F is for Pagan

Okay, not really. But the Pagan Blog Project is featuring the letter F this week. As fate would have it… oh no, I can already tell this post is going to be punny. Or something.

(Please consider all of the following to be according to my PERSONAL walk with The Morrigan, and not written according to established lore or writings! Thanks!)

As I was saying. As fate would have it, I’ve recently begun intense personal research into the Celtic deities. Including (not limited to) The Morrigan. The Morrigan is a Goddess of Fate, Death, War, Fertility, Passion, and many other things. Given the human fascination with such morbid subjects (and the less morbid, but no less interesting ones), The Morrigan is a popular target for fascination and for fear and misunderstanding, even in some who claim to revere her.

What I’d like to talk about is The Morrigan’s dual position as Death and Fertility Goddes, and her dual position as War and Fate Goddess. So I’m taking on two F-words today. Neither of which is the most famous f-bomb of all (even though the f-bomb is an integral part of one of these words, even should we prefer not to talk about it–though we will. We will).

The interesting thing about The Morrigan is that she is an amazingly multidimensional deity. One story includes her ill-fated passion for Cu Chulainn, and how he wounded her three times. He swore never to heal her, and yet he did, blessing her three times when she gave him milk to drink. His excuse was that he didn’t know her. But that was his excuse all along.

This story is deeply wrapped up within all of her aspects. Cu Chulainn was off to fight in a war when he met, and rejected The Morrigan. When she changed into her Goddess aspect as a raven, he declared that he wouldn’t have rejected her, if only he had known her. How often this is true of us in our lives… how often we reject friends (perhaps even lovers), because we do not know them. This is a not-so-subtle warning against prejudgment and standing upon it without thought.

Not mollified in the least, Morrigan warns him of his fate, and she (being a goddess of revenge) pretty much tells him that she’s going to enjoy watching him suffer. He mutters to himself and ignores her.

The story as a whole is a microcosm of marriage and/or the search for love, really. A woman determines the fate of the marriage. “Happy wife, happy life” is a common saying, and it would behoove men to begin to heed it. The Morrigan did not inflict the suffering upon him herself. She simply informed him of his fate. It wasn’t the fate that was the problem. It wasn’t even that he was warned of it. The problem was that he rejected and ignored her. Much could have been prevented if he had listened, and if he had concerned himself with getting to know her.

The question could be begged of whether The Morrigan chose and sealed his fate, or simply disseminated the information to him; but such an argument would take away from the larger image that the story portrays.

Morrigan warned him of what would happen to him in his war. War can be many things in life, it isn’t always a group of men running around with swords (or guns). It can be relationships, it can be our work day or even our mindset when we post on forums or blogs. War takes many forms, not all of them Earth-shattering. One of the most timeless wars is “the war between the sexes”. And there are many genders involved in that war, too. It’s disingenuous to ignore the war between extremists who loathe homosexuals and those who feel a person’s sexuality is his or her own, and no one elses’.

The war on drugs, the war on cancer, the war in Afghanistan… they are all wars. They can fall within the purview of the Goddess of Fate.

Yet the war most notable of all of these, and which is displayed in the story of Cu Chulainn and The Morrigan is the war between men and women. The endless dance during which children are created–or not.

Fertility (not merely childbearing, but all forms of fertility) in a marriage requires that both sexes sit back and listen. Yet as the story shows, it is frequently the man who strikes the blows, and it is the man’s purview to heal them. Fate can only intervene to the degree that we each are willing to let her in. Within that timeless dance is the secret of a fertile life and a fertile relationship… the fate of humanity left to us to decide.

A barren future, or a fertile one? Will we embrace Fate, let her in, and allow her to set aside the aspects of revenge and war… or will those be the only aspects we will harken to? It is our choice. It is a choice that we make every day, in every area of our lives, from the war in the bedroom, to the war in the boardroom, to the war abroad.

Fate can be our friend, but unlike Cu Chulainn, we must accept and acknowledge her love… and hear and know her voice as that of a friend, perhaps even a lover.

— Shannon Phoenix is a paranormal romance novelist. You can find her books at www.shannonphoenix.com

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