My journey to the Morrigan

Ivy Neel

The blood-red tongue. The necklace of demon skulls around her neck. The wild eyes and long curly hair coiling around her waist. This is the typical imagery associated with the Hindu deity, Kali. Kali is an aspect of the Goddess Parvati, consort to the God Shiva. She is raw energy and strength. Some people have asked me why Kali is often referred to as Kali-Ma; mother essentially. I did not think much of it this question until later in life. I had simply accepted that that was mother; she was nurturing and frightening or protective when she needed to be. Growing up with a Hindu background, I was exposed to polytheistic devotion as well as a pantheistic worship in my own community. Today I honor the Morrigan. It seems an interesting journey since it was Kali who led me there.

Durga Devi, an aspect of Kali

As a child, I often dreamt of faraway places which I have never visited. I was an imaginative child, curious, and carefree, so much of this was chalked up to childhood fancy. I was always a fierce protector and identified deeply with the Kali aspect of the divine feminine. I felt as if I had been given a life to lead with service to others – as a warrior. I wanted to be a superhero and save the world. I felt Kali had charged me with such a task. But as time wore on, I felt myself drift back to those places I dreamt about when I was young. Why couldn’t I let go of the lush-green valleys I constantly saw? Where was this mythic place? I seemed to notice it more reading fairy tales and stories as a child. Was I simply projecting these mythic realms because of transmission via storytelling?

When we first moved to the U.S., I wondered if I would find my answers there. My interest in Western Paganism began at the age of eleven, when I wandered into a bookstore and picked up a book about Witchcraft. I had no idea what it was at the time. As I read further, I began to realize that Paganism was so much older than I had thought. I found similarities to my own culture, but I felt more connected with the Western Paganism. I could not shake the thought that the lush-green valley was somehow calling to me. It felt more like a pull which I couldn’t escape, magnetic, energetic, and very powerful. I felt the unraveling in my own body. I did not identify it with my own culture. I did not want to dishonor my culture or heritage or be seen as someone who has abandoned it and betrayed it. However, I could not let go of Kali either. But I would realize later that Kali had led me there all along. She flowed through me one day during a ritual with my chosen family, unexpectedly. I felt a moment of clarity during that time — it was as though Kali had given me the reins and was telling me to look at what was in front of me; that I need to heed the call of another Goddess.

It wasn’t until I was about sixteen or seventeen that the dreams were clearer. I understood finally that I had been dreaming of Ireland. I had dreamt of the Celts, the Druids, and I hadn’t even realized it. I’d felt as if I had traveled to those places long ago in other lives. I had to see Ireland again in this life. I felt physically pained to be parted from what essentially felt like my homeland.

The Morrigan

Strange coming from someone whom was ethnically raised in the East! However, I had to know for myself whether the pull was that strong. So I did in fact visit Ireland two years ago. And it changed my life infinitely for the better. I had not realized that the Morrigan had been with me for so long either. I’ve loved crows my whole life. And they’ve loved me. I didn’t make the connection with crows until I learned more. We had a crow in my grandmother’s apartment area to which we would always leave food — it is a memory I cherish deeply.

Why Kali and why Morrigan, I wondered? The answer to that question was simple. I was meant to find my true self. Kali is part of it and Morrigan is a part of it. Whilst in Ireland, I felt a rush … and something instinctive inside me said “I’m ready for this and this is where I was supposed to go.” The soil itself seemed to say “Welcome home, sister”.

I realized that Kali had practically carried me to where I needed to go. I still will honor this wonderful Goddess. But I am glad that I was able to figure out what I was drawn to, and that it was not wrong to be drawn to something outside of my own culture. I still grapple with this now but I am starting to understand it better. The depth of Kali’s importance in my life is not diminished. Kali did not just look after me, She guided me to another Goddess, one whom I strive to honor daily. Ironically were it not for Kali, I would not have gone to the Morrigan. I mention these two important deities to me, though I do have a few others, including Gods, but these Goddesses have been the most influential for me. And I am very glad for it!

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