[My Patreon supporters see these posts at least a day before the rest of the world. There are some other cool rewards, too.]
Remember how, a while back, I republished an older blog post on people’s top misconceptions about Odin? One thing the post mentioned is that He can sometimes function as a “gatekeeper” god; in other words, He is liable to show up in your space not to claim you for Himself, necessarily, but to show you around the tradition and the pantheon and introduce you to the People you’re actually going to be working with. In heathen circles He is well known for doing this–or at least He was, back in the day when I was running with heathens.
Well, I don’t know whether or not a similar trope exists concerning the Morrigan among Celtic pagans, but guess what She’s been doing since She reappeared on my radar a couple of weeks ago?
That’s right, She’s been introducing me around–primarily to just two People thus far, though it’s possible there will be others on the horizon.
First, She introduced me to the Dagda, who is big and warm and safe-feeling, and who reminds me a lot of (my version of) Wodan. (And in fact, the latter has been making noises about how He is maybe “also the Dagda.” For years, people have been telling me that my version of Wodan is “too nice,” so this almost figures–though that doesn’t really make it any less annoying.)
And then, She called Brigid in, and right away something clicked. She and Wodan exchanged Significant Glances and began shoving me in Brigid’s general direction. I am now on the Brigid study track, it seems, and will be primarily working with Her (and with the Dagda/Wodan/whoever He actually is) in cobbling together my own personal Celtic-flavored witchcraft practice (with, I’m sure, some Norse/Anglo-Saxon influences).
In case anyone is wondering, I’m not upset about this. In the Keepin’ it Real Department, I have to admit that my attraction to dark, violent, life-changing deities is maybe not the healthiest or most productive thing for me at this point in my life. Back when Wodan first entered my life in 2002, I was not only open to sweeping life changes, I welcomed them. I wasn’t happy and was entirely ready for something new, and Wodan provided that in spades. But now? Other than wanting my shop to bring in more money than it currently does, I’m pretty satisfied with my personal world. (There are lots of things I’d like to see change in the world at large, and especially in the country–but that’s different.) I’m not really in the market for having my life turned upside down–which is a Thing both Odin and the Morrigan are famous for doing.
And from that perspective, Brigid actually suits me and my goals pretty well. Like the Morrigan, She is a sovereignty goddess (as Queen of the half-Fomorian, half-Tuatha De god Bres), but unlike the Morrigan, She is more concerned with creation than destruction. Like me, She is a Maker (Brigid of the forge); She is also a Healer and a Poet, with connections to brewing as well. (She reminds me quite a bit of both Gunnlod and Rosmerta–which I think is no small part of why I’ve been shoved in Her direction.) She works primarily with metal (something I’d like to do more of) while I work in leather and wool (which also matches up well, as two of Her sacred animals are cows and sheep)–but the crafting connection is there, and is a primary pull for me. In the past few months, we’ve been shifting towards eating fewer processed foods (more about that in a future post) and I’ve become something of a kitchen witch, so healing also applies. And I’ve always written–not primarily poetry, but just as with Wodan, I interpret Her bardic connection in a wider sense of creative wordsmithing, encompassing pretty much everything from Emily Dickinson to the reruns of Supernatural I’m currently making my way through as I work
And there’s another reason why I’m not torn up over this: for years I have made almost a second career of tormenting myself about all of the things Serious Odinists do that I have absolutely no inclination towards. I have zero desire to traipse through the woods at night alone (or march through my city wearing a mask and beating a drum, for that matter), pay people to torture me and call it an “ordeal ritual,” or tie myself to a tree for nine hours. (I don’t think any sort of revelation or visions would come to me; I’d be too engaged in not peeing my pants.) For all that my ego would have loved me to pursue these things (as “proof” of how serious I was), there are reasons why, in fifteen years of devotion, they never happened.
Similarly, I have zero desire to learn a martial art form (yes, I know this isn’t really a requirement for all followers of the Morrigan, but it is stressed by some of the more high profile ones), argue with people on the internet about how “it can’t really be the Morrigan because [fill in the reason]”, or be on the front lines of anything. I’m not a warrior, and I’m unashamed of that fact. (That said, if you fuck with me or someone I love, you will really wish you hadn’t.) My preferred mode of resistance is survival, via shoring up my home defenses and working to nourish my household and master my craft–both in a magickal sense, and in the sense of the stuff I make that brings in money. Beyond that, any extra spoons or means I have can go towards encouraging and supporting those who ARE on the front lines. Again, my ego resists these admissions, but if I don’t get clear on this now I’ll be letting myself in for fifteen more years of doing everything the hard way–and when those fifteen years are up, assuming we still have a world by then, I’ll be in early old womanhood, so let’s just not go that route and say we did.
Crafting, healing, and poetry–these are the things that feed my soul, the cornerstones of the path I’ve always been walking without knowing it (or wanting to admit it), the things I need to nourish in return. They are what I need more of in my own life, and what I would like to spend my remaining years on earth bringing to others. Some of this falls within Wodan’s purview, to be sure. But it doesn’t always fit neatly, or as well as I’d like, or without explanations attached for the benefit of skeptical pagans who can’t find better things to do than tell others what they’re doing wrong. Brigid simply and beautifully fills in some of those gaps and files away some of those jagged edges. Her influence in my life is welcome, and very likely past due.