Thursday, September 2, 2010

morrigan the raven, celtic goddess

morrigan the great, queen of phantoms and the dead, queen of the demons rules battle and strife. over the battle she flew as a carrion crow. sometimes she showed herself as a lean and nimble hag, leaping unharmed over spears and shield. as the washer at the ford, she washed the clothes of the men who would fall that day in battle, thereby chosing who would live and who would die. she could also become a raven. she was worshipped by warriors and appeared to heroes, sometimes trying to convince them to marry her for she could appear as a beautiful woman.

she is a triple goddess, each aspect having her own name. she was very powerful and not necessarily considered bad despite the darkness with which her realm links her. however, i don't know that makes her necessarily good. then again, battle itself is not good. one aspect of morrigan has to do with birth and she is a goddess of fertility. she symbolizes both life and death.

modern pagans (of which i know little) sometimes worship morrigan. she is considered a strong goddess and favored by those who consider themselves on a warrior path whether it is literal or metaphorical. they sometimes will have a shrine to her with black feathers or red cloth (washer at the ford). they may also offer her bowls of blood or brine. sometimes, as befitting morrigan's mother aspect, the blood used may be menstrual blood. o.k., they SAY they do this... i really don't know if anyone has. i don't know any worshippers of morrigan IRL.

my instinct about morrigan is she is perhaps not a goddess to mess around with.. she is probably best left to history. i'm not saying there really is a morrigan. i'm just saying i wouldn't want to be leaving weird offerings like that around my house because i'm not sure what sort of thing that would attract (bugs?). but, suffice to say, she was important to the celts and her legend has not died. some people, hilariously, consider her a sort of "girl power" goddess. boy, those people don't want to meet her in a dark alley! i don't know that she would be amused. and, given what the celts had to say, she enjoyed conflict. true, she tended to hang around heroes and not deluded people picking up slogans from the spice girls, but i digress...

why am i talking about morrigan all of a sudden? well, because i recently saw a very interesting photo that ran in parade magazine. i don't actually read parade, but i used to.. and it's a pretty boring publication. i wouldn't expect anything too odd there.

not from parade, but a nice drawing i found of morrigan in her "beautiful woman" guise. note her lovely black hair and the black feathers she wears.

this accompanied the "how i've changed" article, summer 2010. no this blog is not supposed to be about angelina jolie. but, wtf is this if not morrigan? which, btw, is yet another vampire reference for angelina. (there are recent fictional stories where morrigan is queen of the vampires). also, yet another death reference and yet another reference to blood. how is any of this a "change"? (off topic, i think this is one of the best photos i've seen of her. heavily photoshopped, but better than the parade cover. she looks really pretty. and she looks like she's having fun.)


Allen the Duck Guy said...

Morrigan have 3 aspects (at least 1 a crone and 1 a young beautiful woman), a connection to cloth, and connections to both life and death suggest that she may have started out as a Fate/Norn- this is why she would be associated with evil so much- Fates are always cruel, cold, and uncaring.

However, 3-faced goddesses are almost universally connected to magic. Which is why modern pagans would be interested in her. I would venture a guess that modern pagans worshiping Morrigan may actually have a religion. Most pagans are too ignorant of pagan religions (having leanred all they know from Dungeons and Dragons) to recognize such a relatively obscure figure.

An interesting goddess from my own cultural background. I have some books, I will do some research.

Agelina as Morrigan... well, it is a surprisingly good picture in which she looks ironically vital. She is a very strange person. I wonder if perhaps Morrigan is her goddess?

(Ironically, my word verification is "venis", a corrupted Venus? lol

shampoo said...

that is an oddly appropriate word verification.

i forget what the third aspect of morrigan is.. it's another woman, maybe it's the one who is a seer. or maybe the mother aspect is considered different than the beautiful woman aspect? they each have names. i am sure the names all have their own detailed meaning.

i did a little bit of research on the modern pagans' worship of morrigan and i got a lot of long articles that i did not care to read. but, yes, i think her worshippers may actually have a religion around her.

i wondered if morrigan was angelina's goddess the instant i saw that photo. which is a really strange thing for me to think in that i am a christian and not that familiar with pagan things. so, i would think it'd really be more than obvious to a pagan. i don't know how many pagans there really are... if you go by the internets about 20 zillion. haha but, i think IRL less than that.

Anonymous said...

lol- I worship the Morrighan- and I agree that Angelina does look like she is trying to represent her!
Her worshippers call her by different names, such as: Morrigu, Nemain, Macha, Badb, Fea, Annan. Some just refer to her as one being (Morrigu/Morrighan or Badb).
I always just use Macha Badb and Nemain.
There isn't really an actual religion based around her that I know of. And she is known as a triple goddess because it is the three sisters (a bit like the three Fates) so it isn't maiden, mother, crone. Also, she is associated with cattle as well as eels, ravens, crows and wolves- meaning that she also is connected to sovreinity and fertility (probably explains the offerings of menstrual blood- yeah deffinately never done that. basically she is the goddess of death and rebirth.
lol sorry about the RS lesson!
hope I helped

shampoo said...

Thank you so much for your comment. You gave me a lot of great information. I am absolutely positive that I learned about Morrigan under one of her names because the three sisters sounds very familiar to me. This may be why I recognized her. And I thought it was only because Morrigan is a character (still a goddess) in the Cyn Craven stories.

Thank you for reading. :)