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Service and Devotion, part 2

My altar for weekend 2, including all the beautiful gifts that came with the care package.

The second weekend of the Morrigan’s Call retreat is done. After, I joined my family on the sofa, watched some anime and then played some video games with my oldest. There was a feeling of peace, as well as a sort of mimicry of the return from retreat where I enjoy the presence of my family once more. I wasn’t hit with the sadness I get- and I think it’s only because we are still together online. In person is different, the space is different, it’s away from everything, just you and all the other devotees and dedicants.

Despite that lack of combined physical space, the online retreat held the same feeling of intensity that in person has. I had no doubt that The Morrigan was speaking through many people, that Macha, Badb and Anu made their presence known. At one point, I had this feeling of them, going between the attendees, laying claim to those that participated and listened. There were so many new faces, and yet oddly, it didn't have a feel of an event with a lot of new faces- it felt like most of us had known each other a long time. Of course, there were a lot of old faces as well, and I have to give credit to our amazing community for being so warm and inviting. As someone who was once a new face, I can attest that all those old faces once extended their hand to me as well, and welcomed me with open arms.

A chant I wrote for my second workshop.

In fact, the intensity of the spiritual work that happened was so profound that it’s taken me a few days to collect my thoughts, shift through the experience, as well as simply physically and mentally recover. I was tired Monday and Tuesday, and even today, I was dragging a little. The work is not easy, though it is rewarding.

Each workshop seemed to speak to me in one way or another. I appreciated each and every speaker- those willing to step out and extend the hand of their experience and knowledge to others. I’ll confess that at times I felt a bit overwhelmed to share space as a presenter with such amazing individuals. Not that I am devaluing my own self, but seriously, they were all such amazing people.

What stood out to me most this year was the tribe times and the meal times. The conversations were deep at times, and there were words between words, sentences between sentences. Messages were presented, I believe, to each of us through these encounters. The meditations in each tribe ended up with people in tears as they experienced spiritual revelation, understanding, the facing of shadows, and soul wounds, and the gifting of healing, from The Morrigan and from her priestesses. If I speak as a priestess, as I work towards my goals of getting my certification programs complete so I can have clients, I found myself thinking “This. This healing, this sharing of journey and extending my hand to keep others steady as they do this difficult work is why I am doing what I do.”

Devotional Prayer for my workshop.

My biggest resonating moment was during the workshop that Autumn Blackwood from The Untamed Priestess gave. Being a Torchbearer for the Morrigan was deeply emotional for me as I see myself following a similar path. The Community Ministry certification I’m working towards is for ministry and pastoral counseling work, and the Spiritual Direction program to offer sacred space intended for shared sacred work.

The other thing that stood out to me is how personable and friendly the event is compared to other retreats I've attended. The Morrigan's Call retreat and Otherworlds are both events where I felt like I was instantly part of a community. People are warm and friendly, given the opportunity to talk and mingle to other attendees informally, as well as to the presenters. No one felt like they were on a pedestal, above the others, and it never once felt like pure "business". I've been to a few online retreats that were more like conferences, where the speakers only did their thing, and then cameras and mics and videos were shut off until the next speaker came on. I never said a word outside of the occasional comment or question in written chat. It was...cold and not something I enjoyed.

I step away from this year's retreat, renewed. There were laughs and tears, moving conversations and just a whole lot of time well spent. Sure, my butt and thigh muscles were sore from sitting for so long, but there’s always a bit of a price to a retreat. If I’m there in person, it’s a whole lot of walking and movement, not to mention the lack of sleep. But it’s so worth it. I am honored and blessed to be a part of such a fantastic retreat, online or in person. I'm already counting down to next year.


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