Monday, September 26, 2011

The Morrigan, Irish Goddess of Battle and Fertility

The Morrigan is an Irish Goddess of battle, fertility and the cycle of life. Her names translates to mean Phantom Queen or Great Queen. She was seen as a triple Goddess, forming a trinity with the Goddesses Badb and Macha. She was known to sometimes take the form of a crow and fly above warriors during battle. She is a dark Goddess, who is also associated with death and shape shifting. Although she is seen as triple formed, It would be most wise to honor her on the dark or waning moon.

The Morrigan is an ancient Goddess, and many are unsure of her exact origins. Some myths she say is the daughter of Dagda, others say that she was one of the Tuatha De Danann and one of the daughters of Ernmas, who was an Irish Mother Goddess. Whatever her exact origins are, we do know that she was a fierce and powerful warrior Goddess.

The most well known of her myths are those with the hero Cu Chulainn. The Morrigan appeared to Cu Chulainn one day and offered him her love. When he did not recognize her and rejected her, she became enraged and insulted him. Before he could do anything, she turned into a crow and landed on a nearby tree. Realizing now who she was, Cu Chulainn told the Morrigan that had he known who she was before, he wouldn't have acted as he did. But it was too late, The Morrigan then gave him a series of bad prophecies, one of those being that he would die in battle. She declared to him that she would guard his death.

In another myth, while the Cu Chulainn was one his way to battle, he encountered the Morrigan in the form of a hag washing his bloody armor in a ford. This was seen as a bad omen. "The Washer at the Ford" is a legend of a woman who washes the bloody clothes of those who are about to die. She essentially chooses who is going to die in battle. In the final scene of the myth of Cu Chulainn and The Morrigan, when the hero is now mortally wounded, he is said to tie himself to a standing stone, and a crow lands on his shoulder. It is then his enemies know, he is dead.

Although she is known by most as a battle Goddess, there is more to The Morrigan than that. She was also seen as a fertility and earth Goddess because of her association with cattle. In Ireland in County Meath, there are two hills known as "The Two breasts of Morrigan" suggesting that she was also seen as a protector and guardian. Máire Herbert, who wrote about the Morrigan in the book The Concept of the Goddess, suggests that she was not so much a war Goddess, but more like a protector during war. Making her seem more like a Goddess of Sovereignty.

However complex this mystical Goddess may be, she teaches us to act as the Queen in the battles of our own lives. To take control of our lives and reinvent ourselves to be able to deal with any situation life throws at us. This comes from her shape shifting abilities. To be able to change at will, to easily adapt to any environment. This is something we all have to deal with in life, change. Call on The Morrigan to help protect you during a hard time in your life. Or to help you change yourself to deal with and adapt to your environment better. Also, she helps to show us the darker side of ourselves, and learn how to come to terms with it. The Morrigan has much wisdom to offer, she may be vengeful at times, but she is also the guardian who protects those who call on her aid.

On your altar to The Morrigan, have colors of black, red and white, a crow feather, a picture or statue of her, an athame, triple Goddess symbol, and Celtic spiral symbols.

Enjoy working with this ancient and powerful Irish Goddess!

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