I’ve had a hard time writing out this entry – I’m on try #3 as it is – so I think I’m just going to start typing again and not stop until I’m done. The insights I’ve had today about the Morrígan are important, and I promised myself that I would get back to blogging and hone my writing skill no matter what.
This post comes with trigger warnings for mildly invasive medical procedures, discussing the nature of blood and pain, hypothetical self-harm for religious purposes, and the squick that is menstruation. Or, in other words: I’m on my period today and had blood work this morning, and that’s got me thinking about the Morrígan.
I am on my period today. I am releasing blood.
I had my blood drawn today. I am releasing blood.
The Morrigán has been on my mind for a half dozen different reasons. And I believe everything She is about comes back to blood.
Blood, when I think about it, is so beautifully symbolic and literal when it comes to life and death. It is the lifeforce that flows though our veins, our connection to those primal sea waters that first birthed life. The gift of blood is a gift of life, abundantly so, whether through the symbolic pricking of one’s finger at the altar, or through a badly needed donation at a blood bank.
At the exact same moment, blood – its color, its smell – immediately signals to our brains that something is terribly wrong here. When we see blood, it means injury. Loss. Death. Even with the cyclical bleeding that is my menstruation cycle, it is still tied up in pain, in fertility problems – I would not have a normal cycle without medication – in what is essentially a month without life, and so the body discards the blood as waste material. My life, flowing out my body.
Blood is, I think, the ultimate sexual fluid as well. Forget semen. Blood makes the heart beat, the phallus rise, the lips flush, the vagina swell. Blood is what makes sex – and thus procreative sex, and thus more life – work at all. Blood is what makes the sexual surrender to one another enjoyable.
And again, outside the body, blood shows us that something is wrong. So often, blood means death.
In a ritual last month celebrating Midsummer, I called on the Morrígan to serve as my Peacekeeper, guardian against those who would disrupt myself or my working. What do You want in return? I silently asked. Immediately, the visual of warm, wet, dark crimson came before my eyes. Not a lot. A drop would do. But that, I imagined Her reply, I want that.
She got a lock of my hair instead. Snipped carefully from just above my left ear, sprinkled around my worship area outside. Morag, one of my many partners-in-crime, was later shocked and amused that it never occurred to me that my actions that night were in any way binding. I was trying to follow the principle of ghosti, good hospitality, a gift for a gift. I was “employing” the Morrígan to stand protective guard over my ritual, and in return I gave Her a payment that I felt was the best substitute for the one She had requested – the same way that when I call on Manannán to help me open the Gates between the worlds, I offer Him incense.
Of course, store bought incense is not the same as a piece of my body, encoded with my own DNA. Though I had no intention of tying my fate up with the Morrígan, She may have very well had different plans.
But back to today.
I have PCOS. That coupled with obesity means my periods are, and have been my whole life, irregular. Following in the grand tradition of my mother’s side of the family, if I am not infertile then I will most likely have incredibly difficulty conceiving if I ever want that. (I don’t, by the way, but thanks for asking.) Female on the outside, female by chromosome, but confused by voice, hair, hormones, and gender identity. My period is my life force slipping away once a moon, one of many markers in a battle I and my body wage in trying to define ourselves. The cramps are practice contractions for a baby that will probably never come. Pain and blood, in vain preparation for life.
I am terrified of getting my blood drawn. I panic, sweat, struggle with nausea and dizziness. I may vomit, curse, cry, or pass out. Today, I did not curse, I did not pass out, and I had nothing in my stomach but water. But I was still terrified. Luckily though, the nurse knew what she was doing, and my mother and another nurse were able to distract me from the worst of my symptoms – but before, I still broke down in tears and had to call for a trash can.
This blood, being pulled from my body, my life force taken from me, will tell the doctors why I have the symptoms I do. This medical sacrifice means that I will be able to protect myself, take care of myself, know how better to control my health. It will tell me more of who I am.
Blood is life and death. Sex and injury. What is normal and what is not. Blood is the story of who we are. Blood is, in part, a symbol of our own sovereignty and power. Sound like Anyone to you?
I got a red candle today, scented with roses, to burn for a certain Celtic triple goddess. Roses remind me of blood, too. There is life, love, lust, sex, pain, thorns, and the headiness of death, all in that one little flower. I don’t know what role the Morrígan is fated to play in my life, or how close our destinies are intertwined. She hasn’t shown Her cards yet; I’m not even sure of mine. But what I do know for certain:
I am releasing blood.
And I am here.
[EDIT]: And how could I have forgotten maybe the biggest link between the Morrígan, myself, and blood today? When I woke up this morning, I found out I’d stained my underwear overnight and washed it off in the sink. The Morrígan is the washer at the ford, washing out the blood of those who will soon die. She seems intent on getting my attention.