpour of rain and thunder. I thought for sure people would leave. I worried that we couldn't continue on outside but as soon as we were ready to start, the sky cleared and by the end of the ritual there were blue skies and sunshine blessing us. Lugh had brought us rain, and thunder, and the sun all at once. Oregon has been so desperate for rain that every person there rejoiced.
This ritual moved me in ways I could never fully express in text. Im still tremendously emotional about it. In the comforts of my own home I have sobbed off and on since coming home just remembering all the details of the day and how much I appreciate each of our grove members for all the hard work they put into this ritual.
My Druidry is my heart. My Grove is my home. My Grove members are my tribe.
Morrigan, I still deeply fear you (as one should) but I feel you there and I respect your power and honor your presence.
*Warrior Invocation to the Morrigan*
Powerful Morrigan. Shapshifting Goddess who circles above battle fields and carries the seriousness of death and destruction where she flies.
Warrior Goddess! Worthy of fear, admiration and deepest respect.
She who reminds us of our own fragile mortality.
We call you today and ask you to join us and protect our Warriors Rite in Celebration of Lugh and his foster mother Tailtiu.
Morrigan, Mother Death, you strike terror into your enemies!
May your Dark and Beautiful presence today guard us from those who would do us ill.
Lady of Battle, Warrior Goddess, Morrigan we offer you this Whiskey as a symbol of our gratitude.
Morrigan, Accept our Offering!
My Lughnasadh high day gown. I need to fix the back because its too big but the tabbard and tiered skirt turned out very well. The belt I made for Midsummer worked amazing with this. I constructed the gown the week before our high day as I generally do in my process of getting inspired for the ritual at hand.
As the time is drawing neigh I have picked out my pattern and found the fabric for my Lughnasah ritual gown! I'm really excited. I genuinely love this creative tradition when I can do it because it helps me deeply connect to the high day. For Lughnasah my tabard will be the green color as it's the first harvest and the world is still full of green but the skirts will hint of Autumn to come. I can't wait to start!
I am very angry with technology tonight. I spent over an hour writing up my week 18 assignment and then my browser crashed and it was lost forever.
I guess its time for a little yoga to calm down and then rest because fuming about this certainly does not help anything. Hopefully I can get more work done tomorrow before our study group.
It's been rather nice taking a bit of a break from the fast paced world of Portland. I've continued reading regularly (I've moved from Druid books to WWII memoirs for a bit) but I have also looked for opportunities to remove myself from technology. As bit of a pro and con, this summer my area is experiencing a drought and record high temperatures. The sunshine is lovely but its also damaging so my family and I are limiting our time out in it. With temperatures nearing 100 degrees in an area that rarely sees 85-90, it's been very drastic. I keep trying to find the silver linings and welcome the sunshine but I cant help but fear for our forests as this is going to be a truly dry season and lightning could destroy so much, so quickly.
Last week, despite the heat, my husband, our son, my boyfriend, and boyfriend's sister all went camping for a bit over 24 hours. It was phenomenal to get out of the city and into the beautiful forest. We camped along a river and it was so bright and clear that we could camp with our rain fly off and stare up at the stars through the trees. We could hear the fast flowing river next to our tent at all times and at night time it was amazing. We tried desperately to see Venus and Jupiter as they are SUPER visible and bright right now but the amount of trees around us obstructed our horizon view.
One part of this camping trip that was exceptionally important to me was that we were camping on the night of a full moon. The moon was HUGE and BRIGHT and absolutely perfect. I walked everyone to an area that was in full view of the moonlight and propped up a white taper candle among stones and lit the fire. Ive always believed that when in doubt of a spell, or ritual, do what you feel is respectful because it will have the most meaning. I know ADF has full moon rituals, but I was camping and did not have access to them so I made something up that felt right to me. Lighting a beacon from the children of earth to the moon I felt that we had created a bond between where we stood and the radiance of the moon. One spot on the whole wide earth lit up in the moonlight, we lit our candle, held hands and danced in a circle 3 times around the candle in the moonlight. Enjoying, experiencing, and rejuvenating under the moonlight. In a time when our nights are so short the moon seems lonely to me, by celebrating in the moonlight I think we did our part of lighting up the night sky and making the moon shine a bit brighter.
The next day we all wandered to the lake and I swam in a lake for the first time in over a year. It was incredible. Not only was I thrilled now that my foot is healed enough to support the ankle movements of swimming but the atmosphere was phenomenal. Swimming in a pool is nothing like swimming in the lake, when I swim in a lake I feel LIFE all around me. I feel life in the water in the aquatic animals, I feel the trees and plants along the shore line, I feel the animals hiding in the bushes, I feel the birds flying over head. I can watch and hear squirels and birds. Swimming in a lake is a way for me to connect with an element of life, water. It was near sunset and we swam in crystal clear water and watched ducklings swim along the shoreline. We threw rocks making various ripples and sounds and genuinely enjoyed the nature around us without the temptation of looking at our phones or any other form of technology. I couldn't have asked for a better day.
The next day we were lost in the hustle and bustle of a busy Amusement Park full of hundreds of parents and kids in 100 degree weather waiting for fireworks that night. Nothing about Independence Day was relaxing like camping had been, until the fireworks started. As we sat down on the grass at sundown I looked out across the horizon and there they were, Jupiter and Venus BRIGHT in a horizontal line on the horizon in the direction we were facing to see the fireworks show. I could have watched the stars and been just as content as watching the fireworks but there was something sorta magical about watching the the fireworks against the backdrop of two magnificent planets. Here on earth, we celebrate summer, we celebrate our country, and maybe, just maybe, the cosmos could feel that I sat there connecting all the dots. Between the planets, between the seasons, and between nature and the modern world.