Monday, 9 September 2013

An Introduction to the Mysteries of the Morrigan

'She is Death, She is Life... My Goddess Morrigan'
                                 Trobar de Morte -  Morrigan

When She walked into my life, spear in hand, through a cloud of mist and crows around a decade ago, I knew my path was never really going to be the same again. As I recall people were not too keen to work with Her then, but I've been so blessed to see over the past few years more and more people being drawn to her powerful, sovereign energy.

Now my journey spirals on, in devotion, research and action. I walk closer to Her daily, as She speaks to me in dream, crow caw and symbols... and sometimes with a rather large kick up the backside!

She most definitely is the Goddess of women (and men!) who don't take life lying down; She is known as a Battle Goddess, and this up to a point is rightly so, if you read the Celtic Myths She turns up at many a battle as protagonist and prophetess. If there wasn't a battle going on, She was known to start one by stealing a magical cow or such like... well the Celts did seem to love a good fight and cattle thieving session!

She could place fear into the hearts of warriors before a battle, separating the men from the boys, as it were and was/is a powerful force to have on your side.

Unfortunately that's as far as a lot of people get with the Morrigan, particularly as the Celtic myths were written down many many years after Christianity had 'replaced' the old Pagan ways and the Romans had exiled and murdered Druids. These later ancestors perhaps struggled to get to terms with a woman as complex and diverse as the Morrigan and her many feisty and sometimes sexy guises! We have little written down from what is called the Celtic era, as we know the Druids revered the spoken word over the written one.

Now if the word 'Celt' is a proper term or not is for another blog, but for simplicities sake we'll use that term for the moment.

Why Her role as a Battle Goddess was so important can be made clearer if we look at a woman's role in Celtic society. Women in Celtic Europe really did have it better than most ladies of the Greco-Roman empire, who were rarely seen as little more than a possession. Women in Celtic Britain could marry (and divorce) whom they chose, could take on roles such as Judge, Military Advisor, Druid (the only reason we see Druids as purely the domain of men is from a later patriarchal spin) and Warrior.

Women often accompanied their husbands into battle, and were often a more fearsome and terrifying prospect than their husbands! Yes I can see this relating to a lot of modern day relationships too :).

If a woman wanted to keep ownership of her lands she had to learn to fight, and there are tales and accounts of the prowess of both mythical and real-life female warriors. We of course have all heard of Boudicca,and even though her case was epic, I doubt she was a stand alone character in our land's history.

But battle aside, the Morrigan has many many many aspects to her bow -  too many to go into here (though I will advise two good books on Her at the end of this post!).

She like many other Goddesses can be seen as triple aspected Goddess. In most cases triple aspected Goddesses represent maiden, mother and crone, and new, full and dark moon respectively, again with the Morrigan the lines blur a little more in this definition! However She does seem shape shift between lusty maiden to old crone at the drop of a hat!

Her trio can be Morrigan, Badb and Macha, yet often the Morrigan or Morrigu can be seen as an umbrella name for a trio of  Goddesses -  namely Badb (Crow Goddess), Macha (Earth and Horse Goddess) and Anu (Mother -  Earth Goddess), or sometimes Nemain (A Goddess of Fury and Frenzy), depending on the story -  or what you feel resonates with you more.

Each Goddess aspect has her own layers of myth and magic, which we'll go into much more in my Morrigan workshop this Saturday. Yet Her story takes us further into our own psyche.

The Morrigan is also Witch Queen, Shapeshifter and Faery Queen. More than one Faery Queen has been associated with the Morrigan, Morgan Le Fay, Queen Medb and Aine to name but a few. It is in this aspect we walk between the worlds as enchantress and elemental spirit.

Morgan Le Fay

She guards the pathways of life, death and rebirth, and as a liminal Goddess of deep inner (and outer) transformation she has really made herself known in my life. Through meditations, journeys, ritual and tattoo (!) I have connected with Her deeply in this guise.

My recent Morrigan tattoo

Perhaps Her most important aspect is as Goddess of Sovereignty. The land was seen as female; as the Goddess. If a King wanted to prove himself to be worthy of this land, (and he needed to if he wanted to rule successfully) he had to prove himself to the Goddess. The Morrigan was, and is seen as the bestower of such Sovereignty. In my workshops and in further writings I'll discuss more what that truly means to us in modern times.

Knowth Passage Tomb & Temple -  Boyne Valley, Ireland.

Even though I have barely touched upon Her enchanting complexity, I hope this blog has sparked, or even rekindled your interest in the Morrigan. She is such an all encompassing deep and powerful Goddess, who will take you on the journey of the spiritual warrior. She can help you choose your fights wisely, and take the more magickal, honourable path.

Look for Her on a crow's wing, in green pastures, and ancient sites -  and most importantly - within the deepest and most beautiful parts of your Self.

Copyright Laura Daligan 2013

Want to find out more? Come to my workshop in Gray's Essex organised by Inspiral Mediums.

Books to read! 
The Guises of the Morrigan -  David Rankine & Sorita D'Este
Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess (Invoking the Morrigan)  - Stephanie Woodfield

1 comment:

  1. Did this workshop take place? I clicked the link but it said page not found... I am new to Witchcraft but have been a Celtic Pagan nearly all my life and The Morrigan has protected and helped me whenever I have needed it... I want to learn the ways of working with her through witchcraft though... so any and all help you can give would be appreciated... Blessed Be!