I don’t think we ever know quite what it is going to mean for us when we make a promise to the gods. Certainly, that’s been true for me. And the dedication of one’s body, well, that’s something it’s obvious should not be undertaken lightly.
I’ve been reading Brene Brown lately. In her book Rising Strong she talks about shame connected with religion as being one of the top three hardest things to come back from. This makes a lot of sense to me. I also suspect that I’m not alone in the experience of facing shame as a dedicatee of the Morrigan.
One of the patterns I’ve noticed in my experiencing of Her and with Her is that She will draw out every place of darkness or secretly harboured weakness within the self…and if resisted, it won’t be in a way that feels easy or comfortable. Shame, our own, and that of others, is of course one of those patterns to be faced as we are stripped down to the bones and rebuilt from within.
There are some experiences I’ve had in ordinary life where I would definitely say Her hand is upon them, sometimes just lightly resting, enough to draw out to the surface the things that the people involved would most like to keep covered. There’s an edge to the experience or the exchange. A fierceness that is characteristic and unmistakeable, to the point that I can see, even while it is happening, She is there, in me or in them, or in the exchange. (This happens increasingly as I myself become clearer and stronger in Her service – my presence reflects increasingly the tough things people don’t want to see within themselves, and this doesn’t always lead to happy endings).
The Morrigan works through conflict. Well, it is a fast track to clearing out the bullshit, that’s for sure. If you don’t have the stomach for it, you’ll learn fast or you won’t last long.
So, I offered my body. She tested that claim in ways that were uncomfortable. I expected a certain kind of hard work, perhaps physical training (you know, warrior, battle goddess, all that). She asked instead for softness, and a different sort of challenge. Not what I had anticipated or expected.
These things were challenging not only for me, but also deeply challenging for those around me.
They made me less ‘nice’, less pliable…most certainly, less palatable and less acceptable. They shattered and transformed who I thought that I was or could be. They challenged me – and still challenge me – to power, to stand in power, to live in power in ways that are not entirely acceptable or easy.
In the first round, She challenged me, and I accepted. I did the work, but I didn’t like it.
This stupidly (but humanly) as the work itself was so beautiful and such a gift – a way of connecting within the body and the self, and to the goddess and the land, opened for me, and I am so grateful.
But it didn’t look like I had expected it to look. It was hard, and lonely, and I was overwhelmed and afraid. I didn’t want it. What I wanted was for other people to do it. I wanted to be less, and to be loved and accepted, and stay invisible. And the truth was that I couldn’t be accepted or loved, until I loved and accepted the patterns and requirements of this work within myself even though it wasn’t what I wanted it to be or thought it should be.
It is my work, a deep part of who I am and my purpose. , Answering the call to it was a clearest impulse of love (devotion) and desire to serve within me.
Once the first pieces were done, I hid myself away for a while, and was given a time of rest (illness requiring retreat). The illness and the processing was a gift, but when it was time to emerge, She was not gentle. I was challenged and accused by a person I had a lot of respect for, challenged that I wasn’t doing what I had done for anything other than my own personal whim. Even though this was not even remotely the case, I was ashamed. This spiraled in various ways to a massive shake up and clearing out of anything that was not in alignment in my life around the work she has for me.
I was ashamed that this was how I would or could be seen. I felt the shame that was being aimed at me in the whispered gossip and the attempts at exclusion. It was petty, ridiculous, and childish. But the edge – how far it would go? Where it would end?
In the end, it went only as far as I let it go (not far). Quite frankly, the people involved have and had no power over me. They were not living up to what was required of them, and I was (perhaps I still am) a mirror for that. They’d rather throw mud at the mirror, cover it over, push it away, try to break it, than allow themselves to see what it was reflecting…because, well, ouch! We’re all only human, and the vulnerability and shame is a common experience. I’ve seen the weakness and the vulnerability they don’t want to see let alone be shown.
But I’ve faced my own shame, you know? I’ve looked it squarely in the eyes, and welcomed it in. There’s no breaking me that way any longer.
The underlying message in this experience for me was this:
Who do you stand for? Will you fulfil the promise, no matter the cost? will you fulifil it even if it causes those you hold most dear to turn on you, to speak against you, to challenge your place, your work, and your right to be there?
Can you dare to see your own vulnerability and shame? The places where weakness and fear hold you back from truth, and power? Will you acknowledge and hold that vulnerability and that strength within you?
‘Have you a story to tell?’
What will you see? Whose story, what story, will you tell?
Hers and yours, or someone else’s, the one that fear, theirs or yours, is writing?
It only goes as far as you let it. I say, allow something different.
About: Rebecca Wright is a mother of four, a birth doula, and a shamanic healer and teacher. Daughter and Priestess of the Morrigan, she is one of the founders of the Call of the Morrigan Facebook group, and this blog.
It’s the last call for the 2015 Call of the Morrigan UK Retreat: Sex, Sovereignty, Power – are you coming?