“The Morrigan was an important figure in Irish mythology and she is active still in the world today. She reaches out to us from the pages of the old myths, in the stories of the traditional storytellers, and in modern songs. She comes to us on shadowed wings, in the still darkness, and in flashes of dreams. We hear her voice in the pounding of our own pulse, in the cry of the raven, and in the wild wind. She is a powerful force, but one that is often difficult to understand for those seeking her.” Morgan Daimler
“An offering is an act of completion. So many things come to us from the gods. If we keep them, the flow ends there. By holding tightly to the gifts of the gods, we create an interruption in the natural rhythm of the world, a dead-end into which the universe flows and then stops.” Ceiswir Smith
Morrígan (“phantom queen”) or Mórrígan (“great queen”), also written as Morrígu or in the plural as Morrígna, and spelled Morríghan or Mór-ríoghain in Modern Irish.
The origins of the Morrigan seem to reach directly back to the megalithic cult of the Mothers. The Mothers (Matrones, Idises, Disir, etc.) usually appeared as triple goddesses and their cult was expressed through both battle ecstasy and regenerative ecstasy. It’s also interesting to note that later Celtic goddesses of sovereignty, such as the trio of Eriu, Banba, and Fotla, also appear as a trio of female deities who use magic in warfare.
“Influence in the sphere of warfare, but by means of magic and incantation rather than through physical strength, is common to these beings.” (Ross 205)
The Morrígan is probably the most powerful yet mysterious figure amongst the Celtic Gods. The popular image of the Morrígan is as the Goddess of Battle and Sex, a perception that only scratches the surface of this complex and manifold Goddess. From Bestower of Sovereignty to Earth Goddess, from Lady of the Beasts to Faery Queen, from Lover to Witch Goddess, the Morrígan stands out as one of the pre-eminent Celtic Goddesses. More than any other Celtic deity the Morrígan embodies the resurgence of the divine feminine, appearing in a wide variety of guises to express the full spectrum of feminine power. The strength and control the Morrígan displays, as well as her ferocity and tenacity, and her ability to control events to ensure the desired result are all displayed repeatedly in the myths. As a Liminal Goddess the Morrígan connects not only the different realms of earth, sky, sea and otherworld, but also the myths of the British Isles through her different guises.
The Morrigan stands ready at the edge of our perceptions to challenge our views of the world and of ourselves. She, like the Hindu Kali, is the Terrible Mother, the Dark Goddess, but no less a mother for it. She will not coddle us but will instigate and incite change in ourselves and our lives. The process of change and transformation can be painful, but it is ultimately rewarding. As a goddess of death and war, she is a goddess of hard truths. All living things must one day die in order to sustain new life and be reborn. Sometimes war is necessary to establish peace or retain one’s freedom. The Morrigan stands fast next to her children through their battles, guiding them to victory and the peace that is the ultimate goal of any battle. Once she has taught us to battle and conquer our inner demons, she appears as the vibrant goddess of sovereignty, teaching us to embrace the abundance and joy of life.
There have been attempts by some modern authors of fiction to link the Arthurian character Morgan le Fay with the Morrígan. Morgan first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini (The Life of Merlin) in the 12th century. However, while the creators of the literary character of Morgan may have been somewhat inspired by the much older tales of the goddess, the relationship ends there. Scholars such as Rosalind Clark hold that the names are unrelated, the Welsh “Morgan” (Wales being the source of Arthurian legend) being derived from root words associated with the sea, while the Irish “Morrígan” has its roots either in a word for “terror” or a word for “greatness”.
It is said that the Celtic Gods, beyond all other pantheons, choose their own. Call to the Greek and Roman pantheons, or call to Isis or Thor, and you will usually receive a response to your prayer. While the Celtic gods will hear and sometimes even answer for a time, they will choose you as their own only if they recognise you. You can’t always choose them. You need to be called.