A nice email from Wade told me: Morrighan
should be considered a red haired goddess and that one of her sacred
plants is the blackthorn..
According to the
"Lebor Gabala Erenn"
Morrigu is on of the three daughters of Ernmas,
which could be an old fertility-goddess.
(30.Oct/1.Nov.), which in my view is basically
the festival of Morrigu, Dagda, the King of the Tuatha de Danann, meets Morrigu
at a ford and sleeps with her.
The Dagda had a house
in Glenn Etin in the north, and he had to meet a woman in Glenn Etin a year
from that day, about Samain (Hallowe'en) before the battle. The river Unis
of Connacht roars to the south of it. He beheld the woman in Unius in Corann,
washing herself, with one of her two feet at Allod Echae (i.e. Echumech)
, to the south of the water, and the other at Loscuinn, to the north of the
water. Nine loosened tresses were on her head. The Dagda, conversed with
her, and they made a union. "The bed of the Couple" is the name of the place
thenceforward. The woman that is here mentioned is the Morrigu. Then she
told the Dagda that the Fomorians would land at Mag Scetne, and that he should
summon Erin's men of art to meet her at the Ford of Unius, and that she would
go into Scetne to destroy Indech son of Dea Domnann, the king of the Fomorians
and would deprive him of the blood of his heart and the kidneys of his valor.
Afterwards she gave two handfuls of that blood to the hosts that were waiting
at the Ford of Unius. "Ford of Destruction" became its name, because of that
destruction of the king. Then that was done by the wizards, and they chanted
spells on the hosts of the Fomorians.
Sources: From ed.,
Whitley Stokes, RC,XII (1891), 52-130,306-308.BIP,I 83;II,71,
Cross,Tom Peete and Clark Harris Slover.,Ancient Irish
Tales,Figgis,Dublin,1936,Barnes and Noble,1969 pp.28-48.
Through this act he
assured that Morrigu would aid the Tuatha de Danann against the Firbolgs
in the first battle at Mag Tuired.
Now after the battle
has won and corpses cleared away, the Morrigu, daughter of Ernmas, proceeded
to proclaim that battle and the mighty victory which had taken place, to
the royal heights of Ireland and to its fairy hosts and its chief waters
and its river mouths. And hence it is that Badb (i.e.,the Morrigu) also describes
high deeds. "Hast thou any tale?" said everyone to her then. And she replied:
Peace up to heaven
Heaven down to earth
Earth under heaven
Strength in every one, etc....
Mythological this act
can be interpreted as a reunion of the two major powers: destruction and
fertility. After the second battle she foresaw the end of the world and its
ruin caused through loss of moral.
reports that Morrigu offered her love to CuChulainn, a great irish hero.
When he refused to make love with her, she turned into an eels, a female
wolfe and a red cow to fight against him and get her revenge. Cuchulainn
who fights a monster in a ford at the same time, is able to hurt the eel,
to blind the wolfe on one eye and to break the cow one leg, but the fight
at two frontiers is too much even for him. When a Caillech, which is in reality
the Morrigan herself, comes his way he begs her for a drink of milk from
the cow she is holding. The milk helps the hero to regain his strength and
he blesses the Caillech and the cow for helping him. This
behavior satisfies the Morrigan.
She appeared to the
hero Cúchulainn (son of the god Lugh) and offered Her love to him.
When he failed to recognize Her and rejected Her, She told him that She would
hinder him when he was in battle. When Cúchulainn was eventually killed,
She settled on his shoulder in the form of a crow. Cú's misfortune
was that he never recognized the feminine power of sovereignty that She offered
to him. She appeared to him on at least four occasions and each time he failed
to recognize Her.
1. When She appeared to him and declared Her love for him.
2. After he had wounded Her, She appeared to him as an old hag and he offered
his blessings to Her, which caused Her to be healed.
3. On his way to his final battle, he saw the Washer at the Ford, who declared
that She was "washing the clothes and arms of Cúchulainn, who would
soon be dead."
4. When he was forced by three hags (which represent the Morrígan
in Her triple aspect) to break a taboo of eating dogflesh.
(from: The Morrígan by Danielle Ní Dhighe)
In the Arthus legend
she appears as Morgana le Fay/Morgan. Reduced to the role of a witch and
enemy of the christian Arthus (but his half-sister sic!), she still has some
of the old attributes of the dark goddess.
As a messenger of death
her myth is still alive in the Middle Ages: see f.e. the Kundrie in "Parzival"
of Wolfram of Eschenbach.
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