Macha - Justice Always Follows

In ancient times Ireland was ruled by chieftains and kings, but the rule of land was not a birth right. One had to prove ones worth by skill of thought, word and deed even to be considered for such a role. Even those aspirants were not guaranteed to rule for the last, and some might say most important, step in the process was to connect with the sovereignty of the land itself, for only in a union with the Goddesses of the land could a rightful chieftain rule.

The Goddess of Ulster sovereignty is one known as Macha. The tales of this Goddess are, unfortunately, filled with hardship, for battle has ever been with the Ulaid, of the tribes of Ulster.

As we move through the lore of the land there are many instances where this Goddess makes herself known or her presence felt. One of the first mentions of her is upon the battles of the Plain of Pillars known as Moytura. Here she is found with her powerful sisters raining magic down from the skies upon the heads of their enemies. We later find that Macha is listed among those who fell during the second battle of moytura having been in the thickest parts of the battle side by side with her husband, Nuada, the first king of the Tuatha de Danann in Ireland.

It is some time later, during the texts known as the Ulster cycle that we see the return of this Goddess when she takes on human form and weds a mortal, bringing him great abundance, influence and even conceiving children with him. Her only request of him in return for her favour is that he keep her identity secret. Alas her deal is undone due to the boastful pride of men and not only is she revealed, but forced to race the kings own horses whilst pregnant.

When dragged before the king she did not shy from the challenge of the race, but merely asked that she be allowed to deliver her children first. Finding no honour in the king at his refusal of her request, she turned to all men present and ask for but one voice to plead for her. Once again she found no honour among them as all they offered her was silence.

Nevertheless Macha raced the kings horses beating them easily, yet bringing upon her human form a early labour. There upon the finish line, she birthed her children and died. Yet with her dying breath she laid down a curse upon the men of Ulster that would unman nine generation of them, and wrack them each with birthing pains whenever the land of Ulster may need their strength most.

Wherever we find Macha in our tales she is always a person of power, but power which is hard earned upon the sweat of her labour or the skill of her battles. She is sometimes placed in positions of conflict by those who should be her support. Those who do harm upon her lands or those whom she considers her people, had best be wary. By her word and her deed will she see balance restored.

Where Macha is concerned, justice always follows.

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