Reposted from my personal Tumblr
It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything publicly at length about The Morrigan and her son, the serpent Meche. Now seems like an apt time to write about the apocalyptic serpent and the prophetess of plague considering the current state of world. Even doubly so, since as I write this it is the evening before the 17th of March.
Right now I’m getting started on my Saint Patrick’s Day cooking, this year I was determined to do a corned beef and cabbage stew just like I had when I was growing up. The governor of Louisiana has just announced that all bars are closing tonight until mid-April. The annual Saint Patrick’s parades were also cancelled. Parties of more than 10 people and large gatherings are also banned. All this is for the greater good and health of the people. During a press conference with New Orleans city council yesterday they stressed that COVID-19 is spreading faster here than in any other US city, this is because the virus hit our city during the midst of our Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations. A lot of my non-bartender acquaintances are angry that the bars will be closed tomorrow because now they “can’t drink on Saint Paddy’s,” that is frankly a quite selfish way to look at it, our first thoughts should be with the bartenders who are now out of work and without income. Needless to say, I have always resented the commercialization of American Saint Patrick’s Day traditions, especially insomuch as that they seem to reduce “Irish Heritage” down to alcohol and the color green.
Needless to say, as with many adult Morrigan devotees, I have definitely had a toxic, if not abusive relationship with alcohol, not that I was ever an alcoholic by any measure, but have I had some unhealthy binges. I mostly do not drink much at all anymore, just on holidays and special occasions. It is no secret that She often calls sorcer/er/esses after they’ve developed a big old mess of post-traumatic stress from violent experiences, and PTSD and alcohol have a sordid love affair, if you could call it that, add that on top of ecstatic worship and sorcery, and you have a potentially self-perpetuating cycle where a coping mechanism is engaged under the excuse of being spiritual. It takes a lot of hard, ugly shadow work to get through that, and there is no shame in still remaining in that pattern. Everyone grows at their own pace. However, I digress.
It can be difficult to find some silver lining, something to celebrate in these trying times. Especially when one is being told one has to isolate, quarantined away from one’s friends and neighbors. Community and human contact is important, but solitude is valuable as well. So I’m going to share a little OG Caw Squad shared gnosis with you all:
If you have read my blog for years, you probably be familiar with Meche MacMorrigan, if not I have a whole long blog post where I combined information from my smaller Tumblr blog posts about him. Anyway, my spiritual friend-family and I agree that he is not just a god of the apocalypse, nightmares, famine, and plague, but he is the god of rebirth, dreams, a deity of fertility and medicine…or as I call it “The Venom That Heals”. On the night before yesterday at this time last year I had a dream of him, and with him, that dealt with themes of contagion and antidote, of calm in the face of what seems deadly, of healing and liberation from fear. I’m not one to proselytize, it’s against my beliefs, and that is not what I am trying to do here. What I am trying to get at has more to do with solitude. I’m very private about the fine details of my practice, but, as much as it has to do with serving my ancestors, my loved ones, and my community, it also entails a lot of solitude, introspection, meditation, and divination. And I feel like the serpent, who hibernates in his burrow though the cold portion of the year, is very much the god of that meditative darkness and solitude that brings insight of both the soul and the future.
The spirits and ancestors shared a lot of warnings in the past six months of what was to come, not in any specific detail of the nature of the disaster that would befall, but the stressed vigilance and preparedness. I remember several months ago my partner asking why on earth I was insisting on buying a giant bottle of dish soap, and I was like “I honestly don’t know, I just know that I should…what if there’s an international soap shortage or something?” These premonitions aren’t just a natural gift, they are nurtured, honed, cultivated, and sharpened though silent periods of privacy with the spiritual world. What I suggest, is not to morn the loss of large parties, gatherings, public celebrations and rituals, but appreciate the opportunity to practice private celebration, solitary rituals, the opportunity to meditate and to divine, and to cultivate a deeper relationship with the gods, ancestors, and spirits.
I must stress, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with big parties and drinking, under normal circumstances, but these circumstances are not normal. I am not trying to come off as holier-than-thou at all, my desire is just simply to suggest a healthy way of coping with and finding peace during this time of chaos. I want all of you and your loved ones to be happy, healthy, and safe during this epidemic.
For me, March 17th isn’t about getting shitfaced in my kilt while listening to the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, all though I do enjoy wearing a kilt on the one day a year I can go out without someone calling it a schoolgirl skirt, and I don’t mind drinking a cider while listening to 90′s punk. However, when I venerate my ancestors it doesn’t always have to be ecstatic, in fact, oftentimes it is quite solemn, so I’m content with a quiet, private celebration of heritage. For me, personally, and for some of the Caw Squad, March 17th isn’t quite about the Christian Saint Patrick either. I have, in my own practice, made it a day to celebrate Meche MacMorrigan. Imbolc, though it does involve waking the Serpent, belongs to Brigid, and The Morrigan has Samhain, so for me, from Saint Patrick’s Day through the Spring Equinox belongs to Meche.
I encourage you, dear reader, to also find a way and a reason to celebrate this Equinox, and to use this time of quarantine to strengthen your relationship with your ancestral spirits and to pray for the world, because the world needs it.