Reviews & Interviews

Book Review – Priestess of the Morrigan: Prayers, Rituals & Devotional Work to the Great Queen by Stephanie Woodfield

Book Review

Priestess of the Morrigan

Prayers, Rituals & Devotional

Work to the Great Queen

by Stephanie Woodfield

Llewellyn Publications

336 Pages

 

 

From the Publisher:

…. Become a priestess of the Morrigan and build a personalized devotional practice with this profound book on deepening your connection to her. Through stories, prayers, and rituals for groups and solitaries, Priestess of the Morrigan shows you how to serve the Great Queen and enhance your spiritual journey.

Explore the true nature of the Morrigan, discover what it means to channel her voice, and learn about her role in prophecies and curse work. Create your own unique tradition with this book’s ritual-building advice and guidelines for developing a yearly cycle of celebrations. Stephanie Woodfield, a devotee to the Great Queen for over twenty years, uses her personal triumphs and challenges as beacons for your path to becoming a priestess of the Morrigan….

Priestess of the Morrigan: Prayers, Rituals & Devotional Work to the Great Queen by Stephanie Woodfield is divided into four (4) Parts and sixteen (16) chapters, each providing the reader with an in depth introduction to one of the most formidable Goddesses of the path. Beginning each of the chapters is a personal account relating to the topic of focus. This lends a very intimate quality to the book, as is always the case, when the authors share their own experiences in a very relatable way into the information given.

As the author explains in her Introduction, this book was not written as a step-by-step guide towards becoming a devotee of the Morrigan. Rather, it is an exploration of the work and the level of commitment required to walk the path of the Morrigan and claim your power as her priestess.

Priestess is a word that means many different things to many different people. Across different cultures we can see some threads of similarity, but the expression of this kind of devotion varies wildly. I suspect it is because in each case we find a different god or set of gods, being worshipped…….I belong to the Morrigan. And that devotion, that connection between the Great Queen and myself colors everything else I do as a priestess…(Introduction)

Part 1: The Nature of the Morrigan serves as a starting point in getting to know the energy and lore of this “Great Queen”, as she is called as one of her epithets. I appreciated the format of Chapter 1: The Morrigan: Who She Is and Who She Isn’t and its use of a Q&A format. So often when we read books such as these, some of the smaller details such as pronunciation, the addition of other words surrounding the name as descriptors and discourse on others who play prominently in the lore of the god/goddess are not addressed. This small attention to those particulars supports the intention of the book in providing the reader with clarity of who and how that Deity is perceived.

…Vision and prophecy are perhaps the most defining aspects of my work as a priestess of the Morrigan. Wherever the Morrigan goes there are prophecies spoken over bloody battlefields, there are visions of the future; there are omens and warnings given in prophetic dreams. Prophecy is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the Morrigan’s nature, yet it is in almost all of her stories… (Part 2)

I especially enjoyed the chapters of Part 2: Vision and Prophecy. This section includes the recounting of Ms. Woodfield’s ritual of agreement that set her on the path as vessel for the visionary work. The experience was presented in such as way as to make it palpable and powerful even as a reader sitting in observation and gave great insight into the nature of a commitment such as this. In support of the nature of prophetic work there is information about the Historic Irish Prophetic Practices, Modern Oracular Work and the tools and exercises required such as trance, engaging triggers and others to step into this mantle.

Part 3: Chapter 12: Devotional Work speaks to what evolves as creative outpouring when one steps into the mantle of deepening their devotion and commitment to the Morrigan. An example of this is expressed in Ms. Woodfield’s personalization of Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (aka. LBRP), that is familiar to ceremonialists and kabbalists. She has made use of basic structure of the LBPR as a template that evolves to become The Morrigan Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. The LBRP is a well-anchored and very powerful magickal practice that many incorporate into their daily practice. Ms. Woodfield has adapted the LBRP to align with the Morrigan’s prophecy from one of her battles of lore and in place of the traditional angelic beings and names of God in Hebrew, replaces these with various names of the Morrigan. The angelic beings associated with the compass directions are replaced by the four treasures of the Irish gods and the gods connected with them. This adaptation was well thought and when executed produced a very different form of energy from that of the original LBPR, and further exemplified the power in taking the foundational work and adapting it to align with your focus of devotion.

Chapter 13: The Halidom of Macha: Oaths and Vows spends an appropriate amount of time explaining the extended responsibilities that accompany any oath given. I appreciated the succinct details and inferences of what it actually means to offer oaths to the Divine. I am a firm believer that any practitioner of any path should be clear and informed about the “what and why’s” of their actions and engagement. And, especially when one is giving oaths to formidable Deities, who will most certainly call you to task. Topics such as “Who are you offering It (oaths) To?”; “Negotiate” and “When Oaths Are Broken” are all a call to be reflective about what you offer and walk with an abundance of caution.

Part 4: Sorcery and Ritual Craft ties everything together. Having gone through the necessary information and soul searching regarding your choice to form a more intimate relationship with The Morrigan, now the focus becomes one of using magick as a means of devotion and ritual as a tool of manifesting the work of the Morrigan. Chapters on the art of Curse Work and the Morrigan (Chapter 14) and the Dynamics of Ritual (Chapter 15) provide the foundations for the suggested rituals that follow in Chapter 16: Group Rituals. These include one of Keening, A Ritual to the Goddess of Battle, A Ritual of Dream Prophesy and others crafted to bring the practitioner into direct experience with the Morrigan and those who stand with her.

The Appendix provides the reader with snapshots of the myths and lore associated with the Morrigan and the Bibliography shows the depth and scholarly approach given by Ms. Woodfield in writing Priestess of the Morrigan: Prayers, Rituals & Devotional Work to the Great Queen.

Would I Recommend:

Priestess of the Morrigan: Prayers, Rituals & Devotional Work to the Great Queen by Stephanie Woodfield is clearly a work of loving devotion. From the beginning of the book, through its end, the emotion, energy and dedication as a Priestess of the Morrigan flows through the words and writings. And, although this book is written specifically about the nature of the Morrigan, I would say that the topics and offerings shared within this title give example of methodical and scrupulous approach that should be given in stepping into the mantle of devotee and priestess to any Deity. I also believe that we are in changing times that require fiercer and more assertive Deities that will stir us to action. The Morrigan is one such goddess and having access to valuable and personal accounts and resources such as Priestess of the Morrigan: Prayers, Rituals & Devotional Work to the Great Queen by Stephanie Woodfield to light the fires of our path is much needed know.

To read more about the Morrigan and Stephanie’s journey check out her companion book:

Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the dark Goddess: Invoking the Morrigan

About Author Stephanie Woodfield:

Stephanie Woodfield (Orlando, FL) has been a practicing Pagan for the past twenty years. A devotional polytheist, teacher, and Priestess of the Morrigan, she is one of the founding members of Morrigu’s Daughters and is an organizer for several Pagan gatherings. Stephanie teaches classes on devotional work and magical practice in the US and internationally. A long time New Englander, she now resides in the Orlando area with her husband, a very pampered cat, and various reptiles. In her spare time she enjoys creating art out of skulls and other dead things. She is called to helping others forge meaningful experiences with the Morrigan, as well as the Gods and land of Ireland.

Priestess of The Morrigan: Prayers, Rituals & Devotional Work to the Great Queen on Amazon

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About the author:

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path, the 12th Coven within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path.  

Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and the Western Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice.  A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers.

Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following a practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th (Elder) degrees within the Assembly Tradition and has served as High Priestess of two ASW covens since Samhain of 2001 and the Winter Solstice of 2015.

As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she uses Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work.

Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally.  She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented.  She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival. Her most recent projects include a channel on youtube: A Journey to the Inner Chamber. She also shares audio pathworkings and ritual on her bandcamp site: Teachings on the Path with Robin.

Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings.  She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 40+- year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education.

Robin’s Websitewww.robinfennelly.com

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASWwww.covenofthemysticpath.org

Her books can be found on Amazon or purchased directly through her website:

For more infohttp://www.robinfennelly.com/books.html

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 It’s Written in the Stars-Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 2 Poetry of the Spheres-Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 3 Awakening the Paths-Qabalah

The Light of SELF: Consciousness, Spiritual Practice and Learning to Breathe

Magickal Verse: A Collection of Poetry and Prose

A Year of Gaia: The Eternal Cord

The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of SELF

Temple of the Sun and Moon: Luminous Devotions

Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection: Musings for the Year

The Magickal Pen: A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Enchanted Gate: Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

The Temple of the Sun: An Astrological Solar Year

Writings in the Shadow: An Exploration of the Shadow Nature