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The Law of Return

By Morrigan Sidhe


Magickal Systems that acknowledge Natural Laws assume that Nature abhors a vacuum and that Nature will shift to balance any movement of energy or matter that occurs within itself. When observing Nature it is apparent that She prefers to choose energy of the same form to replace any energy displaced. Think of pouring water from a pitcher into a glass, the water moves, but it is the air within the glass that is displaced, and it is air that moves in to replace the water no longer in the pitcher. From this observation, adepts have developed the Laws that govern most magickal practices. Although they may be expressed somewhat differently: Law of Return, Karma, The Threefold Law, etc., ultimately they all say the same thing: "what you give, you shall receive."

After twenty years of practice I've come to rely on the Law of Return quite heavily, knowing full well that it very adequately, and sometimes surprisingly, fulfills any desire for retribution I might have and, even better, it reinforces for me that I never lose out by being kind or generous. It's a nice, comfortable way to live.. never having to worry about what may come my way as long as I maintain my ethical standards.

I realize that this sounds a bit odd coming from a woman who is named Morrigan Sidhe, and who obviously has some connection and respect for the Morrigan in Celtic mythology and history. Most people would expect anyone with my name to be somewhat skilled in the art of Vengeance.

Well the truth is that I am. Very skilled in fact, and I don't have to lift a finger to do it. I just wait and watch.

This is why it surprises me to see fellow pagans with a great deal of experience in magickal practice succumb to petty emotions and actively wish ill upon another. Certainly I've seen them attempt to do this in ways that they believe to be safe and that will have no repercussions, usually by attempting to invoke the Law of Return specifically (e.g. "may you get what you deserve in life"). Interestingly enough, these are the first people to accuse others of psychic attacks when the Law of Return manifests, not upon their perceived enemy, but upon themselves. Obviously this is because they think that they have not done any Working that would bring anything remotely negative back to them. Therefore they conclude that their ill fortune/difficulties must be the result of a magickal attack targeted toward them.

These practitioners have forgotten the basics of magickal practice: Will, Form and Desire all come together to create a Magickal Working. Many of them have mastered the Form of what they believe to be an invocation of the Law of Return ("may you get what you deserve in life"), and they may have mastered the Will portion by rationalizing that no harm will come to their foe if the perceived wrong is mistaken because they've worded it so carefully, but rarely have they mastered the Desire portion and despite their greatest efforts to be neutral, their Working is still tinged with malice, resentment, anger or a myriad of other emotions that will return to haunt them in short order. After all, if they didn't feel these emotions, they wouldn't be prompted to invoke the Law of Return to begin with!

Vengeance is truly an art form, and true Mastery of it requires perfect trust that the Laws of Nature apply in all things and that the Law of Return always will manifest when it is Time.

"But, but," you say, "what of Morrigan the War Goddess? Wouldn't She tell us to stand up and fight for ourselves?"

If there is any lesson that the tales of the Morrigan have taught me it is that there is enough strife to be had by challenging yourself (and those you care about) to live up to potential without needing to look elsewhere for conflict. The War that She best represents is the War within ourselves to achieve our Mastery, to adhere to the ethical standards of our Ancestors and to remain vigilant in being true to our Self when facing opposition and aggression. Despite Her reputation, the Morrigan of myth is an infinitely subtle (and harsh) Teacher and Her lessons are never simple or easy.


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This page last updated March 30, 2004