Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Red Bull and the Morrigan

I see a huge red bull, with long silky hair. I know that he is the focus of an ancient battle.
    I see the warriors of two rival armies clashing together - kilted men swinging killing irons.
    Riding through the field of battle comes an immense dark figure, standing proudly erect in a chariot. She is three women in one. Their bodies are joined. Her chariot is not drawn by horses but races forward, powered by the intention of the War Goddess. Its great wheels are armed with scything blades, that mow down the fighting men like tall grass.
     As the bodies of the slain lie in heaps on the ground, the Morrigan divides into three huge black birds. They soar into the air, then swoop down on the fallen, picking out the eyes, stripping the flesh from the bones. They are separating what rots from what endures.
    When their work is done, they come together and the Goddess shows herself as a single being - a ripe, naked woman wearing deer antlers.
     In this form, she rises above the earth. She glides at tremendous speed from the site of the battle to a mountain whose name is Slievnamun. She shows herself here in yet another form - as a lovely young woman who sits above a natural cauldron, a bubbling spring among the rocks. Here and only here (I am informed) can the dread Morrigan be approached in beneficent human form.

from a dawn vision during a weekend of Active Dreaming and mythic drama on Gore Mountain.

Graphic: Louis le Brocquy, The Morrígan, 1969, lithograph. Illustration for Thomas Kinsella's translation of The Táin.


Justin Patrick Moore said...

Robert, I have had Kinsella's version of "The Tain" sitting next to my computer and work station at the library for over a week with the intention of reading it, but haven't started yet. This post is another spur to do so. As I mentioned in your post on "Odin, Mercury, and the Fox Girl" the energy of the corvid's have been making themselves known to me -by Crows showing up in dreams and waking synchronicity- and the Morrigan was one of the leads I have run across in my research.

My first dream on the subject I titled "Ireland's Mud Raven" from January 10th, 2010:
I am somewhere in the British Isles, on a golf course with a man who is my guide. I recall a phrase from Mark Twain, "Golf is a good walk spoiled." But we're not here to play golf. He takes me up above the green hills and I see the grass isn't as green as I first thought. I ask my guide, "Is there a place in Ireland where the grass is really as green as people say it is?" And he tells me "It isn't now because of the season you are here." He then shows me a pool with a Raven in it. The Raven is flopping around in the mud. It goes into the muddy pool. It dives into the pool to catch something and then comes back up.

Upon waking I remembered that Golf was invented in Scotland. Either way it was clear that I was in a Celtic ancestral realm. Over the next weeks I read quite a bit about Crows and Raven's. I'm still reading "Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness" by ornithologist Lyanda Lynn Haupt. I haven't started the Tain yet. This may sound like an oxymoron, but as a library worker and avid reader I have a hard time finishing books: usually because I am engaged in a practice I call Multiplex Reading. I have thirteen books checked out from where I work, plus all those in my own collection, and those sitting by my desk at work that I intend to read. The Tain surely holds something for me though.

Robert Moss said...

Justin - I doubt that I'd get away with the phrase "multiplex reading" in my household, though "skyscraper" or even "tenement" reading might be accurate (depending on the stability and age of the teetering piles of books in current use). For your research on the corvidae, you may want to track the appearances of Crow people in Charles de Lint's fantasy novels, and go back to the account of a Raven shapeshifter in my own "Conscious Dreaming" (pp. 243-4) and of the role of Crows as reliable trackers in the real Hiawatha story, which I retell in "Dreamways of the Iroquois".

Golf is indeed a Scottish invention, and the early club (if Michael Murphy and the whisky shaman in "Golf in the Kingdom" can be trusted) was called a "dipping spoon".

Sal Ruiz said...

Robert, I had a visceral dream this morning about clothes washing; the central meaning eludes me. I've had the theme of clothes washing for a week now, but I still cannot "distill" the essence of the message.

In this mornings dream there were "3" lions like your account in, "The Red Bull and the Morrigan," of the 3 women and crows. The theme of 3 has been presenting itself to me for some time now and I believe I have a general understanding of what its aural meaning represents--it's the ubiquitous presentation of clothes, or garments mixed with blankets and linens of all colors of patterns and sizes, particularly garments, though, that perplexes me.

The lions were fierce and noble in there size and presence and were trying to get at me on the flat roof of a house that felt like my home, although it wasn't my literal home--more like a substitute home. A strong male lead the 3 and all 3 were clawing there way up a shear, flat-faced wall to get at me. All 3 were in a tight, close formation and they nearly reached me by where I could see the large head of the male leader's face and mane; but suddenly, they all retreated at that point. It was a poignant gesture of force and energy.

I didn't feel a raging threat, or a pending, looming danger from them though; I felt startled and surprised at their punctuated, exerted effort to get my attention by clawing their way up a flat wall.

Do you have any suggestions for the array of what garments in a large wash bucket may mean? Particularly, garments being pre-washed, washed and then rinsed with copious amounts of water collected in large containers on the roof-top that I stood on?

Robert Moss said...

Sal _ That feels like a very powerful visitation. Three is a primal and ancient number of deity; you'll find me returning again and again to the theme of the Triple Goddess, but there is also the male Trinity and mixed divine threesomes. If this were my dream, I would consider how I need to clean up my act in order to be ready for - and worthy of - a close-up encounter with powers of the deeper world. Clothes are my outer garments, the things I put between me and the world, so what I need to wash clean might include how I've tended to present myself. (Of course there may be some dubious undergarments in the wash as well :-)

Apart from the theme of trinity, your three lions have me thinking of very different energies than the Morrigan and the crows. For me, inter alia, the lion embodies courage and the ability to speak one's truth and be heard. "He is terrible but he is good," as C.S.Lewis wrote of Aslan. Synchronistically, I am writing about this today and my experiences in a workshop last weekend were dominated by an indelible encounter with a magnificent white lion in a garden of the heart.

Sal Ruiz said...

Thank you, Robert, your detached view has given me relief for what was turning into a cunnundrum.

The trinity of lions was mixed, one lion flanked by two lionesses; they moved like jet fighters in a sorte air scramble just before air-striking engagement--holding that tight, disciplined wing-man flight pattern while maneuvering in a dangerous dynamic environment.

Robert Moss said...

A note from Caitlin Matthews, a great scholar of Celtic traditions: "The Morrigan is known anciently as the Morrigna - the trinitarian being made up of Badbh, Macha and Nemain. She has the ability to appear as both young and beautiful as well as very challenging humanoid or else in raven form. It is she who, like Inanna with Gilgamesh, woos Cuchulainn. He will have none of her because he knows what becomes of her lovers - well , she gets him in the end. She ain't called the great queen for nothing.

It seems like a pretty accurate report to me!"

Justin Patrick Moore said...

Robert, thanks for the further reading leads. Charles de Lint is a favorite, and I've been meaning to step back into the streets of Newford for some time. His "Tapping the Dream Tree" is one that had been sitting at my work station as well. "Singing the Soul Back Home" by Caitlin Matthews is one of the books I DID finish reading this year (along with some Arthurian romances by Stephen Lawhead, which I was advised to read in a dream). Slowly, I am beginning to work with the shamanic techniques and practices she has laid out in that book.

Speaking of Cuchulainn, one of my favorite composers, Terry Riley, wrote a piece for the Rova Saxophone Quartet called "Chanting the Light of Foresight" whose inspiration was taken from the Cattle Raid of Cooley. You can listen to "The Pipes of Medb" & "Medb's Blues" here:

Patty said...

"They are separating what rots from what endures. "

I had a dream that I tried to post on the forum. It didn't post and I decided it is not a dream I want to write down. This is not usual for me because I take what Wanda says about journaling dreams to heart.
At first I thought it was about the gulf oil spill and it still may have meaning for that.
I think it is/ was about health and a wave of immune struggles. My son and I came down with a sore throat. A little girl at my work is demo. an extremely compromised immune system and then two people came to me with abuse stories. One I offered to work with if she wants.
It was about stepping out of an unfamiliar Texas home into a savannah dessert like landscape. I was watching a storm coming and said it was flies. Dark black ribboned patterns coming from what direction? I was speaking to who ever was there to listen. These flies no longer just land, they now bite because of ... well I'm not sure what morphed them.
I get inside as they just fly start flying past. I look down and see my hands and feet are scabbed over now. Your sentence about what endures seems to speak to this dream. Also I dreamed it either the 14th, 15th, or 16th.
I'm not good at remembering days if I don't write it down.

Helen Adams said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful vision Robert. It has helped me to understand why the triple Goddess in my dream spoke a word that sounded like 'moithernan'. I think it was very close to Morrigan, and gives me lots more to think about as I re-enter the dream once more

Best - Helen