Inevitably, on Bullets for the Morrigan

Asa West wrote an article not quite outright condemning but clearly disapproving of the idea of offering bullets on the Morrigan’s altar. Everybody’s talking about it, so I need to. I want to be one of the cool kids.

Asa starts out by reminding us that the Morrigan is not just a war Goddess. And of course, she isn’t. She is a profound oracle and poetess, for example, so the examples of Tarot cards or a pen as offerings might really be valid for someone whose relationship to the Morrigan include those things. Asa goes on to say that we should honor the Gods not just for one pet trait but in their totality, and I agree with that too. Most of the big-name Gods in any pantheon are capable in a wide range of contexts, which is part of what makes them major; and I’d really enjoy reaching the day when no one treats them as simply a set of correspondences we use to get stuff from the cosmic vending machine.

Honoring them in their totality, however, really does mean accepting that the Morrigan is a goddess of war. Actually most of the Tuatha De are warriors to some extent; they all participate in the war against the Fomorians. But war is a major part of the Morrigan’s portfolio: violence, death and portents of death, fighting because it is one’s duty or because something important is at stake or even just because is entrenched in her whole mythos.

All of which is to say that it’s great if you’re a pacifist, but you really don’t get to tell the Morrigan that she is one or needs to become one. She is not someone it’s your duty to “evolve” by worshipping her differently, unless she asks it of you. That’s such an important piece of the puzzle, and yet it goes missing all the time. Devotion is a relationship. It is a call to open to another being and the truths they embody. Even if they’re truths that are hard for you. Sometimes especially if they’re truths that are hard for you. And the thing is…human violence and war are a truth. If we want to transform all that energy into something we can live with, we can’t just refuse to admit it’s there and run its divinities off to another planet.

As for claiming that a blade is different because it has Spiritual Truths and a bullet doesn’t, I don’t see that as anything more than a gloss of “if it’s ancient it’s okay!” over a refusal to admit that daggers – the shape of most athames – are pretty much designed to kill people. They’re not for cutting up your bread. As for symbolism, bullets can represent speed and trueness of aim in your purpose, just like an arrowhead or a spear. Or the ability to move smoothly through obstacles, or the miracle of Fire in the form of Earth, or the prayer to transform violence by placing it back in the hands of a Mistress who knows how to direct it better than we do. It’s not automatically the gesture of someone about to go on a killing spree.

…Also she’s got no connection to olive branches, but you get down with that if she tells you she wants an olive branch from you. Just to have a moment of learn-the-hearth-culture snobbery in with the devotionalism.


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