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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Morrigan and Personal Sovereignty

The Morrigan's most well-known, and arguably main, aspects may be battle, death, and war but she also has other purviews including sovereignty and that is what many of her followers today seem to connect most strongly with. In our modern world  many people feel disempowered in their lives, making the idea of reconnecting with personal power an alluring one, and something that the Morrigan can help with by pushing us to find our own sense of sovereignty. She is not, in this case, a giver of sovereignty to those who seek it, but rather she will challenge us to fight for the independence and strength we need to feel like we are in control of our own selves.
We live in a world where we are disconnected from the idea of sovereignty, in part because the modern idea is far different from the ancient one. Historically sovereignty was the power of a person to rule, embodied in a concept called flaitheas in Irish. Several Irish goddesses were bestowers of flaitheas, deciding who would rule over the geographic area they were associated with, such as Macha in Armagh or Aine in Limerick. A king or chieftain successfully rule over the land and people of his domain was dependent on the blessing of this goddess. Sometimes the king would ritually marry the goddess to symbolize his union with her, in other cases she would appear and offer him a drink from a cup representing sovereignty. It was very important that the king live in right relation with the goddess of sovereignty because to do so would bless his people with abundance and prosperity, while offending her or angering her would bring about loss and scarcity.
Over time the concept of sovereignty has evolved. It is no longer restricted to kings and rulers but has become something personal, something that we all have within us. Whereas the Irish word flaitheas applies very specifically to rulership, kingdoms, and domains, the English translation of sovereignty has different meanings which have come to shape our understanding. Sovereignty is not only about rulership and authority over others, but also about personal autonomy and freedom, in essence about our ability to rule over ourselves. To have personal sovereignty is to stand in our personal power, take responsibility for all of our actions and their consequences, and to embrace the idea that we are ultimately our own authority. Our bodies belong only to ourselves. Our lives are lived as we choose to live them, whether that is for ourselves or for others, for our own happiness, or for other peoples'. Personal sovereignty is a choice, even when we are in situations where we can't control or choose what is happening we can choose how we react to the situations we are in. We each have the possibility of connecting to the goddess of sovereignty. We each have the potential for self-determination. We each have the capacity to be completely in control of ourselves and our own actions, to live by choice and not by chance, and in doing so to live in right relation to the goddess of sovereignty and earn her blessing in our life. 
Just as the word itself has changed with time, so too has the purview of the goddess of sovereignty changed over time. The Morrigan is still who and what she was historically, nothing has fallen away from her, but new things have been added as the world and human society changed, because the gods grow and adapt with us. In the past she might decide who would rule by shaping the outcome of a battle, or by challenging kings to act when action was needed. Macha, a goddess who is one of the three Morrigans, was directly associated with sovereignty by blessing or cursing kings, and as Macha Mongruadh with choosing the king. In a modern context the Morrigan comes to us individually and provokes us to embrace our own autonomy, to find our own sense of personal sovereignty.
The Morrigan is not known as a gentle goddess although how she interacts with us can depend on the situation and the person. In inciting us to find our own sovereignty she is challenging. Like a smith separating the dross from the good material she does what is needed to make us stronger. She  pushes us to confront our fears, to admit our weaknesses and turn them into strengths, to face the things we want only to avoid, to confront instead of hide. She teaches us that sovereignty has a price, but if we are willing to pay that price she will help us become better, stronger people. She does not give anything easily or freely but she will push us to find our own way to our personal power. Because what she offers has great value it is not easily earned nor freely given, but it is more than worth the effort. 

The Morrigan does not give sovereignty - she urges us to embrace our own by challenging us to find our strength and stand in our power. We may each have different definitions of what sovereignty is, but however we choose to define it we should strive to understand how it fits into our life. Decide for yourself what sovereignty is and then find a way to embrace it. The Morrigan stands before us and says: "Who rules your life? Dare to be your own sovereign, dare to rule over your own flesh, dare to be in control of your own self."

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