THE MORRIGAN

WHO IS THE MORRÍGAN?

 

The Morrígan is most well known as an Irish Goddess who often appears in crow or raven form, and is associated with battle, warriors, sovereignty, prophecy, and Otherworld power. Though early source literature referencing Her only exists in Irish, folklore and archaeological records suggest that She, or closely related divinities, were known and worshiped in Britain and Gaul as well, suggesting that we have in Her a pan-Celtic Goddess.

 

 

MORRÍGAN: GREAT QUEEN

The Morrígan’s name translates from the Irish as ‘Great Queen’ (from Old Irish mór=great and rígan=Queen). This name is a key to Her nature, showing that sovereignty and queenship are core aspects of Her identity and power. Some scholars have given the name an alternate etymology, translating it as ‘Phantom Queen’ (from proposed Proto-Celtic *mor, connoting terror/nightmare, or *mar, connoting the dead). It should be noted that popular etymologies interpreting the Morrígan’s name as connoting ‘Sea Queen’ (via the Welsh mor=sea) and connecting Her to the Arthurian character Morgan le Fay, are incorrect.

As one of the Celtic sovereignty Goddesses, the Morrígan has an association with the land itself, and the rulership and protection of the land and its people. Her seasonal appearances are linked to rituals of warfare and sovereignty as they appear to have been practiced in early Irish society. Archaeological and literary evidence suggests that her earliest manifestations may have been as a tribal/territorial Goddess, and that Her war-bringing and martial functions arose out of this sovereignty and tutelary role.

As the Morrígan is best documented in the Irish literature,…

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