It's not that the High Priestess or High Priest doesn't get ridden - anybody who's witnessed a proper Drawing Down the Moon (or Sun) can attest to the strength and power that is tapped through the ritual. The invocation can be oracular or full-on possession, and even evocations have a particularly flavoured energy that is undeniably common across all circles and all covens. Of course Wiccans individually will have their own relationships with their gods, but as far as the group work of the tradition goes, I'd experienced powerful but mostly genteel interaction with the gods, in a structured, formal setting. I was somewhat prepared, in that I knew what Deity felt like, inside or outside of myself. I could recognise energy patterns and flavours, what smelled right and what didn't, and I had a good grounding in protection and, well, grounding.
The Deity I found out here though, was very new to me.
During our first exploration of Rathcroghan, I brought my family and we stopped at one of the sites. I entered respectfully, introduced us all, and basically said hi to the natives. When we later took the guided tour at the local heritage centre, I was a little disappointed to learn that this visually impressive ring fort was not a major ceremonial site; simply a medieval domestic settlement. Recent geophysical research has shown that there is actually an older, larger site underneath, but whatever the original function, it was an appropriate enough first port of call.
That tour taught me a whole lot I hadn't found out through my own research, and we were fortunate to get a guide who seemed as excited about the mythology as I was. Rathcroghan's main mound is at least as old as Newgrange, older than Tara or any of the other well known 'Celtic’ sites, and the whole complex is the best preserved royal site in Europe. The layers fascinated me - whole eras of our history represented, the landscape being added to but never taken from, sacred sites recycled countless times: but always the theme of kingship and the major burials for an entire province, stretching for thousands of years, contained in this relatively tiny geographical area.
What is it about Cruachan that made this place important enough to keep the big knobs from every tribe in every age ceremonially and practically anchored to this spot? What is it that continues to draw tuned-in people from all over the world - literally - to visit, and even live in this place? I'm still not sure of the answer, or if there even can be a definitive answer. My own path has led me here, and I'm still trying to figure out the specifics of how to achieve the work that's been put before me.
The Work: that's the key, isn't it? If we can figure out what our work is, what it is that we're supposed to be doing on this spin around the merry-go-round, we're doing well.
Thelema names it your "True Will'; every man and every woman is a star, and if we're all traversing on our proper orbit there'll be no collisions and the universe all runs along smoothly. Neopaganism generally alludes to the idea of finding your path, walking along, doing whatever that it's right for you to be doing. Wicca presents the idea "An it harm none, do what you will" - based loosely on lines from Liber al vel Legis, granted, but develops this Rede into a much debated and often wide-ranging philosophy that nonetheless consistently focuses on doing your own thing. Not just what you, like, want to be doing dude… but what you actually know to be the right thing.
Those of us who take the leadership and priesthood/shamanic responsibility seriously know that all of this means one thing. Work. It means we have stuff to do (sometimes lots of stuff to do), and usually not enough hours in the day in which to do it. But how do we know WHAT to do? I was about to find out.