Today I’m going to review the anthology Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan edited by Trista Henderson, Jessica Johnson and Pat Daly. Full disclosure- I have a piece in the book, as well as there being pieces by friends and fellow priests. The description of the book is as follows:
“Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan is a powerful anthology about the Irish Celtic Goddess. Each contributor brings The Morrigan to life with unique stories that invite readers to partake and inspire them to pen their own. Included are essays, poems, stories, chants, rituals, and art from dozens of story-tellers and artists from around the world, illustrating and recounting the many ways this powerful Goddess of war, death, and prophecy has changed their lives.”
The book is a beautiful tribute to The Morrigan. Each piece comes from the heart of devotees and priest/priestesses around the world. Some are heart-wrenchingly powerful, some are shared wisdom and insight, and some are inspirational pieces to help guide others in the same places as the author. All are UPG, or unverified personal gnosis.
You might ask why that’s important, and I’ll tell you that’s important because there are folks out there claiming UPG as lore, truth and the last word on a subject. Examples? The Morrigan as a sex goddess, Morgan Le Fay as a aspect of The Morrigan, or certain animals being associated with herself. This is a whole other blog post that needs to be written, to be honest. But in the end, UPG can be harmful to native Irish practice, to the lore and to The Morrigan herself. I believe it’s important to distinguish UPG from fact- it does not mean UPG is bad, just that UPG should be noted as such if you share them.
So that said, yes, the pieces in this anthology are all UPG, and not everything in the book are pieces I agree with (in fact, there were a few that I find to be problematic.) But it is not my place to point out. In the end, it’s an anthology full of UPG, and I think it’s more important for us to share our experiences, as well as gain insight into our own discernment process. Discernment is super important, and hey...if there’s a good side to bad UPG is that we gain a chance to practice that skill.
Let’s get into the book. The art included is gorgeous, and I wish it contained color. The Girl God books page has a few of the pieces posted in color and they are absolutely beautiful. The pieces are fantastic, and very “An Morrigu” to me. Just about all of the art pieces resonated with me in some way.
The poetry is just excellent. Thought provoking, emotional pieces that get the blood stirring and the heart racing. Badass Warrior Goddess by Sharon Smith was probably my favorite piece in the whole book. We were doing spiritual poetry in my Spiritual Direction program and that ended up being the piece I picked to share. It was just something that resonated with something deep within, empowering and honestly, just a beautiful piece.
As for the rest, the personal stories...some were like mine, how The Morrigan pushed us down the path we needed to change for the better, to be stronger, to have courage, to face the darkness, our fears and challenge ourselves. Some were thoughts and conversations with The Morrigan, some stories from the lowest points in their lives...most were relevant and helped to see The Morrigan in a familiar light, but also a new light.
Some of my favorites:
Casting the Circle of The Great Queen by Nikki Wardwell Sleath
Birth of War by Jaclyn Cherie
My Morrigan Story by Sam (Bo) Thompson
Calling in The Morrigan by Teresa Hess
Finding the Strength to Love and re-claiming my Sovereignty by Deborah Meyerricks
Sometimes by Jessica Johnson
Answering The Morrigan’s Call- Walking beneath the Raven’s eye by Karen Storminger
Yes, there were a few pieces that did not resonate with me at all. And that’s fine. It is, afterall, an anthology, authors from all walks of practice and experiences, hard and soft polytheist alike. The differences help us learn and hear.
I enjoyed Warrior Queen: Answering the Call of The Morrigan a lot. I’m very proud to have my piece included. I’m proud to stand alongside so many powerful and insightful people sharing their voices so others might hear The Morrigan as well. I would definitely recommend picking this one up if you are curious about the UPG of Morrigan priestesses, devotees and followers, or the Morrigan herself. You might be surprised- one of these pieces might resonate with you and lead you down a path of discovery.
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