Deities Associated with Tuesday – The Morrighan, Celtic Goddess of War and Sovereignty

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The Morrighan, Celtic Goddess of War and Sovereignty

In Celtic mythology, the Morrighan is known as a goddess of battle and war. However, there’s a bit more to her than this. Also referred to as Morrígu, Morríghan, or Mor-Ríoghain, she is called the “washer at the ford,” because if a warrior saw her washing his armor in the stream, it meant he was to die that day. She is the goddess who determines whether or not you walk off the field of battle, or are carried off upon your shield.

In later Irish folklore, this role would be delegated to the bain sidhe, who foresaw the death of members of a specific family or clan.

The Morrighan often appears in the form of a crow or raven, or is seen accompanied by a group of them. In the stories of the Ulster cycle, she is shown as a cow and a wolf as well. The connection with these two animals suggest that in some areas, she may have been connected to fertility and land.

In some legends, the Morrighan is considered a triune, or triple goddess, but there are a lot of inconsistencies to this. She often appears as a sister to the Badb and Macha.

In some Neopagan traditions, she is portrayed in her role as destroyer, representing the Crone aspect of the Maiden/Mother/Crone cycle, but this seems to be incorrect when one looks at her original Irish history. Some scholars point out that war specifically is not a primary aspect of the Morrighan, and that her connection to cattle presents her as a goddess of sovereignty. The theory is that she can be seen as a deity who guides or protects a king.

In modern literature, there has been some linking of the Morrighan to the character of Morgan Le Fay in the Arthurian legend. It appears, though, that this is more fanciful thinking than anything else. Although Morgan le Fay appears in the Vita Merlini in the twelfth century, a narrative of the life of Merlin by Geoffrey of Monmouth, it’s unlikely that there’s a connection to the Morrighan. Scholars point out that the name “Morgan” is Welsh, and derived from root words connected to the sea. “Morrighan” is Irish, and is rooted in words that are associated with “terror” or “greatness.” In other words, the names sound similar, but the relationship ends there.

Author
Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com

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Deity of the Day – The Morrighan

Deity of the Day – the morrighan

 

The Morrighan – Celtic Goddess of War and Sovereignity

By Patti Wigington, About.com 

In Celtic mythology, the Morrighan is known as a goddess of battle and war. However, there’s a bit more to her than this. Also referred to as Morrígu, Morríghan, or Mor-Ríoghain, she is called the “washer at the ford,” because if a warrior saw her washing his armor in the stream, it meant he was to die that day. She is the goddess who determines whether or not you walk off the field of battle, or are carried off upon your shield. In later Irish folklore, this role would be delegated to the bain sidhe, who foresaw the death of members of a specific family or clan.

The Morrighan often appears in the form of a crow or raven, or is seen accompanied by a group of them. In the stories of the Ulster cycle, she is shown as a cow and a wolf as well. The connection with these two animals suggest that in some areas, she may have been connected to fertility and land.

In some legends, the Morrighan is considered a triune, or triple goddess, but there are a lot of inconsistencies to this. She often appears as a sister to the Badb and Macha. In some Neopagan traditions, she is portrayed in her role as destroyer, representing the Crone Aspect of the Maiden/Mother/Crone cycle, but this seems to be incorrect when one looks at her original Irish history. Some scholars point out that war specifically is not a primary aspect of the Morrighan, and that her connection to cattle presents her as a goddess of sovereignty. The theory is that she can be seen as a deity who guides or protects a king.

In modern literature, there has been some linking of the Morrighan to the character of Morgan Le Fay in the Arthurian legend. It appears, though, that this is more fanciful thinking than anything else. Although Morgan le Fay appears in the Vita Merlini in the twelfth century, a narrative of the life of Merlin by Geoffrey of Monmouth, it’s unlikely that there’s a connection to the Morrighan. Scholars point out that the name “Morgan” is Welsh, and derived from root words connected to the sea. “Morrighan” is Irish, and is rooted in words that are associated with “terror” or “greatness.” In other words, the names sound similar, but the relationship ends there.

There’s an excellent page with plenty of scholarly information on the Morrighan from Reverend Gwynarion Elessacar at http://www.elessacar.com/the_morrighan.php.

Celebrating Our Spirituality 365 A Day – August 18, Eisteddfod

Pentagram Book of Shadows

August 18th

Eisteddfod

The Eisteddfod is an assembly of Welsh poets and musicians that compete for an “eisteddfa” or bardic chair. This traditional festival is so important that it is announced 13 months in advance. From as early as the sixth century, the bards of Wales–who were the harpers, genealogists, and soothsayers, as well as court poets and story-tellers—are reported engaging in embittered disputes. Their special status was recognized by law so that formal competitions were used to settle differences. It was at Cardigan in 1176 when the Lord Rhys presented chairs to the winning poet and best performers on the harp, pipe, and fiddle. The Eisteddfod became a way to rate bards and thus distinguish them from the non-bardic traveling ministrals or vagabonds. Overseen by modern Druids, the festival attracts thousands of people even today, and though many awards are give for a number of categories, the place of honor is still reserved for original poetry.

Goddess of the Day for April 8th – Blodeuwedd

Goddess of the Day

Blodeuwedd

Blodeuwedd was created out of flowers by Gwydion to wed Llew Llaw Gyffes. She betrayed Llew, either because she had no soul, being non-human, or because she resented being his chattel, or because the triplet of one woman and two men must play itself out in Welsh myth, and Llew Llaw Gyffes must die. At any rate, she fell in love with Goronwy and, wishing to be rid of Llew, she tricked out of him the clearly supernatural and ritual manner in which only he could be killed: neither by day nor night, indoors nor out of doors, riding nor walking, clothed nor naked, nor by any weapon lawfully made. She asked him to explain this, and he did: he could be killed only if it were twilight, wrapped in a fish net, with one foot on a cauldron and the other on a goat, and if the weapon had been forged during sacred hours when such work was forbidden. Blodeuwedd convinced him to demonstrate how impossible such a position was to achieve by chance, and when he was in it, het lover Goronwy leapt out and struck. Llew was transformed into an eagle and eventually restored to human form, after which he killed Goronwy. Blodeuwedd was transformed into an owl, to haunt the night in loneliness and sorrow, shunned by all other birds.

Goddess Of The Day for November 17th is Blodeuwedd

Blodeuwedd

by Karen Davis
 
Blodeuwedd was created out of flowers by Gwydion to wed Llew Llaw Gyffes. She betrayed Llew, either because she had no soul, being non-human, or because she resented being his chattel, or because the triplet of one woman and two men must play itself out in Welsh myth, and Llew Llaw Gyffes must die. At any rate, she fell in love with Goronwy and, wishing to be rid of Llew, she tricked out of him the clearly supernatural and ritual manner in which only he could be killed: neither by day nor night, indoors nor out of doors, riding nor walking, clothed nor naked, nor by any weapon lawfully made. She asked him to explain this, and he did: he could be killed only if it were twilight, wrapped in a fish net, with one foot on a cauldron and the other on a goat, and if the weapon had been forged during sacred hours when such work was forbidden. Blodeuwedd convinced him to demonstrate how impossible such a position was to achieve by chance, and when he was in it, het lover Goronwy leapt out and struck. Llew was transformed into an eagle and eventually restored to human form, after which he killed Goronwy. Blodeuwedd was transformed into an owl, to haunt the night in loneliness and sorrow, shunned by all other birds.

Deity of the Day for July 7th is Gwydion (Welsh)

Deity of the Day

Gwydion (Welsh)

Druid of the mainland gods; son of Don; brother of Govannon, Arianrhod, Amaethon (god of agriculture). Wizard and Bard of North Wales. A many-skilled deity like Lugh. Prince of the Powers of Air; a shape-shifter. His symbol was a white horse. Greatest of the enchanters; warrior-magician. Illusion, changes. magic, the sky, healing.