Of Mercy & Justice

Last month my full moon ritual’s intention was to seek mercy and justice in terms of those dying from COVID-19. My thinking was mercy for those infected through no fault of their own, and justice for those who were infected due to their own hubris. I was working with the Mórrígan.

During the course of my ritual, two things happened. First, in creating my sigil, I ended up with a focus on mercy. It wasn’t intentional, but perhaps it was divinely guided because when I did my trance journey and encountered the Mórrígan, asking for mercy and justice, She clearly said to me, “You have to choose. You can’t have both.”

My initial reaction to this message was confusing and frankly, a desire to argue. Of course you can have both. Justice can be delivered with mercy – unnecessary suffering isn’t required in the deliverance of a deserved consequence. A lightweight example? Letting my kiddos experience the natural consequences of their behavior without allowing them to suffer excessive or undue damage.

But that’s not what the Mórrígan meant.

Or at least, I’ve landed in a place where I have a different understanding.

When I set that intention, I was angry at people who are disregarding science and willfully acting in a way that spreads COVID-19. I was angry at the people who say it’s some kind of conspiracy. And I was (and am) absolutely furious at those people who say it’s fine for the “weak” (defined as elderly, homeless, BIPOC, those with underlying health conditions) to be culled from the population, it’s better for the economy.

Then, today, I heard that a bigoted, conservative person who I don’t much like died. No one famous, and no one you would know. But I said, “Good. I hope it was COVID-19.” And I immediately heard this echo, from the time of AIDS: “Good, I hope it was AIDS.” Always, of course, directed at the queer community or towards BIPOC, who were disproportionately affected by HIV. See, people then believed, with the same amount of self-righteousness I was feeling, that people deserved to die horribly because of the choices they made, and moreover, that it was the nature of the virus to target these people, so by God (literally, according to these people), they deserved it.

This is not a hypocrisy I wish to participate in. As I navigate the very divisive political atmosphere we are currently steeping in, it’s really important to me to walk with integrity and authenticity. I am aware of things like confirmation bias and try to build that awareness into my thought process. I am careful in situations that produce outrage to ask myself if I would be equally outraged if the people in the situation were people I admire and respect. I am not ok with having a different set of expectations for groups who are (ostensibly) doing the same work (i.e. governing a country, reporting the news, etc.). I want to stress that this is a practice and a goal. I still have kneejerk reactions just like many other people, the difference is that I really try to explore those reactions.

So back to the Mórrígan and Her statement about mercy and justice. I don’t think She was saying in a universal sense that you cannot have both mercy and justice. I think She was directly speaking to the fury and outrage I was feeling, that She was addressing the emotion and thought behind my intention and telling me that I needed to examine the roots. I settled on mercy in that sigil, and I think that in order for there to be justice, that mercy has to be applied equally, even to the jerks who ignore science and consideration for the wider communities they inhabit and benefit from.

So to that person who died, I do not hope that it was COVID-19, and if it was, I hope that they benefited from science and healing efforts from a well-supported medical community.

I hope there was mercy in their dying process.

That is justice.

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