1. the faculty or state of being able to see.
2. the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
- Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th ed.)
I read the Morrigan’s prophecies in my Samhain ADF ritual this week.
I shall not see a world that is dear to me…
Vision is another of the ADF virtues that I have trouble seeing as, well – as a virtue. I see it as more of an approach to life – a thing to seek. Like wisdom. I would like to be seeking it more, though. I’m just really, really not good at it.
I’m very focused on how things are now. Which isn’t to say that I live in the moment. The opposite, in fact – I’m always worrying about what’s coming next, trying to control it. In the process, I usually avoid the big picture – try to retreat from it. Nothing bad can happen if I’m sitting under the bed-covers going lalala nothing bad is happening I am not here. But Vision isn’t about controlling what might come next because the ‘now’ makes you anxious. It’s about seeing the full scope of things – where you fit into the big picture – and allowing the big picture to happen with you as a part of it.
When people quote the Morrigan’s prophecies at the Battle of Mag Tuired, they often stop at:
Peace up to heaven…
Strength to everyone…
But she doesn’t stop there. Her vision doesn’t just encompass the good that will come in the immediate aftermath of the battle. She sees what will happen in the distant future – maybe when the gods retreat into the hollow hills when the Sons of Mil arrive – maybe something else. Whatever it is, it’s not good.
I shall not see a world that will be dear to me
Summer without flowers
Kine will be without milk,
Women without modesty,
Men without valor,
Captures without a king,
Woods without mast,
Sea without produce,
Wrong judgments of old men,
False precedents of lawyers,
Every man a betrayer…
Real Vision isn’t always about seeing the good things, or about controlling what will happen. My tarot and ogham readings are often focused on ‘what can I do?’ questions. When will this, that or the other happen? Can I control what happens to me? Can I control other people? Can I get some control over my illness? I’d like them to be more focused on questions like How can I be useful? and What can I do to help?
I really like divination. It’s something I want to focus on more, and I’m interested in joining ADF’s Seers’ Guild after I’ve finished my Dedicant Path. But the myth of the Morrigan’s prophecy at Mag Tuired shows that divination isn’t always going to bring the popular answers. I think that anyone who wants to be a seer has to learn to accept things that are beyond their control.
I like the Norse myth of the Norns, the three sisters who weave fate, with us just a tiny part of the greater flow. There isn’t an exact equivalent in Irish myth, but if there were, I think it would involve the Cailleach. For me, it all comes back to her again, at the moment.
This week, I will mainly be focusing on seeing the bigger picture.