Warrior Women Rising
Harnessing the power of a War Goddess for women’s rights and social justice.
This is a disclaimer for my readers and followers. This article is for those who seek inspiration related to taking action toward gaining equality and safety for all. This is not a debate over opinion. Those of you who regularly read my articles know that I am not overly political. However, in the fog of our current political climate action is necessary. I have also never viewed myself as a feminist, but I can’t remain idle. If being a feminist means I stand up for the rights of women and girls for the sake of creating a harmonious and just society, then I accept the label. To be clear, this article is not about man-bashing. It is about how Witches can rise-up to use our personal power and abilities to create security and fairness through transformation. I will try to make this article short, but the more I get into it, the more I know… it’s going to be a long one. I will try to keep my statements and the relaying of facts short. This way, we can get to the critical work we need to do as conscious women and Witches.
Once upon a time, women were held in high regard as sacred creators. They were valued as advisers gifted with intuition and foresight. They were respected leaders, healers, and knowledge keepers.
Once upon a time, women were respected as strong and fearsome contributors to society.
Once upon a time, women were given the same rights and privileges as men. This was before patriarchy took over and changed how the world treated women.
Patriarchy is a social structure based on a belief system where men have power over women. In Greek culture, from which the word patriarchy stems, it was a hierarchical structure where older men had dominion over younger men and all women. In modern manifestations, patriarchal society has expanded to include systematic prejudice against women. Patriarchy gives only a handful of men access to power while the remaining men only gain some small access to power; usually over women. If we take an honest look around, we can see how this is currently true. The milestones and rights women fought to earn are being revoked. New laws, again punish and attack women for exercising authority over their bodies. But… it was not always like this.
The Celts (in this example) understood the importance of balance between men and women as leaders and social contributors. They understood the value of personal sovereignty. In many Celtic traditions, women enjoyed far greater equalities than women outside their culture. To this day, ancient Celtic women experienced more equality than many modern women. Through Brehon Laws (ancient Ireland), a married woman had the right to divorce her husband if he did not fulfill his marital obligations. She was entitled to reclaim her own possessions and half of their joint property in the divorce. The woman was also entitled to take additional compensation for damages incurred.
In Celtic culture, women were allowed to enter into the same professions as men. This meant that within ancient Celtic traditions, women fought as warriors alongside men. Women were not viewed as the “weaker sex.” In fact, they terrified Roman soldiers. These women were battle ready and knew how to kick ass! Many would lead armies of their own into victory, driving out anyone who would impose their will upon them. When necessary, they were fearsome and bold, taking the head of their enemy to ensure their clan’s safety.
So, what happened? The Celts often lived in smaller clans or tribes lead by their clan leaders instead of great societies lead by a government protected by a large military. This meant they were scattered and fragmented. While this societal structure was excellent for honoring the Earth and her sacred resources, it did not provide adequate protection for fighting off large armies of invaders. Eventually, Celtic clans were absorbed and taken over by patriarchal social structures.
As invaders began to take hold of ancient Celtic lands, their monks and scholars recorded alternative facts about the Celts and the Pagan Gods they revered. The servants of the church could not offend the church, nor could they undermine the church’s efforts to gain dominion. To please the church, monks and scholars often altered the beliefs and practices of the Celts to suit the goals of the church.
To take control, the church had to strike fear into anyone who might align with the Celts. Gods and Goddesses were made into evil demons. Celtic women were routinely ignored in the retelling of Celtic history and lore. If women were not entirely written out, they were then made to appear subservient, and voiceless. As the church willed it, women became tools whose sole purpose in life is to marry, have babies, and serve a single God under the control of her husband. Drained of all their power, Celtic women became silent and harmless.
Patriarchal systems have infested many cultures all over the globe. Very few cultures (if any) remain where women and men share balanced authority. Most of us raised in patriarchal social structure don’t even realize the damage it does to women and children or the role we play within. Patriarchy has worked very hard over the last few centuries to maintain control. Most of their leverage is gained through patriarchy’s favorite tool, fear.
Fearmongering has so far served patriarchy well. But patriarchy does not stop at simple idle threats. No! It encourages its followers to engage in acts of violence. Women are raped, mutilated, beaten, held captive, burned at the stake, have had their children taken away, and more. Patriarchy grants people an inhumane license to be vile and corrupt. Over the last few centuries, women have endured the burden of incomprehensible torture. The license patriarchy offers to men and boys undermines the sustainability of our future as it robs them of their humanity.
|Mississippi Lawmaker Punched Wife For Not Undressing Quickly Enough For Sex: Police
The state’s House speaker has already called for Rep. Douglas McLeod (R) to resign after he was arrested on a charge of drunkenly hitting his wife. Read the article here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mississippi-lawmaker-punched-wife-in-face-for-not-undressing-quickly-enough-for-sex_n_5ce53e05e4b0547bd130004a?utm_medium=facebook&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063&utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&utm_source=main_fb&fbclid=IwAR3blg3Y-z56yA8trHWnf5F-4RaRx3wxZeW6fC37agxJLlbH1k5NxV98MvM
In addition, patriarchy has successfully disconnected us from the collective or community mindset. It has effectively severed us from our own cyclical nature, nature itself, and our ability to be homeostatic. In Celtic culture, women were revered as protectors and guardians of nature and the land. Through removing the validity and power of women, patriarchy has successfully severed our connection with nature, the earth, and its cycles; keeping us perpetually off-balance. Through keeping us, off-balance (mentally, spiritually, physically & emotionally) patriarchy maintains control; even at the demise of its own followers. Patriarchy ignores the intrinsic benefit of supporting the whole. It instead focuses on the needs or desires of the individual. It is about instant gratification over establishing and maintaining balance. As we witness on a daily basis, this counter-intuitive structure destroys far more than can ever build.
Within this system, women and nature have become commodities. Each is to be used (and abused) at will. It is a system of dominance and submission as control is gained over its subjects. You’ve heard the phrase, “Absolute power, corrupts absolutely.” Well. Here we are. We are nose deep in a hierarchical culture where children are brutalized to make them ready for positions of dominance or submission, as defined by the patriarchal protocol. Children learn at an early age that feelings cannot be expressed, and emotions make you weak. They learn that sexism defines masculinity and it is the male birth-right to be obeyed.
Then there is the notion that we, as individuals (especially women), need to be perfect. We need to compete with one another. We are repeatedly told that our daily goal is to look younger, be thinner, and be more appealing at the approval of males. Patriarchy through consumerism has done an excellent job playing on insecurities to trap us in an unending cycle as we seek fulfillment through our empty purchases.
Women and girls are torn apart as they compare themselves to one another, jockeying for social superiority and male indulgence. Women are led to believe that our bodies exist for the sexual gratification of men, instead of being the physical manifestation of the goddess. We endure unrealistic shaming related to our bodies, sexuality, and accomplishments. Girls and young women are valued for their sexual appeal. Mothers and pre-menopausal women are valued only as social servants and baby-makers. Post-menopausal women and crones are viewed as useless and are often completely disregarded.
For a while, I believed that the solution to our patriarchal imbalance was to simply have more women in government as well as in other positions of authority. It once made sense that this would restore the balance of power. BUT with the latest news related to the reversal of women’s rights, I am coming to accept that we need a complete overhaul. Patriarchy, after all, is a belief system not exclusive to males.
Simply placing more women in positions of power is not going to do us any good if the women we have in power do not value or respect the sovereignty of women. If we continue to elect sheep within the patriarchal flock, we are doomed to perpetuate the current pattern. Many women are raised and bred to believe whole-heartedly that patriarchy will save us all. I, too, was raised to think that my place was to remain silent and compliant. They tried to coat me in pink glitter and make me useless. It has taken a lot to wake up.
|Alabama’s Unconstitutional Ban on Abortion
05.15.19 – Statement by Nancy Northup, President, and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, on Governor Kay Ivey signing House Bill 314 into law:
“All who care about women should be alarmed by the callousness and extremism of politicians who seek to deny women the ability to make decisions about their reproductive health and lives. Alabama’s criminal abortion ban, and all other affronts to Roe v. Wade, will be challenged and blocked in the courts. The Supreme Court has upheld the core protections for women’s reproductive decision-making for almost fifty years, and the integrity of the Court and the lives of women depend on its following settled law and rejecting these cruel attempts to upend our constitutional rights.”
It is time to take an in-depth look at where Patriarchy has driven us. Those who assault, rape, molest and hurt women and girls only receive a simple slap on the wrist. There is little justice for their victims. We are devastating our plant, we are risking the lives and health of women and girls, while our boys are growing up to believe they are entitled to the dominion over the planet and women. We are suffering, and most of us don’t even know it.
Change is well overdue. Patriarchy stinks of rot and decay. It is time to make the necessary changes that will correct our culture’s current social and political atrocities. Of course, this starts with taking action. First, it begins with analyzing the way we have been taught to think and what we believe. It means we need to be conscious of old thought patterns and what we teach new generations. The actions we take will mean voting out the current regime(s). It will mean that when we spend our money, we need to be more conscious of the moral and political positions companies take. It will involve digging deep so we can be the agents of change this world desperately needs.
Taking Magickal Action
Witches are action oriented. As Witches, we have other measures we can take in addition to voting, writing letters, and attending protests. If you ask me, this is the fun part. Magick is at the core of our being, and when we are in the throws, it is our most powerful tool. Our religious and spiritual paths were never meant to be idle or passive. It is for this reason, witches are feared by patriarchy. We dare to speak the truth and reveal the rotten lies hiding under their pristine-plastic illusion. We have powerful Gods and Goddesses backing up our virtuous actions. When we call to our patrons, we call upon the power of the universe, the earth, and ourselves. We call upon our birth-right to live in sovereignty.
In writing this article, I wanted to do more than just relay my research and outrage. I wanted to act. I also wanted a tool that would help us create positive and progressive change for the greater good. Sometimes writing letters and attending protests is not enough. With this need in mind, I began to pray to my patrons for help. I asked them to show me how I can best serve. I asked them to send me the power to change the tide.
I was in meditation when I saw her. She was dressed for battle with pearl-white armor. She wore a black hood on her head, and when she opened her mouth, a most terrifying scream blew past me. I was stunned and exhilarated at the same time. There she stood before me, emanating raw and untamed energy. As I came out of my meditation, I immediately started doing my research. Who is this formidable goddess, and how do I work with her? She answered my call! Now I must reciprocate.
Well, I found her. Please, allow me to introduce you to Badb.
Badb a Celtic Goddess of War
Badb or Badhbh (Modern Irish, pronounced [BAH-V]) is a war goddess who often takes the form of a hooded crow and sometimes the shape of an old woman. In mythology Badb is described both as being the Morrigan and also being the Morrigan’s sister. The crow is a form taken by the Morrigan and in particular by Badb. In some texts, she is said to appear as a beautiful tall, fair skinned woman. She is known as Badb Catha or battle crow. Her skill is to cause fear and confusion among opposing soldiers as she (and her cohorts) work to move the tide of battle in their favor. Badb is most often thought of as an aspect of the Morrigan, with this she and the Morrigan are the same and yet they are not. There are many possible reasons for this, but I will not go into it in this article. Like most Pagan deities, the Morrigan and Badb are not one-sided. They have many aspects which make up the whole.
Badb, the Cauldron Keeper. Celtic deities seemed to often work with one another to create change, life, and more. Badb and Cerridwen seem to model this well. Badb is associated with the boiling Cauldron of rebirth and destruction, whereas Ceridwen’s cauldron signifies life, healing, and transformation. If Badb’s cauldron should boil-over, it is believed that the world will be destroyed so it can be remade. As you can imagine, this would terrify anyone who does not have a solid understanding of the importance placed on the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In this association, Badb would earn another name, “One who boils” or “She who boils.” It appears Badb and Ceridwen worked together to ensure the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
In some tales, Macha and Badb, in their crow forms would feed on the dead of the fallen carrying their souls to the Otherworld in their stomachs. Once on the other side, the dead would find Badb transformed into the Cailleach (the Crone), with her large cauldron. It is at this time she would give the deceased a choice to remain in the Otherworld or be reborn back into the physical world. If they chose rebirth, the souls would climb into the cauldron. Badb would then peer into the still-shining water, to see a female (human or animal) delivering new life. Celts believed in the transmigration of the soul, which is the belief that the soul is immortal and can be reborn as a human or an animal.
As the Cauldron Keeper, Badb gives you a choice. She reminds you of your sovereignty giving you the power to decide and govern your path. As we recognize your cyclical nature, Badb will show us our options. We can choose to remain where we are in life or be reborn to start anew. The symbolism of life, death, and rebirth reminds us that our path is not necessarily linear but more like a spiral, bringing us back to certain points as view them from a different perspective. Badb reminds is that we have the right to make the choices that best suit our needs and goals.
Additionally, water is a significant mythical force to the ancient Celts. From sacred wells tended by well maidens where holy water bubbles to the surface. To islands of the Otherworld hidden within or under lakes and seas. To rivers bordering this world and the next – water is a sacred element found in much of their lore. Badb is known to move freely between the physical world and the Otherworld and she is often associated with water.
Badb, the Washer at the Ford. With her associations with water and death, Badb is thought to remain after the battle to wash the land clean, freeing it of any remaining blood and debris. In this aspect, she is a goddess of purification. Badb will work to cleanse you just as she washes the battlefield.
Her work is to reveal the debris that trip you up, or your shortcomings and liabilities. Without a doubt, she will see right through you. When you ask for her help and allegiance be prepared to have your hard shell cracked open. She will expose the lies you tell yourself, and she will tear away at the shroud that hinders your sight. Badb does not do this to torture you. Instead, she does this to make you stronger, leaner, and battle-ready. Her goal is to lighten you of the burden you conceal; the trauma you refuse to deal with, and the pain you ignore… She will work to cleanse you of the excuses and patterns that hold you back.
Badb, as the Fate Weaver. Badb may appear before a battle to foretell the extent of the bloodshed to come or to predict the death of a notable person. She would sometimes do this with wailing cries, comparable to the bean-sídhe (the banshee). In this aspect, she is a seer and a Fate Weaver.
In this aspect, she is present during times of extreme suffering. Badb is with us as we go through painful transitions and change. She is with us as we experience death and destruction. Badb is with us as we deconstruct what we believe to be true and adopt new and more progressive ideals. She may appear to us as a beautiful and brilliant White Lady or as an old hag as she guides us through the healing process.
Contrary to the Christian portrayal of her, she is not the one who causes pain. She is simply a harbinger of what’s to come. If we pay attention to her warnings and guidance, perhaps we can avoid some of the foretold sufferings.
Badb, the War Goddess. It is said that Badb would transform into a crow and fly over battlefields, inciting chaos with her shrill cries. Righteous rage would stream from her red mouth, causing the enemy to recoil and flee in terror. Her cries were known to be more terrifying than the Banshee or Bean Sidhe. In some texts, Badb is accompanied by troops of a banshee as they worked to ensure victory. She is a powerful ally when you are being attacked or threatened. It is no doubt that the enemy would find her fearsome.
Badb will help you confuse your enemy working to ensure your success. In this aspect, Badb also becomes the protector. She is ready to fight by your side. She knows your difficulties. She is the one you can call upon when you need to fortitude in battle. Call to her when the tears are in your eyes, and you can no longer stand the pain. Call to her with your battle cry when justice has been silenced, and wicked roam free.
Correspondences related to Badb
|Colors||Black, White, Red, and sometimes dark blue|
|Herbs||Yarrow, Cornflower, St. John’s Wort, Comfrey, Valerian, Rosehips, Rose…|
|Stones/Crystals||Black Onyx, Jet|
|Moon Phases||Dark Moon & Waning|
|Animal||Crow & Hooded Crow|
Paying Homage to Badb
A tea ceremony to summon a goddess
|Complete this ritual intermittently when you engage in tasks that create change or when you need a powerful force at your side. The purpose of this ceremony is to invite Badb to join you and align with you. It invites her to do her work so you can be most effective in yours. Remember my earlier warning in working with her. Badb is not a soft-fluffy, nor is she a watered-down Christian portrayal of a goddess. She should only be called when you mean business and have your heart and mind are in the right place. As in all working, be careful what you wish for…
Through working with Badb, I was given a recipe for a unique tea in her honor. You can purchase Badb’s tea in my Etsy shop if you like, or you can make your own version. A portion of the sales from this specific tea will go to the Center for Reproductive Rights. You can learn more about what they do here: https://www.reproductiverights.org/
It is believed that when homage was paid to Badb, an offering of blood was included. An offering of your blood in any spell is a display of humility and sincere devotion. In my tradition, we do not believe the blood of another is adequate, especially when the spell is linked directly to you. The blood must come from the subject(s) for whom the spell is cast. A small drop or smear of your own blood is an unmistakable way to show your immense dedication to your cause, and your desire to become united with this goddess. Remember that in any kind of blood magick please- PLEASE be clean about it. If blood is not your thing, don’t do it. You can use your spit, offer a nail clipping, or a few strands of hair. In this spell, we will be using spit instead of blood, because I know there are many of you out there freaking out right now. Relax, the tea will serve as a symbolic substitute for blood.
One more note about this ritual: If you are inexperienced in magick and witchcraft, please do not attempt this spell on your own. It would be wise to have an experienced mentor guiding you or performing it with you.
|Waning or dark moon|
|Badb the Protector, I call to you
Badb the Washer of the Ford, I invite you to join me
Badb the Fate Weaver, I ask you to turn the tide
Badb the Cauldron Keeper, I ask you to step through the veil
Badb the Goddess of War, I invite you to fight by my side
|Once you have all your tools and supplies ready, choose the place for your ritual. Set up your altar with your tea service items and scrying bowl making sure they are within easy reach. I like to place my red, white and black candles above my bowl where they are out of the way. You will also want to ensure that you will be comfortably seated in a chair or cross-legged on the ground in a position that will allow you to gaze into your scrying bowl.
Start by boiling the water for your tea and measuring the desired amount of loose tea into your pot or tea strainer. Use the remaining cool water to fill your scrying bowl.
Prepare your magickal space as desired (call & cast, etc. it’s up to you.)
Sit at your altar and when ready pour the boiling water over your tea leaves to brew your tea.
Begin reciting the incantation as you light the red, white, and black candles.
Continue to speak the incantation as you stare into the dark water, speak the incantation until you feel your tea is ready (3-5 minutes)
Next, pour a portion of the tea for Badb into your offering cup, and then the rest for yourself. Return to your scrying bowl with your tea in hand. Continue to repeat the incantation.
When you are ready, take your first sip of tea but do not swallow. Spit the tea into the scrying bowl, allowing the water to become still. Once still, you will continue to gaze into the dark water.
As you gaze, sip your tea slowly in between repetitions of the incantation. When you have finished your tea, sit for a while as you continue to look into your scrying bowl. Allow any messages* to come to you, in whatever form they might appear.
*It is hard to tell how long it will take a deity to respond. It may take 2 seconds, 2 minutes, or 2 days. Confirmation of her presence is also likely to come to you after the ritual. Then there is also the possibility that you receive nothing. In my tradition, we believe that Gods and Goddesses cannot be called like dogs. They are not at our beacon call for any reason. If they choose to come to your aid, it is a blessing. If they choose to align with you, it is a double blessing. Either way, they should never be taken for granted. Always show them respect.
When you are done close up your circle and clean up your area. Repeat this ceremony as you feel the need. You may also modify this ritual to suit your needs and tradition.
Stand tall sisters, we have a battle-ready goddess on our side. Badb is one of our best allies in this war on women. No. We did not ask to be thrust into battle, but here we stand, and we are under attack. We need a fearsome goddess standing with us as we march, write letters, vote out the old regime, and create a balance for the future.
Other ways you can take action:
Marketing and advertising are one of the most effective ways we can change the ideals of our culture. After all, it is what companies have been using for decades to convince us that we need to buy and eat fast food, join the gym, drink sugary sodas, and make ourselves “pretty” through using various beauty products. There is hope for our culture especially when we see the face of advertizing change toward a more inclusive and productive message. The consumer has a huge voice. When we speak up and demand better, these changing messages are what help shape our culture. The point is to make these messages inclusive and healing.
Here is only one example of how we, the consumer, are helping to change the face of how businesses speak to us (aka market to us).
Even more, ways to act and educate yourself:
How to contact your elected officials: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
Volunteer with or donate to causes that support a woman’s right to choose: https://www.reproductiverights.org/