HOME   MORRIGAN


"The Great Queen"
Morrigan was one of the greatest "negative"
archetypal Mothergoddesses of the irish celtoi.
She is a goddess of war, death, prophecy and passionate love.
Together with Badb and Macha
she build a triad of three warlike goddesses. 

Morrigan The Crow 

You are about to enter the shrine of the ancient celtic goddess Morrigan.
(Entrance at the bottom of this page)

Click here to have only a short info about her.


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used with kind permisson
of the artist Jessica Galbreth
Other Names and Titles
Relations in Celtic Pantheon
Her Image Representation
Her Role 
Her Signs and Symbols
Offerings

Read Morrigan-Poetry
Read the Morrigan-Prophecy

And now enter her shrine

Other Morrigan-Links:

Dark Mythology
Morrigan
Morrigan 2
Morrigan 3

   


Other Names and Titles


Mor Righ Anu

Morrigan or Morrigu

Morgan - (MOHR-gahn) from Welsh mor "sea" or mawr "great, big" + can "bright" or cant "circle" or geni "born." 


Together with Nemain/Babd and Macha
she formed as the Morrigna (Great Queens) a triade.

Modron
the Badhbh Chatha: "Raven of the Battle"
"Washer at the Ford"
"The Red"

An inscription found in France invoking Cathubodva,
'Battle Raven', shows that a similar concept was known among the Gaulish Celts.


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Relations in Celtic Myths and Legends

 
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.

At Samhain (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., trans., 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.
Read the Morrigan-Prophecy


Another tale 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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(click to see large)
Picasso painted two pictures
called Lady with crow. 
This is one of them
find the other one
inside the shrine.
I often wonder if the artist
had in mind to create a Morrigan.

 


Her Image Representation


This picture is posted with kind permission
of Odinis from Wodensharrow.

"The Mare-Queen" is often shown as a black raven or hooded crow, who feeds on the killed warriors after battle. She appears also as a caillech, one-eyed old woman. As a shape shifter, she would often appear as a raven or red cow. But sometimes when she is hot and looking for love she is also an attractive young lady.


avalonpriestess.jpg   

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Her Role


The 'Phantom Queen,'s role and cult can easily be identified as remains of a matriarchal cult. She has a lot in common with goddesses like Inanna/Ishtar, the Indian Kali or Hecate.

The origins of the Morrígan seem to reach directly back to the megalithic cult of the Mothers. The Mothers (Matrones, Idises, Dísir, etc.) usually appeared as triple goddesses and their cult was expressed through both battle ecstasy and regenerative ecstasy.

The Morrigu is prophetess of all misfortune in battle and has knowledge of the fate of humanity. She is also the messenger of death as the dark lady/washer at the ford : Morrigan is seen washing bloody laundry prior to battle by those destined to die.

Her personality is associated with the sometimes frightening aspects of female energy.

As a protectress she empowers an individual to confront challenges with great personal strength, even against seemingly overwhelming odds. Roman chroniclers reported that Celts went into battle naked, exposing tattoos to summon their magical forces.

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Her Signs and Symbols


Sacred animal: Cow and Mare, Raven and Crow  
Ford of a river  
The Colors RED and BLACK.  
Weapons like spears,swords and shields.  
Blood  
 Blackthorn  Back to TOP



Offerings

I would think that it was likely that the celts
did much sacrifice to this goddess,
maybe including even humans, but this is not a clear fact.


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Short Information on Morrigan


This picture is posted with kind
permission of Odinis from Wodensharrow.
(also the raven-wav-file is from there)

  • Attributes: archetypal Goddess of war, death and passionate love.

  • Representation:
    as a black raven or crow, who feeds on the killed warriors after battle.

  • Relations: Wife or Lover of Dagda, Daughter of

  • Offerings: Blood sacrifice

  • Read Morrigan-Poetry
    Read the Morrigan-Prophecy

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Sources: Botheroyd: Lexikon der keltischen Mythologie
The Morrígan by Danielle Ní Dhighe


Read Morrigan-Poetry
Read the Morrigan-Prophecy

And now enter her shrine