The Curse of the Morrigan

July 14, 2001 – Bastille Day

A sunny, sleepy Summer day in a small resort town along the Russian River in Northern California. A parking lot at the main intersection of town is partially taped off for a rally. Early comers set up tables in the shade of the trees, where they spread out their fliers and buttons and petitions. Reggae blares from the sound truck.

People begin to arrive. A pickup full of giant puppets brings them to marchers to carry. A big blue “Spirit of Water” with lots of smaller fishes on poles; a bigger green “Goddess of Compassion” with red hearts for her attendants. More people arrive and wander around surveying the scene. A bus delivers people from the Bay Area; another unloads protesters from Humboldt in the North. A big, beautiful image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Hidalgo surrounded by fresh flowers forms the centerpiece of an altar on the back of a flatbed truck.

Things drag along. Some folks go down to the river to put their feet in the cool water, to watch the geese and ducks and kayakers pass by while they’re waiting for the rally to begin. A few people go around selling lefty papers, asking for donations, passing out fliers for upcoming events.

The parking lot gradually fills with folks, about 300 at most. News media, people in tie-dyes, with dreads, jeans, Doc Martens, rope sandals, a couple with doumbeks. Mostly locals from the rural neighborhoods up and down the redwood-shaded river. Speeches, blessedly limited to two minutes each, begin. For the most part, they’re dull. It’s hard to disagree with any cause they espouse, and they don’t much inspire. A few people stand in clusters of two or three, quietly talking while the speeches drone on.

Finally the flatbed with Guadalupe begins to lead the march out of the parking lot. Some people carry signs, most don’t. The bright festive puppets bounce here and there above the heads of the crowd, adding color and encouragement. The walkers move across the bridge, not in the middle but on the sidewalks on either edge.

Down below on the sandy beach beneath the bridge, a black-clad woman fastens a mask to her face. Two men on the shore hand her a pin-striped suit, a white shirt and a tie and a jar of blood. She pours the blood on the clothing, then wades into the shallow river among bathers and canoers. She dips the clothing in the water, lifts it high dripping blood and water. She rotates her red-eyed, hollow-cheeked, grey-white visage, mouth agape, teeth bared in a silent shriek. She shows her terrifying face to those above on the bridge and those around in and near the river. Above, on the side of the bridge, two freckled, fair-haired collaborators, a woman and a man, point to her crying, “Witness the washer at the ford, washing the blood of corporate greed out in the river!” There, below, the Morrígan gazes up, as a plume of blood flows from the business suit down stream.

The phantom queen, the great triple Morrígan, is angry. She portends the death of corporate greed.

~ M. Macha NightMare

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