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Pronunciation: MOR-eh-gehn

Origin: Celtic

Role: Goddess

Symbol: Crow

Husband: Dadga, possibly

Children: Possibly Adair

Other Names: Morrigu, Morgane, Morrigha
 

Who Is The Morrigan?

The Morrigan is the term given to Goddess Morrigan, one of the triple Goddesses in Celtic mythology. She represented the circle of life and was associated with both birth and death. Her name translates to “great queen” or “phantom queen”. She was a shape-shifter and looked over the rivers, fresh water and lakes. She is also described as being the patroness of revenge, magic, priestesses, night, prophecy and witches.

She is often depicted as a triple goddess but this varies by source. In Celtic mythology, the number three has incredible significance. At times, Morrigan is featured as one of three sisters while other times she is a singular figure.

Origins

It is difficult to find the exact origin of Morrigan in existing texts. Some say that she was the wife of Dadga. Many say that she was part of the Tuatha de Dananna, or the tribe of the Goddess Danu. The tribe was a mythical race living in Ireland and were descendants of the goddess Danu. Her son, Dadga, was a powerful leader. Morrigan often helped to protect the people from invading armies by blowing a layer of fog over the land and decreasing visibility.

Legends and Stories

The myths surrounding Morrigan all involve part of the life cycle. Her stories are found in multiple texts, including the Book of Isaiah.

The Myth of Cu Chulainn

Cu Chulainn was a warrior and Morrigan fell deeply in love with him. She tried to seduce the warrior but he rejected her. Unable to deal with the rejection, she set out to seek revenge.

She tried to use her magic to increase his inner strength but needed him to be still and near her in order to do so. Because she was a shape-shifter, she appeared to him for the first time as a bull. She told him to run but he refused and kept on his path.

The next time, she appeared to the warrior as an eel. She tried to trip him in an effort to use more magic on him but she was unable to. She tried again, this time changing into a wolf, and attempted to scare cattle so that they would run and stop his journey but again, this didn’t work.

On her final attempt, she took the shape of an elderly woman. She was milking a cow and when Cu Chulainn saw her, he finally recognized her. Morrigan gave the warrior three drinks of milk, which immediately made him stronger.

Cu Chulainn was riding his horse one day when he noticed Morrigan by the river. This would be the moment in which she would seek her revenge on the warrior for rejecting her love. She was washing his armour, which was considered to be a death omen. The next time he was in battle, he was critically wounded. He knew that he would die and he tied himself to a large stone and propped himself up so that he would die in an upright position. A crow landed on his shoulder and it was at this moment that everyone knew he had passed.

Samhain

Morrigan met Dagda, the King of the Tuatha de Dananna, at Samhein. The Dagda had a home in the north and he was told to meet a woman there before the battle. He found the woman washing herself in the river Unis of Connacht, which flowed just to the south of his home. She had nine loosened tresses on her head and captivated the king instantly. The Dagda spoke with her and they slept together. Morrigan then told Dagda that he should summon Erin’s men to meet her and that the Fomorians would land at Mag Scetne. She aided the Tuatha de Dananna in their battle and once they had won, she proclaimed the victory to the royal heights of Ireland.

Family

The story of Morrigan’s family is a bit hazy. Some sources say that her and Dagda married and had a child while others say that they only encountered each other at the river once. If they did have a child, the name was Adair.

Morrigan was the daughter of Ernmas. She had several siblings, including Badb, Macha, Banba, Fohla and Eriu. Unfortunately, there is very little detail surrounding Morrigan other than her main descriptions because much of Celtic mythology has either been destroyed or lost over the generations.


 



Appearance

The Morrigan is represented similarly in almost every artistic representation of her. She is young, with long, flowing dark hair. Her clothing is black and sometimes very revealing. Other times, she is cloaked so as not to show her face. Because she was a shape-shifter, she is often shown with one of the more common forms she would take on-the crow or raven. She is strikingly beautiful yet intimidating.





Symbology

Morrigan is known for her strengths, which include her ability to instill fear in those who crossed her. She is also known for her weaknesses and was described as vindictive. She wasn’t afraid to kill if she felt disrespected. She is forever linked to the festival of Samhain and is usually symbolically represented by a crow or raven. She is also sometimes associated with horse symbolism and has been linked to Epona, the equine Goddess.



 

Responding To Her Call

The Morrigan chooses Her own. Her call can come in a variety of forms ranging from the arrival of calling dreams, a sense of being watched or haunted, vivid supernatural encounters, miracles around life threatening circumstances to sudden prophetic visions, debilitating and persistent nightmares, and grossly atypical corvid experiences. She can be ungentle and cryptic in Her communications with one that She has picked and Her presence in your life can be frightening and disturbing. If She has chosen you it is best to acknowledge Her and attempt to learn what She wants; otherwise the disturbances in your life and psyche will become more and more extreme as She pushes to get your attention.

We very often hear from people who are experiencing this and who ask us how to deal with Her presence in their lives. The answer to this question truly depends on the individual and on what level the individual wishes to interact with Her. Being Hers is a commitment that needs to be considered carefully.

The benefits are many but the responsibilities are weighty. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Being Hers means a lifetime of being haunted, to at least some degree. It means those close to you possibly being haunted to some degree as well. Those She claims may find their lives being reshaped, sometimes painfully, to make space for Her demands. It means you yourself will be reshaped, and this can also be quite challenging and even terrifying. But here is what She offers in return: She makes a weapon of you. She delves into your soul and finds the strength, the fierce unconquerable will, the heroic heart you didn’t know you had. She offers you greatness. And She protects Her own, so Her claim also confers protection on both you and your kin.

She is calling you, the first step you should take is to make room for Her in your life and devotional practice. Learn to speak to Her and to listen to Her. Nightmares, hauntings, and challenging experiences are often Her way of gaining your attention. The frightful quality that often comes with the initial contact will usually transform into a more intimate experience once you establish devotional practice. Your situation will be unique and personal, of course. Generally speaking, the first act you need to do is enter the relationship, acknowledge Her claim on you, and communicate your willingness to engage. This can be as simple as a prayer to Her, from the heart and in your own way. As you deepen your commitment, establish a regular devotional practice, with offerings and time in meditation listening to Her. This gives Her opportunities to communicate Her message to you, and begins to create intimacy. Over time this will tend to refocus Her presence into your devotional practice, thereby easing the nightmares and other uncontrolled manifestations. Ideally you should set aside a place in your home as a shrine/altar dedicated to Her where you make offerings, meditate, and perform other acts of magical service and craft such as divination. This helps to externalize Her presence so that She does not have to constantly occupy your dreams and waking mind in order to have a foothold in your life. It allows you some measure of control over when you engage with Her and when you choose to focus on other things.

Invocation of The Morrigan

Morrigan Morrigan three times three,
Hear the words I ask of thee.
Grant me vision, Grant me power,
Cheer me in my darkest hour.
As the night overtakes the day,
Morrigan Morrigan light my way.
Morrigan Morrigan Raven Queen,
Round & round the Hawthorn green.
Queen of beauty, Queen of Art,
Yours my body, Yours my heart.
All my trust I place in thee,
Morrigan Morrigan Be with me.