Last weekend, I went to the Gaea Goddess Gathering (GGG) in Kansas. The main reason I wanted to attend, besides spending some time with my friend and just camping in general, was because the weekend was going to focus on The Morrigan. For those out of the know, The Morrigan is a Gaelic goddess and I am a Gaelic Polytheist. So I felt obliged to present a workshop about her as a Gaelic Goddess and what that means for a Gaelic Polytheist.
Originally I wasn’t going to make it until Saturday, but because of some work snafus I managed to get down Friday morning with Chalice and a new friend. After registering and unpacking, I went to a workshop called “Transitioning Beyond Dysfunctional Families.” It was really well grounded and well presented, even if it didn’t really go over anything I didn’t know already. But it was nice to meet with a bunch of other ladies who had experienced dysfunctional families and hear their stories. There was a wittle baby who was chipper and smiling and cooing and that really lightened the mood. Also, very appreciative of the fact we did a grounding ritual near the end to release all the negativity we built up talking about abuse.
Then I went to a Psychic Cleansing and Shielding workshop that was…less impressive. The scaping work we did at the beginning was interesting, and releasing negative energy into salt was a neat idea. But the presenter didn’t seem to know how to transmit thoughts. I would have appreciated if she focused on theory behind why things work, since she touched base on metaphysics a bit but didn’t really delve into it as much. It just felt very shallow for what could have been a really interesting ritual. Plus some casual racism involving thinking all First Nations are the same and told the wolf story that doesn’t need to be falsely attributed to any of the First Nations.
Then I kinda called it a day and went to the main hall where we were staying to relax. I also joined Chalice in her swimming the lake, but I forget when that was exactly.
Before the music concert, me and Chalice went to the temple they erected for The Morrigan. While walking in, I got tangled in the beadings coming down while…no one coming out had any problems, and there were a lot of people. Then I went through the temple and asked The Morrigan if she’d or they or one of them would help me with divination. Then I couldn’t divine anything. Just really got a zero-cares-given feeling. Which was frustrating.
On the way out, you’re suppose to grab a fortune from a box to see what the goddess has to say for you. I got something that didn’t make sense, so I put it back and tried harder to pick the right one. Then I picked the most condescending message imaginable for something coming from the Morrigan. Which, I take, to be a catty message from her.
Then we went to the concert.
I personally really liked the sound of Red Velvet Army more than Big Bad Gina. There were a few moments with the latter band that made me squirm because of the messages about uteruses and estrogen. I’m going to get into that later with a different blog post about being trans inclusive what “ALL women” should mean.
Then there was a bonfire, but I didn’t stay long. I went inside and eventually to sleep.
Saturday I woke up early at around 9am–which is early for me. I walked up the hill to the merchant area to maybe grab some things…but they weren’t opened yet. So I sat down on the bench and took in the morning sun while messaging my fiance about the new dog he just got us. After a while I went back down the hill to eat my breakfast and drink my energy drink. I then went to the event speaker’s presentation on The Morrigan.
The presentation was really great. She referenced how I and someone else were doing more historical perspectives, and so for her speech she was going to talk about her experiences. And for someone who doesn’t focus a lot on historical context, she really kept to it with her experiences since they all aligned with what history has said about the Morrigan. The takeaway is that the Morrigan tends to work with people with shadow work, and goes to people facing internal battles as well as external ones.
Then we did this guided visualization involving meeting the Morrigan in her cave. The Morrigan was a giant-sized crow–I’m talking the size of a hippo. And she ate up my fear of inadequacy. Lugh showed up, too, and kinda held me back from interacting much with her. It was very gory and gruesome. And she seemed to be laughing at me. And we were suppose to hear her tell us that she’d take away our fears, but the Morrigan laughed and said, “I don’t say that too you” and didn’t comply with the rest of the visualization. It was weird, and a bit angering. I respect her a lot and I just get laughed at??
Anyway…next up was my workshop! It went really well. People seemed really engaged in what I had to say. I even handled a question about the Matthews relatively well (because I don’t like the Matthews’ books but this person did.) Someone was even crying during the parts I talked about Na Morrigna being about social justice and calling people who fight battles against ableism and disability. And I even had some people who were interested in the Polytheist Community Center who lived in Omaha! So an overall success.
And then I sat in the sun for about two hours. Just relaxing. It has been so long since I just…was somewhere. Just sat and enjoyed the environment. Agoraphobia has made it difficult for me to get out, but hopefully with a dog I now have more reason to do so and more security to help me. I managed to complete a Celtic Heart Knot for an offering to the Morrigan which I plan to burn later tonight.
I sat around in the sun until about 4pm where a woman was doing a presentation also on the Morrigan in a historical perspective. I was cautiously excited…because I never know what people may think or say in a pagan sphere. But she said everything I would have wanted, though I am a bit confused where she got one of the myths. Anyway, we talked afterwards and really went at it with how inaccurate pagan sources can be and I basically was given new hope for the future by her efforts to educate people on the history and the folklore.
Before we talked though, we did a visualization to meet the Morrigan. This time we traveled from a cave, down a path, across a lake, to a castle where she sat on a throne. The basic gist of what happened was that I was getting frustrated with her not taking me seriously. The entire weekend I’ve been getting the feeling of belittlement from her and I was done. I told Lugh to stay out of it and just…raged that she needed to take me seriously. And then I did something I didn’t expect. I asked her to determine the battle for about PCC for me. She smiled wickedly and said, “Good. We’ll start that work soon.” And…now I’m pretty sure I am going to be doing more work with the Morrigan than I originally has planned. But important, useful work…Just kinda rushed into it (which my cards warned me against. Welp.)
I went back to the main hall until the ritual. The ritual itself was…okay. I’m not one for quarter calls, to begin with. Then we invited in the Morrigan, who was invoked into someone’s body. Before much went on, I got a sensation from the Morrigan that amounted to “Soon.” Okay then.
Anyway, the person invoking the Morrigan asked us to raise up and we started to chant it. It felt really weird to have phrasing like “stand up” and “raise up” when we were already physically standing. I ended up not chanting because it seemed so…forced and almost groupthink? Then the person invoking the Morrigan disappeared, taking the ritual leaders with her. And that was that? We were kinda left to dance around the fire and chant. I just kinda sat on the sidelines while it was going on…I totally did not connect to the ritual whatsoever. But a lot of people seemed to, which is good.
After a part of the ritual seemed done, I went back to the main hall with Chalice and we did some divination. I asked her what I should expect with working with the Morrigan. As she shuffled, the deck flung apart and the “Death” card came flying at me. In doing so, I fell over laughing and crying simultaneously. OH great. I’m in for a treat. And lots of snark, too, apparently.
I also apologized to Lugh for shutting Him out because…He seemed put-off by that. Just feelings I was getting. I think He accepted my apology.
Sunday came early for me again. During the closing ritual, I decided to step away and just sit on a hill with a view of the lake singing Irish folksongs to myself. It was really relaxing and rewarding, a great way to end the weekend.
My main conflictions about the weekend are threefold, but I’ll address the two that I don’t blame the festival for here. Those two are being nonbinary at an all-women’s festival and being someone who doesn’t identify as pagan at a pagan festival.
So I’m demigender, which means I partially identify as a woman but partially do not. So I don’t think going to an all-women’s festival is that vital to me as someone who identifies completely with being a woman because…it’s intended for them. Maybe a nonbinary pagan festival would feel different. Here, I sometimes felt like an intruder because I didn’t identify enough as a woman.
Maybe I should see about organizing a Nonbinary Retreat at the retreat center? That could be a thing. Things to muse on…
Then there’s the pagan aspect. The one ritual on shadow work I skipped out on had a chant about Father Sky and Mother Earth…which is something I don’t believe in. But most pagans do. And this is why I tend to avoid the pagan label: I don’t believe in Wiccan ideas and the four quarters or anything like that. So going to pagan stuff that tends to be about Wicca (even if they don’t call it that)…it’s very alienating.
Those are two things that isn’t the festivals’ fault. They are catering to those audiences, and I’m not that audience. So I wonder if I should bother going next year? Hmm… Maybe I’ll stick with going to Heartland instead? Because I love the campsite that is Gaea. It feels wonderful to be at. But the reasons for gathering are more the alienating factor.
I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go to Heartland instead and get the itch I want scratched with being at Gaea without feeling like I’m an intruder on a space. I can also go camping by myself, too.
Overall, the weekend was really helpful in starting up a relationship with the Morrigan. I’m glad I went. I have another blog post to write about the cis-sexism, but that’ll be another post.
Any advice about what to do next year or with Pagan Festivals in general is greatly welcomed, by the by!