“I shall not see a world that will be dear to me…..
Wrong judgments of old men
False precedents of lawyers…”
the words of the Morrigan from the second battle of Moytura
I have been asked many times why I worship a goddess that is intrinsically tied to battle and strife, why would I want to bring that type of energy into my life and the world. Most of the time, these types of questions come from people who have lived their lives wrapped up in the warm blanket of privilege, people who have had the ability, through color of their skin or their economic class, to indulge in the more benign methods of opposition to oppression like petitions and letter writing campaigns. We live in a nation that was founded and grew to prosperity on the backs of minorities and the poor and that continues to etch its place in the world with the blood from a hundred thousand cuts on the flesh of the voiceless, and when that reality rears its head and the streets erupt in anger, property damage and flames people quickly step away from their support of the cause and quickly condemn the actions. I could go on at length about the problem of the attitude that destruction of property trumps any other injustice that happens in this country, including the lives of its citizens. It’s a naive and offensive attitude that is at its heart obscenely materialistic. Instead I’d like to provide a link to a post by one of my co-priests Morpheus Ravenna who tackles this question succinctly.
What I would like to talk about is to ask the question “How is peace related to justice?” and more importantly “What does peace look like without justice?” Because my friends, peace without justice is oppression. We condemn the voiceless for rising up in anger and tell them to remain peaceful in the face of the harsh realities of racist and classist system, a system that allows for the continual shooting of minorities by a police force that is supposed to be there to protect them. We urge the angry crowd to remain peaceful in light of the fact that the only way to make a change within the system involves being wealthy. We plead with those who take to the streets to protest the injustice that they live with every day not to break windows, or light fires, or throw rocks at the police, yet the next day the only acts that seem to reach the public’s eye through the media are these very things. Sadly, a peaceful protest gets very little press coverage, acts of violence make the front pages. As Dr Martin Luther King stated, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
Last night I went down into the maelstrom of righteous anger that formed in downtown Oakland, not to join in the violence or to add to it, but to stand witness to it., to place myself as a buffer between the militarized police force and the angry crowd. I went there because I have always been deeply effected by the social oppression that pervades our society, because to me, I can not ask people to be peaceful in the face of systemic injustice. I stood with the voiceless because it’s what my goddess demands of me, because these attacks on the lives and rights of the poor are an affront to the sovereignty of our community. This is why I am devoted to a goddess that is tied to battle and strife and why I wont shy away from these aspects of her in my practice. Because the Morrigan cares about sovereignty and when sovereignty is threatened or taken from a people then battle and strife is the result. Peace without justice is oppression and battle for justice is the only route to peace. When the leaders of a people callously and systemically oppress and attack their community, the land and the people will rise up to reclaim that sovereignty and the tighter the grip of the leaders, the bloodier their hands will be when their right to rule is torn from them.