I was inspired by this piece written on The Morrigan in Danu Forest’s article on ‘The Gods are not for sale!’ which you can read for yourself here.
So, I have to thank Leithin Cluan, really because she posted it to our Grove. My particularly favorite bit is:
No the Morriigan is not an easy goddess- disrespect her land and she will want blood. Literally. She is sexual, primal, gutsy, scary- she will do the hard, horrible work, embrace her fury so a clean start is possible- but no she she’s not interested in comforting you because you don’t want to be as tough as your life requires right now, don’t want to wade into difficult moral or emotional terrain. She won’t hold your hand if you are scared of the dark, but she might smile if you pick yourself up, get fed up with your cowardice and do what needs to done. Read the old tales, research the folklore- visit the places on the land that honour her, in the real world. It’s all there. Get out of your own head, your own story- she’s waiting outside.
Not a simpering maid, this Goddess. This portrayal is one that evokes primal strength, a bolshy nature of “Well, do it then!“. It also brings, at least to my mind, the now stereotypical image of the Morrigan: A flame haired beauty screaming across the battlefield with a bloody sword and gore splattered shield. Heralding the death of her foes as she unleashes a furious murder of crows on those whose souls she has come to claim. She is the black of night, the crimson fountain, the pale moon all in one and death is her punishment to the weak. She mesmerizes with her blatant sexuality, oozing appeal with every curve and her eyes dare you to take her… if you can.
This imagery and the above quote, reflect only part of her being. The Morrigan, believe it or not was only classed as a ‘Goddess of Battle’ only recently.
Everyone who has heard of her is familiar with the iconic raven and crow association, they are carrion birds after all, and eating the slain on the battlefield is a pretty sure way of a having them represent death.
Her powers influence battle to be sure, The Daghda, after seeing her washing in the river convinces her to ensure victory against the Fomorians by having sex with her. At the end of the battle of Moytura, she sings a song of victory and also prophecies of the end of the world.
In the Cuchulainn saga, she tries to seduce Cuchulainn, only for him to refuse her (something she really doesn’t like). In that story she shows her shape-shifting abilites: as a maiden, an eel, a wolf, a crone. The Crone guise is used when Cuchulainn meets a crone with a cow, and is tricked into blessing the crone and thereby healing all the wounds he had inflicted on her.
So yes, she does have an association with death, with transformation and with prophecy. More than that she is also a Goddess of Sovereignty (this is where the cow comes in, it represent the land, generosity and a number of Goddesses). Where she is death, she also represents life: fertility and bounty, both of which make way for the future- something she appears to know of before others do.
I am very aware this is merely an introduction into The Morrigan and will give more of my findings when I have them. The way I see Her is like the bright full moon behind a cover of cloud: You know she is there and every now and then, she’ll be visible, but only for a moment and even then, was it the full picture?
Like her guises, The Morrigan has many masks. The mask I see her with isn’t of the screaming warrior, or of the regal queen. To me, at least, right now, she is mysterious woman showing me I must pay attention. The choice she brings is to pick myself up or lie where I am and wonder where I went wrong. Thankfully, I chose the former… after all, in front of such a pretty lady, it simply wouldn’t do to wallow.
I remember meeting the Morrigan in a dream in early 2013, the most distinctive feature I remember is the red make up around her eyes… the below image reminds me of her. Taking hint of Cuchulainn, offering her a blessing, I have trialled giving offerings of milk. So far, she likes anything I can give in Her name, but mainly milk, beer, whisky, tobacco, food (Not beef) and chocolate cake.
Image from Old Camarilla Wiki – artist and details unknown, but would love to give credit to whoever did this.