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This Chapter is dedicated to my very dear friend, Morgan.



Raven Magic, Painting by Montserrat



THE MORRIGAN, CELTIC GODDESS OF WAR




She has been known by many names throughout Ireland, Britain and Wales, such as Morrigu, Morgain, Morgan and The Morrigan. She has also been given many titles, including the Lady of the Lake and the Goddess of Water and Magick. They have called her the Phantom Queen, the Goddess of War, Fate and Death and the Goddess of Battle, Strife, and Fertility, as well as a Moon Goddess, the Queen of the Fairies, the Goddess of Rivers, Lakes and Fresh Water, and the Patroness of Priestesses and Witches. There are people who both fear her and admire her, and it is only right and proper that they do, because this amazingly powerful goddess is The Morrigan, the Celtic Goddess of War.

The Morrigan has been associated with many things, including revenge, the night, magick and prophecy, and she has also, on occasion, been associated with female energy, and with the immense strength with which it can come bursting forth. She has frequently been depicted standing on a battlefield holding two spears, and it is well known that she used her magick as a way of gaining victory, rather than by fighting battles to win a war.

The Morrigan was a shape-shifter, who would usually take on the form of a raven or a crow. She was also known as a protectress, having the unique ability to draw upon a person’s inner strength, and then empower that person to confront his or her own challenges; frequently causing them to use every bit of that strength to face insurmountable odds.

In true Celtic tradition, The Morrigan has appeared in a variety of Triple Goddess trinities. She has appeared in a Triple Goddess, which was comprised of the same person who had three different ages. She has also appeared in the more traditional Triple Goddess in which there is a Maiden, a Mother and a Crone, and she has always taken on the role of the Crone.

As a Triple Goddess, The Morrigan's three aspects were Neaim, Macha, and Badb which, when translated, mean "frenzy," "crow" and "crow." She has also appeared in other, different cultures as Fates/Moriae/Parcae, Tres Matres, and the Three Marys of the Sea, and when she appeared under those names, or under such other names as the Fe, or The Washer at the Ford, those aspects were frequently associated with teaching, sorcery, prophecy and motherhood.

The Morrigan was either married to, or was the consort of the Dagda, the Leader of the Tuatha De Danaan, and the son of the Great Mother Goddess Danu. Her aspects, Badb and Neaim, are believed to have been the consorts of an obscure war god named Neit, who might actually have been the Sky Father Nuada in his warrior aspect. It is also believed that The Morrigan, in her aspect as Morgan le Fay, was the wife of the sorcerer Merlin, and that it was from him that she learned all her magick.

The Morrigan’s origin stems directly from the megalithic cult known as “The Mothers,” which has also been known as the Matrones, the Idises, or the Disir. The Mothers were a unique Triple Goddesses trinity, whose cult expressed itself through the ecstasy of battle and regeneration. In later times, the Celtic Triple Goddess of Sovereignty comprised of Eire, Banba, and Fotla also used magick whenever they went to war, just like The Morrigan. In fact, the Goddess Eire’s aspects are extremely similar to those of The Morrigan. Eire was also a shape-shifter, and she could appear as either a beautiful woman or a crow, just like The Morrigan. It is believed, as well, that the Disir appeared in a similar guise.

Because of the great many similarities between The Morrigan and Eire, it has been speculated that these two Goddesses may have actually been half-sisters. Not only were they Goddesses of War; these two amazingly powerful Goddesses were often associated with fate, and with birth, which seemed to add a sense of balance to their duties, which included heralding a death that was soon to occur, or acting as escorts to the dead.

In her aspect as The Washer at the Ford, The Morrigan frequently appeared by the ford of the river, just prior to battle, washing the bloody laundry of those warriors who were destined to die. That placed The Morrigan in an extremely unique position, because when she assumed that particular role, she became deeply and directly involved with the war; and not only was she connected to the war, she was also connected to its players, and to all the death, darkness and horror that was associated with it. The Morrigan was also able to choose which warriors were going to die. It was for these reasons that the Celts viewed The Morrigan in much the same manner that they viewed the war, and when they attempted to visualize her, she appeared before them having the same bloodthirsty and savage qualities as the war.

That, however, was only one side of this truly magnificent Goddess. The Morrigan was also a member of the Tuatha De Danaan, and she fought side by side with them, when they defeated the Firbolgs at the First Battle of Magh Tuireadh, and the Fomorii at the Second Battle of Mag Tured. Never once did she ever stop to rest while she was protecting her people from invasion.

People sometimes forget that The Morrigan was also a woman, and that she had the same exact feelings that any other woman might have. It was through those feelings that The Morigan had a very unusual relationship with Cu Chulainn, the greatest warrior that Ireland has ever had. It was only by fighting him on three separate occasions, that she was able to give him the power that he needed, as only she could give, so that he could go forward and bring forth victory.

One day The Morrigan approached Cu Chulainn, the son of the God Lugh, and told him of her love for him. Cu, however, did not recognize The Morrigan, so he sent her away, telling her that she would only hinder him while he was busy fighting in the war.

Like so many other men frequently tend to do, Cu simply looked at The Morrigan as though she was simply another woman, never once taking the time to recognize the feminine power of Soverignty within. The Morrigan, however, continued in her attempts to let Cu see the power within her, and she approached him, on at least four separate occasions, each time stating her love for him. Cu, however, in typically masculine fashion, never recognized her, not even once, and each and every time that she went to him, he would always send her away.

Cu’s constant rejection of The Morrigan hurt her deeply, and it was only after a long period of time had passed that she appeared before him once more time, although this time, she appeared in the guise of an old hag. It was only then that Cu finally recognized The Morrigan for exactly who she was, and it was then that he offered her his blessing. It took a very long time, however, before The Morrigan’s emotional wounds would begin to heal.

One day, while Cu was on his way to what would be his final battle, he happened to pass by the Washer at the Ford. It was then that The Morrigan told him that she was washing the clothes of Cu Chulainn who was soon going to die. Exactly as The Washer at the Ford had predicted, Cu was killed in battle on that very same day. It was then that The Morrigan went down to see him, in the form of a crow settling lightly upon his shoulder.

She was a Triple Goddess, a shape-shifter and a magician. She also had the ability to know, and even to choose, which people were going to die. Those are only a few of the many powers that belonged to The Morrigan. Yet, even with all those powers, she was also a woman, and she had the same feelings towards a man that any other women might have had. That, too, was The Morrigan. She was a Goddess, a woman and a hero, and there is no way that she will ever be forgotten. She was glorious. She was magnificent. She was a powerful and positive force. She was the Irish Goddess of War. She was The Morrigan.




"Raven Magic"
Painting by Montserrat
Used With Permission




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